Chapter 4

As if the dragon had heard him, it began to extend its neck.

“Kyeuaaaahhhhhh!!!”

A heaven-shaking roar rang throughout the castle.

Shatter!

“Ahhhk!”

Glass flew down from the windows as the shockwave pushed the noblewoman and the middle-aged man onto the floor. Having finished its roar, the dragon spread its wings and began to hover in the air.

“Ma’am!”

“My lady!”

The maids rushed to the noblewoman’s side and helped her up. Shards of glass were all over the floor.

Raven’s gaze was not focusing on the mayhem happening inside the room. Instead, he looked helplessly as the dragon was nearing him. The room gradually darkened, covered by the dragon’s shadow. The gigantic being with wings came closer until it was the only thing visible through the window. An ice-like blue eye peered through the window and scanned the humans in the room.

“Ughhh..”

Everyone was frozen in fear, unable to move an inch and frightened of making eye contact with the dragon. The glaring eye slowly darted from person to person. It paused for a second when it saw the old woman, but then moved towards Raven.

‘It’s him… Alan Pendragon’s dragon.’

First, he had died and come back to life. Now he was facing Pendragon’s dragon. Raven could not get a hold of himself. Furthermore, he had just spoken the name of the dragon even though he had never heard of “Soldrake.”

‘Damn it. What the hell? What is going on with me?’

No one was there to answer his questions.

At that moment, the noblewoman shook off the maids who were helping her.

“Ma’am!”

“My lady!”

She shakily walked between the dragon and Raven. And as if trying to protect him, she spread her arms wide open.

“Soldrake! Leave my son alone. Please, do not ruin him anymore. Please, please leave him alone.”

Her body was shaking, but she spoke with clear determination and pleaded with the dragon. The dragon stared back motionlessly. The noblewoman closed her eyes, facing the sword-eyed look covered by blue flames of fury. But she did not give in. She was not going to move aside. She stood there, ready to put her life on the line to protect Raven’s.

The old woman who had been watching the situation unfold started to move, but oddly no one paid her any attention except Raven. It seemed like she was not visible to anybody else. The old woman stopped in front of the dragon. Raven saw her lips move. She must have been speaking to the dragon, but he could not hear what she was saying. After a bit, she turned around to look at Raven. He flinched as a thin smile formed on the old woman’s face. Then, as if she had never been there, she disappeared like smoke.

“Please… please just go.”

The noblewoman’s voice shook as she stuttered the words. As soon as those words left her mouth, the room became drowned out by light.

“Aah!”

Everyone’s eyes widened in surprise. The dragon had slowly moved away from the window as if understanding the noblewoman’s words. Soon, the dragon had returned to its original spot looking back to the room once more. After flapping its wings in place a few more times, the dragon turned its neck.

Whoooosh!

The dragon flew off into the distance, breaking the wind with each flap.

“Huah.”

The noblewoman collapsed as soon as the dragon was not visible anymore.

“My lady!”

“I’m okay. Rather…”

Her gaze headed towards Raven.

“Your Grace, are you alright?”

The middle-aged man hurriedly asked Raven.

Instead of speaking, Raven answered by nodding his head, still fixated to the direction where the dragon flew.

“Go and quickly fetch Sir Illaine. Actually, I’ll fetch him myself. Head maid-nim, could you look after His Grace and the lady?”

“Yes, yes!”

Raven stared blankly as the maids hurried to bring the noblewoman a chair, water and fussed over her.

“My son, are you okay?”

The woman kept worrying over him, even when her own face was pale and in shock. That reminded Raven of what she had just done.

She stared directly at the dragon, something even human scum of the demonic army could not do. It was all done to protect him. Raven was not an idiot, but he could guess why she would do something like that.

Furthermore, he had a hunch about where he was and who everyone was treating him as. The situation was chaotic, sure. With the ghost-lady, seeing the dead dragon and whatnot, he still retained his ability to think and make sound judgements.

But he could not be entirely sure. Thus, he spoke to the noblewoman.

“I am fine… But is it okay... if I ask you a question?”

“Yes, yes, of course! Ask me anything!” The lady grabbed Raven’s hand with a worried expression.

Even though he was already sure of the answer, Raven asked the question with a shaky voice.

“Where am I, and who... am I?”

The woman flinched. Her eyes shook and her face darkened, but she answered with a forced smile on her face as if to reassure him.

“You are the heir to the Pendragon family that owns this castle. You are my only son. You are Alan Pendragon.”

“……!”

Raven’s heart started beating rapidly upon hearing the answer he was expecting.

***

“Sir, no please… You have to say ‘aah’.”

“n... no, I can do it by myse…”

“N, no… Sir, please say ‘aah’.’

“……”

It had already been several days since Raven opened his eyes, but he could not get used to this situation no matter what. His brows furrowed. Seeing this, the person holding the spoon shrunk back, her face whitening in fear.

“I, I’m sorry, Your Grace.”

Lindsay, the first person he saw when he came to, apologize. The hand holding the spoon was trembling, but somehow still managed not to spill any of its contents.

“P, please. Sir Illaine left a message saying that you had to have complete rest. S, so… please open your mouth, Your Grace.”

Giant eyes were damp with small tears. It looked like she was ready to cry at any moment. He could not even get mad at this girl who was convinced that this was good for his own sake. Even so, it was a bit humiliating to follow the orders of this girl who was much younger than him. Humiliation aside, it was just so awkward.

“Ah, and the head maid left a message saying that you had to chew your food really, really thoroughly, Your Grace.”

“……..”

The ‘food’ had lots of different ingredients. But in the end, it was soup. And the soup was liquid. To tell him to chew thoroughly on SOUP. They were treating him like a newborn. Raven Valt, the warrior who danced around death countless times, commanded his army to victory and called the god of death. Having no choice, he opened his mouth wide.

“Fwooh, fwoooh! Your Grace, pl, please open your mouth again. I have cooled the soup a bit. The duchess also left a message saying that you had to finish your meal…”

“%&#@^!...”

Why the hell were they all leaving messages about the damn food? He felt his hands and feet cringing at how they treated him. Still, he complied silently.

He had no other choice.

He, who was attended by seven maids, living in a fancy castle, and being spooned soup, was not Raven Valt. He was Alan Pendragon, who had turned seventeen this year -- the heir to the Pendragon family and for the last three years under coma, and miraculously regained consciousness a few days ago.

His meal passed by quickly as he ignored the awkwardness and did what he was told.

“Thank you for your hard work, Your Grace.”

The maids who were waiting to the side got to work cleaning the plates and taking the white napkin off Raven’s neck.

Lindsay rubbed Raven’s back, saying it helped with digestion.

He did not have to move a single finger, but Raven just could not get used to this fancy treatment. It was awkward and baffling for him.

“We’ll help you get cleaned up while we get the medicine ready, Your Grace.”

Hearing Lindsay’s words, the maids brought forth a giant mirror.

“Please excuse us then.”

Lindsay’s face blushed as she sat near the bed and took off Raven’s shirt. She took up a towel soaked in warm water and slowly started to wipe Raven’s body as if handling precious jewelry. Her hands reached here and there, but Raven’s attention was elsewhere.

“…..”

He stared at the mirror with hardened eyes.

His scars and muscles were gone. What was left was the feeble, bony structure of a young boy. His black hair, symbolic of the Valt family even though he was a bastard, was nowhere to be seen, and long thin golden hair was in its place.

A pale face with blue eyes now replaced the gloomy gray eyes and scar-riddled face. Raven saw a fair-looking young man, beautiful enough to be called a woman staring back in the mirror.

“Alan Pendragon…”

Raven slowly raised his hand and touched Alan Pendragon’s… no, his own face. It was unbelievable, he had come back to life after being killed by Baltai, and as Alan Pendragon to boot. And then somehow he travelled back through time, seven years before the battle and his death. The shock and confusion that he carried began to subside. Even though he looked to be the seventeen-years-old Alan Pendragon who had just woke from a coma, inside he was Raven Valt who had gone through all sorts of unthinkable situations. He was able to regain his calmness and accept the situation.

The ‘why’ was not necessary. Raven did not care for a reason.

The most important thing was that he was still alive, and he came back to life as Alan Pendragon from seven years ago. He had another shot. He had the opportunity to achieve what he strived towards in his ten years of endurance in the demonic army.

It was his commitment to regain the Valt family’s honour. With false accusations of treason, Raven’s family was banished and disgraced. His family was more important than his own life. This new life was an opportunity for him to clear his family name.

There was another important reason why he had to achieve his goal. What did Baltai say before killing Alan Pendragon and himself? The fall of the Valt family and the death of Alan Pendragon was a part of someone else’s ‘plan’?. This had to mean that the Pendragon family was somehow connected to the Valt family.

“What is it? Who would do that.. for what reason?”

He racked his brains for several days, but he could not even get a clue.

It really did not make sense for there to be a connection between a dukedom, one of five most powerful families in the empire, and a helpless family of baron rank located in an eastern village.

There had to be a connection. He just did not know what it was yet.

He would find out. That was his duty as Raven Valt, as well as Alan Pendragon.

“Umm… we’re all finished, Your Grace. Thank you for your patience.”

“Thank you for your patience.”

The maids echoed Lindsay’s words before bowing to Raven. Raven quickly broke his train of thought and nodded his head. But Lindsay and the maids stood there, not seeing his nod with their heads down.

‘Damn these maids…’

Raven forcibly repressed his annoyance and said in an awkward voice.

“Good work… you may all rest now.”

“We will follow your orders, Your Grace.”

The maids, still with their heads bowed, exited the room with feather-like steps after hearing Raven’s words. However, Lindsay stood in her place in the room unmoving.

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