In the middle of the day, a banquet was held on the beach.
With the head maid taking the lead, chefs and maids from the villa rushed to the banquet with various ingredients and started to cook.
Tables were placed everywhere, and freshly baked and steamed seafood dishes were served with elegant white wine.
At Raven’s command, everyone ate and enjoyed the food regardless of their status or race. Unfortunately, the whale that had been brought by Soldrake could not be eaten right away.
Whale meat was considered one of the more difficult meats to cook because it took several days to drain the blood and rid the unwanted smell.
Therefore, the whale meat was passed over to the orc warriors and the griffons, who ate all sorts of meat regardless of its identity. Within a few hours, half of the whale disappeared into their stomachs. Raven handed over all the remaining meat to the soldiers, except for a few select parts which the chef had indicated. The soldiers were thrilled at their lord’s generosity and grace.
Whale meat was a precious commodity sold at a very high price, so it was worth a fortune even if it wasn’t eaten and sold off.
Alcohol, delicious dishes, and the joy of receiving a fortune escalated the beach’s atmosphere even further. By the time the sun started to set, everyone was in a good mood, and the first day of the holidays was over too soon.
Everyone left for the villa, taking shortcuts to hasten their journey.
But as the sun started to disappear over the horizon, several people rushed to the beach.
“What!? Where is everybody?”
The man who had spoken while wiping his sweat was Ian.
“Um, I think they’ve already returned to the villa, Your Highness.”
The servant who escorted him bowed his head.
“Shit! These bastards left me alone!”
He had intended to take a short nap, but instead dozed off for several hours. But no one looked or called for him and instead left him behind on the beach.
“You guys…. We’ll see about this!”
The shriek of an abandoned man resounded through the beach as the oblivious members returned to the villa.
With a long sigh, Raven plopped down on a chair that was placed by the window. The sound of a dark sea’s waves could be heard faintly, and the cold moonlight dimly lit up the outside.
The mood created by the soundscape and the scene was genuinely stunning.
But Raven’s eyes were fixated in the far distance. Near the edge of the shoreline, a bright light was being emitted.
The City of Leus.
The port city, which was considered one of the larger towns in the central empire, was lit up so brightly that it was evocative of bright daylight.
The city had a resident population of 40,000, and the port was full of sailors and merchants coming and going, which explained why its day and night were basically the same.
As a child, Raven had first visited the port with his brother and father. At the time, he could hardly come to his senses. There were so many people in the city that he felt like he had not known the true definition of ‘crowded’ before. Moreover, the people in the port dressed differently and spoke differently.
Raven had felt the gazes of the residents heading towards his family, as they were still considered nobles, albeit a low-ranking one.
Members of the imperial army and the noble families were usually always arrogant.
The Warriors of Annaba were always dressed in wide-bodied skirts and showed their black, naked upper body, full of tattoos. They were so fierce that one could hardly make eye contact with them.
The Paladins of Naji wore turbans, grew long mustaches, and carried around scimitars shaped like the crescent moon. They were gentle, but they cut off their opponents’ necks without warning if they got into a quarrel.
In addition, Raven had seen numerous warriors from many different areas, but the fiercest of them all were orcs from the Morte Islands. The orcs from the archipelago bound harpies and sea griffons in chains, and no one dared to provoke them, not even the Warriors of Annaba and the Paladins of Naji.
Even the imperial army of Leus tried their best not to make trouble. There were pirates among the orcs, but it was impossible to put them under sanction. Portions of the ports in Leus had been exempted by imperial law in order to revitalize the trade, and under these circumstances, disputes never ceased.
In this manner, a figure rose up in the port of Leus, one of the three most prominent ports in the empire with various trades occurring that involved gold, salt, spices, weapons, and even slaves. The figure controlled and overlooked the black market.
The so-called ruler of the night in the port of Leus, was titled “Dark King.”
But the identity of the Dark King was only known to a few select individuals.
And the current Dark King of Leus was…
Raven muttered in a low voice while looking towards where the sun had set.
Toleo Arangis was the second son of the Arangis Duchy, and he was the current Dark King of Leus. It was by coincidence that Raven found out about the identity of Toleo Arangis as the Dark King of Leus in the past.
Toleo Arangis was the only reason why the Arangis Duchy could secretly conqueror the islands with the help of Latuan Orcs.
“But even if you’re the Dark King of Leus, your forces are weak right now. Obviously, that’s good news for me.”
Raven muttered coldly while raising a glass of white wine to his lips.
There were still a few more years left before the Arangis Duchy unified the Morte Islands if things flowed the same as his past life. This meant that right now, Toleo Arangis hadn’t actively initiated intense activity as the king of the underworld.
“There has to be a chance…”
Raven raised his glass to the far light of Leus as if to propose a toast.
“While you’re at it, can I join you for a toast?”
Raven turned his head at someone’s voice. As expected, it was Ian.
Ian strode across the room and spoke in a cleary, grumpy voice as he sat down in a chair opposite Raven.
“Are you happy that you got to enjoy a good time with the ladies by yourself, Your Grace Pendragon?”
“You mean you want to endeavor through the same hardship, Your Highness? You should be thankful that I didn’t drag you into it.”
Raven gave a tired laugh and replied.
“Hardship? You’re the weird one for saying that you’re tired of playing with beauties.”
Ian poured himself a glass of wine and pushed his hand towards Raven. Raven imitated the action, and a soft sound of glass clinking together was heard. Ian leaned against the back of his chair and spoke once more.
“Anyway, when are you going to make your move?”
“It’s better to stay put for the first few days. I’ll do as you said and wait for the governor-general to make a move first, and then give a light response.”
The most potent crown prince candidate and the heir to the Pendragon Duchy had come into the area. The nobles of the Merlade region and Leus were sure to send them invitations, perhaps even the Governor-General Count Sagunda himself.
With a languid look on his face, Ian brought the glass of wine to his lips and continued talking.
“Are you sure that’s all you need from me?”
“That’s all you need to do. All you have to do is create a moderate amount of tension. If you don’t make any moves, you’ll arouse suspicion, and if you poke around like some kind of dog, the opponents will hide and run away.”
One of the hidden purposes of the vacation was a reinvestigation of the treason involving the poisoning of Prince Shio.
Although there was only a low possibility of finding new, significant information since a major investigation was held a few years ago, Raven had some suspicions. The relationship between Geoffrey Aragon’s mother, Baroness Earlin, and Count Sagunda was unusual.
Moreover, the emperor in Raven’s future was Geoffrey Aragon.
As soon as he ascended the throne, the Arangis Duchy unified the Morte Islands as if they had been waiting for the new emperor’s coronation. They had rushed to claim the spot of the southern ruler.
And the second son of the Arangis Duchy was the Dark King of Leus.
In other words, a hidden colossal axis of power was present or was in the process of forming. A vast web connected all the different dots. But no one knew this truth at the moment.
Only one person, who had lived another life as Raven Valt, could infer this truth.
“The masterminds behind the incident three years ago are probably paying close attention to your movements right now. It will be better for you to move in moderation and return.”
“You want them to focus all their attention on me, right? Alright, that’s my specialty. I’ll just snoop around in moderation and then return to the Royal Batallium. Then after that…”
“I’ll finish the job.”
Raven replied confidently.
“Good, I’ll do as you say then. Are you going to be okay with that? It might be a little hard for three people to move around while hiding your identities…”
“One of the three people is a dragon. And… I’m stronger than you may think me to be.”
Raven spoke casually. Ian looked at Raven with a wondering expression. But soon, his face broke into a smile, and he nodded.
“Well, there aren’t many people in the empire who can directly face my spirit. Good, I’ll trust you, Pendragon.”
Ian once again held out his glass.
Once again, the two men silently toasted, then emptied their glass together at once. Feeling the cold white wine wash against their throat, Raven and Ian turned their cold gazes to the night sea.
In a few days, the king of the underworld would no longer be Toleo Arangis.
Even though it was almost midnight, the extraterritorial area of the Leus Port was brightly lit.
At first glance, it was a noisy night market with an exotic atmosphere, but as one delved further into the narrow and intricate alleys, they would come across the black market that was only known to few people.
A pub was located at the end of the shady black market alley. It had a small sign shaped like the killer whale of the archipelago. All types of people were gathered in the pub.
Most of the men in the pub looked like they wouldn’t hesitate to do all sorts of nasty things. Often, they drank with the prostitutes. They were sailors, mercenaries, and warriors from all over the country.
The men were all considered the wildest and cruelest of the bunch, but even they dared not climb the stairs to the pub’s second floor.
An orc that was easily twice their size was standing in the middle of the stairs with his arms crossed.
The second floor of the pub was reasonably desolate, unlike the loud first floor of the pub.
Three people were present on the second floor. One of them was leaning on the railing, and the other two sat around an old, circular wooden table.
Two of them were humans, and the other was an orc.
Leaning on the railing, an orc warrior with an eye patch let out a long burp. Oddly enough, a cute seal decorated his eye covering.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake…”
The owner of the voice cursed a light stream of profanity — he was a human. He was playing around with his dagger, spinning it in his hands with his feet resting on the table.
And he was big.
Even though he was sitting in a chair, it was easy to see that he was easily as big as the orc warrior leaning against the railing. The gigantic man glanced at the orc while twirling his dagger.
“You dirty orc bastard, cut it out with your dirty burps. Do you want me to gouge out your other eye and feed it to the sharks?”
“Paku likes sharks. They eat everything, even the bones.”
The orc warrior responded with a wide grin on his face. It was unsure whether he hadn’t understood the insult or whether he was purposefully mocking the man.
“I don’t know why I bothered to say anything. Dim bastard who only knows how to shove food down his throat.”
The man shook his head and turned his eyes towards the person who was sitting across from him.
“I’m sorry about that. He’s probably had too much saltwater which caused his brain to turn to mush.”
A slender young man dressed as an ordinary mercenary shook his head silently.
The large man spoke with a twisted smile.
“Well, I’m going to get straight to the point. So, what does the governor-general think?”
“Take care of the cat and the young snake. Of course, the cat should never be killed and humiliated in moderation. The snake… you can do whatever you want with it.”
The young man’s voice and eyes were devoid of emotions as he referred to Ian Aragon and Alan Pendragon as the cat and the snake.Previous Chapter Next Chapter