Chapter 59

“Hold on. I promise you something interesting is going to happen.”

Raven spoke to Karuta in a low voice, then turned his head towards a member of the guards. Anxiety could be read on their faces; they were intimidated by Karuta’s appearance.

“This orc here is an ally of the Pendragon family and a personal friend of mine. He’s here with me as an attendant. Is there a problem?”

“N, no, there is no problem.”

It was as expected.

Leus was a place that was familiar with orcs, and Raven’s proclamation, which labeled Karuta as a friend of the Pendragon family, was more than enough to justify Karuta’s presence.

“Greetings, my prince, princess, and… your Grace Pendragon.”

Raven turned his head at a voice that called out his name in a calm voice. A knight with a red epaulet came down the stairs then bowed politely with one hand on his sword handle, as was the traditional greeting for knights.

His hair was neatly combed back, and his stature was close to Raven’s. He seemed to be around 26 years old.

“My name is Vincent Ron, a knight serving Governor-General Sagunda.”

“Nice to meet you, Sir Ron.”

Ian greeted him on behalf of the whole group. Raven stood by Ian’s side, silently observing the knight of Sagunda. As the two young men’s gazes met, Raven saw a maniacal flare gleaming in the knight’s eyes.

‘Hmm? Killing intent?’

Killing intent. It was a type of spirit emission that only highly experienced knights and mercenaries could use. Ordinary people would freeze in their spot just from locking eyes.

‘Well, well, this seems to be quite interesting right from the beginning.’

Normally, Raven wouldn’t have let things go, but he dropped his head as if he had been intimidated instead. A ridiculous situation had occurred in front of the Count’s mansion. An heir to a duchy had dropped his gaze in fear from looking at a knight. However, the knight didn’t show any change in expression and calmly dropped his killing intent.

‘He’s not ordinary…’

Raven stole glances at the knight with his head still turned away. The knight’s calm demeanor showed that he was truly strong, combined with his competency using killing intent. The difference between this knight and others was massive. Knights like Breeden would not have been able to hold a candle to him, though Breeden had already crossed into the afterlife a while ago.

“The governor-general has been delayed slightly. He asked for your understanding and said he would wait in the banquet hall.”

Vincent spoke most courteously.

Once more, he suddenly aimed killing intent at Raven.

Flinch.

Raven acted surprised and dropped his shoulders and gaze at the ground. Then Vincent naturally retracted his intent once again.

Even though Count Sagunda was a governor-general, it was considered rude not to come out to personally greet the royal family and members of a duchy.

“Haha, well, it doesn’t matter.”

Nevertheless, Ian smiled and inconspicuously winked at Raven. Raven nodded lightly as such provocation was already anticipated.

The large front door to the mansion opened wide, and Vincent guided the group. Even though the residence was large and lavish, as expected of a governor-general, the group was already accustomed to the luxurious halls of the royal palace and Conrad Castle. They calmly followed Vincent through the halls leading to the banquet hall.

‘His steps are always constant, and his posture is not disturbed at all while walking. He’s been trained to draw his blade at a moment’s notice.’

Raven closely observed Vincent’s steps and nodded inwardly before sending gazes to Isla and Ian.

Each of them met Raven’s eyes with similar thoughts.

Soon, the group arrived in front of the banquet hall, where beautiful music was coming from. Vincent gestured to the butler who was standing in front of the gates, then the butler bowed politely and opened the doors.

A bright light from a chandelier illuminated the wide hall, and six large pillars that acted as structural support came into view of the group.

The eyes of the people standing all over the hall turned to the wide-open door, and the butler announced in a loud voice.

“The rulers of the nine provinces and two seas! The bloodline of Aragon, the great golden lion that rules over the land with wisdom and bravery! Prince Ian Aragon and Princess Ingrid Aragon have arrived!”

A tremendous introduction resonated within the banquet hall. Then, the music and the chattering of the crowd stopped suddenly. Ian and Ingrid respectively took one step into the hall, then the butler’s loud voice announced once more.

“Five pillars of the empire! The Lord of the White Dragon, who displays fiery courage and elegant passion! His Grace Alan Pendragon and Lady Irene Pendragon of the Pendragon Duchy have arrived!”

Raven felt a little dumbfounded by the grandiose rhetoric comparable to that of the royal family, but he walked up and stood next to the two royalties with Irene as they had planned before.

During the short silence, the eyes of more than a hundred nobles all turned to the four people.

And then…

Someone slowly walked across the banquet hall.

A short middle-aged man in a thin, long coat of orange and white with a cane in one hand and jewels encrusted all over his clothes came forward. Another distinguishing feature of the man was a handsome mustache. He smiled, which somehow emitted a dangerous atmosphere, then bowed before the four people standing in front of him.

“Torio Sagunda, son of the imperial knight Mirales and the lord over the land of Sagunda. I greet your divine presence as the one who looks over the city of Leus with my humble abilities in the emperor’s stead.”

As soon as Count Sagunda finished speaking, the men took off their hats, and the women slightly lifted their skirts before pulling one leg back and bending their knees.

“It’s an honor to be in your exalted presences!”

The voices of over a hundred people rang out through the whole banquet hall.

‘Huh…!’

Raven was dumbfounded. Even though he had a rough idea, he didn’t know that the royal family and the duchy would be this powerful.

“Nice to meet you, Lord Sagunda. And it’s an honor to meet the gentlemen and the ladies. I am flattered.”

Ian spoke on behalf of the four and returned the salute with a bright smile. Only then the nobles all raised their head, including Count Sagunda.

Then, as if nothing happened, the banquet resumed with music and an enjoyable atmosphere.

“It’s been too long, your Highness Ian. It’s been too long, way too long.”

Count Sagunda grabbed Ian’s hand with a smile that made his wrinkles thicken. Raven was stumped at Count Sagunda’s attitude. He acted as if he had been reunited with a family member. However, Ian let out a loud laugh and continued the conversation naturally.

“Hahaha! Has it been three years already? I’ve always wanted to come, but as you know, there is much work to be done in the Royal Batallium.”

“Yes, yes, of course. Oh my! Princess Ingrid, has it been around five years? You’ve become so beautiful.”

Count Sagunda leaned forward, and Ingrid reached out her hand in a familiar motion. The man lightly kissed the back of her hand and straightened himself.

‘Hmm?’

Raven slanted his eyes. He had seen Count Sagunda’s cunning eyes skimming over Ingrid’s entire body. But looking at their expressions, Ian and Ingrid seemed oblivious to the fact.

‘What a snake…’

“Oh! And this beautiful lady must be Lady Irene Pendragon. And…”

With a kiss on the back of Irene’s hand, Sagunda also skimmed Irene’s body, then turned his head.

Raven and Count Sagunda exchanged their gazes. Raven felt the hatred and hostility in Count Sagunda’s eyes for a brief moment.

The power of the White Dragon was never wrong.

“Now, now! I can’t believe I get to meet your Grace Pendragon, here finally! I am so humbled to meet you finally.”

Raven nodded back at the embarrassing greeting.

“Nice to meet you, Lord Sagunda. I’m Alan Pendragon.”

Raven spoke in a harsh voice and reached out his hand. For instance, Count Sagunda’s eyebrows twitched. It was because Raven had thrust out his hand first as if he was in a superior position.

“Hahahahaha!”

Count Sagunda immediately regained his composure and grabbed Raven’s hand with a blooming smile.

“You’re quite heroic, as I’ve been told. By the way, is the duchess…?”

He had spoken calmly, but Raven didn’t miss the slight tremble in Count Sagunda’s voice.

Even though more than 20 years had passed, he still seemed to have regrets over Elena Pendragon.

‘Huh! Look at this senile bastard…’

Raven recalled the greedy eyes of Count Sagunda as he looked at Ingrid and Irene and spoke in a subdued voice.

“The duchess is a little ill, so she’s resting with my youngest sister.”

“Oh, is that so? Should I send my personal doctor? Anyways, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to worry about the Pendragon Duchy’s future with how confident you are at your young age.”

“Thank you for your words. But I don’t think you need to worry about either the duchess’s health or the future of my family…”

“…..!”

Count Sagunda wavered while still holding Raven’s hand, but then he shook Raven’s hand with an even friendlier smile.

“Ah, don’t say such words. As a knight of the great empire and a lord of a territory, isn’t it natural for me to care for the safety of the Pendragon Duchy, which is one of the five pillars of the empire? Like it or not.”

Sagunda emphasized his last words then slowly loosened his hand before stepping back. Raven smirked as he looked at Count Sagunda’s smiling face.

“Well, I guess so. Anyway, thank you for inviting me.”

“You’re welcome. Well, then enjoy the banquet to your heart’s content. However, many people are eager to see you, so please give them some of your time later.”

“How hard can that be? Let’s do that.”

Ian answered with a grin, and Raven lightly nodded his head.

“Thank you for your consideration. Your highness. Your grace. Then excuse me…”

Count Sagunda clasped his two hands, six fingers decorated rings, then walked away from the two men. Maintaining his joyous expression, Ian spoke in a low voice.

“What do you think? Not so easy, is he?”

“Definitely. He’s like a poisonous snake. He knows when to advance and when to retreat. Besides, that knight named Vincent seems to be no common knight either.”

“I heard that he went under Sagunda two years ago. He seems to be good at his job since he quickly became one of Sagunda’s closest aids. There are rumors that he takes care of all of Sagunda’s dirty work even though he looks so normal too.”

“I see…”

“Anyways, I think it’s time for me to display my specialty to the best of my abilities. Take care.”

“Good luck.”

“Hahahaha! Now! Where are all the beautiful ladies and brave knights of the harbor that I’ve so often heard rumors of?”

The second prince of the empire was known as a scoundrel and the king of high societal circles. Well-dressed males and females approached the prince from all directions.

“Brother, then what about us…?”

Ingrid and Irene approached carefully.

Although they had got into several confrontations in the villa during the vacation, they were smart ladies who grew up in the imperial castle and the duchy’s castle, respectively. They knew how to distinguish between public and private affairs.

They quickly guessed that their brothers were up to something.

“The two of you take along Lindsay and Lady Seyrod. Sir Isla, if you could.”

“I will follow my lord’s will…”

Isla bowed slightly, then stood behind the four ladies.

“Then let us go as well, Lady Lindsay. Let’s show the grace of the ladies of Pendragon to these gentlemen who’ve only ever seen rustic port women.”

Irene linked her arm with Lindsay.

“Y, yes!”

Lindsay, who was glancing at Raven with faint yearning, hurriedly nodded her head.

“Then… see you later.”

Ingrid and Luna also said their farewells, and the four ladies entered into the center of the bustling banquet hall. Many nobles, who had been stealing glimpses at the ladies, began to slowly approach the four ladies.

Some of them were sure to have evil thoughts or intentions towards the ladies.

But Raven wasn’t worried.

“I trust you, sir.”

“Yes, my lord.”

A cold glow revolved in the young knight’s eyes, the man who would one day become a swordmaster. He was Elkin Isla, and he was in a bad mood right now for many different reasons.

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