Chapter 60

“He’s pretty good for his age.”

In a secret room on the second floor of the banquet hall, Count Sagunda spoke as he slightly tipped his wine glass. He was laughing even though he had just been insulted by a brat, who was not even a quarter of his age.

“What about you. What is your opinion of him?”

“He might be smart, but he seems like a typical young noble who believes in status and power. A worm, maybe a snake at best. I’ve roused up my killing intent twice, and he avoided my eyes on both instances,” Vincent replied politely.

“Is that so? If that’s what you think of him, then it must be true.”

Count Sagunda nodded at the words of the knight whom he trusted. He hadn’t seen many superior to Vincent Ron in using the blade, both soldiers and mercenaries. If that was the case in the port of Leus, where knights, mercenaries, and even pirates gathered, then it pretty much applied to the rest of the empire as well.

Besides, Vincent was intelligent and cool-headed, which allowed him to carry out all his tasks flawlessly. That was why he had become one of Count Sagunda’s closest aid in the two short years they had known each other.

“What about if you compare him to that guy in the port’s dumps? In terms of this.”

Sagunda tapped on his decorative sword as he spoke the last words.

“There’s nothing to compare. As I’ve said previously, there’s something weird with the Ocean King’s son. One thing is for sure… he is a dangerous man.”

Vincent recalled Toleo Arangis, whom he had met a few days ago, as he spoke without hesitation.

“He doesn’t have anywhere to go besides here anyway. He’s been abandoned by his father. He’s our passageway to the Arangis Duchy, which is why I’m allowing him to fool around in my port.”

“He has a few orcs with him. They didn’t seem to be simple comrades.”

There were many pirates in the sea, so some orcs from the islands sometimes teamed up with humans. But from what Vincent had seen, the relationship between Toleo Arangis and the two orcs seemed to be more than familiar teammates.

But Count Sagunda shook his head.

“That doesn’t change anything. The orcs don’t get involved with the situation in the empire. Anyway, take your time with that matter… How about the knight that the snake brat brought with him? He seemed pretty useful.”

“……”

Vincent delved into his thoughts, a brief silence overtaking the room. He then looked up with a folded thumb and unfolded his palm.

“The odds are 4 to 6 in his favor. Fifty-fifty if we exchange more than five blows.”

“Hmm? That much?”

"Yes. He’s a Cavalier of Valvas. They’re a persistent bunch who don’t stop swinging their swords even if their arms are cut off, and throats are pierced.”

“I see. Hm, where did that little snake obtain such a knight…”

Count Sagunda narrowed his eyes. He had already heard about the orc warriors and the griffons, but he had never heard about a strong knight.

“We expected a couple of orc warriors as his guards, but the odds don’t seem too good…”

“It’s within the expectations. Toleo Arangis already took such situations into account.”

“I guess since he’s a self-proclaimed king, he should be a little capable. What was it? Dark King? Kuhaha!”

Count Sagunda let out a vicious chortle unbefitting his status and emptied his wine glass in one gulp. No matter how fierce and skilled he was, Toleo was nothing but a tiger without fangs if the Arangis Duchy didn’t back him. All he needed to do was keep Toleo within reach and let him loose occasionally.

But Pendragon was different.

Instead, Pendragon posed a more significant threat, as they had succeeded in making a pact with the dragon.

“Has this brat come all this way just to show off his harvest of griffons and orcs? He must have been talking with the cat, seeing as they’ve come together.”

“I think Ian Aragon may have entered the competition for the spot of the crown prince in earnest.”

“Of course. And Pendragon is trying to expand its influence. They’re doing so well hand-in-hand. Haha…”

Vincent responded in a subdued voice at Count Sagunda’s laugh.

“Ian Aragon’s actions may not have that much effect, but there’s nothing to be gained from the Pendragon family expanding their influence.”

“That’s why we need to crush them. Leus is my playground, not theirs. Even that dragon they’re so proud of can’t be openly brazen about. This city belongs to the emperor, and I am his agent. Haha! The conceit of the inexperienced young man is my lucky fortune.”

Count Sagunda’s judgment was correct.

Even if dragons were the most powerful existences on earth, Soldrake was a dragon of the Pendragon family. So, if the Pendragon family’s dragon threatened the governor-general and the imperial soldiers in the emperor’s city, it meant that they were treasonous. Ultimately, the Pendragon family had nothing but their status to rely on in the city of Leus.

Most importantly, what was about to happen tonight would be unrelated to the governor-general of Leus. Count Sagunda’s bloodshot eyes headed towards one of the walls. The entire banquet hall could be seen through the wall, made up of a special glass that was invisible from the outside.

“It seems like everyone’s had a few rounds of drinks. The cat and the snake seem to be enjoying the atmosphere too. I think the Dark King can slowly begin their act. What about the villa of the little snake?”

“Toleo Arangis has already arranged for twenty sea griffons and thirty Latuan Orcs there. Just to make sure, we’ve also arranged three warships to aid them.”

“Mercenaries… Good, whatever happens to them, nothing will be traced back to us. Ah, but make sure they don’t touch a single hair on the duchess.”

Count Sagunda spoke in a very emotional voice. He had been waiting for his woman for a long 20 years.

“I’ve made certain.”

“Haha! Your work is excellent, as always.”

“You flatter me.”

Vincent politely bowed his head.

Vincent’s gesture and polite words improved Count Sagunda’s mood, and Count Sagunda patted Vincent on the shoulder.

“No, when I was in a rough spot three years ago, it was all thanks to you that it was resolved. After this is over, I’ll formally promote you to the vice-commander of the Knights of Leus and recommend you for a title.”

“Thank you, my lord.”

“If anything goes wrong, remember, I have nothing to do with any of this. That includes the incident in Sisak three years ago. Toleo Arangis and I have nothing to do with each other.”

“Yes, I got it. The only reason the Armada Bird Mercenaries were able to thrive for decades was because of their tightly-sealed lips.”

“Good, good. Tonight is going to be a very entertaining night.”

Sagunda smiled with satisfaction, and his eyes headed towards the large men that had just entered the heated banquet hall.

***

“L, look over there.”

At the lady’s words, the nobles who were gathered around a table all turned their heads.

Gasp!

A seven-foot-tall man was walking into the banquet hall. He was somewhat dressed up, but his dim-lit face was horror itself.

Moreover, the ones that walked in along with him were orcs who were all bigger than him.

“Who could that be? Do you know him?”

“It seems like the Ocean King’s son who entered the port a few days ago.”

“Toleo Arangis? That man? He doesn’t look like the Duke of Arangis at all..”

“That’s what I’m saying. There are rumors going around that he’s not the duke’s real son…”

“In addition, Duchess Savina died while giving birth to him. That’s why he was basically kicked out of the family. Yikes! I think he’s headed towards us.”

The chattering nobles turned their heads and slipped away. In any case, Toleo Arangis was the second son of the duke and also held the title of viscount. He was a powerful man in his own right.

The name of the Ocean King roused as much respect as the emperor in these regions as well.

“Hahaha! These dishes are delicious, and it’s a feast for the eyes too!”

Toleo Arangis held a pig’s leg in one hand and burst into laughter as he skimmed through the women.

“Pig is delicious! Sharks are good! Kuhehehehe!”

“This taste can’t be found anywhere in the sea! Kuhe!”

Food splashed everywhere as the one-eyed orc with a cute seal eyepatch chatted loudly with the other orc with food in his mouth.

Many nobles hurried away from the orcs, appalled at their sight.

“Toleo, Toleo. Can I eat all of this?”

“Kuku! The distinguished ones prepared all of this for you disgusting orcs, so you better finish it all.”

Toleo’s words were mixed with laughter, but as his fierce eyes glanced around, all the nobles avoided eye contact. Several aristocrats and knights were of similar status to Toleo, but no one made any effort to stop him or to come near him.

Naturally, some young knights tried to come forward with a tearful look, but others around them dissuaded them from doing so.

Shit was to be avoided because it was dirty, not because it was scary.

However, one person was different.

“Hm?”

Toleo threw an unfinished pork thigh behind his back and wiped his oily hands on the tablecloth. Some people frowned, but he paid them no attention and gazed at one place with a hysterical smile. The eyes of the nobles all followed Toleo’s gaze.

It was a young man with blue eyes and blonde hair. Many people had attempted to enter a conversation with him, but he didn’t speak more than two words, regardless of gender or status.

He was Alan Pendragon, the heir to the Pendragon Duchy.

“I don’t think we’ve been introduced, why don’t we do so now?”

Toleo asked sarcastically.

“……”

However, Alan Pendragon, who received everyone’s attention, only gave a short glance at Toleo before leaning against a pillar and tipping his wine glass.

“Oh yes, I haven’t introduced myself. I am the lord of Silos Island, Toleo Arangis. These are my friends. Hey, go and say hello.”

At Toleo’s words, the two orcs grinned then started walking towards the pillar while wiping their dirty mouths.

Gasp!

As the two orcs approached, the pressure they emitted was intense beyond description, and the nobles all backed away in indignation. But Alan Pendragon stood motionless with his back against the pillar.

“Hehe! A tender looking scarecrow.”

The orc with the cute seal eyepatch drooled as he carefully observed Raven. The faces of the aristocrats who had heard the words paled. Even if it was a joke, it was going too far.

The other party wasn’t an ordinary nobleman, but the successor to the Duchy of Pendragon.

“Oops! I’m sorry about that. He’s lived his whole life drinking salt water, so his brain’s turned into mush. He spits out whatever words come to his mind.”

Toleo apologized amidst the anxious gazes. However, the other party pretended not to see him and looked up at the two orcs before spitting out some words.

“It smells. Get lost.”

Toleo stopped walking and froze in place. In addition, the two orcs also stopped giggling and looked down at the slender young man who wasn’t even half of their size.

“Hahaha! There you are. Hm? Are you making new friends?”

Ian walked past a crowd of people and shouted with a smile. Raven finally pulled away from the pillar and said.

“These guys aren’t even worth keeping as my guard dogs.”

Any trace of laughter disappeared from Toleo’s face. His red eyes reflected bloodlust.

“Your words are rough unlike your pretty face, your Grace Pendragon.”

Toleo suddenly lowered his voice in a threatening manner. But Raven thrust out his glass at a servant who was trembling and answered calmly.

“It’s better than being ugly and foul-mouthed as well.”

“……!”

The saying ‘give an ounce and receive a pound’ was befitting of this situation. The atmosphere turned even more sour.

Then Ian stepped up again.

“Anyway, who are you, sir, and from where?”

“…I’m Toleo Arangis, your Highness Ian.”

“Toleo Arangis? Ah, the Ocean King’s second son. Hey, even the Duke of Arangis greets me first when he sees me. Did you forget how to be respectful just because you’re bringing along two of these brutes?”

“……”

Toleo shut his mouth.

Something was wrong.

Initially, he would provoke the prince and the Pendragon brat. Then, he would have a duel with them under Count Sagunda’s interception. And while they were dueling, the Latuan Orcs and the sea griffons would decimate the Pendragon forces in their villa.

He would cripple the boy and play with the girls before turning him back for a considerable ransom. No matter how strong the dragon was, it couldn’t do anything here. However, both the cat and the snake seemed to have lost their minds and were insulting and provoking him.

‘Is there something else? No, there can’t be. I can understand that hooligan from the castle acting like this, but the little snake shouldn’t be acting like this…’

At that moment, Toleo tilted his head in confusion and turned his gaze.

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