Chapter 64

“Hahaha! Die!”

Toleo became certain of his victory the moment he felt the shield make a blunt impact. He swung his cutlass to secure his victory and take the brat’s life.

Shing!

The blade cut through empty air. Toleo felt no resistance as he swung his cutlass.

“Huh?”

At that moment, he felt a shiver run down his back and instinctively twisted his body to raise his shield up.

Krrrrrr! Slice!

A sound of metal screeching was heard before he felt the pain in his elbow.

“Keuk!”

He looked down at his arm after quickly retreating a few steps.

Thump!

The shield fell to the floor and the hand that was holding it rolled on the ground. Toleo’s arm was dismembered from the elbow down.

“Arghhhhhhhhh!”

A roar mixed with pain and anger echoed throughout the backyard.

“Cough!”

As Raven stepped back, he grabbed his chest and spat out blood. It was hard to breathe. He could feel his broken ribs stabbing into his lungs.

But the fight was not over yet.

Toleo lived up to his reputation as a half-orc. Raven had aimed at the head, but in the short instant, Toleo had shown unbelievable movement.

“I’m going to kill youuu!”

“Those are my words.”

Toleo rushed at Raven. His aura of insanity was mixed with Orc Fear. Raven raised his scimitar as it was still dripping with blood and aimed it directly at Toleo. The two were about to clash once more.

But then, just before their blades met, someone moved in between them. The cutlass and scimitar deflected backward. Raven and Toleo looked at the intruder.

“I think that’s enough.”

Vincent Ron had stepped in to block the two weapons with a longsword and a dagger.

“You bastard!”

Toleo was already half-crazed. No one was going to stop him from finishing his business and he swung the cutlass at Vincent. Vincent dodged the slash with ease.

“We can’t have either of you die here.”

Vincent spoke, then Count Sagunda rushed in.

“Stop! Stop!”

When Count Sagunda stepped in as well, Toleo finally stopped his movement.

“That’s enough! Stop! I can’t let the sons of a duchy die in my residence! This is enough! Soldiers! What are you doing!?”

Soldiers rushed in at Count Saguna’s worrisome call.

“Hah.. hah…”

Toleo stepped back and picked up his detached arm from the ground with heavy breaths.

“Cough!”

Raven once again vomited, dark red blood, then staggered as he kept his balance by using his scimitar. Isla and Karuta hurried to assist him.

“Lord, are you all right?”

“Well, I’m still kicking…”

Raven smiled with a sickened, pale face.

“B, brother!”

“Your grace!”

Irene and Lindsay ran out in tears. Raven raised his hand to reassure the two, then returned to his chair with the help of Isla and Karuta.

“…..!”

The eyes of the nobles were filled with astonishment and disbelief as they looked at Raven. Although he was seriously injured, Alan Pendragon had cut off the left arm of Toleo Arangis — who was considered one of the strongest warriors of the south.

“This is it! Everyone! Please return to the banquet hall!”

Count Sagunda cried out, and the nobles shifted their steps back towards the banquet hall. But their gazes still remained on Alan Pendragon.

***

“Don’t think this is the end, Pendragon brat. The night is still long. Kuhuhat.”

Toleo held up his arm and let out a beastly chortle. Raven’s pale face showed no change of emotions, and he didn’t bother responding to Toleo’s words. More blood trickled down Raven’s chin.

“It looks like you have a few broken ribs, so go writhe and die slowly in pain. Kukuket! Kuhahahaha!”

Although there were some unexpected losses, everything was still going to plan, which was why Toleo burst out into laughter.

“If you don’t mind, I would like to send my personal doctor over to your villa.”

Count Sagunda spoke with a worried expression. But Raven silently shook his head, then rose from his chair.

“Don’t worry about it. Let’s go back. Sir Isla.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Isla rushed to his master’s side, which caused Ian, Ingrid, and Luna to follow along with concerned expressions.

“Your highness, today’s matters have nothing to do with me so…”

“The royal family speaks no lies. As I said before, I will not hold the governor responsible. It was a bout between knights, so do not worry too much about it. Oi, Pendragon, are you okay to return?”

“The banquet will die if the royal family leaves. I will be fine returning by myself, so you can spend more time here.”

“Good. Governor, come with me.”

“Yes? Ah, yes. Let us go.”

‘What a windfall! That ruffian isn’t going to go along? Kuhahaha! Even the heavens are on my side!’

If Prince Ian or Princess Ingrid accompanied Alan Pendragon back to the villa, there was a chance of something unexpected occurring. But Ian said he would move on his own, so Count Sagunda felt like dancing with joy.

“Sir Ron, please escort his Grace Pendragon and the ladies in my stead.”

Without waiting for an answer, Count Sagunda turned around and returned to the banquet hall with Ian by his side. Ingrid kept turning her head, but she bit her lips at the sight of Raven’s cold expression and followed behind her brother.

“Brother, brother. Are you okay?”

“Y, your grace…”

Lindsay and Irene burst into tears as everyone left with the exception of Vincent and a few soldiers. Even Luna was trembling with tears glimmering in her eyes.

“Oi, Pendragon. Do you want a piggyback?”

Karuta looked down at Raven with worried eyes.

“That’s all right. Look after the ladies just in case. Hey, you said your name was Sir Ron, right? Could you help me?”

Karuta frowned as Raven asked for help from someone that could be called the leader of their enemies. But when he met Raven’s gaze, Karuta nodded and followed Raven’s orders.

“Okay. Pendragon scarecrow. Ladies, stand behind me.”

The ladies followed behind Karuta’s footsteps after seeing Raven’s expression, even though they shared Karuta’s worries.

Vincent walked over to help Raven walk. The two moved slowly, and silence ensued for a moment. Vincent was the first one to speak as the distance widened between them and the group in front of them.

“Three or four ribs must have been broken. If it pierced your lungs, you would die within four days without a skilled doctor.”

“Isn’t that what you wanted?”

“Yes, until five days ago.”

“That sounds like you don’t want me to die anymore.”

“If you die here, it’ll make things difficult. So please don’t talk much.”

“No, it’s not because of that. You’ve found out something new.”

“……”

Vincent recoiled while walking. He maintained his silence for a moment with a troubled look on his face before sighing and continuing the conversation.

“You must have seen it.”

“I did.”

“Do you know about the tower?”

“Very well. You said you’ve gone under Count Sagunda two years ago, so there must be three years left?”

“……”

“Sagunda isn’t a person that is fit for a master of the Twilight Tower to serve. So how come?”

“It’s enough for me to keep the balance here. Sagunda is essential in Leus’ role as a centerpiece in keeping the peace between the central and southern region.”

“Bullshit. The moment you tried to repress the Pendragon family, you made the wrong judgment.”

“But you and Prince Ian have…”

“I swear on the name of Pendragon and of the White Dragon. Ian Aragon is not interested in the position of crown prince. The reason I am helping Ian is to find out the truth about the attempted assassination of Crown Prince Shio and to reveal the identity of those that threaten the well-being of the royal family.”

“……”

Raven noticed the agitation in Vincent’s eyes, and continued.

“Sagunda, on the other hand, is a man who is involved in the attempted assassination of Crown Prince Shio. Even Ocean King of the islands has something to do with him.”

“The count and the duke cannot grow if their source of income is blocked.”

“So, were you going to set Leus as your base while you created a small merchant association? To put pressure on the Ocean King and the royalties who are crazed about the competition for the spot of crown prince in the imperial city?”

“……!”

Vincent’s eyes showed even more shock than before.

It was a great surprise to hear his plan being recited by the seventeen-year-old Alan Pendragon, whom he had seen for the first time today. But Raven already knew too well about the Twilight Tower and Vincent.

A tattoo of two towers facing each other with a staff in the middle -- it was an identifying mark carried by the masters of the Twilight Tower. No one knew where the tower was located. Only a very few had ever heard of the organization’s name. No one knew who their head was and how many members it possessed.

The Twilight Tower was an organization that was composed of a diverse group of people unlike mercenary groups or knight orders. Knights, mercenaries, assassins, sorcerers, blacksmiths, even thieves… People from all walks of life united under the banner of Twilight Tower. Its identity was always kept a secret, and only two definite truths were known.

The members who received the tattoo were all people talented enough to become masters in their respective fields. Before they could be titled master of the Twilight Tower, they had to leave and journey around the world for five years. Whatever role they chose, they would carry out their responsibilities and serve under another person.

They were bound by only one condition: to ‘follow the righteous road’ for the world. Of course, everyone had a different sense of justice. Even if large massacres were carried out, if the act was justified in the person’s moral sense, then it couldn’t be helped.

But Raven believed.

The person who was known as Vincent of the Gray Sunset had done something significant in the future. He had gathered a group of small merchants and formed a coalition to fight against the giant merchant groups that stemmed from great noble backgrounds.

A single person had stabilized the economy of the entire empire by preventing monopolization and misuse of power. Immediately after, he had disappeared from the world — without pursuing any personal gain.

“……”

Vincent stopped and slowly turned his head. The heir of the Pendragon family seemed to see right through him with his piercing blue eyes.

“…Do you want something from me?”

“Stay in the Pendragon Duchy for half a year. Feel free to do whatever you want there. Stay for half a year, then you may do as you please.”

“Half a year is longer than you would think. I might disrupt and sabotage the economic status of the Pendragon family. I tried to harm your grace.”

“I’m not dead, so isn’t it enough? And whatever action you decide to take, that’s up to you. If it is what the Twilight Tower deems as a righteous act, then I don’t care what it is.”

Of course, Raven knew that would never happen. Vincent wasn’t aware, but Melborn wasn’t a pushover either. The general would not stand by if Vincent attempted to wreak havoc. Most importantly, Raven believed in the stories of the Gray Sunset he had heard in his past life, as well as his own intuition.

Vincent gazed at Raven in silence, then started walking and talking at the same time.

“…Then you must survive for at least half a year. As an apology, I will take care of the incident that’s about to happen tonigh…”

“Don’t worry about it. Get your things organized and come to the Pendragon Duchy before summer is over.”

“But by now, the villa…”

This time, Raven stopped in his tracks. Then he slowly straightened his back and shoulders.

“Uhem…!”

Vincent opened his eyes in shock as a man with several broken ribs straightened his body without so much a blink. He had no way of knowing that Raven possessed the healing power of the troll king that made him near invincible. Feeling his broken ribs slowly mending, Raven spoke in a confident voice.

“It doesn’t matter if hundreds of orcs and griffons come rushing in. The companion of my soul is there.”

Vincent blinked several times in confusion, then soon quietly uttered a word.

“White Dragon…”

Raven, who had succeeded in recruiting the Gray Sunset, smiled instead of answering.

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