Raven nodded inwardly.
Even though it was Ian’s fickle suggestion for her to come along, Luna must have had her own ideas on accompanying the Pendragon family on the vacation.
“Okay, then let’s go out.”
Was it the light playing tricks? Her slightly lowered head seemed to turn a little red.
The clean-up of the remnants of the chaotic battle was nearing its end. Seeing Raven walk out with Luna, Ridley Mckidd swiftly ran to him and gave a military salute.
“For Pendragon’s glory! Your grace, the enemy’s body count is as follows - 26 Latuan Orcs, and the sea griffon…”
“It’s none of my business how many of them died. Tell me our casualties.”
“Ye, yes! Two soldiers are seriously injured, but no other casualties. Five griffons, and for our friends the Ancona Orcs… three of them are dead.”
It was a brilliant feat that was equivalent to trading one life for ten. Even so, Raven grimaced.
“Wait a minute.”
Raven spoke in a heavy voice, and Luna lowered her head, unable to give an answer. The soldiers cleared the way for their lord.
Raven headed to the place where the Ancona Orcs formed a circle. As the Ancona Orcs opened the way, Raven advanced into the middle of the circle.
Three dead Ancona Orc warriors were laid down on the ground side by side. Karuta and Kratul stood above them, looking down at the still orcs without a word.
Raven stood beside the two orcs, maintaining his silence.
At the quiet chortle, Raven turned his head.
Karuta was smiling with a glimmer in his red eyes.
“You lucky little orc bastards. These are the first orcs to die while practicing the law of blood ever since our tribe settled in the Ancona Forest.”
“Kukeket! Yes! Orcs died while fighting orcs, so it is the greatest honor. The earth god will be pleased.”
Kratul laughed in agreement.
But Raven knew.
Even though they were from a different race, he could feel their grievance mixed in with their happiness.
Karuta looked down at the bodies of his three comrades in silence for a moment, then turned his head.
“Hey, Pendragon. From here on out, it’s the orc’s private ceremony. Leave us to it.”
“I’ll do that. Please pray for my share of peace.”
Karuta nodded vigorously with a stiff expression.
Raven stepped out of the circle, reminiscing about the event that he had seen once before in the past.
Soon, Karuta’s loud voice burst out.
“Hey, you orc bastards! You’re jealous, aren’t you? These brothers are the first to die in the law of blood! Let us have fun so that our brothers who went back to the earth god first don’t become bored!”
The orcs roars resounded throughout the entire villa. Simultaneously, Kratul slammed his staff down onto the ground and recited a spell.
The soldiers were watching the orcs from a distance. Seeing the commotion unfold, their eyes widened as they wondered what was going on. The trees in the garden started to blossom flowers and lengthen their branches. As if to see the deceased off, the shrubs started to radiate brilliant light, bearing the glow of the sun and the moon.
And in that place, which was brightened like the day, the Ancona Orcs began to dance.
The roars honoring the dead reverberated. The orc warriors had assembled themselves into a horse-riding stance and proceeded to clap their hands in rhythm before slapping the opposite shoulder.
They alternated between hitting their shoulders and clapping, adding in stomps as well.
The powerful blast shook the earth. A sound comparable to several large drums resounded as they stomped the ground and hit their shoulders. The moonlit petals fluttered beautifully, and the dead warriors were honored to the side of the earth god through the dance of the orc warriors.
The soldiers stared blankly at the Ancona Orcs.
Even though their ritual was different from the human’s paid respects, the orcs’ sincerity was certainly conveyed. As allies and fellow warriors, the soldiers also honored the dead Ancona Orc warriors in their hearts.
Amidst the solemn atmosphere, Raven walked towards Luna.
She was also staring at the dancing Ancona Orcs with her eyes wide open.
“It’s beautiful. And… it’s also sad.”
She muttered as teardrops formed in her large eyes.
“It’s the orc’s funeral. It is a ritual that is allowed only for dead warriors who perished while fighting other orcs. They are only permitting us to watch because they think of us as family. Originally, other races are not allowed to watch.”
Luna hurriedly wiped her eyes.
Apart from race, she felt like she shouldn’t disrespect the bravely dancing orcs that honored their fallen comrades with tears. Raven looked at Luna with a fresh outlook. He could definitely feel a change from when he first saw her.
“Let’s go somewhere quiet for now.”
The two walked through a trail next to the villa towards the back garden. The ceremony in honoring the dead orcs was over, but the aftershock remained as a silence that enveloped the villa.
The two people silently walked a bit longer before they reached a pond which was decorated in a southern manner. They stood beside an octagonal pavilion that was located in front of the pond.
Luna stared at the moon that was reflected in the calm pond before opening her mouth.
“How are you feeling? You were seriously hurt…”
“I am all right. The Shield of Healing works pretty well, even though I’m not sure how much longer the effect will last.”
“Congratulations once again on finding an artifact.”
“Thank you. Anyways, what did you want to see me about?”
Raven replied in a blunt voice, and Luna bit her lips out of habit before continuing the conversation.
“First of all… I apologize for the disrespect that Sir Breeden, my family’s knight, committed. This is an apology on behalf of my Seyrod family, so you…”
“I just beat a crazy dog to death. There is no need for you, Lady Seyrod, or the family to apologize for it.”
Luna’s apology was a little unexpected, but Raven shook his head. He had seen countless guys like Breeden on the battlefield.
“Even so, the fact that a Seyrod knight attacked you behind your back was… unforgivable. Even if I had ten mouths, I w..”
“Don’t worry. I won’t hold the Seyrod County responsible for that matter any longer. By the way, was there nothing else that was conveyed by Sir Breeden’s family?”
“They still think he’s been killed over a territorial dispute. We still don’t know how to properly approach…”
Luna blurted the end of her words.
Although Breeden had served for a long time as a knight of the Seyrod family, it was still unclear how the Breeden family would take the death of their second son.
“Well, it doesn’t really matter. If they want to fight, then let them come. No matter what happens in the future, I won’t associate the matter with the Seyrod family.”
It was a crazy remark to casually talk about creating another enemy, but Luna accepted it. When she thought back to his actions the night before, it was actually within expectations.
“So, is this everything you wanted to talk about?”
“…No. There’s actually one more thing.”
After a moment’s thought, Luna spoke while trying to hide her trembling voice.
“What is it?” Raven assumed his usual brusque tone of speech.
But Luna decided to take courage.
“Does your grace hate me? If…. If I didn’t bring up the topic of breaking the engagement when we first reunited… Then would you... would you have taken me as your wife…?”
Raven was taken aback. He looked at Luna with a surprised expression.
He had no idea that she would bring up such a topic. He looked down at Luna for a moment without saying a word.
At that moment, a sea breeze disrupted the tranquility of the pond, and Luna’s shoulders shook along with it. Even though Raven was mostly oblivious to these matters, right now, he understood how much courage it took for Luna to say those words.
A short silence ensued. Short, but it felt like eons to Luna.
She waited in anticipation, shame, and anxiety. As she waited with her head bowed and her eyes moist, a low but clear voice spoke.
“I think Lady Seyrod is misunderstanding something.”
Luna unknowingly raised her head. A wise pair of blue eyes looked down on her.
“I don’t have any memories of before I woke up from my bed. Of course, that included my memories about you, Lady Seyrod.”
“So, even if there was no talk of breaking the engagement, I still would’ve reconsidered the marriage. For me, it was my first time meeting you, and I didn’t know what kind of person you were. Moreover, how could I like a woman who talks of breaking an engagement from our first meeting? From what I can tell, Lady Seyrod seems to have had a change of heart after our family started to get back up.”
Luna raised her voice.
But before she could deny the accusation, Raven cut off her words.
“What if Lady Seyrod was in my shoes? Am I wrong to take it in this manner when a woman who first declared voiding the engagement suddenly changes her attitude?”
He wasn’t wrong.
If she were in his shoes, she would have the exact same thoughts. But Luna couldn’t bring herself to speak words to confirm it.
“As I said earlier, even if Lady Seyrod had not mentioned the breakup on the day we met, I would have still taken the same action. No, as the head of the family, I have a duty and responsibility to the family, so I would have at least left it a little longer.”
Luna felt a small anticipation flaring up in her heart once more, and looked up with her cold, misty eyes at the young man.
“It is hard to say, but that does not mean that I would suddenly feel emotions that I haven’t… Well, it’s hard to word this properly. To put it easily…”
Raven had never experienced such a situation before, so he paused before continuing.
Then, he heard something rustling. It was a very small sound, but Raven, who had been somewhat sensitive lately, was able to clearly hear it. He could also tell who it was making the sound as they hid behind a large tree a little further away.
‘Even a day like this… Damn it, women are… No, wait…’
After pondering for a moment, Raven stroked his chin and spoke to Luna.
“So, even if I married Lady Seyrod… It means I couldn’t have loved you as a woman.”
Luna, who was a woman of ripe age, felt like she had been denied her identity as a woman. Her face heated up and her eyes watered, but Luna tried hard to maintain her calm and spoke.
“Then what about Lindsay, no, Lady Conrad… How do you feel about her?”
“The time Lindsay and I spent together is long. She guarded my side long before the expedition, and she always fulfilled her role diligently. And now, she became my woman due to my own volition. So now, I’m going to fulfill my responsibilities too.”
“Responsibilities… Does that mean you feel the same way about her as you feel about me?”
“No, she is different from Lady Seyrod. Obviously, there are more important matters for me to attend to as the master of Pendragon, but I am Lindsay’s husband and the head of the Pendragon family. As the husband of a woman, I will be responsible for my decision.”
“I will look at her as a woman in the future. Lady Seyrod, between Lindsay and I, there is trust and time, which I have with no other woman.”
Luna shut her mouth promptly.Previous Chapter Next Chapter