Chapter 75

Sophia stood with her nose held high in front of the four people.

“Hmph! If you get on your knees and beg for forgiveness, I’ll let you go after taking just one of your arms…”

“If you apologize for insulting Lady Sophia and show courtesy in front of Count Bresia’s banner, I will let you go.”

“Sir Filmore!”

Filmore oppressed Sophia with a plaster-like look, then looked back while continuing his words.

“Today is a celebratory day where the lady is meeting with her fiancé, so I’m being gracious. Do it.”

“……”

Raven stared silently at Filmore and Sophia. They were humans whom he once dared to not even make eye contact with. They had been there in the place where his father and brother’s heads were decapitated. He still hadn’t forgotten the expressions he had seen on their faces on that day.

Sophia, who was only 14 years old, left her seat after calling the two heads and Raven ‘dirty as bugs’ as he was being dragged away. Filmore had lashed out at him as he was dragged away, calling him the bloodline of the traitor scums, saying that if he survived ten years in the demonic army, then he would personally cut off Raven’s throat…

But now, they were looking down on him with expressions that were quite different from then.

Fury crept up his body. Before, he would have been blinded by anger and rushed at them. Yet now, strangely, he wanted to laugh.

But then, someone else stepped up in his place.

“Please forgive us, sir, and Lady Bresia. My comrade is new to Sisak, so he’s not accustomed to things around here.”

It was Jody. Raven looked at Jody with surprise. Jody had addressed him as his ‘comrade’.

“I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to the man behind you.”

Filmore was still cold and stern.

“Sir knight, this man is…”

Raven came forward in front of Jody and spoke, “What if I was a noble? Should I still bow to you and that lady?”

“W, what?”

“Hmm?”

Sophia’s face turned pale, and Filmore became stunned. Raven smirked and took the identification token out before throwing it to Filmore.

“Take a look.”

“Um…”

Filmore examined Raven’s identification token, then his face hardened.

“Baron Edward Clint…”

Unlike regular identification tokens that belonged to the family’s subjects, Raven’s identification token was inscribed with the lord's signature, which proved his identity as a direct member of the family.

“He’s my maternal uncle. After my mother died, I lived there until now. Originally, I should have continued the family, but a baby was born three months ago.”

“Hm…”

A man who was in line to succeed a Barony was definitely one of the family's prominent members and would hold the title of baronet. They were high enough in status to show only light courtesy to Sophia and the knight, even though it would be a different matter if Count Bresia was here himself.

“What do you think? I think I’ve already shown enough courtesy by clearing the way and bowing my head once, don’t you agree?”

Filmore was at a loss for words, and a brief silence followed.

“H, he must have stolen it! Why would you accompany those mercenaries if you were a real baronet? And how could he be that impolite?”

Thinking that Sophia’s words had some meat to them, Filmore looked down at Raven with a gaze that asked for clarification.

Raven smiled and shrugged.

“The only thing I have is my skill with the blade. What else would I do? I’m just roaming here and there, looking for a worthy master to serve. And it seems like you weren’t much different from me in the past, wouldn’t you say?”

“……”

Filmore’s gaze shook. Around ten years ago, he had also roamed from place to place. He was a free knight that was no different from mercenaries until he swore allegiance to Count Bresia.

And unlike other knights who served Count Bresia before he became a High Lord, Filmore had joined as Count Bresia’s knight quite late. Thus, he was never bestowed his own land. He had climbed to his place with his own abilities.

Besides, similar to the man who was standing in front of him, Filmore had ventured out from his family with the determination to carry out his ambition since he wasn’t going to be continuing the family anyways.

Filmore saw his own youthful self in the ambitious young man who was standing in front of him. But Filmore didn’t even dream of it -- That the young man in front of him knew all about Filmore’s past and had purposefully weaved his story in such a way.

“…You’re right. I apologize. You may go.”

“S, Sir Filmore…!”

Sophia cried out in shock. But Filmore gestured to stop Sophia, who was shaking in anger.

“Thank you for understanding. Then.”

Raven lowered his head slightly, then moved along. Soldrake and Isla naturally followed behind him, and Jody hurriedly ran after the three with his mouth wide open.

“By the way, where are you headed towards?”

Raven turned his head slightly and answered Filmore’s question.

“I heard that a knight named Ramelda in Toro village is recruiting mercenaries. I’m planning to head there right now.”

“I see… I wish you good luck.”

Filmore was well aware of the conflict between Baron Nobira’s two knights and nodded his head.

“Hey, let’s go.”

“Uh, yeah.”

Scylla and Gus moved quickly at Jody’s beckoning. The six people quickly disappeared out of the castle gate of Elma.

Filmore stared at the group until the very end, then turned his face with a grave expression.

“Let us go, my lady.”

“Eek! What is this! How can you let such a scoundrel get away? He dared to insult me and my family…”

“He didn’t say anything wrong. It’s proper to let them go. Rather, if a rumor spreads that the Bresia family was persecuting another noble family, it could hurt Count Bresia’s reputation.”

“Still!”

“Lady Sophia, there are a lot of eyes here. You’re going to become the lady of Elma soon. you shouldn’t act this way here. It’s also very rude to Lord Elma.”

Filmore was her father’s most trusted knight and the teacher of the next Count. This meant that he was soon set to become the next head of the knights. In fact, he was currently the right-hand man of the next Count Bresia. Sophia couldn’t easily refute his words and fumed in anger. Moreover, she could see commoners glancing at her and chattering amongst themselves.

“Eeeek!”

Her lips fluttered in anger and embarrassment. She turned her horse and rode away.

Filmore let out a long sigh then started following Sophia. Then, as if something had caught his mind, he called for one of the soldiers.

“You, go to the gate and ask the guard captain to give you the visitor book.”

“Yes, Sir Filmore.”

The soldier rushed to the gate and brought back the visitor book.

“Clint, Clint…”

He looked through the book, but there was no name from anyone stemming from Baron Clint’s family. Filmore tilted his head in confusion and remembered that the young man had said Baron Clint was his uncle.

“Excuse me, Sir Filmore.”

“Huh? What is it?”

Filmore frowned and looked down in response to the soldier.

“The guard who examined him yesterday told me… that the man’s name is Raven.”

“Hm, is that so?”

Filmore looked through the visitor book once again.

“Huh!”

As soon as he found the name Raven, he froze.

“Raven Va…lt…”

Stiff as a stone statue, Filmore looked down at the signature of Raven Valt, then raised his head.

It wasn’t too late to follow. But Filmore hesitated as he thought about riding his horse to chase after them. After pondering for a moment, he turned his horse towards the castle once more.

‘Even if I go after him right now, there is nothing to be gained. He’s going to enter into the fight between Tylen and Ramelda anyways… I’d better report this back to the lord and then make a plan.’

Lately, High Lord Count Bresia was very restless. It was because Prince Ian brought up the same topic whenever he became drunk at the banquets on his way to the imperial city. It was regarding the treason case from three years ago.

It was nerve-wracking for Count Bresia, who was involved in the incident, to hear that the most powerful candidate for crown prince was talking about the experience in front of all the major nobles he had encountered.

It could be damaging to his family’s reputation, and furthermore, it could ruin his plan to finally extend his hand and make ties with other great nobles outside of Sisak.

However, a man with the last name Valt had appeared in Sisak at this moment.

‘Something is going on. A man with the name Valt is siding with Ramelda, who’s clearly weaker, against Tylen who swallowed Gray Valt’s land…’

Filmore creased his forehead while riding towards the castle. If Raven had seen Filmore right now, he would have had this thought — a fish, a very large fish, had taken the bait.

***

“Stop looking. You’re going to break your neck.”

Jody smiled at Scylla. She was continuing to glance backward even though they had left Elma’s gate far behind.

“S, still! You don’t know. That knight from before was real scary looking.”

“But he’s not one to get back at us like a coward. That’s what my instincts are telling me, so don’t worry about it.”

“If you say so…”

Although she had only been accompanying him for about a year, Scylla remembered that Jody’s intuition was never wrong, and he had never made a wrong decision.

But her expression showed that she was still worried about the knight named Filmore.

Jody laughed at Scylla, but he also felt ill at ease.

‘But…’

Jody looked at the back of the young man who was walking a few steps ahead of him.

‘I knew he wasn’t a normal young man, but I didn’t think he had almost become a lord of a territory… Besides, that Valvas guy was going to draw his blade as soon as something turned sour.’

He saw it clearly. The Cavalier had put his hands on the handles of his blades inside his robes with his arms crossed. At first, Jody thought it was done out of desperation, but that wasn’t the case.

Jody saw the Cavalier’s eyes grasp the movements of the soldiers and the knights surrounding them with cold precision. In fact, if there had been a situation where blades were drawn, Jody would have bet all his money that the horseback knight who was closest to them would have had his head sliced off first.

‘Phew, I don’t know if this is luck or a curse.’

It was a great fortune to be accompanying extraordinary talents as a mercenary. But it was hard to grasp the intentions of the group leader named Raven.

‘No, no.’

Jody pondered briefly about Raven, then shook his head.

‘I need to work together with these guys until we finish this task. We can’t have these guys turn into our enemies, no matter what.’

Jody decided to believe in his hunch one more time, then carefully spoke, “Um, hey…”

Raven turned his head, and Jody walked quickly to Raven’s side as if he had been waiting.

“I was wondering if I had to call you Sir Valt from now on…”

Even though free knights were not that different from mercenaries, a noble was a noble.

Raven smirked, “Let’s just keep what we had until now. It’ll just be inconvenient for both of us if you had to watch your actions and words in front of someone you met on the streets.”

“Right? Hahaha! You’re so broad-minded!”

Raven responded to Jody’s smile with a smile of his own. Initially, he had planned to use Jody to obtain information and to solidify his own status in the mercenary world, but now his thoughts changed.

'My comrade is new to Sisak, so he’s not accustomed to things around here.' Raven started to look at Jody in a new light after hearing those words. If nothing else, Jody was a man who was loyal. Any other mercenaries might have immediately left the place and pretended not to know Raven.

In Sisak, catching Count Bresia’s daughter’s attention in the wrong way could get them kicked out and possibly killed. But Jody was different. Unlike many other mercenaries that acted in their best interest, he was a man who valued loyalty.

“Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have sold my horse before.”

“Stop it, you little bitch. You’re making me feel nervous too.”

“What? Who was the one that ran away first when that knight came to us?”

“I’m a thief. A thief! That’s my natural behavior, don’t you know?”

“Yeah, now that’s something to brag about, isn’t it?”

Scylla and Gus started squabbling again. But somehow, Raven felt quite entertained watching the scene unfold. In following the threads of destiny from ten years ago, Raven had made new connections. A small smile hung on the face of Raven Valt.

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