But Leo soon shed a dry smile.
“Kekeuk… Everyone suddenly becomes Gertman when they are on horseback. Hey, friend, I think you are going too far with your joke. If you are so confident fighting on horseback, why have you been wandering around without a horse?”
Leo jeered and made a reference to the legendary knight Hailey Gertman. Stories had it that Gertman possessed ordinary skills when fighting on foot, but became the strongest knight when he was on horseback.
“Because my wife doesn’t ride a horse.”
“Stop spouting nonsense. There is no problem with giving you a horse. However, where is the guarantee that you will not run off to join the enemy with our horses? My father may trust you two, but I don’t share his thoughts.”
Leo’s two cousins nodded at Leo’s words and also looked at Raven with a suspicious expression. But Raven answered in a low, cold voice.
“Sol, my wife and Elkin’s sister, will stay back and fight together with Jody. Is that good?”
The three men turned their heads towards Sol with a slight surprise. She was a woman. Moreover, she was a mute who couldn’t hear or speak. They couldn’t fathom her skills.
“She’s as good as us, according to Raven and Elkin.”
“No, remember what he said. He said that his wife is the strongest out of all of them. That is what he said, right?”
Scylla and Gus stepped up and spoke in a cynical manner.
“Now, now. If it is about skill, we can confirm that tomorrow, right? No one would leave behind their family if they were going to turn to the other side. Why don’t you give these two friends the horses they are asking for, hmm?”
Jody shot Scylla and Gus a fierce gaze then spoke to Leo. Leo thought for a moment, then nodded his head while looking at Raven and Soldrake.
“Okay, I’ll get you horses. But if they die, it’ll be subtracted from your wages.”
“What, but that…”
Jody frowned. It was common knowledge that people that were on horseback were attacked first. But Raven cut off his words.
“Do as you please. But, if my friend and I take care of the soldiers and the serfs, double our pay.”
“I’m putting my life on the line anyways. I do not want to be selling my blade at a loss. Besides, you’re the one that brought up the issue anyways.”
In other words, if Leo hadn’t brought up deducting pay in the case of the horses’ deaths, Raven would have left the matter alone as well. But now, Leo couldn’t take back his words. He rose from his seat with a crumpled expression.
“Hmph! Do as you want. Try not to die as soon as the fight starts. We’re leaving tomorrow after breakfast.”
Leo and the two young men left the room after those words.
“What a personality..”
Jody clicked his tongue as he looked at the slammed door.
“He’s from a family of knights. They are all like that. He’s not even that handsome, I hope he at least knows how to fight.”
“I don’t know about the other two, but Leo Ramelda has experience as a mercenary. He’ll do his share,” Raven stated.
“What? Is that true?” Scylla became shocked. Leo Ramelda would have taken over his father’s title as a knight of Baron Nobira even if he didn't do anything, so it came as a surprise.
“Remember what Ramelda said? Most of the men in the pub are their acquaintances.”
“Well, I guess the father and the son are both decent men.”
Gus nodded as well. The fact that people chose to side with Ramelda even though they were at a massive disadvantage meant that the father-son duo had good relationships with people.
“Then we’ll take our leave as well.”
At Raven’s words, Isla and Soldrake stood up from their seats. Then Scylla asked in a hushed voice.
“Hey, by the way, Raven. What you said earlier. Are you serious?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, what you said about leaving your wife behind with us and taking care of the serfs and the soldiers with just you two.”
Gus spoke up in an invidious voice. Like Leo, he didn’t seem to believe Raven’s words either.
Raven silently gazed at the three mercenaries for a moment, then spoke, “I’m starting to take a liking to you guys, so try not to die.”
Gus’s face turned red, but Raven left without saying another word.
“Oh my, this little bastard. Really? Jody, do you really believe what he is saying? Even if they have a Valvas Cavalier, he’s too full of himself.”
Jody’s sudden laughter caused Gus to distort his face. Then Jody patted Gus on the shoulders with a smile.
“It took me a month to become close to you two. But he is saying he likes you after only two days, right?”
“Yeah, it makes sense since I’m so pretty, but I don’t know why he would say that about you, Gus.”
“Shut up you crazy, obsessive bitch.”
“What? Hey, you…”
“Jody, do you really believe that? If he dumps that mute girl on us and runs away, we are royally screwed. Do you think Ramelda’s going to leave us alone?”
Scylla’s words were interrupted as Gus spoke to Jody. In reality, she was having similar thoughts as Gus. Jody wiped the laughter from his face and responded to the two people.
“You’re a thief, so you saw what Raven was carrying on his back, right? Anyone can see that it is armor. It is not just random expensive armor either, it is something really, really valuable. Am I right?”
Gus was a former thief, so he could approximate the value of items with just a glance. As Jody said, the armor that Raven was carrying was so precious, that when Gus saw it, he wondered if it was a stolen artifact.
“Well, he might have stolen it from somewhere, you know?” Scylla chimed in.
“Exactly, now we’re on the same page.”
“Keuk! Would you guys carry something that valuable around if it were something you had stolen? If it were me, I would have tried to sell it off as fast as I could in Elma or Bresia.”
Jody’s words shut the two people’s mouths. Then Jody assumed a cautious expression before continuing.
“Raven is no ordinary guy. He is someone that could become a knight in a territory, or even lord over a territory. I hope you guys can trust my instincts on this matter. But if you are still suspicious… you two can run away if they act weird tomorrow. I’ll take full responsibility.”
“It means that I won’t bring this up again. I am betting everything. If you do not believe in my instincts, you can leave right now.”
Both of them remained silent for a while. Jody, who had led the two of them for a long time, was risking his life on this.
“…Damn it! Okay. If I die tomorrow, I’ll haunt you as a ghost.”
Gus broke the silence and agreed with Jody.
“Ah… maybe I should go to that handsome Valvas guy. I might die tomorrow, so he might just grant me my wish tonight…”
“Haha! What are you talking about? Wasn’t your wish to see that handsome Pendragon in person?
“Ah! That is right! I know! I will buy a dress and jewelry with the money I receive this time, and I will make myself radiant. If I try to make myself pretty, even Alan Pendragon will be bewitched. Hehe!”
“A goblin dressing in silk doesn’t make it a human.”
“What! Hey, you don’t even have to wait until tomorrow. Would you like to die by my hands today?”
“Hahaha! You two should be fine tomorrow since you’re this excited today.”
Jody smiled brightly at the two people’s quarrel.
“Then please have a peaceful rest, my Lord.”
“Yes, you as well.”
Isla bowed his head and headed to his own room. Raven opened the door to his room with Soldrake by his side.
[Ray, are you going to be fighting a human named Tylen tomorrow?]
“Yes. You must have been frustrated because you did not understand our conversations. I’m sorry.”
Soldake could only understand him. Raven felt sorry for Soldrake as she could not speak nor hear the whole day. Soldrake shook her head while taking off her hood. Even though the jewels on her forehead were covered, Soldrake’s mysterious beauty still remained. On the contrary, she looked like a gorgeous human with her gems hidden.
[No, it is okay. It is good to be by Ray’s side all day.]
Soldrake always made embarrassing remarks nonchalantly. Raven smiled awkwardly as Soldrake sat down next to him. Then Soldrake moved closer to Raven’s side.
[It has never been this way. Every Pendragon has always been with other humans. But Ray is different. You said I can remain in human form, and that I can stay beside you.]
“I’m sure the previous dukes all felt the same way. I’m sure that they had to act that way because of their circumstances.”
The master of the Pendragon family had a lot of responsibilities. A ruler must not act in whatever manner he wants unless he is a tyrant. Of course, Raven from the past would not have understood this.
As Soldake said before, the position made the person. After Raven became Alan Pendragon, he could understand slightly why the previous dukes had maintained their distance from Soldrake.
[Strange. Alex said the same thing. He asked for my understanding even if his children, and their children stayed away from me. He said that they were Pendragons, but they were not him. But he also said that one day a Pendragon would come and he would look at me as a companion, and not as some sort of contracted beast. Like Alex himself.]
A monotonic voice. But Raven could feel the passion that transgressed through time and space from looking at Soldrake’s eyes.
“What kind of person was Alex Pendragon?”
Raven suddenly wondered about the founder of the Pendragon family, the man who had led the beautiful dragon to protect the family for hundreds of years. Even though the Pendragon Duchy was famous, not much was known about Alex Pendragon.
[Alex was the first human to look straight at me. Even dragons could not look at me. Dragons have the blood of gods, and I am special among them. No one could look straight at me. But Alex smiled when he first saw me. And… he saw me as a dragon and called me beautiful. He was the only human who could talk to me and who could understand my words.]
Raven nodded silently. Alex Pendragon really was no ordinary man. Aside from the extraordinary ability to talk to a dragon, no one in the world could smile in front of a dragon and say such words. Even Raven himself had not been able to breathe properly at the final battle in the Robstein Plains because of the pressure and fear he felt in front of Soldrake.
[I see Alex in Ray. So, I like Ray.]
“Oh, thank you. I also… I mean, you’re the most special existence to me, Sol.”
He couldn’t bring himself to say he liked Soldrake back, but he still spoke from his heart.
Soldrake was the only being who truly knew him. Just as Soldrake couldn’t communicate with anyone else, he could not talk about his true self in front of anybody else.
Of course, there was Attia Pendragon, but she was a ghost, and she had already returned to the family grave. Ultimately, the two people, man and dragon, were the only ones in the world who could communicate and fully understand each other. To him, Soldrake was the most special being in the world.
Raven was stunned. Soldrake had leaned her head against his shoulder. The refreshing scent from the long hair stimulated his nose. Raven’s heart started to race. But at the same time, he felt her loneliness that stemmed from hundreds of years of isolation.
The dragon, Soldrake, was relying on him.
Raven stretched out his hand and wrapped it around her shoulder. But it was then.
“Raven! There’s an issue!”
The door burst open and Jody ran in. But he became startled and awkward. First, he noticed Soldrake’s unfathomable beauty, but then also that he had interfered with the couple having a good time(?).
“What’s going on? You should keep your manners.”
Raven wanted nothing more than to crawl into a rathole, but he stood up and mustered up the bluntest voice possible, showing his acting skills that he had developed over the summer vacation.
“Uh, I, I’m sorry. Anyways, this is huge. Baron Nobira’s soldiers and ten mercenaries set off for Moncha! His son Enzo Nobira led them there personally!”
Raven narrowed his eyes. The Lord had openly sided in a dispute between two of his subjects.
“Are you sure? Unless they are idiots, they…”
A thought suddenly came to Raven’s mind, and he blurted his words. Jody accepted it as Raven displaying his shock and nodded several times.
“I’m sure. The observer that Ramelda placed in front of Moncha reported back. The pub is going crazy right now.”
The difference in their forces was already shocking, but even the Lord had sent his troops to assist the other side.
“What do we do? If you agree, we can all back out and…”
“No, this is good.”
Jody’s eyes widened. The situation right now could be called the worst-case scenario. What was so good about this situation?
“This is rather good…" Raven spoke softly. A cold smile hung around his mouth.Previous Chapter Next Chapter