Chapter 8

Raven shrugged after staring at his great aunt for a moment.

“I don’t know. My head was cut off, and when I opened my eyes, I was already in this body.”

“Hmm. Then fill me in on the details. Who you are, where you were, and what happened exactly.”

Raven pondered for a moment.

He wasn’t sure whether he could trust her with the truth.

But then he realized that Attia was a ghost, and he was the only one capable of holding a conversation with her. Even if he told her the truth, it would probably not lead to any complications. More than anything, Raven needed allies. Especially someone who could give him information about his predicament and about the Pendragon family.

In that sense, it seemed like having Attia, a member of the Pendragon family, as an ally would be quite useful.

“It might be hard to believe, but I fight alongside Alan Pendragon seven years in the future on the Robstein Plains.”

“What did you say?”

Attia Pendragon frowned at the mention of coming from the future. Raven sighed lightly before continuing his words.

“I’m saying that I’ve come against the flow of time. In the sixth month of the three hundred twenty-first year of the imperial calendar, I died on the battlefield. Sir Pendragon came as support along with Soldrake for our army and…”

Raven started on his lengthy explanation. All the while, Attia maintained an expressionless face listening to Raven’s story.

“…and that’s the story. I am not sure as to why I woke up in Sir Alan Pendragon’s body.”

Raven carefully examined Attia’s face for any reaction. Her face remained passive even after hearing this story that he himself could not believe. After a short while, Attia nodded her head.

“So that’s what happened. I see.”

“So… you believe my story?”

Raven was surprised at Attia’s unreserved acceptance. He had told her that he came back to life from the dead, travelled through time, took someone else’s body, and she had accepted it just like that.

“Well there’s nothing to be done is there? You are not my great-nephew, and I’ve already confirmed that with Soldrake. The important thing here is that you, no, that Alan Pendragon came back to life. This surely is as someone willed.”

“Will…?”

“That’s right. You said that the one who killed you said so? That there is a connection between the fall of your family, my family, and my great-nephew. Then it also makes sense to think that someone must be behind your revival in Alan’s body. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Hmm…”

Raven contemplated deeply. It did have its logic.

“And I don’t think you know about this, but it doesn’t make sense that my great-nephew headed to the battlefield with Soldrake.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Attia responded to Raven with a stiff expression.

“Even for a descendant of the Pendragon family, a soul can only contract with one soul in their lifetime. This holds true especially so for a dragon. If you fail to establish a contract, you never get a second chance. You have to leave it to the next generation.”

“Then that means…”

“Yes. It means that the person you saw on the battlefield was probably never my great-nephew to begin with. The reason he fell unconscious is because he failed to establish a contract with Soldrake.”

Thud!

Raven stared in disbelief. But Attia had not finished speaking yet.

“I don’t know how he managed to re-establish the contract with Soldrake. But that’s not what’s important right now. I have never acknowledged that weak boy as a true Pendragon. What happened now is probably for the better.”

Raven had no way of knowing why Attia spoke so cheerfully. Attia’s smile slowly deepened as she slowly raised her finger and pointed straight at Raven.

“It’s the same body, but with different souls. That is why you, Raven Valt, will be forming a new contract with Soldrake, the Pendragon family’s dragon.”

“….”

***

Raven’s jaws refused to close.

“Wooo! Huah!”

The smooth, muscular, pure white body devoid of any scars moved up and down repeatedly.

“Y, your Grace… you shouldn’t be doing this…. Ahh!”

Lindsay’s boisterous chest was even more prominent when her arms were put together. She let out harsh breaths with a red-hot face.

“Hoowook! Huagh! Just a little more. Huuagh! Be strong.”

“W, well, if you keep doing this… Ahh!”

“It’s not like I’m doing this just for my sake, Huuah! Be a little more patient. Uaghh!”

“Ahh! Well if the head maid finds out… Ahhh!”

Lindsay fell back with a short scream. She promptly stood back up and straightened her messy clothes.

“I’m so sorry, Your Grace.”

“No, that’s fine. This is good enough for today.”

It was a bit regrettable, but Raven lifted his body. Lindsay hurried forward and wiped his sweating body with a cold towel. Her cheeks still burned red, but it seemed to stem from a different reason.

“W, well, Your Grace, are you sure you’re fine? It has only been two days since you’ve been walking. Are you sure you should be performing such vigorous exercises…? What if…”

Raven clicked his tongue at Lindsay’s words.”

“Why would anyone call sit-ups a vigorous exercise?”

“Well still…”

Lindsay continued to steal glances at Raven’s handsome face with a worried expression. During the three years he laid unconscious, his face had become pale like a corpse. Recently however, color was slowly returning to his face. His facial features had looked like an elaborate sculpture before, but now was becoming more handsome.

Besides, it was none other than herself who took care of him and cleaned his body every day for the last three years. She was more than familiar with his body. She knew where every mole was, and even the private parts of men….

‘W, what am I even thinking about…’

Lindsay lowered her beet-red face. Even though she was so used to cleaning his body, it was different now that he was awake. It was flustering. Less than ten days had passed since he awoke, but his physique seemed stronger than before, and that did not help at all with Lindsay’s embarrassment.

“That’s enough. I can take care of the rest. You may go.”

“Hmm? Ah, yes…”

Lindsay broke free of her daze and stepped back, taking the wash basin and the towel. It was somewhat disappointing that His Grace, who was like the sky to her, did not enjoy being served anymore like he used to in the past.

Raven was now left alone. He proceeded to put on a shirt, sat in a chair, and took a sip of water from a glass.

“She is quite a pleasant one. I have watched her for three years, and she’s never been careless. I think it might be a good idea to take her as a concubine. Her buttocks are large, and she has plentiful breasts. She’ll do well to bear and raise your children.”

Cough! Cough!

Water sprouted from Raven’s mouth at the words of Attia’s ghost, who had appeared out of nowhere.

“What do you mean concubine? I have no such thoughts.”

Raven spoke bluntly as he wiped the water off the table and his mouth. Attia tilted her head.

“Why would you say that? A nobleman must bear many offspring. My older brother and Gordon both only had one son because they adored their wives too much. That is why a no-good like Alan became the heir of our family. If you do not want to walk down the same path, I suggest you make good relationships with the girls in the castle and have some sons.”

“Don’t you think your time would be better spent telling me more about the mausoleum (a shrine where the souls of ancestors are enshrined) and Soldrake?”

Raven quickly changed the topic. Fortunately, Attia seemed to regard regaining the family honor as more important than bearing children. She spoke with a prudent face.

“Yes, you’re right. So, as I’ve already told you, the most important task for you right now is to reopen the mausoleum. The reason for our family’s current decline is because the mausoleum is closed. You must work to reopen it.”

When Raven had first heard about the mausoleum and Soldrake a few days ago, he had immediately come to a better understanding of the Pendragon family’s situation.

The Pendragon mausoleum was not simply a place to honor the family ancestors. Actually, almost all the wealth and power of the Pendragon family were concentrated in the mausoleum. The gold mine, iron mine, crystal mine, and even a magic tower capable of arcane magic were all located in the mausoleum.

Even lower summons that were controlled by Soldrake resided in the mausoleum.

It would normally be a bad idea to concentrate all the power in one place, but there was a good reason for it.

The Pendragon family was a force that was counted as one of the strongest in the empire, due to their power to control the dragons. They were considered one of the strongest on earth.

If such a family’s power dispersed in an internal strife, it would have a huge impact on the Duchy as well as the whole empire. That was why the Pendragon family used magic to allow only the real successor, who had contracted with Soldrake, to open the mausoleum.

Thus, the duke of the family had sole control over the entire family over the generations. It helped in preventing the dispersal of power by allowing only the righteous successor to open the mausoleum.

Of course, that was also the reason why the Pendragon family was in such dire straits currently.

“I agree with you in that we need to reclaim the mausoleum. But don’t we need an army for that? Going as far as Bellint Gate might not be a problem, but you said the way to the mausoleum is located in the Ancona forest. It will be filled with all sorts of monsters and spirits. We only have three knights, and barely a hundred men. Even then, we will need to leave some behind to defend, leaving us to take what… fifty soldiers?! With that number, I don’t know how we will ever…”

“But we have you, don’t we?”

Attia cut off Raven’s words as he was deep into thought. Raven seemed irritated, but then quickly regained a calm expression.

“What do you expect me to do with this body? What do you expect me to do when I get tired after doing only fifty sit-ups?”

“Raven Valt, you may fool ghosts, but you can’t fool me. An undying body. The remarkable rate of healing. Ten year’s worth of skills honed on the battlefield. You’ve already regained all of that, haven’t you?”

Attia looked at Raven with a slight hint of a smile on her face. Raven shut his mouth.

‘How did this old hag figure it out? No, rather, what does she mean by ‘fool a ghost’? She’s the damn ghost here…’

Raven let out a sigh and spoke in a resigned voice.

“Well, if you already know that much, there’s not much for me to say. But are you saying I should push those soldiers knowing that I will be bringing them to their doom in the process?”

“Someone who’s done everything to survive amidst a bunch of scoundrels and monsters is now claiming to be a saint? Turning over a new leaf now, are you? That is something to laugh about now, isn’t it?”

Raven found nothing to say at Attia’s ridicule. They used to say that Attia was called the Pendragon family's tigress when she was alive, and even in death, she was quite something.

Even the reaper of the battlefield could not easily handle her.

She was the first and only woman in the history of the Pendragon family to communicate with the dragon. That pretty much summed it up.

“Well since you’ve been reborn, I guess there’s no law that says you can’t turn over a new leaf. Tell you what. I’ll teach you something good.”

“And what would that be?”

“There are warriors that can easily handle ten soldiers individually. If you can win them over, then you will be able to deal with the monsters of Ancona forest and find your way to the mausoleum.”

“Huh! I mean, why didn’t you tell me earlier if you knew such a thing?”

Raven knew after a few days of interaction with Attia that she never said anything in vain. If there really were warriors such as that, then he could definitely open the mausoleum. Heck, he could even go straight to his hometown and solve the secrets of the Valt family.

As if reading his thoughts, Attia spoke with a mysterious smile.

“It would be better for you not to have other thoughts. They are those who are entangled with the Pendragon family through old pledges. They might not recognize you as the true successor unless you reclaim the mausoleum. Everything is up to you.”

“….”

He kept thinking. There must be a catch to this.

There was.

The old ghost tigress carefully planned everything.

‘I guess I have no choice but to do as she tells me for the time being.’

“So, who are they? The great warriors?”

“Ancona Orcs. With their strength, you can easily pave the way to the mausoleum.”

“Orcs?!”

Raven jumped up unintentionally.

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