“I know it’s quite shabby, but please make yourself comfortable.”
“This is luxury compared to the field. Thank you for being considerate.”
Raven shook his head as he entered the residence under the guidance of Derek Ramelda and his son Leo. The bedroom, office, and study were separated, and the room was neat and practical. Raven rather liked this layout even more so than Conrad castle’s needlessly luxurious decorations.
“Not at all. Please have a good rest. Then I’ll…”
“No, stay for a moment. Both of you.”
Derek Ramelda was calm and composed just like when Raven first saw him, but Leo looked a little dejected and uncomfortable. It was understandable, as he had just seen the High Lord’s daughter and the lord’s son be humiliated and destroyed by the man sitting in front of him.
However, Leo had also treated Raven and his companions pretty badly. He had mocked them and laughed at their faces. Just thinking about it made him have chills run down his back.
Raven saw through Leo’s concerns and gave a mischievous smile.
“Hmm, does Leo Ramelda feel uncomfortable with me?”
“Ah! Ah, no, not at all.”
Raven erased his smile and frowned slightly at the sight of Leo’s response.
“No? So, you must think the heir of the Pendragon family is easy to deal with.”
“Heuk! No, that’s not what I meant…” Leo hurriedly responded and shook his head with a pale complexion.
Raven had taken a small revenge on Leo, who had often played mischievous pranks along with Raven’s brother on Raven when they were young. He laughed, then continued.
“I’m kidding. You seem awfully timid for a man who spent three years traveling with mercenaries. Just relax.”
“Ah, yes… But how did you know that?” Leo scratched his head with relief, then asked.
“As I planned to get to the bottom of the matter, I investigated Baron Nobira and all the knights that serve under him. Your family, the Tylens, and even the Valt family.”
This was a lie, but Raven made up convincing excuses.
“Then is Raven Valt also a fictitious person?”
Raven was a little startled at Derek Ramelda’s question, but he shook his head without showing his emotions.
“No, Raven Valt was a real person. He was an illegitimate son of Gray Valt.”
Raven Valt didn’t exist in this world. Gray Valt had only one child, Reed Valt. But Raven didn’t deny the fact the “Raven Valt” was an actual person. No matter what anyone said, he was Raven Valt just as much as he was Alan Pendragon.
“Well, excuse my impudence, but I would like to hear more.”
Derek Ramelda was quite surprised to hear that his friend had an illegitimate child that he didn’t know about. Ramelda had known Gray for more than half of his life.
“Twenty years ago, Count Bresia’s eldest daughter, Nadia Bresia married Viscount Alaba of Martana. Gray Valt spent a couple of months there as Nadia Bresia’s escort, right?”
Ramelda nodded his head. That had happened before.
“At that time, Gray Valt met a distant relative of Viscount Alaba. A lady named Shina…. Gino.”
Raven’s voice quivered slightly as he brought up his mother’s name after a long time, but he quickly regained his calm.
“Gray Valt loved her with all his heart and asked her to follow him back to Sisak. But she chose not to go with him. She thought she might get in the way of his future, as he might one day become a knight under the High Lord.”
“That sort of thing… Then Raven Valt…”
“Yes. He was a boy born from the brief encounter between Gray Valt and Shina Gino. As an unmarried woman, Shina Gino went to her uncle Baron Edward Clint to give birth to her baby. Raven Valt grew up with the identity of Raven Clint, but he knew his true identity as Gray Valt’s son. But unfortunately,… he was killed in a battle over the position of Clint's family's heir.
Raven had a complex expression. The story about the meeting between his father and mother was true, but the part about Baron Clint’s family was false. After his mother had given birth to him, she had died from an illness when he was seven years old. At that young age, he had gone to the Valt family with the belongings his father had left behind.
Derek Ramelda couldn’t hide his shock at finding out about his friend’s secret affairs. Noticing a hint of doubt on Ramelda’s face, Raven continued to speak.
“Everything I said, I heard from Prince Ian directly. His brother Crown Prince Shio was poisoned, so Prince Ian spared no effort in finding out everything he could about the Valt family. All in all, my actions here have been to find out the truth about the incident three years ago, and pass judgment onto the ones responsible for the matter in the place of the Valt family that was unfairly persecuted.
Derek Ramelda’s eyes violently trembled at Raven’s words. He could not do anything for his friend who was driven to death as a traitor except to ask for a reinvestigation and a thorough search for truth. However, his words were dismissed because of his status, and he became rather disliked due to the fact that he had dared question the lord and the High Lord’s judgment. But now, the heir to the Pendragon family, whom he had never imagined to see in his lifetime, had proven the innocence of his friend, and taken revenge in their stead.
Derek Ramelda’s heart thumped violently. The cold, arrogant, pretty-looking young man in front of him was a true knight. Derek Ramelda slowly rose from his seat.
“I, Derek Ramelda, Toro’s knight, am truly touched by your words. I will be eternally grateful that you carried out the task of proving my friend’s innocence and ridding the Valt family of their title as traitors. I am embarrassed at my incompetence in the matter, but from now, I swear that I will do everything in my power to help or assist the Pendragon family in any way possible as long as I shall live. This shall truly hold for my son, and even his son as well.”
Leo also fell to one knee and bowed down after hearing his father’s oath. Raven slowly closed his eyes as he looked down at the two men. He stopped himself from tearing up.
Raven was not mistaken, and his father was not mistaken either. Derek Ramelda was a man of true loyalty.
“Why don’t you sit down.”
The father-son duo sat back down in their chairs.
“I am grateful for the Ramelda family’s loyalty. But as I told you before, you need to stay here and rule as a viscount.”
Ramelda’s took on a prudent expression. Earlier in the afternoon, he had doubted his ears when he had heard Raven’s words in the monastery.
Raven said that he would be given the title of viscount and rule over the land. Moreover, he wouldn’t be under Count Bresia’s rule, but an independent viscount who served directly under the empire. It was literally the birth of another force in Sisak.
“Of course, even if you integrate Toro and Moncha and rule over a five-mile radius, it would be less than twenty percent of Sisak as a whole. But there is a closed iron mine about three miles away from Moncha. If you reopen it, you should be able to sustain yourself.”
“Are you talking about Riddleton Mine? But there’s…”
“I know. The terrain is rough and there are monsters everywhere. Baron Nobira and even Count Bresia did not succeed in reclaiming the mine. The best they could do was to hire mercenaries to take care of the monsters as they came down to the foot of the mountain.”
“You know very well.”
Ramelda was quite surprised that Alan Pendragon, as an outsider, would know so much about the inner situation in the territory of Sisak. And it seemed he had a solution, as he would not have brought up the issue otherwise.
“I’ll send my family’s soldiers to assist you.”
“What? But I don’t think it will be easy for soldiers from the Pendragon Duchy to come all the way here…”
Ramelda blurted the end of his words. Even though the Pendragon Duchy was very strong, they could not send their troops into other people’s territory at will. The proud and self-respecting High Lord would not tolerate soldiers from other territories to pass through their land. Especially more so for the Pendragon family, as their fame had soared through the skies recently.
“My father is right, your grace. And even if the Pendragon Duchy’s soldiers arrive as reinforcements, the monsters of Mount Riddleton are quite formidable. We have already confirmed three groups of ogres, and that’s not the end of them.”
Trolls were a symbol of regeneration, but ogres were known for their absurd strength. The young monsters were around 15 feet, and a fully grown ogre grew past 25 feet. Even a dozen soldiers could not easily take care of a single ogre. To make matters worse, unlike trolls, who acted alone, ogres always moved in packs of four or five. That’s why even the imperial army had left the monsters alone in the past.
“I know what you are worried about. I’ll take care of that issue on my own. And I did not say that they would be arriving by foot, did I?”
“Huh?” The two men tilted their heads in confusion.
Raven turned his head.
“Sir Isla, why don’t you properly introduce yourself?”
Isla had been standing silently, but now, he bowed his head lightly before speaking, “I’m a knight of Pendragon, Elkin Isla. I lead the duchy’s griffon unit under the command of my lord.”
Leo’s eyes widened in awe. When he had seen the knight’s skill the day before, Leo had assumed that the knight was exceptional. But to think he was the famous knight who knocked down the orc warrior in Leus…
But Derek Ramelda, who wasn’t aware of Isla’s story, expressed his surprise at the mention of a griffon army.
“Yes. Fifty griffons should be enough to take care of three groups of ogres. It’s not like we’re going to deal with them all at once anyway.”
“I will send thirty orc warriors as well. They’re our family’s allies as well as friends. I think that should be enough to take care of that.”
The two men became speechless at Raven’s suggestion.
Fifty griffons and thirty orc warriors? It wasn’t just enough, it was overwhelmingly enough. Such a force could easily handle Mount Riddleton’s monsters, and perhaps it could even conquer the whole territory of Sisak. All in all, it was a monstrous force.
“…but I’m worried that if you provide us with that kind of support, it will leave a vacuum in the forces of the Pendragon Duchy…”
Leo’s expression also turned grim at his father’s worries. But Raven’s answer once again surprised the two men.
“Did I not tell you? You don’t have to worry, we have around ten times that force in the duchy.”
The impact of Raven’s words on Derek Ramelda was enormous. The Royal Guard was a unit under the direct control of the emperor, consisting of 3,000 elite soldiers. Even within the Royal Guard, the strongest unit was the Order of the Golden Griffon which numbered 500. But Alan Pendragon had just announced that he had a similar number of griffons under his control in the Pendragon Duchy. It was simply astonishing, and it was something that could shake the whole empire.
“…Excuse me, but may I ask you one more thing?” Derek Ramelda spoke with a stiff face after a brief moment of pondering.
“Why do you show such a large favor to our family, even though we have no connection to you?”
“Favor? I think you’re misunderstanding something here. I’m not showing you any favor.”
“After watching you over the last few days, and after doing my research, I’ve decided that you are a faithful man. And I need a faithful ally.”
“That’s right. There are three territories between Sisak and Pendragon. And apart from the Seyrod Territory, the other two are not friendly to our family. Of course, it’s not a hostile relationship, but they will try to keep us in check.”
“Surely… yes, you are right.”
The Pendragon family was building up their power and reputation at a rapid pace. Furthermore, unlike the other territories that were under the control and influence of the emperor and the royal family, the Pendragon family was the royal family’s kin, and they had full control over their territory. They could even be considered an independent nation.
So, if the Pendragon family tried to expand their influence, the High Lords of the neighboring territories would inevitably become wary and try to keep the Pendragon family in check.
Militarily, politically, and financially.
In other words, if the High Lords joined forces to control the influx of people and goods into the Pendragon Territory, the Pendragon family would be placed in a very difficult situation.
“That’s why we need a trustworthy ally. I will inform the whole empire that there is an ally to the east who signed a military and economic treaty with Alan Pendragon. Of course, I will also make sure to mention your autonomous status from Sisak’s High Lord, and the fact that you were given your title directly from the royal family. Then, the other High Lords won’t be able to make rash moves, right?”
The faces of the men lit up in profound realization.Previous Chapter Next Chapter