Orcs were a race of monsters. Some said that they were a race born from humans interbreeding with demons, and others said that they were descendants of ancient giants that were cursed by the gods.
Anyway, both explanations meant the same thing.
It meant that they were a race born for battle and slaughter. That was what an orc was. Regardless of what tribe they belonged to, all orcs were tough and fierce, and most especially crazed for battle.
If the devil decides to come, invite an orc for supper.
The orcs were brave. Brave enough for there to be an ancient proverb as such. But there was another reason that Raven was stupefied right now.
“You’re saying that the orcs are going to be willing to help humans?”
The orcs were busy all year-round bickering and fighting amongst themselves. They did not give a rat’s ass to what the humans were doing or what was happening in the world.
Cases of orcs attacking humans were non-existent unless humans were invading their land. Sometimes there would be stories where orcs helped lost human travelers by giving them water and food, then pointing them along in the right direction.
The reason for their supposed kindness was simple.
The Orcs did not care for beings that were weaker than themselves.
“It seems that you know quite a bit about orcs. Well, I’m sure being on the battlefield for ten years helped with that.”
“I just know some basic knowledge. Anyways, are you confident that I would be able to receive aid from orcs? The Ancona Orcs? I’ve never heard of them before…”
“It’s no wonder you’ve never heard of them. The Ancona Orcs are a tribe that dwells in the Ancona forest. They reside there with the favor of the Pendragon family and have never left.”
“The orcs owe us a favor? I mean, I feel that if they claimed the land to be theirs, the Pendragon family would not be able to do anything about it.”
The orcs were not called a hundred men strong for no reason. An army of a hundred fully grown adult orcs could rival an army of thousand-men.
What that really meant was that the weakened Pendragon family did not have the power to control the Orcs of the Ancona forest. Heck, they had even suffered the humiliation of being broken off from an engagement by a mere county.
“You’re making a fool of yourself. Before the orcs entered the Ancona forest, it was the territory of Soldrake.”
Raven nodded his head while taking a seat. No matter how strong the orcs were, they could not rival a dragon.
Soldrake was a dragon contracted with the Pendragon family.
Even if the connection were temporarily broken, there was no way the orcs would boldly claim ownership of the forest. Because Soldrake would immediately punish them.
“Then is it not possible for us to force them to mobilize? Maybe we could borrow Soldrake’s power…”
“You foolish child. Soldrake already knows that you are not Alan Pendragon. Do you think she would listen to you? And even though they live on borrowed land, the Ancona Orcs are not ones to be easily ordered around.”
“I…. That is right.”
Raven licked his lips in disappointment.
It might be different for battles within their tribes, but when battling other races, the orcs fought until one side was annihilated. The weak died. That was the way of the orcs. They were tough.
“So that means it is up to me to convince them.”
“That is right. It has already been ten years since we’ve last contacted them. Ever since Gordon Pendragon died, there has never been any meetings. Anyways, this was a task you would have undertaken anyway as the Pendragon family's successor. It won’t be easy, but if you can win them over, I am certain they will be of big help to reclaiming the mausoleum and maybe handling your other issues as well.”
“Can I do that?”
Raven took on a severe expression.
“If you reclaim the mausoleum and manage to contract with Soldrake, I won’t interfere anymore in your affairs. I am sure you do not want to keep seeing me anyway. When the mausoleum is reopened, my soul will return there. The mausoleum is the place where a Pendragon should reside anyways.”
Raven felt a sense of sympathy and reverence at the old lady’s bitter smile. He could feel her affection for the family.
Her aspirations were not so different from his own. One as a ghost, the other coming back from the dead. The two people both hoped to resolve their family’s tragedy.
Maybe meeting with Attia was not a coincidence, but fate. Raven pondered but then spoke with a calm voice.
“Alright. Give me about half a month’s time. I need to sort out some issues within the castle first.”
“You must be talking about your keen subjects. Well, the foolish ones were probably quaking in their shoes with the current situation. Please remember that they endured years after Alan fell unconscious. Their loyalty seems unshaken so try to discern the gems from the rocks. Not that it is going to be easy, of course.”
Raven stood up after listening to Attia, then replied with a smirk on his face.
“I just need to beat them up. Then I’ll get started right away.”
Attia stared at Raven’s back, not knowing what to say at his absurd words. Maybe she had made a mistake. Maybe.
“I have not seen His Grace for the past few days. Do you know if something’s happened with him?”
“The maids have been saying that weird noises are heard coming from his room.”
The noblewomen of Conrad castle were gathered in the garden for a tea party. They spoke to each other in hushed tones and with wide eyes full of curiosity.
One noblewoman whispered with a slight blush on her face.
“Well. They say that he only allows the girl named Lindsay into his room. And that… whenever that child enters the room… that… weird noises come out from the room…”
“Oh my my!”
As if on cue, everyone raised their hands to cover their gasps, but their curiosity did not fade.
“Already playing around with a maid girl… and so soon after the engagement’s been broken too!.. Well, I guess he is at that age though.”
“That girl named Lindsay is sly too. She's young but already trying to wriggle her way in as a concubine…”
“Well, she does have a fair face and big breasts. His Grace Pendragon is a man after all… Maybe he took a liking to her…”
“Who took a liking to who?”
The noblewomen shut their mouths and stood up in their place after hearing the whimsical voice. A girl of about sixteen stood there with gorgeous blonde hair and slightly drooping eyes, which automatically evoked protective instincts. Contrastingly, another girl, who looked intelligent and calm, walked alongside her with a following of maids.
“We greet you, my ladies.”
“We greet you, Lady Pendragon and Lady Seyrod.”
The noblewomen curtsied in front of Irene Pendragon and Luna Seyrod. The maids quickly brought chairs, and the two girls sat down in their seats.
“Have a seat everybody. Anyway, it seemed like you ladies were having an interesting conversation. Could you let me join in on the fun as well?”
Irene Pendragon spoke with a smile that could charm even women. The noblewomen all glanced at each other while silently swallowing their words.
Her sweet smile might entrance someone who saw the girl for the first time, but the noblewomen who had lived for tens of years in Conrad castle were not fooled.
They knew how bad her temperament was and how she truly was -- meticulous and obscene. The noblewomen had already faced this stubbornness several times. Besides, she had Luna Seyrod by her side as well, though they really did not know why Luna was still staying in Conrad castle after breaking off the engagement.
“Why isn’t anybody saying anything? I would a-ppre-ci-ate it if someone could tell me.”
Irene’s smile deepened. She looked even more innocent and cute.
The noblewomen instinctively sensed the danger and fought to speak first.
“His Grace A, Alan Pendragon seems to be letting a child named Lindsay into his bedroom often, my lady.”
“A, and we hear that whenever she enters the room, w, weird noises are heard coming from the room.”
Luna’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Well, that is…”
The noblewomen paused for a moment. They were not sure that it was appropriate for a young girl to hear something like this. Then as Irene prepared to give another chill-inducing smile, one person sputtered.
“W, well we hear that noises similar to a man and a woman making love come from the room…”
Irene’s hand that was reaching for the teacup froze midair. Then as if nothing happened, she calmly picked up the teacup and gave a beautiful smile that was evocative of blooming flowers in a field.
“Sounds. Like. A. Man. And. Woman. Making. Love… I see…”
The noblewomen all froze in place.
‘Lady Irene is furious right now.’
‘Good Lord, what do we do?’
The noblewomen quickly picked up on Irene’s mood shift and communicated with each other with glances.
And to make it worse, Irene Pendragon was…
“So, you are saying that my brother, who is the gentlest, most handsome, and the most prestigious person in the world, is making l.o.v.e with a maid? With his unhealed body?”
That was right. She had a terrible brother complex.
When the previous duke Gordon Pendragon passed, Alan Pendragon had taken care of his two-year-old sister and had been there as Irene’s support.
Their mother, Elena Pendragon, was busy taking care of the affairs of the castle and the territory. That was why Alan Pendragon, who liked to read and paint unlike other boys of his age, was always by Irene’s side. To Irene Pendragon, Alan Pendragon was a brother, a father figure, and her only friend.
So, when Alan fell into an unconscious state, the shock and despair she felt were excruciating.
She would cry at his bedside several times a day.
That brother whom she loved so dearly had woken after three years.
Words could not describe how hot her love and obsession burned for her brother. Even hotter than before…
“W, well, my lady… We hear that His Grace Alan is already fully recovered. Apparently, he runs around with no problem.”
Irene paused, her bright smile still on her face.
“Running… He asked me to temporarily stop visiting him because of his condition, but he is running around and making love with a maid…. Ho, ho ho. Lady Luna, what do you think about this?”
The noblewomen felt a chill run down their spines even though it was the middle of summer. They turned their gaze towards Luna, who had been silent throughout the entire conversation.
Their eyebrows shot towards the sky. Luna Seyrod was a stone statue, holding a teacup with a blank expression.
‘S, she must be shaken.’
The women once again exchanged gazes.
Irene, who felt that something was off, called Luna once again with a softer voice.
“Ah…? Ah, I, I am sorry. What did you say?”
“I said that my brother is running around even though he is supposedly not feeling well and passionately making love with a maid. I asked what you think about this, sister Luna.”
Irene explained once more, daring to add the word ‘passionate’ this time. Luna Seyrod’s face reddened deep like a tomato, and her shoulders shook visibly.
“Ah, I, I, don’t know…”
The noblewomen took on a toned-down, surprised expression at the sight of the usually calm and cold girl blushing. It WAS weird that she had not gone back even several days after the engagement’s cancellation. Something was up.
“Hm, I see. Well, now that you’re not engaged anymore, you’re only his cousin after all.”
Strictly speaking, Luna was the foster daughter of the Seyrod family, which meant that she did not have blood-relations with the Pendragon family. Only if she had married Alan Pendragon, then she would have become a blood relative.
“Do you know what my brother is doing right now? Go find out for me. Even if he IS making love…”
Irene finally turned her attention away from Luna with an off-putting smile, putting her hands together and looking at the maids.
“Yes, my lady.”
One maid hurriedly ran down the hill they were on.
Irene smiled. The women sent each other concerning glances while Luna bit her lips, still flustered.
After a while, the maid returned.
“My lady, your older brother is in the courtyard.”
“The courtyard? Why?”
“He has summoned all the sirs and the knights of the castle.”
“Okay? What the hell is going on?”
Irene tilted her head. It was weird that her brother, who had locked himself in his room for the past several days, had suddenly called a gathering in the courtyard.
“Well, my lady, that, that…”
“What. Is there anything more?”
The maid answered in an expression of disbelief.
“His Grace Alan broke, Sir Killian’s…. that…”
“Broke? Broke what?”
The maid stuttered, her face blushed red.Previous Chapter Next Chapter