And among the territories, Raven faced a great deal of surprise as he passed through the Goran territory of High Lord Canberra.
Their total population was well over 100,000, and Count Canberra had six subordinate lords serving under him. The territory deserved to be called a small kingdom.
Raven was not too concerned about the number of their troops, but in all honesty, he envied their wealth and the environment. What was even more astounding was that Count Canberra’s territory of Goran only ranked around the middle amongst the territories of the thirteen High Lords of the empire. The territories that fought for the top spot had well over four times the population and wealth of Goran.
Of course, in terms of resources and land, the Pendragon territory was not far behind them, but economic power was not determined solely by land breadth and resources.
Many factors, including population, had to become well integrated and utilized in order for the Pendragon Duchy to become a truly ‘great independent territory’ that was stronger and greater than it was now.
Also, Raven knew that it was necessary to grow his power in order to face those that tried to assassinate Crown Prince Shio and planted the lich in his own territory.
“I need a way…”
Although he had learned and experienced growth recently, Raven was someone who spent more than half of his life in the battlefield. Thus, he could not think of an effective solution to grow the duchy’s power and influence. Nevertheless, he did not become frustrated.
Unlike before, there were reliable colleagues and knights in the Pendragon Duchy. Above all, he had the man named Vincent Ron of the Twilight Tower.
Although Vincent Ron had not sworn allegiance to him, Raven had the confidence to make Vincent his man.
“We’re at Big Stone Gate, my lord.”
Raven shook away his worries and raised his head. In front of him was the entrance to the great territory of Seyrod, Big Stone Gate.
“What are your orders?”
Isla asked carefully, and the middle of Raven’s forehead creased. Until now, he had been hiding his true identity. It was because he had thought no good would come out of revealing his identity in other territories.
From here on out, however, it was the Great Territory of Seyrod, which had a long history of friendship with the Pendragon family. That was why Isla had asked for Raven’s orders.
“Let’s stop by for a day or so. His daughter put in so much effort, so it won’t be polite if we do not say hello.”
Isla bowed down and rode his horse ahead of everyone else towards the gate.
[Ray, are you going to meet that child?]
Soldrake spoke, even though she rarely initiated a conversation in front of other humans. Raven tilted his head and answered in a surprised tone.
“That child? Who?”
[The girl who clearly had feelings for Ray.]
“…You mean Luna Seyrod?”
Raven frowned at Soldrake, who was nodding her head.
“If I go, I’m sure I’ll get to see her. But I do not think Luna Seyrod has any feelings for me. She just became greedy for a moment because her ex-fiancé and his family are regaining power.”
In response to Raven’s stern words, Soldrake stared at him briefly before speaking in an indifferent tone.
[No, that’s not true. Her feelings are as intense as the daughter of the human emperor. When she looks at Ray, her breathing becomes ragged and her heartbeat quickens. And the musk from her body becomes stronger than normal.]
“W, what the hell are you talking about…”
Raven began to panic, and Soldrake landed the finishing blow.
[What do you mean? It is only a natural phenomenon that happens when a female tries to seduce a male.]
“…I see, why don’t we stop there”
[Ray, when I teach you something you don’t know, you should be grateful.]
[Ray, I can hear your thoughts. You think I’ve been nagging you more.]
“…I, it’s nothing.”
[Ray, it’s not good to hide your feelings from your partner.]
Raven eventually surrendered to a series of attacks by his companion, who knew all his thoughts and emotions.
“I’m just going to stop by and say hello. It does not matter what Luna Seyrod thinks of me. That’s not important.”
Soldrake gazed at Raven with eyes like the starry stars and reached out her hand.
[Ray’s sincerity, it’s good to feel it.]
Soldrake gently twisted Raven’s hair, which had grown quite long, with her fingers. Raven smiled gently in response and patted her on the head.
“I’m always sincere with you.”
[I know, but knowing is different from experiencing it directly. And I want to experience your sincerity often.]
Raven nodded as he saw Soldrake give a rare smile. But only the two of them were experiencing happiness, and those who saw the sight from behind were as uncomfortable as they could be. Nevertheless, the rest of the group did not dare to openly stare or cough at the two.
They were thinking of how amazing it was to be witnessing the beautiful but terrifying dragon’s affectionate behaviour, as well as Alan Pendragon’s nonchalant response. The rest of them shared glances with each other as they rode their horses.
At that moment, a group of horses accompanying Isla came towards them at a high speed.
A knight and a group of soldiers from the Seyrod family hurriedly descended from their horses and saluted towards Raven. All of them were equipped with armor decorated with the symbol of a red wolf.
“I greet the heir to the great White Dragon, Your Grace Pendragon! I am Lord Seyrod’s sword, Marlon Vaughn.”
Raven nodded at the knight’s valiant greeting.
“Nice to meet you, Sir Vaughn. Please understand that I had to stop by without prior notice because of personal reasons.”
“Of course, your grace. Everyone already knows about the events in the city of Leus and the great territory of Sisak. The news reached our territory as well a few days ago.”
An indescribable look of respect was contained in the face of the knight as he responded.
The accompanying soldiers of the Seyrod family also stole glances of admiration at Raven and Soldrake.
Raven asked back, a little taken back.
“Hmm? That fast?”
“Yes. Sisak merchants and mercenaries spread the news via carrier pigeons everywhere. I am sure that by now, the news would have also reached the imperial castle as well.”
“Is that so…”
Raven stroked his chin and pondered after hearing the explanation. Then Jody slowly spoke up.
“Sisak is an area where mercenaries have been active for a long time. News originating from there spreads very fast, your grace.”
“I see. Anyways, I’m sure you know, Sir Vaughn, but I do not have any memories of my past, so if you could guide me in the Great Territory of Seyrod, I would be grateful.”
“I am honoured that you would ask me, your grace. Please leave it to me.”
The knight thumped his chest plate with an emotional expression.
Raven was unaware, but the story of the duel between Toleo Arangis and his men against Alan Pendragon and his knights had already spread out through the entire empire.
Alan Pendragon was already being regarded as the strongest knight among the younger generations to have appeared in the last decade, and some were even calling him a dragon knight.
Even the reputations of Isla and Karuta had grown considerably with the story of the duel. The three men’s heroic battles spread across the empire as bards sang songs about them, addressing Isla as the ‘dark-brown tremor’ and Karuta as the ‘Pendragon’s monster god’.
The only reason why Raven’s group were still ignorant of the fact was that they had not interacted with anyone during their entire trip.
“Hey, did you happen to hear any stories of a good-looking female mercenary who fought alongside His Grace Pendragon?”
“Of course he hasn’t. What about any stories about a true man named Gus who serves His Grace Pendragon with unending loyalty?”
“Well, I’m sorry, but I am not quite sure I’ve heard such stories.”
When the knight shook his head, Scylla and Gus became disappointed. Leo held back his laughter, and Jody sighed at the sight.
“Hey, you pathetic bastards. What did you guys even do that would ever cause such rumours to spread? Anyways… Tsk! Tsk!”
“No, well, just in case…”
The two took on awkward expressions and slipped away.
“In any case, your grace’s reputation is sky-high. Lord Seyrod will be very pleased to have you here. Ah! By the way, Lady Luna was also looking forward to having you visit our territory.”
“I, I see…”
Raven was taken back at the mention of Luna Seyrod and turned his gaze to Soldrake. But perhaps by coincidence, Soldrake happened to turn her head away from Raven at that exact moment.
Besides, Soldrake wasn’t the only problem
“Excuse me, who is this Lady Luna?”
Scylla’s eyes glinted and she asked a nearby soldier.
“Oh, she’s the lady of our territory. In the past, His Grace Pendragon and Lady Luna were…”
Raven hurriedly interrupted with a cough.
“Now, let’s hurry up. The sun has been setting quite early these days. I think we should hurry if we want to arrive at the castle before it gets dark.”
“Ah, there’s no need to worry, your grace. Seyrod Castle is just around the corner of Bigstone…”
The knight felt a killing intent of unknown origins and rode his horse forward after turning around.
The group set off once more.
“So, what about this Lady Luna and His Grace Pendragon in the past?”
But Scylla’s curiosity had yet to be resolved, even as the group of horses passed through the gate.
Even though it was not as big as Conrad Castle, Count Seyrod’s castle was still quite large. In addition, it was built on top of a man-made lake, which was created by connecting the tributaries of the river. Its appearance was quite unique with its many water gates, both small and large.
Scylla gazed at the castle with a euphoric expression. The scenery of the castle floating on the lake was quite beautiful, especially with the falling leaves as the season turned.
The cavalry, who had escorted the group to the castle, also stole glances back at Alan Pendragon as they passed through the long stone bridge into the castle. They had their chests straightened out and had no doubts that even Alan Pendragon would admire the sight of their beautiful castle.
But Raven and Isla looked at the castle with cold eyes, contrary to their expectations, and spoke to each other in quiet voices with a serious look on their faces.
The calvary were inwardly disappointed.
But if they had heard the conversation that was being held, they might have passed out in shock.
“There are eight floodgates. That’ll make it difficult when sieging the castle.”
“Certainly. Moreover, the current appears to be flowing towards the back of the castle. They have a clear escape route as well.”
“You are right. It will be very hard to bring a siege ballista here because of the geography as well. In the end, the solution would be an aerial attack… We might need to siege fortresses similar to this castle in the future, so we should speed up the formation training of the griffon riders.”
“My lord, I will train fifty riders within this year with all my might.”
“I trust you. But do not overdo it. We are not invaders.”
“I will remember your words.”
Raven and Isla were sharing their tactical opinions with the most serious looks on their faces, in front of a castle that belonged to their neighbour who could be called their relative.
Jody clicked his tongue inward as he rode his horse right behind the two. They absolutely deserved their titles as the reaper of the battlefield and stormbringer.
‘Oh, my God. I understand that a Valvas Cavalier might have such knowledge, but how did the young master learn such tactics at that age? It’s not something you can learn by reading books… whew.’
Books were different from reality.
Countless nobles and lords learned and trained in various fields from a young age, including horsemanship, and mastery of different weapons and tactics. But when they experienced real battle, they failed to direct the soldiers in a controlled, sensical way, and the battles usually ended up as dogfights.
However, the conversation that was held between the two men was at a different level.
Jody knew well that only those who had first-hand experience in sieges could talk about such matters with precision and accuracy.
Above all, Jody had personally seen the two people display their skills.
Only two people had completely turned the tide of an unfavourable battle. And it was not simply due to their excellent swordsmanship.
Their bold charge was a culmination of their cold judgement as they factored in the geography, as well as the flaws in the enemy’s formation. Jody could bet all his money on this.
The large gate started to creak open. A liaison had already gone ahead to notify the castle of their arrival. Then, the sound of longhorns echoed through the lake, which was decorated with the red garments of autumn trees.
A few people walked out from the castle accompanied by armed knights.
Raven’s gaze slowly turned.
It might have been due to the sunset, but Luna Seyrod seemed to have blushed cheeks as she slightly lowered her head towards Raven.
Luna seemed to have matured in the past month.
Feeling embarrassed, Raven licked his lips when he heard the voice of Soldrake in his ear.
[Ray, that child’s odour is much stronger today. I think the mating season has come.]
A long sigh eventually escaped Alan Pendragon’s mouth.Previous Chapter Next Chapter