Raven steadily built up favorable relationships with the nobles as Count Seyrod introduced them to him one by one.
Many people already looked up to him and Soldrake in awe and with difficulty, so he thought that there was no need to purposefully prolong the uncomfortable atmosphere any longer.
And due to Raven’s such thoughts, Isla was eventually forced to dance in rotation with more than ten ladies, and he was only freed to head to his lord’s side after an hour of non-stop action. But Isla’s hardships, which had turned him haggard in only an hour, had only begun.
Now, young knights with glistening eyes approached him. Their eyes contained a hint of awe and a sense of challenge. They had heard that Isla had won in a duel against an orc warrior and had earned the nickname Orc Slayer.
However, he was already exhausted from the dance, and he did not have any intention of showing the young men the consideration he had shown the ladies. He suppressed them without a sound using an intimidating gaze and his spirit.
Leo, Sophia, and Jody’s group also received quite a bit of attention.
Rumor had it that the Ramelda family was set to receive the title of viscount as an independent lord, so many people approached Leo, who was set to become the next master of the Ramelda family. This worked out well as Leo aimed to establish friendly relationships with many nobles as he accompanied Alan Pendragon.
Most showed pity towards Sophia. It was the first time Sophia had been treated with such gazes. As the daughter of a high lord, she had been used to being flattered and complemented at such banquets, so she stuck closely to Leo’s side with a crestfallen expression.
However, this produced an unexpected result. The nobles saw the two young people always standing by each other’s side, and they assumed that the High Lord of Sisak would soon become in-laws with the Ramelda family. Eventually, it evolved into a rumor that the Pendragon family, the Ramelda family, and the Bresia family had a close-knit relationship.
Finally, Jody’s group received considerable attention even though they were mercenaries as they were taken in by Alan Pendragon himself. When Jody, who was a good talker, told the delicious tales of how Raven and Isla fought Ruv Tylen’s forces, young knights and nobles quickly became entranced and flocked to his sides.
Scylla, who was a rare woman mercenary, seemed to be getting her money’s worth for her beautification as she danced with several handsome young men. Naturally, Gus could not hold his tongue when he saw Scylla pretend to be shy and gentle. Gus screamed silently as his foot was pierced by the sharp heel of her shoe.
The banquet successfully finished with various interactions as the day came to an end, and Raven and his companions returned to the Pendragon territory along with Luna the next morning.
It was the afternoon, and the sun was slowly drifting through the sky.
In the scorching autumn sun, Raven and his group passed Ronan Bridge, which was one of the paths from the Seyrod territory.
In order to avoid needless hassle, Raven had taken off his armor and put on plain clothes, but anyone could see that the group was unusual and moved aside to make way for them.
“It looks like there are more people crossing the bridge compared to before, my lord.”
“Well, that seems to be the case.”
Raven nodded and looked around at Isla’s words.
There appeared to be many more people compared to the time when he had dealt with Breeden. Most were common peasants or peddlers, but were also a few monks, mercenaries, and free knights mixed in the crowd. In addition to the travelers, there were some carts filled with goods and wagons filled with people dressed in shabby clothing.
The increase in traffic meant that the overall atmosphere of the Pendragon territory would have become more active as well. Raven felt satisfied at the sight and crossed the bridge.
After a while, the group came to a three-way intersection, and people could be seen heading towards their respective destinations. However, many people headed down the large road that led to Conrad Castle and Bellint Gate, as the castle was the heart of the Pendragon Duchy.
Raven felt strange watching the people who had rough, tanned skin, but also lively looks on their faces.
His purpose and goal in life was still avenging the Valt family and revealing the plot that connected the Pendragon family in the matter, but it was still nice to see the development of the Pendragon Duchy.
“You look to be in a good mood, my lord.”
Isla noticed Raven’s soft gaze and spoke with a smile on his face.
“Is that so? I just noticed that the duchy seems to be fairing pretty well.”
He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, but in the end, he was Alan Pendragon as much as he was Raven Valt. It felt good to see his own territory develop and prosper.
“It certainly has changed a lot compared to when I first came to the territory. At that time, it was impossible for ordinary people to move without the escort of mercenaries or free knights like me.”
“Yes. But… I am a little worried.”
“What do you mean?”
Raven gazed at a small village in the distance and responded to Isla.
“This amount of traffic, the number of people entering our territory has grown considerably. And when there’s more people, it always brings about problems.”
“As you know, my family has been on the decline for a long time. Our mines and crystal caves closed off which caused many knights and soldiers to leave. The security of this territory was ruined, and the lives of the common people deteriorated massively. That was the situation only a year ago.”
“Well, so are you saying that the overall quality of life has increased, but that the sudden rise in population may cause problems?”
Even though Isla was mostly unconcerned with matters unrelated to combat, he was quite perceptive. Raven gave a heavy nod in response.
“Exactly. The biggest issues are with houses and food. An influx of people is not necessarily something to only be pleased about.”
“I apologize. Because I am lacking in so many ways…”
“What are you talking about? You are my most reliable sword. Your duty is to serve by my side and protect our duchy. Financial problems are solved using an abacus and food problems by a plow. And thankfully… I think I just got myself a really good abacus.”
“Are you perhaps referring to…”
Raven grinned without an answer and turned his face in the direction of Conrad Castle before muttering to himself.
“I wonder if our abacus and one-egged devil are getting along…”
One-egged devil and abacus. Isla made a strange expression when he noticed that Raven was referring to Knight Killian and Vincent Ron. Meanwhile, he noticed some carriages in the distance ahead of them. There was no reason for carriages to have stopped on such a quiet road, which caused Isla to look over the area with curious eyes.
“Look over there, my lord.”
“I am watching too. It looks like they are nobles.”
The carriage was pulled by two horses and was not so shabby in its appearance, unlike those that were driven by commoners. The horse-drawn carriage was stopped at the side of the road, and two sharp men stood in front of it as if they were guarding it.
They were not taking any actions, but their stout appearances, long swords, and sharp eyes intimidated those that passed by, as the commoners bowed their heads and hurriedly moved along. In addition, the carriage itself was quite large, which caused a blockage in the road for the other carts and carriages behind it.
“Jody. Go and take a look at what is going on.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Jody and Gus hurried forward with their horses. After a short while, Jody returned and spoke in a troubled voice.
“I think they have a loose wheel.”
“If their wheel has gone loose, they should change them. Why are they not taking action when there are many carriages waiting behind them? It should only take a brief moment if those two men worked on it.”
“Well… those two men are knights, and they think it is below them to do such a job. We offered to help, but they said they would not accept help from suspicious people.”
Jody snuck a glance as he finished his words.
Sure enough, Raven’s expression hardened, and his eyes became icy. Raven rode his horse towards the stopped carriage without saying a word, and Isla and the others hurried after him, sensing that something was about to happen.
“Oh, what’s wrong with them? We are quite busy too.”
“Shh! Be quiet. They are knights and nobles, can’t you tell? What are you going to do if you get into trouble?”
“Well, but still...”
Raven rode up to the carriage while listening to the mixture of annoyance and fear from the carriages that were stuck behind.
One of the two young men frowned upon seeing Raven. The young man had thick eyebrows and a blunt nose like a caterpillar, and he seemed to dislike Raven’s beautiful appearance. But upon seeing the people who followed behind Raven, his eyes widened. He could not see Soldrake’s appearance because of her hood, but beauties like Luna and Sophia were quite rare.
“Who is the person riding inside?”
“W, what?” The young man resembling a caterpillar asked in return, after being awoken from his fascination with the two beautiful women.
“Are you deaf? I asked for the identity of the person riding inside the carriage.”
“You, you bastard. How dare…!”
The young man furrowed his thick eyebrows and grabbed the hilt of his sword. Then, the other young man, who had brown hair, noticed the unusual nature of the situation, and stepped out to stop his colleague.
“We are escorting the Lord of Carlson, Baron Emerson. And who are you?”
“Why do you need to know who I am? Just tell the person inside that I will repair the wheels with the help of my friends over there.”
Raven pointed his chin towards behind him, and the two men’s gaze followed along. They saw two mercenaries who had just been here, as well as two other young men.
The brown-haired young man briefly sank into thought at the unusual appearance of the group, which consisted of two beauties as well as Raven and Isla. The two young men were exuding an unusual atmosphere. He shook his head.
“That’s not going to work. We don’t receive help from people whom we don’t know. Instead, if you wait a little longer, we will fix the wheel right away and get out of the way.”
But contrary to his words, two men, who appeared to be the driver of the carriage and a servant, were struggling to shape a tree they had cut into the shape of a wheel. It was obvious that it would take at least an hour to build an axis and put a wheel on it.
“Hey, why don’t you just go back.”
At the threatening words of the young man with thick eyebrows, Raven looked back at Soldrake without changing his expression.
“Sol, can you clean this up for me?”
Soldrake dismounted her horse after nodding once. Then, she walked towards the carriage unhesitatingly.
The two young men pulled out their blades in response, and at the same time, Soldrake’s robe fluttered loudly.
With a groan, the two young men took several steps back and took on stupefied expressions. Their unsheathed blades had flown through the air and hit the ground.
Both of them froze on the spot. They had not seen anything. The woman had only fluttered her robes as she passed them, but then they felt pain in their wrists and lost control of their swords. After passing by the two young men, Soldrake thrust one hand forward and put it under the carriage.
“W, what are you trying to…”
Unlike the young man with thick brows, who was looking down at his hands and the blade with a confused expression, the brown-haired man shouted at Soldrake.
The brown-haired man’s eyes ripped open in disbelief.Previous Chapter Next Chapter