The carriage was rising. The slender figure had lifted the carriage off the ground with just one hand.
Neigh! The horses went wild with shock. When the carriage was displaced, the horse also lost its balance as its body lifted off the ground.
“Ugh! What is going on?”
The people inside the carriage hurriedly poked out their heads in response to the unexpected situation.
A man in his 30s with a mustache and a woman with a curved nose looked out the carriage before their expressions turned pale. They could not tell if this situation was a dream or reality, and they barely resisted fainting at the sight of someone lifting their carriage single-handedly.
[Ray, what should I do with it?]
Soldrake asked while holding up the carriage. Raven moved to Soldrake’s side before speaking to the bearded nobleman.
“W, what are you saying…?”
“Get out if you don’t want to die.”
Even if they wanted to, how could they get off the carriage when it was floating in the air? Then, the brown-haired guard quickly opened the carriage door.
“P, please get out, my lord, my lady.”
The two people barely managed to get off the carriage with the help of the young man. The horse was frantic, and the two nobles shook in fear at the ridiculous situation.
Raven drew his sword.
The faces of the two nobles and the young man became pale, but Raven gave them no thought and swung his sword. The blade cut off the supports and ropes that connected the carriage to the horses, and the two horses ran off as soon as they were freed.
Soldrake slightly moved her arms at Raven’s word. The carriage flew into the air like a feather, before falling down and rolling into a slope to the side of the road.
The carriage roared down the slope before stopping with a loud blast, and the observers of the ludicrous scene, both nobles and commoners, could not hide their shocked expressions. But Raven ignored them and pulled on his reins with an indifferent expression.
Only the members of Raven’s group were aware of Soldrake’s identity and followed behind Raven without becoming flustered.
The noble with the moustache came to his senses as the group left and belated shouted at them.
“Y, you scoundrels!”
Raven stopped in his place and turned his head around.
“H, how dare you perform such evil sorcery in the broad daylight!”
Unless one was a fool, they would not step forward in such a situation. But the noble had lived his life like a king in his own territory until now, which caused him to lose all reason.
“M, my lord!”
The two young men had observed the situation from the beginning, so they had noticed the unusual nature of Raven’s group. They stepped forward to dissuade their lord, but it was too late.
“You bastard! Do you know who I am? A petty mercenary dares to do such…”
“I heard that you are Baron Emerson from Carlson?”
The noble stopped speaking at Raven’s foreboding voice.
“If you are a lord over a territory, you should know what happens if you hunt or cut down trees in someone else’s territory without permission, isn’t that right?”
Baron Emerson hesitated. Why would a mere mercenary ask a question of that nature?
He finally came to his senses and looked around. Weird. Something was definitely strange.
They were dressed like mercenaries, but their faces and auras did not fit the description. This was especially true for the two beautiful ladies who had delicate, pretty faces. They could not possibly be mercenaries.
“It would result in a death penalty for commoners, and even nobles should pay appropriate compensation. Isn’t that right?”
The appearance of the blonde man, who had kept talking in a manner befitting of mercenaries, was unusual as well.
‘I, it can’t be…!’
A thought passed through the minds of Baron Emerson and his group.
“I will treat the carriage as the price for the wood. The trees on my land are much more valuable than yours. Now get out of my territory.” Raven declared in a cold voice and once again rode his horse back.
As Raven’s group passed by Baron Emerson, Isla, who was bringing up the rear, stopped in front of Baron Emerson.
“He is the Pendragon Duchy’s young master, Alan Pendragon. The one who threw your carriage was Soldrake, the guardian deity of the Pendragon family. I suggest you turn back and leave the duchy, but if you have any complaints, feel free to come to Conrad Castle.”
Countless thoughts passed through the mind of Baron Emerson, but he was unable to voice any of his thoughts and collapsed on the spot. After giving him a pathetic look, Isla rode forward.
“D, did you just hear what he said?”
“Is that true? That young man, ah, no, that young sir was His Grace Pendragon?”
“That’s right! Ah, that really was him! I joined our village’s delegation a few months back. That really was him! That was His Grace!”
“T, that means the person who threw the carriage was really…”
“D, d, dragon! It was the White Dragon! It was Soldrake!”
“To think I would see a dragon in my lifetime…”
Most of the commoners went wild. And every word that was spoken by the commoners became a blade that pierced the heart of Baron Emerson, who had come a long distance to make friendly relations with the Pendragon family.
Raven’s face was not bright after experiencing the rather comical, midday happening.
“As expected, there are problems with having so many visitors. I had never thought such nutty nobles would be coming as well.”
“Surely so, my lord. It is also possible that there will be other depraved people who will cause trouble for the duchy.”
“You are absolutely right. Besides, look over there. It’s a town called Rodrin.”
Isla turned his gaze at Raven’s beckoning.
Beyond the farmland where the barley field had just been sown, there was a village made up of around twenty houses that were huddled together. And next to the village, which was surrounded with wooden fences, there was a clutter colony about half its size.
“It is a slum created by those that have come to our territory.”
Raven continued, as Isla’s expression turned grim.
“In the last report from the chief of Rodrin, he said the population was a little over a hundred. It seems to have at least doubled. It is nice to have a larger population, but it is meaningless if most of them are forming slums. The bigger problem is that the refugees have gathered even in places like Rodrin.”
Raven had traveled all over the empire and seen countless refugees and poor people when he was in the demonic army. This was especially true because the demonic army frequented the places where large-scale conflicts and wars took place. Raven knew the misery and the problems of the poor people very well.
“If Rodrin is like this, then I can only imagine how it is like in the larger villages. They could probably make ends meet temporarily, but the problem is only going to grow.”
Isla was born and raised in southern Valvas, where territorial disputes were frequent. That was why Isla also recognized the seriousness of the problem. As the number of the poor increased, some of them would turn to unethical methods. The number of criminals like thieves, robbers, and murderers would increase.
“Why don’t we increase the number of troops in charge of security, my lord?”
“Not a bad idea. But that’s only a temporary measure. We have to think of a way to solve the problem at its root. Besides, what do you think will happen if a crazy noble, like the man we just saw, comes in contact with the poor people?”
Isla sank into deep thought for a moment, then burst into a low exclamation before taking on a grim expression.
The Pendragon Duchy had one of the five largest territories in the empire, so they could not keep watch over every little thing. There was only one thing that could come out of a meeting between the poor people and an ambitious knight or a noble who had evil motives. An unauthorized, ‘influential force’ could emerge from within the territory.
“I think this could be quite a serious issue, my lord.”
Raven nodded with a heavy expression in response to Isla’s concerned words. And as the carriage neared Bellint Gate, Raven’s expression grew even darker. All four villages they passed for the past two days had been swarming with the poor. However, there were more than ten villages outside of Bellint Gate. The gate would restrict entry, which would guarantee the security within the gate, but it also meant that there were thousands of poor people in the duchy.
‘I will have to do something. This could lead to a huge problem.’
Without even realizing it, Raven had already taken on his role and responsibility as the master of the Pendragon Duchy, and he kept contemplating the issue.
But ultimately, only a single thought was left in his mind after a while of deliberation. It was the same solution he thought of after initially recognizing the problem, and it remained unchanged. To be exact, a person’s face came to his mind.
Master of the Twilight Tower. The man who would originally have become a great pillar of the empire’s commerce. Vincent Ron would recognize the issue and its seriousness better than himself.
And Raven had a hunch that depending on how this problem was addressed, he would be able to win over the heart of Vincent of the Gray Sunset who had left behind all wealth and fame before disappearing in the future.
Raven arrived at Bellint Gate, which was nearing completion of its fortification. After a brief inspection of the troops and the process of fortification, Raven left the gate after only a day despite the wishes of Sir Jade, the gate’s commander.
As he had been away from his territory for a long time, Raven and Soldrake took a short time to look over his land, including the Ancona Forest and the mausoleum of the Pendragon family. Afterward, he called for griffons he had left in Bellint Gate to travel to Conrad Castle as soon as possible.
When several bull-sized griffons came down from the sky and lay down on the ground gently, Leo and Jody were shocked. Furthermore, when Sophia heard that they were to ride such ferocious and dangerous griffons, which attacked large animals such as wolves and wild boars, as well as people, she passed out.
But Raven could not afford to take care of her, so he split the group and assigned two people for each of the five griffons before flying to Conrad Castle.
“Brrr! Roooo! Therrrrrrrr!!”
Raven shivered as soon as he heard the echoes of a voice right as he landed in Conrad Castle. How could he possibly forget that voice, even though it had been several months?
Raven suppressed his urge to run away and turned around with a forced smile on his face.
He saw Irene rushing towards him with tears and a runny nose. His head barely registered his will to sidestep before she rushed at him like a predator.
“Uwaahh! I missed you, Brother Alan! Oh, do you even know how long I was waiting for you? You should have sent me a letter, or anything but… You are so mean. Uwahhh…”
He hated to see women cry, but he could not push away his sister who had been worried about him, so Raven pat Irene on the back awkwardly.
“Is that so? I did not have the opportunity because of the circumstances. I am here now, so you should calm down.”
Irene left Raven’s arms with a look of regret.
Irene, who was sniffling with her lips pouted, paused. She had finally seen the others, including Isla and Luna.
Irene raised her hand and slowly stroked her face. Then, the people saw a truly magical scene.
As soon as her hands left her face, an extraordinarily cute and beautiful smile hung on the face of Irene, who had returned to her usual fairy-like self.
“It is my pleasure to meet you. I am Irene Pendragon, the eldest daughter of the Pendragon family.”
“H, hello, my lady.”
The whole party bowed down in response to the elegant and noble greetings of the eldest daughter of the Pendragon family.
“Thank you for your hard work, Sir Isla.”
“I only fulfilled my duties as a knight of Pendragon.
“Oh? Luna is here, too. How have you been, Lad...”
Irene’s eyebrows knitted tightly. As she was greeting the two people she knew, she saw Sophia, the pretty girl who was standing awkwardly next to Leo.Previous Chapter Next Chapter