Book 3 Chapter 72 - King's Reign (1)

After Demon King Volak’s will had been banished from Melphis’ body, their army went on to defeat the Demon Spawn. Later, after a fierce siege, they likewise managed to capture Eden Hall.

Count Ethan had died to a stray arrow, whereas Count Ludwig was killed by Maximus, the Commander of the 3rd Legion. Leaderless, the remaining soldiers either fled or surrendered to the kingdom’s army.

The rebellion orchestrated by the three Count’s had ended in their defeat. Still, Woohyuk wasn’t satisfied with just that, and moved on to the provinces of Floren, Issilon and Erutonia.

He wanted to fully purge any nobles that had participated in the rebellion. Many of them were taken back to the capital of Heidelberg, and sentenced to death by royal proclamation.

Finally, everything had been taken care of.

“I will now step down from the throne.”

Arnold had voluntarily abdicated the throne to Woohyuk. Although some loyalists had voiced their complaints, it didn’t amount to much. They couldn’t go against all the momentum he had built for himself, not to mention that even Queen Jonna had supported him.

After the grand coronation which she had played a part in, Woohyuk officially assumed the throne and oversaw state matters.

His first order of business was to undo as much as possible all the damage which the war had caused. 

The army had to be reorganized and the empty titles of the recently executed nobles needed to be filled.

‘For now, we will have to focus on internal matters.’

It would take some time for the Rhine kingdom to develop into a powerhouse. This was especially true following the disastrous rule of the wastrel King John. 

Correcting every problem within the kingdom one by one, Woohyuk also handed out noble titles to his own party members.

“You guys have achieved great merit, so you deserve it.”

It wasn’t only the capital where he needed reliable people in place, but the provinces as well. Of course, those that still had room to grow such as Song Anna and Yoo Kayoung, were instead sent to Heidelberg’s Royal Magic Academy.

“Lord, what will you do with those from the Hwarang Clan?”

Leifina asked, as they had more or less finished the award ceremony.

She was the newly appointed Royal Guard. Lee Jaesung, who had previously held the post, was instead sent to Erutonia to oversee the province.

“I will send them to Marquis Nelson.”

It wasn’t possible for him to continue using those that had openly engaged in banditry and murder on the kingdom’s peasantry.

The leaders of the larger clans would continue to remain in prison within Blackburn Castle. Depending on the degree of cooperation, they would receive different treatment.

“Then Commander Aiden…”

“We will deal with him later.”

Recalling him to the capital at this time would only send the border into confusion. If there was a lack of manpower, he could simply mobilize the 3rd Legion led by Maximus.

As he accepted a document handed over by his scribe, Woohyuk looked down at his vassals who sat on either side of the hall.

“Next order of business concerns Joanna, the Queen mother. What do you think I should do?”

“I think you need to officially marry her, that way your claim to the throne would be more legitimate.”

“Indeed, if we mistreat her, it will only sour our relationship with the Lydia kingdom, as well as the nobles that fought alongside us against the rebellion.”

If Joanna were to marry another noble, another would arise with claim to the throne, which could complicate things.

As Woohyuk was thinking things through, Joanna arrived seeking an audience.

“No, it's fine, I will remain single for the time being. I still have many things to sort out in my head right now.”

Not too long ago her son, King John had been poisoned. She wasn’t ready to accept a new husband at this point in time.

As Joanna shared her opinion, the other vassals nodded vigorously. 

“If it’s as Joanna says, then we can still delay it a while longer.”

“It indeed feels a bit early to be discussing marriage at this point.”

Joanna continued to have a lot of influence among many of the nobles. As soon as she settled the problem, Woohyuk spoke once more.

“Joanna, you’ll have your own personal guard.”

Irene would be ideal for the position. Unfortunately Aris couldn’t even be considered since she couldn’t enter Blackburn.

“Thanks for your concern. I will be staying in the Royal Palace, so if you ever want to speak, feel free to come visit.”

Joanna left the hall with a big smile. 

She fully trusted Woohyuk. The vassals that didn’t know what had occured between the two of them, could only misunderstand their relationship.

‘Why is it that Joanna and the King seem to be so close when they speak with each other?’

‘They almost look like lovers….’

Since she supports him despite him having no connection with the Devos family line, they could only assume that they had a very close relationship.  

It was probably due to Joanna’s request that Woohyuk had appeared within Blackburn and slaughtered the rebels. Postponing the marriage must have been a decision made simply to keep up appearances for others.

As these nobles came up with their own versions of events, the vassals confirmed Joanna as Queen.

After the excitement had faded, Woohyuk turned to the next order of business.

“Next, we need to expand our educational institutions, as well as nurture new talents. Please let me know if you have any good ideas.”

“I think that it would be a good idea to expand the current academy within Heidelberg.”

“For Maesters, we should go hire them from the Holy Aperian Empire. It is difficult to accept any additional students with the current number of instructors.”

They were all ministers which had passed his latest examination. That was the reason that they all could come up with practical ideas.  

Considering the fact that more than half of nobles couldn’t even read, they were all quite talented.

‘Things are going much better than back then.’

In the past, he hadn’t had the opportunity to wipe out all corruption within the country and have a fresh new start.

The situation had been too chaotic with the invasion of the 72 Demon Kings as well as the multiple Clans.

However this time around, the first button had been properly sewn, so all his next plans would fall in line.

Woohyuk continued to discuss how to manage the kingdom with his ministers, with a content expression.

* * *

In the plaza located in the center of Heidelberg, Choi Minho sat upon the edge of the fountain with a preoccupied expression.

“Shit”

It had already been several months now since he had appeared here in the Eeth continent, yet he still hadn’t found a place to settle down.

Just to make ends meet, he worked as a tier 3 mercenary as well as unloading ships back in the free city of Media.

‘Every time something goes wrong, I’m unfairly fired.’

For Choi Minho, his current situation was tough to endure. He was born into a rich family and had always lived a life of luxury.

While other students had to work part-time jobs, he drove expensive cars to pick up women and spend his nights clubbing. While others had to worry about getting a job and what they would do in the future, he was drinking expensive whiskey in the company of beautiful women.

Recalling his life of debauchery, Choi Minho couldn’t help but clench his teeth in anger.

‘I must make it back.’

The game-like world of doing quests and killing monsters was becoming boring. Why should he, who had such a bright future, have to undergo such trials.

As Choi Minho grumbled to himself, a couple of young noble women passed by him.

“Have you heard the rumors? This time our new king is a dashing foreigner.”

“Oh really, I hope I can meet him at least once.”

Mmm, girls...

He stood up while he clicked his tongue. 

He had to find another job once again. Heidelberg was the capital city, so there would always be some opportunities for employment.

‘I heard that they are investing into large scale construction projects.’

Following the war, the wages paid out to workers were given a small increase. It was due to the many casualties suffered during the course of the war.

Of course it wouldn’t be enough for a guy like him to settle down properly, but at least it would stop him from going hungry.

In this world, he was cursed to be nothing more than a vagabond.

‘Was it written that it was on the hill between the craftsmen and merchant’s district?’

Choi Minho tried to remember the announcement he had read in the plaza’s bulletin board, as he started walking.

By the time he had almost reached his destination.

‘Huh?’

An unexpected encounter occurred.

A young man whose face was familiar to him was in a conversation with a gray haired old man wearing a robe.

‘He’s….’

Chun Woohyuk. Yes, that was definitely his name. He remembered him since they had both attended the same high school. He had a crush on a girl but she ended up like that guy instead. He ended up spending a lot of money to steal her from him, but it had still left a sour taste in his mouth.

Judging by his shabby appearance, he must also be here to look for a job.

‘I’ll try talking to him first.’

If he ended up having anything valuable on him, he’d corner him in a secluded area and mug him using his dagger.

The Law of the Jungle.

It was due to his understanding of this that he was able to survive in this world, despite all its difficulties.

‘Friends make one become absent minded.’

Even if they had previously barely had any contact, in such a strange land, it was normal for others to trust someone that you’ve known in the past.

To date, he had used this same trick on at least five or six people.

Putting on his biggest smile, Choi Mingho went to greet him.

“Hey, aren’t you Chun Woohyuk? It’s been so long. Do you still remember those highschool days?”

“... Are you Choi Minho?”

“Right! How have you been? Everytime I meet someone I know over here I begin to tear up.”

As Choi Minho continued to speak casually with Woohyuk, the expression of the grey haired old man standing next to him continued to worsen.

‘How dare this peasant speak to the King in such a manner!’

It was incredibly insulting to approach royalty in that way, and it wouldn’t be uncommon to hang him for such an offense.

Although they were currently keeping a low profile for the sake of conducting an inspection among the locals, it was still unforgivable.

“Shall we talk in private?”

“That’s a good idea. People in this area are not too friendly when it comes to foreigners like us.”

As his plan was proceeding smoothly, Choi Minho was getting excited and continued to blabber on.

Now all that’s left is to lead him to a deserted alley.

He looks like an easy mark since he’s showing me his back without any worries.

“What brought you to Heidelberg?”

“I came here to settle down. As I’m sure you know, the situation in the Rhine kingdom is quite chaotic. I wasn’t even able to join a Clan, but since there was a war starting up, I was quite worried for my safety.”

Choi Minho had originally been a part of the Hwarang Clan. however he had been caught scamming his own clan members and chose to voluntarily remove his Unity ring.

Later, he came to Heidelberg, because the Hwarang clan hardly had any presence here..

Naturally, he didn’t say anything about this to Woohyuk. 

“What kind of talents do you have?”

“Talents? Apart from picking up women, not much I guess. Don’t worry about me though, I’ve been moving across the continent, doing odd jobs just to get by.”

In order to lower Woohyuk’s guard even further, Choi Minho proceeded to open up about his own experiences.

His first time fighting against new species which he had never seen before in the free city of Media. The time that he had worked for a Baron in the Erutonia province as a mercenary to hunt monsters in the mountain range. Stories about getting drunk in a tavern and then taking back a prostitute to the inn…

“It’s quite difficult here because things are so different from my old life.”

“That’s indeed true. Back then we wanted for nothing. Still in this world if you are some high ranking noble, you can still do whatever you please. That way one might still live a decent life.”

The only good thing about this continent so far was that all the women seemed to be so beautiful.

If he were to ever return back to Earth, it would be nice to be able to kidnap one or two of them to bring back with him.

Still, these days earning enough coin so that he could afford to eat, buy clothes and put a roof over his head, was more urgent than frolicking with women.

It didn’t take long for them to arrive in a rather secluded area, as Choi Minho stealthily reached for the dagger he had hidden at his waist.

He then lunged forward, attempting to stab Woohyuk who was walking in front of him, in his ribs.

Pak!

Suddenly a sword’s scabbard was thrown from behind, hitting Choi Minho in the head.

“Uggh…”

As Choi Minho collapsed to the ground, groaning in pain, Woohyuk spoke.

“Leifina, take care of him.”

“Yes, Lord.”

As his Royal Guard, Leifina would always be there to protect Woohyuk. She had simply been keeping her distance and staying out of sight.

As soon as his hands and feet were bound, Choi Minho looked up at Woohyuk with a shocked expression.

“You, you… are you the one that was recently crowned King?”

“Yes.”

Woohyuk replied with a cold expression.

He had encountered so many similar situations in the last 40 years, so he had guessed his intentions from the very start.

He recalled that he had lost his first crush to Choi Minho, but he didn’t hold a grudge over it.

That man was of no value in this world.

“Drag him out and hang him.”

“Yes, Lord.”

Leifina nodded as she picked up Choi Minho like a sack of potatoes.

“No, spare me please!”

Choi Minho begged fervently, but it was all too late.

His crime of trying to harm the King was simply too great to ignore.

Woohyuk simply walked on towards the Academy, leaving behind Choi Minho in Leifina’s capable hands.

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