Chapter 227. A Forgotten Castle and a Sealed Queen (7)

Duke Asteria entered the adventurer's guild and glanced around at the scene inside.

The manager of the Asterium branch recognized the duke and Bloody and rushed over, bowing his head. "Welcome, Your Highness! I am honored that Your Highness has come to pay a visit to my humble adventurer's guild-”

"There’s no need for a lengthy greeting. Where's the guild director and the branch director?" As the manager's greeting went on, the duke cut him off and asked.

"Yes! The guild director and the branch director are now in the branch director's office! I will show you the way right this instant!"

In response to the manager's reply, Duke Asteria once again looked inside the guild and stepped upstairs with a slightly disappointed look.

"Is there something you are looking for?" Bloody asked.

The duke answered with a playful smile, "It’s nothing. Let's go up."

While he said this, he was disappointed and went up at the manager's guidance. After arriving at the branch director's office on the top floor of the four-story adventurer's guild building, Duke Asteria sent the manager back to work, saying he had done a fine job. Then, after knocking, they went straight into the branch director's office.

When the duke suddenly came in, the branch director jumped up in surprise and greeted him rigidly. "Your, Your Highness! It, it has been a while!"

Glont had been sitting, but he also stood up. He gently rubbed the shoulder of the nervous branch director and spoke to Duke Asteria, "Hohoho, I should have visited you first, but I was a step late. Please have a seat."

Glont gave up the upper seat on the reception couch, which the duke naturally sat on, and crossed his legs as he said playfully, "Good, at least you know. If you were here, you should have come to see me quickly instead of being lazy."

Glont laughed pleasantly, "Ohhohoho! I just arrived and needed to rest a little bit, too.”

"Tsk-tsk, resting that much. Were you planning on stopping by after I’ve already passed away?”

"I was going to come by in the evening. Oh, or were you going to go into the coffin by then?"

"What? Hahahaha!”

The conversation between Duke Asteria and Glont made the branch director freeze up, but it was just banter because the two knew each other well.

Glont looked at Bloody accompanying the duke and sighed. "You look better by the looks of it."

The last time he saw Bloody, his condition was severe. The blood vessels all over Bloody’s entire body expanded as if they were bursting and looked like a spider web standing out on the outside of his skin. Even the capillaries were sticking out, leading to a bizarre appearance.

At the time, his muscles might have become necrotic if they had not been treated. It was difficult for him to even scoop some rice with a spoon because of the muscle pain, but now he was moving just fine.

"Ahahaha! Actually, while I was here, Mirpa ahjumma came and treated me."

"Mirpa Ainsmall-nim did?"

"Yes, she said to hand over the Turtle Carrying a Mountain because my elder brother-nim ended up losing the Dragon that Lived a Thousand Years." 

As Bloody spoke, he wondered what terrible monster a Dragon that Lived a Thousand Years was to have escaped from the hands of Doomstone. He got goosebumps and thought he should never fight it if they ever met. 

"So?" Glont inquired.

"She robbed me of my share of the reward and bought a lot of the turtle by-products."

Of course, Mirpa treated Bloody in exchange for the reward. With Mirpa's medication, the aftereffects that would’ve taken months to recover from were brushed off in 15 days.

"Just a few days ago, the great elder from the Butterfly Tribe came and stole William's reward and bought some turtle by-products,” Bloody said.

"Hahaha, William must be in tears.”

As Mirpa and Arpen took the by-products of the Turtle Carrying a Mountain, it was natural that the by-products available for study would be reduced.

"Oh, by the way, did something happen in the capital? The great elder was asking Mirpa ahjumma what kind of crazy things she did.”

Glont was lost in thought at Bloody's words. "Well, something happened, but we haven't been able to figure it out for over a month."

"Oh, and in a few days, Mirpa ahjumma said she'd be back again. I'll talk to her then. You should ask her to make some medicine for your health. You have to think about your age."

"Hohoho. Oh my, you brat, I’m still young and healthy, though?"

While Glont and Bloody were talking, Duke Asteria naturally interrupted the flow of the conversation. "You have a visitor, and you don't offer tea and refreshments? That’s not adequate treatment for a guest."

When the duke looked at Glont and asked him playfully, the branch director who was sitting nearby froze up. "I, I will get the tea out right now."

As the branch director jumped up and headed for a kettle and tea leaves on one side of the branch director's office, Duke Asteria raised his hand to stop him. "Oh, don't tell me you're going to brew such a cheap tea?"

"Then, then..."

When the branch director panicked, the duke threw a bag full of refined silver coins from his pocket. "Go get some nice tea and refreshments with this. Don't just leave it in your room, but buy a lot so that the children below can eat, and put it in a pantry or something. Something luxurious, not cheap stuff like that. The children who came from the faraway capital should eat well."

"Yes, I will be right back!" At the duke's words, the branch director hastily left the room.

Glont saw the branch director leave and gave Bloody money and said, "Come to think of it, I heard there's a famous choux cream place in Asterium, can you get me some?"

"What? Why me? The branch director went to buy the refreshments!"

As Bloody grumbled, Glont disheveled Bloody's hair and put strength into his hands while saying, "Go buy it because he wants it. I can't leave a guest behind.”

"Ow! But I'm injured? Ow! Ow! Okay! I’ll go and come back!" Bloody hit away Glont's hand and grumbled as he left the room.

"Tch, the line there is annoyingly long.” Even after seeing Bloody close the door and leave, Glont remained silent until he focused his attention and confirmed that Bloody was leaving the guild building.

After he could no longer feel Bloody’s presence, Glont asked calmly. "So, what do you want to say to me after sending them all out?"

"Didn't you send General Bloody out?" Duke Asteria smiled playfully.

"Well, if you don't have anything to say, it doesn't matter," said Glont as he shrugged lightly. 

The duke raised his hand lightly as if he had lost and laughed. "Hahaha, you’re right. I sent the director out on purpose. You're so quick-witted."

Glont smiled bitterly when Duke Asteria admitted this. "After leaving the army and putting my foot halfway into administration, the only thing that I have noticed an improvement in is tact."

"It's too bad an innocent pervert like you is getting to know what the world is like."

When the duke spoke in a tone of sincere regret, Glont looked at him as if what he said was absurd. "Don't people usually say, innocent boy or young man?"

"What are you talking about?! A pervert suits you more than those lively expressions!"

The duke sighed after saying something unnecessary. "I'm here to ask you a secret favor. Can you keep it between us?"

"Hmm, is it a favor that I can handle?” Glont retreated with a bad feeling.

“Of course. Would I ask you for a favor that you can't handle?"

Glont was livid when Duke Asteria smiled and spoke. "Haven’t you done so often? You asked me to obtain the feathers of the great demon, the Eternally Burning Bird. You also asked that I enter the forbidden area, the Mephisto Gorge, where the Dragon Tribe lives to form an alliance and to eliminate the witch who cursed a nearby village!"

"Ayy, but you've done it all. Besides, if you succeed, you'll be paid an appropriate amount. Oh, I used that phoenix feather well. Thanks to it, I was able to lift my granddaughter's curse.”

"Paying me is obvious! Wait, what did you say? Granddaughter?" Glont had a dumbfounded face.

"Your Highness, did you have an illegitimate child at some point? I thought Your Highness only had the Little Duchess Anemone." 

For a moment, he agonized over who to support in the issue of the duke’s successor. After Anemone's death, no one was able to urge the duke to choose a successor because they knew he loved his daughter more than anyone else.

"What illegitimate child? She's Anemone's daughter. Unfortunately, she was born with the curse that Anemone had."

"Is Anemone-nim still alive?" Glont asked, surprised.

Duke Asteria smiled bitterly and shook his head. "No, she is actually dead now." 

"…I see.”

Glont asked after a heavy silence, "So you're asking me to help you in appointing your granddaughter as your successor?" It was understandable why he wanted the two of them to talk privately if this was true.

"If so, I will draw my sword for your granddaughter. I have received unforgettable kindness from Anemone-nim."

When Glont spoke seriously, Duke Asteria laughed his head off. "Puhahaha, what are you getting ahead of yourself for? Kuhaha! I will draw my sword for your granddaughter. Kuhahaha!"

The duke suddenly laughed, and Glont became embarrassed and blushed. The duke wiped away the few tears that came out from laughing so hard.

"Yeah, I have to wrap up the succession issue, but it's not such a large request. Thanks for your concern, though."

Glont closed his mouth at the duke's thanks, and the duke grinned. "Are you upset? Well, to tell you under the condition that you keep it a secret, one of your subordinates is my grandson. I want you to help me get closer to him."

"What?" Glont was once again taken aback by the sudden talk of a grandson, and he continued, "Grandson? It wasn’t just a granddaughter?"

"If you have a granddaughter, you can also have a grandson. What are you so surprised about? Oh, it's complicated to explain, but the grandson doesn't know I'm his maternal grandfather. I, myself, only just found out."

"Is that possible? Well, it's not impossible if Anemone-nim had hidden her identity... So who among my subordinates is your grandson?"

"Den von Mark."

"…What?"

* * *

"What are you doing hiding there?” Flam asked.

I was surprised to see Flam suddenly entering the pantry. "What do you mean, hiding? I was in the pantry just to get some tea for us to drink together.”

As soon as I entered the adventurer’s guild, I felt familiar presences from upstairs, and I was told that Duke Asteria and Uncle Bloody were here. So, I hid in the pantry, erasing my presence to remain unnoticed. But no one should be able to tell that I was here from outside, so how did he know?

"Oh, is that so? I lost my job to you. I was going to get the tea. Then, I'll go buy some refreshments instead."

Oh, he just came in to get tea.

"Oh! Then I'll go. I heard there's a famous shop for choux cream, so I’ll just go get some of that."

"Uh, but doesn't the choux cream shop have a long line?"

"That just shows how good it is, right?”

It just so happened that Uncle Bloody’s presence had left the building, so it was better to run away.

"Is that so? This is the money Fiona gave me to buy refreshments."

I received the coin purse from Flam and rushed out of the adventurer's guild.

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