Duke Pendragon - Chapter 10

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“So, is this everyone?”

“Yes, Your Grace . ”

Melborn, dressed in a sleek black tailcoat, bowed politely . It was abnormal for Alan Pendragon to suddenly call for a meeting with all the aristocrats and knights of the castle when he had locked himself in his room for several days . Alan’s strange behavior had stirred quite a few rumors .

“So, the reason I’ve gathered everyone here today is because I wanted to have a candid conversation about the future of our family, and how we should proceed onwards . ”

“Oh!”

Thoughtful emotions ran on Melborn’s face . The changes in Alan Pendragon were quite strange, but he seemed to have taken a turn for the better to take on the role of the family’s head .

“What exactly are you referring to when you talk about the future of the family, Your Grace?”

A knight around 30 years old with brown hair and a spectacle mustache spoke . He had the best physique out of the three knights that were gathered .

“What is your name, sir?”

“My name is Mark Killian, Your Grace . I taught you in the ways of swordsmanship in the past, so I guess, strictly speaking, I could be considered your teacher, sir . ”

Killian spoke with his shoulders raised proudly, as if suggesting Alan Pendragon should be honoring his wisdom .

Raven glanced at Killian and scanned him from top to bottom . He had heard things about this knight . Mark Killian was the head knight of the three remaining members of Conrad Castle . Moreover, he was…

Raven’s gaze paused at Killian’s lower body .

Unlike the armor-clad upper half of the body, Killian’s only wore a poline (knee protector), and greave-shaped boots over tight brown leather pants . His groin protruded, a bit too much, rather disturbingly .

***

Mark Killian was renowned in the castle as being the most ‘energetic man’ around .

“Well, Sir Killian, as you already know, I’m suffering from a bit of a memory problem . ”

“Of course, sir . This Killian is just glad that you are healthy again . ”

Killian banged his fists on the left side of his armor twice . Raven now had a rough sense of what type of man Killian was .

“I appreciate your concern . Let me jump right into it . I am planning to reopen the mausoleum very soon . ”

“Heuk!”

Everyone’s eyes widened in shock .

“Y, your Grace that is…”

Melborn spoke hurriedly . He and everyone else were surprised and confused as they knew about Alan Pendragon’s comatose state for the past three years .

“What’s the matter, general?”

“Your body is still in a rough condition, Your Grace . You shouldn’t overexert yourself…”

“You don’t have to worry about my body . I know my condition best . ”

“But Sir Illaine said…”

“Do you still believe that quack who told me that it would take me a month to walk again?”

“… . ”

Melborn shut his mouth .

It was true that none of what Sir Illaine said was true . Alan Pendragon was walking around fine after just three or four days, and now there were even rumors that he was relieving his sexual urges on a maid as well .

“Well, Your Grace, in order to open the mausoleum, we need to pass Bellint Gate and Ancona Forest . I’m afraid your health and an expedition are completely different matters . ”

Killian spoke . The other knights and aristocrats nodded in agreement . Raven asked while tapping on the armrest of his chair .

“Since we’re on this topic let me ask about this . How is the situation outside Bellint Gate?”

“It’s not good . ”

Killian spoke with a shadow over his face .

“Not to mention the monsters, there have been bandits showing up in the villages . I have set up a vigilante group in each village . However, it’s not very effective . It’s hard to take even a few steps outside the gate . It’s a shame, but there’s not much we can do as monsters and bandits may storm the gate if we left with the soldiers to subjugate the issues . ”

Bellint Gate was a fortress of sorts that protected the Bellint region right where Conrad Castle was located . Ever since the family fell into a slump, it became hard to maintain order within the Bellint Gate . Troops were unable to be maintained and monsters frequently showed up in the villages and farms, but nothing could be done .

Furthermore, bandits started appearing over the past few years .

“I see . But that doesn’t mean that we can just sit here and do nothing . ”

“Your Grace, haven’t we accepted the Seyrod family’s mines? Why don’t we use them first to recover our family’s situation and…”

“And where would we find troops to protect the mines?”

Raven interjected with a cold voice .

“Hmm…”

The other knights and nobles’ faces darkened as Melborn shut his mouth .

They had already discussed how they might maintain and protect the mines and the mills given by the Seyrod family . No feasible solution had come up yet .

Some suggested hiring mercenaries and sharing the profits from the mine with them, but the Pendragon family had never hired mercenaries in their history . In their prime, the Pendragon family’s dragon-crested flag had stood tall above all other family’s flags . It was even considered rude for other families to raise their flags in front of the Pendragon family’s .

The Pendragons would never stoop so low to hire mercenaries .

“See? It seems that the only possible solution is to reopen the mausoleum . We will set out in 15 days, leaving behind only essential troops for security . ”

“15 days?! Your Grace, embarking on an expedition is not an easy matter . In the first place, Your Grace is not accomplished in the art of war . If you leave it to me, I will try and figure out…”

“I never said I would take you along, Sir Killian . ”

“Yes? No, do you mean to say that you are going to command the soldiers directly?”

“Obviously . ”

“Huh!”

Killian let out a burst of laughter, looking at Raven with a flabbergasted expression .

It was a little rude, but it made absolutely no sense for someone who used to paint and grow flowers for fun to have any skill in commanding soldiers . A person may change, but they could not transform into something they have never been or done .

“What . You don’t think I can?”

The reaper of the battlefield, and the elite of the demonic army, Raven Valt, gave a hearty laugh .

Killian’s expression darkened .

“I’m not joking, Your Grace . Since you go as far as to say that, I will tell you the truth directly . I apologize for my disrespect . The situation outside the gate is not something a brat that likes to paint and read books can handle . Even an experienced knight such as I might…”

“Then why don’t we have a go?’

“… . !”

Everyone opened their mouths in shock . Crazy . Alan Pendragon had lost his mind after regaining his consciousness .

“…I’m sorry, but I told you that this isn’t a joke, Your Grace . ”

Killian looked at Raven as if finding the whole situation absurd .

Then a fierce expression grew in his eyes . In the past, this child would piss his pants when Killian glared at him with daggering eyes, but as the boy stood there unflinchingly, it seemed the boy had lost his mind .

Killian needed to put this brat in his place . Raven, who was meeting Killian’s gaze, stood up slowly .

“Why do you speak so many words when I simply asked for a bout?”

Crack!

Raven warmed up his neck . It moved left to right before he came down from his chair .

Everyone looked, anticipating what he would do next . Raven walked past the crowd and stopped in front of a display with old combat equipment . Most of it was antique, equipment that only had artistic value . Raven hesitated before reaching out his hand towards a particular item .

A sword from a southern foreign island . It was crescent moon-shaped, and the blade carried engraves of foreign letters . It was quite like the weapon that he used before coming back to life as Alan Pendragon .

Yet, it was fairly rusty and dull from being unused for a long period of time .

Whoosh, whoosh .

Raven swung the blade a couple of times before turning his body towards Killian .

Killian laughed mockingly .

“What are you planning to do with that antique?”

Raven smiled as he looked at Killian, letting his arms loose in a stance .

“Antique? Not today . ”

Raven flew towards Killian as soon as he finished speaking . The scimitar drew an arc, following Raven’s movement .

“Heuuhk?”

Killian instinctively drew his blade from the scabbard at his side .

Clang!

The two blades met in the air, resounding in a clear metallic sound . Killian was shocked at the impact that he could feel in his hands . The brat, who was a head shorter than him, attacked with both speed and strength . Killian’s blood boiled in shock and anger .

“Fine… you leave me no choice but to… Heuk!”

Killian tried to push the scimitar away with force but instead cried out in shock . Raven had held his blade in a reverse-grip fashion and pretended to receive Killian’s blow . Instead, he twirled his blade around Killian’s longsword, using Killian’s force against him .

Kararak!

The harsh sound of metal scratching could be heard as Raven’s blade made its way to the handle of Killian’s longsword . They were so close that to the spectators, the two people looked like they were hugging .

“Kuuuuagh!”

Killian was shocked and felt his pride sink . He tried to shake off Raven with a loud grunt . But at that very moment, a dull impact could be felt in his lower belly . Something… was . . . broken .

“Keheuk!”

Shatter!

Killian’s longsword dropped to the floor . He looked down at his lower belly in disbelief, drool coming down his face . Beneath the upper body wrapped in solid armor, his most precious thing… Raven’s knee was… lodged in what he was most proud of, the thing that he knew everyone was jealous of .

Killian’s big figure kneeled, devoid of any strength .

“… . . !”

The Conrad Castle palace was filled with astonishment .

“Heuuuh…”

Mark Killian, one of three knights left in the castle, the strongest knight of the Pendragon family, was kneeling while drooling in pain . The whole situation was unbelievable .

Moreover, the person who had caused this situation was Alan Pendragon, the weak, timid child who had only woken from an unconscious state only ten days ago .

But this was reality .

“I’ve left one intact, so you shouldn’t have any problems seeing your family grow . ”

Raven shrugged his shoulders before returning the blade to its original place and turning his head to Melborn .

“What are you doing? Why aren’t you calling that quack doctor?”

“Heuuk! S, Sir Illaine!”

Melborn rushed out of the palace . The two remaining knights helped Killian up and Raven returned to his throne in the court .

“Well then, why don’t we get back on topic . ”

At Raven’s words, the people present looked up at him, waking from their daze .

“We leave in 15 days . Killian will accompany me to Bellint Gate and help with the wall support while the other two knights will oversee security and defenses at the castle . The nobles and the duchess will aid in taking care of Conrad Castle . Any concerns?”

Raven spoke while tapping on his knee that had just been used as a deadly weapon . The two knights and the noble instinctively moved their hands to protect their nether regions and nodded eagerly .

“N, no concerns! We will obey your orders even if it costs us our lives!”

***

Raven plopped down on his chair after returning to his chambers .

“Hoo…”

He breathed out a long sigh .

“Not bad . ”

Attia, who had appeared like a ghost, spoke with a hint of acknowledgment in her voice .

“Everything was as I expected, except that knight named Killian . He was weaker than I had thought . ”

Raven spoke while massaging his body . He was quite satisfied with how things had turned out .

When Raven woke up as Alan Pendragon, he retained his innate characteristics, but his muscles and bones remained the same as before . Still, he did not despair .

It did not matter if it took one year or five years . It was not a problem for him to train and strengthen his body . He thought he died without resolving his family’s tragedy, but he had gotten another chance .

This was already a huge blessing for him .

That is why he did not care about having to start over and begin right from the beginning .

However, he was surprised when he started training again . The more he trained, the more his weak body improved vastly day-by-day . Raven realized that it was not just his soul that was transferred to Alan Pendragon’s body .

He also retained his power of immortality and regeneration from his previous life . So, Raven trained every day and pushed to the limit each day . Even when Lindsay was not there, he continued training by himself .

The result was a huge success .

In just six days, his body was back to the form of excellence he had in his previous life as Raven Valt . He would practice every single night with the decorative sword hanging in the residence .

It was perfect .

Alan Pendragon was able to perform Raven Valt’s swordsmanship, which had been honed and built upon over ten years, with ease . His swordsmanship was on a different playing field than those of the knights that practiced in their safe spaces . It was practical and agile .

Thanks to his training he was able to plan and execute his actions for the long journey ahead .

“Well now that we’ve taken care of one problem, we just need to deal with that knight from the Seylod or Seyrod or whatever that family is called . ”

Raven muttered coldly .

“I like the sound of that! Dogs that can’t recognize their owners need to be beaten up personally . ”

Attia, who compared the Seyrod family’s symbol -- a wolf -- to a mere dog, clapped her hands in joy .

A man that was not qualified to even lick the feet of the Pendragon family had overstepped his bounds and showed arrogance, even threatening the duchess and the successor of the Pendragon family .

For Attia, this was unforgivable, as her commitment to the Pendragon family name was deep .

“Why do you think they’re still here?”

“Hmmph! That sly little girl probably fell for you after noticing how you changed . Don’t even think about taking that girl back, though . Her breasts are flat, and her buttocks are small . It’s not ideal for producing many…”

“I do not have any intentions . ”

Raven cut off the noble ghost’s words . The spirit would worry today, tomorrow, and forever until the end of time about continuing the Pendragon family’s honor by bearing as many children as possible .

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