Duke Pendragon - Chapter 184

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During his days in the demonic army, Raven had crossed the inland sea before. 

It was during the expedition to punish the Troll King for rallying thousands of monsters in the Great Forest of Assia in the south. At that time, four lords located adjacent to the Great Forest of Assia had gathered under the same banner to lead the expedition. However, they had found it hard to guarantee their own safety, let alone punish the monsters.

The four lords finally resorted to asking for help from the Arangis Duchy and the Governor-General of El Pasa, the only imperial city in the South. 

Duke Arangis was the self-proclaimed king of the South, so he handed over 1,000 elite soldiers without question, and the other southern lords and merchants helped by sending additional troops or providing supply aid.

However, the governor of El Pasa was on bad terms with the southern nobility, including Duke Arangis. Furthermore, he could not disregard the city’s defenses and send imperial troops to such a remote location. 

It was clear that the burglary would begin as soon as the imperial army left El Pasa. Nevertheless, the governor could not openly ignore the official request of the lords, so he reported the news to the capital.

In other words, the responsibility was passed on to the royal family.

However, the imperial castle was in turmoil at the time due to the political and militaristic tension regarding the imperial ascension to the position of crown prince, so they could not draft regular soldiers to the far south.

Eventually, the demonic army was chosen to head down south. Even though they were technically a part of the imperial army, they were treated as consumables and slaves, so they were clearly the best choice.

After more than a month of rough travelling, the demonic army finally arrived at the Great Forest of Assia, where they fought for three months without a single day of break. Raven had truly experienced hell. 

At the end of the long battle, the demonic forces were ordered to rush to the sanctuary of the Troll King. In that very battle, Raven was able to kill the Troll King by the skin of his teeth, and he gained the power of healing and immortality. They were finally allowed to leave the dreaded Great Forest of Assia and the South. And so, they proceeded to sail back towards the central empire with the survivors when…

‘Was it said to be the worst storm in 10 years? Thanks to that, I almost lost my life again.’

When Raven was crossing the inland sea, heavy rain had come pouring down for four days straight between Crete Island and the Island of Death. It was such a powerful storm that even the Arangis Duchy suffered catastrophic damage. Even though they had been on a vertical rise to power and were considered one of the strongest forces, the Arangis Duchy was forced to spend half a year trying to repair the damages and stabilize the situation. 

And the great storm...

‘It started after the last day of the first month of the new year, as I recall…’

The second month would start in five days.

In other words, a radius of approximately 300 nautical miles around the Island of Death and Crete Island were destined to be devastated by storms, while the waters near Isu Island would be no different than usual.

‘I wish you luck, Toleo Arangis, and Duke Arangis… You should pray for a lifetime of luck.’

Raven grinned as he thought of Duke Arangis, even though he had never met him before.

***

“Huh?”

As usual, Swordfish observed the island with a telescope. But he soon folded the telescope and put it in his arms, before ringing the bell and shouting with a voice like thunder.

Ding! Ding!

“Ron Sapphire! Raise the anchor! Unfurl the sails!”

“Huh?”

The unexpected ringing sound brought Yusuf back to his senses. He had been dozing off on a rocking chair on the deck.

“Why? What happened?”

“The Pendragon Duchy’s flag has come down.”

“What? Then…”

The Swordfish ignored Yusuf’s blabber and kicked the buttocks of the pirates who were lying unconscious on the deck.

“You bastards! Do you want to die? The 7th regiment battle ships are coming!”

Only then did the pirates get up in a flurry and soon began to move in synchronization.

“Raise the bow and turn the wheel!”

“Hold it! Hold it!”

Dozens of sails quickly unfolded, and they quickly swelled toward the direction of the wind. The pirates had dealt with ships since they were young, so they moved with perfect harmony and efficacy. 

Of the three sailboats owned by the Winter Storm Pirates, Ron Sapphire was the smallest, but also one of the fastest. The ship began to break through the waves in a headwind.

In the meantime, Swordfish had climbed to the top of the mast. He opened a cage hanging at the end of the mast and tightly tied red threads to the ankles of a long-beaked, black seabird.

“Go.”

The black bird spread its wings and took flight as if it had been waiting, and soon circled the boat once before heading towards the south.

“The news should be delivered to the big boss by this evening.”

“All right, good. Hehe! When and where will you meet our fleet?”

Yusuf asked as he moved to the cabin located in the cargo along with Swordfish. 

Upon arriving at the stern, the Swordfish took out the telescope from his arms, then looked towards Isu Island. Then, he spread a chart on the table and narrowed his eyes.

“Our ships should already be on standby, so they will head out right away… Zagielka and Red Skull should be taking sail tomorrow at dawn. Then…”

The Swordfish scrutinized the chart. Soon, he pointed towards a location on the map.

“As planned, we will confront them in two days, at the Latuan Islands. We will be surrounding them from three sides.”

“Guhahahaha! All right, all right! And Mister Toleo will be decorating the finale.”

Yusuf burst into laughter as he recalled Toleo. The young beast had lost one of his arms in a battle with Duke Pendragon and had been patiently waiting for the day of revenge.

***

Swoosh!

Five sailboats advanced rapidly in a large formation through the waters reflecting the brilliant sunlight. Two combat ships from the 7th regiment escorted the others from both sides, and the three ships in the middle were in a formation shaped like an inverted triangle, about 100 yards apart from each other.

Raven was aboard the ship that formed the apex of the triangle, and he stood with his eyes narrowed, attempting to endure the harsh sea winds.

“Isla.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Raven stretched out his hand, and Isla held out a single-eyed telescope.

“They are pretty fast, just like the rats they are.”

“I think they might be the Winter Storm Pirates. They are rumored to be the fastest in the inland sea.”

Isla replied to Raven’s muttering. In only a few hours, the enemy ship had widened the distance and shrank to a small black dot in the telescope.

“Well, it looks like the Ron Sapphire. He’s the fastest one among the ships possessed by the Winter Storm Pirates.”

Viscount Moraine spoke after taking his eyes off his own telescope. He had insisted on boarding with Raven on the merchant ship.

“I see. Are you unable to catch up with them with the 7th regiment’s battle ships?”

Viscount Moraine grinned at Raven’s question.

“As if. Our boys could catch up with them easily, even with the two-sail schooner[1].

“Hooh…”

Moraine’s words seemed to be mixed with a bit of bluff, but Raven nodded his head. During his time sailing with the 7th regiment, Raven learned another reason why all pirates were afraid of the 7th regiment in the sea.

Even the skilled sailors of the merchant ships had been struck in awe by the members of the 7th regiment as fellow sailors. Their experience and skills allowed Viscount Moraine to leave his ships alone to his subordinates, leaving the crew to sail on their own.

“Elkin, please call the captain. Then, please check on ‘their’ conditions.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Isla approached the stern where the captain was holding the helm. Soon after, the captain rushed towards Raven.

“You called, Your Excellency?”

The captain’s attitude was extremely polite, as the ship was owned by none other than Raven. Raven’s status played a role as well.

“What is our current speed?”

“It is about 15 knots, my duke.”

“Good. We should be able to arrive at Miles Islands before nightfall.”

“Yes, sir. The wind is very good, your excellency. It is all thanks to the lady.”

The captain grinned, showing his yellow teeth.

The unwritten rule of sailors stated that women were not to board the ships crossing the inland sea, for both merchant ships and military ships. Honia, the goddess of the sea, was known to be extremely jealous, and there was a widespread superstition that a ship with a woman, especially a beauty, would sink unconditionally.

But now, there were three women aboard the ship.

Even though they were blood relatives of the ship’s owner, who was also a duke, the sailors were greatly shaken when they first heard that the ladies were going to tag along. But after seeing the three ladies, especially Irene, their hesitancy turned into cheers.

It may have been a coincidence, but the name of their sailboat was Irene, the first mermaid and the eldest daughter of the goddess of the sea. Moreover, the mermaid statue decorating the ship’s helm was surprisingly similar to Irene Pendragon.

“I see. How are the ladies doing?”

“Yes. Only Baroness Conrad has mild motion sickness, and the other ladies are fine. Rather, one of the guests from Ancona is...”

The captain smacked his lips helplessly after mentioning the Ancona Orcs.

All the orcs he had seen stemmed from Latuan or the Island of Death. They were sailors on par with the renowned 7th regiment. 

Therefore, both the captain and the crew assumed that the Ancona Orcs would be familiar with sailing. 

But it was a huge mistake.

“Keeauauuup”

“Kewwaaaggghhhh!”

Surely enough, huge figures rushed out of the cabin and began to loudly vomit into the sea.

“KUewaagghhh! Kuewaaghh!”

“Tsk, tsk…”

Raven clicked his tongue at the sight of Karuta pouring out yellow vomit along with the other orcs. They had regurgitated so much, that one side of the splitting wave actually turned yellow.

“This is truly strange.”

Viscount Moraine also observed the sick orcs with a dumbfounded expression. It was pitiful to see them suffering from motion sickness. Before, they had proudly declared that they would crush the Island Orcs, but as soon as they boarded the ships, they collapsed.

“Kuwagh! Oh, earth god…”

After expelling everything he ate in the morning, Karuta drooled and sank on the deck. Raven approached Karuta while shaking his head.

“Are you going to be able to battle the island orcs in that condition?”

Karuta slapped the deck at Raven’s words.

“I am fine! Motion sickness is motion sickness, and killing the salty orcs is a different matter! What do you think, you orcs!”

“Guuwaaghh…”

Unfortunately, despite their determination, the voices of Karuta and the orc warriors were devoid of any strength. 

Raven was genuinely worried at the sight.

Karuta and the Ancona Orc warriors were a very important force. It would not be an exaggeration to say that they would account for half of the total power if the ships engaged in close combat.

Now that their total strength had diminished by half with the sick orcs, it would be strange for Raven not to be worried.

But ultimately, it was not necessarily a bad thing.

“Captain! We got it!”

“Oh? Really? Your excellency, excuse me for a moment.”

The captain ran to the side of the ship at a sailor’s words.

“Heave-ho! Heave-ho!”

Some of the sailors began to work hard to pull something up. It was a huge net.

“Ohhh! We have another rich haul.”

“That’s right! If it is like this everyday, we will not have to worry about food.” 

The sailors were delighted to see dozens of fish as big as a man’s forearm flailing around in the net.

The amount of vomit from the orcs was so enormous, that fish flocked to the ship whenever the orcs vomited in groups.

The fish were going to be meals for the crew.

However, only the sailors were delighted at this event. Those who were spraying the sea with nutrients(?) felt a little different.

“Hey, you scarecrows! Are you saying that orcs should throw up every da…. Ku  KUuwaagghhh!”

Karuta felt the sickness overcome him when he exerted himself, and he began to loudly vomit once more. 

Perhaps due to his loud voice, the other orc warriors got up one by one and turned towards the sea.

“Kuwagggggghh!”

“Kuwawgh! Kuwagghh!”

Pig-like shrieks echoed throughout the vast sea and the beautifully named vessel called Irene.

1. it’s a type of a ship.

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