Duke Pendragon - Chapter 88
The cavalry galloped at high speeds with the flag of the Bresia County held up high in the front . They soon arrived in front of the monastery .
As the leading cavalry moved aside, a nobleman in his fifties wearing a silver crown slowly rode forward . Upon seeing Raven sitting in the tent, the nobleman got off the horse without the help of his servant .
At Filmore’s gaze, the cavalry of Bresia bowed their heads . Normally, they would have bowed towards Sisak’s High Lord, but not this time around . Sophia and Baron Enzo’s expressions turned even more pale at this sight .
They once again realized that they were in the presence of someone with a higher status than Sisak’s High Lord .
Soon, High Lord Count Bresia passed through the calvary and the mercenaries and stood before Raven . His eyes fell on the miserable face of Ruv Tylen for a moment . At the High Lord’s icy gaze, Tylen trembled and bowed his head with a dejected expression, losing all the hope he had until now .
Baron Nobira and Sophia also had anxious, resigned looks on their faces . The tense silence only lasted for a moment, and Count Bresia turned to Raven .
Count Bresia’s expression turned bitter at the sight of Raven, who was much younger than himself but of a higher status . Then, Count Bresia slowly opened both of his arms and bowed deeply with one knee pulled back .
“As the representative of the most noble ruler of this land, Emperor Aragon, I, Lorean Bresia of Sisak, greet the descendant of the White Dragon . ”
“… . . !”
The eyes of Filmore and Baron Nobira filled with shock at Count Bresia’s attitude towards Alan Pendragon . He was showing utmost courtesy that one would usually show in front of the emperor .
And the eyes of Raven, who had just received such a greeting, narrowed . Raven stood up front his chair and slightly bowed with one hand on his sword handle .
“I’m Alan Pendragon . It is an honor for me to meet your excellency, Lord Bresia . ”
Count Bresia slowly straightened his posture after Raven’s courteous response .
“… . . ”
The two men’s gazes met in the air in silence .
Facing Count Bresia’s murky gray eyes, Raven felt a strange emotion . It was due to the differences that existed between Count Bresia in his distant memories, and the old nobleman who was standing in front of him right now . The man standing in front of him now showed a calm demeanor and a sense of oldness .
“Please sit here . ”
“Thank you . ”
Count Bresia sat in the chair placed right next to Raven .
It was Count Bresia who broke the awkward silence and spoke first .
“I heard my knights, and my daughter has done a great disservice to Your Grace Pendragon . I also heard that they acted against the solemn imperial order from the Royal Batallium . ”
“… . . ”
Raven was quite surprised once again . He had not expected Count Bresia to bring up the subject in such a direct way .
“Even if there were some misunderstandings, mistakes are mistakes and faults are faults . As the father of my young daughter and High Lord over this territory, I feel a great responsibility . I hope you will make a fair and accurate decision on all of these matters . I will humbly accept your grace’s decisions . . . Even if it means death to everyone who was involved in the matter . ”
Count Bresia’s last sentence caused a shocked expression to appear on everyone’s faces . Count Bresia’s words were no different from throwing the white flag . He meant to obey whatever arrangement Alan Pendragon made .
Sophia Bresia’s last hope was shattered . She looked at Count Bresia with trembling eyes and a pitiful expression .
But Count Bresia turned a blind eye to his beloved daughter .
He continued to stare at Raven’s face with calm eyes without a change in expression .
‘Was he such a man…?’
Raven nodded inwardly . Raven did not know that Count Bresia was a man of such caliber . He had thought that the old man was just a cowardly, incompetent nobleman who bought his title with money .
Naturally, Raven had clouded judgement as a young man full of despair and anger and could not see the man for who he really was .
But it was different now .
The world he saw as a monarch was different from the world he saw as a traitor’s illegitimate child .
Raven opened his tightly closed lips .
“If that’s how your excellency feels, I will also speak without beating around the bush . ”
“Of course . ”
“Three years ago, regarding the assassination attempt on Crown Prince Shio . Do you acknowledge your mistake and involvement in mishandling the incident and with what happened afterwards?”
“I admit it . I take full responsibility for mistaking a faithful knight of Sisak as the perpetrator and failing to recognize the real traitor . Those were my own thoughts, and those were my decisions . ”
Filmore shouted in a regretful voice at Bresia’s confession .
“My lord! Those were my . . ”
Count Bresia’s face turned towards Filmore .
“Stay silent, Sir Filmore . ”
Filmore closed his mouth and bit his lips .
“I apologize for the rudeness of my knight . ”
“… . . ”
Raven nodded at Count Bresia’s apology . No excuses would change the situation . Not until the person holding the knife changed his mind .
Count Bresia was perfectly aware that making excuses or acting in thoughtless manner to shift the blame could cause his entire family to shatter .
However, simple recognition was different from accepting the responsibility .
Moreover, it should not have been easy for a High Lord to hand over the sword to someone else in his own territory . Nevertheless, that was what Count Bresia was doing right now, while showing the utmost courtesy .
One could not simply treat such a person without thought .
Count Bresia was not completely responsible for the fall of the Valt family and for the death of Raven’s father and brother, but in a way, he was also a victim .
He had not been aware that the person who was staying in his castle was the crown prince, and he became caught up in a cunning plot devised by the traitors who had used Ruv Tylen .
Even so, Raven had a clear point to make .
That was the purpose of his trip to Sisak as Raven Valt, and that was the reason he had used the name of a person who did not exist in this world to enact justice .
Raven took a light breath and opened his mouth .
“Your Excellency Bresia . ”
“Please speak, Your Grace Pendragon . ”
“Frankly, I am deeply impressed by your sense of responsibility as the High Lord of Sisak . However… In this place, where all your knights and vassals are gathered… I think it’s the right thing to do to correct the stigma of the extinct Valt family…”
Raven ended his speech as he forcibly contained his trembling, breaking voice .
Count Bresia looked at Raven with a strange expression, then nodded before standing up from his chair and taking a few steps forward .
Everyone’s gazes headed towards him .
With hundreds of eyes on him, High Lord Count Bresia spoke up in a declarative voice .
“I speak as the High Lord of Sisak! Because of my mistake and wrong judgement, Sisak’s proud sword and shield met an unjust end! Even though a long time has passed, I will correct my mistake!”
Raven felt his heart speeding up . Finally, the unjust judgement passed on to his family was about to be undone .
“The Valt family is innocent! Gray Valt was and will always be a loyal, proud knight of Sisak!”
Raven felt his grip tightening on the armrest of his chair at Count Bresia’s loud declaration .
“The only sin that exists is my failure to conduct a deep investigation into this treacherous incident as Sisak’s High Lord! I declare before you, the people of Sisak! I will reinstate the Valt family as Sisak’s knight, and the residents of Moncha will once again be free men!”
“We accept the will of the High Lord!”
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The soldiers all bowed their heads and pounded their swords and spears on the ground . The sound also reached Raven’s heart .
His eyes had become red, and he silently closed his eyes .
The only wish that had allowed him to continue living his hard life, which he held in his heart for more than a decade, was finally fulfilled . He had lived through all kinds of hells and chaos with only one desire in his heart, and now, the Valt family were no longer traitors .
“It is not enough, but I hope this will be a small consolation to the Valt family . ”
Raven opened his eyes at the words of Count Bresia who sat back in the chair .
“Correcting mistakes is the virtue of a true lord . Your Excellency Bresia fulfilled your responsibilities . ”
“I am ashamed . I am only grateful that you would think so, your grace . But…”
Count Bresia paused and pondered for a moment before continuing his words with a sigh .
“As I have said, I know I have full responsibility for this matter . I hope you can make it clear with me what you would like from me, your grace . ”
The comment fully revealed what type of character Lorean Bresia was . He was a man who held strong power in Sisak before ultimately becoming its High Lord . Raven responded calmly .
“I believe you have already received Sir Filmore’s letter . Firstly, I will receive the right to dispose of Ruv Tylen . ”
“That is your right, so do as you would like . ”
“I am also going to confer the title of viscount on Derek Ramelda and appoint him as a lord over an independent territory . There will also be a small number of my troops present on his land . The matter has already been discussed with Prince Ian, so all you need to do is generously accept the matter . ”
“I will also follow your will on this matter . ”
Count Bresia nodded his head heavily . He had already received this news the day before from Filmore’s letter . But the next words caused Count Bresia’s eyes to tremble .
“Lastly, I would like to offer you a word, or a suggestion, regarding the matter with Lady Sophia…”
For the first time, Count Bresia’s gaze unwittingly turned to Sophia .
Count Bresia had a complicated expression as he saw his youngest daughter crying with a frightened face . The cold voice of Raven stuck in his ears like a sharp thorn .
“To reprimand her for insulting myself and the protector of my family, I want to take your daughter to my territory for a time of penitence and self-reflection . ”
Count Bresia could not continue his words, and Raven answered with an icy expression .
“I am planning to leave this matter regarding Lady Sophia to my mother, Duchess Elena Pendragon . ”
“… . . Ah?”
Count Bresia’s forehead creased, and Sophia’s tearful eyes widened .
Leave his mother in charge of her? Then maybe she would become the Pendragon family’s’…
“My mother was born in the imperial castle and she knows the strict discipline of the royal family better than anyone else . There’s no one better to educate Lady Sophia to become a proper lady than Duchess Elena . Of course, since your daughter is guilty . . ”
The faces of the father-daughter duo paled as Raven continued .
“She will enter my castle as a maid . ”
Raven spoke his last words with a hint of smile, and the two faces turned pale white like milk .
A noble’s daughter, a daughter of a High Lord . A maid?
No, she would be called maid, but in reality, she would be no different than a hostage .
“Y, your Grace Pendragon, I beg of you, but please reconsider…”
“What do you think will happen if I report this matter to Prince Ian?”
“… . . ”
Count Bresia stopped at the cold response .
“Your daughter became involved in a dispute between two knights of the territory while using the name of your family . She explicitly took a side as well . In the meantime, she interfered with me, who was carrying out a secret mission given to me by the imperial family . If you were Prince Ian, how would you choose to deal with this matter, your excellency? Moreover, how would you ‘take care’ of Bresia County?”
Count Bresia clenched his eyes shut at Raven’s emphasized words .
Needless to say, Sophia would be executed, and he would be stripped of his position as High Lord .
If he refused, thousands of imperial soldiers would storm them .
Bresia reopened his eyes .
There was nothing to think about . He could not lead his family and his territory toward destruction just because of his daughter .
“Please take good care of my… youngest daughter… Sophia…”
“Ah… . ”
Sophia Bresia .
The immature girl’s status immediately fell several stages from a High Lord’s daughter to a maid with just a few words . She fainted .
From then on, the conversation was one-sided .
Count Bresia, who was forced to send his youngest daughter as a hostage in the name of ‘re-educating her with a systematic and strict discipline to reform her into a wise lady’, could not argue with Raven’s words .
On the contrary, his daughter was spared the death penalty, and his family was completely relieved of the responsibility for the incident three years ago, as well as the responsibility for his daughter’s actions this time around . The situation had ultimately turned out the best it could for Count Bresia .
He also felt a little relief and gratitude that Alan Pendragon had found out the identity of some of the traitors that attempted to assassinate the crown prince . Even though Count Bresia shared in the responsibility, ultimately, he was also a victim, so he had a deep grudge against the traitors .
That’s why Count Bresia wanted to maintain a close relationship with the Ramelda family, and also wanted to cooperate with the Pendragon family as the High Lord of the Great Territory of Sisak .
It was clear that the story of this incident would spread to the entire empire through the mouths of the mercenaries who participated in the conflict, and that the County would be greatly disgraced .
So, it would be better for them to cooperate with the Pendragon Duchy .
Count Bresia was disregarded by other nobles for a long time, and he had lived with that identity for a long time . But now, he chanced upon an opportunity to make ties with Alan Pendragon, who had joined hands with Prince Ian and was soaring in terms of influence and reputation . This was a golden opportunity to turn his disgrace into a huge fortune .
Thus, during his long journey from Leus to Sisak, Raven gained two dependable allies in his travels – Viscount Ramelda, and High Lord Count Bresia .
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