Duke Pendragon - Chapter 272
The elves from the mainland would never come out of the forest in groups unless there was a dire circumstance. In fact, they would not come out unless their entire species was at stake. But now, there were more than one or two elves in front of them. There were dozens.
The elves were standing in place with indifferent eyes. Their mysterious gazes seemed to be penetrating the very fabric of reality. In addition, some of the elves were gazing at the distant sky with a poignant expression, adding to their mysteriousness.
‘They are really elves…!’
But Isak was ignorant. Unlike the mainland elves, the elves of Red Mon Valley were close to humans in terms of expressing their emotions. Moreover, their current facial expressions were due to the awkwardness and shame they felt from wearing such clothes and shoes for the first time in their lives.
“These are the warriors of Red Mon Valley. We defeated the monsters of the Great Forest together. And this is… you must already be familiar with her.”
Raven turned his head, and Isak’s gaze followed.
He let out an involuntary gasp. However, he quickly realized his mistake and gave a military salute.
“I greet Lord Soldrake!”
He had previously seen her human form in Leus. The other knights and soldiers also put their hands on their chest before bowing deeply. In addition to the elven warriors, the White Dragon was accompanying them as well. Even though it was for a short time, the guardian of the Pendragon Duchy had protected Leus as well.
Her presence was a joyous occasion, as much as Duke Pendragon’s safe return.
“Let us go, Your Excellency. The commander is waiting for you.”
After nodding lightly, Raven climbed onto the saddle. Then, Soldrake floated into the air and naturally took her place behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist.
“An elf. It’s a real elf…”
“Have you seen them before?”
“Of course not. But wow, both male and female elves are…”
“What about Lord Soldrake? Wow, this is the first time I have seen her this close.”
“Me too, me too.”
The knights and soldiers from Raxla continued to glance toward Soldrake and the elven warriors. Their gazes glimmered with astonishment and excitement.
‘Hmm, this might work after all.’
A faint smile appeared around Raven’s mouth.
The drawbridge of Raxla Castle slowly descended at the shouts of the guards. The troops, led by Raven, started to cross the bridge.
The guards standing on either side of the iron gate vigorously slammed their spears down on the ground, and Raven gave them a slight nod before passing through the entrance. At the other side of the dark tunnel, dozens of knights could be seen.
As sunlight greeted Raven once more, a thunderous roar broke out.
“Hooray for Duke Pendragon!!!”
Raven waved lightly as he looked around the surroundings. The walls of the castle and the courtyard were filled with knights and soldiers. The Ancona Orc warriors followed behind Karuta, and the.shouts grew even louder at their appearance. Finally, the elven warriors from Red Moon Valley made their appearance.
The shouts suddenly died down.
The sight of the elven warriors was enough to shock everyone into silence. They were dressed in light green robes with bows hung behind their backs. Their hair fluttered in the gentle wind.
Then, someone slowly walked out from the crowd of knights in the courtyard.
“Seeing your bright, handsome appearance, it seems that the Great Forest treated you quite well.”
Viscount Moraine jested. His beard was long and shaggy, unshaven for a long time. But unlike his nonchalant words, it was clear from his passionate eyes that he was holding back.
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The commander speaks similar words to his knight. Seeing your face, you seem to have gone through a lot of trouble.”
Knowing Moraine’s true feelings, Raven dismounted his horse and approached the commander with a smile.
“Yes, indeed. I have gone through loads of troubles. Your absence seemed to encourage the trouble to grow. Now that you have returned safely, please take a load off my back.”
The two men held hands and hugged each other.
“Thank you for your hard work.”
Raven spoke while giving Viscount Moraine an encouraging pat on the back. Viscount Moraine replied with a smile while also patting the young duke’s shoulder.
“I just had to deal with those damned bats who keep sticking to different trees. How could I call such mere work troubling?”
Raven smiled bitterly while pulling himself away from Viscount Moraine.
“I heard a little bit on my way back here. There’s been some trouble with taking care of them?”
“After your whereabouts became unclear, many nobles and landlords decided to side with Arangis. They had been on the fence about it before, but I think they were aware that the Pendragon Duchy’s forces and yourself are crucial to us.”
Raven’s expression got a little darker. He would have made the same decision in their situation. Without the Pendragon Duchy’s forces, the coalition was no better than a lion without its fangs.
“But even so, quite a few troops have gathered.”
Raven nodded his head as he looked around at the knights and soldiers lined up on the walls and the courtyard.
Then, Raven’s eyes twitched when someone came into his view. Three figures were standing in front of the castle’s main gate with numerous women behind them.
Raven’s mouth curled up into a gentle smile.
“Have you all been well?”
She was a little emaciated, but it only added to her pure charm. Irene was crying with her two hands tightly held together. Before, she would have pounced on her brother without being aware of her surroundings. However, her action now was more effective in conveying her true feelings. The one who came running on behalf of Irene was Mia, who was now a little taller and maturing to become a lady.
She rushed into his embrace, and Raven felt a sharp pain in his heart as he patted Mia’s head. Even though it was due to their safety, she had travelled so far from their home. When he thought of all the suffering she must have gone through, his heart was pained.
A sudden sound of a small voice caught Raven’s attention, and he quickly dropped his head. Mia’s tiny lips were moving as she looked up at himself with big, teary eyes.
“Br, brother… I… was… worried…”
Raven’s eyes filled with shock. Even though she was stuttering like a newborn child, Mia had definitely spoken. It was the first time in many years. The youngest daughter of the Pendragon family had finally spoken for the first time in many years.
Feeling a fullness, Raven burst into laughter and lifted Mia’s tiny body.
“What is there for you to worry about? How could your brother not come back safely when you are waiting?”
Mia answered with a big smile and tear-filled eyes, and Raven tightly embraced her. Although they were not actually related by blood, his sister’s deep feelings were conveyed. His heart felt full as he felt her love for him. The warmth of her small body and the sound of her heart beating stirred his emotions even further.
Raven slowly turned his gaze towards the shaky voice. Poignant eyes were quivering under her hair, which was neatly tied up in a bundle.
After putting Mia down, Raven grabbed her tiny hands, then stepped towards his woman. Then, he opened his arms wide toward Irene and Lindsay.
“Come, everybody. We are Pendragon, are we not?”
The two ladies were unable to hold back any longer. They rushed towards him without restraining themselves.
They entered into his embrace. They had been worried sick about their brother and husband. Raven hugged the two and swept their heads and backs. Even Mia, who was beaming with joy, joined in on the embrace. The four people tightly embraced each other without holding back.
Killian sniffed while tears formed in his eyes. He was eternally a knight of Pendragon, and the sight in front of him brought him endless joy. It was the same for other returning members of the Pendragon Duchy. Knights and soldiers were sniffing or smiling, nodding their heads approvingly at the four figures.
The happiness of their lord and his blood was wholly conveyed. They were overjoyed as if it were their own reunification. Slowly, Raven moved away from the three ladies, then turned with a slightly awkward expression.
“I apologize for this. I am sure everyone has a family, but I wasn’t able to hold back and…”
However, Viscount Moraine shook his head with a smile.
“Everyone knows how the Duke fought for us and the South and how much you had to sacrifice.”
“Thank you for regarding it as such.”
“Of course. Then for now…”
Viscount Moraine grinned before turning towards the courtyard. He shouted in a loud voice.
“Everything except the guard duty will stop for today! We will welcome Duke Pendragon and the heroes who fought and won without sparing their lives!”
The booming roar of the United Southern Army resonated throughout Raxla Castle.
The United Southern Army enjoyed a break after a long time.
Knights, soldiers, nobles and commoners – everyone joined in the celebration to welcome back their colleagues. Stories of monster conquest in the Great Forest were told, and the men were repeatedly shocked and relieved as they became entranced in the tale of the legendary confrontation.
However, that was only the situation for ordinary knights and soldiers. The commanding officers in charge of the troops were gathered in one place, conversing with a rather serious expression.
“To think Jean Oberon was behind everything…”
Viscount Moraine muttered in disbelief. Raven nodded and responded.
“I was shocked as well. Not only did he create the Troll King, he was also the one responsible for putting me into an unconscious state years ago. He was also involved in the current state of the crown prince.”
Including Viscount Moraine, the commanders and nobles let out unintentional moans at Raven’s words.
“But I am so glad that it turned out like this. You figured out that evil man’s plans and eradicated it… Perhaps it was a good thing that Your Excellency headed into the Great Forest.”
“Yes. It was a simple escape at first, but everything turned out rather good in the end. But… my arrogance cost many lives… It is wholly my fault.”
Raven bit his lips with a somber expression.
It was an inexcusable mistake to think that he could defeat the Troll King while only receiving help from the Red Moon Valley elves. He had assumed it would work out because of his past experience with the Troll King and its subordinates, but a commander should never have been overconfident.
Of course, in the end, the Troll King and the monsters were defeated, and Jean Oberon’s evil plans were exposed, but that did not make up for his mistake.
Raven’s remorseful words were greeted with silence.
“I do not think it was your mistake.”
Viscount Moraine broke the silence, then continued.
“If the main forces had to enter the Great Forest, and not just the troops from the Pendragon Duchy, the South might have fallen into the hands of the Arangis Duchy already. Many lives would have been lost.”
Some nodded in favour of what he said.
“Most importantly, if Your Excellency had not headed into the Great Forest, Lord Soldrake would not have come to El Pasa. If that were the case, the Arangis Duchy’s fleet would have already taken it over.”
“Hmm? What do you mean?”
Raven asked back. He was still unaware of Soldrake’s encounter with the Arangis fleet on her way to El Pasa. Viscount Moraine gave a quick recount of the story.
“…and that is what happened. Thanks to Lord Soldrake, more than half of the sea griffons were killed. The Dragon Breath caused a huge ruckus in El Pasa and the surrounding area for a while.”
With a renewed expression, Raven turned to look at Soldrake. She was standing like a stone statue on top of the high spire of Raxla Castle.
“I am glad. Lord Soldrake is here, and you have returned safely… We have truly gained a formidable power.”
The others also took on proud expressions at Viscount Moraine’s words. Suddenly, Isak took on a rather playful expression. He spoke up.
“If we are speaking about gaining, His Excellency has also gained something extraordinarily high and noble, isn’t that right?”
“Oh! That’s right!”
Viscount Moraine clapped his hands with a bright expression, and low chuckles escaped from here and there.
Raven looked around with confusion, and Viscount Moraine spoke with a bright smile.
“Congratulations, your excellency. Baroness Conrad has conceived the heir to the Pendragon Duchy, the blood of your excellency.”
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