༺ Kendride (1) ༻
Viscount Goldic opened his own office at the behest of someone else.
At least, that was the mildest way to put it.
It was a lot better than saying someone grabbed him by the head and smashed open the door with his face.
The administrator of the Goldic territory stared blankly at the woman who had ‘used’ his unconscious lord and then tossed him into the office like trash.
“…You carried him all the way here despite him being unconscious, and this is what you brought him for?”
“Well, at the very least, there is certain etiquette that requires the owner’s permission.”
While hearing such a conversation, the administrator’s lips continued to tremble, unable to find words to respond.
After all, this entire situation was so absurd that his brain couldn’t even follow along.
“…All the soldiers have been defeated? Is this a joke?”
What he was being told was that, in a couple of hours, three academy students had singlehandedly overwhelmed the territory’s entire military strength and even breached the castle, practically turning it into some farmer’s market down the street.
“They did their best.”
A man who had followed the two women from behind chimed in with a noticeably regrettable tone.
At the very least, it could be said that they had done their jobs by not fleeing even when facing these two natural disasters.
Hearing that, the Head Chamberlain of Chester County and the administrator were both at a loss for words once again. Meanwhile, the white-haired woman walked unhesitatingly towards Viscount Goldic’s desk and casually opened every drawer there.
“I’ll take this.”
In an instant, she retrieved a stamp with the territory’s crest on it while nonchalantly talking to Viscount Goldic, who was squirming on the floor.
He whimpered out a baby-like babble, but, in truth, it was practically impossible to consider it a human language.
It would probably sound something like ‘Absolutely not’ blah blah or ‘You can’t do that’ bleh bleh or something of the sorts.
The woman just shrugged her shoulders and continued speaking without any concern.
“Indeed. Thank you for your hospitality. I’ll make sure the transfer process of the territory is done properly at my own headquarters.”
“W-Wait! What is the meaning of all this violence?!”
A man who had been so stunned that he hadn’t been able to react properly until now, stood up in indignation.
“Whoever you are, you will pay for this!”
He was right.
No matter how insignificant a Viscount may be, Viscount Goldic was unquestionably a noble of the Empire. The law wouldn’t tolerate this kind of violence in any way.
“Assaulting a noble and trespassing in a territory to commit such illegal a—!”
The administrator was about to continue, but his voice suddenly faded away.
It was probably because Eleanor shot him a cold gaze.
“I guess I should elaborate.”
Eleanor continued with a relentless tone.
“I have already mentioned that I maintained proper procedures. In essence, I did not commit such actions without a reason.”
“Wh-What do you mean?”
“Insulting the household of a rank of at least a Marquis is more than enough to be considered a legitimate reason for dispute. Moreover, if the party providing the reason loses in such a dispute, it is not difficult to confiscate their territory.”
With that, a nameplate flew towards the administrator’s face.
An identification card bearing the crest of the Tristan Duchy hit the administrator’s forehead and slid down.
“The Tristan Duchy will handle this matter with the official procedures. If you have any complaints, you can appeal to the Imperial Supreme Court.”
The administrator glanced at the nameplate in disbelief. But, soon enough, his face turned pale.
He realized that this article was genuine.
With a pale expression, the administrator alternated between looking at the collapsed Viscount Goldic and the woman who threw the nameplate.
It was evident that the lord, who he had served for 20 years, made an incredibly grave mistake.
Moreover, it was against monsters that should never be touched.
‘…Then, I should…!’
His decision was quick and his actions were even quicker.
It was the moment when the bonds formed over 20 years shone ever so brightly. A determined resolve filled the administrator’s face.
“It has been an honor serving you all these years.”
WIth that, the administrator quickly stormed out of the office.
It was a clear assertion that he had no involvement in the incident caused by his lord.
As everyone in the room contemplated the futility of loyalty in the face of overwhelming power, Eleanor took out a piece of paper and quickly wrote something.
Soon thereafter, she stamped it with the lord’s seal and handed it to Dowd.
“From today onwards, you are a Viscount.”
It was the moment when an entire Viscounty was just delegated over, as if appointing a class representative.
[ Granted the noble title ‘Viscount’! ]
[ ‘Stat: Power’ is adjusted from F to D ]
[ Now capable of ‘Dungeon Conquest’ ]
[ Now eligible to participate in ‘Joint Demonic Creature Conquest’! ]
As I looked at such windows appearing one after another in front of me, I wiped my forehead.
‘…This is fucking nuts.’
Excluding the rewards from the main scenario, the most significant growth events in the game were through ‘Artifact Exploration’, such as Dungeon Conquests and Joint Demonic Creature Conquests. However, both of these events were exclusive to ‘nobles with territories’.
As seen from before, even something like the Sky Splitter could shatter the barrier made by Seraphs. This further exemplified that ‘powerful artifacts’ could display tremendous strength.
After all, there was even a route where players would give up everything else just to receive a territory. From the very beginning, players would just focus on raising favorability with the Imperial Court in order to achieve this goal.
‘To be fair, the quicker you acquire territories the better.’
As the scenario progressed towards the later stages, events related to ‘major households’ became much more frequent. As such, having a foundation of influence and not having one could make a significant difference when mingling with such people.
The ‘Power’ stat was displayed on the status window for a reason after all. The higher it was, the more events it unlocked.
This would help me greatly when it came to resolving the upcoming battles in Chapter 3 ‘Apostle of the Reversed Sea’.
In that chapter, there would be many encounters with the Tribal Alliance, as the contents consisted of numerous ‘negotiations’ with them. Certain branching routes would only open up for those with the authority of a lord. Of course, in a way that significantly lowered the clear difficulty of the chapters.
“…Am I allowed to just casually accept something like this?”
Considering how important it was, I had already planned to obtain such authority later on. However, I never expected to receive it easily like this.
“Considering what you have been doing so far, someone would’ve snatched you away from me and given it to you anyway. So, it is not a big deal.”
“And legally, if there’s a huge disparity in ranks… Mm. It could disrupt interactions between households. At the very least, the rank of a Viscount wouldn’t cause major objections.”
“Just think of it as a starting level to the titles you’ll gradually receive from now on.”
She rashly tossed me the title of a Viscount with such nonchalance while labeling it as a mere starting level.
“…Well, I also agree that Teach should have the Viscount title at the bare minimum. His talents are far too remarkable for him to be a mere Baron.”
Iliya, who had been observing this entire situation, shrugged her shoulders.
“Shouldn’t we deal with that first?”
As she spoke, Iliya pointed to a middle-aged man who was sweating buckets with a nervous expression.
“…What Viscount Goldic has done is truly shocking and appalling. I express my sincere regrets.”
The man, who had been silent until now, finally regained his composure and spoke with a calm demeanor.
It seemed as if he was greatly taken aback after seeing the crest of the Tristan Duchy, but…
“As the Head Chamberlain serving Count Chester, I declare that the County has no connection to this incident.”
“…Hm, I wonder… Your act of feigning ignorance is too blatant, don’t you think?”
Iliya replied, her lips curling.
“No matter the hierarchy difference, if Viscount Goldic didn’t have someone backing him, he wouldn’t have been able to barge into someone else’s territory and behave as he did. Also, he himself even mentioned that there was someone behind him.”
“But there’s no evidence that this person is Count Chester. Punishing someone based on mere suspicion is clearly illegal.”
Iliya’s expression twisted into a frown.
It was evident to anyone that Count Chester was the cause of all the trouble in the surrounding territories. However, the Head Chamberlain’s words were undoubtedly true; it could not be proven whatsoever.
“Even if you attempt to physically threaten me, I will not stay still. I also have the means to defend myself.”
With that, a tall steel giant emitting white steam appeared behind the Head Chamberlain. It immediately aimed its weapon menacingly on us.
Seeing this, both Iliya and Eleanor’s expressions stiffened at the same time.
They realized that this was not an opponent to be underestimated.
It appeared less refined than the Automaton I had encountered when beating up the Heart of the Star. Nevertheless, it was still a formidable adversary.
The only reason I was able to handle it so easily back there was thanks to Yuria. Also, originally, Automatons were not existences that could be faced by mere students. Of course, these two monstrous women were not exempt from this either.
“Only the Heretic Inquisition and the Ruler of the North have the authority to pass immediate judgment without evidence. Even if you’re a member of the Tristan Duchy, it’s still— Why are you looking at me like that?”
The middle-aged man paused in the middle after gazing at my face.
He must have instinctively felt something when he saw my pitying look.
I sighed and took a step back.
I had been wondering when ‘that person’ would appear ever since we entered this place.
[ Danger Detected. ]
[ While the opponent has not directly declared hostility, an overwhelming difference in prowess is detected. ]
[ Skill: Desperation raised to B-Grade. ]
Seeing this kind of window suggested that there wasn’t much time left before he arrived.
Still, to trigger the skill without any apparent hostility or action…
There weren’t many individuals who could do it with just their ‘presence’.
Iliya and Eleanor wore puzzled expressions as I gestured for them to step back a few paces.
This way, we could be safe from the ‘scope of damage’.
“Remember that oftentimes, words can be spoken into existence.”
With that, the awaited moment had arrived.
It started with a mere distant thud.
A sound that resembled the beating of a drum in the distance.
“…What’s that sound?”
As the Head Chamberlain spoke, the sound echoed once again.
This time, it was louder, resonating throughout the entire building
This time, it was closer, like a detonating bomb.
Even the impact was more pronounced. The entire building trembled, as dust and dirt poured from everywhere.
“…What is happening? Did you bring siege weapons or something?!”
‘We didn’t bring anything like that.’
‘But the individual causing this phenomenon is far worse than mere siege weapons.’
With a deafening roar, one side of the castle walls crumbled to pieces.
Amid the swirling clouds of dust and dirt, a man was revealed.
With a snort, he took confident steps into the shattered wall.
Behind him, there were rows of human-sized holes puncturing every wall leading outside the castle.
“…I didn’t sense the use of any Special Power. Did he break through all of that with just his bare fists?”
Such a statement sputtered out from Eleanor like a groan.
Despite being an elegant castle expected of a Viscount, every lord’s castle was constructed to withstand even the assault of High-Grade demonic creatures, albeit temporarily.
Breaking through all of that with nothing but ‘trained’ bare fists indicated that this man was beyond the realm of a mere monster.
The following scene reaffirmed this context.
As the first thing the man who entered the office did was to sweep his gaze over the people inside.
His gaze turned from Iliya to the Automaton that had a weapon aimed at her.
Shortly after letting out a sigh, the man confidently moved towards the Automaton.
“W-What! Don’t come any closer!”
Although the panicked Head Chamberlain subsequently issued orders to the Automaton…
It was a futile act.
With a light uppercut from the man, the massive steel Automaton shattered into pieces at once.
It didn’t stop there as the debris obliterated the entire ceiling of the castle upwards.
The sight was so unbelievable that you could mistake it for a scene from a cartoon.
Excluding me, everyone’s jaws gaped. The Head Chamberlain went one step further, as he seemed to have fainted at such a sight.
Once again, he performed such a feat without a single use of any Special Powers.
A human. Against an Automaton who weighed tens of tons at the very least.
“Who do you think you are to point a weapon at someone else’s daughter. Do you want to die so badly?”
“W-What, what is this…! Count Chester will not stand for this. Daring to do such a thing against a military force of a noble is against Imperial La—”
“I see. Count Chester.”
The man smirked.
“Thanks for giving me the name. Saves me the trouble of looking. Those who dare to harm my family must all be ripped apart to the roots for my conscience to be at peace.”
“W-What authority do you have to make such threa—!”
“I don’t really need permission from anyone to fuck someone up. That’s what the Imperial Law stated.”
The Head Chamberlain stumbled over his words, unable to say anything to retort, but…
Like I mentioned earlier…
Words could be spoken into existence.
Iliya’s voice, shaky and distraught, made the Head Chamberlain stare at the figure before him.
“…Margrave? What, no, no way—!”
By the way, the poor sod mentioned about the Ruler of the North or whatever earlier. You know, the one with the authority for immediate judgment?
Yeah, you see… The dude he was talking about was right in front of us.
“I told you to call me Dad, kid.”
The man chuckled.
With him being so close, the overwhelming presence emanating from this man became even more palpable.
His huge and strong physique, comparable even to the Automaton that had been sent flying earlier. Tattered pants. A completely exposed upper body. Muscles that rippled with vitality and a multitude of grotesque scars crossing over his entire figure.
Although his appearance suggested a martial artist that had wandered for a long time, I was aware that he had little interest in martial arts.
Rather, this was none other than his own version of ‘Proof of Faith’.
In the world of Sera, Holy Knights were divided into two major categories.
People known as ‘Holy Knights’ typically referred to individuals who embodied the image of angels, who were the Messenger of God. As such, these Holy Knights trained themselves according to that stigma.
One type adhered closely to the traditional image of angels; thus, they were faithful, virtuous, noble, and placed great emphasis on dignity and conduct.
Basically, figures like Caliban were considered the pinnacle of this type; they wielded overwhelming strength and served as a Guardian, the role model of all knights.
Within the knighthood, Holy Knights often implied this traditional image. I mean, makes sense, no? It looked good. And was popular.
Within academic circles, there existed a rather niche group that believed in the ‘true figure of angels’.
These guys found a profound inspiration and fascination in the bodies of angels that were honed to their limits through their daily extreme physical labor.
As such, these crazy fucking gym ra— I mean, this physical fitness group dedicated themselves to never ending discipline and penance to reach the true figure of angels.
And the pinnacle of that particular approach was this man.
The world’s greatest masochistic pervert who’d jump into battlefields without a single weapon, clad only in his naked body and bare fists.
Kraut Bellium La Kendride.
A.K.A. Margrave Kendride.
“However, I’ll deal with whoever this Chester guy is later. There’s something more urgent right now, you see.”
With those words, the Margrave turned away from the Head Chamberlain and walked briskly toward us.
“W-Why are y-you here…?”
And as Iliya saw him approaching…
She started back stepping with an expression ‘filled with horror’.
Considering that she still maintained her composure even when confronting the Boy King or when she risked her life, this was a surprising scene.
“I’ve received your letter, but its content sounded fishy. I felt I should come and see for myself; Who the bastard bullying my daughter really is.”
The Margrave turned his gaze towards me this time.
“Are you Dowd Campbell?”
The current era’s strongest Holy Knight asked me with a fierce smile while baring his teeth.
And just with that…
My knees wobble. I wanted to take a step back.
Was this how people felt when they encountered a tiger without a weapon in hand?
While watching him, I chose my words very carefully.
– Margrave Kendride has taken significant interest in you. Although it’s mostly unfavorable, the Margrave is a person who only believes what he sees!
– Try to leave him the best impression possible while in the Goldic Viscounty’s castle! Something good might happen if you do so!
Even with a mere glance at the event window regarding this person, it was clear that Kraut didn’t approach me with favorable intentions.
And his following words confirmed that.
“He’s nothing special. He looks like a pair of dried up chopsticks. So, I heard you’re the one making my daughter suffer?”
‘It’s you we’re talking about. Everyone would look that way to you…’
Even as I inwardly let out a bitter laugh, I was still racking my brain.
Since this event had popped up, a certain ‘plan’ came to mind.
“…Did you come all this way just to see little old me, Margrave?”
I managed to say these words calmly, with a refined voice.
Considering the difference in status between the two of us, it could be seen as audacious. However, with someone like him, he would probably appreciate this kind of attitude more.
Indeed, Kraut’s eyebrows twitched slightly upon hearing my words.
His expression seemed to say, ‘Look at this lil shit?’
“Look at this little shit go. I like your courage, Kid.”
The fierceness in his laughter intensified.
“But you know…I don’t really like bastards who aren’t my friends acting all arrogant.”
It felt like my whole body was being torn apart. The pressure emanating from this person was just at that level: Literally built different.
Eleanor and Iliya turned toward me with a sense of urgency. Both were making gestures trying to dissuade me.
Huh, look at these two being perfectly in sync. What a rare sight.
To be fair, they were probably panicking that hard.
Perhaps they wanted to say, ‘Please don’t act like the lunatic that you usually are. Please don’t do anything crazy while facing this person,’ but…
“…Then let’s be friends.”
As direct as his attitude was, the way to deal with this man was much simpler compared to Gideon.
Unlike Gideon, where I had to find various angles to break down his walls and gain his trust, it was possible for me to instantly resolve the situation even when our meeting was this abrupt.
Even the event window said, this person ‘only believes what he sees.’
“Let’s not drag it out. There’s a quick way for men to become friends. You should know too, right?”
That was why, I just needed to show him.
By doing what this person liked.
“Wanna have a fight, Margrave?”
“Let’s square up.”
Eleanor and Iliya were simultaneously letting out a silent scream.
Honestly, their faces kinda looked like the Scream.
‘C’mon, don’t be like that…’
‘This might be more doable than you guys think.’
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