༺ Demon Sword (3) ༻
Vera visited the blacksmith’s forge first thing in the morning. As Vera spoke with Dovan regarding the sword, he suddenly raised his head upon hearing an unfamiliar voice.
“It seems another customer has arrived.”
“…No, not a customer.”
Vera shifted his gaze towards Dovan in response to the refutal.
Dovan donned a frown on his face, a distinct expression of displeasure.
“Will you please wait a moment? They really showed up. I’ll kick them out and return right away.”
“Let’s go together. There’s no reason for me to remain here alone.”
“…I’m sorry you have to see me in such an ugly state. ”
“Not at all.”
Squeak-. Dovan’s wheelchair moved.
Vera accompanied Dovan and immediately frowned upon recognizing the ‘figures’ beyond the main gate.
Those uninvited guests Dovan spoke of were a group of soldiers all clad in identical armor, their numbers reaching a little over thirty.
Like Dovan, they were all members of the bear tribe.
They were all well-built, yet Vera’s attention was drawn towards a lone member standing at the forefront, who wore armor that bore little resemblance to the rest.
Black fur and brown skin, this sole beastkin from the bear tribe stood out from the rest; he was clad in black armor and radiated a powerful force.
The force he exuded was of that magnitude.
The ‘General’ aside, all of them harbored a fierce and oppressive spirit.
Vera realized at once that the atmosphere exuding from them was not natural, but one created deliberately to provoke their opponents.
‘No wonder,’ was the thought that emerged in Vera’s mind.
Doesn’t it make sense in the first place? Dovan is a master blacksmith who is revered throughout the continent. Of course there would be groups attempting to recruit him.
It wasn’t unusual at all that a general from a well-structured army would pay him a visit.
Vera glanced at Dovan again.
‘So that’s what it was…’
He surmised that Dovan did not want to assimilate into any group.
As Vera’s thoughts continued, Dovan’s expression became fierce and he began shouting.
“Leave! I already told you I have no intentions of joining you!”
“Being stubborn won’t work! How long do you intend to abandon your duty?!”
As if this had previously been rehearsed, the general snapped back in a tone mirroring Dovan’s.
“This chaotic political situation must come to an end! Cease your needless personal greed! How long do you expect to endure? You must think about the cause. The cause!”
“Are you not the ones consumed by greed! As for the cause, where is the cause of your greed?! Do you think the cause is a word that can be used so thoughtlessly?!”
He raised his voice, the tension rose as it approached a breaking point.
Amidst the spectacle, Vera turned his gaze towards the sound of footsteps from the backyard. Renee and Aisha were approaching them.
Vera drew a short breath and faced forward again before he spoke to Dovan.
“Do you mind if I take care of this?”
It wouldn’t be a pleasant scene for Renee to experience. In response to those words, Dovan glanced at Vera.
Vera stared directly into Dovan’s eye and explained.
“This situation is one that I can resolve.”
He didn’t just utter those words without a basis. Vera had a trump card that could bring an end to this situation.
Dovan replied back when he noticed Vera’s confident expression.
“I am always causing trouble for you.”
“Think of it as an investment.”
Vera walked towards the general after uttering those words.
The general brows furrowed at the sight of Vera approaching him.
“Who are you?”
Vera’s gaze shifted upwards. It was due to the difference in their physiques.
Members of the bear tribe grow much larger than humans. However, even amongst the group, the general’s body size stood out distinctly. As Vera peered upwards at him, he retrieved a rosary from his chest and held it in front of the general.
“Procession of the Holy Kingdom. What’s the issue?”
Vera placed an index finger in front of his lips and continued to speak.
“I’m currently in a difficult situation, please do not speak loudly to alert everyone.”
A panicked expression emerged on the general’s face.
Vera examined the bewildered general’s change in expression and thought it was fortunate that the general thought rationally.
Vera had a card up his sleeve. It was his own position as an Apostle of the Holy Kingdom.
‘The Beastkin Tribes won’t oppose the Holy Kingdom.’
Even if they had the will to fight back, they wouldn’t have revealed it.
It was because Vargo shattered the skull of King Haman, who oppressed and exploited the Beastkin Tribes, giving them the right to grasp freedom with their own hands.
Vera glanced at the general, whose eyes were wandering nervously, and spoke.
“I came here because His Holiness has entrusted me with a task, so I would like if this is as far as you go today.”
The sight of the general gnashing his teeth caught Vera’s eyes, but Vera didn’t point that out.
It was because regardless of their thoughts or how they conducted themselves behind closed doors, they knew that they could never oppose the Holy Kingdom.
This platinum-colored rosary reminded them of whose grace they were living by.
As long as Vargo was alive, the Federation of the Beastkin Kingdoms was forced to obey the Holy Kingdom.
It was an absolute proposition that everyone on the continent must obey. Those who disobeyed would be branded heretics or eliminated from the continent’s political landscape.
The bear tribe general, fortunately, knew the meaning of the proposition well.
“I am always grateful for His Holiness’ grace.”
The general said that with a sinister expression, then turned around and disappeared with his army.
Vera stared at the retreating army for a moment, then turned to look at Dovan, Renee, and Aisha before speaking.
“It’s fortunate the conversation resolved the conflict.”
It was a blunt tone like always.
“How did you do that? How did you drive away the army?”
In the forest encircling the blacksmith’s forge.
After hearing about the general course of events following the army’s withdrawal, Renee asked Vera a question that came to mind while taking a walk.
Vera confirmed that no one was around before responding to her question in a hushed voice.
“I revealed the rosary. It seemed to be a much better choice than causing conflict.”
Startle. Renee’s shoulders trembled as she spoke in an anxious tone.
“Ar-Are you fine with that? What should we do now…”
Renee was aware of the lengths he went to in the Holy Kingdom to conceal her whereabouts.
In addition, isn’t Vera the one who suffered the most? In response to the words indicating that she thought he may have revealed his identity because she might’ve been in danger, Vera responded in a calm tone.
“It’s alright. Everyone knows that the Apostle is traveling in secret, and most importantly, nobody from the outside world knows that I am escorting the Saint. Therefore, no one will associate the Saint with me.”
“Ah, that’s true.”
It was only after hearing Vera’s words that Renee remembered this was the first time she came out with Vera, and let out a sigh of relief.
Vera watched as Renee relaxed, and reflected on the recent exchange between Dovan and the general.
‘It wasn’t merely a recruitment offer.’
The general clearly used the words ‘duty’ and ‘cause.’
Dovan denied the words immediately, but Vera understood that those were not words used to recruit a mere blacksmith.
Even though he was of the highest level, in the end he was only a blacksmith.
In other words, the importance of well-forged weapons in war was relatively low.
Of course, the story would be different if Dovan’s masterpiece, the Demon Sword, was completed. However, the Demon Sword had yet to be properly forged.
‘There’s something else.’
Vera had a hunch that the ‘incident regarding the completion of the Demon Sword’ he thought about the other day was related to this.
After all, this was something that could be ignored. It was just a matter of leaving the commission as is and heading to the next destination. It just so happened to be that if it was today, weren’t the specifications of the sword that they commissioned roughly decided already?
No matter who Dovan was or how the Demon Sword was completed, it wasn’t his concern.
In the end, as a result of this, the Demon Sword will be created, and Aisha will fight the Demon King with it. Therefore, there would be no issues for him.
So, it was fine to just move on like this, but… Vera felt bothered for some reason.
A suffocating feeling was rising from within.
It was just a personal sentiment. Nothing more.
If he considered Renee’s safety, it may have been better to suppress his feelings and leave quickly after the commission was completed, but it wasn’t so simple. So Vera, while frowning, clenched his fists momentarily and said to Renee.
Vera was troubled again.
How do I say this?
How do I say, I feel uncomfortable leaving the matter as is, and how do I ask, can’t we stay and help resolve Dovan’s situation?
When Vera stopped talking because his thoughts were in disarray, Renee tilted her head and asked.
Vera bowed deeply at Renee’s words and replied.
“…Well, I don’t believe it’s right to leave like this.”
“Oh… is it related to that army?”
“Yes, it must be because we’ll be intertwined with Dovan in a bad way, but to turn a blind eye and leave…”
Vera’s brows furrowed.
It was because the words he was saying at this moment weren’t logical, no matter how much he thought about it.
“…I feel uncomfortable.”
It was because he thought that those words seemed like they were based solely on his emotions.
Renee listened to Vera’s words and read the emotions contained within, then laughed.
“You had the same thought as me, didn’t you?”
Vera raised his head.
“I had a similar thought. I heard from Aisha that they’ve been harassing Mr. Dovan.”
Renee felt her heart fluttering when Vera, who never knew how she felt, was suddenly sharing the same thoughts.
Previously, Vera had only thought of her safety in the Great Woodlands. She was happy that he was acting in consideration of others for the first time.
Renee’s smile deepened in response to her rising feelings, then she turned towards the direction where Vera’s face would be and spoke.
“If there’s someone in trouble, isn’t it natural to help them?”
They were words with a hint of humor.
“We have to protect Dovan.”
Vera’s eyes widened at her words.
What followed was an answer with a tinge of emotion.
A small smile formed on Vera’s lips as he spoke.
In the blacksmith’s reception room.
Renee sat across from Dovan, took out her platinum rosary and spoke.
“Is there anything we can do to help?”
The matters of concern she thought about with Vera.
How could they learn about everything that happened from Dovan?
What happened was Dovan’s personal history, which could never be recounted to them just by asking, isn’t that right?
It would be rude to ask from the perspective of a customer who came for a commission.
So this was what they came up with.
It was to reveal their true identities before asking about the other person.
This platinum-colored rosary held a special meaning to the beastkin, so she could prove that her words weren’t just words.
Renee held out her rosary and spoke, then waited for Dovan’s answer.
Dovan made a shocked expression at Renee’s words and the rosary in full display. He couldn’t choose what to say next because of the guest’s unexpected identity, and was at a loss for words.
The same goes for Aisha beside him.
Aisha began to wallow in regret over what she said in the morning. She finally knew the identity of the ‘heartbroken woman’ due to the rosary hanging in front of her.
– Are you a religious person?
Aisha’s complexion paled. Her ears perked up, and her tail hid between her legs.
‘I- I’m in trouble…!’
Aisha began judging when the right time to kneel would be.
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