The Master of the Brave - Chapter 68
Chapter 68 – The Brave and the Sword Saint (II)
(Author’s note: This is a connection episode. Please forgive me if it has too many explanations.)
Headquarters of the Imperial Knights.
The building that houses the Knights’ Central Headquarters that oversees the knights of the north, south, east and west, with the Imperial Capital Simurgh in the center, and the headquarters of the Knight’s Court that is mainly responsible for the surveillance of the Imperial Capital Simurgh and the nobles.
Around it, facilities related to the Knights were built, and in one of the buildings an office was given to Royce’s squadron.
The room was full of desks and chairs for the offices of Captain Royce, the second in command, Kelvin, and Locke, Wedge and Lino, but the room was somewhat deserted, as it was originally assigned with 10 knights plus their captain in mind.
The main role of Royce’s squadron in the Order was to carry out reconnaissance missions. The unit would train daily for this task, but they also had to give combat training to the common soldiers as knights. And of course, in between the training, there was also the paperwork.
Due to the shortage of manpower in the Imperial Knights, the units in the rear could not be replenished in time, and Royce’s squadron had to endure most of it, being all they could do to carry out their daily work.
Captain Royce was also a noble, Count Elstead, so he tended to stay away from the team. Normally, family and status are ignored while belonging to the Knights’ Order (of course there were exceptions, as one would expect with a member of the royal family like Cornelia, that status is naturally taken into account), but the Elstead territory was a region adjacent to Petersia, where the situation had been tense recently. As long as he was the lord of that land, there was no way Royce could not take care of it, even if he belonged to the Order.
So, when Royce visited the squad room for the first time in a week, he found resentful looks from his men directed at him at once.
“What? Almost everyone seems tired. Especially Locke. You don’t look so good, do you? Are you okay?”
“…Yes. It’s been two weeks, and the barrage of questions about Raul-sama has diminished recently…”
“How unusual, Captain. Has the situation calmed down in your territory?”
“Thank you. For better or worse, I would say that there has been no progress. Even if I’m not in the territory, my wives there are doing fine. All I have to do is find out what support I can get from the Imperial City.”
Royce took a drink of the water Kelvin offered him and snorted, wiping the sweat that had burst on his forehead.
“Hey, Captain, can’t we get a bigger reduction in the number of trainees assigned to us? We have classes to attend…”
Wedge nodded and looked at Royce as he agreed with Lino’s faint murmurs. In addition to their duties, Locke, Lino and Wedge were also required to attend at least as students of the Knights’ School.
“Cheer up, Lino. That’s what I’ve come here for today. You won’t have to attend soldier training for a while.”
“Yeah! Wow, that’s a big help. I’ve been so busy with schoolwork lately that I haven’t been able to get any sleep!”
Locke and Lino’s faces, exhausted and somewhat gloomy until then, lit up with Royce’s statement. But unlike them, Kelvin had a vague frown on his face.
“What’s the matter, vice-captain? What’s with that disgusted look on your face?”
“No… since it is you, Captain, there must be some underlying reason anyway, right?”
“Haha, as expected from the vice-captain. Of course, there is another mission.”
“I thought so,” said Locke and Lino, letting their disappointed shoulders hang out as a funny Royce shook his belly and laughed. However, they immediately changed their expression and waited for Royce to speak.
“So, what kind of job will it be?”
“We’re going to investigate a kidnapping.”
“A kidnapping case?”
Kelvin raised an eyebrow. This kind of incident was supposed to be the responsibility of the Guard Corps to protect the security of the city. It shouldn’t be a job that involves the Order.
“A few days ago, Azalea-sama from Count Baymond’s family was kidnapped. A high-ranking noble was the victim, so the Guards asked the Knights for help. Azalea-sama is an associate Knight, a student at the Knights’ School like yourselves. She is eighteen years old.”
“Kidnapped? She didn’t really run away from home or something? Some kind of escape?”
“On the day of the tragedy, she planned to return home from the women’s dormitory at the Knights’ school to Count Bemond’s mansion in the imperial capital, but on the way to the mansion, he found a necklace that appeared to belong to his daughter. It must have been torn off during a struggle with the criminal. There have been reports from nearby residents that they heard a struggle.”
“Was she the daughter of a noble and had no escort?”
Nodding to Locke’s question, Royce wiped the sweat from his forehead again, drank some water, and then opened his mouth.
“Azalea-sama was an associate knight. She could also use ‘Body Strengthening Magic’ and had some skill. It seems she usually went into town without an escort. She was kidnapped even though she resisted. Whatever the criminal’s objective, it is safe to assume that they have a good amount of strength.”
“But, Captain, why were we given that task?”
“It’s not just our platoon. Since it is proper for the job, there will be three platoons that specialize in reconnaissance missions. In other words, we were assigned a company to look for her. It will be a half platoon with no specific number. I guess they assigned this task to the incomplete squad because the squad that had a good number of people in it would be busy protecting the Sword Saint-sama banquet that will be held starting tonight. Therefore, starting at noon today, we will have a meeting with each platoon and the guards that will be assigned to this mission. In the meantime, I want you to review the documents here.”
Kelvin received the documents on behalf of everyone.
“I see. There is a welcoming ceremony for Raul-sama tonight.”
“Wynn is Cornelia-sama’s subordinate, so I guess he’ll have to participate?”
“That’s fine… I’m sure there will be a feast or something.”
“I’m sure you’ll understand, but Wynn is a subordinate, so I guess he’ll be in a designated waiting room.”
Royce kept his eyes fixed on the documents and spoke to Lino, who was whispering in her seat.
“What? Isn’t Wynn going to the party?”
“What’s the matter, Locke? So, Wynn did want to attend?”
Royce blinked at Locke’s question, as if to say he had heard something amazing.
“No, not Wynn, but Leticia-sama will be there.”
“Will Leticia-sama attend? That’s unusual, but… well, it’s a banquet to welcome her visiting companion, so it’s not surprising that she’s attending.”
“Yes, well, I suppose so.”
Locke thought Leticia was invited because Wynn would be there.
‘Wouldn’t Leticia-sama be disappointed if Wynn didn’t go?’
Receiving a visit from friendly royalty suddenly and without warning, the bureaucrats of the Empire rushed to prepare the welcoming ceremony.
Raul Orto Lyon, the Crown Prince of the great kingdom of Lyon and the famous “Sword Saint”, was a guest of honor. The whole country was to give him a warm welcome.
It wasn’t just the Empire’s bureaucrats who were shouting this. Officials from the embassy of the Kingdom of Lyon in Simurgh were also running around the imperial capital.
Raul was dressed in his traveling clothes, and one could not say that he was dressed in a manner worthy of a prince. One had to pass quickly through the great trading houses of the royal family and the nobility throughout the imperial capital to quickly make clothes and decorations suitable for the royal family. In case of emergency, a considerable amount of gold coins were stored in the embassy, but due to the urgent nature of the work, the craftsmen were so loaded with money that almost half of the gold coins they had stored had disappeared.
Anyway, thanks to most of the work of the Empire’s officials and the diplomatic missions of the Kingdom of Lyon, the welcome ceremony and the banquet for the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Lyon was somehow prepared to take place about two weeks after the day when Raul crossed swords with Wynn.
The Great Hall of the Imperial Palace of the Lemmroussel Empire
Here, right now, after the welcoming ceremony for the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Lyon and “Sword Saint” Raul Orto Lyon, a banquet was being held as such. For the banquet organized by the imperial family, the powerful nobles of the empire who were staying in the imperial capital had been invited and were indulging in jokes. The Imperial Emperor Alexei attended the ceremony and gave him a brief welcome, but he had already retired due to ill health.
Once the ceremony was over, Raul was the guest of honor at the banquet, with a smile on his face as he dealt with a succession of nobles who came to greet him with the wine glasses they had received from the waiters. The hair on his head, dishevelled and unkempt from the trip, was well trimmed and his beard well brushed.
The swordsman who held the titles of “Strongest Swordsman of the Continent” and “Sword Saint” had a well-trained and fearless body. And a neat appearance with cold, elegant eyes that fit a prince of a great country.
The way he stood there, dressed in a ceremonial costume so elaborate by a craftsman that it was hard to believe it had been made in a hurry, was exactly the kind of heroic figure that corresponded to the prince of a great country. When the powerful nobles finished greeting him, the glamorously dressed noble ladies approached him one after another to greet him.
“Hey, are you having fun?”
In the midst of such dazzling flowers, the one who casually entered the circle that an ordinary man would have hesitated to enter and called him was Alfred, Crown Prince of the Lemmroussel Empire.
At that moment, Raul was talking to a girl who claimed to be the daughter of a Count. The young woman, who smiled as she pressed her ample breasts against Raul’s arm, had a smile on her face that would make any average man fall in love with her, seemed to be momentarily upset by the man’s approach, like saying “get out of my way”. But when she realized that the man was the Prince of her country, she quickly separated from Raul. The girls around them also bowed before Alfred’s arrival, but with a look of repentance on their faces, and went away.
“Yo, Alfred. I have had a great welcome, and I have enjoyed it very much.”
Raul greeted Alfred with a friendly smile, although inside he was relieved to be free of the young women.
“That’s what I’d like to say, but I really didn’t want to make such a fuss, and I even used a fake name.”
“How could there not be an overreaction after such an extravagant act in such a prominent place?”
Alfred passed his own glass of wine to Raul.
“You are the royalty of a neighboring country, one of the heroes who saved the world. If you come to visit, we have no choice but to welcome you to our country with open arms. Especially in this situation.”
Although they were from different countries, they were both royalty and close in age.
The two had been friends as equals in position before Raul came to the Empire as one of the members of the Brave’s group. They touched their glasses and toasted each other, moistening their lips with wine. The women in the hall looked at them with passion. Although they had no choice but to leave Raul alone because of Alfred’s appearance, they could not help but be curious about Raul, who was the famous Crown Prince of the great kingdom of Lyon.
“Look, even the flowers are ashamed of the pretty maidens who look at you so ardently.”
Alfred raised his wine glass slightly towards the girls.
“You should answer that too.”
At Alfred’s urging, Raul had no choice but to smile as well. The flowers of the court were somewhat shy, but happily they whispered to each other as the smiles of the two men reached them, who could be said to be the stars of this banquet.
“Yes, yes. Keep it up.”
“I’m not good at this kind of thing, so I decided to follow the way of the sword.”
“You say that, but you’re pretty good.”
“Of course. I’m still a prince, after all. But I can’t be as affable as you all the time.”
Despite his expression, Raul whispered so that only Alfred, standing next to him, could hear.
“Raul-kun, is your smile about to fall apart?”
Even Alfred responded with a mixture of whispered and mocking sounds.
Perhaps because the royalty was chatting among themselves now, no one approached them, but the truth was that Alfred was no less surrounded by court flowers than Raul. It was impossible for Raul to imitate his friend while he was walking through those flowers with a distant attitude.
“Her Royal Highness Princess Cornelia, Leticia-sama, Daughter of Duke Mavis. Incoming!”
With that warning, the room fell silent for a moment and then a throbbing noise filled the room.
“Wow, here are the other two flowers.”
Out of the corner of Alfred’s eye, two girls entered the room through the entrance to the great hall. The eyes of everyone in the room fell on the two girls as they walked through the entrance. Most of them were boys. Leticia, with her golden hair and good looks, and Cornelia, with her dark, lustrous hair and her neat atmosphere. Each of them was beautiful girls with an atmosphere as contrasting as the sun and the moon. A circle of people quickly formed around them, as well as Alfred and Raul. First the influential nobles burst in, and then the still-single young men surrounded them, looking for an opportunity to talk to them.
“Yes, yes. I’m glad my sister is so popular too.”
Looking at the scene, Alfred narrowed his eyes. The two attracted the glances not only of the men in the room, but also of the women. They were the princess of their country and the brave daughter of a Duke. He was sure that women, as it was expected, were more attracted by this idea than by jealousy of men.
‘Hmm? That’s it…’
Then, Raul immediately noticed the look. One of the young women looked at Leticia with a look full of dark emotions.
“Hey, who is that?”
Curious, Raul tried to ask Alfred, who was next to him, about her identity, but when Alfred looked where Raul pointed, the young woman had already disappeared.
“Was there anyone there?”
Leticia’s beauty and her reputation as the Brave It was not surprising that some women were jealous of her. In the end, Raul falsely said, “No, it’s nothing.” After all, Leticia’s social status and ability would not be harmed even if they wanted to.
Raul had more to worry about than that.
‘Letty, I hope I don’t irritate you. You’re not going to come and hit me later, are you?’
From Raul’s position, the figure of the little Leticia was hidden by the crowd, and it was impossible to see her, as if she were hidden by a wall of people, but he could tell that her face would now have an aura of bad mood while she was smiling.
‘Now that I think about it, when I met Letty, it was also at a banquet. At that time, Letty was…’
‘She’s like a doll.’
That was the impression Raul got when he met the girl who was called the Brave.
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