Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter teaching Manta a harsh lesson for screwing up the map, I set off with a heavy load of weapons forged by Grandmaster.
Good thing that I had Manta find me a couple of fine horses. To think Manta’s look when he led me the steeds, oh, poor Manta, never try to piss me off again.
When I was at the end of my journey, I was pleased to meet my friends again. They greeted me with all sorts of questions and whooped when I revealed the black steel swords.
“Meow… meow” Jack sounded, when did he learn that habit? “Was it really in black steel?”
“Em…” Tennessee examined one of the blades and said, “It is indeed black steel.”
“Holy molly.” Marfa whistled, “Never imagined I could hold one!”
“Seemed like a lucrative journey.” Webster said, “How about your magic?”
I said, smiling, “Made some progress.”
“These swords look gorgeous, what are the difference?” Carey and Flynn were even prettier, their cheeks were rosy and skins fair, figures… hot.
“This is for my father, the other two are for Rick and Swift!” I explained, “Because they are ceremonial swords, thus the gorgeousness, they are also made of black steel.
Wilder chopped his sword onto a piece of timber. The wood instantly split into two parts.
“Impressive!” Moya stroke his sword, “How about yours?”
“Mine is the same as yours.” I held my Machete in hand, “I’ll fight my future with it!”
June in Divine City was hot. Dazzling sunray made everyone low on spirits. The roaring cicadas and windless afternoon have made me drowsy all day.
We moved into the hotel which the king had arranged for us. Fischer came as soon as we were there, to cheer me up. This guy couldn’t be less severe, though I was pleased to see him.
“You need to watch out.” Fischer said, “Laika was the top among anyone who graduated from Royal Academy this year.”
“You’re better off telling me his specialties than patronizing me.” I said, “Spells? Combat?”
“It’s combating! I’ve seen him swinging.” Fischer was absent-minded with a goblet between his fingers, “I’ve got to say, he’s good.”
“By the way, I have a gift for you!” I recollected the sword, “Wicked stuff.”
“No can do, bro.” Fischer faced my confusing look, smiling, “I am a prince, remember? I’m not obliged to receive any forms of presents. If you still want to offer a gift, then wait for my crowning.”
“Huh, okay.” I said, “But don’t expect me to call you Your Grace or anything to do with kneeling.”
“No?” Fischer grinned, “Be cautious on your hair, I’ll pull them all!”
“Yeah? Try me! See who’s gonna go bald first!”
“Let’s focus on your duel with Laika tomorrow!” Fischer said, “I’m still a little worried at the moment.”
“I’m not. What’s the point?” I answered, “You gotta do what you gotta do.”
“You mustn’t fail!” Fischer came closer, “If you can get a good region to rule then it’s our dreams we’ll realize.”
“Off you go get ready to celebrate!” I pushed him away, “I’ll win.”
So to speak, I wasn’t confident at all.
“Never mind.” I said to myself, “It’ll work out.”
Then that day had come.
I dressed up in ceremonial garments. A pair of rapiers were on my waist. Neither humble nor pushy, I stepped into the royal palace for the first time.
The palace was huge and majestic, also depressing.
“Duke Kheda, and your son, please follow me.” The head eunuch said.
I came into a luxuriously-decorated hall. There were large paintings and decorations in either gold or silver; under my feet was a huge scarlet carpet with delicate patterns, neat and tidy.
“Presenting His Imperial Majestyyyyyy!” The eunuch’s long-lasting sound was annoying especially when I was half on my knees.
“At ease.” The king declared, “Greetings.”
“Brilliant day today,” His Majesty wore a full set of imperial suit, making him more majestic and dignified, “We are adding two more fine men to the empire’s nobleman list.”
I stepped forward and quartered my chest without any intention to look less mighty than the boy beside me.
“Cohen Kheda!” I put my left hand on the right chest, “At your service, Your Grace.”
“You look well,” The king smiled, “and very alive. How was your journey?”
“Allow me, Your Majesty.” I roared, “I am well-trained.”
“Good.” The king stood up, “Worthy of your name; I hope you won’t let your family down.”
He unscrolled a piece of conferring document.
I, then lowered myself on one knee, my right hand drew my sword, and leveled it ahead.
“I, Climos Summers, King of Swabia, by the rights bestowed by the Gods, hereby name Cohen Kheda, the third son of Duke Kheda, Baron.” King Climos read, “In the hope that Baron Cohen Kheda obeys the Nobility Standard, as…”
The ceremony mostly sounded verbose. I bet all men felt as dull as myself but the poorer I had to act extremely faithful.
Afterward, Laika went through the same procedure. What’s left was to decide the land allocation.
“Your Majesty,” The Prime Minister rushed to his speech, “We currently have not much to offer within the empire. Which land, I wonder, you’d be giving to the new Barons?”
“I will,” The king sat high on his throne, “The one beside Darkmoon will be assigned to Baron Cohen Kheda, as for Baron Laika, he will be ruling the one near that of Cohen Kheda.
“Your Majesty, please reconsider.” The Minister said, “The land which closes to Darkmoon is a place full of desperate aliens. Baron Kheda… huh, as far as I know, is probably not capable of ruling.”
The Prime Minister glanced at me expressionlessly, continued, “As for our new Baron Laika, this fine man has been through our superior education, first in the graduated from the Royal Academy and held an active disposition. Wouldn’t be the best choice to have this fierce young man rule this land for you, Your Grace.”
I was not disturbed by his speech and squinted at my father; he smiled back.
“So then,” The king asked slowly, “You think that Cohen Kheda isn’t qualified to rule this land?”
“No, However, I’m not questioning his abilities.” Minister said, “I was suggesting that the second land had a straightforward, peaceful and honest population, as well the perspective commercial background, that would be a perfect place for him to show his talents.”
“Fuck that!” I cursed on the inside, “If you weren’t for the ores in Dark Forest…”
“That occurred to me, didn’t Baron Kheda mention he was well-trained?” The king said, “He must be good at fighting as well.”
“Duly noted, Your Grace.” The Minister was full of smiles, “And I’m convinced he does. However… I think Baron Kheda is not as good as Baron Laika.”
What a smiling tiger he was. If I indulge you any longer, I might end up with no land to rule at all.
“Your Majesty!” I showed my courtesy, “This humble servant of yours would like to offer his idea.”
“Baron Kheda, I need to warn you.” Minister said, smiling, “You are not allowed to call yourself a king’s servant before tomorrow.”
Shit! This mother fucker screwed me again!
“Ah! I am deeply regretful and full of shame, my apologies.” Spoke in such a way was killing me, “However, I would like to state my idea to the king and all.”
“Allowed.” The king nodded.
“Yes, Your Grace.” I gave my humblest salute then straightened up and gave Laika a taunting look, “I suggest a fair competition with Baron Laika in the way of his choice. If I fail, I will renounce my land! If you allow me, Your Grace.”
Laika apparently noticed the way I glanced at him. The vein on his forehead quickly swelled.
“As you wish! You will have a duel!” He said, teeth gnashed, “I’ll give up my land should I fail.”
Well well, he was not well cultivated as I assumed. Let me add a bit more powder on your fire.
“Your Grace, Minister, father and all. I’m glad that Baron Laika and I have an agreement. But as for Baron Laika, I have this faintest memory that his leg was hurt.” I said with a smile, “I wonder if he has recovered… or not.”
“You!” Laika took my bait as his angry eyes were trying to melt me.
“Baron Laika, this is the king’s royal hall.” I kept on smiling and taunting, “Where are your manners?”
Prime Minister glared at Laika furiously, “I have no objection to Baron Kheda’s proposition.”
“Well said! As you all agreed then, you two fine young men will have a duel.” His Majesty said, “I’ll add an extra prize for you. Both lands will be granted to the winner, who will be promoted viscount, as a reward for his courage.”
People said emperors were sly foxes, that was indeed the case. Seeing that I have enraged Laika then he raised the price. I loved it.
“This is settled.” The king stood up, “Our two new barons will combat in the west garden, after lunch. Dismissed.
I was not in a hurry as a eunuch assisted me to put on the armor. It was my first time putting on such cumbersome and uncomfortable things.
Assumed time was almost up, so I stepped out of the chamber, Machete in hand. Though I did not intend to use a sword, my father had a servant brought it for me. There was a ‘Fight, kick Laika’s Ass‘ writing on the sheath.
I glanced at it and instantly knew it was my friends who share-wrote it, one word from each. A few of those looked beautifully written, and the rest terrible, as I viewed half annoyed, half amused.
Arrived early, Laika’s lowered heads indicated that he was not absent-minded. I wondered what he had in his head. Nevertheless, I intended to mess it up.