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Chapter: 185


Chapter 185: The Seeds of Evil Being Sown

Translator: Lei

Proofreader: Enigami

"Saluuute!"

"Greetings to Your Lordship."

I was greeted by a crisp salute in the Weyn Covert of Denfors, a place Nerman had previously used as a covert.

‘It was an excellent choice.’

There were more and more merchants coming to the territory, and we needed a large space to conduct transparent trade with them. Weyn Covert was chosen for the job. Wyvern hangars were assigned to large and middling merchant groups for a set price, and other than the Rubis Merchants, the rest of the merchants purchased all the goods produced in Nerman in public sales.

Of course, the large merchant groups could tyrannize the smaller merchants using prices, so we offered a set rate to the middling merchants. I wanted to protect the middling merchants, who eked out a living earning money day by day. In Korea as well, the smaller companies were pitiful existences who were at the mercy of the conglomerates. It was the same here, but I didn’t want them to live like that.

"It’s good to see you, my lord."

"May the blessing of the gods be upon you…"

Upon entering the covert, the busily moving merchants, soldiers, and civilians bowed low to show their respect, their greetings full of sincerity, not pretense. A pleased smile floated to my lips.

"Welcome, my lord."

"You’ve worked hard, Sir Andriave."

Andriave was a friend and assistant to Derval, who was responsible for the executive management of the territory. The man with the unique mismatched eyes was in charge of the territory’s important trades.

"No such thing, my lord. This is something I naturally must do."

To him, it wasn’t work, but enjoyment. From what I heard, the gross cost of goods coming in and out in a single day exceeded a million Gold. Such a sum was easy enough to say, but a million was an amount most territories would make in one month.

"As I have always said, the territory’s profits are important, but do your best to not lose balance in all things."

Wearing a benevolent smile, I uttered a phrase meant for the surrounding merchants’ ears.

‘We’re gonna do business for a long time, so you gotta live with a ‘the customer is king’ mentality!’

The shout in my heart differed sharply from my words. Nerman had several specialty products that would be difficult to source elsewhere anyway. Firing a little lip service as an owner and CEO was no biggie.

"I heard there were still people conducting private transactions, but how is it now?"

"There haven’t been any private transactions in the last few days. However, about a week ago, there were some people trying to pull things like that on the sly, but they were exposed and expelled."

"That so? Under territory martial law, regardless of whoever they are, confiscate all their goods and immediately expel them from the territory," I shouted, loudly enough for all to hear.

"Yes, sir!"

One might call me a communist or a proponent of restrictive, exclusionary politics, but I didn’t care. I could endure such disgrace for the happiness of the territory. This was a place where you could earn an appropriate reward for the amount of sweat you dripped. What could you call such a place other than paradise?

‘I’m sure they all know now that Nerman is not to be looked down on.’

All sorts of things could happen in life. You might become greedy for someone else’s things or accidentally do injury to others. Naturally, you could also have a very human moment of avarice or make a mistake. However, for the smooth operation of the territory, I was stringent on punishing crimes in order to make an example out of the violators. We even sussed out confessions out of liars using magic, so within a few months, the number of liars in the territory sharply dropped.

The law wasn’t almighty, but it could establish a standard for living. Also, it wasn’t just the territory citizens who fell under territory law, but the merchants and mercenaries who operated in our borders. Here, where my word was law, my will was capable of regulating everyone.

"Be sure to supervise your subordinates well. Keep in mind that I can forgive many things, but not those who use their official seat to secure profit for themselves, no matter how small."

"Yes, sir!"

Unlike regular workers, I held administrative officials to a higher moral standard. If they took bribes or carried out any sort of injustice, I knew they could become the main cause for polluting the territory with corruption.

‘Do your jobs well, fellas. As long as you listen obediently, you’ll never be short of money your entire life.’

I didn’t say the previous words for Andriave and the knights nearby, but for the merchants craning their ears while glancing furtively at me. I wanted them to think what would happen to them if they misstepped when I was this tough on my subordinates.

‘Guess the rain is finally stopping…’

Before I knew it, the clouds had receded, and one beam of light was slowly revealing itself far in the distance. It was a sure sign that the rainy season was coming to an end.

* * *

In Kellinford County of the Indesse Kingdom, a territory downstream of the Valphoi River, a certain man was standing by the rushing water. Due to the river bank crumbling in several places and the river overrunning from the worst torrential rain in decades, the territory had taken immense damage.

"The Kesinine poison that’s been scattered upstream will give you all dysentery. All those who drink the polluted water will grow ill with infectious disease and struggle between life and death. Kuhuhuhuhuhu."

Because of the flooding, even the well water used for drinking had become muddy, but this man even sprayed poison upstream, then mumbled to himself.

Flap flap.

The rain might have stopped, but the wind was fierce, and the man’s gray robe whipped in the gale, revealing a certain tattoo on his wrist.

The crimson heart and a sharp, black sickle was a chilling sight.

* * *

"Ombrikana hadvessans…"

The capital of the Mercenary Kingdom, where the peaks of the Ossis Mountains could be seen far away, was the hometown of mercenaries, thousands of whom left on trips every day. As such, there was a tremendous number of horses in the capital. Within the capital was a horse market where such horses were sold and bought, and because darkness had descended in full force, the market was quiet and most were sleeping.

Deep in one of the stables in the market, a man attired as a stablehand recited some indecipherable words.

"Karvenaam!"

The man uttered the final word with emphasis.

Szzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Suddenly, a hazy black smoke began to whirl within the stable.

Twang, twing, twaaang.

The swirling smoke spread to the sleeping horses, and shortly afterwards, fleas and similar pests began to jump wildly on their bodies.

Neeeeeeigh! Neeeigh!

Startled from their sleep by the sudden and fierce assault of fleas and other pests, the horses screamed.

"The cities the mercenaries go to on these horses will face this curse. Animals and people bitten by these fleas and pests, which have been infected with the curse of death, will waste away from high fever before suddenly perishing. Kuhuhu. They will be deeply blessed with the grace of Lord Kerma. Huhuhuhu."

The curse of plague was one that only priests of Kerma could call down. If there were priests around, they could use purification prayer to prevent the spread of any infectious diseases. But right now, each of the temples were wholly paralyzed.

The priests of the Evil God appearing everywhere gleefully spread their death curses. And not just in one or two places, but all over the Continent, as quiet and as stealthy as the creeping hand of death.

* * *

"It’s the same principle as a Blessed Spear. If you pour mana into this mithril arrow and fire it, it will fly with a speed similar to a Blessed Spear. Also, if you imbue the mana with your will, you can land the arrow where you want."

"Would I be able to do it, too?"

"Of course. Hoho. If it’s Kyre-nim, you can certainly manage it and then some."

After the rain stopped, summer began in earnest. Rumors of water-related disasters occurring all over the Continent traveled swiftly to us through merchants coming in and out of the territory. Thankfully, there wasn’t much damage to Nerman. A great deal of rain had fallen, but the mountains shielded us somewhat and the land absorbed the rain, so the impact was limited to a bit of dampness. In fact, with the shimmering light of the sun, the crops quickly absorbed the water and nutrients and were growing abundantly. 

I made the time to go see Narmias. Aramis must have heard the news from someone, because she went into secluded prayer for the natural disasters and plague signs occuring around the Continent. I couldn’t bring myself to bother her when faced with her sheer nobility.

‘It should cost less if we use arrows.’

Instead of Blessed Spears, the elves used archery. From the shaft of the bow, to the string and even the arrows, everything was mithril. But a bow could be continually used after it was made, and the mithril, magic crystals, and various other production costs of an arrow were about 1/10th of a spear.

"In particular, if you use the arrows with the help of a Sylph, you can swiftly increase your range and destructive power."

Narmias did not stint on anything with me, telling me the archery secrets of the elves in detail.

‘It’s no good to use a knife for butchering a cow to butcher a chicken, so this is good.’

The Skyknights often encountered monster groups during their patrols. No matter how tight our defense was, the Rual and Kovilan Mountains were long and extensive, so monsters frequently attempted to come into the territory. The monsters were crafty and often launched roundabout surprise attacks on stationed soldiers. Whenever that happened, patrolling Skyknights would find out and kill or repel the beasts, but repeated use of the spears inevitably ended with them breaking or being destroyed. Of course, we could also use spears made of iron, but then the accuracy would fall, so we could only use those for intimidation purposes. But if we utilized the archery of the elves, we could easily repel miscellaneous monsters like orcs. Even if my Skyknights used the arrows used by regular archers and not mithril ones, that would be enough to strike fear into the hearts of orcs.

"Thanks, Narmias."

Narmias grinned at me. Summer had come, but thanks to her natural constitution and the full-body mithril armor she wore, she didn’t seem to feel the heat.

"Kyre-nim."

"Yeah?"

"Thank you."

"For what?"

"Thanks to Kyre-nim, all the elves have gained new friends and a new world. Lately, the Elven Village has been overflowing with vitality day after day."

"Ach, I didn’t do much…"

In truth, that was nothing compared to what I gained from the elves. Other than breaking their defeated and insular mentality, I hadn’t done much else.

But what they gave in exchange was beyond imagination. They contributed a great deal to my paradise plans that had seemed so farfetched. The road, castle, and various buildings they made in cooperation with the dwarves were incredible feats that even an empire wouldn’t dare attempt to match what they did. On top of that, they were also helpful to the people living on the territory. The elves who were extremely skilled in magic and summoning frequently took care of monsters that slipped past the patrols, and they also sometimes dropped by and helped the people with farmwork.

Their natural actions of harmony had a synergistic effect on the territory, in both visible and invisible ways. However, the elves remembered what they received more distinctly than what they gave, a beautiful trait that humans should emulate.

"Narmias…"

"Yes?"

"Wait a little. When the territory is stable, I’ll…"

I wasn’t able to continue. I still lacked the experience to make a marriage proposal. The proposals I’d seen on TV weren’t so half-hearted.

"I am… fine with anything. As long as I can be by your side… I do not wish for anything more."

The sublime words of love the elves spoke were always so pleasing to the ear. Her words held thorough trust and contentment that demanded absolutely no conditions or strings attached. Looking at Narmias, who taught me again that I wasn’t alone, I quietly reached out a hand and caressed her soft cheek.

‘You don’t have to wait much longer. Let’s get married in style.’

Age was no longer an issue. I was the Lord of Nerman, someone above the spiteful remarks of others. No matter who came at me, even if they were the emperor of an empire, I was confident. I had the strength to love and protect what was mine, so there was nothing I needed to bend to in the world.

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator: Lei

Proofreader: Imagine

Discord Link:  /p>

* * *

"What is this sudden sortie all about…"

"Was there always a place like this in the Bertz Mountains?"

The Skyknights dispatched to the Laviter Empire from the Yukane and Baerkain Kingdoms participated as ally troops to attack Nerman and received flight training with the imperial troops. Under an imperial mandate to fly to the Bertz Mountains, they followed the Skyknights of the Imperial Guard deep into the mountains and landed in a fairly large clearing.

"I suppose we’ll find out if we wait."

"What a sorry state we’re in."

The Laviter Empire could be seen as the main adversary of the kingdoms. The Skyknights were deeply saddened by the kings who bent the knee to such an adversary and dispatched them as ally troops. Some of them tried to look good in front of the imperial troops, but most of the kingdom Skyknights were ill at ease. They weren’t regular soldiers, but Skyknights who could be called the main force of their kingdoms. They participated because they couldn’t defy the royal command, but most of them were elites who could guess what kind of sorry state the kingdoms would find themselves in as a result. Everyone knew at least that the Empire was happy to see them die bravely in battle.

As such, the kingdom Skyknights weren’t excited for the coming battle. They descended from their wyverns and lined up on the ground.

"Now, follow me and move. Go!"

The ten Laviter Imperial Skyknights at the front strode forward, not taking off their helmets even after landing. The Imperial Guard might have a great deal of discipline, but even so, the man’s frosty and cold voice gave the listeners chills. They even felt fear, as if the knight wasn’t human.

The kingdom Skyknights left their wyverns behind and followed in silence.

Bzzzz!

The moment they left the clearing and went onto a mountain path, they experienced the sensation of passing through a strange barrier.

"Ah!"

"Ah…"

And then, they saw it—an enormous magic tower that hadn’t been visible just moments before. To their shock, the magic tower made of black stones was covered in moss and ivy, as if it had withstood the test of time.

"Wh-Where are we?"

"Black magic?"

Although the Imperial Skyknights should have heard the exclamations of their allies, they didn’t say anything and marched to the plaza of the black magic tower. The 400 kingdom Skyknights muttered fearfully, but the Imperial Skyknights didn’t stop to explain. They were a perfect reflection of the arrogant Empire.

"All men, wait here."

After saying that, the Laviter Skyknights disappeared into the massive black magic tower.

"Even for the Empire, this is too much!"

"Yes! We aren’t knights of the Empire, so why must we act like dogs?!"

"Let us return to the kingdom and have a decisive battle with the Empire instead! If the two kingdoms combine their strength, they won’t be able to act recklessly!"

In their kingdoms, the Skyknights possessed smaller territories or important positions in court. Their suppressed rage towards the imperial troops exploded all at once.

It wasn’t just today. Ever since they left their kingdoms and came onto imperial territory, they suffered insults not just from other knights, but from supply soldiers and regular infantry. The sight of the Imperial Skyknights disappearing after telling them to wait was the last straw on the camel’s back.

"Huhuhuhu…"

"Kikikikikikikikikiki…"

Just then, the kingdom Skyknights’ ears picked up on creepy laughter.

"Wh-Who is it?!"

"What manner of bastards are you?!"

The kingdom Skyknights found themselves unconsciously unsheathing their swords at the ominous laughter. The moment their yells rang out, mages wearing black robes appeared at the windows of the magic tower and all around the plaza.

"Welcome. I am the Tower Master of the Shining Magic Tower, Galuaice."

"Shining Magic Tower?!"

"This is really a black magic tower!"

The Skyknights shouted, appalled.

"From this point on, you will be born again. You will shed those fearful, powerless, and foolish human bodies and be reborn as immortal knights who do not die when they are killed. Kukukukuku," guffawed Galuiace, standing at the top of the magic tower.

The kingdom Skyknights looked at each other with ashen faces.

"Shut up! How dare you say such nonsense, who do you think we are?!"

"Where did the Skyknights of the Imperial Guard go?!"

"We can kill all you wicked mages!"

The kingdom Skyknights unanimously burst out in rage, desperately railing against Galuaice’s ridicule.

"Say that after seeing the state of your bodies. The moment you arrived here, cherpo petal powder has been making its way into your bodies. Kukuku. If you don’t believe me, try activating your mana."

At Galuiace’s friendly(?) recommendation, the Skyknights hastily attempted to access their mana.

"Gugh!"

"No…"

"My mana is gone…"

Their swords held aloft, the knights groaned. The truth of this man who called himself Galuaice became painfully clear. Their faces filled with confusion and fear.

"Everyone! Retreat to the wyverns!"

"We must survive and tell everyone about the Empire’s wicked plan!"

But the Skyknights were not ones to submit quietly to death. Even with their mana gone, the Skyknights displayed the gallantry of knights.

"Kukuku."

"Where do you think you’re going?"

However, that was where their resistance ended. The moment the 400 Skyknights turned to return to their wyverns, the Skyknights of the Imperial Guard were suddenly there.

They weren’t the ten who had disappeared. Over a hundred Imperial Skyknights were waiting for them, their swords drawn.

"Da-Dark Blades…"

"They were De-Death Knights."

Surprisingly, they were wearing the crimson cloaks of Imperial Guard attire, but the color of the mana coming from their swords wasn’t pure blue light, but the black of complete darkness. The kingdom Skyknights, who had been ready to resist, were plunged into despair.

"Now then, cease your petty resistance. For the construction of our mighty Empire of Darkness, we must offer your blood as a sacrifice."

To the very end, Galuaice ridiculed the 400 kingdom Skyknights as he urged them to die.

Clank clank clank!

And with those words, the Laviter Imperial Knights armed with black blades advanced in attack formation. As beings who were no longer human, their helmets exuded the gleam of evil akin to the despair of hell.

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