◈ Episode 278: The Shadow Conference (1)
Eileen asked as she parted her pink lips.
“If I ignore your warnings and use force… … .”
“… … .”
“What will happen?”
Rudger pondered for a moment before coming up with an answer.
“Your Highness, Princess. How big is the Duvalk Imperial Castle?”
“Why are you asking that?”
“I need to know that because I can give you a definite answer as to whether the entire castle will be blown away or only half will be blown away.”
“… … .”
The two answered in silence once and for all as if they were giving each other back.
Ludger calmly examined the appearance of the first princess Eileen.
If it was her usual, she would have responded with a smirk or showed it with direct action.
But for now, he just sat there, doing nothing.
It seemed that he was trying to figure out whether the other side’s words were sincere, or whether they were bluffed lies.
On the surface, he pretended to be okay, but in fact, Rudger also had something to lose.
He had to collect the fragments of the Relic.
The purpose was not to collect the fragments, but the plan after that was prepared.
However, if there was a problem in the imperial palace, he had no idea how much the plan would be delayed.
According to the original plan, it was within the next three years, but after becoming Seorn’s teacher, even that became unclear.
However, if I had a conflict with Aileen here, it wouldn’t be strange if the remaining process took more than 10 years.
‘So I made a half-bluffing threat to avoid being dragged around.’
They said it was a threat to the point of blowing up the entire imperial palace, but in fact, half of it was a lie.
He could blow up the imperial palace.
However, it was not by Ludger himself, but by his teacher Grander.
‘Since Master is in the capital, if something happens to me, Master will move right away.’
Of course, considering what Grander had done to Ludger on a regular basis, even if this side was dangerous, she wouldn’t step forward.
However, that was a judgment that someone who didn’t know much about Grander would make.
Rudger, who had lived with Grander for a long time, knew.
If something really happened that put his life in danger, Grander would act without delay.
‘Master’s very existence is a ticking time bomb… … No, compared to people in the world today, it is almost equivalent to tactical nuclear weapons. If he goes on a rampage himself, no matter how powerful the imperial family is, he won’t be an easy opponent.’
But Rudger didn’t want that to happen.
The advantage of tactical nuclear weapons is that they are powerful.
There was also a downside, but it was that the power was ‘too’ strong.
If Grander runs rampant, it’s hard for Ludger to be safe.
Rudger couldn’t get out of it because it was not to bring the board to an advantage, but to completely destroy it.
It is like a last resort to be taken with mutually assured destruction in mind.
‘Actually, I don’t want to use this method at all.’
It was a moment of crisis, so it was inevitable to borrow Master’s hand, but it was an honest feeling that I didn’t want to cause a nuisance to Grander.
They bicker with each other every day, but Grander was like family to Ludger.
Rudger still remembers 20 years ago.
The day I met Grande for the first time.
Heathcliff Van Bretus.
The then seven-year-old boy fell down the pit of a deep well and had to wait for someone to rescue him.
But the boy knew.
That no one will ever save you.
The fact that the boy fell down the dry well was something someone did to kill the boy.
And I knew that there were many people involved in it.
But the boy who fell down the well did not die.
Whether it was a blessing or a curse, neither the boy nor the person who planned this would know.
But that was over now.
There was nothing to eat and no water at the bottom of this well.
After all, dying was only a matter of time.
The boy looked up endlessly at the moonlight over the narrow well.
Even though he knew that he was about to die slowly under that feeble light, he stayed still.
In fact, the boy had given up halfway.
The constant assassination attempt over the past seven years was a major reason for his boredom with life.
– Hoo. I didn’t know there were people here.
But maybe fate didn’t allow him to die?
The boy’s eyes widened at the sudden voice.
At the top of the well someone was looking down at the boy.
it was a girl
A red-eyed girl with long blonde hair.
The figure of a blonde girl with her back against the blue full moon is so far from reality.
The boy just looked up at the scene with a blank face.
The vampire studied the boy and smiled as if interested.
-hmm. The color of his hair and the smell of blood. You bastard, are you sure you are related to this goddamn kingdom? Besides, you’re not just an official.
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The girl’s words brought the boy to his senses.
There was something strange about the sudden appearance of the girl, from her tone and behavior.
-Still left here abandoned and alone. iced coffee. That’s right, it was like that.
The girl realized at once what the boy had been through.
So I couldn’t help but laugh.
-I was going to change my mind to be cool because I keep being a devil’s child, a monster, and whatnot.
Saying that, the girl descended into the pit of the deep well.
Spreading red wings behind his back.
Wings made of blood that don’t fly feathers are like bats, but they should have looked rather terrifying.
The boy thought it was really beautiful.
-You are not afraid to see me. And even in this situation, I am not giving up on my obsession with life.
– Me, you mean?
-I think I gave up, but I can tell. You don’t smell of death at all. Rather, it smells of obsession with life.
Grander, the girl, said that while grabbing the boy and flying high into the sky.
The boy hugged the girl’s body tightly at the sudden rising feeling of floating.
It was a natural reaction for a human who had never flown in the sky.
I couldn’t open my eyes properly and my ears hurt because of the strong wind blowing at high altitude.
Still, her voice was clearly audible.
Eventually, Grander moved to a far place and put the boy on the ground.
– Little boy. let me grow you
-… … .
– I will feed you, put you to bed, and make you strong.
-… … Why?
A question that a boy can ask because he is not an ordinary boy.
Why would an existence like you want to save and nurture me?
The boy at the time did not understand.
-Think of it as just a whim.
– A whim?
-When you live in the world for a long time, sometimes you want to do something on your own.
– Still, there must be something you want from me.
Grander burst into laughter at the boy’s words, which raised his alertness.
– Ha ha ha! The little guy is already getting his head rolling. Yes, it is true that I did not help you for no reason.
-What do you want?
– Don’t worry. I won’t tell you to pay the price you raised, or to live for the rest of your life for me.
Then the moment I was about to ask what the hell were you thinking.
Grander said, cutting off the boy’s doubts with a single stroke.
-I just want you to kill me when the time comes.
-okay. You don’t know yet, but you have the power to do so. If I deal with it, I’m sure it can kill me too.
The girl’s bright red eyes turned to the boy.
-How are you? will you promise?
-… … .
That was the first meeting between Rudger and Grander when they were young.
The one who saved the boy who had been abandoned by a god-follower was a vampire called the descendant of the devil.
Afterwards, Ludger wandered the world with Grander for 13 years.
Her knowledge was passed on, she was taught, and her wisdom was acquired.
Because of Grander’s selfish personality, he went through a lot of things.
Sometimes we fight and sometimes we don’t talk.
Nevertheless, Grander was Ludger’s teacher and mother who helped him survive in this world.
That fact never changes, even after eons of time.
‘So I don’t want to cause trouble to him… … .’
1st Princess Eileen noticed that Ludgar’s momentum had changed, albeit very slightly.
She immediately smiled and shook her head.
“Don’t look at me so pierced. It is an unavoidable reaction because beauty is an eternal truth.”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Didn’t you tell me with your eyes?”
I said it around the corner, but it was also humor that Irene wanted to change the atmosphere.
In other words, it was tantamount to suggesting reconciliation by refusing to escalate the matter to an armed conflict.
‘It’s time to step back from here.’
Eileen’s pride was hurt quite a bit, but she knew it was time to back off.
As the current supreme leader of the empire, it was impossible for him to be defeated by a teacher who hid his true identity.
However, Aileen was different from the idiots who only believed in her position and pushed herself.
She had eyes to see.
The eye that sees the current, the eye that sees the opponent, the eye that sees the flow.
where is the snow
He also had an innate intuition for identifying crises and a rational mind that clearly analyzed when to attack and when to step back.
All of that has brought her to where she is today.
And now, Eileen’s senses were telling me.
Eileen never took the warning lightly.
It was a very fleeting moment, but the moment she felt Ludgar’s discomfort, she felt a chill run down her spine without realizing it.
‘Blowing down the imperial palace is absolutely not an empty word.’
Eileen naturally brushed one of her forearms.
Chicken meat sprouted from the skin on the inside of the soft arm sleeve, which was made of pure silver.
Eileen was sorry.
He thought he had finally found someone who would fit his last name, but he still seemed unwilling to get caught, so it had to be.
He was a man who was in front of me, but seemed like a mirage that would disappear just by extending his hand.
‘That’s why I’m more greedy.’
If that man were with him, the Millennium Empire would achieve an unprecedented golden age.
Knowing that, I couldn’t give up even if I had to step back right away.
For now, Aileen opened her mouth, deciding to be content with meeting the person she had been following for the past seven years.
“The joke ends here.”
As her mood suddenly changed, Rudger stared at her calmly.
“I called you because of what is happening in the capital recently.”
“Is it related to the reason for calling the Knights of Cold Steel and the Knights of the Nightcrawler?”
You will have seen it on the way, so the need to explain this part has been reduced.
“As you know, reports have come in that a suspicious group has infiltrated the capital. It hasn’t been that long. So I ordered someone to search the area to punish them beforehand, but it was strange.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve heard reports that they infiltrated the capital, but there was no trace of them anywhere in the capital.”
“… … .”
It wasn’t enough that a group of suspicious people appeared, they disappeared in just a few days.
It was just words that I couldn’t understand properly.
“Is there any possibility that he escaped outside the capital again?”
“The moment I heard the news that they had entered, I strengthened the security of all the gateways leading to the outside.”
“If you got out, you mean you can’t know if you don’t know.”
“And there is still no news… … .”
Rudger guessed and Eileen gave the correct answer.
“okay. They are still inside the capital.”
“That’s why you called the knights. To prepare for any unforeseen circumstances.”
“And the reason why you personally called me here… … .”
“There are times when we meet and talk after a long time, but we need help.”
Eileen stared at Ludger with an unwavering, straight gaze.
Her clear amber eyes held strong will.
Rudger closed his eyes as if he had expected this to happen, and then opened them.
“It’s a request.”
“okay. place of request. Just like I asked you that day 7 years ago.”
“What would you like to pay for?”
“I will open the imperial treasury. I’ll allow you to come out with as many as three of what you want from there.”
“You mean the report from the imperial family?”
Rudger asked to confirm if he hadn’t expected the pay to be this high.
Instead of answering, Aileen nodded her head resolutely, showing her firm will.
The Imperial Treasury is a forbidden place that is said to have never been entered by anyone.
I don’t even know what’s inside, and since no outsiders have gone in, there’s almost no known information.
A place full of mystery.
Rumors alone circulated that something like a holy sword from 500 years ago was kept.
Eileen said she would open it up and let you take what you wanted.
It also meant that Ludger’s abilities were highly valued.
‘It’s a dangerous quest enough to give that much.’
Rudger knew Eileen well.
She has a very clear line between public and private affairs.
If you show performance commensurate with your abilities, you will be rewarded appropriately. The award is so well-deserved that there really is nothing more to add and nothing more to take away.
With that perfect calculation, it was decided that the imperial family’s treasury would be opened.
‘It seems that the enemies have dug into the very depths of Lindebrunn, the capital. It’s to the extent that even the imperial family can’t reach it.’
Even if he refused this request, Ludger himself would also be involved in a set procedure.
If it’s something you’re going to do anyway, it’s probably a better way to get a fair reward.
It was also a way to legally obtain the Relic Fragments lying inside the Imperial Treasury.
‘Honestly, it’s right. It’s okay to accept it, though.’
Rudger glanced at Eileen.
He would think he was trying hard to hide it, but Rudger knew.
Eileen was a bit nervous, though.
He probably thought that this side might refuse.
Even if you pretend to be so strong, in the end, there’s nothing much different from seven years ago.
Rudger laughed inwardly.
“I will accept it.”
Eileen’s expression softened a little, as if relieved by Ludger’s answer.
I don’t know if it’s anyone else, but when Rudger said he’d come out, I felt like I’d won a thousand horses.
“I feel relieved to hear that you accept the request.”
“So, do you have any other news?”
“That’ll come soon with news from my loyal men.”
“A loyal subordinate?”
“He’s coming over there just in time.”
At the same time as Eileen spoke, Ludger felt a sign approaching the garden gazebo.
Ludger looked back at his opponent, and the opponent who approached urgently also found Ludger with the princess.
“Princess, I’m here… … Eek?!”
“… … Mandelina?”
Rudger narrowed his eyes and stared at the woman in his memory.
Mandelina also looked at Ludger, and her complexion turned pale and she trembled.
“Everything, why are you here… … ?!”
“Then why are you here?”
Ludgar glared at Mandelina with a suspicious look.
That would be too.
This is because Mandelina was once a member of the Black Ops Alpha Team, which was involved in a coup.
The Alpha Team that was completely disbanded by Rudger.