◈ Episode 338: Traces of the Holy Kingdom (3)
Rudger’s meeting with Catherine was just by chance.
when in the middle of the night.
Rudger couldn’t sleep as usual and wandered around the castle secretly.
Rudger, who always had to take the risk of being assassinated, spent far more days not sleeping in his bed.
On such occasions he would go out of the castle to a secluded courtyard, where he would hide himself in private.
But on that day, the starlight was especially brilliant, and there were passengers in the place that he thought was his own home.
At first, I thought he was an assassin targeting himself.
However, he was not hiding and aiming, and the appearance of crouching openly did not suit the behavior of an assassin at all.
Above all, the small body similar to his own and the occasional whimpering sound completely washed away his doubts.
No, let’s not be careless. Rather, it could be a target.
Rudger approached the girl slowly, not letting his guard down.
The girl was weeping as she rubbed her red-hot calf.
At that sight, Rudger immediately realized what kind of child that girl was.
‘These are the children brought from the Holy Land.’
In the name of sponsoring the children of the continent through the church, Seongguk brought them in and raised them as their own.
Most were orphans without parents, but some were sold by their parents.
Or even if their parents refused, there were also children who were forcibly brought in, citing religious doctrines.
Although he hadn’t really seen the process, Rudger was well aware that it wasn’t being done in a very humane way.
From the nature that can be said to be the stronghold of the King, it gives off a stench as a rotten stream of conspiracies and corruption.
There was no way the organization led by such people, or even the state, could properly support the children in the orphanage.
In effect, they are brought in by anti-force and subjected to thorough education.
Perhaps this girl is one of those countless children.
Even so, you come all the way here in the middle of the night.
Did he even try to run away?
Or, did he not want anyone to see him cry?
Whatever it was, it was certain that an uninvited guest had arrived at his secret abode.
-… … who?
The girl looked up at Ludger with her eyes flushed red with tears.
Rudger greeted such a girl, Catherine.
-go away. that’s my place
The girl opened her eyes wide at those words.
—Then, he jumped at Rudger and grabbed his hair.
It was the first meeting of the two.
* * *
‘Thinking about it, I don’t think our first meeting was that good.’
I thought he was a weak child because he was crying, but the moment I spoke to him, he grabbed my hair right away.
The reason why I was crying alone wasn’t because I didn’t want others to notice, but because I didn’t want to show my weakness to others.
He wasn’t usually a proud character.
After that, we became close friends and met often every night to talk about this and that.
Curiously, Catherine did not find it difficult even though he was of the Holy King’s blood.
Neither did he show goodwill or hostility.
Maybe that’s why Rudger was comfortable with her.
To Ludgar, who was reincarnated in this world, Catherine was a much younger child than he was, but thanks to her innocence, she was able to get to know her sincerely.
When Catherine was depressed after being scolded by the priest who was in charge of education, Ludger comforted and supported her.
At the same time, I was comforted by Catherine.
In a prison-like castle where everyone wants to kill themselves.
Catherine was the only child who treated her as a friend.
Rudger had a sudden thought.
20 years ago.
When Master stumbled upon her and asked if she would leave with her.
What if I asked if I could take just one person with me at that time?
Or at least, I would regret having had to say goodbye.
‘no. It’s a stupid idea.’
If she had escaped with Catherine at that time, her life would have been threatened by all kinds of assassins sent by the Holy Kingdom afterwards.
It was a much better path for both her and Ludger to remain in the Holy Land and become an ordinary priest.
‘I’m sure he’s doing well.’
He had a pulpit that he did not want to lose to anyone, so even if he failed, he would have become a priest.
It was a long time ago, but Ludger never forgot the year he spent with Catherine.
“You son of a bitch. Did you suddenly fall into old thoughts?”
Ludger’s consciousness was awakened by Grander’s sharp point.
okay. Now was not the time to get caught up in these petty memories.
“… … no. I was just worried about what would happen in the future.”
“okay. The fact that the Holy Kingdom started to move again must mean that the long succession to the throne has come to an end. Who do you think took the seat?”
“I do not know. Everyone tried to kill me anyway.”
“It would be good to keep an eye on it. It will be an enemy you will have to deal with in the future.”
“yes. I guess so.”
“You’re not saying that it’s hard to fight because they’re your siblings, are you?”
Considering what happened in the future, the Holy Kingdom would be the biggest barrier to Ludger.
The head of that kingdom was a blood relative of Ludger, and it was clear that he was the target to be defeated.
“Do you see that?”
Ludger stared into Grander’s eyes and asked.
There is no fear or sadness about the bone-chilling cup of having to fight with your siblings.
In the first place, I never attached affection to them, and they weren’t such good people.
“I have work to do, and I have no intention of stopping. Even if my brothers and sisters get in the way, just destroy them, as always.”
“Ha ha ha! you have a nice face If that’s the case, I’ll be less worried.”
Grander was so satisfied that he peeked out the door.
Rudger followed her gaze and threw it at the door.
I’ve been waiting there for you to talk.
“You can come in now.”
At those words, two signs flinched from beyond the door.
Still hesitantly looking at his eyes, Rudger ordered even more forcefully.
After that permission was granted, the door opened and Hans and Bellaluna entered.
Hans was back to his original form, perhaps thanks to the neutralizer.
Hans Ya Grander is awkward, so I guess I noticed it, but Bella Luna’s attitude was surprising.
Rudger looked at Bellaluna, who lowered his head, and remembered the reason.
“He packed a lot of samples of chimeras and test subjects.”
Bellaluna tried to calm it down with a smile, but when she saw Ludger’s expression, she instinctively felt that it wouldn’t work, and then lowered her head again.
Rudger pressed his fingers against his throbbing temple.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this much of a headache even though the seal on the Heavenly Gate was fully maintained.
At the same time it was a headache, Rudger thought it was a good thing just in time.
“Do you know anything about the ancestry of the elves?”
It’s only natural that a normal elf wouldn’t know.
However, if it was Bellaluna who hacked the World Tree and peeped at its contents.
I could never have known
“I want to hear about the family that protected the World Tree in the past.”
“Well, why did you do that to me… … .”
“If you can hack the world tree, you must know something big or small.”
Rudger asked, his eyes shining sharply.
“Uh, uh. That, that is, by the way.”
“That’s a strangely draining answer.”
Bellaluna seemed embarrassed to answer something.
“Is the Penata family one of the elder families of the Elven kingdom? Is that why you couldn’t tell me?”
“yes? no. That’s not it. I’m just from an ordinary family.”
“Or, is there even a golden rooster that will die if you reveal the information? A secret technique unique to elves?”
“I don’t have anything like that in my body.”
“… … .”
Rudger gritted his teeth quietly.
“Then, why are you doing that?”
Hans, who was watching the scene from the side, opened his mouth in pure admiration.
It was the first time he had ever seen Rudgar so genuinely annoyed.
Bellaluna, who made that possible, felt great in a sense.
‘It wasn’t even what I was aiming for. It’s just that I really didn’t mean to, but I made my brother angry.’
What kind of innate talent is this?
Hans was worried afterwards.
My older brother didn’t look like he was normally annoyed. Bella Luna hurriedly brought her words out, as if she noticed that too.
“That, I hacked the world tree in the underground waterway this time.”
“At that time, I couldn’t read it because of the devil’s energy sleeping inside, but I was the first one to wake up after passing out in a fight.”
“okay. tell me more.”
Now, when a rather interesting topic came up, Rudger tempered his anger and urged Bellaluna.
“Just in time, I saw the roots of the World Tree nearby, so I contacted them again just in case… … It connected.”
“Are you connected? What is connected?”
“therefore… … It is connected to the original World Tree, which is the source of this World Tree sapling. As the demonic power disappeared, it seems that some kind of line has been connected between them.”
“Well, that time wasn’t that long, it was just an instant. We met in it.”
Words I couldn’t say because I couldn’t bear to notice.
Bellaluna closed her eyes and said it straight.
“The world tree of my hometown. The real-time manager of the place noticed my existence.”
“… … .”
Bellaluna opened only one eye and looked at Ludger.
Contrary to what I thought he would be angry with, Rudger was quiet.
Rather, he was chewing on Bellaluna’s words with a rather serious expression.
Bellaluna anxiously waited for Ludger’s next words.
“Ask me one.”
“That manager must be a member of the family that takes care of the World Tree. Am I right?”
“yes yes. Normally, access to the world tree is impossible without permission. Even if he’s a member of the family, he can’t be touched unless he’s in a fairly high position.”
I decided not to ask the question of how the hell did you touch that at this moment.
“Then, did that being fully realize your true identity?”
“No, that wouldn’t be it. Time was so short, and I didn’t recognize you, so I’m sure you didn’t either.”
In other words, they were only aware of each other’s existence in an instant.
“The problem is that they figured out where you accessed the World Tree, right?”
“… … yes.”
Bellaluna answered in a crawling voice.
If it wasn’t for that, there’s no way she would be so nervous.
Rudger crossed his arms and tapped his forearm with his fingers.
“Bella Luna. What do you think?”
“I’m asking how they’re going to come out. The opponent is an elf, so at least you know it much better than I do.”
At that time, Hans cautiously offered his opinion.
“Are you not sending an envoy? They must know that this is the capital of the Empire… … .”
“I-I don’t think so.”
Bellaluna cut through Hans’s opinion like a knife.
“The kingdom is very exclusive. I will never do anything about exchanges or conversations with human countries. All the more so if it is an empire of humans.”
“Then, are you saying you’re going to leave the being that sneaked into the World Tree unscathed?”
“It won’t be either. There is no way those who revere the World Tree above all overlook this situation.”
“In other words, I will take action, but it will not be an outward action.”
“yes. Perhaps the kingdom will send a pursuer. There aren’t that many of them, but they must be very strong elves.”
“Are you an elf assassin?”
“Hey, if you put it here, it’s like a special forces unit.”
“You can think of it as the black ops of the elves.”
“They punish the traitors of their own people. You can never look empty. They aren’t just assassins, they’re proficient in elemental arts, magic, and even swordsmanship.”
“Nothing. You must have the skills to navigate the world outside the tough kingdom as if it were your own home.”
Rudger said that and his eyes shone sharply.
“Are there people who are predictable? I don’t think you’re going to come directly from that noble family in charge of the World Tree.”
“… … There is a family that swears absolute loyalty under that family.”
The elven family is made up of seven roots, but not all of them are equal.
“A clan of small roots that serve the family that protects the roots in the center, and is in charge of the outside of the forest. Contrary to the Dentis family, which is friendly to other races, it is a family that eliminates external enemies only for the elves. We call them the Shade Wardens.”
“Can they come this way directly? To be precise, I am aiming for you.”
“If we go back to Leather Velk like this, won’t it really matter?”
“Yeah, that might be hard. Once they catch a trace, they can quickly catch it no matter where they run to the continent. I can’t know in detail, but I think it’s possible to pursue a special pursuit through the spirit.”
“It’s been bothering me. Still, it won’t take that long for them to move. Isn’t it?”
“yes. I guess. The Shade Warden only moves when the head of the root gives a direct command. So, it’s good to say that there is a grace period until the news reaches the ears of the family heads and the family heads make a choice.”
Bellaluna smiled and said not to worry.
“It will probably take quite a while!”
* * *
The Kingdom of the Elves [Renar Tyrone].
It is equipped like a natural fortress with the world tree standing tall in the center, and there are several families.
Among them, the [Leafre] family, which directly manages the World Tree, is the family with the most power.
The Leafre family has become a mess lately.
Huge meeting room.
Elf elders sat side by side around a long, white wooden table.
It was a gathering of all key figures from the Leafre family or sub-family serving the family.
And soon the person who summoned them appeared.
It was a beautiful elf with long blonde hair like the sun.
However, a ferocity that did not match that beauty was clearly visible on her face.
Normally, I couldn’t say that I had a good impression, but that face was even more angry today.
“Do you know why I called?”
Everyone fell silent at the beautiful but piercing voice.
“While I was managing the World Tree, some insane person dared to contact the World Tree.”
At those words, exclamations of astonishment erupted from all over the hall.
The owner of the Leafre family.
Bentmin Refre said in a cold voice.
“Now you know why I called you guys, right? Do not order by the authority of the family head. Summon the Shade Wardens.”
“What, you mean now?”
“okay. right now.”