Chapter 16

thanks so much to Adre for the ko-fi (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)! (2/3)

***

“Yes? Suspicious? What do you mean by that?”

Orgen threw his hands up in the air. 

But the look on his face was all that Seton needed to confirm that his intuition was correct.

The excessive display of disgust and confusion was very suspicious. 

“Tell me. Did you get into an accident?”

“An accident… it’s not like I’m a 5 year old.”

“Then…”

His eyes, as red as his hair, shifted slowly before landing on Adrian, who was walking into the Black Forest. 

Ah! 

There was a sparkle in his eyes, a glint of light. 

“I suppose the Grand Duchess needs a seal?” 

Two mages were needed to engrave a seal. 

It wasn’t a very difficult thing to do, but the method of doing it was the problem. 

Two spells had to be chanted at the same time. 

No matter how skilled a mage may be, unless they were a hydra with dozens of heads, it was impossible to chant two spells with only one mouth. 

Even if they wielded the power of a dragon. 

“Ah, so that’s why you told me to go to the castle?”

Seton chuckled and laughed. 

The way his shoulders shook and the way he laughed made him appear very mean. 

Orgen let out a long sigh at the sight of Seton. 

He wanted everything to flow smoothly and naturally, but at this rate, it seemed like that would be difficult. 

Now that things have come to this, he had to use the regular method. 

Orgen began asking in the most polite and respectful voice he could muster. 

“I didn’t think I would be able to fool Lord Seton anyways, so please. Please be kind to Her Highness the Grand Duchess.” 

“Who do you think you’re giving orders to? You insolent brat.” 

The corners of Seton’s long eyes were raised fiercely. 

“An order? How dare I? I’m asking you for a favour, Lord Seton.” 

Orgen remembered vividly how Seton had gone berserk at the news that the Emperor had chosen the fated partner for the blessed one. 

How hard it was to stop him from attacking and destroying the Imperial Palace. 

There was no way that Seton would be friendly to the Grand Duchess. 

Orgen spoke to Seton’s back as the latter headed towards the carriage. 

“We’ll finish up soon and head back, so in the meantime, please relax in the hot baths.” 

“Why don’t you try to be late?” 

In the end, instead of giving an answer to the situation of the Grand Duchess, he just gave a threat. 

Thud! 

“Don’t be grumpy!” 

Orgen added as Seton slammed the carriage door shut behind him. 

As expected, there was no answer. 

But he wasn’t very anxious. 

Despite his demeanor, Seton was an inherently affectionate and caring man. 

He loved young children and he cared for the North more than anyone else. 

If he found out about the circumstances of the Grand Duchess, who suffered a severe illness when moving from the South to the North, he would not only engrave the seal on her (while simultaneously grumbling) but he would also cast all sorts of spells on her, such as warming magic. 

A small laugh escaped his lips as began to walk back towards the Black Forest, muttering to himself. 

“Even His Highness was scratching his head for no reason… What day is it really? Why is the pressure so low today?”

Orgen tilted his head and started to walk once again. 

This time, he had to find the remaining mages in the depths of the forest and take care of them. 

He hadn’t seen them yet, but they were probably in as bad a shape as Seton was. 

No, if Seton, the lord of the tower, was in such bad shape, the rest of the mages might be far worse off. 

“Phew.”

He just hopes they’re not dead. 

***

At the same time, Adrian was walking leisurely towards the center of the Black Forest. 

Whoosh whoosh. 

The thin layer of frost broke underneath his feet and a quite refreshing sound rang out as it did. 

Black grass, black water, black dead trees. 

Everywhere he looked, everything was soaked with demonic energy. Despite that, the air was clean and refreshing to feel. 

Adrian’s mouth twisted, snickering. 

He hadn’t heard anything yet, but he could tell which creature had built a nest here by the way it was emitting such cold air. 

It was clearly a Jaeger, a demon that could freeze even demonic energy and foul odors due to its unique coldness that it emitted. 

A natural hunter with a long and agile beak, resembling a seagull’s. 

You might be wondering why there was a seagull-like demon in the midst of the deep mountains, but the tip of the Northern territory bordered the sea. 

Even if the sea was frozen for more than half of the year. 

“This is my first time seeing this.” 

The sight of the Jaeger nest was unexpected. Jaegers usually made their nests on dark cliffs facing the sea rather than in the inland Black Forest. 

Although they looked different from race to race, demons were essentially unconcerned about the environment in which they built their nests. 

It could be that they just happened to be in the breeding season and were pushed inwards by the large numbers. 

But it didn’t matter in the end. 

The Jaegers would all be cleared out today anyways.

Adrian took out his sword from its scabbard and wrapped it in his aura. 

A white, cold light that resembled its wielder covered the blade, and simultaneously, the Black Forest trembled in fear. 

The trees themselves seemed to be shaking. 

Adrian looked at the trembling tree and drew his sword horizontally. 

Kyaaaaaaaaa! 

With an ear-piercing sound, thick slime fell from the sky. 

Tuduk.

Tuk. 

Adrian swung his sword continuously without any breaks, starting with the Jaegers’ nest. 

This was just the beginning. 

When the mother demon discovers an intruder near its nest, it first releases its adult-sized offspring. 

For most intruders, a baby that had completed its first molt was enough. 

The only time a full-grown adult that has completed its secondary molt gets released is when all of its young have died. 

“…”

That time was right now. 

Shaking his sword soaked in the blood of the demons, Adrian slowly raised his head at the sight of a huge shadow spreading all the way to his toes. 

There, staring at him, was something so large that he couldn’t believe it was a bird. 

What filled its big eyes was anger. 

Compared to smaller demons, shallow tactics like “seals” weren’t effective on large demons like Jaegers. 

Not only that, the mother must be furious right now. He hadn’t just stood there and waited for it to come out. He killed the cub it raised. 

Adrian glanced around, contemplating what to do with it, before turning his wrist slightly. 

The slender sword in his hand rotated smoothly, leaving an echoing “wooing” sound in its wake. 

He rotated his sword a couple of times before suddenly leaping off the ground and into the air, his long, straight legs like a stag’s. 

The moment the sword in his hand flashed a bright light. 

The Jaeger’s head rolled down. 

Thud. 

Its body soon collapsed after having lost its head. 

Adrian quickly jumped again, using the fallen Jaeger as a springboard to take off. 

As he took to the air once more, his sword swung again. 

He swept through the Black Forest, finding a total of seven. 

This was just the beginning. 

For now, it was easy to underestimate the demons and take them out one by one, but doing so would result in it being a close fight. 

Jaegers naturally have the characteristic of hunting in groups. 

One by one, the demons spread their large wings to search for him, flying in until the sky became pitch dark. 

Just when the vastness of the Black Forest felt cramped. 

Thud. 

The last one landed with a soft thud on the ground. 

It was a blue demon with exquisite blue tail feathers. 

‘That’s it.’

There stood the demon leading the group of Jaegers. 

Adrian twirled the sword in his grip and stared straight ahead, his expression uncharacteristically cold. 

The yellow eyes of the Jaeger he’d just encountered were glowing with excitement. 

***

It was said that an important guest had arrived and so I must come down at once, so why were there beggars at the castle? 

Arriving at the dining room, I couldn’t hide my bewildered expression. 

“It’s warm meat! I never thought I’d be able to eat this again!” 

“The butter flavor is quite distinctive, isn’t it?” 

Faces dripping with sweat and tattered robes. 

Hands that were moving quickly, but mouths that were moving even faster. 

Even looking at the scene without any bias, the two men sitting in the dining room of the Grand Duke’s castle were clearly beggars. 

Beggars. 

“…”

Ah, they’re quite handsome…? 

I rubbed my eyes and saw that not only were they both dirty, they were both quite beautiful. 

No, even if they were good looking, beggars were beggars. 

I tightened my lips, which had been slowly loosening. 

I’d never read about beggars coming in and out of the Grand Duke’s castle in the original, but…

“Please go in, Your Highness. If you continue to stand out here, you will be late.” 

Helena whispered next to me, who’d been peeking inside through a crack in the door. 

“Ah? Huh, oh, wait a minute. Wouldn’t it be rude to interrupt them during their meal, especially when they’re eating in such a hurry?” 

“No.”

Helena burst open the door without any warnings. 

The well-crafted wooden door opened smoothly and without a sound.

All eyes immediately turned to me. 

I smiled awkwardly at the two pairs of eyes focused on me.  

“Hel-”

I was just about to give my greetings. 

Although it seemed like we made eye contact, the red-haired man abruptly called for Helena.

“Helena! Can you get me some wine?”

As if the term “guest” was just an empty phrase, Helena politely responded to the man’s words. 

“No, Lord Seton. No alcohol.”

“Helena, don’t you know I just came back from working in the Black Forest?” 

“If you drink with such an excuse, Lord Seton, you will have to live in a liquor cellar.” 

“Wow… Is that so? That’s quite a good idea, isn’t it?” 

At Helena’s words, the man named Seton gently scratched his chiseled chin. 

“I had a hard time with the barrier spell today, it was very difficult. Just give me a glass of wine, hm?” 

“That’s not possible. You should’ve taken a bath first. Don’t forget that I already made a considerable concession by offering you a meal because you said you were hungry.” 

She’d already given up a lot. 

Helena showed a polite, but firm, attitude. 

Seeing that, I suddenly remembered who these dirty handsome men were. 

I remembered the story Helena had told me about the guests. 

“Your Highness! The mage who went on a mission has returned.” 

When she said “mage”, I was expecting a grandfather-like figure with a flowing white beard wearing fancy robes or a handsome man with extravagant decorations. 

The sight of the waiting guests was so shocking that my mind went blank to the point that I forgot what I’d just heard. 

It was certainly not intentional. 

***

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