Chapter 41 The Lawless city(2)
Translator: BaeBae Editor: BaeBae
A strange name, but that was the name of the item Heretia wanted.
An unbalanced shaped crystal coloured in dark purple, it was said even looking at it would give an unsettling and ominous vibe. It was even said the owners soon found themselves cursed having the item in their possession.
“The most famous owner of one of these crystals was Bishop Rieto. In the middle of retrieving the item, his mind was also affected and so it was handed down to the owner of Tantil’s Colosseum. But he also found himself dead not long after it was given. Now the crystal has reportedly been passed on to Hiveden’s Earl, Hannbon.”
Heretia said in a whispering tone.
“It’s even been said that the item’s first owner was the emperor. That the emperor found it during the war with the northern faction, and that’s why he never realized he was about to be stabbed from behind.”
It was the first time Juan had heard about this. If it was a precious artifact, there was no way he didn’t know about it. Maybe its origin wasn’t that historic.
“And why are you looking for this harmful artifact?”
“If it was an ordinary crystal, I wouldn’t be interested. But it has a unusual ability.”
“Ability to absorb dark energy. Not something that you’d find fascinating, nor an ordinary person. However, it’s a coveted item among the emperor’s fanatics. After the emperor basically became a corpse, the fanatics believe everything around them to be dangerous and that evil is alluring them towards the dark side. Well…….between you and me, the way they think and act is a thousand times more evil….. but anyways.”
Like Heretia said, it wasn’t an item Juan would be interested in. If the artifact contained power, maybe…..but if it only absorbed, there was no reason to tempt it.
“And why am I needed to get the crystal?”
“You’re a good looking blackhaired boy.”
“………Okay, so why is that needed?”
“Because of who I mentioned before, the current Earl, Hannbon. It’s not for any weird reason, so don’t make a face. Earl Hannbon is an extravagant and dissolute person. Every week or so, he holds a banquet. And because I don’t have any special ties with him, I can only hope to approach him through this banquet he holds, to avoid any suspicion.”
“And right now, good looking black haired boys are a hot commodity among nobles, these days.”
“Those who are so scarce, that they can only be found beyond the borders where the emperor’s influence ends, where it has cultivated a black haired race, famous for their violence and pride, etc. Even finding trained lions and black panthers are easier. So I was intending to find any black haired boy and attend the banquet, but I was on the verge of giving up as I couldn’t find anyone appropriate. I even thought of getting any average looking brat that looked the part and dye his hair black. It won’t be dangerous anyway.”
Heretia shoulders widened at hearing Juan’s doubting tone.
“Even if a crazy noble wanted to have their blank panther fight you, I would just simply need to decline. Even if a fight had to be commenced, I don’t think I need to worry after seeing your skills just before.”
Basically, Heretia was asking him to attend the banquet as her pet. Juan replied while dumbstruck.
“Do I even need to consider this?”
“If you know how the empire keeps a tight leash on information about the Hugin knights, then it’s not a bad deal… Is it a pride thing? Aren’t you putting your pride too high?”
“I make my own judgment of acts that I consider beneath me…. We’re done here.”
Heretia quickly stopped him as Juan turned around to leave.
“If there’s anything else you want, then say it. If money’s the problem, I’ll happily provide more.”
“Why don’t you just get an average brat and dye him black.”
“No. For some reason, I suddenly got this feeling that this won’t work unless it’s you. Now that I’ve talked with you for a bit, I’ve noticed. You’re not from beyond the border but from the capital right?”
Juan raised his eyes. Heretia nodded as if she got confirmation of something.
“It’s not only you that can analyze people. Initially I thought, maybe your haughty tone was due to a lack of education but no. You’re just arrogant down to your bones. You use language commonly heard in the capital and yet, you have no accent. The way you move tells me you’ve been trained in swordsmanship as well. I’m going to guess…..some great family from the capital. Maybe an illegitimate child of a noble?”
Heretia pounded him with words then soon shook her head.
“Actually, don’t even reply. The important thing is that I acknowledge you. Acknowledge you enough to admit that you’re not an embarrassment next to me. I need your help. Help me and the Helwin family will owe you a debt.”
The old man tried to restrain her but Heretia placed her hand on the elder’s mouth to shut him up.
Juan who’d briefly contemplated, replied.
“I’ll properly introduce myself. My name is Heretia Helwin. If we’re going to join hands, you were bound to find out, sooner or later. If you agree to my plan, I’ll promise you that our family will support as much as they can.”
Juan stared at Heretia for a while. Heretia found it a little uncomfortable at how it felt like Juan was delving into every part of her face, but she found the strength to not avert her eyes.
The old man and the teen watched Juan nervously.
Juan noticed the old man was grasping his sword so tightly that his palms started to sweat.
Wondering why he would be showing this much hostility, Juan realised he was also tightly grasping his dagger.
And the fact a murderous spirit was emanating from him internally, ready to pounce on them.
However looking on externally, Juan had his hands placed over his dagger, standing in a relaxing manner.
It appeared, only the old man had read his murderous spirit.
Kill him or not kill him.
Juan continued to stare at Heretia for a bit more then finally opened his mouth.
“………Rude and stubborn. I see it runs in the family.”
“Alright. I’ll join. I owe the Helwin family a favour anyways.”
Juan was invited to the inn that Heretia was staying at.
It wasn’t big, but unlike the city’s atmosphere, it was clean and cozy.
Heretia who’d booked another room for him advised she’ll cover all expenses and so she asked him preferably not to wander outside, and just stay inside the inn for now.
“I don’t want to see you wander out for no good reason and be taken by someone else.”
Heretia left him with those words.
The room was just spacious enough to use alone.
Juan, who’d gotten used to sleeping on straws with fleas or a bare floor, felt a strange sensation upon lying down on a soft bed.
‘Helwin family huh.’
During his days as emperor, the person who was delegated to administer the empire’s internal affairs was the regent Hamon, who was also from the Helwin family.
More accurately, he was an illegitimate child of the Helwin family, who’d been casted out to wander out in the countryside.
Noticing his talent, Juan tasked him to administer the internal affairs.
His eccentric personality and aggressive tone made him an unpopular figure amongst his cohorts.
However, his ability to suppress powerful local family groups, set the foundation for marketing administration, and sort out arguments to bring about cooperation was second to none.
Juan had praised him for having one of the most excellent talents among his subordinates.
However, it was said he was one of the six apostates that had betrayed him.
Juan still couldn’t come to grasp with it.
He couldn’t believe that any one of the six would have betrayed him.
Even though he personally saw Gared Ga-in stab him, it felt like a dream or an illusion.
Juan had considered whether to kill Heretia or not. However, it was an undeniable fact that he was indebted to the Helwin’s family.
To Hamon, to be precise.
Juan first decided to accept Heretia’s offer.
If he wanted to take revenge, it wouldn’t simply end in a bloodbath.
He was going to think about it while he stayed close to Heretia. This way, if he was lucky he could even get clues to why Hamon had betrayed him.
And also answer his question as to why the Helwin family was able to survive when one of their family members had betrayed him.
Lying down on the sofa, Juan examined his mana.
Mana that he’d gotten from the grey cloak and Taltere’s mana were not fusing and were acting separately. When mana was separate, it allowed him to easily use each mana portion on its own, but it limited Juan’s peak strength that he could muster.
But on one hand, he thought it may be better to leave it as it was.
They were all kind of in the right place.
Taltere’s mana had its flaws like when he’d lost control of it before, but Juan had an inkling that it would come in handy in the coming battles.
But nevertheless, Juan decided to put in some effort in trying to combine his mana all into one.
He had plenty of time.
Juan fully intended to enjoy the rest given to him by staying put for a couple of days.
Laus mountain’s north central roadway.
Sina was swinging her sword. Sweat appeared on her forehead before scattering onto the ground.
It hadn’t been long since she’d begun swinging yet her breathing was rough and her movements rusty.
Soon she found herself wobbling before planting her buttocks on the ground.
Sina turned her head at the voice from behind. White crow knight’s commander Ethan Ethil watched as he stroked his chin.
Sina quickly gave a salute. Strictly speaking, Ethan was not her superior, but it was a sign of respect to a sunbae well versed in swordsmanship.
“Do you normally swing your sword with your left hand? Valte swordsmanship isn’t a friendly technique for those left handed.”
“I’m right handed.”
Sina lifted her right arm. Right arm that had been left with scars after being sliced and stabbed wildly.
Her right arm that was still broken was in a cast. Seeing the traces of cuts and stitches, Ethan realised that from now on, she would find it difficult to use her right arm.
“Forgive my carelessness. When did you start practising with your left hand?”
“…..Immediately after my right hand…..became this.”
“Then, it’s not even been two weeks, is it not? Truly a commendable effort. Although it needs some work to be called Valte swordsmanship, you seem the best out of all the left handed people I know.”
Sina nodded without replying. She already knew that her way of handling her sword was far from being called Valte swordsmanship which was the standard sword technique across the empire.
For some reason, when she used her left hand to swing her sword, the irregular motions came naturally.
Like the time when she’d lost consciousness inside the fog, where she had swung her sword violently.
“It’s foundation looks to be of Valte swordsmanship but it’s more violent in nature. Similar to a mercenary’s swordsmanship technique.”
Sina thought to just pass it on as lip service. Most likely he was only giving compliments after seeing the state of her right arm.
Sina thought to herself, she would never get back to the level she had been in the past.
“Seeing as we’re talking about it, why don’t we test it out. Camille!”
Camille who’d been standing behind Ethan stepped forwards.
“May I ask you to lightly spar against Sina? I’m wondering how her technique would face against real people.”
At Ethan’s words, Sina and Camille were both baffled. Camille protested.
“Commander. I don’t wish to clash swords against a patient. If this is a joke, why don’t we stop here.”
“I’m not joking. I’m saying this because I’m really curious. Hmm…. alright then, why don’t we do this. Take off your armor and you’ll both use wooden swords to spar. I can’t do much about the ‘grace’ inside you, but I don’t think that will matter in the grand scheme of things.”
Even after listening to all that, Camille was hesitant to move. So Ethan walked up and physically placed wooden swords in both their hands.
Only then, Camille and Sina realised Ethan was being serious.
Camille took off her armor knowing she had no choice. In a shirt and short pants, she walked up to Sina and stood in front of her with an apologetic expression.
Sina was flustered.
‘Is this guy serious? Asking an injured person to fight a Paladin?’
 – You can call it – ‘Older Alumnus’ (Literal translation) or ‘Senpai’ (Japanese). It’s all the same thing. I’ll just go with sunbae (Korean)
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