Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
Elody was deliriously happy, giddy even.
The weight lifted from her shoulders felt as if an overly large child had just leaped off after a satisfying piggyback ride.
She looked more energetic than usual and the servants rejoiced at the sight of the Duchess.
“Don’t you think that the madame looks happy these days?”
“Yes, I’ve noticed that too! I’m so glad….”
The servants who followed Elody soon began to regain their vigor.
Their days in the mansion were very peaceful, that is… until the ‘handkerchief’ incident happened.
* * *
Caville finally fought his first battle.
The battle ended quickly, and the Empire of Heklos earned their first victory.
This was all due to Caville’s extraordinary leadership skills. He led his troops to victory and tore apart the opponents’ shields as if they were nothing but paper.
After the battle, Caville came back to the barracks covered in blood.
Brien followed him from behind.
“Your Grace, I‘ll prepare your bath right away. Are your injuries alright? I’m still talking with the paladins…”
“If you still wish to become a paladin, I won’t stop you.”
Brien lowered his head and left the room, he then ordered the soldiers to prepare water for Caville’s bath.
“What did he say?”
“The same as usual,” Brien sighed.
Caville wanted to quickly finish the war. However, the war was halted due to the internal dispute between the Temple and the Imperial Government.
The paladins did not follow the High Priest’s orders, even though they had to be in the front lines. Their display of cowardice decelerated the battle.
Of course, Caville had improved tremendously. His skills had leveled up to that of a legendary swordmaster.
However, this war was fought in cooperation with the Imperial Army and the Temple.
So he couldn’t end the war by himself.
Furthermore, the Urtan warriors were equipped with strong armor.
“Will His Grace be alright?” Ren asked.
“It’s like he’s no longer human…”
Brien’s expression darkened, but Ren’s words were right.
Brien had watched Caville grow up since he was young, and he knew how drastically Caville had changed.
The boy, who used to be a crybaby, grew up like an emotionless human being.
He had multiple near-death-experiences on the battlefield, but his hollow eyes remained the same. The cold look reflected on Caville’s face gave him shudders.
“You needn’t worry too much,” Brien said.
Unlike the past, the vassals were now loyal to Caville Cernoir.
Anyone would have been his loyal subjects if they had seen his heroic acts on the battlefield.
Everyone cared and respected him.
Caville was a natural-born leader. He strove to do no harm in all he did, and when it came to the tasks, he always pushed himself to the limits. He would never give up on a fellow soldier. When someone died, he would kill ten enemies to avenge the soldier’s death.
Not long ago, Baron Bernard, one of the Duke’s vassals, was taken hostage by the Urtans. Caville chased the entire army alone. He wiped out all the small troops and rescued the Baron.
The vassals had finally looked up to him in great respect.
However, his heart seemed to be made of stone. He massacred a troop of knights without batting a single eye.
Just as Ren had said, his empty eyes seemed to have no sense of humanity.
* * *
But inside the barracks, Caville’s expression was no longer cold.
He only showed his unfriendly demeanor in front of his subordinates because it was Elody’s advice.
Though… the biggest reason was that he was lazy.
“I have to end the war…” Caville murmured to himself.
“Why are you in such a hurry? Didn’t you say you wanted to murder those in the Imperial Army and the Temple?” Ifrit asked.
Ifrit was now as big as a human, his red fur was glossy and thick. The wings on his back had also grown.
“That’s not what I meant. I wanted to kill them because they annoyed the hell out of me.” Caville clicked his tongue. “But at the end of the day, the only way to end this war is to defeat the Urta Empire.”
Caville took off his armor and threw off all the clothes he wore.
The constant years of training had gained him a well-toned and muscular body, but they were filled with battle scars.
He then proceeded to dip his body into the wooden bathtub.
Caville stared at Ifrit. “How much longer do I have to wait for you to grow? I don’t think I need you anymore.”
Contrary to his harsh words, Caville reached out his hand to Ifrit.
The blue light from his fingertips headed straight to the wolf’s mouth.
“…I told you to wait a bit longer! Eating a lot of mana doesn’t mean that I’d grow up in a flash! And why are you still giving me your mana?! You’re gonna tire your body at this rate! Stop it! I’ve eaten earlier!” he nagged.
“Just shut up and eat.”
“Geez, what amazing temper you have!”
Caville rolled his eyes and continued washing.
A few moments later, he finished taking a bath and came out of the tub.
“Ugh, please cover yourself.” Ifrit grumbled, turning his head.
Caville did not mind his words and continued wiping himself with a dry towel. Then, he dressed in his garments.
“I don’t need you anymore. I’m going to end the war alone.”
“B-but! You just have to wait a bit longer! Just a teeny weeny bit longer!”
Ifrit stared at him with puppy dog eyes.
“How long is that?” Caville frowned.
“Uh…. hahaha. About a month…? Why are you in such a hurry anyway?”
Then, Caville recalled a story that the knights were sharing a few days ago…
“Hey, do you know the tall, skinny guy, the knight in Count Kimmel’s troop? The one who’s grumpy all the time!”
“Ah, yes. His wife cheated on him, right?”
‘Wait, what?! Seriously? Tsk-tsk. He’s irritating, but now I feel a bit sorry for the guy.”
“Yeah, he’s a junkie now,” the knight tattled. “Oh, look! The guy with freckles! Didn’t his wife commit suicide?”
“Yeah… that’s why people should be like us! Marriage is such a hassle!”
“That’s right… the paladins are still bastards though.”
The paladins were a public enemy to the allied forces who gathered in the name of the Empire.
The allied forces treated them like cowardly trash, and the paladins thought to abandon the unholy confederacy.
The conversation between the allied knights and the soldiers usually ended with cursing the paladins.
Caville’s expression sank when he listened to their conversation.
That’s why he was in such a hurry.
Caville took an old piece of paper out of his pockets and stared at it.
That was the only letter he had ever received from Elody.
He treasured the letter so much. He read it over and over again until the letters had faded.
“What?” Ifrit stared at Caville, puzzled by his unusual behavior.
“I’m afraid that my wife might have forgotten me. I have not received any letter… What if she got married to another guy?”
“…You’re scared of that?”
“Yes, or… What if she’s dead?”
“…How about you think about your own death. We are literally in war right now.”
“Shut up or I’ll rip you to pieces.” Caville glowered.
Ifrit turned his head in annoyance. He thought it’d be best if he did not answer back.
‘What if she’s dead?’
Caville contemplated on comitting suicide if that was true.
‘But how will I find Elody? Will we be able to meet again?’
In the midst of serious thoughts, Ifrit talked his mind at ease.
“Don’t worry! If she was planning to run away with another man, I’ll definitely find her!” He exclaimed.
“What? Are you looking down on me? You’ll be surprised to know how sensitive my nose is. I can track everything even if they were at the ends of the earth!” Ifrit boasted.
“…But you’re so weak. Are you even sure that you’re the Spirit King of Fire?”
Ifrit pouted, he was genuinely hurt by his words.
He sulked for a while, and after he calmed down, he launched another counterattack.
“I mean, I would run away too if I were her! Honestly, who’d wait for their husband to return from war? Besides, it’s already been 6 years! Not just 1 or 2 years! It’s 6 years I tell you!”
“You dare speak one more word.” Caville looked daggers at him.
Caville wanted to kick the wolf, but his words weren’t entirely wrong.
No matter how talented he was, it was impossible for him to annihilate the Empire of Urta alone.
He had massacred a bunch of them, but they kept appearing each and every time! It’s like there was never an end to their army!
They kidnapped priests and mages to study mana. So Caville also did not know if they had any other tricks up their sleeves.
And so, Caville decided to wait a little longer.
A few months later…
The useless Ifrit had finally regained the power of the holy spirit.
It took longer than a month, unlike what Ifrit had said, but Caville didn’t bother to argue.
Because the long-awaited moment had finally come.
Caville took the lead and immediately commanded the knights.
He could no longer await the Imperial orders nor the Temple’s orders.
After devising a proper plan, it was finally time to carry out the mission.
But as Caville went outside of the barracks to catch a breath of fresh air, a large gate suddenly appeared before his eyes.
There was a woman coming out of the gate, and two Urta soldiers followed her from behind.
“Argh! Please no!” she sobbed.
The gates were instantly closed.
The Urta soldiers pointed their swords towards the woman.
But Caville was faster. He drew out his sword at an alarming rate and instantly killed the two soldiers.
Then, he aimed a sword at the woman.
“Who are you?” Caville asked.
“……M-my name is Larissa Dayev, Princess of the Dayev Empire.”
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