The Duchy's Madman - chapter 9
“I’ve won, Godfather, so please keep your word.”
Hollan came back to his senses.
He looked up and saw that Arthur was bleeding heavily.
Holan, who was horrified, rushes over to him and asks.
“Are you not in pain… from your wounds?”
Arthur closed his eyes.
Then he looked at his pierced right shoulder and nodded.
“Uh…. It does hurt, and I’m pretty sure mother would be really angry if she saw me like this….”
Holan’s expression distorted bizarrely at Arthur’s surreal words.
‘You’re worried about getting scolded by Yonel when you aren’t even screaming from those wounds?’
It was something that went against his common sense.
Because of that, his doubts turned to certainty.
He’d noticed it since they’d first met, but there was something very wrong with this child’s mindset compared to normal people.
But he couldn’t dwell on it too much.
Because Blood was still dripping from Arthur’s open wound.
Dismissing his thoughts, Holan pulled out his handkerchief.
“Come over here. Let me see your wounds first.”
With these words, Hollan began to stop the bleeding.
Arthur’s expression did not change even when he pressed hard on the bone-visible wound.
At this hollan’s eyes were once again filled with displeasure.
Arthur’s shoulder trembled as his bleeding was stopped.
Arthur’s shoulders shook as he continued to apply pressure on his wound.
‘… Am I seeing it correctly?’
He mumbled and looked again.
But he was not mistaken.
The place where the wooden sword had pierced was very precise
The cartilage and bones in his shoulder had been left untouched.
‘What are the Odds of this ?” Holan muttered in amazement.’
‘What are the chances of this? A wound that cuts through flesh but not the bones?’
A wound that could only be considered as intentional
‘But could a fifteen-year-old intentionally hurt himself like this?’
Hollan unknowingly trembled the corners of his eyes along with his thoughts
Arthur spoke again.
“Godfather? You must keep your promise.”
“My secrets. I won in the duel, so you have to keep it a secret.”
Holan’s trembling eyes calmed down.
Meanwhile, Arthur, who didn’t hesitate at all during the duel with Elin, looks at Hollan with a look of utter panic.
Hollan muttered dumbfounded at the sight.
“… I’m going crazy.”
“No, Just… okay. I’ll keep your secret. I will never tell your mother about this, not even about today.”
Arthur smiled brightly.
“Thank you, Godfather!”
” What thanks… on that note , what do you wish for?”
Arthur tilted his head at the question.
“What do you mean by wish for?”
“Didn’t I promise you before that if you won the duel, I would grant you one wish that I am capable of granting? Could it be that you forgot about it?”
Arthur rolled his eyes and replied.
“Uh… no. I haven’t forgotten.”
‘He did forgot.’
With the murmur, Hollan somehow found himself getting used to Arthur’s way of speaking.
He wasn’t sure if he should be pleased with that or be displeased with it, but then Arthur spoke.
“You say ‘As much as you can’, but to what extent?”
“Holan Leverkusen, Northern Commander of the Empire, Marquis of House Leverkusen, and Swordmaster. As far as those names can take you.”
“Oh…. That’s quite a lot.”
“This is also a great opportunity.”
“Can I ask you one last question?”
“Are you really my godfather?”
“…What do you mean by that?”
“I meant it literally. Are you really my godfather?”
Holan’s heart sank at the question.
He tried to avoid Arthur’s gaze as he was unable to provide an answer.
However, Arthur’s gaze didn’t seem to fall, and in the end, Hollan raised the white flag and answered.
“I am not qualified.”
“But I am qualified enough to grant your wish.”
“Yes, but…. How can I trust an unqualified godfather?As I’m about to ask you to do something very important.”
Hollan raises his head again.
Then, in a firm tone, he answered
“Will a knight’s oath be enough?”
“Only His Majesty, the Great emperor, can change my oath. I Pledge on that oath. Do you have faith in me now?”
‘The knight’s oath… . It’s been a while since I’ve heard of it.’
It was something knights would mention when they made a promise, and in the old days it was said that if you mentioned this oath and failed to keep it, you would be punished with death.
Of course, it wasn’t to that extent now, but the man in front of me was a sword master.
As the goal and milestone of every knight, his oath carries a different weight.
Arthur, who was troubled by that, nodded his head.
It was the best answer he could get at the current situation.
“Very well, Godfather, then may I state my wish?”
Hollan crossed his arms.
With that unspoken permission, Arthur slowly opened his mouth to explain.
Hollan, who listened closely to the story, exclaimed in surprise.
“What, you want me to kill the traitors in your family?”
* * *
Yonelle caressed the photograph of her and her husband as she reminisced.
Even though she didn’t want to, She spent 10 years as the owner of the duchy.
‘It was an unhappy time…. Like Hell on earth.’
She didn’t want power.
Nor did she want money.
In that sense, the position as owner of the one and only duchy in the empire was the most useless position for her.
But she could not give it up.
As it was the will of the man she had loved more than anyone else in the world.
And For Arthur and Irene, who inherit the blood of that beloved man.
But the noble society, a place full of strife and scheming, is not for the weak hearted.
And so, as the years passed, the authority of the dukes gradually fell to the ground.
It has been described as the setting sun.
‘…For the sake of the future, for the sake of Arthur and Irene, I must not allow the dukedom to fall any further. So that I can pass on the family name to them one day.’
So Yonel did her best to act as a proper noble.
It wasn’t an easy task, but she didn’t give up.
She was humiliated, but she passed it on with a smile.
The fruits of the effort have been revealed, albeit slightly.
A long-standing tradition of the Duke’s family, the hunting tournament, was a great success.
‘Not only the first shot, The rest of the procedure was pretty smooth too, with no mishaps.’
Yonel chuckled at the thought.
Today’s banquet wouldn’t change the duke’s perception, but at least it would have shown that they were healthy.
‘I can’t be full after taking only the first step… We need to continue changing like this in the future as well.’
With that muttering, she laid her tired body on the bed.
The next day, Holan Leverkusen came to her office and told her some shocking news.
“Excuse me?My lord, what do you mean?”
Yonel trembles and asks a question.
“Are you saying that these people…. are all spies or traitors?”
Hallan nodded earnestly.
“I am not sure about all of them, but…. Some of their birthplaces are suspicious. It would be worth investigating them further.”
Yonel looks away again.
At the end of her gaze was a piece of paper that Holan had handed to her.
In the documents, the names of those who can be called loyalists of the duchy, their birthplaces, and the families they belonged to before were written.
It also contained a long list of other miscellaneous information.
While checking the information, Yonel muttered quietly.
“Dormund… I can’t believe there are so many people in my family from there.”
“Every family has its share of spies.But this time there are a little more of them.”
Holan, who muttered these words in a grave voice, advised.
“Don’t take them out immediately, take your time, and take them out one after the other. We have the evidence and a reason, don’t give them a chance to escape.”
“I know it’s hard, but it’s the path you have to take, Yonel. Leo Bavaria…. To protect the family name he left behind.”
Yonel’s eyes teared up at the mention of her husband’s name.
If it weren’t for Holan, she wouldn’t have burst out in tears all at once..
That’s why, Yonel herself knew that it was a shameful act.
“The fact that there are many spies in the family meant that the authority of the lord had fallen to the ground.”
‘ Just one day… just one day… if only I’d realised this sooner….’
It was only last night. It was last night that I decided to move forward again as the head of a ducal family.
But the very next day, when I heard this news, I couldn’t help but feel like my heart was breaking down.
That’s when I couldn’t answer anything.
Looking at Yonel like that, Halan suddenly declared.
“If it’s alright with you, I would like to accompany you on that difficult path.”
“Your Highness, no, Yonel. I apologize for not paying attention to you until now. Because of the long-standing conflict with the barbarians in the north, I couldn’t take care of my friend’s family.”
Yonel opens his mouth in response.
She didn’t bother to hide the tears in her eyes.
“Is that…. Is that really true, brother?”
“What good would it do to lie to you in a place like this? I may not be able to give you my full support right now, but I’ll at least help you get rid of the rats that have taken root in your family.”
“…But if you do that.”
Yonel hesitates and answers.
“I’m worried that the long-standing tradition of the Leberkzen family might be broken. The Leberkzen family, which protects the north, is known for not getting involved in politics in any situation.”
Holan’s gaze lowers at the answer.
At the same time, a scene flashes through his mind.
The Imperial Academy.
His friend and his friend’s lover Yonel Bayern, strolling through the gardens.
Holan muttered to himself as he recalled the distant memory.
That’s right. If I make a move here, I’ll be breaking the family’s long-standing tradition.
But he couldn’t allow his best friend’s family to be ruined in this way.
That’s why Holan had accepted Arthur’s request and came here.
He was on the verge of uncovering the tails of the spies who had infiltrated the dukedom, and all he needed was their numbers and exact names.
But Arthur had removed that difficult part.
‘The names of the spies that we haven’t found yet…. That is what he gave me.’
And Because of that, there was no reason to hesitate.
The identities of the spies and the evidence.
Both were within my grasp.
That’s the reason I’m here today, and my resolve is very firm.
‘…Arthur. How does he know about this, and what is the true identity of his swordsmanship?’
Holan’s gaze sank low as he muttered.
But he quickly regained his composure and pushed the name Arthur Bavaria to the back of his mind.
Right now, it was more important to convince Yonel than Arthur Bayern.
Only then would he be able to uncover Arthur Bavaria’s secrets.
Once Holan had organized his thoughts, he slowly opened his mouth to explain.
“Tradition is important. But more important than that is loyalty and oath. I promised Leo Bayern, the father of Arthur Bayern and Irene Bayern, that I will become their godfather.”
Hollan smiles softly.
“But they had no idea that I was their godfather. So, even though belatedly, I’m trying to act like a proper godfather. To avoid being scolded by my friend whom I will meet again in the afterlife.”
At this, Yonel finally bursts into tears.
Hollan wordlessly hands her a handkerchief.
“Thank you. Brother Hollan.”
“There is no need for Thank you. So Yonelle…”
“yes… Please speak.”
“Will you do me a small favor?”
Yonel stopped crying and answered.
“Tell me anything. I will do everything I can to help you.”
Holan’s eyes lit up at her answer.
“Then I’ll tell you without any reservation.”
Holland spoke in a serious tone.
“Arthur Bavaria. I’d like to take him in my care and raise him. What do you think?”
Yonel asked in surprise.
“Oh, what do you mean by that? You want to take Arthur to the North?”
“Literally, Arthur, I want to take him with me and raise him.”
Yonel’s eyes widened at his reply.
He was a friend of her long-deceased husband, a senior who had once studied at the same academy.
He was a knight among knights, a man who never minced words.
That’s why I didn’t understand what he was saying.
Why would this man, the idol of every knight in the empire, suddenly want to take Arthur into his care and raise him?
‘Even if the Emperor gave the order… if he didn’t like them, he wouldn’t take them as his apprentices, would he?’
When Yonel is unable to answer due to the flurry of thoughts, Holan breaks the silence and explains.
“Leo…, it is not because of my friendship with him. I am making this offer because I have discovered a talent for swordsmanship in Arthur, and it is exceptional.”
“…A talent as a swordsman? You mean he has the qualities to become a knight?”
“Yes. It is an unusual talent, and if left unchecked…. it could hurt himself.”
Yonel’s mouth opens in surprise again.
He’s only just gotten healthy, and Arthur already has talent as a swordsman?
It was hard to believe, but considering the man in front of him was a man who hated lies, it was hard to not believe.
‘So my Arthur… actually has the talent to be a knight?’
A smile spreads across Yonel’s lips at that thought.
To have one of the Empire’s greatest knights praise your talents is a great honor, even for a son of the Duke.
Even more so if the child with that talent was my own son, who had been suffering from illness.
‘He’s been feeling better lately, and I think it will continue to change like this.”
Yonel mumbled and opened her mouth to reply.
But a small hesitation passed through her mind.
“… It’s a great offer, brother but Could you give me a little time?”
“Time? Is there a problem?”
“In my heart, I want to entrust Arthur to my brother right now, but… . I have always respected the wishes of children first.”
“Arthur,I take it that you will ask his doctor as well?”
“Yes. He’s finally…. healthy, and I don’t know if it’s because of that, but I’m always on edge, wondering when he’s going to take a turn for the worse.”
Yonel looked genuinely sorry.
“So I’ll have a talk with Arthur, and ask him if he wants to follow the path of a knight…. Then may I speak with Arthur?”
Holan stood up from his seat.
Then, with a respectful bow, he answers.
“I will be in the capital for the next two days, so take your time with answering. But you’d better keep this in mind, Yonel.”
Holan’s gaze sank low along with a warning.
“Arthur’s talents…. is extremely against common sense.”
* * *
Upon hearing Holan’s proposal, Yonel immediately called Arthur.
Arthur came running up to her with a big smile on his face.
Yonelle smiled at his innocence.
“My dear son, don’t you think it’s time for you to go to bed?”
” Mom called me, so it’s fine!”
“Oh, I see I have kept you awake, so I’ll have to hurry up and finish my story and send you to bed.”
Yonel patted Arthur’s head and paused for a moment.
Instinctively, Arthur realized something was up.
‘What? It can’t be Hollan… Did he break his promise?
Arthur’s gaze sank low as he thought.
Then, something completely unexpected came out of Yonel’s mouth.
“What is your dream, Arthur?”
“Yes, dream. What does my son want to be when he grows up?”
“Isn’t a knight who upholds honor admirable?”
What’s up with this talk about dreams?
Arthur mumbles to himself and begins to wonder.
Does he even have a dream?
‘Hmm…. Come to think of it, I do have a dream. I dream of killing all those who threaten my family, starting with the Second Prince of the Empire.
But he couldn’t tell her the truth.
Arthur fumbled with the words.
“I don’t know… I’m not sure about that yet…”
“Yeah? Well… what about becoming a knight?”
“A knight that believes in honor. Isn’t that cool?”
Arthur tilted his head.
At that reaction, Yonel paused, and then explained.
“Your godfather, rather. Brother Hollan has made an offer. He wants to take you under his wing and train you.”
This is a great opportunity, as none of the children of great families are ever taught unless they have talent.
Arthur let out a sigh.
Or, more accurately, he faked a sigh.
‘So that’s why Mother asked me what my dreams were, Holan… to find out if I’d be interested in receiving training from my godfather.’
Arthur clicked his tongue as he finished his thought.
An unexpected obstacle had come out of nowhere.
‘This wasn’t part of the plan at all.’
Swordmaster Holan Leverkusen.
Studying under him would be a great opportunity.
At least under normal circumstances.
‘But there’s no advantage for me… I’ve wielded the sword well enough in my previous life that I’m past the point of learning from anyone.’
If I do say so myself, the thought of losing to someone in a pure sword fight hadn’t crossed my mind ever since I awakened my Bavarian bloodline.
In that sense, Holland’s offer had no merit.
I would rather have Leverkusen blood.
He would have given it a second thought if he had been permitted to drink that blood.
‘I don’t mind that either, but… what if Count Dormund pulls a trick while I’m away in the north?
Arthur was wondering how to say no in a nice way.
Yonel suddenly spoke up.
“But I…. I want my son to stay with me for just a little longer.”
Arthur’s eyes widened.
He hadn’t expected to hear that from her.
In the meantime, Yonel rambles on.
” That…. I don’t know how long it has been since my son was well, and I don’t know how long it has been since we had such a happy time.”
“So I want to spend this time with my family… with you, Arthur. I know it’s not the right choice as a mother, but….”
When she finishes, Yonel looks away in embarrassment.
Arthur stares at her, and the corner of his mouth were raised.
“I’ll stay, Mother!”
Yonelle is taken aback by the hug.
“Arthur, but this is such a great opportunity. If you are answering like this because of what your mom said earlier….”
“No, I want to stay with you a little longer, too, Mother!”
Yonel’s mouth hangs open at those words.
Then, with tears in her eyes, she whispers.
“I’m sorry, Son, for being such a weak mother….”
“Don’t mention it”
I’m the happiest mother in the whole world.
Arthur, who muttered these words to himself, did not return to his room and spent the night with Yonel.
The next day.
After hearing Yonelle’s answer, Holland let out a small chuckle.
“Well…. So that’s what happened.”
Hollan turned his eyes to Arthur.
“Are you sure you won’t regret it?”
The stuttered answer brought another chuckle from Hollan.
‘You’re putting on an act until the end. I guess you never intended to tell me the truth.’
Holan crossed his arms with that thought.
Arthur stared at him in wonder.
After a moment of silence, Holan spoke.
“I kept my word, Arthur.”
” Everything will be resolved sooner or later.”
A conversation without any context.
Everyone present in the room stared, not knowing what was going on.
Only Arthur smiled and bowed.
“Thank you, godfather!”
Hollan, laughing again at his antics, then he held out his hand.
Arthur tilts his head.
“It’s a knife, right?”
“A knife, indeed. A very old knife, but it does hold value for you.”
Arthur’s eyes widen.
“This sword belongs to your father. It was wielded by Leo Bavaria when he was young.”
* * *
“I had intended to pass it on to you someday, but…. I suppose now would be a good time. Take it.”
Arthur cautiously extends his hand and takes the knife.
The moment he takes it, the wavy, engraved handle wraps itself firmly around his hand.
Arthur’s eyes widen at how good the grip was, and Holan gives him another explanation.
“It’s not an artifact, but it’s a very good sword. A meteorite sword. Forged from a star that fell from outer space.”
A meteorite sword?
I’d never heard of it before.
“However, the strange energy emanating from the sword was enough to overshadow its unfamiliar name.”
Arthur looked at the sword and then bowed respectfully.
“…Thank you very much, Godfather!”
“It was yours to begin with. You don’t need to thank me, Just make good use of it.”
Holan turned to look at Yonel.
” I’ll be leaving now, but I want you to take care of yourself. I’ll help you with that too, so don’t worry about it too much.”
Arthur looks at Yonel and Holan and mutters to himself.
‘Hollan… No, Godfather. He was a better man than I thought. He kept his promise and gave me a gift.
And he was more likely to be helpful in the future.
Of course, this fact had several implications.
If someone of Holan Leverkusen’s stature could provide assistance, it would be a valuable ally in the current situation.
So as Arthur was smiling, he felt a sharp gaze piercing the back of his head.
He turned, and there was Holan’s granddaughter, the one who had fainted in the last duel.
She snorts and walks forward.
As Arthur’s eyes widened at the sight, Hollan and the Leverkusen vassals bowed to Yonel in unison.
Yonel and the Bavarian vassals bowed in return.
” I hope to see you in better shape the next time we meet, Duke.”
Holan straightened his bent back and looked at Arthur again.
Then he asked a question.
“Next time we see each other, I’d like to get to know you a little better, if you don’t mind?”
“”Good to know then, and once we’ve gotten to know each other better, will you tell me about your secret?”
“I can’t do that!”
He slowly turned and left the Bavarian manor.
And with that, Holan Leverkusen, the Lion of the North, returned to his battlefield.
“I dont umderstand. Why did he betray us?….”
He was true to his word.
The traitor who preyed on the Bavarian family, including the knight Kedilac.
They were all slowly but surely being removed from the House.
The evidence was so strong that they could not even resist.
Arthur muttered under his breath as the Bavarian manor was left in disarray.
‘I should have taken care of it myself…. But oh well, I guess I have to be content with this for now.’
‘It’s still too early for me to come forward.
With a body like this, it would do more harm than good.
So Arthur focused on his training.
He worked tirelessly to gather mana and to form rings.
Six months had passed since then.
Arthur opened his eyes.
At the same time, a bright blue ring flashed across his chest.
Arthur’s lips curved up at the strange sensation.
“Finally, I’ve achieved the 1st circle.”
The stage that separated a swordsman from the others.
He had finally made the first ring, the most elementary of all of them.
And so Arthur knew that the time had come.
“I can’t act anymore now that I have the circle.
It might not be noticeable if I hadn’t formed the circle.
The knights who protect the family will notice the change in my body .
With that thought, Arthur pushed himself to his feet.
Then he walked around the Bavarian house at a leisurely pace.
The new servants greeted him politely.
As he walked down the hall, he stopped in front of Yonel’s door.
He took a deep breath and knocked gently.
Upon receiving permission, Arthur opened the door and walked in.
“Yonel, who was looking at documents, was startled and approached Arthur.”
Arthur, who was watching the scene from a distance, opened his mouth.
He put on the best smile he could muster.
“How are you, Mother?”
For the first time in this life and the last,32 years in total.
This was the first time he had ever said hello to his mother without stuttering.