The Runesmith - Chapter 332
“Were you there?”
“No… is this person really a Knight Commander?”
“He was, I’m not sure he will be commanding much anymore.”
A guard smirked while looking at the man that they shoved into a cold cell. They were standing near the iron door while listening to him grunting around. His body was covered in bruises but he didn’t seem to be in danger of losing his life.
“Can we just leave him in there? What if he gets out, this door doesn't look that sturdy, and the bars are made from normal metal. Isn’t he supposed to be a tier 3 class holder?”
“That’s true, but see that thing around his neck.”
“Oh, is that?”
“Yeah, it is. He won’t be able to exert much strength with that thing around his neck. I heard that the ones that they make for people like him are special and won’t work unless the person is knocked out.”
“Are you sure that it works? What if he escapes, how are we supposed to stop a knight commander?”
“He’ll escape and do what? Get his ass beat again by the Head Knight again? He won’t do a thing”
The guard that was talking smirked while going into the cell. His boot then quickly landed on the stomach of the prisoner which sent him tumbling to the side with a groan.
“Hey what are you doing?”
“Just showing you that this bastard isn’t a problem, just do your job and don’t let them get to you.”
The other guard looked at the beat-up man for a moment before stepping to the side to let his co-worker out of the cell. He knew that the other guard had some bad blood with these Valerian knights about something relating to his family member. This man was not the only one trapped here as almost all the cells were filled up to the brim.
“What do you think you are doing? That’s the Knight Commander!”
“Shut your trap, he is no knight anymore, not after what he tried to pull in that duel! ”
While leaving this cell the two guards heard the complaints of the other knights that were apprehended. All of them awaited the nobles to make a deal about their future. Theodore Valerian was still in a higher position so they all expected to be let go.
“Shut up, the Knight Commander just…”
“Just what? He tried to backstab Sir. Wayland and got what’s coming to him. You should watch it too, our Knight Commander might not be so lenient when he hears you taking his side!”
The imprisoned knights went silent the moment the scary Knight Commander they witnessed battling Emmerson was mentioned. They still didn’t know what to make of the duel they witnessed outside. At first, it seemed that their Commander would come out with an easy victory but then he was quickly turned to minced meat. It was as if this Sir. Wayland had been just playing with him before actually taking it seriously at the end.
“That’s what I thought.”
The loud guard just laughed while leaving the dungeon level with his companion. The other guard remained silent as he didn’t really know what to say.
“Hey, are you sure that you should be talking about Sir Wayland like that? I don’t remember much being known about him. What if he overhears it and we’ll get punished?”
“Don’t worry about it, the more they fear him the easier the job will be for us! Now that we have our own Knight Commander things will change around here!”
“I guess so…”
The two guards straightened out while walking outside the dungeon. At least in their minds, there was a lot of meaning behind getting a proper tier 3 Head Knight into their city. It increased their prestige and set a precedent for the future. It wouldn’t be strange if they acquired more tier 3 personnel and knight regiments to bolster their forces. With them around they would not have to fear for their lives anymore, they finally had a large shield to protect them from any rogue tier 3 class holders.
‘Am I responsible for those guards now?’
Roland looked at one particular loud guard antagonizing the new prisoners and throwing his name around as a shield. This he achieved through some golemic eyes that were placed around the dungeon. Previously he outfitted a lot of areas with these runic devices at Arthur’s request. The young noble was fascinated by them as they allowed him to listen in on many interesting conversations just like this one. Thanks to his various runic skills he could of course tap into the network and listen in as well.
'I hope those idiots won't start throwing their weight around and get into fights with soldiers from other cities...'
“Wayland, is something wrong?”
“Oh no, it’s nothing, where were we again?”
“Oh, we were just talking about my elder brother and the knight that he sent but more importantly, could you explain another thing to me.”
“Well… Wayland… who are you really? I didn’t want to ask but now that it has come to this, I think I’m owed an explanation…”
Roland was in Arthur’s office along with Mary and the two other Knights stationed outside. After he defeated Emmerson the news started spreading like a forest fire. Almost everyone now knew that he was a tier 3 class holder and a Head Knight of this estate. While this was a good thing for Arthur as he had gained a powerful ally, for Roland this was not such a good exchange.
First of all, he would be responsible for Arthur’s safety from this point on. This could force him to act as a bodyguard if for whatever reason his new lord decided to leave the city or have a conversation with someone powerful. It kind of tied him to this man and the city even more as he was expected to be his right-hand man.
Luckily they didn’t really sign any contracts about this issue nor was he under some type of chivalrous oath. If things went sour it was still possible for him to get out. The title of a head knight was special so he wasn’t expected to fully follow the chivalric code of conduct. Then if something happened to Arthur under his care, he would just be considered a disgraced knight that allowed his liege to perish. His title would be stripped from him and his good name would be tarnished but this was fine as he did not care about such things.
“...Perhaps you are. If we are going to continue with this you might deserve to know...”
Now that it came to this he needed to have a long conversation with his new lord. He did not intend to be a mindless knight that just performed everything a noble asked of him. The only reason he dueled Emmerson was to have a reason to kill those knights that hurt Elodia and almost killed Agni. He needed to create a boundary for this alliance that perhaps in the future he would abandon.
“Before that, first I have to ask you, do you actually intend to become the heir to the duke’s title? Because I’m not sure if that’s a feasible dream…”
“I do not desire that title but… due to some circumstances, I need to participate in the succession process.”
Roland nodded his head while staring into Arthur’s eyes. It didn’t seem that the young man was lying and this was probably the case. If he actually thought that he had a chance of coming up on top then Roland would consider him crazy. The only real way for a bastard of becoming the main heir was by having the others perish. Even if the other candidates were highly incompetent their blood just carried this much weight.
“It’s not anything nefarious, is it? Let me make this clear, I will not kill for you…”
“No, it’s nothing like that, It’s quite simple, I just need to win a bet.”
“Yes, for this I need to amass enough power until a certain date. I’ll probably need to explain a few things to you, my Head Knight. You’ll have to perform a few new duties from now on.”
Arthur nodded while smiling, Roland wanted to press more but he wasn’t really interested in the reasoning behind the noble's movements. It was enough for him to know that he wasn’t really aiming for the title. This squabble of the sons would probably also continue for a while. The oldest wasn’t even thirty and their father would probably not be giving up his position in the foreseeable future.
There was enough wiggle room to get out of this situation as even though he had been named the Head Knight, his position wasn’t set in stone. It was possible to transfer the title later on to another person through various means and he would cross that bridge when the time came.
“New duties… right about that, I still have a lot of work to do in my workshop, so I’ll have to ask you to transfer most of those duties to those two other knights that are standing outside…”
“I understand, that’s fine but I’ll have to ask for your attendance if something like today happens again.”
“Of course, that’s fine.”
“Now then, Sir Wayland, who are you?
Roland thought about this issue before coming here. Having his real name mentioned wasn’t something that he was that keen on doing but he was also tired of hiding. Considering that his father had some type of backing, his name did carry some weight and could act as a shield later. Arthur didn’t seem like someone that would babble out his secret nor did he really have a reason to.
“Have you heard about Baron Arden, Wentworth Arden.”
“Baron Arden? … That name sounds familiar…”
Arthur started scratching his chin while looking out through the window. After a few seconds, his eyes opened wide as he recalled hearing this noble name before.
“Ah! Do you mean the Silver Wolf, one of the heroes of the previous war?”
“I see that you know him, was he that famous?”
“Who wouldn’t know the tale of the Silver Wolf, the man that through his courage ascended into nobility! I remember reading some old records that mentioned some of his tales, like the one where he fell one of the Empires Knight Commanders in single combat!”
“Ah, yes something like that happened…”
Roland nodded while Arthur started smiling and listing down some of his father’s exploits. It was a bit surprising to see that the Baron household was this well-known here. However, it didn’t seem that he knew anything else about him besides some old war stories.
“So how are you related to Baron Arden? Are you his?”
“Yes, I’m one of his bastards.”
The moment Roland mentioned his relationship with his father Arthur’s smile turned upside down. The young man here was in a similar situation but their motives were reversed. Roland wanted to stay as far away from his father to the point of hiding out in a remote city like Albrook. On the other hand, Arthur desired to show off his skills and prove something to his dismissive father.
“Haha…This is great!”
“Yes, don’t you see? Two bastards working together! This must have been fate!”
To Roland’s surprise Arthur’s solemn expression quickly vanished and he started laughing. The whole predicament was quite peculiar as both of them were bastard sons of famous nobles. One was an influential duke that every noble knew in the kingdom. The other was an old war hero whose acts turned him into a living legend.
“Solaria must have a sense of humor if she let both of us meet like this… but I don’t dislike this! Let me reintroduce myself to you then, my friend, Arthur Valerian, pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Both Arthur and Roland were sitting opposite each other in this exchange. The noble stood up from his seat to lean forward with an outstretched hand. Roland looked at this hand for a moment before deciding to grasp it.
“Roland? I like it.”
“Thank you but…”
“I know, Sir Wayland.”
The two smiled at each other while Mary finally decided to butt in on the conversation. In her hand, she was holding a bottle of some expensive wine.
“Now that the two lords have become best friends, would you like to drink some wine? The vintage on this one is quite nice…”
“Sorry, I don’t really drink anymore…”
Roland was quick to reply as he had grown a disdain for drinking beverages filled with alcohol after a few incidents in his past. With how paranoid he was about everything he wanted to retain a clear mind and also not get himself poisoned when eating food that he didn’t examine previously.
“Well, now that we introduced ourselves again, I think we need to discuss the future of our new partnership.”
“Yes, to be honest, I don’t think I can offer you that much in return, I’m not even sure I’m in the position to make any demands.”
Roland was a bit surprised by how Arthur was acting now. After he revealed his true name and standing the noble had become even more casual with him. It was true that Arthur would probably not have that much to offer him but this was not the time to be joking about it. Normally, he expected another deal between the two to commence and perhaps even a new contract to be formed. Yet it was as if Arthur was considering him a friend or something close to that.
“I thought you were better at bartering. First, I think we should have at least a week before Theodore reacts, that is if he actually does anything in the first place.”
“We are of the same mind, he might abandon Emmerson to not be held responsible for this incident.”
“Yes, I fear that he might go with that option…”
The two nodded at each other as it wasn’t set in stone that Theodore would pay up for Emmerson’s misgivings. He could announce that his Knight Commander was acting on his own accord and that he didn’t have anything to do with it.
“That would be troublesome, he could deny paying the compensation owed and even demand we release the knights that were just following orders but I think your little how did you call it, recording? Could help us out.”
“Yes, even if he could denounce Emmerson for his misconduct people will see it as his fault for hiring a man like that.”
Theodore was still the person that hired Emmerson and gave him a spot inside the Valerian Knights. If the recording of this Knight became known where he attempted to backstab his opponent after surrendering, then Theodore’s name would be dragged down along with it. Nobles were kind of a reflection of the staff they hired and trained. He would become a laughing stock for allowing a man like that to work in such a high position.
“Will you contact your brother and explain it to him?”
“Ah… I don’t even want to think about it but it has to be done.”
“I can help you play the recording, we can do it now before I leave.”
“What now? I think this can wait… I need to make some preparations. How about we talk about something else, like expanding the knight order? Now that there is a Head Knight…”
Roland didn’t continue pushing the issue as he saw that Arthur seemed uncomfortable. It wasn’t strange considering that Theodore was the second-born son and a prominent figure in the Valerian household. It was possible that Arthur received his fair share of bullying when he was younger. Feeling uncomfortable when confronting such a foe was understandable.
“I guess we can do that later, I’ll leave the recruitment to you, I haven’t really been formerly trained as a knight, it would be better to let someone else perform this task.”
“I see, I’ll prepare a speech for you then, I’m sure the current soldiers will love to hear form their new Knight Commander.”
“A speech? Yeah, that could boost morale.”
“Oh? You’re fine with it?”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
Arthur was a bit confused by Roland agreeing to perform a speech in front of the other soldiers and knight candidates. Normally he seemed like someone that didn’t like performing such tasks. However, after Roland’s stay in the tier 3 trial, he had somewhat become aware of the ways of running a kingdom. As the Knight Commander, he needed to perform a few tasks that he normally would try to avoid like the plague.
“You are full of surprises or was the previous persona just an act?”
“Something like that.”
The two nodded at each other and continued to discuss some issues concerning Albrook. The platinum adventurers that Arthur was attempting to recruit were also mentioned and perhaps now could be drawn into joining their side. There was a lot of work to do and a lot of eyes would now be pointed in their direction.
A lot of work awaited Roland in the future but first, he needed to get back to his workshop. Now that the issue with the Knights was resolved he needed to get back home. There Agni along with Elodia were still waiting for him. With potentially more enemies on the horizon, he needed to get stronger again. His power was above the average Knight Commander but this didn’t mean that he could relax.
With Arthur’s backing and the new dungeon filled with large amounts of materials, he would become stronger, strong enough to take his fate into his own two hands. There was no going back now a new era had arrived for him. It would probably bring a lot of trials and tribulations and he could only face them head-on. Hiding was not an option anymore, a time when he would need to take the offensive again could be right around the corner and he needed to be ready.
‘I might be missing a few things but I can’t wait anymore, I need to make a new set before it’s too late…’