Duke Pendragon - Chapter 138
The White Palace became busy.
All of the imperial officials lined the sides of the palace, dressed in colorful clothing that represented their positions.
The hundreds of officials bowed their heads as eight people walked into the palace. They were dressed in red, long skirt-like clothing and silver belts that had the royal seal embedded on them.
The eight people represented the pinnacle of power. They were the highest-ranking officials who stood at the center of the empire.
Deeper in the palace, there was a majestic throne shaped like a lion. It was a throne that was designated for only one person in the entire world, the emperor himself. Dozens of knights were lined up at the foot of the throne. All of them were dressed in an elegant, white armor – which was made for ritual purposes, and adorned in a long, red cape.
They were the Royal Knights, serving the emperor under the name of the Golden Lion Knights. They were the culmination of knights that realized the title of Sword Master, and each one stood at the pinnacle of strength. Each commanded 1,000 Royal Guards, and they obeyed only the direct commands of the emperor.
Almost thirty Royal Knights stood in their respective place, but there was only one knight among the Golden Lion Knights who was wearing a pure, white cape. Officials and nobles exchanged glances after looking at the special knight.
The knight in his 30’s had a magnificent figure and a gentle impression, and he gave off the impression of a stone pagoda. He was Count Jean Granite.
Jean Granite was the commander of the Royal Guard and the captain of the Golden Lion Knights. His appearance, along with the rest of the Royal Knights, could only represent one thing.
The emperor and the empress were about to appear in the White Palace for the first time in a year.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
Dozens of golden lion flags fluttered in the wind, and a majestic sound of the drum resounded rhythmically throughout the tranquil palace.
Simultaneously, hundreds of officials and nobles turned to the altar where the throne was located.
“The ruler of the Nine Lands and the Two Seas! The great golden lion who rules the ancient lands with wisdom and bravery! His Majesty, Emperor Aragon!!!”
An official wearing white clothes and a narrow-brimmed hat shouted, and all the people of the palace bowed down at the same time.
As the continuing reverberations of the drum shook the skies and the earth, someone appeared on the platform, followed by a dozen maids.
A majestic man in his mid 40’s wearing a white tunic with a golden belt around his waist. Multitudes of jewels decorated the crown that lay on his combed hair.
The emperor had no name. When he was a prince or the crown prince, he had a name. But as soon as he ascended the throne, all he had left was the family name of Aragon.
He was the emperor, and he was the empire.
Doong! Doong! Doong!
The drums slowly died down.
However, the officials and the nobles did not dare lift their heads. Rather, they bowed down even deeper as a strange spirit engulfed the entire palace at the emperor’s appearance.
As if shoving away the cold in the Royal Batallium, the Emperor’s Spirit consumed the entire palace, and the people could not stop shuddering.
This was especially truer for the nobles who had not seen the emperor for the past year. They had to grit their teeth to endure the great pressure that descended on their shoulders and necks.
All kinds of rumors had circulated in the imperial castle ever since the crown prince became unconscious. It was inevitable as the emperor had not met anyone during the year except when he was receiving regular reports from the eight major officials.
He is in poor health, he is isolating himself in shock, he’s already left the imperial castle and is recovering elsewhere…
All sorts of convincing rumors had floated about.
But the nobles finally realized.
The emperor was in good health.
The spirit was suddenly withdrawn.
The white-clothed official had been enduring the pressure until now with his shoulders shaking like an aspen tree. Before he could even relax, he immediately raised his voice once more.
“Here is the imperial order!”
The Royal Guards and the Golden Lion Knights roared like thunder.
“His Great Majesty wants to meet the firm pillars that support our glorious empire! The families that have engraved their crests in the White Palace, enter the palace!”
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The Royal Guards struck the floor with their halberds, and the whole palace rattled.
“Jamie Roxan, the eldest son of Count Roxan, the High Lord of Paleon!”
A Royal Guard at the entrance of the palace roared loudly. Jamie Roxan and his accompaniments of knights slowly moved their steps with their thistle crests held up high.
The emperor’s audience had begun.
The Royal Guard’s military salute could be heard all the way to the Thistle Palace.
“Let’s get ready. You should be the last one to go.”
Raven stood up at Ian’s words.
“Brother! We will go get changed as well.”
Irene and Lindsay headed to another room with a following of maids.
It was customary for female nobles to change into clothes prepared by the imperial castle when they had an audience with the emperor.
“Anyways, it’s a little… shabby… The other families brought along a horde of knights, servants, and whatnot.”
Ian stroked his chin as he looked around Raven’s group.
Two women and three men, one of whom was a single-armed old man. They were very shabby compared to the processions of the other families.
“It is fine. Leon can be the flag bearer.”
Leon became emotional at Raven’s words.
“Why are you about to cry again? Act like a man. You are a squire of the Pendragon family. It is your natural duty.”
“Ah, y, yes.”
He would raise the crest of the Pendragon family in the imperial castle, in the White Palace, and in front of the emperor himself. It was a tremendous honor and an opportunity for him to proudly announce his affiliation with the Pendragon family.
“Go grab my armor.”
Leon answered energetically and brought back the White Dragon Armor.
Raven began to put on the White Dragon armor with the help of Leon. It was the first time since his first expedition that the White Dragon armor adorned his body from head to toe in its original form.
After putting on the dragon-crested cape, Raven put on his helmet and slowly turned around.
The silver-white armor reflected the light brilliantly and Widow’s Scream was sheathed around Raven’s waist. The imperial maids could not take their eyes off at the brilliant sight, which was reminiscent of a knight god descending to the earth.
Even Ian nodded in admiration.
“Numbers certainly won’t matter if it’s like this. Then we just need to take care of the other two. Hey.”
Ian gestured, and male servants approached Argos and Leon. Without hesitation, they began to take off the outer garments of the two men.
Leon gave himself naturally to the servants.
On the other hand, Argos distorted his face, although he could not act rashly in front of the prince.
“Spread your arms and please relax.”
At the servant’s words and Raven’s gaze, Argos licked his lips helplessly and gave himself up to the servants. Soon, the dirty old clothes of the two men were replaced by a dark navy formal.
After a while, the servants withdrew from the sides of the two men.
“Hooh, it suits both of you pretty well.”
Raven nodded. It was as Ian said, the new attire fit the two men like a glove.
Raven showed surprise as he noticed something on the two men’s clothing. On the left chest and the back of the two men’s apparel was the shape of a dragon, the crest of the Pendragon Duchy.
Ian smiled proudly as he pointed to the carefully embroidered crest. It was quite meticulously woven, an obvious work of a master. The White Dragon’s wings were spread open as if it was preparing to take off.
“Haha! I embroidered your family’s crest on the Royal Guard’s court uniforms. It’s my present. I prepared it after I heard you left your territory covertly. I’ve made about ten sets, but it’s a shame only two of them get put to use.”
“I owe you in many ways.”
Raven was sincerely grateful to Ian.
“The ladies are ready as well.”
Raven and Ian turned their heads at a maid’s polite voice.
“How is it, Brother?”
Irene grinned and gave a little twirl while Lindsay smiled shyly.
Ian burst into admiration with his eyes wide open.
The dark-purple dress was adorned with fluttering gold stripes, and it was very graceful. The gold crown was embedded with a red ruby that was elaborated carved with the crest of the Pendragon family, and the shawl that hung around the shoulders and the neck was made from the fur of a rare white fox.
“It really suits both of you.”
Raven nodded his face with a calm face, but the two ladies knew that his neutral attitude was the greatest admiration he could offer. They did not hide their joy at Raven’s reaction.
“Well, I think everyone is ready now, so shall we get out of here?”
Ian clapped and called for attention.
The group shifted their steps under the guidance of the head maid.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The sounds of the Royal Guard grew louder and louder. Soon, the group left the Thistle Palace and were on their way to the White Palace.
A group of people entering the palace caught Raven’s eye.
Ian whispered as he saw the black armor of the knights and the crest of the angel and the four-leafed clover.
The backsides of more than 20 people could be seen, all of them were standing confidently and had good figures. Through the cracks between the knights, a particular person’s backside stood out.
It was a solemn middle-aged man, wearing a colorful red robe and holding a cane encrusted with a large emerald, which was spewing mysterious green light. The man turned his head slightly.
His gaze met Raven’s eyes in the air, and a piercing sensation penetrated Raven’s mind.
An unfamiliar energy emanated from the man’s hazy gray eyes, and Raven unknowingly reacted by rousing his own spirit. The middle-aged man, the Duke of Lindegor, also seemed slightly taken back when he met Raven’s gaze. He quietly observed Raven with wide eyes for a moment.
‘I’ve never felt this way from anyone except Soldrake and Ian…’
The strange sensation was somewhat different from Ian’s ferocious, relentless energy. It was a bizarre feeling, as if a piece of cold ice was touching the top of Raven’s head. It was neither overwhelming as Soldrake nor as ferocious as Ian.
Raven could not feel any hostility either.
Raven noticed immediately. An ordinary human could not possess such energy. The rumors of the Lindegor Duchy could be true after all, that they received an angel’s blessing.
“…May the grace of Seiel last forever! The successors of the great blood of the imperial family! His Excellency, Duke Lindegor!”
The royal guard’s solemn voice resounded.
At the signal, Duke Lindegor gave a silent nod towards Raven. Coming back to his senses, Raven also bowed his head slightly in response.
A dry smile appeared at the corners of Duke Lindegor’s mouth, and he turned around.
The Duke and the Knights of Lindegor proudly walked through the passage that was lined by hundreds of officials and nobles.
After passing through the hundreds of officials and nobles, the Duke of Lindegor arrived in front of the Lion Throne, and he bowed gracefully with one foot behind him.
“Lasse of Lindegor greets His Majesty Aragon. May Seiel’s protection always be with you.”
His greetings were neither excessive nor insufficient, befitting a duke who possessed the blood of the royal family.
The emperor reciprocated by lightly raising his hand.
Duke Lindegor slowly straightened his body and looked up. He was the only person who could look directly at the emperor without permission in the entire palace.
But even as Duke Lindegor looked towards him, the emperor remained silent.
The white-clothed official nervously gauged the emperor’s reaction, then hurriedly sent a signal to the royal guard.
“Defender of the White Dragon! The blood that succeeds the great blood of the imperial family! His Excellency, Duke Pendragon!”
Raven took a short breath and moved his feet at Ian’s whisper.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
In line with Raven’s steps, the halberds struck the ground as if creating a wave. Raven lifted his head and proudly looked straight ahead amidst the salute of the 1,000 Royal Guards.
Far away, he could see the figure of a man sitting on the throne on top of the pedestal. The figure looked very tiny, but Raven could feel that the man was gazing towards him.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The roaring sound and Raven’s heartbeat slowly synchronized.
The gazes of the hundreds of officials and nobles all focused on Raven, but Raven paid no attention, keeping his gaze fixated on only one man, the emperor.
The man who lived and died as an illegitimate son of a backwater knight finally came face to face with the sole master of the vast empire.
“Pendragon’s eldest son Alan greets His Majesty Aragon. May the glory of the Golden Lion be with the White Dragon’s valor.”
Unlike Duke Lindegor, Raven bowed with one hand on the handle of his sword, a way of the knight.
Soon, the emperor silently raised his hand in response.
Raven slowly raised his head, then he tried to move towards where Duke Lindgor was standing as the emperor remained silent.
It was then.
“You look just like Elena, but seeing as you have a short temper, you are certainly Gordon’s son.”
It was the voice of the emperor. He spoke now even though he did not speak a single word when he received the audiences of the other dignified nobles and even Duke Lindegor, whom he had not seen in decades.
Emperor Aragon’s voice clearly resonated in everyone’s ears.