Cain didn’t spare a second thought – his swing was quick and concise. From only a single swing Joshua could tell that Cain had achieved a great understanding of the sword.
The Red Knight looked to be in his 20s. If he was sent to monitor Joshua, there was a high probability that he was the youngest and lowest ranking in the troop.
But his skills…
Even though the Red Knights were one of the three strongest units in the Duke’s army, it was the weakest of the three.
With that in consideration, this young knight is…
Cain glared down at the three centurions, his chilly eyes freezing the tense atmosphere.
Roid and Gort were already dead.
He rounded on Rols.
“Hey!” Gort’s and Roid’s blood dripped off Cain’s sword. “I— please! Forgive me just— just this once…!”
Cain looked unshaken even after cutting down two centurions. Instead, he approached Rols with a singularly indifferent expression.
“Please! Forgive me!” Cain raised his sword as if he hadn’t heard.
“Stop.” Cain halted.
Joshua approached slowly under the dim moonlight.
“...There is only one punishment for the crime of insulting the Duke’s woman: immediate execution.” Cain had yet to lower his sword. As expected, even an untitled knight knew the rules so well. Cain stared at Joshua for a moment before turning back to Rols.
“Young Master! Please save me! I swear— I swear my eternal loyalty if you save me!” Rols begged and scraped at Joshua’s feet.
“Shut up!” Cain clenched his sword tight enough to make his veins pop.
“From that insignia, it looks like you’re a member of the Red Knights. What is your name?” Cain’s grip loosened when Joshua addressed him.
“My name is Cain.”
“Sir Cain. Before you continue, I have one question.”
Cain blinked at him. Joshua stared straight into his eyes and said,
“Who is your master?”
Cain paused for a second before answering.
“My master is Duke Agnus.” His chest puffed with pride.
“Then one more question: Who am I?”
A cold gust blew across them, as if even the air could feel the tension.
Cain’s eyes widened with understanding. Obey me.
“Sheath your sword.” Joshua’s voice was frigid.
“...I obey.” Eventually, Cain slid his sword back into its scabbard with a sigh. Metal hissed against leather, and the blade disappeared from sight. Rols shouted in jubilation,
“Thank you Young Master Joshua! I will be forever loyal—!”
“I don’t need this loyalty you speak of.” Rols’s mouth snapped shut.
“Did you think I saved your life because I wanted your loyalty? Who are you kidding, you bastard?”
“The ones I want to hurt the most are the ones who bared their teeth at my people.”
Rols hiccuped. Joshua’s grim words made his heart tumble and shake.
“You’re a quick-witted guy, so I’m sure you’ll understand what I say next.” His low voice dripped with malice.
“Just— Just give an order, Young Master!” Rols banged his head on the cold, wet ground, cutting his scalp.
“Tell the soldiers everything you saw today. And—” Joshua’s eyes glittered dangerously. “—if anyone else tries something like this again…”
“I’ll take their pathetic lives with my own hands.”
“Ah! Yes, yes!” Rols kept his answer short; he knew how terrifying Joshua looked even without lifting his head.
“Now get out of my sight.”
“I will!” Rols forced his shaky legs to carry him away. Destination: Anywhere but here!
With Rols gone, Joshua’s freezing gaze thawed. He looked beside him: there lay the most beautiful and special woman in his life, the woman he’d yearned for even in his dreams. Joshua’s mother in the flesh.
Mother… Joshua squeezed his hands together with uncontrollable joy. As his anger subsided, he realized that his childhood was stained with regret and his mother had been his only light. His mother, who died so early.
I thank Heaven for granting me another chance. This time will be different. We will never bend.
Now he was Joshua von Agnus, only child of a humble maid, spawn of the Duke, not Joshua Sanders, the hero, strongest spear knight in history.
“Are you… really the same person I knew?” Cain, watching the iron-spirited child soften, cautiously spoke up.
“You’re talking nonsense.” Rather than being angry, Joshua burst out laughing.
“But... The Young Master I remember was—”
“The Master’s mistake, the child of a common maid, the dung shoveler… Should I continue?”
Cain suddenly stood straight and locked eyes with Joshua.
“At the age of 23, a knight may choose their master.” All knights of the Agnus estate obey the Duke. However, their fealty was ultimately their own choice and responsibility.
“Next year, I will also face that decision.” Cain stared intently at Joshua. He took three steps back and gripped the hilt of his sword. “I trust my instincts. In a year’s time I will be by your side, Young Master.” With that, he placed his hand over his heart and bowed.
Then he vanished before Joshua could reply.
Joshua stared blankly at the air.
You idiot. He burst out laughing.
Cain. A budding Red Knight.
This situation was anything but normal. Practically speaking, Cain’s future would be more secure if he gave his loyalty to Babel, the treasure of the Agnus family, rather than Joshua. His thoughts were a mystery.
“Joshua?” He was startled by the delicate voice rising from his side.
“Mother?” Joshua knelt down to help his mother sit up.
“You’re okay!” Lucia forgot her aching body when she saw her child’s face. Her gentle caress on Joshua’s face made his heart melt – the sensation of having a mother once again was truly incredible.
A tear trickled down his cheek.
“Now… I will definitely protect you.”
Lucia’s smile was brighter than the moon in the sky.
Aslan, the ancient empire.
It was the most powerful country in the world until, long ago, the continent was riven into the East and West. After thousands of years, it disappeared even from memory. Perhaps ancient tomes contained records of it, but who could say?
Now only a few people knew of its existence. Joshua, having returned from decades in the future, was one of them.
Duke Agnus’s mansion sat directly on Iris, the ancient capital of the Aslan empire.
Who knew? Who knew of the great secret hidden beneath the Duke’s magnificent castle?
“This is the place.”
It had been a few hours since he managed to put his mother at ease, who’d only gotten more worried because of his frantic gestures. Time was running out. The sun would rise soon and no one should see him here.
When Joshua arrived at his destination, he smiled softly. It was here.
“Lugia,” he muttered, and forged onwards.
Here he would become the Unrivaled Spear Knight.
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