Chapter 11

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North of the Duke’s gardens, in a quiet place; the house-sized rock here hid a secret only Joshua knew. This imposing, 5-meter boulder, known as the “guardian stone”, shields the estate from danger. However, it is also the connecting passage to the ruins of the ancient capital city, Iris.

This place was considered sacred, so it saw few visitors. In fact, it was forbidden to even touch it but Joshua was climbing it nonetheless.

In his past life, Joshua frequently visited to connect with his dead mother. He thought it would be better to go to the top of the Duke’s castle, but was turned away at the door.

“Right... here.” Joshua reached the top of the rock with a few popped joints and more than a few groans. He groped at the stone for a long time before he managed to find a neatly concealed needle-sized groove. He’d only managed to find it the first time because he swept his hands around every time he climbed the rock.

A secret was hidden inside. His eyes lit up, breath hiking, and his blue irises dilated with excitement.

Joshua knew what to do next: he needed blood.

He bit his index finger and his blood dripped into the groove. It lit up and opened into a tight passage, just large enough to fit Joshua’s small body.

Soon, he would see things that defied explanation.

Joshua hurled himself into the dark muzzle, which sucked him in with a throbbing sensation across his entire body.

The first thing Joshua saw was a narrow passage which, if his memory was correct, opened into a wide cavity. There he would find what he was looking for.

What I really need right now.

Joshua advanced slowly down the dark passage with a smile, which widened as he approached the end of the tunnel.

“Ack!” Joshua was momentarily blinded by the bright light.

Up to this point, everything had matched his memories of the ruins. But when he opened his eyes…

“What the hell is this?” Joshua’s voice echoed across the damp room.

In the middle of the room was one – completely empty – altar.


Cain de Harry

As his name suggests, he was the son of a noble family. His family traced its roots back to a barren rural land to the Northwest, far from the Duke’s territory, the Viscounty of Harry.

His father was the Viscount Bron de Harry. Once, he had earned a position in the center of politics using his hardworking nature and talent for administration. Everything turned upside down when he was almost demoted to Baron but, sure enough, no one could ignore the Harry family’s vast connections.

Cain, his son, had been a promising talent since childhood. Curiously, he didn’t inherit his father’s administrative ability and pursued swordsmanship instead.

He went to study at the Academy in the Imperial Capital. There he developed his talent and caught the eye of the Grand Duke, leading to him joining the Duke’s army.

But no one knew of his true abilities—except one. Everyone else thought that Cain’s abilities were average for a C-Class Knight. Considering he was 22, his skill was only slightly above average.

In reality, he’d surpassed the C-Class Knights and even the B-Class Knights. He was beyond simply wielding mana; he was at the point where he could shape it at will. This kind of talent was comparable to Babel, the treasure of the Duke’s family.

His talent could land him a position in the Golden Man Order, the strongest arm of the Duke’s army. But for some reason, Cain’s talent was wasting away in the Red Knights.

“I have received your report.” A middle-aged man sat behind a desk on a mahogany chair and rummaged through his documents.

Chiffon raised his stylishly mustachioed head.

“You also punished two centurions, soldier?”

“—Yes.” Cain saluted Chiffon and answered. Chiffon’s expression hardened.

“Your actions followed the word of law… but for the Duke’s centurions, it’s a different story. These centurions belong to the Duke himself, so there must be another reason.” Cain was conflicted for a moment, but his judgement was quick.

“They insulted the Duke’s wife,” he answered.

“What?”

“They tried to sully the mistress, therefore—”

Chiffon leapt to his feet and slammed his fist against the desk.

“Is that true? Those crazy bastards did what to Lady Vanessa—”

“Not Duchess Vanessa.” Cain shook his head quietly. Chiffon gave him a sideways look.

“It was… Lucia.” Chiffon’s brows furrowed. He sighed and dropped back into his seat.

“Lucia? That Lucia?”

“Yes: the Duke’s second wife.”

“Huh…” Chiffon let out a sad laugh. He leaned his head against his palm and glared at Cain. “You mean you beheaded two centurions for a maid?”

“She’s not just a maid.” Cain shook his head firmly. “Whatever her status, the Duke’s wife is not to be insulted by a mere soldier.” Chiffon swallowed a heavy sigh. That’s right. Even if Lucia was a maid, it doesn’t change the fact that she bore the Duke’s second son.

“The Duke may not pay attention to her, but I don’t believe that’s relevant. If the Duke hears that Lucia was insulted—”

“Setting aside whatever pity you felt for the maid, I assume you are willing to take responsibility.” Chiffon straightened and looked Cain square in the eyes.

“If what I did was wrong, I will gladly accept punishment.” Cain stood proud, hand over heart.

“...Alright.” After a long silence, Chiffon sighed. “Sorry for doubting you. I know you’re a very smart young man. Maybe I’m just a little sensitive these days.”

“Are you alright?” Chiffon frowned at his question.

“Do you know why I attached you to that lowly child? I wanted to confirm if the rumor of him beating the three centurions was true. Imagine! He was just a dumb child before.”

“Obviously it’s nonsense, but it had to be verified. If it was true, he could become an obstruction to Master Babel.”

“...Why? Do you think Young Master Joshua is a threat to Master Babel?” Chiffon flinched.

“Even if it’s a joke… Don’t say bullshit like that.” His eyes were sharp. “Master Babel is a once-in-a-lifetime genius. He must become the leader of the family.”

“Imagine what a shame it would be if Master Babel’s position were stolen away by the son of a lowly maid.” Chiffon made a ridiculous expression. “I just hope that Master Babel’s road will never be blocked, so that he may hone his strength to its full potential. There cannot be any obstacles... We will remove them all, even the tiniest pebble.

Pebble, Cain mused. That boy he saw was anything but a pebble. Perhaps he will tear the sky in two and shake the earth like a meteor.

That strange feeling of intimidation Cain felt from Joshua… He knew he’d felt it before.

Joshua von Agnus, he muttered with a soft smile. I will trust my instincts. They have never failed me before.

“Anyways, continue to monitor the child. If there is anything unusual, report it immediately.”

“Yes sir.” Cain saluted and quickly left the cold office.

Cain’s face couldn’t hide his excitement, and his footsteps were lighter than ever.

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