Chapter 5

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The room was plainly adorned: a large, solid bookshelf made from high-quality wood, and a wooden table occupying the middle.

This was the room of Duke Agnus, the shining star of Avalon, one of the most influential men in the entire continent.

“—Joshua has arrived?”

“Yes, Duke.” The man who replied could only submit before the power of his lord and master. He was Count Valderas den Chiffon; he commanded the Red Knights, one of the three major arms of Duke Agnus’s forces.

Duke Agnus’s hair was dark – nearly black – blue, but his eyes were an icy pale blue. The stubborn set of his jaw bore a certain resemblance to that boy, Joshua.

Arden von Agnus.

One of only five Masters in the vast Avalon Empire.

One of the Nine Stars, said to be the mightiest individuals on the continent.

A monster on the battlefield, wielding a greatsword nearly two meters long.

He was known as “The Giant”.

“You said your name was Rols?”

“Yes, Your Grace!”

Rols lifted his head from where he was prostrated on the floor.

The Duke spoke quietly.

“What unit do you belong to?”

“The 29th Battalion!”

“The 29th Battalion… is commanded by Griezmann?”

“Yes, Duke.” Chiffon answered this time.

Duke Aden’s standing army numbered an impressive 40,000 men. The army was divided into 40 battalions, each commanded by a general. Each general had ten centurions, and each centurion commanded ten sergeants. 1

Duke Agnus examined Rols’s armor. It was good armor, stitched from the tough skins of black tribe orcs from the northern plains.

However, his armor looked as if it had been blasted apart by a mage’s fireball.

“You mean to tell me Joshua did this?” The Duke’s words were soft and deep.

Chiffon smirked at the trembling soldier.

“Think carefully before you answer. If you lie even a little…”

Rols choked and quivered on the ground. It wasn’t that he wanted to lie, the story was just too absurd to believe.

“I’m not lying, Duke!”

“Chiffon, did you examine the armor?”

“Yes, Duke.”

The hole in the armor was somehow twisted at the edges.

“How old will Joshua be this year?” Duke Agnus asked Chiffon.

“He is five years younger than Master Babel, so Joshua should be roughly nine right now.”

“So a nine year old boy did this to black orc’s skin?”

“...”

“With his bare hands, at that.” Chiffon’s cold eyes dared Rols to speak up. The knight was equally unconvinced.

If Chiffon was asked to break leather of that kind, he couldn’t confidently say he could. He didn’t know if he could even rupture it without mana.

“Well, if he could use mana… it might be possible.”

“But how could that child—”

“Your Grace! There has never been a single case of someone using mana at the age of nine. Not in the Empire, not anywhere!” Chiffon shook his head confidently. “Even if someone had pulled it off at some point in history, it could just as well be a B-Class knight. They can infuse mana into their hands, too.”

“...”

“So there’s no reason to believe that Joshua did this, given he’s only nine years old.”

Duke Agnus remained silent and unmoving.

“Perhaps, Your Grace, this is a coverup for whatever shady business this soldier was up to.”

“...!”

“If Your Grace allows it, I will take this guy out and correct the soldiers’ discipline.” The knight bowed his head and waited silently for the Duke’s answer.

“I never lied! What I said was completely the truth! Duke, please save me.”

“Shut your mouth!” Chiffon roared. His hand dropped to the hilt of his sword.

He took Duke Agnus’s continued silence as affirmation and slowly approached Rols.

“Duke! Duke!” Rols’s face turned pale as he desperately retreated from Chiffon.

“What if…?”

“Duke?” Chiffon stopped.

“This problem will only be solved when I’ve met with the other side of the issue.” The Duke spoke with a resounding authority, ignoring the shivering Rols.

“...It was about time, anyway.” He muttered sadly. “I will see him on my own.”

Chiffon’s eyes widened.

The Duke himself, taking interest in the concubine’s son! Even Master Babel, the treasure of the Agnus family, doesn’t get this kind of treatment.

“Where did you say Joshua was?”

“I was told he had just entered the mansion. He may be in the first floor waiting room.”

“Let’s go.” Duke Agnus stood and strode slowly to the door. Chiffon spared a glance at Rols before quickly following his lord.

Thud!

The door shut behind them, leaving Rols slumped on the cold floor sobbing. His thin pants were beginning to stain with a fishy yellow liquid.

  1. Original said “commanders”, but “sergeant” makes more sense for a unit of ten men. ↩️

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