Like the cold midnight moon, Joshua’s anger was laid bare for all to see.
Lucia had been harassed constantly by the Duchess because of her noble visage, but young Joshua could do nothing at all. In his past life, she contracted a terrible chronic disease and died, alone and despairing, when he was 14 years old. Joshua was frustrated by his powerlessness and cried for a long, long time.
For Joshua, his mother was his only refuge from the constant bullying he received. It was only when she passed away that Joshua realized how much she meant to him. With his world crumbling around him, Joshua swore off personal attachments unless he had the strength to protect them.
But this time, even at the tender age of nine, Joshua had the power to protect his beloved mother.
Joshua cast his gaze across the ground. He found a rake used to clean horse manure and kicked it into his hand with a smile.
“—g-go!” Rols stuttered. He’d been trembling from the moment he saw Joshua.
“We should go. That kid isn’t the one we know anymore!”
“What do you mean, you bastard?” Gort glared at the small boy. Roid just shook his head. Only Rols, who had witnessed everything, was nervous.
“Get out of the way. I’ll take care of it.” Gort got up and dusted off his pants.
“Don’t work yourself too hard, Gort. Rols… you crybaby.” Rols said with a relaxed expression.
“Come on then. I woulda been worried if you didn’t show up.” Gort mocked Joshua like a small animal. Gort burst into laughter when he saw Joshua remain silent like the mute he was.
He looks so pathetic, Roid thought.
“Well, whatever.” Gort shrugged. “When someone’s mother gets raped right in front of them, even a mute will open their mouth.” At that, Roid couldn’t hold it in anymore and his giggles turned into full-blown laughter.
“Whatcha you gonna do about it?” Roid mocked. Joshua eyed his mother before finally speaking out.
“Come out!” The three centurions jumped.
He really can talk. Were the rumors true? Gort mused blankly.
“This oughta be good.” Roid laughed, but Rols was still shaking.
“Huh, yeah. If you insist.” Gort unsheathed his sword and pointed it at Joshua.
This kind of sword was standard-issue, but this was the Agnus estate; they provided the highest quality materials and weapons to knights of all levels. It was in decent shape, with a few spots of rust here and there, but it was as sharp as the day it was forged. Gort licked his lips as he examined the sheen off
“What are you—”
“I said: come out.” Gort had been edging towards Joshua, but he felt something was off and halted. Joshua was looking in his direction, but not directly at Gort.
“What are you going on abou—”
“How did you notice?”
“Who are you?” Gort screamed, and the three thugs whirled around. What they saw astonished them.
There was a young man with brown hair and tan eyes – an ordinary appearance you could see anywhere on the street, but his clothes told a different story. There was a distinctive red cross embossed on his leather armor. This mark, considering its origins, was instantly recognizable to anyone: it was the insignia of Duke Agnus’s Red Knights.
Even a knight was as far from a soldier of this caliber as a commoner was from nobility. The difference was like Heaven and Earth.
“I greet the Red Knight!” The centurions snapped to attention at once.
Place your right fist over your left breast and bow your head deeply. This greeting was clearly different from how they would greet the duke. No one else was treated as he was, not even their commanders.
Kneel to no one except the master. The unspoken rule of Duke Agnus.
The Red Knight, Cain, met Joshua’s cold eyes. He couldn’t hide his embarrassment.
Is this really the dumb kid they were talking about? He could see Joshua’s small, fragile body was nothing like Cain’s, yet he seemed to emanate a strange feeling of intimidation from his tiny form.
What is this? Cain tried to swallow, but his throat ran dry. He knew of only one person with this kind of presence: the Duke.
“I have a question.” When Joshua spoke, Cain’s mind went blank. He’d been assigned to monitor the boy by Chiffon, but, when the boy addressed him, all of that disappeared. Only the instinctive desire to answer remained.
“A soldier attempted to sully the Duke’s mistress… According to the Duke’s military regulations, how should we handle this case?”
A mere maid—! The words remained stuck in Cain’s throat. He was too afraid to utter them when faced with the boy’s intimidating aura.
Cain bit his lip. For a moment, he met Joshua’s eyes. He had no words for what he felt then. All he could do was obey.
“You know what to do.” Joshua tossed his rake aside.
Cain drew his sword, and the three centurions prostrated themselves in unison.
“Spare me! I will never consider such nonsense again! Please!” Cain glanced from them to Joshua, but Joshua’s eyes were unwavering and merciless.
An unnerving scream split the silence, echoing across the Duke’s estate.
Joshua only sighed.
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