The father and son’s exchanging of gazes ended after a moment of silence.
The Chief of Staff was standing at the door, not daring to enter, while looking anxious.
He did not go inside Alberu’s bedroom as the King motioned for him to stay out, but he could not just sit still as he had to aid the King.
King Zed looked at the people standing outside the door and gave an order.
“Only the two of you come in.”
There was no need for him to explain which two people he was talking about.
The Chief of Staff and the swordsman, the two people who directly aid the King, entered the room.
Someone else took a step into the bedroom at that moment. It was Tasha, who had returned after contacting Raon.
She was looking at Alberu.
It might seem improper of her to act like this with the King here, but she could not leave Alberu in here alone without any allies.
“Yes. You were here too.”
Tasha turned her gaze after hearing the King’s voice.
There was a small smile on the King’s nonchalant face.
“I guess it would be good for you to come in as well.”
‘Why is he acting like this?’
Tasha was suspicious of the King but entered the bedroom after Alberu nodded his head.
The bedroom closed at that moment.
Tasha looked back in shock.
Blue mana was released from the Chief of Staff’s body.
The mana soon covered the entire bedroom with soundproof barrier magic.
‘This is the highest-grade mage level……!’
Tasha thought that this mage was lacking in skill compared to Rosalyn, but he was at least more skilled than Alberu. Furthermore, she had thought that the Chief of Staff was a regular person until now.
She never expected him to have such skills.
‘…That swordsman too-’
Tasha observed the swordsman, who did not go to stand behind King Zed and went toward the window to observe the outside, with a sharp gaze.
Choi Han had quietly whispered something to her as she walked past him to get here.
‘That swordsman is strong.’
She could not hear any details as she did not have time, but a swordsman at a level that even Choi Han calls him strong must be at the sword master level.
‘He doesn’t seem at that level though.’
She did not feel much from this swordsman other than this dreary attitude he was giving off.
‘There is a sword master in the Roan Kingdom? And he is one of the King’s close confidants?’
This information was difficult for Tasha to understand.
However, she was certain about one thing.
‘I can’t let my guard down.’
King Zed Crossman. He had handed over all authority to crown prince Alberu already, but he was no pushover.
Furthermore, he was still the King.
More importantly, she could not trust the person who had neglected Alberu in the past.
Tasha moved toward Alberu to a position where she could protect him at any moment. The moment her sharp gaze headed toward the King…
The King called out Alberu’s name.
“How about stepping up to this position now?”
Tasha’s eyes opened wide.
The King was telling Alberu to quickly become King. She looked at Alberu.
Her pale nephew was not looking at King Zed but out the window. He looked to be in a lot of pain sitting on this wheelchair.
This King, this damn father of his, was talking about this extremely heavy responsibility while he was in a lot of pain. Tasha subconsciously bit down on her lips.
Alberu did not look at anybody and commented, almost as if he was talking to himself.
“There should be nothing to cause you any headaches now. Don’t you wish to stay there longer?”
His gaze then slowly turned toward the King.
His gaze was sharp unlike his pale complexion.
Alberu was curious.
‘Why did he suddenly come to Puzzle City?’
Why did the King, who did not care much about any of the Kingdom’s affairs anymore, come to Puzzle City all of a sudden?
Why had he looked around the battlefield? Why was he looking for Cale and revealing to people that he was in good health?
It clearly looked as if he didn’t want to let go of his power yet.
What was the King planning?
Alberu could not put his guard down around King Zed.
King Zed started speaking with a peaceful look on his face.
“I will leave the palace.”
Alberu’s eyes opened wide.
It was rare for the next king to succeed the throne while the current king was alive.
That was why Alberu was planning to use the achievements from this war to step into the King’s throne.
A part of him wanted to become king when things were peaceful and the name of Roan was shining brightly throughout the Western continent, but this plan was the best plan for any justification or legitimacy.
‘Something is odd.’
Alberu thoroughly observed Zed.
Usually, a king who relinquished the throne to the next king would leave the palace and go to one of the remote palaces or a palace in a foreign region owned by the Kingdom.
However, Zed did not seem to be talking about such a situation.
Leave the palace.
It sounded as if he was treating those remote palaces to be in that group as well.
“…Do you mean that you will go to a remote palace, your Majesty?”
“I said that I was leaving the palace.”
That meant that he was indeed treating those remote palaces as a part of the palace as well.
Zed Crossman was stating that he would leave anything with the name palace in it and distance himself.
Zed sat down on a nearby chair and nonchalantly commented.
“It doesn’t do any good for the former king to remain in the palace anyway.”
‘What nonsense is this?’
Alberu’s eyebrows slightly rose before instantly coming back down.
There was a reason that the former king was served in the palace, a remote palace, or even a palace in foreign region.
It was not simply filial piety to the former king from his son.
There was an extremely political reason having to do with power and authority.
What Zed was talking about, the former king leave the palace, meant just one thing.
The healthy former king would leave from under the new king’s influence and roam around freely.
Alberu thought rationally and asked as the crown prince.
“Royal Father, why are you thinking about leaving the palace? This son must serve his fa-”
“To keep an eye on me?”
Zed cut Alberu off.
“Keep an eye on you?”
Alberu spoke as if that was absolutely not the reason, but the King was still smiling as he nonchalantly commented.
“It is to keep an eye on me. You want to suppress me so that the former king doesn’t have any stray thoughts about becoming king again. If that is not keeping an eye on me, what is it?”
Alberu’s eyes clouded over.
‘He’s never spoken this frankly before.’
King Zed had never openly talked about surveillance or stray thoughts and revealed his inner thoughts to Alberu like this.
As the crown prince looked at him with an odd gaze…
“You should know about it as well.”
King Zed caressed the arm rest and calmly continued.
“The guys protecting me. I will only take them with me.”
The people who protected Zed as if they were his shadows…
Alberu had learned a bit about them once he became the crown prince. Zed nodded his head after seeing Alberu’s gaze move to the Chief of Staff and the swordsman.
“These two are also people who protect me.”
The Chief of Staff slightly bowed his head with the lighthearted but snobbish look still on his face while the swordsman continued to look outside the window.
Alberu quietly observed the three of them before speaking.
“But shouldn’t I still know where you are, Royal Father?”
Zed chuckled before nonchalantly responding.
“I will remain in the Roan Kingdom. I will contact you at least once every half year. How could I escape when the border is under your control? Everything except the southeast region is in your hands.”
The Duke’s House of Henituse in the Roan Kingdom’s northeast region.
The northwest region’s Marquis House of Stan.
The Duke’s House of Gyerre in the southwest region.
Alberu had close relationships with the other three areas of the Roan Kingdom except for the Roan Kingdom’s central faction with the capital and the southeast region.
“Even if I used magic to escape to a foreign kingdom, they would simply capture me and deliver me to you.”
Alberu showed his agreement through silence to Zed’s comment.
There was a big gap between Zed, who had led Roan Kingdom to be average, and Alberu, who had turned the Roan Kingdom into the central faction of the Western continent.
Alberu kept his mouth shut for a bit before opening it back.
“Half a year is too long. You must contact me at least once every three months, Royal Father.”
Zed’s face stiffened while quietly observing Alberu.
Alberu’s gaze did not only have the emotions of the future king thinking about his authority. There were emotions as a son as well.
Zed could not say the rest.
Alberu saw the look in Zed’s eyes before looking slightly away.
The father and son were silent for a moment before looking at each other as the King and the crown prince once again.
Zed was the first to speak.
“By the way. Have your coronation in the spring.”
A smile appeared on Alberu’s face.
“Didn’t you just tell me to become king as quickly as possible, your Majesty?”
It was still a long time until spring.
Of course, it would probably be spring by the time they took care of everything involving the war that had taken place in Puzzle City as well as the things that would happen afterward.
Zed tapped the arm rest with his finger as he spoke.
“There is one last thing I have to do.”
‘King Zed has something to do?’
Zed was a king who had not done much to guide the kingdom or make any achievements.
‘What is it?’
Alberu was about to ask.
This one last thing Zed had to do… What was it?
It was at that moment.
“A damn rat.”
Alberu felt the mana of the Chief of Staff, who had cast the soundproof barrier magic, fluctuate the moment Zed spoke.
The mana violently fluctuated as if it was reacting to anger, excitement or other types of intense emotions.
The swordsman who had been looking out the window turned his gaze to look at King Zed.
The King spoke in a gentle voice.
“I’m trying to catch a damn rat.”
Alberu could see the sharp blade hidden underneath the gentleness.
He opened his mouth to speak.
He felt as if he needed to ask who that ‘damn rat’ was referring to.
Knock knock knock-
However, someone knocked on the door at that moment.
The king immediately stood up.
The crown prince and the king were chatting right now. There were not many things that could interrupt that.
“I guess I can see his face now.”
Zed motioned to the Chief of Staff who immediately removed the soundproof barrier magic and urgently opened the door.
“Did the Commander wake up?”
Ron bowed his head and responded respectfully to the Chief of Staff’s question.
“We will head there.”
The King turned away from Alberu without any hesitation and left the bedroom.
Alberu watched him leave before giving an order once Tasha was the only one left with him.
“Go investigate it.”
There were some light tapping noises from the ceiling before some people showed their presence.
Alberu looked at the ceiling and asked Tasha a question.
“Royal Father must have just pretended not to notice, right?”
“That’s right. The Chief of Staff and the swordsman should have noticed a long time ago.”
Zed had pretended not to know that there were Dark Elves stealthily hiding in the bedroom ceiling.
“This isn’t good.”
Alberu mumbled to himself before looking in the direction in which Zed disappeared. He then thought about Cale.
His father and Cale…
What would the two of them discuss?
* * *
“You don’t look very good. I wonder if I am bothering you with my visit.”
“Not at all. Your Majesty.”
Cale tried to sit up and bow to the King but the King stopped him.
“Don’t get up. Stay in a comfortable position. I have at least that much tact.”
He then sat down on the chair right next to Cale’s bed.
They looked quite close to each other. He was treating Cale as if they had met multiple times before.
“So, how is your body?”
“…It’s bearable, your Majesty.”
Cale smiled faintly and answered as pitifully as possible.
Zed looked at Cale with pity before speaking.
“Commander Cale Henituse. What is your dream?”
‘Why is this guy acting like this?’
Cale couldn’t believe what the king said to him as soon as he left Eruhaben to come here, but he acted as weak as possible.
He answered without any hesitation.
He spoke as if he was desperate.
“I just wish to have a house in a quiet place and relax there while taking care of a small field to pass my time. I just wish to quietly, truly quietly-”
Cale did not say anything else as his tone was getting firmer and closed his mouth.
Zed nodded his head as if he didn’t think much of it.
“I had heard about it from Duke Deruth already. He said that you will be heading back home and resting in a villa.”
Cale flinched internally after hearing Duke Deruth’s name but did not let it show on his face. He was satisfied as the Duke mentioned that he would let Cale fool around and not be the patriarch.
King Zed continued speaking.
“That is why Duke Deruth told me to take care of the things I have caused on my own. My my, I’ve felt this from a long time ago, but the Duke becomes quite scary when it is something related to his people.”
…What is he talking about right now?’
“Commander. Do you know what my dream is?”
Cale looked at the King, who was asking if Cale knew what his dream was, and thought about the younger Alberu and King Zed he saw in the illusion.
“Yes. Duke Deruth is right.”
Zed continued speaking as if he didn’t want an answer from Cale.
“I need to take care of my issues myself.”
He looked at Cale and smiled gently.
Cale had this mysteriously sense of fear while looking at the King smiling like that just a step away from him.
“The Duke’s House of Orsena. Yes.”
A series of incidents flashed through Cale’s mind after hearing the name of the largest noble family in the Roan Kingdom’s capital.
Cale’s biological mother, Drew Thames.
Someone presumed to be from her family, the man who had been pretending to be Vice Captain Hilsman, had been captured by Cale.
That man said that he was going to meet with Cale’s father, Duke Deruth, and had told Cale a few things.
‘The funds came from the Flynn Merchant Guild. That information is accurate.’
The Flynn Merchant Guild was suspected of sponsoring Hunters.
‘That bastard was pushed back.’
Billos Flynn, who had been one of the strongest Merchant guild leader candidates, was currently missing after being placed in danger of death.
‘The second child of the Flynn family who has received young lady Orsena’s sponsorship will soon become the merchant guild leader. The succession will happen as soon as things are settled here in Puzzle City. Then Billos Flynn will probably be executed.’
Cale had asked the fake Hilsman a question after hearing that information.
‘The Flynn Merchant Guild’s future merchant guild leader received sponsorship from the Duke’s House of Orsena and the funds sponsoring the Hunters came from the Flynn Merchant Guild?’
‘Yes. Do you see the picture now?’
The relationship between the Duke’s House of Orsena, the Flynn Merchant Guild, and the Hunters organization that came up because of the fake Hilsman.
Cale stopped pretending to be weak and asked with a stoic face.
“What is the Duke’s House of Orsena?”
Zed started smiling.
“Yes, I’m sure you are curious about that.”
Zed was smiling brightly but his eyes were not smiling at all.
“The Duke’s House of Orsena is the hunting dog I have raised.”
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