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Chapter 93

The tournament is not a festival for the people. Strictly speaking, it should be seen as a development of the social gatherings for the nobility. All participants are nobles, and it is a place for them to demonstrate their prowess, with the aim being royal marriages, particularly those involving royal blood.

Therefore, during the five days of the tournament held in Frechenkaya, all the major nobles held banquets every day.

“Oh, Sir. Yesterday’s duel was truly magnificent!”

“Oh, you flatter me, My Lord. How can my modest skills compare to those of Talent? You are already too generous.”

“Haha, what a character! Even if my son has some minor talent, what significance does it hold? Isn’t it all due to the grace of the monarch that we cultivate loyalty and integrity?”

“Indeed, indeed. Haha!”

As intoxicated nobles and their offspring exchanged compliments, they also competed covertly to see how the factions would splinter after the winner married the princess.

The host of this banquet, Duke Sheretif, was one of the most disagreeable people present.

“Hasn’t she arrived yet?”

“Yes, My Lord.”

The servant bowed low. Duke Sheretif clenched his fist tightly under the table, his anger simmering.

Even if he is considered the lowest among the Three Dukes, he is still a duke. He is the most prestigious noble in the country and now the wealthiest.

Unlike other dukes who command border armies, his domain, Chelyabinsk, lies in the southeast of Krasilov. It was a vital hub of commerce, mediating ocean trade from Tylesse without directly exposing itself in previous conflicts.

This meant immense wealth, authority as a central noble, and an unrivaled position in the noble society of Frechenkaya.

Ignoring all these, both participants in today’s duel had failed to attend his banquet. This was an affront.

“Even if he’s fought the elf, is his condition really that serious?”

“I heard that Her Highness, the princess, personally requested to treat him… but… as he is the princess’s personal physician, it’s difficult to obtain information.”

“Tsk, it’s all too cryptic.”

The relationship between the counterintelligence headquarters and the princess may be cooling, but she still remains the person holding the top intelligence group in Frechenkaya.

It’s almost impossible to extract information from her direct leadership position. Finding it rather inconvenient, Duke Sheretif clicked his tongue.

“The physician declined, and even the invitation received no response…”

“What should we do about today’s arrangements then?”

“Leave it. Ensure that the ‘guests’ are treated with all due courtesy.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

The servant bowed deeply and withdrew. The duke tapped the table, lost in thought.

“If the scoundrel’s injuries are worse than expected…”

If so, there’s no issue. But if it’s just fatigue or minor injuries, then…

He had to deal with the scoundrel today. Two days until the final. If he recovers within that time, there will be no way to stop his victory over the wretched nobles who are either his inadequate son or another inadequate noble. Afterall, can they truly fight against Cohenulf?

No. It’s unlikely. However generously one might think, the skill to put up such a fight against Cohenulf is genuine.

So that wretch had to be killed today.

But how?

Forcing through the hospital guarded by the princess was out of the question, and attempting assassination rashly would be tantamount to provoking a dormant lion.

One must remember, even if the princess’s authority has been somewhat diminished by recent mistakes, and even if her personal guard is starting to wane.

Elizaveta Kirilovna Krasilov, the iron-fisted ruler. She’s the beast who toppled her father overnight and purged the influence of the her brother.

The extreme situation she put herself in won’t come again. She shouldn’t be provoked rashly. Isn’t legitimacy more important than force and execution in the nobles’ battles?

“My Lord, My Lord!”

The servant rushed urgently to the troubled duke.

“What is it?”

“He’s here! He’s arrived!”

“Who?”

“Yermov’s third son. He’s just arrived at the mansion!!”

“Alone? Did he come alone?”

“Yes? Yes! There were no other companions…”

“Hah!”

The duke set down the glass he was holding and laughed heartily.

Yes, the lad who had been under the protection of the princess now arrived alone at the prince’s banquet.

This is why it’s precious not to use mercenaries and the like, Your Highness.

The duke chuckled sardonically.

“How can a hunting dog resist the smell of meat? The hungrier they are, the greedier they become.”

There are those who deem the poor and the weak righteous. They are wrong. The hungrier ones are, the more fierce and treacherous they become in seeking prey.

It was unwise to expect loyalty from wandering mercenaries like the three sons of the Northern mercenary nobility. After all, the success of a plan depends not only on how intricate it is but also on how reliable the ones executing it are.

The princess should have rather bought one of the young nobles of the prince’s faction. Not some wandering knight who relies solely on his prowess.

“Escort him in. I’ll personally entertain him.”

When a beloved hunting dog goes wagging its tail to another house and returns with just its neck, what expression will the princess make?

After losing even the last pretext she held, if she enters into marriage with a noble, the rights of royal blood will never again bring a smile to Krasilov.

When Edelflat Cohenulf’s registration for the competition was completed for the first time, Ivan was not surprised. It’s because he’s a trained operative.

Trained operatives don’t panic in emergencies during operations. Confusion is like the first wrong button leading to a misfire.

So Ivan changed the operational objective. This had to be a somewhat bold and delicate double operation.

“Welcome! I was greatly concerned about the lack of response. Is everything all right? Didn’t faint on the field, did you?”

“Same as usual.”

Ivan answered, looking at the duke who opened his arms grandly to welcome him with a steady gaze.

After once scanning his body, the duke soon burst into a hearty laugh and patted him on the back.

“Indeed, a true man of Krasilov. Taking off the helmet reveals such gallant features. I regret not seeing your face before.”

“That’s right.”

“… “

Edelflat Cohenulf will definitely make it to the final. No matter how the bracket is arranged, there’s no avoiding facing her.

If she loses, it’s actually a bigger variable. It means we haven’t identified someone skilled enough to defeat her.

So, Ivan had already assumed the confrontation with Edel. Not just the victory, but the duel itself.

“Now, come along. Everyone will be greatly surprised. The protagonist of the day has arrived! Truly, the struggle today was no less than a great honor for the nation!”

“Yes.”

Then, at what point should Ivan face Edel most logically?

That’s in the semi-finals. If he faces her in the semi-finals, whether he wins or loses, it’s best to collide in the semi-finals.

If he fights Edel in the final, achieving the objective of rallying and defeating the anti-princess faction nobles becomes difficult.

But if a scenario is created where they meet in the semi-finals on the bracket…

“Naturally, the other semi-final bracket will be dominated by the anti-princess faction nobles.”

Regardless of whether he wins or loses against Edel in their fight, the opposing side will surely approach Ivan.

The more spectacular and intense the fight, the more likely they’ll try to persuade or assassinate Ivan. In the eyes of the nobles, he’s clearly a knight of the anti-princess faction.

Even if Edel wins, it doesn’t matter. Edelflat Cohenulf can never marry the princess. All the nobles will foam at the mouth, and it’s obvious that other countries of the United Kingdom will also oppose it.

The blood alliance between Kalion and Krasilov is powerful enough to have such repercussions. If the bear tied to the inland and the ruler of the seas unite, becoming the strongest power in the United Kingdom is not impossible at all.

“If I arrange for Edel and me to face each other in the semi-finals, then on the opposing side…”

The son of Duke Sheretif and the Count Yelychynopf. Those two will come up. The two major noble families with the greatest influence among the surviving princes will surely demand the marriage with the princess for the sake of a new political power.

If Edel wins, one of them will demand marriage to the princess.

If Edel loses, these two will try to eliminate Ivan, who reached the finals.

It didn’t matter what happened. What was needed was just the moment when those two rival noble families joined hands.

So, the duel with Edel was just a process. It was a kind where the outcome didn’t matter.

As long as Ivan had the ability to move on his own. That alone was enough.

“I’ll take the coat. Sir Yermov.”

“Hmm.”

Ivan took off his coat and handed it to the attendant, along with a sheathed sword hanging at his waist.

Duke Sheretif quickly glanced over Ivan’s casual attire. The weapons check in the anteroom was quiet. The man is now completely unarmed.

The duke quickly smiled and shook his head.

“Understand my indulgence, son. Can’t help the old folks’ whims.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

The attendant politely opened the door leading to the banquet hall.

A splendid salon, befitting nobility, unfolded before them.

Furniture generously adorned with marble, red velvet curtains embroidered with gold, and elaborate chandeliers adorned with complex patterns of gold and pearls.

Among the drinks and snacks carried by the attendants, there was nothing Ivan could recognize. Tylessian mountain wine and various finger snacks circulated busily.

“Well, this is an occasion for introductions indeed. The star of today’s tournament has arrived! Everyone, cheers for the victor!”

“Wow!”

Applause echoed through the banquet hall. The orchestra politely paused their performance as the duke spoke.

Ivan slowly scanned the Prichenkaya nobles dressed in high-end dresses and suits.

The duke standing beside him warmly smiled and patted his shoulder.

“Did the potion sent by that old hag help?”

“Yes.”

“Good. It was not an easy thing to obtain.”

Certainly not.

The potion probably contained an undetectable type of drug. It was a delicate preparation, but there was one thing the duke didn’t know.

Ivan would never drink a healing potion made by someone else. He would rather endure the injury.

“Oh, this is Count Yelychynopf. Have you heard of him? He’ll be your next opponent in the finals.” (Duke Sheretif)

“My Lord, that’s too much praise. Isn’t Boris Knyaz a knight even I would have a hard time dealing with?” (Count Yelychynopf)

“My son may have a trivial talent, but how could he rival Knyaz? Congratulations in advance. Haha!” (Duke Sheretif)

Count Yelychynopf reached out with a warm laugh. Ivan took his hand expressionlessly.

Underneath his firm muscles, Ivan could feel a powerful magic pulsing.

“Your swordsmanship left a deep impression on me. There’s something I’m curious about… You’re the son of Yakov, right?” (Count Yelychynopf)

“Yes.” (Ivan)

“I heard Yakov’s son had just turned twenty, but you seem older than that, Sir Knight.” (Count Yelychynopf)

Count Yelychynopf asked, tightening his grip.

“Who are you?” (Count Yelychynopf)

“Count Yelychynopf, what kind of rudeness is that?” (Duke Sheretif)

“What further courtesy do you expect at this point, My Lord? Waiting until this hour was all for this single reason.” (Count Yelychynopf)

Count Yelychynopf chuckled and flicked his hand.

About half of the nobles sitting rose from their seats. The musicians set down their instruments, and attendants slowly retreated to the walls, drawing the curtains.

“Let’s dispense with unnecessary formalities. Those are not for commoners, are they?” (Count Yelychynopf)

“You’re impatient.” (Duke Sheretif)

“Isn’t it quite amusing for me to sit here, sharing drinks and laughter with this commoner?” (Count Yelychynopf)

Duke Sheretif sighed as if to express his disdain for Count Yelychynopf’s words and stepped back.

Starting from where Ivan stood, purple magical lines began to spread across the floor. Looking up, wizards on the second-floor terrace were weaving their spells.

Servants by the chandelier drew their weapons. Blades glinted indigo under the chandelier.

Most of the nobles who had participated in the tournament were already armed. Even Count Yelychynopf, holding the sheathed sword handed to him by the attendant.

“I’ll smash that man’s face to pieces! My son suffered at his hands!”

A burly middle-aged man sitting far away shouted roughly. What was his name again? Ah, Viscount Turgayev. That’s right.

He must have been one of the opponents defeated in the tournament. Good riddance.

Ivan shifted his gaze slowly. With each noble face he scanned, their names and factions came to mind. Memorizing the personal details of the targets was essential.

Almost all the nobles he had targeted were present in this room.

Most of the high nobles attached to the royal family are present here.

“Are you scared? Lost your tongue, huh?” (Count Yelychynopf)

Normally, dealing with each noble one by one would be impossible.

Nobles aren’t pushovers. The moment they sense they’re being gradually subjugated, civil war will erupt.

So, with all the high nobles gathered neatly together, and with the pretext of attempting to assassinate the ‘expected finalist of the royal-sponsored tournament’ firmly established…

“Isn’t it time for you to kneel before us and beg? Can’t you even muster that much wit? What has the princess offered you? Did that brat spread her legs for you? Huh?” (A certain noble)

No one here thought Ivan would survive. Despite openly mocking the royal family, they burst into laughter.

As Ivan remained silent, the nobles’ words grew increasingly vicious. The commoner who got involved with the princess. The millennium-old disgrace of Krasilov. The princess’s paramour.

“I’ll generously warm the princess’s bed instead of you, so don’t worry and just close your eyes.” (Count Yelychynopf)

Count Yelychynopf chuckled and released Ivan’s hand.

He slowly raised the hand holding the sword, shaking it as if to flaunt. That, too, was because he was skilled enough to make it to the finals.

Assessing the opponent’s condition is fundamental. Ivan’s condition was clearly far from normal. It was a situation so overloaded that traces of magic couldn’t even be felt.

And if that old man, Duke Sheretif, had poisoned him… This level of preparation might be considered excessive.

“Target five. Second-floor terrace.” (Ivan)

“What?”

Ivan slowly raised his hand and pressed firmly behind his ear.

– Target confirmed.

“Eliminate the light source.”

– Executing.

– Bang!!

Gunshots rang out. If one were a superhuman, they would have realized it was due to dozens of gunshots being fired simultaneously.

At the same time as the gunshots, the curtains fluttered dramatically. The entire lighting in the salon, all at once, shattered.

Groans followed. Those with acute hearing would have recognized it coming from the second-floor terrace.

Ivan reached out, sensing the magic circle writhing under his feet being dismantled.

– Whoosh!!

Alongside the detection of projectiles, an object flew into Ivan’s hand.

Simultaneously, Count Yelychynopf’s sword descended toward his head. Swift as a superhuman, he attacked Ivan in front of him without being startled by the gunfire.

– Clang!!

Sparks flew. Ivan twirled the axe held in his hand to deflect the sword and stepped forward.

Movement continued in the darkness.

“What’s going on? Guards! Guards!!”

This mansion was protected by a solid defense raised directly by the Duke. Even if there were an ambush, it would be impossible not to detect it beforehand, even if the enemy brought an army.

Duke Sheretif staggered in the darkness, scanning his surroundings.

– Click.

Amidst shattered windows and torn curtains, the friction of heavy metal lumps was heard.

In perplexity, Ivan raised the axe towards Duke Sheretif, who was struggling in the darkness, and Count Yelychynopf, who was gnawing at it with the sword.

“Where does your loyalty lie, nobleman?”

Simultaneously,

Between the broken windows of the salon,

On the terrace railing.

Behind the nobles sitting, among the armed attendants.

Agents from the Counterintelligence Command appeared, aiming their weapons.


30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

프롤로그에서 30년이 흘렀다
Score 7.8
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Released: 2023 Native Language: Korean
I got transmigrated into a game I’ve never seen before. I thought it was a top-notch RPG and spent 30 years on it. I retired as a war hero and planned to spend my remaining time leisurely. But it turns out, it was an academy story?

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