Chapter 101 - Chapter 16: Summons #3
"It has been a long time, 4th Queen. I am 5th Prince, Silvan Doomblade.”
"It is great to see you, Silvan. How have you been?”
Silvan and Elaine greeted each other with smiles. Silvan, who had always been flamboyant, talked formally without any signs of discomfort, but Elaine seemed different.
It wasn’t that Elaine’s courtesy or behaviour was a problem. It was simply that her image was different from what In-gong had seen before.
Now, Elaine was literally a lady. She had Caitlin’s innocent appearance, but her sophistication and subdued voice created a beautiful atmosphere.
Moreover, she spoke with honorifics. She hadn’t done that when In-gong met her last time.
However, despite from In-gong’s surprise, Elaine and Silvan maintained an aristocratic attitude toward each other.
"Thank you for your concern.”
Silvan bowed and stepped back. This time, Felicia was the one to step forward and bow.
"6th Princess Felicia Doomblade greets the 4th Queen.”
Just like Elaine, Felicia acted as a delicate lady. Unlike the usually energetic Felicia, she showed a very gentle appearance.
Elaine said with a smile,
"You seem to have become more beautiful in just a few days. I was worried due to the disturbance in Spider Forest.”
Karma had asked for help from the lycanthrope rangers. It was natural for Elaine, the queen of the lycanthropes, to receive the news.
Felicia gazed downward slightly.
"Thank you for the active support from the lycanthropes. The guardian of Spider Forest asked me to thank you as well.”
In fact, they hadn’t received any help during the fight at Spider Forest, but the lycanthropes had still moved to aid them. Moreover, the lycanthrope rangers had agreed to watch the state of Spider Forest for a while, so it was right to express gratitude.
Elaine responded in a very friendly tone,
"You are my children as well. So, it is a normal course of action.”
They didn’t share a single drop of blood, but Elaine viewed them as children of the family.
Felicia stepped back while hiding her embarrassment and vigilance. Then it was Caitlin’s turn.
"I’m back, Mother.”
Elaine didn’t respond to the light greeting. It was like she couldn’t hear Caitlin’s words at all.
Caitlin bit her lip and bowed.
“8th Princess Caitlin Moonlight greets the 4th Queen.”
“I’m glad to see you’ve come back safely.”
Elaine smiled widely and accepted the greeting. Caitlin looked like she wanted a hug ,but Elaine didn’t allow it. She turned her head and said,
Caitlin was forced to step back. In-gong swallowed his saliva and imitated Silvan’s bow.
"9th Prince Shutra Ignus greets the 4th Queen.”
It seemed like the same greeting, but there was a slight difference in accent and behavior.
After finishing his greeting, In-gong looked at Elaine who was showing a different smile.
"Those are good eyes.”
Her voice was still gentle, but there seemed to be a beast hiding in it. Indeed, In-gong thought that she truly was different from Caitlin. The aides didn’t give personal greetings, so the only one left was Daphne.
“It is great to see 4th Queen. I am Daphne, the daughter of the 5th concubine, Echo.”
Her voice was full of tension, but she didn’t show it in her bow. Elaine glanced at Daphne with amusement in her eyes, then moved her gaze. The raccoon, standing beside Daphne with a sour expression, caught her eyes.
“Nice to meet you. Is that a pet beside you?”
Elaine asked and the party became tense. Daphne, who had been asked directly, tried to read Amita’s mood as she replied,
“A party member.”
In-gong said on behalf of Daphne. Caitlin stepped forward and added,
"This raccoon is the great Amita, Mother.”
It was a slight deviation from courtesy. Everyone was already nervous due to the raccoon’s expression, but Elaine didn’t dismiss her like before. She had heard the name Amita from Chris.
“Nice to meet you, Amita. Will you please forgive my rudeness that stemmed from ignorance?”
Elaine smiled while lowering her posture. Amita stared at Elaine for a while then shook their head with their arms folded.
"I forgive you.”
Whether it was to make Elaine uncomfortable or for some other reason, Amita did not say anymore. Elaine didn’t dare say anything else to Amita and introduced Bruce who was next to her.
"This is the great Master Bruce. He is the lycanthrope that boasts the strongest power."
Master Bruce was a very big, burly man. His head was full of white hair and there were fine lines all over this face, but that was it. His muscles were tight and his body was almost as good as Carack’s.
He dressed almost just like Chris, with animal hides that made him look like a bandit. In-gong could tell instantly where Chris’ fashion sense had come from.
In Knight Saga, Master Bruce hadn’t been present for the lycanthrope subjugation. It was because he had suddenly died two weeks before it had happened.
Bruce stared silently at In-gong. It was obvious that Chris had talked to Bruce about In-gong. Bruce’s eyes reminded In-gong of the sword duke.
However, now wasn’t the time or place for his personal interest.
Elaine turned around and said,
"I am surprised by the sudden summons, but you don't have to worry too much. I don't know the exact reason for the summons, but... it seems to be unrelated to the princes and princesses. Use today to relax.”
Her gentleness was nice. Elaine then glanced at Chris who was standing on her right.
“Chris, can I ask you to guide your brothers and sisters?”
“Leave it to me.”
Chris replied with a rigid expression. Silvan had a somewhat complicated expression on his face, but Chris didn’t pay him any attention.
Elaine ignored the strange tension and called out to In-gong,
"9th Prince, please take a short walk with me.”
Felicia jumped and her eyes sharpened. In-gong just responded like he had already been expecting it.
The party split in two.
Chris led one group to the palace while Ludwig and the Blood Companions escorted In-gong and Elaine.
Except for Ludwig, the other Blood Companions kept a considerable distance from Elaine. In-gong, Elaine and Ludwig walked ahead at a distance from where they couldn’t be heard.
As soon as they entered the garden, Elaine said quickly,
"So, have you thought about it?”
Elaine stopped talking with any honorifics.
In-gong looked slightly surprised by her sudden change in attitude, but Elaine just shrugged.
"Like I said, you are my child. Moreover, didn’t you make a commitment after learning Divine Beast Authority from Chris and Caitlin? So, I should treat you properly like my child. Do you want a hug?”
Her mischievous smile made her very different from Caitlin. Instead of indirectly hugging an adult Caitlin, In-gong chose to speak.
"I’ve thought about it and I’ve come to a conclusion.”
In-gong hesitated before cutting to the chase. Elaine laughed as she stepped forward and turned to face In-gong.
"Interesting. Can you tell me your conclusion?”
“I will become the demon king.”
His voice was calm. Elaine tilted her head and asked again,
"I want to keep something.”
Wanting to keep something...
The motivation wasn’t great, but Elaine was very satisfied.
“How interesting. Isn’t this purpose the same as mine?”
Elaine didn’t ask what he wanted to keep. She just turned around and started walking again. In-gong walked next to her for a while before she opened her mouth again.
“Shutra, the lycanthropes will support you. As Chris already said, if you become the demon king, that will be the best outcome for all of us.”
"It that so?”
"It is. Keeping the status quo isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is a lie if I say I don’t want things to improve.”
Elaine laughed playfully, then her expression changed. Her eyes narrowed and she frowned slightly.
"If the 1st Prince, 2nd Prince or 4th Princess becomes the demon king, the lycanthropes are likely to lose our current position. Unlike the current demon king, they have a lot of people on their mothers’ sides. They aren’t few in number like the sura, who are foolish warriors.”
The sura queen didn’t participate in politics. Even Gallehed, one of the five captains, stayed at the Demon King’s Palace unattended.
However, the draconians and nightmares were different.
“The dark elves will have similar worries. Win them over well. In particular, the 6th Princess and 3rd Queen... it is more important to gain their hearts than Silvan’s. Well, you seem to have already gained 6th Princess’ heart. I can tell by looking at her eyes.”
Elaine laughed as she recalled Felicia and In-gong smiled with embarrassment.
"Is it because 5th Prince is a man?”
"You’re aware of it. The dark elves are a female centered society. The women plot while the men fight bravely. It isn’t 5th Prince but 6th Princess that holds the key. Moreover, 5th Prince is very dedicated to 6th Princess. It is like Chris and Caitlin but reversed.”
Just as In-gong thought, Silvan was in charge of protecting Felicia.
Elained turned around and faced In-gong.
"I will treat you like my child, but our relationship is loose. After becoming the demon king, you may do something ungrateful and stab us in the back. So, I’m not expecting anything big right now. The honeymoon period has just begun, so it would be nice to build up our relationship gradually.”
Elaine said that their connection was weak. In-gong was a gandharva, not a lycanthrope.
"Moreover... there are still secrets, so our relationship is far from being developed.”
Elaine winked with a giggle and turned back around.
The talk about their relationship ended with this.
Then In-gong asked something else,
"Is there any more information about this summon?”
“It is like I said before. Something has happened, but it doesn’t seem to be about the children of the demon king. Don’t worry, the demon king isn’t angry with his children.”
At least it wasn’t about Caitlin. If it truly was about Caitlin, then Elaine wouldn’t be as peaceful as she was now.
This time, Elaine was the one who asked In-gong,
"How do you intend to return to the Demon King’s Palace?”
"I will return to the Demon King’s Palace with everyone else on Silvan’s flying ship.”
This meant they weren’t going to use the transfer formation. Elaine's eyes narrowed.
"There is already a spotlight on the entry. This way I can give the Demon King’s Palace a proper shake up."
Elaine was able to understand instantly and she laughed once again.
"I really like the way you think. Chris will actively support your idea."
Elaine stopped walking, made a ‘hu’ sound as she breathed out and started talking again.
“This much should be enough. It isn’t good to hold you for too long. 6th Princess will be worried. Isn’t she a very cute child?”
"She is a very affectionate noonim.”
In-gong replied with an embarrassed expression and Elaine nodded. She tapped In-gong’s shoulder lightly and said,
"Then we’ll talk again later.”
“I’ll see you next time.”
Two Blood Companions approached In-gong naturally and guided him. Elaine watched until In-gong and the Blood Companions had left the garden, then stretched her shoulders.
"How interesting. I selected well.”
She had a very satisfied expression on her face, but Ludwig was different. He had a perplexed expression on his face.
"Noonim, what did he mean by shaking the palace?”
"9th Prince is already under scrutiny, so it doesn’t make sense that there will be no eyes on him. They are already vigilant.”
The things he had done so far were too great. Even if the demon king had called his name at the court gathering, it would be nothing if he hadn’t done anything afterwards.
"Then what should be done? Take the time to relax the vigilance of the competitors? Or turn their eyes to others who aren’t competitors?”
"Noonim, make it easier to understand please.”
Elaine clicked her tongue at Ludwig’s pathetic request. Despite leading the Blood Companions, Ludwig was overly simplistic, so Elaine explained it to her cousin.
"Silvan, that child never leaves his flying ship. If they use the transport formation, then Silvan has to go back alone on his flying ship. This appearance isn’t suitable.”
"Think about it. Not one or two, but five child of the demon king have gathered and they are returning to the Demon King’s Palace like that. Can their loving brothers and sisters look on and laugh?”
Ludwig’s eyes widened, then he started counting off with his fingers.
“5, 6, 7, 8, 9... That’s more than half the number.”
Five out of the nine royal children.
"Yes, that’s more than half of them. They don’t have influence yet, but it is definitely impressive. Additionally, they are a group that had never previously gone together. There is no choice but to look for the link. People will think about who is at the center of the crowd.”
Then the answer would quickly emerge.
They would be able to tell instantly and Chris was going to create that atmosphere.
"Isn’t this likely to make them more vigilant?"
Ludwig asked in a concerned voice. Elaine shook her head.
"As I mentioned earlier, they are already wary. Moreover, 9th Prince is different from the other princes and princesses... I want them to show it to the Demon King’s Palace, that a new faction has appeared in the Demon King’s Palace.”
It wasn’t just to show off their power to the other children of the demon king. There were others they wanted to show...
The nobles of the Demon King’s Palace.
There were also the children of the concubines who hadn’t yet chosen a master.
Additionally, there were merchants who were unaffiliated.
"What do you think? It seems to be a bit rushed, but I like it.”
There were now four factions in the Demon King’s Palace, not just three. Moreover, the fourth faction wasn’t insignificant.
Elaine exhaled. The playfulness disappeared and she said with a mother’s face,
"It might just be a feeling, but I feel I can leave it to that child.”
Elaine didn’t say anything more. She shook her head and walked with a wolf-like look.
"Let's go back."
Elaine didn’t look back and headed straight to the main hall.
A day passed.
After Silvan joined Chris, he became significantly less talkative and it was the same for Chris.
Even when the Black Flame Dragon left the lycanthrope territory, the awkward silence between the two people continued. However, both of them showed their usual appearance when the other was absent.
In-gong was curious about what happened between the two of them but found it hard to ask.
Then after a few days...
While Amita designed blueprints and In-gong and Caitlin practiced with the Moonlight Core and Starlight Core, the Black Flame Dragon continued flying to the Demon King’s Palace.
Carack, who was standing next to In-gong and watching the full moon, turned to In-gong and asked,
"By the way, I feel a little anxious. Something unforeseen always happens with the demon king. I’m sure that it will explode this time as well.”
Carack had already determined that there would be an incident.
In-gong poked Carack’s side.
“Hey, what basis do you have for saying that?”
"Prince is the basis. You are the reason. And Prince, hasn’t Prince learnt from your own history?”
"Why should I learn?”
"What happened in the past will happen in the future. It is like that for all people. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Prince’s history guarantees that things will happen in the future.”
Carack laughed and In-gong fell silent. He wanted to refute it but couldn’t think of any words.
In the first court gathering, the demon king had called one of his children’s names for the first time.
In the second court gathering, he had given In-gong a mission... A mission that everyone had thought belonged to Zephyr.
If so, what would happen this time?
"Patterns can be broken.”
"I have my doubts, but won’t we know once we arrive?”
Carack responded effortlessly to In-gong’s defense and waved abruptly. In-gong glanced over to see Sepira smiling widely. It was an expression he had seen on Daphne, Seira, Delia and Karma’s faces.
"Why are you looking at me like that?”
"My aide really is an orc.”
"Of course, I am an orc. Or am I an ogre?”
Carack just laughed while In-gong wondered why he had the pheromone effects of a main character.
Then two days later...
The party arrived at the Demon King’s Palace.