Battle at the Royal Palace – Part 07

Austrin reclined comfortably on the king’s seat. Inside the council chamber, nobles who supported him had assembled, their numbers nearing twenty.

Nobles emerging this late into the night made one wonder where and how they obtained information, or if they were residing within the palace all along. The way they navigated society was on par with Hikaru’s Stealth.

“Dear me. The throne suits you splendidly, Your Highness—I mean, Your Majesty.”

“I have always believed that this throne was meant for you.”

“While we’re at it, why not commission a new throne? If you give the order, I can have skilled craftsmen from my domain create a magnificent one. No, please, bestow upon me the honor.”

“My favored workshop will undoubtedly craft an even better one.”

“Oh, no, I insist on—”

Amidst a shower of flattery, Austrin found himself rather pleased. When he confirmed the king’s death earlier—his warm body made it feel as if he was only sleeping, but his pulse had definitely stopped—he had sensed his own body temperature recede, almost in inverse proportion to the warmth emanating from the corpse.

Nevertheless, the current situation was far from unfavorable. He could rid himself of the troublesome Kujastria and outmaneuver the scheming Margrave Grugschilt. He felt incredible.

“Your Majesty, there is something I need to tell you.”

The chamberlain weaved through the multitude of nobles surrounding Austrin, eventually standing before him. Without hesitation or pause, he addressed Austrin as Your Majesty, displaying his truly cunning nature.

“Chamberlain, it is impolite to speak directly to His Majesty about matters that you do not wish to share with us.”

“He is right.”

“Speak. What kind of blunder did you make now?”

The chamberlain listened calmly as the nobles prattled on, but inside he was considerably irritated. While they were busy licking Austrin’s boots, he had been working tirelessly.

“Hmm. In that case, chamberlain, why don’t you share it with everyone? Austrin suggested.

“…Are you certain?”

“I don’t mind.”

Austrin chuckled arrogantly, and the chamberlain understood his intentions—to show them how much he’d been working.

This man recognizes my capabilities.

With a sinister smile, the chamberlain straightened himself, satisfied with successfully ingratiating himself.

“Very well,” he said. “We have nearly taken complete control of the castle. Furthermore, we have located Princess Kujastria, who is suspected to be the mastermind behind the king’s assassination. Presently, we are facing resistance from adventurers hired by the princess, but it shouldn’t be long until they are subdued.”

As the noble listeners voiced their astonishment with interjections of “What?” or “Why is the chamberlain acting like a soldier?” Austrin rapped his fist against the armrest, silencing them.

“Did you all hear that? The chamberlain here has been entrusted with the first task following my ascension to the throne—securing control of the royal castle. His skill is unparalleled. The chamberlain will continue in that capacity, and I shall appoint him as chief administrator of the royal palace, responsible for coordinating all sectors of the court.”

“I humbly accept.”

Kneeling down and offering a respectful bow, the chamberlain couldn’t help but feel a slight pang of disappointment. He had harbored hopes of becoming the castle governor, overseeing the entirety of the royal castle. The chief administrator of the royal palace was technically superior to the chamberlain, but it was mostly an honorary position, and it was customary for the king to hold that position as well.

Nevertheless, the nobles were taken aback by the chamberlain’s promotion during such a crucial moment. Their perception of him underwent a complete transformation—no longer did they display contempt, but instead, jealousy and flames of anger for being outwitted burned within them.

“Your Majesty, there is one more matter I must bring to your attention,” the chamberlain went on.

“What is it?”

“The Dukes are here.”


“They have arrived much earlier than anticipated. It is possible that the three Dukes are involved in the king’s assassination.”

“Hmm… We lack evidence, and we do not want the Dukes uniting against us.”

“I agree, Your Majesty. What do you suggest we do?”

The chamberlain let Austrin decide, to test his resolve and send a warning to the other nobles.

“What else? Arrest them.”

The chamberlain smiled. He had been waiting for this response. Now, Austrin was truly the king. Arrogant and self-absorbed, he harbored no doubts that everything belonged to him—exactly the kind of ruler that he liked.

“As you command.”

With a bow that bordered on prostration, the chamberlain lowered his head.

An eerie atmosphere enveloped the gates of the royal castle. Fifty armed soldiers surrounded four carriages, while ten mounted knights stood guard, their gaze fixed on the soldiers to prevent them from drawing any closer.

The three Dukes were in their respective carriages along with their secretaries. Galeicrada was in the last one, with Sophie and Sara.

“What is the meaning of this?” Margrave Grugschilt voiced his confusion from inside Duke Jackrune’s carriage.

“There appears to be some disturbing activity within the castle.”

“If they dare treat the Dukes in such a manner, they must either be meticulous or complete fools.”

“I believe it leans more towards the latter… Perhaps this old body can engage in some late-night exercise.”

“You’re quite old, my lord… Do not overexert yourself.”

The Duke laughed. “I am not at an age that warrants concern from you, Your Grace.”

Opening the carriage door, Grugschilt stepped out and noticed the absence of attendants who would typically assist him with his cloak. They had been left behind due to the haste of their trip.

“Who are you people?”

Grugschilt stared fixedly at the formation of armed fighters, sending a ripple of tension through their ranks. While they might not have recognized the Margrave, they seemed to sense that he was no ordinary individual, an indication of their combat experience.

“You lot! Get yourselves together! He’s just an old man!” bellowed a burly man who appeared to be in charge of the unit.

“Oh, just an old man, huh?”

Grugschilt frowned. Is that the leader of the unit? He’s nothing but a thug.

This behavior was unacceptable in the royal castle of the historic and prestigious Kingdom of Ponsonia. Truly inappropriate.

These combatants were not the private army of some noble; they seemed to be adventurers gathered and given matching arms. Grugschilt had heard that the Adventurers’ Guild in the capital had an unsavory individual as its guildmaster, and it seemed they were involved in organizing mercenaries as well.

“Damn right! No… That’s not it. We, who serve the new king, embody justice. That makes all of you villains!” the burly man proclaimed.

“Justice, you say? What are the knights doing?”

Grugschilt glanced up and saw several knights positioned atop the gate, accompanied by armed fighters. However, the knights were not being restrained in any way. They were watching the situation below, grinding their teeth in frustration.

What is happening? If the knights are free, why aren’t they taking action? Lawrence should have returned before us.

Grugschilt couldn’t fathom the knights succumbing to corruption. After all, their leader, Lawrence, had been working with them the whole time.

Just earlier, the night sky suddenly brightened. I panicked, thinking the Fire Drakon had returned, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If that’s not it, then it must be a powerful fire magic or a magic item. There is no doubt that something unusual is happening within the castle.

“Knights! If you can hear me, open the gate!” Grugschilt roared.

Startled, the knights atop the gate straightened their backs, but they made no move.

“Hahaha! The knights won’t budge, you fool. They have no idea what’s happening right now, so they can’t act. Useless idiots, all of them.”

“I see…”

At that moment, an armed fighter resembling a messenger approached the large man and whispered something into his ear. The man nodded, a smug smile spreading across his face.

“A decision has been made,” the man said. “We can arrest you all as major criminals.”

“Do you even know who are inside these carriages?”

“I do. The three Dukes, right?”

“You imbecile! Do you think you can get away with such impudence against these esteemed individuals?!”

“I do. After all, the person who gave the order to arrest you all is someone who stands above you.” Stroking the rope supplied by another fighter, he said gleefully, “We are acting under the command of His Majesty! Hurry up and surrender already, you old geezers!”

“Oh… If you’re aware and still choose to talk, then so be it.” Grugschilt unsheathed the sword hanging from his waist.

“Hahahaha! Hey, did you all see that? He’s got a fake sword!”

Laughter erupted among the combatants. Indeed, the blade he held was a slender, single-edged sword that appeared more like a ceremonial piece than a formidable weapon.

“En garde!” Grugschilt strode swiftly towards the man.

“Don’t underestimate me, old man! I’m Doriges, a Rank C adventurer!”

He released the rope and brandished the giant battle axe he was carrying on his back. With a mighty roar, Doriges unleashed a powerful swing towards Grugschilt.


But the blade never reached its intended target. The grip was severed, and the enormous blade crashed into the ground behind Grugschilt.

“Huh? What?”

The grip was made of steel. How could it have been cut so easily? The large man, wearing a confused look on his face, lost his focus on the approaching Grugschilt.

“How pathetic.”


Grugschilt’s sword pierced the man’s windpipe all the way to the back of his neck. Blood gushed out. Grugschilt withdrew the sword and swung it, splattering blood onto the ground.

A stunned silence filled the air.

Realization dawned on the armed men. Any doubts about the seemingly decorative sword vanished in an instant. The blade in Grugschilt’s hand was undoubtedly a well-honed weapon crafted for real combat. There was no way someone as skilled as Grugschilt would wield a mere ornament.

Doriges collapsed. Grugschilt’s swift strike had severed his spinal cord, rendering him immobile.

“I thought he was just a thug, but an adventurer, huh? We’ll have to verify this with the guild… Well then.” Grugschilt swept his gaze all around. “Come. I’ll give you some lessons.”

The armed mercenaries—and even the ten escorts—turned pale. They were well aware of the reputation that preceded Grugschilt’s “practice” sessions—an arduous and merciless ordeal.

“Wow, that old man is really strong!” said Sara, one of the Four Eastern Stars riding in the rearmost carriage.

“He is. The Margrave trained the current Sword Saint in his younger days,” Galeicrada acknowledged, his face turning dark. “But he’s aged considerably. He might not last that long.”

Despite his victory over one opponent, Grugschilt was clearly outnumbered. The armed soldiers were now surging toward him like an unstoppable avalanche.

“I’ll do what I can,” Sara said. “Sophie, take care of Lord Galeicrada.”

“Understood. Be careful out there.”

“Wha—? I-I’ll protect Miss Sophie!” Galeicrada said.

“Just chill.” Sara grasped a dagger in each hand and leaped out of the carriage. “Fighting is our job.”

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