Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Unusual Occurrence in the Kingdom
Lawrence D. Falcon, captain of the Order of the Knights, rode his horse in a gallop at an incredible speed. Larger than most people, he weighed over a hundred kilos as well. He wasn’t fat, either—he just wore an armor of pure muscle.
Very few horses could support his huge build. As such, he rode special horses only during wartime. The Order’s advance towards Margrave Grugschilt’s domain was for “war” so to speak, and so he could use a powerful horse like he did now.
「C-C-Captain! We can’t keep up!」
「There’s only five of us left!」
Only five knights were around Lawrence—the ones he deemed to be the best of his men.
「We have to hurry.」
Lawrence didn’t say anything else. There was a reason he was in such a hurry. After talking with Margrave Grugschilt, Lawrence returned to the town of Billow Elka where the Order were staying. The next day, an order arrived from the King: “We have an emergency; return to the capital”.
The Order left town at once, with the faster horses up ahead of everyone else.
What in the world could have happened? I doubt they found out about my meeting with Margrave Grugschilt.
The order itself was signed by the king. Nothing else was written besides the command to return. The messenger didn’t know the circumstances behind it, either.
The messenger arrived the day after he met with the Margrave. Considering the distance between the royal capital and Billow Elka, the message couldn’t be related to their secret meeting.
In other words, something happened in the capital. But he couldn’t imagine what.
「Faster! We’re almost there.」
Even the most powerful horses would get exhausted after running a long distance. The other knights had swapped horses several times. Lawrence’s horse had incredible stamina, considering it had been running straight from Billow Elka.
The knights’ eyes were starting to turn empty, when Lawrence’s words brought them back to their senses.
The royal capital, basking in the red glow of sunset as though burning, was coming into view.
「Oh, if it isn’t the Captain. I’m glad you came back so quickly.」
The king’s aide, the Grand Chamberlain, greeted Lawrence as soon as he entered the royal castle. The sun had sunk completely and it was dark outside. But magic lamps kept the inside of the castle bright at all times. Lawrence, illuminated by the somewhat chilly light of the magic lamps, was covered in dust. The knights behind him looked worse.
The Grand Chamberlain wore a troubled look; although a little of his condescending attitude still remained.
「What happened? Where is His Majesty?」
「In the conference room.」
Something important must’ve occurred. Lawrence pondered over it a bit. Nothing was out of the ordinary on his way here. The capital looked the same, and the citizens lived peacefully. In fact, Lawrence was the one who drew startled looks as he rode past them with his face burning red.
The castle itself was as peaceful as ever.
「The rest of you will have to wait here.」
The three knights who managed to keep up with Lawrence all the way here were stopped by the Chamberlain just outside the conference room. One of them was East. After failing to prevent the assassination of Count Morgstad, he trained relentlessly. He made it through the grueling journey with only his guts and spirit.
Lawrence froze on the spot as soon as he stepped into the conference room.
What is this…?
Chairs were toppled over, tables flipped. Drops of blood were splattered all over the papers scattered on the floor. The only people in the room were Cabinet Ministers, including the Minister of Military Affairs who sat on a chair with a grave expression.
「Lawrence! You’re back.」
「With your return, I’m sure His Majesty will be at ease.」
「Please go ahead, Captain.」
The Grand Chamberlain urged him to go to where the ministers were, but the king himself wasn’t around.
「His Majesty’s worries had left him exhausted. He’s retired.」the Chamberlain said as though answering Lawrence’s question.
「What happened? It’s quiet and peaceful outside, while this place looks like a storm just passed by.」
「We’ll have to start from the beginning.」
The Minister of Military Affairs started talking. A while after Lawrence left the royal capital, the king received a message that caused him to panic. He ordered the verification of the message immediately. For a while he was calm. Then he was panicking once more and called for this meeting. Apparently he gave the order for Lawrence to withdraw quite early.
「What was this message about?」
「Well…」The minister pointed at the papers scattered on the floor, probably the blood.
「His Majesty summoned a member of the special forces to the meeting.」
「Special forces? Those bunch of ruffians?」
「The one summoned was a quiet-looking man who stuttered a lot. But his eyes screamed danger. Anyway, the man said “Stay away from the girl”.」
「Girl? What girl?」
「You don’t know? Count Morgstad’s daughter.」
Count Morgstad’s daughter, the murder’s number one suspect. She disappeared while being transported to the royal capital.
「Lavia D. Morgstad possessed an exceptional gift for magic. His Majesty seemed to have wanted her power. They say she’s as powerful as the Royal Court’s Wizards, but who knows? Anyway, the special forces were searching for the Count’s daughter.」
「So that’s where he sent the special forces. Why didn’t His Majesty tell us about until now?」
「They managed to find the girl, but they couldn’t bring her back. According to the man’s report, there’s an incredibly strong boy with her. He further said that the boy is a master of concealing his presence and might come to take the king’s life.」
「His Majesty was enraged and hit the man a number of times. That explains this mess.」
A boy who’s a master of concealing their presence… One person came to Lawrence’s mind.
「What is the boy’s name?」
「We don’t know. But he called himself Silver Face.」
The boy back then was wearing a mask too. There’s no doubt about it. It’s the boy who almost killed me.
「What’s wrong, Lawrence?」
Only members of the Order and Princess Kudyastoria know about that fight. There’s no need to cause further chaos by telling them.
「It’s nothing. So His Majesty is troubled?」
「Yes… I don’t think he needs to be that scared. I could use my contacts to arrange for a powerful healer…」
「Sir Lawrence, Minister…」the Grand Chamberlain cut in.「His Majesty wants Sir Lawrence to be in charge of castle security. You will prioritize that, yes?」
That was his plan all along. He longed for this rematch, and now he might get the chance.
「Of course. I’ll do my be—」
A maid barged into the room.
「What happened? Did His Majesty want something?」
Judging from the chamberlain’s reaction, Lawrence immediately knew she was a maid assigned to the king’s room.
「Th-Th-The King… w-w-was killed! H-H-He’s dead!」
For a moment, everyone just stood there blankly.
Lawrence rushed out of the room. The knights standing by the corridor jumped to their feet from the maid’s unusual behavior.
Lawrence seemed to have an infinite supply of stamina, acting as if the long-distance travel today was nothing. He dashed in strides twice as long as that of the ordinary man. As he got closer to the king’s room, he could hear screams. More people appeared, panicking.
The usual guards watching the bedroom were not around. He found out why as soon as he opened the door. The soldiers guarding the room were inside, collapsed on the floor with a cut on their necks.
In the room were a maid slumped on the floor and a doctor drenched in cold sweat. I think that’s the ing’s attending physician that the Grand Chamberlain himself brought.
Lawrence barged into the room. The king lay in the middle of the bed, his eyes closed. With his nightclothes on, it looked like he was simply sleeping, but the dagger in his chest suggested otherwise. Blood stained his white clothes a deep red.
「He’s passed away…」the doctor muttered.
Lawrence surveyed the room and pushed open a window.
「C-Captain! What’s going on here?!」
East entered the room, out of breath. The other knights were shocked stiff from the king’s death.
「Did you see the dagger in his chest? The kind used by assassins—its blade painted black so it can’t be seen in the dark.」
「So you’re saying it’s the boy who did it?」East immediately reached that conclusion.
「I don’t know. They probably jumped down this window and couldn’t have gotten that far yet.」
「Right. Wait, Captain?!」
East stood stunned. And rightfully so, for Lawrence clambered up the window. Trees grew in the garden below, but they were on the third floor.
「I’m going after him. You and the others check inside the castle just in case. Use whoever you can. Go! This is a race against time!」
Lawrence jumped down and went after the assassin.