Riftan’s POV (Under the Oak Tree Side Story) - Chapter 34: Riftan’s POV
Chapter 34 – Riftan’s POV
A wicked smile spread across the king’s lips.
“In the end, the Duke will have no choice but to turn to my mercy. Even if he manages to find a way out of it, it will inflict me no harm. Wouldn’t it be delightful to watch the man struggle to escape this predicament?”
“…I didn’t know you were deeply displeased with the Duke.”
“I have no regard for the gold that the Duke of Croix generates. However, I am profoundly vexed with the tedious conflicts he causes.” The king flopped back on his chair and breathed out a long sigh. “It is the third time this year that the Duke’s hostile attitude almost erupted into an all-out war. The duke’s power needs to dwindle down a bit. I’ll make the most out of the opportunity to rein him in.”
Riftan swallowed the cynical thoughts that ran through his mind. A monster capable of terrorizing the whole world is currently waking, yet the king is devising an absurd political ploy…
Does everything that goes inside powerful people’s minds always involve struggling for ulterior interests? Riftan asked inwardly in disgust.
“May I know the reason why you’re revealing this to me?”
“If you will be the one to investigate into the Lexos Mountains, you will have to step into the Duke’s territory often. I don’t want the Duke to have the time to scheme things when his back is turned. As much as possible, I want you to be careful not to let this information reach his ears.”
Even if he made an effort to do as such, it was only a matter of time before that information reached the Duke’s ears, given that it had been discussed during the meeting of the Seven Kingdoms for the Peace Treaty. However, instead of pointing that out, Riftan nodded and stood up from his seat.
For more, visit lightnovelpub[.]com
“I’ll make sure to keep that in mind.”
“I haven’t said that you could rise just yet.”
King Reuben grunted while wearing a sullen expression. Riftan bent over and bowed respectfully.
“I wish to change from my rain-soaked clothing and cut our conversation here. Will His Majesty give his humble subject the permission to repose?”
The king’s chin began to twitch as if he was about to take offense, but soon waved his hand in resolution. “Fine. I have divulged everything I intend to say, you are dismissed.”
Riftan nodded once and gathered his coat that was hanging on the wall and left the room. The sound of the rain grew louder by the moment.
I’ll use the rain as an excuse to steer clear for a day or two.
He gazed up at the hazy sky through the hallway windows and quickened his strides. It seemed like winter was going to be rough again that year.
The most up-to-date novels are published on lightnovelpub[.]com
Dark, jagged mountains peeked through the heavily foggy dense forests like castle towers. Riftan surveyed his surroundings as he patted Talon, who was anxiously stomping. A cold, fierce wind was blowing from all directions and crows seeking prey were perched on the bare tree branches. He looked up at the birds circling above them with displeasure, it looked like they were spying on intruders. The priest accompanying them, who kept looking around the whole time, declared with a sullen expression.
“I think we should head back. The barriers are too strong, this is the farthest we can go.”
“We can’t go back when we’ve come this far. If there’s no passing through this path, we should find another way.”
“It’s no use. We have wandered in the same area for four days. A powerful magic is intervening, I cannot find the way into the mountains with my sole ability.”
Although he was dismayed, the priest was right. They hovered around the same place over and over again. Despite carefully navigating using the sun for direction, they will eventually come to sense and find themselves moving in the opposite direction.
Riftan turned his head to look at the faces of Elliot Caron and Lombardo. Neither of them seemed to show any signs of exhaustion, but they had to be tired from camping and fighting frequently with monsters for over fifteen days. He eventually sighed in resignation and turned his horse around.
“Fine. Let’s head back to town for now.”
When the priest heard that they were getting out of there, he extended his arms toward the skies and murmured a prayer of gratitude. Riftan turned a blind eye to the scene and spurred his horse. Fortunately, they were able to escape from the forests swiftly, as if the magical forces lurking did not intervene as they headed back.
“What do we do now?”
Visit lightnovelpub[.]com for the best novel reading experience
Elliot, who was tightly keeping his lips shut, asked as a small town surrounded by walls appeared at the foot of the hills. Riftan answered bluntly, steering his horse towards the gates.
“First, we shall wait for the other surveyors to arrive. They may be bearing new information.”
It had been three weeks since he was sent to the southeast, but all that he had discovered was the strong magic interlaced in the foggy forests surrounding the Lexos Mountains. He wasn’t even able to find a way to get through the woods.
After verifying his identity with the gatekeeper, Riftan entered the village and settled in an inn called “The Wayfarer’s House.” It was a dingy and noisy place, but much information could be gathered from the 30 mercenaries staying there. They sat in the corner of the tavern, filling their stomach with food so awful it was suitable for being fed to the pigs. Most conversations were composed of profanities, jeers, and obscenities. But occasionally, he was able to overhear useful information that revealed the kinds of monsters appearing in certain areas.
In the midst of observing the mercenaries, quenching his thirst with a bland beer, four men with burly physiques entering the inn caught his eye. Riftan’s eyes narrowed. The men, who seemed to be looking for someone, walked towards the table where he was sitting.
“Are you Sir Riftan Calypse of the Remdragon Knights?”
The oldest of the men asked. Riftan eyed him warily from head to toe. The man was dressed in clean clothes and fine armor. “What purpose do you have with me?”
“I heard rumors about people who look like knights roaming around the southeastern borders, so I came here to find you. I didn’t know that you are actually the commander of the Remdragon Knights…” The man dragged a chair next to their table without seeking permission. “What is the king’s vassal doing in a place like this? This is the Duke’s territory. It isn’t a good place to wander about without any permission.”
“You still haven’t introduced yourself yet.” Lombardo, who had been quietly drinking, proclaimed his displeasure.
New novel chapters are published on lightnovelpub[.]com
The man shrugged and revealed his identity with an annoyed expression on his face. “I am the Duke of Croix’s vassal; my name is Jared Bayern. This estate is under my jurisdiction.”
“I apologize for not asking for your understanding prior to coming here. However, we did not come here to cause trouble.”
Riftan replied bluntly and placed a glass down in front of him as a gesture of goodwill. The man glanced down at the murky ale, then shot Riftan a wary look.
“I heard that you have been wandering around the misty forests the past few weeks. What the hell are you up to?”
“You’re overthinking this. I’m only here to earn money from commissions.”
Riftan snorted lightly and ordered more food from the passing waiter. Jared Bayern asked him back with a puzzled expression.
“From hunting monsters. I heard rumors that monsters appearing in this area are worth a valuable amount of money, so I immediately led my men here. But it was all just bullshit. Over the past few weeks, I’ve encountered nothing but goblins and undead creatures. It brought me nothing but great damage.”
A glint of content clouded the man’s face. “I’ve heard rumors about you hunting monsters in the western regions… but I didn’t expect that you would come all the way to the east.”
This content is taken from lightnovelpub[.]com
“I’m not going to cover it up, I’m in a tough financial situation.”
Riftan spat out, not showing any sign of shame and poured the rest of the ale into his mouth. Bayern looked at him blankly and then shook his head.
“Please be more careful with your words. Sir Calypse is the king’s vassal. Until when do you intend to act like a mercenary and continue tarnishing the king’s name?”
Elliot grabbed the hilt of his sword in a fit of rage at the man’s presumptuous admonitions. Riftan lightly kicked his boots as warning and replied in a sullen tone.
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear you.”
The knight coughed lightly, sensing the tense atmosphere. “Anyway, get up from your seats. I shall take you to my castle.”
“I appreciate the favor, but I’ll have to decline. I still have men who have not yet returned.”
“I will tell the rest of the party to come to my castle when they return. So, please get up now. The king’s favored knight shouldn’t be left staying in such a shabby place.”
Riftan spoke word for word, expressing his annoyance. “Once again, I’ll have to decline. I came here on a personal matter. I have no intention of being in debt to the Duke.”
New novel chapters are published on lightnovelpub[.]com
A look of embarrassment passed over the man’s face at his stubborn refusal. Riftan sighed lightly, guessing that there was an ulterior motive to his invite.
“If there is any favor that you want to ask of me, please tell me now. I’ll gladly accept it if it’s not too difficult, let it serve as my apology for wandering around your territory.”
“…it’s not that difficult of a favor.”
Bayern picked up a glass of ale with a grim expression and took a sip to moisten his lips, then grimaced as if he had never had such a terrible drink. He quickly took out his handkerchief and wiped the corner of his lips and mumbled.
“If it’s not too burdensome, I would like to ask for you to stop by the Croix Castle on your way back and deliver my present for the engagement.”
Riftan’s body turned stiff as a stone, holding a cup in his hand. His heart felt like it had fallen to his feet for a moment. He gazed down at the empty cup with a distant look and slowly asked him back.
“Rumors are flying around about a marriage involving the Duke’s household and the Royal Family. I wish to extend a small present to serve as my congratulations to the Lord.”
“Which one is it?”
The source of this content is lightnovelpub[.]com
Riftan slowly breathed out. “I meant which one got engaged.”
Perhaps thinking that he asked out of mere curiosity, Bayern shrugged lightly and responded to his question indifferently. “It doesn’t matter which one got engaged. What’s important is that there will be a union between those households, right?”
Riftan suppressed the urge to grab him by the collar and make him remember clearly who got engaged with force. He remembered that Maximillian Croix would have a hard time marrying into the royal family because she had a weak health, so maybe it was the younger sibling. However, if it happened to be her…
“Will you accept the favor I ask of you?”
Riftan swallowed the profanities rising in his throat. Even though he felt like he was falling into a fire pit, a surprisingly composed voice came out of his lips.
“Fine. I’ll stop by the castle on my way back.”
Note – LF: Poor Jared Bayron. The man almost begged for his life if Riftan wasn’t able to restrain himself lol.
Nymeria: I’m just glad Riftan is not that stupid to assume it was Maxi’s engagment right off the bat lol