Ending Maker - Chapter 167
Terms used in this chapter:
Jeon-eum – a Korean fictional martial arts term that refers to the skill of secretly transmitting your voice to your target without being heard by other people. Jeon-eum literally means ‘sound transmission.’
EPISODE 167 – ENTERING THE PALACE (2)
The present king of the Sälen Kingdom, King Henry II, had many children.
He currently had three queens and seven concubines.
However, it was only the children of the queens who were the official successors of the throne, and among them, the First Queen’s children were the highest in the line of succession.
‘The first in line to the throne.’
The direct descendants of the present king were higher in the line of succession than the king’s siblings.
In the Sälen Kingdom, there was no distinction between men and women when it came to inheriting titles, so as soon as Daphne, the eldest child of the First Queen, was born, she naturally became the first in line to the throne.
Children of nobles in the Sälen Kingdom were only recognized as adults when they reach 20 years of age.
It was very late when compared to the fact that children of commoners were treated as adults when they reach 15 years of age, but this was unavoidable.
‘Nobles are different from commoners.’
So they had to assume more responsibility and show that they had better skills.
Naturally, there were many people who became adults because they reached the age requirement, but it was a bit different if the person was a proper noble or the firstborn child.
They really had to show a noble figure.
‘Anyway, about Princess Daphne.’
Or rather, the Crown Princess.
She was the so-called all-around superhuman who excelled in both scholarly knowledge and martial arts.
Her innate talent undoubtedly played a big role in that, but in fact, it was more because of her efforts than her being a genius.
‘The next monarch is the Crown Princess.’
Princess Daphne had heard that statement every day since her childhood.
Oftentimes, when people of her position hear that kind of statement, they would become lazy or spend their time idly, saying that “I’m the next king anyway!”, but Princess Daphne was different.
Her personality was sincere, and she studied and studied every day in order to become a person fit for the monarch position.
‘She has a younger brother.’
Prince Dion, who was also a child of the First Queen.
He was two years younger than Princess Daphne, and as he saw his older sister crazily studying hard, he thought.
‘I’ll become the monarch if my older sister is gone. So I should study hard like my older sister!’
His words didn’t mean something like ‘I’ll become the next monarch if my older sister is gone, so I have to get rid of her!’
He studied hard in order to prepare for the scenario of his older sister dying, and in the midst of that, Prince Dion came to learn of her tremendous efforts and nearly worshipped her.
‘I’m the second in line, so I’ll assist you perfectly!’
So Prince Dion studied magic.
Princess Daphne studied so much that 24 hours a day was insufficient, and she learned about the monarchy, politics, swordsmanship, foreign languages and so on, but magic was the only thing she didn’t learn.
Thus, Princess Daphne found Prince Dion’s efforts to be very laudable – no, she thought it was cute.
A younger brother who worshipped his older sister, and an older sister who cared and loved such a younger brother.
Moreover, since they were the first and second in line to the throne, problems related to the succession of the throne did not happen in the Sälen Kingdom.
‘That’s why Princess Darianne was able to get along with Princess Daphne and Prince Dion.’
The position of Princess Daphne was so firm that Princess Darianne, who was the firstborn child of the Second Queen, was not seen as a rival who threatened her succession, but considered to be just a cute and pretty younger sibling.
Because of that, Princess Darianne was loved by Princess Daphne and Prince Dion, and though she wasn’t as good as Prince Dion, she became Princess Daphne’s faithful follower and spent her days happily.
“I’m excited because unnie’s tea party will be in a few days.”
Princess Darianne lightly laughed, and Duke Spencer who was a leader of the aristocrats but also a moderate, smiled too.
However, Jude and Cordelia had bitter feelings amidst their happiness.
‘Their fates in the game.’
In the game, the Lord Protector’s plan to massacre the royal family had succeeded.
It wasn’t only Princess Daphne and Prince Dion, but also included Princess Darianne and the children of the concubines whose names were not even mentioned in the game.
In fact, all of the children who possessed the current king’s blood ended up dead.
Among those deaths, Princess Daphne and Prince Dion’s deaths were gruesome.
The bodies of the two, who fought hard in order to protect their younger siblings in a situation where their retreat was blocked, were torn apart by the demon followers who were angry at their strong resistance, and dumped on the streets, becoming food for the stray dogs.
‘It will be different this time.’
The future would have a happy ending.
It would be the classic good triumphs over evil.
Because they wanted the good to be blessed and the evil one to be punished.
Jude and Cordelia looked at each other and simultaneously smiled. Because they realized that the other was thinking of the same thing.
‘She’s really nice.’
‘Even if his insides are dark, my Jude is not an evil person.’
The two smiled once more before they looked in front again and continued to chat with the excited Princess Darianne.
More than an hour passed by.
After talking for quite a long time, their chat finally came to an end.
Aside from Princess Darianne, Duke Spencer had a lot of business to attend to since he had recovered from his illness.
“Then, please enjoy the Banquet of Swords. I’ll look forward to meeting you again.”
“Thank you very much for everything.”
“Thank you very much.”
When Jude and Cordelia courteously thanked them in turn, Duke Spencer concluded the tea party by bowing to Princess Darianne, the person with the highest rank in the group.
And ten minutes later.
Having finally left the main building of the mansion, Cordelia groaned to suppress her desire of stretching out her body.
Because Duke Spencer’s staff was still in front of them as the staff guided them back to the annex.
[I want to go in quickly and stretch out. And change into more comfortable clothes.]
She complained as she let out her frustrations through <Message> magic, and Jude burst into a small laugh.
[Yeah. If we were in the wild lands, I would have carried you on my back and went back to our tent.]
[Eh…that’s awkward. Come to think of it, the Banquet of Swords is until tomorrow, right?]
[Yes, tomorrow seems to be a time where the prospects are free to have fun or do what they want.]
[Haa…that’s bothersome. I’ll just hide behind you and watch.]
Cordelia wanted to make friends, but because this was the Banquet of Swords where only swordsmen gathered, the wizard Cordelia felt out of place.
[Anyway, we earned a lot today.]
[Duke Spencer seems like a nice guy. He’s a big spender. Ufufu~ We’re rich now, we’re rich~]
[Exactly… I feel that the scale is different.]
Count Bayer’s one-year income wasn’t that great. It was close to the lowest ones among the 12 northern families.
But he was still a count and part of the 12 northern families.
To be comfortable with spending such an amount equal to the yearly income of Count Bayer, Duke Spencer was indeed one of the wealthiest people in the Sälen Kingdom.
[And there was also the talk about our titles, right? First of all, a knighthood is guaranteed, huh?]
[Yes. After this month, you’ll be Dame Cordelia and I’ll be Sir Jude.]
[As for the baron title… Duke Spencer-grandpa said that he is working hard for us to receive it, right?]
[Perhaps we’ll get it.]
Jude nodded pleasantly before he looked straight ahead. Because they had arrived at the annex.
The sun had already began to set, so the area around the annex was very quiet.
Most of the prospects staying in the annex were probably in their own rooms or gathered in a drawing room to chat.
And because of that, he could feel it.
The sudden piercing gaze.
[Oh, come on. I want to rest.]
Cordelia felt the gaze too and complained through <Message> magic, and Jude had a bitter smile before he turned his gaze.
Under a low tree.
A young man with dark blue hair stood there and was smiling.
[Do we still have to meet him? Do we still have to get close to him?]
[We have to get close to him. Should I meet him alone? Would you like to go in first and take a rest?]
[No, let’s go together. I think that we should not be careless around him. He’s a really sly guy.]
Having said that, Cordelia ended her magic and straightened her posture, and Jude dismissed the staff before he completely turned towards the young man standing under the tree and waiting for them.
“Oh, I was waiting. Would you like to go on a short walk?”
The voice of First Sword came into the ears of Jude and Cordelia like <Message> magic.
‘Can you do that too?’
‘Uh, perhaps it’s possible for me now?’
Jude and Cordelia exchanged short glances before they walked towards First Sword and not prolonged their conversation further.
“Did you wait for us on purpose?”
“Yes, I wanted to talk to you. Can we talk for a moment?”
At First Sword’s question, Jude and Cordelia simultaneously nodded, and First Sword had a small smile again.
“It would have been a dull conversation between guys, so I’m glad Lady Cordelia would be with us.”
“I’m also interested in what First Sword-nim wanted to say.”
Cordelia firmly answered, and First Sword quietly smiled before he turned around and took a step.
“Then I’ll get to the point and talk. It’s not my style to drag out a conversation.”
First Sword said as he headed towards a bench in the garden which they could see.
“Frankly, I was a little surprised today. I didn’t think you’d really make me move six times.”
When First Sword naturally brought it up, Jude nodded as if he knew that to be the case, but not for Cordelia. Because she realized it again.
‘Come to think of it, that’s true!’
First Sword had defeated all the prospects within five moves except for Jude.
He taught them until the fourth time, and won within the fifth move.
In short, he had always intended to end it in the fifth move.
‘And there was that.’
When he fought against Jude, he even changed his stance into his swordsmanship style.
As if he didn’t want Jude to make him move six times.
‘Don’t tell me he had no intention of picking a winner in the first place?’
There’s no winner, so I’ll be taking this sword! Did he want to say something like that?
As Cordelia looked at First Sword in suspicion, he raised and shook his hands as he said.
“I think you’re having a terrible misunderstanding, so to put it directly… I was thinking of ending everything within five moves.”
So what I had thought was true.
Cordelia thought as she frowned, before she spoke to him.
“But First Sword-nim, there would have been no winner if you did that.”
“No, he’s the winner because I decided that he was that good and no one can compare to him. He made me move six times, so your companion did a good job. I think he’s the winner.”
As he said that, he tapped Jude on the shoulder, and it seemed like he had picked Jude as the winner from the very beginning.
“I changed to my swordsmanship style against him… Even if it ended within five moves, no one would have disagreed, right?”
The last question was directed at Jude, who nodded with an awkward expression before he spoke to Cordelia.
“And… First Sword-nim didn’t lose on purpose in the first place. It would be a problem if he refused to move for a sixth time.”
“Well… that’s true.”
It was correct when she heard his words.
“But well, I did overdo it. Especially the sixth move.”
The sixth move done by First Sword.
It was originally a charging move, but the fact that he only released his aura and not charged towards Jude was because it was the skill of someone called the Sword Saint among the Ten Great Swordmasters.
If it had been someone other than Jude, they might have been seriously injured or lost their life.
“Did it somehow trouble your mind?”
“Yes, you’re right. I was indeed troubled. It’s a bit embarrassing.”
In fact, the sixth move was unnecessary.
Since five moves couldn’t defeat Jude, then he was obviously the winner.
The reason why First Sword used Heavenly Light was because he himself got fired up, which was no different from the fact that he failed to control himself.
“But perhaps… if the same situation happens, I’ll use Heavenly Light again. I’ll charge this time.”
“… Do you want to kill me?”
“It’s not that. I’m just excited by the appearance of a great prospect.”
First Sword mischievously smiled before he exhaled and straightened his posture. He then asked Jude again.
“I wanted to ask you this earlier… but, uh, are you Landius-nim’s disciple?”
Cordelia’s eyes widened in surprise at First Sword’s question.
“Do you know Landius-nim?”
“Anyone who walked the path of the sword would know of Landius-nim’s name, right?”
When First Sword replied with a question, Cordelia nodded without realizing it.
It would indeed be strange if a swordsman didn’t know Landius, especially someone like him who was one of the Ten Great Swordmasters.
But there was a significant gap between knowing Landius and presuming that Jude was Landius’ disciple.
That was why Cordelia was surprised.
‘First of all, Jude is not as muscular as Landius!’
Of course, it didn’t mean that Jude didn’t have any muscles in his body.
Jude’s body was similar to those of Greek statues.
But Jude’s muscles and Landius’ muscles were different. They were very much different.
‘Jude’s body is cool, splendid and… beautiful? B-but Landius’ body is scary.’
It was her really honest impression.
Landius’ body was really scary.
He was 2.3 meters tall, and his forearm was thicker than Cordelia’s own waist. He was almost ten times bigger than her, though it was a bit exaggerated, so it wouldn’t be strange if she was scared of him.
“I can tell what you’re thinking by looking at your face… but I didn’t think of that by looking at his muscles. It was a hunch since I saw him not using a sword but claiming to be a swordsman.”
A swordless swordsman.
But someone was the strongest in the world.
“Anyway, it seems like I’m correct that you’re Landius-nim’s disciple.”
“Yes, I am Master Landius’ disciple.”
It was pointless to hide it since he had already figured it out.
Moreover, from the point of view of Jude who wanted to make First Sword their ally, the more things he had that would attract First Sword’s interest, the better.
“That’s a relief. So it was Iron Man Landius’ disciple that made me move six times. If it’s like that, then it’s less embarrassing for me.”
First Sword reverted to his mischievous face and put his hands in his pockets as he said.
“I originally wasn’t supposed to attend this Banquet of Swords. Until Cornwell told me to see you at least once. I was planning to go back to the Sword School after just seeing you.”
At First Sword’s words, Cordelia swallowed hard.
First Sword didn’t appear at the founding anniversary celebration in the game.
“But I’ve changed my mind. Perhaps I’ll attend the founding celebration this time.”
“That… is it because of me?”
“Well… it’s because of this and that? I want to see how you’ll fight in the tournament, and I want to see your girl’s skills too. After all, she’s the daughter of Count Chase, the Red Storm, and the younger sister of Adelia Chase, the youngest commander.”
Cordelia unconsciously puffed out her chest at First Sword’s words.
Because she was proud of hearing about her father and older sister.
“Of course, I’m looking forward to the ball the most.”
First Sword winked at Cordelia, and her lips squirmed.
But Jude had a very proud face.
“Please look forward to it. You’ll see the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Cordelia wanted to kick Jude’s shin at that moment – no, she did try to kick it, but Jude quickly dodged it before he said to First Sword while looking at him.
“You must come. Please.”
“Haha, okay. I’ll look forward to it. Not just Lady Cordelia but you too.”
First Sword winked again before he turned around as if he had nothing more to say. He then waved his hand to say goodbye and began heading towards the main building.
“What the- is he going to leave just like that?”
“Because he’s said everything that he wanted to say.”
He apologized for what happened today, and said that he would attend the founding anniversary ball.
“I don’t like him even though he said that.”
“Well, it still worked out for us, right? We’ve achieved what we wanted despite not putting in much effort.”
First Sword would participate in the founding anniversary ball.
“The Lord Protector should feel nervous now.”
“Just the presence of First Sword himself would put him under pressure, right?”
“Yes, and even if the First Sword belonged to the aristocrats… it’s not in his nature to ignore the royal family dying in front of his eyes. He’ll probably fight against the Lord Protector.”
“Hohoho, does that mean we got rid of our biggest headache?”
“We still need some fine adjustments to it.”
But it was true that they were relieved of a heavy burden.
They had been looking for a way to get First Sword to attend the founding ball, so their problem had been solved now.
“Haa…I’m tired. Let’s go in and rest.”
“Yes, let’s go back and get some rest today. We have to do a lot of preparations starting tomorrow.”
“Preparations? For what? For Princess Daphne’s tea party?”
“Because there are only three days left. In addition, it’s a tea party where all the popular young ladies in the royal capital will be gathered. So we have to be prepared.”
In a way, it was a prelude to the founding anniversary ball.
“Hehehe… I’ll show them. The angel-like beauty of my Cordelia…”
Cordelia unconsciously flinched when she saw Jude’s sly smile, and she pulled on his sleeve.
“Hey, do you know that you like a pervert now?”
“But we need to promote our shampoo and conditioner. Yes, that’s right. From today on, I’ll be supervising it properly. With Cordelia’s beautiful face, I’ll make them forget about Princess Daphne.”
As Jude clenched his fist, Cordelia narrowed her brows and said.
“Princess Daphne is a woman too, okay?”
“Is there a problem with that?”
When Jude tilted his head, Cordelia shook her head and sighed.
“Anyway, you keep thinking about dressing me up, but I’ll dress you up too, okay? I’m going to be a Prince Maker, okay?”
“Sure. Let’s improve ourselves by learning from each other.”
Jude smiled and extended his hand to Cordelia, and she automatically held his hand.
“Then, let me escort you back to your room, my beautiful lady.”
Cordelia smiled when Jude politely spoke to escort her, and she shrugged her shoulders before heading back to their rooms.
And that night.
Under the night sky where the moon and stars very brightly shone.
Something that Cordelia didn’t expect to happen then happened.