Chapter 43 - Emerald Brooch
The people of Tetin’s palace all looked at the man who had entered uninvited.
The garden behind the palace was praised as the most beautiful place in this kingdom, but no one cared for that right now; they were all too busy admiring the handsome looks of the man. The man of black hair and black eyes had come with only a sword in hand, not even wearing armor. He stood at the entrance of the hall connected to the back garden, sporting a somewhat bored look.
Truth be told, even if the man’s appearance was a little lacking, he would still have drawn the attention of all at that moment. After all, the sword in the man’s hand was still dripping with hot blood.
And beneath the man’s feet was the knight commander of the Kingdom of Tetin, who was clutching his shoulder and groaning in pain. The man was, of course, Estian. Estian watched the blood drip from his sword before speaking to someone at the side. “You over there.”
The attendant of the Kingdom of Tetin who was called out replied, with an ashen face, “Y-yessir!”
“Take your clothes off.”
Everyone’s faces turned rigid at his words. Here? Right now?
Noticing the questioning looks and the odd atmosphere, Estian added to his words with a frown. “I meant to take off your clothes so I can wipe away the blood.”
At that, the attendant quickly took off his upper garment and presented it to Estian in an extremely respectful manner, and the latter used it to wipe his black steel blade. The garment presented by the attendant became drenched as if it got dunked in blood. Normally, this would not happen when wiping a sword, but Estian’s blade was no ordinary object, after all.
As he tossed away the drenched piece of clothing after using it, Estian wondered as to how much more of his blood—as well as the blood of an untold number of others—was still contained in this sword of his.
“Emperor… you… What is…” It was then that the knight commander of Tetin wheezed out, voice tinged with pain, to which Estian responded by stepping harder on the knight commander.
“You endure well for being such a worthless knight commander. I shall praise you for that.” Ridicule hung from Estian’s lips. As he stepped even harder on the knight commander, an irrepressible scream rang through the hall.
Those watching turned their heads around at the sight of Estian deliberately grinding his heel against the knight commander’s wound, but they could not turn away from the screams that pierced their ears. The terrible screams ended along with the sound of a shoulder breaking. In the end, the knight commander of Tetin was unable to bear the excruciating pain and passed out.
Shortly after his screaming ended, the king of Tetin came rushing into the hall, breathless from the exertion of running. He was holding a very large, beautiful green jewel in his hand. It was the jewel named The Forest of Tetin.
Countless shapes of trees were contained inside the green jewel. These shapes should have been nothing more than patterns in a jewel, but the trees were shaking as if a wind was blowing.
“He-here it is!”
“I didn’t think you’d really bring it,” Estian said, holding out his hand to the king with a chuckle, and the king of Tetin handed over the most important jewel of the kingdom without hesitation.
“You have it now, so take your feet off Ridel at once! Now! You promised to spare him in exchange for the jewel!”
“Ridel? That’s his name?” Estian looked at the unconscious knight commander beneath his feet, and then kicked him hard. With an ‘Urk!’, the knight commander was sent rolling away through the hall.
The king of Tetin dashed over to hold the knight commander and bellowed for a doctor to be called. While the attendants were moving hectically, Estian turned his gaze to the jewel in his hand. An infinitely stretching forest was waving tranquility in his hand. It was, beyond a doubt, The Forest of Tetin indeed. Just as he was feeling satisfied upon confirming that the jewel was real, the king of Tetin cried out in condemnation. “You savage wretch! Breaking into the palace of another country for no reason and stealing their treasure—is this how the ruler of the empire should act? How are you any better than a thief!”
“For no reason, you say.” Estian sneered at the king’s castigating words.
“Skadia, in the inner mountain range of Javel.”
“…!” The king’s face paled at the name of the city uttered from Estian’s mouth.
“I hear you’ve amassed quite the army in there. An army of elites, at that. Thought I wouldn’t know? Thought a surprise attack with numbers would succeed? I know that your every soldier’s weapon is coated with Celcita’s Silver, meaning that I’m the sole objective. After all, I’m the only one left in the world who can be harmed by that metal.”
The king turned his head away from Estian’s glaring black eyes, which flashed crimson for a fleeting instant. It was not a color belonging to a human.
“Raising an army to attack the emperor in secret. Is that not enough reason for me to raze this land to the ground and set it alight?”
His words caused those standing in the hall to falteringly step back. It was no comfort to them that they faced the emperor by himself. The ruler of the empire had managed to come this far alone without suffering a single scratch. Then he cut down their knight commander with a single strike. They could all feel it by instinct— the emperor was not a being they could dare to defy.
“But rest easy, as I have no intention of doing so today.”
“…Why?” The king cautiously asked.
“My empress awaits. I must hurry to her.”
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