Bonus chapter from sponsored chapter.
McDohl… Kinda remind me to Suikoden 1. Haha!
Enjoy the bonus chapter~
Chapter 52 – Duke of McDohl Clan
The next day, Ares went to visit the residence of one of the clans with an important role in empire: the McDohl clan.
The McDohl clan leader, Leo McDohl is one of the two most influential people in the Empire’s military, being the commander of the Imperial Army’s first division. Still active in his early forties, he has a good build and a dignified appearance when his long blond haired figure rode on the warhorse to lead the army. This appearance of his earned him the nickname of『McDohl Lion Lord』
The name was known throughout the continent as a great general, and thus causes many to look in envy to their status and position.
For Ares, he’s an old acquaintance whom he often visited to consult about nearly everything. Sometimes they would also fight side by side. Their relationship is more like a distant friend despite the gap in their age.
[Excuse me for the sudden visit, Duke McDohl]
[The gate of this mansion will always open for you, Ares. It’s been a while!]
Leo welcomed Ares despite the sudden visit.
Then he guided the younger person to the guest room.
While walking, Leo asked Ares.
[When the news that you’ve arrived at the capital spread, the clans in the capital become noisy. Did you visit other clans before coming to see me?]
[I visited the Rozenburgs yesterday. After that Duke Arnold, then several other aristocratic clans including the Earl of Roxietta, also Margott’s chamber of commerce. Well, basically just visiting old acquaintances.]
[….why you.. Visiting one of the imperial princesses then the leader of the Imperial Mages Division, as well as the former Imperial Prime Minister… not to mention numerous clans with even small amount of influence to the imperial army, and even Margott’s chamber of commerce…no wonder they deemed your movement as suspicious.]
Having said so, Leo gave a little sigh.
[Archduke Schwarzer…the clan behind you is already at the top. Having a rich territory and a prestigious position as the guardian of the North. However, the clan rarely made any notable moves at the capital and is shrouded in mystery. The young lord of such clan is suddenly summoned to the capital, and made such antics shortly after his arrival…of course everyone will take note of you.]
They soon arrived in front of the guest room.
[Well, taking all that aside, how about we talk about it slowly? Your goal.]
Leo smiled as he slowly opened the door.
[Then, how is this Eastern Expedition in your view?]
Leo asked such question as he reclined himself on one of the sofas.
[His Majesty’s first step towards continent unification, is that what you’re going to say?]
As he took a seat as well, Ares replied.
[I think that the goal this time is capturing the Grants Principality and the three surrounding areas. Once His Majesty captured those regions, it’ll be easy to put pressure to the other eastern nations.]
Grants Principality is one of the more hostile nations to the Empire. As a country of warriors, it had repelled the Empire’s expeditionary forces repeatedly. With them acting as the floodgate, the Empire could not field their troops to the east.
[But Grants…that’s the land of the battle crazed warriors. It’s no exaggeration to say that their army is the strongest in the continent. There is also that small but valiant Redgear. They won’t be so easy to fall.]
And then Leo added with wrinkled on his forehead.
[Also, Grants’ land is hard to rule. Its west is the untouched land where monsters roam free, barbarians wait at the north, the mountain to its east is occupied by dwarves that do not obey the empire, not to mention those fighting tribe Aryans. Nothing great about that land.]
[If His Majesty conquered Grants, hypothetically speaking, other small countries will be willingly submit to us…. Presently, countries in the eastern region, such as Byzerd Principality and the emerging Dormadia kingdom are thriving. It’ll be troublesome if those eastern countries became too big. Before that……don’t you think so too?]
As Ares said so….he took a peek to the palace where the Emperor resides through the window.
[It is a fact that His Majesty is getting older. Before that…His Majesty would want to lay a foundation for the armed forces. There is also that as a consideration. This will be a major battle.]
[I see…so that’s why you have to participate in this war, isn’t it? You are His Majesty’s favorite after all.]
[As for me, why His Majesty favor you so…that’s what I want to know the most. There is your excellent capabilities…but there must be something else, isn’t there?]
[……why is that? I don’t have any clue myself.]
[……never mind. Just let me know someday.]
With that, Leo got up from his sofa.
[Sitting here and relaxing really doesn’t suit me. Do you have some time to spare? Or do you have to make some other arrangements? It’s almost time for Luther to finish his study. You know how he always look up to you.]
Leo showed a fresh smile that he hadn’t shown even once since the meeting started.
[He respects you. Please spend some time with him. He’ll be the successor to the McDohl clan in the future after all.]
Arriving at McDohl clan training ground, a blonde haired boy that resembles Leo could be seen
[Hi Luther. It’s been a while.]
[Brother Ares! Long time no see!]
[Thank you for always getting along well with Julius.]
[No, Julius is such a great friend. It’s only natural.]
Leo’s eldest son Luther is one of Julius’ peers. Like birds of the same feather, the two quickly became fast friends and Ares heard that they frequently met. Unlike his father who has a strong build, Luther has a rather girlish slender body. Coupled that with his good look and you got yourself a pretty boy. His outer looks truly has nothing to do with martial arts at all…..a great departure from his first division commander father. But Ares was aware of his hidden talent.
[Even I, his father, was fooled too. At the moment, only myself, you and your vassals are aware of his talent. That’s why I don’t want him to be a bad leader in the future. I will personally teach him, and instill in him the overwhelming valor…. If he can become someone like you, all the better.]
Luther’s talent is that he’s adept in both military and political strategy. But not only that, he’s actually most excellent at swordsmanship. He would sometimes visit the Schwarzer mansion to study together with Julius and learn swordsmanship from Alberto. And with regard to swordsmanship, his father Leo also taught him personally.
[Alright, Luther. Today I want you to spar with Ares. I want to see how long you can keep up with him this time.]
That said, Leo threw training swords to both Luther and Ares.
[It’s no use, Ares. You better take him seriously now. He’s been training like hell nowadays.]
[I don’t think you need to brag about your son like that…]
Ares took the sword and faced Luther.
[Brother Ares, let’s do our best!]
Luther also brandished his sword.
At Leo’s signal, Luther infused his magic into his sword.
And with a single shout, he charged at Ares with unstoppable momentum.
(Such an amazing sword technique. To think he and Leo, who had taught him, can come up with something like this, there is no word to describe it other than amazing.)
If one looked closely at Luther body, they’ll notice scratches, cuts, and bruises. Perhaps it’s the result of practising with his father everyday.
Ares received Luther’s attack and parried it. But Luther wasn’t going to stop there. His next attack came in a single unbroken flow.
When Ares received the attack this time, he put more strength so as to push Luther back. Then, before Luther regained his stance, Ares already attacked him once, twice, and thrice. Luther, his stance completely broken, fell on his butt.
[Yes, that’s it.]
All that only took less than 10 seconds. But Luther ended up out of breath while Ares had remained steady and calm.
[Th-thank you very much! !]
[Nn, good job.]
Seeing this, Leo approached them.
[This is surprising. You’ve developed your sword arm even further compared to when you sparred with Julius back at Schwarzer territory.]
That said, Ares grabbed Luther’s arm and helped him get up.
It was Leo, not Luther, who gave a response.
[Why of course. I’ve been training him up every single day.]
Now that he mentioned it, Leo also had a training sword in hand.
[Well, this time, allow me to spar with you.]
And so, those three practiced swordsmanship on that training ground for a while.
After that, Ares practiced swordsmanship with Leo until sunset. Then he had dinner in the McDohl mansion. It was night time when Ares took his leave.
Leo told Ares this during the dinner.
[McDohl clan is bound to our duty to protect the royal capital so we can’t participate in this upcoming battle. However, if something happened, I promise that I’ll aid you.]
[I think you might already know this, but the capital is currently ablaze in factional conflict. Your presence might irk someone. Something is bound to happen. So be careful.]
[Especially…Prince Carlos and Archduke Rozenheim, their factions are currently the most committed to take up the throne. You need to be careful around those two. Archduke Saxon is currently in cahoots with that stupid Randolph in building up military power on the background, and he’s been annexing some imperial clans too. That old coot Lombardia who controls the first princess is also acting suspicious, and I don’t really know what Prince Joseph is up to. Duke Hoover is also up for something shady. Those are the people that you need to watch out for.]
Hearing those various information, Ares thought.
In these past few years, the capital had truly become a hell’s kitchen embroiled in internal strive.
He had to make himself look more credible than anyone of those people. Not hesitating in front of power, be honorable and showing his high aspirations.
Whilst looking back at Leo…..Ares thought so.