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    Shadowless Night

    Chapter 15


    Translated by Wook
    Edited by Iris Sakura


     

    But it didn’t take long for something to happen. In the year Elpidio turned 11, the Emperor welcomed a new rain: A queen of humble origins from the rural area. Because she was poor, she had never been seen in the world of high society. She was a woman whom no one even knew her name. A woman whose only strengths were a pretty face and a beautiful hair color that shone like moonlight.

    [T/N: Elpidio’s mother, the empress, is described using the character 황후 (hwang-hu) which means the first wife of the emperor. Ricardis’ mother is described using the character 황비 (hwang-bi), the second wife. Both are empress, but to avoid confusion, some translators prefer to use queen or royal consort for every other wife that’s not the first.]

     

    It was a public fact that the Emperor had a dark side, so no one was surprised. The problem was the two children the queen brought with her when she entered the Imperial castle. A ten-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl,  who had the same hair color as her, were said to be the children of the Emperor. They were the results of the affair that happened when the Emperor inspected the borders. The Imperial family turned upside down.

     

    There are no illegitimate children in the Imperial family. There are only low-ranking princesses and princes. Nevertheless, the Emperor hid the existence of this child. Why is that? By the time everyone’s doubts grew, the boy had officially become a member of the Imperial family and was given a new name.

     

    Ricardis Darius Illavenia. A land of eternity where the light of God shines. The exalted 2nd Prince.

     

    And the question about the prince who suddenly appeared at the age of 10 was soon solved. They announced that Ricardis had holy power surpassing that of the 1st Prince Elpidio. In the kingdom of God, which relied on the protection of God, holy power was more powerful than any other power. Ricardis was destined to be nominated for crown prince, whether he wanted it or not. It’s just that a queen from a mere viscount family from the borders wouldn’t have had the strength to protect Ricardis. They must have delayed his entry into the castle to preserve his life and the life of his mother.

     

    From then on, the Imperial family had windy days as one more person was added as a candidate for the crown prince title…

     

    Unlike Elpidio, who naturally was nurtured to be the crown prince by the Imperial family, Ricardis had directly experienced war and politics. There were one or two people he found along his journey, and only today has he acquired a force comparable to that of the 1st Prince.

     

    Assassination attempts have been frequent since Ricardis was recognized as a member of the Imperial family. But in recent years, it has become even more desperate, as if they could no longer stand breathing the same air as him under the sky of Idelavhim. In one fight, Ricardis’ only brother-in-law lost his life. It was then that Ricardis entered the battle for the crown prince in earnest. Before this, building power and making contributions in wars had been like a joke, perhaps a warm-up.

     

    The 1st Prince, feeling nervous about it, took advantage of the great opportunity of the hunting competition and attempted another assassination. He even went as far as holding hands with Illavenia’s long-time enemy, Balta. It was such an act of stupidity that one didn’t know where to start describing it.

     

    “He must be anxious after such a failure. My knights are too skillful… Should I have told him that his efforts were still not enough to get me to Idelavhim, Count?”

     

    “You sound intimidating, Your Highness,” Count Sihorge replied to his words while wiping away his sweat. 

     

    Ricardis put a cold smile on his lips, “I was joking. True, his attempt this time was quite painful for us. However, my people aren’t the kind of people who will die meaninglessly in Vista.”

     

    Ricardis wiped the smile from his face. That night was a nightmare. His life had never been easy, but that night was one of those nights that will remain in his heart. A shallow moan that squeaks between one’s tightly bitten lips. The sound of sparks from the weaponry. The smell of torches burning in the air. The footsteps of people stepping on branches, shouting, ‘Protect His Highness Prince Ricardis! The opponents are using poison. Your Highness! Please escape!’

     

    [The Knights of the White Night! According to the oath you made under the splendor of Idelavhim, give your life!]

     

    There were times when he thought that it was just an ostentatious display, but they really died protecting him just like the oath they swore at the inauguration ceremony. The escort knights who had been by his side for several years died from poison. It was already too late when he wanted to heal them with his powers.

     

    ‘If I hadn’t run away at that time, if I had fought with them…’ Regrets were always late, no matter how early they came. ‘I have to pay Elpidio back somehow. I have to make him feel this damn feeling too’, Ricardis’ eyes narrowed coldly.

     

    Recently, the faces of the senior knights began to look more and more tired. After the failure at the hunting competition, the assassination attempts did not subside but instead became even more active. Will they attack with poisons by day, or will they come with daggers at night? 

     

    As busy as they were, the escorts had to be alert all day. In that state, there was not enough manpower to properly take turns. Things had become even more difficult as of late. 

     

    ‘Elpidio, doesn’t that idiot even know the word ‘strategic retreat’?’ Ricardis cursed Elpidio inwardly.

     

    “They did not die meaninglessly. The knights died giving their lives for you.”

     

    “It’s funny. I don’t need anyone to die for me.”

     

    “That aside, we still need people to escort His Highness. I have something to tell you about that.”

     

    Ricardis shrugged and looked at Count Starz Falhas, who was in charge of the knighthoods. Ricardis was quietly waiting for what the timid but loyal vassal would say.

     

    “I would like to add Sir Rosaline Radwiell to the escort mission. Your opinion is needed. Can I proceed with this?”

     

    Ricardis frowned. The faces of the vassals around him frowned as well.

     

    “I thought Rosaline Radwiell’s spirit is no longer in the Illavenia Empire.”

     

    “I thought so too.”

     

    Starz’s expression was still calm. Ricardis shook his head and laughed.

     

    “My subject is very good at joking around. Are you telling me to keep a Radwiell, a county’s ruling family that is under Elpidio, by my side right now?”

     

    “I have twelve letters of recommendation from the new deputy commander Sir Nathan. He is not one to listen to someone’s flattery, nor one who does not have eyes to see. I know him well because I’ve been working with him since he was a deputy commander’s assistant. I think there must be a good reason for his strong opinion. Also, from my point of view, Sir Rosaline is a decent knight if it weren’t for her family.”

     

    Starz handed Nathan’s letters to Ricardis. Ricardis read the twelve recommendation letters one by one. 

     

    Meanwhile, Count Sihorge’s face flushed and refuted Starz’s opinion. ‘How absurd. A child of the Radwiell family, who are faithful vassals of the current Emperor but also hold hands with the 1st Prince, included in the escort mission that requires one to stick around all day?’

     

    “Anyone with a family is a good knight, but that particular family is the biggest problem!”

     

    “The number of assassination attempts will increase, and escorts will be scarcer than ever. Many wield swords well, but few can convince us that they are loyal to His Highness.”

     

    “Then does that mean the Count has been convinced by her? Even though she’s a Radwiell?”

     

    “Nevertheless, yes.”

     

    Ricardis read the letters of recommendation with his eyes and listened to them with their ears. ‘Whoa, she seems to be more resourceful than I thought. To catch the eyes of that knight who won’t miss even the smallest needle that could be a potential danger.’ Ricardis read the deputy commander’s recommendation letter and the reasons for his confidence in her while listening to the commander’s words.

     

    One more voice added to their argument. It was Marquis Cimmaron who had been listening quietly. He touched his mustache and spoke in a shriveled voice. He didn’t like to talk at all, but he had no choice here.

     

    “My son lives with a lot of words in his mouth saying that she is different from the knights who only know how to talk. Saying she’s reliable, she’s loyal, Sir Rosaline has the talent of a commander, she’s kind and sincere, blah, blah, blah. Anyone who’s not aware will think that she’s my son’s wife. In short, she is qualified. At least… so he says.”

     

    With the support of the marquis, the argument began to slowly tilt. Even though she was a Radwiell, she knew the true nature of the 2nd Prince and gave her life to him. A person who was sincere, intelligent, and known for her honor.

     

    But Ricardis still didn’t like her. They were saying it as if she would die for him at any moment. He hated it so much that his eyes trembled. ‘If one doesn’t have the skills, don’t come. What a stupid thing.’ Everything was a self-inflicted misfortune.

     

    “Yeah, she might be the blue birdy that leaks information to Elpidio.”

     

    Ricardis smiled, twisting his lips. It was a very unpleasant look.

     

    “Why don’t we take a look?”

     

    ***

     

    Whether they worked for a long time for the Knights Order or they were simply a strong knight. Senior knights were not selected solely based on these two conditions. It was because each of them needed the authority of a commander to lead the soldiers at any time by learning all fields of law, art, and politics. Perhaps that’s why there were occasional commoners among the low-ranking knights. But from the high-ranking knights onward, the sons of high-ranking aristocrats made up the majority.

     

    The current Knights of the White Night have ten senior knights. Apprentice knights applied to their superiors. The senior knights chose from the applicants based on their character and developmental potential after considering various things. The chosen apprentice knights then followed the superior knights, learning the sword and helping them in their work.

     

    As a senior knight, Rosaline also had the right and duty to support several apprentice knights. Her problem was that no one wanted her. Raymond had thought about grabbing the apprentices under him and sending them to her, but he couldn’t force them, who would rather be decapitated than do it. If her apprentice knights don’t follow her with their hearts, only Rosaline will bear the hardship.

     

    But what is this? What was piled up in front of him at the moment were the applications of apprentice knights who wanted to receive Rosaline’s teachings. Raymond nodded.

     

    ‘It’s because of Nestor Sihorge.’

     


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    Wook

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