Chapter 335: Family Business.
Chapter 335: Family Business.
“Well well, so you finally decided to show yourself, little brother…”
“Greetings, Elder Brother Theodore, This might be the first time we had the pleasure of talking since our last meeting.”
“Last meeting? I’m not sure I recall but we are not here for idle chit-chat, what do you want.”
“Straight to the point, I always liked that about you Elder Brother.”
Arthur was showing one of the fakest smiles that he could while trying to remain calm. This was his older brother that was potentially going to be the next duke. While he was taking part in the succession war there was no way of him ever truly coming out on top. However, to achieve his goal he needed to prove his competency to his father. If he was able to do that, not even his older brothers could seek vengeance.
“I’ll cut it short then, your Knight unlawfully caused damages to my Head Knight’s property. As you already know a sanctioned duel between the two had taken place and my man won. Thus I think you know what this entails…”
“Who was it?”
“Hm? I’m not sure that I follow, elder brother, who was what?”
“Stop playing games Arthur, who put you up to this? Was it Julius or Tybalt? Or did that idiot Ivan start getting desperate?”
“Oh, I assure you, none of the other elder brothers had anything to do with it.”
“You want me to believe that? Nevertheless, if you don’t want to talk, then that’s fine. The truth will come out eventually as it always does but don’t think you’ll get one silver coin from me.”
Arthur continued to smile while trying to contain himself from any potential angry outbursts. This brother of his started going on a strange rant. Apparently, he was being underestimated. Theodore was quite convinced that one of the other brothers was behind him and the true perpetrator.
“When I drag you to the noble court everything will be revealed.”
“You wish for the court of nobles to get involved?”
Even nobles could be sued and taken to court but only by other nobles. Depending on the status of the nobles they could be dragged over to one of two. First was the Royal court which involved the highest degree of nobles that were the dukes and could also force the king to appear.
For someone like Arthur that was a bastard son of a duke, this was not the one Theodore would force him into. Instead, it was the court meant for lesser nobles that were composed of nobles up to the rank of Count. Everyone could present their case in front of this officially assigned noble that acted as a judge. This person would be randomly chosen with neutrality in mind.
If this happened then Arthur would probably need to travel to a different duchy that wasn’t related to their Valerian household. Though on the outside this seemed fair it was anything but that. There was nothing like true neutrality as most nobles would take the side of the more prominent son. Bribes were also a possibility which put Arthur at a big disadvantage and was something his brother was aiming for.
“Why wouldn’t I? Even someone like you should know what will happen there.”
“So is that your aim?”
“I don’t know what you mean, justice will prevail.”
The two were conversing through magical means and the help of crystal balls. Both knew that it was possible to record exchanges through these devices. Theodore couldn’t outright blackmail him or threaten him due to this. Instead, he could just tip-toe around the issue. Arthur assumed that this threat could be dealt with by allowing the captured knights to leave without him receiving much or even anything as compensation. If he received a single gold coin from Theodore, it would be similar to admitting that his knights wronged Arthur.
“I see, but dear elder brother, justice is on my side and I can prove it.”
“Prove it? How, do you think anyone will believe your Head Knight instead of mine? I know that this Wayland is no nobleman nor did he attend any Knight academy within the kingdom. His word is worthless here.”
“Oh, what if the words came out of your own Knight Commander’s mouth?”
“From Emmerson’s? Are you insinuating that he would betray me? Are you mad?”
“Am I dear brother? How about you take a look at this?”
It was time to present Theodore with his only real trump card. He had received a magical device from Roland beforehand just for this occasion. His new ally wanted to present it himself during the talk but Arthur preferred to keep the conversation with his brother private.
“What are you doing?”
“Just give me a moment… there we go…”
Theodore’s crystal ball was on the larger side so he could even see Arthur from waist up. Now instead he was looking at a flat surface with his brother standing behind it. On this surface, some type of illusory image started appearing.
“Let the duel commence!”
“Yes, it’s a magical recollection of the Duel.”
Theodore squinted with his eyes but he could clearly make out Emmerson from this recording. He was battling another person that he assumed to be Arthur’s, Head Knight. It didn’t take him long to figure out what the point of this magic was.
“I’ll fast forward this a bit to the important part.”
“Yes, I heard some mages call it like that…”
Arthur just parroted Roland’s explanation that attributed strange phrases like pausing and rewinding to this magical device. Soon he came up to the ending part of the duel where Emmerson surrendered. This was then followed by the most important phrase.
“You’re too naive!”
The Knight Commander had surrendered and soon after charged at his opponent when his defenses were down. It was a clear indication of honorless behavior and something that was frowned upon by any Knight.
“He broke the code?”
“Are you surprised?”
“You want me to believe in this trick, this magic must be fake!”
“Is it fake? You do know that they will be able to test it during the court review.”
“This wouldn’t prove anything…”
“Do you really think so? It will be enough to force a true confession from the other knights and you already know what happened that day…”
Arthur could see his brother’s face changing into something ugly. This brother of his was known for his calm mind and demeanor. It was clear that this case would not be an easy one to win. With the added magical evidence it gave him a good foothold. Theodore knew what Emmerson did and Arthur was aware of this. His spy network was extensive and there were ways of forcing confessions out of the lesser Knights that were involved in this event.
“So you finally grew a spine, are you sure that you want to play these games Arthur?”
“Oh? Is that a threat that I feel? Will you send your assassins into my territory? Are you sure they won’t fail as your little Knight Commander? Will they do a clean enough job or will Father notice?”
“Don’t get conceited you damn bastard.”
“Hoho, so are we done pretending? I know very well what you think of me.”
Both Arthur and Theodore started to slowly drop the facade of brotherly respect. None of them really liked each other and this whole conversation was reaching the climax. Arthur was aware that his brother could easily kill him with the help of the power that he amassed. He also knew that he was very pedantic and careful. With the appearance of a hidden variable in the form of Roland, he would not act.
“If you don’t want it to be known to the world that Theodore Valerian employs Knights who break the code of chivalry and can’t even handle one little bastard, then you will agree to my demands.”
“Your damn demands? Do you think that I’ll pay to get that fool back?”
“Oh you will pay, I know how much you care about that name of yours. Do you want to be known as the noble that abandons the people that swear their oath to him?”
Arthur could see Theodore’s face going red but soon after his brother was able to calm himself. Even though this was a hit to his prestige the amount of money he would pay to get this sorted out wasn’t that astronomical. One thing became clear if Theodore pushed this onto the noble court some things that he wanted to remain hidden could be unearthed.
It would also give the other brothers an opportunity to drag his name through the mud. The involvement of the other brothers was also an unknown factor and with Arthur acting this confident, there had to be a hidden backer. Thus after thinking about the pros and cons a decision was finally made.
“Fine, how much do you want?”
“I knew that we could come to an agreement.”
Arthur’s frown quickly turned upside down as he saw his older brother come to a decision. Now it was just a matter of getting a good enough deal for the both of them. He knew of the usual rates that were asked during incidents like this so he wouldn’t be scammed out of money.
“I was thinking of…”
“Lord Arthur, are you alright?”
“Quickly, find me a bucket or something!”
Mary had walked into Arthur’s office after hearing the magical device being turned off. In front of her, she was pushing a small trolley with tea and some cake. It was known to her that her lord was having a stressful conversation with his older brother. When she got in though he did look quite pale and was holding a hand in front of his mouth.
“I’ll go ask one of the maids to bring one over…”
“Urp… no… t-that will do…”
Her eyes went wide as she saw Arthur charge for the tea set. Instead of grabbing the teacup or the cake, he went for the pot. He was quick to open it up and poured the warm beverage from inside onto the floor. Before she could ask about what he was doing she heard a rather audible sound of him vomiting.
The pot was able to contain around one liter of liquid inside and was quickly filled up. This unsightly display was not something that she expected to see when walking into this room.
“My Lord, are you unwell? Should I call for the doctor or for the priest?”
“Ugh.. n-no it’s fine, I’m fine now, here.”
She was given the vomit-filled teapot by her lord who took one of the napkins from the trolley tray. Mary wasn’t sure what to do with this thing besides closing the lid to avoid the smell.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes… Just be sure not to mention this little accident to anyone.”
“Whew, that was something different…also sorry about this…”
“It’s fine My Lord, I’ll clean it up.”
The color started returning to Arthur’s face after this little incident. Mary was quick to call over some other maids to take care of the tea stain while she disposed of the vomit-filled teapot herself. When leaving the room for some reason the young lord looked content, it was as if he managed to push through one of the walls that blocked his way.
After returning to the office she found him sitting behind the desk again. He was busy writing up some new documents. After another glance, it became clear that these documents involved the apprehended Knights that had invaded their lands. She wasn’t sure what the deal was yet but it was clear that they would be getting some compensation for the recent attack.
“Damn… not another one…”
“Don’t worry boss, we have two more that you can work on.”
“You sure are going through them, so this is how a Master Blacksmith does things.”
Roland nodded at Bernir who along with his wife Dyana was bringing over a large deep steel anvil. The two previous ones had suffered a gruesome fate of crumbling. His upgrade in stats brought along a lot more power, coupled with the new mythril hammer and magical energy, brought the anvils to their knees.
This wasn’t the end for it as his gauntlets were becoming a reality. The one to cover his right hand was already assembled on the side while he was now completing the second one. With the lack of proper tools to handle the new metal, Roland needed to get a bit more creative.
Heating up the ingots was not that hard with the help of his new forge fire skill and his increase in mana capacity. With his current class, there was also a decrease in mana requirements for any runic spell he created. The only problem was that he still lacked the tools that could handle the mana. Even thick anvils made of deep steel were unable to handle the continuous pounding.
The design wasn’t much different than the old gauntlets that he made but it needed to account for the added bulk. The thickness couldn’t get in the way of moving his hands as he needed to be able to hold onto his weapons. Usually in these suits of armor, a leather glove would be used as a base but he decided to go with one fully made of myrthil with some flexible chainmail replacing the leather inside.
This was done for one reason, the skill used for repairing his runic creations didn’t work on organic matter. In some of his previous designs, he used monster leather that was resistant to the magical strains but continued uses of his skills would eventually burn through this type of material. Thus he decided to go with a material that could use his newest skill along with the rest of it.
Building everything wasn’t actually the hardest part as it was doing the right design. It reminded him of following instructions when assembling furniture in his past life. He had become the person to make that manual as he needed to find ways of connecting all the parts to each other. Luckily there were people that came before him that already tested a few things, by adding his own flair he just needed to make some alterations.
Thanks to his improvements he was able to even work with the precision of a lathe. The trial area allowed him to brush up on every possible smithing technique and also provided him with various skills for measuring. As long as he had the schematic in his mind, he knew exactly where to cut or hammer. He didn’t even need to think about where to hit and how much force to apply. It was as if this world’s system was guiding his hand and performing these tasks for him.
‘No wonder it’s hard for these people to innovate past what the system provides them with.’
While others probably loved how easily they could build things without thinking much, he was looking for a way to make the process even easier. If he had the right equipment it wouldn’t be hard for his assistants to create some parts to make things go faster. The next time he had enough time, he would probably start designing golems that could produce these parts by themselves.
As it stood now he would need to bother with everything by himself. Even if he made a few adjustments to the runic spells that allowed him to create a vibrating blade to cut through some thinner parts of metal, he needed to spend massive amounts of time on everything. With unknown amounts of time on his side he needed to speed things up.
Soon the third anvil was a goner but finally, the second armor piece had been created. They were composed of red mythril which would normally give everything a shiny red tint. Yet with the addition of the regular silver mythril variant and etherium, it actually became darker due to the latter’s presence in the alloy. It was his first time creating this alloy that ended up being a darker crimson. It was not something that he expected but was a welcomed accident. Having a darker tint was much better than one that could be seen from a mile away by everyone.
Roland’s hand moved into the newly created gauntlets. It went up to around the middle of his forearm and still required a vambrace and then something like a couter to shield his elbow. The right one fit perfectly and with his current enhanced stats didn’t restrain his movements that much.
“Boss, are you sure you’ve gotten the balance right? Should this be this heavy?”
“Yeah, it’s fine.”
Bernir handed him the left one which was a struggle to pick up even for his muscular hands. After the two were connected he activated the mana pathways that were previously integrated into the smaller pieces one by one. The greater runes started glowing and becoming visible through the metal but the traces were not as much. With how much thicker this was than the previous design and thanks to the etherium the glow was a lot milder. Only the larger congregations that made up the focal points of the runes could be seen lighting up.
He moved out his palm to the forefront. Down on it, a larger circle could be spotted. When concentrating on the ingrained runic spell this area started glowing brightly. Soon a swirl of green energy started to blow upwards and caused both Bernir and his wife to grab onto the walls.
“Woah Boss, what are you doing!”
“Ah sorry about that, I should have done this in the testing area.”
The small green tornado that was being created was quickly shut off before his work companions were blown up into the air. The power of a greater wind spell was not something to joke about. With this he needed to continue, two pieces were made but more were required to complete this suit that would allow him to take on harder foes.