Chapter 266 - Epilogue (5)
Leticia looked at the distant city, and she unconsciously murmured her words.
“It is a beautiful place.”
The one, who had answered immediately, was Kairen. At his words, Leticia became startled. Soon, she nodded her head.
“Unlike you, your parents had great artistic taste. It really is quite apparent.”
“Ha ha ha. You’re not wrong.”
The two of them were looking at the Tarantos castle, which was at the heart of the Dukedom of Tarantos.
Kairen looked deeply moved as he spoke.
“It has been a long time since I’ve returned to this place. My people will nag me to no end. I can imagine it.”
It had been over a year since he had left his land to follow Azell.
He had sent regular updates on his whereabouts, but he was a lord, who had vacated his land for over a year. He could easily imagine how much stress his absence had caused Havanz. When he returned to the castle, he’ll be assaulted by a storm of words. He’ll have to put up with Havanz’s scolding.
“I’ll have to endure it since it is karma for my actions.”
“At the very least, you are aware that you’ve done wrong by him.”
“It couldn’t be helped. If I hadn’t left at that time….”
“What would have happened if you hadn’t left?”
“Azell would have floundered without my sublime abilities as a commander.”
“…if only you couldn’t talk.”
Leticia gave him the side-eye. Kairen laughed.
“I don’t regret leaving at that time. Our fight won’t be written down in history like the Dragon Demon war, but I was able to fight with the legendary hero. We fought for the fate of the world, and I was able to meet you.”
The Great Darkness was gone now. When Kayalia and the Guardian Shadows gained their true rest, the party’s journey had come to an end.
They toasted their victory then they broke up the party. They set up a future reunion date.
Azell said he’ll go to the Bijes kingdom, and he’ll rebuild the County of Karzark. Laura revealed her intent of accompanying him.
Arrieta had to return to the Rulain Kingdom since she had to return to work as the Dragon Demon princess.
The only one left was Leticia. She had finished a fight that had consumed her whole life. There was a weird sense of despondency within her. When he saw this, Kairen invited Leticia to his land. Since she had nowhere else to go, she accepted Kairen’s offer.
“It is a bit late to ask you this, but…….”
Suddenly, Leticia asked a question.
“Did you talk to Azell?”
“Please tell me the truth.”
Kairen avoided her gaze as he gave his answer. Leticia clicked her tongue when she saw this.
It was quite curious. Azell hadn’t asked Leticia to help rebuild the County of Karzark. She was the only one he hadn’t asked. It seemed Kairen had talked to Azell beforehand.
‘When the fight ends, I want to ask Leticia if she wants to come with me. If she turns me down, you can ask her to participate in the reconstruction of your lands.’
Leticia looked sullen as she spoke.
“Let’s hear it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Why did you do that?”
“I didn’t have any future plans. I accepted the offer of being a guest in your lands, because the idea intrigued me. So why did you invite me to your lands? Is it because I’m your comrade in arms?”
“Uh. Mmm. That is ...”
Kairen was flustered. When she saw him become embarrassed, Leticia let out a sigh.
“…I’ve lived for a long time, and I’ve never been posed a question quite like this before.”
“You already know that I’m unlike any woman you’ve ever met. I heard you’ve dated a lot of women, yet you are heirless. What gives, your lordship?”
“I’m sorry. I was wrong.”
Kairen admitted defeated. He cleared his throat then he spoke.
“Leticia, I like you.”
“I like you too.”
At Leticia’s forthright answer, Kairen’s eyes widened. However, Leticia didn’t sound like she was admitting her dying love for him.
“I think I like you in a different way than you like me. I want there to be no misunderstanding. I cannot answer your feeling. What I’m trying to say is…. I like you, but I don’t know if it is the same feeling that occurs between a man and a woman.”
“Hmm. So what you are saying is…..”
Kairen was careful in how he posed his question.
“…you aren’t turning me down? I have a chance?”
“That is enough.”
“We can take our time in figuring everything out. As long as you stay as a guest in my house, I’ll try to seduce you. Please keep your heart open and wait for me.”
“You really are...”
“You are a shameless man.”
“Can’t you just say I’m being bold?”
Kairen let out a playful laughter as he replied to her.
The two of them were getting closer to the Tarantos castle as they conversed with each other.
The Bijes kingdom had fallen for the scheme set up by the Dragon Demon King worshippers. This was why they were at war with the Iellos Kingdom. However, the blueprint had been set in the war between the Rulain kingdom and the Rios kingdom. The members of the Guardian Shadows brought about an end to the war.
The war had been very fierce, so the domestic situation within the Bijes kingdom was a mess. The Bijes kingdom was in a state of turmoil, yet in this turmoil, a man started to make a name for himself. He started creating ripples.
He was a man with the same name as the legendary hero Azell Karzark, who had defeated the Dragon Demon King Atein. He had the same name as the man who had ended the Dragon Demon war.
His outer appearance was also identical to the hero’s portrait, which had been passed down through the years. This man claimed to be the descendant of Marquis Kazark. It really did sound like a plan hatched by a swindler trying to use the clout of the legendary hero for his benefit. However, something surprising happened. Count Chieha, who was the king’s maternal uncle, came forward to vouch for Azell. Even Duke Renas, who was the great lord of the east, stepped forward to back the newly found heir of Marquis Karzark.
It created a big splash within the Bijes kingdom.
Afterwards, Azell traveled around the Bijes Kingdom, and he performed great feats.
Thanks to the war, there weren’t enough soldiers to protect the population. The monsters didn’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of the situation. They caused great damage to the human population.
Azell went around the whole country in order to defeat these monsters. He didn’t ask for any recompense, and it allowed him to be accepted by the people.
He killed the orc horde in the south. Then he killed a Frost Dragon that was rampaging in the Berdan region with his companion mage. At that point, everyone accepted that he was the descendant of the hero.
Azell was bold as he told everyone his goal.
‘I’ll take back the County of Karzark, which was taken over by monsters.’
Azell wanted the throne of the Bijes Kingdom to give him dominion over his land.
The people praised him as a hero. It allowed Count Chieha, Duke Renas and other nobles to support his activities.
It had been eight months since Azell had started his plan. At that point, he was officially accepted as the heir to the County of Karzark by the throne of Bijes. He acquired the rights to take over his lands.
The throne didn’t send any troops. However, people from all over the continent started to gather when he made his desire known that he wanted to restore the County of Kazark.
“We are finally here.”
Azell sat inside the barracks as he mumbled to himself.
The sun was slowly coming up.
It was getting loud outside as people started to move around the camp. The people outside were equipped with an assortment of weapons. They were from all over the continent. They had come because they admired Azell. They wanted to help Azell take back his lands.
There were several thousand fighters gathered outside. Even if one considered Azell’s reputation, his title as the Marquis was in name only. He didn’t have any resources, so they asked for no recompense from Azell. It was almost a miracle that so many people had shown up.
“It took us a long time.”
Laura had spoken.
In any rumors pertaining to Azell, there was always a beautiful blonde Dragon Demon girl by his side. Everyone assumed they were an item.
Azell tilted his head in puzzlement.
“Did it take a long time? It has been less than a year…..”
“If we didn’t unnecessarily hide our power, it would have been much faster.”
Azell had hidden his true powers as he accomplished his tasks. In this era, he was now known as someone that possessed legendary prowess. However, he had revealed only a portion of his true power. They were only seeing the peel to the fruit.
Azell shook his head from side to side.
“I don’t believe that is true.”
“Do you think people would have become afraid of you?”
“In the standard of this era, I have enough power to threaten a nation.”
This fact had been fine during the Dragon Demon war.
The army led by the Dragon Demon King army had been such a powerful force that they were considered to be a calamity. The Nadick empire had conquered most of the continent, and most countries were under the banner of empire. There were many powerful beings on both sides, so these powerful beings usually moved in concert to take down anyone that went rogue. A being with transcendent power could be stopped.
However, it was different in this era. If Azell revealed his true strength, the common folk might greet him with fan fare. However, the rulers of each nation would feel extreme fear towards him.
“Anyways, we have to live as a member of this era. We cannot make enemies of the people. I am very thankful to the members of Guardian Shadows for making this possible.”
He was accepted as the descendant of Azell Kazark thanks to Count Chieha and Duke Renas. Both of them were members of the Guardian Shadow. Azell had let them realize their long-cherished wish of taking revenge against the Dragon Demon King worshippers. Moreover, there were practical benefits to having Azell join Bijes Kingdom. This was why they had given their full support to Azell.
Laura queried him.
“Still, I think it would have been ok if you were a bit more greedy.”
“What do you mean by greedy?”
“It could have been more than the County of Karzark. You could have made it the Karzark kingdom.”
During the days of the Nadick empire, he had held the position of Marquis.
Currently, seven kings ruled over this continent, but their families had merely been high ranking lords before the Nadick empire fell.
If so, wouldn’t it have been ok if Azell created the Karzark kingdom?
Azell grinned as he asked her a question.
“Why? You want to be queen?”
“It is just an idle thought. In the stories, the hero always becomes the king.”
“My dream is to make the County of Karzark inhabitable. I want to make it a good place to live. Anything else… Yes, I’ll leave that possibility open, but I’ll push such plans to a later date.”
“You want to put it off like the plan for us to have children?”
Laura had ambushed him with her words. His saliva went down the wrong pipe, so he started coughing. Azell’s face turned red as he turned to look at her.
“…y...yes. That’s right.”
“I’m not saying we should rush into it. It is something we should do after we build our nest.”
Laura had an expressionless face, yet she had stuck her tongue out. Azell let out a sigh when he saw this.
“Your personality has changed a lot.”
“It is bound to happen since I have to live with a rascal like you.”
Azell hugged her, and he gave her a light kiss.
In the past year, they had become lovers. Azell had been freed from the ghosts of his past, and he was able to become honest with his feelings. Moreover, Laura had accepted his feelings.
Soon, Azell exited the barracks as he spoke.
“Shall we go?”
Laura nodded her head. The change in her expression was so minute that others couldn’t see it. However, Azell knew she was smiling right now.
When the two of them exited the barracks, the people caught sight of them. It stirred the audience. As numerous eyes were focused on him, Azell extended his hand towards the sky.
Suddenly, lightning erupted from the sky. The lightning bolt shattered the darkness of the early morning as it shot towards Azell’s hand. Azell’s cape fluttered as he appeared from within the explosive light with a blue sword in his hand. Everyone let out an ardent shout.
As their shout rang out, Azell and Laura advanced towards the demonic land called the County of Karzark.
Azell looked at the forest as he spoke.
“This is just the beginning.”
He was finally able to escape from the shadow of his past, and he embarked on his new life.