‘Right? Raon, you think he’s being weird too, right?’
Cale agreed with Raon’s statement and started to sigh internally.
He had to play along with this exaggerated act the crown prince was putting on.
Cale turned away from Alberu who was looking at him with a touched expression but a mischievous gaze and looked around.
Some nobles were as shocked as Cale. They were not the only ones who were shocked. The musicians had stopped playing their instruments and were looking at Cale and Alberu while the knights standing guard, as well as the servants moving about the hall, were looking at them with shocked expressions as well.
Of course, Marquis Taylor Stan and Duke Gyerre, the respective heads of their households, were looking on with big smiles on their faces. Marquis Ailan and Duke Orsena, on the other hand, looked grim.
‘…This is not good.’
Cale's face filled with awkwardness after looking around the hall and stopping somewhere.
It was the video communication device that was vibrating and sparkling.
Everything that was going on here was currently being broadcasted live in the Roan Kingdom’s capital's plaza. The foreigners who were mixed in with the citizens and watching would have seen this as well.
The news about what just happened would soon spread through the entire Western continent.
Cale put on an awkward smile as he responded to Alberu. Of course, he tried to pull away from the hand that Alberu was grabbing.
“Your highness, it looks like everybody is shocked.”
Alberu, who put on a shocked expression as if he just realized it, looked around before starting to speak.
“A few days ago, Cale Henituse and I decided to become sworn brothers. I may be part of the royal family and Cale Henituse is part of a Count's household, so we are not brothers by blood, however, I was touched by Cale caring only about the kingdom and peace that I asked him to be my sworn brother.”
These words flew out of Alberu's mouth without any hesitation. It was fitting for his glib tongue. The nobles watching could not hide their chaotic thoughts.
‘Who would believe that?!’
Nobody believed Alberu’s statement about how he asked Cale to be his sworn sibling because he was touched.
‘Ha! As if the crown prince is that kind of person!’
Alberu Crossman might be laughing right now, but he was the most thorough person they knew. Such a person feeling touched? Peace? Those words were not funny nor were they fitting for him.
The nobles’ minds started to get complicated.
‘…Cale Henituse is the future king’s sworn younger brother!’
‘We were too hasty to be happy that we got Choi Han out of the way! The crown prince doesn’t have any maternal relatives. But if the quickly rising Henituse household and the northeast region's nobles became the crown prince’s backing?!’
Crown prince Alberu already had power and troops that even the king could not easily desire, so the nobles were all crouching in fear. This was especially the case for the nobles from the central and southeast factions who were not on good terms with the crown prince.
However, there was something they were relying on.
A king could not survive on his own.
Alberu who would become king in the future had no blood relatives, hometown ties, nor school ties. That was why the nobles were bowing down now while expecting that their own powers would eventually grow in the future.
But now, Alberu Crossman had the youngest sword master in his school ties and Cale Henituse as his sworn brother.
‘…What a scary human.’
Some of the nobles who were faster at processing things looked toward Alberu with fear. They were afraid of the crown prince's ability to tie the heroes of not just the Roan Kingdom but the entire Western continent to his side. They were also afraid of how he was able to coldly calculate and give those two heroes positions that were just for show and held no actual power.
One noble could only watch Alberu Crossman and this situation with fear in his eyes.
He could see it. He could see Alberu Crossman's power and influence that had gotten even stronger.
He then looked toward Cale and Choi Han with pity. As a quick thinker, he had a different mindset about the two people who were now the future king’s sworn brother and instructor than the other nobles who were looking at them with admiration and envy.
‘They fell for the crown prince’s sweet talk.’
Instructor and sworn sibling. Status that came with no power whatsoever.
The noble could see the crown prince who must have swayed them by saying that these were honorable positions and the two inexperienced young men who fell for that scam.
‘I guess they were drunk on this hero play because they are still young and ended up falling for these positions that are only important in name!’
The noble looked toward Cale and Choi Han with pity while thinking that the crown prince was scary. He also confirmed something in his mind.
‘We don’t need to worry about Choi Han anymore. But this is just the beginning for Cale Henituse.
We can't let that bastard get a government position!’
He would always do things to support the crown prince. The noble was thinking that no position nor title could go to Cale, no matter what achievements he had in the future.
This was something most of the nobles were thinking about as well.
‘… We need to do our best to make sure Cale Henituse has as little power as possible.’
They needed to make it so that he could gain no power in this political arena, in this battle for power. If they could not hinder Count Henituse’s family, then they needed to at least block Cale.
This determination started to spread through the nobles.
One person calmly started to speak as if he did not notice the atmosphere at all.
“Cale, I was extremely disappointed to remove you from this list, but I am very happy to continue as sworn siblings from here on. Don’t you agree?”
There was only one thought on Cale’s mind as he listened to Alberu.
‘How long is he going to drag this on?’
Unfortunately, Cale had to play along. A smile appeared on his face for the first time today. That smile looked quite innocent, unlike his tired face. A bright voice modestly answered as if he was honored.
“I am happy as well. Hyung-nim.”
That modest and slightly innocent-looking attitude made the nobles start to think.
‘He’s really an innocent hero……’
‘He's being used by the crown prince!’
‘…It looks like Cale Henituse is someone who truly wishes to be a hero, unlike what I originally thought.’
‘The political field is going to flow in an odd direction from now on.’
Cale slowly took a step back and pulled his hand away as he said that.
Alberu let his hand go without any objections and Cale could finally smile in relief.
His role was now finished.
Cale was thinking that he could now relax and enjoy the celebration. Cale felt even more relaxed after looking around and seeing that the nobles were calmer than before.
He heard Basen’s whisper at that moment. Cale turned his head after hearing the quiet voice.
“You meant it when you said you want to live a quiet life, right?”
Basen, who had been doing his best to study politics, realized that his brother was an innocent soul. He was smart, but sacrificial and innocent. Basen found another reason that he needed to protect his brother.
‘Maybe he can dream of world peace and living a quiet life away from politics and power because he is such an innocent person.’
Basen quietly looked toward Cale with a gentle gaze as Cale slowly rubbed his stomach with his palm.
‘I know, right?’
He was hungry.
After being shocked by crown prince Alberu, Cale was now left with hunger. He hoped the awards ceremony would end quickly as he stood there with a blank expression on his face.
‘…His expression shows no greed at all. I wonder if it is real.’
The nobles continued to look toward him, but Cale who was annoyed didn't care at all.
“Then we will resume the awards ceremony!”
Alberu had returned to his seat and the administrator peeked toward him before resuming the awards ceremony.
“We will share each person's merits as well as their rewards! The merits and the recipient will be announced by me while his highness the crown prince will personally hand the reward to each individual.”
The administrator started to announce each recipient based on the weight of their merits.
“For their merits in the Battle at the Gorge of Death as the Roan Kingdom's representatives. General members of the Mage Brigade, Kepai, Rabbit, Mewoo-”
People went up to the platform one by one and Alberu shook each of their hands as he handed them their rewards.
“Not at all! Your highness, I just did what I needed to do!”
Everybody responded energetically to Alberu who tightly grabbed their hands and thanked them and it was a satisfying sight for all to see. That satisfaction continued to rise as the ceremony continued.
Although the hall's door was closed, they felt as if they could hear the cheering of the citizens from the distant plaza.
However, the nobles were nervous. Their hearts slowly started to beat faster and faster. The administrator started to speak at that moment.
For participating as the Roan Kingdom's representatives in the Caro Kingdom's naval battle, defeating the enemy’s berserk warriors and having the greatest impact in clearing the dead mana!”
It was finally starting. The new forces were starting to come out.
“The Dark Elf warriors with Tasha as their representative!”
The woman who reminded people of a black pearl headed toward the platform where the crown prince was standing. Alberu looked down at his Aunt Tasha from one of the steps. The two people smiled in a way that only the other would understand. Alberu started to speak.
“Tasha, the representative for the Dark Elves who will become one of the Roan Kingdom's new strength. I bestow the title of Viscountess upon you.”
Some of the nobles gasped. This was the first title that was bestowed today.
‘The crown prince is really trying to draw the Dark Elves into the Kingdom!’
‘Did he not see what happened to the Mogoru Empire?’
‘That vulgar race is a noble?!’
The nobles’ complaints started to slowly appear on their faces. Alberu had a bitter smile on his face as he continued to speak to Tasha.
“However, this title is a nonhereditary title and no territory will be bestowed.”
A nonhereditary title. A Viscountess without any territory. The growing complaints on the nobles’ faces slightly stalled. They then realized why the leaders of their respective factions were remaining quiet.
‘It’s just for show.’
They realized that Alberu drew in the Dark Elves with a just-for-show title as well.
However, Alberu's inner thoughts were different. He looked into the eyes of his Aunt who had raised him like her own child and made a firm resolution that he could not openly share with the nobles and the citizens.
‘This is just the beginning. Next time, I will definitely make it so that the Dark Elves have land that they can freely live under the sun.’
He would prepare a hereditary title with a great territory.
Tasha gently smiled as if she understood what her nephew was thinking.
“Thank you very much. Your highness, we pray for peace in the Roan Kingdom.”
The Dark Elf gave a short response before stepping away. However, the nobles could not remain calm after hearing the following proclamations.
One group of nobles had started to move.
“Viscount Chetter’s territory will not need to pay any taxes for 3 years and young patriarch Gilbert Chetter is bestowed the position of Captain of the Naval Procurements Department for his achievements.”
The reward for the northeast region’s Viscount Chetter’s household and the new position for the young patriarch.
"Amiru Ubarr and Eric Wheelsman will receive the highest positions among the naval base's Chief advisors as Advisor of the Left and Advisor of the Right.”
The northeast region's Wheelsman household’s young patriarch and Ubarr household's young matriarch Amiru were given positions among the naval base’s chief advisors.
“The territory of Viscountess Ubarr will henceforth be known as the territory of Countess Ubarr.”
Viscountess Ubarr who ruled the territory with the largest naval base became Countess Ubarr.
The other nobles from the northeast region who participated in the war received all sorts of rewards and positions as well.
There was an especially large number of government positions.
It was at a similar level to the four other factions that have dominated the nobles’ society and the government positions. Anybody would be able to see that a new faction was being created.
The Roan kingdom would have a new strong faction if there was a leader to lead those northeastern nobles. It might even be the strongest faction in the current Roan Kingdom.
Nobody dared to open their mouths.
“I will take over from here.”
However, the crown prince did not give them a moment to get their minds straight.
“There are three people who contributed the most to the two battles within the Roan Kingdom at the Henituse territory and at the Northeastern shores.”
Three people. The nobles gasped. The eyes of the citizens in the plaza filled with anticipation. This was the moment everyone had been waiting for.
“They also went as representatives of the Roan Kingdom to record the greatest achievements in the battle at the Caro Kingdom and the battle at the Breck Kingdom’s Gorge of Death, being the core of the Roan Kingdom to save the Western continent from the Indomitable Alliance. Furthermore, they are currently defending against wars and other dangers throughout the Western continent, heroes who only wish for peace and prosperity of the world.”
These were all major achievements.
Such meritorious achievements had not been seen for almost 100 years.
“These three people are Mary, Choi Han, and Cale Henituse.”
The nobles clenched their eyes shut.
“They are geniuses and heroes whom we would have been lucky to have just one of them appear at a time. These heroes are the only ones throughout the history of the Roan Kingdom who have achieved such accomplishments.”
Both the heat of passion and a cold air filled the hall.
“They have all rejected titles and government positions.”
The rumors had been true. The nobles nodded their heads after hearing the Mary had rejected them as well.
Alberu looked down at them. He had not used the word, 'reward.’
‘Your highness, both Mary and Choi Han said that they have something that they would like.’
‘Is that so?’
‘Yes sir, please grant them their requests.’
‘Fine. What about you?’
‘A golden plaque please.’
‘You're driving me crazy.’
Although Choi Han and Mary did not want titles nor positions, there was something that they each wanted. Alberu happily agreed to their requests.
“I decided to listen to their requests.”
The nobles let out sighs of relief after hearing Alberu’s calm statement.
‘All three of them would not be able to desire what is ours.’
As they had that thought…
“However, I concluded that this would set a terrible precedent for the future.”
‘A terrible precedent?’
The nobles’ eyes opened wide.
“They are people who sacrificed their bodies and minds for all of us. But giving them only a verbal thank you without giving them anything else? I, Alberu Crossman, do not wish for such a thing.”
These were his honest feelings.
“I value and cherish the lives of every person who works for the benefit of our Roan Kingdom, as well as the citizens who are watching through the video communication device right now. That is why I wish to reward them.”
‘Reward them when they rejected it? I thought he understood what they wanted?’
Alberu stood up and continued to speak as the nobles started to fall into a state of chaos.
“And those three people accepted my desire.”
His gaze headed toward a spot in the hall.
“The household that all three of them are associated with right now.”
Someone let out a sound that was either a gasp of appreciation or a sigh.
“The household that represented the Roan Kingdom in battle and achieved an overwhelming victory against the Indomitable Alliance, the household who volunteered a significant amount of troops for the battle at the Northeastern shores and also achieved an overwhelming victory.”
Alberu’s voice slowly started to become louder.
“The household that we could easily say that they protected the Roan Kingdom on their own!”
One person made eye contact with Alberu.
Count Deruth slowly bowed his head.
“Yes, your highness.”
As he slowly raised his head and made eye contact with Alberu… The moment the other nobles gasped and nervously waited for what was to come…
Alberu started to speak.
“The Roan Kingdom has another Duke’s household as of today.”
Gasps could be heard throughout the hall. They wondered if it would happen, but he had truly bestowed the title of Duke and not a Marquis! The nobles looked astonished. Alberu calmly continued to speak toward Deruth regardless of their reactions.
“What do you think?”
However, his eyes were looking at the nobles inside the hall. The nobles avoided his cold and vicious gaze. Some of them thought that this was wrong. They wanted to say that out loud.
The servants opened the door and windows of the hall at that moment.
They could clearly hear the cheering of the citizens from the distant plaza. They were cheering in joy and happiness.
‘…This must be why he broadcasted the ceremony to the plaza!’
‘He used Choi Han, Mary, and Cale Henituse as bait to turn the Henituse household into a Duke’s household!’
Despair filled the faces of most nobles. On the other hand, the expressions on the faces of the northeast region's nobles and those who had positive relationships with them were bright.
‘He got us good……!’
‘…The crown prince turned the Henituse household into his backing!’
The nobles peeked around with their heads down.
The happy cheers continued to flow into the hall.
Today was the day the future king of the Roan Kingdom had earned an instructor and a sworn brother.
It was also the day that a new Duke’s household was born in the Roan Kingdom. It was Duke Henituse's household.
This news quickly spread to the nearby kingdoms. It also reached the White Star’s ears.
Cale was rubbing his stomach and thinking to himself even during this time.
‘Can I live as the trash of a Duke's family, no, the slacker of a Duke's family now? That sounds great.’
It was the greatest job in the world.