When The Count’s Illegitimate Daughter Gets Married - Chapter 21
Translator and Editor: Lea and Aki
The knights under the Duke, who had been in the same league as Bartolt, got scattered across the empire because of his false charges.
Only a very prominent swordmaster would have managed to enter a higher order among the knights.
Ian gnashed his teeth.
Everyone was praising Bartolt, thinking he was some candidate for the highest position among the Swordmasters. But Ian knew he couldn’t be as good as him.
‘Hmm…but your face isn’t as bright as it should be.’
As soon as he fixed his sword, Ian ran towards Bartolt.
Amazed, Bartolt quickly defended himself.
As the two swords clashed with each other, a loud ‘clanking’ sound was heard.
In an instant, Bartolt could sort out that his opponent wasn’t just a simple intruder.
‘How can he be so strong to face my sword?’
He was one of the top eight candidates of the Swordmasters.
He was among the people who prosecuted Ian, and he was the one who stabbed him.
Bartolt felt a grudge at his opponent’s swordsmanship. His frighteningly fast sword could even cut the flesh in a flash.
What was more surprising was that the swordplay of this unidentified man was slightly similar to Bartolt’s.
It was similar enough to say that one of them had taught the other.
Ian’s blade heavily forced on Bartolt’s.
“Do you understand, Bartolt?”
It reminded him of the day.
Ian had demonstrated the same stance himself when he used to be in the knighthood under the Duke of Reinhardt.
“You should be able to feel the conception of a sword.”
“Focus and stretch towards this one point gently as if you’re drawing a straight line.”
He recalled it.
It was one of the stances he couldn’t learn even after repeating it thousands of times.
As the intruder advanced in the same manner as Ian, Bartolt avoided it by a single stroke.
His hood fluttered before his eyes. Only then did he realize.
The hooded intruder was…..
He said through his disheveled breathing.
The housekeeper of the Reinhardt family, who had taught him sword art for years and was his master.
If Bartolt had made a surprise attack, he would have blocked it gracefully.
There was no one to stop Ian, now that he was fully recovered from his condition.
Soon, Ian broke Bartolt’s sword into two halves. One half flew through the air and fell on the floor lifelessly.
The golden handle, which was engraved under the Imperial riches, kept glistening in Bartolt’s hand.
He collapsed down on the floor.
Ian slowly walked up to him.
“You’re still weak.”
His blazing eyes pierced at Bartolt’s defeated self.
A shadow fell over him as Ian leaned over Bartolt before he intently inquiried.
“…..Why did you do that?”
Why did he betray the Duke?
Bartolt was a candidate for the knightship under the House of Reinhardt who was raised by Ian himself.
If he had continued to train, he might have become a Swordmaster.
At least, Ian was hopeful of him.
“Why aren’t you answering me, Bartolt?”
“Isn’t it obvious…..?”
He smiled, staring blankly at the floor.
“Riches and honor.”
Ian lightly chuckled at the answer, then grabbed his collar.
“Riches and honor?”
His voice was so low that the people standing around him couldn’t hear him.
“You betrayed your own master and colleagues for those things? Every one of them might have been going through some kind of hardships.”
Bartolt felt like he was being decapitated.
And Ian was an expert at making someone feel helpless.
All this time, Bartolt was going through a training session in the Capital.
“Ha, but I’m well off!”
“Well, that’s not what I came to see here…..”
Bartolt was at a crossroad.
Would he be an enemy of the family of Duke Ian Reinhardt? Would he be able to survive now?
The Empress had protected him once or twice before.
“You’re lucky, Bartolt. Your chapter is yet to be closed.”
Though Ian was relaxed, there was something in his voice that made him feel numb.
If Bartolt had spent more time in the Capital, he would have been praised as a Swordmaster now.
Then, he might have even defeated Ian as well.
The aristocrats in the hall gasped.
“Lord Bartolt lost…..”
“L-Let’s run away from here, quick—”
Ian stood up and sighed.
“You don’t have to do that.”
He said, removing his hood and revealing his face, which was still painted with Laritte’s colors.
As soon as they realized who it was, the commotion in the hall grew larger.
Ian heard someone say, “the traitor”.
As he started to walk towards the Empress and the Crown Prince, knights blocked his path.
“Stop, you traitor!”
‘Huh? What will you do to me when your Lord Bartolt couldn’t even stop me?’
Ian held up his left arm as he said,
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
Waves of mana spurted out of his arm, choking the knights.
Distressed, the knights fell to the floor one after the other.
The Swordmasters were the only ones among the humans who could use mana. And those who weren’t could only suffer under its effects.
At this moment, there was no one here who could match Ian.
He leisurely walked by them and stood before the royal members.
“Please accept my greetings, Her Highness the Empress, His Majesty the Crown Prince. Forgive me for the sudden visit.”
He politely bowed in front of them.
The Empress had no choice but to feel anxious.
The Duke, who she thought was completely destroyed, had returned back alive.
‘That imbecile Bartolt! He said Ian was going to die soon from his severe injuries!’
She hurriedly fixed her expression.
‘Why is he here?’
She raised her voice.
“How dare you come this far when you conspired to rebel against the Imperial family!”
“Don’t you know?! Your name hasn’t been forgiven for the treason according to the royal decree that was formed 620 years ago from the foundation of the Empire!”
“How can I not know when Her Grace was the one who passed the order?”
“Then why did you dare to show yourself here today?”
The Empress almost couldn’t hide her innermost thoughts.
‘Yeah?! What do you think you can do?’
She was the one who was the mastermind of the plot.
But everyone was now on her side.
She was meticulous.
She had even threatened the Duke’s butler to produce false evidence of treason.
After that, as soon as she was informed that Ian was killed, she released the evidence, took all his wealth, and even fired all of the faithful employees under him.
Furthermore, the false accusation of the Duke itself was spread to every ear of the nation along with the mercy of the Imperial family.
Though she was now regretting her own actions.
‘No matter what you say, you can’t make them believe you!’
She smiled inwardly.
But it was Ian who should have had the last laugh. He spoke up eloquently.
“I was framed. I’ve never committed any kind of treason against the country nor did any of my ancestors.”
‘Haa! Nobody will believe you, you little bastard!’
She replied in a capable manner.
“How can I believe that?”
The imperial family was behind all of this, after all.
‘Ian Reinhardt! Are you here to take revenge on the Imperial Family who took everything from you?’
She again forced down her urge to shout out.
‘You can never succeed in defeating us!’
After some time, the reinforcements arrived. But Ian’s reaction was unexpected.
“That’s the question I was waiting for. Here’s something that can help prove my injustice.”
Ian took out his necklace.
“This is one of the heirlooms of my family. These last tears of a dragon can be used as a truth serum.”
‘Last tears of a dragon?!’
The aristocrats stared at the scene between the Duke and the Empress.
“Please use this for the interrogation. Please make it clear that the Duke didn’t commit treason and that everything was a misunderstanding.”
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