A moment of silence washed over the wide straight corridor leading to the Sentinel Promotion Test Center. It was because of Jurgen Axel Edelred, who had just appeared in the gallery alone, without any vassals.
Looking as if he was suffering, his face was emaciated, and his eyes were filled with melancholy. His lips which previously always donned a graceful smile were now slightly apart with anguish.
Everyone cast sympathetic gazes on his figure and politely bowed in front of Jurgen. Even in the midst of his fiancée’s kidnapping and disappearance, and the sky seemed to be on the verge of collapse, this noble young duke did his job diligently in silence.
“Those who kidnapped Lady Von Klose will be punished by the heavens. Does it make sense to kidnap a powerless woman? Did the wicked have nothing else to do?”
“I feel so sorry for Sir Edelred, I could cry. A charming, mysterious person like beguiling moonlight is now revealing such a powerless figure.”
“Even if he looks so calm, I heard at night he personally leads the knights to look for his fiancée. Ha… . Should I say that I am envious of Lady Von Klose, or that I feel sorry for her?”
“It’s terrifying to be kidnapped, but still, her fiancé is Sir Edelred. If it were me… . I think kidnapping once or twice would be worth it.”
When the lady with a fan leaked a vulgar laugh, the other ladies who were watching scolded her with stern eyes. No matter what, it was a sentiment that should never have been said aloud in front of a heartbroken man.
Watching the wounded lady break away from the group and disappear somewhere, Jurgen resisted his sneer from leaking out.
“He is waiting for you.”
Today was the last day of the Sentinel Promotion Test. Along with the news that the exam, which had been messed up due to the prince’s whim, was now resuming, the news of Dahlia’s abduction also spread throughout the capital.
As soon as High Priest Eugenio heard the news of Dahlia’s disappearance, he elegantly relayed the words, “Halt with your nonsense and provide the guide,” through an official document. Still, Jurgen tore the paper in front of Dahlia.
However, not answering the official letter of the temple, which was thought to be a problem, drew a different public opinion.
‘Please consider the feelings of the Duke of Edelred!’
A minor backlash arose among the nobles, asking, “Is it the Gods’ will to cause pain to a man in grief after losing a loved one?”
Jurgen was actively exploiting public opinion. People were enthusiastic that he frequently showed his face at official events, revealed his increasingly leaner and leaner face, and occasionally shed a few tears.
“You are late.”
The sour, sullen remark came from Reynon, who arrived at the seat of honor at the test arena first.
“I greet the Second Sun of the Empire,”
Jurgen replied with a flawless greeting. Then Winster, standing behind the prince, met his eyes and nodded. It meant that the prince was in a bad mood and not to provoke him.
“You are doing something very interesting. Did you change your position from Sentinel to a mage at this point?”
Irrespective of Reynon’s sarcasm, Jurgen sat beside him with a sad smile.
“Ha, you… . Amazing.”
Reynon swept back his blonde hair covering one eye. He raised his hand, and Sentinel Academy teachers waiting in the exam hall announced the commencement of the examination.
Just like the other day, the exam hall, where all students attended, was just as hot.
When the Sentinels who entered the examination hall for promotion raised their powers, the imperial mages raised their shields. Jurgen stared at the shields that looked like oil, and water were clashing.
“It seems that the high priest was quite angry. Or, did His Highness destroy the letter too?”
Reynon laughed briefly at Jurgen’s question.
“How dare he protest against me. Blames me for failing to apprehend the guide. He vaguely sensed Liberty’s power, but he wasn’t sure, so he told me to cooperate… . How can I just let her go?”
“They told me to cease my performances.”
“So, where is the young lady?”
“Sorry, it’s a family secret.”
Reynon rubbed his wrinkle-free brow and looked at Jurgen. The flames of bitter cold in his golden pupils heightened palely.
Jurgen continued his speech in a nonchalant tone, using the supernatural ability to confront the imperial family head-on:
“I will marry her. So hurry up and approve it. The more you delay, the greater the risk of losing her to the temple.”
“You are protecting her.”
“Well… But, one thing is for sure… . Lady Von Klose is not the Liberty you are looking for.”
“I don’t care.”
Reynon, who moved his gaze back to the exam auditorium, gestured to Winster. His aid, about to suffocate from witnessing the battle of nerves between the two men, held out a letter to Jurgen.
It was a letter from the Great Northern Empire. It was not an official letter but was secretly delivered to the Crown Prince’s Palace.
“King Reno is asking for comradeship. Therefore, on the day of the founding ceremony, Prince Antero and Prince Liberio will traverse by portal.”
“… Did you approve it?”
“Since you are in the midst of despair, there was no time to discuss it with you.”
“Isn’t their purpose obvious? They will try to prevent the Sentinel Knights from being absorbed into the imperial family’s military forces.”
“So, before that… . I need a guide.”
Clutching the letter, Jurgen’s eyebrow slanted at a sharp angle. All the while Reynon had not taken his eyes from the test site and rested his chin in his hand. He only moved and clapped when a red orb appeared above Sentinel’s head.
“If you let her guide me, I will approve your marriage. Not a bad condition, is it?”