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They traveled through the mountains for a few days. Although Rody did not know the way, with Diane, who was from the Silvermoon Clan, being there, they would not get lost. However, their progress was so slow that Sky could not help but complain, “If I did not have to stay with you all, I would have already flown out of this place!”
They soon left the mountains and followed the main road towards the Purple Leaf City. First, they arrived at the Southeast barracks of the Southern Legion. With Rody, the Duke, around, naturally everything went smoothly at the barracks. They rested there for a while and then rode to the Purple Leaf City on horses.
The soldiers had reported Rody’s return to the city ahead of time.
The Governor-General immediately came out to meet the Duke. However, Camus had left to visit the other barracks and was not in the Purple Leaf City.
Diane had previously planned to leave the mountains alone and contact the Duke of the Tulip Family to deal with Wuya. However, in a turn of events, her tribe’s biggest enemy, Wuya, was killed by the Duke of the Tulip Family. Besides Wuya’s death, the fact that the Mystic Dragon was also now attached to the Duke’s body was a more important matter. She must quickly return and report that to the Elders of her clan.
Rody finally saw the high walls of the Purple Leaf City in the distance, and the governors and local officials waiting to greet him at the gates. Rody sighed. His trip to the mountains was truly bizarre. The plans he had prepared in advance was not even used, and he even ended up killing the biggest threat of the Empire in the south. He also inexplicably discovered an extremely strong person as well as gained ‘a dragon’ in his left arm.
Rody had been feeling bitter about his left arm for the past few days. He was not sure what happened, but that day he had somehow killed Wuya in a crazed state. When he regained consciousness, he could barely believe it when Sky narrated the story to him.
Rody could not believe that he had the ability to kill Wuya. Judging from Wuya’s power, he believed that even a hundred Rody would lose to him. However, after listening to Sky, he was compelled to believe what happened. Besides that, his left arm had also been feeling strange.
That d.a.m.n Andy…
Rody sighed and felt uneasy. He could not contact Andy ever since he inexplicably killed Wuya. His connection with Andy was cut off like a snapped thread.
In fact, Rody could only give a wry smile when Sky told him of the incredible attack that he had made on Wuya and the results of it— the attack that Diane called the ‘Mystic Dragon Purge’.
His left arm still felt extremely heavy as if it did not belong to him. He could not move it unless he put a lot of effort into lifting it.
Out of curiosity, Sky lifted Rody’s left arm to a.s.sess the weight. He felt that it was not exceptionally heavy. There was not much difference from the arms of other people. It looked like only Rody could feel the effect of his hand being ‘crushed by boulders’.
What made Rody helpless was that the “Mystic Dragon Purge” that he applied when he was unconsciousness had a strong side effect.
Ever since he regained consciousness, he felt extremely weak. After so many days, he had still not recovered. Not only could he not recover the strength he used to have, he actually needed someone to support him when he walked.
He had been a young and robust man, but now he was like an extremely sick person. The thing that made Rody feel even more helpless was that his body did not seem to have any problem. His body was still as strong and healthy as before, but somehow, Rody had no energy. He was not only unable to apply his fighting energy, he could not even lift the Dragon Fang sword.
After converting the strongest dragon in existence, he was expecting some kind of positive results. However, he ended up half dead. At that moment, Rody would not be able to defeat even a single common soldier…
In that regard, Sky was also clueless. After all, Sky had never heard of anyone who could totally absorb a dragon, especially the legendary Mystic Dragon. He was completely clueless even though he was a person that had already obtained a strong domain. When Sky examined Rody’s body, he did not find anything wrong with his body, nor did he find any internal injury. In fact, Rody’s fighting energy was so great that it had almost started to condense.
However, despite Sky obviously feeling a powerful fighting energy inside Rody’s body, Rody was unable to apply that energy.
Sky shook his head and forced a smile. “n.o.body could understand this thing. I am still wondering how you absorbed the dragon into your body. Even if you say that it was just energy, how could your body bear the power of such a huge dragon? Even if the Mystic Dragon was much weaker then than before and was just about Wuya’s level, how could an ordinary human like you absorb that much energy?”
Rody touched his left arm and looked at the black dragon pattern on it. Rody did not know whether he should feel fearful or just at a loss.
Walking into the city with these feelings in his heart, Rody did not listen to a single word the Governor-General was saying. The local officials were also there busily complimenting him, but Rody took it as if they were wasting their time.
Xier’s Governor-General wondered to himself why the Duke seemed to have grown larger after his trip to the mountains. Besides that, he also wondered who was that fat man by the Duke’s side. Is he the Duke’s guard?
Isn’t this guard too arrogant? I, the Governor-General of the Empire came out to meet you all. His Excellency the Duke, put up an air and did not get down of his horse. That is fine. However, how could a small guard like him dare act high and mighty too!
The soldiers led them all the way to the Governor-General’s mansion. Just as they entered the main entrance of the mansion, Sky sniffed and cheered, “Wine! Wine! This is the smell of wine!” Sky then rushed ahead without waiting for Rody to speak.
Tasty looking food and wine were placed in the main hall. In the middle of the hall was the golden wine barrel. Everything was just like the first time when Rody came to the Purple Leaf City, but this time, Camus was not around. They did not need to worry about anyone disturbing, like what happened the previous time. However, Rody was not in the mood for it. He looked at the Xier’s Governor-General coldly and said, “I am tired. I don’t need all these.” He then pointed at Sky and said, “Arrange a room next to mine for this gentleman. After that, clean up this place.”
The Governor-General felt awkward and turned stiff on the spot. However, Rody was not in the mood and did not care. Sky then casually pulled aside an attendant. He then pointed at the wine barrel and told the attendant, “Carry that wine barrel into my room.”
Rody silently went back to his room and shut himself in.
He repeatedly called for Andy. Andy was the one who taught him how to convert the dragon and got him into that mess. It looked like only Andy could help him to recover.
Feeling upset, Rody could not help but smash the wall with his arms. That created a loud banging sound, and a large hole was formed in the wall. Fortunately, the wall was made of the boulders from the South, and that punch did not break through the wall.
Rody then felt a light feeling of pain in his hands and gave a wry smile. My left hand is now more powerful. However, I cannot use this power. Each time I lift my left hand, I have to use half a day’s worth of energy. I feel like a child holding a large hammer. The hammer may be powerful but the child is unable to lift that hammer.
Feeling unhappy, Rody could not help but punch the wall again and created another depression.
Rody had only punched twice but he was already panting. He sat on the bed and gasped for breath. He had already run out of energy. Suddenly, he heard Sky shouted from the next room. “Boy! Have you gone mad? I was drinking wine, but your two punches caused the dust from the ceiling to fall into the wine!”
The following day, Camus returned to the Purple Leaf City. The first thing that Southern Army Regiment Commander did was meet Rody. When they met, Camus was surprised to see Rody looking lifeless and depressed.
“Did the plan to enter the mountain not go well?”
Although Camus had a spy working as a blacksmith in the Flame Tribe, there was a turmoil at the tribe for the past few days. After Wuya’s death, the tribe was on alert. The gates were closed the entire time and n.o.body was allowed to leave. As a result, the blacksmith also could not send out any news.”
“Your Excellency the Duke, did things go well on the mountains?”
Rody raised his head to glance at Camus and saw him looking haggard. He also seemed to have more white hair. Presumably, Camus had overworked himself these past few days by running around to appease the soldiers and a.s.sign them tasks.
Rody sighed and replied, “To be honest, we were not able to successfully implement the plan.”
Camus’ expression immediately sank and he also sighed. “Is that so? Is Wuya truly so formidable? Is the information of him attacked by a.s.sa.s.sin false? Or is it that he has already finished off those that opposed him? Were you not able to find any tribes that can be drawn to our side?”
Rody shook his head, and Camus found his facial expression strange… “General Camus, truthfully speaking, although we were not able to implement our plan on this trip to the mountain, the final result still greatly benefits the Empire!”
“Oh?” Camus’ eyes lit up.
Rody nodded and then he continued, “Wuya is dead!”
“What!” Even the experienced Camus jumped when he heard that.
“Wuya is dead?” Camus stared at Rody, “How did he die?”
“How did he die…” Rody laughed bitterly. “This is rather complicated. I don’t know the details, but the main point is that he was killed.” As he continued to speak, his voice grew weaker as if he did not have any lung power.
Camus was convinced when he heard that Wuya was dead. He was excited and did not notice that there was something suspicious about Rody’s expression.
Camus was pleasantly surprised. He walked up and down the room as he loudly said, “This is a good opportunity! With Wuya’s death, the Flame Tribe would be in turmoil. In this case, the mountain alliance is finished! The mountain people were born obstinate. Without a strong leader like Wuya, they would not be able to unify. As long as the mountain people are in a mess, there would be no threats to the South of the Empire! However…” He looked surprised and asked, “Your Excellency the Duke, is Wuya really dead? Can you confirm this? How exactly did he die?”
I used the legendary Mystic Dragon’s ‘Mystic Dragon Purge’ and turned him to dust! Rody’s heart spoke, but his mouth replied vaguely, “This seems to be connected with someone from the Silvermoon Clan. Most likely, they did it.”
Camus nodded and pondered for a moment, “If it was the Silvermoon Clan, it would not be surprising. This year, Wuya had destroyed an entire village of the Silvermoon Clan and had made enemy with them. The Silvermoon Clan is the largest tribe in the mountains. They probably have some powerful masters. However, it is a pity. We should contact and negotiate with them. I heard that they were a strange tribe who is not interested in the world outside the mountains. It would be favorable for the Empire if we were to have their help!”
“Contact…” Rody laughed bitterly in his heart. In the beginning, I had contacted them. However, later, my body absorbed the Mystic Dragon, and now that girl from the Silvermoon Clan thinks of me as the worst monster ever. If it were not because of Sky, I would most likely be dead right now. I don’t think it is possible to contact and negotiate with them anymore. They would certainly kill me on the spot when Sky is no longer around.
Camus looked at Rody’s strange expression and asked, “What’s wrong?” Pausing for a moment, he spoke again in a softer voice, “Seth, what’s wrong with you? You don’t look too good.”
Rody sighed and replied, “General Camus, I am fine. I sustained some injuries on the mountains and have not recovered yet.”
Rody spoke as if he was half dead. When Camus saw that, he secretly disapproved. He felt that the young Duke of the Tulip Family was too weak. A real man should not be so weak even if he was seriously injured.
Moreover, the Duke looked extremely healthy and walked normally. He certainly did not look like he was seriously injured.
Camus frowned and was about to lecture Rody when they suddenly heard the rapid sound of footsteps. Randt strode into the room. He held an envelope in his hands and loudly said, “Your Excellency the Duke. Letter! There is a letter from the Imperial Capital!”
“Hmm?” Rody froze for a moment and then he asked, “What letter? Who is it from?”
Randt looked at the letter and replied, “Your Excellency the Duke. The sender’s name is not on the envelope. I do not know who sent this letter. A messenger from the Purple Leaf City gave it to me and said that it was from the Imperial Capital and is from Your Excellency’s home.”
“From home?” Rody shook his head. Nicole would not write him a letter as their discussions were secret and would be impossible to put on paper. If the contents of the letter were exposed, everything would be over. Shaking his head, he casually asked, “What is written?”
Randt froze for a moment as he glanced at the letter. Rody reacted and saw a name faintly written on the folded part of the letter. The name written was ‘Myka’.
Rody then thought. Why would Myka write me a letter?
He became tense and remembered that Myka knew his true ident.i.ty. He also did not know the content of the letter. My G.o.d, she would not mention anything about my secret, right? It is too dangerous. It would be terrible if the letter was lost or fell into someone else’s hands!
Rody quickly opened the letter and saw a line of elegant words. However, the handwriting seemed hasty and sloppy.
The written words were: “There are changes at home. Please pay attention to the news of the Imperial Capital!”
Rody immediately stood up. He stared at the text with an uneasy feeling.
There are changes at home? What does it mean? What does it mean by ‘changes’? Did something happen to Nicole?
Rody felt worried and depressed. Perhaps, he could choose not to care about many other things, like risking his life in the mountains or fighting in the battlefields. However, Nicole’s safety was definitely something of great concern to him.
That news made Rody very restless.
Camus noticed that Rody showed a strange expression after reading the letter and wanted to ask. However, considering that it was a letter from home, he did not open his mouth.
After sending off Camus, Rody felt uneasy for the rest of the day. He was thousands of miles away from the Imperial Capital, so how would he know about the news in the Imperial Capital? He told his bodyguards to go to the Governor-General’s office and investigate if there had been any news of the Imperial Capital. However, nothing major seemed to have happened.
Rody endured the first day but on the second day, he lost his cool. He believed that Myka would not lie to him. If Myka said that something had happened, then something must have definitely happened.
Early the next day, Rody gritted his teeth in determination and summoned Randt. He softly said, “Prepare yourself. We will immediately return to the Imperial Capital!”
Randt was shocked. His expression immediately changed and cried out, “Your Excellency the Duke! This will not do! You are now the Special Envoy of the South by the order of His Majesty! Without His Majesty’s order, you cannot freely choose to return to the Imperial Capital!”
Rody shook his head without speaking. He actually understood what Randt meant.
The Emperor dispatching him here was just for penal servitude. Giving Rody a t.i.tle was just to make sure he stayed here. If he were to wait for His Majesty’s order, he would end up waiting forever and never be able to return to the Imperial Capital.
Randt was a rough person but he understood that n.o.body could defy the Emperor. Even the greatest family of the Empire, the Tulip Family, could not defy the Emperor.
If those who were posted elsewhere were to return to the Imperial Capital without His Majesty’s orders, they would be beheaded.
Randt bitterly advised Rody, but Rody would not listen. To Rody, Nicole’s safety was the top priority. Out of the blue, Sky walked in from outside. When he heard about returning to the Imperial Capital, he laughed. “Good! Good! Good to return! I want to see what the Tulip Family is like! What? The Emperor would punish you? If he dared to punish you, I will burn down his palace!” Sky spoke without fear.
Just when the three of them were making a fuss, there was an uproar and footsteps coming from outside. Immediately, the Xier Governor-General and a few other people entered.
The Xier Governor General tried to ingratiate himself and said, “Your Excellency the Duke, you look…” Before the Xier’s Governor-General could finish, a powerful voice interrupted. “Your Excellency the Duke, I have arrived!”
Rody looked outside and saw a majestic figure walk in. He wore a military uniform and carried a sword on his waist. He looked worn out from traveling but nevertheless still full of vigor. That man, was the Commander of the Wolf Fang, Sieg.
Rody was shocked as Sieg walked up to him and hugged his shoulders. He laughed and said, “Your Excellency the Duke! I marched all the way here and have finally found you! That d.a.m.n Military Minister had been giving us so much trouble to delay us from coming to the South! However, I know that Your Excellency the Duke came to the south to prepare for war against the mountain people! If there is going to be a war, how can Your Excellency fight without us, the Wolves Fang!”
Rody showed a surprised expression and said, “Commander Sieg, you…”
Sieg waved his large hand and laughed, “Your Excellency the Duke, don’t worry! Even if the Military Minister tried to give us trouble, he could not do much! The military force is inclined towards us. Now the command has been transferred! The Wolf Fang have also transferred out of the Central Cavalry and now serve under Your Excellency! I learned that Your Excellency is preparing to fight in the South so I quickly marched here! I have already dispatched and stationed the twenty thousand Wolf Fang soldiers in the city!”
Rody was pleasantly surprised and laughed, “Good, but you are too late! There probably will not be a war… Right!” He glanced at Randt who was still tugging at his clothes. He then remembered his intentions to return to the Imperial Capital and asked, “Commander Sieg, when you left the Imperial Capital, did anything happen?”
Sieg froze for a moment and then he smiled. “That… I was about to say it! Your Excellency the Duke, there was a stir in the Imperial Capital the past few days! Something major had happened!”
“What is it?”
Sieg gave a weird smile and continued, “This is information that came from the Imperial Palace. Apparently, His Majesty is going to marry a new concubine… that is…” At this point, Rody shook his head. That was not what he was asking. He did not care if Abbas XI wanted to marry a new concubine. He did not care even if Abbas XI wanted to marry Jojo. After all, he did not have the slightest affection for Jojo. It would be great if she became the Emperor’s concubine. Then, she would no longer disturb him.
Sieg did not stop smiling as he slowly continued, “…that is… the Tulip Family’s Miss Nicole!”
There was a moment of silence.
“What!” Rody suddenly shouted violently. He jumped as if he was a cat that had its tail stepped on, and he almost hit the ceiling.
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