4 Trouble

The knights, who were drenched in sweat from the recent fighting, slowly walked back to the lake..

The Barbarians also headed to the temporary camp set up at the lake. There was still lunch waiting to be made and complicated labor that needed to be finished.

Leon continued to stand under the scorching sun.

He gazed at the Ruins on the horizon, which was his supposed fief.

"This is going to be troublesome." Leon heavily sighed. His eyes looked worried.

He scanned his surroundings and the lowly dead beings below. Their bodies were left strewn about. He felt pressure deep down instead of relief.

Goblins had been found somewhere close to the Ruins.

The implications of that were undeniably severe.

Leon was unable to help but wear a bitter smirk. Just think about it a little, man. There is no way the Ruins could always stay deserted.

The purge carried out by the Kingdom of Cailux 10 years ago had only been temporary. The Goblins had returned and retaken the ruins.

He made some calculations based on the 40 goblins that had just been slain.

He concluded that there were likely no less than 250 in the tribe of goblins that had taken over the ruins. The numbers could even be higher if the entire tribe was accounted for.

'What do I do now?' At that thought, Leon felt a headache forming.

The Ruins of the Solace Kingdom was the only place were a teleportation altar had been found in the south of the Solana Greenlands. If he were unable to take the area for himself, Leon would be setting himself up to fail and can only return back to the Kingdom. But returning back to the Kingdom of Cailux would only prove to be a problem, he will have no freedom in their.

In truth, even if he were able to return, as the bastard son of the king with an awkward status, there was no guarantee that Leon would be able to live without troubles.

There were many people who did not wish to see him return. To them, it was best if he just simply died in the forest.

Leon unconciously clenched his teeth then sighed.

"Looks like there is no other way huh... "

"Status"

[ Leon Nightshade ]

[ Age:17 ]

[ Title: Exiled Prince, Baron ]

[ Rank: Tier 5 Awakened ]

[ Race: Human ]

[ Occupation: Magic Swordsman, Necromancer ]

[ Bloodline: Nightshade ]

[ Bloodline Skills: Bloodline Extractor ]

[ Physique: None ]

[ Talent: None ]

[ Cultivation Method: Amber of Darkness ]

[ Skills: Sword Mastery, Abyssal flame, Mana coating, Summon Skeleton ]

[ Inventory: Bat Swarm Skill book, Graveyard elixir spell ]

Under the towering trees of the forest Leon stood, his eyes fixed on the dialog box that automatically appeared on his retina. He was actually focusing on the inventory where the skill book is located.

"Retrieve" Leon muttered, then a book that emanated a soft glow appeared in Leon's hand.

Leon looked at the book and held it before him. His gaze focused on the cryptic symbols inscribed on its pages. "Learn," he uttered with determination.

The skill book turn into a cascade of white particles swirling around Leon like a spectral dance. The particles converged and spiraled toward his head, seamlessly merging with his consciousness. In that fleeting moment, the forest seemed to hold its breath as arcane knowledge flowed into Leon's mind.

Huu~

As the last particle vanished, Leon's eyes gleamed with newfound understanding. He could feel the intricate threads of power weaving through his thoughts, accompanied by the whispered incantations that would call forth the Night Bats.

"Haaah... what a pleasant sensation." Leon said with a subtle grin as he walked back to the camp.

______________

Leon looked at the shadows moving about in the tents.

His gaze unavoidably narrowed.

In truth, if he were to conquer the Ruins, he will need more manpower and he will undoubtedly need this knights.

But the problem is this knights were loyal to Leopold, the King of Cailux. They only respected Leon due to his bloodline. When it came to actual command in combat, they were still the ones calling the shots.

Leon understood that since he was unable to command the knights to fight for him, he would have to make them do so by putting the pressure of reality on them.

Leon was initially walking toward the tents, but he turned around and headed for the carriages.

All the Barbarians were busy working.

The kingdom knights were in their tents laughing heartily as if they were joking about something.

No one paid him any attention.

At the very least, no outsiders noticed him.

"My Lord."

Two Barbarians had been tasked with guarding the goods on the carriages.

"Be quiet." Leon raised his hand and signaled for them to stop talking then continued "Retrieve the corpses of the goblins that was scattered in the forest and gather their remains and stack them in the clearing for a macabre purpose."

Leon looked at the two baffled Barbarians and reasserted himself. "Understand?"

"Yes, My Lord," they answered.

"Good." There was not a single bit of expression seen on Leon's face as he walked to his tent as if he didn't order something disturbing.

After he came to this backward and mysterious world, Leon, as the bastard son of the king, learned how to make use of others even if one is dead to the greatest extent. All of that was completely normal considering how he was a noble.

"My Lord."

When Leon was still steeped in thought, a barbarian in charge of cooking, who was holding a wooden plate, lifted the blinds on the tent and said, "Lunch is ready."

"Alright." Kant nodded and took a look.

There were three pieces of white bread, half a smoked chicken, and three spoonfuls of juicy dried meat cooked in black pepper.

That was the kind of gourmet meal that only his status as a baron could have afforded.

White bread and black pepper were both luxuries. Squires and knights were unable to afford such spices and high-quality, soft white bread.

They could have only afforded black bread with wheat bran mixed within the flour, as well as simple cooked dried meat.

"Dried meat cooked in black pepper, eh."

Leon took the plate and said, "If I'm not mistaken, our supply of salt and pepper is running out."

"Indeed my lord" the Barbarian replied.

"I see?"

Leon nodded and told the peasant, "Tell Captain Carlos to come to my tent after he is done with lunch."

"Yes, My Lord," the barbarian respectfully said before leaving the tent.

Leon heartily ate his lunch with a wooden spoon.

The white bread was soft and tasty, as well as of high quality. It had been prepared for him with butter before he left the castle in the Kingdom of Cailux. The same went for black pepper. Leon was a noble. Even if he had been exiled, he still represented the bloodline and glory of King Leopold.

He was a baron and needed to be treated as one.

At the very least, Leon no longer had to worry about food being nasty. Compared to the knights and peasants, he was actually having quite a good meal.

'Too bad that I won't be able to eat like this any longer.'

He dipped the bread into the last bit of soup and put it in his mouth before chewing and gulping the last piece down.

He spent 15 minutes eating lunch, no more and no less.

He soon heard footsteps outside his tent. The leather boots stepped onto the slightly hard sand, making a cracking sound and leaving a footprint behind.

It seemed that Carlos was outside.

"Your Lordship, I heard that you were looking for me."

Captain Carlos could be heard from outside the tent. He sounded respectful and somewhat impatient at the same time.

"Please come in." Leon:s voice was calm as if he did not notice any of that.

The blinds on the tent were lifted. Carlos stooped down for a bit before entering. He smiled faintly as he looked at Leon. "Your Lordship, we'll soon be at the Ruins. How can I be of service?"

Without waiting for Leon to reply, he quickly added, "If there is nothing else, we will be leaving soon."

"Leave?"

Leom looked doubtful as he looked at Carlos and asked, "Shouldn't we be heading to the Ruins of the Solace Kingdom?"

Their destination was within sight, which made Carlos impatient. He had no intention of continuing the journey through the dreaded forest any longer. He was also impatient from being at the side of the exiled baron.

Furthermore, as a veteran who had seen a lot of fighting, there was no way Carlos, the captain of the knights, was not able to see what the baron was up to.

"Your Lordship, the knights can't wait any longer."

He took a good look at Leon. In a flat tone, he said, "I'll make a request on their behalf. If possible, we'd like to begin our journey home right away."

That was a firm, unyielding demand, not a request with room for negotiation.

It was close to being rude.

It meant that Carlos and the knights were on the brink of losing control.

"Of course, if that is what you desire."

Carlos was surprised that Leon was so quick about it. The baron nodded and thanked the captain, saying, "It is thanks to the protection of your knights that we were able to make the journey. You have my gratitude."

"This is just part of our job." Carlos smiled and nodded.

Leon, eyed the smiling knight who stood at a distance. Carlos and the knights loyalty was bound by the king's orders, not genuine respect for the royal blood coursing through Leon's veins.

"Listen Captain, I know you're not thrilled to be here, and frankly, I'm not your favorite prince," Leon began, his tone measured. "But I come to you with a proposition. I need your help. I can't command you, and I won't pretend to have earned your loyalty, but I can offer something that might pique your interest."

"Your lordship, what do you mean by that?" Carlos asked. There was no way Carlos was oblivious to what was happening. His senses were perceptive enough to know this after having spent so much time on battlefields.

There were more than 40 goblins found at the clearing, which were close to the Ruins. That meant the Ruins had long been taken over by the goblins.

Leon remained looking at the middle-aged man while he rummaged through his pocket for a purse. "Will this be enough?"

"Well..." Carlos caught it and felt the obvious weight of the metals in his hand.revealing its gleaming contents

Leon said, "This is a reward for the hard work of you and your men. It is 16 gold coin."

"16 gold coin?" Carlos's breath became somewhat rushed since that was not a small number.

Their monthly pay was only 20 silver coins. The exchange rate between the silver and gold are 100 silver coins to 1 gold coin.

That money meant that every one of the knights would receive five months' worth of extra pay.

"I know you all could leave after escorting us to the Ruins, so this would be my pay for hiring you."

Leon looked at Carlos and solemnly said, "You should be able to understand that if you can help me reclaim my fief, I can give you more than that."

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