The war between Morko and Titan was reaching its end. Just as historians would write later, the invaders were eventually expelled from their homeland.
It was what everyone had been hoping for, at least everyone in Morko Principality.
Every single one of Morkos soldiers was overflowing with joy that they had won another war. Their smiles were as bright as the morning sun.
The soldiers did not care how much Titan would need to pay in compensation, or whether they would get war bonuses. All they knew that moment was that they could go home.
They had settled everything that mattered.
The outpost towers on both sides of the Afterglow Valley had been rebuilt and strengthened even more.
The wall at the end of the valley, which was blocking the entrance to Titan, was also being rebuilt.
As their biggest defense against Titan, the Afterglow Wall had provided a substantial help in fending off their enemies.
Even the farmers in Morko Principality knew this, let alone the soldiers.
The Afterglow Wall had decreased Morkos casualties by at least 30%.
Therefore, every soldier who was helping rebuild the wall was doing so with exceptional seriousness.
It was a matter of life and death after all.
Kieran, who was hiding in a cave on the left side of the valley, could not see their rebuilding efforts, but ever since he had reached the Afterglow Valley two days earlier, the things he had seen and heard had been enough for him to make educated guesses.
He was not interested in the rebuilding. All his attention was focused on Ferlin and Mordred.
"Another glorious victory! Your Majesty is always victorious!" Ferlin said loudly, standing on a giant rock.
He had already removed his hood and mask, revealing a long scrawny, shrivelled face. His hair and beard were almost completely white.
"Being able to chant praises and sing my virtues is also one of the things a dog needs to learn, huh?" Mordred said full of mockery. His hands and legs were tied together, and he was hanging from a tree.
"Ill take that as a compliment." Ferlin bowed with a smile, as if he accepted his comment whole-heartedly.
Mordred let out a cold laugh before going silent.
Kieran had witnessed scenes like that countless times during the past two days.
Each time, he felt scared of Ferlins ability to control his emotions. It was as if he could not get angry.
No matter how harsh or demoralizing Mordreds comments were, or how ugly the words he used could be, Ferlin took everything as a compliment.
Kieran unconsciously widened the distance between them after witnessing that scene.
A person who was able to control their emotions so well had to be very delicate.
Kieran did not want to expose himself and ruin everything after following Ferlin by using his [Undercover] for so long.
He was also close to completing his Main Mission, whether that was to leave Morko Principality from the north the conventional way, or kill all the reinforcements with alternate ways.
Everything was coming to an end, so Kieran had to be more careful than usual.
A series of horse gallops could be heard, followed by a team of riders, who appeared below his cave.
Kieran peeked at them from the corners of his eyes.
The leader of the group was a middle-aged man with white sideburns. He also had clear wrinkles around his mouth and eyes.
His back was straight though, and he got off his horse with clean movements that did not match a man of his age.
With every step he took, his iron greaves would produce a clear noise that made his steps sound firm and powerful.
"Your Majesty!" Ferlin jumped off the rock and bowed down in greeting.
"Well done, Sir Ferlin! Your actions will be remembered! I wish to speak with Mor alone now!" Grand Duke Morko said.
"As you wish!"
Ferlin backed off to a spot inside the cave, taking the other knights with him.
When everyone left, the Grand Duke laid his eyes on Mordred.
Mordred turned away from his fathers gaze.
"I am very disappointed in you!" the Grand Duke said slowly, speaking to Mordreds profile.
As soon as the words faded away, the Grand Duke took out his horse whip.
The whip struck hard against Mordreds chest. His skin split open instantly, the flesh of his already wounded body breaking apart.
The whip was stained with Mordreds blood. It was dripping on the ground, slowly coloring the group with red drops. This was just the beginning though.
"Do you know why Im so disappointed?"
The Grand Dukes voice sounded enraged, but he had no intention of covering it up.
The horse whip kept lashing Mordreds face and body.
Mordred clenched his teeth hard, remaining silent throughout the whipping, taking it like a real man. He did not even whisper in pain.
The whipping continued for at least 10 minutes. The Grand Duke only stopped when the whip broke in half.
Mordred, who was already suffering from heavy injuries, was on the verge of death after that merciless whipping.
The Grand Duke pulled out his sword and pointed it at his dying son.
When the blade and the sheath collided, the noise made Mordred raise his head, using all his remaining strength. He saw the Grand Duke looking gloomy, and noticed the sword in his hand.
Mordred suddenly smiled widely.
He was ready for death.
Ever since hed decided to carry out his plan, he had already known it would happen. Even though he was scared, some things were inevitable.
"Kill me!" he muttered, using all the breath he could muster.
Just as the words escaped Mordreds mouth, the sword was flung down hard.
It suddenly flashed with a cold glint.
Mordred closed his eyes tight.
There anticipated pain nor the awaited freedom did not occur.
Mordreds hands and legs were freed, and he fell straight down from the tree into strong arms.
Mordred opened his eyes and saw that he was in the Grand Dukes arms, heading away from the tree.
He frowned and looked at the Grand Duke with a puzzled expression. So did Kieran, who was watching everything.
When the Grand Duke had swung down his sword, Kieran had thought that Mordred was gone for good. He would be killed by his own father, who was infuriated by his actions.
However, the Grand Duke had freed Mordred from his bindings instead.
"Whats going on?" Kieran asked himself as he frowned.
A sudden rushed breathing was heard out of nowhere, attracting his complete attention.
Someone was there!
Kierans heart skipped a beat.
Before he could even move, a black figure appeared before the Grand Duke and a bright blade was revealed and pointed at his throat with a flash.
Before the blade could plunge forward into the Grand Dukes throat though, a dark mist appeared in between, preventing the lethal stab.
Within a breaths time, the dark mist had engulfed the blade.
Ferlin emerged from the dark mist, a long thorned stinger in his hand, suppressing a wider sword beneath it.
Ferlin looked at the person before him with a cold smile.
"How dare you raise your sword against His Majesty before me, Stagner? I should cut you into pieces!"
The dark mist around Ferlin brewed even more dark energy, an endless stream of killing intent appearing. Stagner stepped before Ferlin, ignoring the life-threatening aura.
He looked right through Ferlin, directly at the Grand Duke.
"Release Mor!" he shouted.
The Grand Duke tapped Ferlins shoulder lightly after hearing the enraged shout and seeing Stagners twisted expression.
Ferlin looked at the Grand Duke with a puzzled expression.
"Leave it to me," the Grand Duke said.
"Yes, Your Majesty!" Ferlin nodded, quickly retracting the dark mist a little and stepping aside. His thorny sword was still pointed at Stagner though.
He needed to make sure that he could protect the Grand Duke at any moment if Stagner made a move.
With Ferlin out of the equation, the Grand Duke and Stagner looked at each other.
The Grand Duke was exceptionally calm, while Stagner looked furious.
"You think Mor is your child?" the Grand Duke said after a slight pause.
"Of course! Of course he is my child! Give him back to me!" Stagner shouted again.
Kierans eyes opened wide at the truth.
"Mordred is Stagners son? No wonder they had such a close relationship!"
Some of his unanswered questions were cleared after that revelation. Kieran thought he understood everything now, but he was baffled again when he heard their next words.
"Stagner Or should I call you Leor? Please hold on a moment."
The Grand Duke slowly laid down Mordred very carefully.
Then he removed the ring from his left thumb and put it on Mordreds thumb.
"This symbolizes the Grand Dukes authority and power," the Grand Duke said slowly, pointing at the ring as he looked at his eldest son.
"Do you know why Im disappointed, Mor? Its because you dont trust me! I might not be a good father, but Id never mistake my own flesh and blood! From the first time I saw you, I knew that you were Kylies son, and I"
"STOP IT!" Stagners sudden uproar interrupted him.
"Everything you said is a lie! I am Mors real father! Kylie is my wife, not yours!"
Stagner rushed towards the Grand Duke like an angry beast.
The two-handed wield of his sword produced a strong wind, seemingly ready to destroy his opponent.
Ferlin stepped in, blocking the incoming attack.
Meanwhile, outside the cave, a series of war cries were heard.
A green viper-tailed flag was blowing high in the air.
It was Titans national flag!
Good news people. Im happy to announce that goal is met! Still because of my soft heart i would post 5 bonus chaps even if we didn't make it. Its the process of getting together that matters, results is only second to what u find interesting!
There will be a total of 6 chap (1 original monday and 5 bonus) tomorrow but give the system some time to post all the chaps. (Fyi, there is a 5 mins interval between auto posting so it would at at least half an hour for all 6 to be uploaded).
Last but not least, happy early christmas ! Enjoy and continue your dungeon crawl!!