The troops following the Grand Duke went into battle straightaway when the Titan troops appeared.
All the soldiers from Morko Principality were well-disciplined, which was a result of their topnotch military training.
When the battle started, a squad of less than thirty men managed to hold a Titan infantry of hundreds of thousands outside the cave.
The riders had the terrain advantage though, and each of them was very strong.
While the battle outside was going on, so was the battle between Ferlin and Stagner inside the cave. That one was arguably even more fierceful.
The powerful blade wave fired out with each swing was enough to break rocks and mountains.
Their shadows could barely keep up with their movements, and the destruction was silent, as sound could not keep up either.
In Kierans opinion, the two of them were equal in terms of strength.
As the seconds passed though, Ferlin slowly got the upper hand, not because of his strength, but because of what the Grand Duke was saying.
"An accident brought me and Kylie together. She was even younger than you when I first met her, and I was still just a boy"
"Shut up! SHUT IT!"
The Grand Duke was spilling out secrets from beside his son. Even Stagners outraged shouts could not stop him.
That was why Stagner got distracted and upset, thus giving Ferlin the upper hand.
The dark mist flew towards him like silk, slightly caressing his body.
None of his armor could defend him against the ghastly mist. A simple touch from it could cause a small cut to form under his armor.
Fresh blood started spilling out, and within a couple of breaths, Stagners body had been dyed red.
"Something is not right!"
Kieran watched the fight between Ferlin and Stagner before looking at the Morko and Titan soldiers and the Grand Duke, who was still telling a story to his son. Things did not add up. Kieran frowned.
"Why would the Grand Duke choose to tell this story right now? It seems like hes trying to distract Stagner! And why would Ferlin choose such a place, and not someplace safer? He knew Stagner had an unusual relationship with Titan. Its as if he was trying to lure the Titan soldiers here! Hold on..."
Kieran looked at the Grand Duke in astonishment.
His words were soft as he talked to Mordred, but his face was calm as water and cool as ice.
It was not the face of a father telling a story to his son.
The Grand Duke unsheathed his sword again and pointed the blade at the sky.
The sunlight was reflected on the blade, shining brightly, the dazzling reflection noticeable from even 100 meters away.
The reflection shone brightly towards the valley stream.
Suddenly, a thunderous sound came from it.
The giant logs inside the stream, which were supposed to be used for the rebuilding of the Afterglow Wall, were rolling downwards along with ball-sized rocks at a ridiculous speed.
Within a mere second, the logs and rocks had crashed hard against the Titan soldiers heads.
Less than a quarter of a minute later, the Titan soldiers that had infiltrated the Afterglow Valley had been killed.
Some fortunate survivors that had not entered the valley yet ran for their lives.
After the landslide attack, even more Morko soldiers appeared from both sides of the valley and charged down towards their enemies.
"It was a signal to activate the trap! It was all a big trap right from the beginning! A trap set specifically for Titan Principality!" Kieran realized silently.
"The Grand Duke knew about the uprising in the castle, and he used it against them! He knew about everything right from the start, but pretended not to! Was he the one who arranged everything after all?"
The second theory sent chills down Kierans spine. After careful thought though, he realized it was possible.
Ferlin had said that when Stagner had appeared before the Grand Duke ten years earlier, hed had his doubts. If Ferlin had known, why wouldnt the Grand Duke?
The answer was a no brainer. The Grand Duke must have known everything right from the start. Otherwise, Ferlin would not have appeared at the castle at just the right time.
"What a fearsome man! I dont think he has any humanity at all. He wanted to win that war, and he used all means necessary to achieve it!"
Kieran looked at the Grand Duke. His sword was still high up in the air, and he was still whispering to his son. He looked like a scorpion ready to sting its prey.
Kieran took a second look at Mordred, who had already passed out. His life was hanging by a thread.
Still, that was not a good enough reason for the Grand Duke to stop. He continued whispering softly about that woman, Kylie, and how theyd met and fallen in love.
Stagner was roaring like a raging beast while still tangling with Ferlin.
Ferlin wounded him repeatedly, giving him minor cuts from time to time. As the Grand Duke continued his story, the wounds multiplied on Stagners body and his tone got more agitated.
"Do you know why your mother eventually left me, but still presented you back to me? Do you, Mor? It was because she had discovered my secrets. Some very dark secrets She thought I was just some mindless, merciless tyrant! Thats why she left me!"
"She underestimated me though! My determination brought you back to me. Wasnt it worth it? A whole village for you? Just like I used LeGrand and Reedralls lives in exchange for the whole Titan Principality! It was a really great bargain!"
The Grand Duke was looking at Stagner as he spoke.
"I really have to thank you, Leor! You are still so simple-minded. All I had to do was feed you some clues. You couldnt even wait to go after it! It was quite disappointing that it took you ten years to complete your plans though! I thought youd form a relationship with Titan in three to five years! I gave you many chances after all!"
The Grand Duke shook his head as he lectured Stagner.
"MORKO!" Stagner shouted.
"Im here! Oh, I have an idea!"
The Grand Duke nodded as if he agreed, the wrinkled corners of his mouth grinning with malicious intent.
"How about you take your own life? If you do, Ill let Mor live. Your existence is just a nuisance! I cant sleep or have a good meal anymore!" he said before pointing his sword at the unconscious Mordred.
"Are you serious?" Stagner suddenly stopped attacking, and so did Ferlin.
Ferlin went over to the Grand Duke without a blink.
"Of course, Mor is my son after all. Hes the only son I have now. If the situation allows it, I would rather not lose him!" the Grand Duke said.
"Very well... I choose death then! I wont take my own life though. Ferlin, you bastard, youve wanted to kill me for so long, havent you? Heres your chance! Do it!" Stagner threw his blade away.
The blade fell on the ground, producing a clear sound. Within an instant, Ferlins thorny sword had pierced through Stagners chest.
The slim, long sword was inside his chest, blood gushing out as Stagner replied with an unexpected grin.
He grabbed Ferlin, who was within arm range, and dashed towards the Grand Duke.
Before the Grand Duke could even react, Stagners other arm had grabbed him tightly, preventing an escape.
Stagner instantly turned his head around, shouting towards a specific spot, "NOW!"
It was where Kieran was hiding!
This is the Original Monday Post.
Extra 5 chapters will be posted withing 30 mins or so because the auto upload timer apparently has a 5 mins interval...