[Main Mission: Escort Mary to the imperial city within 30 days, 0/30]
[Note 1: Discovered key item to main mission, rating greatly increased]
[Note 2: Extra rating boost if Mary arrives at the imperial city unharmed]
The words piled up in Kieran's vision.
Kieran was looking at the goatskin scroll that was sealed with a heavy layer of wax in surprise. It piqued Kieran's curiosity; he wanted to see what was written inside, but he knew what he should do at that moment.
He grabbed a side of the secret order and handed it to Mary.
Whether it was her mother's death or the high tower that was set ablaze, it was all because of this scroll. Kieran understood that Mary should be the one to open the secret order.
Even more so, the main mission from there onwards was directly related to her.
Kieran was not willing to protect a little girl that he had estranged feelings against.
Who knew what outrageous deeds her childish nature would commit?
Even though Mary had showed a mature side since they met.
Mary's youthful palm was trembling slightly and so was the scroll. But it didn't stop her from cutting the wax with a small knife and opening it.
Mary had no intention of hiding it, so even from his position, Kieran could clearly see what was written on it.
My body couldn't bear it anymore.
Every night when I closed my eyes, I was afraid that I couldn't see the sun on the second day.
So, I need you to bring Mary back to the imperial city, and inform her of her identity, her responsible and authority. She's my daughter, the daughter of James VIII. She should be the queen of Warren!
It was my mistake a long time ago. I believed that you would educate her in the best way possible. Thus, I did not interfere with you bringing Mary away from me.
But now, she has to come back to me!
Please hurry, I don't have much time.
Wish you all the best.
Kieran glanced over the contents of the secret order.
Though, it was more of a personal letter than a secret order, but the contents made Kieran exclaim in his heart.
"So this is the truth!"
Kieran started to recall everything that had happened, and everything started to come to light at that moment.
Why would there be an assassin, a rider and even a betrayer that had hidden for a decade?
Everything revolved around Mary's identity.
Kieran started to inspect the little girl before him.
A blonde hair with a ponytail, sapphire blue eyes squinting at the secret order, making them look narrow and long. It added a layer of maturity to the youthfulness. Even though there were freckles on her face, they was neglectable.
She was not pretty by any means, but the valiant aura around her granted her her own unique temperament.
"Although bringing Mary away from the king broke her heart, Ellen knew Mary had to face her destiny in the future. So she gave her heart to educate her?"
Kieran was thinking about the methods of the original owner of Swusters Castle, Ellen.
Her rationality was impressive.
Rationality, not intelligence or wisdom.
The secret order was not opened, but Ellen knew what was written inside. Thus, she started to prepare everything. Even though it was a risk to her life, she was not afraid at all.
A person that didn't fear death was the scariest.
Kieran couldn't deny it, but when he truly came across such a character, he realized that he was too shallow, after all. Kieran believed Ellen knew Galeart had a hidden agenda, but she didn't make any response.
Maybe she had her own set of thoughts about Galeart. However, when the imperial envoy left the imperial city, everything came down to the last resort, using Galeart to assist Mary!
Ellen was confident about Galeart's decision after knowing the contents of the secret order. She had insights about what Galeart wanted in his heart since a long time ago.
Even though it came with the most risks, with huge benefits to reap, Galeart would definitely take up the task, even if it cost him his own life.
The nature of greed blinded Galeart's eyes. As far as the organization behind him was concerned, the temptation of the throne and the leverage of the whole land was too huge.
Ellen had thought of everything from start.
She left the prosperous city, relied on herself and herself alone, with unbending will to keep her child safe. Though, it couldn't really protect her from what was to come.
The king might have been a force to be reckoned with back in the days, but at the present time, he was weak and on his last breath.
Ellen couldn't rely on such a father to protect her child because she had predicted that immense danger would be waiting for Mary when she arrived at the imperial city.
The royal family, the nobles... No one wished for Mary, the unrelated "outsider", to step in and inherit the throne, becoming the ruler of Warren.
Dark waves raged beyond sights, clouds of conspiracy covered the sky, open attacks and hidden strikes followed one after another, leading to a relentless pursue of her. How would a little girl of her age survive such a brutal trial?
So, Ellen needed to find protective measures for her child to escort her to the imperial city.
Galeart and the organization behind him was the best option since Ellen already had insights into their capabilities, but
Kieran unconsciously looked at Mary who was standing silently before him.
"Are you sure your daughter could afford to be with Galeart?"
Kieran muttered in a voice only he could hear.
Ellen's plans and arrangement seemed flawless except for one point, Mary!
Kieran really had no idea how Ellen trusted that her daughter would successfully ascend to the throne under the stares of tigers and wolves that were circulating around her like she was their dinner.
Even if Ellen did find the protective measures for her, when Mary succeeded in inheriting the throne, such measures might turn into a lethal dose of poison for her.
After all, Galeart and his gang was here for the wealth and benefits.
If the results couldn't satisfy them, they would turn their back on Mary.
It was almost certain that they couldn't be easily satisfied because greed itself was a bottomless abyss.
Kieran could already imagine how would they squeeze their benefits out of Mary.
As for Mary herself?
Since she couldn't reach the stage to confront them in time, what would be waiting for her at the end of the line?
Even more so, when Mary found out that Galeart was the one who killed her mother, what decision would she make?
Regardless of her decision, it would be a harsh and merciless one. Especially when everything was arranged by her mother's hands.
"Is this mercy or cruelty?"
Kieran realized it was the first time he encountered a person that he couldn't comment about, making him turn silent right after the thoughts.
After a few minutes, Mary, who had been quiet for a while, finally opened her mouth.
"Mother already knew?" The little girl asked vaguely. It was unclear if she was asking whether her mother knew the contents of the secret order or if she was questioning her mother about Galeart's identity.
Though both question shared similar traits.
Kieran didn't answer. He knew when the little girl let the questions out that she would've guessed it herself with her early maturity. What followed afterward was her decision.
"2567, how far is the imperial city?" The little girl asked.
"Not that far, I'll escort you there."
The bloom of a romantic relationship