The pain was still there. Even so, Alonso downed his recently fixed armor.
Enrique looked at him through the corner of his eyes. The advisor wanted to tell his lord to rest, but he knew he couldn’t. Not when there was work to be done.
“Here’s what they found in the forest, my Lord,” the advisor handed Alonso a piece of folded parchment.
The noble reached his hand out to take it, wincing with the action. He grunted, but ignored his pain and read the parchment. The pain his face gave room to a dark expression as he went down the list.
“All this…?” Alonso asked, the disbelief plain on his face.
“Yes… that’s everything we could find throughout their lair,” the man said with a grievous voice.
Alonso turned back to the paper in his hand.
“This is…” he couldn’t finish the sentence.
From her uncomfortable sheath on his waist, Tetsuko could see what was written on the paper. To her surprise, she understood the strange letter. Thanks to Fael’s memories, I can read this strange word’s writings.
As she read, Tetsuko could see the reason behind her wielder’s shock right away.
The list contained too many items that didn’t seem likely for a group of bandits to have.
Crossbows, armors, weapons and arrows were one thing.
If they didn’t have that, they wouldn’t be considered a threat, even with their large numbers.
But it wasn’t all bandits’ groups that had detailed maps of the land and nearest castles.
And that wasn’t all.
The biggest problem were the last items on the list.
The soldiers had found siege weapons in their forest.
The bandits were planning to invade a castle, Tetsuko understood the situation. They were planning to use the chaos in the kingdom and take a castle…
The great number of food the bandits had stashed in the forest only reinforced that idea.
And that was not the end of the lord’s shook.
“How did they get this…?” Alonso said, picking up another piece of paper from his desk.
The parchment was crumbled and hastily written. But the content had the potential to destroy the kingdom.
Detail notes about the armies’ movements on the area and the enemies they’re fighting…
Even if the soul in the sword didn’t recognize the names, she saw her wielder’s name on the paper. The bandits knew he’d attack… but they didn’t know when…
And if the bandits got ahold of something like this, it can only mean one thing, Tetsuko knew.
She also knew her wielder would reach the same conclusion.
“Treason,” Alonso muttered what was in his sword’s mind.
“Yes… There’s someone betraying the kingdom to the bandits,” Enrique said.
“They even had the orders of our departure… how did they have this…?”
A heavy silence filled the tent.
The lord reread the paper over and over.
“M-my lord, do… do you think the bandits could have someone inside the army? It doesn’t necessarily mean—”
“The information on these papers are too important… only someone high in the court could’ve known all this…”
The advisor grew quiet. He knew his lord was right. And also what those words meant.
Yes… the only way the bandits could’ve gotten this level of information from someone like a noble… or possibly even a lord…
And if my wielder brings this to court, it’ll only cast the shadow of doubt in everyone… in the chaotic state the kingdom is right now, there’s no way they’ll be able to fight all the threats and look for the traitor at the same time…
“Sir!” a soldier shouted before entering the main tent in a rush.
The lord and the advisor turned to him.
Without stopping to recover his breath, he made a quick bow.
“Lord Dale is coming, sir!” he said in a gasped voice. “He has sent a messenger informing he’ll be here soon.”
At the mention of the name, the advisor widened his eyes.
The lord did the same, his face losing some of the color it had recovered.
“T-thank you,” Enrique said when he recovered himself, dismissing the soldier with a nod.
“Why is Lucky Chaos coming here?” the lord muttered when they were alone again, supporting himself on the table. “That’s the last thing I need right now… to deal with him…”
“I don’t know, my lord. But we cannot ignore him,” the advisor said, not hiding the frustration in his face.
“I know, I know…”
Alonso covered his face with a hand and took a deep breath.
Who is this call Lucky Chaos? Tetsuko wondered. Even if she didn’t care much about the people of this world, her wielder’s reaction set her curiosity.
“Have you met him personally?” The lord asked in a low voice after a while.
“Once, at your cousin’s wedding party… he looked… too old for his age… but even so, his presence…”
“His presences makes you… too uncomfortable,” Alonso finished the thought, wincing. “As if there’s something under your skin…”
“Yes… I still remember that day… But he may help up with this situation.” Enrique tried to be optimistic, though his expression said otherwise.
Alonso let out a weak chuckle.
“With his reputation, his help might ruin everything for us…it might even be my downfall.”
The silence fell on the tent once again.
“A-are the stories about him are true…?” The advisor asked hesitatingly after a while. “I’ve only heard the rumors…”
Alonso poured himself some wine and drank slowly.
“Most rumors are true,” the lord said in a dark tone. “His nickname, Lucky Chaos, isn’t undeserved. He’s an incredibly lucky man… but his success was thanks to the downfall of others… or even their death…”
“S-so… what happened to his brother and nephew…?”
Alonso gulped as his eyes went out of focus.
“Yes… the original rightful heirs of the castle Lucky Chaos is now… I remember his brother… he was what you’d expect from a lord… strong and just… I was there that day… in the hunt when he died… I was almost a man and my father allowed me to go with them…”
“And… how was the luck of Lord Dale involved…?”
Alonso looked at his advisor with a dark expression.
“To this day, I can’t forget what happened. When the falcon dived for its prey, the hunter tried to shoot it down right away, but he couldn’t. He was waiting for the shot, but the bird went towards his horse. The animal got scared and became out of control. The crossbow fell from the hunter’s hands and when it hit the ground, it shot by itself… the bolt hit the Lord right in the back of the neck… he died almost right away…”
Enrique gulped and tugged at the collar of his clothes.
That’s… an incredible bad luck, Tetsuko thought.
“Then… what about Lucky chaos nephew…?”
The lord shook his head gravely.
“That was also tragic… His wet-nurse ate some bad food. Shrimp or something, that her brother had won in a card game at the fishing docs. The baby drank her milk and in the next day… he never woke up…”
The lord trailed off, pouring another cup of wine for himself.
Lucky Chaos, the soul in the sword thought. But certainly anyone would find those deaths suspicious, right? This Dale had become the lord of the lands thanks to two strange deaths…
The advisor voiced what Tetsuko was thinking.
“Yes… everyone was suspicious… People investigated… especially the closest friends… but no one never found anything. Not a single proof tying Dale to the deaths of his older brother and nephew…”
“So his luck means someone else downfall…”
“Yes… There were more… strange situations… but by then, the nickname Lucky Chaos was already circulating…”
Once again the silence filled the tent.
The lord finished his wine and stared at the cup.
“I can’t believe he’s coming here now… maybe that’s destiny way of saying that my time has come… and I’m not even twenty-five years old…”
“My lord. S-shouldn’t we turn Lord Dale away? Say that we can’t receive him properly at this time… we are still in pursuit of the bandits… and you still haven’t recovered…”
“Wish I could do that. But he’s too big in the inner court, even with his infamy… refusing him isn’t an option… not unless we want to deal with the consequences…”
Both men fell silent as they waited for the noble known as Lucky Chaos to arrive.