This Bastard is Too Competent - Chapter 15
“The Duke is entering!”
The door to the audience room opened.
As the cold-faced Duke entered, everyone took a deep breath.
That’s when everyone was hastily bowing their heads. Only one person had their head raised.
‘Finally we met again, Duke.’
He looked like he was in his early 40’s.
Pale white skin with silver hair, straight features, and a cold face.
A neat robe so spotless as if not a single particle of dust was allowed to touch, and numerous servants who followed behind him. Even the air felt so heavy that it took anyone’s breath away just by looking at him.
The Duke had a suffocating presence just by being there.
So was Ian’s first time.
‘I couldn’t even utter a word.’
Ian just trembled in front of him. It wasn’t just because of the raids and the deaths of the mercenaries.
A sense of intimidation that could only be felt from the royal family or aristocrats. Vigor.
It was because of that Duke.
‘He isn’t called the most powerful person after the king for nothing.’
That’s why he fell flat.
‘I’m not scared of him anymore.’
In the past, Ian tried everything to please him and look good before him.
But from the moment he knew that man was the betrayer that killed him, there was no reason to look good for his sake.
‘I’ll take advantage of you this time.’
As Ian’s eyes flashed with determination.
“Father! Listen to me!”
Heinley, the Duke’s second son, shouted at the Duke.
He seemed to think that someone on his side had finally come.
“That damn serf is insulting the Duke with a fake proof!”
The Duke raised his eyebrows.
Heinley smiled and shot Ian a glare.
He seemed to believe that Ian would be in trouble now.
In fact, the servants and the knights who had come rushing due to the commotion alternately looked at the Duke and Ian.
“Is that him? The one the Duke brought in?”
“The proof is fake.”
“Well, there’s no way that legendary item really exists.”
Heinley also smiled in triumph.
“It is something that no ordinary people in the kingdom know! It’s a legendary item depicted in children’s books, so of course making a similar counterfeit is nothing. If it were you, Father, you could see through it right away, right? He is a prince, so to add legitimacy…”
Contrary to his expectation, the Duke’s eyes on his son were cold.
The Duke ignored his son and called his servant.
“Head Butler. Get that useless bastard out.”
“I’ll take your order.”
Everyone in the audience room was surprised.
Nobody would have thought that the Duke would even do that to his own son.
However, the Duke did not care about the gaze of others.
He had only one interest.
“That’s unexpected. I heard you lost it.”
The Duke walked in front of Ian.
Everyone swallowed their saliva at each step.
The Duke was so tall that he could overwhelm Ian just by standing in front of him.
“Who knows you kept that necklace on you all along.”
The Duke’s voice that flowed out of his lips was very cold.
At the same time, the Duke’s icy blue eyes landed on Ian’s small hand. Precisely, on the necklace. His gaze stung as sharp as a dagger.
It was then that laughter burst out.
“The color of the crest that no craftsmen in the world can ever pull off. Shape. Form. Definitely authentic.”
The Duke smirked and looked at Ian. Eyes looking at a very desperate little boy.
“Did you deceive the knights by saying you lost it?”
Galon and Nathan trembled at that bloody voice and turned to Ian.
Ian chuckled instead of answering.
Perhaps it was very obvious to notice.
That’s true, he told Galon, Nathan, and the centurion that he had lost his mother’s belongings.
There was no other reason.
‘Yes. I wanted to see that expression.’
He’s smiling, but only one corner of his mouth rose up.
Ian knew better than anyone else that this was what the Duke looked like when his stomach twisted in annoyance.
Of course, that was not the only reason.
‘The Duke’s men could have stolen it secretly. It was best to hide it.’
It was another soldier who asked Ian if he had the relic.
The same soldier who asked him in the past and informed the Duke of the news through the carrier pigeon.
In any case, because Ian had hid it this way, he could make use of it now.
Perhaps Heinley shouted at him because he thought there was no proof.
‘But this was definitely a stroke of genius.’
Ian looked straight into the Duke’s eyes.
And since he had seen the proof of the royal family, the Duke, without exception, must kneel down.
“Head Butler. I will attach a close aide to the prince in the future. He will be very busy in the future until he sees His Majesty. So, give him a room and explain the rules. You must be tired today, Prince, so let’s get some rest.”
After saying that, the Duke turned around and walked away to get out.
It’s as if he had seen everything he needed to see.
However, no matter how high his position in the hierarchy was, he had obviously gone overboard.
‘You don’t even pretend to see the royal family in front of you.’
He did not even acknowledge the royal crest.
Surely there was no one in the audience room who would not understand this situation.
It meant that the Duke was disregarding Ian, as a royal family member.
“I’ll take your order.”
No one in the room was dissing the Duke’s actions.
Because the most powerful man in this castle was none other than that man.
Even if he changed his mind and killed Ian here, nobody would make a move.
Even if the royal family who bestowed his title visited the ducal castle, the owner of this castle wouldn’t make an appearance.
The holder of the highest rank in the Kaistein Kingdom nobility. Duke Garcia had that much power.
But it was then.
“Duke Garcia. I think you forgot something just now.”
Everyone froze at Ian’s words.
“Pri, Prince, what are you doing now? Just be quiet!”
Nathan was rarely surprised and tried to cover Ian’s mouth.
Even Galon was seriously guarding Ian’s back with a stiff face.
The Duke turned around with an amused face.
“Are you talking to me?”
“Is there another duke besides you?”
He opened his mouth and said nothing.
He must have never imagined that there would be a prince as bold as Ian.
In the castle of Duke Garcia, the Duke held an absolute inviolable power that even the king could not recklessly overlook.
He couldn’t believe Ian called him ‘you’ informally.
However, Ian did not call out to the Duke without thinking.
‘The Duke hates cowards and looks down on them. It’s better to face him confidently in places like this.’
Besides, he had no reason to kneel down. Because the wrong was rather made over there.
The justification and justice were on his side.
‘And I don’t want to be dragged around by anyone anymore.’
And it was at that moment.
This time, Nathan and Galon reacted noticeably.
Unexpectedly, the Duke was smiling.
“Haha. Interesting. Not a single nobleman, let alone King Rodelyn, would dare to say such a thing in front of me.”
The Duke smiled pleasantly, but the knights knew better. He wasn’t in a very good mood.
But Ian was calm.
No nobleman in the world was able to withstand being crushed under the Duke’s aura and speak easily, but Ian had stayed with the Duke longer than anyone else.
‘If you want to do it, try it.’
Moreover, the Duke could not kill him.
‘If it’s for the succession war, you’ll definitely need me.’
The succession war was so important that it changed a great deal of the atmosphere in the nobility.
The other camps had already chosen the successor for their own sides.
The Duke also had a successor candidate he was pushing for, but the problem was that he died in an unexpected incident.
Others didn’t know, but Ian knew for sure.
‘You need me. So I have to go more confidently. So that you have no choice but to need me.’
What he needed was the key to victory for the succession war.
Obviously, at the last moment, he had pushed a knife into Ian’s back. Even so, Ian’s existence was necessary for the Duke.
The same would happen this time as well.
Only then did the Duke ask with interested eyes.
“Alright. Tell me, what do you think I’m forgetting?”
As if challenging him to a trick, the Duke bent slightly in front of Ian. Ian had no choice but to face the Duke’s cold eyes right away.
But he didn’t avoid it.
“Your son should apologize to me first. He didn’t just claim that the royal seal was a fake. He should plead guilty for insulting me as a prince.”
The Duke laughed.
“Have you lost your mind? You are going to accept an apology from my son in my own castle?”
“If you did something wrong, you should be punished. That’s common sense.”
To be exact, it was what Heinley, the second son of the Duke, often said to Ian in the past. Using those words, he inflicted all sorts of humiliation on Ian.
However, the Duke seemed to see it in a completely different way.
“What? Common sense? You should be punished if you did something wrong? Hahahaha!”
The Duke, infamous for being cold, burst out laughing.
And this was the first time his subordinates saw it.
The servants of the castle, who only used to see the Duke’s usual cold demeanor, were so surprised that they couldn’t even shut their mouths.
The Duke soon stopped laughing and flashed a cold smile.
“That’s right. If you sinned, you should be punished. Head Butler, bring that ugly fellow here.”
Heinley was dragged by the head butler and the servants.
Heinley groaned and shouted.
“Father! What are you doing! Come on, show him the dignity of Duke Garcia!”
However, what Heinley wanted did not happen.
“Fa, Father? Ughh!”
The head butler, who had noticed the Duke’s intention in advance, made Heinley kneel in front of Ian and the Duke.
It was then.
Heinley’s head was grabbed by the servants at the Duke’s order.
His head was slammed against the hard marble floor.
A method of apology that truly befitted a sinner.
“This is the sin of that ignorant bastard for disregarding the crest of the kingdom.”
“This is the price of the crime you have done against the prince.”
“This is the punishment for the undignified behavior as the duke’s family member.”
The Duke’s words couldn’t have been any colder. To the point where everyone’s hearts were shivering in fear.
However, everyone’s eyes looking on Heinley were filled with dismay.
His head was dripping with blood, staining it red. His teeth were shattered in various places as the face was smashed to the marble floor.
If not treated properly, it could be fatal.
However, everyone’s breath died at the Duke’s next words.
“And this is the crime for tarnishing my name as the duke.”
It was more intense than the previous three.
This time, the Duke put his leg on Heinley’s face himself and pinned it on the ground.
The Duke stood up with a brutal momentum.
“Now… Is this enough?”
If it wasn’t enough, he would make Ian look the same.
It meant not to mess with the Duke anymore.
Heinley didn’t even make a sound as if he had died from a huge shock.
Ian read the Duke’s gaze correctly.
‘He is a nobleman who doesn’t tolerate even a single scratch on his family’s name more than his own blood.’
Ian nodded as if he understood.
Then he smiled and said, “The Duke is quite good.”
“Please forgive my son’s rudeness with this. He will be with the prince as a close aide in the future, so please be friendly.”
The Duke said that while pointing to Heinley, who had collapsed and lost his mind.
But it was then.
“If it is a close aide, don’t you think I need one more?”
Ian showed a provocative look at the Duke.
The Duke was taken aback.
“You are greedier than you look. He is a thoroughly educated child. I don’t think my son won’t be able to perform a good job.”
“Haven’t I just experienced something so dangerous?”
Ian looked at the Duke with a sharp gaze.
“I encountered some assassins on my way here. I don’t know who sent them.”
He was staring at the culprit of the raid, but the Duke didn’t even flinch.
“I’m scared, so I have to live. My life was being threatened, a fear unimaginable for someone who had been a serf until yesterday. So, rather than useless people, I think I need a soldier to protect me.”
The Duke raised the corners of his mouth as if Ian’s antics were cute. A naive young kid who was terrified of whether he would eventually lose his life to his opponent no matter what he said.
“Alright. If there’s anyone you want, I’ll definitely assign them to you. Anyone you like?”
Ian smirked as if he had been waiting.
“I think Sir Galon will be perfect.”
The whole castle was frozen.
This time, the peerless Duke seemed completely caught off guard.
Although Galon was from a commoner background, he was one of the Duke’s most favorite knights.
It was Galon they spoke of, not anyone else.
Nathan even forgot to close his mouth, and he looked at Ian blankly as if he was dumbstruck.
The Duke was also speechless.
“Him? You asked me to give you Galon?”
Without mercy, Ian landed a decisive blow on the Duke.
“What do you think? Will you give him to me?”
The Duke’s expression was worth seeing.