This Bastard is Too Competent - Chapter 17
“What about here?”
Unlike calm Ian, the expressions of Galon and Nathan were worth seeing.
A living room huge enough to run inside without any hurdles.
A cabinet decorated with expensive-looking ornaments and various gems.
The terrace on the second floor where the Duke’s mansion could be seen at a glance.
A beautiful room flaunting the wealth of Duke Garcia.
“What is this shabby barn?”
At Nathan’s cry, Galon clicked his tongue and corrected him.
“Nathan, it may look like a dirty barn, but it’s a fine reception room. It’s just poorly managed.”
“That’s what I mean!”
Nathan was agitated as he looked around.
Sweeping his gaze over the room, Ian brushed off the dust piling up on a desk.
‘It’s the same here.’
It was a cold place without warmth.
As if it had not been used for a long time, white cloths were draped over the furniture in several places. Everything was full of dust and covered in spider webs.
Anyway, this was the room he had stayed in for 10 years in the past.
And more than anything.
‘I will be attacked here today.’
That’s the first problem he was going to face here.
However, Ian smiled brightly even though his life was in imminent danger.
“The room is dirty, but maybe they didn’t clean it because we arrived earlier than expected?”
Nathan and Galon’s expressions instead became strange at what he said.
Above all, Nathan and Galon seemed to know very well about this place.
“That, Prince. Actually, cleaning is not the problem.”
When Galon glanced at the portrait in the center of the room and was about to reply, Nathan harshly grabbed the servant by the collar first.
“Who assigned him to such a cursed room?”
“Is it the head butler or the second young master, Heinley?”
“I don’t know either, Sir. I just follow the order to guide you…”
“Anyway, Prince, this cursed annex is definitely a big no. I think there was a mistake, but this surely isn’t the right place.”
But Ian only smiled instead.
< The Cursed Annex >
Although Nathan did not say it out loud, Ian was well aware of the story behind the room even if he didn’t want to know it.
‘Until I came, no one in the dukedom had touched this place.’
After all, this was the place where many people had died.
Not to mention, this was the room used by the first duke, and although it was a good room located in a strategic spot and furnished with high-grade furniture, strange things happened to the people who used this place for a long time.
For example, getting possessed by ghosts. It was a grotesque place where it would not be strange if anyone died inside.
‘That could be why I was assigned to this room.’
It must be the joke of the second son who was supposed to stick as his close aide.
Because that young man was aware of that.
“Bring the head butler right now!”
Nathan glared at the servant. When he first came in, he was skeptical, but he was certain after seeing the portrait of the first duke hung on the wall.
“Are you planning on having the prince staying in a room like this?”
He wanted to switch the room right away.
“If you don’t bring him, I’ll go myself.”
“Sir Nathan! Wait.”
Ian shook his head as if Nathan had lost it.
“I’m fine. There’s no way the Duke made a mistake, so this must be the right room.”
Ian secretly raised the corners of his mouth.
‘Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.’
TL/N : FYI, a quote by Charlie Chaplin. Seeing things from a different perspective helps keep us grounded in reality, and when all else fails, comfort can be found in a trusted companion.
The same was true for his life.
In the past, Ian was afraid to be in this cold place, so he visited the Duke every day.
Although he was neglected by the Duke and had to struggle with loneliness.
It wasn’t so anymore.
No, it had to be this room now.
‘The Duke’s third son has unraveled the secret of this room.’
The secret endowed the third son with tremendous power.
And the Duke’s third son started traveling around the continent with that power.
[Adventurer King Karan]
‘It is said that his legend began here.’
But what if he took that power for himself?
‘I can gain the power to take on the Duke as well as the succession war.’
Of course, even the Duke didn’t know what lay hidden in this room.
His third son, Karan, remained silent on that side. Things were unraveled as the result of an investigation by Duke Garcia’s Secret Special Force.
‘It must be somewhere here.’
If Karan could find it, Ian could most likely find it himself as well.
The only problem was that on the first day, he was about to get assassinated here.
‘The culprit’s motive is predictable.’
They were convinced that Ian would be beneficial to bring down Duke Garcia and hence tried to assassinate him.
It was a grave mistake on their part.
“Prince, be careful!”
Galon blocked Ian’s front. It was because the floor he stepped on on purpose was so old that it was unknown when it might break.
Ian smiled at the unchanged appearance.
‘Yes, everything is old here.’
To the extent that the assassin broke down the ceiling and fell to the floor.
At last, Nathan couldn’t stand it anymore and walked out the door.
“Don’t worry. We will check it out immediately and move you to a better room.”
But Ian smiled bitterly.
‘Then no. I can only survive the first day if I stay here.’
Just because he had survived in the past didn’t mean the same would happen this time as well.
On the contrary, as the situation was going differently from the past, Ian could have died due to a ridiculous reason before the age of 27, the time when everything was just within his reach. That was why he had to be thorough in everything.
Moreover, this was not the only advantage.
Thanks to the rumors going around, this annex was a secluded place not often visited by servants of the dukedom.
‘It’s perfect for staying and building up my strength.’
However, Ian’s bitter smile seemed to have been conveyed in a different sense to Nathan and Galon.
“Hey, didn’t you hear me? Take the lead! I have to meet the head butler in person!”
“Prince, you don’t have to put up with it. I’ll talk to the Duke myself.”
“Or beat Heinley up and…”
But Ian shook his head.
This was because he had to pass the first night safely.
“That’s not what’s important right now. I’m not going to stay still either. In that sense, will you give me a hand?”
“Yes, just say the word, Prince.”
Galon stepped forward with eyes lit up.
It was a look ready to do any command.
Nathan also looked forward to Ian’s words.
However, Nathan almost collapsed from the rising blood pressure.
“Please help me clean this place.”
Ian’s smile was so innocent as he looked at the knights about to slave away at his beck and call.
“Are you alright, Chief?”
The head butler bit his lip at the words of the servant who was supporting his body.
He couldn’t say anything. It was because he had just been severely beaten by the Duke.
But he picked up something more important than what he suffered.
“What about Young Master Heinley?”
The servant was reluctant to speak. But he struggled to open his mouth as if he had no choice but to keep pushing.
“First of all, he is undergoing treatment, but the wounds left on his face and teeth are severe, so it may not be healed for the rest of his life.”
The head butler ground his teeth.
Unlike the other young masters, the second young master was the Duke’s son that was personally raised by the head butler as if he was his own flesh and blood.
‘How dare you make my young master like that…’
His anger was directed at Ian, not the Duke.
‘You’re making a big fuss over small things, Prince.’
He believed that all of this happened because Ian provoked the Duke.
However, based on the head butler’s standard, Heinley’s crime was not a crime.
“That insignificant bastard…”
He grunted his dissatisfaction with Ian.
In addition, there was an order from the Duke.
[He has quite a backbone, but for the sake of the cause, I have to keep him under my thumb as much as possible. Don’t you think so, Head Butler?]
Now it was clear what the head butler had to do.
Unexpectedly, the servant worriedly asked.
“C-Chief… Is the prince’s accommodation really okay?”
The head butler smiled lightly.
“I just heeded the order to give the prince the best room.”
Of course, it was the second son, Heinley, who specifically chose the room.
He thought that was the second young master’s mistake, so he informed the Duke in advance.
[It’s all the better. If he stays in that room, that energetic guy will relent a lot. I like it better if he is weak. He will come to learn a bit what fear is.]
As expected, the Duke was a thorough and terrifying person. He was a man who used not only his children but also the royal family as a card.
But the servant looked perplexed.
“Bu… But isn’t that room where the mind of the person who enters it becomes strange? Not just one or two servants who have gone in to clean up and suffered a nervous breakdown… even the Duchess—”
“How dare you say that with that light mouth of yours.”
The head butler glared at the servant.
He brought up the topic that should never be talked about in the Duke’s castle.
‘I thought you were good at work, but you’re such a blabbermouth.’
However, he didn’t show his annoyance at all.
“It doesn’t matter if there’s a problem. All the Duke needs is his bloodline.”
The Duke said the same thing, too.
[In any case, he will go to the royal palace in a month. He just needs to look proper until the legitimation ceremony. After that, he will have to stay in this castle forever.]
The moment it was confirmed that Ian was a prince, he would not be able to leave the Duke’s castle forever until the Duke said otherwise.
Unless he proved himself useful to the Duke.
‘However, that will never happen, as long as he lives in such an isolated annex.’
If he continued to suffer like that, he would eventually come to his senses.
The head butler flashed a vicious smile.
“Oh, no need to send cleaning oil to that room. He said he was going to clean it up by himself.”
“Excuse me? Wouldn’t that be a little bit too much to handle on his own? Ah, the knights by his side…”
“Huh, there’s no way those lofty knights can help such a thing! They’re going out of the Duke’s estate for today’s training anyway.”
Even if Ian was greedy and took the knights, they were too rigid and proud for the nobles and royal families to wrap around their fingers.
‘You’re asking for something you can’t even use, you idiot.’
If that’s the case, he would be a plaything for the knights.
The head butler smirked and headed to the dining room.
But at that moment, the head butler did not see.
‘Prince Ian. Well, now that I know what the Duke is up to, this job would be a piece of cake without the knights present.’
The bloody gaze of the servant who was supporting the head butler, no, the assassin.
“Damn. I’m so bad at cleaning up.”
Nathan shook his hand, coughing at the rising dust. At the same time, he shouted at Galon, who cleaned steadily without saying a word.
“Hey! Galon! Say something! Does this make any sense? Why is a knight doing the cleanup?”
Nathan’s displeasure was understandable.
A knight was the best force that royalty or nobles could have. To casually make the greatest force that could seize a castle with just a single person clean up…!
It was even more embarrassing that they had no choice but to follow him unknowingly because Ian was very good at giving instructions.
In the end, Galon, who was cleaning with an apron on, clicked his tongue at Nathan’s dissatisfaction.
“It can’t be helped. This is a place where servants don’t come often.”
To be exact, there were no servants willing to come here.
No matter how much they were ordered to, there were no people loyal enough to Ian to risk their lives to clean up this place.
“This lunch, too! Did they bring this kind of thing just because it’s called a meal?”
Soup and plain white bread.
Ribs with only a little bit of meat.
Of course, they were dishes that serfs and commoners could not see often. But it was unthinkable for knights who were familiar with high-quality meals.
No, he couldn’t even eat it.
Ian ate with a calm face.
‘As expected, the ingredients are of the highest quality.’
It was nothing compared to the meal he ate when he was a serf, and at least he now ate more than on the battlefield where food was scarce.
‘Well, normally you would use the dining room in the annex.’
However, due to Ian’s sudden visit, the chef was not ready.
“The head butler must have done something. All of the Duke’s retainers know that he cares about the second son. But what? He suddenly disappeared after meeting the Duke? It’s funny.”
Nathan bad-mouthed him in such an unknightly manner. Yet, it was possible reasoning because Nathan was faster than anyone else in terms of perceiving things and catching up to the news.
But this time he was wrong, too.
‘There’s no way this could happen. I think it was ordered by the Duke.’
Of course, it wasn’t so bad in the past. At least they sent someone to clean it up.
But it didn’t matter.
‘This is much better. It’s hard to find out what I’m looking for.’
To Ian, this annex was like a bonanza.
Well, it’s best to find the power that Karan, the third son, gained, but even if he couldn’t find it, what he could get here was overflowing.
‘So, I will build my own power here within the Duke’s castle.’
This was essential to deal with those vicious princes and princesses.
It was then.
Ian, who was cleaning alone, found something under the bed.
‘I found it.’
He had not confirmed it, but it must be the thing found by Karan.
As he was having that thought.
Ian had no choice but to be surprised.
It was because someone was knocking on the door.