Kieran was as cold and calm as usual. Mary showed disgust while the Duke of Zilin showed contempt.
One needs to know that before the news got out, the old duke of Will sent an order officer to deliver a message to Mary, stating that the reinforcements he led were four days away from Riverdale, but two days after the victor was declared, the old duke was already 20 kilometers outside Riverdale.
"Traveling a four-day journey in two days, it seems like the old duke really knows how to lead his troops. His speed is very much "astonishing"," said Mary with a heavy sneer.
Mary didn't conceal her thoughts in front of Kieran, and as for the duke of Zilin beside her?
Well, whenever Mary saw Kieran, she automatically neglected everyone else's existence.
"What are you going to do about it?" asked Kieran.
He didn't plan to over-intervene in this matter because he was aware that Mary was the heir to Warren and, eventually, the queen of the land.
It was impossible for him to stay at her side every single second.
"Me?" Mary slightly jolted. She instinctively wanted to hear advice from Kieran but the smart queen-to-be knew what was happening after a moment.
Kieran had been "away" twice before, and it was enough to become a reminder for Mary.
Although she really wanted to travel with Kieran, her education and upbringing forbade her from abandoning her own duty.
Ambivalent, the young princess fell into deep thought, but soon enough, she discarded all those thoughts from her mind.
At least Kieran was in front of her, right?
"I hope to meet this old duke in person alone and reward him somehow," said Mary. "Best to hold the meeting in Riverdale," she added after a slight pause.
Pak, Pak Pak.
Duke of Zilin clapped softly as his eyes on Mary showed admiration.
Splitting Old Duke Will and the 20,000 reinforcement troops in the name of reward to control both within her hands, it wasn't really surprising for one to think of this approach, but considering Mary's age, it was commendable.
"I'm quite looking forward to meeting the old duke again. The last time we met was like a few years ago," the Duke of Zilin exclaimed with a heavy sneer.
Since the start of the war, the young duke never worried about the old duke not showing up because…
Duke of Zilin looked at Kieran beside Mary and he suddenly felt sad for the old duke in his heart.
The old duke might be having a hard time in choosing, right?
Would he allow someone beside him to control him? Or choose to confront a powerhouse that could rival an army?
It was a hard choice even for the young duke.
When the order officer carried the message back to the Old Duke of Will, a convoy slowly left Warren campsite.
The convoy consisted of the original Lightning Fortress' guards as escorts while Kieran and the Duke of Zilin followed behind.
In the only wagon of the convoy, James VIII was lying down on a soft bed. His face was as pale as paper and turned even whiter under the sunlight.
Everyone could tell that the king was living on his last breath and might pass on any second now, but no one would voice out their concerns at the moment.
A grand victory was enough to cover many shortcomings.
Even though the king was once weak and an easy compromiser, all his flaws were covered by the glory of victory. At least he was still a king with mercy.
Mary was sitting in front of the soft bed, whispering and taking care of her father.
Kieran and Duke Zilin were riding beside the carriage.
"I hope to reach an agreement with you," said Duke Zilin to Kieran as he seized the moment.
This time, without Mary in the equation, the young duke spoke his mind.
"I hope to acquire the highest ultimate of Viper Sect. I know it's a rude request but please believe me, as I don't mean any harm. I just wish to borrow Viper Sect's highest ultimate to succeed my family secret technique: snake ascending to dragon! This will be the only opportunity for me to follow in my ancestors' steps. Please agree to my request. In exchange, I will share all my family's secret techniques and spells with you, and I can promise you three requests that won't have me dishonor House Zilin," said the young duke with a sincere expression to Kieran.
Viper Sect's highest ultimate?
Kieran jolted for a moment before he thought about the battle with the Prairies King. There, he had activated the attribute [Snake Molt] from [Ring of the Serpent King].
Without question, Duke Zilin seemed to have had a misunderstanding at the scene, but Kieran wasn't about to explain this to him.
Duke Zilin was just slightly better than a common stranger to Kieran, so he habitually reserved his opinion of the young duke, though he was quite interested in the secret techniques of House Zilin.
So, after some thought, Kieran said, "I need to think about it."
"Of course! Think, think about it, important matters require more thinking!"
The young duke was overjoyed by the answer, for at least he wasn't rejected right away.
The worst-case scenario didn't happen, which meant that he had hope of fulfilling his wish as long as he presented sufficient sincerity!
The young duke then quietly made a decision in his heart when he got the answer.
Kieran didn't care about Duke Zilin's thoughts, but when Viper Sect was mentioned, Kieran thought about the escaped Viper Sect leader.
Through her, Kieran thought about the seven goatskin papers at the Prairies main camp.
Kieran was quite confident that she would not give up on the goatskin papers that easily, so, as long as they were used as bait, Perry Kaner would show.
Though, compared to bait and capture, Kieran had a better way.
When the order was sent out, Fire Raven, connected to Kieran through a special link, flew towards Riverdale like a bolt of lightning.
The Fire Raven may be magnificent, but it still couldn't lock onto a target in a city with a hundred thousand population.
However, using Fire Raven the other way was completely viable. Fire Raven couldn't lock onto a single target but someone would be able to lock onto Fire Raven instead, someone such as that person in Raven Sect!
The ambitious, yet lackluster, in terms of strength, Maxim would surely come to Kieran after he saw the Fire Raven. His character had already determined the outcome.
Hence, it would be the perfect plan to use Maxim to search for Viper Sect.
Who else understood you more than your friend?
Kieran didn't believe that Raven Sect and Viper Sect, a pair of old rivals, didn't watch each other's movements from time to time.
The convoy safely arrived in Riverdale and entered the palace.
Likewise, a report came into the palace just then.
"What did you say? The old duke of Will has been assassinated?"
Kieran raised a brow at the order officer before his eyes.