Chapter 2.1

Lelusha’s gaze brushed over Matthias with a fleeting interest, devoid of any personal investment yet tinged with a hint of pleasure upon recognizing an old pupil. Still, Jocelyn couldn’t hide her discomfort. Matthias, shamelessly brazen, seemed to treat Lelusha as if she were the one parading another woman despite his queen by his side. It was as if he held her accountable for some unseen offense.

“Isn’t it a delight, seeing a triumphant pupil return?” Lelusha remarked.

“It’s no longer a relationship of mentorship, it’s akin to that of a warlord,” Jocelyn retorted sharply.

“That doesn’t negate its origins in mentorship,” Lelusha countered with a serene smile.

Jocelyn snorted, motioning for Matthias to rise. Only then did Matthias, who had been seated with impeccable decorum, stand.

“Today’s gathering is arranged for you. But if the guest of honor arrives late…” Jocelyn added with a wry smile.

Apologies fell from Matthias’s lips as he rose to his feet. The journey from the capital’s entrance to the palace, leading a procession through the city, had been fraught with delays. Unforeseen incidents, such as the fervent crowds celebrating the return of the victorious general, had slowed their progress. Sacrificial offerings of cattle, chickens, and pigs dotted the procession, a testament to Matthias’s triumph. Despite these circumstances, Matthias’s late arrival seemed to serve as fodder for criticism.

It was evident why they chose to nitpick, despite the circumstances. The unwavering support of the masses towards the triumphant Matthias posed a threat to the king’s own glory, sparking a sense of crisis among those in power and prompting them to resort to petty politicking in an attempt to undermine Matthias’s glory.

“You’ve toiled tirelessly. I never imagined victory spoils would grace our halls so swiftly. I underestimated you, didn’t I?” Jocelyn said, his tone carrying an undeniable hint of sarcasm. 

“I merely endeavored to meet the expectations laid upon me. Fortunately, fortune favored our endeavors, allowing us to return ahead of schedule,” Matthias replied modestly, though a glint of pride danced in his eyes.

“It’s a shame. You’ve always been blind to the king’s sentiments, past and present,” Jocelyn interjected icily.

Lelusha couldn’t fathom Jocelyn’s persistent coldness toward Matthias. After all, he stood as the stalwart knight, alongside her, whose contributions had propelled Jocelyn to the throne. Why, then, this disdain?

“Shouldn’t the queen have a word as well? As the direct disciple you’ve mentored, now returned in triumph, shouldn’t you, at the very least, extend a token of praise as his former mentor?” 

Anticipating Jocelyn’s reluctance to offer any warmth, Lelusha warmly embraced Matthias’s return instead.

“Through your valor on the front lines, the Kingdom of Reveln not only weathered its darkest hour but also showcased its might to the world. Your deeds shall resound in the annals of history, celebrated not only today but for generations to come. I extend a heartfelt welcome to the returning hero, whose deeds have etched themselves into history,” Lelusha declared with genuine admiration.

For the first time, a fleeting smile graced Matthias’s otherwise stoic countenance. With a bow of profound gratitude, he acknowledged Lelusha’s words, silently conveying his appreciation.

With a bitter taste in his mouth, Jocelyn rose to address the thronging crowd. His words hailed the return of Matthias, the celebrated hero, and his companions, extolling their valor and accomplishments. Cheers erupted from the gathered masses, their fervent chants of Matthias’s name echoing through the air, heralding the emergence of a new legend.

As Jocelyn reclaimed his seat upon the throne, a grim expression contorted his feautures. “How can one possibly nurture such a fool, lacking even the basic sense to recognize his own mentor? This is precisely why we must be cautious in raising future generations.”

Silence hung heavy in the air, punctuated only by Jocelyn’s cutting words. “And what must it appear like to you, my lady? Is it not glaringly evident that the boy I’ve raised is treating someone else as their master?”

Lelusha, caught off guard by the chilling inquiry, turned her gaze toward Matthias. In that moment, a sharp tension filled the space, as if the very atmosphere crackled with unseen energy. Despite the presence of the king, Matthias’s gaze remained fixed solely on Lelusha.

A magnetic pull seemed to draw their eyes together, enveloping them in an intimate cocoon amidst the bustling court. Confronted by Matthias’s unwavering stare, Lelusha felt her resolve falter, her heart pounding with an inexplicable sense of guilt.

Perhaps he truly didn’t know that he was indeed a stupid bastard who couldn’t even recognize his master.



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