This Bastard is Too Competent Chapter 44 - Much Appreciated
“However, Your Majesty, the Crystal Palace is mine, so why do I need a test? If I take the test, please give me a reward accordingly. Only then will I take the test.”
Ian’s meaningful smile stirred the nobles.
What did the prince just say?
Ian was a bastard who had just become a prince. His eyes were full of questions to the nobles who were talking nonsense after accepting him as a prince.
Because of this, King Eloin couldn’t contain his smirk.
“Do you understand what you just said?”
“Of course. The Crystal Palace belongs to Your Majesty. Doesn’t that mean that you are testing its master’s qualifications with what Your Majesty has given me?”
The nobles frowned at Ian’s imposing remarks. However, Ian looked around with a relaxed expression.
His eyes were as if asking if there was anything wrong with what he said.
In short, it was a provocation.
Or, to put it in other words, whose belongings they dared argue the owner now?
The nobles had no choice but to look at him with a glare in their eyes.
‘This is dangerous.’
‘By that logic, we are a traitor to His Majesty.’
The nobles rushed to deny that it was not their intention.
But Ian was faster.
“Don’t you think so, Your Majesty?”
At that moment, the eyes of King Eloin and Ian collided in the air.
As if they were having a staredown.
After a short time passed.
The king spoke to Ian with a light smile.
“Very well. You naturally have no reason to take the test. Then I’ll make up the reason.”
King Eloin pulled a ring from his finger. It was a ring with golden jewels and a dragon pattern.
Then he lifted it high so that everyone could see.
“If you pass the test, I’ll take this down. However, if you don’t pass, you have to give up Crystal Palace. Would you still do it?”
That was nonsense.
Crystal Palace was one of the key points that could solidify its owner’s position as a successor. The king was thinking of substituting such a place with just a ring.
But Ian’s eyes sparkled.
‘I didn’t expect it to come out here.’
The ring was one of the king’s ten treasure rings.
Ian already had the [Small Subspace Ring], but he knew exactly what that ring was.
‘It was definitely the thing that was handed down to the First Princess in my previous life.’
It was such a great thing that it was given as a reward for winning the competition.
It went without saying.
[Seal of the Guardian Dragon]
Kaistein had a legend. Legend had it that the guardian dragon would show up and protect the kingdom when it was in danger of destruction.
That ring was the sign of commitment to fulfill the covenant.
It was the same item that saved the First Princess’s life several times in Ian’s previous life.
Now, of course, the legend of the guardian dragon was stronger than that of the king’s proxy.
And it must have been intended to see whether he could see the value of this ring.
The nobles, who immediately recognized the ring reflected by the light, shouted in surprise.
“Your Majesty! That ring…!”
“Pardon my impertinence, Your Majesty, but it’s not just something to put out for a test.”
“That’s right. It’s not as good as the king’s proxy seal…!”
But Ian shook his head.
“No, I want something else instead.”
“Oh? Are you saying that even though you know what significance this ring has?”
“Of course, I’ve heard about the ring.”
That ring held the oath of the legendary guardian dragon, and it was proof that the owner could wield the authority akin to a proxy in the absence of the king.
But Ian knew that ring was poison.
‘King Eloin has never been absent. So, the proxy’s position is nothing but a false position.’
Besides, the guardian dragon was currently in slumber. He would wake up years later.
In other words, it was not necessary right now.
Hence Ian shouted confidently.
“I heard there was an unoccupied royal land near Duke Lavaltor’s territory in the north. Could you give me that place?”
“Royal land in the north?”
King Eloin narrowed his brow for a moment.
Was there such a place?
However, the chamberlain quickly approached him and whispered.
“I think he is talking about the Helgaia territory adjacent to the Forest of Monsters. The land is barren and the Forest of Monsters is nearby, so it is an underdeveloped land with few residents.”
“Oh, you mean there.”
King Eloin recognized it as soon as he heard it.
In the past, it was an outstanding land rumored to have been blessed, but now it was a cursed land where not a single decent crop could grow.
It was a wasteland of no value, so he never bothered to keep it in his memory.
Therefore, King Eloin did not understand.
‘Why such a piece of garbage?’
Seeing that, the chamberlain whispered again. Perhaps, the heart of a child was hard to understand by the king, who thought of everything for profit.
“I’m sorry, Your Majesty. As far as I am aware, Helgaia is as large as any county. Perhaps the prince wants to have a small plot of land.”
Ian probably didn’t like being compared to other brothers.
Unlike the other brothers, Ian had nothing.
King Eloin then looked at Ian. It was not a difficult condition for him.
The land was useless anyway.
That land had been under the talk of handing it over to Marquis Adeles in the east.
Then the nobles opened their mouths, perhaps having similar thoughts.
“It seems like a very wise idea. The prince must have at least one territory of his own.”
“Although it is a land with nothing, it will help the Seventh Prince study.”
Studying would still take place.
Greed for a useless piece of land had clouded his judgment, blowing away his opportunity to receive proxy rights that would be a big benefit in the upcoming succession war.
Ian would soon realize the feeling of regret.
However, King Eloin did not necessarily tell him that and nodded.
“All right. If you pass the test, I’ll give you that land. However, if you don’t pass, you have to give up Crystal Palace. Will you still do it?”
A cursed land of little value and the Crystal Palace.
It was really ridiculous to weigh the value of the two.
But Ian’s eyes sparkled.
“Yes, I’ll take it.”
It was a bet with no regrets. No, no matter what kind of examiner the nobles brought, Ian was confident that he would win overwhelmingly.
In addition, there was something very special in Helgaia territory.
‘It was Adeles who took it.’
Turned out it was an important land. Marquis Adeles, who found out about it, resorted to taking it by various means.
‘But not this time.’
So, Ian beamed into a smile.
At that sight, King Eloin’s expression hardened and he opened his mouth.
“The deal was made. I’m going to put the Helgaia territory and your Crystal Palace to the test.”
He then gave Ian a cold look.
“The test is in a month. I’ll see you at the grand banquet. And be prepared.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The date of the Battle of Ranking had yet to be announced, but it would likely follow shortly after this test.
It was a very unfavorable situation for Ian.
It was because he was running out of time to prepare for the test and the Battle of Ranking at the same time.
The king gestured for Ian to leave.
“Then I will take my leave. Live long, Your Majesty.”
Ian also seemed to have done his business. Far from arguing, he turned his back and left the room.
The nobles glanced at the expressionless king and curled up their lips.
‘His Majesty’s eyes have changed.’
‘He was disappointed. Can’t blame him, though.’
Perhaps the king’s offer of the ring meant a lot.
However, not knowing its value, Ian was greedy for a territory that only had that puny size and thus refused the king’s favor.
‘The prince blows away the king’s favor himself.’
‘You seem to have expected it.’
And soon, the moment when the nobles were about to comfort the king.
“Pfft… Pu ha ha ha ha!”
The king couldn’t hold back any longer and burst into laughter.
The nobles were startled by the abrupt and cheerful laughter.
But the king looked very content.
It was only natural.
‘How long has it been since I felt the sense of someone coming at me?’
Was it from the time he ascended the throne after killing all his brothers?
Ever since the war with other kingdoms, he was called a blood fanatic. No one could even raise their heads in front of him.
But he never knew his youngest son would look at him like that.
‘I like him a lot.’
The king suddenly remembered the prophecy that had been given to him. The wait seemed to be over now.
“That cheeky boy. How dare he ask me for a reward.”
Ian reminded him of a woman from the past.
She was obviously as confident as Ian.
But there was also a question.
‘The land is useless. Why did he ask for it?’
The king was very disappointed with Ian’s choice.
‘I will have to see what he is going to do with the land.’
And he was going to investigate the land to see if he missed anything.
But that wasn’t the point now.
“You people can’t read the room.”
“I risked the territory of the royal family at his request, which means that you shouldn’t stay still.”
At that cold gaze, the nobles moved as well.
“Well, then I’ll bet on my family treasure.”
“Then I’ll have the troops.”
“We have jewelry….”
But there were also nobles who didn’t move.
They were the great nobles.
One of them was Marquis Adeles.
“I think this bet is not going to be in our favor. You have to put some force.”
While demanding his eldest son and his supervisor to prepare more thoroughly for this test.
“Tell the First Princess as well. The youngest prince is no pushover.”
‘I guess I’ll have to take some measures. I’ll make fun of myself if I look down on him for being a kid.’
He devised a ploy to use all means until the test.
He was starting to target Ian seriously.
“Well. Will Marquis Adeles not bet on anything?”
“No, Your Majesty. I’ll put up my family’s villa.”
“How about the summer villa of your estate, which is famous for its beauty?”
“Of course, Your Majesty. I’ll bet it if His Royal Highness passes.”
First, he needed to respond to this shrewd king’s attack.
Ian immediately left the main palace. And Galon, who welcomed him outside, approached with concern.
“Are you sure you don’t mind doing this?”
Galon immediately figured out what had happened inside.
In other words, if Ian provoked the nobles, the test would be difficult.
But Ian smiled as if it were nothing.
“Do not worry. I am very confident.”
He didn’t say that for nothing.
It was because it was a test the past Ian had already passed once. At that time, he took a tough test, putting his qualification as a successor on the line.
However, despite the numerous scholars and teachers that Duke Garcia had gathered with his wealth, plus Heinley’s terrible harassment.
Ian persisted and studied throughout the year, cutting his sleeping time, and eventually was able to pass.
‘It’s the same even if they make the test more difficult. I have already lived a life of several decades.’
He was a child only in appearance, but the royal etiquette and knowledge had already been ingrained in his body.
‘In case of history, I will have to look at the details again.’
However, Galon looked a bit uneasy.
He had no choice but to feel so.
“I heard the examiner is the eldest son of Marquis Adeles.”
“The cold-blooded four-eyes of the Treasury Department? Isn’t he a genius who got the highest degree from the Academy before his coming of age?”
“That doggone man is preparing for the exam. It won’t be easy…”
The royal knights were also bound to listen to the stories related to the succession war with great interest.
But Ian wasn’t bothered with Galon’s anxiety.
That wasn’t what mattered to him.
“I think I should go out of the castle.”
Ian remembered the business with a backstreet merchant he was supposed to meet at night.
“I guess I will have to join the Third Young Master Karan outside. How did it go?”
“Yes. I’ve informed the royal attendant about you going out, but it seems like it will take some time to approve it.”
It was not easy for any royal to go out.
In addition to reporting to the king, a proper permit had to be issued.
It might be less difficult if he had a strong backing like the Second Prince.
‘He said I couldn’t see the merchant except for today.’
Karan seemed to have barely managed to hold on to the merchant. And he said she would never meet unless it’s this time.
‘I think it’s okay to talk to Lavaltor for now…’
There was also a way to go out for a while by slipping between the First Order’s knights.
However, it was evident that he received their help immediately after that incident.
“I’ll have to sneak out.”
“Excuse me? Your Highness, if you get caught, there could be problems.”
No, it couldn’t be easy to sneak out in the first place.
It was then.
“I guess you’re in a difficult situation.”
Someone appeared before Ian.
There stood a handsome man with blue hair leaning against the wall like a playboy.
It was the Third Prince.
Meanwhile, around the same time.
“Welcome back to the palace, Your Highness.”
The attendant of Ruby Palace bowed politely as usual.
It was because the owner of the Ruby Palace, the Second Prince, came back.
But the Second Prince didn’t heed the greeting.
“So, how is the thing I ordered?”
“I’ll bring it right away.”
The attendant beckoned, and the door to the next room opened.
Appearing from there was a craftsman carrying a huge ironclad arm.
It was a prosthetic arm to replace the arm Ian had severed and also a magic tool.
“But Your Highness, you can’t use it as it is.”
Therefore, the Second Prince was going to ask Lavaltor. Because he needed the help of a top-notch knight to use this.
“What is Lavaltor doing?”
“As for what he is doing now, the First Knight Order is on the move….”
The attendant glanced at him, but the Second Prince sneered as if mocking.
“Lavaltor seems to be admirably preparing for my revenge.”
“Bring Duke Lavaltor right away.”
Unable to hold it, the Second Prince burst into laughter.
As if he was thinking of getting revenge on Ian right away.
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