Chapter 3: Lord Rand
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Before the dinner, Felix saw a man far away who he was afraid to see: Lord Rand’s son and current Lord, Yegel Rand. The child was less than fifteen years old, and was even younger during the war. Neither he nor his mother supported the assassination or the war, but Lord Rand and his staff did not consider the opinions of the women and children and had detained the mother and son at home for this purpose.
Felix tried to stay away from Yegel, even avoiding eye contact. Sean was busy socializing with people, but he noticed this with a few glimpses.
Felix wanted to avoid Yagel, but he forgot to pay attention to another person, Lady Anya, the widow of Lord Rand. He walked around from the corridor to the back of the house and accidentally met Anya.
Anya was blonde and tall. After so many things in her life, she was still as beautiful as before and even looked better. She stopped the mage who wanted to leave in a hurry and took out an envelope from her small bag.
Felix took a step back. He not only knew Anya but has known her for more than 20 years. Anya is the daughter of the sheriff. From the perspective of blood, Anya is a distant relative of his mother’s family. In his childhood memory, Anya always had the figure of ‘Sister Anya,’ and married the eldest son of the Rand family, who was several years older than her, who later became Lord Rand.
Felix lowered his head and did not dare to look at Anya. His words were all stuck in his throat. The Lord’s widow handed the envelope to him, “For you.”
“He gave it to you.” Anya laughed the same way Felix remembered from when he was a child. “Ian Rand, our former Lord gave this to you. If it had not been for the line ‘To my loyal friend Felix,’ I would not have left any of his relics.”
Felix took the letter and whispered, “Anya, I’m sorry, I didn’t know…. You hated him so much.”
Anya sneered, “It may not be accurate to say ‘hate.’ He made me sick. Felix, don’t you think he was disgusting? I remember when I was a child, we followed him like little soldiers. You took a branch as a staff, and I waved a wooden dagger like a boy. At that time, he was our friend and elder brother. Later, when we all grew up, I no longer wore boy’s clothes. You became a real mage, and he inherited the title of Lord. Later, I had my own lover, and between you and him…”
“I’m sorry…” Felix grabbed the envelope and didn’t have the strength to open it.
Anya shook her head, “Why apologize to me? He’s supposed to thank you and me! Maybe you don’t know, at the dinner party of his succession to Lordship, he told me secretly… You had expressed your feelings to him, and he wanted to accept you. At that time, I also thought that your road would be very difficult. This relationship might be talked about by others. I am your sister, Anya, and I am his little soldier. I will always support you and love you… But look at him, in the end, what has he done to us?”
Anya’s hands were shaking. Felix noticed that there was a scar on her ring finger, which ran around like a ring.
She went on, “You know, I’ve always been in love with Jerin. He was your classmate. You introduced him to us. Jerin was an outsider, he didn’t have a great pedigree. It was very difficult for us to be together. When my father asked me to marry Ian Rand, I didn’t want to, but I didn’t feel too flustered. He was my friend, I thought he would understand my mind and help me refuse this marriage. After all, he liked you. But I didn’t expect that he promised my father! He didn’t care what would happen to me and Jerin. He just wanted to win over the influence of my father’s family.”
“Maybe he…. maybe he really wanted to marry you…” Felix’s voice was so low that he couldn’t hear it himself.
“Yes, of course, he would. He wanted me to be his wife, to get pregnant with his child… to help him consolidate his position,” Anya raised her hand, and the scar on her ring finger swayed in front of Felix. “It was no different from rape for me! After the wedding, I threw away the ring and was ready to escape the place with Jerin… But we failed. Jerin was hunted by his men, and I was kept under house arrest for a long time in the castle. Do you know where the scar on my hand is from?”
Felix lowered his head and closed his eyes. When he did this, he could still see Ian Rand, tall and handsome, with blue eyes as bright as the clear sky. He could still feel Ian Rand holding him from behind and saying in his ear, ‘Felix, if you still love me, just stand by me and help me…’
Anya trembled and said, “This scar is left by him with a dagger. I was able to see the bone. It’s like a wedding ring made of blood. He yelled at me that I could not shame the Rand family anymore, or outsiders would question the strength of the marriage. Felix, what did he say to you? Did he tell you that he had to marry the sheriff’s daughter for the benefit of his territory? And did he say that in fact, he loved you deeply, and hoped that you would not leave him for this.”
Felix’s eyes were full of tears, and he was afraid to open them. Anya was right, although they weren’t Lord Rand’s original words, the meaning was not much different.
“Anya, please don’t say it…” He stepped back two steps and leaned against the porch post. “Everything is over. We should not be entangled by his phantom. He is dead, we are both free. Please don’t torture me with the past…”
“I’m not going to torture you,” Anya said. “I just can’t understand why you’re still defending him? He captured Jerin, slandered him for using blasphemy, and blackmailed you into fighting for him. Isn’t that enough? Why do you still obey him now?”
Felix was a little confused when he heard this, “I… obey him?”
Anya said, “When I was finally free, I immediately went to the prison to look for Jerin, but I didn’t find him. He wasn’t there at all. Later, I heard that you were captured by a King’s Knight. I asked for information. I heard that you confessed many things, such as how Lord Rand used your friends as hostages and how he instructed you to cast spells for him. But you didn’t mention where Jerin was! Was it Ian Rand who wouldn’t let you say it? He threatened me that I would never see Jerin in my life…”
“Wait, Anya,” Felix interrupted. “No, I didn’t mean to hide it. Before I went to war for the last time, Lord Rand’s former subordinates said that the necromancer had died in prison.”
“What? What the people in prison said to me was that no mage had ever been sent in!”
Both of them were silent, and none would have thought that such a pending case still remained in today’s situation when all things had subsided.
From the corner of the corridor came the sound of footsteps. Felix and Anya quickly dried their tears and looked embarrassed as if they were chatting with each other.
It was Duke Sean, who, holding two glasses of light fruit wine, nodded to the lady with a kind air, handed her one, and stuffed Felix with the other. Felix, clutching the envelope in one hand and ignoring etiquette, took the glass with one hand. Anya and Sean exchanged a few casual greetings and she walked quickly out of the corridor.
“Have a drink,” Sean told the mage. “It’s light and refreshing, and the smell can make people feel better.” Felix gave him a puzzled look. Sean laughed, “You don’t look very happy.”
“How do you know…”
“Your eyes are red.”
The fruit wine had the aroma of bergamot, which really can calm people’s moods. Felix walked slowly towards the back of the garden, and Sean followed him naturally.
“How much did you hear, if I may ask?” He asked his master.
“You certainly did not happen to pass by.”
Of course, Sean had two cups, he was looking for Felix. Sean admits generously, “I heard it from when Ms. Anya talked about the scars. But… To tell you the truth, I already knew everything.”
Felix stops, but doesn’t look back, “All?”
“I knew of Lord Rand, the Lord’s widow, and you, the three of you. You didn’t mention so much in your confession. Of course, I didn’t ask. Later, we talked to Ms. Anya and other officials in Rand’s territory one by one. It’s not the first time Ms. Anya and I have met.” Sean steps forward with his hand on Felix’s shoulder. “I know all about your past.”
He meant it as comfort, but Felix knocked the glass over because of the gentle touch. It’s quiet here. The crowd is concentrated in the front of the garden. No one heard the broken cup. Felix himself was startled, for his hand was shaking, and he broke the cup, but he still held on to the envelope.
“My confession is different from that of others. You… Didn’t you doubt it? ” Felix asked.
Sean takes him a few steps away from the broken glass at his feet. “Of course I knew there was something wrong with it. Maybe the necromancer had been killed. Lord Rand was deceiving you. Maybe there was something else behind this. In the past two years, I have been secretly investigating this matter in the wake of normal business.
“Don’t you think I’m deliberately hiding something?”
“Of course not. I know very well that you have said everything you know.”
Felix said with a wry smile, “Yes. I was so weak in the dungeon that I could neither scream nor cry, and this is the kind of criminal who will know everything.”
“It’s not about that.” Sean suddenly found that Felix had more strength when he spoke, unlike the usual situation where he always wanted to speak but didn’t dare to. Sean didn’t debunk that.
“Felix, when we first caught you, you had a serious injury to your leg, and you were very angry and refused to cooperate. It’s also because of this that you have suffered a lot. Later, one of the prisoners told you that ‘the necromancer Jerin has died long ago.’ You also received the news that Lord Rand was dead. After that, your attitude suddenly changed.” Sean thought about how to describe it and said, “What you looked like then… was like you had given a sigh of relief that there was nothing left worth protecting. You no longer had to be loyal to Lord Rand, so you started to cooperate with our investigation.”
Looking at the mage’s red eyes, Sean suddenly realized that he was talking about the interrogation again. Maybe Felix would be uncomfortable again.
“Let’s go first.” Sean changed the topic. “Stay away from the broken glass. When someone finds out, pretends we don’t know who broke it. Come on, come here. No one knows we did it.”
Felix couldn’t help laughing. “Can you still be considered an honest knight?”
“I’m the Duke today, not the Chief Knight.” Sean shrugged. “Besides, the knight’s rules don’t prohibit leaving garbage. Can a man have no faults at all?”
“But I broke the cup.”
“I said I would protect you.” Sean squeezed his eyes.
Felix took a long sigh of relief and turned his back to Sean, “Don’t you think it’s funny?” He looked at the envelope in his hand and had no courage to open it. “Since you know what happened in Rand territory, I don’t have to hide it. In front of my teacher, I promised that I would respect the Ordovician dharma as the only truth, followed by secular interests. However, I didn’t manage to do it. I thought I loved someone deeply, but I was stuck in the mire and finally became a dirty tool. Isn’t that ridiculous?”
“Like I said just now, can a man have no faults at all?” Sean came up behind him, hesitated, and put his arm around him. “Relax. Don’t be afraid of me.” The knight said in his ear, “I’m not you, I’m not a resident of the Rand territory. Maybe I can’t fully understand how you feel. But I really want to comfort you. I want you not to be so upset. You’re always so sad. I’ve been looking at you, because I’m afraid you’ll be embarrassed, so I haven’t said anything.”
Felix wanted him to let go. As always, when Sean touches him like this, he’s too nervous to move, let alone talk. Someone used to approach him like this, kiss the tips of his hair, caress his cheek, and clasp his ten fingers with his hands full of sword calluses. He would be paralyzed by the sweet moment, intoxicated by the itchy breath in his ears, and the extremely private sweet nothings.
He leaned in Sean’s arms and breathed deeply, driving away the image of Lord Rand from his mind, and the images of the interrogation room. Gradually, his body was no longer so taut. When he wanted to raise his hand to brush the silk, his envelope fell to the ground.
[To my loyal friend Felix.]
This was written by Ian Rand after he succeeded as Lord. Felix was familiar with all the typefaces Rand had used. After becoming a Lord, Rand gradually improved his handwriting. When he was a young man, Ian Rand preferred to be outdoors. He didn’t want to stay at his desk for a moment.
Felix picks up the letter. The wax seal on the letter wasn’t new, but it wasn’t particularly old either. Felix is familiar with various kinds of magic and medicinal materials and often comes into contact with clerical letters. He thinks that the letter was sealed about two years ago. Not long before Lord Rand died.
“You haven’t read the letter yet.” Sean turns to his side.
“Do you think I should?”
“This is a letter left by a dead rebel. There may be some conspiracies.”
Sean said with a smile, “If that’s true, you can tell me when you’ve finished reading it.”
With that, the Knight turns and leaves. He says he’s going to get something to eat, leaving Felix alone in the corridor. Felix, by the light of a distant candlestick, picks off the wax.
When Sean comes back, he finds Felix standing in the open space outside the cloister, dumbfounded by the letter. He thought the mage had read something sad and wanted to persuade him. Felix turned to him and handed the unopened letter to him.
“As I said in the morning, please call me Sean.”
“Ah, Lord Sean. I don’t want to read this letter. You can do whatever you like with it.”
“I was really curious, Lord Rand…What words did Lord Rand leave behind? Did he want me to continue to oppose her majesty? Or did he want to apologize to me? Or was it the last attempt to take advantage of my feelings for him and let me help him look after Anya and his son? After thinking about it, I don’t want to read the letter. No matter what he wrote, it was two years ago. Now that I’m free, I don’t want to be influenced by him.”
Sean took the letter. Felix said with relief, “Besides, this should have been left to you. Maybe this is one of Lord Rand’s criminal shreds of evidence.”
Sean opens the envelope and takes out the paper. He just wanted to take a look at it first and then go back and study it slowly. The light here is too dark. If there were any important information in the letter, it would be difficult to decipher it for a while.
Strangely enough, when the writing paper unfolded in the breeze, they saw a blank page.