Luke reached into his coat pockets and took a sack from one of them. Lucy and Jean were taken aback by the sack that emerged from the little pouch, but Luke disregarded them and handed it to Jean.
Jean gazed at the sack with a puzzled expression before turning to face her brother, who was smiling. She then took her time opening the bag. Her eyes widened in surprise. Lucy exclaimed as well as she saw the contents of the sack.
Souls that have withered... Hundreds of withered souls have been bottled and placed in the sack. Jean and Lucy both had their mouths agape as they observed this. Luke's calm voice was soon heard.
"There are 600 bottles altogether in the bag. It's not much, but it should at least assist you in some way, right?"
Lucy was in complete shock when she stared at Luke.
"Not much? You think this isn't much?!"
Luke cocked his head to the side.
"Yes, our objective is to have at least 1000 bottles, but we only have 600 due to the little number of withered souls we harvested."
Jean and Lucy were taken aback by Luke's blank expression. Jean cleared her throat and spoke seriously after a minute of stillness.
"This many withered souls is enough for all of us. Sir Luke, what do you want?"
Luke drew his two fingers out and spoke.
"I have two requests."
Lucy and Jean took a deep breath. Given how many withered souls he gave them, the price must have been comparable to the cost of a medium-sized mansion.
"First and foremost, I'd like to know how you managed to stay alive."
Jean locked her gaze on Luke. Luke slightly frowned at Jean's response.
"Do I have to say it again?"
"No... However, why?"
"Just tell me."
Before starting to speak and recount her story, Jean cleared her throat and looked at her brother, who was shaking his head while smiling making her look at him with a puzzled expression.
"Someone came to my rescue."
"Could you just tell me who it was?"
"I'm not sure, he was hiding behind a mask."
"Can you try giving me a description?"
"Sure. He had long brown hair and he was a tall man. He also has a golden mask worn. He wields an ax and appears to have the ability to control the dirt."
"....Control the dirt?"
"Yes... I only saw him for a few seconds before passing out, but he must be an expert with axes since he finished off all the guards who were skewering me to death in a flash... And, call me crazy, but I believe he is a dragon..."
Luke squinted his eyes.
"Can you tell me how you came to that conclusion?"
Jean then clasped her trembling hands together and began to speak nervously. It appears that she was reminiscing about the first time she met the mysterious man.
"H-he, he's got a ridiculous quantity of aura. I could see his eyes through the mask. His eyes seemed to have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Even after killing dozens of men, he maintains his calm and serenity, as if it were natural for him to do so. He appeared to have been alive for a long time. And after seeing him, all I could think about was nature's ultimate might. As a result, it reminded me of a dragon."
For a little period, Luke was deafeningly quiet.
Her supposition of a dragon, but based on her description, it might not be too far-fetched. Because dragons are intelligent and are often seen as symbols of nature, regulating dirt, which is an element of nature, is a typical task for them.
But here's the thing: what does a dragon have something to do with empire? What's more, brandishing an ax? Is it even necessary for them to do so?
Luke's mind began to race with questions, but he groaned and decided to ignore them for the time being.
"I see, Is it also possible that he was the one who healed you?"
"When I awoke, the damage to my upper body had vanished, leaving only the injury to my thighs, which rendered me unable to walk."
"All right next, I need you to accompany me somewhere for a moment."
Luke grinned and nodded at Jean, who was gazing at him puzzled.
"A location that will turn your life upside down right away."
Jean paused for a moment and turned slowly to face his brother, who was beaming at Luke. Luke, on the other hand, didn't seem to notice him and continued to speak.
"Let's get going. We were on the verge of running out of time."
When night falls, the location becomes the most well-known, and it is known for its cheap booze and alcohol, which is ideal for farmers and soldiers seeking leisure after a long day at work. The Moonlight Pub was the location.
And, underneath the pub, there is a secret chamber that no one knows about, and where stiff individuals were now sitting.
The nobles who oppose the Duke, those who favor the young king, were now sweating heavily and their eyes were shaking as they stared at the golden-haired man with his arms crossed, grinning at them.
"What's the matter with all of you people being stiff? I am not a foe."
Luke, whose hair had been transformed into gold by Nash's magic, rested comfortably on the chair, his foot resting on the table. The nobility inside was surprised and anxious as they stared at this laid-back young man.
They had no idea what had happened. They were in the middle of a discussion when the door opened and this man walked in and sat down, studying everyone.
When they heard the unknown man begin to talk, they all flinched.
"Hmm? What's the deal with everyone being so quiet? Isn't everyone here talking about rebellion?"
Duke Kent Carter, the meeting's organizer, finally decided to speak out.
"We have no idea what you're talking about-"
"Don't act as if you don't understand what I'm talking about. I've been following what you've been discussing here for the past few months."
'That's a lie, I only found out about this meeting a month ago,'
Luke sat back, his arrogant demeanor making the nobles tremble with fear. He exudes such confidence in what he's just said, which leads Kent to believe he's telling the truth.
Kent's fists were clenched firmly.
'How much knowledge does this man have?'
Kent sighed and smiled at the enigmatic golden-haired man who sat across from him.
"What are your plans then? Are you going to sell us out?"
The golden-haired man cocked his head to the side.
"I would have sold you out months ago if I was going to do it."
"T-then, what exactly do you demand? Money? Gold? Jewelry?"
"I'm not going to lie, I like money, but right now isn't the time."
Luke sat up straight after putting his foot down. He then grinned at Kent, who was looking at him uncomfortably with his clenched fists beneath the table.
"In this rebellion, I want to add a special force."
"Believe me when I say that they cherish to destroy the Duke even more than you do. Now then, you're welcome to come in."
After Luke finished speaking, the meeting room door opened and four people entered. Liam, Lucy, Jean, and Bell were there. The four of them then began to gaze around, serious expressions on their faces as they observed the shocked nobility. Luke gave a sly grin.
'All right, keep that menacing atmosphere up for a little longer.'
Luke told Jean and the others to set the tone when they arrived, and Liam was there to add to the intimidation factor because he had the swordmaster's aura.
It will be easier for Luke to handle this meeting if he instills dread and uncertainty in these nobles.
"I would like to introduce you to the witches, ladies and gentlemen."
Kent's and the other aristocrats' jaws gaped open in surprise. Kent slammed his palms on the table and stared at Luke, speechless.
"Witches?! Aren't they on the side of the empire? What are they doing here?! You're truly betraying us-!"
Kent came to a halt as Luke scowled at him. Kent then attempted to gaze directly into the eyes of the golden-haired man in front of him. And it was there that he sensed a strong sense of authority and aura. Kent gulped down his words because of this and kept his cool.
Luke let out a sigh and motioned for the others to enter.
Bell and Lucy followed behind Liam as he nodded and pulled Jean's wheelchair inside. Inside, the nobility all gulped nervously. The three redheads were already known to be witches, but there was something about the black-haired lad that made him stand out as the most powerful of the bunch.
It's not the color of his hair or the intensity of his eyes; it's something deeper. He exudes confidence and has that irresistible charisma. As Liam passes by them, his eyes say he'll slash anything that gets in his way, leading the nobles to move back from fear.
• The nobles were frightened, Dad! Your strategy worked!
Luke nodded, pointing to the empty seat next to him for Liam, Bell, Lucy, as well as the space between the chairs for Jean's wheelchair. When the four of them eventually took their seats, the room fell silent. The nobility was intimidated by the arrival of new and unexpected visitors to their meeting. When they heard Luke clearing his throat to get their attention, they flinched.
"Ehem, as I previously stated, these three witches, along with the rest of the witches, will be joining you."
Kent made a gesture with his hand. He didn't know why he did it, but he felt compelled to do so in order to avoid enraging the golden-haired man. Luke saw him raise his hand and motioned for him to speak. Kent took a deep breath and began to inquire.
"What's with the witches?" Aren't they on the side of the empire?"
Kent's gaze was drawn to the snorting girl in the wheelchair. She appears to be doing her best to suppress her laughter, which perplexed Kent and the other nobility. Jean suddenly relaxed and smirked at Kent and spoke to him in a dark tone.
"That is what it looked like on the outside. Ever wondered what's on the inside?"
Instead of Jean, Bell spoke this time.
"Every day, we are tortured. Being obliged to do potions indefinitely despite having a small amount of downtime. And did you notice this?"
Bell then pointed to his sister, who is in her wheelchair next to him. He then smirked at the aristocrats who were staring at him, puzzled.
"This... Because we tried to flee, my sister turned like this. The thorny spears of those wretched guards have pierced her. Those lights you see around that horrible jail you call the witches' tower have been watching us 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
The aristocrats gasped and stared at Jean, who was smiling grimly and staring at her legs with a bitter expression.
Kent then begins to stutter.
"Wait... So those orbs were surveillance?"
"Oh, my God."
Kent leaned back in his chair, his light brown hair smoothed back.
"I've always suspected there was something wrong with that tower, but this... this is even worse than I imagined."
"Did you think that was it? There's still a lot, but telling it one by one would take too long."
Kent talked with his eyes closed.
"However, what will we do about the witches? If they were that heavily guarded, neither they nor we would be able to fight back."
"That was simple."
Kent fixed his gaze on Luke, who was beaming at him. For some reason, his smile made him uneasy.
"I believe you simply forgot about me, Duke Carter."
Kent let out a gasp and realized something. He was a moron.
Unknown to them, a man who knew about their secret meeting and even their rebellion plot barged in and brought them new and powerful allies as if he had planned everything from the start. He is even able to toy him around, a Duke, as if all is in his hands?
They have such a man on their side. He's their wild card.
Despite the fact that he does not appear to be particularly trustworthy, he may believe that this individual can assist them in some way. He believes that the witches are not his only source of power.
Kent then cast a peek at Liam, who was sitting quietly and conversed with the unknown man.
"Then what are we supposed to do?"
"For the time being, we should keep our heads down. While you guys strengthen your knights, I'll take care of the witches. Oh, and also, fetch some mana stones for me."
The nobility was perplexed as they glanced at Luke.
"Mana stones? Aren't we supposed to gather withered souls? What is the purpose of mana stones?"
"Stop asking and just do it, the mana stones will be extremely important in our victory."
Luke flashed a brilliant smile and a wicked grin that made the nobleman's back feel cold.
"Now, the moment for revolution is approaching. Witches will exact their vengeance, and the head of a specific jackass will soon be rolling on the ground. Understand? I'm counting on complete cooperation from all of you.
The nobility all took a deep breath and spoke in unison.