39 Aftermath END
Svein was running with everything he had when he heard an ear splitting thunderous roar from above. Everything happened too quickly and he had no time to react as massive lightning bolts descended from the heavens and pummeled him repeatedly.
He roared in agony and did his best to dodge, but it was to no avail. The lightning was like a living beast that hounded him and tore his defenses with fury. His high grade defensive talismans were all in his storage ring and he gave it away.
His steel like defenses were not strong enough to withstand the sheer force that was tearing him apart. Smell of burning skin assaulted his nose and this realization brought him despair.
The lightning barrage only lasted for a minute, but for him it felt like eternity. He lay on the ground paralyzed and his breath was ragged. His body was charred and he was suffering from serious injuries.
Werewolves had the innate ability of regeneration. However, for some reason his regenerative powers was not working. Sounds of footsteps approached him from behind. Not long after, he felt someone attach something to his neck.
'Th-This! Don't tell me!'
He opened his eyes and saw the goblin boy that made his life miserable smiling down on him. He opened his mouth and his hoarse voice filled with despair asked the question that he dreaded.
"Y-You! What do you think you're doing?!"
"Mmm? I am in need of a slave right now," Kei said. "Luckily, I found someone suitable on my way back home."
"Me? I will be the most important person in your life from this moment onwards."
"Pl-Please! Have mercy!" Svein pleaded. He knew the fate that would befall him if he wasn't able to convince this goblin boy to spare him.
Kei smiled wickedly and pointed a finger on his face. "Tell me, do this look like a face of mercy to you?"
With a sneer, Kei pricked his finger with a small dagger. A small drop of blood oozed from his fingertip and dropped unto the slave collar on Svein's neck. It glowed and Kei felt the effect of the contract taking place.
"What about the oath?! Aren't you one of the Earl's subordinates?!" Svein asked. "This means he broke the oath! The gods will punish him! He will pay for your insolence!"
"Oh, that oath? Pa, didn't break any oaths," Kei replied while chuckling. "What was that oath again? Ah…"
"I hereby make an Oath to the Gods! I swear on my name, my wife, my descendants, and my men. None of my subjects will hinder you from your escape from the Kingdom of Edelweiss."
Kei arrogantly raised his chin and gazed at the heavens. "Pa's bloodline doesn't run through my veins. This means that I'm not his descendant. I am also not one of his men, and not a subject of this Earldom. Which means… the oath doesn't affect me!"
He patted Svein's head and sneered. "Be a good boy and sleep. The moment you wake up, your new life will begin."
Svein wanted to curse him, but he was unable to disobey the command of the slave collar. He was soon fast asleep and Kei finally breathed a sigh of relief. He sat down on the ground because his legs were shaking from exhaustion.
"You did well, Kei."
Aenarion appeared beside him and patted his head affectionately. Your mother would be proud of you if we were to tell him everything.
"Pa, do you want Ma to spank my bum? I'm pretty sure that she'll forbid me to leave the estate if she learn about this incident."
"Maybe that would be better no? At least you won't go making trouble wherever you go."
"Mmm, Pa, I'm sleepy."
"Then rest, leave the cleanup to me. You can take the two girls back to Veritas," Aenarion said. "It's been a long night and all of you kids should be sleeping. It's way past your bedtime."
"Mmm, it's way past our bedtime."
Kei awoke to the sound of birds singing. His body felt heavy due to the adventure he had a few hours ago. He turned his head to the side and saw a young girl sleeping beside him. One of her hands were on his chest, while the other was holding unto his arm.
He looked at the bed beside them. His lips curled up when he saw Little John being embraced by Tifa. However, instead of bliss the expression on Little John's face was filled with pain. Although Tifa wasn't holding on to his broken arm, she was lying directly on top of him.
The two of them were still asleep, but it seems that his best friend was suffering in his dreams. Kei offered him a silent prayer and returned his attention to the sleeping girl beside him.
The two of them share a connection and he felt her waking up. He watched as Milfa opened her eyes and looked at him in a daze. She smiled, snuggled closer to him, and closed her eyes.
"Mmm? Still want to sleep?" Kei asked in a gentle tone.
"Please, just ten more minutes," She replied almost pleadingly.
"My Lady , if that is your wish then this humble servant dare not disobey."
Milfa's cheeks turned beet red, but she didn't open her eyes. Instead she snuggled closer to him and Kei patted her head with a smile.
A few hours later, the twins had a happy reunion with their grandfather. He was one of the captives found in the warehouse of the Bloodline Hunters. The hunters didn't kill him because they found out that he had faint traces of a rare bloodline. He was then treated as valuable commodity and locked up with the other villagers.
Tifa and Milfa introduced him to Kei as Grandpa Vlad.
"I can't thank you enough for saving my granddaughters," Vlad said while hugging the two girls.
Kei scratched his cheek. "It's no big deal Grandpa. Also, you don't have to worry about the mark of slavery. I have a way to remove it."
"You do?" Vlad asked.
"Yes. I just need to gather a few materials and I can undo the mark of slavery."
"That's good! Thank you!"
Milfa turned his head to stare at Kei "I don't want the mark to be removed."
"Eh?" Kei answered in surprise. "Why not?"
"I don't want to lose my connection to you!"
"I want to become your servant!"
Vlad glanced at the both of them and a small smile appeared on his old face. He then turned his gaze to Tifa. "How about you Tifa? Do you want your mark to be removed?"
Tifa nodded her head in a heartbeat. She then looked at the direction of Little John who was seated not far away from them.
'I see, so that's how it is.' Vlad nodded his head in understanding. 'A lot of things happened in the span of a few days.'
"Young master, please take good care of my granddaughter." Vlad bowed his head. "It seems that she wants to be taken under your wing as a retainer. It's perfectly normal for nobles to have many people serving under him. Would you please consider having her serve you?"
Kei crossed his arms on his chest. He could feel Milfa's strong desire to stay by his side, but he was not sure whether he has the capacity to take care of other people aside from himself.
"That sounds like a good idea."
Aenarion suddenly appeared beside Kei. "Why don't you accept her as your retainer? Like her grandfather said having a retainer is perfectly normal for nobles. You will have them sooner or later, why not have them sooner?"
Kei tilted his head and looked at his Pa. Aenarion winked at him and patted his head.
"Very well. We will do the ceremony here," Kei said. "I'll ask you once more, are you sure about this?"
Instead of answering Milfa bent her knee like a knight in front of him. Kei took out a ceremonial dagger from his storage ring and started the ceremony.
"What is your family name?" Kei asked.
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"We have none. Rather, we have lost the right to our family name." Vlad answered in Milfa's stead.
Kei didn't say anything else and softly tapped the blade of the sword on Milfa's shoulder.
"Do you swear to acknowledge me, Kei Frieden, to be your true and rightful liege?"
"I do swear."
"Do you also swear to defend and obey me until death take you?"
"I do so swear."
"And I, for my part, do swear to defend and honor Milfa Lionheart as befits of one serving under me." Kei tapped both of her shoulders using the ceremonial dagger on his hand.
"Raise your head." Kei said.
Milfa obeyed and raised her head. For some reason, she felt very happy. It was a different kind of happiness. Something that she had never felt before.
Kei extended his hand and helped her up.
"I'm a troublemaker so be prepared," Kei said with a smile.
Milfa smiled back. "Please take care of me from now on, Young Master."
"Mmm, I will."
"And that was how I met Young Master."
There were a slight blush on Shino's cheek when Milfa finished her story. "The ten year old master was so cool! Also, that name Lionheart, it's a good name."
"He was." Milfa nodded her head in agreement. "And yes, I love the name the young master gave me."
"So which one is cooler? The younger version of master or the current one?" Shino asked.
"The current one," Milfa replied. "He is much cooler now."
"Mmm, I agree. I'm much cooler now."
The two girls gasped in surprise like two children caught for doing something bad behind their parent's backs.
"Master, how long had you been awake?"
"Handsome young master, you shouldn't do that. You almost gave me a heart-attack."
Kei drew the two of them in his embrace and kissed both of their cheeks. "I have been awake since Chapter 35."
"Cha-Chapter 35?" Shino asked. "What is this Chapter 35 you speak of, Master?"
Milfa pouted. "Handsome young master, you are teasing us again."
Kei closed his eyes and listened to the protests of the two ladies by his side. He felt their concern and their feelings of love through the connection they have with him.
Just like Milfa, Shino was connected to him in ways he do not understand. Perhaps Grandma Sophie did something during the ceremony and bound the two of them together.
Kei didn't mind, because he had already accepted Shino in his life. He knew that dark times were up ahead, but for now, he was content to have these two ladies by his side.