< — People to Meet — > (4)
“It’s the Mad Dog.”
“Mad Dog Krotin.”
When an eye-catching man made his entrance, the atmosphere of the pleasant banquet hall stirred with unease. Roy walked in with a very crooked expression, looking around slowly like a wild dog in search of prey. People turned ghastly pale and turned away, afraid to meet his eyes.
Roy gradually accumulated notoriety while he was the Crown Prince’s escort and accompanied the Crown Prince to parties or meetings. Now, he had become famous in the social circles. Because he was at the Crown Prince’s side as an escort, he was caught up in the bloody power game whether he wanted to or not. He was not accustomed to the flowery noble way of speaking so, at first he did not even know he was picking a fight. Even if he spoke cynically, most of them were people that would retreat without saying anything. So, in the early phase of escorting, it was rather quiet. And then gradually they began to ignore Roy and ridicule him. His famous name on the battlefield was useless in the social circle. Although the Duke of Taran had given him the title of Baron, he was originally a commoner.
Low-ranking, ignorant and simple-minded Knights were very ridiculous to the aristocrats who didn’t treat people like human beings if they weren’t nobility. And it happened that nobles in opposition to the Crown Prince got into friction with Roy and threw down their gauntlet. And Roy responded by happily beating them to pulp. Roy’s stress was at its peak due to doing to job of an escort that didn’t suit his aptitude. However, once he wielded his sword, his stress was completely relived. Because he had acquired a taste for it, it was now him that went after them first.
Since most of them were from forces opposing the Crown Prince, the Crown Prince just stood by and watched while the Crown Prince’s faction quietly encouraged it. Roy went wild in high spirits and sometimes he had a couple of duels in a day.
At first, those who didn’t know anything accepted his challenge and it wasn’t until their knights were beaten half-dead that they realized that Roy was a lunatic. After defeating the Marquis’ knights, he said Knights are their master’s dog and this utterance turned the social circle upside down. After that, Roy was called the Mad Dog. Even if those that were harmed gnashed their teeth in anger, they had no justification because it was a legal confrontation. Furthermore, behind Roy was the Crown Prince and even further behind was the Duke of Taran. People played it extremely safe in order not to step on the Mad Dog’s tail.
After the previous King passed away, Roy arrogantly bailed on his escorting mission and hid himself for a while because he was afraid of the aftermath. After roaming and playing around to his heart’s content, he got bored. As time passed, the simple Roy had practically forgotten his fear at the time of being scolded by his Lord.
Today, there were a lot of people going to the coronation party so he wondered if there would be anything fun and after wandering around, he came. Because it was a formal occasion, there were no Knights that came to the party wearing armor like Roy did. They should have stopped him at the entrance but the Royal Guards did not stop the already famous Roy.
As Roy was passing, he bumped shoulders with somebody. He turned his head to apologize but suddenly, the middle-aged nobleman lost his temper.
“Are you blind or what! Where do you think this is that you’re wearing armor? Ei. Tsk Tsk Tsk.”
Roy’s eyes narrowed. It had been a while since someone picked a fight with him so it was refreshing. The middle-aged noble man had been away from the capital for a while and it hadn’t been long since he returned so he hadn’t heard of the notorious Mad Dog Krotin.
“Then, what of you? Do you have no eyes? Why should I have to avoid you? If you are blind, then I will apologize.”
“Wha…what!! This rude bastard-!”
The middle-aged man did not see the people around him shrinking away. The likes of a knight insulting him made the heat rise to his head.
“Bastard? Did you just call me bastard? I see you like to run your mouth. How many necks do you have? Hm?” (Roy)
“Wha…Wha…Wha- this trash-like bastard-! How dare you! Do you know who I am! Do you think you’ll be safe after this?!”
“Who are you? And so what?”
Come on, hurry and challenge me. Roy was hoping that someone would pick a fight with him. The middle-aged man was unluckily caught. When he smiled like a delinquent and took a sudden step forward, the middle-aged noble backed away.
“Oh dear.” (Random A)
“Tsk Tsk. Of all people.” (Random B)
People’s attention were drawn towards the commotion. It was terrible to encounter the Mad Dog Krotin but as long as the misfortune was theirs, it was a great spectacle. While people were clicking their tongue at the Mad Dog, they secret wanted him to cause trouble. In the high society that was all about keeping face, there was nobody that provided a spectacle without reserve like the Mad Dog. People felt sympathy for scapegoat of today but at the same time they were excited to watch the spectacle.
Kwiz felt people’s gazes fall on him and cleared his throat. It was the celebration party for his accession to the throne. If he let the incident play out like this, it would harm the dignity of the King. He couldn’t leave it like this but the question was whether Roy would listen to him if he stopped him. In the past, he pretended not to hear when those that asked him to mediate so his interference now would seem ridiculous.
“Ahem. Taran Gong.”
Why don’t you stop him? He’s your subordinate. Kwiz handed the problem solving over to Hugo and silently washed his hands off the matter. Truthfully, Hugo didn’t really care whether Roy made a mess in this place. His interest was only on his wife who was currently absent. He felt like she had been gone for too long so he sent a handmaid after her. He had just sent the handmaid but he was already grumbling that the maid was slow. Hugo briefly clicked his tongue and began to move. Everyone’s gazes turned to the moving Duke of Taran.
“Can he really stop the Mad Dog?”
“It’s his subordinate so isn’t that obvious?”
“But it is the Mad Dog.”
The Mad Dog was impossible to predict. People’s opinions were divided. People expected the Duke to immediately go to stop Roy but he turned and went to a nearby table. He picked up a knife from the table. It was a blunt knife for cutting salad.
Why that? The crowd questioned in their hearts and for some reason, they watched the Duke with anticipation. Hugo lightly threw and catch the knife a few times with one hand. Then he threw it at Roy’s back.
It happened in an instant.
Short screams broke out from here and there.
Roy was playing with the middle-aged nobleman like a cat playing with a mouse. The middle-aged man could not win against the threat from Roy’s stature and had hesitantly retreated till his back was against the pillar. He could not believe that nobody would help him. Roy pressed his arm against the pillar and threatened the middle-aged man like a scoundrel. The fact that the man was too scared to even think of issuing a challenge was Roy’s miscalculation.
The knife Hugo threw grazed Roy’s cheek and embedded itself in the pillar. Coincidentally, the place where the knife landed was next to the eye of the middle-aged man who was trembling against the pillar. The man foamed at the mouth and fainted.
Just before the middle-aged man passed out, Roy felt his cheek smarting and touched it only to find his hand smeared with red blood.
“Aish! Who did that!”
Roy yelled furiously and turned his head. And like that, he froze. The surrounding was quiet. Everyone was frozen.
Their eyes met and Hugo raised a finger towards Roy, beckoning him.
Threw down their gauntlet: issued a challenge.
1. Here Roy asks for his family name.