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121 Was I Picked Up from A Trash Heap?

 But just as the brothers were about to return to their lodgings, Horan suddenly approached them after settling Kinley in.

"Father!" Cecil was absolutely prepared to accuse his brother the moment he saw daddy.

However, Horan had caught the annoyance on Cecil's face and spoke before he could. "Come with me, Angora-I have something to tell you. Cecil, return to your keep."

Cecil's menacing air faded as he was left gaping.

At the same time, Angora slid Cecil a look before going after Horan.

As Cecil watched his father and little brother disappear from a corner, his eyes became an almost solid darkness.

"If none of you would give it to me, I shall take it for myself..." He growled, cracking his neck before turning, and headed back to his castle without so much of a look behind.

***

Angora followed Horan into his private study.

There were a total of three studies in the Silver Eagle Castle, with one of the other two being a shared one and the remaining study used by Horan for official business. In comparison, no one was allowed to enter his private study unless invited, and only the chief servants were permitted admittance for cleaning-not even Cecil had entered it as his eldest son.

In his childhood, Angora once yearned dearly to be inside that enigmatic yet important room, because only those who were very important to his father could enter.

Now, however, he suddenly gained an epiphany after getting inside. 'Ah. So, the study that I pined for so much when I was younger is...

'Just a study.'

"Angora, do you know what I want to tell you?" Horan spoke with his typical indifferent tone as he settled down behind his huge ebony desk-after holding the title of duke for years, he knew very well how much pressure those underneath him felt if he stayed emotionless.

"I do not." Angora, however, felt nothing. He was shaking his head in a forthright manner, because he would rather be staying at his own town farming if he didn't have to uncover the mastermind attempting to assassinate him.

"I've noticed that things are sour between you and Cecil. Although there are always dispute where there are people, peace is most important between brothers-with Edmund dead, you are the only two sons that I have left. That's why any squabbles over petty emotions are completely unnecessary... but what do you think?" Haron suddenly shifted his attitude and advised Angora with heartfelt sincerity, perhaps realizing that treating his own son as a subordinate was not right.

Angora had wanted to shoot back that he wasn't the one stirring trouble, that Cecil was the one provoking him at the very start, and that he had not seriously fought back...

But before he could speak, Angora suddenly realized that his once high and mighty father's hair was very white, and his handsome face not unlike his own was now full of wrinkles. As such, his heart softened just then, and he answered rather reluctantly. "I got it..."

'As long as Cecil doesn't come stirring trouble, I wouldn't have bothered with him.

'However.'

"No, you don't understand me."

The old man spoke slowly then, "I am aware that you have grown up now. I know you won't be happy with staying beneath Cecil, but I hope that you could help him with your body and soul. No matter how ridiculous his words and whatever unreasonable requests he may give, you need to compromise with him."

"Wha..." Angora was stunned entirely.

At first, he was merely assuming that the old man was favoriting Cecil-he just didn't expect that favoritism to extend up to such lengths.

Hence, Angora started to search his mind on the politest way to convey 'Was I picked up from the trash heap?'

Or would a simple mouthful of spit suffice?

Nonetheless, Angora stopped himself from something so rude thanks to his noble upbringing, but his face had clearly betrayed his thoughts.

As the saying goes: with old age comes wisdom-after Horan's years playing the role of the Silver Eagle Duke who kept every noble within the north in line and following his every command to the letter, there was no chance he couldn't guess what Angora was thinking.

"Very good. You didn't answer me with a punch to the face, and that tells me you are much calmer than your elder brother." The old man praised Angora, but the latter was unmoved. Horan could also clearly see that he would turn and walk away at any given moment, and as such stopped trying to give a long-winded curtain-raiser as well.

"The reason I've asked to speak to you in private is because your roots shouldn't be exposed... or, at least, to certain people who are particularly obsessed."

"My roots..."

Angora blinked in disbelief.

'Hold up, was I really picked up from the trash heap?'

"Do you know who your mother is?" The old man asked.

"Didn't you forbid me from asking?" Angora replied, upset.

In public, Horan had always insisted that Angora was a child from doing the deed with a handmaiden. Angora himself had been curious who his mother was, even discreetly observing every handmaiden in the castle to seek her out, although his search proved fruitless.

"Now's the right time to tell you." The old man was pleased that Angora's was curious despite looking upset. "Have you heard of Tierra?"

"I-I have..."

Angora gulped. He had trouble answering because he simply didn't expect to hear that name from his own father.

Naturally, he couldn't tell Horan that not only did he know about Tierra, but the last member of their royal family was also quietly building the base for an army just beneath Lancaster with the help of Angora's own subjects...

"That's quite long ago-I'm surprised that you know." Nonetheless, the old man became serious. "You must not tell anyone what I'm about to tell you. The reason I brought you here is to keep this a secret. Understand?"

"Okay."

Angora quickly nodded and promised, and so the old man told him a secret that he had buried for years.

"Tierra had fallen after several nations besieged it at the same time. Almost none were left of its royal family, with most of them dying in the war-even the branch family did not do well after they were caught. Your mother... was the youngest sister of Yakaran the Eleventh, the King of Tierra at the time, and a princess in her own right."

"Her name was Clare Yakaran. I was also young and vigorous back then, which is why I thought nothing of offering her shelter. There was also the fact that Cecil and Edmund's mother had passed away for two years, and as the loneliness became unbearable... ahem."

Angora was petrified.

Just then, he remembered Leah, the princess of war who was smiling like a queen in the midst of the battlefield, and that mental image of Leah overlapped with the mother whom he never met.

It was not only Angora-even Xi Wei who was watching from his Divine Kingdom was stunned by that secret.

At first, he was thinking that he was simply picking a lord whose land was just outside the Valley of the Tragic Dead, only to realize afterward that he had unwittingly drawn all the royals of Tierra into his faction in one fell swoop.

Xi Weixi could not help seeing that destiny was on his side, that it desired the Players to restore Tierra...