Return of the Unrivaled Spear Knight

Side Story Chapter 292
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Side Story Chapter 292

Although Aaron was destroying sharp wind blades with ease, his head was swirling with thoughts.

‘My brother is alive?’

It was something that had troubled his mind for a long time. In fact, he had searched for his brother in secret after becoming duke because at that point he no longer had to worry about what his family would think of him. However, he couldn’t find a single trace of his older brother.

‘…I shouldn’t let her sway me. Follow the plan,’ Aaron told himself as he reached into his inner pocket.

There was a good reason why Aaron had created a hole in this ice prison.

A magic firework stick. infused with Aaron’s mana, flew up and exploded high in the sky.

Anna looked at it and chuckled. “You came out here to call reinforcements, huh?”

“Did you think I was running away because I was scared of those vermin?” Aaron sneered—but he was a little perplexed by how nonchalant Anna was.

“Speaking of running away, do you know why my father and I chose to flee to Avalon?” Anna casually asked.

“What are you trying at now?”

Despite his scorn, Aaron couldn’t stop himself from listening. Although he was aware that he was letting Anna get to him, all of her questions were tickling his interest. Of course, he was also letting her tell her story to buy time for his reinforcements to arrive.

“It’s because one of Avalon’s princes—a Kaiser ben Britten—promised to help us. But that wasn’t the only reason. Your brother was also there.”

Aaron's eyes widened.

“My father always wanted to become the emperor of Swallow, and the biggest obstacles in his dream were Grand Duke Lucifer and the Killian family.”

“…So?” Aaron narrowed his eyes.

“It might be possible to take care of Grand Duke Lucifer with Avalon’s help, but Father needed a way to deal with the Killian family because the last thing he wanted was to hand over the throne to someone else on a silver platter.”

Aaron could figure out the rest.

“Were you trying to make my brother join your side?”

“He would naturally join me and my father’s cause once we helped him clear his name and become the duke of Killian.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Aaron spat; he didn’t even try to hide his contempt. “I know how good-natured he is, but there’s no way he would have helped you after he discovered the truth whether you made him duke or not.”

“The problem is solved if you keep the truth hidden. You might tell him the truth at the end, but by that time, he won’t believe I’m the culprit.”

“You’re scum, wretch. You’re the reason why my brother’s life was ruined and yet you still don’t hesitate to mock him like that. Even I feel disgusted.”

Anna grinned. “To be honest, this whole conversation is meaningless because your brother already knows the truth.”

“…What?”

“In fact, he thanked me. He needed a pretext to leave the family, and the incident just gave him a convenient excuse.”

Aaron found it hard to believe that his brother wanted to leave the Killian Family voluntarily.

‘…But come to think of it, it was strange.’

Even Aaron’s grandfather had acknowledged his brother’s talent, and Aaron’s father, the heir apparent of the Killian duchy, had stood up for his brother, yet Aaron’s brother had still been disowned from the family forever. Aaron had only been a boy, but his youth hadn’t stopped him from realizing how cruel a punishment it was.

“All geniuses are like him.” Anna shrugged.

“…What?”

“They’re awfully prideful and stubborn as a mule. Everyone in the family agreed that your brother was a genius, but there was a better genius than him in the family—his younger brother, no less.”

“…It was because of me?” Aaron blankly whispered.

Anna nodded. “Our grandfather and your father also knew about you and your brother, but your brother didn’t want more people to find out… With his pride, he couldn’t tolerate being a worse martial artist than his own younger brother.”

“That… was why he left the family?”

“Even though it would have hurt his pride, he might have stuck around if you didn’t want to become the duke. In that case, he wouldn’t have had to fight you and ultimately be defeated, which would prove to everyone that you’re the real genius.” Anna let out a sigh. “But you wanted the duchy.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! I didn’t even know how I felt back then, so how would my brother know that!?”

“You showed him by not telling everyone the truth.”

Aaron’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull. ‘He… knew that I saw everything? How?’

“This is taking longer than I planned. Anyhow, there’s a good reason why you couldn’t find your brother,” Anna went on.

“...Why?”

“The day he was disowned, your brother abandoned his name and the sword. He didn’t want anyone to recognize him, so he grew a beard and cut his hair short; he was slender before, but he trained himself to become a lot more muscular.”

Which meant that Aaron’s brother looked like an entirely different person now. Aaron could now understand why he couldn’t find his brother. This kind of search was usually based on the missing person’s swordsmanship and appearance.

“Don’t you want to know his new name?” Anna asked.

Her story had been building up to this very question. It seemed that she had done a good job, because she had Aaron’s full attention.

Anna smiled. “Do you want to listen a little longer? It’s going to get very interesting.”

“What… are you trying to pull?”

“Hahaha. You say you doubt me and yet your eyes are sparkling with curiosity.”

Aaron frowned, but Anna waved her hand.

“He’s a mercenary now.”

“A mercenary…? My brother became a lowly mercenary to feed himself?”

“Well, I don’t think that was his only reason.”

“What?”

“Social class doesn’t matter among mercenaries,” Anna plainly stated. “All anyone needs to reach the zenith and build a force of their own is their skill, so can we really look down on mercenaries?”

“That doesn’t change the fact that they’re low-lives! They’ll sell off their honor for the right amount of money!”

“Well, that’s a good thing for me. It means that mercenaries are more than willing to take my side for enough gold.”

“Now you’re—”

Before Aaron could finish his sentence, loud shouts were heard from all directions.

“…They’re finally here.” Aaron smiled contently. Letting Anna’s tale drag on had proven worthwhile; now his army was entering the palace, prompted by his signal.

“I’m not done talking.”

“Forget it. I don’t have a brother. I forgot his name long ago,” Aaron scoffed.

“His name? I can tell you that. Your brother’s new name is Aiden.”

Aaron’s eyes slowly widened.

“He doesn’t have a surname because he’s currently a ‘lowly mercenary’.”

“Hah… You have to be kidding me.” Aaron laughed dryly.

Aaron, Anna, Aiden… They were very common names across the entire continent, indistinguishable unless it came attached to a special surname like “del Killian”. However, the name “Aiden” meant more to Aaron than most because it was none other than his father’s name.

“It’s his way of remembering his family and his father, who stood up for him until the end.”

“So where is my brother now?” Aaron demanded, his eyes narrowed.

Once again, Anna’s answer blindsided him.

“He’s a lot closer than you think.”

“Ohaaaaaaaa!”

As the shouts were getting closer, Aaron dissipated his aura, making the ice prison vanish like a shattering glass. Once he had a clear view, he looked down at the ground.

“What…?” Aaron frowned. He had thought that it would be easy to take over the palace; he and his people had even figured out the size of the army in the palace before all of this. To his surprise, the palace was instead gripped by an intense battle—and more people were fighting against the Killian family’s forces than they had anticipated.

Aaron couldn’t help but wonder if there was a place in the palace that could have hidden that many people until now. However, the clothes of the people who made up the majority of the palace’s defenders caught Aaron’s eye.

“Mercenaries…?”

“I told you that he’s a lot closer than you think,” Anna reminded him.

“…What?”

“Aiden is actually also his old name because he abandoned it again after winning the Reinhardt Masters' Battle. It’s a common name, but he couldn’t let anyone from the Killian family recognize him.” Anna smiled. “Your brother is a genius too. Using his innate physical gifts, he became one of the best close combat fighters even though he only started learning after he was disowned.”

At that moment, a thunderous explosion cracked through the air, originating from the palace’s north gate.

Aaron’s head snapped around, his eyes landing on a huge man that stood atop the high gates.

“Protect our client!” the man roared.

Aaron’s face went pale. Only a fool wouldn’t have realized that man’s identity after all the conversation he’d just had with Anna. Not many men in the world would be able to unleash overwhelming energy like that either.

“His new name is… yes, it’s Akshuller. Akshuller the Mighty.”

Aaron clenched his teeth. “The Mercenary King…!”

Anna’s lips curled scornfully. “You know, the person who collected all the information and came up with this plan is a smart little girl that you people call the Fox Master.”

“Ugh…!”

“Isn’t she amazing? Even you couldn’t find your brother, but she did.” Anna giggled.

Aaron gritted his teeth and unleashed his murderous energy.

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