[Translator – woni]
[Proofreader – sharlottle]
Chapter 7: "Marry me."
The Seven Dragons Association.
The foundations of this organization went beyond when Swordmasters were active.
Back then, the Gods and magic were at their prime.
The world was in chaos from the many indiscriminate witch hunts and religious wars. They greatly harmed the common man, as did their faith in those Gods. They quickly grew to become subjects of resentment instead.
Then, the Seven Dragons appeared, marking the end of the Silver Age and ushering in the Bronze Age.
Ancient beings who hibernated to avoid calamity, had awoken from their slumber. They manipulated the mysterious 'Psionics', preying on the Incarnations with their great power.
Amazed at their feats, those who had been persecuted by the Incarnations became their followers. The Seven Dragons accepted them, even passing down their Psionic techniques onto them.
Consequently, the number of followers of the Seven Dragons soared, becoming the Seven Dragons Association.
A religious group that accepted the Seven Dragons as their Gods and, at one point, a force that conquered the world.
However, that was the Bronze age.
After the first Swordmaster, the Sword Emperor, slayed the Seven Dragons and brought the world into the Heroes' Age, the Seven Dragons Association lost its dominance and collapsed.
But as someone once said, the rich thrive for three generations, even after their ruin.
They may have collapsed, but the Seven Dragon Association did not disappear completely. With the vast resources they had amassed and their Psionic powers, they picked up the shards of their broken organization, waiting for the prime opportunity to return.
However, the stars would never align for them.
Whenever they tried to take back their grasp on the world, people were there to hinder them with all their might.
And on the frontlines of those people, was the Swordmaster and Guardian of Humanity, Limon Asphelder.
In short, the Seven Dragons Association and Limon were mortal enemies.
But, times change. The world no longer needed Limon to fight the Seven Dragons Association. Rather, assassins were constantly sent after the Seven Dragons Association instead.
The fight was over, but the age-old resentment wasn't something that washed away easily.
"I like your tea."
"I used the cheapest tea bag at the market."
"As expected, the Master of Swords must be popular to purchase tea with such a rich flavor for so cheap."
The girl admired as she held her tea cup.
That was why Limon looked at Li Chingwei in such a stunned expression.
'Who knew the Black Dragon Princess would call me popular?'
Of course, he had heard a lot of other things.
'Damned bastard', 'asshole bound to get eaten by a dragon', things like that.
The Seven Dragons Association would give him new nicknames and judge him whenever they got bored.
The fact that there was a rather ordinary name like 'Master of Swords' among them was a miracle and downright inexplicable.
On top of that, among the Seven Dragons Association royalty, the Black Dragon Princess resented Limon the most. To hear such a thing from her of all people…
He would definitely get institutionalized if he told anyone about it.
" It was also quite a surprise."
"I heard the Master of Swords was living a humble life, but I did not know it would be this humble."
Li Chingwei looked around the room, fascinated.
From the yellow-stained walls, the worn furniture, to an old TV even a junk shop wouldn't bargain for.
The studio was filled with signs of poverty.
"Humble my ass, I'm living here because I'm poor."
"The Master of Swords…? Poor…?"
Li Chingwei looked perplexed, as if she'd just heard a weird joke.
"It was my understanding that the Master of Swords had a vast amount of assets to his name."
"Those got donated a long time ago."
Finally understanding, Li Chingwei grinned.
"You made a noble decision, donating all of your assets."
"It wasn't my decision."
Question marks appeared above Li Chingwei's head. She couldn't understand what it meant to donate, but not make that decision.
Limon snickered at her.
"I told you. I didn't 'donate' them, they 'got donated'."
"How is that possible?"
"Interesting, isn't it? The guys in National Assembly did some stuff and changed the law, and now things are like this.
It was funny to him that the Princess of the Black Dragon Clan was this stunned by his current financial state.
'I mean, it is pretty surprising.'
Limon originally had a lot of assets.
Back in the Heroes' Age, when the Swordmaster was considered the Absolute Ruler.
There were always people who didn't hesitate to throw money to get acquainted with him, and Limon wasn't one to refuse money put in front of him.
At the time, his wealth filled dozens of warehouses, to the point he had to build another one.
But after the world entered the Iron Age, as his tax exemption incentive from the state disappeared, so did his fortune, as it washed away like a mirage.
Special taxes, the Patriot Act, superhuman donation laws, and so on.
After all these laws were passed, the majority of his fortune was thrown out in a few short years from the sudden tax attack.
Even the Sword Tower, the Swordmasters' shrine, couldn't continue operations and went bankrupt.
On top of that, every time he almost killed someone or destroyed a building, more money went down the drain as compensation.
There was no way he would still have anything left.
'If I saw this coming, I would've stashed away some money beforehand.'
He always wondered why the wealthy would bury their gold underground like squirrels with nuts in the past.
Looking back, it was an act of foresight.
Even though most of those rich people died without leaving behind the location of where they had buried their gold.
Thanks to them, it was Limon's hobby at one point to dig up such owner-less gold.
But no matter how early one regrets things, it is always too late.
Translator - woni
Proofreader - sharlottle
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Instead of staying attached to the fortune he never would've used, Limon focused on a more realistic problem.
"Anyways, can I have the explanation now?"
"The request you made earlier."
Maybe it was due to the sudden change in subject.
A confused Li Chingwei finally connected the dots and nodded. After taking a deep breath, she told him with a grave expression.
"You don't have to have a child with me."
"Please be my husband, even as a formality. The Black Dragon Clan will promise to do its best to serve the Master of Swords."
"Uhm, excuse me?"
"I will not ask for anything else. If you just hold the position, I will give you whatever you desire. If I am not enough, there are plenty of other women you—"
"Pause! Pause! Pause!"
After a while of opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish, Limon, perplexed and bewildered, raised his hand to stop the Black Dragon Princess.
"Oi, that's not what I meant."
"Eh? Was it not?"
"No. I'm asking about the reason you came to see me, not about the marriage."
Limon crossed his arms, and stared straight at her.
"I don't see why the Princess of the Black Dragon Clan would go to such lengths just to bring a goner like me in as a member of the family."
"…How did you know?"
"After hearing all that, I'd be stupid not to know."
He didn't have to give her children, and all he had to do was stay as her husband in the records.
On top of that, they'd give him anything he wanted, and it didn't matter if he took in other women?
No matter how he looked at it, they weren't marriage conditions.
They were employment conditions.
In other words, Li Chingwei wasn't proposing.
She was just selling herself to borrow his power.
"That's… the reason is complicated."
"Of course it is," Limon said indifferently.
Li Chingwei may be the Black Dragon Princess, but marrying Limon wasn't something that would go down well.
It was ridiculous for a Princess of the Seven Dragons Association to marry Limon. It'll be warranted for her followers of the Black Dragon Clan to revolt at such a treasonous idea.
It couldn't possibly be a simple reason if she was asking him despite all the heat she would receive.
"You don't have to tell me that complicated reason. I don't even want to know."
He might have been curious in the past. So curious, he would have wanted to capture and torture a couple keymen to find out.
But times had changed.
After the Seven Dragons Association stepped out into the light, murdering them was no longer an option — not that Limon cared enough to do so in the first place.
"Rather, of all people, why me?"
"Because even if you marry me, you are not one to covet our Black Dragon Clan's fortune."
Go after the Black Dragon Clan's wealth?
He'd rather go after dog shit.
Besides, the Black Dragon Clan would rather kill themselves and their fortune than pass it down to Limon. That was how tense the relationship between Limon and the Black Dragon Clan was.
"I'm sure I'm not the only one out there."
"Yes, but it cannot be anyone else."
If what she needed was a moderately useful token husband, there were plenty of fish to suit her needs.
She was still the Black Dragon Princess, a girl of the utmost noble blood.
Despite everything that's already been said, Li Chingwei still hesitated to give the reason to why she chose Limon specifically.
"The Master of Swords is the only one who will not die, even if he marries me."
"…You're saying that anyone else who marries you will die?"
"Yes. I am almost certain."
"There is a high possibility the person that marries me will become a target of frightening enemies."
"That… is not something I can reveal right now."
Limon felt odd.
"This certainly doesn't seem ordinary."
Come to think of it, a princess of the Seven Dragons Association looking for a husband in itself was a serious thing.
The Princesses of the Seven Dragons Association wouldn't hesitate to overturn an entire nation to find their perfect husband. For one of them to settle for a political marriage…
It required no further explanation. Her choosing Limon over anybody else already spoke of the extent of her fear of this unknown enemy.
"I just want to know, what do you think are the chances of me dying if I marry you?"
How much was he risking?
Li Chingwei answered without hesitation.
"I want an answer, not flattery."
Li Chingwei shook her head.
"It is not."
Looking at Limon with deep sunken eyes, she asked rhetorically.
"No one but the Seven Dragons Association can kill the Master of Swords, yes?"
Limon blinked blankly, and it wasn't until a while had passed that he burst out into laughter.
"Bwahaha! Alright, you know what you're talking about!"
He continued laughing for quite some time.
Barely composing himself, Limon drank his tea and continued with what he was saying.
"Well, it doesn't seem like a bad deal. Not like I have any more reputation to lose for being a token husband, and I'll probably be able to live comfortably enough."
He never would have imagined he would become a token husband to the Princess of the Black Dragon Clan in the past.
But times had changed.
He was no longer an Absolute Ruler.
No one would care if Limon, a lowly civil servant, married whomever.
There was no reason for Limon to turn down the offer.
"Sorry, but I'll have to say no."
"……Do you not like me?"
"I'd be damned if I said I didn't fancy a beauty like you in today's society."
"Then why are you rejecting me?"
"I'm a civil servant."
Limon shrugged. He put down his tea cup and went on.
"I don't know when the nation will call on me to go after the Seven Dragons Association. Don't you think it'll be awkward for the both of us if I married you?"
He knew it was a stupid argument.
There were plenty of politicians getting sponsored by the Seven Dragons Association around the world, and the martial artists of the association were quickly gaining popularity by becoming actors.
There wouldn't come a day when Limon would have to fight the Seven Dragons Association. Even if such a day ever came, people would ask for the Monarchs' help, not him.
And yet, there was nothing he could do. No matter how much times had changed, he was a man of the old days who had fought against the Seven Dragons Association to protect the world.
"…I see the Master of Swords is still the Guardian of Humanity.
"It's just an old man being stubborn."
Limon shrugged, replying to Li Chingwei in a disappointed tone.
"Sorry to waste your time."
"No, it's okay."
Li Chingwei didn't show disappointment even under Limon's cold, indifferent, stare that spoke differently from his words.
She only showed a bitter smile.
"Being able to meet the Master of Swords directly was already more than I thought I could have accomplished."
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