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Solo Swordmaster

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Solo Swordmaster

[Translator –  woni]

[Proofreader – sharlottle]

 

Chapter 19: Take My Hand

"……What?"

For a Swordmaster who's lived for centuries, he had a rather disgraceful look on his face.

The only reason he didn't look too ugly, was because there were others who were even more in shock.

Crash—!

For example, a flower pot that was next to Li Chingwei fell over by itself.

Shatter! 

Or the bewildered Yo Ouin, who dropped his tray, shattering the teapot and cups that were on it.

"P-princess? What did you just say?"

But Li Chingwei did not bat an eye at the pot nor at Yo Ouin.

Her eyes fixed on Limon, she had a cheerful grin across her face. 

"How does that sound? Would that be enough?"

"Oh, uhm…"

Stuttering from hearing something so unexpected, Limon cleared his throat to collect himself.

"Ahem, I don't think I heard you right…. Did you just say Hotel Leviathan's shares?"

"Yes."

"49% of it?"

"That's correct."

"You're giving all of that to me? For a dowry?"

"That is what I said."

"……Are you out of your mind?"

Not only was this only the second time they've met, it was an incredibly rude remark to say to a Princess of the Seven Dragons Association.

But neither Li Chingwei nor the pale Yo Ouin could blame Limon.

The offer was too ridiculous. 

'Just what is she thinking?"

Hotel Leviathan wasn't just a little pricey.

It was one of the seven holding companies of the Seven Dragon Group, acting as the foundation and central institution holding control over the Seven Dragons Association.

49% of its market share?

One dared not to put a price tag on that.

Not only would Limon have a massive fortune and hold authority in the Black Dragon Clan, he would also have control over the Seven Dragons Association.

And yet, she'd just offered to give such valuable shares to Limon of all people, just for a dowry.

It would've been understandable to question whether Li Chingwei was of sound mind.

But her grin only widened. 

"The Master of Swords said it himself. If the product changes, so should its price."

"That's why you're offering 49% of Leviathan's shares?"

"Yes."

"…Why?"

"As you said, the product has changed."

Limon was puzzled, unable to understand the nonsense Li Chingwei was spouting.

"I am aware of the situation the Master of Swords is in right now. You have been marked a traitor of this country, and the Infinite Monarch is after your head."

Limon wasn't surprised at the fact she knew this. She was the Black Dragon Princess, after all.

Even among the Seven Dragons Association, the Black Dragon Clan were at the top when it came to the gathering of intel.

There was no way Li Chingwei wouldn't know of the massive incident where an entire building was demolished and over 100 high-level players were annihilated.

What was surprising, however, was her response to it.

"And knowing that, you're still bidding that high for my ransom?"

"Knowing that, is exactly why I've placed the Master of Swords' worth so high."

Reframing Limon's words, Li Chingwei continued.

"The Master of Swords said it himself. As long as he was a civil servant, there was always the possibility that his country would send him after the Seven Dragons Association. It is also why he refused to take my hand in marriage."

"So what about that?"

"The fact you have come to take my hand in marriage must mean you have nothing holding you back any longer."

"……"

Limon was silent.

"Do you not think it is only fair to pay a higher price when a decorative sword becomes the world's finest blade?"

As Limon watched Li Chingwei's perfectly calm face blabber nonsense, he thought about how fitting this was for a Princess of the Seven Dragons Association.

Li Chingwei's words had hit the nail on the head.

If he hadn't been branded as a traitor and given up on the country, Limon wouldn't have done a single thing regarding the Seven Dragons Association, even if he'd accepted her offer and married her.

To someone of ancient times like Limon, the Seven Dragons Association was an enemy that could pose a danger to the nation at any time. 

Never have they ever helped him, but they've certainly screwed him over many times.

Though, things were different now.

As long as he was abandoned by the country, framed as a traitor, and disconnected from all the relationships he had left, Limon didn't have the fidelity or will to protect this land.

In short, he was now able to do whatever he wanted without getting entangled in any petty politics.

Even if that was helping a Princess of the Seven Dragons Association. It was like turning a junk car for show into a brand new sports car.

Li Chingwei at least had a valid point to raising the price.

But the problem came, when even considering all of the factors, she had raised it to an absurd amount.

Of course, Limon could also see the reason behind this nonsense.

"I'll have to do enough to suit the price, huh?"

"No, my conditions are not any different than before."

"So all I have to do is sit around all day being a trophy husband?

"This is simply a dowry."

A conventional marriage was enough, and Limon wouldn't be forced to do anything against his will.

In other words, Limon only had to help the Black Dragon Clan if he wanted to. 

Suddenly remembering something, Li Chingwei added.

"If my price is too overbearing, at least promise me one thing."

"Promise?"

"No matter what, do not betray me."

"……Are you worried I'll just take your money and run?"

"Of course not. The great Master of Swords would not do such a scoundrelous thing, would he?"

Her words denied it, but it sounded as if she was asking if Limon was indeed a scoundrel.

Enigmatic of her oddly pressure-inducing words, Limon asked.

"Then why are you asking that of me?"

"I need the Master of Swords under any circumstance."

Li Chingwei replied without hesitation, looking straight into his eyes.

"At all costs, no matter what."

"No matter what, you say……"

Li Chingwei's beautiful obsidian eyes that were as deep as the night sky, were pointed right at him, into his soul.

Limon smirked as he thought over her words.

"I see that you're giving away what you don't need and taking what's most important for yourself."

"Do you not like my terms?"

"Not really, no."

Any person would've called Limon a madman for saying such a thing.

People could only dream of marrying a Princess of the Seven Dragons Association. 

It was a life changing opportunity, where even an ordinary civilian could instantly become a backbone of the Seven Dragon Group. 

One top of that, his freedom was guaranteed, and he was offered Hotel Leviathan's shares.

No one in their right mind would turn down these terms.

Especially not when the bride was someone as beautiful as Li Chingwei.

But Limon was no 'ordinary civilian', or even a 'normal' being.

Limon scoffed.

Even if his country did turn their back against him, he was still Limon Asphelder.

He'd fought the Seven Dragons Association for an eternity, and he was someone who carved his path with nothing but his sword.

"I wasn't interested in your power or assets, anyway."

He wasn't someone who would shamelessly become a trophy husband just to get those things. Even if he did, he would've caused a major uproar in the Seven Dragons Association.

That was another can of worms Limon wasn't ready to pop open.

"And just getting those shares doesn't mean I can use them however I want to."

Hotel Leviathan's shares were closely tied to the authority over the Seven Dragons Association.

Using the shares meant he would require the permission of not just the Black Dragon Clan, but the other clans as well.

And they wouldn't just sit idle and allow him to do that.

Not for Limon, the sworn enemy of the Seven Dragons Association dating back centuries.

If he hadn't come as Li Chingwei's guest, Yo Ouin, as well as the Black Dragon Clan, would have come for his head.

The fact the place didn't explode was already a relief.

In conclusion, her offer was no different than a fictitious bill.

"…But I'll take it."

 

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Translator - woni

Proofreader - sharlottle

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"What?"

"Your offer. I'll take it."

Which is why Li Chingwei's eyes widened in surprise at his response.

"Are you really…?"

"Didn't I tell you? I've decided to be greedy from now on."

It would make sense if he was swayed by Hotel Leviathan's shares,

But why was he accepting her offer after rambling about how worthless those shares were?

Li Chingwei was beyond confused, as if she thought she was hearing things. 

Limon chuckled.

"I learned that without any money or power, people will shit on you."

His past self would have refused.

It was inevitable that the Seven Dragon Group's essential shares would bring more trouble than benefits.

But from the minute he accepted being Li Chingwei's trophy husband, his fate was bound to be entangled with the Seven Dragons Association.

Having more trouble stacked on top of that didn't make a difference to him.

"……I'm sure there are few who look down on the Master of Swords solely because he lacks money or power."

"Yeah… Well, apparently not."

Limon laughed coldly.

He also had this positive mindset not too long ago — no matter how defamed the Sword Master was, his feats wouldn't just disappear.

But after he was forsaken by the nation for crossing the Infinite Monarch, and after killing Yoo Na-kyung with his own hands, Limon realized.

Times have changed.

More so than Limon could have imagined.

No one cared about whatever feats he accomplished in the past, or how honorably he had lived.

This was a time where only money and power mattered.

How did the world come to this?

Limon lamented, even feeling suspicious.

For the world to change so drastically in just a few short decades… It was a new experience, even for him.

Maybe the world's always been this way. Just that he was only noticing it now that he'd lost all of his money and power.

But there were still questions he couldn't find an answer for. He looked at Li Chingwei with his cold, settled eyes.

"Speaking of which, there's something I want to ask you."

"What is it?"

"When you proposed, you told me that I'd be a target of scary enemies once I married you, yeah?"

"Yes, I did."

"Are those scary enemies human?

"What an interesting question."

Li Chingwei grinned widely again.

"Do you think I proposed to the Master of Swords because I was scared of something not even human?"

"…To me at least, you don't exactly look like someone who would be scared of anyone."

"Then, you already know the answer."

"I see."

Limon understood perfectly why Li Chingwei wasn't at all disturbed by his random question, and why she passed it off as a joke.

She'd only asked if she looked scared.

That also meant she didn't ultimately affirm or deny if the enemy was human, which itself answered his question.

"Well, whatever it is, my answer stays the same."

And so Limon didn't dig into the enemy Li Chingwei was on guard about.

He only glanced up at the starry night skies and asked nonchalantly,

"I need the money and power, after all."

Limon could feel it.

'One has to change to suit the times, huh.'

Whether the enemy he was going to face was human or not,

The time when he was able to rule just off swinging around a sword well had passed.

So he'd start gathering money and power.

If his strength and honor as a Swordmaster was meaningless now, he would regain his position another way.

"Also, once something's in my hands, I'm not going to pass it on to anyone else."

A declaration of an Absolute Ruler.

A testament that the Swordmaster, who held nothing but a sword in his hands until now, was determined to take hold of something else.

Limon was aware that there would be plenty of people who would try to get in his way if he tried to acquire power, especially from the Seven Dragons Association's side.

If things came to that, Li Chingwei would have to pick a side.

"So, Li Chingwei."

But Limon didn't say he would let such a thing happen, even as an empty promise.

"If you have the resolve to stand by me no matter what I do, or whatever enemies I make, take my hand."

Even if he would stand on opposing sides against the Seven Dragons Association— no, even if he stood up against the entire world.

If she wasn't confident she would stay on his side until the very end, she should give up.

With words that were too composed to be a threat and too cruel to be advice, Limon held out his hand.

And with his silently settled eyes he looked straight at Li Chingwei.

"If you do, I swear on my sword I will not forsake you."

It was a preposterous offer, a ridiculous trade of planting a massive bomb in exchange of Leviathan's shares as a dowry.

But she wasn't disappointed.

As if she'd been waiting for this very moment, she only happily smiled, and held Limon's hand without a shred of hesitation.

"Can I call you my dear husband from now on?"

 

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