"That was quite the news. To think you were the one who defeated Earth Dragon Toron."
"All by yourself at that."
"Our house dispatched our knights in that tale of Founder King slaying Toron. It is said that the casualties we suffered were no joke."
"I could see that, yeah."
"And yet you accomplished that alone. Unbelievable. But it surely is the truth. Could you deign me with a detailed tale on your Toron-slaying feat?"
"No. Sorry but I'm not gonna show my cards."
"Is that right. That is fair indeed. It is what it is. Either way, we cannot publicly announce Toron's defeat. Seeing as Chaney Company and Zaidmhal Household are aware of the fact that the swords and spears are made of Toron thorns, this fact will eventually leak out, however there's only a few souls privy of Toron's death. I'm sorry but I have to ask you to keep it confidential."
"Speaking of which, you divulged me your reason for avoiding the capital, yet here I am asking you to go per the royal family summon. This matter did not have to end with an unnecessary dispute between them and our household since you agreed. You have my gratitude."
"It's me who turned this stuff into an issue. My apologies."
Manfrey blinked for a while, seemingly taken by surprise by Lecan's response.
"Hearing that puts me at ease. I shall personally accompany you in this audience."
"What. Aren't you the marquis himself?"
"All lords are to visit the palace every year for new year greetings. I'm only delaying that for a bit. I take it you don't mind if we head to the capital tomorrow."
"Yea. Much obliged."
The group departed Mashajain the day after and arrived at the capital on the third day.
The capital was an incredibly vast city.
However, it's not the buildings or the number of populace that shocked Lecan.
(So many folks with stupid amounts of mana lying about.)
(So this is the capital.)
As the wagon ran down the street, a sound of bell echoed.
"Oh, this must be the Bell of Time. Four tolls should mean, err, Hour of Water Buffalo (Shutlan), is it."
Manfrey took some kind of tool out of his pocket as he said that.
"So the number of bell tolls signify times?"
"Yeah. It is a new initiate started this year. That PM sure could think up quite a clever thing every once in a while. The bell just now must be Elex Temple's. The tolling from afar should be of Raikos Temple I believe."
Their wagon eventually arrived at Wazrof Mansion. A bulky wall surrounding a vast plot of land where thick groves of trees are growing with a mansion in the center.
The wagon passed through the opened gate inside. A huge number of servants were standing in rows in front of the mansion to welcome the family head.
They went up the stairs into the mansion, a lone woman stood in the center of the reception hall inside.
An exquisitely dressed red haired lady exuding her youthful vigor.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
She greeted at the group with an elegant mannerism.
"Manfrey-sama. And everybody. It is truly to my delight to see you arrive here safely."
"Hello there, Eda-dono. Thank you for welcoming us."
(Did he say Eda?)
Lecan's <Life Detection> also agrees that the one there is Eda. Yet, Lecan didn't realize that lady was Eda until Manfrey called her name.
Eda looked up. Her eyes full of joy at their reunion gazed straight at Lecan. Her face adorned with make-up is breathtakingly beautiful. The swaying glittering earrings on both her ears seem to sync with her beating heart. But what's up with this overflowing grace anyway.
(Is this girl perhaps.)
(Of a noble lineage?)
"Lecan. Welcome to the capital."
"Yea. Glad to see you safe."
"Fujisur-san and everybody else really helped a lot. Real sorry about this. You even went all the way the capital you dislike so much for me."
"Nevermind that. That speech paired with your attire feel so off."
"Fufu. Allow me to lead you to your room. Over here if you would."
Lecan settled down in his assigned room and after a while, someone came to tell him it was dinner time. Lecan changed into clothes prepared by Wazrof, he was surprised at how form fitting they were.
At the table seat, Lecan sat down on the guest of honor seat, with Norma to the right and Eda to the left. Of course, Manfrey is taking the main seat as the host.
"Now then, Lecan. We had informed the palace the rough date of your arrival and sent another messenger to adjust the date for the audience when you arrived at Mashajain. Fortunately enough, we managed to schedule the audience tomorrow. On the third period of Halfbeak (Cici). We should take early breakfast and leave ahead of that period, on the first."
"We will prepare your clothes for the audience. <Boxes> cannot be brought into the royal palace. There is an inspection at the entrance which will detect your <Boxes>. As such, leave your <Boxes> in this mansion."
Will his <Storage> get detected. Not like he could take it off though. No choice but to go and see what happens.
"Also, it will be an informal audience, but it would be best if you learn a bit about the etiquette. I shall send someone knowledgeable in the subject to your room later."
"Yea, that'll help."
The day after, they had early breakfast and Lecan changed into the prepared outfit.
It's a predominantly white suit with a refreshing look to it, complete with a decorative thin sword on the waist.
Norma wore a lilac-colored dress, Eda had a light pink one.
Protected by six knights led by Rigan, Manfrey, Lecan, Norma, Eda, Fujisur and Findin rode their wagon to the palace. Jinga was to be here as well originally. Yet he suffered a case of bad back. Even with Eda's <Purification>, the pain came back after a day. He voluntarily stayed behind this time. Norma looked anxious somewhat. Lecan drew closer to her.