In the Roman mansion, located on the outer perimeter of the capital of the Kingdom.
Its looks and its location made it easy to mistake it as a vacation house for some rich Noble. However, this was the home of the famed Guardian of Roa-Tian, Count Roman.
People who visited were surprised by two things.
The first was the beautiful scenery around the mansion.
The second was the fact that there was only one simple building.
It was much larger than the average commoner's house, but considering that even lower-ranked viscounts had over hundreds of people, this was too small for a Noble house with a long family history.
Count Roman's family never had any interests other than protecting the Kingdom. That was why they decided to reside in the Royal province with only a few people to protect the Royal family.
All of this made the Roman Family even more popular.
They were considered the role model of loyal knights to the King.
In the honorable Roman mansion, at top of the building where the office was, there was a guest.
"It has been a long time since I appreciated the capital's scenery from here. I should find a place like this when I retire."
Count Kerbel laughed as he looked the capital city of Roa-Tian through the office window. This view was famous to the people close to Count Roman. Some of his close friends even jokingly mentioned that this view was why they wanted to befriend Count Roman.
"As I always say, this is one of my treasures. Anyway, how are things going? I read the message you sent me…"
Count Roman drank some tea as he watched Count Kerbel, a historian and tutor to the Royal family.
"Yes, have you heard that the Guards are recruiting?"
"Of course. The Guards of the Great North Wall. Has it already been five years?"
Count Roman smiled, thinking of the past.
<The Great North Wall>
It was located between the Tian Kingdom and the Empire that had fallen 400 years ago. The use of Forbidden Magic devastated all parts of the Empire and was overtaken by the Harijans that had come from the far Great Forests.
Without any defensive lines, the Harijans were sure to invade and devour the Ra-Tian Continent whole. Thus, the Seven Kingdoms worked together to fix the wall and seal off the lands of the Empire before the Harijans finished taking over and spread outward. After seven long years of construction, it was a success.
The decision was correct.
Then years after the fall of the Empire, the Harijan bred with exceptional speed and spread all over the vast lands of the Empire. The Harijans that were driven out while fighting between themselves over the territory were weaker beings, but they still had enough strength to wipe out a small village.
The wall was great enough to block them from invading.
However, the Harijan forces were getting stronger as time went on. Most Harijans only had one horn, but two horns were now becoming common and even some four-horned monsters had been sighted.
With powerful monsters lurking about, the Seven Kingdoms decided to replace all the Guards on the wall with Bander warriors.
The only country that had contact with the wall was the Tian Kingdom, but if they were to fall, it was obvious that the other countries would be affected. It was a must for the Seven Kingdoms to work together to create a unified force on the wall.
There were two significant points that could describe the Guards of the wall.
Firstly, the job was dangerous.
Secondly, they would earn more.
"Well, Marquis Narasha's side sent thirteen the last time and Royals sent eleven. The number might be greater this year."
Count Roman spoke as he remembered the departing ceremony of the Guards.
Serving in the Guards was dangerous, but they gained unimaginable things.
The <Talic Stone> was only the beginning of what they earned.
Warriors that were sent had a death rate of over 50%, but the surviving warriors became more powerful as they were trained in harsh environments.
Those warriors became huge assets to their families once they returned.
The two factions tried to send their best warriors because of this reason and the number of people selected showed the current power balance between them.
Five years ago, the Marquis sent thirteen, the Royals sent eleven, and the neutral faction sent six. It was vastly different from thirty years ago when Count Roman himself joined the Guards. Back then, it was twenty-five Royals and seven Nobles. The balance was turned upside-down after twenty-five years.
It was speculated to be much worse.
"Yes. The warriors going in won't be much of an issue, but…"
"The ones coming back will change the tide. They should be well-trained by now."
The warriors sent to the wall were elite individuals, but it did not have a huge impact on the families as they were not the main members. When they returned, however, they would be fully-trained, sharpened weapons that could be immediately used.
"It will be chaotic when they return. The capital will…"
"Right. So, I guess you didn't just visit on a whim," Count Roman said with a bitter smile. He was already speculating why this good friend of his was paying him a visit.
"So, Rian is not enough to resolve the capital's situation."
"Yes. Sir Rian is very talented. But he and his 3rd Knights will not be enough to oppress Marquis Narasha and their violent tactics."
The first son of the Roman family, Rian von Roman, was now twenty-four years old. He had already finished the 2nd Bander Expert level training and had started training for the 3rd Bander Master. He had proven himself in various wars in the Con-Tian Mountains and had earned the nickname of 'Young Lion of the Romans.' He was also appointed as captain of the 3rd Knights that kept order in the capital city.
However, even he was not enough to handle the oncoming strife.
Count Roman began organizing his thoughts. After a while, he spoke out,
"I see what you're worried about. It's the <Succeeding War> after their return."
"Yes. From what I can see, Marquis Narasha will not back down easily. He will start right after the Guards return."
"My answer is… I refuse to be involved. I must stay neutral."
Count Kerbel nodded in understanding.
The Royalist faction had reached out to him, and as he also wished for peace, he visited his friend. But as a Knight Captain, it was too much for Count Roman to be involved.
The Royal Knights were not allowed to be involved in the <Succeeding War>.
Count Roman continued, "I understand how you feel. You wish for no bloodshed. Marquis Narasha is a hardliner and he will do whatever it takes."
Count Roman knew what Count Kerbel was thinking. After all, they were longtime friends.
"Yes, if this unfolds, the capital will be in chaos."
"I will give you a solution. Take my boy, Sian, to the capital. Not the Guards. He will be of good use to you."
"Your… second son?"
Kerbel could not understand. Sian von Roman was only seventeen years old. Count Roman looked at him and smiled. Count Kerbel did not know the second son, and that was why he couldn't understand the offer.
To Count Roman, it was time to send his second son out into the world. He had been learning about the world through books, but he now needed real-life experience. If he could combine that with helping out old friends, that would be perfect.
'I'm a bit worried though. He's only that age… what if I'm wrong?'
It was worrisome, but it was time.
Count Roman started unraveling the secret he had been keeping all these years and began planning ahead.