13 Return of the Guards
A celebration was held in the Royal Palace for the return of the Guards.
It was held in theTobe-Tian Outer Palace's Great Garden where all the Nobles and famous figures joined together. It was a lavish party with all the luxuries, but everyone was tense.
Sian was at a corner of the party, glancing around as he munched on a fruit he picked up. It was his first formal party so he was still awkward. But even to him, he knew things were not usual.
'What kind of party is this? Why are the people so tense? Are they always like this?'
That was impossible. It wasn't usual for people to go to a party of an opposite faction, so the parties were usually more pleasant.
However, this one was not that case. This party had two factions all joined together. Sian, who had been looking forward to a pleasant party where he got to meet other Noble girls, was disappointed at such a tense atmosphere.
'And who are they in the middle? Letting out energy like that… show offs.'
In the middle of the party was the main focus of the celebration. The Guards. They were letting out powerful energy waves, making everyone around grow tense from the pressure.
Non-warrior Nobles had already retreated to the corner so they could avoid the energy radiating from those Guards. There were only a few, like Viscount Talic or Count Kerbel who had to stay for their positions. Their faces were pale.
Sharlotte was looking at her father with a concerned look as she stood from the outer area where the energy could not reach her.
Sharlotte was quiet around Sian as if she was embarrassed, but she was staying beside him to explain the Noble society under strict orders from her father.
At that moment, Sian heard the sound of a dress approaching. It must be a girl! He looked to where a person was approaching in delight, which soon turned to disappointment.
"We meet again, Miss Celine de Kiraine."
"I'm here to meet Sharlotte, not you."
Celine replied coldly before she turned to Sharlotte and hugged her. Sharlotte also seemed to be happy to meet her.
"Hey! Sharlotte, long time no see. I'm sorry I couldn't go that day. I even had a gift for you…"
"No! It's okay. I was sad you couldn't come though. I heard something happened?"
"…Yeah. Some 'wonderful' person arrested me."
Celine gritted her teeth as she glanced at Sian who was looking away. After Celine was released after Captain Rian came to prove her identity, she was summoned to her house immediately, in front of her grandfather. She hoped it would end with her grandfather scolding her but it did not.
She was forced to use all of her ten vacation days to stay with her grandfather to undergo special training. She was just released from punishment today.
Celine gritted her teeth again. She knew it wasn't Sian's fault for her punishment, but she couldn't help but dislike him. It was when she heard from Rian that Sian was the second son of Count Roman. It made sense that he dodged her punch. The Roman family was famous for their fighting prowess.
'But he doesn't look strong at all…'
Celine then shook away her thought and turned back to Charlotte.
"Something's really weird. Maybe because the people are tense? I never felt something like this from a party… It's like something's slimy…"
"Oh, yes of course. You are not a warrior. Give me your hand."
Celine took Sharlotte's hand and began transferring Bander into her. A blue fog glowed out from Sharlotte's hand and moved onto her body, swirling around it. Then Charlotte realized her body had been lightened up instantly.
"Wow, what happened? I feel much better!"
"Those guys in the middle are letting out energies to compete with each other. It's why the area is so tense. Warrior energy is not something that people with no Bander can withstand. Especially… when it is rough like that."
Celine commented and looked to the Guards. She became curious about what have experienced in the five years to become living monsters like that. She did hear that the Great North Wall was a treacherous place, but she could never imagine it.
Those people in the middle were around her age. They all had 30 to 40 Bander Ratings. They were all promising individuals that needed more time.
Five years ago at least.
Now, they were completely different. They were around Expert-level or similar to Celine herself before they left.
'All Master-level. Experienced Master-level.'
They were now true warriors. It was easy to see that they had gone through life-threatening experiences. She could not fight against even one of them. It seemed that she could only fight against Captain Rian. Celine remembered her grandfather, or Swordmeister Kiraine's words.
'The capital will be a place of warfare now. With your half-trained skill, you will lose your arms if you pick on a fight with the Guards. I will use these ten days to restructure your mind.'
Celine shivered as she remembered the training again. But she underestimated the Guards, thinking they wouldn't be as strong as her grandfather had warned her.
They fought the monsters, lived with the monsters, and became monsters.
Sharlotte began chattering with Celine and Sian was left alone, bored from not having any company.
'Oh, Brother should be there too! Maybe I should pay him a visit.'
Sian didn't meet with his brother after Rian left the mansion to work at the capital. Even when he was home, there was no time to meet him as he was busy training in the training room but it became harder when he left.
He was the Captain of the Knight Guard. He must be easy to find.
Sian thought about this and glanced around. However, there were too many people to find him with his sense of sight. Sian figured Rian would be in the gardens and not the palace so he closed his eyes and concentrated.
Something popped out from Sian and a wave surged out. It was very weak, not even a second long wave that a commoner could feel. It spread out from Sian out to the palace and the garden.
Sian felt two familiar readings. One was from the Outer Palace and the one was at his home.
His father was surely at home, so it must be his brother's that was at the palace. His father hated parties with a political motive like this, so that he was sure about. (Besides, the reading was too weak to be his father.)
He did it to find his brother in the garden, but he was actually in the middle of the party.
The mess (at least how it felt like for Sian) was not a place he wanted to go in to find his brother. He decided to meet with him later on and moved to a quiet corner of the party. He then was visited by an unexpected figure.
Marquis Narasha flinched as he felt a strange wave passing through him. He was just speaking with the Guards for their experiences. He began looking around.
"Something wrong, sir?"
Jack, the son of Viscount Qual who was also from the Guards, asked the viscount a question.
'What was that?'
Narasha thought to himself that maybe it was just a feeling and returned back to his discussion.
"No, it was nothing. So, how is it feel to return after all those years?"
"I can't get used to this… peaceful air. Atmosphere… I should get used to it."
"Yes, lots of things have been changed. But more change will come soon."
The Marquis then moved away to talk with high-ranking Nobles. This place was not to discuss anything important. What was more important was waiting to hear from the Inner Palace later on.
Jack glanced around to see if he could meet with the others. The people from Royalist faction were also busy talking with the Returnees.
However, the Returnees were not in his interest. He had been living with them for the past five years and he would have to deal with them during his life back here.
High-ranking aristocrats were also not in his interests. He was not so bright in politics in the first place and after five years of harsh training and surviving, he had lost all political sense.
But he did not care. That was for the others. He only needed to do his job.
What he was curious was about was the warriors from the Royal faction. They were the future enemies. Among them, he was most interested in the first son of the Roman family.
The Guards were not entirely cut off from outside world news. They were able to hear about the news coming from the capital from time to time.
The name they mostly heard about was Rian von Roman.
Young Lion of the Roman family.
Bander Rating of 60.
Youngest Top Ranking official of Guarran-Tia
Youngest Knight Guard
Youngest Knight Guard Captain
He had replaced all the records that Marquis Narasha and Count Roman set upon when they were young. He was only twenty-four years old while he himself was forty-one. It was unbelievable.
He gritted his teeth every time he heard news of Rian von Roman.
It took him ten years in training when he was trying to be a Master. He volunteered to go to the Great North Wall for this reason. He hoped to become a Master if he survived. It was just two years ago when he finally reached the dreamed stage of becoming a Master.
Yet, this Rian became a Master by using his family's Bander-Roa <Lion's Way> and his Bander talents so easily.
He thought he would crush this young man when he returned to the capital. Some of his fellow warriors also felt the same way. Miran was an exception, however. She seemed determined to flirt with Rian, who was rumored to be handsome.
She was out of her mind. Even though she looked young by using her Bander, she was still thirty-nine.
Jack then found a man who looked just like Count Roman. He had no intentions to cause trouble, but he still wanted to say hi in case he broke the man down the next time he met him.
It would've been hard if he was standing with the other Royalist factions, but he was sitting alone in a corner of the party. It was the chance given to him by the Gods.