The Saint Mesit Theocracy’s royal palace was built over a thousand years ago, when humans had just begun moving over to West Sia. Back then, Holy Capital Loren was one of the few key fortresses of mankind, so the building served as an emergency gathering point and command center. When the Theocracy was officially founded, the building was finally remodeled into the royal palace seen today, making it one of the oldest buildings in the country.
Age can be a sign of culture, but it often hints at dilapidation too. However, over the years, the royal palace had been renovated several times. In fact, a massive fire had once burned down a huge chunk of the structure, thus calling for a mass reconstruction. The last time it was renovated was just several decades ago. So, it didn’t look its age in the least. On the contrary, it presented itself as magnificent even.
The color scheme of the royal palace was centered around white. It was said that the architect had spent a great deal of effort to recreate the color gradient of an angel’s wing. While Roel had no idea where those people had managed to see an angel’s wing, there was no denying that the visual impact was incredible. The entire building felt holy and inviolable.
The concept behind the interior of the royal palace, on the other hand, was not much less sophisticated—it was just plain extravagant. In a sense, this reflected the royal family’s way of doing things. The Xeclydes embraced purity as one of their virtues, so they just got straightforward to the point, not bothering bother with all of the fanciful stuff.
Inside a waiting room of the royal palace, Roel, who had just finished touring the royal palace for the first time, sipped on a cup of tea as he ran through the sequence of events of the protector ceremony that was going to happen later on again and again.
“Am I going to get Ascendwing back too?” muttered Roel under his breath, as he subconsciously reached out to his empty waist.
Half a month ago, when he first returned from the Witness State with Nora, even though the two of them had passed out, there was a mana connection between the two of them due to the effects of Ascendwing. As such, Bishop Philip chose to call in experts from the Sacramental Hall to deal with the situation. Those from the Sacramental Hall devoted their effort in exploring the various rituals and ceremonies surrounding spells, so they were the most knowledgeable in this field.
After those clergy verified that it was safe to separate them, the youngsters were pulled apart from one another and treated separately. Those clergy assumed that Ascendwing belonged to Nora, so they ended up taking it back to the royal palace with them.
People said that a sword is a warrior’s lover.
Roel wasn’t much of a warrior, but he did miss his little war buddy a lot. It had saved him at a lot of critical moments, and it was a gift that was activated by both his and Nora’s blood, making it an important keepsake for the two of them. He was only glad that it was going to be returned to him very soon.
Thinking about it now, it should be around time for Ascendwing’s second ability to be successfully incubated. He heard from Holy Eminence John that this phenomenon was brought about by the resonance between his and Nora’s bloodline abilities, and this made him feel a little odd inside. The talk about resonance and incubation made him feel almost as if they were giving birth to a child.
The events today would start with a ceremony, where Roel would be officially declared to be put under the protection of the royal family, before proceeding on to a banquet.
There would be fewer nobles attending this ceremony as compared to Nora’s birthday banquet, as most of them had already returned back to their fief by now. However, Roel thought that it was a good thing since it meant that those attending would just be the nobles of the royal court, the military commanders, and those of the Knight Orders—basically, their own people. The atmosphere should be much better than the last time around.
“Lord Roel, the ceremony is about to begin. Please follow me.”
Roel nodded in response before following the servant all the way to the entrance of the ceremonial hall. Standing on a lush crimson carpet, he stared at the beautifully adorned door before him in amazement. It was only then that he realized that he was at quite an incredible place.
Saint Seshur Hall.
This place, together with the square in front of the Saint Faron Church, were known as the two holy lands of the Theocracy. The square in front of the Saint Faron Church was the place where the Holy Eminence himself would lead the people in prayer, making it a significant place to the believers of the Genesis Goddess Church.
As for the Saint Seshur Hall, it was lauded for its long history and the monumental events that had occurred here. Both the founding of the Theocracy and the conferment of the Five Eminent Noble Houses had taken place within these walls.
Over the past thousand years of history of the Theocracy, those who had stepped foot into this place were influential figures of their generation, including generals who had produced miracles on the battlefield, officials who had managed to pull off reforms to sever corruption and other systemic problems, and even Empress Victoria’s conferment of Ponte following the March Turmoil too.
“I never thought that they would choose to use this place…”
Roel gulped down his saliva as he realized for the first time that there was something amiss about this ceremony. He thought that this was only a procedure they had to follow in order to officialize the promise their ancestors had made a thousand years ago, a little similar to how business owners would cut a red ribbon to announce the opening of their shops. However, it was obvious that he was underestimating the scale of this affair now.
This would be an event almost at the level of a military parade!
Looking at the road of glory that countless meritorious subjects of the Theocracy had walked on before, Roel couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. The old butler beside him noticed this and chuckled to himself.
“Lord Roel, you need not be anxious. You’re the youngest ever star of the Saint Seshur Hall. You should be feeling proud instead.”
This old butler usually put on a cold and nonchalant look no matter which noble he was standing before, but surprisingly, he had a brilliant smile that was comparable to sunflowers on his face right now.
Roel, on the other hand, only felt even dizzier after hearing those words.
As expected of a butler of the royal family. He sure has a unique way of ‘comforting’ others… Or could it be that Nora was the one who taught him to say those words?
It was the same feeling a student would have arriving at an examination hall, only to realize that the questions were not on the syllabus. Nevertheless, Roel wasn’t ready to flunk his examination right now, so he quickly began building his mental fortitude.
Old rules. Breathe in, breathe out. Emblem of Glory, check. Once inside, everyone else aside from Nora are all heaps of cabbages. Don’t even look at them!
Roel took a few huge breaths in order to bring himself back to peak condition. Right after he was finally done preparing himself, the bell in the butler’s hand suddenly began ringing of its own accord. The guards standing before the door stepped forward as they prepared to open the path up.
“Lord Roel, please enter.”
After saying those words, the two guards slowly opened the several meters high doors. At the same time, a brilliant light reminiscent of an angel’s glow shone from the top of the door, creating a spectacular yet solemn light show. Feathers began scattering all over the room, leaving Roel feeling a little overwhelmed.
Light show? Feathers? What the hell is going on? Did I win the lottery or something? This is excessive!
Roel was shocked by this overly flamboyant entrance, but little did he know that it was just the beginning. Resounding clapping and cheering roared loudly within the hall. There were far more people than he had expected—just those moving by the sides of the crimson carpet already numbered over a hundred.
What the hell is this? How is this ‘we only invited a couple of nobles of the royal court’?
Roel stared at the unexpectedly magnificent scene before him, dumbfounded, as he remembered the words Prince Kane had relayed to Carter previously. There had to be over a thousand people gathered here! Was there a need to make it so excessive?
What Roel didn’t know was that the Holy Eminence had specially ordered to make this protector ceremony grander than usual. For this purpose, they specially gave a break to departments of the government, be it the officials or the soldiers, so that those who were usually busy like Carter could make it today.
That being said, it should be noted that one needed to have a minimum rank in order to enter the Saint Seshur Hall, which severely restricted the number of people present. Otherwise, given all of the rumors surrounding Roel and Nora, the sheer number of people who would rush down to watch the commotion would probably be enough to fill the square before the Saint Faron Church.
This is insane!
Even though Roel was overwhelmed by the situation, he made sure to maintain a dignified appearance before the crowd. After going through all sorts of life-and-death situations back during the Witness State, was there anything that could scare him anymore?
Heck, I have even traded blows with Wade Xeclyde before! My bladder can at least hold on against something of this level!
Roel took in a deep breath before he began making his way forward. His recent breakthrough to Origin Level 5 allowed him to stand more confidently and with composure, plus the Crown Origin Attribute bestowed him with a unique air of nobility that stood out even amongst the powerful crowd gathered here.
Under the witness of over a thousand nobles, knights, military commanders, and officials, he began walking down the path of glory.
He carried a faint smile, and his eyes were deep and unwavering. Despite his solemn air, he didn’t appear cold. Without a doubt, Roel’s ability to control his expressions had grown yet again. His natural dashing looks, paired with the Sorofyas’ cosmetics, caused a huge stir amongst the crowd as soon as he made his appearance. Many of those who were seeing him for the first time were quickly won over by his looks.
“I feel like he’s a good match with Her Highness.”
“Those from the Ascart House really have good genes.”
The adults discussed quietly amongst themselves, while those of Roel’s age directed looks of envy and excitement toward him.
Meanwhile, Roel continued walking forward, proceeding toward where Nora stood. The throne that was usually placed at the end of the hall had been replaced with a long ceremonial sword—Saint King’s Blade. It was the personal sword that was used by the founding emperor of the Theocracy, and it had been mainly used in ceremonies since then.
This was the sword that had been used to confer the Five Eminent Noble Houses, Ponte, and Carter. On this very day, its youngest ever wielder would be using it to confer the youngest ever conferred.
Nora, who was standing before the long sword, looked like a true angel. Little beads of light that floated around her highlighted the purity of the white gown she wore, and her garb was completed by a golden crown that sat atop her head.
Looking at the smiling Nora at the end of the path, Roel found himself awestruck for a moment. If Alicia’s beauty was described as an impactful one that could stop one’s heart short, Nora’s beauty would be one of elegance and grandeur, reminiscent of an untouchable being that mortals dared not to approach.
Did I really hug such a girl before?
Recalling how she had once leaned against his body during their time at the monastery, Roel felt like everything was a little unreal. He did his best to curb his leaping heart as he calmly made his way toward Nora.
Gradually, the applause and commotion quietened down as everyone knew that the highlight of the show was coming.
Nora turned around and respectfully retrieved the Saint King’s Blade. Roel implicitly understood what he needed to do, so he took one step forward and prepared to lower a knee onto the ground before Nora. This was the standard position meritorious subjects in the Theocracy would take before their liege in a conferment ceremony. The Saint King’s Blade would then be placed on his shoulder, and the two of them would speak their vows.
Unexpectedly, just as Roel was about to lower his knee, a hint of discomfort flickered across Nora’s eyes. After a quick moment of thought, Nora stepped forward to pull him up.
“You need not kneel.”
Such simple words they were, yet a massive commotion they brought about.