What in the world is this guy talking about?
After a long pause, Joshua only responded to what the holy knight was saying. For that reason, he sighed deeply and felt powerless deep down.
Set aside Ying and Ling which were the same age as Joshua was, which was obviously legal if he really was taking advantage of them in 'that' regard. Not to mention that Artificial Intelligence 03 was already over a thousand years old now. Even the founder of his family was not as old as 03. So how could he call her a little girl? Joshua did not even have the slightest inclination to take advantage of the thousand-year-old girl.
All in all, Joshua had spent a great deal of effort to reluctantly convince the holy knight and the archbishop into believing that he was truly not a psycho that did not have any special preferences towards the young boy and girl, and also any ghost, undead, flying species, and other sorts of special beings.
"Why do you think of that aspect?"
After he was done explaining himself, Joshua let out a breath. He felt so much more exhausted than he was after he slaughtered a dozen of dragons. He had a puzzled expression on his face. He could not understand the minds of those twohow evil must a person be if that person could actually think of doing such a thing to the children! Since the beginning till now, he had been raising Ying and Ling as his son and daughter It might be a little over exaggerated to say he was treating them like his own children, however, it was true that he was treating them like how he would treat his own kin.
In a strange and unfamiliar outer world, Ying was the first life form he had ever encountered which turned out to be friendly enough for him to approach. Meanwhile, Ling was an existence that he could trust and entrust important missions and tasks to. The two of them were like left and right limbs to Joshua now. The warrior could not help but shake his head. Then he spoke with a cold tone, "Well, I believe that you two who could actually think about this should be the ones who should be more careful about stopping yourselves from committing such heinous crimes."
However, it seemed that Roland and Artanis's skins were thick enough. As they were facing criticism from Joshua, they did not seem to be bothered much by it. Instead, they just lightly apologized a few times to the warrior.
In truth, their suspicions were actually well-founded. In the main continent of Mycroft, men who reached the age of sixteen would become eligible to join the military and get married. Although most of them did not get hitched at that period of time, most people would marry very early.
Usually, young people such as Joshua, who was currently twenty-two-years old, who was also a count with territory, and a true nobleman, would have at least one or two lovers by now even if he was unmarried. Well, the northerners were known to be quite open-minded, so it would be normal even if he looked for one or two lovers to have fun with. Who knows, maybe one of the lovers would get an 'upgrade' and become the lady of the territory, right? After all, he was not a noble near the Imperial City that would want to speak of marriage between families of equal social rank. In a world that judged people based on martial arts and power, who could have thought that a poor boy could become a Gold in the early days, or even a Supreme? In any case, Master Nostradamus was a fine example of that fact.
In a nutshell, from their point of view, the warrior was living like a monk, having a tough life. He was either training himself to the max, or training the group of knights he brought together just recently. Other than that, he would occasionally handle some official business. He would also go over to the construction site by Mount Nissia, or bring that dragon-blooded horse over to the snowy land and walk with it. Of course, he would also rest occasionally. For instance, he would go hunting with his bow and come back with a fire dragon or god knows what sort of colossal daemon. While his life could not be deemed as unfulfilling, however, the impression these two men had of Joshua was completely inconsistent from the impression they had for most of the aristocrats.
"I wanted to invite both of you over for a meal together, but now that the mansion is in ruins, please do forgive me for not being able to treat you well."
Upon patting the shoulders of Ying and Ling gently, Joshua seemed to have notified the two of them who were trying not to laugh all the while to go back to the liege's residence and clear out the remaining wreckage. Before that, under the arrangement of Ling, some of the servants were already cleaning up the backyard of the mansion and cleared out the debris pieces. However, because of the huge quake, the items in each room had been displaced. The female servants were not allowed to enter some of the places. Hence, Joshua could only request the two Divine Armaments to take care of it for him.
"Thank you for your generosity, but even if you can, I'll have to refuse."
Roland shook his head and spoke seriously, "I've learned a great deal from today's battle with you. I'm about to request Master Artanis to keep me in the church so that I may calm my mind and soul to explore my weaknesses So anything regarding a good meal or a treat, we can always talk about it in future."
As he was speaking halfway, his voice shook a little in an instant. He suddenly remembered his initial intention for coming all the way to Moldaviato learn the secrets behind the land of Chaos.
However, 0.001 seconds later, the idea was gone from his head.
"Roland, what could you have done even if you knew about it?"
He was mocking himself by thinking that aloud.
Father was right. Without strength, what could he have done even if he knew? Could he avenge his fallen comrades? Could his fallen comrades be revived? Was he able to change the church's strategic approach towards the land of Chaos?
This failure had changed his opinion.
Since he could not change anything, then what good could it bring for knowing then? Instead of getting bothered over it, he should just focus on training himself in order to improve his strength. There were so many people in the world who needed help. Also, it would be much better to do something practical than to care about the illusionary truth.
Having such thoughts in mind, he suppressed his curiosity to ask Joshua momentarily. He was not ready to speak about at the moment.
The old archbishop right beside him also nodded his head slightly and said, "I was originally sorting through the old books in the library and found some interesting things. If it weren't for such a big incident, I would not have the intention to walk out of the room" Upon saying that, he laughed and said humorously, "We will not bother the count in restoring the liege's residence for the second time."
After finished talking, the two of them left the street where the liege's mansion was located.
" so straightforward. Take care."
After saying goodbye, Joshua frowned and turned his head around to look at his residence. The fortress built from granite did not collapse even after sustaining a violent explosion. That was something to feel fortunate for, however, the fortress had just proven that it was not tough enough.
"Next time, I shall try reinforcing it with magic runes."
In making such a decision in his heart, the warrior went to the main gate of the liege's mansion.
Time passed swiftly.
Starfall Year 832 was about to come to an end. It has been three months since Holy Knight Roland first arrived in Moldavia. The current date was Starfall Year 833, February 11.
During that period of time, there were no major events. The North was as cold as ever. The sudden drop in temperature and cold winds swept across the plains as usual. The snowstorms and overcast clouds were appearing in the constant weather reports as usual. However, things were a little bit different from last year though. Because of Joshua's existence, the celebration of the New Year was grander than ever. After all, a baron that would go hunting for Upper Silver-tier or even Gold-tier daemons casually was considered very rare. This was not a matter of strength but experience.
Finding a prey was very difficult. In fact, many hunters had praised the exquisite bow and tracking techniques of the count. Meanwhile, when they see the dragon skulls that were hung on the side of the liege's residence, their admiration towards their baron had reached its peak.
With such conspicuous power and strength as proof, Joshua's prestige and fame were naturally boosted for good. Although he was not very good at managing the territory, he currently had a group of skilled subordinates to handle the official affairs of the territory for him. Meanwhile, the strength of the warrior could really shock all people of the younger generation. Actually, robbers and thieves had already vanished from Moldavia. Well, no one would have the courage to do such a thing in Moldavia, the territory of a dragonslayer. Furthermore, it was too much of a risks getting themselves and their entire family slaughtered by trying something funny on the dragonslayer's turf.
During this time, the name of Roland the Holy Knight had been gradually spread among the people as well. Through Joshua's recommendation, the holy knight received a brand-new experimental armor from the old dwarf Moreila. The excited young holy knight had joined the expedition party in the Dark Forest Fortress that went exploring and scouting around the mountainside of Great Ajax Volcano.
With the addition of a holy knight, the strength of the expedition party that only consisted of archers and warriors was greatly enhanced. The aura and blessing of a bearer of holy light were capable of reducing much more risks for the party. In the past, they were forced to take a route around the lair to bypass some of the lairs of the daemons. Now they could just easily pass through the pool of lava that boiled like a hot spring. Because of that, their efficiency in their exploration task was increased many times over.
It should be noted that there were countless valuable ores in the Great Ajax Volcano floating on the surface of the lava pool along with the movement of the lava. The expedition party had already discovered two open-pit veins within a month, which provided many jobs to people afterward.
The time passed slowly and peacefully just like that. Joshua did not seem to be rushing at all. From his point of view, one must take one step after another while walking on a road. One must take things easy, one step after another. Although the Dragon's Calamity was extremely important, however, instead of waiting for the incident to happen with a frightened heart from time and time, it would be much wiser for one to handle stuff with his or her own methods. Hence, he would help Ling in handling some of the official business matters every day whenever he felt free. He has also been entertaining himself by giving Ying different clothes to wear. For being occupied with so many tasks at hands, he was living a full and enjoyable life for the moment.
Such days went on until one day, when the weather was as cold as negative forty degree Celsius, Joshua was running swiftly along the snowy mountain. Then he suddenly stopped and his entire party followed him to stop.
Meanwhile, right behind him was a troop of exhausted warriors and knights who could not even forcefully activate their Combat Aura. Even they had stopped marching forward. There were some of them that ran so much that they were used to running already instead of walking. Sometimes, they would not be able to stop in their tracks though. They would just bump into their comrades that were right in front of them. Sometimes, when the chain reaction set in, it would cause a great disturbance among the troop as they would bump into each other, one after another.
Meanwhile, Joshua was looking into the sky staring at nothing with a vague expression on his face. He brushed the water which turned to frost off his hair as he muttered to himself, "I've never thought that it would actually come now"
He thought that this thing would have appeared after he defeated Roland. He had not expected that he would need to wait for another three months for it, after that.
Right before the eyes of the warrior, there was a light screen that others could not see. Meanwhile, right on the light screen, there were letters in a bold font appearing packed together.
[Conditions met, activating the quest for the Trial for Mastery Strength.]