When one stood in the center of Moldavia, one of the human territories in the north, one would never expect to see the sun or the moon. There, the wind, snow, and the white thick clouds would never allow the sun to peek at the earth. Mount Great Ajaxwas covered in clouds, covering the lower part of the volcano with snow and ice that extended all the way down to the 3,000 miles unfrozen river. That was the scenery Moldavian citizens saw every day.
The black granite wall stood in the middle of the snowy plain. A nameless city in the territory of Moldavia, protected by the black granite for as long as it could. Cold, harsh winds blew from the far north, carrying snow. Some landed and some were blown off the walls but never once was fully engulfed by the cruel snow.
The time was already close to 9 a.m. and many travelers could be see coming inside the city. Despite the bright indirect light from the sun, the it was extremely cold that a single breath would turn into visible vapor.
The clock tower bell rang nine times to notify the citizens that it was time to get out of the house for work. For some, it was merely time to get out of bed. Not long after, doors were opened and the citizens started to flood the streets. When they had noticed the mysterious disappearance of the patrolling soldiers, they returned to their homes and brought out cleaning tools to remove the piled-up snow.
Closer to the center of the city, opposite of the center plaza, was a huge Gregorian church. The bell that hung high in the clock tower was still vibrating.
Cathedral of St. Laurent. Inside the church. Main hall.
There was not a single church member in the praying hall made of stone. At that time, there was only a single being. A silver-haired Divine Armament who was waltzing around the hall playfully, looking at everything, some for the very first time. She would walk up and down aisles between the long benches and would occasionally stop to stare at the ceiling. She would cock her head when she saw something that she was interested in and continue to waltz around after some time.
When she walked to the corner of the hall, she stopped to stare at a large holy statue. She wanted to touch the statue out of curiosity but before her slender little hands could make contact with the white marble statue, she froze in place and retracted her hands.
"One must not simply touch the belongings of others." She muttered to herself and turned the other way to stare at the variety of colorful stained glass on the church walls.
'There are not many unknown things here that were not recorded in the memory crystal.' She thought to herself and smiled.
Not long after, Joshua voice could be heard from behind the church.
"Are you there? Ying, it's time to go."
Joshua came out of the back room, expressionless. Artanis, clad in white clerical clothing followed behind him along with the two other priests. They approached the young Divine Armament.
"Is this the new maid you hired?"
The middle-aged priest looked down at the young Divine Armament and frowned with concern.
"She's too young and too small. Where how did you manage to hire her? As a member of the holy church, I have to warn you about underage violations."
"Just think of her as my younger sister. Or perhaps a useless daughter. I was never going to expect her to properly take care of the household."
The matter of the Divine Armament was a heavily guarded secret. Joshua was not allowed, and could not afford to let anyone know about them. Lucky for him that his house had a strange practice of hiring servants that did not age. Hence, having a young maid with him was not out of the norm.
"When the snowstorm stops, I want you to help me with gathering the people around."
"I hear and obey, my master."
Artanis bowed to Joshua and said, "I'll be handling the paperwork for the title of count. The Golden Libra of the royal court should not be any trouble to deal with because of your contribution to the Black Crow Army. My guess is that the paperwork should be dealt with flawlessly. Rest well and wait for the good news."
"You have my thanks. The mansion is now in ruins. The only way to communicate with the Empire is the magic communication circle in this church." Joshua nodded with gratitude after saying those words.
"Ying, let's go."
The poor little Divine Armament was at lost since the conversation between Joshua and Artanis was too direct and quick. However, she did not need to understand what they said to begin with.
She nodded gracefully to her master and responded to him with her emerald, unblinking eyes. "Yes, Master."
Artanis scoffed wryly and bid the two farewell. Joshua left the church, followed closely by the silver-haired girl.
They continued to walk without talking for a while and when Joshua had reached the fifth street, he stopped.
Ying ran in front of him. It was then she noticed the weird expression on his face. It felt like he was thinking of something complicated. The look of his eyes as he was focusing on the far horizon. The furrowed brows The silence.
Joshua stuttered a little. "Do you think that with my current status, I would able to contract two Divine Armament at the same time?"
Ying started pondering when she was asked about a topic of her nature. She winched a little as she was thinking hard.
"It's hard to say"
"It's fine. Just say what comes to mind."
Ying went silent for a few more second before squeaking. "When it comes to Divine Armaments, Master has a talent for it. In fact, it could be said that you had an incredibly high aptitude for it. In the family lineage, there were some that could not even pull us out, not to mention actually using us during a fight. Thankfully, there were still many who were able to successfully make a contract with us and induce a transformation."
She stuttered a little as to organize her words. "However, those humans weren't able to last very long. That being said, Master was able to pull me out with a single pull. In fact, the contract was made smoothly and flawlessly, I might add. You even induced the transformation and used me without having to put much force. Not many could last as long. At most, the usual contractor would last for ten minutes before they would start feeling weary."
"Just so you know, using us Divine Armament in battle would drain a large amount of energy from the contractor's body to the weapon. When using the skill, that amount of power will be increased. The load on the contractor's body will be high. If one could last for more than ten minutes, one could be said to be extremely strong!"
Ying cocked her head as of she had just realized something strange about Joshua. "Master Even though you had only fought for two minutes, the power I felt in you could last for as long as an hour! Perhaps even longer! However"
She stopped her excitement and spoke in a serious manner, "Even so, contracting two Divine Armaments would be a difficult task. The load on the contractor's body would be more than double. It's not the same as 1+1=2. It's more than that. It's complicated However, as I was informed, there was no contractor in existence that has used more than one Divine Armament. Otherwise, the blade-sealing chamber would not have stored so many old Divine Armaments."
"Master. Of all the contractors in the family, you are by far the strongest one. However I feel that having two Divine Armament would be a challenge for you. There's still a huge gap in the power level required."
Joshua listened with his arms crossed and remained emotionless. He nodded and said, "That means, it is possible to contract two Divine Armament at the same time. It is just that my powers and those before me weren't capable of doing so. Correct me if I'm wrong."
"Hmm It's vague. And complicated! Master, it could be done if you increase your power level by a little more. The main point is that your current power level will not do."
Joshua scoffed and nodded. "I see. Thank you for your explanation."
He realized the truth about his current condition and continued walking. However, after several steps, he realized that Ying was still standing at the same place, not moving but flinching?
Joshua turned back and tapped her shoulder.
"Is there something wrong?"
She jumped a little and averted her gaze.
"Nothing. I'm fine, Master"
Joshua did not bother to ask further questions and made his way towards the west of the city. After several more streets, Ying looked a little flustered. When she could not take it any longer, she squeaked. "Master?"
"What is it?"
"Am Inot good enough for you?"
AhSo that what's she was thinking about.
Joshua finally understood what was Ying being flustered about and reflected on what he had just asked. It was, truthfully a little too direct. Ying, having misunderstood his intention was only natural. Since it was his fault, technically, he began to comfort her.
"There's nothing wrong with you. Rest assure that you have performed admirably." Joshua smiled and praised the little girl whilst caressing her palm-sized head. "That reason I'd ask about having about a second Divine Armament was not to replace you. I'd just wanted to know where I was able to"
He realized his words were only going to hurt her more and quickly stopped to change his phrase. "As long as I have you, there's no better feeling of security."
Ying smiled and her emerald eyes glittered with happiness when she received the praise from her master. She did not even care about Joshua's unfinished sentence.
While the young female silver-haired Divine Armament was having the time of her life, Joshua was thinking about something else. His hand unconsciously moved to his breast pocket. It was the letter.