In the spring of Starfall Year 833, the year of Dragon's Calamity, many significant incidents that were recorded in history had left their scars.
It was the celebration of the festival called 'The Awakening Moon' over the victory of the Northern Imperial.
The celebration of the victory in the war with the orcs lasted for over nine days. Many kingdoms and powerful forces sent their messengers to congratulate the Imperial Kingdom. Even the Kingdom in the distant South and the Church of the Seven Gods, which were dedicated to handling the Dragon's Calamity on their own turfs, had sent their own messengers, bearing heavy gifts to seek an audience with the Emperor.
Ordinary people rallied on the streets and drank themselves drunk. The ambassadors of other kingdoms did not join the banquet and the celebrations on the streets as they were having important meetings at Morlaix Palace in the middle of Imperial City. According to the information from the kingdom in the distant south and the Church of the Seven Gods, the kingdoms that yet to encounter Dragon's Calamity on their own lands had understood the seriousness of the matter.
In short, if it weren't for the elven tribes in the forest of the southern part of the mainland, delaying the spread the Dragon's Calamity across the continent, the calamity would have crossed into the [Naga Mountains] by now. The Dragon's Calamity would have spread across the borders of many other kingdoms in the west region of the continent. The gathering spot in the west where many human beings gathered was not equipped with enough firepower and army forces to resist the Dragon's Calamity. The Dragon's Calamity would have caused the casualties to rise up to hundreds of thousands or even millions.
In fact, the Dragon's Calamity was already working its course, raising the number of casualties across the entire Mycroft Continent. Those mindless berserk daemons that had already lost their conscience seemed to have a commander from the shadows. That commander was gathering forces as it made its way towards the northwest with the purpose of spreading plagues and deaths to the other regions, which remained untouched by the Dragon's Calamity. The kingdoms in the Far East were short of supplies as they struggled. They were in urgent need of backups. The ambassadors of the Far East kingdom came to seek for support. Their central defense was more than enough to protect themselves. However, they were absolutely not capable of taking care of the other fortresses in the other places.
Fortunately, the main forces of the berserk wyverns were ambushed by [Glaydon Sacred Hymn] from the Church of the Seven Gods. The elite platoon consisted of hundreds of practitioners who had broken through the threshold of Silver-pinnacle tier and a dozen great clergymen who had broken through the threshold of Gold-advanced tier. They had completed their own tasks and missions perfectly. The sanction from the heaven that came down with holy light had struck the dragons down as the demonic dragon that led the dragon forces was also slain by the attack. If it wasn't for that, the situation across the Mycroft continent would have been ten times worse than it was now.
The second thing that was worth mentioning was the findings that were uncovered in the center of the Dark Forest by the largest mage organization of the entire Mycroft Continent, the 'Skypiercing White Tower', also known to be the most powerful and influential force in the Eastern Plains.
The forests, the mountains, the canyons and the rivers across the whole Mycroft Continent were divided into five main parts. They were known to be the four large-scale gathering settlements of the humans in the southeast and northwest, and the Central Dark Forest that occupied more than half of the main continent.
The Dark Forest was deemed to be a demonic area. The environment of that place was extremely treacherous and full of strange poisonous mists and turbulences. The living creatures were more dangerous than the otherstruth to be told, the Central Dark Forest was the only one dangerous region that had daemons that were of Legendary-tier and the Elder Dragons lurking in the shadows of the forest. It was more dangerous to walk in that area than to walk in the depths of hell and the Dark Abyss. Some powerful warlocks could survive in the Dark Abyss for a long time. However, none of them were guaranteed to be able to walk out of the Central Dark Forest alive.
Just as human beings on earth could explore the moon and Mars and still be unfamiliar with the deep seas and the underground, the existence of the Central Dark Forest was the same as the deep seas and the underground world. However, an elite party of mages that hailed from the 'Skypiercing White Tower' had accidentally uncovered a vast ruin of a great city while they were exploring in the Central Dark Forest.
The perimeter of the ruins was greater than anyone could have imagined. About two hundred kilometers underneath the forest was the ruins of the city. It looked like it was struck by a gigantic meteor before; the entire area had sunken deep into the ground.
The party of the 'Skypiercing White Tower' had immediately noticed that their discovery was in fact a discovery that would shake the world. The materials that they could find from the ruins might be able to answer many doubts and questions all the scholars had. For instance, why a prosperous civilization at its peak crumbled at the end of the Glorious Era about a thousand years ago. What exactly happened during the Three Hundred Lost Years? What had caused the ruins to be buried beneath the Dark Forest?
Kachak! The sound of a paper being kept echoed across the hall.
"Well, it was indeed around this time." Putting down the papers in his hand, Joshua nodded lightly as he mumbled to himself, "Unfortunately, this paper was issued yesterday. So the paper only has the rough news about it. There's no telling what the mages had found among the ruins of that place."
"After all, they do not have the help of the adventurers in this life. I wonder if those bunch of imbeciles who had their noses grown in their brains would obtain the blueprint for the 'Star Crystalline Furnace' just like they did in the previous life"
Starfall Year 832, April 16th, afternoon, the Imperial City in the Northern Imperial, Holy City of the Triplet Mountain.
The Imperial City remained about the same as the time when Joshua and the others last visited.
The celebration for their victory over the war with the orcs had come to an end. The wreaths and statues that were put on the streets for decorative purposes had been removed. Regardless of whether it was the tourists from foreign kingdoms or the people living here, everyone had already returned to their daily routines.
But even so, as the capital city of the Imperial Kingdom, the prosperity of the Holy City of the Triplet Mountain remained as great as ever. Joshua walked in the commercial avenue that would eventually lead him into the inner region of the city. The warrior deliberately slowed down his pace to look at the shops that were delicately decorated and the breathtakingly tall buildings. Not far from where he was, a monument built in the memory of the war with the orc stood right opposite of the St. Claire Church. The warm sunlight of the afternoon coated the monument with a layer of golden light.
Joshua had just bought a recent newspaper of the mage from a bookstore affiliated with the Royal Mage Guild to learn about recent big news that was happening across the world.
The newspapers were restricted to be sold only to the noblemen and the mages. The news on the newspapers were much more detailed than the news printed on ordinary newspapers and magazines. The warrior had gained much valuable information from the newspaper he bought. Hence, he was able to piece up the picture of the world today by putting the information he obtained from his previous life and the information he obtained from this life together.
At the end of the war between the Northern Imperial and the Orcs, the Dragon's Calamity in the distant South was worsening. It even began spreading to the other neighboring regions. Even though the Skypiercing White Tower had accidentally uncovered the existence of a ruin that belonged to the previous Era, they were too occupied to send their men over to the site to investigate the ancient buildings and architectures in the ruins. It did not take long for the army forces of the draconic beasts to spread their claws through the entire world. Only by annihilating all these dragons would bring about the next era which was the [Era of Development].
There is no need to think ahead.
Joshua shook his head and passed the newspapers to Ling, who was walking next to him, to keep the newspaper away.
They had entered the inner city of the Imperial City. The noises of people bargaining with the businessmen no longer filled the streets like they did the last time. On the way straight to Morlaix Palace, Joshua noticed that the streets were no longer crowded with people. He could only see a few pedestrians walking on the street now. Sometimes, he would also see a few carriages with ancient carvings slowly passing by.
Because of the incidents caused by the cultists, the entire Imperial City was on a higher alert now. The noblemen of the palace that cherished their lives were more alert than everthey would remain in their own homes unless it was necessary that they left. Even if they were to step out of their houses, they traveled by their carriages. Hence, the warrior who brought along his two followers, walking on the streets, was absolutely strange.
Joshua and the others arrived at the entrance into Morlaix Palace.
By the entrance were guards who were on high alert as well. They tried to ask the warrior and the two Divine Armaments to leave the vicinity of the palace. However, after recognising the identity of the warrior, the guards instantly saluted the warrior and welcomed him into the palace.
These fine elite guards, who were equipped with black armors, seemed to feel uneasy.
In the beginning when they were looking at the warrior from afar, no one noticed that the young man who was walking on the street was the famous count who slew dragons. However, when the warrior arrived before them, the knights finally understood why the special name list that remained unchanged for a long time suddenly had a name 'Joshua' added to it. They had also understood why they were told by many great, significant people on the higher level not to sin against the count who was destined to rise to the top in the future.
Because the warrior was simply too powerful.
A guard who was fortunate enough to meet the captain of the White Horse Army, one of the five armies was a little shocked to find that the energy that he felt from Joshua was about the same as the pressure he felt from the captain of the White Horse Army.
Could it be that he has broken through the threshold as well? He looks so young though. His age should probably be not even half of the age of that captain in the White Horse Army. However, it seemed that he has already attained the same achievement as the captain.
"Good day, Count Radcliffe."
The casual stare of the warrior had made everyone around him feel weak. The heavy energy weighed down upon all of them. In order to break the atmosphere that was tensing up, the leader of the knights quickly wiped away the cold sweats that were dripping from his forehead and asked, "Do you wish to see Master Nostradamus today?"
"No Hmmm, well, perhaps you could say that."
Initially, Joshua wanted to tell the truthhe was here to seek an audience with the Emperor. However, after thinking about it, he was aware that there was a possibility that the Emperor might not have the time to meet him. It would be the same if he just told Nostradamus about the incident that involved 'Pestilence'. The old mage would tell the Emperor anyway. So the warrior changed his words and asked, "So when can I see Master Nostradamus then?"
"Master Nostradamus said that he could not reach you recently. So he has informed us to escort you over to the library at Black Swan Palace if you ever set foot in Morlaix Palace. Master Nostradamus has been staying there to tidy up the ancient books there."
The leader of the knights seemed eager to get rid of the warrior as soon as possible. With every passing second, he could feel that the energy that was weighing down on everyone getting heavier.
Joshua nodded and walked into Morlaix Palace immediately. As soon as he had left the vicinity, the guards, who were extremely anxious before, were finally relieved of the pressure that was weighing them down.
"It feels more terrifying than a freaking dragon!"
A younger-looking knight frowned and did not try to conceal the horror that was displayed on his face. "I'm not complainingwhy didn't the count try to keep his energy to himself a little? That shouldn't be a difficult thing to do!"
"Perhaps he has already kept most of his strong aura to himself. Maybe he even purposely weakened it I could sense the energy of a magic item."
The other knight nodded pensively. He looked at the spot where Joshua was as he narrowed his eyes. "If the count did not keep his strong aura just now, we wouldbe thrown to the ground the second we saw him."
Inside the walls of Morlaix Palace, other patrolling guards had also been debriefed by the guards at the entrance. They were well aware of the identity of Joshua and the two divine armaments who followed him. None of them went up to bother him. Instead, they just bowed at the warrior from where they stood.
Walking all the way to the door at the end of the palace, Joshua raised his hand to ask Ying and Ling to stop. He stood before the door and whispered to his own divine armaments, "We will be greeted by someone soon."
Soon after, a red-haired knight, who wore a silver armor with a logo of a guardian on his shoulder, arrived. The warrior noticed the pattern on the sword of the red-haired knight and the color of the ribbon tied at his waist. He knew that the knight was in fact a direct descendant of a noble family. He was the captain of the guardians that guard the palace from within. However, the warrior remained unclear of what the knight wanted to do. Before he could ask any questions, the knight bowed at the warrior and saluted Joshua with a firm posture.
"Good day, Count Radcliffe, it is my greatest pleasure to meet you," The knight respectfully bowed at Joshua. He seemed to know Joshua's identity. "You are going to meet Master Nostradamus, right? He is now chairing in the Royal Library as he is about to complete his task rearranging the ancient books. Please follow me."
"Thank you for your hard work."
The warrior followed the knight as they made their way over to the library. Joshua was not surprised by the knight's salute though. The strength of the red-haired knight was close to reaching the realm of Gold tier. If his senses were sharp, the knight would naturally feel that the strength of the warrior was no longer the pinnacle of a Gold tier. Furthermore, Joshua had slain a great archdemon in the Imperial City. It would be natural that many would treat him kindly and respectfully.
The apparent respect shown towards the warrior was the most basic of all.
Morlaix Palace was a large palace among the other palaces. There were routes and corners that were complicated. One would definitely be lost in the maze within the palace without a guide who was familiar with the palace. Only a few could get to the place they wanted to be inside the palace without any help. The location of Black Swan Palace seemed to be much deeper than expected. The red-haired knight escorted Joshua and the others through the corridors and the paths for over ten minutes. However, they had yet to arrive at their destination.
Joshua knew the identity of the knight right in front of him. It was a bit of a coincidence. The Wagnor family and the Kaos family were related to each other. The knight called Fyndar, in accordance with seniority, would be Brandon's cousin even though they were only distantly related.
The relationship between noblemen was like that. Every big family would be inextricably linked with other families. Thanks to the role of a Guardian that the Radcliffe family had to play, and the descendant of the divine armaments that remained only to one root, the Radcliffe family was not as messed up as the others out there. Hence, Joshua did not have to trouble himself to remember a list of strange names of those he did not truly know.
When Fyndar announced that they were arriving at Black Swan Palace, a series of footsteps echoed from the other side of the corridor.
Soon, a party of men wearing white robes walked out of the corridor. They seemed serious as they walked in a hurry.
However, what really attracted attention were not the clergymen who remained in silence but an extraordinarily beautiful woman who appeared weak. She walked in the middle of the clergymen, surrounded by all of them as if she was being guarded by the clergymen.
Under the dimly lit light by the corridor of the palace, it was revealed that the woman was dressed in a white robe and also a colorful crystal crown that was really eye-catching. Her eyes were covered by a black cloth, leaving only her cheeks and her jaws bare. Her white silver long hair looked like a natural waterfall that flowed all the way down to her waist.
However, even though her eyes were covered, she was beautiful.
Joshua was aware of the presence of these people. Those people had also noticed the presence of the warriorregardless of the young boy or the young girl, the warrior, or the clergymen, everyone seemed to be strangers to each other. Everyone was wary of each other. Joshua gave a quick glance at the clergymen then fixed his eyes upon that beautiful woman who appeared to be in deep thoughts. She was simply mindlessly walking.
Joshua furrowed his brows.
"This is strange..."
The warrior whispered to himself, "That is a familiar scent."
Suddenly, the woman with the blindfold stopped walking. The entire group of friars also came to a halt.
She turned around and looked as if she was scanning Joshua from bottom to top. Although her eyes remained blindfolded, Joshua felt as if he was being observed from the tip of his hair all the way down to his toe.
However, both remained silent. They were just observing each other. Then, they walked past each other as headed towards their own destinations.