Chapter 22: Royalty
REYNOLDS LEYWIN’S POV:
I’m sipping on a cup of coffee and almost burn my tongue. We’ve been discussing some business plans on the Helstea Auction house and how we’re currently on the topic of restructuring the guard teams. We recently managed to recruit a couple of long range Augmenters, which make an extremely powerful addition to the security. Most Augmenters choose to go the melee route and it makes sense since it is a lot easier, but ranged Augmenters like archers and crossbowmen are much more useful in a defensive setting. Vince asked me if we needed some Conjurers for the upcoming event.
“Hmmm…I know how beneficial it’d be to have Conjurers that could set up barriers and help support the Augmenters, but, I’m against it.” I take another sip of my coffee.
“You mind elaborating? You just said how helpful it’d be to have them.” Vince just gives me a quizzical look.
Putting down my cup, I reply, “If we’re just talking about just firepower, I’d be all for it but you know it’s not as simple as that, Vince. It’ll affect team moral having a couple of Conjurers in a team of Augmenters. You know yourself how snobby most Conjurers are. I swear they think they’re angels incarnate and find Augmenters barbarians for using their hands to fight. Even if we do manage to find a couple that aren’t so bad in personality, the team would start thinking we’re hiring Conjurers because I don’t trust them.”
I see Vince just look down, focusing on a stained smudge on the table while thinking. “You have a point. We’ll go with what you say but we need to be absolutely sure the 10th Anniversary Helstea Auction goes well. Even the Royal Family will be there this time. We can’t let any commotions get too big.”
I just nod in agreement.
“Oh right! We need to take your son with us to the 10th Anniversary Auction. He said he wanted a sword right? I didn’t know you taught him how to use the sword, I always thought you focused just on the Infighting style with your gauntlets.”
“Sigh. I never taught him how to use the sword Vince. He knew how to use the sword pretty well since he was four years old.” I just shake my head.
“You can’t be serious right? Lilia was still scared to go down the stairs by herself when she was four.” A bewildered Vince sputters.
I continue, “He apparently learned by watching me train and reading books on swords. Vince, that’s not even the part I care about. It’s when we spar though. His gaze when we practice, his reactions and fighting style. I don’t feel like I’m sparring with my 8-year-old son. It feels like I’m fighting a veteran sword master. The only reason I can handle him right now is because his body is still immature but the way he reacts to my moves…it’s only something that only comes with decades of experience in life-or-death fighting.”
“Mmm…I can’t say I don’t know what you’re talking about. I sometimes find myself wondering if your son is actually only 8 years old. Are you scared of him Rey?” He asks seriously.
“No. That’s one thing I’ve become more and more sure of. No matter what, he’s still my son. I know he cares deeply about his family too and that’s all I could ask for as his father.”
ARTHUR LEYWIN’S POV:
During these past two months, it was evident that there was some progress in Lilia’s and my sister’s mana manipulation. I don’t need to infuse my mana into them anymore so they can train by themselves now. Of course, it’ll still take a couple of years for them to form a mana core, especially Ellie and her short attention span, but I did drill it into the both of them how important it is to keep their training a secret.
I didn’t need to remind my parents and the Helstea parents that keeping this a secret was important but I could tell that all four of them were excited for the day Lilia and Ellie would awaken.
Sylvie has been sleeping a lot more these past two months but there were changes that happened to her. For one, her intelligence was rapidly rising. Her thoughts to me are more complicated and contain hints of mixed feelings. In just a few short months after she was born, it feels like she’s gained years of emotional intelligence. One major changed happen recently.
She learned how to transform.
Okay, it wasn’t really something as drastic as transformation, but she was able to manipulate her body a little. I feel like it happened so suddenly. I was pondering how to hide her appearance in the days to come when she gets bigger. She was next to me when she suddenly excitedly goes ‘papa look’ and retracts her red spikes while her horns got smaller. That was a mind-blowing surprise. Now, most of the time, Sylvie just keeps her spikes and horns retracted which makes her look like a cute scaled fox with little horns.
Throughout this time, both Vincent and Tabitha insisted on giving me more gifts. Even if I couldn’t get the cloak or mask, I was planning on training Lilia. After all, she’s part of the family that helped my family so as far as I was concerned, there was nothing to lose in helping them. After numerous refusals, we finally settled on something they could get me.
My body was finally big enough to handle a small sword. It wouldn’t be bigger than an adult sized dagger but it finally allowed me to train my swordsmanship with something other than a wooden stick. We decided to make it a family event and have both my family and Vincent’s family go visit the 10th Anniversary Helstea Auction.
Waiting in the living room downstairs for my father and Vince to get ready, I hear an obnoxious knock from the front door.
Sheesh, knocking a couple times is plenty.
I shout that I’ll get it since I’m close by anyway. No need to trouble the maids when I’m right next to door.
“Who is…? OOF!”
I’m hit with the nostalgic sensation of getting smothered by something that feels like pillows. A classic way of assassination but shouldn’t it be used while I’m sleeping?
“Oh my goodness! You were alive! Look how big you’ve gotten! Uuu I’m so sorry Art! I wasn’t able to protect you! I’m so glad!”
“Angela, I don’t think he can breathe…” I hear a comforting voice.
“Eep! S-sorry!” Angela squeals.
Peeling my face away, I smile “It’s so good seeing you guys again!”
I start tearing up. Don’t misunderstand… These are tears from almost suffocating to death.
My guardian angel Durden pats my head and I see a tear forming in his narrow eyes.
Adam smacks me on the butt. “Little brat! You know how devastated everyone was because of what happened? It’s good to see you again Hehe.”
“You’ve gotten better looking Arthur.” I see the charismatic Helen Shard with her signature bow strapped to her back squat down in front of me. She lightly pinches my cheek and gives me a smile that I swear could make even the ladies blush.
Suddenly, I’m embraced again but this time, I was thoroughly surprised.
It was Jasmine. That cold, aloof Jasmine! She doesn’t say anything, just keeping me in her arms and letting out soft sniffles.
I can’t resist the urge to pet her head to comfort her when she suddenly peels herself away from me, her face bright red. She quickly stands back up and turns her body away from me.
At this time, Sylvie wakes up from her nap on the couch and trots towards me.
“WOAH! What is that?” I hear Adam exclaim. The rest of the Twin Horns have the same expression of surprise and even Jasmine turns back to look at the cute mana beast.
“Her name is Sylvie and she’s my contracted beast.” I say while Sylvie hops on my head.
“Holy crap! You already have a contracted beast?! Do you know how valuable it is to have a Bond? Oh man, I’ve been trying to look for a beast to tame these past few years but with no luck. The ones that they sell are way too expensive too! Gaah!! Lucky brat!” Adam is practically pulling his hair out in jealousy.
Bonds, or Contracted Beast for the official term, are highly sought after by both types of mages. It is a bit more advantageous for Conjurers since the Bond can protect their master while he’s preparing a spell, but it’s also very useful for Augmenters as well.
“What’s with all the commotion down…Ah! You guys are here!” My father, wearing his uniform, jumps down the flight of stairs and rushes toward his ex party members.
He gives all of them a hug before my mother and sister comes down as well.
“Everyone! Uu… So good seeing you guys again!” My mother exclaims. The girls all throw themselves at my mother and start drooling over my baby sister, both of who are dressed very nicely for the event. My parents haven’t seen the Twin Horns for almost as long as me so everyone is just as excited.
“Oh my goodness! Alice, Ellie looks just like you! She’s going to grow up to be so pretty!” “…Cute” “Rey is going to have his hands full soon with potential candidates kukuku. Can you tell me how old you are?” “Four!”
The girls were a jumble of excitement and estrogen as they ogled at Ellie.
Vincent came down soon after with Tabitha and Lilia. The mother and father duo were matching in a black suit and black dress while Lilia was sporting a flowery dress under a warm cloak. After everyone introduced each other, it was decided that the Twin Horns would come with us to the Helstea Auction house for the 10th Anniversary event. On the way there, I filled them in on what happened after the fall. My dad filled them in on the basics in his letter but they were dying to know the details. They were quite shocked when they learned I was in the Kingdom of Elenoir for over 4 years.
The ride was pretty short so I couldn’t finish telling them everything before we got off.
Vincent sure put in a lot of work. The Helstea Auction house was breathtaking. I’ve been to many national and historical monuments that were created by the most famous architects but this was on a different level. I suspected that they had a lot of help from Conjurers because of how big it was. The Auction House looked like a magnificent theatre with intricate designs all over. The main doors were over 4 meters in height and were made from petrified wood. Compared to the naturalistic and elegant designs that I saw in the Elf Kingdom, this was more complicated and grandeur. It was in the shape of a half cylinder with detailed stone sculptures of different weapons as supports.
We arrived early so only the workers and guards were there, preparing for the event. The inside was equally, if not more stunning. The front door opened to a path that lead to a stage all the way on the other side. To our left and right, there were rows of escalating seats made from high quality purple leather. This place could easily house over ten thousand people. Upon looking up, I noticed that there were incased booths at the very top of the rows of seats and even further higher, there was room attached to the ceiling and back wall with glass surrounding it giving a clear view to the stage. I guess those booths and that room is for the VIP.
Turns out, that VIP room on the ceiling was the room we’d be staying at. Father and the Twin Horns separated from us first to coordinate with his guards. The Twin Horns decided to help my father and the guards to prepare for any unwanted commotions or outbreaks. Vincent separated from us next, shouting some orders at the workers and preparing to greet some of the more important guests
Tabitha led us to the viewing room that was intricately designed and furnished. There was a wine rack and a few couches and tables with closer seats by the window. I made myself comfortable on a seat right in front of the window.
It was getting pretty loud, as there were crowds of people who were no doubt people of some sort of influence, filling the lower seats. There were a couple groups that seemed distinguished from the rest that were personally escorted by the workers to their booths. I guess they were some of the more affluent nobles in the Kingdom.
During this time, I watched Lilia teach some sort of clapping game to Ellie and both were in a fit of giggles when Vincent came back, leading a group of people inside.
The first to come in behind Vincent was an elderly man with long burgundy hair that had streaks of grey. His back was ramrod straight with broad shoulders that took off years in his appearance. His eyes were stern, with sword shaped eyebrows that made his appearance look even fiercer. He was wearing a red robe with white fur around the collar and had a cane made of what looked like white gold. Behind him was a lady that looked a few years older than my mother. While my mother had the lovely, sweet, friendly look, this lady’s facial feature reminded me of an ice sculpture; refined, elegant, noble and of no flaws, but was cold and devoid of emotion. She was wearing a shimmering silvery white dress that complimented her dark blue hair that draped over her shoulders very well. This husband and wife duo looks like they’re the head of a mafia.
Behind the wife were two younger kids that I assumed were her kids. The older boy looked to be about the age of 13 or 14. He took after his father, with his serious brown eyes and straight brows. His short mahogany hair had a shiny luster just like his father’s. Despite his fierce looks, there was a sort of allure, like looking at a wild, powerful mana beast, scary but striking. The smaller girl looked to be about my age, or maybe a little younger. I couldn’t tell.
It would still be a couple of years until she starts maturing but needless to say, the potential was there. I couldn’t help comparing her to Tess. They would both grow to be captivating but in very different qualities. Tess was the lovely girl next door, with her comforting almond shaped eyes that glowed a faint teal. Her sun kissed peaches and cream complexion and rosy lips. The gunmetal silver hair that glistened in the sun made her eyes glow even more and what made my heart skip a beat a few times was when she smiled, revealing her flawless teeth.
No, this girl was the total opposite. Her porcelain white complexion was a canvas for her flawless facial features. Her penetrating eyes that seemed much too mature for her age was a dark brown shade that appeared bigger because of her long lashes. Her hair was a glaring black, which she got from her mother. Compared to her dark hair and eyes, her lips were a much lighter set of pink that faintly glistened.
While they were nothing more than children now, I would love to see how they grow up to be in the future.
I just shake my head and focus on my gaze on the three guards that followed after the picturesque family, while I mentally compared which girl would grow up to be prettier in the future.
Stop judging me! Even Kings are men right?
“I didn’t know we would be in here with guests Vincent! Good, good. The more the merrier! At least we’ll have some company besides these boring guards right Honey?”
I raised an eyebrow in surprise at the sharp contrast in the man’s personality to his appearance. He seemed like a loud, friendly guy compared to his intimidating looks.
“I apologize your Majesty! I assumed you wouldn’t mind having a few other people with you. These are my closest friend’s family.” He said, waving his arm in our direction.
“Guys! This is the King and Queen of Sapin. Introduce yourself to King Blaine Glayder and Queen Priscilla Glayder and their children Curtis and Kathyln.”
“BAH! You know me too well now Vince. We can’t have that now can we!” The King just scoffs while smiling.
“Please, you’re about as hard to read as a child’s picture book. I would be more surprised if there was anyone who could see you as mysterious.” The Queen just shakes her head.
Wow… The King and Queen of the human race.
Mother and Tabitha all kneel on one knee. My mother looks at me fiercely to follow her so I just sigh and go on one knee too.
“At ease! Please! Let’s drop the formalities. We’re all important guests of the Helstea House here.”
Sylvie peeks out from under my robe where she was sleeping and looks at the new faces.
“Kuu?” She chirps with her head sticking out of my chest.
“Oh my! What a cute little mana beast!” Queen Priscilla’s cold face brightens up at the sight and she makes her way towards me.
The King and the two children’s eyes look towards my direction as well.
“She just hatched a few months ago. Her name is Sylvie. Come out and say hi.” I respond.
“Kyu~!” She says while hopping out of my robe, head turning as she’s looking around at her new surroundings.
“I assume this little mana beast is your Bond young man?” The King comes closer, squatting down to get a closer view of Sylvie.
I just nod. It should be fine with Sylv’s appearance the way it is. “How fortunate you are to have a mana beast. Even infants are not easy to tame, yet it looks like she is very obedient.
“Well we’re able to communicate mentally so it’s more like a mutual agreement rather than obedience.” I just shrug.
“What? You mean to say that you guys are under an Equals Contract?”
We all turn our heads to face the source of the voice. It was one of the hooded guards behind the children.
“Umm, I’m not sure what that is but she was the one that initiated the contract so I think so?” I just shrug my shoulders.
Was it that big of a deal who forms the contract?
“Can I take a closer look at your Bond?” The hooded guard was saying, creeping closer to us.
Before I had the chance to decline, the King stepped in.
“This isn’t the time or place to study someone else’s pet. You’re being rude Sebastian.” His kind gaze turns stern when scolding him.
“Arthur. Arthur Leywin.” I announce, giving another curt bow. We all took a seat as we hear a clear voice declaring that the auction would start soon.
I turn a quick glance to see the hooded figure staring intently at the Sylvie who was nestled on my lap.