After thorough consideration, Garen devoured his dinner and requested Lala to enquire about His Majesty the Emperor’s reply. He then buried his head in the books and manuscripts once more, in which information about the practices and experiments had been recorded.
During the following days, the imperial palace officer stationed at the checkpoint still had no messages to relay.
Garen went to the capital to stroll around for a few rounds, but the streets remained eerily quiet except for a few passersby. The capital was governed by military law, and the entry and exit checkpoints all required troublesome licenses that had to be reviewed, because of materials that were under a unified management. The entire area was empty and quiet.
Until the sixth day.
Finally, the audit for an audience was accepted, and His Majesty the King had decided to summon him, but only for a duration of ten minutes.
Sitting within the white carriage passing through the checkpoint, Garen did not pull the curtains open. Instead, he sat in the middle of the carriage quietly, concentrating with his eyes closed.
The front and back of the carriage were accompanied by other carriages, and inside those carriages were other local aristocrats that were here to have an audience with the king just like himself. If it was not for the Green Vine Sphere, Garen assumed that as a local lord who had lost his power and influence, there was no way that he would have been able to receive an audience with the king.
He sat inside the carriage and carefully considered the exchanges and requests that he wanted to bring up during the audience with the king. Giving the Green Vine Sphere over was something that he had thought about properly before this. Out of the three emperors, the Kovitan Emperor had the strongest ambition and the best attitude. Hence, passing it to him would probably yield the highest profits.
However, there was another problem that would be troublesome to solve: the stabbing of the Kovitan Emperor by the Obscuro Society. Their actions would be successful this time, and he needed to warn His Majesty, but…
Warning him immediately was definitely out of the question; if an outsider aristocrat appeared out of the blue and told the king to his face that his wife was a spy without any proof, any sentence would be considered light in comparison to being convicted and jailed in a death sentence prison for false accusation.
Moreover, even if he managed to successfully uncover them, there would come a time when he would face the exposure of his own identity, and the Obscuro Society would definitely retaliate by going after his head. Even the Royal Alliance of Luminarists might not be able to protect him then.
He spent the entire journey pondering, and did not notice when the carriage had stopped. The sound of music echoed distantly behind him, and it sounded like it was coming from a violin or some other string-type instrument.
"You should get down now," the guard who was also the driver reminded him.
Garen pulled the carriage door open and jumped out of the carriage. He stood at the end of a quiet street, and in front of him stood a black, pencil shaped stone door. The large stone door was half opened, and on the inside, it lead to a spacious corridor that stretched into an open air garden far away.
A row of guards on duty stood to the left side of the corridor, and all of them were clad from head to toe in black armor, which made them look strong and solemn.
The music that Garen had heard earlier was coming from a large black fort on his left. It could still be heard faintly, from the area where the royal palace hall was located.
"Let’s go." The dispatched officer was a tall, handsome young man who wore a white wig on his head, and a red waistcoat over his white undershirt. He glanced past Garen, before turning around and walking out of the corridor first.
Garen noticed that the aristocrats who disembarked from the remaining two carriages did not stop at this entrance, but went to the other two entry points instead.
"Aren’t they coming to have an audience with His Majesty as well?"
The handsome man glanced at Garen.
"You should be honoured that His Majesty decided to summon only you today. The others were summoned by Her Royal Highness the Princess."
Garen nodded and followed the man as he walked through the corridor.
The two man walked briskly through the black corridor. The entire corridor was slightly more than seven meters tall and wide, and unusually broad, and as they walked across the smooth black stone floors, the sound of soft, crisp footsteps could be heard.
They passed through the corridor and walked into the front of the open air garden.
The garden was blooming with an abundance of fresh red, yellow, and white flowers. Most of them were white, and the white ones were giant flowers the size of washbasins. A group of girls in resplendent clothes were chatting noisily in the flower garden. No one knew what they were chatting about, but they seemed unusually happy. Some of the girls were even sitting on top of the giant washbasin sized white flowers, and it was amazing that none of them fell on the floor.
When the girls saw the handsome man who was leading the way, they waved at him enthusiastically, showing signs of familiarity.
The man answered them politely, and seemed to be unusually calm against the girls’ ambiguous gazes.
Garen followed behind him. Even though his current Acacia body was just as handsome, in comparison to the man, he was still somewhat lacking. He was immediately overlooked by the girls.
Compared to the man’s bright, eye-catching clothes, Garen’s grey robes were not worth looking at in the slightest.
After they passed through the flower garden, they ended up at another long cloister.
He did not know how far they’d walked before they arrived in front of a five meter tall black door.
"You can just wait here. About half an hour later, His Majesty will arrive. Remember, you have only ten minutes," reminded the handsome man briskly, before he turned around and left.
Garen did not mind. During this chaotic period, he could see that there were lots of people who wished to have an audience with the king.
He waited in front of the main door quietly. On the left side of the cloister stood guards in full-bodied black armor. Unlike the others, these guards were clad in armor that was significantly heavier and held black guns in their hands as they stood against the wall like sculptures.
About twenty minutes later, a well-built, middle-aged man walked over in long strides. He was wearing pure white tights with silver inserts in the borders, with a white cloak billowing behind him. He held a golden whip in his hand, as if he had just returned from horse riding.
Wherever he walked passed, all of the guards on duty would kneel down on one knee.
This man’s age was not older than thirty years, and a smile was present on his face. He had a mild-looking expression and a black beard covered his chin and connected to his sideburns, making it difficult to differentiate between his beard and his hair. His back was slightly hunched, but he walked steadily. His appearance was neither handsome nor particularly majestic, making him seem like a normal passerby that one would encounter on the streets.
Garen knelt down on one knee immediately. He had seen a black and white picture of the king before he arrived, and recognized that this man was the Kovitan Emperor Avic Sisman.
"Your Majesty," Garen bowed his head and looked away from the king’s face as a sign of courtesy.
King Avic was followed by a group of people who seemed like they were preparing to enter the room with him to discuss important matters.
Avic answered gently, and entered the main door that had been opened by the guards.
Garen stood up and followed him into the room.
Inside the brightly lit room, the walls were engraved with intricate and beautiful golden floral decorations, while a large floor-length painting was plastered against the wall on the opposite side of the main door. It was a painting of Avic standing on the palace balcony with a sword in his hand.
A few rows of yellow wooden sofas were arranged in an arc shape in the middle of the room. There were also two rectangular shaped bookshelves on the right, both of which were filled with various books with gold-rimmed borders.
"Have a seat." Avic seemed like a regular host who was attending to a guest in his house, as he pointed towards the sofa.
Garen looked at the other people and realised that none of them entered the room, except for Avic and himself who had just walked inside.
The people who had followed them bowed and curtsied outside the door, before closing the door carefully.
Only then did Garen sit down quietly, on Avic’s right hand side.
"The trust you have in the Royal Alliance of Luminarists and the Kovitan Empire signifies the trust in myself, Avic. Regarding the tragedy that befell Viscount Vanderman, when I heard of it, my heart grieved and I despaired. Your father contributed a great amount of effort and time into his research, but his treatment and attitudes towards the people were unnecessarily brutal at times. The impact caused by these incidents were horrifying. You understand what I mean, right?" Avic brought up the main subject immediately. He was not a Totem User and merely a normal person, but to be able to run such a vast empire meant that he naturally possessed his own expertise and abilities.
"I understand," Garen nodded. "Honestly, my requests are very simple. Iwish to visit the Royal Databank to find some information that I need. At the same time, I would like to request Your Majesty for access to the pharmacy to find some medicine that I need.
"Are you still a Form one Totem User?" Avic asked suddenly.
"Yes." Garen was surprised at Avic’s sudden change of topics, but he answered immediately anyway.
"Would you like a better Core Totem? Or a stronger Secondary Totem? You have an interest towards medicine, so you should go to the Secret Service. They have more content regarding those topics over there," replied Avic with a gentle smile.
"That’s right. Although the interior strength of our Kovitan Empire may not be considered powerful, and may actually be extremely weak, it would not be difficult to allow you to become part of it. Inside, the pharmaceutical knowledge that you’re interested in and the various techniques… Well… I’ve heard that the moment you arrived at the capital, you spent all of your time holed up in your manor without going anywhere else, right? Well, that place has the techniques that you’re so interested about."
Garen hesitated. He was unclear about what the Secret Service was actually like, but he’d heard about the three departments of the Royal Alliance of Luminarists a long time ago. Each of these three departments were managed by different countries but they worked with each other, and their powers were intertwined, meaning that each country possessed varying amounts of power.
"Honestly, our Kovitan Empire sits at the most important position in the national departments. We are not considered weak in the Geometry Service, but since the Secret Service remains in the domain of Daniela, it is better for us not to infiltrate. You know as well that the three departments are represented by interest groups of aristocrats from various countries. Inside the Secret Service, Earl Senda is our only representative that possesses some influence."
"But even if I joined, it would not cause any effect, right?" Garen asked hesitantly.
"Of course it wouldn’t be just you alone. Nothing can be accomplished overnight, because everything needs a development process," Avic answered with a smile. "A research-type Forger joining their ranks would definitely be a huge support for Earl Senda."
"Your Majesty gives me too much credit," Garen quickly bowed his head humbly.
"Your father contributed an immense deal towards the Kovitan Empire, and by right I should be rewarding you greatly. However, the unfortunate part is that the news about the cruel experiments performed by the Trejons household have been spread everywhere," Avic answered softly. "Regarding your previous requests, I promise to grant all of them to you. As an extra reward, I will personally present you with the inheritance to nurture the Black Storm Doves. I hope you will not mind that."
"Black Storm Doves?!" Garen was shocked. This was the name of a Form three Totem, and this type of Form three Totem was one that he had heard of before. A Form three Totem that would be able to cause a storm, was a rare Form three Totem that did not prioritise body evolution, yet could cause strong tornadoes and were truly terrifying. This kind of inherited power was usually only passed down within royal families, and was extremely precious.
This inheritance could truly be something that he could depend on, and would help him rebuild an even more powerful Trejons household.
Garen was undeniably shocked by Avic’s generous gifts.
"Thank you very much, Your Majesty."
"Good, our time is almost over. There will be a masquerade party at the palace later. If you’re interested, you can go over to the etiquette officer and choose a mask. I need to go change my clothes now," Avic said while smiling.