31st of December, the last day of the year. Night.
In the middle of the falling snow, the main square in the center of the main city of Moldavia had a large greenish-gray stone stage that was huge. There was a dent right in the middle, with many strange patterns on it. It looked just like an altar. A dozen knights that were dressed in bright armor was patrolling around it. The black flag with golden edges was installed on both sides of the stone stage. Several torches were ignited in the surroundings of the square.
Today, in the afternoon, the knights had received an order from their count. Also based on the tradition that had been passed down for all those years, they had constructed the huge stone stage over several nights before the day of the event. They had also ignited torches that burned on fuel all around the stage, lighting up the entire area of the square.
Meanwhile, in the surroundings of the site, there were quite a number of citizens who were wearing their thick cottoned clothes. They were surrounding the huge stage in a circle. They were gathering together as they were laughing and chatting loud about recent things that were interesting. Many of them were hugging and blessing each other with wishes, for the hard work they had done over the year and the outcome of their work.
The new year was just around the corner now.
This year's Moldavia was different. It was not because the old count had passed away, or that the young count had taken over the place. It was not the Dark Tide that appeared to be much larger in scale either—the most different part about this year was the powerful strength of their new count.
He was much more powerful than the count before this.
In mid-October, the old liege had passed away without a legit reason. During that time, a group of unknown knights and a fat man appeared to attack the main city and took over the count's mansion. They ever declared a curfew and martial law over the entire city. They also sent many street warriors to patrol the streets all over the city as well. That group of people did not allow the Dragon Caravan merchants to freely trade in the market of the city as well. They also had an extremely fierce demeanor.
After all, the city had a good environment in the first place. The citizens of the northern city were also friendly and they were all living together in harmony all the while. So how could they bear to suffer such changes in their city? Just when they were ready to pick up their weapons, ready to bring the fight to those strangers that were taking over their city, they had witnessed the return of their new liege.
Truthfully, no one even knew how their new liege took out those Silver-tier knights as it happened too fast. From the loud bang that came from the city wall until the collapse of the count's mansion, everything happened within merely three hours. A lot of people had just had their breakfast before they received news that all of the knights had been taken out; there was a new Gold-tier warrior that came from somewhere to wipe them all out.
A man named Joshua had declared himself as the new liege, the heir to the count's title, also the new liege that would own this territory. Naturally, no one opposed. Who would complain that their liege was as strong as hell? For the people in the North, it was most important that their count was powerful enough at least. After all, as long as it was someone that was not as dumb as the previous oversized man that was trying to take over the city, that somebody can be anyone. Since that was the case, why not let the strongest one become the new count then?
"According to rumors, if Master Joshua did not take part in the war, Fort Dark Forest would have been overrun by daemons and fall."
Among the crowd, a middle-aged man dressed like a hunter was stroking his beard. He was chatting with another person that looked like a fisherman. He sighed and said, "My sons are living near the mining town far from here. If the fortress was overrun and the daemons came into the territory, I have no idea what would have happened to all of us."
"Without Liege Joshua, we're as good as dead."
The fisherman shook his head. He seemed like not the type to talk much. He took a peek at the stone stage and spoke softly, "There's no telling what is it this year…"
"I think that it should be bear or giant frost snake. Recently, the Dark Tide just happened. Those monsters that do not hibernate had mostly died. I bet that only a few frost snakes and bears survived the war."
Upon noticing that the fisherman was not happy, the hunter shrugged and muttered to himself. "And we have no idea how many of those monsters were brought here."
Not only the two men, the others all around the square were discussing it in excitement. However, suddenly, the voices that filled the entire place began to quiet down. After a brief moment, the entire place became dead silent.
The hunter who could feel a strange presence furrowed his brows. He could feel that an oppressive existence was approaching from afar. Upon lifting his head, the hunter noticed that there was a red light flying across the snow in the sky from afar. The light was moving so fast that there was a red light tail following the flying red light. That red light was much more intimidating and heavier than the most powerful daemon the hunter had ever sensed before in his entire life. The hunter was left speechless. However, he could also feel that the light was somehow not threatening.
Before he could even ask the question in his own mind, the hunter could see that the red light suddenly sped up. In just an instant, that red light had arrived at the side of the city, and then right above the square, a current of strong wind blew past. An intense scent of blood struck deep into the noses of every single human in the surroundings. The huge shadow followed by a red Combat Aura slowly descended onto the ground. The citizens that were intimidated by the sudden arrival of such trembling existence had finally regained their consciousness.
At that time, the supersonic sound had only approached the square.
Upon vibrating his entire body a little, he disengaged himself of his Combat Aura. The black-haired warrior then stayed levitated in the middle of the sky. He was holding the hand of a silver-haired girl with his right hand while he was carrying a body of a wyrm without a head on his back. The eyes of the wyrm head were wide open. The warrior then descended slowly towards the ground as everyone was looking at him with their jaw dropped.
Upon seeing that scene, the civilians stayed silent. After that one brief moment of silence, everyone burst into chatter. Some were shocked and most of them were basically shouting and crying out loud.
"Good heavens! What is that thing right behind the back of our Liege?!"
"Dragon? Is that really a dragon?!"
"So the sacrifice for this year is actually a dragon?!"
"No, that was just a wyrm. It's not a dragon with a pure bloodline. However, that is more than just enough already!" Some old adventurer who was more experienced managed to recognize the head of the wyrm that was being held in the hand of the warrior. He looked extremely shocked, "It's a Rimetooth Wyrm! Oh my god! Last year, we only had a spike-shelled boar. Although both are Silver tier, the difference is just too huge… Could it be that we will have the chance to taste wyrm meat this year?"
At the same time when Joshua was descending from the sky, the threw the gigantic body of the wyrm onto the dent right in the middle of the stage. The impact of the body onto the cold and solid surface of the rock stage let out a heavy sound. Upon stepping onto the green-gray rock stage, the warrior looked around the stage—countless people had filled up the space of the square now. It seemed that more than half of the citizens in the city were gathered here now.
There were many traditional practices in Continental War. There were also many festive days throughout the entire year. Aside from the birthday of the Emperor and Independence Day of the Empire; the New Year, Astral Festival of a Midsummer Night, and also the Autumn Harvest Day were very famous festive days. All humans, and even elves and dwarves would celebrate the same festivals on the same day together.
Meanwhile, it would be the same for the New Year.
As a traditional practice that had been practiced over thousands of years, Joshua, as a liege, would need to slay a high tier daemon for the New Year Festival and provide food for his knights and his people. Joshua had to do that in order to embody the conquering nature in the hearts of men and to show that he had the strength to protect his own people.
A Gold-tier daemon would be extremely rare to come by, especially after the Dark Tide. Even though Joshua had not been able to find the remaining Gold-tier daemons that were hiding from him, however, getting a Silver-Tier wyrm was more than enough to prove his strength to his people.
Standing right in the middle of the crowd listening to the chattering voices of the people, Joshua did not say a word at all. He just stood on the stage, lifting the head of the wyrm up to show it to the people. One could tell by the eyes of wyrm that it died unwillingly. Everyone was shocked to see that pair of eyes. However, the people then cheered and praised. Even such a dreadful daemon would die at the hands of their new liege. Although it was terrifying to see that, however, it was also surprisingly comforting for the people. They felt safe as citizens of the city.
This was different from the news about how Joshua fended off the Dark Tide in Moldavia and Moldova; those regular people who had not seen Joshua's battle would not be able to understand how powerful he was. So they were still doubtful of Joshua's strength. However, now, even the slightest doubt in their hearts had been wiped away clean after seeing the wretched head and body of the wyrm.
"This is indeed the powerful being that fended off Dark Tide twice…"
An adventurer with a large shield on his back was standing among the citizens. He was looking at his own hands full of calluses. Then in his soft voice, he sighed. "Moldavia, Moldova, this man basically ended two Dark Tides. And now, he just slew an Upper Silver-tier wyrm out of convenience… I wonder when I can reach that level of power and strength…"
Without being bothered by the enthusiasm of the crowd, the warrior put the gigantic body of the wyrm right on top of the stage. Truth be told, Joshua was contented seeing the expression on the wyrm's head. When the festival ended, he decided to clean it up a little and put it as one of the decoratives in the main hall of the count's mansion.
A moment later, when the discussion came to an end, Joshua took a step forward. He stood on the edge of the top of the stone platform. Then he naturally rallied up everyone in front of him, "My citizens and people of the city, the year is coming to an end. In the middle of this year, there have been many things happening, both good and bad. However, it is comforting to know that everything had a gratifying ending and nothing needed to be said about it. The peace and harmony in the city have proven it all."
The warrior smiled in front of the citizens and people that looked up at him. Then he spoke loudly, "The sacrificial for the past years had not been enough for everyone to have a bite on it. However, this year, I went over to the plains of ice and frost just to slay a wyrm. And with this, I believe that everyone here will have a taste of my prey. I shall stop talking now-"
Upon ending his brief and simple speech, he stood up straight and gathered his Combat Aura. Then he wielded his hand around and instantly, powerful waves of impacts were emitted out, followed by a few invisible air blades cutting right out into the wyrm's body into tiny little pieces.
"My people, the year-end festival has begun!"
The entire square was filled with cheers and joy.
Standing among the cheering of 'Long live our Liege' and 'Praise our Liege', Joshua walked down from the stage slowly. He was not bothered by the cheers that were led by the other Knights. He did not attend to the people that were cheering his name while feasting on wyrm meat. Instead, he was walking straight towards the middle tower by the city wall.
Meanwhile, Ying was following the warrior walking along the street.
Upon entering the tower and stepping up onto the spiral stairwell, it did not take long before the two of them had walked all the way up to the top of the tower. The Warrior was sitting on the edge of the wall with his legs crossed. He was looking at the mountains and flying snows from distant far.
His eyes were calm as if he was not feeling excited and joyous after knowing that his people were admiring and worshipping him like a god. Joshua was merely staring at the dark sky and the dark land in the night. God knows what he was currently having on his mind now. Meanwhile, the silver-haired girl was also sitting quietly by his side. She was accompanying her master as he was spacing out.
Starfall Year 831, 31st of December, Night, 11.59 p.m..
Suddenly, he spoke with a sensible voice, "It felt great to be praised too."
Even though the land was cold and the people there were living in poverty, that land was still Joshua's territory after all. With the people living on his territory, as their liege, the warrior was responsible for protecting them and getting praised for doing so. As an aristocrat, that was his duty.
Starfall Year 832, 1st of January, 00.00 a.m..
The magnificent bell on top of the church rang and the sound of the bell echoed across the entire main city.
That was the sound of the arrival of a new year.
—At the same time, eastern side of Mount Great Ajax, Moldova Territory.
"Brandon… you're going to depart tomorrow?"
Right in the middle of the count's mansion in the main city of Moldova, the violet-haired countess was hugging her lover tightly. She was a little reluctant to let her husband go. "Our children want to play with you a little longer."
"I wanted too, but Dani, my responsibility forbids me to stay here any longer. I must report the incident about the dimensional rift related to the Corrupted Black Dragon and the bizarrely large Dark Tide to the Empire as soon as I can." The golden-haired swordsman seemed helpless. He felt his finger slipping slowly down the skin on Dani's back. Then he sighed. "I'll have to depart for the Imperial City to secure the safety of your territory, to make sure such calamity will not repeat itself ever again—Because I wanted to spend time with your throughout the new year, I've extended my stay for too long now. Even though the dimension rift has been destroyed, however, it can also be reconnected anytime."
"… You're right. I can't allow the entire territory to descend into chaos for my own desire."
Sighing aloud as well, Vale Dani let go of her hands that were wrapped around Brandon's waist. Then she took a step back and chanted a secret spell. The mage then took a box out of the void and informed the golden-haired swordsman right before her. "While you're on your way, do not forget this. This is a gift for the count as a token of gratitude… and also do not forget to process the raw materials of the Gold-tier daemons and pass them to him. He left in a hurry and he did not take anything along with him."
"Joshua had really assisted us in so many ways… Honestly, I think that such a small return will not be sufficient. Also, I can't let you be the only one giving a token of gratitude to him.
Upon taking the box over from the hands of Vale Dani, Brandon recalled back about the time when the warrior was standing before the dimensional rift. The warrior chanted some ancient language that had been lost in time. Then he muttered to himself, "I should prepare a big gift, for the sake of recognizing further the dual blades of Order… alright, when I'm back in the Imperial City, I shall get right to it."
"Actually, instead of giving him a gift, he's more keen to have a duel with you."
Upon hearing that, the countess smiled gently at Brandon. She looked at the golden-haired swordsman with her gentle eyes and said, "However, my swordsman, are you confident that you can take him on?"
"Although Joshua is indeed freaking powerful, and it's obvious that he's a few levels higher than me… but I have the confidence I can!"
Tightening both fists, Brandon turned his head to the side and looked at the dark clouds through the windows. His eyes were filled with confidence, "Nothing else matters. Only a battle can speak, between one warrior to the other."
—Far away, Holy City of the Triplet Mountain. The Imperial City of the Empire.
The twin moons were shining brightly upon the entire city. The purely white wall of the city made of marble was reflecting the moonlight crystal clear making the scene look very holy.
Nostradamus was standing on one of the star towers in the middle of the Imperial City. He looked at the sky with a strange expression on his face.
"The weather is not too bad today. However, the magic waves are not suitable for teleportation though…"
The white-haired mage muttered to himself for a bit before he started shaking his head. "It doesn't matter. Since the things in the Imperial City have been resolved, I have time now. The coordinates would not differ much I guess."
If the teleportation went wrong, he only needed to do it one more time with some adjustment to correct it.
Thinking about the so-called emergency method, the white-haired old man immediately pulled out a scroll. Nostradamus read out a few secret words and activated the scroll with his spirit. In an instant, the scroll was turned into a flame and attached to his hand. The head of mages in the Imperial City raised up his right hand ignited with flame, then he swiped his hand across the air. Instantly, a noticeable trace was seen in the mid-air.
The flame continued to combust vigorously. After that, the flame turned into green-blue radiance. The trace of light began to expand and intensify. After a moment, a gloomy blue door appeared and was activated right before the eyes of the white-haired mage without any sound or indication.
Right behind that door, there was a vast flatland that had been covered by a layer of frost and snow. Everything across the entire flatland was white.
"It seems that the destination is correct. This is the northern land."
Upon nodding his head, he confirmed his own target. Then he pulled his mage robe a little to make sure it looked tidy before he crossed over through the door with a stride.