In the calendar of the druids, the beginning of each year was indifferent from what the public thought it would. The druids divided a year into four parts: Season of Awakening, Season of Vigor, Season of Fertility, and Season of Silence. Meanwhile, each year, the Season of Awakening would be the beginning of a new year.
That was the earliest form of 'season' on the Mycroft Continent. The concept of four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter were all derived from the druids' calendar. However, their calculation method was not fixed. They had been adapting to local conditions throughout the whole time. For example, in the north, the Season of Silence was also known as the days of the winter, would largely delay on. Under that unforeseen circumstance, the beginning of the next year, also known as the Season of Awakening, would be delayed to April or even May before it could begin. However, at the same time, the Imperial City at the similar timeline would already be entering the Season of Vigor real soon.
The Northern Empire was not a traditional kingdom with merely a single race. Its people include dwarves, elves, hobbits, halflings, vampires, cavemen, and other diverse ethnic groups. Its festivals were also of various origins. The traditional customs of the druids had also occupied a place among them. And when they flourished, it would mean that the power of nature in one entire year had reached its peak at that period of time. For that, many banquets and celebrations would be thrown around the kingdom. Meanwhile, the banquet to celebrate the successful annihilation of the orcs was being held during that period of time as well.
"One city gate has hundreds of guards guarding it…"
Imperial City was still shining brightly in the middle of the night. The faint lights could still be seen clearly across a distance of several kilometers. All the way from the seemingly endless staircase leading straight to the white wall, Joshua was looking at the city gate that was decorated with some ancient designs that looked resplendent, with interest. He was looking at that direction as if he could see through the rocks and see all of the Flames of Life right behind the wall. Well, he was relaxingly counting the number of the guards that were on duty at the city wall and the city gate. He even tried to determine their professions by observing their movements and habits. "There are some alchemy tools, various artilleries and also multiple sentry posts all over the city wall. They really have the city wall and the city gate heavily guarded."
Well, that was exactly how it should be. As the capital city of a kingdom, it would be perfectly normal for one to have the place heavily guarded. In the meantime when the warrior and the two Divine Armaments were standing still observing from afar, the guards on duty by the city gate had discovered them. Because the sun had set long ago and the night had just arrived, the guards were beginning to behave even more vigilant than before. They took the initiative to approach the suspicious shadows of the three. They were ready to investigate who exactly were the three of them and where did they come from.
Well, one must say that the eyesight of these Imperial City guards was truly remarkable. Their eyesight must be so much better than the other guards of the same grade in other cities. The moment when the little captain of the guards saw the face of Joshua, he instantly felt a shiver across every part of his body. He immediately recognized that the person before him had the strength that he could not measure at all. After greeting Joshua out of fear and respect, the guards had found the answer they were looking for. So they quickly said, "Count, please enter." After saying that, they gave way to the warrior and the two Divine Armaments that were following behind him.
Logically speaking, they should also check on the family insignia or other identification items that could verify the warrior's background. However, one of the guards recognized Joshua's face. Furthermore, the rest of the guards were too terrified to even speak with the warrior because of his Aura of Fear, so they just let the warrior and the two Divine Armaments into the city and acted as if nothing happened before.
The city gate of the holy city was looking spectacular as always even at night. Thirty-six marble pillars supported a long paved path, while the floating sculptures on the pillars depicted the scene when the city was built back in the years. Being protected by magic, the city had never lost its color and remained as vibrant as ever over the past hundreds of years. It was still looking white and flawless. It was a marvelous sight to behold.
After passing through the city gate, they arrived at the outer rim of Imperial City. Although Joshua was a man of the distant south in his previous life, he had traveled to Imperial City of the Empire Kingdom in the North several times. After all, his friends came from all around the world. Well, sometimes he would want to form a party in order to clear a dungeon. And sometimes, he was required to switch stations as he was teleporting all over the continent. Hence, the warrior knew that the Holy City of Triplet Mountain was divided into three sections. One was known to be the section for civilians, merchants and all sorts of public facilities—for example, the Grand Library and the Great Arena was located at the area beyond the city area. Other than that, the city hall and homes of the noblemen were all located within the city area. Last but not to be forgotten, there laid the Morlaix Palace where the Emperor of the Empire lived.
Just like what he saw from outside the city, Imperial City was filled with moving crowd even during the night. The lights were waning as the city was descending deeper into the night. After staying peacefully on the outskirts of the street with his two weapons for a while observing the daily life of the people in the Imperial City, Joshua headed for the inner area of the city right after. That would be the area where the few of the Radcliffe family's heirlooms were located at.
All the way through the main roads of Imperial City, the crowd was getting bigger and bigger. Even though the banquet had yet to begin, the joyful atmosphere had already begun spreading out throughout the city. The streets and lanes in the city were filled with all kinds of flags and decorations. The taverns and the hotels had wooden signs saying 'Special Promotion' on their front doors. Only up until that point could Joshua feel the importance of eradicating the orcs to the people of the Empire who had suffered the ordeal of being raided by the savage orcs over the years.
The shops, the plaza, and the fountain above all that. Everyone in everywhere part of the city was wearing a joyful smile on their faces. Under the lights of the night, Joshua naturally smiled and he felt happy in this bustling street. After all, because of the weather and other reasons, the northland never had such a large crowd on the streets at all times. That made a warrior felt a little unfamiliar with the place.
Meanwhile, just when he was about to change his mind getting into the inner area of the city after taking a stroll around the outskirts of the city, Joshua suddenly felt a familiar presence approaching him.
Stopping in his tracks, Joshua furrowed his brows and sensed the presence again seriously. Then his eyebrows relaxed again. "So it's them. They've noticed me so soon?"
Upon stopping as well by at the warrior's side, Ying and Ling were wearing gray cashmere cloak. They wore the cloaks not because the weather was too cold. They did it because the magic energy in the Imperial City was way too dense. The psionic bodies of the Divine Armaments would naturally react to the magic energy in their surroundings the moment they came in contact with it. They would radiate with a fluorescent glow. Hence, the two of them decided to cover themselves up to prevent any unwanted attention from the people in their surroundings.
Ying and Ling were not bothered as they saw that their master suddenly stopped and stood still in the middle of the road. After all, the main purpose of this trip was to purely relax. Even the banquet was a minor purpose of the trip. So whatever their master wanted to do, he could just do it.
Meanwhile, a brief moment later, a carriage pulled over slowly from the other side of the street.
That was an entirely black carriage made of dark-cloud wood. Well, its appearance was certainly not eye-catching at all. However, its value was far much more than the values of any ordinary luxurious carriages out there. Dark-cloud wood contained tremendously powerful magic resistance attribute. It grew on the peak of the mountains where the water element was dense. It was not possible for any sort of artificial cultivation of the wood in a short period of time. The value could not be measured by money anymore.
In general, this material was used to make valuable royal magic glue which was used to apply on various alchemy instruments that require high precision, and on fine gold shields. By doing so, the glue layer could ensure that the magic in the atmosphere would not interfere with the functions of those equipment and it could also provide a layer of magic resistance coating to the shields. Meanwhile, this carriage was fully coated with the anti-magic glue. It could no longer be described as luxurious anymore. Even Joshua who did not have much knowledge about that regard was astounded by the wealth the nobleman who made it.
The carriage slowly moved, and by the end of it, it stopped before the warrior. Before the coachman of the carriage could stop the carriage entirely, the door of the carriage was already pushed opened. Joshua lifted his head and saw two familiar faces.
Brandon Kaos and Nostradamus.
"My friend, Joshua van Radcliffe."
The blond man who already had two daughters simply walked out of the carriage. His mouth curled up and opened up both of his arms. Then he laughed out loud and said to the warrior, "I've sensed the presence of the Azurite about a few hours ago. By then, I've known that you've come at last. However, I've searched over the teleportation circles and I've not found you. Master Nostradamus said that he could find you. Hence, I tagged along with him."
"It seems that you did find the right direction."
Joshua stepped forward and then gave his friend who had not seen him for a long time a warm hug. Then he smiled and said, "I've been walking all the way from White Pigeon City. The scenery along the journey was mesmerizing. That's not something you can experience if you take the teleportation circle over here."
The warrior and the swordsman greeted each other with a few warm words. Meanwhile, beside them, the white-haired old mage had also got down from the carriage. Upon hearing Brandon's words, the old man shrugged as he carefully looked at Joshua's clothes. With a hint of humour, he said, "I shall not say much with you, my vice principal... The Gold-tier mage back at Ural Fortress once was my apprentices. Joshua, I've heard from him saying that you've encountered another assassination attempt by those reptiles again?"
After the warrior confirmed his suspicion, the look on Nostradamus's face turned cold and calm. Then he furrowed his brows and said, "They have attempted to raid the nobles of the Empire again and again. I just can't believe that the Pentashade Dragons are capable of behaving so savagely. I wonder what the Chaos has done to their minds and souls…"
Before the old mage could finish his words, Brandon who was standing right beside him interrupted Nostradamus's words, "Let's discuss that sort of matter later."
As they were having their conversation, the old mage looked around the street. Even though the crowd on the street was not exactly crowded, it could still be deemed as merry. Under that circumstance, it would be too risky to speak of matters regarding Chaos in public like that.
"You are right."
In the meantime, the old mage had also noticed that he was behaving improperly. So he fake coughed and shook his head, "I've been discussing that matter with the association all the time before this. My brain might have been scrambled a little… Joshua, are you ready to pay a visit to the Royal Mage Guild?"
Upon saying that, the old mage smiled. "Regardless of the creature from the Dark Abyss or the Berserk Dragon Virus, you've been a great help to all of us. There have been many who are planning to pay you a visit. So when they've presented you with gifts out of gratitude, please don't reject them, alright?"
"Well, that will not be a problem. I'm not a polite person, to begin with."
Seeing a close friend in Imperial City, Joshua was in a good mood at the moment. Furthermore, it was not something big for him to pay a visit to the Royal Mage Guild. Of course he would agree to go. "Then, let's move now, shall we?"
Brandon was also a vigorous and effective man. Without thinking much about it, he decided to go along with the plan. The three of them and the two Divine Armaments with cloaks on them just went up to the carriage swiftly. With the coachman in the front of the carriage stirring it, the black carriage then slowly moved towards the inner area of the city, the guild of the Royal Mage Guild.
On the top of the carriage, there was an exquisite crystal magic lamp. The rune that represented light was gleaming brightly, radiating white. Meanwhile, the interior of the carriage and the decoration style of the interior of the carriage was originated from the east flatlands about three hundred years ago during the era where the Mages of Seven Luminaries were in power. The exquisite drawings of the stars and the runes that represented them were scattered throughout every corner of the carriage. It made the interior of the carriage looked like a starry sky.
There were also coffee and other drinks on the carriage. Joshua and Brandon naturally picked up the wines without a proper time labeled on them and started drinking. They were warriors after all. Meanwhile, Nostradamus poured two cups of milk for Ying and Ling as the both of them were staring at the old mage with their seemingly irritated eyes. After that, he poured himself a cup of coffee and took a sip of it.
Of course, the matters that the three men discussed were naturally unrelated to the wind, the flowers, the snow, or the moon. After a certain period of time, they changed to the topic to the Dragon's Calamity that was currently happening in the distant south. Joshua had pointed out the few errors and misjudgment that Nostradamus and Brandon made towards the situation presented before them. The warrior would never have thoughts to be polite with them. The two men then sighed and praised the warrior as they accepted the warrior's words entirely. The situation on the carriage had just gotten merrier.
However, at that time, the three of them suddenly furrowed their brows at the same time. The carriage became deadly silent in an instant. A dreadful feeling had spread through hearts. However, none of them could tell where that dreadful feeling came from.
Unexpectedly, a loud explosion was heard on the east side of the city, followed by the screaming and shouting of the people on the streets. The joyful atmosphere in the city had suddenly transformed into terror.
Meanwhile, right after that, a siren blared loudly across the entire city.