Land of Keren, inside the lacrois border, Black Wintermoon main HQ
Unaware of the event that had transpired just a few hours earlier, the kingdom inside the barrier maintain an illusory life of peace under the protective light of the divine goddesses.
Inside the tall and imposing brick walls of an old castle, two people are currently sitting face to face with undecipherable looks on their face.
Both person couldn guess what the other was thinking under the guise of pretentious cup of tea.
Its not Keids way of doing things to wait for the opponent to strike first. Thus he made the first move.
”Are we just gonna pretend to be women in the imperial harem now? I didn know you fancy this kind of play, Commander. ”
Carheils raised an eyebrow perfunctorily at Keids misleading smile, but didn put his cup away from his mouth.
They both know he can be flustered by any crap from Keids mouth anymore.
He took a relax sip before speaking. ”You requested the tea to be brought here yourself. Isn that right, Sirius? ”
Sirius, who was originally steeping the tea leaves seriously to appear uninvolved, got called into the tense atmosphere.
”Yes, Commander. ” He answered curtly without any slip on his face. Although he adore having his tea enjoyed by anyone, he truly didn want to be middle man with these two around.
He gave a subtle look at his ”second ” boss and accomplice without breaking his character. Thankfully, the commanders back was facing his way.
Keids smile wane unhappily seeing the unperturbed commander still drinking tea without any fluctuation.
”Whose the older one between us, huh? Whats with this attitude? ” Keid snorted, clicking his tongue.
Keid, who could clearly see Sirius accusatory glare, merely blinked his eyes before looking elsewhere.
Sirius who got dragged in by this bored colleague could only accept his fate as an unwilling spectator.
After receiving an impassive stare down from Carheil, Keid finally conceded to take the matter seriously.
Seriously this kid is acting like those slimy git the longer he see him.
”So what seems to be the problem, commander? ” Keid first brought up the question with a noncommittal smile after only messing around for a few minutes.
”I wasn informed there would be a surprise inspection from the commander personally. ” He placed his cup back to the coaster with a sharp click. It was undeniably loud because of the silent room.
Carheil threw a folder at the table with his gloved hand before relaxing on his seat again.
He let his hand rest on the armrest, tapping thoughtfully. ”A report came to be about a sighted cloud of smog overcast several areas in Keziah fifteen minutes ago. ”
Keid simply ignored the fact that Carheil seem to be openly observing him. ”Hmm…that does sound very concerning. ” Keid rubbed his chin perplexed.
Sirius merely looked away at Keids unbelievably thick skin to be able to lie at someones face without any stutter.
You probably just saw the culprits who caused those explosions.
”I think we should send some people over to perform a reconnaissance this instant. There seem to be something unusual going on. ” Keid suggested, skimming through the document while letting out a short hum occasionally.
Carheil pinched the middle of his brows, closing his eyes with a disgruntled sigh. ”Yes. Thats the logical thing to do. But we can afford sending men outside the barrier for now. The next recruitment period is still two years later. ”
Because of the hostile pressure from the higher ups, their branch had always been defunded for many stupid reasons. And with a close to ninety percent mortality rate reputation hanging on their name, it was always hard to keep the number of hands on deck stable.
”The Sovereign Church won take our request to go outside kindly as always. ” Keid remarked matter of factly after closing the folder.
Their aurora neutralizing device, which creates an opening through the barrier was an instrument of blasphemous origin according to the worshippers.
Just a single run can take a week to be deliberated.
Carheils eyes flickered upon hearing Keids casual remark before it disappeared as fast as it came.
Carheil sat up straighter while wearing an amiable smile. However, there is an underlying competing current beneath the pleasant atmosphere; and everyone in the room can feel it.
”Thats why, I was thinking of sending your personal team over there. ”
There was an abrupt stillness in the air as both Sirius and Keid were left speechless at Carheils casual remark. They were literally just gazing at him blankly as if they were unable to express their disbelief on time.
They weren even frozen because they were outed, but the way Carheil just blurted it so casually like it wasn any big secret was baffling.
Carheil scoffed at their reaction like he was offended that they think they could fool him.
”How could I not know? You frequently change border patrols without telling me. Besides, ” Carheil trailed off, giving him a knowing look.
”There should be a reason why you choose to settle on this humble position when I could give you a better position of your status all this time. ”
Indeed, Keid Lakoms prestige precede all over the branch even with his official title as a mere chief tactician in the logistics division. His influence was undoubtedly bigger than any major officials.
Keid had been the biggest player behind Carheils greatest feat to become the youngest commander that the tri-military branch had ever seen.
At some point in time, the two shared a master-disciple relationship, which solidify Carheils credibility as a brilliant soldier from the start amidst his questionable background.
Everybody wonders why this legendary soldier, who had staged uncountable successful runs and demonstrated glorious strategic plays before, would not seek fortune and authority for himself.
Keid and Sirius shared a mutual look before Keids sighed in defeat, raising his hands up in surrender. ”Okay. You got me. I send some guys outside once in a while to gather some intel for me. ” Although it doesn seem like Keid was treating it as a secret with his nonchalant reaction.
Carheil shrugged. He wasn concern by whatever Keid was planning behind him as seen with his passive action in this information all this time.
”You can continue whatever side-work you and shitty glasses are doing. I just wanted to make sure whatever that was happening outside can be documented so those assholes at the top won crawl here to cause trouble. ”
The door suddenly made a sound and a soldier poked his ginger head behind the door.
”Excuse me! Hello, good soldiers! Calling for commander. The appraisers are here for negotiation. ” The ginger head explained brightly. He had a distinct slanted eye shaped which resembles a cat, creating a mischievous appeal to its character.
”Oho, wheres your other twin? ” Keid asked with a look of surprise.
”Ah. Chief! Hello~ Jinjin went ahead to welcome the visitors. ”
”Then Ill take my leave now. ” Carheil stood up and adjusted his military cap.
Keid also stood up to send them off with a forced smile. ”Yes, yes. You go do your duties. Well handle everything from here. ”
After finally shaking off the unwanted guest did they both released a dispirited sigh. It was like their entire being got drained with that short minutes.
”That brat really— ” Keid started before shaking his head abruptly. ”Ah, no. Since when did that guy become such a schemer? ”
”Who do you think is the teacher? ” Sirius asked pointedly.
Keid hummed thoughtfully before nodding in approval. ”Well, thats good then. I can complain for being an excellent teacher. ”
Sirius looked unimpressed by Keids gloat, then sighed when he remembered their new problem.
”But what should we do about this? We can let anyone know about Ayla yet. ”
”How about transferring to the command department? Carheil always wanted you to work therw anyway. ” Keid suggested.
”In this way, we can just doctor the official document without any loose ends. ”
Sirius snorted like the fact that Keid suggested this to him was beyond incredulous. ”Ill pass. I don want to be overworked like the twins. ”
A consecutive hard knock on a glass sounded from the window, cutting their conversation.
Keids thick eyebrows instantly furrowed at the sight of the messenger bird, who he recognized was from Dabih.
He jumped out of his seat and walked to the window where the bird was still pecking the glass as if it was frazzled.
He only read the first sentence before his face harden and he crumpled the letter, chucking it at the roaring fireplace.
”Arrange for a broker so the people with us can bypass the barrier immediately. ” Keid immediately issue a command, going outside the room with Sirius hot on his heels.
They were walking in brisk paces through the hallway, causing everyone they come across to get confuse by their tense faces.
The sun light diffused on the tall windows cast a warm dewy glow that it seems to promise its people of an amazing day.
However, in a place outside the illusory life of peace under the protective light of the divine goddesses, there are people fighting for their lives.
”Now that I looked at it. She really is amazing. ” Miroh gulped, gazing half in awe and fear at the sharp edges of the ragged spikes.
”Well aside from the leviaths, we still don know the full extent of our own auroras. Some of us just have the innate talent to master aurora like her. ” Leo suddenly popped up beside Miroh much to his surprise.
”Ah. Vega told me to keep you company, while they wait for Ayla to wake up. ” Leo explained with his arms raised in surrender at the sight of Mirohs guarded stance.
”Sorry. ” Miroh quickly apologized, fixing his posture.
”Its alright. You probably had enough with jump scares. ”
”You can call me Leo, Vegas assistant in here and at the military. If you have any question you can ask me. I can basically answer more or less something you
e curious about. ” He stated conversely to which Miroh said his own introduction.
”How were you able to get tyrfings? ” Miroh immediately asked. It was the first thing that popped in his head after being reminded of Caelums bow.
Leo wore a slight frown while thinking carefully for his words. ”Well…thats kinda easy but hard to answer. The truth is nobody knows how Ayla could have done it. She suddenly came up to us with it and let it figure out ourselves. ”
Leos face suddenly waver due to hesitation. ”Well, personally, I think its better to keep it a secret if Ayla didn want to tell anyone. ” He said lowly so nobody can potentially hear them.
Miroh had a lot of theories in his mind but the real answer was totally unexpected.
”Really?! But how were you able to get it stronger? ”
Leo knocked his head playfully seeing his novice eagerness. ”It was definitely hard for me, who was originally just a lumpy researcher before. The RD department is completely different from your logistic department, you know? ” Leo shuddered pitifully for himself.
Unlike Miroh, who undergo the standard 2 years military training before getting in the military. He, Vega and like most of the researchers passed because of their intellect.
Miroh really wanted to see anyones intangible tyrfings up close. He was able to catch a glimpse one time while the elite knights training from a distance.
Only people who had reached a certain threshold of their calibraton will be able to fuse their tyrfing with their innate aurora and create impossible frats with it.
But to think that this party houses a lot of intangible user.
Aside from Ayla, Caelum, Azah and Vega, the others are probably at the same level as the Division 2.
Not even the Winter Moon has this much number of strong individuals who can take on 5 valkyries by themselves.
If only they had this much strength, then a lot of knights might still survive…
Miroh felt a twinge of regret after that that thought registered in his brain.
Black Wintermoon has the reputation as the most notorious knights faction. The same people who sacrifices their life for the kingdom to harvest valuable resources such as durable leviath skins, but were given too little credit as a respectable faction in the military.
People with enormous skills prefers not to labor outside the barrier and settle to work as stationary knights in the royal capital, making the mortality rate in Wintermoon a steady upward trend.
”I wish we
e also as strong as everyone here. ” He can help but voiced out his buried frustration. As a person, hell naturally feel remorse for his comrades horrible deaths.
”Well, ” Leo started, rubbing his red nose with his thick gloves. ”I don know about you, but I believe strength comes within us. Youll meet the people that will make you stronger soon. ”
e right. ” Miroh nodded, touching the hilt of his tyrfing meaningfully.
Leo felt satisfied at the positive impact of his words. ”Thats the spirit. Now, how about checking if Aylas awake now? ” Leo suggested, jutting his thumb behind him.
”Is Ayla okay? ”
That was what Ayla immediately heard as soon as her consciousness return.
The dull green canopy of the makeshift infirmary greeted her as soon as her eyes trembled open.
”Oh, you up? ”
Caelum placed his hand on her forehead to stop her from sitting up. ”I swear you just can sit quietly for a second. Don move around immediately. ”
”Ayla! ” Several voices yelled together in relief after seeing her staring daggers at Caelum.
There probably weren a lot of soldiers that needed medical attention since the infirmary was empty aside from them.
Leo laughed lightly. ”Im glad shes still glaring at everyone so lively. ”
Ayla sighed tiredly and slapped Caelums hands away from her head to sit up. ”Theres no point in keeping me here. We need to go before another attack come again. ”
”Aylaaaaa! ” A familiar voice cried before the person jumped and enveloped Ayla in a big hug.
”Why are you so stupid? You could have died! Aurora deviation is not a joke. Why didn you think about yourself first before doing something that big? ” Vega ranted in one whole breathe, tugging her body for anything amiss while still occasionally fretting.
”Vega, Im fine— ”
Caelum chuckled darkly, crossing his arms over his chest. He looked pretty laidback for someone who wanted to beat someone.
”Yeah. I also would like to know why she had to almost kill herself just to catch two leviaths. ”
”Caelum! Its because you
e very strict on Ayla that she doesn like you. ” Vega exclaimed defensively as she spread her arms to protect Ayla from Caelums glare.
”Its because you all coddle her too much. I worry that Ayla will do something dangerous without telling us in the future. ”
”Hey. I can hear you all, you know? ” Ayla muttered in dissatisfaction.
”Well, I sure hope you can. You suddenly collapsed in my eyes. I thought the goddesses were fetching you to celestia. ” Caelum scoffed.
”Okay. Thats enough. The good news is Aylas okay and we got ourselves two new leviaths. ” Vega once again worked as the peace maker, putting herself between Ayla and Caelum.
Vega swear these two are like oil and water sometimes.
Caelums light agitation receded immediately. He was initially frustrated by Aylas recklessness, but he was aware that the situation was at their odds earlier. They would have died if Ayla didn pull that critical move.
However, Ayla was unbridled and was about to throw hands when somebody shoved a shekel cookie in her mouth.
e picking a fight on a patient. ” Azah clicked his tongue.
Ayla glanced at Azah approvingly. Her body finally relaxed because of the sweet stimuli. ”Im glad you didn dumb down unlike blond here. ” She grumbled over the small chewing.
Caelum who is the only blond in the entire party. ”… ”
Vega sighed, placing both hands on her hips as she explained what had happened since Ayla was unconscious.
”Back ups arrived an hour ago. Dabih had sent Keid a message earlier for help. I just hang up on a call with him. And lets say…hes not happy. ”
Aylas mouth curved down. That bushy eyebrows will put a surveillance on her again. She suddenly kicked her feet up and rose up from her sleeping position.
”Then lets go work now. We don want to stay here for another day. ”
”Ah. By the way,
” Ayla muttered. She turned her head to look at Miroh carefully before nodding to herself.
”Good thing you
e fine. ”
”Ah, thank you! ” He exclaimed with a firm bow. He even switched to the formal language to express his sincerity.
”How come she only hates my guts? ” Caelum complained to Hamal, who was silently watching since earlier.
”How about not making her angry then? ” Hamal suggested with a shrug.
”Thats hard. ” Caelum whispered.
Vega snorted, slapping him on the back of his head. ”Keep that up and youll really never return inside the barrier. ” Then they let him walk behind sulking.