Chapter 2 : Arranged?
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Today, the day of meeting finally arrived. Today was my 4th birthday and also the fixed date to meet with my elder brother and elder sister. If I say I’m not excited then it’s a straight faced lie and if I say I’m not nervous its also a straight faced lie. I have never seen what my elder brother looked like nor how my elder sister looked. But since my mom and dad both were top rated handsome and beautiful husband-wife, naturally my elder sister will be very pretty and my elder brother handsome.

Before the 2nd chime of the house, my dad told that today was also another special surprise for me. I was expecting much from my dad. Because of his injuries my dad had to take a 2 year relief from the northern frontlines, since our first meeting he has been living with us. Everyday was cheerful after all my Dad had long ago recovered from his injuries and was healthy enough like a bull. Today was the last day of his stay, after that, tomorrow my dad will have to leave to northern frontlines again. I don’t know when I’ll be able to see my dad again but it surely must be on my fifth birthday. After all when people of this world become 5 years old, they get eligibility to have awakening ceremony. After the awakening ceremony one gets qualifications to gain job and cultivate his innate talent and magic-sorcery.

Without one awakening ceremony, one's existence can said to be lowest of lowest. Even farmer have who had their awakening ceremony completed can be said to be better than them. There is also another factor of one's aptitude to decide whether one is talented prodigy or just trash. Awakening ceremony decides one's fated future, that’s why awakening ceremony is said to be very precious moments of a human's life.

“Axie, are you ready yet?” my mom’s voice resounded in my ears. 

“Not yet.” 

Soon sound of footsteps came and there, my mom had already appeared in my room when I turned back.

She reprimanded “That’s why I told you to let the maids get you ready but you ‘no no mom, I’ll do it my self' come here. Your dad is waiting for you in the emperor's castle as well has your elder brother and sister.”

Well, although I’m now 4 year old kid’s body but my mentality is already matured, So how can I let myself get naked in front of house maids. All of them were comparable in looks to my mother. My mother is after all my mother but those maids are not. Seeing them makes my heart pound and I don’t want them to misunderstand me. That’s why I have to avoid getting in skin contact with them. 

And how can I say my problem to my mother which I’m facing. Puberty..?

Wait I’m just a 4 year old kid. If my actions mislead her then she will surely think that I’m inborn pervert. Hell! I’ll never be able to calm my self.

But for now, I’ll have to calm myself. Wait, I’m am calm, just my mind is in disorder. While massaging my head I looked at my mother with my Ultimate technique of escaping from mom — Puppy eyes.

“Stop! Staring me with those eyes.. No..”

Puppy eyes- 2nd form- teary waterfall.

“Aghh..!! Ok I lost to my son…... Never!... Now little brat, since when have you learnt such techniques? I too want to teach you some of my techniques.”

Tangh!

A potato grew out of my head.

Puppy eyes- failed. Well, to start with this technique never worked with my mother. But I’ll keep trying until my mother finally falls for this trap. 

She quickly dressed me up. Well from a obedient son’s point of view. My mother is very caring towards me. I’ll never let my mother shed tears. I’ll protect my family or else same thing might happen with my new family.

“Come on Axie, let’s go or your father will worry to death if he doesn’t see you before he leaves tomorrow.”

“Yes, mom.”

(T^T) 

After quick-cloth-get-ready, me and my mother left for the imperial palace. 

Yes, that’s right my birthday was about to be celebrated in the main hall of the imperial palace. Of course normally imperial palace's main hall can only be used to conduct banquet by the emperor himself and the crown prince. Since my father and the emperor were brother-in-arms in their younger days that’s why the emperor himself presented to celebrate my 4th birthday in his palace. That’s the brotherhood of him. 

Well, I’m bored. It was going to take at least one and half hour before we get to the capital. After all my family is a duke family. We have been given an entire territory to govern from. That’s what my mother do while my father battles in the border. Its pretty cool to be son of the family which governs a much big territory, no, a city comparable to capital. Well, not really comparable, the capital is a stage higher than our city but the city which we govern can be said to secondly only to capital while first among other major 6 cities. 

There are total 7 developed- both private military and structurally defensive- cites. One being capital and other 6 cities, including the one which my mother governs, can be said to be the pillars of the empire. Actually there are many other cities, they can be said to be very well developed but in front of the 7 major cities they are just a sand in the desert.

While in the travel, Watching the boring lavishly built structures had almost made me gag. Now I understand why the Quinceland empire is said to be most powerful among 5 great empire in the continent. According to my daily curriculum knowledge, there used to be 6 great empire in past but the one day it disappeared from the continent which happened almost 100 years ago. It was known as Aweria Empire, also it was the most powerful empire far surpassing the Quinceland empire by an entire margin. Well, I don’t know if its exaggerated or something but those legend has sure piqued my interest.

“That monster had lived till 13996 years, he sure knew about it..” I muttered in low voice.

But I seem to have forgotten my mother was a powerful figure.

“Axie, who has lived up to 13996 years..?”

“Nothing, I just remembered a legend.”  I quickly gave a false excuse.

“Legend..? From what I know longest living human was heavenly Frost ice-queen, Merissa and few others in the records of Quinceland empire.”

“Heavenly frost ice-queen..? Who is she? And what are the records of Quinceland empire.?” 

If I say my interest is piqued then it’s a lie because my interest now—is very much piqued, in my mother’s reference.

“Well, I don’t know much about. I once to heard it from your dad. Well, do you know about magic executors?”

I gave a low chuckle and said, “Mother, how can I not know them? They are the protector of our kingdom. Everyone wants to be appointed to become one of those heroes. Now, mother please, can you tell me about it?”

“Well, good my child. Ok so listen, I don’t know the perfect date but it was almost four thousand years ago. During those days Quinceland empire was said to be just in its start of the maturing phase, during that time 12 magic executors appeared who were said to be the most powerful people during that era. Even now, people cannot match up to their strength. Within them, which I told you now Merissa was the 1st magic executors among 12 to be first appointed. She was said to be wielder of heavenly frost ice-crown which gave her immense power which made her unparalleled in the whole world. She was symbolic terror of ice whose control over ice was said to be reached pinnacle and explosive power said to sent an entire empire equal to Quinceland empire to crumbles during that era.”

“Mother, doesn’t it sounds exaggerated?”

“Little Axie, you have yet to see the world. Perhaps one day you will understand the greatness of those old executors.”

I don’t know if my head is giving me signals that my mother is a worshipper of that Frost- something queen and admirer of those old executors.

“Mother, then who was the strongest among them?” I asked it was a question of course asked by those who had first time heard the legend of 12 magic executors.

“I don’t know but the majority says the 5th magic executor among them.”

......

My chat with mom continued on until we reached the imperial palace. Sun was yet to set. There was still a whole 20 mins remaining until the start of the banquet... Or birthday party.

“My boy, what you have been up to? So late, I thought you would show up at least 30 mins earlier.” My father said to me before turning towards mother, “Honey, what happened?”

“Oh Dear, ask your son.” 

“Boy, what happened to your mom?”

“I don’t know.” 

“…........”

My father paused a little, took a quick glance at mother then said, “Follow me, your brother and sister are waiting with a special person.”

“Where!?!? Take me dad.” Excitedly I asked. My mother too flashed with anticipation in her eye but..

“Follow me and honey, the queen is waiting for you in her chamber.”

“Tsk! That woman.. I too want to see my both of children..” when I heard my mother saying the ‘queen' ‘that woman' I got a vague feeling that they were close. Extremely close or else who would dare to say queen ‘that woman'.

“Honey, you know she is queen.. Just meet with her for 5 mins..”

“Whatever..” My mother rolled her eyes before advancing towards a very large door. I guess that’s where the corridor is connected. Well, the interior designs and carvings exquisite and majestic even though we were still in the outer quarter of the entrance, the profound magnificence was already grand. This is the Quinceland empire, the most powerful empire of the continent's grand imperial palace.

Following dad, we got into a room which was neither too big nor medium. There was a table enough to seat 18 peoples. Currently only 5 palaces were occupied. Two were bound to be my brother and sister while who were other three.

“Dad, who are my brother and sister among them?”

I asked in low voice.

“You’ll find in few seconds—“ Before he could even complete the sentence….  ….. Boy ran and came towards me and lifted me up before giving a strong tight hug.

“lil'bro..? You are little Axiel? You look so cute, I can tell you will look as handsome as me.” 

Before I could summarize my mind I was already being spoiled.

The youth or my big brother, I suppose, he was extremely handsome with dual sharp eyes which were mesmerizing enough. A lady killer has appeared, my brother gave a very friendly and easy to get along feeling. A person whose presence enough can make party lively and cheerful.

“Big.. Brother .?”

“Yep, that’s right I’m your big brother.” He rubbed my head with his hands but—

Please stop! 

You are messing my hairs! My entire noon was spent on it!

“Come little brother let me introduce you to everyone here.” My brother, whose name I suppose is Arnold, started to introduce everyone.

“Well, these two gentlemen are Emperor’s two sons, Vivek and tyln.” He pointed towards two somewhat identical pair of brothers as he continued, “This gentle lady here is the second princess of the Quinceland empire, Claudia. And at last, that cold one there is your elder sister.”

After finishing the introduction, he gestured me to be seated. I was somewhat disappointed with my elder sister, she showed no interest in looking at me let alone to talk. She is really ice box. Cold. Well, never mind. The one my brother introduced as princess, she was extremely beautiful, calm and reserved unlike her age, after all she looks one year or something older than me. 

Seems like royalty are given strict instructions in their manners and conduct. Etiquettes to say in simple.

“Hello everyone, my name is Axiel Sylvester. Nice to meet you all.” I greeted everyone.

The two prince saw me then started to talk among themselves while both peeking at me time to time. One of them spoke, “What do you use for your handsome face?”

An unexpected question was thrown at me, me handsome?? As far as my knowledge goes, wasn’t I supposed to be cute rather than handsome? Oh! I forgot they are still kids, so their ‘handsome' is same for ‘cute’

“I don’t use any external things.” I said the truth.

“What! Don’t lie.”

“I can’t believe its natural. What type of herb did you eat? Come on, share your secret.”

Why do I feel its like woman’s talk?

That’s when the ice box.. Er my elder sister pushed something forward.

“Uh? What is this?” it seemed like some kind of bracelet.

“Your gift. Happy birthday” although her voice was cold I still felt the warmth within her. “It will protect you from cold.”

【Appraisal】

Item: Cold protection bracelet

Description: this item was created by an ice Magus by sacrificing her essence. it protects the user from severe cold and raises the ice-attribute by 25%. Contains the essence of the crown. Skill ‘Icicles arrows' will be generated when worn.

Item skill:

 Icicles Arrows: Sacrificing 2 MF, 12 ice-type Arrows can be launched dealing a damage to the opponent with a 0.5% chance of freezing him. 0.5% becomes 10% in ice-cold regions.

“Oh, I forgot to wish you. Happy birthday, Lil brother.” My big brother smacked my head while wishing me. 

“Thanks.” I quickly wore the bracelet.

We continued to chat. But at one time I discovered my father has quietly left the scene and my elder sister has not spoken a words since gifting me nor that princess, both of them are lost among themselves.. Is so I think.

***

My 4th birthday was truly extravagant. From cutting of cake to dance- everything was amazing and beautifully done. Truly extravagant.

“........... As we to on to celebrate..” My father stops as he looked towards his old comrade, the emperor as he continue “Your Majesty has something to say.”

My father was not using polite form of words- somehow it was half or was it just he wasn’t used to speak politely.. To the king.

The emperor looked young yet older maybe that’s a special charm about him. Although till now he hasn’t said a thing but his presence, grace is enough to leave people in awe. Is this what people call ‘An emperor’s charm.’

Wait! If I use ‘charm' here it would give different meaning. 

The emperor had a charisma which didn’t allow anyone to sneer. 

“It’s an auspicious occasion as little Axiel has turned 4 this year, I have something to announce..”

Till there he stopped. People became impatient, right, he completely dominated the atmosphere in hall though in a different matter but it still is. No one could remove their eyes from him, their ears impatient.

I think he was natural born leader.

“….An announcement regarding the matter of my second daughter’s marriage.”

The hall went out ‘uproar' though this was ‘uproar’ just a minor mutters among the nobles. Yet was still no less then uproar after all nobles rarely showed any interest towards a particular thing.

But maybe I’m over thinking after all everything related to emperor was a ‘major' matter.

Suddenly the emperor looked at me and smiled.

I’m getting a bad feeling about it.

“Little Axiel come here.”

This bad feeling won’t stop but I did what I was told. I was silently rubbing my hands. Keep calm! Keep calm!

While my heart was throbbing hard, somewhere someone- that would be my father- was looking at me and the emperor full of expectations. 

“And the one to marry my second treasure would be little Axiel.”

Right! I guessed it right! 

Why did the emperor suddenly declared my marriage? Wait- was it preplanned.

I saw my father. He was brimming with proud and laughter.

It was preplanned!

My mother. Where is sh-? Wasn’t she just a second here?

I soon sure enough got my answer.

She- My mom- was holding a pair of rings. Isn’t that engagement ring!?? Is the engagement supposed to be done right now!!

Waaaaa!! My mind! My mind.. Relax! Relax keep calm..

I felt that I should decline the marriage but my mother’s eyes were full of expectations so were my father’s.

……

In the end. I got engaged. Actually she is a beauty... so I didn't mind.

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