"The last step is about to begin. Hehehe~ Alfred, I hope you have completed the mission I gave you."
In one of the special rooms utilized only by the highest nobles, a red-haired man laid languidly with a blue wolf woman at his knees.
He was none other than Leonard Gorfard. The Duke themselves did not join the festivities as they had to prepare themselves in the eventuality they were chosen for the first night. As such, only the heir/heiress was present, each of them, in the room representing their families.
"Young lord, the matter has been handled carefully. We have already, let's say, convinced some of the gladiators who will most likely be chosen. To be sure, we also incited the white knight."
"Oh!? You managed to trick that goody two shoes? How?"
"From what I gathered, most of the paladins are dissatisfied with his Highness close relationship with The saintess."
"Ex-saintess you mean. That bitch lost her blessing. I really wonder what wish she made."
"Indeed, Ex saintess. Some of the paladins think that she was tricked by his highness in making this ritual. The white knight is one of her most fervent admirers."
"Hehe~! Hahaha~! Perfect! This is simply perfect! I simply wanted to lower the honor of the royal family and increase our speaking rights, but with this move, you basically put the church and the royal family nearly at odds. Beautiful."
The old man bowed as he accepted the praise of his master without a once of pride. He personally found this move incredibly foolish from a bigger perspective. Creating tension between the church and the royal family when war was upon them was stupid beyond reason. Anyone else would have seen something wrong with what he had done. Thankfully he had such a stupid master. No, this too was the will of his goddess.
'Praise the Crimson lady!'
His prayer was suddenly interrupted by a piercing voice.
"Ladies!!!! And! Gentlemen!!!!! Now, the last step of this beautiful gathering is upon us. Are you ready!?!"
"I repeat. Are you ready!!!!?"
The jubilation could clearly be felt in the colosseum. Satisfied with the current atmosphere, the man who stood in the center of the ring after the previous fighters left it. Stayed quiet for a while before continuing.
"As the tradition says, the one who will become our future king must show his might and talent on this occasion for the whole kingdom to see. The current scene is retransmitted not only in the colosseum but in more than 70% of the kingdom."
Emotions could be felt in his voice, "This day was supposed to be perfect. To be complete. But, I just found how naive I had been."
The Colosseum fell silent in bated breath, tension rising.
"I realized how naive I had been because I thought we already reached perfection. But! I was proven wrong!! Beautifully wrong!!! Right here, right now, I have the immense pleasure to announce that!!!!"
Then, in a solemn and calm voice, he finished, "That his highness Sol had already awakened before reaching 15 years old, as his father did before him."
Total silence descended as most people were too astonished to properly understand what was said.
Then, as the light of understanding flickered in their eyes,
Deafening cheers rang in the colosseum, making it tremble under their voice.
For the commoner and low level noble, this was like a heaven-sent message, they could already imagine the birth of a new hero king. In their world, a powerful king meant a stable nation. But for the higher level… Their faces couldn't help but contort. Some in fear and some in disgust.
The blue wolf woman contorted her face in pain as flung away by a kick on her stomach.
Leonard, now standing up, cursed openly as he couldn't believe it. While doing so, he continued to repeatedly step on the poor woman before finally reigning in his turbulent emotions. His eyes cold, as if the previous hysterical young man were two different people.
"How much did we spend on those now useless gladiators?"
"A thousand gold lust coins."
"I see… Kill them all by tomorrow and take back the money. Make it seem like a brawl or a mugging. Fuck, how did this bastard suddenly awaken?"
"Of course–" The hesitating, he continued, "–Young lord. Perhaps the saint fall is related to his highness early awakening?"
"Oh!? Indeed. This is rather possible. The rule is to awaken at 15. Then only a wish to break the rules could change it. Of course, there's also the possibility of him simply being talented, but from the spies we have in the tower, the prince never showed any particular talent. He never even trained and was only focused on theory."
Leonard fell silent. The rapports he received monthly were clear. Their spies were without a doubt the best ones in the kingdom. There was no way they were wrong. Then,
"I see… The prince showed basically zero talent so the supreme daughter sacrificed her power to boost it. What a wonderful display of affection!! Sometimes I can't help but wonder if they have an unorthodox relationship."
He snickered at his thoughts. It was simply impossible. There was no way the respectable Supreme daughter would do something like that. Most likely, their relationship was one akin to a mother and a son.
Sitting back, he sighed, "Your actions were very timely. At the very least, even though we couldn't humiliate him with the low-level gladiator, the white knight wouldn't act with a light hand."
The white knight was a title bestowed to the most promising paladin in training. Their titles would evolve to white paladin once they were accepted in the order.
The white paladins were the strongest in the church and formed the white cross. It was equal to the black cross, the strongest squad under the royal family.
"Hehe. This Sol will go down in history as the first king to lose before even facing the gladiator's king."
In his mind, he could already see this incredibly beautiful scene.
He had nothing personal against Sol, but he refused to live under anyone. He dreamed of making the day as it was during his grandfather's era. The era of the Puppet King. Sadly, basically, all the members of this generation had lost their lives one way or another after Mars came into power.
Many thought at first that it was Mars doing it from the shadow, but this idea was later dismissed since it was simply impossible for a heroic king like Mars to act in such a cruel and insidious way.
In another VIP room, the atmosphere was silent and frigid.
Three people were present in this room, all of them clad in black.
The youngest of the three, a young girl gulped and shivered. She wished to be anywhere than here. Even though she had already awakened two years ago and obtained a flame hawk, she still felt as if she was about to freeze to death or sink in the darkness.
This oppressive atmosphere was broken by a gentle and steadfast voice full of amusement.
"My, are you angry? Or perhaps happy? It has been a long time since I was unable to decipher the meaning behind the feeling transmitted by our link."
The one who spoke was a black-haired butler, gently preparing a cup of tea before putting it in front of the woman who sat, her eyes closed in thoughts.
The other Dukes were preparing in the case they were chosen and as such didn't come personally. What's more, they could observe it from their home if needed. But, she was different.
Not only did she already know at which moment she would be chosen thanks to her deal with Lilith, but deep down, she was curious about the display of the prince.
Currently though, as the previous words swirled in her head, she couldn’t help but feel a mix of emotions.
She felt hatred because one of the unique records left by Mars was made less special.
She felt elation because Mars's son was better than she thought he was.
She felt sad because she was in no way related to him.
She felt disdain because simply being awakened earlier didn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.
Accepting, because this was how dazzling his son was supposed to be.
This created the current situation where she was losing control of her power and suffocating her niece who also played the role of her successor.
Strong people could change their environment with just their mood. The same was happening.
Sighing, she took a sip of her tea as she continued, "It seems like I was wrong about him never succeeding in surpassing his father. Depending on what will happen next, I will have to present my excuses."
"Perhaps the supreme daughter helped him by using Saint fall?" the heiress asked on the side. She wouldn't have spoken in any other setting, but she needed to speak to evacuate her previous fright.
Duchess Milaris's hand stopped before she shook her head as she threw a look full of warning to her niece. "Impossible. Never, you hear me, absolutely never underestimate Camelia. I would rather fight Lilith and die than ever make an enemy out of Camelia. She is someone very frightening. If she used Saint fall, it would without a doubt be for something game-changing. I wouldn't be surprised if even after using it she didn't lose her blessing."
As she watched her aunt utter those words, she couldn't help but wonder.
Her aunt was known as the craziest woman in the kingdom. Just how dangerous was the supreme daughter for her to demonstrate such a wariness?
As for the supreme daughter not losing her blessing, she scoffed at this notion. This was simply impossible.