Chapter 97: Heretic
Inside a dark room, a man could be seen opening the body of what seemed to be a giant ant with a sword and studying its structure. With small mutterings coming out of the man's mouth every now and then, the man seemed to be incredibly immersed in whatever he was doing.
The man flipped rapidly the pages of a book he had on top of a table, it was obvious that he was looking for something specific, but was not being able to find it. However, eventually, the man found whatever he was looking for and a sinister grin appeared on his face.
"So that's how it is... Environmental adaptation and utilization, huh..."
The man soon started placing his hand on some of the organs from the insect lying on the table and then injected his mana in the form of electricity to see if there was any reaction from them.
Surprisingly, some of the organs reacted slightly and started absorbing the Electric energy coming from the man's hand. However, after some seconds, it stopped and seemingly lost its function.
"Most organs are non-conductive and do not receive harm from High voltage electricity. However, there are some special ones that have the peculiarity of absorbing the electricity and storing it momentarily... Maybe it is processed and released in the area of the mouth?"
The man opened the muscles that gave way to where the food entered and found many special types of organs around it that made him grin excitedly while thinking about how could he use them later.
"If I can recreate these two organs into a functional machine, then I will be probably able to shoot giant electric rays with a gun! Damn, those Mechanical bosses will surely be at a disadvantage with this new weapon... that, or they absorb the electricity somehow and become more powerful... Never mind them, I should probably ask the Mechanic when I save her just in case..."
"Yeah?!" The man asked in a loud voice for the one that knocked the room to hear him properly.
"Aspen, the ceremony will begin in 20 minutes, hurry up!" A voice came from outside and called urgently at the man.
"Ah shit, it's already day? There go my precious sleeping hours... Alright whatever, thank you for telling me!" After sulking momentarily, Aspen yelled back and thanked whoever was outside the door, before he went back to his investigation to finish whatever he was doing.
As whoever was outside the room left, Aspen soon stood up and grabbed his very formal Tracksuit and his very elegant slippers, before he equipped them on his Vanity slots, and then looked at himself on the mirror with a small grin on his face.
"Not even the King can wear such luxurious clothes..."
Like that, he soon grabbed a few other things and saved them in his inventory before he opened the door and walked out of the room hurriedly.
Outside a church, A group of people with very elegant clothes could be seen waiting in a line for the doors to open. At the end of the line, a man with dark long hair that reached his waist turned to look at the "peculiar" individual standing behind him while massaging his eyebrows slightly in exasperation.
"Hey Aspen, I thought I said everyone should wear formal clothes right?"
"Yeah" Said Aspen with a rather leisure expression on his face.
"Then why the heck are you wearing those clothes? Are you perhaps short on money? I thought we gave you quite a lot of it as payment a week or so ago..."
"What are you talking about, whenever there was an important event back where I lived, I used these formal clothes to attend to them"
"I-is that so...?"
Jeffrey thought that maybe it was just something about different cultures again, so he just shrugged the matter aside and continued waiting for the event to begin.
'No way I'm wearing those uncomfortable clothes just for something like an event' Thought Aspen as he looked around and saw some of the Knights around having problems moving with the tight and shiny clothes that all guests were using.
Soon, the gates opened and a man of long white hair appeared from behind them. This man was wearing beautiful clothes covered in small ornaments made out of gold and had very long and majestic white colored robes on top of his shoulders that accentuated his divine aura.
However, besides his impressive appearance, it was clear that the ages were starting to make an effect on him, as he had a small beard around his mouth, and had a few wrinkles spreading across his face that accentuated every time he moved.
"Welcome everyone, I thank you all very much for spending your time assisting to this place, even while you might have had other things to do... Either way, first of all, enter inside the church please and take your seats while waiting for the King to make his appearance in this place so that we can begin the ceremony"
As the man signaled all the Knights to enter, Jeffrey and Aspen entered first and took a seat at the first row in order to watch things more carefully. Though Aspen wanted to go to the last row of seats, Jeffrey told him that as he was one of the main guests in this ceremony, he had to be in the first row in order to be easily spottable when he was called out to receive his reward. So in the end, Aspen obliged and sat beside him before he took out a piece of jerky and started eating it to replenish a bit of energy while waiting.
"The King has arrived! Make way!!"
At the entrance of the Church, two men opened the doors wide and yelled at everyone to announce the presence of the King. It wasn't long before the figure of the Old King entered the hall accompanied by his daughter and some other important figures of the Kingdom, and walked towards the podium where the man who greeted the knights waited patiently.
"It's nice seeing you again Creo, It seems the years have made some effect on you as well, hahaha!" The King walked up to him and patted lightly the shoulders of the man, who replied with a gentle smile and shook the hand of the King with a satisfied expression on his face.
"For me, it seems like you haven't changed that much Richard, now come here, I have your seats ready" The man pointed to a row of several seats at the podium, and after having the King sit in one of the biggest of them, he took the seat next to him that was also similar in size to that one.
While all this was happening, the King was also looking slightly from time to time at Aspen who just ate his Jerky in peace while glancing around the church with a curious expression on his face.
"First of all, I want to express my most sincere gratitude to the Knight's order, that not only risked their lives by venturing deep into the lost City of Areinia, but also managed to retrieve the important Artifacts created by Humanity centuries ago in order to defeat that evil demon that opposed the power of our goddess. Without them, we could have probably never seen these legendary weapons ever again, and Humanity could have lost once again part of its valuable history" The man called Creo stood up and grabbed a golden staff covered in small jewels that gave a small aura of majesty, and bowed slightly to the group of Knights that were listening everything from their seats.
The crowd outside of the church looked in awe at the man, and the great aura that he gave off while holding the staff, and soon, many murmurs started spreading across the area.
"The Saint himself is thanking the Knight's order? To think that we could one day see such a great man bowing!"
"He is the man that has managed to enter in contact with our goddess, after all, it's not something that happens usually"
Aspen listened to these murmurs and looked briefly at the man standing proudly at the podium with a raised eyebrow before he went back to eat his Jerky in peace while waiting for all this event to end.
Soon, every Knight started being called out to the front and rewarded handsomely with either promotions or vast amounts of gold coins. Jeffrey was called the last one and received the honor of becoming the General of the Knight's order, which made him have under his command every division of Knights around the Kingdom and was given one of the most powerful swords made by the best blacksmiths in the Kingdom that seemed to shine with elegance and majesty whenever he swung it around.
Lastly, when everyone thought that the event had ended, the King called out for one last person who everyone had already completely forgotten.
"Last, and probably the person who did most in the mission, Aspen. Could you come here?"
Aspen nodded lightly and stopped eating. His clothes surely astounded the surrounding crowd who unintentionally thought that every guest was wearing formal clothes. And how not? They were in front of the two most important people in the Kingdom, The King, and the Saint.
Wearing formal clothes should be obligatory, right?
"Not only did you save the entire group from certain death at the hands of the swarm controlling the city, but you also managed to retrieve one of the Artifacts safely and without a scratch completely alone. For that, I bestow upon you the position of Royal guard, and allocate you directly to protect my daughter!"
"What?! Wait f-father-!" Yuuki, who was sitting beside her father yelped in surprise hearing her father's announcement. However, when she started trying to talk with her father about it, she ended up being ignored and set aside as he continued talking about the traits of being a royal guard.
Aspen, who heard that, widened his eyes slightly at the news. However, it didn't last much before his face recovered its usual calmness.
"I accept, but... No monetary reward?" Aspen who saw the King not giving extra rewards, furrowed slightly his eyebrows and asked rather impatiently. As he expected gaining some extra money in this mission so that he could leave sooner.
"Y-you want money? What an impatient Youngman... very well, as an extra reward, Aspen will receive 200 gold coins for his service to the Kingdom, and he will receive free-residence within the Royal castle!" The King's eyes twitched a bit when he heard that Aspen also wanted money, but seeing Aspen's oblivious face to the incredibly high position that a royal guard was, he decided to give him something that could bring him more joy to appease his impatient look.
As the ceremony finally ended, everyone stood up and started waiting for something. Aspen who returned to his seat looked at Jeffrey who was still caressing the sword given to him and asked him about the situation.
"Hey Jeffrey, what's with everyone?"
"Oh, The Saint Creo will now start the usual praying session to the Goddess of Order, so that she blesses us with good luck for the times that are to come"
"That bitch?" Aspen muttered in a low voice before he turned to look at the statue of the goddess at the end of the room.
Unfortunately for him, either his voice was higher than what he thought, or the people around had very good ears and managed to hear that small swear that came from his mouth.
Especially, the Saint Creo.
"That... Bitch, you say?"