Glorious Return
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Landing, Gloria and her disciples finally came face to face with the current Emperor and the Empress of the Rising Sun Empire.

Viarth and Rani Dawn.

The crimson-haired couple stood together hand-in-hand as their beautiful golden eyes fell on Gloria and they immediately bowed their heads and greeted her in unison.

"Greetings, Ancestor!"

Out of all the seven alliance members, only the leaders of the Rising Sun Empire didn't have any children. With the guards dismissed for the special occasion, Viarth and Rani were the only one to welcome their only living ancestor.

"You must be Viarth and Rani, right? Pardon my inappropriate behaviour for not visiting you both before as I had some urgent task. And finally meeting you two, I can claim in assurance that the empire is in the right hands."

Gloria clasped her hands and spoke out gently while Viarth immediately leapt up in joy, literally.

"Please, ancestor! It is our duty to be of your service!"

While Viarth spoke with unconcealed joy on his handsome face, Rani remained calm and merely took the praise with another deep bow.

"And these must be your disciples, right?"

Rani finally spoke with a small smile as the golden crown on her head reflected the dazzling sunshine as she looked towards Lucifer, Perenna and Layla.

The trio immediately bowed as they had discussed previously.

"Greetings, your highness."

While Viarth cocked his eyebrows due to such a simple bow, Rani plainly accepted their greetings.

"You three are very fortunate. Especially you, Layla Blaze. Your father was extremely furious until he found out that you were taken in by the Ancestor as his disciple."

Layla's gaze dimmed at the mention of her father while Viarth felt even more confused. But his eyes could only glean one thing clearly.

Beauty.

Perenna and Layla were extremely beautiful and could even compete with Rani's regal charm with their own exotic appearances.

'A pity...'

He sighed in his mind while he kept a proper etiquette befitting an Emperor on the surface.

"Please let me escort you to the Dawn Temple."

Rani's voice rang out and Gloria nodded readily with a smile. By now, even Gloria understood who was the actual tiger between the couple and found it amusing that Rani was able to dominate an imperial lineage in a relationship.

"Good. I am extremely tired and I would also like this chance to introduce the palace to my disciples."

Rani nodded without any ripples in her expression, gaining more respect from her ancestor.

With Viarth and Rani as the host, Gloria and her disciples finally entered the palace and came to witness the true beauty of human's creativity. 

The Dawn city was built on the Rising Sun mountain known to the whole continent for its deep reserves of Sun Gold that is still being mined from the core of the mountain. To flourish the trade while protecting the most valuable natural resource of the Empire, Ganthor had decided to build his palace on the mountain itself.

But his predecessors renovated his entire train of thought and decided to build an underground city.

That's right!

The moment Lucifer and others entered the beautiful golden palace, they found themselves gazing into a deep abyss covered with various constructions along the line. While the topmost area of the mountain is still heavily guarded by the guards, it was still a wonder that such clear territories could be formed inside a treasured mountain.

The interior covered with plates of Sun Gold to brighten the entire mine of a capital city, the interior of the mountain have off a luxurious charm.

The topmost level belonging to the Emperor and the Imperial lineage, there were many escalators built with reinforced structures to cater to the need of the Imperial family. 

From the opening towards the lower level, Lucifer could see various buildings that were connected with the building on the outside but not all of them were allowed to create constructions that reached to the outer surface of the mountain.

This law was executed to prevent smuggling of the Sun Gold and maintain a monopoly over this unending reserve of one of the topmost precious ore.

"Marvellous."

Gloria spoke a single word but the emotions she expressed were plenty. Hearing her open praise, Viarth's smile broadened and he couldn't help but gaze at the expression of her disciples.

While Lucifer held an appreciative gaze, he couldn't help but remorse over the fact that he had to put his heart and soul together to illustrate this beautiful underground city of gold and it took him more than two months to finally complete a satisfactory piece of art.

Perenna was fortunate enough to visit this beautiful interior when he was called in by the Emperor to receive one of his 'task' while Perenna was born here so both of them also kept a slightly brightened expression.

"I would like to know who planned out such a creative structure."

Gloria bypassed Viarth and asked Rani with a clear gaze to which the empress replied with a gentle smile.

"The third Emperor mastered the skills of trade and architecture to build and expand the kingdom on the foundation of flourishing markets instead of the sacrifices of the loyal soldiers to conquer more land."

Gloria nodded and closed her eyes for a moment before speaking her mind.

"That's a wonderful idea. To create a flourishing empire of trade. We have the resources and the empire was fortunate enough to gain a wonderful Emperor open to changes.

This is the only thing that allowed our empire to stay strong even after the passing of the heartless flow of time.

The ability to adapt and change."

Opening her eyes, Gloria gave a look to Viarth and then gazed back at Rani with a genuine smile.

"I am fortunate that my descendant is able to wed such a wonderful empress."

"This child does not deserve such praise."

With a smile, Rani bowed her head and spoke lightly.

"Alright, let's go to the Dawn Temple."

Viarth laughed out loud and clapped his hands, breaking the graceful mood around the two crimson-haired ladies as they both looked at him with hidden bitterness in their blazing gold eyes.

"Ancestor, please follow me."

Taking the lead this time, Viarth became the group's guide and let Gloria visit all the important facilities in the inner palace before taking her and her disciples to the peak of the palace connected to the outer peak of the mountain.

Entering a beautiful yet ancient temple, Gloria finally felt peaceful. 

From the moment she woke up, she was ambushed by her master and then made to submit her soul and thoughts for the mind-numbing pleasure gifted in return. Though enjoyable, Gloria had to admit that she was extremely tired and really wanted to rest in a place that solely belonged to her.

Her home.

"Ancestor, everything is kept as you left it aside for some regular maintenance."

Viarth spoke with an excited expression as he brought Gloria to the central hall of the temple with an open ceiling, allowing the sunshine to warm up the hall while the construct of Sun Gold acted as a temperature controller.

"I can see that."

Gloria closed her eyes as her entire body basked under the warm sunshine while Lucifer followed her while carrying the Devil's Smirk.

"We will leave the Ancestor and the honoured disciples until we are needed. Servants and maids are stationed at the special quarters built for them near the temple and they can carry out the daily chores. 

Please excuse us."

Rani spoke lightly, cutting off Viarth who clearly had a lot more to speak while Gloria nodded without opening her eyes and spoke one last time.

"One of my disciples, Perenna... she is fortunate enough to awaken Holy Element and has already formed her cultivation sphere. 

Find a place for her in the Dawn Academy and Lucifer will follow alongside her. I shall personally take care of Layla."

This time around, though her voice resounded lightly, even Rani herself was awestruck by the charm of command carried under her kind tone. Meanwhile, Viarth couldn't help but frown.

"Ancestor... that name, Lucifer... I don't think that it will be good for him to enter the academy."

Gloria finally opened her eyes and looked at Viarth impassively.

"Foolish child, I wasn't talking to you."

Viarth's eyes widened in surprise while a formless pressure exploded from Rani and quickly suppressed this waste of an emperor before he spoke something unnecessary.

"Ancestor, rest assured. A person's name doesn't entail for meaningless discrimination. Lucifer shall follow Perenna and join the elite rank of the academy regardless of their talents."

Rani's melodious voice soothed the group's ears while Gloria finally smiled.

"Why won't I be assured? I never doubted a capable ruler."

With her task done, Gloria closed her eyes as her kind words easily sowed discord between the temperamental emperor and the clever ruler.

***

On the third level of the city, four huge mansions were constructed with the size that could outshine the Academy and the Palace alike. Since the top of the mountain was narrower, the palace had to be constructed with a sophisticated design that expressed luxury as well as might.

But the four noble clans did not have such issues and were built to satisfy their mortal needs and lust.

Inside the fiery red mansion of the Golden Flame Clan, a burst of deep and joyful laughter resounded, shaking the whole clan house alongside the beats of the laughter.

"Layla... ah, Layla. Good daughter! You have made your father proud!"

Not having the least bit of intention to hide the information of his daughter getting accepted by the first and founding emperor of the empire, Lutheran Blaze let his voice travel throughout the third level of the city while he still had the awareness to keep control of his nature to avoid offending a certain crazy academic scholar of the second level.

As his voice travelled throughout the third level, the leader of the other three noble clans— The Blue Flame, The Red Flame and The Black Flame had dark expressions as they felt uncomfortable by the prospect of their old rival's daughter gaining such a fortunate opportunity.

Meanwhile, some of the lower class noble families of the lower levels felt a pang of regret while the others trembled in fear.

Who would've thought that the disgraced noblewoman of the Golden Flame Clan would return with such high fame?

Layla Blaze.

This name was bound to be whispered amongst the gossiping maids and other spiteful noble ladies that held petty resentment against the future demonic sorceress.

****

A/N: Viarth literally means useless in Hindi/Sanskrit.

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