Walking the street down the city. Stan, Belia and Lanier pass the town that was outside of the Walls. Seeing dozens of people going out of the town with their own little groups, he was amazed by the commotion Cyrus created with some simple words. The sparing match was supposed to prove a point that Ser Johan couldn't withstand Cyrus Aura. How come after Ser Johan and Lanier fight, the castle guards and the royal guards started to challenge each other.
Locking arms with his sister he look at her and ask, "where's Cyrus? I didn't even see him in the whole match." His sister was deep in thought the whole way out of the castle and silence throughout the walk out of the city. She look up at him and pouted her lips and shrugged her shoulder. "I don't really know. If I could make a guest it most likely be that he is still eating in the hall. I realized that he is extremely weak this morning, what happen last night after both of you visit him in that cave?"
Lanier was rubbing his injury under his coat with a green paste, he said. "Well, last night he was with this incredibly hot woman in that cave. That woman was extremely strong, stronger than me. I don't know if he was training her but after we reach the cave he just went out and didn't come back. He say to guide her in combat and that's how me and your brother got our wounds. It was actually made not by Cyrus but by that woman." The moment he finished Stan felt his right arm lighter.
The arm that was locking with his little sister was now grasping air. Stan had the urge to facepalm at his older brother insensitive. After all this years how come he still doesn't know how their sister care about Cyrus. If the gap between years were even longer, Belia could have the right to call herself his mother. She's deeply in love with him in a way that even Stan couldn't understand. They have this inexplicable bond that couldn't even be call love.
Their sister is obsessed with him. She doesn't show it but how can he, her older brother not pick it up. He still remember when she was fifteen, Cyrus got almost kill. Half of his body was almost split open, he with his own eyes saw his sister had an attack. It was as if she could feel his pain, and it wasn't the feeling of emotion that clouded her mind but a real, live in the moment physical pain.
When their mother nurse Cyrus back to health with some recipes pass down from her family, Belia would always be furious at her mother because she didn't let her help. It wasn't that she didn't want to teach Belia but that the flower that is needed to produce the healing salve is in the east. Deep in the forested hills of the east, closer to the Purple Heart Shape Flower forest. There, beasts lurk in greater number and beasts above the Six-graded evolution could be seen more frequent.
Their lady mother is the wife of Lord Brethan, the first general of the War of Change. Even if she didn't like fighting and doesn't participate in conflict by the mere presence of that strong man by her side she grew to become a master herself. As the way to pick up the flower was even more special, she couldn't send another master to pick it up but to go and do it all herself. Even understanding that, Belia will still be furious at her mother when she nurse Cyrus back.
She's even guards him against her own mother, what other women could she let be close to Cyrus?
Stan look at Belia that had her arm on her waist and stood in front of Lanier with a smile that didn't reach her eyes. "Big Lan, could you explain what you just say?" Right at that moment Stan and Lanier felt the same. That prickling feeling on their skin. A hint of red cover their younger sister eyes and the look she was given at Lanier was like that of a beast ready to pounce at them any given moment.
Lanier shook it off faster than him, he took more of that creamy paste that was in a small container in his left hand and smeared under his coat. While doing so he was thinking trying to put the words together, then he later responded to her, "well the whole thing was weird of it's self. Cyrus was on that cave with that woman and she was practically naked while wearing Cyrus coat. After eating the food nanny Marilee made us he stood up and just left. He said he was coming back soon but he never came back, how come you said that he was extremely weak?" Right, how come their sister say he was weak?
Belia bit her lips and thought of something, resuming their walk she said. "Since the moment he has enter the hall the only thing he was preoccupied with was food. The way he ate those vigorous, fill with life energy beast meat was clearly the sign that he had exhausted a great amount of energy prior to coming into the hall. What happen or what he did is something I need to ask him for." But doesn't he always eat like that, Stan thought.
It was as if she just catch that fleeting thought. "Cyrus does eat like that in the eyes of most people. But in my eyes he was consuming all types of different meat at the same time. The beasts meat that have abundance of life energy inside would have an opposite effect if mix with other abundant meat source. The life energy inside the meat would amplified each other and the energy will go through two phases after entering the body; first would explode inside the body that consumed, the other would be that the body would reject the energy and will be excreted almost immediately after been consumed. Neither of these two happen to Cyrus, that would only mean that his body needed the nutrients at the moment."
Stan was deep in thought and later remember that weird conversation that nanny Marilee and Cyrus had. "Lanier, when we were in the bath. Cyrus mention something about Frost Giant Kings, right?" Lanier as always was absent minded and just nodded without taking into account what they were just conversing right now. But Belia was just like him, fast or even faster. She turn to look at him with a frown upon her forehead and stare at him.
Stan ignore his sister intense gaze and continue walking with the crowd towards outside of the town after passing the town square. "You aren't suggesting what I think you are suggesting right?" Even Belia now was in disbelief. How couldn't she, Frost Giants are creatures from the time that the Kings of Winter rule the whole north and guarded the Gate with some powers of the eastern continent.
If the Frost Giants didn't descend a thousand years ago and almost extinguish their Bloodline they wouldn't have pull out all of their forces from the Gate and broke off the relationship with the eastern continent because of the invasion of the Frost Giants, they will still be the Keepers of the Gate. Even though every other year they send masters in the name of the Ashcold household to become a Keeper, the Ashcolds weren't the Keepers anymore.
"If that conversation make any sense to me it will be that Cyrus did manage to find some living Frost Giants on the Icy Plains." Now Lanier pick up the meaning after Stan explained like this. Deep worry cross his eyes and said, "that's impossible! Lord father and the other have venture out to the Icy Plains a couple of time every year and they have never encounter a Frost Giant. How come Cyrus manage to find those creatures while Lord father and the others haven't even encounter one throughout all these years?"
That was a good question, Stan was dwelling on the same too. Belia was holding her chin with her left hand while her right cross under her breast, she was thinking hard when she said, "maybe he didn't find them in the Icy Plains." Stan look at her confuse, "you mean?" Belia nodded and continue, "the lands of always winter. In the books it says that the Frost Giants came from the center of the Lands of always Winter. But that place...is hell on earth. Hailstorm ravage the lands, with blizzard and snow covering the sky and earth. A human couldn't survive in such place, even if they reach the Realm above the Aura of Reality." Stan and Lanier didn't know what to say.
They reach the Martial Field and look at all the pavilions line up across the cliff wall. Stan could even feel the ground trembling slightly and he look at the stables that wasn't far from the Martial Field. Through the fences he could see a group of steed galloping in a circle in a orderly fashion with a person in the middle holding a whip. He was a beast tamer, looking at how he whipped at the air Stan realized how calmly he controlled the steeds.
Stan look at the crowd and it was packed. Not only the Noble families of the city were there but the town folks. People living in the city were also crowding the Martial Field. Right now in the Martial Field, the practice arena was completely sparse of anyone close by. The people stood in two sides, one side in the pavilions lining the cliff and the others in the grassy area, close to the town gates.
People didn't dare to go closer to the Martial Arena because now stood two persons were clashing. One was Master Creg and the other was Ser Sall. Stan knew about him because he managed to catch him while he was entering the hall with Lanier and Cyrus. Actually, he was the only one in the whole hall to capture Cyrus presence for a split second before missing him completely.
Right now their Auras were clashing like two ferocious beast, clawing and gawning at each other. Master Creg Aura was like a huge boulder, huge and still. While Ser Sall Aura was fiery red, it illumimated his body like a torch. It was a first for Stan to see an Aura the color of red. He has only seen the Blue hue of the Aura in the north. He knew that Aura comes in different colors and everyone doesn't truly have the same type of Aura, even if to the naked eyes all seems the same.
The Aura between the two push each other like wrestlers trying to see who has the strongest Force without any momento. Just when everyone thought the climax of their clashing Aura was about to arrive both combatant took their Aura back into their bodies. Master Creg walk towards one of the pillar that where in the four corner of the huge square arena.
Lining up and down those stone pillars were weapons of different style and sizes. He look around and grab a spear, waving it to the sides he nodded and walk back calmly towards his prior spot. Ser Sall was waiting for him as well. When he took that spear, Ser Sall touch the center of his body and pull out a long spear as well. Both Spears were the same, the same length, the same weight and the same style.
Beside them one castle guard walk up and said, "you must be confused as to why both of them have the same type of weapon, right." Lanier nodded and said, "not only that, I know Master Creg. He love to use heavier weapons, he was one of the first who taught me how to use the axe. Why did he chose a spear now?" The castle guard, named Fernad said. "Lords and lady you must have heard about the Martial Conversion right."
Stan, Belia and Lanier nodded. Stan has hear about it from his father. He even wanted to show it to them but their mother didn't want him and Lanier to go and watched. The supposed conversion is a sort of tournament hosted by the Martial Clans that live in hidden mountains, whatever that may mean. The conversion will be held in one of the Storm isle on the Western coast of the continent, not far from the mainland.
Apart from that he didn't know anything else. Fernad continue, "every ten year the conversion will be hosted by a Martial Clan and it will be a competition to strictly gauge any combatant who participate in it. There's no rewards, no title giving, nothing. There will be an arena with a judge and a referee. Both in the level of power above the Aura of Reality. Anyone can enter, the point of the conversion is to see if the human powers are growing or diminishing. In the last conversion, Master Creg beat Ser Sall by not a point or two. Only using his hand, Ser Sall at the time wasn't a Knight but he after enter the tutelage of the great knight of the kingdom, Ser Mentrax Lanvander." Fernad didn't need to continue.
Stan was surprised to know about this, really he was. Master Creg wasn't even one of the four Great Masters of Valleyfall but he was an incredible genius fighter. He could use any weapons to fight, even though he prefer heavier weapons, that didn't take away the mastery used he has over other weapons.
Looking back at the Arena, the stone tiles that made the floor were different from the Martial Stage in the castle and in some parts of the Martial Fields. These stones were fusion stones, Maester Eustace taught them about it when he was tutoring the siblings when they were little. He says that it is an incredibly hard material, harder than most metals. Only made for when Masters fights.
Their Aura bubble up again from their bodies but they didn't expanded, it coated calmly around their skin creating a perfect membrane of energy around their bodies. The Spear that Ser Sall took out was normal looking, like the Spear on the hand of Master Creg. The only difference will be that the symbols running down the shaft were glowing in pure red light, purer than the Aura coating his body.
When they were about to clash, from behind them came laughter. Stan look back and found his father with the king. Practically all the people who stay in the hall left, how could they still sit around when the whole valley was boiling in excitement. Valleyfall has been too peaceful for the last twenty years, for heart accelerating moments like this they need to travel to another land to feel the lively atmosphere. Even though they can fight beast all the days and nights of the year, they want to compete against other humans more.
Stan was about to step out towards his father but his little sister beat him up to it. She look around and ask, "father have you seen Cyrus?" Brethan that was laughing with Robert and King Albert stop and look at his daughter. Stan look from behind her and saw his father eyelids twitch. Belia most have an angry face. "No little girl, I just miss him. I could have sworn that I saw him in the hall but the bastard disappeared too fast."
King Albert touch his bear in thought and said, "wait that little thing was Cyrus right? For the nine divines Bethran! You didn't introduce him to me." The king turn and stare at his Lord father. Bethran laugh and said, "he will appear sooner or later. I also seem to miss your daughter, were has she gone to now." King Albert also look around the field and didn't find his daughter.
"Ohh my, and now I lost my daughter too." The king laugh and wave his hand to dismiss a royal knight that was about to talk. From the way, it look like he was going to ask if he should search for her. "Well they both will appear sooner or later. Just keep a look out for them." Brethan said. They didn't walk to the other side were the pavilions line up the cliff wall but stood with the towns folk too expectated the battle with them.