The carriage Willian and Karl were on was shaking. They were sitting in a position which both were facing each other. Karl had a slightly frowny face.
“Where did you go on the afternoon? Even though I was planing for us to play together until night…”
“…Have you finished your homework?”
“…Oh, I am so excited for the party… Hehe…”
The conversation stopped there. The number one method to have Karl shut up was that. It was to give him some kind of question to solve. Then, he would keep quiet until he finished solving it. Karl would do his utmost to solve any questions given to him, but it was weird to him how Willian would give him questions that while were solvable for him, who didn´t have much knowledge, were still ones that would take him time to do. That was the method for those magic words that could shut the talkative Karl to be set up. Doing this might end up becoming a problem if Willian was to overuse it though…
“Who is the one that will be organizing the party?”
Because Willian thought it was a bit too pitiful for Karl, he brought up a topic to talk about. At that instant, Karl´s face brightened in happiness.
“Hmm, I believe it is the general Baldias. It seems like there were many people that received medals and promotions, so there will be many people related to the military. But because there will be very terrifying nobles, I am kind of nervous.”
The unmoveable Baldias. He was the ultimate knight; the one Arcadia was the most proud of. The way his name would thunder through the nations was one of the things that Willian aimed for. Of course, he didn´t intend on getting satisfied with only that.
“”The problem is the nature of the nobles. It is obvious their family ties aren´t firm. There is something there. That said, I don´t have enough knowledge about this world to be able to guess what it is.””(TL note: Not sure about the first part of this line ->問題は貴族の質。明らかに身内を固めたとかそういうものじゃない。<-)
Regardless of that, Karl´s promotion to centurion was something that has been already decided. It was possible to be certain of that from the time Karl was invited to the party. It was just how many military achievements he raised. It is rare to see in the history for a ten-man squad to raise such achievements.
“”That said, neither I nor Karl have the power to eat up people of that level. The one to receive spotlight here is someone else. We are at most just extras.””
Even if they were only extras, once Karl was to become a centurion, the extension of their military tatics would widen immensely. To Willian, who felt that he was being limited by being on a ten-man squad, that moment was something he anticipated.
“For now, let´s carry on calmly and without carelessness.”
“….These last few days Willian has been so much untalkative.”
The carriage was transporting the two of them. They were going to Baldias´s mansion, which was at the inner part of the noble district.
Luxurious and gorgeous. It was a mansion that could be described by those words. Baldias apparently was someone that didn´t like gaudy decorations himself, but his position wouldn´t let him do as he pleased. The gaudiness of the inner part of the mansion wasn´t something one could casually have in their home.
“It´s really amazing how big this place is for how it can easily accommodate this many people.”
“Yes, as to be expected, you must have a house of this level in a place like this. Even if you had the money, you wouldn´t be able to buy the land. There is the eyes of people surrounding you after all.”
The land of the noble district was bound by unique rules. At the underworld, as long as you had the money to pay for it, you could have anything granted. However, at this place, there was something called status that would come in need. In contrast, if you had status, even if you didn´t desire for it, you would need to live in a residence of those standards. The noble district was a place where status had the priority over money. Perhaps it was because of that that Lord Teirah was racking his brains to solve this problem.
“…Who is that masked man?”
“You see, it is that Teirah family´s…”
“Yes, that jumped-up…”
From their surroundings, eyes filled with wonderment were looking at the two that obviously didn´t have enough status to be there. Even Karl, who was supposed to be a noble, was being treated like that. As for Willian, his treatment was lower than that of a worthless nobody.
“You came with your mask on?”
“Yes. I am here as Karl´s shadow. Besides, there is no way the [White Mask] would just remove his mask.”
Together with Willian´s military fame, his nickname [White Mask] also spread. It was only limited to the countries neighboring Arcadia, but there were signs it was spreading little by little. This time, Willian had been invited as a soldier, and so wearing his mask was in fact part of his courtesy.
Of course his true intention was to have the mask make him stand out. Hence, in this place where standing out was next to impossible, it was a very convenient item.
“Karl, it really seems you are doing good, doesn´t it?”
Karl received a fright. His expression wasn´t really one of happiness. Rather, it looked to be one of dread. For the time being, Willian decided to observe what was going to happen. He was leaving him by himself.
“Karl´s invincible ten-man squad; is that how they call it? Isn´t this amazing?”
A female came over next to Karl and embraced his neck.
“That all sickly Karl is so lively now.”
“N-no, compared to Hilda, I am nothing…”
“Compared to Hilda? Since when did I become something that you can just compare to? In the end, it is Karl-chan´s bad habit to get all cocky.”
Raising her eyes, the woman called Hilda looked at Willian.
“Or could it be that you are all happy after finding your so excellent sword? Hm?”
There wasn´t the slightest warmth in her eyes. Rather, it was killing intent that overflowed from it. Wind gushed out from her body. Like a windstorm, it hit Willian´s whole body. It carried a distinct killing intent.
“”This guy too… can use it?””
Willian evaluated his opponent. The wind-like aura gushing out from her whole body was her peculiarity. Seeing that he couldn´t feel malicious intents coming from her, she should be a good person. However, the hostility being brought against Willian wasn´t something average.
“Hahan, so you can see it too. My name is Hilda Von Gardener. Dame Hirda you may call. That´s quite the good mask, handsome.”
Dame. In order words, it was a woman that received the title of a knight. The knight positions in Arcadia weren´t passed down by heritage. They were titles that could only be obtained by making achievements in the battlefield. It was because of that that the nobility desired it. It was because that would become a symbol for what they achieved in the battlefield.
“It is an honor to receive your praise, Dame Hilda. My name is Willian Rivius. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Even without her knight title, Willian could see that she wasn´t average. And besides that…
“I am eagerly waiting for the day we can fight on the battlefield side-by-side.”
Willian was also someone abnormal. The stench of corpses followed him to the point of it being lightly fragrant. Hilda´s eyebrows moved in surprise.
“Heh, the disparity between you and Karl is more and more.” (TL note: Weird to translate -.- She is talking about her point of view, with she becoming more and more aware of the amount of the disparity. Since the way she says in the raw is also really ambiguous, I guess it is accurate? ‘ 3’)
Throwing Karl aside, she approached Willian. Hilda´s eyes were set on Willian. She had just been trifling around with Karl.
“I don´t care what happens to this sickly, to his old brother or to that suspicious-looking old man, but if something happens to Lutogarde, I will be killing you, so best regards.”
After saying that, Hilda left them. The two were left with surprised faces.
“…Is she Lutogarde-sama´s acquaintance?”
“No, I guess… she is her best friend? Like you saw before, Lutogarde doesn´t have many friends. Among the few she has, Hilda is the only one that still hangs out with her. But Hilda is busy, and there is also her family lineage, so it is not like they meet often.”
Hilda´s family lineage. Even though Willian got a little bit caught up into all that, he decided that he didn´t need to inquire about that in particular. In brief, being the daughter of a marquis, the Teirah household couldn´t match Hilda.
“”From what I saw, she has a lot of acquaintances and is very sociable…. I can´t imagine she being friends with Lutogarde.””
Many people surrounded Hilda, coming to greet her. Most of those people were Hilda´s acquaintances. Could those be her connections? The familiarity she showed them was transparent.
“Hilda is a primi ordines. She is the most successful centurion among the young ones. You see, those people that are talking to Hilda right now are other centurions from her same generation. All of them came from the same school. …I dropped out from it though, ehehe…” (TL note: Primi ordines is basically a high-ranked centurion. Just google it if you want to know more -.-)
The people that were talking to Hilda indeed had a different air to them. While they had the airs of nobility, they still smelled like the battlefield. Among them, there were ones that had a considerable aura around them.
“You are being too humble. Even without the school or something else of the sort, won´t you be catching up with them today?”
“Eh? What do you mean by saying catchin…?”
At the same instant Karl said that, the place became silent. At the second floor of the saloon, the organizer of today´s party, Baldias had showed up at a place he stood out. His presence didn´t lose to the gaudily decorated mansion. That was what nobility was; that was what a general was. It made everyone swallow a mouthful of saliva.
“”I see, as expected of the unmovable Baldias. He is quite up to his standing.””
Before, Willian was worried about how he would react if he was to be hit by his aura, but for some strange reason, he was very calm. Having the mask and having met Strakules had been both very consequential for him right now.
“I am sincerely grateful for all of you to have come to my humble home. Although modest, I have prepared you food and beverages. However, before that, I would like to hold the nomination ceremony. If possible, I would like you to stand up.”
Including the ones that were sitting before, everyone was standing. With that said, there weren´t many people that were sitting at that time.
“Today, as the organizer of this party, I was supposed to be the host of the ceremony we will be holding. However, due to last-minute circumstances, the host has changed. I will be entrusting the nomination ceremony to this person. Everyone, please, give a round of applauses.”
Troubled about what to do, the applauses given were sparse between the people. Some were clapping with all their energy. In particular, it were those that had so high status to the point the standards of the place didn´t match theirs.
“”Why? Is something coming?””
The answer to Willian´s confusion was….
“Your Highness Eahart Von Arcadia
“Hahaha, like always, you are really bad at giving introductions of this sort, Baldias.”
The one that appeared was a monster enveloped by a golden aura.
At that instant, Willian´s consciousness was blown away. He couldn´t properly be conscious of that person whose eyes shined in gold. That person had this much amount of power. His aura and everything else was different.
“I-it´s the second prince. Th-this is the first time I´ve seen him.”
Karl´s legs were trembling. It was as if the god up in the skies had descended. It wasn´t impossible to compare the prince to that.
“Your invitation for today´s party is more than I deserve, your Excellency, the unmovable Baldias.”
“I would like to ask your Highness not to bully the aged. Now then, I will be leaving it to you, your Highness.”
Eahart was now standing at the place Baldias stood before. Eahart´s presence was so incredible to the point of one being able to believe that the place he was standing at was the center of the world.
“Everyone, I believe some of you are seeing me for their first time. I will immediately introduce myself to you. My name is Eahart Von Arcadia. It is an honor to have made your acquaintance.”
Despite of how the prince was depreciating himself and humbly introducing himself, it was difficult to give a response to him. All the people were petrified, thinking on how were they supposed to react to that. Eahart was bitterly smiling in a bored manner.
“I am sorry. As I am nothing but the second prince, for such complicated standing, there was no way I could act prideful to all of you. I cannot become the king because of my elder brother after all.”
An explosive declaration. Out of all things the second prince could say in that place, it was something related to the crown. That was enough for it to be a great incident. The shock coming from the stage was so strong it made everyone paralysed.
“Your Highness, please, stop playing around.”
Baldias spoke. With those words, Eahart showed a playful smile.
“Now then, let´s immediately begin the ceremony. First, I would like to say that everyone has been working for the sake of Arcadia very well. In our last war at Raconia, we have been vigorously piling up victory after victory. All this was due to everyone´s support. This evening, we´ve prepared as many satisfactory promotions, medals and special rewards as possible to us. We cannot blunder the following feast after all.” (TL note: I guess “blundering” the feast would be about someone receiving an unsatisfactory reward and being all down. I´m not sure though because the context isn´t really specified -.- ->今宵は出来るだけ多くのものが満足いくよう昇進や叙勲、特別報酬を用意したつもりだ。この後の会食に水を差すわけにもいかないからね<- )
As if he was already used to the prince treatment, Eahart was showing a small smile.
“Now then, we will be starting the. First…”
From a position that was higher than the military, the promotions and medals were being told.
Regarding that, Willian was frowning his face under the mask.
“”My power and knowledge is above them. Despite that, there was that much of a difference between them and me. Those are people that stood on the top of the skies since birth. ….This really shakes the heart.””
After people died, they would become the same. Willian believed that. Because all of them were people that would similarly be taken by death, then it didn´t matter who was above or below. It didn´t matter who was nobility and who was the slave. He believed that.
However, whether that was really the truth, and whether death was truly equal despite how there was so much difference at birth, then where was the reason proving why only death was equal? Willian didn´t know whether the paths they would go would differ after they died, or if a monster like that could really die to begin with. He didn´t know any of it. He started to feel like he didn´t want to know.
“”Eahart Von Arcadia.””
That was the second prince. Then, how much distant was the first prince, not to say the king.
Suddenly, Willian´s and Eahart´s eyes met. It happened so quick that it wasn´t clear whether their eyes really met, but Willian knew of one thing. He knew about the distance between them. Willian used to believe the speed he walked was fast. He used to think his growth speed was fast enough. However…
“”It´s not enough. Not enough at all. With that pace, how am I supposed to catch up with those guys!?””
He was fed up with his own naivete. He needed to run up faster, and much higher.
“”Heh, so that´s the rumored white mask?””
In the same way, Eahart also noticed the abnormality within Willian. To him, Willian was just a very small existence. He could easily be blown away. That was the position Willian was standing at. However, that small existence was struggling. Eahart could see it was desperately extending its hands to heavens.
To Eahart, this was so unbearingly humorous, but so much that…
“”Isn´t he nice? That guy.””
…That it got his interest.
Willian and Eahart. Heavens and earth had for the first time met. At that time, nobody knew whether it was heavens that would crush earth, or if it was earth that would eat heavens.