The city palace was a lot more luxurious than Abel had initially imagined. In the center of the garden, there was an enormous fountain. Its spring water danced as mysterious beams of orange light sparkled upon its surface.
Every servant in the city palace who guided the visitors were dressed in all black uniforms with impeccable manners. The surrounding guards were all dressed in half-body armor holding a long sword in each of their hands. They all gave out the imposing manner of a professional with level 4 or above training in combat qi. The place wasmanifesting the extraordinaire of the royal viscounts.
There were three main occupations in the city palace: warriors, knights, and assassins. Regardless of class, their training was centered around practicing their combat qi, which had the potential to bring out some very extraordinary abilities.
Warriors were among one of the most common occupations, mostly because they took a large proportion of combat qi practitioners. They were well trained to use almost any weapons including swords, hammer, and long spears.
Knights harnessed the greatest fighting ability out of the three occupations. Their resourcefulness enabled them to receive well-rounded training at a young age, allowing them to receive the best equipment there was. Unlike the other classes, they would ride on war horses and wear helmets on top of their heads.
The least common occupation was the assassin because, on top of the practice of combat qi, they also needed to practice large amounts of hiding techniques. Assassins have the most intense combat qi explosion. However, it would often take a toll on their stamina.
It was hard to earn a title in the Duchy of Carmel. Every generation of kings continued to suppress the number of nobles through a series of regulations, such as the prohibition for females to inherit powerful statuses. Another big one would be the rank lowering of lords who did not possess their own lands. For every time that a title was inherited, a landless Lord every title inherited would be lowered by one rank. Worst of all, however, was the claiming of territories of heirless Lords who have passed away. Due to all sorts of interferences by the nobles, many lord families have ceased to remain to this day.
There was only one condition to attain a title, and that was to do a great service for the duchy. It was especially hard in peaceful times like these, so that’s why countless nobles would be willing to be on the frontlines whenever it was called for.
In recent years, tensions were strained between the king and the nobles. Major noble families continued to increase their power, while the king looked for every chance he could to execute anyone who dared showing his desire to seize power from him.
If you want to know how low the status of nobles was in Duchy of Carmel, just compare it to the city owner of Harvest City. Such an enormous city could be owned by a viscount, while other similar-sized cities such as the neighboring Duchy of Thunder were at least owned by someone with the title of a duke.
Of course, these things were still way too far fetched for Abel, and Knight of Marshall had already gained his fiefdom through his outstanding military service, so he did not care about things such as a title. When they were on the horse carriage, he only casually mentioned it to Abel out of interest while they were on the topic of the city owners.
After Abel had seen the guards in the city palace he couldn’t help but remember how the Knight of Marshall had told him that the major nobles were becoming more powerful to resist the king. Every single one of the hundreds of warriors here was a professional. Even the ones with the lowest ranking, one hundred of them could easily be just as capable as an army of one thousand.
The crowd had gathered in the hall. However, Abel was disappointed with the food offered by the city palace. Because it was winter, the buffet table was only filled with cakes and roasted meats, but the wine was only supplied adequately.
Before the cocktail party officially began, Viscount Dickens stepped out and commenced his speech. Even though the hall was crowded with people, viscount Dickens was able to deliver the sound of his speech to everyone’s ears through the power of his combat qi. According to the knight of Marshall, this annual event was a way for the viscounts to showcase their wealth and military power, and that they were well capable of managing this enormous land.
It was the most boring cocktail party Abel had ever been to. He did not know a single person here. After the knight of Marshall had introduced Abel to a few of his friends, Abel soon returned to the corner of the hall quietly looking over this top of the world gathering. No wonder there was not much food prepared, most people only stood around chatting with a wine glass in their hands, rarely did anyone shown interest in the food.
Abel had dashed around the streets all day, and all the dreary chatters in the hall just sounded like a lullaby. By this point, Abel’s eyelids were getting heavier and heavier and slowly he drifted asleep. It was only after the party had ended that Abel was woken up by the shake of the Knight of Marshall.
Knight of Marshall continued to make fun of Abel as they were going back to their temporary house. A level 5 novice knight had dashed around the streets all day and fell asleep during a cocktail party, how could any knight believe this.
Early next morning knight of Marshall took Abel on the carriage to return to Harry Castle. As the housekeeper Robbin was sending the carriage out the front gate, Abel stuck his head out and waved goodbye.
It was at that moment, the spying servant who had been frozen in the courtyard for the entire night realized Abel was about to leave. So immediately, he rushed back to his owner to report.
“What? They are heading towards South Gate? Are you sure?” Said Joshua after he heard the servant’s report, “If it’s true, immediately gather the men”
Joshua’s father was a lord because he was good at managing businesses. He owned more than 10 stores on the main road of harvest city and held more than 50% of the shares from the harvest city clothing market. He was a true royal businessman. Because of this large amount of wealth his only son, Joshua had been able to receive the highest quality of education. At age 19 he was already a level 4 novice knight, and father had always dreamed that he could one day win a battle and gain a fiefdom.
Because of this, Joshua’s father was never hesitated to invest in Joshua’s development. For example, just look at the sword of a hundred skills his father bought him for his education, and upon losing the gambling bet, Joshua had no intention to tell his father. The first thing that came to his mind was to seek revenge and then find a chance to tell his father in the future.
He gathered 12 of the most powerful servants in the family, each equipped with their own warhorse and long sword. Joshua was on a blazing red warhorse, and they set off to strike in a team of thirteen.
The Knight of Marshall sat in the carriage, enjoying the wine his friend gave him during his time in Harvest City. Despite the vigorous movement of the carriage, the Knight of Marshall was able to move leisurely, so the wine glass did not budge a single bit. Abel, on the other hand, was trying his best to copy this knight’s riding position. However, the carriage these days were just too shaky. There was virtually no means for any sort of shock absorption. When the seats began to vibrate, Abel had no ways to stop the wine from falling out of his cup. Still, the boy was not going to be demotivated by a small drawback such as this. Instead, he observed the Knight of Marshall as closely as he could, meanwhile preparing to imitate the same kind of skills that were displayed right in front of him.
The carriage horse was old and slow. Its speed often did not coordinate with the speed of the carriage. Therefore the 13 men had caught up to the carriage in no time. A malevolent smile began to emerge from Joshua’s emotionless face.
“Interesting, our carriage is being followed,” said the Knight of Marshall. He lowered his wine glass with a cold smile on his face.
Abel had also felt something odd from the vibration of the ground. He looked at the Knight of Marshall. Since he did not bring his long sword to the cocktail party, he could only put arrows on his bracelet and use it as a bow.
“Go ahead, stop the carriage. I’ll take care of the people inside” Joshua ordered the 12 servants.
If Joshua saw the carriage from the front, he would have noticed the royal engraving and would not have proceeded with his plan.
The twelve servants raised their long sword and charged towards the carriage, the carriage driver knew that Knight of Marshall was inside so he was no worried. He only shouted, ” this carriage was owned by the Harry family, attackers will not be punished lightly.”
However, the 12 servants did not know that Knight of Marshall’s surname was Harry. Therefore, they continued to charge and stopped the carriage.
After Joshua had caught up with them, he saw an eye-catching white unicorn engraving in the front of the carriage. It sent shivers from the back of his spine to the top of his head. He realized he had attacked a noble’s carriage and from the calm expression of the driver, he knew the other party must have held great power.
By this point, Joshua was on the road of no return. Nothing could change the fact that he had attacked a noble’s carriage. The desire to kill continued to rage in his heart, if he just killed this driver and that little blacksmith inside, who would have guessed he was a murderer.
“Kill them all,” Joshua spat out the words viciously.
The twelve servants hesitated. They never killed someone, and they didn’t have the will to. The most they’ve done were things like abusing their master’s adversaries, maybe chopping off their limbs if things went bad. However, since it was a direct order from their master, these pitiful souls had no choice but to charge on with their long sword in hand.