“Brother wake up!!!!”
“Oof!” I groaned, the wind forcefully expelled out of my lungs as my sister jumped on top of me.
Rubbing my sore sternum, I gasped out, “Ellie, you’re not a little kid anymore. You’re going to seriously hurt me one day.”
“Are you calling me fat, Brother?” Ellie feigned a gasp.
“Extremely,” I added, tossing her off of me. My little sister let out surprised squeal as I tickled her.
This little rascal, only learning useless things at that school for proper ladies or whatnot.
After a tear-filled surrender by my sister, I turned to see Elijah already showered and clothed, his glasses still clouded from the steam. “I swear, you sleep like a log, Art. Your wife is going to seriously have to use spells to wake you up when you get older.”
“Shaddup,” I slurred, too tired to make a witty comeback.
After quickly washing my face and fixing my hair to a barely-presentable degree, the four of us, with Sylvie on top of my head, headed downstairs.
‘I wonder what’s for breakfast. I hope it’s meeeaaat,’ Sylv pondered excitedly, her little fox head swaying side to side in anticipation.
“Good morning, you four! You guys are just in time,” my mother called out to us from the kitchen as the maids were preparing the table. Even though there were cooks in the manor, my mother found it imperative to at least prepare breakfast for us. So, as Tabitha helped her with the meal, the maids set the table and cleaned up afterwards.
After I came back, my family, as well as Vincent and Tabitha, both noticed the apparent change in appearance of Sylvie. I tried playing it off as her naturally transforming after digesting a lot of beast cores, but I had the sense that my parents and the Helsteas knew Sylvie wasn’t just your average mana beast; hell, I’d sometimes catch them talking to her like she was a human.
“Good morning, boys—and good morning, my little princess. Did you guys sleep well?” My father, who was talking to Vincent, turned to us, giving my struggling sister a bearded kiss on her cheek.
“Ew, Dad! That tickles!” She pushed him away, wiping the spot she was kissed.
“Did you guys sleep well?” Vincent asked, half-smirking as he watched my father dote on Ellie.
“Good morning Aunt Leywin, Aunt Tabitha, Uncle Vincent and Uncle Reynolds,” Elijah announced before he sat down next to me. He’d stopped calling my parents “Lord” and “Lady” as he got closer to them, eventually calling everyone either “Aunt” or “Uncle.”
After saying good morning to everyone, I got back to my seat and started eating a ham and vegetable omelet with a very light soup.
While eating, my father suddenly spoke up with a mouth full of eggs. “That reminds me. Kids, if you don’t have any plans, do you want to go with us to City Square? There’s a big announcement in the Capital City of Etistin where the King and Queen reside but a couple of artificers are going to put up a live projection of the broadcast in City Square.”
“Honey, please don’t talk with your mouth full,” my mother gently scolded before getting back to her conversation with Tabitha regarding the latest rumors on some mutual acquaintances. It seemed like she was getting along quite well with the noble ladies of Xyrus, seeing as the both of them often go out to brunch meetings and afternoon shopping trips.
“Sounds good. Elijah and I don’t have anything planned today anyways, right?” I turned to my friend who was wolfing down his second omelet. He shot me a thumbs up—his cheeks filled with food.
“I wanna go too! Can I, Mom?” Ellie leaned forward on the table towards my mother.
“You have school today, Ellie. You can hang out with your brother after,” she answered, nudging my pouting sister back down into her chair.
“Uncle Vincent. I remember you mentioned something about how you were going to visit a famous researcher that has a lab in Xyrus. Do you mind introducing me to him after we watch the announcement today?” I said in between bites of food.
“Ah, you mean Gideon? Has he caught your interest? He’s not just a researcher but a well-known inventor and artificer as well! He’s the one responsible for designing the ships we use for rivers as well as a few other well-used artifacts! I do have some business with him anyway so it wouldn’t be a problem taking you. Was there something specific you needed from him?” he quizzed, the intelligent eyes behind his glasses shining with curiosity.
“Not something I need, but more of something to discuss. I thought he would find it valuable.” My vague answer caught his interest all the more.
“Well, he’s not the type to meet new people but I’m sure I can get him to pop his head out of his hole if I’m with you,” he nodded to himself.
“Great! Looking forward to it.” I focused back on my empty plate. Looking down, I caught Sylvie scarfing down the last of my omelette.
The City Square, which was usually bustling with a lot of activity, was abnormally packed with both normal civilians and nobles alike. On the side of the large clock tower, there were four orbs creating a square while underneath these floating orbs, there were two artificers with their brown robes. The less-than-attractive clothing signified that they didn’t do their work for glory and fame, but it didn’t keep the mages from chanting with unnecessarily grand gestures, hands waving as if they were conducting a symphony.
Sylvie was fidgeting on top of my head, taking in all the sights and the huge crowd of people gathered. It was only Elijah, my father and Vincent that came with me, as the women in the house had other plans.
As more and more people gathered, a crackled image began forming with the four glowing orbs as its corners. Suddenly, the fuzzy image became clearer, the mirage of colors forming into the image of the Glayder Castle.
“The three Kings and Queens of the different countries in our beloved Continent of Dicathen have gathered here on this memorable day!”
I see a very fancily-dressed man with a thick grey beard announce to an audience that looked to be in the hundreds of thousands, judging by the space the people took up.
“Attention Humans, Elves, and Dwarves alike, I go by Blaine Glayder. While most of you know me as the King of Sapin, today I speak not as the King of Humans, but as one of the representative of the Continent of Dicathen!”
The hundreds of thousands of people all kneeled, some going on all fours in worship at the sight of the King. The blurry projection becomes clearer and zoomed in closer to the balcony of the Castle. There, I could see the King of Sapin in the front with the Queen of Sapin, Priscilla Glayder, seated behind him alongside a few other important-looking figures. My eyes widened as I spotted Alduin and Merial Eralith, the King and Queen of Elenoir, with Grandpa Virion standing behind them with his arms crossed and his white hair tied neatly behind his pointed ears. Beside them are two representatives of the Dwarves, both lavished in extravagant clothing much too large for their compact figures; I assumed that they were the king and queen.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era in this Continent we call our home. I assume many of you are aware of the existing problems between the Humans and the Elves while even the Dwarves were considered just business partners. However, that is not the way we wish to continue. The representatives of all three kingdoms—your leaders—have met together many times over these past few years in an effort to unite our races. Two years ago, we had agreed for all three races to be able to become adventurers. It started out with just one or two representatives, but now it has expanded. It brings me a smile when I see parties with humans, elves, and dwarves alike, working together towards a common goal. Last year marked another big milestone where Xyrus Academy welcomed students from the Kingdom of Elenoir and the Kingdom of Darv so that the new generation of mages can make friends and memories with not just humans, but all three races. We all understand how difficult it may be for some of us to adjust after constant enmity between us. However, we urge you to let go of the past and the discriminations you may hold, and think beyond that, if not for yourself, but for your children and the future of this continent.”
There was another big round of applause with a roar of worship and adoration accompanying it. King Glayder sat down and Alduin Eralith, the King of Elenoir and Tessia’s father, got up from his seat and cleared his throat before speaking into this world’s version of what seemed to be a microphone.
“It is an honor to speak on behalf of everyone here on this unforgettable day. As King Glayder so adamantly stated, I am also in agreement about the future of our continent. For some people, this may not hold much interest but for many who yearn for adventure and new places to visit, I can wholeheartedly say that this continent is filled with many unknowns. An obvious example is the very Beast Glades residing just beyond our borders. While an uncountable number of adventurers have ventured out into the Beast Glades, it is not an exaggeration to say that not even half of it has been traversed. While the mana beasts have not left the Beast Glades, who is to say that just because they haven’t yet, they never will? Even in our own homeland of Dicathen, there are places so dangerous, no one dares to explore, but what if I were to say that even greater mysteries and dangers are out there?”
King Eralith paused for a brief moment while the crowd in Etistin and the crowd here in the City Square of Xyrus filled with the sound of murmurs.
“That’s right! You have not heard wrong, fellow citizens of Dicathen. We are announcing today, February 10th of the 1005th Cycle, that we have found evidence of another continent.”
The crowds erupted into a clamor of noises, some angry, some afraid, but everyone curious. Even my own hands shook in excitement as my father and Vincent looked at each other in shock.
“Please. We ourselves don’t know very much, so your guess is as good as ours. What we do know is that, out there—possibly within reach in a few years’ time—is another continent that may or may not be hostile. There have been evidence of them trying to reach us as well, but on both sides, it seems that our current technology does not permit us to travel that far.”
The crowd shown in the Capital was in chaos until the dwarven king rose from his chair and trotted towards the microphone.
The dwarven king roared into the voice-enhancing artifact.
“As Alduin said, we don’t know much. However, in these times of uncertainty and possible threats in the future, wouldn’t you guys all agree that standing beside one another is what’s best for this continent and our people? Your children can be in danger as well. The last thing we want is to fight amongst ourselves. Our appearances may be different and our cultures may clash, but remember this…we are all born in this continent of Dicathen. I for one am proud of that and hope that future generations will feel the same way. What about you?”
The crowd remained silent at first but a couple of claps triggered a huge boom of applause as cheers and whistles broke out. The Dwarf King wasn’t as eloquent in his words as the two previous kings that spoke, but his words had a very strong impact. Even Elijah next to me was clapping excitedly as Sylvie continued to watch the screen in curiosity.
“The process of joining our three races and kingdoms will take time and much effort, but today, we will be anointing six individuals—individuals that we, the three kings and queens, believe to be the most courageous, tactful, smart and powerful.”
From the back of the podium, six warriors came out: two elves, two humans and two dwarves. Clad in refined white armor that varied slightly for each person, they walked up and knelt down on one knee.
The three kings each made their way in front of the six kneeling knights and took out from a small ornamental box, six rings. King Glayder of the humans presented the rings to the two elf knights while the Dwarf King presented it to the two human knights. Finally, King Alduin of the Elves placed the rings on the two Dwarf knights, stating that they stand and bow to the crowd. As the cheers exploded, King Glayder went up and spoke once more.
“These six individuals will henceforth be granted the title of the Six Lances. Each Lance signifies the ties they hold not to their Kingdom, but to the entire Continent. This is a truly historical moment as the first Lances have been anointed. These six individuals’ main goal will be towards the well-being of the Continent, whether that be exploring dangerous and unknown dungeons in the Beast Glades, as well as working alongside us, the rulers of this Continent, to ensure that our home is protected when the time comes that we are met with foreign hostilities from a different Continent.”
Once more, the crowd roared as many began throwing flowers and the hats that they were wearing up in the air. As the crowd in Xyrus began clamoring in excitement, I couldn’t help but think to myself. I knew that such theories as herd mentality or crowd psychology hadn’t been defined in this world, but the leaders of our country knew exactly how to exploit the emotions of the mass.
“Lastly, while the title of being one of the Six Lances may be prestigious and comparable to even ourselves as kings and queens, this title also brings upon a great burden and danger. Children of the new generation that seek to become the future protectors of this Continent, strive to be one of the Six Lances! Grow strong and noble as not even the heavens are the limit!”
With that, the four orbs making up the corners of the projection floated down as the image of the announcement faded. The last thing we heard were the chants of, “Long live the King, long live Dicathen!”
Beside me, I heard Elijah muttering to himself, “Wow… the Six Lances… That sounds awesome.” The children within the crowd already started play-acting the scene of the anointment, shouting with their friends that they too have become one of the Six Lances and are going to go out and fight evil.
A part of me wanted to be excited as well. Hell, I was excited! The prospect of a new continent to explore with different people and maybe even different races intrigued me to no end. However, I was quite cynical of this whole thing. Sure, the points they made were quite valid, but in the end, they were just baselessly making this new continent the common enemy so that all of the races of Dicathen could unite. It was an old tool used by many kings, but an effective one that worked.
Still… my heart as, not just a king, but a warrior and mage thirsting for adventure and excitement, thumped harder and harder.
“Not even the heavens are the limit,” I repeated under my breath.