The streets were maze-like. So instead, they walked along the main road paved with flat stones and entered a relatively quiet restaurant to have a late breakfast. Calto Serbel was discussing something with the two of his aides as they sat around a long table and filled their stomachs with hot stew. The conversation sounded like they were talking about the schedule of their expedition.
“The plan was for the Holy Knights to arrive before us and serve as our guides, but due to the winds we arrived a week earlier than expected. It seems we will have to wait in Anatol until the Holy Knights arrive.”
After discussing it for a long time, Calto approached the long table. “First, the plan is to head to Anatol’s cathedral and meet with the priests. The church will help provide a place for us to stay.”
“How are we going to get to Anatol? I heard that the journey would take an hour from the port here to the center of Anatol.” A skinny senior wizard named Ben asked in a polite manner.
Calto turned his head toward him and responded. “We decided on accompanying some merchants who are bringing in goods to Anatol. The place is not so far away, and the route is relatively safe, but it would still be better to travel with escorts if possible.”
Max listened to the conversation, but their voices were entering one ear and leaving the other, then she looked out the window and into the street. Several wagons full of goods were endlessly coming in and out. It could be clearly seen that the taxes and tolls alone for such trades would generate a huge amount of revenue. She was completely amazed by what Riftan had accomplished in such a short period of time. However, at the same time, it made her left feeling empty because of the fact that she wasn’t by his side to support him while he worked hard to accomplish something so astonishing. It would have been wonderful to witness this place grow and prosper with her own two eyes.
Max shredded chunks of meat from her stew and fed bits of it to Roy, as she watched people walking on the streets. They were all well-dressed and had good complexions. It seemed that the residents in that area were living abundantly.
“Max, look over there!”
While she was preoccupied with watching the people on the streets, Sidina, who was frantically eating next to her, suddenly stabbed her side with a finger. Max turned her head and gave her a questioning look.
Sidina whispered loudly into her ear. “Over there! There’s a very handsome man.”
Max narrowed her eyes at Sidina, then turned to look at the direction she was pointing at. A slim young man in a deep blue cloak was entering the inn with two men of sturdy physique. Max’s eyes widened. As her friend had observed, the man was indeed a great beauty, his neatly tied silver hair and elaborate features were so beautiful that he could easily take a spot on being engraved on the hall pillars of the great temple. His white, smooth skin seemed to glow but his cold, expressionless eyes looked ruthless.
“He looks like a noble man, doesn’t he? Perhaps he’s a knight from Anatol?”
Sidina whispered softly into Max’s ear. She was about to tell her that there was no such person within the Remdragon Knights, but thought that Sidina might ask how she knew that, so Max kept her mouth shut.
The man clearly did not appear like a commoner. He was dressed in simple but elegant clothes and was lightly armed with a sword around his waist. Max thought that he could be a new member. As she pondered on that thought, the young man, who was looking around the restaurant, spoke in a low voice.
“I have heard from the city supervisor that there were wizards from the World Tower who have arrived. Would you spare us a moment of conversation?”
“What matter do you have to discuss that you came looking for us?” Calto turned towards the young man and asked.
The young man approached him and spoke calmly. “I am Yulysion Lovar, a knight who serves Lord Calypse. I have been asked by Anatol’s head priest to treat the guests from the World Tower with utmost hospitality.”
He paused for a moment then looked through the people around the table with an extremely noble and arrogant look. Max doubted her ears as she stared blankly at him. She sat at the end of the long table, hidden behind a pillar, so he didn’t seem to have seen her.
Yulysion then turned his head back to Calto and continued in a dull tone. “I see that the group has arrived earlier than expected. Now, everyone, get up from your seats. I shall be taking you to Calypse Castle.”
“I appreciate the offer, but I should decline.” Calto resolutely shook his head. “There is no need for us to be indebted to Calypse Castle. The church has promised to provide us support, we shall head to the cathedral.”
“There isn’t enough accommodation in Anatol’s Cathedral to serve you. The cathedral has begun its expansion recently so even the priests who are living there are staying in Calypse Castle as well.” As if he was a little offended by Calto’s rejection, he spoke with his forehead creased. “There is one lodging for guests on the cathedral grounds, but it is extremely shabby and may already be full of wanderers who have gathered there for alms. Most of the inns are also full as it is the time when the merchants arrive with goods.”
Calto looked around the wizards with a face full of thought. He seemed reluctant to let them stay at Calypse Castle, but also concerned that he shouldn’t let the wizards have no place to stay after a long voyage. After a moment of silence, the young man lightly shrugged his shoulders as if he had no intention of persistently persuading Calto to stay at Calypse Castle.
“It’s alright if you really don’t intend to. I’ll leave a word to the gatekeeper, if you ever change your mind, you are welcome to come to the castle. Well then, I have a lot of work to do, I must now take my lea-…”
The man, who was about to turn coldly, suddenly stopped moving. Max could clearly see him facing her, with his body towards the direction she was sitting. His vivid purple eyes sparkled in the pale winter sunlight that seeped through the window. Max, who was still confused even after hearing his name, murmured with a shocked expression.
The man, who had been staring blankly with a face that seemed to have seen a ghost for a while, finally strode towards her. His face that seemed only to be cold as a piece of marble, dramatically brightened and revealed the face of the innocent boy that Max knew well.
“M’lady! You have returned!”
“Are you re-really Yulysion?”
Max looked at him from head to toe in disbelief. She couldn’t keep her mouth closed as it hung open in shock. She wondered where the slender boy, who was only half a span taller than her, had gone. A tall young man with a dignified physique looking over 6 kvettes tall (around 180 cm) was now facing her.
“I heard that wizards from the World Tower had come, but I would have never imagined that the lady would have been with them! It hasn’t been three years since the lady left. I thought that the lady would be back by next spring at the earliest… as expected, the lady really is amazing!” As if he had not noticed that Max was half-frozen, Yulysion excitedly continued talking. “Everyone will be delighted to know that you’re here! We shouldn’t be here, we should immediately head to the castle…!”
“W-wait! Calm down a bit. I’m not coming back yet for goo…”
Max hurriedly denied his assumption, but Yulysion wasn’t listening at all. He went and stood by the entrance and yelled exasperatedly at his linemen.
“What are you all doing! Lady Calypse has returned. Show your respects right now and prepare to take the lady to the castle!”
“Lady Ca…Calypse?” Sidina’s eyes darted bewilderingly between Max and Yulysion, exclaiming in a hoarse voice. “Max’s last name is Calypse? As in that Calypse of Riftan Calypse?”
Max appeared perplexed. Not only Sidina, but all the other ones’ eyes flew towards her, the wizards and the sailors who were enjoying a breakfast to warm them from the cold sea breeze. Max, who was suddenly the center of attention, flushed red in embarrassment. People whispered and murmured to each other’s ears that the Lady of Anatol had returned. Some of them even snooped around, stretching their necks to take a good look at her face.
Calto breathed a deep sigh as their surroundings turned noisier. “It seems that it will be right to remain there. If the offer is still valid, we shall accept your invitation.”
“Of course, it is! The offer stands valid.”
Yulysion exclaimed loudly and ordered his men to have the carriages ready. Then, as if it were natural for him, he picked up her luggage and anticipatingly asked her.
“Will it be alright for us to talk until the carriages arrive? There are so many things I ought to tell you!”
Max looked back at Calto to ask permission and he nodded resignedly. “It’s been a while since you’ve seen someone you know, there will be a lot of things to talk about so do as you please.”
Max left Roy with Sidina for a while and followed Yulysion out. There were five steeds who were waiting by the road and two men standing proudly beside them who seemed to be Yulysion’s subordinates. She quickly found the Remdragon Knight’s crest on the armor he was wearing underneath his cloak and she smiled brightly.
“You are an official knight now! I must call you Sir Lovar from now on.”
“The knighting ceremony was held shortly after the lady left.” Yulysion said with a blush on his cheeks, as if he was flattered. “However, please be comfortable with calling me by my name as you did before.”
“How is Garrow?”
There was a mischievous smile around Yulysion’s lips as Max looked around, looking for the apprentice knight who was always paired with him.
“That friend of mine has of course also been knighted. He is currently serving as Lord Nirta’s assistant. He says it feels like he’s dying.”
Max felt a little awkward at the sight of Yulysion, who had turned unrecognizable, but the familiar names made her heart flutter. She hesitated for a moment then asked in a cautious tone.
“How is… Ri-Riftan? Has he been well?”
Yulysion’s face clouded in an instant. Max felt her heart sink.