Winter Hall, where the banquet on the eve of the festivities was held, was the most spacious and splendid place in the Crown Prince’s Palace. It was also called the Hall of Mirrors for countless mirrors were installed on the ceiling, and a myriad portraits of successive emperors filled a wall containing the history of the empire.
High ceilings were filled with brilliant chandeliers that shined even in the middle of the day. Aside from factors such as its overwhelming spaciousness and constantly flowering trees regardless of the season, this space was called Winter Hall because of its coldness.
It inherited the cold winds from the forest of Arkazen, in the north facing the Crown Prince’s Palace. The air was so icy that the walls of the castle were frozen white. As a result, Winter Hall maintained a cool temperature all year round, although it was a rather odd anomaly.
The forest of Arkazen was a lush, ordinary forest. Why was cold air flowing out of such a forest? It was a mystery of nature that could not be explained by human knowledge.
As a result, banquets hosted by the imperial family in midsummer were often held in Winter Hall whenever possible.
“Claire Grihartman salutes his Majesty.”
Marquis Grihartmann of the Lille region, who had a stylish wavy white beard, came first to greet and express pleasantries.
The Crown Prince smiled softly at him, picked up the wine bottle and filled the marquise’s cup himself.
“I have high expectations for Marquis Grihartman. Tomorrow I anticipate seeing your second son becoming a Royal Sentinel.”
“It is an honor, your Majesty.”
Marquis Grihartmann raised a glass of wine with a solemn expression and looked at Jurgen, who was standing next to the Crown Prince.
Jurgen politely acknowledged him first, with a simple yet elegant attitude without excess. As with other nobles in front of Edelred, a pang of jealousy stung the Marquis Grihartmann until he moved his gaze to the princess.
“I heard that the Princess, her Highness, saved my son last time. I will never forget that grace.”
Julia, who received the Marquis’s respectful hand kiss, shook her head with a smirk.
“I just did what a guide was supposed to do. So don’t worry about it.”
“As soon as my son arrives I’ll make sure he greets her Highness and expresses his thanks.”
“That’s alright. I see Sir Jamie often enough in the guiding room.”
“Haha, you treat him so freely, I’m indebted.”
Marquis Grihartmann cajolery was just the beginning. Soon came a series of flattering greetings from aristocracy attending the banquet utilizing the sentinel promotion test as an excuse to ingrain themselves.
After the emperor’s condition worsened, the number of banquets held at the imperial court declined sharply. Moreover, since the Crown Prince created the Sentinel Knights and declared war on Plum, the Empire was in a state of combat. While they were thirsty for the imperial banquet for various reasons, today’s banquet was like rain after drought.
“Sir Edelred, is the Archduke absent?”
“There is rumor that you are a squad leader of the Sentinel Knights.”
“By the way, Sir Edelred, have you ever taken a Sentinel rating test? Indeed… . With your strength, you don’t need to be tested.”
Jurgen did not answer any of the questions that came pouring in, but they continued the conversation as if he had already answered. Nobility hid their envy by praising his prestige, wealth, and glory of the Archduke Edelred.
Of course, the man with the honorable name of Jurgen Axel Edelred just passed them with a look of no interest.
Standing on the railing on the second floor overlooking the banquet hall, he slowly lowered his gaze.
Glamorous aristocrats and sentinels in academy uniforms were abundant. But the woman he was looking for was nowhere to be seen.
After returning from the County to the Territory, Jurgen sent the Shadows to Tezeva to find out why Count Von Klose chose to isolate himself in his fief.
And just the day before, information close to the answer arrived.
‘It is said that Count Howell, who left for subjugation 17 years ago, returned with a child. That gate is Plum’s gate, and 80% of the Knights of Blenheim, who participated in the subjugation at the time, were wiped out. However, there are very few survivors who remember that time, so it is not known whether the child is the young miss of the Von Klose household.’
It made sense if Count Howell chose to isolate himself to hide the two coexisting forces in Dahlia’s body.
When someone manifests guiding abilities the person is taken by the temple, the Count and his beloved daughter would be no exception. On the other hand, if Dahlia got married after deceiving the eyes of the temple by engraving the insignia of the seal to contain the power in her body… . Even then, if her powers were revealed the temple could not force her into their ranks.
However, Jurgen was surprised Count Howell Von Klose would know about the ‘Guide Attribution Law.’
The guide laws made by the temple were theirs, and only a special few were given the opportunity to read them. Those special ones were the imperial family, the Archduke, and Count Richard Son, who belonged to a family of scribes assigned by the emperor who transcribed the law codes on the walls of the temple in the ancient script.
It was feared that if the law were to be known to the public, many nobles would engrave seals in order to hide the power of their children.
It was a serious concern that the endless patronage of nobility who sent their children to the temple would be cut off, but considering the shortage of guides, the decision of the temple could not be said to be bad.
So who is Count Howell Von Klose?
Jurgen felt a faint sense of dread stifling him, and unbuttoned the last buttons on his uniform that was fastened up to his neck.
Sometimes he felt this way when he encountered a future he did not know. Maybe it was something close to an anxiety disorder? In the past, Count Von Klose had never attended the party on the eve of the advancement examination.
It was a sure thing because the family went extinct 17 years ago in every other timeline. But he had a feeling that they would definitely attend today.
The future will change again.