88.23% King of Seals / Chapter 15: Sylos of Vanerlos

Chapter 15: Sylos of Vanerlos

Camilla and Sylos continued to converse until builders and craftsmen employed by Kye arrived. He proposed that they work as long as they could and whenever they could. He, himself, would stay at the Meadow's Inn until the renovations were done.

They spent the rest of the afternoon merrily strolling through and shopping in Vanerlos. Camilla was unexpectedly spendthrift and brazenly insisted on paying everything for Sylos. He secretly promised to himself that he would pay everything back, including what she had given to Kye.

Their conduct in public was unmistakenly that of sweethearts. Sylos had followed Camilla's lead; if she didn't care about being discreet, neither would he! Bellhorn-communications were saturated with this news.

...

"Did you hear? She's with one of ours!"

"You call him one of ours now?

"Of course the Rose of Roy could only be conquered by a Lad of Vanerlos!"

...

"The rest of the kingdom likes to look down on this town; they have no idea how much we've grown! We easily rival the cities!"

"I heard she wouldn't give noble suitors a chance!"

...

"He greeted me the other day at the Office! He's a nice young man."

...

"I think his name is Sylos. I overheard the town' clerks today. Apparently, he doesn't have a surname yet. But you can tell you're in-laws that he's from Vanerlos! That'll make them think twice about they thought about you moving here with me! "

...

"Sylos... of Vanerlos, yes. That's his name. Look everything you can about him... What ties does he have to other countries? What is his lineage? Anything you can find!

[...]

Vaner and his troops had already returned Vanerlos on the same they went to Vanerrias Forest. Contrary to custom, the young lord had ordered everyone to keep their venture and return secret. He was now in the main administrative building, the Hunter's Nest, with one of his most promising subordinates and loyal confidantes, Mirella.

"Have you heard the latest Lord Vaner... about Sylos, I mean...?" Mirella coyly asked while serving him tea.

"Oh, yes! Took me by surprise!" He replied. "That Camilla... to think forest-boys would be her type! Hahaha! I'd like to see the faces of those so-called knights and blue-blooded suckers who couldn't buy a minute from her time! Ha!" He exclaimed, loudly sipping his tea.

"But... not only that... I heard some kid is running errands, costly, very costly errands, for him... though it's not in his name... it's probably Ca..." She was interrupted by Vaner.

"Oh, Fermer's kid you mean. I agree he shouldn't have ties with the boy. It's probably Camilla's doing..." He slurped his tea. "if I didn't know any better, I'd say she's lazy for employing a little porter..."

"But young lord!" Mirella wanted to plead with him. He raised his hand to stop her.

"Just Vaner would do! Thanks." He gayly served himself some more tea.

"Hm... Vaner" She blushingly continued. "That Camilla rarely shows interests in anyone except that Jacques! Now, because she's all lovey-dovey with some refugee, she wants to interfere with us?! He even elected to join a man he has no knowledge of instead of the prestigious Hunter's Guard! Don't you want him to join us or at least maintain rightful control over how things are done? With this sort of backing and advantage, the trials will be a foregone conclusion!" She ended her passionate plea.

Jacques seemed both disinterested and amused by her speech. "Aaaaah! Not worth the trouble kid."

"Kid?!" Indignation filled her voice. "I'm only two years younger than you Vaner! What would that make you then, huh?!" Her closed fists were now placed on her hips, completing an impertinent posture.

"Haha! That's the spirit!" He was now fully entertained. "My guess... if Camilla, the ever-reserved Rose of Roy, carefreely dares to parade her new-found lover, what makes you think she wouldn't be willing to ask the Queen directly, huh?" He asked both amiably and mockingly.

Mirella was at a loss. She sensed that Vaner could somehow understand some of Camilla's ways. It was unthinkable that the reserved rose would make such a display in the first place! Knowing her position, being this open would naturally mean it was only a matter of time before Sylos gained some sort of official position, if not as her fiancé, then at least as a citizen. The Queen, who treasured Camilla, would see to it herself!

Mirella's attitude-change suggested she had understood Vaner.

"I was sort of rude to her... I'll apologize to her tomorrow and arrange an appointment with Sylos. Even if the Queen doesn't get directly involved, the fact remains that she would act if she knew... and news does travel fast... How would we look if we were trying to get Sylos to our side while he's on Camilla's and therefore the Queen's good side?" She said dejectedly.

"Don't bother going to her. Just apologize when you meet her. In regards to Sylos... unless he or Camilla or anyone with authority comes to you directly to request citizenship... the trials continue!" Vaner confidently proclaimed while chewing on some dried meat he had brought with him. He was now directly drinking from the jug of tea.

Mirella understood directly and nodded. She too felt that Sylos sincerely wanted to go through the trials with his own strength. Even if he had the necessary material and financial resources available, this could be taken into account for grading his achievements.

She remembered Sylos' confident words when they first met and quietly asked: "You're sure you don't want him working for you... or with you?"

Vaner looked seriously at Mirella, knowing that she too could sense he was a promising young man. His eyes then became bright with passion and a smile that could conquer cities shone on his face.

A laconic reply was given to Mirella.

"A greater prize awaits..."

[...]

Late in the evening, before they parted ways, Camilla introduced Sylos a certain person.

"She's the one to whom I gave the bats." She explained while riding Stella through narrow and lonely streets.

They arrived at what looked like a combination of a rustic apothecary and arcane plant shop. Camilla knocked twice on the wide window-door with her longsword Whitesteele.

[Toock] [Toock]

She then mounted Stella, lowered her head and gave Sylos a heartfelt look. "See you...", she whispered before kissing Sylos goodbye, briefly putting him in a semi-trance. It was only when he heard an unknown voice out of nowhere that he got back to his senses.

"You're going to leave without explaining yourself, Camilla?" A soft but clear voice was heard.

A young woman suddenly appeared near them. They now stood between her and the store. She took off her hood, revealing long black straight hair, deep and mysterious eyes which contrasted her otherwise delicate, adorable face and pearl-white silky skin. She was wearing a loose and heavy black monk-like robe which covered everything but her hands and face.

She gracefully folded her hands, kept quiet and gave both of them a patient look.

Unbewildered, Camilla explained: "No need for long explanations. I simply think you can help each other out." She smiled and winked at the mysterious lady. She then turned to Sylos, "help her as best as you can, okay?", after Sylos nodded, she rode away.

Sylos reflected {this must be related to the bats...}. He turned towards the presumable shopowner, ready to introduce himself. Before he could do so, she passed him by and unconcernedly instructed him to follow her inside. "Let's talk inside."

He followed her into the strange store. As soon as he entered after her. The door closed by itself. The light inside intensified. Sylos was shocked {it seems like it's midday here!}. The dormant plants and flowers seemed to come to life; the green of their leaves brightened greatly.

A strong feeling was impressed upon Sylos.

"There is magic power here?" He couldn't help asking {the magical atmosphere is way thicker than in Vanerrias Forest!}.

The mysterious lady smiled. "I see...", she pondered, "you're not from this realm either?"

Sylos was astounded. The question sent a shock through his spine. He couldn't utter a single word.

"I am Eriliya." She calmly introduced herself as she caressed several leaves around her. Her back was turned to Sylos but she had slightly turned her head towards him.

"No one born in this realm would be able to detect magic force. It's true that it's quite thick here, but it's not strong enough for just anyone to sense it." Her tone was soothing and suggesting she felt pleasantly surprised.

"I am not from this realm either. I wandered as an orphan with Camilla and a few others before we landed in Vanerlos. And who are you?" She fully turned to Sylos, revealing a subtle but charming smile.

"I'm Sylos" He was wholly affected by what Eliriya's words yet simultaneously put at ease by her sympathetic bearing {I can sense a great trust between her and Camilla. How would she be this open to a stranger otherwise?}. "I too am an orphan from another realm. I was wandering in Vanerrias Forest the past weeks before meeting Camilla two days ago."

Eliriya laughed softly, placing her hand in front of her mouth. "Don't worry, I am laughing because of Camilla, not you..." She stopped her laughter but maintained a smile filled with gentleness.

"You probably don't know what it means to be that girl's boyfriend, right?"

Sylos looked mystified.

She laughed again. "You know, the Queen of Eurymia greatly appreciates Camilla. They are undoubtedly cut from the same cloth..."

He still seemed at a loss. Camilla hadn't mentioned her close relationship with the Queen to him.

She continued. "It is said that when the Queen met her husband-to-be, a humble farmer and artisan, she simply said that he was to marry her. She brought him to a royal gala and introduced the young man as her fiancé. She only asked him his name after kissing him in front of everyone.." She amusedly smiled as she told the story.

"In all that she did, she was always unconcerned with expectations and customs, rings a bell?" She asked teasingly.

Sylos cleared his throat after chuckling.

"It is said that her Grace once asked if Camilla she was interested in marrying one of the princes and becoming a princess. Of course, no one knows how serious the question was, her Majesty does have quite the sense of humour after all. Nevertheless, Camilla flatly and seriously rejected her offer..."

"Are you familiar with the rules of Royal Succession?" She then asked.

"Not in detail. I'm not a citizen yet so the information I had access to was very general. What I read is that the prince or princess who becomes King or Queen respectively is decided by fate and that it's somehow related to their marital union..." He answered.

"Yes..." She again started to look after some plants. "It is written. As soon a child of this country's ruler comes of age at eighteen, they officially become a candidate for the crown. I can at least tell you that only after they marry can the Queen determine whether or not they will be the True Successor."

Eliriya elegantly and effortlessly cared for the flowers and plants while giving Sylos an explanation. "Well... in the eyes of those in power, Camilla is equal in status to a princess. Her Majesty treats her like her own child."

"She doesn't have the responsibilities of a princess but all the freedoms and privileges. Though she seldom cares to take advantage of them. "

"After Camilla rejected the proposal to marry one of the princes, it is said that the Queen promised that the one who she'd fall in love with would be granted status equal to a ..."

A sly smile appeared on her face as she said: "Well, I hope prince Sylos will forgive my lack of manners."

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