In the capital of the kingdom of Alterna.
The first thing Sebastian did after returning from Calice was to report to the king.
When the royal guards saw the middle-aged man walking towards the palace, they saluted him respectfully and let him pass. Sebastian returned the salute and entered the palace.
Then, he went straight to the royal hall.
Today was the day of the royal court, so the hall was filled with ministers and nobles reporting about the kingdom situation. The king was seated in a throne at the end of the hall, with the queen seated beside him and the crown prince standing behind the two of them.
As soon as Sebastian entered the hall, he bowed slightly towards the king.
"Sebastian, my friend. You are back. Please rise." The king smiled gently and waved towards the other people in the hall. All the people here were experienced, and they knew the meaning of the king's gesture. So, in seconds, only the royal family and Sebastian remained in the hall.
The king was a handsome man, with very young looks, and approachable face, and the characteristics features of the Skysword family, black hair and black eyes.
But nobody that knows about the king dares to underestimate him. The king is someone known for being ruthless towards himself and his enemies. Moreover, he was incredibly strong, one of the strongest demigods in the world. In fact, many people considered him the greatest king Alterna has ever had.
"I heard you were involved in a messy situation this time, Sebastian. Sorry for the trouble." The king said apologetically.
"I'm just doing my duty, your majesty."
The king smiled satisfied. "I know, I wish I had more subjects as loyal as you. Okay, tell me everything you know. I already received a report, but I'm sure you know more than the reports say."
Sebastian nodded. Quickly and orderly, he recounted the situation to the king. He started by telling him about how the monsters were discovered, how many monsters attacked the city, the number estimate of casualties, etc.
When he reached the part of the enemy demigod, the king frowned.
"Returning Dusk? Are you sure?"
"Your majesty knows that I can never be mistaken about them."
The king nodded. The story between Sebastian and Returning Dusk was not a secret. The hatred between them was as immense as heaven and earth. In fact, Sebastian's goal in life was to destroy that organization.
"But Returning Dusk has barely acted in the last ten years. Why did they make such a move now?" The queen, who until now had been silent, asked in confusion.
"… I don't know, your majesty. But they clearly had a kind of goal. Unfortunately, I was unable to get enough information."
"I see." The king nodded and fell deep into thoughts. A few seconds later, he looked at Sebastian again. "Tell me about the murder of the city lord, do you know anything about it?"
"Unfortunately no, your majesty." Sebastian shook his head bitterly. "The entire situation was very strange. I left the mansion briefly to reunite certain information, and when I returned, everybody was dead… It was probably the work of the Returning Dusk too."
"Returning Dusk, Returning Dusk… What are these bastards planning?" The king could not help but scowl. "… Son, help me to communicate the reappearance of Returning Dusk to the other kingdoms. If they are planning something, they will not stop after just a monster wave."
"Understood, royal father." Replied the young man standing behind the king, the crown prince of the kingdom.
"Is there anything else you want to report?" The king asked Sebastian.
Sebastian hesitated slightly and looked at the queen and the crown prince with a gaze of hesitation.
The king furrowed his brows in understanding. He then turned towards his wife and spoke gently. "Love, can you leave us alone?"
The queen shrugged without minding it and stood up. "I'll visit some noble ladies later, okay? I'll come back at night."
After saying that, the queen left the royal hall. The crown prince, understanding his father's intentions, followed after her.
Once they were gone, the king frowned. "Sebastian, what is so important that my wife and heir can't hear?"
"… I meet someone in Calice City, your majesty…"
"Someone?" The king was confused.
"The little prince."
"!!!" These words were like thunder resounding in the king's ears. "Impossible! Are you sure!?"
"I am. He was... different than before, but I'm sure he was the little prince. Also, he was pretty strong… Did you hear about Bloed Norman, your majesty?"
"Bloed Norman? I think I saw his name in the report. He is the young man that killed several A-Rank monsters, right? A young talent indeed… Wait a moment, could it be!?"
"Exactly. He was the little prince."
The king fell silent. If Sebastian's words were true, then the son he exiled became strong enough to kill several A-Ranks in just five years!
"… He learned to use mana?"
"… He did. In truth, he was just at the peak of C-Rank, but his mana was very strange, and he could use a strange kind of magic. I'm not sure what it is."
"What do you mean?"
"… Your majesty, I think we were mistaken. The prince probably was not manaless, but instead, he was born with a very special type of magic. That magic was asleep during his childhood, but… He probably awakened it during the life and death fights in the exiled lands, then, he managed to use it to escape."
"Peak C-Rank, huh… But he managed to reach this level in five years, so his cultivation speed is pretty good. Moreover, he managed to fight monsters two ranks above him and kill them… Such talent can be considered monstrous!"
Sebastian nodded silently. He thought the same. When he saw Prince Glenn again, he could not help but marvel about his talent.
Such talent was comparable to the little princess, perhaps even higher.
"Where is he now?" The king asked.
"He left Calice City in the direction of Diadel Duchy. I talked to him before returning and asked him if he wanted to come back to the palace, but he refused."
"Mm, that is normal. I would have found it stranger if he agreed."
The king then stood up from his throne and started to pace around the hall. It was something he did when he was deliberating about something important.
Finally, after almost five minutes, he closed his eyes and sighed.
"There are people keeping track of his location, right?"
"Yes." Sebastian nodded. "I asked our informants outside the kingdom to keep an eye for him. The little prince's features are… very distinctive, so finding him is easy. And when our informants see him, they will report his location to our intelligence network."
"Perfect." The kind nodded indifferently. "Sebastian, I have a mission for you. Go and bring the prince back, I want to talk with him. Use force if it's necessary."
"Your majesty, are you sure? The prince probably will not like it."
"And?" The king replied indifferently. "Does he have a choice? If your words are right, he has the potential to become a demigod. Do you think I will let a potentially future demigod with a grudge against the royal family free? Bring him here. Even if he is displeased, he is just a sixteen-year-old boy. I don't believe he will prefer a life of wandering through the continent over the riches and honors of living like a prince.
"The best result is that he decides to work for the kingdom after I apologize. Of course, if he is too stubborn to see what the best for him is, I don't mind using the hard way. He surely will agree after a while."
I'm not so sure about that… Sebastian wanted to say that, but in the end, he just sighed.
He could see the king was not going to change his decision.
Moreover, the king was right. The prince had the potential to become a demigod. And such a person could be very valuable or very dangerous.
And even if the prince was dissatisfied, what could he do? In front of the greatest human kingdom, he was just a powerless boy.
"I understand, your majesty. I'll accomplish this mission."
Hey, Aidka here!
This chapter finishes this arc.
Thank you to all my readers, the ones thet write in the comments, and the ones that leave behind their suggestions. I always read them (or almost always) to see what do you think about the story.
There were some points in the story I didn't like so much. Maybe due to my inexperience, I was unable to make them as good as I would have liked, but well, this story is also a good learning experience. I hope that the next arc is much better than this.
By the way, this is a good moment to leave your reviews. So go for it! They help me a lot!