Now is the time to call Dan and his party. This time, I got to control myself not to be anxious and weird around Amy.
I open my phone and press the number.
The phone rings for a while before the call connected.
"Dan, where are you?" I immediately ask not bothering with greeting.
"I'm in Derka." He replied panting.
Derka is one of the seven states in Vanheim Kingdom. Every state is controlled by a noble as a vassal of Vanheim Kingdom.
Derka is in northwest of Vanheim state which is controlled by King George. Thankfully he is in Vanheim which makes my next request easier.
Then I ask
"Can you help me with my quest?" He then replied enthusiastically
"Well, of course." But then there was a bit of silence before Dan ask hesitantly
'Uh…and can I bring Amy?" I was also silent for a while before saying
"Yeah, you can bring her. It's not like she's my enemy. I promise I will show my best behavior if she shows hers."
Dan chuckles on the other line of the phone.
"Oh, and I would like to introduce you to someone else. She's really amazing. She could definitely help."
Another person? To be honest I prefer only the people that I met to be part of this quest. But Dan insist, so--
"Ok, I guess."
Then I give him my location and tell them to meet me there.
**************** ********************* ***************** ***********
I was waiting for them nearby the swamp area on the direction to the white manor.
Since I know it will take some time, I did not waste my time as I honed my other skills like tailoring and blacksmithing.
After 5 hours of waiting finally they arrived looking happy. Amy face distorted to a cold appearance after she saw me. With a humph gesture she stuck her nose high and trying as best as she can not to acknowledge me.
To me it looks cute. It is like a child throwing a tantrum. But instead of three there is a fourth person inside their group.
Dan did mention he is bringing a new face but what shocked me I recognized the face. The new face also was shocked seeing me.
With a short light brown hair and hazel eyes that shone brightly she looked a little more energetic than when Aero first met her.
She also wears an elegant robe and walk confidently. Her staffs also seems brand new. It might channel her abilities more effectively.
"Sarah, is that you?" Aero asked as Sarah walks a faster and reach Aero. They hugged each other as greeting and she smiles.
Aero also smiles.
It is rare he meets an acquaintance.
Without her help, Aero will not get the Grand Strategist class.
"You two know each other?" Dan asked clearly shocked with this development.
"Yeah, I met him when I was helping him with something." Sarah replied as she pats my shoulders, happy to see me again
She remembers. I thought I was the only one. She must have trained hard after our last meeting to be acknowledged by Dan.
After all it is obvious that she seems stronger and more confident than before.
"You didn't tell "that" to anyone right?" I leaned in to her ears and whispers
"No, I didn't" she whispered back and I chuckles.
At least she is a loyal person. That alone is a merit.
"So is she the one you want to introduce to me?" I asked Dan.
"Yes" Dan said feeling relived that Aero did not seem averse to the idea. I smile at Sarah as Sarah chuckles
'What? You're not going to reject me right?' Aero chuckles and shakes his head.
"She's in" I said to Dan.
'Good' Dan replied
I looked around and I realized Amy was at the back watching us. She was pouting.
'That's cute' I whisper under my breath.
After that I explained to them about the quest. I told them about the Sage request and the difficulty of the quest.
They were shocked after listening to the full story.
They thought it was a C or D difficulty but to take an A difficulty level quest at our current level is crazy in their opinion.
But my opinion is different.
An A level difficulty level will affect the Kingdom. All of them must think that we need to fight and wage war but I believe there is another way more effective.
The group all think the solution is to send various force of players and NPC Knights and Paladin to suppress these threats, which means the King must issue quest and in turn use the Kingdom treasury.
Even if they won, the Kingdom might be facing economy issue after that. And they know how hard an A difficulty level is.
Leo Clan is one of the most prolific clan in Brave World yet even they still could not capture Fort Regar in the Kingdom of Redat.
But because Aero insist he can solve it, they believe him.
Dan has seen his ability before.
Raina acknowledge that Aero inspire confidence while Amy while pouting of course is not so petty that she would disregard the fact that Aero clearly is stronger and smarter than her in this game and fowling him would give them the most benefit if they succeed.
Sarah is the one that trust him the most.
Why? That's because she once see him demonstrate his wit and intelligence in winning a battle with the least force and loss.
If he were able to create that miracle again, Sarah would be very impressed. Sarah has found a candidate.
The main protagonist of her new TV shows. That's what she felt and believe. She will make him a star.
She thought to herself as Aero was explaining to them the steps that needs to be taken later.
They all entered the white manor. Aero explains that he will brings his companion to the Palace to meet the King.
The Sage agreed. Danon was tasked to look after the manor.
Waiting for a bit inside the manor, Dan talk to the Sage and realizes the Sage has many knowledge about the Vilajeri continent and even trigger a quest about finding some lost map.
Dan promise Aero that he will complete the quest after he finished helping him.
Not long after a carriage prepared by the Palace arrived at the manor. Thankfully the carriage was large and everyone fit inside it.
With that came the summons and edict from the King summoning the Sage and his companion to the Palace.
Aero and his companion all entered the carriage and they travel inside the carriage feeling like an important person in the kingdom.
With the Lion crest carved into the front of the carriage everywhere the carriage pass the people give way.
"What do you think the palace would look like?" ask Amy towards Raina. Aero was just silent and sometimes steal a glance at Amy.
The wind blows her hair and looking at her face Aero felt something beating. His heart raced as he avert his gaze.
"Maybe a medieval design castle "answered Raina coolly. Amy pouted before Raina pinched Amy cheek.
'Don't be cheeky' Raina said smiling. And Amy quiet down.
'I could not even joke around with you.' Raina just chuckles. A few hours later they arrived at the palace ground.
Looking at it from outside, the palace looked majestic, large and imposing.
But there is a certain aura that doesn't feel comfortable. As Aero step down from the carriage and look at the Palace, he knew this is his first step towards his tomorrow.
He hopes he could succeed. He didn't want to stumble in his first step. He only hopes he is capable enough to help the King.
After the Sage informed their arrival, they walked inside the Palace.
The palace was beautiful in every way. The walls were adorned with beautiful piece of art. The ceiling has the painting of the Seven Celestial creating the world.
Exquisite craftsmanship has a trace in every furniture.
It is truly was a sight. But while others were looking at the art with fondness, Aero seems uneasy with all the art in there.
"Why the sour face? Afraid of pictures?" mocked Amy.
Aero answered with a cold tone.
"I don't like arts. Or gallery of arts. Any gallery to be honest" It reminded Aero of a painful memory.
At that time, Amy saw it. But she thought she was mistaken. He's too young to have that kind of face.
What she saw was a face of utmost sorrow and longing. And Amy would not admit this, but her heart skips a beat.
*************************** **************** ******************** *****
They were waiting for the King to come as they were sipping the tea. Aero knows this is a game but by god, even the taste was replicated.
It was like Aero is really drinking tea in reality.
Not to mention the tea itself is good. They were directed to the guest room after they met the Royal Guards.
'What do you think the King would look like?' Dan asked Aero.
He never even met the King how should he knows.
They spent their time waiting talking about their adventures when suddenly a crier announced the arrival of the King.
Aero quickly straighten himself up and his other companions also did the same. The door opens and revealed a proud king.
With muscular physique that shows a robust disposition the king looked like the epitome of a warrior king.
His hair is blonde and he has piercing blue eyes. The King is not young but he was not old either.
Yet, the King carries himself like an old man nearing the end of his prime.
Aero notices this because for such a king he looked weary, almost like an old man carrying a big burden on his shoulders.
Aero introduces himself first.
"My name is Aero, Your Grace"
Aero said this while putting his hands on his heart.
He learned this from the etiquette book in the Sage place. Not only had he learned the etiquette he also raise a lot of intellect and wisdom reading that book.
Can you imagine? 15 books about etiquette alone.
"I've heard about you from Nicolas." The King said as he takes a seat. Then looking at the Sage sitting not far away from Aero he nodded.
The King was clearly pleased looking at Aero. He looked scholarly and intelligent. The Sage will not pick the wrong talent to be recommended to me.
"So if you have come here, you must have a solution for my problem" The King declares.
Aero closes his eyes and hopes the solution that he thinks of could really help the King.
After reviewing what he already knows of this kingdom he has the confidence that it might work.
There was never a one hundred percent plan that would never fails. There is always some changes and variables.
A strategist worth is measured on how will he tackle those variables and adapt accordingly.
"I do, Your Grace" Aero replies
"What is the solution?" The King asked clearly interested in the bold declaration of this young man before him.
This problem has plaques him so much, yet this young man declares boldly that he could solve His worries.
While he will not underestimate this young man he will also not just accept things blindly showing the sagacious trait of this particular ruler.
It is for this reason the Sage could maintain a good relationship with the King even though they are subject and superior.
"First before I reveal you my solution, I would like to ask the people in the room what the best way to solve the problem is.' Aero asked.
The reason why he asked because he wanted to increase his prestige in front of the King, to instill the confidence of the King towards him after the solution of others prove insufficient.
After all the others do not know the true problem of this Kingdom so Aero had no worries that the other could solve this problem before him.
Sarah put her hands up.
"Sarah. What do you think we should do?"
"I think we should ask the adventurers and the people of Vanheim to volunteer to the Royal Army and then we can suppress the threats all over the borders"
It was a simplistic approach but the King was not pleased. Aero knows why.
Because the threats of the Kingdom are not only those that can be seen but also those that could not be seen mainly internal problems of the Kingdom.
"I think we should send people to negotiate with the nobles to focus on the greater good of the realm and stop bickering" offer the Sage. The Sage winked at Aero and Aero gratefully nodded.
He knows the Sage knows what he is trying to do and he just play along.
The Sage ideas are also good but the Sage disregard the fact that people are greedy creatures.
Not all people are gentleman and virtuous person like the Sage being able to disregard fame, fortune and power.
If they were all like the Sage why would the King had such a headache with the nobles families?
Aero laughed. A good hearty laugh. Then he stands up and walked towards Amy and said
"Royal Army? Maybe you can suppress the invading forces but how can you suppress the nobles in the Kingdom. The King is not the only one who has army. The other nobles also have an army. Raise an army, and believe me those nobles would raise their own armies in retaliation. Why would they raise their armies you might ask? Because they will sense the opportunities to gain more power if they threatened the King. They will not displace the King but they will make a show of force forcing the King to always live under their thumbs. A powerful kingdom needs a powerful King!' he said and his voice echoed inside the guest room.
Even the King felt jolted in shock.
'A powerful kingdom needs a powerful King!' The King murmured and just like that the clouds inside his mind disappeared like he was enlightened.
Amy did not like being berated in front of other people so she said
'Then we negotiate. They must see reason and knows a weak King will also means a weak Kingdom.'
'Negotiate? If the nobles could think about the greater good of the realm then the King wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. Even if somehow one of you suggest that we round up all the nobles that have treasonous intention, what you're going to do? Execute all of them?"
Then Aero coughed and began talking
"A ruler who observes rite would command respect, a righteous ruler would be held in esteem, a ruler who honors his promise would be honored by his people. That's the way to rule a country. Government by punishment would result in more violence and backlash."
All the people in the room could not help but nodded their head listening to Aero. The Sage especially beamed with pride.
This is the same school of thoughts of his Teacher and he was satisfied knowing that the heirloom of his family could be used by such a person.
Looking at the King Aero look straight at his eyes.
Normally this would be considered a disrespect but the King could see the determination in the young boy eyes and like he was infected by that same determination the King also understand that this young boy has staked everything in this.
With that the King heart feel warm.
Even now, as the court abandoned him, there is still some that will follow him. Feeling such emotions fills the King with great satisfaction and relief.
"I have a plan Your Grace, but I only have one condition. You must follow my advice without fail! If you could abide by this one instruction of mine, the Kingdom will be yours and you could rule the world"
This word was bold and outrageous. Isn't he saying in a way, that if the King follows the strategy laid out by this young man he would gain the world?
Which means the strategist is saying that he is able to scheme against the world and serve the world to him.
It was arrogant and preposterous. He was about to reprimand the young man before him before the King remember a saying
Without Lizhu, there is no Alain. Lizhu was also young when Alain went to him and persuade him to embark in his conquest
The King believes that Nicolas, his old tutor will not sent him someone incompetent. He decides to trust this adventurer.
'HAHAHA' the King laughed.
'Fine, what do I have to lose?' He said as he got up from his seat and stretch out his hand to shake Aero hands.
Aero smiles and shake the King hand.
'What is the first step of your plan?' The King asked after that. Smirking Aero replies.
"I want you to get out of the Palace' hearing this word the entire room felt into shock.
Did Aero just ask the King to leave the Palace like he was chasing him out? The Sage was pale in his face while Aero companion was choked looking at the King face turning complicated.
Even the King was stunned. Only Aero was smiling relaxingly.
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