Chapter 26. Until You Have A Proper Hand (1)
The Ceignes River was a stream of water that ran through Kailisys, the capital city of Kailis. Sharing its name with a palace building, the river divided Kailisys diagonally. The palace was located in the central region northeast to the river, and the Royal Road that stemmed from beyond the front gates of the outer fortress—which was in the southwestern direction—crossed the Ceignes River and continued all the way to the Kailis Palace.
When Sispanian left after the death of Hatsua, building the Royal Road revitalised the kingdom that was in recession. Thanks to this large road that branched out to all the major cities, Kailisys was able to once again regain its prosperity. That was how crucial the Royal Road was to Kailis.
— clip clop, clip clop
Two carriages, one black and one white, were heading towards the royal palace on the Royal Road.
The two carriages both boasted fancy ornamentations as they travelled side-by-side. Both of them were painted using good amounts of ground pearl powder to make them shimmer, and each of them had one large glass window adorning its side. The only difference was that one of them was painted white with gilded edges while the other was painted black and lined with nacre.
Nacre, however, was incredibly rare in Kailis. Although Kailis claimed the largest portion of the continent, the only thing they did not claim was the ocean. While pearls could easily be farmed in freshwater, abalones—the source of nacre—could not. Therefore, nacre was often priced higher in Kailis than gold.
Thus, when this huge carriage decorated with nacre trotted down the road, it was no surprise that it would gather everybody’s attention. This irked the passenger of the white carriage that trotted along on the right. The passenger clicked his tongue as he glanced at the black carriage through his window.
“Would you look at that! It is quite literally a large mass of money rolling out on the road. A bit too gaudy, won’t you say?”
Does he think that gilding is cheap? I don’t think he’s in a position to talk about gaudiness, thought his butler, who was sitting beside the coach box. He had heard his master mumbling to himself through the small push-up window that connected the coach box to the passenger area. He would not have dared to have such thoughts about his master if only they hadn’t been carrying a set o-f heels adorned with top-grade diamond that had been imported from Tensil.
A crest with a griffin holding a sharp sword was drawn on the outer walls of the carriage. It belonged to none other than the family of Marquis Brissen, the birth family of Queen Silica. The passenger of the carriage was Lennon Brissen, the second son of Marquis Brissen and the owner of Brissen Merchantry.
“Who is that carriage supposed to belong to? The Siegfrieds? No… there’s no way those elephants would own something like that.”
The Elephant of Kailis.
That’s what people called Siegfried. They called him so because although he had never thirsted for the throne all these years, yet was powerful enough for nobody to dare cross them. It seemed only fitting to compare him to an herbivore so powerful that no sane beast would prey on it. Lennon, however, could not think of any other family that could own such a carriage but the Siegfrieds.
“Who in the world decided to smear that much money on their carriage?” asked Lennon, unable to hold back his curiosity.
“I saw it coming out of Teinansha Street just now, milord. The crest, however, seems to be on the other side of the carriage, and it is difficult to tell whom the carriage belongs to…” replied the butler through the small window.
“Yes, milord. The street is mostly populated by mages.”
“Do you think I asked because I didn’t know about it? How could you be so dense?” barked Lennon, betraying his butler’s kind explanation.
If Silica or Calian had heard his remark, they would have scoffed at his petty attempt to embarrass his butler. Lennon once again peeked outside the curtain and gazed upon the black carriage. However, there was no way of knowing who was riding inside the carriage as the other carriage’s window was also covered with a thick layer of curtains.
“Was there a mage that rich in this city?”
“Would you like to check the crest on the other side of the carriage?”
“Yes, that would be favourable.”
The butler obeyed and ordered the carter to change the course of the carrier. Soon, Lennon’s white carriage slowed down and sped up once again to catch up to the other side of the black carriage. Lennon quickly drew the curtains and glanced at the crest.
Lennon squinted hard as he muttered, “That’s one complicated crest. What are those… flowers? One, two…”
As his carriage inched forward, he could see the crest more clearly. When he finally confirmed the identity of the crest, Lennon rubbed his eyes over and over.
“Am I seeing things…?” he mumbled in disbelief.
“I see seven red flowers and a silver staff, Viscount Brissen.”
“You think I can’t see that? Now shut your mouth!
Seven red flowers and a silver staff!
“What in the world is happening? Dear heavens… this is driving me mad. It’s absolutely bizarre. Why is he here, in Kailis? Why, for God’s sake, is he headed towards the palace?”
Oblivious as to whom that crest belonged to and having been told to shut his mouth, the butler merely fixed his eyes to the front and blinked in stupefaction.
The two carriages also passed through Aynansha Street where the noble families resided. Thus, other noblemen were also informed of this lavish black nacre carriage that was headed towards the palace.
“Vines of red flowers were twined around a silver staff, you say?” asked every nobleman upon hearing the crest’s description from their servant.
“Yes, milord. That was precisely what the crest looked like,” replied every servant with conviction.
“You must be mistaken,” denied every nobleman, brushing it off with a wave of their hand. It can’t be. “There’s no way that the Alan Manassil is in Kailis.”
They all smiled a confident smile as they stopped what they were doing in preparation to leave for the palace.
* * *
It was 9:30 A.M. on the third day of the celebration when the news reached the King.
Alan had arrived at the palace amidst many people’s gazes and attention. He showed the guards his invitation from the King and entered the palace through its front gates. There was no need to confirm whether the doorsill of the closed gates was high or low.
The crest that was engraved into the outer surface of the black nacre carriage could be seen very clearly even from afar. The grand chamberlain rushed to the King, who had been welcoming waves of noblemen all morning and was then heading back to his study, to inform the King about the important guest.
“Your Majesty, it seems that Alan Manassil has come to visit.”