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Am I Trapped? :
Riding on a stout horse I was going towards the administrative section of the Great Rock empire. Arriving at the location I let the attendant take care of my horse. After adjusting my attire I entered the castle.
Today was the day new recruits reported to the court so the entire building was bustling with countless people along with their families. This recruitment happened only once in every five years so one has to wait for five more years before they get an another chance. Following the instructions given by the staff I submitted my letter at the far west corner and was presented with a gold badge in its place.
A gold badge signifies the rank of a recruit. Though it is said that all recruits can take any position in the court based on their work, in reality it is different. The ranking of the badges are as follows
Grey badge – They are simply helpers assisting officials
Green badge – They can work as minor officials and are given at most a post of squad leader in an army
Gold badge – This badge determines that they have potential but no strong background, can take up any post.
Purple badge – Determines that they have a strong background and can take any post including a general in the army.
The badges are worn on the white uniform of the officials. The highest tier here are the people with a crimson red insignia ‘ Rock ‘ printed on their back, they belonged to the royal Rock clan. They virtually held all major positions in the empire.
Observing everything calmly I stood among many people with gold and green badges. Soon the chatting stopped when a loud voice announced the arrival of prime minister of Great Rock empire ‘ David Mentis ‘ . All people who were present lifted their heads and quietly listened to the announcement.
Laughing loudly he began his speech ‘ I remember my past every time I see this entrance ceremony. I was a purple badge just like many of you and listened to the then prime minister’s speech just like you, now I am here in his place. The Rock empire is righteous and will reward those who work for it greatly. I am your greatest evidence so work hard and never betray us.
Tomorrow you will be assigned based on your achievements to your respective positions. Serve well and we will reward you greatly ‘
The entire audience immediately erupted into a loud cheering, the prime minister’s speech was followed by other speeches. After some quick discussion with a few fellow recruits I quietly slipped out of the ceremony and headed towards the ‘ Rock palace ‘ which hosts all official meeting of the empire.
After watching it for a while I headed towards the noble quarters a little far away from the palace. After travelling for about two kilometres I reached my destination, a manor. This is actually a property of Maria organisation.
As told by Arnold I went to the security guards and said three letters ‘ I A G ‘ . The security guards immediately bowed their head and went away after packing their belongings. Those words I A G meant – I am Arnold’s Guest. A code word giving me the highest authority to use this house.
After resting for a while I went to the service section of the market and looked for a company with a good image. Selecting one I went inside it.
The store manager upon seeing me immediately stood up and greeted respectfully
” My lord, my name is warren. What can I do for you? ”
Seeing his attitude I smiled lightly. Taking a seat I said ” I want to hire ten maids, five cooks and five butlers as my servants. My manor is No. 56 of noblequarters. I want the best and I want them by tomorrow can you provide them ? ”
My order though not the largest was fairly large so he immediately answered enthusiastically ” Of course, my lord. I can definitely send servants by tomorrow and they will be the best. My lord, if you pray tell your station I will appoint people matching your needs ”
I answered ” I will be working in the court and here take these hundred gold coins as initial payment. Collect any additional amount needed for my manor ”
The person took the gold carefully and answered ” Certainly, my lord ” . He now held a bit more respect after knowing my position as a court official.
Later I had my dinner, after which I immediately went to the underground cellar of the manor. The underground cellar had a hidden room which can be opened only by Arnold who used it to conduct most important deals. It is soundproof and mana proof, it is impossible to detect mana variations produced inside it unless the observer is an expert.
Opening the door I entered into the large room. There was more than enough space for my practise. I immediately began my training. Seated in the lotus position I started arousing the divine energy of Chaos in my body.
Void explained a simplified version of the geometric formation which has less effect and can be made even at my level of power. This formation was imprinted in my memory and was used to circulate divine energy in the specified manner to decrease the cast time of geometric spell.
The next day after a quick bath I finished my break fast and was ready to attend the court. Summoning a carriage I quickly went towards the Rock castle. Getting out of the carriage I was greeted with only gold and purple badged individuals as this place was only reserved for them.
As majority of the candidates belonged to neither categories the number of people only numbered about a hundred. I quietly stood and awaited my turn. Today we had to simply manifest our prowess before the various people of all positions. There were high nobles, generals, ministers and various other people eagerly waiting to take a talented individual under their command.
Standing quietly I was watching everything happening very carefully. After contemplating for a while I decided to increase the level of strength I will show to sixth rank as a mage and third rank as a warrior to increase my chances of getting a higher post because a higher post will increase my chances on investigating about my brother also about my sister in law. Though I know next to nothing about her I have to save her because my brother already accepted her as his wife.
Even after watching for a while I was not impressed by the strength of the recruits, there were none who could possibly threaten me in future but I soon understood the benefit of being a purple badged because even if they had the same level of strength as a gold ranked individual they were given a higher ranking post which was clearly their parents tampering with the system by letting a fellow noble to do a favour.
The ranking in the Rock empire was similar to many ranking systems of the Asgard continent. The one with the highest power was the Emperor below him were Dukes and Generals. Dukes and Generals had about the same level of influence. While the duke administers large territories, a general leads a division of imperial army. Below the Dukes were the Counts who usually maintained a large city and its territory.
Below the Counts were Viscounts who administered local territories like a large town. Below whom lie Barons who are usually responsible for a large village. The lowest in this feudal line of power are Knights who owned large estates or sometimes even ruled over a small territory gifted to them for their achievements in war.
Finally my turn came and I was asked to introduce myself to the lords present before me. Bowing modestly I introduced myself elegantly ” My name is Riddick. I am sixteen this year and have come here to serve Rock empire. I am a sixth ranked dual element mage of fire and lightning also I am a third ranked warrior. I seek service in the great court of Rock empire so please respond kindly to this junior ”
My words instantly made a complete ruckus in the hall. All recruits were instantly shocked and some were even scowling at me. Suddenly a noble raised his voice and said ” Riddick I suppose you have no objection showing us some proof for your claim. We actually find it too astonishing that you have reached this level at such a age and would have just thought it as blasphemy. We don’t want to loose a talent like you if you claim to be what you are so please demonstrate your power as a proof ”
I nodded my head lightly and started chanting the most common fire style spell of sixth rank ‘ Fire Barrage ‘ . This is a wide range spell used commonly by all sixth ranked fire mages in war as it is greatly effective against masses. If even one spell of sixth rank is casted then it proves that I am a sixth ranked mage. After I finished chanting instantly a few dozen fireballs of about twenty centimetres in diameter gathered around me. Successfully casting my spell I directed my gaze at the nobles.
The noble who talked before immediately said with a large smile on his face ” Wonderful, you are a genius born once every thousand years. I am sorry that I doubted you before but I can’t be blamed, its not like I see a sixteen year sixth ranked mage everyday. My name is Duke Benito and I am willing to recruit you directly into the main court. As per his majesty’s order all recruits with extraordinary talent will remain in the capital and directly serve the royal family. So what is your decision?”
I was very satisfied with this result. I managed to get a good image in front of these nobles and also a post in the main court. I smiled lightly and answered ” I am willing and will serve to the best of my capability but I only ask you Sir Benito that I should be given a position which doesn’t need my constant attention as I have to train consistently everyday ”
The Duke nodded and said ” That’s right this period is extremely important for you. I will personally talk with his majesty about this matter. Your request will certainly be accepted ”
He then said to a official standing behind him ” Appoint Riddick as my recruit for now. We will decide on his post after talking with his majesty ” turning towards me he said ” Riddick where are you staying? You are now officially eligible to stay in a noble quarter provided by the empire. Do you want one? ”
I respectfully said ” I do not need one Sir Benito. I am already staying in a comfortable manor of my liking. ”
The Duke said ” Very well, then I will immediately consult his majesty regarding this matter ” saying this he was starting to head towards inner palace when suddenly a voice halted him.
A voice rang out in the hall ” Boy, are you are a sixth ranked mage? “. I was instantly terrified of this voice because no matter how I see it, it did not belong to a mortal. Impossible did my plan fail. No I never made any move on Rock empire till now and I don’t think they would give a shit about Arnold.
Turning my head to see the owner of the voice I was greeted by a middle aged person who was emanating a very noble aura incomparable to the other nobles. All the other nobles immediately bowed deeply and said in a extremely respectful manner ” Greetings, lord Kennedy ”
So this person is actually Kennedy no wonder his voice is so soul shaking. I was thinking about what should I say, should I say the truth or not. Suddenly Void voice resounded in my mind. ” Careful, Riddick. This guy is not an ordinary immortal. Fuck, I don’t think he is even in divine disciple stage. What is such a guy doing here? Wasn’t he supposed to be a junior brother of Jonathan. Riddick I think we should not change our statement at this stage. I don’t think he will just kill us just for lying besides I don’t sense any malicious intent from him ”
I bowed deeply and said in a respectful way ” Lord Kennedy this junior pays his respects. I am indeed a sixth ranked mage ”
Kennedy smiled lightly and said ” Interesting, I don’t know your reasons but I feel that you are more than what you want people to know. Well let’s have a chat ” saying this he suddenly flipped his hand and I was instantly pulled towards his position. Stabilising myself I looked at Lord Kennedy only to see him speak to Duke Benito ” Benito was your name right? ”
Benito hurriedly bowed his head and said ” Yes, my lord ”
Lord Kennedy said in a loud voice ” Riddick will for now stay under my command and his position will be the same as the royal family. Pass this message to the emperor. Understood? ”
Benito instantly responded ” Yes, my lord ”
Lord Kennedy didn’t spoke any further to him. He turned towards me and said ” Follow me ” . I had many questions I wanted to ask but I was trapped here. Forget about someone who surpassed divine disciple stage I can’t even win against a beginner divine disciple so I had no choice but follow his orders and hope for the best.
Still I couldn’t understand just what did this lord Kennedy want with me. As far as Void knows it is impossible to know Void’s presence in me by anyone no matter how strong he is. So the only thing I could consider was that he was interested in me or Sylvie. I wonder what he wants to chat about.