CASeries #1: KNIGHT
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Meeting with Royalty
The academy’s portal was waiting. It was the seemingly innocent door that led to a small building that resembled something akin to a crypt—but not exactly. It was more of a fancy version of a janitor’s closet transformed into a priceless treasure with the mechanisms laid out.
All it took to get to the Rosellevienne Palace was a single step.
Valeriana stepped through the doorway, looking back and forth between the room she stood in and back whence she came. “I still wonder how this thing happens.”
The man cleared his throat.
Valeriana looked towards the man and straightened her spine. “Oh.”
“My name is Edeltraud and I shall serve as your guide. The palace is a complicated maze, there’s a high possibility of you getting lost trying to find your way around.”
“That is true. No matter how many times I go here, I am never able to familiarize myself with these twists and turns,” Lord Aeron stated in a matter-of-factly tone. “And that is saying a lot, coming from me.”
“That is the purpose of this palace’s enormous size. Such complexity is something that cannot be mastered in a matter of years.”
He seemed proud that he could navigate around this place expertly, and Valeriana herself was impressed. Lord Aeron then waved to the girl, gently steering her to come forward as he gestured to the man.
“Come on now. Introduce yourself.”
She stepped forward with a smile. “Is this the part I bow?” she asked her company.
Lord Aeron and Headmaster Kylon simultaneously raised brows.
“Okay, okay.” She mustered all the grace in her body before sinking low. “Nice to meet you, sir.”
The man looked her way—finally. “And what is your name, might I ask?”
“Well, Miss Valeriana, I assume that you—” He stopped short when he took in her appearance, visibly holding his breath. His body went so rigid, as stiff as a silver spoon, that it was amusing to see. “. . . are the human.”
“There can be no other, can it?” she dryly asked.
“I thought that . . .” he trailed off. “Are you really that rumored human who was invited by the king?”
He then shook his head and began to walk towards a certain direction. “Please follow me.”
Valeriana wasn’t that oblivious and caught his reaction. This must be the effect of ‘resembling the late queen’. She caught Edeltraud constantly looking at her from the corner of his eyes. However, every time she would look up to meet his gaze, he would turn away his eyes as if they were never on her.
Edeltraud cleared his throat and caught the attention of his guests. “It will be a long walk to our destination. Do you mind if I ask you a question, young miss?”
Valeriana turned and raised a brow at the man. “Me? Why?”
“I am just curious, you see.” He frowned. “You seem to bear . . . a striking resemblance to the late queen.”
“A lot of people told me that since I came here,” she said, chuckling. “And since I dressed up like this. Honestly, I have no idea.”
Edeltraud led them towards a room which carried a simplistic yet sophisticated feel. Valeriana looked around with wide and genuinely curious eyes, taking her seat in one of the comfy chairs with a plop. It bore a resemblance to the lounges of the Twelve’s residence, with changes on the theme and colors.
“Please wait here,” Edeltraud told them. “While I go call His Majesty.”
The headmaster and Lord Aeron took their own seats and relaxed. Valeriana smiled at both of them and started swinging her feet back and forth.
“Valeriana, try to stay still,” Lord Aeron told her.
“But I’ll get nervous if I do.”
“Ah, restlessness,” he said, chuckling.
They waited for a few moments until Valeriana decided she couldn’t sit at all. She stood up and paced about before coming to stand by a window with a large frame. The thick, velvety blinds were pinned on the sides, allowing the girl to get a view of the palace grounds.
She instinctively reached out at what she saw and let her fingertips trace the smooth surface of the glass. Just behind this wall was a beautiful meadow of flowers. The field stretched out, covering wide grounds like a rice field.
The setting skies bathed the flowers in an orange glow, reflecting off of their velvety petals. Their shadows were tall and distorted by the uneven terrain.
Valeriana was too caught up looking out of the window that she didn’t notice the Headmaster and the court leader leaving. The two had exchanged a wordless glance, nodding understandingly at each other. The girl seemed to have finally found the time to calm herself down that they didn’t want to bother, so both of them left without saying anything instead.
Finding the quietness somewhat weird, Valeriana looked behind her to find the two gone. “Headmaster? Lord Aeron?”
She panicked. “Oh, holy cow. Where did those two go?”
It took a few seconds for the thought to register. “Ah, damn. They left me alone without saying anything,” she grumbled unhappily.
Looking about the empty room, she saw an armchair angled by the window she was looking through. Deciding it was a better choice to sit rather than stand, she took the open seat and supported her chin with her hand. She didn’t want to seem fidgety and jumpy when the king arrived. It would be unsightly and completely embarrassing.
Valeriana fell into deep thought as she contemplated, her thoughts jumping from one topic to another.
Valemnia had a United Monarchy type of government—meaning that they were under the rule of one person and the other places he couldn’t manage were being ruled under his name.
Since the king wouldn’t be able to handle all political matters single-handedly, he had six families helping him govern the different lands. There are six continents under the king’s name—the Central Continent, Larkovia, Arlandia, Denovegasia, Prelurésia, and Aetheria.
These continents are under the rule of the different aristocratic families.
The Territory of Fire, Arlandia, was under Corvan’s family with him being the crown heir. Occupying most of the parts from west to southwest, it possesses unrivaled beauty for its natural geographical formation and the locals were most proud of their fertile lands.
Larkovia, on the other hand, which was subsequently called the Continent of Water under the rule of von Versailles de la Vernados, consists mostly of bodies of water. Located on the Far East, they have long, meandering rivers, breathtaking waterfalls, wide fishing lakes, and the most admired Water Palace.
Denovegasia is called the Land of the Earth. It is under the von Keiffer de la Kaiven family to which Keelan belonged. It is located somewhere along the southeast, filled mostly with lush, green forests, towering mountains, and thick woodlands. Due to its geographical features, residents of Denovegasia lived as hunters and foragers and their cities were sparsely scattered.
The Domain of Air, Prelurésia, which is under the jurisdiction of the von Veralidaine de la Evereesha, is the continent known for being located in higher areas where one could reach the clouds. Prelurésia is located near north and is famous for its freezing temperature.
The Land of the Spirits, Aetheria, is under the von Valdemar de la Nevan. Aetheria was the continent most famous for its rich mining sources. Deposits of semi-precious gems, gold, silver, and other valuable resources can be found there. Lord Rowe is officially crowned as the head of the state a few summers back. Since he is still a student, his mother handles the matters concerning the management of the entire continent.
The Central Continent is considered the main capital and the very center of Valemnia, hence its name. This is where the Rosellevienne Palace sits—the home of the king. The whole land is under the complete control of the king himself. Assisting him in the management of it is the archduke.
And lastly, the Dark Continent where demons thrive. Barriers surround the whole place and prevent them from escaping the lands they roamed.
These continents are further subdivided into different countries ruled by other leaders. The king is the world’s ruler by name only. He is but a mere symbol of unification.
Valeriana broke off the train off thought when the door opened suddenly.
The girl looked up. She clenched her hands anxiously and waited while Edeltraud scanned the room. When his eyes landed on her, he gave her a nod.
“His Majesty arrives,” he said before making way for the other man to enter.
They locked eyes with each other and the girl greeted him with a smile before bending down gracefully—as hard as she could—to a low bow. “It’s an honor to finally meet you, Your Majesty.”