Damian heard that she had entered her 30s, yet Irene was still pure and beautiful. She didn’t look like she had aged at all. Irene had already been a perfect woman even before she matured.
‘She is older than Grid.’
There was a bittersweet smile on Damian’s face as he watched Irene put down her cup of tea. He was also in love with Isabel, so he felt that the gap between players and NPCs was painful and sad. Irene was looking affectionately at her son, Lord, who was embarrassed about being stuck between the bald elders. Damian continued to smile as he also turned his attention to Lord. “Prince Lord has better manners now. Despite his innate talent that pierces the heavens, his humble and upright nature is thanks to your hard work.”
“No. The prince was born with a good heart.”
Personality wasn’t something that could be resolved merely through education alone. Irene was a prominent noble from the fallen Eternal Kingdom, and she had witnessed numerous corrupted aristocrats. Didn’t they hurt the weak with ease and only care about their own interests despite what they’d been taught? Thus, Irene was always grateful to Lord. She was proud of her son who respected everyone, regardless of their status.
‘He is like Grid.’ Irene smiled when she thought of her husband. It would be the same even if she knew about Grid’s earlier personality. To her, Grid was everything.
Under the sunlight, Irene’s smile was lovely. Damian’s and Isabel’s cheeks flushed red as they gazed at her. Then Damian shook his head and rose from his seat. “Hum hum. Elders, don’t bother Prince Lord since he must be tired. I will take him back.”
Damian said goodbye to Irene and crossed the green grass. His gait contained the aggressiveness of a paladin, rather than the nobility of a priest. It was one of the reasons why the elders didn’t like Damian. Nevertheless, were there any humans in the world with no shortcomings? Not all the elders felt frustrated about Damian. Some of them acknowledged him, while others had high expectations for him. In fact, Damian was a great pope when compared to the fallen Pope Drevigo and the snake-like candidate, Pascal. So, it was best for the church that the elders supported Pope Damian, who was already in his third year.
“Elders, let the prince go. The prince will suffocate from the smell of old bachelors.”
The elders, who were obsessed with the divine power that Lord gave off, regained their spirits belatedly. They were ashamed that they had forgotten about the boy’s suffering and now tried to give him a helping hand. However, they were smiling instead of blushing with shame.
“Prince Lord, I’ll see you at dinner. Let’s talk again.”
“Prince, don’t forget to pray to Goddess Rebecca.”
“The goddess will bless you...”
The elders bowed before stepping back. They were completely fascinated by Lord’s divine power and spoke to him like he was the goddess’ messenger. Lord was finally able to breathe after they retreated! He gasped for air as Damian shrugged and said, “Sometimes, it is okay to be immature. If you already care about the eyes of others at this age, you will soon become old.”
“I’d rather become old than embarrass Father.”
Lord’s behavior was praiseworthy. Still, Damian felt regretful and patted Lord’s hair unconsciously.
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
No matter how young Lord was, he was still the prince of a kingdom, so it was very rude for Damian to place his hands on Lord’s head. Damian was still apologizing when Lord entered his arms.
“Please stroke my hair, Teacher.”
“Haat! Lord-chan, so cute!”
In the end...
“Your Holiness! This rudeness...!”
“Think about your dignity, Your Holiness!”
Damian was laughing while acting as Lord’s horse! He laughed loudly as he ran through the gardens of the Vatican, while the panicked Isabel and Rebecca’s Daughters tried to stop him. Irene was happy to see this peaceful sight as she sat under the shade of a tree. Meanwhile, the Overgeared Knights escorting her and Lord were stunned. It was amazing that the Rebecca Church’s pope, one of the biggest powers next to the Saharan Empire, was treating their little prince as his nephew. They felt proud, and a chill ran down their spines.
In particular, Coke felt very proud.
‘The relationship between the Overgeared Kingdom and the Rebecca Church is deeper than the rumors say. It is good that I came to the Overgeared Kingdom.’
Coke—as one of the third generation 10 Rookies, he had recognized the potential of the Overgeared Kingdom early on. Back when he had been convinced that he was a genius, he traveled to the fortified city of Patrian and was then beaten by a bone Piaro had thrown. Convinced about the future of the Overgeared Kingdom, Coke had traveled there as soon as it was founded.
After some years, he was inducted as a knight of the Overgeared Kingdom. It was a result of his pure abilities. Even if Grid didn’t know him, Coke was loyal to Grid and was determined to live for the Overgeared Kingdom. He didn’t doubt that the Overgeared Kingdom would unite the continent sometime in the future, and he dreamed of later becoming a noble of the Overgeared Kingdom.
Why was he taking the hard path? Some people would say that Coke’s evaluation was wrong. They thought Coke was stupid because he would be able to have a more stable future in the empire with his talent. Of course, Coke had also been hesitant. In particular, he had heard rumors at the founding of the Overgeared Kingdom that they were hostile to the empire and seriously wondered if he should join the empire.
However, Coke wasn’t a person to easily reverse a decision once he made it. Additionally, he was a solid fan of Grid. Coke believed in Grid and the Overgeared Guild. Then the Overgeared Kingdom ended up being the first in history to make a truce with the empire. Now, Coke was no longer nervous. He watched the Overgeared Kingdom develop while he honed his skills and faithfully performed his role.
“Ah, I’m sorry.”
Coke was watching Damian and Lord laugh in the garden when a voice called out to him. Knight Royman gave him a warning, “Have you forgotten the basic rules of an escort? You have to pay more attention when the surroundings are safe.”
Royman spoke in a bold voice deliberately, unaware that her gender had already been discovered. She didn’t notice that her colleagues left every time she entered the shower or the changing rooms. However, her skills were real. Her level was 320. It was only 19 levels higher than Coke’s, but she was twice as strong as him.
Moreover, it wasn’t just in comparison to Coke. Royman was uniquely strong among the Overgeared Kingdom’s knights that Asmophel raised. There was a lot of speculation that Royman had gotten a hidden class or skill after working in the fields with Piaro.
“Yes, I will keep that in mind,” Coke replied with the appropriate tension. He adjusted his position so that he could see both Irene and Lord simultaneously. It wasn’t simply to build up goodwill with Royman though. Coke, who hoped to be a noble of the thriving Overgeared Kingdom, wanted Grid to win, and he felt responsible for ensuring Irene and Lord’s safety.
‘There are many notable people.’ Coke’s gaze was directed at the bottom of the hill. A parade of carriages carrying royalty from all over the continent continued to enter the Vatican. There was also a carriage with the flag of the Saharan Empire. All the countries, apart from the warring countries of Valhalla and Ultina, were gathered here to celebrate Damian’s time as pope.
‘An imperial prince came...!’ Coke was shocked when he witnessed a carriage drawn by four white horses.
It was 2nd Prince Dulandal. Coke hadn’t known that one of the greatest powers of the empire would be here and realized just how great of a presence the Rebecca Church really was on the continent. Damian put Lord down. “Lord-chan, return to your quarters with your mother. Rest and I will see you at dinner.”
“Yes,” Lord replied gently, not expressing his desire to keep playing with Damian. He was a bright child and understood Damian’s position. Once Damian left to meet the royal family of every nation, including the empire...
“Place the golden statue over there.”
“Station the 4th Knights Division at the entrance of the village. We have to pay as much attention to security as we do our VIPs.”
The elders were bustling around the Vatican. They weren’t interested in any of the guests, unlike with Lord. In fact, they didn’t even pay attention to the emperor of the empire. This was natural since the Rebecca Church was a transcendent collective. They didn’t kneel before power. After Grid cleaned up Pope Drevigo and Pascal’s forces, the Rebecca Church was now regaining its full power.
Coke felt more fulfilled as he escorted Irene and Lord. It was interesting and enjoyable for him to know that the arrogant elders treated Prince Lord in a special way.
In a red-carpeted corridor, as Lord led the procession to the room assigned to them, he whispered in a small voice, “Teacher, do you feel uncomfortable?”
A voice was heard from the shadows, -No...I’m fine...
It was Kasim. He said he was fine, but his voice was trembling. In fact, he wasn’t okay. 2nd Prince Dulandal of the Saharan Empire—the person who had just stepped into the Vatican—was the one responsible for the destruction of the Nero. Kasim couldn’t suppress the anger and resentment that boiled in his heart when he saw his enemy. It was hard for him to keep his cool.
Chucksley noticed his struggling heart and said, “You shouldn’t cause any incidents.”
-I know, Kasim answered nervously. The laughter disappeared from Lord’s face as he overheard the conversation between the two people.
On the other hand, all three people weren’t aware of the subtle changes in the atmosphere. Irene and the Rebecca’s Daughters candidates were having a friendly conversation while the young knights, including Royman and Coke, were only concerned with the security of the party.
Dark clouds were once again covering the sky. The sound of thunder outside the windows was heavy and loud. Simultaneously, at the top of Kay Mountain which overlooked the white buildings of the Vatican...
“Crazy monsters have gathered.” Agnus laughed as he arrived late at the location of the appointment. Rain soaked his feet while images of the Yatan Servants were projected into the sky.