Chapter 31 – Her New Home (1)
Max gaze flitted towards the landscape beyond the steep hill. Below the meadow was a large village surrounded by giant gray walls. Riftan pointed his finger in the distance.
“That’s my estate in Anatol. The citizens here are mercenaries, miners, and farmers. But the ground is not suitable for growing, so most of the people rely on livestock, raising sheep, chickens, and goats to survive.”
As she listened to him, Max carefully surveyed the land where she would live. In front of the towering entrance was a large meadow. Beyond it, a steep high mountain peak to the rear acted as its barrier. And in the middle of the mountain, a giant fortress that looked like a terrifying golem sat, splitting the mountain in half. The moment she saw it, she felt a faint chill go down her spine.
The castle of Calypse was very much like her husband’s alter ego—a lonely and overbearing giant...
“It’s not glamorous on the outside, but it’s spacious inside,” confided Riftan nervously.
Max’s eyes were glued to the castle as Riftan started speaking in a more tense voice. She looked back at him in wonderment. She had never seen such a huge shapeless mass of stone blocking half the mountain.
It was quite a stark difference from the regal Croix Castle that had a beautiful exterior following the extravagant designs of the Roem empire.
Riftan nervously added, “It’s hard to change the appearance, but... god d*mn it; it has to be that way. There are too many monsters in the vicinity...”
“M-many monsters?” Max nervously said.
His expression on edge, Riftan insisted, “You don’t need to worry! Do you see how high those walls are?” He pointed to the distance, “I built them as soon as I acquired the estate. It took several years to build a sturdy wall to protect the whole town... but no creatures can get through it now!”
“I’m not worried...” whispered Max.
She responded in a quiet but disconcerted voice, in reaction to the intense defense of his estate. But it wasn’t just to make him feel better. As Riftan said, she could see that the walls surrounding the castle looked well-made and secure, and surprisingly, it made her feel at ease.
“Leader, may we head out already. I’m starving! I think the rest of the knights are also hungry and thirsty!”
At the urging of the knight, Riftan flicked his horse’s reins. Their horses galloped faster down the hill, and Max squinted her eyes at the wind rushing at her face. The hood flew off her head. Her red locks streamed behind her—as if they were dancing with the wind.
“We are the Knights of Remdragon! Open the door!” His knights shouted upon reaching the gate. The guards manning it rushed to give them entry after seeing Riftan’s armor and the crests on their robes reflected on the sun. In front of the entrance, many villagers came to greet the great warrior who had defeated the evil dragon.
Upon seeing Riftan, they all cheered.
“Rossem Wigru de Calypse (Uigru’s Incarnate Calypse)!”
Max was overwhelmed by the deafening sounds of the cheering and subconsciously moved closer to Riftan. The incarnation of the great hero Uigru – what a fantastic tribute to him.
The farmers who had stopped their work waved their pickaxes in the air like a triumphant flag. Miners stood on their carts and swayed their arms enthusiastically while tradespeople sat on their roofs and cheered. Children with soot on their faces beamed, showing their toothy smiles.
All the townspeople cried out the name of their Lord, and Max could only be overwhelmed by the genuine outpouring of their love for Riftan.
Max had never seen or experienced such heartfelt love and admiration for a lord. Such a scene was utterly dissimilar from the servants who had obeyed her father out of fear. It didn’t help that her father was a proud, brutal man either; he was always cold and regal.
It was another story here, however. A sense of community and undying loyalty was present in the air, undeniable. And people’s faces were full of incontestable joy and pride.
“Leader! The townspeople have prepared a welcome ceremony. They’ve been preparing ever since news of your victory reached Anatol!” one of the knights shouted in an enthusiastic voice.
Riftan waved his hand to acknowledge the welcome and addressed the crowd, “I have to go straight to the castle. I hope you all enjoy yourself.”
Riftan then spurred his horse on toward the castle, the other knights lightly following with their horses. People had gathered on either side of the road, throwing wildflowers toward them as they rode past.
Max stared at the petals strewn along the path with tearful eyes. She was in awe of such a display. Her heart was hammering against her chest so much she thought she might burst into tears. However, Riftan continued forward with no expression on his face, seemingly unaffected by what was going on around him.
Max inwardly reflected, ‘Sometimes...he can be full of emotion, but–’
Many times he’s cold as if his heart is stone. Her thoughts died down in confusion. She didn’t know how to read him yet, and she frequently wondered what kind of man did she genuinely marry.
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