As the underground lake was alight with the lights given off by the bioluminescent glow fishes that inhabit deep in the dark lake, it wasn’t total darkness after all, with a jerky in his hand as a bait, Aldrit lured them to have them light his way as he swam further into the bottomless lake.
After swimming for a while, he was sent shivers to his spine when he shifted his eyes to the bottom, with his eyes taking in nothing from the deep water, all black as pitch below him. Only God would know the depth of the lake as there was a limit to how deep one could dive, even with the object in one’s mouth.
But far into the deep waters, there was something at the bottom of the lake which seemed as still as a rock, before it slightly squirmed in response to Aldrit’s movement as he swam past above it.
A streak of a flaming light had then shone through a gap, which widened up slowly in the dark. And as if a lid was lifted, a red circle of light was fully revealed from within. From there, a burning aura was beamed from the center as it narrowed into a long vertical line. However, the flame had vanished through the closing gap as the lid closed in once again.
The procession had grown in number throughout the journey with travelers who were crossing the mountains around the same time. In ones and twos, they blended into the procession which was being escorted by armed warriors and knights along the road.
With so many variables to consider on a journey through the rough mountain pass, it was considerably safer to move along with the big crowd. It was common for merchants in small sizes or for individual travelers to have information in advance, about the travelling schedules of the large-scale merchant companies to move with them accordingly.
But no matter how big a merchant company could be, it was nearly impossible for them to have warriors as their escort on the road. More so, having the king as a companion meant that their safety on the road was guaranteed, without having to worry about the attacks from wild animals or plunder from the brigands throughout the whole journey.
Those who shoved in their heads under the edge of the wide and sturdy umbrella in an effort to take shelter from the rain were either the small-scale merchants or a party of travelers consisting of two or three individuals. However, the procession was also joined by some unexpected companies along the way. They were without doubt aristocrats, as they all rode in their respective carriages, being served by their own hired attendants.
However, the aristocrats were indeed the nobles who were on their way back to the Hashi Kingdom after spending the whole active period in Holy City as now the dry season has started. But when they happened to stumble upon the Royal procession, they instantly changed their course despite having to go back to where they had come from.
In no time, there were now five new additions of such carriages to the procession. And during almost every break in between, they all gathered around for gossip.
“Though I’ve heard about the Lark incident in passing on the way, I’ve only regarded it as a groundless rumor.”
“So do I. But seeing that Her Majesty is being taken to the Holy City under the knights’ escort with such stringency, the rumor must have been true after all.”
“No doubt it will bring shock to the high society in the Holy City.”
Looking forward to the interesting events that were about to happen in the Holy City, they chatted away with each other. As their queen was bound to become the talk of the society, the nobles from the Hashi Kingdom, who had been crowded out from attention in the Holy City society all along, were now all highly thrilled by the excitement.
With rows of people and carriages tailing behind the procession, it took them four full days to finally cross over the Anotty mountains. And as soon as they reached the foot of the mountain, a small force of the warriors from Slan had made a breakaway to ride ahead to the castle to notify their king of the impending arrival of his guests.
After travelling for another two days on the road, they were at last nearing the capital city of the Slan Kingdom and saw a big crowd of people who had come to meet the procession outside the castle wall. The crowd consisted of the diplomats and the guards of honor, who were clad in various uniforms for a grand ceremony to welcome their arrival.
Stepping down from her own carriage, Eugene got onto another one with Kasser as it was a carriage specially prepared for them by the Slan Kingdom. The carriage that was to take them up to the castle as a part of the welcoming ceremony was beyond anything ordinary just from the look of it.
It was a carriage with a white coachwork, drawn by eight white horses. And as for the interior, the wall and the floor alike were also white in color and smelled strongly of a fragrance as if it had been flooded with perfumes.
“This specific material is a specialty of the Slan Kingdom. The hollowed wood would turn white under the sun, and give off a unique fragrance.”, said Kasser as Eugene took a sniff around the interior.
“The scent is surprisingly pleasant although it’s strong… maybe that’s because it’s a natural fragrance.”
As this was a carriage made for a lasting impression, if Jin had been on it before, she was bound to have a flashback of Jin’s memory the moment she stepped on. But nothing had come to her mind so far.