For a moment, Pered’s gaze wavered. When the Fourth King had recently requested a permit, he hadn’t inquired about the reason and simply ordered his subordinates to grant it. However, in truth, Pered had been investigating the Fourth King’s recent activities.
Staying in the city longer than any other king, Pered frequented shady places like gambling dens, gathering all kinds of information that didn’t easily come to light. Perhaps no information broker in the city could possess better intel than him.
He didn’t mind the stigma of being obsessed with gambling, as he had searched patiently and persistently for a long time. Pered wanted to find information that could be a weakness for Sang-je.
Above all, when the Fourth King had requested the permit, Pered sensed that there was something more to it. Intrigued by this unusual situation, he decided to attend this gathering, despite his infrequent appearances at such events.
“I’m somewhat similar. I had dealings with the Fourth King, and that’s why I’m here,” Pered stated, both he and Riner now fixing their gaze on Myung King.
Myung King had received information from his warrior, who had been sent to locate a mysterious and unknown woman with extraordinary powers at the Fourth King’s request. The warrior’s report revealed that this woman was the benefactor who had revealed the cure for Myung King’s mother’s illness.
No one else came to mind as the perpetrator who had imprisoned the old woman, except for Sang-je. The security of the prison was so formidable that even Myung King’s warriors had failed to retrieve her. Moreover, there appeared to be a connection between the old woman and the Muen family, raising questions about the peculiar relationship between the Muen family and Sang-je.
Myung King had come to the party today to hear more details from the Fourth King and to find a way to rescue his benefactor, no matter what.
“I’m somewhat similar as well. I received help instead of making a trade,” Pered chimed in.
The three kings exchanged subtle glances. Given that they were still in a public gathering, they couldn’t delve into more detailed discussions.
“We’ll have to wait and see if this party will be interesting or not,” Riner muttered, tilting his head to look up. His gaze led the others to follow suit, focusing on a grand staircase that wound its way around the hall and extended to the second floor.
The crowd, naturally following the direction of the kings’ gazes, observed as a noble couple descended the staircase. Behind them, a young and attractive couple followed, their grace and beauty resembling a perfect painting.
The hall fell silent for a moment, but soon a mix of gasps and laughter filled the air. The crowd rushed towards the staircase.
The noble couple paused on the stairs, towering above the attendees. They surveyed the gathering with a deliberate slowness, and the hall gradually hushed. Dana’s voice carried even in the stillness, and she spoke from her elevated position.
“I have been observing the passage of time. I don’t know how long it has been since I firmly closed the door. Yet, you, my dear friends who haven’t forgotten and have come to find me, thank you.”
As the sun began its descent and the evening hues painted the sky, outside the city gate, a long line of people sought to leave.
“This is crazy. At this rate, we won’t be able to get out today either.”
“Yeah, you’re right. If the baggage inspection takes up so much time, they should delay the gate closing.”
The complaints of those at the back of the line drifted towards the unyielding knights guarding the gate. Many opted to abandon their belongings and depart empty-handed, but for those unable to do so, waiting was their only choice.
Meanwhile, the guards on the city wall noticed a distant cloud of dust approaching. As it drew nearer, they discerned a group of people riding at full speed. Something seemed amiss with them, and they appeared to be in a hurry.
Signaling to those below, the guards by the gate quickly assembled. The approaching group looked like warriors, prompting the knights to form a solid line, blocking the gate. The warriors now had to decide whether to stop and wait or attempt to charge through the human barricade.
The charging horses of the approaching warriors came to a sudden halt in front of the gate. One of the warriors stepped forward and addressed the knights with urgency in his voice.
“Please open the way. We are warriors of the Hashi Kingdom. An urgent situation has occurred, and we need to meet His Highness the Fourth King immediately. It’s a matter of utmost importance, so move aside quickly.”
The representative knight, a middle-aged man, attempted to reason with them. “The rule is that three or more warriors can only enter the Holy City. Besides, the gate is about to close, so if you wait here for a moment, you can meet His Highness the Fourth King…”
But the warrior cut him off, his tone forceful and threatening. “Didn’t you hear me? It’s an urgent situation in the kingdom! If you don’t open the way now, we’ll make our own path!”
The warrior’s demeanor left no room for doubt; he had no intention of waiting obediently as the knight suggested. If they had to trample anyone under their horses’ hooves to reach their destination, they seemed prepared to do so. The middle-aged knight exchanged a conflicted look with his fellow knights and nodded.
Reluctantly, the knights stepped back, allowing the warriors to proceed. With great speed, the warriors charged through the gate and disappeared into the distance. Observing their departure, the middle-aged knight turned to the young knight beside him and gave an urgent command.
“Hurry to the palace and report to His Highness.”
“Yes,” the young knight responded promptly, turning around and rushing towards the Holy City’s Palace.