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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
How a husky existed in three different forms, and how a dog crossed space and time—explaining all of this to the princess of the Otherworld was a difficult task. Mainly because the princess was not the brightest bulb. So, Hao Ren decided to let Veronica use her noodle to ‘fill in the blanks’ herself.
As long as she posted the “missing person” notices at all corner of the kingdom, the rest was not that important.
Earlier, while onboard the airship during the journey, Hao Ren had brief contact with the MDT. The connection signal was not stable, and the interference was terrible. But he could estimate the location of Lily, which was not far away, in the southern part of the Ansu mainland. So he confidently passed the missing person flyers to Veronica.
Hao Ren admitted that he had a slight urge of calling it a ‘missing dog’ rather than a missing person.
Hao Ren and Veronica did not talk further after that. They both looked at the dark sky in thought. Veronica was thinking about the future of this kingdom and the direction of the War of Chaos. Hao Ren continued to complete his analysis of this world and planned a trip to other continents. Perhaps Rudolph III and Veronica believed that the arrival of the Ancient Guardian was a major boost for the kingdom, but Hao Ren was not going to waste time here. After getting a rough idea of the state of affair of Collow, he would start further exploration to figure out what the War of Chaos was all about, and if possible, look for the lost ‘crystal key.’
He did not forget his original purpose of coming to this part of the universe. If Collow was a dimension stuck between the Plane of Dreams and the surface world, the possibility that the ‘crystal key’ falling into this dimension was high.
Hao Ren sighed and looked away from the dark sky. He hoped he could figure out the distortion phenomenon of this world and fix it as soon as possible, which was the best way to save kingdoms like the Kingdom of Taros that were drifting in the sea of war.
Veronica took Hao Ren’s sigh in a different meaning. The princess turned her head and looked at him. “You seem to be somewhat disappointed with the world of a thousand years later.”
Hao Ren shook his head. “No, I sighed because of something else. Forget it; it is not something easy to explain.”
Veronica did not pursue further but just nodded. After enjoying a moment of silence, she said, “I have to go back. It doesn’t look good for a princess to be absent for a long time from the royal banquet. I bet that the bunch of oldfags must be complaining about me now.”
The princess turned and walked back to the hall. Hao Ren looked as Veronica left; she still strode like a soldier, which would irk the bunch of oldfags in the banquet hall too, he thought to himself.
After Veronica left, Hao Ren turned his gaze back to the dull sky, waiting for the clouds to clear and hoping for the best that he could still catch a glimpse of the stars. While he was at it, footsteps coming from behind him again.
He turned his head and found that a young nobleman was coming in his direction.
The nobleman was wearing a dark velvet jacket the kind that the nobles of the Kingdom of Taros preferred, and a pair of deerskin boots with gold rims on the feet. There were two rows of gold buttons on the jacket, and each was spotless. His white gloves had exquisite embroidery of the coat of arms. The young man was an authentic Taros noble, every part of him was meticulously trimmed, not a hair out of place but his demeanor revealed a hint of a military man. With beautiful flax-colored curly hair and a handsome face that felt slightly melancholy, he must be the target of the noble ladies in the banquet hall, willingly and readily to have ‘something’ with him with no string attached.
Hao Ren looked at the nobleman whom he had never seen before. While grousing about not being able to have some quiet time, Hao Ren was sure the guy was not coming for the dark clouds above.
Sure enough, the noble youth walked straight up to him and handed him a glass of red wine with a warm smile on his face. “I heard that you are a temple guard from the past and also a high-order bishop?”
Hao Ren was startled; he knew people had regarded him as a temple guard, but it was beyond him that how he got an additional high-order bishop identity now. He felt that the problem must lie in the sacred objects that he carried. Ordinary combatants would not carry a bag load of holy items, those having a rosary hanging from their neck would be monks. So he figured it must be the knights exaggerating his story in the realm of Chaos, and like a broken telephone game, the story ended up of him being a high-order bishop.
But he could not have cared less to correct this misconception. He did not even know anything about the church internally, and explaining himself would only make things worse. He shrugged. “The temple guards of a thousand years ago are not quite the same as the temple guards of today. May I know who you are?”
“You don’t know me,” the noble youth, whose light gray eyes had a kind of melancholy, said with a warm smile. At first, Hao Ren thought that the man was trying to look cool, but now he thought it was probably a born feature. “But you may know my sister.”
“Your sister is Veronica?” Hao Ren was stunned. He knew that Veronica had a brother, but the hair color of the young man did not seem to match Veronica’s family gene. “Did you dye your hair?”
The nobleman was startled for a while as the question was baffling. Then he said, “Lavinia. I wonder if you still have an impression?”
Hao Ren thought for a moment, and the image of the young female knight with freckles on the face came to mind—the Golden Flag guardian knight under Veronica, the ordinary but seemingly remarkable descendant of the nobility. During the journey in the realm of Chaos, the female knight had come to talk to him. He remembered her as a passionate and somewhat rash celebrity chaser.
The female knight once said that when they were back at the royal capital, she would make use of her family influence to help Hao Ren find his old friend. But after arriving here, Hao Ren had gotten help from the king, Rudolph III, who would mobilize his resources to help him. So Hao Ren had forgotten about what the female knight had said to him.
“So you are…” Hao Ren was stunned as he suddenly realized who this young man was.
“Willie Tilian Kant,” the noble youth replied, raising his glass as a sign of respect. “A junior from the Kant family in the mountain range, Hohenberg. I am lucky enough to be a knight of His Majesty. You can call me Willie directly.”
“Nice to meet you.” Hao Ren gave a perfunctory reply. He was wondering what made a noble, idol-class young man, coming for him instead of flirting with the noble ladies in the banquet.
Hao Ren’s cool attitude had not offended Willie at all. Like a genuinely broadminded aristocratic knight, Willie seemed to think that an ancient guardian should have such a manner. “The Kant family owes you a big favor. My sister is the only member of the family who qualifies as a Golden Knight before the age of twenty. Without you, the family will suffer huge losses. And personally, Lavinia and I have been very close since young.”
Now it all made sense, Hao Ren thought, this man came to say thank you.
“Nah, not a big deal. All people of the Order would have done so,” Hao Ren said.
Hao Ren was trying to dismiss it politely. And he figured the nobleman would not turn around and go away anytime soon.
As expected, Willie continued. “Your Venerable Guardian, Lavinia has mentioned that you are looking for an old friend in our kingdom?”
Hao Ren’s eyebrows arched as he recalled the promise the female knight had made. It seemed that nobility’s placing great importance on honoring one’s promise was true. “I am looking for someone, but His Majesty the King and Princess Her Royal Highness have agreed to help.”
“The Kant family has an ancient covenant with the wizards of the Hohenberg. We dare to say that we know most of the ancient hermits and their secrets. On this point, even the king needs our help. The old friend you are looking for may not necessarily be in the open, but we may find clues.”
Hao Ren looked at the young man and felt that it would be rude and pretentious to decline further his kindness. What was more, it was not a bad thing to have help from people who knew the local environment like the back of their hands. So he quickly took out the ‘missing person’ flyer. “Here you go. She could appear in three different bodies…”
Hearing Hao Ren’s description of Lily, Willie was stunned. The trinity theory of the guardian beast was beyond his comprehension. But in a flash, he recovered his demeanor and kept listening with a thoughtful look.
The young man from the Hohenberg frowned and shook his head as if he was trying to recall the guardian beast he had ever known in his mind. Hao Ren did not think that Willie knew any ancient guardian beast. So he said, “You should not—”
“Your Venerable Guardian,” Willie interrupted Hao Ren, “I am not sure, but I may know such a weird hermit.”
“You do?” Hao Ren was stunned.
“In the mountains between the Hohenberg and White Sand Valley, there have been rumors about Wolfwalker. Legend has it that this Wolfwalker is a warrior from a thousand years ago. She has a special power and can be in the form of a wolf, running in the mountains, and sometimes appearing in the form of a half-wolf, helping travelers who have lost their way in the mountains. Ah, she is wearing clothes that are not of this era, which looks somewhat similar to the portraits.”
“What more do you know about this ‘hermit’?” Hao Ren squinted.
Willy thought for a moment and vowed, “In my family’s record, there are more deeds about the Wolfwalker. A wizard close to our family knew the whereabouts of the Wolfwalker and left behind these records. Your Venerable Guardian, I would like to invite you to our family’s estate on the outskirts of the royal capital. My adviser may be able to help you. I am only a soldier after all; what I know is limited.”
Hao Ren looked at Willie thoughtfully, and after some thought, he nodded. “Then it will be done.”
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