The scorching heat midday heat from the sun had ebbed into a comforting warmth as thick, white clouds hid the fiery ball away. The azure blue sky started to darken indicating that dusk was drawing ever so close. Crepuscular animals, which are only active during twilight, retreated into the safety of their homes to prepare for their deep hibernation as nocturnal creatures stretched their bodies as they arose from their slumber.
Two hours have passed since the caravan heading towards Chilyoja Waypoint left the Frie Clan. By now, the mountain that Shin and Junius had grown up on, was far from sight. Looking out the unlocked window, a young boy watched the surroundings move by with a lonely frown. His rich black hair that covered his ears ruffled with the late afternoon breeze.
“What are you looking at?”
A voice called out Shin from inside of the car. Junius, who was still firmly attached to his wheelchair, noticed that his younger brother was looking despondently outside and worriedly called him out.
“No… I just haven’t been out of the clan before… The roads and surroundings look so different…”
Being part of the reclusive Frie Clan, the orphans had rarely stepped foot outside the mountain. Even for Junius, who had reached the Spirit Apostle level, never left the jurisdiction of the Frie Clan. Thus, seeing the unfamiliar scenery made Shin slightly uncomfortable.
“I guess you would get used to it…”
Although he said that, Junius too felt somewhat restless.
“By the way, Junius, do you know anything about our destination?”
After watching the foreign landscape for a few minutes, Shin pulled down the drapes of the window to prevent himself from overthinking. As a distraction, he asked Junius about the place they were being stationed at. Not much had been explained to him ever since that fateful day when the First Elder burst into his room ordering him to pack his stuff. Hence, he wanted to know if Junius had any information that had not been passed down to him.
“Nope. I’m just as clueless as you.”
But alas, Junius was also kept in the dark.
“Of course you haven’t heard anything, telling you is my job.”
Listening in to their conversation, the brunette lady sitting at the front looked over her shoulder and addressed the duo. Her soft, creamy complexion fit well with her glowing oval-shaped face. With mesmerising brown eyes that trapped any who dared to lock eyes with her, the duo felt enthralled by the woman. Swallowing a mouthful of saliva, Shin started to question the lady.
“Senior Ines, you know where we are going?”
“Of course! If not, why would I be here? The First Elder asked me to be your guide. Also, I’ll be staying with you two for one month to help you get accustomed to the lifestyle there. Ah, it’s rather hard to be talking like this right? Make way, I’m coming through.”
Currently, Ines sat in front together with the Instructor who was busy driving the aether car. Her thin and slender body shape served her well as she squeezed through from the front to the back where Shin and Junius were.
Unknowingly, facing this senior of theirs, the two orphans sat up straight in a formal manner. They have heard many rumours about Ines. Once, they heard that the lady was disturbed by a few ruffians who wanted to harass her. Being surrounded by five men, all nearly twice her size, Ines remained calm and politely refused their advances. When one of the guys started being more physical, the lady unleashed her Spirit and kneed all her adversaries at their family jewels. The moment her leg reached the man’s crotch, a deafening sound reverberated through the area paralysing all men who heard the deadly sound. Thus, the legend of the Frie nutcracker was born.
Facing the fabled nutcracker, Shin and Junius did not dare to be impolite, lest she became insulted.
“Haha, there’s no need to be so stiff! It’s not like I’m going to eat you up or anything!”
Ines chuckled at how the two orphans were behaving. She thought that the two were just being respectful to their seniors. Never would she have imagined that her fame had even reached the orphan division and that the duo were actually fearful of her.
“No, no. It’s only natural to sit properly when speaking to someone of a senior generation.”
“Yeah, please senior Ines, don’t mind us.”
Shin and Junius were not going to risk offending Ines thus, did not have any plans on relaxing their posture.
“Haha! Seems like Lou really taught you well! Now, where do I begin? To start off, do you know about the three great powers?”
Both Shin and Junius shook their heads in denial. They were taught many things, but the current political situation in the world was something the First Elder left out when it came to history lessons.
“Oh, I have to start from there? It’s alright, I’ll go through it with you from the beginning. The world is a rather vast place, from the early days of mankind, exploring the world in its entirety was a common goal shared amongst all tribes of man. It took a while but thousands of years ago, the first world map was completed.”
“People always assumed that the world consisted of multiple continents due to the many seas that separate each region but turns out, the world was just one huge landmass. After much deliberation, the then governments of the world decided to call this landmass, the Terre Continent.”
“Once the world map was drawn and distributed, ancient civilisations waged wars to claim the richest of resources for themselves. Through this prolonged period of conflicts, old kingdoms fell as new empires emerged. Eventually, the remaining victors conjured up a peace treaty that concluded the years of endless strife.”
“Thus, the three great powers were formed. Firstly, there’s the Himmel Empire that we live in. Located in the south of the Terre Continent, our empire is lead by a line of sovereigns that possess the blood of an ancient Spirit Immortal that transcended mortality to enter the realm above. With an area of over ten million square kilometres, it is one of the largest civilisations in history.”
“Next, the Lantis Republic. Founded by eight historic clans, unlike the other two great powers, they are located out of the Terre Continent, in an archipelago eastwards. Instead of being led by a line of emperors, a handful of empowered voters cast their ballot to choose their leader. Boasting the biggest and strongest navy in the world, the Lantis Republic is unbeatable at sea.”
“Lastly, forming the final corner of the triad, the Kori Federation up north. The remaining clans of the world gathered up to become one of the great powers. Consisting of thirty self-governing states, each clan controls one area in the north.”
“Each of the three great powers has at least one Rank 90 Spirit Saint presiding over them and protecting them if necessary forming an equilibrium between the three great powers. Therefore, ever since the destructive war many years ago, there had been no need to take up arms.”