Shaar didn’t have a good rest on that night. The mysterious warrior kept appearing in his dreams which constantly brought up memories of the suffocating oppression. Shaar woke up twice in the night and his heart felt heavier each time he woke up.
The hillbilly’s pride was kinda hurt, especially when he was reminded of the sense of helplessness. He felt like an ant in front of him and with any reckless move, he would be wiped out easily. That feeling brought humiliation to him.
In the morning, Shaar got up early and he sat on the bed for a moment. He glanced around and his pitchfork entered his field of vision so he held it.
The heavy and cold feeling of the pitchfork got rid of the heavy feeling in his heart.
“I'm still too weak…” Shaar mumbled to himself, “I’m too weak, but how…how can I be stronger…”
Shaar was planning to ask Ruhr about the mysterious warrior when he came over but the morning went by and General Rabbit didn’t show up. Ruhr’s bodyguards had no idea about his whereabouts too.
Shaar went and visited Yulia who was feeling down. Suddenly, when it was almost noon, someone came to tell him that a messenger from the palace had arrived.
Shaar immediately walked out of the room and he saw Tatara guiding a middle-aged man into the courtyard with a respectful smile. A horse carriage was parked outside of the courtyard with some fully armed warriors on standby.
The middle-aged man was wearing a grey robe with really wide pants underneath. He even had powder on his face and the whiteness of it was kind of terrifying. The expression on his face was a cocky one, with his chin up and his hands behind his back, he ignored Tatara and coughed before speaking. His voice was odd…well, it was a raspy voice but the tone was sharp.
“Where’s Shaar Thunder?” The messenger saw the hillbilly who had just walked out of the room. With squinted eyes, he sized Shaar up and said, “Hmm, is it you?”
Shaar nodded and walked up to him. While looking at the messenger, he suddenly remembered something. He heard from Ruhr before that a lot of the royal staff had been castrated.
At the thought of this, Shaar couldn’t stop himself from glancing at his crotch but the messenger’s pants were too wide for him to see anything. On the other hand, his lips and chin were clean with no signs of moustache or beard.
“The Holy Emperor has summoned Shaar Thunder to his chambers.”
The messenger’s voice was cocky. He snorted and pulled a handkerchief out to wipe his nose and lips. With a frown, he criticised Shaar, “Why are you staring at me? Go and change quickly! You can’t meet Your Highness in such sloppy attire!”
Tatara couldn’t hold back his laughter so he turned around quickly to cover it up. Shaar widened his eyes and looked at his attire. He had two sets of decent outfits but two days ago, one of them was smudged with manure during a sneak attack so he threw it away.
“Uh…this is my best outfit.” Shaar tugged his hair, “Uh…Your Highness wishes to see me immediately?”
“Of course! Come with me quickly!” The messenger shook his head.
When Shaar was following him out of the courtyard, he could hear him mumbling under his breath, “Dirty country bumpkin…”
It didn’t upset him but he couldn’t help himself from eyeing at the messenger’s crotch. After several glances, his expression turned into an odd one.
The horse carriage that was parked outside wasn’t meant for Shaar so Shaar led his horse and joined them to the palace.
The palace was located on the Northeastern side of the Royal Capital. As they made their way across the city with the armoured guards leading them, all the passersby moved away to let them pass.
As part of the troop, Shaar looked around and realised that the passersby were looking at them with respect but there was more fear than actual respect.
The Royal Palace of Osgiliath was built before the empire was founded and it was initially just a castle. Over time, the Emperors expanded the palace and it became a complex which was also recognised as the most majestic complex across the continent.
Once they got to the Eastern part of the city, they could see the spire of a dome-shaped castle where the Empire flag was seen waving in the air. The road was flat and clean and a 10 meters wide moat surrounded the castle, creating a city within a city. However, that castle was just the entrance to the Royal Palace. While they were going across the drawbridge, guards dressed in bright red were seen guarding at the side of the bridge with halberds in their hands. After entering the gate of the castle, they were finally into the inner square of the Royal Palace.
Shaar’s eyes widened at the sight of the tall castles.
The messenger got out of the horse carriage and glanced at Shaar, “What are you still on the horse? Get down and follow me quickly, don’t move or look around.”
Shaar was planning on having a better look at the legendary Royal Palace but after going through some long corridors, the hillbilly realised that he was lost.
This place was crazily huge and...too deserted.
The only people he saw were the patrol guardians and even the servants were walking cautiously with their heads down. Something else felt odd too. After the initial solemn feeling, the vast palace felt really lifeless!
Yes - lifeless!
The carvings and murals on the buildings might seem glamorous. Some of the pillars were even wrapped in gold.
Also, while they walked through another long corridor, the smell of spice filled the air but the smell made Shaar block his nose.
This lifeless place, the smell, it all reminded him of a shroud...
After walking for a long time, Shaar finally understood why he felt that way!
The square, hall and corridors had murals, carvings and statues but there were no signs of plants!
He didn’t see any trees at all. The ground was paved with neat flagstones and the corridors were paved with tiles and marbles.
No sign of soil could be seen, nothing green in sight!
Solemn and stately...
After the initial impression, the Royal Palace felt more like a...
Hmph, it may look glamorous but it’s just a giant tomb.
The hillbilly thought to himself.