A note from dotturndot

Well.. hello again.. another week ahead of me.

Haital's grand castle. Humongous and domineering by sheer size alone. Ivory bricks, each the size of a human torso, built and stacked meticulously on top of one another at its foundation. The entire castle took up 50 percent of the royal grounds, other surrounding areas embellished with posh mansions, lush forest parks, an artificial lake with natural Skystreams coming from above, governor buildings and even the prison keep.

Only royals lived in the castle.

Close to the government building was a large, towering obelisk-like lone structure. This building was built for the sake of discussing parliamentary matters or to hold specialized meetings. Elevated high off the ground, so it would be difficult for spies to infiltrate.

Staunch knights were positioned at every corner.

Herlock Rozel was seated in a special armchair provided, preceded by the king, King Sartus who sat on one similar to his. It was made that way that expressed equal status. Close to King Sartus was his wife, Queen Celestia the chief-secretary of Haital. Congruently, there was Aldrich, on the 'knight's throne', a special title given to him that could be said status as high as an Earl.

Together with Prince Herlock were his fellow ambassadors. They had played an important part in building relationships with many kingdoms. Beside Herlock, was Louise's seat, made with gold, decorated with delicate engravings. A red leather cushion placed at the base. The seat was— empty.

Her seat was also similar to the one Prince Romeo was sitting on. Except his one had the cushion coloured in a deep blue. One could guess the reason being...

Replacing Louise was the temporary vice-secretary.

The room was chilly despite the warm sunlight leaking in from the outside. Magic devices made from complex circuits of compound gryostones were utilized to maintain a conducive temperature.

With (almost) everyone, present, King Saturs announced the start of the kingdom conference between Haital Kingdom and Rozel Kingdom.

Included in the package were political matters, matters concerning the development of each kingdom's sub-regions, cooperative roles to boost the tourism sector, possible developments in the market of duelling entertainment and exchange of resources between nations.

As with deepening ties and exchanging information, King Sartus had asked about Cobalt Kingdom's mining situation. Two weeks ago, there happened to be an explosion that blew up a well known blue crystal mine. The investigation carried out cited that a natural compound gryostone was the real cause, and it exploded due to its unstable composition.

Taking out a letter, King Sartus talked to Prince Herlock about Trinity kingdom and the next plan of the Monarchs.

Trinity Kingdom acted as the core of Monarch Empire. Ruled by not one, but two Monarchs, which held a status higher than the king himself. Two Monarchs were decided on to maintain political stability, probably.

The secretaries present at both sides presented contracts and agreement, documents moving from one end of the table to the other; To the king, to the prince and back, vice versa. Writing and recording the contents of the conference, many issues were agreed upon, and agreements being concluded with both parties benefiting.

Rozel Kingdom would contribute more technology and knowledge in the field of gryostone research. That said, Rozel Kingdom's knowledge may not be as thorough as Froque Kingdom, where technology ran rampant in the kingdom. That, however, didn't mean Rozel wasn't a kingdom with a promising future in the gryostone industry. Rozel would also supply weapons and equipment for duelling purposes, safety equipment included.

In turn, Haital Kingdom would have professional carpenters, craftsmen and architects migrate to Rozel kingdom to better bolster the architecture there. Since Rozel was also a kingdom where tourists and adventurers gathered for leisure, better designs would help to give the extra touch to the infrastructure, bringing about a better impression as a whole. Haital would also trade their local produce, food items, for other necessities from Rozel Kingdom.

With that, there weren't any major disputes. An extremely rare occurrence during these sorts of discussion. Prince Herlock thought something was off about it.

The king ushered everyone out except for Prince Herlock. He wanted to talk to him in private.

Herlock watched as the people as they left the room one by one. He was left in confusion and hadn't had a chance to speak before most had gone. Herlock trusted King Sarturs. But that did not mean leaving him in a vulnerable position was a good thing. There were a few people on Herlock's side which were reluctant to leave, but by his request were made to do so.

The only two royals left in the room were Prince Herlock and King Sartus. The temperature seemed to drop even further with the lack of people; Less warm bodies present.

King Sartus stood up and walked over to the prince. Prince Herlock tensed from the unexpected development, but the king merely walked past him. He reached for the remotes embedded into the wall, adjusting the temperature of the room personally.

"I would like to voice my thanks for the wonderful conference we had today. Don't you agree that it was elating to have not come to a single impasse all this time?" turning his head to Prince Herlock, the king made a smile.

"I agree, and I believe it is thanks to Your Highness' cooperation."

King Sarturs held his smile as he peered deep into his eyes. "Thank you," as Prince Herlock was growing ever the more nervous, the king continued. "This would provide many new possibilities in the times to come," the king, bowed. The Prince Herlock reflexively stood up to stop him.

"Your Highness.. to do such a thing."

"Young Prince, there is a matter I need to consult you with, as a king, I know I am not all-knowing. That's why..."

"I understand, but please stop. Such treatment I do not deserve, Your Highness is above me in many respects."

"Leaving formalities aside Prince Herlock, what do you think of the national security in Haital?" The king made a serious expression.

"National security? In my opinion, the safety measures taken in Haital are exceptional. Crime rates, based on the data from shared empire reports, were of the lowest of any kingdom. With such statistics, to the average person living in your kingdom, criminal events are almost non-existent. Moreover, the citizens are all very well cared for," Herlock cleared his throat, "Hasn't the safety been proven when my sister snuck out from the castle and come back unscathed? To say that she even had a duel with another person, isn't that a positive remark?"

Actually, Louise did not mention nor tell her brother about the incident with the thugs the day before. It went unknown. She was afraid it would ruin her chances to go out! Incidentally, Louise was able to enjoy herself, free as a whale, which Herlock was very happy for.

"I see, on that note, is the princess interested in getting engaged? She's now at a marriageable age isn't she?" The kings laughed.

If it wasn't blackmail—to treat Herlock so well...

This had to be the reason behind why the discussions before went so smoothly weren't it? Herlock had felt that most of the agreements made earlier benefitted Rozel kingdom more than it did Haital Kingdom itself.

"Your highness. This matter, I will let my sister decided herself."

"I see. Now, jokes aside, I believe you've been mistaken when it comes to the safety of this Kingdom, there are still many loopholes present. One in particular, as you've heard, caused by the dispute between ownerships of the new land a few years ago. The scar left by this incident had drawn a clear line between the nobles and normal citizens, yet to be resolved. On top of that, many underground organizations have started appearing one by one. Culling them proved to be difficult. Also, unpredictable disputes would still break out at the docking ports or guilds, disrupting the supply chain and it even incurred deaths. Assailant assassinations have become a thing of concern recently also."

"Your highness, I believe those issues are what all kingdoms face. Our kingdom is no different, perhaps, no better than Haital Kingdom."

King Sarturs was silent. He looked towards the windows arranged in an alternating pattern of repeated quartets. The bright light overflowing from it created a rectangular bleach white seal, "Prince Herlock, what do you know about the Jesters?"

A note from dotturndot

I sometimes question if should stop writing? In the first place, I only expected writing to be a thing to support my story telling skills when doing art. I never thought I'd actually want to write stories.

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