In the sky above the Fortress of Unyielding Might, two figures were seated while curiously looking at a specific spot on the Central Continent which was laid out in front of them.
They had been staring at the same spot for the last hour, but both of them had not spoken a word, but with each minute, the expression of stupefaction on their faces grew more and more pronounced until their eyes were as wide as they would go, and they were wondering whether what they were seeing was really true.
Finally, shaking his head, the Chief spoke up to break the silence.
“I knew that Warriors, especially those who were exiled and have been living in isolation for many years can be hot-headed… But this is a bit too much. Can’t they tell that they’re all entering a deathtrap? Why do they keep going in, one by one?”
The Head had no answer. Shrugging, he said, “You saw the display trinket, right? She really did have something about her… Hell, even I was affected for a few moments. Her’s really is a natural beauty that surpasses the heavens, and it was always said that beauty of this sort attracts trouble. But in this case…”
They had already cast a spell so that the sound from inside the capital would be heard by them, and so, as another loud sound which indicated the death of another Warrior echoed in the area they were sitting, they blinked with mild shock, as the one that had just gone in was one of the most powerful who was exiled.
“Should I go check? How is she killing all of these warriors? Arafell is a strange case, and it is supposed to have formations that are on a different scale when compared to the other Kingdoms, too, but…”
Shaking his head again, the Chief said, “I don’t think so. I don’t even think she is using special formations – she’s just capitalizing on the fact that they’re all, well, blind. It is said that a woman’s beauty can cause kingdoms to fall, and each of these individuals have enough strength to set up their own kingdoms. They don’t because they would be stopped by us, of course. Well, I guess their destiny was to be toppled in this way. The Queen was also clearly prepared for this. Thankfully, it’s over now. What’s the final tally?”
Nodding, the Head replied, “28 Warriors. The rest seem to have finally realized that something is wrong, and stopped.”
“They should count themselves lucky. They’ve saved their own lives. Let’s go. That kid is setting up a gathering soon, and I can’t wait to see what he does. But the Queen is certainly winning, right now.”
“Winning? Is there a competition going on here I wasn’t aware of?”
Hearing the Head ask this question, the Chief chuckled and slapped his shoulder before saying, “Of course! I doubt that many know, except for the two taking part in the competition, themselves, and maybe some others who are also keeping a casual eye on the Central Continent just like me because they’re idle. Of course, you’ve been busy tending to the formations, so you wouldn’t have noticed. The competition is in regards to the number of people that either of them will be taking into their forces, and these gatherings will decide everything. The one who has the most impressive gathering will be the one who wins, unless unexpected things happen. I’ve received word that others in the High Council are also watching, as they want to find something that they can use to push back your resolution to leave the kid alone.”
This made a frown appear on his face, before he said, “I hope he’s careful, then. If he does give them cause, then I don’t know how I can stop them. They’re out for blood, I tell you, and I don’t even know exactly why they are so motivated to stop him.”
The Chief laughed heartily before saying, “Isn’t it obvious? Even though they can’t explain it, they know that he’s a threat to them, even though he’s nothing more than a buzzing fly to them right now. They haven’t seen what I saw in him, and soon, when it does become visible, it will dazzle them all. If I’m being honest, I must say that I’m looking forward to it – seeing all those high and mighty Heroes being smacked on their faces is a sight that will surely warm my old bones.”
Hearing this, the Head shot a strange look at the Chief. He still couldn’t believe that this man had thrown his entire lot behind the King of Lanthanor, but it looked like he had to accept it.
As he did so, he also thought about the sight that the Chief was talking about, and this made a smile appear on his face.
Well, at least for that sight to become real, he hoped that the Chief had made the right decision. This wasn’t an unfounded hope, either, as the Chief hadn’t been wrong in judging talent till now. Case in point was himself, who had been rejected by quite a few masters before finally finding a mentor and life-long friend in the Chief.
Resolving to also keep an eye on the gatherings and see just what these two would do, he made a bottle of wine appear in front of them, before both of them sat down to reminisce about old times and also wait for the show to begin.
Meanwhile, Daneel had just felt a very slight prickling feeling in his spine, which made him understand that he was being watched.
Well, he had no problem with that, as he was currently out in the public.
More specifically, he had arrived at the Healer’s Academy, which was one of the things that he had set up right after taking the throne.
Before the establishment of the Academy, healthcare had been really non-uniform in the Kingdom of Lanthanor. Healers charged exorbitant fees, and they even set their fee according to their reputation, which made it so that those who were skilled were only affordable to merchants and others who had enough coin in their hands. This resulted in a very deplorable situation where the poor had had to resort to either saving up money, or taking loans from loan sharks if they fell ill.
Their only other option had been to go and try their luck in the medical wing of the palace, where corruption had been rampant.
In order to solve this, Daneel had gone ahead and used the system from Earth where universities would have their main income as that which came from teaching others, while rendering services which were cheap as it would also function as practice for those who were training with them.
The defunct medical wing had been abolished and all of the healers had been congregated into the Academy, where they had agreed to charge only a set fee for all those who came to avail their services.
Healing was a very lucrative job, so there had been no dearth of people who wanted to come study this art. Anyone could learn and cast a basic healing spell, but if they didn’t study human anatomy and the minute details that went into correctly targeting the spell, then they would have to waste a lot of their magic power to heal just a simple scrape.
Hence, even mages who had mastered other fields of magic would often come to take a course on healing in the Academy, which led to the healers being quite happy as they got more money than they used to when they had their individual practices, while also being able to heal all those who would definitely have lost all hope and died if the Kingdom was the same as it had been before the present king rose to his position.
Today, Daneel was here to see if there were any problems with this setup, and to clear them so that it would be ready for expansion.
Yes, of course, expansion.
As the Alliance had been established, Daneel wanted to expand the Healer’s Academy to all three Kingdoms so that he could congregate all of the healers under one roof and possibly decrease the set fee so that even more people could be helped. He also wanted to supplement the Academy with a few funds from the government, so that they could decrease the overall cost of taking a healing course.
The second objective had come into his mind after thinking about the war that would soon engulf the continent. When that happened, the more healers there were, the better.
The Academy had already been notified that he was coming, so, as soon as he arrived, he was ushered to a room where over 50 healers were calmly sitting while waiting for him.
At their head was a middle-aged woman whom Daneel had seen once before – when he had negotiated the fee during that time right after taking his throne when the Academy had first been set up.
As soon as he entered the room, the woman stood up to bow gracefully along with all the others.
“All Hail Alliance Leader Daneel!”
Daneel was quite surprised that they had used this moniker of his, and even though he didn’t like it as much as he liked ‘King’, he had no option but to go with it for the time being.
Gesturing at them all to sit, he teleported forward and sat on the chair that was positioned the highest in the room.
A step below him was where the middle-aged woman was sitting, and below that was where all the healers were seated.
These were the typical social norms- the king had to be seated in the highest position in the room, as if anyone were seated beside him, then it would mean that both of them were on the same level.
The meeting actually went smoothly, with the healers only bringing up a few trivial issues such as that they needed even more exposure through the Network to bring in more students, which Daniel promised right away, and that they wanted more area as the number of students was growing steadily.
Even this wasn’t a problem as the new Academy would be set up outside the kingdom, where there would be enough space for all.
Next, Daneel put forward the plan that he had been thinking about.
There were no issues at all with decreasing both of the fees, as the government would be supplementing them anyway. Also, Daneel had decided that another system from Earth should also be implemented here – that all those studying in the academy should mandatorily serve for a set period of time at a location before they could graduate.
In this way, even if the actual Academy was outside the kingdom, healers would be positioned in branches all over the Alliance so that as many people as possible could go ahead and reach them whenever they wished.
After a bit of discussion regarding the minute details of this, everyone agreed, as they could all tell that in the long run, this would only result in the fame of the Academy growing, as even more qualified healers would be passing out with each batch who had experience working in the real world, instead of in a controlled environment.
Feeling quite happy that he had finished this task in the best manner possible, Daneel left the Academy, but this matter wasn’t over yet.
Was it enough if the Academy, itself, was alright? What about those for whom he had actually set it up?
Even now, there was quite a long line of those who were waiting to be healed, so Daneel considered whether he should just go ahead and ask them whether everything was alright.
Yet, he decided against it, as he wanted the truth, and he didn’t want to waste too much time on this endeavor.
So, he went ahead and started using a discreet form of Mind Control that would make it seem as if people were just answering normally, while they were actually being as truthful as they could be.
Initially, everything looked great, but as Daneel questioned more and more people, the underlying problem started to reveal itself.
True, he had decreased the fee by quite a lot, and there would be another cut.
Yet… it was still quite high for common people, and if there were serious conditions, people were still looking for either loan sharks or the bank to pay the fee for multiple visits.
After finding out this problem, Daneel thought for a bit, and instantly got the answer regarding how he would solve this.
He couldn’t believe that he hadn’t implemented this yet, here, but it wasn’t too late.
The Gathering, initially, had only been an event where the best features of the Alliance would be celebrated. However, with this, Daneel decided that he would also jazz it up with an announcement that would definitely help even more in pulling people to the Alliance.
Hence, his ‘revelation’ in this matter couldn’t have come at a better time.
Feeling really glad that he had made the decision to come check out these schemes of his before the gathering, Daneel went on to the next one, while his sovereigns continued taking care of the preparations to ‘handle’ the Queen.