As they got closer to the gates of the city, Willard quickly noticed the long queue of people trying to get into to the city. “From the looks of things, it might take close to an hour to get in.” Willard thought to himself. He turned at stared at the two warriors behind and him. There was a big smile on his face. “Thank you for escorting me to Marquis city. You have fulfilled your orders, you are no longer obliged to follow me.” Willard bowed and said courteously. He currently had no use for the warriors, and would much rather they left and went back to the village.
“That is true, but I followed you for a different reason” Baya said.
“Oh. And what reason might that be?” Willard asked with a puzzled look on his face.
Baya walked closer towards Willard, he smiled and immediately bowed to one knee. “I would like to pledge my fealty to you. I only ask you provide me with the means to grow.” Willard hearing this was completely taken by surprise. He was thoroughly shocked at Baya’s action. Of the group that followed him to Marquis city, Baya had been the most reserved and level headed. Doluwa was also shocked at Baya’s action, but he quickly caught himself and lightly laughed.
“Baya, you never cease to amaze me.” Doluwa said while staring at Baya. He moved his gazed back to Willard and sad, “as for me, my mission is done. I will be heading for the village now.” Willard breath a sigh of relief after hearing that.
Doluwa immediately left as he said those words. Both Willard and Baya stared at Doluwa as he was leaving. Neither of them had a strong relationship with Doluwa to begin with, so they did not really care about him leaving. Now Willard was faced with a decision to make, he had gotten his revenge, but unintentionally, he had picked up someone as a follower. This wasn’t the first time someone had pledged their fealty to him. Sungo, the lesser god of thunder, pledge his fealty to Thanus. Zerafat, the lesser god of battle at that time, also pledged his fealty to Thanus. Even after Zerafat became a chief god, he was still serving Thanus. Although he was no stranger to this act, but this particular circumstance was truly strange.
“Why are you pledging your fealty to me?” Willard asked with an indifferent tone.
“I have travelled the world and I have seen various things throughout my life. I know someone destined for great things when I see one.” Baya responded.
“You are not afraid I might kill you someday, like I did Azeya?” Willard asked.
“If that is how it ends, so be it.” Baya responded wholeheartedly.
Willard clapped and laughed hearing Baya’s response. Willard stared at Baya with an intrigued look. Baya was fairly tall and athletic looking, he had long black hair, with a devilishly handsome face. “Alright, swear before me an eternal oath.” Willard said after clapping. “I swear to the gods of the nine heavens, and to you Willard my master, I shall serve and obey for as long as I am needed.” Baya swore.
Willard nodded in acceptance of the oath. They both joined the queue and waited their turn to pay the city tow fee. Baya a vague smile on his face, one that was hard to notice. His thoughts flew back to the first time he met Willard. He was randomly making his way to the town square when he saw a kid being bullied. Before making his way to them, the rest of the kids had left him laying on the floor. A month later, Baya had witnessed the graduation ceremony of that bullied kid. To his surprise, that kid had shown power and technique beyond his years. Baya was no fool, he knew something drastic had to have happened to Willard. There was no way for him to have learned a martial technique within a month or grow to such frightening level of power. Now on the way to Marquis city, this same Willard had increased in power to rival even his own. Whatever was the case, this was his best shot at growing in power. He had been stuck at the peak of the 8th level of natural energy for almost five years. Baya knew if things continued that way it was virtually impossible for him to breakthrough to the 10th level. He placed his hopes in the fact that Willard could provide him with the means to grow.
As they paid the toll and made their way to the city, Willard instantly noticed how lively the city was. This was his first time visiting a big city, and he was quite pleased with the noticeable difference. He saw considerably larger buildings filled to the brim with a lot of people. He easily noticed a fight break out to his left, involving two drunk people, and while watching this spectacle he noticed everyone’s indifference to it. Moments later, the Marquis guard came out to break up the fight and arrest both parties. “Marquis city sure lives up to its reputation,” Willard said while walking.
Willard leading Baya, went directly to find an inn to stay. They scoured through the city looking for the appropriate inn that matches their budget. After an hour of tedious searches, they found a moderately priced one at the west of the city. “It will be best for us to rest a while before we go back,” Willard said to Baya, who nodded in agreement. They both made themselves comfortable in their living areas and rested for some time. While laying on the bed, Willard was making preparations for his next set of actions. “I should rest today and start making proper preparations for the blood trials from tomorrow.” Willard softly said to himself.
The Blood trials, was a premier competition within Marquis city. It was a competition that drew all sorts of people from all corners of the kingdom. The trial required that one had to be at most 18 years of age and have at most attained the 10th level of natural energy. The trails started as a ritual where prospective soldiers who wanted to join the Royal guard of Marquis city, would partake in to prove their strength and competency. It later evolved to include various schools, who sort after talented participants who would be interested in joining a school. This was the very best outlet for one to display their quality. If one succeeded in passing the trial, they would be considered above average in strength, they will be virtually guaranteed to be invited to join at least one school. If they succeeded in passing the trail in less than twenty minutes, they will be considered geniuses. Almost all schools would send out an invitation to geniuses, and if one is lucky, they might be called up to join the Royal guard of Marquis city. If the participant passed in less than ten minutes, they would be considered a genius of geniuses. At that point all entities within the kingdom would fight to get such a genius to join them. But passing under ten minutes is no small ordeal. In the history of the trials, only three people have ever succeeded in passing under ten minutes. And all three of them ended up ascending to the nine heavens.
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