Chapter 3

A large and expensive-looking carriage was stationed at the entrance of the mansion. It had been called from the capital to pick up Nina and her associates. Inside it were Gary, Mark, James, Norma, and Susan.

They were ready to depart from the Frederick domain.

“Well I guess I will be going now. You better make sure I get my 35 platinum coins this month.” (Nina Maccabaeus Frederick)

“Yes Nina-sama” (Noah Frederick)

“And you bastard. When you enter the academy don’t do anything that might trouble me or else!” (Nina Maccabaeus Frederick)

“Understood Nina-sama”

“Very well. Make sure you remain in that position until my carriage is out of sight. The likes of you two aren’t worthy to watch the noble I’s departure while standing.” (Nina Maccabaeus Frederick)

The two of them were kowtowing in front of the carriage as Nina boarded it.

“Ah…I almost forgot. Noah, come to the capital in 7 months. An acquaintance will behold a gathering and you must attend.” (Nina Maccabaeus Frederick)

“Understood…but it will make it difficult to raise the 35 platinum coins if I do that…”

“Not my concern… just come and bring my money or else! Coachman! get me out of here!”

The coachman drove the carriage, Noah and Colin could feel the smirk he had on his face as he drove the carriage, as a matter of fact, they could feel the smirks of the bodyguard adventures that were hired to act as protection.

“What a pathetic sight” (random male adventure)

“They call themselves men?” (random male adventure)

“Maybe I should get one as a pet?” random female adventure)

“Only you can get turned on by such a pathetic display. Where is their sense of pride? Never mind, I not being paid to comment on pathetic men.” (random female adventure)

After 30 minutes the carriage disappeared from the sight of the mansion. Colin and Noah stood up.

“She is finally gone.” (Noah Frederick)

“What a relief, but I guess it will be a lot harder for me when I attend the academy next month” (Colin Frederick)

“No argument there. Now then let’s clean the house.” (Noah Frederick)

Noah and Colin didn’t live in the mansion.

Doing so would waste time and money.

They only used it when Nina Maccabaeus Frederick came for her annual visit to the domain.

Noah and Colin spent the next month heading deep into the forest to hunt monsters.

And then the day came for Colin to head off to the capital.

“Will you really be alright?” (Colin Frederick)

“Don’t look down on your old man. I am still stronger than you.” (Noah Frederick)

“Hump…only if I limit myself to swordsmanship.” (Colin Frederick)

“There you go. Thinking yourself as a high and mighty warrior. Just remember everything I told you during this last month about the academy and the city.” (Noah Frederick)

“I will” (Colin Frederick)

“Go now. You will be late if you don’t” (Noah Frederick)

“See you later pops.” He said before he started off on a coach headed for the capital. It belongs to a traveling merchant.

This was the merchant who purchases their materials to sell in the capital.

Their journey to the capital was long and tiring for other occupants they picked along the way, but for the merchant, it was a more pleasant journey than the ones before.

All of this was thanks to Colin taking care of any wild monsters and bandits that came along the way.

The other passengers could only feel wry when them both mummer,

“I hope more monsters show up. Maybe an Orc king or Goblin king…no…no…A dragon. Yep, it better be a dragon. The fetch a lot after all.” (Colin Frederick)

“Bandits, I want more bandits…With Colin here, we can get all their loots. I will make a small fortune from that.” (Traveling merchant)

[Oi Oi Oi…Are these people alright?] (random male passenger)

[Did he just wish for a dragon to appear? Those are rank S class monsters you know] (random female passenger)

After 2 weeks of travel, they arrived at the capital. As the passengers got off the carriage they had relief expressions on their faces. Colin and the merchant’s faces were the opposite of this.

"There were no Dragons" (Colin Frederick)

"There were no more bandits" (Traveling merchant)

[These guys are not normal] (Passengers)

Colin having said goodbye to the merchant who headed to see his family who lived in the common district walked through the capital city of Eleadia.

He was impressed with the many buildings he saw everywhere.

This was a far cry from the boniness he was raised in.

From the information he got from the merchant, the city was divided into 5 districts.

The royal district was in the middle of the capital. That was home to the royal family and the royal knights.

A giant castle that towered over the whole city could be seen rising from the royal district.

It was an impressive sight to see.

There was also the noble district to the northeast.

This housed nobility and extremely rich merchants.

During the early days of the kingdom, this district was for nobility alone but as merchants grew in influence and gained noble titles of their own. These restrictions were lifted for the most prosperous merchants.

Of course, not a single noble knight had a home in such a location, however, their legal wives did have a mansion or two there. A true testimony to the injustice that they went through.

The noble district was divided into layers.

The first layer houses the highest nobility.

Duke/Duchess

Marquess/Marchioness

The second layer housed

Earl/Countess

Viscount/Viscountess

While the third layer housed

Baron/Baroness and Wealthy Merchants

The district east of the noble district was the academy district. It was the smallest district that housed the royal academy, which Colin would be attending the civil academy.

The civil academy was responsible for teaching merchant children as well as commoners who could afford it or who had a scholarship.

The district next to the academy was the commercial district.

This is where the merchant stores of every kind could be found. Much like the noble district this too was divided into layers.

There was the noble layer where the rich, nobles, and royalty shopped.

There was also the commoner’s layer where the normal citizens shopped.

A wall ran across the district, separating one layer from the other and with royal knights patrolling to ensure the safety of the nobles.

Right in the middle of the wall was the labyrinth tower. It was smaller than the royal castle in size and height but still very impressive.

To raise money to host tea parties at the academy, many noble knights entered the labyrinth as explorers.

There were two entrances, one on the noble side and one on the commoner’s side.

Despite being a noble knight, Colin had to use the commoner’s side. That is what his father and the merchant had advised him to do.

Lastly was the biggest district. The commoner’s district. This is where commoners lived. There were houses, inns, food stores, and many other things.

The size of the common district was larger than all the other districts combined.

People went about their business with smiling faces. This scene reminded Colin of his town.

Colin, following the merchant’s advice, arrived in the commoner’s commercial district. They were shops selling everything from magical items, weapons, food, and jewelry among other things.

However, it was a tall circular building that captured his eyes.

Ancient writings covered its walls. Only a saint maiden can read these words. The current saint maiden is currently touring labyrinths across the continent. She travels to wherever the ancient writings' words change.

The ancient writings on the labyrinth walls change over time.

They would foretell great misfortune sometimes, such as a monster stampede, or a natural disaster, and even the revival of a demon lord – a misfortune that would spell the destruction of a whole kingdom and the rise of the monsters across the two continents.

Fortunately, such misfortunes haven’t occurred for thousands of years.

Nowadays they announce the appearance of a new floor, other times the creation of a magical tool or weapon which could easily be a national treasure.

Adventures and explorers would dive into the labyrinth to search for such treasures.

Well, that is true except for this labyrinth.

This labyrinth is an A-rank labyrinth. The highest rank, second only to S rank labyrinth.

As a result, even an A rank adventure can only go as far as the 15th floor out of 100 floors.

Of course, that’s not to say that no one goes further.

There is one group of people who journey as far as the 45th floor.

With the pressure to earn a vast amount of money for marriage, noble knights discarded their adventure heritage to become labyrinth explores.

Unlike other labyrinths, the labyrinth was run by the merchant’s guild rather than a labyrinths guild and their focus was money-making.

They gave no ranks and kept no records of those who entered the labyrinths. They also offered no support.

Their motto was basically, ‘make us money’

All one needed to enter the labyrinths was to buy a labyrinths card at 20 gold coins and you were set.

They didn’t care if you died exploring, all that mattered to them was the number of materials you would send back.

However this disregard to records keeping meant that the kingdom was unaware of the powerful force that was growing under their noise.

[Maybe I should register before going to the academy. It will save a lot of time when I have to face the ‘ROKUKEN’] (Colin Frederick)

ROKUKEN – A tradition among noble knights. Every year at the beginning of each semester the noble knights hold a tournament inside the labyrinth. The tournament decides who the leader of the noble knights at the academy would be.

The role of the leader is to act as the noble knight’s representative at the academy. He is also in charge of resolving disputes among noble knights which rarely occurs.

He is also tasked with taking command of the noble knights should an emergency arise.

The reason his ancestors were called noble knights was that the king at that time wanted to make sure that they understood that their main role was that of a fighting nobility.

Their main task was to keep the monster a bay along the border with the demonic forest.

Should an emergency happen at the border it would be the noble knights at the academy will no doubt have to deploy to provide additional support?

The Royal family never deploys its royal knights to the border and as such expecting support from them would be a foolish gamble.

They can only rely on themselves.

In such situations, the leader would take control of the noble knights.

And how exactly is the leader chosen?

Skill?

Power?

Looks?

Such things were worthless to noble knights at the academy.

Every noble knight is given a day to raise money by any means other than illegal means or extorting another noble knight. This leaves the labyrinth as the only option to raise funds.

The one who raises the highest amount wins.

The winner is also obliged to hand over 80% of his earnings to the other noble knights.

That’s right…the correct answer was bribery.

Having finished registering, Colin left for the academy.

[I can’t wait to challenge the labyrinth] (Colin Frederick)  

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