Clay sat on his throne in Apollo's Lair. And recited the spell for transferring his consciousness into the body double he had in Alleucanth.
"[Body Transfer]" said Clay and his eyes immediately closed while his posture remained the same he left his body, soul-less in this state, but it still continued to absorb energy from the Sun soaking its cells in radiation, making him even stronger as time passed on.
Inside the Clays private residence beyond the City Hall, at the mid-part of Moribor Mountain, Clay's body double opened his eyes and stretched. A series of dull cracking of joints resounded in the room. It was only after a year of intensive research here on Claiomh Solais, did Clay find the way to cultivate spirit energy.
Basically, spirit energy was the energy that Spirit Entities living in the Spirit Realm used to influence their world. Although they exist in another realm, pockets of rifts in dimensional space enable some of that energy to leak to the physical world. One such worlds, was Alleucanth. Usually, spirits would only grant a contract to individuals they liked, because of their moral compass leaning to righteousness. However, in Clay's case, cultivating spiritual energy was something that he exchanged for with the Spirit King Agni. Granting him that knowledge was akin to acknowledging him as someone worthy to be part of the Spirit Realm.
It is true that Spirit Energy is a higher energy form than magic, as through analysis, Clay found out that Magic particles were created via the leakage from spiritual dimension rifts. When these Spiritual Dimension Rifts form, the spiritual energy that are leaking from it spread to the physical world and attach themselves to the already present matter in the world, altering them. The air, the earth, the clouds, the plants and even animals. If they are touched by this spiritual residue will undergo changes. However, it is truly rare for spiritual residue to attach to living organism, so its occurrence is quite slim there's a 1 in 1 million chance of that happening. And whenever beings that are changed because of this appeared, they would have power beyond measure, mortally speaking. Beings that have appeared in Alleucanth that have been touched by this residue for example are the beings called Dragons. They are half-spiritual beings. They possess magic energy that no one can rival and physical strength that none can surpass. These Dragons live and often never die unless killed. That's how powerful these spiritual residues are.
Commonly though, these spiritual residues only attach itself to the air particles in the world. Which changes their properties into magic particles than can change their properties depending on the stimuli. This secret is unknown to common humans, but Clay gained this knowledge from getting it from Agni.
So, his Magic Energy Reactor worked by exposing his oxygen to the spiritual residue and converting it directly to magic particles. That's why, his body grew bigger each second when he received the skill, because his own lung capacity stored thousands of tons of oxygen inside him, plus his bloodstream adding to that. It explains his growth spurt.
Spiritual residue for millennia has already accumulated in Alleucanth and even in the Sun. Plus, Clay now has access to the Spirit Realm via using Space Magic if he aligns its wavelength with the Realm. Having his own dimensional rift locked close to his brain constantly open gives him that source directly.
With that taken care of, Clay had another goal in his mind. It was to finally fulfill a promise he made. Clay called for his retainers to convene at his private residence. Their training was halted, and they immediately went to present themselves. When they arrived, they bowed their heads and sat opposite Clay in his lobby.
His private residence in Claiomh Solais was also made by him of course. Although the interior was not very elaborate, it was enough to call elegant. The walls were dyed with a bright color in blue, and the floor was polished to a shine. It was glass that was reinforced. Although it did not reflect too much, it also did not absorb too much. The sofa was designed with comfort and convenience in mind, so Clay made it as if making a leaning chair. Comfortable and convenient. Its cover was made with monster material and dyed with alchemical mixtures. If one were to look at roman type leaning chairs, then that would be the picture. In fact, that design is called Triclinium. That was how leisurely Clay wanted to be in his residence.
There was also a coffee table set at the center where there are snacks prepared beforehand by golems he created as well. Having his Dimensional Storage was convenient after all. He just had to transfer his consciousness back to his body and he can deliver materials to Apollo's Lair and then get back to this golem and voila, he can pick up whatever his real body made from it.
"Hmm… I see that Isaac's body had already almost fully adjusted to the magic energy that you have in your body. Try to contact your own spirit using this spell later and see if you can come to an agreement. It seems you have the power, but don't have the contract, hence, your power overwhelms your body. As you are now, you can control your power without the spirit, but, with the spirit, you'll be able to learn more than I can teach you. The choice is up to you." Clay seriously said and advised. Isaac was silent and just nodded his head as if an answer had already formed inside his head.
"Thank you Sire, for giving me this opportunity. I will decide when the time comes that I can fully control my powers and no longer must worry about it going out of control." Isaac thankfully said.
"Caltec, Jon and Mor, you guys are training in physical strength and even magic control, right? Just continue your training with both aspects. In time, I'll teach you ways to utilize both and incorporate them into techniques according to your specializations. Build your foundations firmly, all for protecting what's important to you. If heroes come, fight heroes, if demons come, fight demons... and even if gods come, fight gods. That's the true extent of my expectations from you guys. I know you'll be able to do it in time. Just continue to practice. Don't forget to make variations on the Turtle Destruction Wave I taught you. Make it your own secret technique." Clay also gave them instructions on where to take their training. They all nodded seriously and accepted his advisory.
After speaking about that, Clay then told them the real reason why he called them.
"I will be leaving for Acadria for a while. I need you to take care of things here while I'm away. If you can, recruit more people into the military. Merchants are welcome here, so have them make a base here with a merchant's guild taking care of them, allow mercenaries to take missions from a guild controlled by the city hall. The merchant, the adventurer and mercenary and even craftsman guilds should be controlled by the city hall. Protect our citizens from outsiders and visitors and penalize those who violate our peace here. I don't care how you handle it, just don't let out home get disturbed by outsiders. With that, I am leaving. Continue to do well. I expect a lot from you guys." Clay said and disappeared at the same time.
A second after Clay disappeared from Claiomh Solais, he appeared at the hill where Giselle took him when they met for the first time, where he promised to make her queen. This hill was later called the Hill of Promise. The queen of Acadria named this hill after the promise she made with the Hero. After the rebuilding of the kingdom of Acadria, it had become a tourist spot where couples also exchanged vows with each other. Even the village that once had no name, became the Village of Salvation. Where Giselle was saved from certain death by the people of the village. Although no one knew why it was named that way, they accepted it and cherished the name.
"Giselle, it's good that you didn't die. I've come to fulfill our promise. I hope the King isn't glued to his throne that he'd deny his savior's demand." After muttering so, Clay disappeared again from his spot. This time, he did not use magic to transfer here, he used his body's physical might to propel himself. Moving at speeds that left a blur. He arrived at the Castle Gates after just a few minutes of running.
With a gust of wind, he stopped in front of the gate and the guards flinched and covered their eyes to protect from dust.
Clay saw the Castle for the first time in close range and he was amazed by the size of it. Although Claiomh Solais was a city he built, a castle really does make one's heart palpitate a bit just seeing it. He put in the back of his mind to build a castle at the top of Moribor later.
The Castle stood more than a few tens of meters towards the sky. Its grey exterior intimidates thse who have never seen taller buildings, but Clay was a modern man, skyscrapers are what scared him. Now castles only invoke the feeling of wanting to experience making one himself. Although not a perfect replication, but an imitation, it should still look good. And that's is one of man's romance, so it's worth doing.
Clay waited for the guards to notice him. After a few seconds of cleaning their own visors, they finally noticed a man standing in front of them without moving. He was looking up and down the castle walls as if checking out his own courtyard. This irked the guards and called him out.
"Hey! You there! Turn back, this is restricted area if you have no appointment then come back when you have one." Said the guard. Although he wanted to really berate this ignorant fool, he could not do so, as a citizen of Acadria. Acadria had changed over the course of the year when the King had come back to actual power. The policies that he made all favored the citizens instead of the nobles and the nobles have distanced themselves from the king. It seems that a civil war was boiling behind the scenes and was about to erupt but the castle and the kingdom still did not know this. Or so the nobles thought.
"I'm here to visit the King. Please go and tell him someone wants to meet him. Tell him it's regarding 'watering the withering flower'."
"Watering the withering flower" that was the code Clay gave to An when she told her to bring the All Cure medicine to the King, Gracius vi Acadria. An told the king this message the moment they were all able to think clearly again from the joy of seeing the king in tip-top shape. When the King ordered for Guilbert to come back, he also secretly ordered the Night Prowlers to all go back to Acadria and spread their net all through out the Kingdom and focus on it along its neighboring Kingdoms as well. It was to prepare for the coming storm and that storm seems to be on the verge of boiling over now.
The guard was hesitant, but since the man seems to be sincere with his visit. They also could not disregard it. So, one of them gave a nod to the other and then said, "Please wait a moment. We need to deliver the message first." And stood erect again, ignoring Clay who was standing there looking around.
Clay while looking like a fool, was looking around the entirety of the Castle and located all the personnel he needed to take a note of. The King was having a conference with his ministers while Sunshine was keeping to the shadows just behind the king, An was also with him. The Princes and Princesses who were left in Acadria by Guilbert are also in each other rooms with guards on their doors and even the windows. It looked like they were under house arrest. Giselle was nowhere to be found, but he can hear her heartbeat somewhere in the Kingdom at least. He doesn't need to go to her for now. Clay had to set up everything so his promise can be fulfilled in a way that is legal and legit.
With Clay standing around for a few minutes to half an hour, the guard finally came back running and out of breath. He wanted to alert the other guard, but he was still catching his breath and so the horses that came from behind him as if chasing him caught up. On those horses were knights that looked too heavily armored to be called ordinary cavalry. Clay guessed that they must be royal guards or royal knights. Clay knew that Sunshine was one of those knights riding a horse to greet him but refrained from calling him out. There were five of them who greeted Clay, the King could not make it due to the ministers' presence and so he had to stay behind.
"Are you the guest that wishes to see his Majesty?" Asked the foremost royal knight wielding a giant shield behind him and a lance on his lap.
Clay peeked at his face and answered when he saw he did not know this guy.
"Yes, are you here to escort me to the palace?" Asked Clay back.
"No. You are not welcome here. His majesty does not wish to be disturbed now. Guards, take this man and lead him away from the palace!" The foremost knight ordered. Although he did not sound rude at all and his voice was calm, his words itself felt like he wanted to slap Clay in the face. However, Clay knew the truth that the King ordered them to escort him to the royal chambers where he and the King can speak freely. Sunshine knew but he refused to move currently. Clay was perplexed for but a second and then a second later burst into laughter right at the face of this knight.
"Oh, I know what's going on. Hey, are you guys planning to rebel against the king at this junction already? A simple guest is turned away because it just might make your plans awry. How ridiculous. Let me tell you something Sir Knight. I already politely asked to come and meet him. Don't make me regret coming here politely instead of getting here with blazing momentum…" Clay paused and continued, "… wait, are all of you in agreement to this guy? If not, say so... if you don't your families will regret that you died without reason at all. Speak up." Saying, "speak up" Clay put a little bit of mana over Overpower and designated his targets to be all the knights. Including Sunshine. Part of him wanted to test how good Sunshine improved since last time and how skillful these knights are to be called royal knights.
The horses neighed and whined. They were subjected to Clay's Overpower as well and were close to rampaging already if not for the trained horsemen that rode them. However, the knights riding them were not of the same situation. They were stricken with panic and fear in their eyes. Shivering at the thought of dying. Just from the voice of this guest, they felt that they really could die if they supported their fellow knight who was acting out of bounds. They hurriedly answered, "N-No, no, no! We were ordered to take you to the Kings chambers." They defended their lives with this sentence. Even they they were not sure if this guest would really be able to enact his threat, they still valued their lives more than pride and so left their fellow knight to his own devices.
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"Hmph! Why should the king allow you entry? I shall stop you from going inside even if I have to resort to force!" Said the foremost knight. At this moment, the knight at the most back of the five of them spoke up with cold but shaky voice, "Sir, please don't pull us into death just because you want to die. We don't want to perish just yet." Said Sunshine. He finally spoke up after feeling Clay's killing intent and the truth that he knew. That Clay would not hesitate to kill him as well if he stayed quiet.
"Good choice. Now please remove this man out of my face and bring me to the king. I don't want him in my vicinity ever again. If I so much as smell his bad odor from a few meters away from me again, I will kill him in cold blood. You understand?" Clay clearly made his threat clear. It was a show of power so that he won't be too bothered. He finally realized now that in this world, being humble equals being a footstool for others to step on. If you have power in this world, use it to come out on top. If not, you risk being looked down on and stepped on.
"Tch!" Clay clicked his tongue and stepped to the front through the center of the knights that came. He then slowly walked at the same pace as the horse. And no one noticed that he was walking slowly yet the horses were moving to a canter, keeping up with it.
They arrived to the castle in a few minutes and Clay directly went inside the castle door when the butler opened it up. As if he knew that the butler had been there keeping watch already. And as a testament to that butler, Clay gave him a nod and said, "Oh, I'd also like to have a butler like you in my home. Shall I ask the king to put you into my service? Haha!" Clay was in a good mood after seeing the butler's timing. It was exquisite. He had experienced nothing like that since coming into this world at all.
There were no other servants that knew Clay's face here except that maid that showed disdain for Giselle, which even Clay had already forgotten the name of. And he even forgot that that maid had died already. So inside the castle, the only ones who knew he was the hero were those that saw the wanted poster that Guilbert handed out some time ago, which to these servants would be impossible to do, since everything in the castle should be kept in wraps. Even those who get to go outside must be replaced regularly to avoid inside-job crimes. Sunshine was the exception, who was with the knight squad outside currently. Clay knows that he'd be able to move towards the King's chamber faster than him even at this rate.
"Surely you jest, my Lord." Said the butler. Clay kept his smiling face even at the butler's answer. He then asked, "Please lead me to the King's chambers. I am having a meeting with him there." When he opened his mouth to voice his intent, the servants all stiffened up and stood their grounds. It seems they were surprised that a random guest could be allowed such an honor and not even in the audience chamber. The butler read the atmosphere and coughed to release the tension and said awkwardly, "My Lord, please let me lead the way for you. This way please." While bowing his head keeping his eyes lined up to the ground and then glaring at the servants present surrounding them to get back to work.
"You're really good. I envy the king. I want a butler like you to serve me as well. Sigh." Clay expressed his longing for a butler like this guy, "What's your name?" he asked.
"My Lord, my name is unworthy to be heard by such a lofty person." Humbly said the butler.
"Bullshit! Come on, tell me. I'll tell the king how lucky he is to have a butler like you. Go on." Clay was in a happy mode obviously. He had an ideal for his butler golem now. But to fully integrate it to his creations, he needed actual butler knowledge and training. Which he doesn't have so he wanted a real butler.
"My name is Albert my Lord. You'd do me such honor if you mentioned this servant to the king." And he also knows how to flatter! Clay exclaimed in his mind! Perfect butler!
"I will remember you Albert. Don't worry." Clay shut up after saying that and allowed Albert to continue to lead him to the King's chambers without any sound. Today, the doctor's visit has been arranged. How the patient receives his doctor, would decide his fate.
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