Chapter 492: The Boatman's Bamboo Raft
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
In the history of the Norton Kingdom, and maybe even the human race, there had been few marshalls of commoner origin.
Kanorse may be the first marshall to set such a precedent in the Norton Kingdom.
He had also set another even more stellar precedent: in the last 3000 years of human history, Kanorse was the first Legendary Warrior who had been promoted to Marshall through sheer talent and hard work.
He had reached Legendary three days ago. Before, there were the royal generals in the army who had objected to his promotion. As he was now a Legendary Warrior, all objections to it had been quelled.
Link was not surprised by this. Even though he had sealed up the dimensional crack with a rune formation, Firuman's Mana saturation had been steadily increasing till it had now reached its late-game stage.
Under these circumstances, talented individuals would surely surpass the Legendary State all across the continent. Kanorse was but the first of such individuals.
In the fortress, Kanorse stood motionless in his room. His attendants bustled about him as they fitted the marshall's standard black-gold battle armor on him. On the surface, Kanorse seemed extremely calm.
But inside, he could feel his heart palpitating violently, sending out vibrations across the rest of his body.
He had never thought such a day would come.
Orida Fortress was the first mountain pass to the north of all human nations. To be promoted to the fortress' marshall essentially meant that he now stood on the pinnacle of all human Warriors.
The attendants had finished putting on every part of the battle armor on his body. In front of Kanorse stood a full-length mirror. A tall Warrior stood in the mirror, clad in a full black-gold set of battle armor furnished with runes all over.
The Warrior in the mirror had an air of power and grandeur about him, like one of those heroes from legends of ancient times.
Looking at his reflection, Kanorse drifted off into a reverie, as he recalled something from his childhood years.
He had been the son of a horsekeeper.
When he was young, he had helped his father feed the horses, and clean up their stables. He had helped groom these magnificent battle horses every day. Yet, he never had the chance to ride on them once, as he was still not qualified to do so.
He had seen the royal elders clad in their splendid garments coming in and out of the Abel family's royal palace. He had always enjoyed the sight of the knights following behind them and dreamt about one day wearing their brilliant armors and exquisite swords.
Of course, this was all wishful thinking.
His father had told him from time to time, "Kanorse, horsekeeping is the family business. If you wish to lead a more stable life, don't start chasing rainbows."
Kanorse was only 13 years old when his father passed away. He thought he would be stuck in the palace as a replacement for his father, when one day, he met Duke Abel.
"This kid looks strong," the duke had said to him.
At the time, the duke was recruiting a large number of youths of the same age as Kanorse to form his own entourage of bodyguards. Kanorse, too, was selected for training. Kanorse could still remember clearly the first time he had brandished a sword, the first time he had sweated out a storm over his body, the first time he was injured, all on his journey to become a magnificent Warrior.
Now, he had done it, and the result had surpassed all his expectations.
With a soft snap, a brilliant red cape was clasped onto his shoulders. His attendants then softly said, "Marshall, it's time."
Kanorse nodded. He saw the Legendary Warrior in the mirror had nodded at the same time as he did. Dad, are you looking at this now? I'm no longer a simple horsekeeper, he thought to himself.
He turned towards the door and walked out into the corridor. His attendants led the way in front of him until they arrived at the entrance of the fortress' great hall.
The great hall had been decorated splendidly. A red carpet had been laid out on the ground, while the four walls were hung with battle flags adorned with the head of a lion. The soldiers of the fortress too had put on their most brilliant armors for the occasion.
When Kanorse arrived at the great door, all eyes were immediately on him.
In an instant, all the generals gave him the standard military salute. From the dais, King Leon and the Lord of Ferde nodded at him with a smile.
In that moment, Kanorse's chest swelled up with pride.
This was the ultimate goal of every Warrior.
He walked slowly through the great hall until he reached King Leon. He then half-knelt before him, knowing that this was the last time he would be doing so before the king. As marshall later on, he simply needed to bow before the king.
King Leon placed a hand on Kanorse's head and asked, "Kanorse, what is your duty?"
"To protect the North and drive out the darkness!"
"Which precepts do you abide by?"
"Compassion, loyalty and glory."
King Leon then spoke, "From this moment forth, you are now the lion of the Norton Kingdom, the highest commanding officer of Orida Fortress."
When he finished, King Leon held the Hero's Dusk sword that Link had modified in both hands. The sword was rechristened the Lion's Pride, but as of now, it would be known as the marshall's standard sword.
Kanorse took a deep breath, ready to accept the sword.
Flashes of light came from the crowd behind them, as some of the Magicians took out their Memory Crystals to record the moment.
The Legendary Warrior Kanorse was the most dazzling among them all, followed by the king. As for the Lord of Ferde, Link had completely blended with the crowd, an inconspicuous figure in the background.
This was not at all what the military Magicians had wanted. In truth, they had wanted to make Link stand out even more in their Memory Crystals, being the most powerful person in the kingdom. But it was no use; Link had simply faded into the background in the images that they had taken.
His existence was completely ignored by everyone else.
After handing the sword to Kanorse, King Leon proceeded to give him the lapel pin, ring, and belt that Link had forged for the new marshall.
Kanorse put them on one after the other. When he finished, an indescribable black-golden aura radiated from his armor, adding an indistinct, almost mystical quality to his features.
Kanorse felt a sudden vibration in his spirit, as all the excitement and fear fled from him without a trace. His mind had attained a state of calmness he had never felt before, as if there was nothing in this world that could frighten him.
This must be the Spiritual Protection that Master Link was talking about, he thought. Truly awesome.
He tried to search for Link among the crowd, but noticed that the Legendary master, whose actions could supposedly determine the kingdom's fate, had already reached the great hall's entrance. Link felt Kanorse's eyes on him and turned to give him a knowing smile. His figure began fading away until he finally vanished into thin air.
Kanorse sighed inwardly. He had once read a passage from a book written 800 years ago by a wise king.
The king had written that the kingdom was like a bamboo raft, and time a flowing river. A wise boatman should not try to alter the course of the raft. Whenever a submerged rock appeared in the flow of the river, he should extend the bamboo pole in his hand and give the rock a light push, subtly maneuvering the raft around it and letting it float on down the river.
Kanorse felt that Link was that wise boatman, and the people of the Norton Kingdom were the passengers on his bamboo raft.
He said to himself, "Thank you, God of Light, for bestowing upon us the presence of such a wise man."
Once the ceremony had ended, Kanorse was officially promoted to marshall. To top it all off, he was now a Legendary master equipped with the finest gear.
With him presiding over Orida Fortress, there should be no further problems in the northern region.
Link returned to the Mage Tower to pack his things up, ready to head for the South.
The Yabba airship had arrived. with Merlin still as its pilot. Link, Celine, the priests from Hapsburg as well as some of the marksmen had all boarded the airship.
"My lord, are we ready for takeoff?" asked Merlin.
"Not yet, King Leon's still not with us," said Link.
Around ten minutes later, King Leon had arrived, with Kanorse, Duke Abel and Princess Annie beside him.
King Leon and Duke Abel both waved back at Kanorse and Princess Annie as they ascended the gangplank.
When both Abel brothers had gotten on board, the airship began taking off.
In that time, Link never once made an appearance. Princess Annie seemed visibly disappointed by this, while Kanorse tried to console her. Link smiled to himself as he looked on at the scene below him.
After a while in the air, King Leon shot a few glances at Link, as if wanting to say something to him.
"Your Highness, is something the matter?"
"Jon would like to stay at Ferde," said King Leon with an awkward smile.
Since they were brothers, and considering Duke Abel had no chance of regaining his former power, King Leon had intended that he be kept under house arrest. The duke would still be able to enjoy the luxuries of his royal life as before.
Link knew what he meant, and smiled at him. "I'll have a garden villa built for him in Ferde."
"Many thanks," said the king cheerfully. He then continued speaking, "There is one other thing... I... I'm thinking about rebuilding Hot Springs City."
As a king, he felt that he should not live the rest of his life in Ferde. Before, he did not understand what Link's intentions were, and so did not dare make such a demand to him, fearing that it might have him killed. Now, knowing what his intentions were, the king felt that Link would surely agree to rebuild the city with him.
More importantly, with Link's support, King Leon felt that he would be able to receive help from the other lords of the kingdom in the form of manpower and capital.
Link thought for a while, then nodded. "Your Highness, I'll support your decision. You'll need to discuss the details of your plan with Supervisor Lucy first, though."
Even as king, there were a lot of procedures to adhere to, and Link had no intention of seeing them through on his behalf.
Hearing this, King Leon was pleased that Hot Springs City could now be rebuilt, but somewhat annoyed that he had to deal with Lucy. Nothing good ever came from their dealings with each other.
After flying for five hours without much fuss, Link and the others finally reached Ferde.
Beyond his magical research, Link never concerned himself with other things. His time was split between reading the time magic book, writing his magical enchantment books, and sword practice.
The time magic book was extremely hard to digest. He gave it to Alloa, the Maiden of Truth, who had accepted it like it was gold, and read through its pages for three days and three nights straight. On the fourth day, she vomited actual blood out of overexertion. Link immediately took the book back from her.
In the end, Alloa only managed to understand the first few pages of the book.
In a blink of an eye, a month had passed by.
One day, as Link wrestled mentally with the time magic book, he suddenly sensed the presence of an impressive amount of light energy in his domain.
Someone had appeared in Ferde. The energy belonged to the Legendary Light Magician he had met back in Dragon Valley!
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