《Saharan Successor》Vol. 1 - Chapter 28 - Juander's Request & Cleaning the Dome
Vol. 1 - Chapter 28 - Juander's Request & Cleaning the Dome
"On the contrary, my Aria probably is smiling right now in heaven, knowing that I managed to meet the great artist who immortalized her in a story. I just want to have a talk with you if you don't find it troublesome."
Looking straight at this man as he mentioned that, he felt even stranger, starting to ask himself about this man's identity.
'Aria? Is she your wife? Hmmm, why does this sounds familiar to me? Let me think, those chapters have Theodora in the spotlight. My only female protagonist is Theodora, the Greatest Empress of the Roman Empire. No way. I, a peasant? Am sitting next to the Emperor of Saharan, Juander von Saharan?'
As Mathias was formulating his guesses, on the other hand, Juander just gazed back, no longer saying with a calm voice, filled with dignity.
"I don't if you managed to find out, but I am the Emperor of this country, Juander."
Mathias nodded, seeming to talk to himself. "That's right, otherwise how would you make my Theodora familiar."
"Ahh, sorry, Your Majesty, I was thinking out loud for a moment."
"No offense taken, young man. Right now, I am just a simple man praying for his departed wife's soul. Act freely around me."
"Still, Your Majesty. I shouldn't be behaving casually around you." said Mathias trying to lower the pressure on himself that Juander just pinned on his back.
"Haha, don't worry. You can act casually like I am a nobody."
*Hisss* Like he was releasing the pressure on his body, turning to a deflated ball, he asked the latter, with a quiet voice.
"Sir, what did you want to ask me?"
Juander peered with his crimson eyes at Mathias, and with a voice sounding a bit more serious, he asked him.
"Young man, can you tell me from where did you get the inspiration to write those persons of your story?"
"This… Do you refer strictly to Justinian and Theodora?" checked Mathias to be sure he understood the Emperor's question.
"Those were their name…" said Juander to himself before taking a sheet of paper from the bench and looking to be reading it before focusing back on Mathias.
"That is right, young man. I am curious about those two persons in your story. Can you tell me, how have you been able to come up with such a concept and personality?"
Finding this question thrown at him a bit person, he coughed a bit to clear out the feeling pending in his chest, and while checking on Juander's expression that remained a serene calm, he explained to him, as if he wasn't holding any secret.
"Sir, you know that I am a cursed one or how others might call me and my brethren, outlanders."
Seeing Juander nod, he continued on.
"Those persons in my story are inspired from the history of where I am coming from. However, I shall confess that their personality is centered on my vision of those important persons in history. They are Justinian the Great and his almost the same status wife, Theodora. Emperor and Empress of the Great Roman Empire."
Juander stood there next to Mathias, contemplating what he heard, and after a while, he asked Mathias something unexpected.
"Do you have this book you are writing finished? I would love to give it a read and admire your work.".
"Sir, I am sure you will dislike my story. It is not for such cultured tastes. Also, I am just a writer doing this for fun, an amateur, no one big, to entertain the taste of an emperor. The quality also might feel questionable, even still. Will you ask for my book?"
Juander smiled at Mathias's humbleness and said unconcernedly by what he just heard.
"Young man, If I ask you for the book, it means I enjoyed your writing thus far. While there might be some writing mistakes on some points is not hurtful to the eyes. I've seen worse in the letters of my nobles. Hah, can you believe it, young man? I have 2 dukes that can't even write properly. Reading those sheets of paper is quite a nice passing of time. So will you do this to me? This request coming from Juander, not the Emperor."
"You will not be left unrewarded."
[Juander's Unexpected Request]
Juander, the Emperor of the Saharan Empire, had constantly wished to meet the artist who managed to immortalize his deceased wife, Empress Aria, and bring his scattered emotions back to light.
Since finding the small torch, the source of light for his soul, he secretly, without arousing the suspicion of his enemies, began looking for the mysterious artist, yet after three months, he was left without success.
However, not giving up on his attempt at finding the mysterious artist, he returned to where everything started, the Light's Cathedral, in the end, successfully finding you, the mysterious artist who left a big impression on Juander's heart.
Quest Clear Condition: Let Juander read your creation.
Rewards: Affinity with Juander increased by [???] & RIght of access to '???'
Failure: Losing all affinity with Juander & Uncertain Disasters occurring for the player.
Still remaining shocked by such proposal and a bit affected by the confession of Juander about him losing his wife, Mathias, stared down, wondering if he could pull such endeavor. Only after a minute or so did he respond to Juander, saying to him.
"Sir, all I can do is give you the manuscript, a complete one, to the point I got where I am writing. I can't simply rush myself to write something that might not satisfy me as a writer."
"This could also work, write for me this book to the point you are, and you shall be rewarded."
"Well, sir, I am not really enticed by rewards, meaning I am doing this for you. Hehe, for an admirer of such caliber and prestige, I will pull it off."
[You have accepted the quest]
Juander, after getting this response shifted his expression, doing a genuine smile, and getting a hold of the stash of sheet paper, placing them later on his coat pocket.
"You still haven't got me as an admirer, maybe after I get to read the full story, I might sponsor you."
"No, no. Sir, Lord Juander, don't bother with such fancy words as sponsoring me. I am doing this for my own enjoyment, not for money. Maybe a bit for my ego, so please don't praise me too much, or my head will grow bigger than my neck can handle."
"Haha, sure, young man. I will remember this for when we meet again. Here, don't lose the key and map."
As Juander said that, he got a key and a folded piece of paper and handed it to Mathias, continuing by reminding him.
" The keys and map here lead you to a small house nearing the Palace. That is a place I usually go to relax after my head is full of dirty politics. My small reclused place where no one will ever bother me, absolutely no one. No one knows that I own that little shack or that I frequent that place. I have my own tricks for remaining anonymous young man. Don't ask."
Ended, Juander saying, chuckling a bit, looking at Mathias, who stared with some confusion and surprise at the key and piece of paper.
Receiving the map and keys from Juander, Mathias estimated the time it would take him to write the book.
"It shouldn't be a problem if I am seen in those locations? In about one week, I will be able to write all the book, excepting the part I still have to write."
"Heh, you wouldn't even be worrying when you see the house. I will keep it as a surprise for you to find out."
As Juander finished his instructions, he got up and, leaving Mathias without his work for today, he started backing off, moving toward the exit of the Cathedral.
"That is right, I almost forgot something since I got my schedule full. What is your name, young man?" asked Juander, after stopping in place not far from where he left.
"I am called Mathias, Lord Juander." told Mathias, lowering his gaze a bit when seeing the deep crimson eyes that were shining with a red light.
"I see. Good name. It reminds me of the names my ancestors would have. Anyway, it is time I take my leave, for now, young Mathias. I shall await your creation."
Saying that he started walking away from the praying hall directly out of the Cathedral.
On the way out, his gaze passed the group of priests who were at the door, still with sulking expression, and even when he got near them, they didn't react, blocking his way.
"Pardon me, can you make way for me to exit?" asked Juander with a serene voice.
"Hah, give us a break, you peasant. Can't you see we are thinking?"
He didn't put to heart those words, and from his body, an intense crimson red aura was released that immediately struck the 4 priests to submission like they were dragons attacking some sheep.
Staring coldly at the priests that were foaming on the ground, shaking like dead fish, he withdrew his red aura and walked out undisturbed from the Cathedral. Later, he was met by his personal guard, Leader of the Eclipse, Bain, which showed up from the shadows of the trees nearby.
"Your Majesty, do you wish for me to eliminate those parasites?"
"Don't bother with some pathetic priests who don't know their path." replied Juander, with a cold voice to his personal bodyguard.
"Understood, Your Majesty." said the black-haired man, as he turned into a shadow that blended with the environment and following Juander, who cast a magic spell that shifted his appearance.
Meanwhile, after Juander left the Cathedral, he got up on his feet, stretched his body, and moved out of the bench rows, walking toward the center of the praying hall.
"Let's get the cleaning tools for now and start making my plan for how to climb the dome."
He followed the route back and walked toward the room Jeanne guided him yesterday, where, not long after, he quickly arrived with all the cleaning tools in hand, getting to the center of the praying hall, where the statue of Rebecca at a smaller scale was placed.
Staring at the large room, especially at its encompassing roof full of gold mosaics and marble statues, accompanied by shinning glass windows, he later turned his attention on the platforms leading up.
After some minutes of contemplation, he finally got moving, walking in the right direction, the praying hall, toward one platform that had a ladder.
"Wait, wait, I don't have to strap those cleaning tools on my back, right? The inventory bag, I haven't tried to see if those tools can be placed there."
Checking his assumption, Mathias opened his inventory window and could see a new feature appearing where he has the cleaning tools as questline items with addition windows, of [use] or [unuse].
Canceling the usage of all those items, he could see them disappear from where he was holding them.
"That was unexpected. With this, I will climb the ladders freely and get the items needed from the bag."
Placing his hand on the wooden ladder and doing a resistance check with his foot, he discovered that it was stable, letting him freely climb up toward the first platform, leading to the dome.
With one ladder done, he saw himself as if he climbed an apartment block floor, reaching the first level.
Moving on the platform and looking around with vigilant eyes, he saw that another ladder was on another platform on the same level but a bit distanced. Some wooden planks were connecting those platforms, about the width of some two feet standing bound.
"Wow, how cheap those constructors must be to do this. Was this on purpose? No joke, I feel like Ezio in the assassin's games from grandfather's collection."
Feeling like he was walking on a rope, he walked on the planks and got the the the platform that had a ladder to an upper platform.
The path was smooth until he reached an equivalent to the 4th floor since the constructors had conscious of making a path toward a high level of the Cathedral's walls.
Looking around himself, he whistled, impressed by the view, and as he looked above his head, he could still see that he had one more floor to climb before reaching the top platform.
"Here comes nothing."
Clutching on the wooden ladder, he began rising up, but he noticed the ladder wasn't anchored down or secured in any shape.
The instability of the ladder could be felt on his hands and legs, as it was shaking a bit.
"Ahh, Lord. Why I feel this isn't the fault of the workers, instead of someone else. Gabrils, you bastard, why haven't you secured your ascension path?" cried out Mathias, who barely managed to stabilize the ladder.
Passing this hurdle, he moved even slower on the ladder, balancing out his movements, and as he was climbing up in such a manner, he received a notification window, making his mind feel a bit better in the face of this suicidal job.
[After repetitive movements of your body and finding your balance on the high ladder that was risking your life, your body adapted ever so slowly.]
[Agility has risen by 1]
"System, please shut up. Can't you see I am busy right now? Trowing my life and playing the assassin game at the same time?" demanded Mathias, half ignoring the notification.
After some minutes of balancing himself on the ladder, he reached the uppermost platform, where his view changed to an enthralling scenery worth a capture.
Sitting down on the platform, and with the desire of capturing this setting, he searched around the settings for the capturing option.
"Found you, bugger. Let's immortalize this view."
Looking around, he could feel the view of the large dome, as if it was closely related to Hagia Sophia.
"Nevertheless, the devs sure are professional world crafters. To include such details and sophisticated elements to a building that most players probably wouldn't even bother to explore. It is simply breathtaking, looking from this high around the statues, column, mosaics, and the intricate manner the benches are arranged and how each marble stone placed on the floor connect making this sun."
"It should be the symbol of the Goddess."
Waiting for a bit, looking at the notification windows, he saw that no events appeared on his face. No events about discoveries or puzzle solving.
"Tsk seems I still haven't discovered much about the Cathedral. From those games, after getting to certain checkpoints, you could find some treasures. Meanwhile what I got is just a nice view. Sad."
After his rest, he sprawled up and looked for ways to start cleaning the mosaics.
"How do I climb more? Do I touch the walls? Too risky. Probably that's what Gabrils pulled, but me? I can't do such crazy acts. I need a hook so I can wrap a rope around me and rise up."
Mathias entered a state of meditation as he was thinking about his options.
"The bucket has a wooden handle… Not good. I have a rope, but I can't use it for fishing the rope hanging… Wait, a hook? How can I be so narrow-minded when I am half a magician?"
After doing a soft facepalm, he closed his eyes and concentrated on his [Mana Core] that was mostly unused by him for lack of arcane spells. Yet, remembering about the shovel incident when he just awakened his mana core, he had his fair share of experiments since then.
He wasn't as graceful and masterfully as Fayrene when it came to pure arcane, but it wasn't like he was an idiot that couldn't figure some tricks of his own.
Like this, he was stirring up his [Mana Core] that started to release a dim purple light that was warming his chest before gathering toward his right arm.
The rate he was gathering the mana compared to when he first tried to cast a pure form of magic was changed, taking him about 5 minutes to prepare the spell, half the time it took his in the past to cast only a shovel.
"Come, buddy, let's see if I improved my control with the magic."
After he felt he concentrated enough mana, he released it toward the rope, looking like a white-purple ray, touching the rope. Then with his mental control, he envisioned something akin to a metal hook, a point where this purple-white light touching the rope morphed in the shape of what Mathias imagined.
[You consumed 70% of your MP]
"Sure, but this matters less after I succeeded the control of mana."
Grasping the white-purple chain-hook that was bound to the rope, he quickly pulled it in his direction, and like a desperate person, he moved to grab the rope.
As he said that, the white-purple chain-hook started to scatter around, leaving Mathias with the rope in his hand.
Securing his hold on the rope, he began to use it to climb toward the high dome, and along the way, he would tie his own rope to secure himself even better.
Hence his cleaning job began.
Minutes passed, and Mathias was there, stranded and cleaning using his cleaning cloths, moving slowly so he wouldn't damage the mosaics in any shape or form.
"Hah, this job isn't so boring as I thought. Don't tell me I started enjoying extreme things with this new experience?" asking himself that question, Mathias still kept himself busy.
He stopped from cleaning after one hour when he heard the voices of many people bellow him, along with Archbishop Julius, who was doing a religious service.
The chores singing resounded even at the dome ceiling, where Mathias was cleaning up.
"Is like I brought the music player with me when cleaning at the job."
Not disturbed about the religious services or even bothered to stop his job, this was felt by the parishioners who noticed that dust was falling like dust on their clothes and bodies.
They still focused on the Archbishop conducting the religious service, but with each minute the service was going on, they would feel more dust falling on them.
"What is the meaning of this? Did we anger, Her Splendor, Rebecca to be dirtied up?" whispered one parishioner, another one, a woman.
"I feel the same, I even cleaned myself fully to come to His Holiness service, but my hair and clothes kept being dusted for unknown reasons." said the woman to the man, who was moving his hands to dust himself off.
Such whispers kept going, on the entire process of the old Archbishop, conducting the service, that even himself felt the effects of the dust reaching his pure white with golden thread sewing.
'What is this dust? Since when did my clothes get so dusty? What is going on here?'
Looking around the parishioners, who were also dusted, he then heard a little boy looking up call out to his mother.
"Mommy, look up! A fallen angel has been wounded and is stuck on the dome!"
This child's comment created an entire commotion, where even Julius looked up, only to have his face crumbling when he noticed who was making all this mess.
"Crazy brat, how did you manage to get there? I thought I cut down all the access to the dome. Barely that little shit, Gabrils, could get up to clean the dome in the past, but it isn't required cleaning that part. Hah, I have to let it dust off again, another waiting time for me to set my plans."
"Did you said something, Your Holiness?" asked one of the priests that were not far by, conducting the religious service along with himself.
"Ahh, no, no. I am just shocked but what I am seeing."
"Indeed, Your Holiness, who is that person? He doesn't seem to be brother Gabrils since he is still healing after being wounded by the Yatan Church."
"Don't worry, I know who that crazy brat is." mentioned the old Archbishop to the priest before turning toward the talking crowd and telling them with a warm and vibrant voice.
"Ahem, my dear children, please calm down. The one on the dome is one of Rebecca's servants who is entrusted with assuring the cleanliness of the Cathedral."
Mathias, who felt all his job was done, heard the old man and the commotion made below and only looked down after he received the notification of Jeanne's quest being completed.
[Congratulations, you have cleared the quest 'Clean the High Dome' and received the following quest rewards:]
[5,500 experience / [10x Intermediate Health Potion] / [+10] Affinity with Jeanne has been acquired]
[Your level has risen.]
"Finally! I started getting dizzy from this high after such a long time."
The parishioners heard Mathias saying that. He looked at each other dumbfounded and kept watching him as he was moving toward the platform of the adjacent wall.
"Ahem, dear children, let's resume the service, less we anger Her Splendor."
Tried Julius to take the parishioners' attention away from Mathias, and with success, they got their focus back on him.
"Yes, Your Holiness. Sorry for disturbing the service." called out the parishioners, apologizing to the old man, followed by Mathias, who was calling out with a loud voice from the ceiling.
In the meantime, Mathias, who got back to the platform, could see on a bench at the back of the gathered parishioners Jeanne giggling with a bright expression on her face, as if what she watched was a quality comedic show.
"You better have my back against the old man. I don't want to be handled around by him. I'll instead stick around with the beauties, as long it is possible."
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