"T-This!" Cedric stuttered as he gazed at the thousands of Dire Wolves that had been piled up outside the city of Lont. "J-Just how did Lont survive the Beast Tide?"
Leah, who was seated beside her brother, looked at this scene with an expression of disbelief. Her eyes widened in shock when she saw the corpses of the Centennial and Millennial Beasts that were only a stone's throw away from the town's entrance.
"Will, who was the one who defeated the Thousand Men Beast?" Leah asked.
William patted his chest and gave Leah a dazzling smile. "The one who killed it was me."
Leah and Cedric: ...
William chuckled as he looked at the two who had an "Are you messing with us?" look on their faces.
"Are you really the one who killed it?" Cedric asked. Clearly, he didn't believe that William was the one who managed to kill it. "Do you know what that is? That's a Millennial Beast. It's a moving one-man-army. How can a little kid like you kill it?"
"I know that it's hard to believe, but it's true," William answered. "If you doubt me, you can ask the adults in the village."
"How did you kill it?" Leah inquired. She had known William for a few years. Although William liked to boast, Leah knew that the boy was someone who was not fond of lying.
Cedric glanced at his sister before shifting his gaze to William. The siblings were really curious about how William managed to do the impossible.
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"Well, Grandpa and the others had weakened it considerably. I was just the one who gave it the final blow," William explained. In the end, he decided to downplay the battle against the Millennial Beast. This way, Cedric and Leah would be able to accept his explanation.
"I see." Cedric nodded his head in understanding. His father, Sebas, would often say that James was a very strong person. As to how strong he was, Cedric had no idea. Even so, he readily accepted this explanation.
Leah gave William an appraising look. Although William said that he only gave the finishing blow to the monster, Leah felt that there was a deeper meaning to his story.
William casually flipped his hair as he gave Leah a confident smile. "Big Sister, I know I am handsome. However, if you keep looking at me like that, even someone as thick-skinned as me will feel embarrassed."
"It seems that your narcissistic nature had only grown worse since the last time I saw you." Leah gave William a sweet smile.
"Thank you for your praise."
"I am not praising you."
The two children bickered for a while as they made their way towards the Ainsworth residence. Cedric, on the other hand, shook his head helplessly. He put the matter of William slaying the Thousand-Men Beast aside and prepared himself to meet with the overseers of Lont.
The other survivors were led by Helen to the Town Hall which would serve as their temporary place of residence. Beds and other necessities were already prepared including food and water. As for clothes, the townspeople of Lont had donated their second hand clothes for them to wear.
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Although they still felt sad about what happened to Fushia, the survivors were touched by Lont's hospitality.
After ensuring that their people were well cared for, Cedric and Leah followed William towards the Ainsworth residence.
When they arrived at the estate, they saw three people waiting for them at the entrance. James, Mordred, and Anna were there to welcome their guests.
"Cedric, Leah, welcome to Lont," James greeted the two children with a smile. "I'm very sorry for what happened to Sebas and Fushia."
"Lord Ainsworth, thank you for taking us in," Leah replied with a smile. "I hope that we will not be an inconvenience to you and your family."
"Nonsense." James patted Leah's head. "In my eyes, you and Cedric are my niece and nephew. The two of you are family. Call me Grandpa like you always do. Lord Ainsworth is too stiff for my taste."
"Thank you, Grandpa."
"Thank you, Uncle," Cedric said with a smile. "I hope that the two of us can have a proper talk about the situation in Fushia."
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Leah sighed as he gave her brother an admonishing look. Sometimes, she really hated her brother's stubborn and straightforward attitude.
"Grandpa, please forgive my Big Brother for being too straightforward." Leah bowed her head in apology. "He meant no harm."
James glanced at Cedric and nodded his head. He didn't mind Cedric's attitude. He had watched the boy grow up to be a young man. Although Cedric may not be as smart as his little sister, Leah, he was someone who had an honest character.
James didn't dislike these kinds of people. It was easier to deal with them than the old schemers in the capital of the kingdom.
"It's fine." James patted Cedric's and Leah's shoulder. "The three of us will have a proper talk tomorrow. For now, let's have an early dinner so that both of you can rest."
The siblings thanked James and followed him inside the house. Anna immediately dragged Leah away, so that the young girl could take a bath. Her face and clothes were covered in dust and it made Anna's heart ache.
Cedric, too, was taken by Mordred to their guest room so that he could also wash the dirt from his body.
While the two guests were away, James asked William to tell him the things he saw in Fushia.
"Everything was in ruins." William sighed. "It was as if a hurricane passed through Fushia and destroyed everything in its way. Even the houses that were made of brick didn't escape the Beast Tide's rampage."
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James nodded. He had already anticipated this outcome. His plans to rebuild Fushia and Xynnar was a huge undertaking, and he would need to lay the proper groundwork to make it happen.
"William, there is also something that I need to tell you."
"We currently have guests," James said as he rubbed his grandson's head with his hand. "It is best to pick the right place and time when you activate the Ring of Conquest."
William's body stiffened when he heard his Grandpa's words. He raised his head and saw his Grandpa's amused face. The old man had the "I know what you did Last Summer" smirk plastered on his face.
It wasn't hard for William to connect the dots. Since the ring belonged to his father, it was only natural for his Grandpa to know of its secret.
The young boy lightly coughed and nodded his head in understanding. He was about to go to the goat pen when James gave him another reminder.
"Safety should always be your priority," James advised. "Be aware of your surroundings and retreat when necessary. Life is precious. Do you understand, Will?"
"Yes, Grandpa," William replied. He looked at the old man with a serious expression. "I will be careful."
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"Good. Don't go dying on me anytime soon. I'm still expecting to hold my great grandkids in a few years."
"L-let's cross that bridge when we get there, Gramps."
Although William liked to be narcissistic with his looks, he still had a realistic approach when it came to relationships. Like all healthy young men, he was very interested in the opposite gender.
Unfortunately, William had no experience when it came to romance aside from those short few hours with Belle. He hoped that in this world, he would be able to find a girl that would make his heart beat wildly inside his chest.