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Chapter: 69


"Est, my devout follower, are you prepared?" a strong and steady feminine voice asked.

"Yes, My Lady Astrid," Est replied as he knelt on one knee like a knight.

"This trial will be difficult, so I will allow you to bring a few helpers with you," Astrid, the Goddess of Female Knights, said with a gentle gaze. "Aside from your two retainers, another helper will be waiting for you on the trial grounds."

"Thank you for your magnanimity, My Lady."

The Goddess nodded her head as she raised the sword in her hand. She then lightly tapped Est's shoulders with the sword blade before returning it to its sheathe.

"Clear this trial, and I will fulfill the promise I made to your family many years before you were born," Astrid promised. "However, if you fail then the promise I made will become null and void. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, My Lady," Est answered. "I will not fail you."

"I only look at the results, Est. not the process."

"I understand."

"It's time for you to return," Astrid ordered. "May the odds be in your favor."

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When Est opened his eyes, he found himself in the sacred room of the inner temple. This room was dedicated to the devout followers of the Goddess Astrid.

As Est shakily stood up from the prayer mat, the door of the sacred room opened and the High Priestess entered followed by two attendants.

"Have you received the word of her Excellency?" The High Priestess asked.

"Yes," Est replied.

"Good. Is there anything else that we can do to help you?"

"I need to go to the trial grounds. Can I ask for you to send someone to guide me?"

"It is but a trivial thing," the High Priestess answered. "My two attendants will take you there after you have your breakfast. Your retainers are already waiting for you in the dining area."

"Thank you."

"It is my duty. There is no need for thanks."

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Est was led by the two attendants to the next room to change clothes. As he wore his clothes, the young boy thought about the discussion he had with the Goddess Astrid. The Goddess had explicitly told him that the trial was very hard.

He was supposed to clear it when he was a bit older, but circumstances didn't allow the Goddess to wait for him to grow up. The Beast Tide had thrown everything into disarray, and something must be done in order to re-establish the protection of the Kingdom.

For that, Est needed to clear the trial in order for the Goddess Astrid to bestow her blessing on the Hellan Kingdom. This was also why failure was not an option. His father, and mother, had given him this mission, and Est was duty bound to see it through.

'Father, Mother, I will do my best,' Est thought. 'No matter what it takes, I will succeed.'

"Young Master, are you sure that Mr. Herman and Ms. Nana cannot help us in clearing the trial?" Isaac asked.

"There is an age limit for the Trial Ground," Est replied. "Anyone above the age of fifteen will be barred from entry."

"You can count on us, Young Master," Ian pledged. "We will help you clear this trial with everything we have."

Est was ten years old, while Isaac and Ian were both eleven years old. The twins had been trained from a young age to become Est's retainers and help him unconditionally.

"Thank you," Est said with a smile. "I'm counting on both of you."

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""Yes, Young Master!""

The three walked towards a cave that would lead them to the trial grounds. After ten minutes of walking, they exited the cave and found themselves in what seemed to be a garden filled with colorful flowers.

An imposing gate made of bronze stood a hundred meters away from them. It was over ten meters tall and several runes were etched on its surface.

Est's, Isaac's, and Ian's gazes landed on the herd of goats that was currently standing right in front of the Bronze Gate. All of them were looking up at it with determination. It was as if they were soldiers that were about to go to war for their motherland.

A familiar boy with red hair sat on the back of the biggest goat among the herd. He was carrying a wooden staff in his hand and a carefree smile hung on his face.

William waved at the three boys as he watched them walk in his direction.

"What are you doing here?" Ian snorted. "This place is off limits to those who are not affiliated with the Pantheon of Courage."

"Say, are you a girl?" William asked. "Why are you always irate? Are you perhaps having your period right now?"

"You're the one having a period!" Ian shot back with anger. His face was dyed a deep shade of red as he glared hatefully at William.

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"I don't understand why you're always butting heads with me." WIlliam shrugged. "Wait, don't tell me you've fallen in love with me? Sorry, but I don't swing that way."

Black lines appeared on Ian's face as he stepped forward with the intention of bashing in William's smug expression.

Fortunately, Isaac and Est held him on both sides which prevented him from having a fight with the smug shepherd in front of him.

"William, what are you doing here?" Est inquired. Although he already knew the answer, he still decided to ask this question for confirmation.

"I came here because my Patron God told me to help someone clear a trial," William answered. "Are you perhaps the one taking the trial?"

"Yes." Est nodded. "Are you really here to help me clear the trial?"

"Yes. However, since someone insulted me, I'm no longer in the mood to help," William replied.

"We don't need your help!" Ian interjected. "My sist- brother and I will be enough to help the Young Master clear this trial!"

"Is that so?" William raised an eyebrow. "I heard that this trial is very hard. If you really don't need my help then I won't force it. Besides, I don't want to be on the same team with a boy that is having his period."

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Ian was about to reply to William's remark when he felt Est's gaze land on her. The gaze made him shudder and the words that he was about to say became stuck in his throat.

"Will, this trial is important to me," Est stated. "I would be very happy if you were to help me clear it. Will it be fine if I formally commission you to help me clear this quest? I will prepare sufficient payment once we successfully clear the trial."

"Sure." William readily agreed.

He wouldn't reject Est's offer because those were just freebies for him. Even though Ian was making things difficult for him, he had no intention of allowing Est to start the trial on his own. This trial was also important to him, because it was the quest that Gavin had given him in order to break through his bottleneck.

William was more than willing to turn a blind eye to the annoying Ian who seemed to be his mortal enemy in his past life.

"Is everyone ready?" William asked.

""Meeeeeeeeh!"" the goats replied in unison.

"Wait, can the goats enter the trial grounds, too?" Est asked. He looked at the goats in a hopeful manner. During the battle, the goats showed amazing battle prowess and having them inside the trial would definitely raise their chances of success.

"There's only one way to find out," William grinned. He then tapped the bronze gate with his wooden staff. The door trembled for a few seconds before opening widely. A silver portal appeared at the center of the gate which reminded William of the Portals in the Cycle of Reincarnation.

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"After you," William made a gesture for Est to enter first.

"I'll see you on the other side," Est said as he entered the portal.

Isaac and Ian entered the portal as well. The latter didn't forget to give William a hateful glare before passing through the portal.

"What's with him?" William frowned. He then shook his head helplessly as he lightly caressed his Mama Ella, urging her to enter the portal.

Soon William and the rest of his herd entered the portal. Deep inside, William was feeling excited. He was very curious about what kind of Trial he would be facing. He was also looking forward to the completion of the trial, so that he could check out the items in the God Shop.

According to Gavin, there were several items for sale in the shop that would allow him to acquire very rare Job Classes. With such an incentive, William was pumped up to finish the quest as fast as possible.

Little did he know that the Trial in the sacred grounds was not only prepared for Est, but for him as well.

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