After a few hours, Shaar finally regained consciousness. Ruhr and his men visited that morning but were shocked to hear that Shaar had fainted. When he listened to the subordinates’ description of what happened, then saw the collapsed block, Ruhr displayed a strange expression. Rifling through the rubble as he squatted on the ground, he still had a peculiar expression when he walked out. Nonchalantly, he called his subordinates to clean it up and instead of getting a carpenter to rebuild the house, he went straight to Shaar.
When Shaar woke, he saw the fat man sitting at the foot of his bed and he had been carried into this room by Tatara and Soythe. Feeling around, his chest tightened when the pitchfork was not by his side and sat up.
“What are you looking for?” Ruhr smiled and passed the pitchfork to Shaar. “This?”
Shaar chuckled and took the pitchfork, looking it over.
“What happened?” Ruhr frowned. “I lent you a good house to stay in but you destroyed it.”
“I’ll pay you back.” The hillbilly got off the bed, his body still weak but still very shocked. This forsaken pitchfork literally sucked all his energy from his body, and why was he taking so long to recover?
“Were you practising martial arts in your room last night?” Ruhr helped Shaar up, then whispered, “I saw the rubble, it looked like a very impressive Battle Qi technique that caused the building to collapse.”
Shaar grunted distractedly in response. Ruhr saw that he was not willing to explain in detail and so did not ask more questions. After a bit of rest, the fat man said, “I didn’t like leaving you here so I visited. The military hasn’t sent any news but that’s not strange. As for the emperor, His Majesty still has not sent a messenger to summon you to the palace- that’s the part I’m worried about.”
Shaar looked at the fat man. “It’s fine if he doesn’t. It’s not the end of the world if the emperor doesn’t want to meet me.”
Ruhr frowned slightly. “You don’t understand! The military has disliked you for a while now, the only reason why they have not made a move is that the emperor mentioned he wanted to meet you. If the emperor likes you, the military would not be able to touch you. If His Majesty has forgotten about you, then you will truly have no support here in the city- and if that is true, forget about the military- the crown prince might come for you too!”
Shaar was not affected. “His Majesty makes the decision to meet me, I have no control over this. What can I do, break into the palace demanding to meet him?”
“I think there’s something fishy here.” Ruhr shook his head. “Logically, the summon should be here a long time ago, but… Eh? Would this have anything to do with Calve Hill?”
Shaar shook his head. The fat man thought for a while but still did not understand and dropped the topic. After a while, Shaar said, “I have another favour to ask… General Ruhr, I have taken Kevin’s widow back and she is pregnant with his only child. No matter what, I must take good care of her. I hope the military can confirm my military position and reward as soon as possible. I don’t care if that means I’ll be reassigned to some obscure town with nothing to do.”
“You… aren’t you worried about your future?” The fat man knitted his brows.
“What’s there to worry about? Is there a town more obscure and far-flung than Primal Wildfire Town?” Shaar laughed heartily but fell solemn once more. “I sincerely request for you to ask around for information about my situation in the military. I don’t really care what the answer is, I just need an answer so I can leave for good.”
The fat man hesitated, as if he had something to say, but finally held his tongue. He looked deeply into Shaar’s eyes, sat for a while, then got up to leave. He sent someone to bring Shaar some clothes and food and had apparently already met Julia while Shaar was unconscious. As the general of the Thirteenth Army, if Kevin was alive, Ruhr would still be ranked higher. He went to comfort Julia and even left behind some money before he left.
Shaar got up to have lunch, rested and felt more energised. Tatara had peeked his head into Shaar’s room several times now and Shaar knew exactly what the guy was thinking. Walking out, he grabbed Tatara and asked, “What is up with all the sneaking about?”
Seeing the magician stutter, Shaar laughed. “Let’s go, I’ll accompany you to that Magician’s Association and help you settle your troubles so you can sleep better.”
Ecstatic to hear this, Tatara started complimenting Shaar profusely, who was privately happy to hear them. But after a while, Tatara started repeating his compliments and this only annoyed Shaar. Kicking Tatara, he scolded, “That’s enough of nonsense, just lead the way!”
This time, Shaar knew the drill and did not want to trouble Ruhr’s guards who would otherwise have to follow him everywhere. Shaar and Tatara changed a fresh set of clothing, then jumped over the wall into a small alley and slipped off.
Shaar wore regular linen robes with the hood on, and even changed his military leather boots into regular fabric shoes. Even his pitchfork was well hidden under the billowing robes so he looked like a regular Osgiliath citizen. Tatara was just too excited to be back at the magician’s association so he found a grey set of magician’s robes and washed his face clean. Other than the lack of magician’s badge on his chest, he looked exactly the same as when he met Shaar for the first time at Primal Wildfire Town.
Both men walked through the streets towards the northern region of the city. Osgiliath was large and they had to pass through the square at the city centre, as well as through many busy streets. Shaar felt more relaxed this time without escorts and being harassed and so finally got to enjoy the bustling city. This famous city was indeed magnificent, for he saw many historical buildings. Just the drain that passed through the north and south of the city must be at least hundreds of years old.
Arriving at the northern part of the city, the crowd gradually thinned. Only the occasional horse rider could be seen and even they deliberately slowed, not daring to travel quickly here. The carriages in this part were luxurious too and bore delicate designs, escorted in the front and back by servants and soldiers. Even the coachmen were dressed neatly- this meant the passengers were citizens of status here.
Far away, a tall tower could be seen with a giant bell hanging at the top. A wide, pencil-straight road led straight to it and anyone walking on the road could hear the deep, sonorous clanging that sounded ancient and shook you in your soul. Even Shaar grew solemn when he heard the sombre bells.
The church was at the bottom of the bell tower—the headquarters of the church of Byzantine--- Saint Sophia’s Church!