The Royal Palace

Gold and precious stones decorated the massive hall, and it looked spectacular—worthy of being the central power of the Eastern Kingdom.
The clean floors sparkled with splendour, and the designs oozed luxury.
The carpet was elegant, the chandelier was glorious, and the people present looked impeccable.

Nobles gathered close to the throne.
Members of the ‘Four Ducal Households’, now reduced to three, sat at the forefront, among the twelve Council Members of the Kingdom.
Of the twelve, eleven were present—a staggering number to be centralized in one place.

The twelve Council Members, representing the great families and foundations of the kingdom, presided over matters such as the Legislative and Judicial affairs of the Kingdom—though all were in accordance with the King’s will.

King Albion Lestrome Indiavel sat on his throne, and beside him was the Royal Court Mage—Elrich Lendertwale.

The three princes stood behind their father, while the princess stood behind the Queen, who was also dressed marvellously.

All in all, it was a full house, and everyone was waiting in anticipation.

The King

The Queen

The Princes

The Princess

The Royal Court Mage

The Council

The Ducal Households

The Kingdom stakeholders—Research , Imperial Forces, Executive Officers, etc.

It was no understatement to call this a prime gathering of the Kingdom’s finest and most significant people.
The only missing faces that would be considered important here were the ones on Jared’s team—too occupied with their tasks to be present.

Thus, this would be considered—by far—the greatest audience the Kingdom could bestow upon anyone.
And yet… all of this was for a single individual.

“Presenting… the saviour of Ainzlark, and now the saviour of the Eastern Kingdom, as well as the proponent of the Allied Nations… Jared Leonard.”

The large doors were opened, and every head turned in the direction of the approaching male who stepped into the royal hall with poise and dignity.

A girl was beside him, and her appearance connoted peerless beauty.
Though she was not announced, everyone in the hall knew her to be Maria Helmsworth—a prodigy in her own right, and the disciple of Serah Crimson.

Together, walking side by side, the boy and girl entered the throne room.
Once they reached a considerable distance, they halted… and bowed their heads in reverence.

“Raise your heads.” The King said almost as soon as they bowed.

In obedience to the pinnacle of power in the Kingdom, both Jared Leonard and Maria Helmsworth raised their heads.
A look of respect still remained in their eyes, and their etiquette remained unfettered.

“We greet your Majesty, King—”

“There’s no need for such formalities… at least, not anymore.” King Albion swiftly spoke, chuckling under his words.

His memories took him back to the first time he saw Jared.
He had been impressed with the boy’s etiquette and wisdom.
But now, such etiquettes were irrelevant.

Albion Lestrome Indiavel knew Jared had more power and authority than him, at this point.
Not only was he superseding the Allied Nations, but his influence far extended beyond what the Eastern Kingdom could obtain.

Besides, he had performed such great service to them that it was reasonable to exclude him from the cumbersome rites of greeting.
After all, the Eastern Kingdom needed Jared far more than Jared needed them.

With that in mind, King Albion was ready to do anything to remain on good and consensual terms with the young boy—and he had something he could offer him at this point.

“Very well, King Albion.
Maria and I came here as representatives of the team I gathered.
There are certain things I would like to discuss, moving forward.
Thank you for agreeing to this meeting, as well as involving all the relevant parties here.”

“That is no problem at all.
Before you venture into the matter you wish to discuss, though… I have something to say.”

King Albion’s voice boomed through the large hall, sending his charismatic tone into the ears of everyone present.
Jared nodded in response to the King’s words.

“The Netherlore Trial has been concluded, and we will see fit that they pay for their crimes.
Your efforts in subduing them, exposing their crimes, and even every other thing you’ve done thus far, have not gone unnoticed.”

Everyone present nodded their heads in agreement.

Jared Leonard—contrary to how he seemed at times—was very humble in terms of rewards.
Even for his efforts in subjugating the Demon Army, he did not ask for much.
Every effort he had done to benefit the Kingdom was rewarded very meagrely, per his instruction.

This time, Jared also made it clear he did not desire any reward, but King Albion’s conscience could not take any more.

“While you have not made any request for a reward, and you have no desire for any of the Kingdom’s possession that could be yours, I still desire to reward you for your efforts, Jared.”

This was difficult for King Albion.
Jared Leonard was an impossible man to satisfy with any reward.
However, he was still a man.

And a man… had certain needs.

“Step forward, daughter.” King Albion Lestrome Indiavel spoke with a stern tone.

Silence filled the hall as the attention of everyone swiftly converged in her direction.

Dressed in her royal blue attire, with golden accessories all over her, the young blonde stepped forward in her elegant shoes and stood beside her father.

She curtsied, showing more of her elegance.
The small crown on her head bounced as she returned to her upright posture, and her charming smile captured the attention of all who saw her—Jared included.

“Jared Leonard… I present before you, my only daughter—Celestine Lestrome Indiavel.”

The young man was clearly attracted to the princess, since he had a dazed expression while he stared at her.
King Albion smiled coolly.
It would seem like he had made the right decision, after all.

“I have spoken to your father, and it seems you are almost of age, Jared.
You will need a spouse soon, do you not agree?” His smile broadened.

“U-uh? Y-yes, I suppose…” Jared muttered, his eyes now widening as though he was realizing where the conversation was heading.

Unfortunately—or perhaps fortunately—for the boy, it was too late to turn back now.

“I wish to give you my daughter’s hand in marriage.
What do you say, Jared Leonard Alphonse Sereth? Will you take the Princess’ hand in marriage?”





Well, we’ve gotten to this point, folks.
What do you think?

Should Jared get with the princess and forget about the girl beside him? Is this the end of the JaredxMaria ship?

Let’s hear your thoughts!

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