"You're late," Ed said, seeing Theo walking toward him.
"I forgot the permit again." He let out a small chuckle hoping that Ed would also laugh, but he didn't. Ed seemed much more serious than usual. Something must have happened with his family.
"You don't have much time right?" They both entered the cathedral through the massive door.
The cathedral was grandeur and huge, second only to the Duke's castle in Aeston. It was only fitting. After all, the church of Ketu was the largest religion not only in the Amaryn Kingdom but also on the whole continent, with over 50 percent of the population worshiped God Ketu.
Hundreds of rows of empty bench greeted them as they entered. The priests and the priestesses who were minding their own business turned their head toward the visitor. It was strange for someone to visit so early in the morning. More so if the visitors were a famous non-believer and a noble. The visitor, however, didn't mind being the center of attention. There was only one reason for their visit, the old man kneeling at the altar.
Unlike the other clergymen who wore formal church uniform, the man only wore a rag and didn't even wear a footwear. The man gave the impression of a humble and simple man, dedicating his life to his God. He stood when he heard footsteps coming his way.
"Lord Lion, and Master Gladium. To what matter you came to this humble servant of God? You're not here to confess your sin do you?" The old man asked before even turning to see them.
"How do you know we will come here?" Ed asked, curious to how he knew it was them before seeing.
"Last night, God Ketu gave me a dream. A prophecy, a mission, an insight that two great men will come seeking aid from me." He turned his body to face them. "As to how I know it is you two. There are two mirrors next to me." He pointed to the mirror to his left and right.
"Ohh riiight." Ed was embarrassed at his mistake. "We come here seeking your appraisal. Since you're the highest level appraiser in the city."
"Normally I won't do it to someone not believing in Lord Ketu, but the Lord himself told me to do it. Come with me."
Appraising and scanning skill were highly valuable assets. Knowing the strength and the weakness of your enemy before a fight, knowing a person's talent before it manifested, and knowing one's condition without medical check up. Those were just a few of many applications of appraising skill.
The skill, however, was extremely rare. To use the skill, one must have at least Class 4 divination talent or a Class 2 appraising talent, both were extremely rare. So why did a man who possessed a Class 3 appraising talent placed himself on a cathedral when he could be in the court of a king? Because he was a lunatic who have no need for position or wealth, or at least that was what he claimed to be. In actuality, being the Archbishop in a duchy gave him significant political power, influence over the masses, and wealth, without the responsibility of a government official. Though whether he was a lunatic who have no need for things of the world or a power hungry man pretending to be a lunatic or a combination of both, was known only to him.
Old man Thoros brought them back to his personal chamber. A rather small and modest chamber considering his position. Thoros walked toward the purple crystal ball in the middle of the room. He placed one of his hands on the ball. "Placed your hand on the ball. Master Gladium first."
Cloud formed inside the crystal the instant Theo placed his hand on the ball. The cloud swirled and rippled. Light filled the room as Thoros closed his eyes. "I..I...Impressive." Thoros hand trembled. "j-j-just as Lord Ketu had shown me."
A message appeared in the air above the ball. Theo smiled when he saw it.
[Theo Gladium, Adventurer, Lv.29]
[AvailableTitle: [First Son of Akimoto Ryo]; [Adventurer]; [Explorer], [Master Swordsman]; [Philanderer].]
[Natural Talent: Sword Class 4; Charm Class 4; Barehanded Class 2.]
[Unique skill: Monster Beheading Lv.1; Serene Slash Lv.3; Unconditional Affection Lv.3; Devil's Charm Lv.1]
[Fighting Skill: Knight Academy Sword Style Lv.10; Knight Academy Martial Art Lv.4; Advanced Kenjutsu Lv.4; Advanced Holy Knight Sword Style Lv.5]
"Oh..My. How.... can someone as young as you be level 29? Most people would have reached their level cap before reaching that level." Thoros face showed how unbelievable that was. "And two Class 4 talents, sword and .... hmmm. Charm. Now that explains your illicit behavior with women, but well, men are men, who am I to judge?" I'm really curious about what other talents you might have master Gladium, but I'm only able to appraise Class 2 talent or higher."
"Theo! You're level 29?!" Ed shouted from behind. "How?!"
"I told before right. Before I came to this city I have traveled all around the world with my father." Level 29 was an incredibly high level for a human. Even the elite soldiers of the kingdom army were lower leveled than him. Theo chuckled as he saw the screen.
"What is wrong Master Gladium?" Thoros asked.
"It's funny how every stats represent you except intelligence and faith. Intelligence stats have nothing to do with how intelligent someone is, and faith doesn't represent how faithful a person is."
Something clicked inside Thoros' mind. He raised both of his arms. "Speaking of which. Do both of you know the difference between classes of Natural Talent? Of course, you don't know yet."
"Oh fuck no!" Theo cursed himself for being careless. The worst thing about speaking with Thoros was this. If someone mentioned a subject he loved, he would preach and shout about that subject like there was no tomorrow. And there was almost no way to stop him once he did that.
"Luckily I am here...... " Ed and Theo both ignored him. But what he said can be summarized.
[Class 0 Talents]: You can't do it. 50% skill effectiveness and 50% Learning Speed compared to the majority.
[Class 1 Talents]: You can do it. 100% skill effectiveness and 100% Learning Speed compared to the majority.
[Class 2 Talents]: You're skilled. You will be known because of your talent. 200% skill effectiveness and 150% Learning Speed compared to the majority.
[Class 3 Talents]: You're talented. Will be recognized far and wide because of your talent. 300% skill effectiveness and 200% Learning Speed compared to the majority.
[Class 4 Talents]: You're a master. Will go down in history books because of your talent. 400% skill effectiveness and 250% Learning Speed compared to the majority.
[Class 5 Talents]: You're a legend. Will change the balance of the world because of your talent. 500% skill effectiveness and 300% Learning Speed compared to the majority.
"Theo, why is he like this?" Ed asked Theo about the bizarre habit of Thoros.
"Why do you expect me to know?"
"Then what did your father said about him?"
"Hmmm ... wait a minute." Theo rubbed his chin and racked his mind for his father's quote about Thoros. "Ah, my father said He's an info dump. A tool for the one true God to explain the world or something. Up till now I still don't understand what he meant."
After waiting for a few more minutes, Thoros finally snapped out of his trance-like preaching. He coughed. "It's your turn now Lord Lion. I hope I would be as surprised as with Master Gladium's case."
"Just see Thoros. You will be even more surprised." Theo took a glance at Ed's face before Ed placed his hand on the ball.
[Edmund Lion, Third Son of Edward Lion, Lv.6]
[Available Title: [Third son of Edward Lion].]
[Natural Talent: Magic Class 5; Archeology Class 3]
[Unique skill: Dragon Breath: Fire Lv.1]
[Fighting Skill: Knight Academy Sword style Lv.2; Knight Academy Martial Art Lv.1]
[Magic skill: Candle flame Lv.2; Combustion Lv.2; Fire Bolt Lv.1; Fire Arrow Lv.1; Magic bolt Lv.2]
Thoros mouth was agape and his eyes almost poped out from its socket. "E-Even in the long history of the continent. There have only ever been 20 tier 5 mage." Thoros prostrated on the floor. "To think I would be in the presence of the 21." He raised his head. "Wait.... wait...wait a minute. There is something more. Something hidden. Lord Lion, can you please put some mana into the ball?"
"Of course." Ed put some of his mana inside the ball. Just a tiny amount.
"W-W-What is this?!" Thoros shouted. "I-I've never seen anything like this before."
The message on the screen changed.
[Available Title: [Third son of Edward Lion]; [Protagonist]; [The Dragon].]
The crystal ball cracked. Then exploded in a brilliant show light.
Ed didn't even flinch. Theo was pushed a step back and Thoros was thrown to the side of the room. Luckily, he was not hurt and stood up in almost an instant. He kneeled before Ed, defeating the purpose of getting up in the first place. There was a crazy look on his face. It wasn't as if he didn't have the look in the first place, it was that the expression was crazier than anyone had seen from him.
The situation was awkward. Thoros began preaching again and claiming that Ed was the savior he saw in his dream. He told them that in the past few weeks he always had the same dream over and over again, about a great fire that will burn down cities, kingdom, and civilization. From the fire will rise a dragon, a dragon in human form. The dragon will consume the fire and save the world from complete destruction. After appraising Ed, he was 100 percent sure that Ed was the dragon in human form he saw in his dream.
He would have preached for hours if not for Ed stopping him."Hahaha. Sorry for my action." Thoros apologized. His jubilant mad face turned to serious in a second. "I believe you carry something of great importance. A prophecy I believe."
"How did you know?" Ed asked.
"Lord Ketu showed me a vision." He said with a great reverence in his voice.
"I have expected that you will know." Theo took out a paper from one of his pouches and gave it to Thoros. "I made multiple copies."
"Thank you, master Gladium. I'll send it to the pontiff as soon as I can. A storm is coming, and humanity must brace together to face it."
"Not just humanity. Every race." Theo interjected.
Thoros prostrated once more before Ed. "Lord Edmund. I am Thoros, by the decree of Lord Ketu and his angels, from this day until my last day, I pledge all my life and all of my possession to you and your cause. Just give me the order, any order, and I will do it with utmost vigilance."
There was no reaction from Ed or Theo. This made Thoros curious. He slowly raised his head.
Ed and Theo were gone. They were unable to cope with the strangeness of Thoros action and left without making a sound.