53 Another Short Journey (1)

Two days went by in a flash, or a blur according to Seran. With Nessy's new gift of speech, the entire city was full of joy, though none were as happy as the Hydra himself. He'd longed to be able to have actual conversations with everyone, for nearly 3 decades, and his wish was finally granted. Naturally, he couldn't help himself and went around squealing happily and talking to everyone he could, then bouncing up and down when he got a real response. He was just so innocent it made everyone feel pure joy.

A city-wide party started almost immediately after Nessy made his new voice known, and it went on for a full day, and didn't end until late the next day. The Hydra himself got an endless amount of hugs from everyone, even though he caused a bit of damage with his hyperactive behavior. The city lord said he'd cover all damage, as it was because of the quest in the first place. Since Seran declined a reward, Terrence used it to pay for repairs.

Seran didn't manage to escape the city until after the party ended. Of course, his escape was a rushed one because he couldn't slip away from the endless amount of people trying to give him hugs, pick him up to carry him around the city like a hero, or give him kisses all over his childish face... Needless to say, by the time he did manage to break free of Savicche, he was covered in kiss marks.

The young demigod sneakily went over and gave the Danford family, and Nessy, his farewells and well wishes before taking to the skies. Terrence made sure to emphasize that he would always be welcome in Savicche, no matter when, why or how. This made Seran smile more as he flew through the air to the north, towards the city with the continental headquarters of the Adventurers Guild.

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With the apt nickname of the City in the Clouds, Skyhaven City sat atop a monumental mountain, taller than Earth's Mount Everest by more than a dozen-fold. The top of the mountain had been sliced off by the city's founder, and the founder of the first and strongest empire on the Western Continent, Barnett Starsword, the first Emperor of the Eridan Empire. Barnett successfully unified all of the human domains on the Western Continent under his rule nearly 2000 years ago, a feat which had never been matched since. Even to this day, while the founding emperor still lived due to him being blessed by Demeter millenia ago, the two empires that also reigned over the continent did not dare to offend them severely. The Tigrene Empire, being the second strongest empire, had been founded by a descendant of a man who served as a commander of Barnett's troops in his campaign for unification, and still, they never thought to fight against the overlord of the continent. While they are sovereign empires, the Tigrene Empire and its lesser companion, the Utgard Empire, paid a small sum every century in return for the Eridan Empire's support. They were close to being vassal forces rather than subjugated countries, giving them far more freedom than those who did fight back.

There were very few ways to reach Skyhaven City, the first of which was by flight, either with magic or by magical creature. Transports to and from the city were constant, and the largest, most common of them were the massive flying beasts called Cloudrunner Cranes. These enormous birds stood taller than a 6-story building and had a wingspan rivaling those of a Lesser Dragon, though they had little to no offensive capabilities. While they were gargantuan in size, the Cloudrunner Cranes are quite docile by nature, and often enjoyed being given strokes or praise. This made then favorites for large party traveling, especially since they were immune to the cold from the heights.

The most interesting thing about Skyhaven other than its location and history was the region it was in. The Stonetooth Mountain Range beneath Skyhaven was also home to the two S-rank beasts known to brawl every so many decades: the Lesser Fire Dragon and the Quake Python. Because quite a number of S-rank Adventurers lived in Skyhaven, especially the strongest on the continent, Founding Emperor Barnett, the two avoided the enormous mountain that held the city aloft. However, the mountain range was generally untouched by civilizations, save for explorers and adventurers. This made it both the most dangerous mountain range and the secondmost unexplored region on the Western Continent, with the Primeval Forest being the unrivaled first. The Elves had explored almost all of it, but they did not share that information with outsiders, which was why it held the number one title.

Outside of flight, the second way to reach Skyhaven was via teleportation array. The largest teleportation array on the continent resided in the cloud-breaking city, and it connected to all of the major subordinate kingdoms of the Eridan Empire, and to the capital cities of the other two empires. At one point, it was also connected to the city that resided at the bottom of the Skystone Pillar of the Polypheme Sect, but that connection was sealed by Barnett after the infamous overnight decimation of the sect. Due to Seran's newfound kingdom's overwhelming internal growth rate and its 4 resident S-rank magical beasts that served as its guardian beasts, it was important for him to meet with the continent's overlord. While he was very, very young in comparison to all other S-rank adventurers, his overall power put him at the level of the Founding Emperor himself, the Western Continent's strongest man. This made him a potential threat to the Eridan Empire, thus he needed to clear up any misunderstandings and explain how his kingdom would work.

With the Greenwood City's government management methods, its free educational system and general freedom, there would be very few things that the Eridan Empire would be against. Only its military capabilities, and Seran himself, would be considered dangerous enough to require any attention. However, beyond his one-city kingdom, Seran also had the unanimous support of the entire Elven Race. While the Eridan Empire was the unchallenged continental overlord, only one area had outlasted Barnett's attempts at complete unification: the Primeval Forest. Within the great Elven realm, the woodland rulers decimated any attempts from the legendary Emperor at conquest, losing less than 3% of their overall power and land while Barnett's losses exceeded 25% of his military force. This led him to giving up on his conquest and attempting to make amends with the Elven Race. Thus, the only area that Barnett had never conquered was the Primeval Forest.

With his only failure standing directly behind Seran and his kingdom, Barnett would have to make a very, very big decision. Even though he had long since stepped out of the affairs of the Eridan Empire, such a potential threat was something he would need to make the final call for.

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