74 Returning Home, With Guests (3)

The first to answer was the oldest member of the three new arrivals, who had already expected such questions due to having been briefed on them before their teleportation. Clearing his throat, mostly to remind the older of the two boys that he was in public, the man said, "Imperial Guard Rexus Maro, 27, Eridan Empire, accompanying the prince to his new residence." Off to the side, the female gatekeeper pumped her fist in the air while giving a smug grin to the two that could see her, who then glared back.

The lead gatekeeper cocked an eyebrow as he received the engraved emblem from his colleague, who affirmed its authenticity, "Though I honestly am bewildered as to your reason, we are honoured to welcome you to Greenwood City." He returned the emblem to Rexus before looking at the two boys.

The older of the two nervously began stuttering, as he was unused to being in unfamiliar locations with unfamiliar people before his loyal guard pat his shoulder to calm him. After a short moment to recollect himself, the older boy said, "13th Prince Andrew Eridan, 13, Eridan Empire, following my master to his home." The lady earlier was having trouble not laughing as she gloated over her victory.

Handing back Andrew's Adventurer Card with a smile, the lead gatekeeper gave a small but respectful bow to the young prince, "Ah, so this is the prince in question. Welcome to Greenwood City, Your Highness." After the teen boy awkwardly accepted his greetings, the lead gatekeeper turned to face the last one, only to immediately freeze, albeit briefly, before chuckling, "I don't think I even need to ask yours, but you'd probably say it anyway, right, sir?"

The youngest boy gave a big smile, "Of course I would, it's a standard policy. Let's just get it out of the way. Seran Greenwood, 11, Greenwood City, returning home with my disciple and his loyal retainer." Now that this had been said, the female guard really couldn't keep it together, immediately breaking into fits of stifled laughter, at least until her colleague that abstained from betting earlier reminded her that Seran was a professional Adventurer. This revelation quickly startled her, leaving her gaping like a fish while the guard that had scanned the identifications had a smug grin as he enjoyed her sudden shock.

"Welcome home, Your Majesty... And don't mind them, they're just fooling around a little." The lead guard respectfully bowed as he returned his young king's Adventurer Card to him.

Seran just casually waved it off, "No worries, I get it. Early morning gatekeeping is slow, after all." As the lead gatekeeper stepped aside to bid them entrance to the city, the young demigod stopped briefly to say, "Oh, and yes, Rexus is not married." He then winked and continued on his way, a pair of confused followers behind him.

Coughing with a bit of surprise, the lead guard flushed at having been seen through by his king. As he returned to sit at the table with his colleagues, the fourth guard chuckled, "So, how are you three planning on splitting one gold coin and 35 silvers?" After some grumbling between the three betting parties, they eventually decided to split it 3 ways, with each receiving 45 silvers. Two of the three got a decent return for their bet, while the lady ended up being the one with the worst luck, as the bet cost her 55 silvers, much to the enjoyment of the lucky pair. "Congratulations, you're even worse than me when it comes to luck. You won the bet yet still lost money." The female guard grumbled and put her head on the table, all while her three male colleagues chuckled.

___

As Seran and his two companions left the array's guard station, the white-haired boy turned around, spread his arms and overdramatically said, "And welcome to Greenwood City!" Thankfully, the prince and his guard were too preoccupied with the new sights to notice his goofy antics. Smiling at this, he snapped his fingers until the pair came back to themselves, "Come on, you two. You'll have a long time to spend exploring the city once we get everything settled for you."

The teenage prince followed right behind his master as he continued looking around, "It's almost like I stepped into a different dimension, but it's still the same one..." For Andrew, who had never left Skyhaven City for his entire life, seeing a new city, especially one with things that his hometown didn't have, was a momentous occasion. At that moment, the sound of large wings flapping overrode the early morning bustle. The prince and his guard looked up to see a gold-feathered bird the size of a coyote swiftly zoom over them. "A Golden Crow!" The prince's eyes sparkled with that innocent joy one could see when a child saw something incredible.

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The demigod laughed at his disciple's innocence as he said, "Yes, that's a Golden Crow. You'll have lots of time to get to know all of the amazing things here, so there's no need to rush. Also, if you think that one was big, just wait until you meet Storm, the leader of the Golden Crows. He's enormous."

A good ten to fifteen minutes passed before the trio managed to reach the City Hall, mostly due to Seran having to almost drag his student along. As the young demigod casually entered the building, he whispered to his two companions, "Watch this," before saying, "I'm home, Zero."

Suddenly, the reception hall rang with the electronic voice of the spiritual AI, "Magic signature and vocal analysis complete. Welcome home, King Seran." The centre of the hall had a large round table-like object about the size of a small car, along with a matching one on the ceiling. Between the two objects, a holographic display the planet of Aregard slowly rotated. Other than the huge display, a handful of other holographic display screens took position around the room. Zero then spoke a second time, "I have detected the appearance of two unscanned individuals with you."

Before the AI could finish, Seran cut the female voice off, "I know, Zero. I'm bringing them to get scanned now. We still need to install a scanner at the array station too." After the AI acknowledge his words and stated that the array's scanner was scheduled for installation today, Seran brought the two spellbound individuals towards a side chamber with four separate tube-shaped scanning pods. These were the in-depth scanners, capable of retrieving data from even the cells in the body and properly decoding them into legible figures. The scanners elsewhere in the city, aside for the ones in the Department of National Defense and their subsidiaries, did not have such detailed procedures, forgoing extreme detail in exchange for efficiency and basic information. "Upon becoming residents of Greenwood City, everyone is required to undergo scanning with the most thorough of the scanning devices, these Extensive Individual Scanning Pods, or ScanPods for short. When these were made, every resident was required to get scanned. The exceptions to this were the magical beasts, though we did eventually make a floor-based version of a ScanPod for them." He smiled at the pair, "Now that you will be living here, let's get you both scanned. Hop on in and Zero will get you all set."

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