Isabella turned and stared at Nick through tear stained eyes. ‘She looks like she is eleven or so. Hmph, my daughter is only three, and she has a better temperament than you.’ Nick thought to himself.
Both turned when the hallway door opened, and Paige and the others walked in, quietly speaking to each other. Isabella instantly dashed toward Paige, giving her a big hug, as tears starting to drip from her eyes.
“Aunt Paige, help me please!” Isabella said while crying in Paige’s arms. “Talk some sense into that mean old man! A Princess should be in a castle, not on a battlefield!”
“I wish I could Isabella. But even I am required to go, much less you.”
“You are going too!” Isabella gasped. Although she had no idea how powerful her mother’s friend truly was, it was telling that even she was going on this mission. Her face brightened, ‘At least I will know someone on the trip.’
“I can help you on our journey, but it will still be hard traveling for a few weeks. I went and grabbed some supplies for you.” Paige said, handing Isabella a bundle of items. “I gave your older sister and Miss Gale a list of what you would need, so at least it is royalty grade supplies.”
“Why can’t Alexandra go? It should be her duty to do this, not mine,” she whined as tears gathered in her eyes.
Paige soothed the troubled girl. “The guild does not discriminate against Class types Isabella. You have a high Class, as such you are going. It will be good for you to travel and gain some experience outside of the castle walls.”
“Yes, but Alexandra has an actual Class! She is an Apprentice Fencer. Okay, she probably is not ranked very high, but it is still higher than my nonexistent battle class! The only Skill I have is [Royal Bearing] for goodness sake!”
“You shouldn’t tell people what skills you have; you never know who is listening,” Paige said with a frown on her face. For some reason, Mister Tyler hmphed at her little comment.
“If your mother was awake and in good health, she would be the one going,” Tyler responded, getting his emotions in check. “Only a royal title such as Queen or King is able to open the mausoleum. A Prime Minister or Regent might have the qualifications, but that is dubious in nature. A Crown Princess is even less likely.”
“But I don’t…”
“No buts. We cannot afford to waste time traveling there only to find out we cannot enter. You have a true Princess Class; therefore, you are going. We will be there to protect you, don’t worry.”
“I’m here!” A girl shouted as she entered the hall. Isabella wondered who she was. She looked to be around her age, maybe just slightly older than she was.
“This is Zenith. She is the mage for our little party.” Paige said happily, noting that Isabella was studying Zenith.
“Not Mrs. Gale? Who is she? We need a true Mage, not an Apprentice!” Isabella asked loudly.
“My name is Zenith. You can call me Miss Zenith or Miss Hall. My official Class is Wind Magi.” Although she looked young, she did not like it when she was treated based on her young appearance. “I’ve already finished my schooling, and I was a former teacher to boot.” She responded, glaring daggers at the young girl with platinum hair in front of her.
“Hmph, so a child genius. Big deal.” Isabella said bluntly, not liking her attitude one bit.
“I’m over twenty! I’m just as old as the second princess. I just look really young.” Zenith declared strongly. She hated that she didn’t look older; everyone treated her like a child. “Since you are the youngest, you will act as our Apprentice. Be glad you can learn from us masters.” She said pompously.
Paige knocked each of them on the head lightly. “Both of you be nice. Zenith, act your age.”
“Back me up, Auntie!”
“Don’t show favoritism, Paige!”
Neither one of them were willing to back down from the apparent lack of respect from the other. Isabella could practically feel the mage’s contempt toward her.
“We need to decide on the leader for the party.” Nick said suddenly. “If there are going to be fighting among us, then let’s figure out who will resolve them.”
“I am the leader. My Class demands it.” Isabella declared haughtily. Her sad look was now gone, replaced with determination to make the most of her adventure.
“No.” Everyone else chimed in. They all knew the importance of the title Party Leader.
The Party Leader was able to utilize almost any skill another person in the party had. The other members of the party also gained benefits proportional to the Party Leader’s skill. As such, parties were usually formed to either maximize a team’s advantage or to increase one certain trait.
As such, the Party Leader title usually went to the person with the most experience or least experience, depending on the mission.
“But I am the weakest! I need all the help I can get.” Isabella pouted angrily.
“Higher ranked Classes are not that weak. And don’t play ignorant with me; I was there when you threw yourself off the castle keep for fun.” Paige said her tone flat. That event had scared her quite a bit. At the time, even she did not know what the young girl’s class was. “Either I will be or Tyler. Thoughts?”
“You can lead,” Tyler responded, as Nick just nodded his head in agreement.
“Any chance of a party fusion?” Zenith asked hopefully. Even she had not had the chance to be in a high ranked only party.
A party full of only Archers would allow them to utilize their training and skills to a more proficient degree, allowing even Apprentice Archers a chance to test out Skills prior to gaining them; while a party of mixed classes would be able to handle a multitude of different scenarios with relative ease. An Archer and Mage only team could even become a unique party such as Magic Archer, combining both traits of a Class into one. It was unknown how the Classes fused or why, but it was helpful nonetheless in a party.
“Perhaps. It’s been a while since I’ve been a leader in a party such as this.” She smiled a little sadly.
Paige gathered her thoughts and mana. ‘I formally add Vanguard Tyler, Ranger Nick, Wind Magi Zenith and Princess Isabella to my Party.’ Her mana rushed out into the world, the mana taking the shape of dancing tiny swords, with a pale gold color infusing the air around them.
‘You have been invited to ‘Blessed True Warrior’ Paige Alduit’s Party. [Oath of Silence] has been automatically applied. All applied oaths have been restricted. Do you swear to follow her lead and answer her call?’ A voice rang out, the mana trembling in time with the voice.
That caught the attention of everyone within the Mana field. Usually choosing a Party Leader did not need someone to use mana to initiate a formal invitation. This was not a practice in the present era. It was more informal these days, with a party being able to disband and grow as needed.
‘This is the reason why I only do missions alone.’
“Blessed True Warrior. How in my mother’s name did you get that Class?” Isabella asked her eyes wide.
“Secret,” Paige responded slyly.
Even the others were wide-eyed at the mention of her Class. They knew she was skilled, but not that skilled.
A Class with no specialization was uncommon, indicating they are a master of their chosen craft. Adding an adjective before a Class was rare. Now add two adjectives, Blessed and True to the Class, and it is almost impossible to find a person on record with those adjectives in the entire human realm. A person with those titles would be welcomed with open arms even in the Imperial City, much less a place such as a border nation.
“True Warrior. Total mastery over not just each specialization, but also every Skill has been trained to Master level.” Nick said, shocked. ‘No wonder she was confident. I couldn’t take her even if I was in an ancient forest.’
“How old are you exactly?” Zenith asked. “As Diplomats, we are required to know all the high Classes and relevant examples affiliated with each nation. Your name is only on the Alcudian list, and I’m sure your name is only on the top hundred warrior rankings. Not even the top fifty.”
Tyler was interested in that answer as well. He had known Paige the longest and was just as surprised at her Class. ‘Why would she hide her true class? And how is that even possible?’ He had remembered the party the current queen threw for her friend had when she advanced to a full Warrior, and that was only 40 or so years ago. Even her current Class of High Warrior was a recent addition according to the internal Guild reports.
The Alcudian and Guild reports he had access to were consistent with each other. By all accounts, she should have been only a few hundred years old at the maximum, two hundred fifty a minimum. Met the crown princess as an Apprentice Paladin, advanced to Page Warrior, and finally advanced to the Warrior Class soon after the crown princess was coronated. Not too fast an advance for someone with her expected age and experience, but not slow either. Her records at the guild had indicated she never expressed interests in joining a party formally, which is why he was willing to gamble and let her lead. Tyler didn’t ask the question on his mind though, knowing it was a discussion for a better time.
“A party fusion is almost guaranteed then!” With that title, Isabella was almost sure they would get a Class fusion.
“I’m old but young at heart Zenith. Hurry up and decide. I don’t like wasting my mana like this.” Paige said, annoyed since she had to concentrate to keep up the mana field.
Each of them calmed down and accepted the invitation. Each of them knew the ritual to accept a party invitation since it had never changed. ‘I, Isabella Freal, of the Princess Class, hereby accept the invitation granted by Paige Alduit, of the Blessed True Warrior Class.’
The mana surrounding her changed from pale gold to a resplendent golden color, rushing toward her core. This surprised her. From what she knew, mana transfers such as this were dangerous since the person chosen as a leader distributed their powers amongst the team. A person willing to sacrifice their own experience would have to be confident in their party. Not many were willing to put their lives and power in their team members like this.
This was the true reason why formal party invitations were rare.
As the mana around each of them turned to a resplendent gold, a mana line formed beneath them, outlining the shape of a star below them. Faint symbols could be seen beneath them as the mana rushed from the air to the line, forming an odd pattern of circles and symbols.
A voice called out to them. “Party Created. Party Members have accepted. Party Class Types confirmed. Party Class Fusion initiated. Party Leader has overruled the decision. Party Class Fusion cancelled. Party Member Skills shared. Party Leader has overruled the decision. Party Leader has lost Class Blessing and True Warrior Class. Apprentice Warrior Class subset shall be applied to all members. Advancement applied. Warrior Subclasses has been designated as Class subset. Warrior Skills have been distributed accordingly by Main Class.”
“Paige, what have you done?” Isabella responded, fear in her eyes. ‘That is definitely not supposed to happen when a party was created. What was that?’