As time went on, the ball drew nearer and nearer...
In the capital, the ball is already leaked news. Some of the personnel involved couldn't keep their traps shut so everyone in town knows about the ball. They were also talking about it.
Everyone was curious about the big reveal at the end of this ball, how will it change the world?
Fate appeared to be accommodating. The weather was fine with nary a gray cloud in sight. The sun gave the land its warm sunshine, this fine weather cheered everyone up. At least, the people moving in and out of the imperial palace look rather pleased.
Aside from the commoners, the guests of the ball were also of the same mind, they wondered about the real purpose of this ball.
They will know it when it happens, for now, they want to enjoy the weather and what the capital has to offer. Maybe they just wanted to distract themselves from the current situation.
A lot of nobles and VIPs came for this ball. Strictly speaking, only the major factions were invited, but, once they brought their plus ones and plus twos, the total count really added up to a staggering amount. They wanted their disciples, successors, or friends to get to know nobles, build their connections, and, of course, to show off. These are all different forms of cultural training.
Larl brought Fei Fei, Lulu, and Zeus along because he wanted them to see the world, and, he wanted to show off his prized disciples.
More like, he had the right to show off.
After the Giant Beast Forest, Fei Fei broke through her limits and attained tier 8 power at the tender age of 25. Why wouldn't he show off?
Excluding Wu Yan & co, it's very rare for someone to attain tier 8 power in Silvaria by the age of 25. So far, the natives here who achieved this feat are limited to Sylph, Kaya, and Jaafar.
Fei Fei is the only native who achieved tier 8, she's not even of royal birth. A talent like her had every right to parade in front of others during the ball.
Wu Yan & co's arrival shifted the power balance in Silvaria World Institute. The semester before their arrivals, there were only 3 tier 8 individuals in the school.
Moreover, Lulu is also a super genius who became a special student through her enourmous potential.
At a young age of 17, she's already a tier 6 magician.
With her monstrous talent, she's probably going to reach tier 7 by the time she's 20. By the time she's 25, well, she's probably going to repeat Fei Fei's case.
Her strength is nothing much right now. However, she more than made up for this with her stunning potential. Among the Special status students who had talent, she's the cream of the crop. During this ball, the focus on the Lori family will be on showcasing these two individuals.
Meanwhile, Zeus is just an elite student. Forget talent, his current cultivation is far from touching Fei Fei. Given his age of 18, his peak tier 5 strength is commendable. Reaching tier 6 by 20 and tier 7 by 25 should be possible.
At least, he passed the bar for this ball.
Compared to Wu Yan & co, they all paled in comparison.
They were all in tier 8 or above with Ikaros and Flan in tier 9 power.
They didn't know why they were invited, but, if we are talking about qualifications, they definitely had it!
In front of the palace.
The guards stopped here as they took up their posts. Meanwhile, the nobles ditched their subordinates to get friendly and chatty with their noble friends. They also didn't forget to greet other nobles as a form of courtesy. Then, the usher showed them the way in.
"Larl-sama is here!"
The nobles and ministers in front of the palace approached Larl and Wu Yan. People trying to build and expand their networks aren't strangers to Larl. He frowned when he saw the sycophantic nobles trying to curry favor with him.
"Let's go inside..."
Larl unleashed his dou qi in the form of dou qi waves. He kept it to a range that only forced the ministers and nobles back. Without harming them, he entered the palace.
Wu Yan observed the scene with intrigue. He secretly praised Larl. As expected of the patriarch of the number one noble family in Ailu Empire. Although he's only a bit away from tier 9, his control over his power is already on par with his Eternal Arms Mastery skill.
Larl isn't like Wu Yan, he can't buy skills or abilities from the System. His control came from years of deliberate practice and gruesome training. Unlike Wu Yan, he couldn't buy a solution.
In a duel with Larl, it's anyone's guess who would win.
Wu Yan spent 3 years in SAO. Beside flirting and enjoying the game world, he also killed heaps of monsters. Those monsters gave him EXP too.
Granted, the monsters were dumb and simple so he didn't get much EXP, individually, on aggregate, however, the EXP piled up.
After 3 years of grinding in dungeons, his EXP shot through the roof.
Right now, Wu Yan is already Level 79 just like Larl.
This is where the next challenge begins. It's going to take a ton of EXP to break into the next level. Wu Yan's shared EXP effect on Astrea attested to this level-up hell.
3 years of grinding got Wu Yan to peak tier 8 strength whereas Astrea who was already at the zenith of tier 8 didn't go into tier 9 even when Wu Yan's exp got shared with her. This was similar to the time Ikaros spent at peak tier 8 until she finally ascended to the 9th tier. Yeap, he's going to spend a long time at this level.
The other factions already recognized Larl. They also identified Wu Yan & co. They started turning their attention on the incoming group.
They also heard about how Wu Yan & co were on very friendly terms with the successors of the Lori Family. They just didn't think they would come to the ball together. They started revising their plans and plots, it won't be fun if a small mistake cost them more than they were ready to risk.
Soon, they arrived at the venue of the ball, a glitzy palace with silver finish. When they entered, the insides were shining with golden color and other luxurious sheen. The whole place was lit up by myriad magic lamps of different colors. The iridescent glow made the place look otherworldly. Regal and opulent, that's the first thought people had when they saw this.
The attendees were here in groups of 3 or 5 individuals. They chatted away with their successors or disciples at the side. In total, there were over a hundred attendees.
As for the host of this ball, well, they aren't here yet...