****

[Thud]

"Hahaha, this place looks lively."

The door abruptly opened, and a group of men walked inside a restaurant.

Amongst the group of seven, none of the youngsters had any magical aura of their own, but all of them appeared quite strong. They were all carrying a heavy Sword on their back.

Gabriel was peacefully eating in the restaurant, keeping his identity hidden, but even he couldn't help but glance at the people who had just barged inside. It was their swords that attracted him the most.

The swords that they carried on their back weren't Numens; however, they were still stronger than ordinary swords. The swords appeared to be Artificial Artifacts made by the Artificer Families of humans.

The group of seven looked like Knights based on the attire they wore.

"Huh? There are no seats available?" One of the Knights let out after noticing that all the tables were taken.

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This was the town that was closest to the Arecia Empire. After this point, one could only enter the Arecia Empire. Usually, the place didn't have many visitors, but from what Gabriel heard, quite a few people were resting here nowadays on their journey to the Arecia Empire.

The group of seven walked to the Manager of the Restaurant. Even the Manager seemed confused as to what to do. There were truly no empty seats. However, the guests weren't ordinary people either.

The Manager looked around the restaurant and noticed that all the tables were truly full, except one where only one person was sitting... Instead of getting a group to leave to make space, he believed that it was better to get just one person to leave.

'After that table is free, I can arrange some chairs there, and it should be enough,' he thought as he approached the table near the window.

"Ah, dear Guest, can you please vacate the table?" The Manager asked the young man who was sitting at the table.

Even though the young man was also dressed in an attire that made him look wealthy, but he was still just one person.

"My order isn't here yet," Gabriel told the Manager. He had just ordered after sitting down. Instead of serving his food, they were asking him to leave? He was too hungry to listen for now.

"Ah, Guest. Please try to understand. Those seven are distinguished guests from the Arecia Empire. We still need to maintain some relationship with them. So please get up. I'll refund you the money you paid, and at the same time, after another seat gets empty, you can take that! I promise no one will disturb you there."

If Gabriel didn't have the attire of a wealthy man from an influential family, the Manager wouldn't even bother talking to him so nicely. He would've just kicked Gabriel out to make space. However, believing that Gabriel wasn't a poor commoner either, he maintained his humbleness.

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Gabriel glanced at the group of seven in the back, who were engaged in a discussion amongst themselves, not even bothering to look at him.

"I'm sorry, but I don't want to stand up for now. How about you give that same offer to them? When another table becomes empty, send them there."

If it were normal circumstances, Gabriel could've still considered it, but the group of seven wasn't powerful. They weren't even mages. No matter how much influence they possessed, for him, it was useless. Even their treasures were useless to him. There was no need to take them into consideration.

"Young Man, don't be so short-sighted," the Middle Aged Manager still didn't give up. "Those people are from Arecia and they are quite influential. From their attire, it's clear they are also from the Sacred Knight Academy."

"Please give me some face, and don't make things difficult for us," he further stated. "Moreover, aren't you coming to Arecia for that thing? If I'm not wrong, these people can make your life a living hell. The Knight Academy is incharge of that! So think of your own future as well."

"That thing?" Gabriel was somewhat surprised. What did he mean by that?

'There is no way he could know what I'm here for. Then what is he talking about?'

He was completely sure that the Manager couldn't read his mind to know what he was there for, which made his words even stranger.

"The Sacred Knight Tournament!" The Manager exclaimed. "What else if not that? Aren't you here like everyone else for the same thing? Come on, don't be arrogant and lose such a great opportunity in the process. Who knows, I might even be able to introduce you to these Knight Academy students."

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"If you are kind enough this time, your future path should be very smooth. I heard that a Holy Priest is also going to attend the Tournament as a guest, along with the Knight King... It's such a perfect opportunity to show your skills to great people. Do you really want to lose it over food?"

"A Holy Priest?" Gabriel was slightly taken aback. A Head of Church was going to be in the Arecia Empire around the same time he was here? He didn't know what these Knight Tournaments were or anything about the Knight King, but what concerned him for now was the presence of a Holy Knight in the city.

If a Holy Priest was there, that spelled trouble. There was a great chance that the Holy Priest was going to stay in the Royal Arecia Palace as a guest. That did increase the difficulty of his mission and created some obstacles.

Gabriel went silent, losing himself in thoughts.

Seeing him go silent, the Manager sighed in relief. 'Even though this kid is slightly arrogant, at least he knows what's good for you. He is scared, and finally, he understands the gravity of the situation.'

"What's taking so long?"

Even though the Manager tried to convince Gabriel, since it took so much time, the Knights had already started paying attention to Gabriel. One of them even approached the table personally.

"Kid, scram out of this place if you know what's good for you!" The red-haired man placed his hand on Gabriel's shoulder, applying slight force as if showing off his strength.

Gabriel came out of his thoughts and looked at the red-haired next to him.

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"Hmm?" The Red-Haired Knight was slightly surprised at the lack of Gabriel's reaction. Even though he didn't use too much of his strength, but the amount of strength he used should've been enough to at least make him groan in pain. Why was Gabriel not reacting?

The man's face turned slightly red in anger and embarrassment as he increased the strength with which he grabbed Gabriel's shoulder…

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