Episode 223

King Of The Wind Spirits, Minerva (1)
1 week ago
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[You're quite young.]

“How long do I have to wait to become a full-fledged King of the Spirits?”

[It won't take too long. Roughly... a week should be sufficient.]

Barkaza laughed.

[This person is going to be the king who will protect Arulia and safeguard the humans. To witness this majestic moment with my own eyes is an honor.]

“Let’s wait then.”

A week. And during that time, Taesan had to ensure that no one could approach this sphere.
Taesan leaned against the sphere and closed his eyes.

Then a suggestion came. Someone was trying to put Taesan to sleep artificially.

Taesan didn’t resist and accepted the suggestion willingly.

Taesan fell asleep.

“Hello!”

Taesan opened his eyes to the greeting.

A white space welcomed him. And in front of him, a girl with blue hair was tilting her head and smiling brightly.

“Nice to meet you! I’m Minerva, the King of the Wind Spirits!”

Taesan nodded and took the hand that was extended to him. The girl who introduced herself as Minerva waved her hand with a flawless smile.

“Are you the guardian my parent called for?”

“If the parent you’re talking about is Beatrice, then yes.”

“Hehe. Please take care of me.”

[My king. This is…]

Barkaza, who followed along, moaned. Minerva laughed and opened her arms wide.

“I’ve called you all into my domain!”

[Is that so.]

“You’re my servant! Please take care of me!”

[Yes, I am indeed your servant. You may do as you please with me.]

Barkaza bowed deeply. He showed Minerva absolute reverence, something unseen by Taesan.

[So not being fully self-aware means this? She's just a kid.]

“Wow! It’s so white!”

Minerva, seeing the ghost, lit up her eyes and rushed towards it.

“Who are you? Why are you so white? I can’t tell you apart from the background!”

[Go away, kid.]

The ghost, being dragged around by Minerva’s hand, seemed annoyed and kept its distance.

However, Minerva continued to chase after it.

Taesan spoke to Minerva, who was playing with the ghost.

“Then why did you call for me? I’m supposed to protect you.”

“Uhm. There’s still time left. It doesn’t seem like the humans outside will move yet, so I’m bored.”

Minerva ran towards Taesan with a laugh.

“Let’s play then!”

‘Including taking care of her in protection, I guess.’

Taesan nodded.

When Taesan entered Minerva’s domain, Akien was sitting on a chair in the assigned tent, blankly staring at the ground.

It wasn’t just her. Perina, Baan, and Karuin were all sitting or lying in their places, not saying anything.

“Akien! Did you come? …Why so gloomy?”

At that moment, the tent opened, and a middle-aged woman with flame-like red hair entered. She looked quite aged but was so splendidly dressed that she caught the attention of many people.

Akien forced a smile.

“Ah. Mrs. Marianne. Hello.”

She was a woman who had a close relationship with her parents. The families were on good terms, and there were even talks of a political marriage.

Akien also had a close relationship with Marianne since childhood. Marianne adjusted the hem of her dress and sat down on a chair.

“So, why such a gloomy face? Did you hate coming here that much?”

Akien nodded slightly. Marianne clicked her tongue.

“I feel the same. Damned Bazuk family. No matter how powerful, to order us around like this. It took me a whole month by carriage, you know?”

Most of those gathered here harbored resentment towards the Bazuk family. However, they couldn’t say anything because of the power the family held.

Marianne patted Akien’s shoulder.

“Still, try to think positively. Since we’re here, we might as well enjoy it. Aren’t you curious about the girl in the sphere?”

Akien’s face fell at her words.

“……Mrs.”

Akien hesitated before speaking.

“Why?”

“What do you think of the girl in the sphere?”

“Well.”

Marianne opened her mouth with an ambiguous expression.

“To be honest, I’m not sure. I’ve checked nearby myself but couldn’t really understand. Even the spirits are keeping their mouths shut about it.”

The spirits were not telling humans that the entity within the sphere was a King of Spirits. It was a kind of rule, and also something they were not permitted to do.

Lower and intermediate-level spirits could not disclose information about the Spirit King to humans. Therefore, nobody knew about the girl.

Except for Akien’s group.

“I’ve never seen a similar entity in historical records, and there’s no information in the documents.”

Spirits do have lifespans, but at the level of a Spirit King, it practically doesn’t matter. It’s a vast amount of time that can’t be contained in human history.

“Some say it’s the birth of a supreme spirit, and others say it’s the first spirit born not in the spirit realm but here, and still others say the girl is a bridge between the spirit realm and the human realm… Which one is the correct answer?”

“If.”

Akien spoke.

“What if we shouldn’t interfere with that being?”

“There’s a possibility, but… what can we do?”

Marianne gave a bitter smile.

“We have no choice.”

The tent opened. A man in a suit bowed politely.

“Representative of the Acacia family, Akien. Representative of the Baltica family, Marianne. Is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“Correct.”

“If you could follow me, please. Representative Hazzak of the Bazuk family is calling for you.”

“The arrogant one is calling. Let’s go, Akien.”

Akien got up with a gloomy face.

“What castle? Why have they decorated a temporary residence like this?”

Marianne grumbled. A massive building stood before them. Even a notable family couldn’t afford to build such splendor.

Entering inside, the interior was even more ostentatious, filled with elaborate patterns and precious ornaments.

They went even further inside.

Upon opening the black door, they found numerous people sitting around a circular table.

Most of them were familiar faces, each a distinguished member of their respective noble families, owning their territories.

Marianne looked around and spoke.

“Where’s Hazzak?”

“He hasn’t arrived yet.”

“So, he calls everyone and then comes late himself. As if he’s some kind of king.”

Marianne grumbled and took her seat.

Shortly after, a man appeared from an inner door.

The man with golden hair was quite young, his face barely marking him as twenty.

His face was filled with confidence.

A belief that he was superior, that no one could approach him.

“Everyone’s here.”

He casually took a seat. Here, Hazzak was the youngest. Despite this, the lack of manners in his demeanor made a few frown, but nobody pointed it out. More precisely, they couldn’t.
He snapped his fingers.

“Let’s skip the tedious greetings and get straight to the point. Explain.”

A servant stepped forward to start the explanation.

“As you all know, a few months ago, a giant sphere appeared on the Brunian Plains. And there was a girl inside it.”

People couldn’t hide their curiosity. It was surprising enough that a giant sphere appeared out of nowhere, but that was not all.

“Approaching the sphere, the spirits’ powers intensified. There are even rumors of a lower spirit evolving into a middle spirit.”

At that, the people at the table showed interest.

The difference between lower and middle spirits was vast. Just being near the sphere induced evolution. It was something everyone would covet.

“But as with any power gained without a price, it could only lead to chaos. Therefore, my master, the great Hazzak, has personally moved to propose access to the sphere. It was a wise decision.”

“He wants it all to himself, what a joke.”

Marianne muttered under her breath, but her voice was so soft it only circulated within her mouth.

“Hazzak has conducted various experiments. He called researchers and those with knowledge. But everything before has failed. Thus, Hazzak has made a decision.”

“This sphere holds a monstrously strong power.”

Hazzak spoke up.

“I’ve tried everything, but couldn’t breach the sphere’s defenses. We lack the power. So, I’m thinking of creating a domain.”

“A domain?”

Hazzak gestured, and a servant spread a large piece of paper on the table.

Marianne scowled as she examined the contents of the paper.

“What’s this nonsensical domain?”

“It’s a domain I created.”

Hazzak said without any change in expression.

“It gathers the power of hundreds of spirits. And infuse that into my spirit to shatter the sphere’s defenses.”

“Sounds nice, except for the burden it places on the spirits assisting.”

Marianne spoke sharply.

“Hundreds of assisting spirits will suffer. Some might not withstand the force and be forcibly desummoned. They might not be able to be summoned again for a long time.”

“So?”

Hazzak gave her a look that said, “What do you want me to do about it?” Marianne bristled.

“So, it’s okay for the spirits to suffer?”

For them, spirits were not mere tools. Once contracted, they were companions for life.

No one enjoyed seeing the spirits suffer. Especially for something as trivial as an auxiliary role, causing them needless pain was even more unacceptable.

However, Hazzak’s expression remained unchanged.

“So, what do you want me to do about it?”

Hazzak, the eldest son of the Bazhuk family, was the only human in the world contracted with a high-level spirit.

“If you have complaints, leave. It’ll just ruin your family.”

“Mari…”

Marianne gritted her teeth but remained silent.

He had power greater than a king. If he truly wished, he could destroy her family at any moment.

“So, it’s decided then.”

Hazzak slapped his chin.

“I’m off to rest, so get ready.”

It wasn’t a suggestion. It was a unilateral announcement. After he left, sighs and curses erupted from all around.

In the midst of this, Akien quietly looked down at the ground.

“Weaklings.”

Hazzak clicked his tongue.

Weak ones.

Those beneath his feet dared to disobey and resist his words. Hazzak wanted to crush them all.
But he had to restrain himself for now. There was still a bit left to achieve his goal.

“Once I achieve my goal, I’ll kill them all.”

[Master.]

The spirit beside him sighed.

It was a high-level earth spirit contracted with Hazzak.

[Stop now. Really. That is not something we should tamper with.]

“Shut up. Just follow my orders.”

[Master…]

The high-level spirit murmured sadly.

[Does the master really wish for that?]

“Yes.”

Hazzak bared his teeth.

“I have no intention of being satisfied with such a narrow world.”

For him, Arulia was too weak a world. He wanted to become greater. He wanted to possess a stronger power. He wished to transcend the limits of humanity, to become stronger than the spirits.

“That power is merely a stepping stone. I will devour the sphere’s power and become great! And then I will go there!”

Hazzak couldn’t contain his passion and shouted.

“To the place where the great ones gather, where gods reside. To the Labyrinth!”

[Is that your wish, master?]

“Yes!”

The Labyrinth. A place where heroes and warriors gathered. Where gods, who could lightly tread upon the world, congregate.

Hazzak heard about the Labyrinth from a nameless storyteller who visited him years ago.

At first, he tried to dismiss it as mere legend, but as the storyteller presented evidence, he gradually realized it was true.

Hazzak fiddled with a small blade in his pocket.

It was a blade given to him by the storyteller. Initially dismissed as a rusted piece, the closer he looked, the more he was astonished.

The withered blade contained a power capable of overturning the entire world.

Though now faded and nearly extinguished by the passage of time, leaving only remnants, Hazzak knew that possessing this sword once meant ruling the world.

And he was told there were countless such items in the Labyrinth.

The Labyrinth. A space created by gods and magicians.

Descending deeper made one stronger, and eventually, it was possible to break free from the confines of mortality.

Most didn’t survive and died descending into the Labyrinth, but that didn’t concern Hazzak.

It was a place where he could transcend his limits and become stronger.

Hazzak wanted to go there. He wanted to become stronger and stronger, to transcend mortality. That was his wish.

“With the power of that sphere alone, I can go to the Labyrinth. There, I will descend faster than anyone else and conquer it.”

Hazzak shouted, his face filled with madness.

“And eventually, I will become the great god that the storyteller spoke of!”

[Master…]

The high-level spirit remained silent.

Hazzak was consumed by power.

The uniqueness of being the only one to contract with a high-level spirit had engulfed his ego.

He had become a madman, losing the purity he had when he first contracted with the spirit, seeking only strength.

But there was nothing it could do.

Once a contract was made, the spirit was bound to the human.

Until Hazzak died, it must protect him.

[May you find peace again.]

The high-level spirit silently stood guard.

And the next day came.

People, with gloomy faces, created the domain. Then, they went out to attack an entity they did not know, an entity meant to protect them.

Meanwhile, Taesan was playing catch with the King of the Wind Spirits.

“Wow!”

Minerva shouted, her face drenched in sweat.

“This is fun!”

“Yes. Yes.”

Taesan nodded. Minerva staggered to her feet.

“I want to play more… but it’s not possible now. They are coming.”

She smiled faintly.

“They don’t know who I am. So, I intend to forgive them. Because they are the children I must protect. The lives I must guard.”

The white world fades away. Leaving the last words of the King of the Wind Spirits behind, Taesan returned to reality.

“So, give them a proper scolding.”

Taesan opened his eyes.

Numerous people were approaching him.

“Time to get to work.”

He rose and drew his sword.

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