Chapter 136

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Joshua ran. This was Rev, the Rebrecca’s former holding.

The city was eerily peaceful. Even before the sun went down, the whole region was deserted. Almost bleak.

It’s frighteningly quiet. There really is no one around… What happened?

Joshua wandered through the city and eventually approached the big castle. He frowned at the gate and finally waved his arm.

A mass of mana emerged from his fingers and detonated against the gate, coating everything in a dense layer of dust.

The inside of the castle was slowly revealed. The more he saw, the more suspicious Joshua became.

There’s no trace of life. It was hard to imagine that the castle had been abandoned for three years since the family fell. The castle was immaculate except for the spider webs on the ceiling. It made Joshua’s nerves itch.

There’s signs of combat—heavy enough that aura had to be used. Sharp, deep scars marred the walls, obviously from a sword.

His eyes gleamed as he swept through the castle.

Energy… Joshua squeezed his eyes shut for a moment. There was some sort of energy used here.

He opened his eyes and his gaze landed on the stairwell leading to the second floor. A weird energy was seeping out from its left.

Joshua’s footsteps echoed through the lengthy corridor as he advanced.

There was nothing there. The castle was desolate except for that weird energy; you would never think that an aristocrat lived here.

Joshua halted at the end of the hallways. A dead end, but…

“Illusion magic…” He could feel a tiny wave of mana, a high-level illusion spell from a fairly powerful wizard. It blended in perfectly with its surroundings.

Joshua focused mana into his right earring.

“Anti-Magic Field.”

There was a sound of shattering glass, and the illusion was broken.

“The way to the basement.” Joshua eagerly stepped forward but abruptly halted. “This is—”

There were inscriptions on the wall by the hidden entrance. They looked like a child’s scribbles: a star inside a circle, like a pentagram; directly below the pentagram, a little triangle with a pair of jutting horns, like a monster’s head, with a cross on the upper part of the head, and a “1” carved on its side.

“Seems like these were made recently…”

While Joshua was scrutinizing the carvings, he felt a breeze—but there was no wind inside the castle. Something artificial was coming from the basement.

He flung himself down the stairs without another thought. The black energy coming from below was nothing like it had been before.


Seven Magicians gathered at the top of the Magic Tower. All seats were filled, except for Thunder, which was now vacant, and Storm, who left to participate in the Master Battle.

Marcus, the Earth magician, spoke first in spite of his tranquil disposition; it was proof of how seriously he took this issue.

“Now that everyone is assembled, I will begin by telling you something. First, Master: why did you dispatch wizards directly from the Magic Tower to the Avalon Empire?”

Ian’s lips remained sealed.

“Undead were found in that area. That’s why the Hubalt Empire was investigating; but, you see, if this goes on, we can expect major consequences for the Tower as well.”

“I agree,” Elisha, the Ice magician, said. “And to send Theta to the Master Battle without so much as a word of discussion with us—I find the Master’s recent decisions to be riddled with issues.”

The others didn’t speak, but their expressions said they agreed.

“The initial reasoning for Theta’s participation in the Master Battle was… At least in the Tower, I was the only person more talented than he.”

“What? Regardless of how talented he is, Theta is the youngest of us. Your words—”

“Theta’s skills are not to be taken lightly. In terms of talent, that youngster can even surpass me. I wager on my name that there are only three wizards on this continent who can guarantee a win against him in a duel.”

“Well, then who are the other two?” Elisha inquired. “The previous royal head magician of Terra, Astello?”

Ian shook his head.

“He’s old. Now, as my vigor wanes, his waned further. One is Evergrant, the chief magician of Avalon. It was at his request that I sent our wizards.”

“E-Evergrant? The traitor?” Elisha gaped at him.

“Master, I don’t understand,” Marcus said. “Why fulfill his request after he left the Tower? This feels like too sensitive a subject for you to decide on a personal basis.”

“Because there was someone else involved?”

“Another?”

“Remember what Evergrant said the day he left? He said he would follow the twenty-year-old man’s footprints.”

Marcus leapt up from his chair hard enough to knock it over.

“N-no way… No way…” Marcus’s face was stiff with surprise and terror. His normal tranquility was shattered, a startling shift of attitude, and he struggled to put his feelings into words.

“Evergrant admired the man who defined the ‘battle wizard’ more than anyone else,” Ian said kindly. “He swore he would follow the traces and return to Avalon, where he was born. It seems he now has other objectives, but his original intent is indisputable.”

“Perhaps, truly…” Elisha, a woman with a reputation for being ice-cold, struggled to get her words out.

That name had been lost to time. He was the most brilliant wizard ever seen, but at the same time was doomed to an equally terrible end. A combat mage of Avalon who even Terra lusted over; the only human that the high elves bestowed the “Elf’s Tears.”

“Jerath… Jerath dick Orbis…”


Joshua moved intently through the basement.

Despite being concealed, there was nothing extraordinary to be found. There was a long hallway, and then a vast, empty room with another path in the rear.

Joshua’s face darkened. A man was slumped in the middle of the room. The only sign that he was alive was the muffled sound of his breathing.

“That must be the paladin who vanished. And…” Joshua scowled.

A black figure stood close to the fallen man. Even motionless, powerful magic flowed through its body.

“...A death knight.”

The death knight’s red eyes flashed. The magic it emitted was powerful and terrible, unlike anything Joshua had felt before.

The death knight took a step forward. Joshua prepared to fight, but someone was faster.

[It’s mine.]

Lugia?

[That one is mine.]

Joshua scowled at the voice.

From the depths of his heart, he could feel a strong yearning arising. Joshua had no control over it, almost like an instinct. If he didn’t take care of it, it felt like he’d go insane. Greed flooded his mind, like a raging river.

Black sorcery, beyond even what the death knight had, burst from between Joshua’s eyes.

“You are mine.”

Was it Lugia’s voice or Joshua’s?

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