Chapter 14

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“I’m sorry, Count Rebrecca.” Cox got up quickly and shook his head. As a merchant, Cox was very sensitive when it came to reading the atmosphere – doubly so when he was in the same room as both a Count and a Grand Duke. Even though Cox was one of the most respected Counts of the Pontier family, he had no problem humbling himself.

“It’s fine. It’s not something to lower yourself for.” Count Poncel Jean Rebrecca shook his head with a faint smile. “Moreover… I’ve heard that rumor too, Duke.”

“Well…”

“May I enquire, if it’s not too rude?”

“From what I’ve heard, he’s not half bad even if he’s a bastard,” Charles spouted.

“Princess, please refrain from further rudeness!” Cox shouted before Charles could continue.

“What rudeness? I only told the truth,” she pouted.

“I don’t think the Counts need to worry so much.”

“Sir Chiffon?” Cox tilted his head questioningly.

“Well… As the Princess said, Young Master Joshua is unwell, so he’s recuperating.”

“My word… What manner of affliction?” Cox asked with a worried face. Chiffon eyed Duke Agnus before replying.

“From my observations, it seems to be congenital mana disorder.”

“The Curse of Mana!” Ponsel shouted in surprise. This curse – congenital mana disorder – was rare enough to break his normally quiet atmosphere. A strange look passed through Iceline’s eyes, who otherwise sat expressionless like a doll.

“What the hell? A kid knocked out three soldiers with that kind of illness…” Charles mumbled with a sullen expression. Cox and Ponsel shared a sympathetic look.

Their interest in Joshua, however, was cursory. Although they did not say it, they were only here for Babel von Agnus.

“Well, Ponsel, how about you take a look at the boy?”

“Yes?” Ponsel stared blankly back at the Duke.

“After all, aren’t there only a few 5th-Class Wizards in the Empire?”

A 5th-Class Wizard was respected wherever they went; with the exception of the Magical Kingdom, Terra, someone with that level of skill could become the royal chief wizard wherever they chose. Considering the relative lack of wizards in the Avalon Empire, Ponsel was especially valuable; indeed, he was one of the three most powerful people in the Avalon Empire.

“—All right.” Ponsel nodded softly. It wasn’t too difficult, and he could earn the Duke’s regard for a simple favor.

“Thank you.”

Chiffon adopted a faint frown – it was his habit to frown when something was not to his liking.

“Duke, why don’t you go and evaluate Master Joshua’s talent?”

“Huh?” Duke Agnus tilted his head. “What do you mean?”

“I’m certain it’s congenital mana disorder but… if you’re willing, wouldn’t it be better to check his health before leaving for the capital?”

“Well—” Duke Agnus stroked his chin with a troubled expression.

“If Count Ponsel is with you, you can observe him a little easier.” Wizards were more sensitive to mana. The way wizards and knights manipulate mana are fundamentally different, but wizards could feel the “flow” of mana.

“That would be fantastic… And, I get to see my younger brother.” Charles clapped her hands. “Oh, you said he’s nine years old, so he’s younger than me right? Three years younger.”

“Hahh...” Cox was at a loss.

“How do you plan to judge him?” Duke Agnus asked Chiffon.

“With your orders, I will send one of my knights to him.”

“One of the Red Knights?” Duke Agnus frowned. Chiffon was unperturbed.

“If Master Joshua can take down three centurions with his bare hands, then a Red Knight should be enough.”

“I think we should consider the other knights too.” Duke Agnus’s answer was expected for the most prestigious family of knights in the Empire.

“Of course, the other knights are excellent but, for the Young Master’s safety, wouldn’t it be better to have someone who can control their strength?”

“That’s—” When Duke Agnus seemed concerned, Chiffon quickly added:

“I have the perfect candidate.”

“A suitable member of the Red Knights…”

“It’s a knight you know well,” Chiffon continued with a smirk.

His voice was strangely chilly.


“Ugh!” Joshua took a deep breath and opened his eyes. “Where—”

The first thing he saw when he woke up was the ruins of the ancient temple. The white space he was in earlier was nowhere to be seen.

“Was it real?” Joshua mumbled. But the weight in his hand told him it was neither dream nor fantasy.

“Lugia?” The staff – he couldn’t bring himself to call it a spear – rested in his hand. This comfortable and familiar grip—clearly it was Lugia, his dear friend and partner.

“As long as I’m by your side…” Lugia’s last words flickered through his mind. Joshua closed his eyes and began to exercise his mana technique.

Now! Joshua’s eyes snapped open. An inscrutable black haze rose from his body, a phenomenon that only occurred when his mana technique was operating normally. Joshua hefted the iron rod and straightened his posture.

“Hooo!” Joshua took a short deep breath and stared straight ahead. This ancient spear technique – the “Magic Spear Technique” – was divided into multiple stages, but his destination was clear.

Can I draw even a handful of mana from the air? That was the standard for the first stage.

I can do it. His grip on the iron rod firmed.

Lower your posture and contract your muscles, so that you can apply your full strength in one moment. His muscles tightened like they would snap into action at any moment.

The first form: Stabbing. There were only two spear methods in the first stage of his technique.

In a way, it was just a simple stab—a straight line to the target. Concise and straightforward, but fast.

At the tip of the iron rod, a coin-sized mote of mana condensed. And when the mana was compressed to a point…

“Thunder.”

A swarm of pure white light thrust forth from the end of the rod.

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