Chapter 166

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There was a two-story wooden structure near the colosseum; it was rather diminutive compared to the lodgings of the other participants, even considering the sheer amount of people staying in Reinhardt at the moment. At first glance, it seemed discriminatory, but it was not.

Akshuler and Iceline owned this building. That is to say, between both stories, they were the only occupants.

“This is really good.” Akshuler opened and closed his hands in amazement. “At this rate, I could fight again. Recovering this fast is… practically a miracle, isn’t it?” He gently rolled his shoulders. The rate at which the flames of annihilation’s damage was undone was astonishing. “A world-class knight and divine power that puts high-ranking priests to shame… Now I’m very interested. Hmm, maybe he’s the first 8th-Class Archmage on the continent as well.”

Despite his silly jokes, Akshuler’s expression was serious and he remained deep in thought.

“Iceline? Is there something on your mind?”

“There are a few things.”

Iceline’s listless response made Akshuler frown. “Who or what might that be?”

He peered at her for a moment and then a wicked smile crept onto his lips.

“Aha! Youth is fascinating. To think that Iceline could spend all day thinking about that person. It makes me feel so emotional.”

“What?” Iceline flushed scarlet while Akshuler feigned innocence. “It’s not—It’s not Joshua!”

“Oh? Why were you so quick to assume that I meant Joshua? I never said anything about him. Very interesting.”

“Well— I don’t know—” Iceline shot Akshuler an angry glare. “Someone stopped us!”

“Someone… stopped you?” Akshuler cocked his head.

“Yes! I was trying to get to you but someone stopped us. He looked familiar, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him before.”

“Hmm?”

“He told Joshua ‘We can greet each other later…’ Joshua seemed to recognize him. There’s something about him that I can’t quite put my finger on. I think they’ll cross paths again during the Master Battle, but I…”

Akshuler sobered up.

“Are you worried?”

“Wh— No, I’m not!” Iceline raised her fist at Akshuler, who smirked. “If you keep teasing me—”

Akshuler waved his hands. “So, what does he look like? I might be just a mercenary, but I think I have a better eye for people than you.”

Iceline relented with a dejected sigh.

“He looked like a lion. He was in his forties and had golden hair like a lion’s mane.”

Akshuler’s face darkened.

“The staff were very polite to him, like he was in charge of something. I think they called him Ryan—”

“You don’t know who he is?” Akshuler pulled a face. “You know, you’re pretty disorganized, despite your looks.”

“Umm…”

He shook his head. “A lion-like man, someone the staff gives way to, very intimidating… There’s only one person that comes to mind: the current Lord of Reinhardt, one of the Twelve Superhumans and Nine Stars, Ryan Geiger. The Lion King.”

“The Lion King?” Iceline’s eyes widened. “Why didn’t I think of him? No, but he’s well over sixty…”

The Lion King was famous for wielding serrated blades; they were called Bakdo (朴刀) in the far east, but they were unusual sight in Igrant. On top of that, he was single-handedly responsible for upsetting the stereotype against freelancers. It was once common to assume that free knights wandered because they lacked abilities; were they knights of skill, some country would have claimed them already.

“Hellos and goodbyes…? Akshuler mumbled.

“What does that mean?”

“There’s only one greeting in the Master Battle.”

“Don’t tell me—! Joshua is going to challenge them? That’s… that’s…”

Iceline had witnessed the power of Theta, one of the Seven Magicians of the Magic Tower, and the magnificent Prince, who toppled the great man sitting in front of her. Joshua would win if he overcame these two mighty opponents.

“No,” Iceline shook her head. “Rather, why is he confronting the Lion King?”

“Two reasons.”

“Two…?”

Akshuelr nodded. “First and foremost, legitimacy. I’m not sure what he’s thinking, but even if winning the Master Battle means winning the lordship of Reinhardt, it’s impossible to win the people’s hearts just like that. Toppling the reigning lord, the Lion King, would be an excellent way to sway their hearts.”

“And the other…?”

“The other reason is the more plausible explanation. It’s obvious that the Lion King is exceptional, beyond anything I could achieve, but he’s still considered the lowest of the Twelve Superhumans. If Joshua wants the prestige of being one of the Twelve, that would be the way.”

“No!”

Akshuler was taken aback by Iceline’s shout.

“He would never target someone like that. Joshua has too much confidence in himself.”

“Hmm…”

“I completely agree that he will win the Master Battle, but I refuse to believe that he would confront the Lion King for that reason.”

“That’s reasonable, I suppose… but, you see, this is why I tease you.” Akshuler laughed.

A fresh blush started to creep up Iceline’s cheeks. “No—”

“Let’s just keep an eye on it for the time being. Nothing has been resolved yet, so there’s no need for us to intervene.” He beamed.

“The Lion King and the Mercenary King…”

Akshuler and Iceline’s faces became thoughtful.


“Ahhh… Grandpa Tower Master is becoming a nag. ‘Successor’ and all that… I don’t want to deal with such things.” Theta wrapped the communication crystal in his arms and sulked.

It was early in the morning, before the sun had risen. They say that the older you get, the less sleep you get. Theta did not sleep. He was miserable.

“Do you want me to be greedy to rule? No one would be able to say anything, and I’d be out of control.”

Theta wound up on a tiny woodland path near Reinhardt, grumbling to himself. Even Theta, a notorious bum, remembered to meditate in an area of high mana concentration, like this one, at least once a day.

He halted.

“Can you just stop now? How long are you going to follow me around like a stray cat?”

One last footstep sounded behind him, as if his stalker had no intention of hiding.

“Joshua Sanders?” Theta peered at him, surprised.

Joshua emerged into the dim gray light.

“Theta Leos. No… Thetapirion Whitesocks.”

Theta’s eyes dilated.

“The present Master of the Tower, Ian teon Murray, will die in the not-so-distant future.”

“What?” Theta was perplexed.

“Because he’ll be betrayed by the person he trusts most.”

Theta’s characteristic grin disappeared.

“What did you just say?”

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