Chapter 168

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A deathly quiet fell, like a mouse before a cat.

“W-What did he say just now? I heard him say he’ll give up or something…?”

“I must’ve misheard. Why would he come all this way just to give up?”

“Don’t mess around! Do you know how much I paid to see this match?”

“Booooooo!”

The excited mood rapidly turned sour. The crowd looked ready to riot.

Joshua remained quiet, steadily observing the other man. The strange confrontation continued for a while before Joshua finally spoke up.

“Are you sure about this?” he asked.

Theta burst out laughing. “Had I not meditated that day, I would never have done this. Nor would I have met you.”

“Lucky me.” Joshua smiled.

Theta’s brows furrowed thoughtfully. The conversation they had that day was deeply disturbing. Theta was lost in thought, even as the audience continued to jeer.


“What did you just say?” Mana exploded from Theta as he grit his teeth. His bright green hair had come undone and waved in the raging wind.

Joshua looked into Theta’s eyes and carefully repeated himself.

“Ian teon Murray was betrayed—by Evergrant kun Ashvald, the man who turned his back on the Tower and was accepted back on faith alone. And so, Evergrant ascends the next mountain: the Magic Tower.”

“You—!”

A razor sharp blast of wind passed a fraction of an inch by Joshua’s head. If his head had been turned a few degrees, he’d be missing an ear.

But he didn’t even break eye contact with Theta.

“Tell me.” Theta ground his teeth together. “If you’re trying to rile me up with some bullshit, I’ll murder you, Master Battle be damned.” It was a tremendous overreaction, given Theta’s infamous reputation. No one would have believed he said that, which indicated just how seriously Theta was taking Joshua.

I’m curious, too. How did Evergrant go from pariah to Tower Master? The day Emperor Marcus disappeared and Kaiser ascended to the throne, Evergrant abruptly resigned as chief magician of Avalon. It was only a temporary absence, however; he returned one year later with the prestigious title of “Tower Master.”

But even when on the day I died, he didn’t reclaim the title of chief wizard of Avalon; he was always the Master of the Tower, for decades.

The memory made Joshua’s fists clench hard enough for his nails to dig into his palms.

Contrary to his charming appearance, Joshua had never seen anyone as thoroughly conniving as Evergrant. He murdered Ian teon Murray and twisted the old man’s legacy into a history of corruption and failure.

History is written by the victors, as they say.

He told the rest of the Tower that Ian had forced him out. The low-ranking wizards didn’t know better; besides, Evergrant had a good reputation before he was banished. The members of the Seven Magicians who were close to Ian, however, did know better. The Earth Magician and Ice Magician were quick to revolt—but Evergrant put both of them down at the same time.

Evergrant’s coup d’état was cleverly hidden from the rest of the world.

The scariest part about Evergrant was that he couldn’t control the Tower with skill, so he controlled it with terror…

Joshua looked at Thetapirion Whitesocks, the Storm, and smirked.

Theta, the most talented wizard in the Tower, was labeled a traitor and hunted down. But even Evergrant was alarmed by what happened afterward. Destroying the entire Tower would have been excessive.

Knowing all this, Joshua felt an odd sense of camaraderie with the man in front of him. As the old saying went, “The enemy of your enemy is your friend.”

“I’m just going to say it: is your brain working correctly?”

Joshua was jared from his thoughts.

“It’s up to you whether you believe it or not. But…” Joshua stared deeply into Theta’s eyes. “It seems to me that you already had an inkling.”

Theta shivered.

“As you may suspect, I was the one who killed the Thunderstorm five years ago and claimed Bronto.”

“Eh?” Theta already guessed it, but for a moment he couldn’t help but laugh disbelievingly.

“To be precise, it was self defense. I already had Bronto, he was trying to kill me.”

Theta was familiar with the Thunder magician and was not surprised—but the facts still didn’t line up.

“When you were ten years old?”

“Believe whatever you want. However, I will say that there’s an awful lot of people with no common sense or discipline. Like you.”

Theta was silent for a moment, but a chuckle slowly escaped from his lips.

“You take me very seriously.”

The raging mana had subsided by this point.

“I knew you were looking for me,” Joshua noted. “Do you have a skill that lets you tell?”

Theta shook his head. “I didn’t find you by your presence. I just had a hunch that something out there could do it.” He shrugged and turned around.

“You’re just going to leave?”

“There’s nothing to gain from killing you right now. In fact, it’d cause more harm than helping you. There’s no one you can tell about the primordial stone, or your grand words. I admit, it does sound like nonsense.”

Theta walked away.

“All…” Joshua whispered.

Theta froze as the whisper touched his ear.

“You…” His mouth stretched into an idiotic grin.


The two men faced each other as boos rained down on them.

“I’ll ask you one more time.” Theta’s expression was solemn, a strong contrast with his usual carefree disposition. “You’re serious about what you said the day before?”

“Of course.”

“Joshua Sanders.” Theta locked eyes with Joshua. “No matter how skilled you are, no matter how much of a monster they say you are, there’s nothing you can do on your own. The probability of you succeeding is less than one percent—maybe even less than 0.1 percent—in my opinion. The fact that heads are going to roll is a plus, though. You aren’t walking the royal road, you’re on the conqueror’s path.”

“Is there anything in the world that doesn’t need a sacrifice?”

Theta blinked.

“Nothing will change if you give up at the first obstacle. If the finest magician on the continent tells me there’s a 0.1 percent chance of success, I’d call that good odds.”

Theta snorted. “I’m glad there’s another idiot to share the continent with me.” He examined Joshua. “I came here for two reasons. First, to demonstrate my skills. Well, this is my grandfather’s goal, really; he’s more selfish than me. Only two magicians have ever been recognized as Master at Reinhardt, so my grandpa will be pleased since I’m supposed to succeed him. Of course, though…”

Theta carefully used his mana to send a private message to Joshua.

[I’m not even interested in becoming the Master of the Tower, to be honest. It’s not going to help me learn anything, it just makes me angry and frustrated whenever I think about it.]

The message almost sounded like Lugia to Joshua, but it was clearly different; the former was an echo inside him, while Theta’s magic was like a whisper in his ear.

[However, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the Tower. They’ve done so much for me I can’t even put it into words. Grandpa Tower Master, especially… I’ve said too much. Regardless, you said Evergrant kun Ashvald, the traitor, will claim the Tower.]

[That suggests, even if you don’t trust me, that you noticed something inside the Tower.]

Theta was taken aback when Joshua replied without using his voice.

[Well well, that’s unusual. It’s not messaging magic… Is it some kind of talent?]

He suddenly narrowed his eyes.

“I’ve changed my mind.” Theta grinned at Joshua, who looked confused. “It would be rude to stop at this stage. Let’s give them a show! Who’s better: you, with the Thunder you absorbed with Bronto, or the passion of my Storm?!”

Theta’s words were accompanied by a sudden surge of mana. Twin vortices began to form on his palms.

It was weaker than the spell Joshua remembered, but it was still potent enough to take on a sixth-class wizard.

“Twin Cyclone!”

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