“You’ve returned, Joshua?”
“Yes, mother, I have returned.” Joshua grinned from ear to ear as Lucia greeted him with a warm smile. There was nothing he’d missed more than this, and the memory was excruciating every time. Even now, as he gazed at his mother, it seemed like a dream.
I will protect you this time.
“Thank you, Sir Cain, for looking after my needy son.” Lucia gracefully bowed her head.
“Oh no, Lady Lucia.” Cain scratched his head, flustered, and waved his hand. “Rather, I am eternally grateful to the Young Master for allowing me to serve him.” Lucia gave him a dubious look. “It may be a little rude of me to say so, but my Lady has a great son.”
“Oh…!” Lucia beamed. She was so preoccupied with her work at the Duke’s mansions that Lucia didn’t pay much attention to Joshua. As a mother, she felt bad for her son—but it seemed that Joshua had blossomed into a great young man. Who wouldn’t be proud?
Lucia strode towards the kitchen with an undisguisable bounce to her step. “Have you two eaten? It’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to demonstrate my skills.”
“Lady Lucia! My word—There’s a maid. You should utilize the staff the Duke gave—”
Joshua stopped Cain with a raised hand and a tiny shake of his head. “I hate to say it, but my mother is a fantastic cook; her lamb soup, in particular, is…” Joshua took a deep breath and shot Cain a thumbs-up. “It’s something to look forward to.”
Cain watched Lucia disappear into the kitchen. “That aside… I have a question. That ring—does it contain the heritage of the Orbis family? Does it have any unique powers? It appears completely ordinary.”
“A unique object has to be reawakened in a unique way.” Joshua held the ring up. “Right now, it’s just sealed.”
Just then, as if responding to Joshua’s comments, the ring floated upwards and shook the air. Its outer surface peeled away, allowing strangely-shaped characters to emerge.
“Runes?! Are these runes?!” How does the young master know about the runes? They should be the sole knowledge of powerful wizards!
A rune was more than just a character; each rune possessed a unique ability on its own, which could not be acquired simply by copying their appearance. Only high-ranking wizards of at least Fifth-Class, calculating complex mathematics formulae, could make a real rune appear.
And Joshua was casually reciting them…
Is he truly a magic swordsman? Cain’s astonishment swelled.
Joshua felt like dying. I was ready, but… He bit his lip, eyes darting from place to place with intense focus.
Contrary to Cain’s belief, the runes didn’t fall from his lips so lightly. These runes were not the same as those used by the wizards—if any of them saw this, their eyes would roll backwards and pass out. This was an ancient rune language.
This is the last one.
“ᚱ.” Joshua spat out the final rune.
A swarm of pure white lights exploded forth as the resonating air reached a crescendo, engulfing their surroundings in a blinding light.
In the very center of Igrant, a marvelous, pure ivory tower stretched into the sky, buttressed by skyscrapers on three sides. This was the holy land of wizards, the Magic Tower.
At the top of the Tower was a large round table with exactly seven chairs around it—the meeting spot of the seven highest-ranking wizards in the Tower, known as the “Seven Magicians”. They gathered at this table to handle the Tower’s most critical issues.
The meetings were a rare occurrence, given the strongly individualistic impulses of the busy wizards. However, they were gathered now, for the first time in a very long time.
An old, crooked man with a bent back sat at the table’s highest point. His long white robe draped over his wizened body, and his long beard fell all the way to his frail chest. At first glance, he looked too weak to even move himself.
But no one on the continent could ignore him. He was, without a doubt, first among the Seven Magicians. After all, he was the leader of the Seven, Ian Teon Murray.
Ian’s immaculate gray eyes darted around the table. “The Red Flame, Thunderstorm, and Void’s seats are empty… What’s going on with these empty seats I see?”
A middle-aged man on Ian’s left with an unruly, haphazard beard responded with a heavy voice. “As you are aware, Red Flame and Void are always out of reach. Even if we could reach them, it’s difficult to make them come here. The Thunderstorm, however, I believe, left for the capital yesterday. I also believe he sends his greetings to everyone here.”
“Tsk.” Ian clicked his tongue in displeasure. “This is the start of our twenty-seventh regular meeting. Despite the fact that there are only four of us, the meeting cannot be postponed. There is an agenda item on the schedule: the conference’s main agenda is the ‘Primordial Stone’.”
The man on the left remained expressionless, but the other two peoples’ bored expressions roused with interest.
A man in his early thirties opened his mouth. “Why are we talking about this again?”
“...Be courteous, Storm. This is a plenary session.”
“Yes sir… Will do, old man Earth.” Storm pouted his lips.
“This is a rarity,” Ian said. “The one who doesn’t even show his nose is here.”
“Well said, my Lord—I mean, as the High Magician said, we have an issue to solve. I believe I heard a rumor that the Magma has vanished.”
“Not only has the Magma vanished, so has Bronto.”
“What…” The young man’s eyes widened. “Do you have any other information?”
An attractive middle-aged woman spoke up for the first time. She had pure white hair and blue eyes like a lake, befitting the owner of the Frozen Seat. “Only the Magician’s Tower has access to information on the Primordial Stones… A leak would be a serious issue, wouldn’t it?”
“It’s exactly as you say,” Ian replied. “Although there is some information regarding the individual who took the Magma, it is unknown whether Bronto truly rose into the sky or was returned to the ground.”
“That Thunderstorm guy left suddenly,” the young man mused. “Does he have anything to do with this, or is he just trying to find out more?”
“It’s not that there isn’t any information,” replied Earth, the middle-aged man. “I’m not sure if it has anything to do with Bronto, but there was another odd bit of information.”
“What is it?”
“There are rumors that a magical swordsman appeared near Bronto’s location.”
“Oh, a magical swordsman?” The young man licked his lips.
“What do you mean?!” The woman kicked her chair aside and leapt to her feet. “Did he show up?”
“Unfortunately, it isn’t him. This time, the magical swordsman…” Earth spoke in hushed tones. “They say he’s only nine years old this year.”
“Oh my god…”
“...There is no definitive information,” Ian said. “But, did I mention that Bronto was discovered in the Avalon Empire?”
“Marcus, keep an eye on Magma. Ask Thunderstorm to help, if you want. Even if Magma was discovered, there’s little we could do about it.”
“That’s fine.” Marcus—Earth—nodded his head.
“And Theta, I say this because you’re still young: don’t be conceited. People won’t merely pass by if you make a mistake in your haste, no matter how great you are. I know this from experience.”
“Do you think I’m causing accidents every day?” Theta, the Storm, pouted.
Frozen shouted excitedly, “Could it be his descendant? I can’t imagine a lifetime without a magical swordsman!”
“Really…” Ian sighed. “I think you’re jumping to conclusions.”
“There’s no denying that he’s his descendant, but… it’s more likely that they’re unrelated.”
The woman’s head snapped around to face Marcus. “Why?”
“According to the rumors, it’s the son of Duke Aden von Agnus.”
A flash of surprise cut through the woman’s dazed expression. “If it’s Aden von Agnus, perhaps—”
Ian slammed his fist against the table and swept his eyes over the Magicians. “At this point, nothing is certain. Please keep an eye on the situation and refrain from taking rash actions.”
“Everyone, get out of here.”
With Ian’s abrupt ending, the three stood up and walked out, leaving Ian alone at the pinnacle of the Tower.
“The world… is changing at a breakneck pace. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen…”
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