Chapter 80

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The sound of hundreds of lightning spheres bursting at once was overwhelming.

Joshua filled Lugia with mana and hurled it at the Rune Flare.

Lugia leapt forward, bones cracking. He bit his lips, fighting the pain and focusing on his one and only goal: defeating Jack.

Jack was astounded—he’d never imagined Joshua would throw his weapon away. Knights were so proud that losing their weapon was more humiliating than losing their life.

It almost looked like the dust was swirling around Joshua, emphasizing his incredible potential.

The amazement kept coming. Joshua smashed Jack’s Rune Flare; a weapon should be devoid of mana as soon as it left its wielder’s hand, but Jack could see that the spear seemed to have a mana of its own.

The spear punched through the Rune Flare and went speeding towards Jack.

“Blink!” Jack reappeared five meters away, only to be greeted by Joshua’s cold eyes. However, his reflexes didn’t fail him. The Thunderbolt seat was clearly not for show.

An ominous crackling filled the space between them, itching at Jack’s skin. His eyes, tinged with astonishment, slowly looked downwards.

“Ugh… How?”

A pure white spear pierced straight through his heart.

I still have so many things I wanted to ask him. However, his body no longer responded to his will. His knees shook, and he couldn’t feel anything.

“Hoo—” Jack hacked up bright red blood. His arteries were losing strength; the powerful pumps were slowing. His blood, instead of circulating his body, was gushing out of it.

“What… kind… of… strength… this…” Jack weakly reached out and grasped Lugia with both hands.

The power of lightning that had been accumulating inside Lugia engulfed Jack’s entire body, turning his body stiff and his eyes dead and gray.

The death of Jack Steropes, one of the Seven Magicians and the strongest wizard in the world, famed for his thunder magic, met an unbelievably tragic end.

He was too confident. He didn’t pay enough attention. Throwing a spear was a simple action, but making a weapon retain mana after it leaves your hand is something only a Master could do. Joshua threw Lugia with all his might, and it flew straight as a laser.

The result was decided as soon as Jack used Blink. Joshua’s senses, roused to the extreme, found Jack as soon as he teleported. Lugia retreated to its subspace, and then reemerged to stab their opponent—right where Joshua predicted. Everything went on course, like water running through a river.

“Keugh.” Joshua vomited blood. It was pale, dead blood rather than the vivid scarlet Jack had bled. Pushing his body past its limits had left Joshua with grievous internal injuries. The hand holding Lugia in Jack’s heart began to falter. I’m losing consciousness.

His body gently tilted as he began to lose vision. Joshua knelt down, gripping his bloodstained clothes.

Even with his full power, the prowess of the Seven Magicians was not to be taken lightly. The only reason he was alive right now was his combat experience and a healthy dose of luck.

Crackle.

Brilliant sparks clouded Joshua’s body, cloaking him in a blinding glow as bright as the sun. They came from Lugia—

No, they came from Jack Steropes heart, where it was impaled by Lugia.

A wizard’s heart stored the essence of their mana; with the wizard dead, the mana in his heart ran amok. Lugia became a conduit, directing the power into Joshua’s body. There was nothing the boy could do as hot sparks assaulted his body. He couldn’t so much as life a finger, he didn’t have the strength.

Perhaps I could liken it to sinking into the depths of the ocean? I’m so tired. It felt to Joshua like a pair of fat horses was dragging down his eyelids.

But it feels like I can’t sleep like this, for some reason. It’s like I’ll sleep forever if I close my eyes now—

[The Magic Spear Arts—Quickly!]

Who? It was like someone was crying out to him, begging him to escape the water. As his consciousness waned, Joshua desperately clung to the small voice like a rope.

Lugia?

[Use the Arts quickly! Use Bronto… before it blows up.]

If Lugia said anything else, Joshua couldn’t hear them; his mind had only one thought: the Magic Spear Arts. He began to exercise the ancient mana technique with a single-minded determination, as if he’d been possessed.

Soon, the earth and sky were bathed in a dazzling white radiance.


Among the dozens of instructors gathered in the Academy’s staff meeting room, Kane’s determined expression stood out.

An old man, Count Shutein ain Albert, the head of the Academy, checked that everyone was present and opened his mouth.

“I apologize for calling such a hasty emergency meeting. We had to hurry because, well, things happened.”

“President. Is it true that the ‘issue’ has resulted in student protests?”

Shutein returned the magic instructor’s question with a nod.

“I heard that students from all over the place are protesting at the staff offices.”

“It would be fine if that was it, but there’s rumors that a family is going to request a formal explanation.”

The Count smiled bitterly.

“It has to be one of the Twelve Families.”

“Three of the Twelve Families are currently represented in the Academy.”

Shutein remained silently, cautiously examining the instructors. Most of them had already heard the news and wore troubled expressions, while some were tilting their heads curiously.

“President… I… I haven’t heard some of these rumors yet. Could you please expand?”

Shutein nodded to the dwarven history instructor.

“I, too, would like a more thorough explanation. The subject of the protest, what the students are trying to find out, the cause of the emergency meeting—it’s because of ‘expedited admission.’”

The magic instructor raised her hand. “What does that mean?”

“We’ve been compromised. You know that we can accept students who enroll under a false name to protect their identity? It’s only because the Imperial Family is willing to ignore it,” the President said. “This time is not like the others. Most students who chose expedited admission came from families who were hesitant to divulge their identity for various reasons. By hiding their family, they avoided issues with existing students. As a result, even if their family was exposed later, most would just close their eyes and move on. There was nothing to be unhappy about because the students didn’t seem to mind.”

“In other words, the students are demanding the truth, regardless of the consequences.” The magic instructor nodded. “If this person can exert direct influence on the Imperial Family, they would have to come from the highest ranks of the nobility, or foreign royalty.”

“Who the hell are they?” the history instructor asked.

The conference room quickly became quiet as a tomb. Several, if not most, already knew, but they were hesitant to say it. No one wanted to provoke that family.

“Ash pen Frederick, a student.” Shuten smiled sourly.

“Never heard of that family.” The history professor cocked his head thoughtfully.

“It’s a false name. You wouldn’t know them, they were just Viscounts before they fell.”

The history instructor gave him a blank look. “Then…?”

“His real name was… Joshua. Joshua von Agnus.”

“Agnus—!” The instructor looked like he’d been struck by lightning magic. “A-A-A-Agnus?!” His eyes bulged. There’s only one family with that name!

Duke Aden von Agnus, the pride of the Empire, stands at the forefront of the country, even in the Empire of Knights. A person even the almighty Emperor Marcus has to pay attention to.

“Oh my God…”

The conference room was quiet enough to hear a pin drop.

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