Chapter 82

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His hair was a gray that made you question how old he was. His mouth curved into a delicate grin, and his eyes looked like they were just two lines drawn on his face.

No one recognized the man; he looked like someone else. Only people who had met him personally would recognize his visage.

“Count Sten?” The astonished mutter of the history professor was loud in the silent conference room.

The head of the prestigious Sten house, one of the Empire’s five Masters—Arie bron Sten.

There were additional footsteps coming from behind Count Sten. The Etiquette teacher only shifted his attention away from the Count’s enormous presence by accident.

“Ah!” His voice was laced with awe and delight. “Duke Agnus?!”

Before the mystified gazes of the teachers, a being greater than even Count Sten, the brilliant star of the Empire, Duke Aden von Agnus, slowly entered the conference room.

The bright light fades away. Lugia still floats in the air; now, it has a distinct scarlet diamond at the joint between shaft and blade.

Joshua stared at it, like the sparkling crystal had hypnotized him.

[I suppose what happened is that Bronto appears to have consumed the power of his own kind and awakened a lost power. It’s also possible that your unexpected growth has something to do with it.]

“Then this—”

[Yes. You could call it Bronto’s crystal. Capturing the Primordial Stone, a heavenly object, with a mundane human body is nigh-impossible—so I used my strength to remove a portion of it. Well, thanks to that, your curse was lifted. You’d have to become a Master otherwise, so you’d better be grateful.]

“You really did that?”

Joshua’s expression hardened. Cause and effect; there was no great power without a price, just as there would be a wonderful fruit at the end of trial and tribulation. Lugia, by her own words, was a demonic artifact—the devil’s weapon, to put it another way. Joshua couldn’t imagine something like that would provide its assistance for free.

[Are you sure you won’t regret it?]

“What?” Joshua frowned.

[My identity—Are you confident you can bear the weight?]

Joshua didn’t need to think about it for long.

“It’s not a question of whether I can or can’t. I’m not going to use you anymore if you don’t answer.”

[You’re not going to use me?]

Joshua nodded. “I don’t need a monster with unclear goals. I know your power comes with a price.”

[Haha! You’re exactly the kind of person who would repay favors even to his enemies.] Lugia fluttered in front of Joshua, who stared at the spear with his mouth firmly shut.

[If you’re really interested, I’ll tell you: this body is….] Lugia paused dramatically, causing Joshua’s face to tense. [...Lord Lugia! The best and most beautiful artifact in the whole universe!]

“Yep… I should probably throw you away.”

[It makes no difference whether you use me or not; the contract has already been signed.]

“We most certainly have not signed a contract.” Joshua tilted his head. “A contract that I don’t know about? Are you insane?”

[No, it’s definitely a contract you’re familiar with. It couldn’t be fulfilled without your consent.] Lugia gently dropped to the ground, peering at Joshua.

[What is this—you’re still unsure? Yes, the contract has already been signed. It was signed the moment you went back in time.]

“Hey, you—”

“What is Duke Agnus thinking?” the President mumbled.

“When his child does something wrong, isn’t it just polite for the father to come and visit?” Duke Agnus smiled warmly.

“D-Duke,” the President stammered, “I apologize; I will watch my tongue.”

“No worry.” The Duke shook his head. “This is a precious center of learning. This is the place where the future rulers of the Empire are taught, and nowhere else. This is the place where I want my child to be disciplined, more or less.”

“A punishment… No, it’s not even worth the trouble.” The history teacher shook his head urgently.

“No, hasty admittance is unquestionably wrong, regardless of the cause,” Count Sten replied. He smiled heartily and turned to the Etiquette teacher. “It’s that right, Chwisegi?”

“That’s—” Despite Count Sten’s borderline insulting statements, the Etiquette teacher was unable to answer. The moment he met Count Sten’s narrow eyes, his body stiffened like a rat in front of a viper.

“Stop it, Arie.” Duke Agnus heaved a sigh and Count Sten shrugged. “Now, as you may have suspected, I’m here to help my son with his troubles.”

“...Are you saying that, with the Duke’s power, you’ll turn this expedited admission into a no-go?”

“What do you mean—”

“My name is Cecil, the professor of Magic at the Avalon Empire Academy.” Cecil stood up boldly, much to the surprise of her colleagues. “You said it yourself: this is a place of learning, the cradle of the future of the Empire.”

“I did.”

Cecil was startled by Duke Agnus’s quick reply and needed to take a long breath.

“As you said, this is a place where the children can make a place for themselves. The mere presence of an adult, even Duke Agnus, will have adverse effects on them; they have no choice but to be influenced, knowingly or not.

“However, there’s nothing I can say if you came here as a parent to deal with your child’s issue. Due to the nature of expedited admission, I believe it is not the responsibility of that particular student.”

Can a student really go through expedited admission without help?

Cecil’s words were nothing short of a direct reproach. The highest noble in the Empire, the second most powerful man in the Empire, versus an Academy teacher. She was nothing more than a baroness. The Academy staff were losing their minds.

She may be accounting for the Imperial Family’s backing, but her actions were driven more by her strict adherence to her principles than logic. It made Duke Agnus smile.

“I agree as well,” said the Etiquette teacher, having gathered his courage. “Well, there’s only one decision we can make when someone like Duke Agnus appears in a place like this, isn’t there?”

“You kept your mouth shut even when the Raksha circle acted worse than thugs, you rat.” Count Sten scowled at the Etiquette teacher.

His voice was quiet, but it reached the Etiquette instructor’s ears clearly. No, everyone heard it—the conference room they were trapped in was very quiet. The staff blushed in embarrassment, or reddened in anger. Kane was one of the former, the Etiquette teacher belonged in the latter.

“You appear to be misunderstanding something,” Duke Agnus said. “There are two reasons why I came here.”


“For starters, I’d like to apologize for my son’s treatment of this friend.” Duke Agnus gestured to Count Sten. “When I spoke to the Stens, they said that they already knew about this rift. I was in a rush, wondering if the bastard had lost his mind and did something inappropriate to his acquaintance.”

“Duke, I haven’t forgiven him yet, to be sure.” Count Sten smiled. His narrow eyes widened. “If you can’t back up your words—”

“You don’t need to be worried about that. You’ll be surprised.”

“I’m looking forward to it.” Count Sten smiled pleasantly again.

“And there’s one more thing…”

The staff gulped nervously. What words will that mouth utter?

“I want to warn you that if expedited admission becomes a problem big enough to affect the entire Academy, Joshua could face severe consequences—including expulsion.”

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