Chapter 112. New Year’s Festival (13)

No one died, and there was no damage to the stadium. Even the Half-half Mask madman who committed the crime was probably captured. I'll have to make up for my loss with this guy's wealth.

The man seemed to be a madosa-class magician capable of using magic strong enough to melt the barrier I put effort into making. So, there’s no way he wouldn’t have at least that much money, right?

I didn't know this when I was young, but being a magician is a money-eating job. A magic wand for beginners started at a minimum of one silver coin, but the price of a proper magic wand could reach gold coins and even platinum coins. 

I transported the materials and personally made the wand that I was holding now, but if it were to be valued, it wouldn't be strange if it was treated as a national treasure.

When I thought about it, my wand would be equivalent to the wand given to the grand elder of the Butterfly Tribe that was passed down from generation to generation. Or it might be comparable to the wand made of dragon hearts that elder Mirpa forcibly had my father collect by hitting him in the back of the head.

Other than them, the Curse Magician and the Spatial Magician of the 4 Great Madosas might have a wand of a similar level.

For now, I decided to interrogate Half-half Mask later and went down into the stadium. Then the paladins and adventurers surrounded me with weapons.

"Hmm, what is going on here?”

Why are these people emitting killing intent and surrounding me all of a sudden? I just saved your lives. How ungrateful.

A paladin who appeared to be the leader of the Hillis’s escorts answered me, "Don’t pretend you don’t know!"

"Are there fools who ask when they already know the answer?”

When I asked with a shrug, the paladin stared at me fiercely. "Shut up! I’m sure you know that you're under suspicion of being a heretic!"

Heretic? What kind of bullshit is that?

"Excuse me, Saintess-nim. Helping to catch that person wasn’t part of the commission." Rosellis aimed her huge ax at me and glanced at the paladins with a perplexed gaze.

"What are you talking about? That person is Lupin, who is suspected of being a heretic by the temple! I think we've agreed to work together to eradicate the heretics!"

Rosellis shrugged her shoulders at the paladin. "No, look here, Sir Paladin. Even if your mouth is crooked, you have to say it correctly. The commission was to eradicate heretics who want to harm the Saintess-nim. It wasn’t to eradicate the guy who saved our colleagues and attacked the heretics.”

The paladins groaned at Rosellis's words.

"And are you even sure that white mask guy is Lupin? I don't know why, but I feel that he is just a guy wearing a white half mask.”

The paladins nodded at Rosellis. "We’re certain of it. It's not common in the capital for someone to be wearing a white half mask with perception disrupting magic powerful enough to prevent us from properly recognizing him.”

My goodness. I didn't think that using perception disrupting magic to prevent any features from being recognized would become a recognizable feature in itself.

It seems it’s time for me to slowly retire from being Lupin. I put aside all the unnecessary thoughts for now and asked, "But why am I charged with the suspicion of being a heretic?”

The paladin grew angry at my question. "Are you pretending not to know!"

"No, how many times have I told you I don't know!"

Ah, this was the second time. I guess it’s understandable if it was only the second time.

"You bastard! How can you say that after seriously injuring Cardo Fernando and killing Paladin Mario!”

Cardo Fernando? Paladin Mario? Who are they? It’s the first time I’m hearing about it.

"Hey, I think you're mistaking me for someone else. I'm not familiar with the names of the two people you just said.”

"Are you going to keep claiming innocence till the end!" The paladin’s yell was so loud that it was deafening.

Jeez, my keen hearing was not helpful during times like this. Someone might have thought you were some kind of lion. Yet, a cardinal and a paladin? Were they the ones trying to kidnap the princess at the ball in mid-September? I definitely sent a golden-masked old man called Leo and a man who used divine magic to meet their makers in the past.

"Mmm, can I know when this happened?”

The paladin answered my question without a hitch, "It was mid-October!"

Rather than answering without hesitation, he seemed to have lost his reason from his overflowing anger. As expected, it was good to question people who let their emotions get ahead of them. Either way, the imperial knight divisions seemed to think that it was taboo to express their feelings recklessly.

Anyway, if it was in October, then it was definitely not me. Of course, they could have given a fake date to cover up the criminals’ attempts to kidnap the princess. This was possible since, at that time, Uncle Bloody saw the scene where the Golden Mask was hit by my lethal move (failed). Still, that was just my unconfirmed hypothesis.

“Mmm, I don't think that was me.” 

“What did you say?!” The paladins looked at me like my words were absurd.

"So are you saying you didn't steal the golden goddess statue either?"

"Ah, that was me." Well, it was true. I even left a letter telling them to go harass the treasury office, so there was no need to try and hide it.

"You bastard! You dare mock the temple!"

I tilted my head at the angry paladin. "Why is that mocking the temple? I declare before the Goddess that I am not lying. I've never met the Cardinal and the person named Mario in October."

"Didn't you steal the golden statue!?" 

"Yes, I stole it." I nodded. 

“Then!"

"So, why would I harm the great Cardinal and the paladin who administers justice?"

Of course, of course. I may have launched my lethal move (failed) at the person performing the evil act of kidnapping, Doom. However, I've never shot my lethal move (failed) at a paladin who carries out justice.

"In the first place, the time I took the golden goddess statue was in mid-August, and it sounds like the accident occurred in mid-October, so I don't know where you are finding this connection with me."

"You punk!"

"Stop!" A voice mixed with mana stopped the paladin as he tried to attack me.

Was this perhaps a word containing compulsory force? There was a person in this day and age who was still used this crazy magic?!

The compulsory word was one of the most vicious magic I knew. This magic was one that required two people, the master of the word and a slave of the word, to be established. The scary thing about this magic was that the word slave was forced to obey the master’s commands unconditionally.

This magic was thought to have died out due to the insanely difficult requirements. It needed a sincere pledge of loyalty from the slave to the master through a fairly complicated magic technique. 

In particular, it boasted an extreme difficulty in that being 'sincere' was an indeterminable condition. For this reason, the history books called this slave contract 'the loyalty of a true knight.' In my opinion, it was just a crazy slave contract.

Hillis walked past the paladins and came towards me.

"Saintess-nim! It’s dangerous!"

"It's all right." Hillis repelled the paladin who tried to stop her. Since the stadium was now Hillis’s proclaimed domain, no one could dare approach her.

Of course, domain proclamation, called the ultimate magic, was not without weakness. If I proclaimed a domain here, then Hillis’s and my domains would overlap, creating a strange space that gave both of us an absolute advantage.

Of course, if I tried to proclaim my domain here, not only would the paladins and adventurers surrounding me not stay still, but Hillis, the owner of the current domain, would not let me go. In short, the player had already been caught.

Hillis stared at me through the white veil. “I'll just let you go.” 

“Saintess-nim!”

"Of course, it’s not that I believe you are innocent. I believe that you hurt the Cardinal and brother-in-law, no, Paladin Mario. I believe in my family and colleagues who have been with me for a long time over you, who I just met for the first time.”

I nodded. "Of course. I would also rather trust people who I’ve known for a while."

"I'm glad you understand. Just know that the reason I am letting you go right now is because of all the lives you saved during this incident." Hillis’s hand trembled, clenched tightly into a fist. I could feel pure anger from the eyes beyond the veil.

I bowed my head slightly. "Thank you."

"I’m not thanking you."

I grinned at Hillis. "Of course. No one would thank an enemy."

"You mean I am not your enemy?" Hillis asked quite sharply.

"Yes, I, at the very least, don't think of you as my enemy."

Hillis smiled with a small sigh. "Is that so? Then why are you surrounding the air with a magic chain.”

I couldn't understand Hillis's question. What is she talking about? Half-half Mask should be wrapped in... He wasn't. Ha, hahaha. No way.

"Was it hypnosis?" I removed the magic chain that was hanging in the air. My god, to think I would get tricked by hypnosis.

Half-half Mask, he's pretty good. I didn’t even see the hypnosis. When did it start? I was sure that I bound him with the magic chain. 

Well... I see. Did he disrupt my senses from the second scream? He must have aimed at a gap in my attention from maintaining my magic not long after I was exposed to Hillis's domain. Things have suddenly become enjoyable. As expected, the magical world is still full of strong people I don't know about.

I was so happy that I felt like I could just burst into laughter. How dare you affront me like this? I'm really looking forward to paying him back manyfold.

"Since you said you’ll let me leave, I’ll go ahead and take off." I lifted off the ground with flying magic and flew high up. Now, it was time to go to an appropriately gloomy alley to wrap up my mana and head to the office that Flam was in.

After robbing Half-half Mask’s wealth, I was going to try to speed up the plan to mass-produce the dragon tooth soldiers in preparation for the war against my father. However, I missed the opportunity to do so and was left with only losses. 

Well, the dragon tooth soldiers were there just in case I needed them, so they wouldn’t be useful under normal circumstances. To be honest, even if I made the dragon tooth soldiers, they could only be used to buy time against my father, anyways.

Over the sky, my last day as a trainee began to grow dark.

* * *

Libra felt the damage given by the divine power was akin to a burn, but he didn't let out any sounds from the pain. This was all due to that White Half Mask who used some perception disrupting magic. His plan to blitz and massacre the crowd to shake the immature saintess’s heart and kill her in that gap was ruined from the start.

Inside the mask, he was filled with anger and bit his lips tightly, but he didn't show it on the outside. Disguised, Libra calmly stood on top of the fountain in the plaza located in the center of the capital, where he had met Vibrio.

Beside Libra, Vibrio looked into the fountain with slightly blurry eyes.

"How is it?"

Vibrio did not answer Libra. Rather, because she did not answer, Libra smiled under the mask. The main plan went awry, but the other plan was successful.

Vibrio etched the scene of the waves rolling in the fountain into her eyes. Inside the fountain, the saintess was stopping the paladins from trying to attack the white half-mask man and was allowing him to leave.

A clear tear fell from Vibrio's eyes. The tear that had fallen to the ground was tinged dark red.

Vibrio put her hand in the fountain that had no water in it and stirred her hand. Something spurted from the hand that was moving strongly. Vibrio’s hands were dry, and her fingertips were split.

Libra made a cruel smile.

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