William's mansion in the capital was crowded with people even though the owner was absent. The employees who were guarding the mansion moved busily to serve the court magicians who suddenly came here late at night.
"I'm sorry for arriving suddenly," Yuria apologized to the older servant who handed her a blanket. She had come to William's house with the court magicians.
Her apology was greeted with a warm smile.
"No. Yuria-nim and Alphonso-nim are General William-nim’s family. It's our job to support General William-nim and his family, so please don’t mind it."
Yuria put a blanket on Alphonso, who was dozing next to her, then put a blanket around herself. Although it would be March soon, it was still winter and the night air was cold.
"I'm sorry. If I had known that you were coming in advance, I would have heated up the room."
Yuria shook her head at the servant's apology. "No, it's okay. It would have been rather difficult if the room had been heated up.”
There was a reason why no one magically heated the room even though Yuria and many other magicians were gathered in one place.
The servant could not understand Yuria's words, but he soon nodded and smiled it off. “The kitchen is currently boiling water, so I will get you a warm drink soon.”
“Thank you.” Yuria thanked the retreating servant and looked at the familiar door.
Beyond that door was a space transportation magic circle that she and Alphonso used to come to the capital. As she looked at the door, she recalled some memories as she realized that it had already been quite a long time since she came to the capital.
Yuria was immersed in reminiscing when a court magician exclaimed. It was safe to say that there was no magician here who did not admire the pattern of mana caused by the operation of the space transportation magic circle that was beyond the door.
"That's cool, it’s fantastic.”
The court magicians wanted to immediately observe the magic circle that was actually in operation, not just the magic pattern that they felt, but no one opened the door.
Space transportation magic was very high-level magic, so safety and caution were required.
Yuria was confident that even if she opened the door and disturbed it, anyone who came here through the space transportation magic circle would arrive safely enough.
"Alphonso, wake up," she said.
"Huh…?" Alphonso got up while rubbing his eyes.
"Haam~, we’ve arrived?”
Yuria nodded as she looked at her twin, who was still not fully awake and was asking with a hoarse voice.
"Yes, so get up."
"Mmm, ok. Ootcha!" Alphonso got up from the chair and stretched.
At some point, the mana gradually decreased and became completely quiet. The court magicians that surrounded the room stopped admiring and remained tense and silent.
The sound of the doorknob turning, which was not usually inaudible, sounded particularly loud.
When the door finally opened, the court magicians' pounding hearts reached their peak.
As soon as the door opened, an old man jumped in and hugged Yuria and Alphonso like a fool.
Alphonso hugged the great elder as naturally as when he was in his hometown, but Yuria was embarrassed with the eyes of the court magicians.
"Gran-grandpa. Calm down."
As Yuria tried to dissuade him, the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe put on sad eyes.
"Yuria, you didn't want to see this grandpa?"
"No, it's not—” Yuria looked at the magicians around her, trailing off at the end.
The court magicians were shocked as the image of Arpen Fendria, the serious great madosa they had imagined, was crushed.
The great elder looked unkindly at the dregs that disturbed his reunion with his grandchildren. His cold eyes reminded them of the notoriety of the Glacier Devil who froze a big city alone in the past.
"Stop it, Father. You are scaring everyone." Following the great elder, a white-haired man came out of the room and sighed.
With the advent of the man, Yuria and Alphonso jumped out of the great elder's arms and into the man's arms.
Accompanying the great elder was his son and the father of Yuria and Alphonso.
"Aigoo, you're all grown up so I can't even hold you up anymore. Have you been well?”
The great elder looked jealous when his grandchildren left his arms, but his son only smiled mildly.
"Ah, greetings, Arpen Fendria-nim. It has been a long time."
Among the magicians that were a mixture of tension and fear, Kermin swallowed his dry saliva and alone spoke to the great elder.
"Long time?" The great elder frowned as he saw the face for the first time then made an expression as if he had just remembered his mana.
"Oh, this mana was... a long time ago... What was your name again? Ker... Yeah, Kermin. It feels like the kid named Kermin.”
When the great elder remembered his name, Kermin was moved and tears welled up momentarily.
"Yes! I was that kid Kermin!"
"Huh! To think that the little kid has grown so big and old. It really seems a long time has passed."
Despite the great elder's lament, Kermin just nodded with emotion. "Yes! Arpen-nim doesn’t seem to have changed since 53 years."
"Yes, but you've changed a lot. You must have worked hard to become a madosa." The great elder immediately identified Kermin’s level.
"By the way, I'm tired. I wonder if there's a room for me and my attendants."
As soon as the great elder finished speaking, a hundred people from the Butterfly Tribe came out of the room one after another.
Having come into the room, Milpia sat on the sofa, wiping the sweat off her forehead with her sleeve.
"You’re not going to offer a cup of tea even though you have a guest visiting?"
It was ridiculous to see Milpia asking so boldly.
"Yes, yes. What tea do you want?" I plopped down across from her and asked.
She smiled lightly. "I like the third petal of Mandrago. Oh, I'd like three spoons of 1,000-year honey.”
Both were very expensive items, as the first item was a rare magic ingredient and the latter was a rare food ingredient.
I can't believe she is so boldly demanding something even a high-ranking noble can only eat a few times a year!
"I don't have any, so I'll just make you some sophora root tea."
I took out the sophora root tea leaves from my space expansion bag.
Milpia frowned at the sophora root tea leaves I took out. "Uwack! Why are you even carrying such a bitter tea with you?”
It was a luxury tea leaf that I bought at the department store. I didn't know when and what kind of tea the Duke of Asteria would like to drink, so I prepared tea leaves of various types. When the duke enters the palace, he would not be able to take anyone but me, so I had to take care of all the details. Of course, I could assign most small things to the servants in the palace, so it wouldn’t be that difficult.
"Why of course, it’s so I can make this tea for you," I responded with a bright smile.
"If it weren't for the sophora root tea in your hand, I'd be excited about that."
I made an expression as if I was genuinely hurt by her bitter smile. “You don't like the tea that I’m making you?"
"Don't try to feed me the sophora root tea with some sweet words and actions!"
"Tch, that's too bad."
When I was in my hometown, this used to work even when I held a sophora root tea, but I reckon I must be getting old.
"Aren’t you being too forward?"
I shrugged at Milpia, who looked at me with reproach.
"I heard that mandragos and 1000-year-old honey are spread out in Olympus Forest like wildflowers."
"It’ll be 10 refined silver coins, dear customer."
The market price was still very high because no matter how much of it was around, only the Crow Tribe could provide the supply. If monopoly were allowed, the price would have gone up like crazy. Even more so if it was an unwelcome guest.
Milpia gave up and grumbled, "Then just give me some black tea. Not sophora root tea."
I removed my hand from the lid of the box containing sophora root tea. Jeez, so aggressive.
I put the sophora root tea back in my bag and grabbed random tea leaves from my room. Perhaps because it was a luxurious hotel for the Duke of Asteria to stay in, the black tea that was in the room was also quite luxurious.
With magic, water about the size of a head was created in the air, heated, and boiled. I added an appropriate amount of black tea to the boiling water floating in the air. As the tea came out, the transparent water gradually turned into a dark red color. I handed over a teacup on the cupboard to Milpia with telekinesis magic.
"Do you even handle these miscellaneous things with magic?"
I answered, pouring black tea in the air into Milpia's teacup,"Yes, it has always been like this when I was in my hometown. It’s too noticeable so I haven’t done it much since I started boarding here."
Still, it was more comfortable and nicer to stay in the boarding house than to live alone. I didn't have to cook or clean because Mrs. Arscilla’s employees did it all, so there was no particular need to use magic.
"But how did you know I was here? It must have been strictly confidential.”
If they had put a separate watch on me, there was no way I wouldn't have known. However, the Duke of Asteria and Rosellis both did not seem to be under surveillance.
No matter how good Big Mama Information Agency was, it would take time to figure out something that just happened, like me coming to this hotel.
"Who knows? I wonder how I knew~” Milpia smiled playfully.
I held my chin and contemplated for a moment. There must have been an opportunity to get information within half a day since I played the role of the Duke of Asteria's guide.
“Did you plant a spy in the boarding house?”
“Who knows?” Milpia smiled playfully, but the muscles around her eyes moved subtly.
“It seems I’m right."
The boarding house was the only place that someone could have found that I had become a guide to the Duke. My aunt was the only one who could avoid the detection of Guild Director Glont, Rosellis, the Duke's escort, Debt-ridden Knight, and I, but there was no way she would act as a mere informant.
What remained, then, was that the contents of the Duke's letter to Mrs. Arscilla had been leaked.
“What could you possibly mean?” Milpia responded naturally.
But I had already gotten all the information that I could get. "You're good at putting on a pretense. But from what I see, most of what you've learned are the skills from the Crow Tribe. To be exact, it's called the "Thousand Techniques" created by Old Man Weger-nim.”
Milpia's concealment skills, veiling facial expressions, and controlling pupils and micro muscles were all techniques invented by Elder Weger. Most people even in my hometowns only learned one or two things, and there were almost none who mastered all thousand.
Among the people I knew who mastered all the thousand techniques, there were only Elder Weger, the creator, me, Mac Hyung, and Aunt Talaria.
So Aunt Talaria must have taught Milpia.
Milpia slightly bit her lips. "So what are you going to do with the spy planted in the boarding house? Are you going to try to kill him?”Her tone was serious.
I leisurely crossed my legs and put my hand on my chin. "Hey, so bloody. I'm not that kind of person. It's not really damaging to me, so I'm going to let it be. Besides, it’s not like you don’t know me, so I assume you didn't plant the spy to keep an eye on me, did you?”
There hadn’t been a single new employee since I entered the boarding house. That meant it was a spy planted to read the trends of the prime minister, not a spy to keep an eye on me.
"That's a relief. It took years to plant a spy there. It seems I won't need to plant a new one."
That just showed how picky the prime minister was about selecting employees and how difficult it was to plant spies.
"Now, let's stop the small talk. Would you like to talk about the reason you came to visit?”
Until now, it had been a war of nerves. Milpia smiled bitterly.
"Too many things were leaked even though we were just having small talk."
Sighing, she talked about the purpose of her visit.
"I'm here to ask you for the first of three favors that you promised Big Mama-nim."
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