I gathered myself and greeted with a smile. "It is my first time meeting you. I have heard a lot from Yuria and Alphonso. My name is Den, a friend of these two."
- What do you mean that I am hiding my mana?
And at the same time, I sent sound transmission magic.
Arpen replied in a benevolent voice, "So you’re Den. I've also heard a lot about you through letters."
- You're good at hiding your mana. Any average person wouldn’t be able to tell. But at the same time, the way you’re hiding it is very old-fashioned. Do you think you can fool my eyes with a method that would have been used 100 years ago?
Unfortunately, my teacher was an old-fashioned person over 100 years old, so what I learned was old-fashioned.
"I heard you are a civil servant of the empire?” asked Arpen.
I grinned and nodded. "Yes, I am."
- As expected of a famous great madosa, you knew at a glance.
Among the situations I predicted, meeting a great madosa was not included, so now I was in a dilemma.
"That’s impressive. I heard you're the same age as Yuria and Alphonso. Yuria says you're the youngest?”
- You brat, are you really 16 years old? I can't tell that well because you’re hiding it, but the amount of mana you have isn’t something that can be acquired at that age.
I smiled lightly. "Ahaha, I was just lucky enough to pass on my first try. The minimum age to take the civil service exam is sixteen."
- I wasn’t trying to, but I've been eating a lot of good things since I was a kid and I turned out like this. My age is right.
Since I was forced to take the potions that Elder Mirpa made as I grew up, how could I not be overflowing with mana?
"I heard you're an alchemist. I don't know much about alchemy, but I'm quite proficient at magic. Should I give you a lesson?”
Yuria clapped her hands at Arpen's suggestion.
"Really? Den! This is a great opportunity! Even my hometown is full of people who want to be taught by my grandfather!"
Seeing that Yuria was happy, Arpen was pleased but still looked at me disapprovingly.
- You brat...!
No, what did I do? When did I ask you to teach me?
"I'm at a loss for words with gratitude. But unfortunately, I do not think I have time because I am currently on official duty."
When I refused, Arpen remained still, but Yuria was disappointed.
"Really? But it's a good opportunity—”
The red glow grew in Arpen's eyes when Yuria became slightly depressed.
- You brat…!!!
Yuria and Alphonso may not have known, but I felt chills from the mana that Arpen was secretly letting out. To be able to feel cold from mana that wasn’t even imbued with an attribute, it seems he wasn’t called a great madosa for nothing.
How much time and effort would it take to polish the mana to this extent? If the reason for him releasing mana wasn't because of an insignificant reason like being a sucker for his grandchildren, I would have purely admired it.
"It'll only take a moment. I'll talk to your manager myself if there's any delay."
- So shut up and follow me, Kid!
For some reason, it felt like a very personal grudge.
I was going to say no, but Arpen cut me off and looked at Yuria and Alphonso.
"Yuria and Alphonso, go to your father first."
Arpen smiled as Yuria trailed off with disappointment.
"I don't think it would be good for him to have a crowd when I talk to his boss in person. And you two should go and get dressed for the banquet."
Yuria and Alphonso nodded in regret at Arpen's caring words.
"Den, are you going to the banquet too?” Yuria asked as she left.
I shook my head. "I'm here for work, so it will be difficult for me to attend."
To be exact, it was too much because I was going to cause a ruckus and run away.
"Oh… Is that so."
Seeing Yuria and Alphonso, Arpen glared at me.
- You brat..!!!
I whispered before Arpen opened his mouth.
- If I were there, it might be difficult for you to hang out with your grandchildren at the banquet.
With that, Arpen reversed his attitude of listening to everything his grandchildren wanted.
"That’s right, you shouldn’t hold up someone who is working. Come on, go on ahead. This old man has something to talk to Den about quick.”
Arpen coughed dryly as he watched the backs of Yuria and Alphonso leaving in disappointment.
"Khhmm, even if you were at the banquet, my grandchildren would have hung out with me."
For that matter, Arpen's eyes burned with jealousy as if he wanted to force me to attend the banquet.
What an easy person to understand...
I asked while turning off the noisy wire-tapping magic, "So what business do you have with me?"
“For what reason did you approach my grandchildren?" Arpen asked with a serious face.
Because I suddenly heard something ridiculous, my emotions came out as they were.
"I said, for what purpose did you approach my grandchildren?"
"Excuse me, I never approached them."
"Don't lie to me! Then why are you hiding your mana and your skills? It’s a given that Yuria was deceived, but seeing that you managed to deceive William’s eyes, you must at least be at the madosa level! Tell me why you approached my grandchildren by deceiving your age and ability!"
Arpen accumulated mana into his hands and got ready for battle. No matter how much of a sucker he was for his grandchildren, this was too much!
I cried out in a fluster. "Hey! Don't build up your mana here! Are you trying to destroy the imperial palace?"
Still being vigilant of me, Arpen opened the window in the hallway.
"Yes, we can't cause a ruckus here. Follow me!"
I sighed as I saw Arpen flying out the window. I didn't want to use magic in the palace if possible, but I helplessly took out my glasses that interfered with recognition from the pocket space and put them on. If possible, I wanted to eavesdrop on the conversation between Duke Asteria and my big sister, but it seemed like it was too late.
I cast flight magic and floated out of the window while blocking the detection of my mana. I helplessly followed after Arpen, who had already flown far away.
We continued to fly high into the sky over the capital. Arpen stopped going up at an altitude of about 20,000 meters.
"It should be fine here to fight."
Arpen took a magic wand out of his pocket space. What a belligerent man!
"Wait! Let's have a conversation first! Yuria said that Sir is intelligent, cultured, and the most respected and greatest madosa in the world, and is also the grandfather whom she loves." I cried.
Arpen calmed the mana he was raising.
"Khhmm! Is that what Yuria said?" He coughed dryly and spoke coyly, but the corners of his mouth were raised.
"Yes! Of course. She always says that she wants to be an amazing great madosa like Sir!"
She didn't actually say it that often, but I was certain that she respected him.
He pretended to be fine, but the corners of his mouth didn't know how to go down.
"First of all, it is a misunderstanding that I have deliberately approached Sir’s grandchildren."
"Yes! I was living first in the boarding house where we currently live together."
Arpen looked at me suspiciously.
"It is true. I was already living there before those two came to the capital, but they happened to arrive there by coincidence. I heard they were supposed to live at their uncle's house, but he had to go up to the Demon Territory and so they were forced to move to a place run by someone their uncle trusted."
"Yes, I already know that. But I heard that the first time you met them was not at the boarding house but at a magic school.”
Did you even tell him those small details?!
"Even if it's a coincidence that you and they came to stay at the same boarding house, didn't you knowingly approach them at the magic school?"
"That’s not true! The two talked to me first!"
I told the truth about how I met Yuria and Alphonso and tried to persuade him to believe that I didn't approach them. But Arpen stared at me.
"I already know that from the letters! What I doubt about you is why you're hiding your mana! Do you need to hide your mana unless you have something to hide?"
I sighed on the inside. You damn old man. You should just let it go!
"You’re thinking ‘damn old man, you should just let it go’, right?”
I felt a prick at his words, but I smiled and shook my head. "Hahaha, how could that be? How could I have such disrespectful thoughts about a great madosa?"
Arpen stroked his beard. "Really? I would have thought that.”
If you do, you should just let it go!
“But there’s nothing I can do. If it was you, would you leave your cute grandchildren alone near some unknown punk who is hiding his skills insidiously?!"
‘Insidious’? ‘Punk’? Somehow the choice of words felt strange to me.
Am I mishearing it? It sounds like there’s a nuance of swatting away a fly approaching his granddaughter!
"And where in the world is there a crazy monster who can reach the level of a madosa at the age of sixteen! It’s only reasonable to think that you're deceiving your age and face too!"
Saying crazy monster… You’ll hurt the feelings of that monster.
"I am not deceiving anyone! If my face was fake, Sir would have noticed it at a glance!"
"How would I know if you're faking it with some kind of mask, not magic?"
"How could there be a mask that allows such natural expressions!" I cried.
Arpen snorted. "The world is wide. No one can know."
"Then couldn’t there be a case of being a madosa at my age?
Arpen shook his head firmly at my question. "No, there is no such thing. Do you think it’s that easy to rise to the level of a madosa?! Even if it’s my Butterfly Tribe, the best at 16 years old is a great magician!”
I didn't get to this level easily either. I got to this level after going through all kinds of hardship from Elder Mirpa.
"Then, what should we do? No, what do you want from me? Considering that you are asking for the impossible, there must be some kind of answer you want to hear.”
"Tell me your real age and identity. I can't leave an unknown factor like you alone with my grandchildren for their safety."
From the look of his eyes, he was sincere. Well, it's not that I didn't understand. Yuria's letters must have said that I was a friend of her age who had good alchemy skills, but after seeing me in person, I was a person with an unknown identity who hid his skills.
"My name is Den and I am 16 years old, as you know. My magic school is called the Ainsmall Alchemy School. I'm an ordinary low-ranking civil servant."
For reference, all the alchemy schools of the empire were already eaten up by the Ainsmall School 70 years ago, and so all alchemists were from the Ainsmall School. In other words, I was a disciple of the founder of the school, so most alchemists should treat me respectfully in terms of seniority.
"If you don't want to tell me the truth, I'll force you to tell me!" Arpen raised his magic wand and gathered his mana.
My opponent was someone greater than my teacher, Elder Mirpa, and was a monster called the world's strongest great madosa. I also took out my magic wand from my pocket space.
"Phew, let's get this over with as soon as possible, since I was brought here during official duty."Previous Chapter Next Chapter