At my introduction, Arpen looked dumbfounded.
“Crow Tribe? And also the chief's son?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Arpen nodded with a complex expression as I nodded.
"I see. Is the strange feeling that I kept feeling your martial arts?" he murmured.
I stuck my tongue out. "You can even feel the martial arts?”
How sharp was he to be able to feel the energy of the martial arts that I didn't even use? His senses were astonishing.
"If you are the son of the chief, then which chief from how many generations ago? The chief from two generations ago, Galak Blade? Or the chief from three generations ago, Hamelin Blade? Or the chief from four generations ago, Hades Blade? Or…" Arpen asked me, looking convinced.
How many generations are you going to go back?
Somehow it felt like he knew my family genealogy better than I did.
"I am the son of the current chief, Doomstone Blade."
I let out a sigh as he made an expression like he had heard nonsense. "I told you. I didn't lie. I am sixteen years old. I said Ainsmall School because my teacher is Elder Mirpa Ainsmall, so I'm also part of the Ainsmall School.”
Arpen pointed at me in surprise. "Don't lie! You can't have that kind of skill at sixteen! If you are such a monster, when did you even get to the madosa level?"
I shrugged lightly at Arpen, who was confused. "I reached it roughly a couple of months before my twelfth birthday."
I waited for him to calm down from his confusion.
Arpen suddenly burst into laughter after organizing his thoughts. "Ha, hahaha, hahaha. Mirpa, that crazy woman made a ridiculous monster.”
"There's no doubt that Elder Mirpa is crazy, but I can’t understand you saying that I'm a monster.”
Arpen laughed frantically as I grumbled.
"Puhahaha! You must be insane too if you can’t even realize that you’re a monster. Well, I suppose you can't become a madosa at that age unless you're a little insane."
"Well, you seem convinced, so please keep it a secret. And to Yuria and Alphonso also."
Arpen nodded and said, "Fine, I don't think it's going to be a problem. But why is the youngest son of the Crow Tribe Chief hiding his identity in the capital and acting as a civil servant? If you want, becoming a knight of the empire would be no problem, as well as a court magician.”
I shrugged lightly at the question. "Because it is annoying. It is usually the case that higher positions have to deal with more bothersome businesses. I am comfortable at a low position."
Arpen nodded. "That's exactly the case. There’s a lot of things that bother me too."
It was quite funny that Arpen empathized.
"For that matter, you didn’t seem to be reserved in causing a ruckus in the sky over the capital."
Arpen’s face turned red. "I'm not the only one who's caused a ruckus!"
I shook my hands when he pulled me in as well. "But now that you've decided to keep me a secret, people will think that it was only Sir that caused the ruckus, right?” I said playfully.
Arpen looked at me in amazement. "You brat, did you ask me to keep this a secret because you were aiming for this?"
"Ay, it's just an extra benefit. When someone does something that bothers you, do you think of getting only one benefit? It is basic to kill two birds with one stone."
Arpen burst into laughter. "Huhhuh, you did well to get to your level with that mindset. It's not the kind of mindset I'd recommend as a magician."
"Isn’t magic originally the territory for those with absurd talent? I'm sure you've heard a lot of others talking bad about you, too, haven't you?”
Arpen smiled and nodded. "Well, that's true."
I stretched and flew into the sky with flying magic. "Let's enter the palace separately. I don't want to be noticed very much."
"Sure. Oh, wait."
Arpen caught me as I was heading back to the palace.
"Is there something else?"
"It's nothing, but I told you before that if your official duties were delayed because of me, that I would go talk to your superiors for you."
I laughed at Arpen’s words.
"Oh, that's fine. Actually, I was kicked out with the excuse of running errands because high-ranking people were having a discussion. So it doesn’t matter if I am late."
"Is that so? That...”
Arpen trailed off as if there was something he wanted to say to me.
"Is there anything else you would like to say to me?"
Arpen spoke slightly embarrassed at my blunt question.
“That is... Get along well with my grandchildren.”
I burst into laughter at his request. "Is that so hard to say?"
"When you get to my level, you become unused to asking someone for something. At your level, it must have been a while since you've built your own path, so you probably don't have much to gain from sucking up to me," Arpen said curtly.
I nodded. "Well, that's true."
It may have been different if I wasn’t already a madosa, but it was already long past the time when I would have needed to deliberately curry favor with Yuria and Alphonso to receive Arpen's teachings. Frankly, it had been years since I stopped receiving teachings from my teacher, Elder Mirpa, so there was not much I could gain from being servile to Arpen who was at a similar level.
"And if it’s someone like you who has already hit the end of his potential, you'll ignore my majestic self anyway."
"Ayy, saying that I’m at the end of my potential is a little too much. Where else is there such a talented young man like me?"
He burst into laughter at my joke. "That's why I say you’re at the end of your potential. You have to be humble, you have a nasty mentality of manipulating and taking advantage of others," he said as he smiled. "They've had trouble making friends of their age because of my status. Anyway, I’m asking."
"Even if you don't ask me to, I've been close to Yuria and Alphonso and will continue to be friends with them, regardless of Sir."
Arpen nodded, rather pleased even with my arrogant words.
I left him behind and snuck into the palace.
Hestia, who was chatting with Duke Asteria, asked the foreign minister as he came into the room, "What happened to the terrifying magical collision that I just felt in the sky?”
The foreign minister answered, closing the door, "I heard that the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe gave a mild demonstration of power as requested by the imperial court."
Duke Asteria was full of admiration at the foreign secretary’s words.
"So it was the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe. Even an outsider like me who doesn’t know anything felt shivers from the shock, but he says it was just a light show of force.” Despite Duke Asteria’s admiration, Hestia looked suspicious. "Hmm, was it really just a show of force?" she said profoundly.
Duke Asteria tilted his head. "What do you mean?"
"Think about it, Grandpa, would the timing of the show of force that the prime minister imagined really be right now?"
Duke Asteria shook his head. "It's certainly far from what the prime minister probably had in mind. However, the opponent is one of the strongest among the so-called battle tribes. He's a man who the prime minister doesn't have power over.”
Hestia smiled softly. "Grandpa is right. He's beyond control as a great elder of the Butterfly Tribe. But that’s only as an individual." She sipped her tea, thinking of her father, Doomstone. "Even if he is a free-spirited person, as someone who came here as a head of the tribe, it is strange for him to do whatever he wants without any stimulus."
Duke Asteria asked, stroking his chin interestedly, “Does that mean someone has provoked the Great Elder of the Butterfly Tribe?”
"Yes. That is what I think." Hestia nodded and grinned.
Seeing the smile, Duke Asteria thought his granddaughter strongly resembled his daughter from the distant past. He suddenly felt emotionally overwhelmed, but he gently closed his eyes and asked, "Then Hestia, who and why do you think provoked him?”
Hestia answered, putting down the teacup. "I've been thinking about a lot of possibilities, but I think the most likely case is the youngest one."
Weger and the foreign minister, who was standing by Hestia, looked at her in surprise.
"Does this mean that Deputy Chief suspects the small chief?" 
Hestia nodded lightly at Weger's question.
"I'm not certain. It's more likely that it isn’t. I just combined all the information I had to come up with the most likely answer." Hestia continued, refilling her teacup with the kettle. "The youngest probably didn't provoke directly. He is very clever and becomes calm in situations where his identity could be revealed or it's hard to escape. When he causes trouble, it's when no one suspects that there will be trouble, or when he is confident that no one will know that it was him.”
She savored the tea, muttering, "He’s quite shrewd, isn't he?"
"If we imagine a scenario- the youngest, who was hiding his mana, happened to come across the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe, who is at a higher level of magic than him, and his mana was seen through... The great elder, who was suspicious of the youngest, began to question him, which led to the mana collision just recently.” Hestia grinned and shrugged. "Of course, this is a scenario in which the youngest provoked the Great Elder, but there's a lot of other possible scenarios. It's just... No, nevermind." She, who thought to herself with a serious face, shook her head and put down the teacup.
"There are just a few things that catch my eye, but do not worry about it." She suddenly looked at the clock and got up. "Oh my, it's already this hour. It is time to go back to my quarters and get ready to attend the banquet. It was a short time, but it was fun, Grandpa."
"I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was nice to meet my granddaughter for the first time."
Duke Asteria wanted to stop Hestia from leaving but couldn't.
"I'll bring my big brother next time I visit."
When Hestia said she would visit again, Duke Asteria smiled brightly and nodded. "Yeah, did you say his name was Gallahad? Let's talk a little longer next time."
"Yes, let’s do that."
Hestia lightly hugged Duke Asteria and left the room with Weger and the foreign minister.
Duke Asteria, left alone, gazed lonesomely at the tightly closed door.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter