Chapter 214. Aquarius (12)

The reason why I wore the white half-mask rather than the glasses was simple. It was because the recognition interfering magic barely worked for the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe. As long as the great elder was present, it was clear that whether I wore the mask or the glasses, he would see that I was with my grandfather, "Aquarius.”

Thus, it was better to wear the already-revealed mask instead of my new gimmick, the glasses, which others didn’t know about yet. At least the great elder decided to keep my presence a secret with his name and mana on the line. Since the great elder doesn’t know about Lupin, if I’m lucky, we might be able to move on without discovering that I’m Lupin. Of course, the chance of that is pretty low.

"Ehew."

At my sigh, my grandfather slapped my back, trying to cheer me up. "Why is a little kid like you sighing?"

"I have been peacefully living well so far, but look at what's happened because of Grandfather and Aunt."

It felt like a stone had been thrown into my calm lake-like routine. Since leaving my hometown, my life had been nice and peaceful except when I was dealing with the great demon.

"Ahahaha, I'm sorry about that. But from what I heard from your aunt, you haven’t seemed to have had such a peaceful time?"

I shrugged slightly at my grandfather. "That's Aunt's opinion. Grandfather, what do you think?”

"Me? I thought you've been so quiet that I was wondering if you were even from our family. You must have inherited your mother’s personality, considering you've been so reserved."

I nodded at my grandfather's assessment. My grandfather was acknowledging the fact that I was living peacefully and quietly. As expected, it was clear that my aunt was the strange one for nagging me.

"Right? Aunt nags me saying things like I’m a frog that’s forgotten that I was once a tadpole."

To be honest, she was just overshadowed by my father, the best troublemaker in the family, but my aunt also had a troublemaking personality when she was young. There’s quite a famous story that said when my aunt would travel to other countries to clean up my father’s mess, she would find the nobles’ weaknesses and act like a gangster to deal with the accident.

For example, there was a time when my father beat a nobleman half to death for splashing muddy water on him, and rather than offering compensation, my aunt threatened them and received half of their wealth for the price of a clothing item. As a result, there were probably nobles who were more wary of my aunt’s name than my father’s. Well, thanks to this, the Crow Tribe was currently in its prime. It was a good thing for the Crow Tribe. That is, from the perspective of the Crow Tribe.

"Ahahahaha! That’s just like your aunt. She thinks she's cool headed and doesn't act like that at all."

"I know. Grandpa, did you know that she talks formally and pretends to be sophisticated in front of her foster daughter?”

My grandfather nodded passionately, saying he sympathized with me. "I know! I get goosebumps all over my body when I hear that gentle way of speaking.”

"Me too. When I see Milpia taking it for granted, ehew~."

When I shook my head, my grandfather laughed loudly. "Uahahahaha! So I wasn't the only one who thought so! Kuhahahaha!"

I took out medicine from my pocket space and gave it to my grandfather, who laughed cheerfully. "This is for internal injury recovery, this is to stick your bones back together, this is a bone-strengthening medicine, this is a muscle strengthening medicine, this is a mana recovery potion, this is an energy restoring medicine, and this is a candy."

"Hahaha, I'm not old enough to need medicine like this."

"You have to take care of your health starting when you’re still healthy."

Grandfather laughed at my words and swallowed all the medicine I had given him. "Ugh, it's bitter, but it also tastes like grapes."

"Oh, the mana recovery potion is grape flavored. I thought there would be a lot of times when I would need to take it, so I made it taste good.”

Grandfather ate the candy and finally neutralized the bitter taste by chewing it. "Oh, I think my broken rib is sticking back together?"

I swallowed my medicine as I watched my grandfather moving around. "Ugh, I'll have to improve the taste of the other ones too."

Still, their effects were quite useful because they worked instantly. My condition wasn't as good as it was before fighting my grandfather, but I felt well enough to run away.

"I think we probably have to run away, but what are you going to do? Should we run away separately or together?”

There were pros and cons for each of my grandfather's proposals. If we run away separately, people who come here will be divided, so it would be easier. If we run away together, my grandfather, capable of even blocking my meteor strike, would be there to protect me. For now, I retrieved my golem, dragon tooth soldiers, and chirps.

I answered my grandfather while collecting the precious meteorites. "Let's go separately. I think it's better to separate their forces than to deal with it all at once while tired. Besides, we both have different destinations."

I don’t know where my grandfather would be heading, but he would probably go to where my aunt is, and I had to go back to the palace without anyone knowing. This took more time than I initially estimated. I had to be back before Duke Asteria started thinking it was strange that the civil servant Den was not there, as he arrived at the capital first.

Most importantly, if we ran away together, there could be a misunderstanding that I was on the same side as "Aquarius," one of the Twelve Zodiacs. I wanted to avoid that if possible.

"All right, let’s do that. It was nice seeing you after such a long time. I'll contact you later through your aunt."

"The next time we meet, let's do so a little more peacefully. I almost killed you without knowing that you were Grandfather."

My grandfather smiled at my remark and disheveled my hair. "Haha, all right. I don't want to have any more near-death experiences either."

"Then I will take my leave first."

Grandfather waved at my farewell. "All right, be careful."

I started flying away, and my grandfather started running in the opposite direction.

* * *

Orphina rode Hargan and flew to the source of the strong mana wave, leading the Red Dragon Knights.

"Your Majesty, Dragon King, Great Elder-nim, Head Elder-nim, wouldn’t it have been better to remain at the banquet hall and enjoy it more? I don't feel comfortable taking such honored guests as yourselves to an accident site," said Orphina.

The dragon king, sitting on the head of Dragon Harion, laughed cheerfully. "Ahahahaha! It's okay! It's all the more fun to have this kind of event!”

Orphina sighed at the dragon king's answer. "It is not fun at all for the empire."

When Orphina turned to Weger and the great elder, the two people on the Dragon King's dragon nodded as well. "I also rather like it. The imperial banquets are boring, and there isn’t much I like other than the alcohol and food.”

Weger said this, but as the escort for the deputy chief, he was not allowed to be split from Hestia’s side. Nevertheless, it was under Hestia's orders that he was there. Upon this command, he reduced his presence and concealed his mana as much as possible to make it imperceptible from afar.

The Dragon King nodded vigorously and exclaimed, "Hahahaha! Weger is right; we're on the same wavelength! It's fancy, but you can’t have fun there!" 

The great elder smiled lightly and said to Orphina, "Don't worry, the imperial banquet suits me and my village members’ tastes. We prefer the atmosphere of an academic conference rather than a lively festival like the Crow Tribe and the Dragon Tribe."

Orphina thought the Butterfly Tribe were the only ones who enjoyed the banquet. Of course, a large number of talented court magicians attended the banquet, creating an atmosphere akin to an academic conference among magicians.

"Then will Great Elder-nim return to the banquet hall?"

At Orphina's suggestion, the great elder smiled and shook his head. "No, I'm also interested in the mana I felt over there."

The gaudy show of great magic, which he felt just before, was not something that was easy for even him to produce. Even if mana was supplemented by mana stones or a magic stone, it was impossible to use great magic continuously.

At the very least, a tool had to be used to carry out multiple parallel magic calculations for so many to be fired in such a short time. Yet, such a magic tool had not yet been created by any magicians. If there were such a magic tool, it would be fitting to say that it was a dream tool that all magicians desired.

"It seems like it’ll be a lot of fun.” The great elder gave a broad smile. He wondered if there was a tool to accomplish such dream-like multiple parallel calculations.

Maybe it was just hundreds of great magicians who used great magic one after another. However, the great elder’s instincts told him that this was done by one or two people at most.

"Hmm, they split in two." At Weger's words, the great elder and the Dragon King heightened their senses.

"One’s going by foot, the other through the sky, and their direction is opposite one another. What are you going to do, Orphina?"

When the Dragon King asked, Orphina contemplated.

While Orphina was considering her options, the Dragon King asked Weger and the great elder, "What will you two do?" 

The great elder answered the Dragon King's question without needing much thought. "I'll go towards the sky where I believe the magician is."

Weger concurred in response to the great elder. "I’ll do the same.”

The Dragon King and the great elder gave Weger a surprised look as the great elder asked, "Aren’t warriors more to your taste than magicians?"

Weger smiled and shrugged. "It depends.”

If he could, Weger wanted to follow on land where he thought the warrior was. However, Hestia commanded that if there was a magician, he was to pursue them as much as possible.

The Dragon King laughed cheerfully. "Uahahahaha! I see. Then, I will follow on the ground. Orphina!"

"Yes!" Orphina responded loudly to the Dragon King's call and approached his dragon.

"What did you decide to do?"

"Yes! I have decided that we should split in two and chase both!" Orphina answered in response to the Dragon King’s question.

“All right! Then you follow me!” 

“Yes! Understood!” Orphina ordered the vice captain of the Red Dragon Knights to lead half of the unit.

The great elder flew with magic, and Weger jumped softly from the dragon's head and got on the vice-captain's dragon, saying, "Excuse me for a moment."

"No, it is all right. I will fly at full speed!"

The Red Dragon Knights split into two groups and began to fly in opposite directions.

* * *

"Hmm, they split in two?" I felt the huge and small mana signatures divide into two.

As I expected, only the great elder and the Red Dragon Knights seemed to be following me. Of course, he was probably interested because I consecutively used great magic, which usually takes hours to use only once.

Where would be a good place to ditch the pursuers? Certainly, it would be safest to go to the original destination, the capital, as they too would not be able to move around recklessly. After checking the map and stars, I turned directions and started flying in the shortest distance to the capital.

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