"How did you find me? You couldn’t have located me with just Blackie’s sense of smell in this large capital."
Hestia-noona smiled slightly. "It was nothing. I just put myself in your shoes a little bit. At first glance, the capital looked complex with many buildings, so it seemed to be advantageous terrain for Elder Weger-nim. However, the buildings are too fragile for our village’s people to use their power properly. So I thought you would take advantage of that."
I nodded at my third sister. "That's right. Thanks to that, I finally managed to lose Elder Weger-nim. But that doesn't answer the question of how you found me."
Hestia noona purposely pretended to be exaggeratedly surprised, "Oh my! You haven't used your head much since you left the village, have you? If it were you from before, you would have noticed right away. Your sister is sad that the smart little brother has become a fool."
She smirked and made fun of me. She still has a nasty temper.
"I'm sorry I’ve become a fool. So, how did you find me?"
Hestia noona spoke with a gentle smile as I grumbled. "It wasn’t much. No matter how fragile the capital’s buildings are, there’s no way you would be able to run from Elder Weger-nim with just that handicap.”
That's correct, too.
"Thus, using your experience as Lupin, you would probably go to places where Elder Weger would not be able to move freely, such as Count Druval's residence or the prime minister's residence. And there, you would most likely tie up Elder Weger-nim's feet with the trespass security measure in place."
I got goosebumps from Hestia noon’s reasoning.
"While you delayed him, you would have to run away, but if you just left, you'd be caught by Elder Weger-nim's senses. So then, how must you get out of there?"
My third sister smiled playfully as she answered her question. "I’d guess you’d probably use a secret passage made to escape an enemy invasion.”
"That's correct." I readily nodded and admitted it.
Hestia noona closed one eye and pretended to think. "Then, I wonder where the secret passage ends? What's important to note here is that you would choose a place that has magic to repel intruders and where Elder Weger-nim couldn't move recklessly.”
Ah, I know what Hestia noona is trying to say.
"Of course, anyone with that kind of wealth and power would choose a place that's slightly far from the capital. In addition, it would be one that the enemy wouldn't go after once the capital was ruined, like the slums with the mountain at its back.”
Gallahad hyung’s expression showed that he didn’t understand any of that exchange, but he clapped in admiration, and Hestia noona nodded as if it was natural.
"If the location is specified to that degree, it's possible to locate you with Blackie’s sense of smell."
Hestia noona clapped when I smiled bitterly. "That's correct!"
"But noona, you know there's a blind spot in your reasoning, right?"
My third sister nodded, saying, "Of course, even if I found the exit of the secret passage, if I don't know the direction you're going, I wouldn’t be able to find you, right?”
I nodded. "Right. How did you know I was going in this direction?"
Hestia noona smiled as if she were having fun. "Huhut, you still have a habit of acting ignorant when you already know everything. Your destination is, of course, the imperial palace, so looking at a map, it's not difficult to determine your direction."
Gallahad hyung looked at me and Hestia alternately, surprised by my third sister's words. "What? Why? Den's coming to the palace?"
My eldest brother asked with a puzzled face. For Gallahad hyung, it would feel like I was coming back to get caught.
My third sister shrugged lightly. "Because there's no place like the palace that's safer for Den right now. Usually, people think it's the most dangerous under the lamp. Also, we came as a delegation on behalf of the village, but are we able to search through the palace as we please? Our alliance shattering would be a given, but it also wouldn’t be strange if a war broke out."
To put it simply, the imperial palace, for example, was the equivalent of America’s White House. No matter the fact that they were allies, it was clearly not a place where other countries could conduct an armed search.
"That's why Den is going back to the palace and leaving the banquet hall. Isn't that right?" Hestia noona looked at me and asked airily.
Gallahad hyung nodded shortly before he became astonished. "Wait, our little brother was at the banquet?!”
When my eldest brother was shocked, Hestia noona looked at him, dumbfounded. "What's up with you all of a sudden?”
Saying so, she jumped down from Blackie.
"Well, that was a long explanation. Oppa, Blackie, bite!" Hestia noona pointed at me and shouted, and Blackie jumped off the roof and ran towards me.
"Something tells me you’re putting me on the same level as that mutt.”
Gallahad hyung spoke discontentedly, and Hestia noona gave a genuine look of surprise. "Oh my gosh! Little brother! Oppa suddenly became smart!"
I was appalled as I avoided Blackie. "Oh my gosh! No way!"
Gallahad hyung grew irate at our reactions, "Hey! I’ll hit you two!”
Shouting, my eldest brother jumped down with a huge ax that he usually used.
"Why? There are objective indicators that hyung is stupid. Elder Weger says that knowing yourself is a shortcut to strength, so why not reflect on your shortcomings?"
"Yes, let's start by hitting you, little brother!” Gallahad hyung swung his ax with genuine anger.
I ducked away from the ax. "Hyung, if I get hit by that, I'll die. You have to at least control your strength since we’re family."
"You’re noisy. Even if you get hit, I know you won't die because you’ll block it with magic or whatever!"
I couldn't help but be surprised at what Gallahad hyung said, "Oh my gosh! Noona! Hyung suddenly became smart!"
Hestia noona, watching the situation from the roof, couldn’t hide her shock. "Oh my gosh! No way!"
When Hestia noona and I teased Gallahad hyung, he must have gotten enraged because the ax swinging became harsher. Still, it wasn't hard to avoid because it wasn't that fast.
"Kung!" When I casually dodged Gallahad hyung's ax, Blackie rushed towards me with his mouth open.
"Why, you want me to play with you? Sorry, but I'm tired." I gently kicked the chin of Blackie’s middle head and then kicked from side to side without putting my foot down.
Perhaps because it had three heads, its cries sounded like surround sound.
When Blackie fell away from me, Gallahad hyung tried to hit my head with the ax.
When I dodged, the ax hit the ground and smashed the road completely. Since the road was not that wide, the recoil caused cracks in the surrounding buildings.
Hestia noona stuck her head out from the roof of the shaking building, which was caused by Gallahad hyung's ax, and yelled, "Oppa, don't ruin the street!"
"Hey! How can I catch this quick brat without ruining the street!”
Hestia noona sighed and shouted again at Gallahad hyung's rebuttal. "Then fight quietly so that you don't get caught! If we get caught, we'll have to compensate for the damages!"
Gallahad looked dumbfounded by my third sister's shout and said, "Wow, that’s bad.”
I added to my eldest brother's words. "Even the devil wouldn’t condone that, noona."
Hestia noona’s face flushed at Gallahad hyung’s and my criticism. "Sh- shut up! This is just about money! Put yourself in the shoes of the person who manages the money!"
My third sister shouted and pointed at me, "And little brother, you're not in a position to say that! The magical creature you created destroyed the Asteria Market building, and we paid for everything with the village’s money!"
Oh, come to think of it, when I used to send letters to my hometown regularly, I destroyed a building because they tried to catch my chirps.
"That's because the market started it first!"
I grabbed Blackie's leg as he ran towards me again, throwing him against the floor. I was starting to run out of stamina now on top of the mana exhaustion. I didn't want to damage the surroundings as much as possible, but now I couldn’t help it. I took out the gas mask and tear gas that I’d created previously from my pocket space.
"Oppa! Blackie, get away!" Hestia noona cried out, but it was too late.
I quickly put on the gas mask and threw the tear gas.
"Argh! Cough, cough!"
Blackie squirmed due to the fast-spreading tear gas, and Gallahad hyung covered his nose and mouth in agony. While Blackie and my eldest brother were preoccupied, I stormed up the wall of the building and climbed onto the roof where Hestia noona was.
Right in front of me, my third sister smiled as if she had given up. "Haha, was it not possible in the end? I thought I'd be able to catch you if you were this exhausted."
Just as Hestia noona said, I was so exhausted that it wouldn't be strange to be caught. In fact, my body had been screaming ever since I overdid it and shot the meteor magic at my grandfather. Under such circumstances, I even dealt with the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe and Elder Weger, so honestly, it wouldn’t be strange for me to collapse right away.
I took off my gas mask and smiled. "A magician is one who prepares. And a magician's battle is normally not fair.”
It wasn’t for nothing that there was a saying that winning is justice and that history is written by the winners. Just as making the opponent angry when playing games is winning, being unfair is fair.
"Cough! Cough! Uack! You crazy bastard! Kuuu!"
Gallahad hyung knocked out Blackie, as he was one step late and was struggling. Then, he came up to the roof, spitting in disgust while in agony from the tear gas.
I casually picked up Hestia noona and spoke, "Don't move! If you move, I can't guarantee the safety of the hostage!"
Gallahad repeatedly coughed at my shout. "Cough! Cough! Cough!"
“... Do you want some water?” My eldest brother nodded at my question.
Since I had no free hands since I was holding Hestia noona, I just launched a water bottle from my pocket space. Gallahad hyung, receiving the water bottle, washed his face with the water.
"Oh, don't touch your face. The tear gas also contains CS gas, a hook-type particle, so it’ll hurt if you touch it."
"Uahh, I'm gonna die."
He waved his hands with tears and drool running down his face as if he had entered a radioactive room. "Go, you crazy bastard. I won't catch you. Get the hell out of here! You rotten bastard."
When I asked, he waved his hands broadly again. "So don't throw what's in your pocket and just go."
"Hahaha, how did you know?" If he tried to follow me, I was going to blow up more tear gas, but what a shame.
"Have I been done in by you just once or twice? It's your specialty to hit again when someone is already down.”
As expected of my eldest brother, he knew me well.
"Really? Then I'll take noona with me for now, so come over slowly when you calm down."
"Okay, you rotten bastard."
I left Gallahad hyung behind and ran across the roof, carrying Hestia noona.Previous Chapter Next Chapter