After returning from retrieving his men bound near the barrier’s entrance, Malecia asked cautiously, "Is it okay to just leave like this?"
Aries smiled faintly. "Even if there’s a barrier, if you run wild like that, there’s no way the Butterfly Tribe's eccentric old man won’t notice.”
Aries's disciples were slightly surprised. In their eyes, the barrier was so perfect that it was impossible to know what was going on inside.
Yet, Aries looked interestingly at the barrier. "It’s too bad. The last queen still seems to be fighting the unknown existence of the reverse world.”
Aries turned his head away from the barrier, smacked his lips, and hurried back. If Arpen knew that the ancient castle appeared from the reverse world and was hidden from him, there was no way he wouldn’t be furious. This was a magical phenomenon that would only occur once!
"If the last queen of the Holy Tribe is still alive, there will be another chance to gain the knowledge." However, if they did not leave this place, his subordinates and disciples would undoubtedly die. Rather than facing someone who held grudges for a long time like Arpen, it was better to avoid him.
"I want some strawberry choux cream.” Aries looked at the stars in the night sky with longing eyes.
* * *
I'm doomed. I never thought Elder Mirpa would show up here.
I instinctively tried to open my pocket space and take out my helmet, but my scattered mana did not comply with my will at all. Damn it, I knew it! I thought Aries gave up the last queen too easily, but he ran away because he knew those two were coming!
"Light!" Arpen shot small beads of light high into the sky, and a tremendous amount of light poured down from the beads, making the surrounding area as bright as day.
Arpen looked through the brightened surroundings, laughed merrily, and shouted, "Hahaha, you Curse Specialist! You must have had an uncharacteristically refreshing fight! Get out here! You think I can't even find your mana? Get out here now!"
He didn't even look at me because I didn't have any mana to detect. If I hid now, they probably wouldn’t find me, but the battle between the last queen and me made the whole area a perfect flat land.
"Hooh! You're good at hiding your mana!"
The only place to hide was the ancient castle, which was half destroyed and partially turned into rubble. With the current condition of my body, it would take me 30 minutes to run to the castle. This was due to the severe muscle pain and reduced physical strength from the recoil as my mana disappeared.
"If you don't come out, I'll go to you first! You damn waste of space! I'll kill you today!” Arpen gathered his mana and released magic everywhere.
Elder Mirpa then struck Arpen in the back of the head with her magic wand. "Knock it off! If you can't feel his mana at this point, then that unsociable guy probably already left a while ago!”
Arpen got angry, caressing the back of his head. "Use your words. Why are you hitting me, you old granny! Keu! You think others don’t know you’re from the Crow Tribe?! It hurts like hell!"
Elder Mirpa sighed when she saw Arpen crying as tears appeared in his eyes. "You damn old man! It's been decades since that pet died, and you’re still like this! This much resentment is a disease! You senile old man!"
"Shut up! That pet was my oldest son's birthday present for his eighth birthday! And you use it as an experimental animal and kill it? Do you know how disappointed Bendis was then!?”
"You shut up! You old man! Your eldest son already has children! I'm going to *** it up! Don't ****ing be such a ****! Act your age!"
Wow, it's been a long time since I've heard her swearing.
Arpen had a blank face from all the cursing. "Wow, what's that? That profanity... I've never heard those terms before, but it's catchy."
"I don't know. My youngest student uses those curses, but they’re catchy."
While those two were chatting amicably, I carried the last queen on my back and fled to the outskirts of the barrier. I didn't think they’d notice because there was no mana left in my body. For magicians who typically detected life by sensing one’s mana, they were often blind to moving creatures that lacked magic.
"There!" Arpen blocked my path by shooting a long ice spear near me.
I’m caught! Although I didn’t have any mana, it seems they still reacted to the last queen's mana.
"Huh? Is this Oryana’s aura? No, it’s different. Purer than that?"
"Purer than Oryana?" At Arpen's assessment, Elder Mirpa looked towards me purely out of curiosity.
Damn, I’ve been discovered! We found it- the most untimely moment to get caught! It was when my mana was completely scattered, and I couldn't use any magic.
Elder Mirpa and Arpen flew towards me as Arpen said, "Haha, look at this. It's been a while, kid.”
I greeted Arpen with an awkward smile. "Long time no see, sir."
Elder Mirpa looked down at me as if saying, “look at this brat.” Then, she asked, "Do you even care about your teacher, who you haven't seen in a while?"
"Ahaha, how could I not? Have you been well? This student greets Teacher-nim. As Teacher-nim has said, I have been devoted to working hard to improve my foundation and not being lazy...”
Elder Mirpa snorted as she cut off my long-winded greeting. "You must be in a lot of trouble now, seeing that you’re talking so much.”
I laughed, speaking truthfully, "Hahaha, was it obvious?"
Elder Mirpa nodded as if saying it was clear. "Yes, I can hear you thinking all the way over here. How many years do you think I've watched you grow?"
"Iya, jeez. Meeting Teacher-nim here is way beyond my expectations."
"I’m sure it's not only meeting me here that was unexpected but also meeting me in that state."
That was correct.
"I don't feel any mana from you at all. What magic gave you this aftereffect?” Elder Mirpa looked at me with purely academic interest.
"Hmm, in this state, you have as much mana as a corpse.” Arpen also helped and examined my body interestingly. I felt uncomfortable because I felt like an experimental animal.
"It's nothing really. Just the aftereffects of a combination of martial arts and magic...”
"Magic mixed with martial arts?!”
Elder Mirpa's eyes glistened with madness. I thought I would get captured if this kept up, so I beat her to it. "Do you want to know about it?”
"Of course! If you use this combination well, you'll be able to alleviate the life-threatening aspects from skills like the Dance of Fireflies!"
Elder Mirpa grabbed me by the shoulder in excitement and shook me. It wasn't like I couldn't understand her excitement. The successful combination of magic and martial arts skills could not only change the village’s view of magic but also allow the village to have future leaps in power.
Elder Mirpa, although excited, calmly spoke with her eyes sparkling with madness. "Of course, it's not free, is it?"
"Haha, as expected, Teacher-nim knows me very well.”
At my affirmation, Elder Mirpa took her hands off my shoulders. "All right, I have a lot of questions, but let's hear your terms first.”
I was nervous inside and offered the most important conditions. "First of all, please guarantee my freedom as of now. Of course, I won’t ask you to stop my father's activities or anything impossible like that."
If my father made up his mind to fight, it was apparent that even Elder Mirpa would not be able to endure for very long.
"Well, that's fine. I don't like that you ran away from home, but I'm in favor of you expanding your horizons outside."
Unexpectedly, Elder Mirpa nodded readily. Elder Mirpa grinned as I gave her a look that showed this was unanticipated. "What’s wrong? For a magician, experience is as important as theory, especially if the magician in question is a brat like you who only has a high level and biased knowledge."
"Yes, I have also been thinking that lately." Certainly, I felt that my views were narrow after my discussion with Aries.
As I was about to start full-fledged negotiations, I saw a group of people riding towards me on green deer from far away. I gave them the authority to open and close a part of my pocket space, and they were using it freely.
"Den! Are you all right?!”
"Don't die, Master! I am here!"
Tristan and Percival were running hurriedly because they got worried when the mana connected to me was completely cut off. For cases like this, I made the power for those two independent of my mana, so they had no problems moving.
"Get away from Master!" Percival swung his spear like an angry bull, and Elder Mirpa and Arpen sealed off Percival’s movements with a magic chain. The magic chain was pulled tight by Percival's great strength, and several chains were broken.
"Oho, he’s strong.”
"Dragon soldier? No, is it a dragon tooth soldier? Did you make those, my disciple?"
The other three stopped at Elder Mirpa's words.
I sighed and nodded my head. It would be quite a long story to explain to all of them.
* * *
I sighed after talking to Elder Mirpa separately for a long time. Although I succeeded in obtaining my basic right to freedom through negotiation, to gain this, I had to promise to hand over a considerable amount of research materials.
"Oho, you've worked pretty hard. With this much, it's going to be fun doing research for quite a while.” Elder Mirpa smiled pleasantly, but it was not comfortable for me to have to hand over my research results.
Still, my magic materials were not taken away, and it was not a loss because I got Elder Mirpa’s latest research paper. Since her level of alchemy was so high, the quality and quantity of the research were quite excessive.
"So, how are you going to send the research materials? You probably can't even open your pocket space as it is.”
"I'll do it the way I always send my letters."
"You mean those letters full of lies? Well, if you leave it at the Asteria Market, it'll be convenient for me since I can go get it anytime I want.”
I climbed on a deer and sat behind Hillis as I requested, "Please keep your promise. Assure my freedom!"
"You keep your promise. Just try not sending me the research papers and materials! I'll wipe out the capital!"
Elder Mirpa's threat was not just a mere threat. It was really scary. She was a person who would really try to wipe out the city if I got on her bad side.
I kicked the deer in the ribs and ordered it to run forward while Percival took the last queen and followed behind. Tristan hid his presence and disappeared into the forest, saying he was going on reconnaissance. It was nearly dawn as the black sky gradually turned navy blue, and we headed to the knight school’s base camp.
It wasn’t until the evening of the fourth day of training that the academy was barely able to complete its schedule and return to Asterium. On the way back, Hillis asked me many questions, and I told her what I could tell in moderation.
The last queen was unconscious even after my body fully recovered.Previous Chapter Next Chapter