Chapter 309. Preparations (2)

"The Star of Avarice came to visit us?”

Seol Jihu asked again in surprise.

"Y-Yes. He came without any prior notice… I led him to the reception room for now.”

The usually calm Kim Hannah slightly stuttered, seemingly equally surprised.

The Executor of Avaritia, who stood at the pinnacle of the Magician’s Guild, had publicly paid a visit to Valhalla.

"Why would an Executor look for me….”

"I don’t know either. But it looks like he had been waiting for quite a while in Eva.”

"How long?"

"About ten days."

Seol Jihu stuck out his tongue in astonishment.

"We should have asked him to visit sooner.”

"You made a trip to Odor a few days ago. You probably missed each other on the way.”

"Oh, that.”

"Anyway, I was really surprised. I would have told him in advance if he had sent someone over…”

"I should go and meet him right now.”

"I’ll go with you.”

Seol Jihu moved with haste.

*


A man and a woman were sitting on the couch in the reception room.

A handsomely tall young man could be seen reading a book while sipping tea. Judging by the thick magician’s robe he was wearing, he was definitely the Star of Avarice. Conversely, a cute girl wearing a light gown was in the middle of curiously looking around the reception room.

While she was looking around the room, her eyes met Seol Jihu’s as he just opened the door to enter.

She was a young girl with slightly wavy, light-brown hair and whose face looked vibrant and full of life.

Seol Jihu gaped his mouth when he identified the girl.

"Ah!"

The girl also gasped at the same time.

"You are…!"

The beautiful smile she had on was gone when she stood up to point her finger at him.

"…The person who abandoned our team to challenge the Impossible mission alone and monopolized the VIP store coupon!”

Hearing the ‘cute’ greeting, Seol Jihu unintentionally let out a small laugh. It was truly an Odelette Delphine-like greeting.

"Ow!"

However, she soon sat back down while caressing her head when a fist connected to her crown.

"Owwwww! Why did you hit me!?”

"Where are your manners, pointing your fingers like that?”

"No! I was just happy to see him again.”

"Didn’t you follow me under the condition of not being reckless?”

"Hnng."

Odelette Delphine whined to herself while pouting her lips.

The young man brushed off his fist before nodding at Seol Jihu.

"I’m sorry. While I didn’t teach this child her etiquettes, I still apologize as her representative.”

"It’s fine. It’s nice to see her be herself.”

Replying with a smile, Seol Jihu walked forward to stand in front of him.

"I’m Seol Jihu, the representative of Valhalla. I heard I’ve kept you waiting for a long time.”

"I am Philip Muller, the representative of the Magician’s Guild. I did wait for quite a while actually.”

The two men whose reputation preceded them in all of Paradise shook hands.

“Whoa!” At the sight of them shaking hands, Odelette Delphine gave a small exclamation.

"Well, it’s my fault for suddenly visiting without any notice. Still, I didn’t think we would miss each other to this extent. Especially since you went to Odor, which is where I live.”

"I was surprised too. We would have been able to meet sooner if you had left a message.”

"Actually, I came to Eva once before this. To meet you.”

Seol Jihu blinked his eyes at the sudden confession.

"I found out after I arrived that you had already departed for the Neutral Zone. There was no way to meet you at that time, so I could only go back.”

"Then at that time…”

"So I aimed for another meeting when the Neutral Zone concluded, but we missed each other again.”

Philip Muller gave a thin smile.

"All sorts of thoughts crossed my mind at that point. That perhaps some transcendental being that could read the path of the stars was intentionally preventing our meeting.”

A transcendental being trying to interfere with their meeting… Perhaps it was because he was a Magician, but Philip Muller’s words sounded like that of a romanticist.

One part of Seol Jihu began to wonder why a figure of such caliber had been trying to meet him.

"You’re making me more curious about why you visited me.”

"It’s nothing much.”

Philip Muller lightly replied back.

"I've wanted to meet you personally ever since the war at the valley. I became sure after I heard the news about the Eva's Night incident. And…”

Philip Muller paused as he fixed his glasses.

"I have more things I want to know after seeing your recent course of actions.”

Seol Jihu tilted his head.

He couldn’t think of anything special about his recent actions.

"I heard that a high-ranking individual from the Federation visited Eva not too long ago.”

"Yes."

"And after their visit, you started to move very busily.”

Seol Jihu carefully stared at the fair young man in glasses, who was exuding a scholarly aura.

It would’ve been understandable if he was a member of Valhalla. After all, it was extremely rare for outsiders, especially Earthlings at that, to show interest in the matters of the Federation.

"I assume that it’s because of the Parasites, but I want to hear it from you directly. Can you perhaps tell me?”

"It’s nothing I can’t do, but… it’s long and complicated.”

"All the better."

Philip Muller’s eyes twinkled as he supported his chin with the back of his hand.

"I prefer difficult problems over easy ones.”

"That’s good then.”

Seol Jihu cleared his throat before beginning to explain.

He started from the Federation’s visit and ended with why he had recently gotten Hoshino Urara released and brought back.

Philip Muller, who had been silently listening, spoke up when Seol Jihu was explaining the strange phenomena that Hoshino Urara had felt at the spot.

"The Astral World."

"Excuse me?"

"Your senses become blurred and the sight in front of you remains fixed despite looking from different angles. Those descriptions perfectly match that of the Astral World.”

Seol Jihu blankly stared.

Not mentioning Kazuki, even Philip Muller had immediately guessed it the moment he heard it.

"To put this simply— Let’s assume that Odelette Delphine here made a mistake while teleporting. What do you think would happen if she accidentally overlapped with a boulder on top of a mountain?”

"…They’d merge together?"

"No. They'll explode. Both of them.”

Odelette Delphine frowned hearing the terrible comment all of a sudden.

"It’s because it defies the laws of the world governing the volume, mass, and others. Meaning, the world doesn’t tolerate such phenomena existing.”

Odelette Delphine protested as to why he had to use her as an example, but Philip Muller casually continued.

"Of course, space and objects can’t be compared with the same reasoning. However, it doesn't change the fact that things break when two different things forcibly overlap. We call the space where the boundaries of different worlds overlap and become ambiguous, the Astral World.”

Taking into account that the listeners were not knowledgeable in the field, Philip Muller intentionally explained in simple and concise sentences. Thanks to that, Seol Jihu was able to understand a bit of what he was saying.

"So that Galaev thought of such a method, huh. To cross over to another world by finding the gap in the center of the ambiguous boundaries. It sounds plausible, but…”

Philip Muller muttered to himself as he stroked his chin.

"The idea is good but finding such a gap seems like it’d be near impossible. Unless you can see both overlapping worlds at the same time, it’ll be extremely hard to find the way.”

"I’ve already taken care of that.”

"Huh?"

"I’ve already told you. About the Halep siblings.”

"Ah! Wait.”

The pair of eyes behind his glasses narrowed.

"Does that girl perhaps…”

"According to her, she possesses the Spirit Eyes.”

Philip Muller exclaimed lightly.

It was a small exclamation, but seeing how Odelette Delphine looked surprised, it must have been a rare response.

"…As expected."

Philip Muller’s lips slightly curled up. He had a satisfied look on his face as he nodded his head.

"Starting with the Neutral Zone, you’ve done well in taking care of all the annoying problems. It’s no wonder Gula has her eyes on you.”

"?"

"No, no. It’s nothing.”

Philip Muller waved his hand.

"To sum it up, you’re trying to cross over to the Spirit Realm to revive the World Tree in preparation for the Parasite’s invasion of the Federation.”

"That’s right."

"Good. Very good. Marvelous! The ‘Problem Solver’ nickname isn’t wasted on you.”

Seol Jihu felt his heart lighten after hearing the string of praises from the Star of Avarice.

His own organization members didn’t acknowledge his efforts, instead suspecting his tendencies to pick up women for bringing Eun Yuri. However, the Magician in front of him was fully acknowledging him.

"Since you’ve done all this by yourself— Wait, no, I want to first ask you to listen to three requests.”

"Requests?"

"The first is that I want you to take me when you go to that place. I know you’re the one who prepared everything, but if you don’t mind, I wish to tag along.”

Seol Jihu could only doubt his ears.

An Executor wanted to participate in the expedition he was leading?

"I have a personal interest in the Astral World. And the Spirit Realm too. Well, it’s not just for my curiosity, but either way, I’m confident that I’ll be of help.”

That went without saying. Of course, he would be helpful. He was an Earthling who stood at the pinnacle of magic. Only, it was such an abrupt request that it was difficult to believe.

"Really? Will you really come with us?”

"I’m not the type to joke around. In any case, can I take your response as a yes?”

Seol Jihu hurriedly nodded his head.

"The second is…."

Philip Muller suddenly placed his hand on the silently sitting Odelette Delphine’s head.

"Hey!"

"…Will you provide a place for this child?”

Odelette Delphine suddenly made a V-sign with her fingers as if she had already known.

"I want to place Odelette Delphine as a branch chief in Eva. Anywhere is fine. I’d like you to share any piece of your remaining land.”

"What?"

At that moment, Kim Hannah, who had been silent until now, gave her hearty approval.

"Of course! Of course, we will!”

"That’s good. Though, the representative has to make the final decision.”

Philip Muller replied, but his eyes were still fixed onto Valhalla’s representative.

Seol Jihu suddenly felt Kim Hannah mercilessly poke his back. He didn’t know why she was suddenly acting like that, but he figured that having a Magician’s Guild branch in the city was a good thing for Eva.

'But why is she stabbing so hard?’

Odelette Delphine bit her lips while looking at the jolting Seol Jihu. She then spoke while trying to hold back her laughter.

"It’s to make a pretext for us.”

Seol Jihu suddenly realized something. He finally knew why Philip Muller suddenly brought up establishing a branch in Eva.

If the Magician’s Guild established a branch organization in Eva, the branch would go under the umbrella of the city’s representative organization while still being affiliated with the guild. Consequently, Valhalla would now have a direct connection with the Magician’s Guild that was based in Odor.

Then, in the case of unexpected incidents in Eva, the Magician’s Guild would have more than enough justifications to intervene. For example, if a war broke out, the Magician’s Guild could send a squad in the name of protecting their branch.

'It’s to minimize internal discord, huh.’

Seol Jihu was left speechless for a while.

How should he put this? It was an unfamiliar feeling. It was like he had received a present that he had desperately wished for in his heart, but didn’t expect to be answered.

'I’ve only been harassed up until now…’

But they said they came of their own accord to lend a helping hand. Because it was his first time experiencing this, he had no choice but to be skeptical.

Seeing Seol Jihu remain silent for a while, Philip Muller smacked his lips.

"The reason we want an area for ourselves is to increase our guild’s range of operations in consideration of your future plans. Of course, I won’t deny that we will profit from this, but I don’t think you’re stupid enough to not know my underlying intentions.”

"…That’s not it."

Seol Jihu spoke in a slightly hoarse voice.

"It was just a little, no, very unexpected.”

"…Unexpected? Were you thinking of doing all of this by yourself?”

"…"

Seol Jihu didn’t answer.

"Hmm. Were you the same type as Evangeline Rose? You didn’t look like it.”

Philip Muller shook his head and continued.

"There’s no need to thank me. As I said before, everything is possible because of the plans you made. Plus, there’s a request remaining that might be harder for you to agree to.”

"You did mention that you had three requests.”

"Mmm. There’s something I need to tell you before this. It might sound pessimistic, but I believe we need to assume the worst-case scenario for every situation. Especially considering the current disparity between humanity and the Parasites.”

"By the worst possible scenario, you mean…”

"I’m not trying to exaggerate things so don’t get me wrong. Your plan is definitely the best method with which humanity can help the Federation, but I’m not sure how much effect it will have against the Parasites.”

"…"

"To be honest, I don’t think the Parasite Queen will sit still and do nothing while we are trying to save the Spirit Realm. She must already have something planned. And even if we do somehow succeed in reviving the World Tree, we need to think whether Tigol Fortress would still be standing by then.”

Seol Jihu’s excitement suddenly sank.

"Even if everything goes according to your plan, it’s unknown whether it will 100% end in our victory. There’s nothing we can be sure of right now.”

He wasn’t wrong. There currently existed an enormous disparity between the Parasites and their opposing forces. It was unfortunate, but it was a reality that had to be acknowledged.

"In any case, we have to struggle with all our might to at least earn some time but…”

Philip Muller asked while knocking on his armrest.

"Will Eva take part in this war?”

"Of course."

"Good. Odor won’t be a problem since I am in charge of it. I’ll need to talk to the Stars of Wrath and Pride.”

"Two more Stars… Do you think they will help?”

"I can’t guarantee anything. The battlefield won’t be in human territory but, instead, be in the Federation’s. Still, since your plan is fully prepared, I think it’s worth a try.”

At any rate, those two were also god’s apostles. Philip Muller explained that as long as they shared the values of the gods they served, they would act given that the situation wasn’t entirely hopeless.

He also added that they could expect the additional participation of two royal families.

Seol Jihu couldn’t hope to expect any more help, but Philip Muller wasn’t done talking.

"The problem is Haramark.”

"I can probably persuade them.”

"That might be the case for the royal family. But I’m talking about Sicilia.”

Philip Muller’s expression turned serious.

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