Author: lipzoldyck

 

“How did I come back safely again, I wonder.”

 

I murmured softly as I sat on the carriage. A lot happened in a short amount of time, so just being inside the carriage like this gave me a new feeling.

 

Kade’s condition didn’t look too good, so we decided to take a break because he couldn’t move the carriage any longer.

 

Considering the uproar in the forest, it seemed that several hours had passed, yet when I checked the time, only 30 minutes had passed. This thing, well, it’s not like it’s playing with people.

 

But really, what caused the forest to be like that?

 

As if answering a question that suddenly came to my mind, Lily, who had lightly packed her things, deducted.

 

“For details, a more definite investigation is needed, but the hallucinations in the forest must have been caused by the gathering of monsters.”

 

She continued calmly, examining Kade’s face and mine.

 

“First, we all ran into Illinan at least once. And after we met them, no matter how much we walked, we just walked in place.”

 

“Yes.”

 

Although not confined to the same space, everyone has had that experience. Nodding my head in response, Lily paused for a moment.

 

“It’s not like it happened in the entire forest, but there are areas that probably haunt the same spot… I think the Illinans lured us there.”

 

Lure. I remembered words that Ivan grumbled in the woods.

 

[As we walked, we met about ten Illinans. I kept dealing with them, yet when I came to my senses, I was trapped in a strange place before I knew it…]

 

Does Illinan have the intelligence to do so?

 

A “non-dangerous” monster means that the possibility of it harming people is extremely low. In fact, when I heard the explanation about Illinan, I only heard the attention related to the illusion they show, not anything related to intelligence.

 

That, after all, means it’s not very smart, in addition to not being strong. After all, did the magic stone cause any change to the monster, I wonder.

 

Contrary to my expectations, however, Lily opened her mouth with a serious expression and said something quite unexpected.

 

“I think the Master of the Magic Tower is certainly involved in this. The Master of the Magic Tower has some kind of effect on the monsters, and as it accumulates… I’m assuming that it even affected the forest where Illinans live.”

 

“…?”

 

As if I had a curious look on my face unconsciously, why him, all of a sudden? Lily immediately added an explanation.

 

“After the war, the monsters changed when he started to reside in the Magic Tower. I don’t know what the Master of the Magic Tower did, but it’s certain that he was the source of change. Of course, I don’t think that he conducted an experiment against the monsters with any intention.”

 

“May I ask why you’re so sure?”

 

When Lily hesitated for a moment without answering, Kade, who had been quietly listening, took over. It was an irritating tone to explain why.

 

“There have been reports of unidentified magic circles being drawn around the Magic Tower. Every time we send a delegation, we only hear that the magic circles around the tower are increasing instead of being erased, so that’s probably where the magic comes from.”

 

…Unidentified magic circles?

 

The moment I heard those words, an ominous hunch passed through the back of my neck.

 

In other words, Dante was preparing some kind of magic in the Magic Tower, and that magic had an effect on the monsters, then as a result, it brought about a change in the entire forest.

 

That’s why the merchants at that time mentioned the Master of the Magic Tower when the monster appeared. It must have seemed like Dante’s fault that monsters that should only be active at night move in the middle of the day. Originally, I should feel better when my doubts are resolved, yet for some reason, it just became bumpy.

 

First of all, I understand that Dante is influencing the monsters. Perhaps that’s why they are desperately trying to find the Master of the Magic Tower.

 

However, there were still unanswered questions. Wasn’t there something different about the monsters I saw back then that were only affected by mana?

 

“Then, why is a magic stone stuck in the monster’s neck?”

 

I wasn’t doing this to deliberately refute or cover up Dante, it was really questionable.

 

“You said that it looked like a magic stone was deliberately implanted in their neck, but if Danㅡno. If the Master of the Magic Tower did such a thing, then there would be no reason for him to kill all Illinan, whom he even put magic stones in.”

 

But didn’t we come after seeing the traces of the Master of the Magic Tower killing Illinan? After listening to me, Ivan, who seemed to be thinking about it, answered.

 

“Did he experiment with Illinan, but it failed, so he disposed of it?”

 

“However, if the purpose isn’t to destroy evidence, is there any need to deal with it in a hassle?”

 

And the Master of the Magic Tower doesn’t care about others enough to destroy evidence. If he had been conscious of something like disgrace, he wouldn’t have been stuck in the <agic Tower.

 

There was silence for quite some time as everyone in the carriage was lost in their thoughts. Lily, who seemed to be pondering or hesitated about something, opened her mouth.

 

“I’m also wondering about that. I doubt that the Master of the Magic Tower experimented with monsters, and Illinan at that. But if it’s not him…”

 

Yeah, who the hell would do such a thing if it wasn’t Dante. The monsters must be rampaging because of the magic circles around the Magic Tower, and there will be no one around. Anyone can see that it looks like what Dante did.

 

However, there was something unclear about passing it like that. Fortunately, as if I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, Kade soon spoke in a subdued tone.

 

“… Whatever it is, we need to meet the Master of the Magic Tower soon.”

 

That was the first time I had the same feelings as that guy.

 

***

 

That same evening, while Kade and Lily were away for a while saying they had something to talk about.

 

After resting enough in the carriage, I went outside for a while to get some fresh air, and Ivan quickly approached me.

 

“Sister, I have something to talk about.”

 

“What?”

 

Why is he looking so serious?

 

“I…”

 

“Hm, tell me.”

 

“… … I went to the war.”

 

Of course he did, he said he was a colleague of Dante. I answered in a gruff manner.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“You knew this far, right? But you will be surprised to hear what I’m about to say next!”

 

I can’t wait to see Sister being surprised! It felt like he was smiling with those words, yet Ivan opened his mouth again with a determined expression.

 

“I’m a beastman tribe. In terms of age alone, I’m older than Brother Kade or Sister Lily! Probably most of us?”

 

“Uh, yes? I see.”

 

“Why aren’t you surprised?”

 

“I’m surprised, though? I’m very surprised. I thought you were in your late teens at most.”

 

“If I’m in my late teens, how did I get out of the war that started 10 years ago… No, not this one. Have you ever seen beastmen?”

 

That’s why you’re not not surprised? Ivan tilted his head in doubt.

 

To be honest, there were times when I looked at his eyes and thought that they were more like animal pupils than human’s. I’ve already seen several times that his physical abilities are superior to those of ordinary people.

 

I wasn’t surprised because I was in the midst of this and that, but I didn’t intend to answer straight away. I calmly shook my head and replied.

 

“It’s the first time I’ve seen a beastman tribe.”

 

“Why is your reaction so dull… I really want to see Sister surprised someday.”

 

“Alright, do your best. But are you still going to call me Sister?”

 

“It’s been quite a while since I’ve been calling people based on their appearances. That’s why I call them Sister Lily and Brother Kade.”

 

It’s already stuck in my mouth and I can’t even fix it. When Ivan said that, I shrugged my shoulders, telling him that I understood.

 

“But why are you suddenly saying that you’re a beastman?”

 

“No reason… I also thought that I should tell you someday anyway.”

 

Ivan, who didn’t say anything for a moment, laughed.

 

“While saying that I’m a beastman, I also wanted to share the fact that we were companions of the Master of the Magic Tower. Sister seems to have some interest in him.”

 

“…”

 

“Seeing as Sister didn’t seem too surprised when we talked about the Master of the Magic Tower earlier, it seems that you already knew that we were a delegation sent to the Magic Tower.”

 

Exactly. It was true that I was aware of the dispatch of these people and it was also true that I was interested in the Master of the Magic Tower.

 

When I asked if I was that obvious, Ivan laughed, saying, a bit.

 

“I know a lot of the stories related to the Master of the Magic Tower. Um… Can I tell you something?”

 

“It would be nice if you could.”

 

“I think it would be fun to tell a story that only I know. What’s there…”

 

After thinking for a moment, Ivan immediately raised his head with an, ah.

 

“My sister, do you know why the New Magic Tower is so tightly wrapped? That, the reason the visitation rules are also very strict.”

 

“No, I don’t know.”

 

“I knew it! I really wanted to tell someone about this!”

 

Why did you want to tell someone? I couldn’t help but question the twinkling eyes, but I nodded my head.

 

Ivan immediately started talking, unable to hide his excitement.

 

“It was when the war was almost over… When the kingdom was quiet, we also briefly returned to the capital.”

 

Recalling that time, Ivan turned his eyes upward.

 

“It was only when we came in that we heard words praising our achievements, but well. Honestly, how would the nobles see us? Especially the Master of the Magic Tower.”

 

“Just… Well, they must have taken it badly.”

 

“Yeah, we literally looked bad in their eyes.”

 

Those who keenly feel the seriousness of war and those who don’t realize the horrors of war. Neither would have looked down on war heroes, including Dante.

 

On the one hand, they were reluctant as they had killed countless people after all, and on the other hand, because they might become a new center of power within the Empire.

 

How funny, if it wasn’t for Dante, they might be worried for their lives by now.

 

At the moment when I was somewhat annoyed, I heard a bright voice as if to change the atmosphere.

 

“However, voila! Somehow, positive rumors about the Master of the Magic Tower started to spread! Of course, it was positive in a really unexpected part. No, I want it to be positive!”

 

“Rumors?”

 

“Yes. Do you know where they came from?”

 

Well, since he said the nobles hated the Master of the Magic Tower, did the commoners talk about something? When I put on a look that I didn’t know at all, Ivan said with an excited expression.

 

“Can you believe it when I say it started with the children of nobles? So, young nobles.”

 

“Uh, why all of a sudden those people?”

 

“Right, you can’t believe it, right?”

 

It’s a fact that only I knew. Seeing Ivan muttering proudly, I wondered if this was why he seemed so excited when he brought up the story of the New Magic tower earlier.

 

“To be precise, it started with the children of the nobles, ‘those who were safe in the capital knowing only that there was a war,’ that is, those who didn’t know what was going on in the battlefield.”

 

“Aha, so. People who don’t realize what the Master of the Magic Tower did?”

 

“Yes, correct!”

 

As he chimed in, the tone of Ivan’s voice, which is usually on the high side, went up a notch.

 

“To be honest, even those people must have been afraid of the Master of the Magic Tower at first. Obviously. Because the rumors are so bad… But I guess half of the people who fell for him after seeing his face just once.”

 

“They fell for him?”

 

“The face of the Master of the Magic Tower is so handsome.”

 

Ah, they take a look at his face.

 

“Yeah, that’s a pretty face.”

 

“You don’t know everything else, yet you know the face of the Master of the Magic Tower, Sister! Anyway, the other half was shaking this and that way, my goodness.”

 

Why do I think your tone is becoming more and more theatrical? Am I mistaken, I wonder.

 

“At that time, rumors spread that the Master of the Magic Tower had a lover.”

 

“…”

 

“Wow, Sister, you seem surprised this time.”

 

“…Yeah, right. I’m surprised.”

 

I wonder how they knew that. It’s not exactly true, but I was a little surprised that the context was similar anyway.

 

“What was it… Who said that the Master of the Magic Tower kissed the purple gemstone necklace he was wearing around his neck, I wonder?”

 

“…”

 

“It’s true that he actually wore that necklace, but I’ve never seen him kissing. I think it’s probably nonsense!”

 

Ah. The one I gave him.

 

[Now, look at this.]

[…]

[I bought it because I thought of you.]

 

So you made it into a necklace and carried it with you, Dante.

 

“Then, well. The nobles who were crazy about the love story were in a frenzy. To think that the Master of the Magic Tower, who is said to be the strongest among magicians, has a lover. Even those who don’t know it well can see he’s missing his lover for some reason… What could be more interesting than this?”

 

“…Yeah.”

 

“What else did they say, I wonder?”

 

While I was losing my mind, Ivan’s next words were quite shocking.

 

“I heard that romance novels that tell the story of the Master of the Magic Tower who forgets his old lover and starts a new love with a noble lady are also popular.”

 

At the same time, the feeling of rejection rose sharply. Anyway, what are they doing to someone who is already married?

 

Ivan’s words continued as he squeezed the space between his brows to hide his almost frown.

 

“Of course, the number of people who want to meet him, who gained popularity for his good-looking face and unexpected innocence, has increased. And all those people,”

 

“They rushed to the New Magic Tower?”

 

“Yes, that’s it. People flocked to the New Magic Tower at the level of almost sweeping it.”

 

I heard that the New Magic Tower had just been built, and they were too busy to just reorganize the system. What if the nobles also joined the chaos? Ivan asked that question, and I felt as if I could find out the answer without having to listen.

 

“In the end, even the Imperial Family can’t easily visit the Magic Tower… That’s why there are very strict rules. It was unavoidable.”

 

It’s not a big deal, is it? Considering he said so, he has an expression of pride that he told me a story that only he knew specially, yet even looking at his face, I couldn’t help but nod my head somewhat helplessly.

 

I felt tired even though I just sat down and listened to the story. I feel like, I’m emotionally exhausted from something I don’t have to do. Somehow, it felt like a corner of my head was starting to throb.

 

So why do you have such a good face?

 

…I don’t know anything else, I wanted to burn all the romance novels or whatever.

 

Author's Thoughts

this chapter is sponsored by Abby

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