There was a call from Peruda.
‘It looks like you should come to the Main Plaza.’
The old man shook his head.
He leisurely finished his dinner, and now, the old man was at the Magic Tower’s basement, watching his twentieth specimen’s drug injection results.
‘Hey Peruda… I am the kind that does not move unless it is for something extraordinary.’
He was the grand mage representing Solia’s king.
Manufacturing drugs and selling them to accumulate wealth, and using that accumulated wealth to perform all sorts of cruel experiments, he had chosen an unbelievably unethical path to get to where he was today.
However, he was Astroa, practitioner of the Seven Circles magic. For humans, it was a level that one in ten thousand mages may or may not reach.
He had more than enough right to refuse Peruda’s request with the reason he provided.
‘The thing that was thrown away from the Magic Tower is running amok here.’
However, the call from Peruda this time made Astroa, someone who was only self-serving, attentively raise his ears.
‘It was on its way to the grave, but it is moving? Huhu. Isn’t that something.’
The tentacle of the plant that Peruda used to communicate was twitching.
Sitting in a grand chair at the Magic Tower’s basement, Astroa was enjoying the screams of his specimens, but he got off his ass.
‘In that case, maybe I should go and watch? It might be fun blowing out a candle.’
‘There is a man fighting the disposable asset.’
“Huh?! It is the Grand Mage Astroa!”
“Alright. Everything will be all right now!”
The citizen’s voices were explaining the current situation.
Astroa entered the scene in the Main Plaza.
“...I, the Grand Mage Astroa, will handle this personally.”
Astroa arrived at the Main Plaza using flight magic and discovered a man swinging a sword at a frightened woman. Astroa used Barrier, which is one of defensive spells, and blocked his movement.
‘Hm. He won’t speak? Is he mute?’
Astroa formed a fireball in front of his treasured staff, and he tilted his head sideways.
The man in the mask, despite being in front of a grand mage’s fireball, was not faltering.
‘He is quite skilled. The way he struck down magic with his sword was not ordinary.’
According to Peruda, the man in the mask was a skilled practitioner.
He was a man who only used a sword to neutralize the magic attacks launched at him by ‘that thing’ discarded from the Magic Tower.
“Hm, I don’t know what kind of mutt you are or which hole you crawled out from.”
As if it could not wait any longer, the fireball that appeared in front of Astroa’s staff started to vibrate. It looked like it was urging to be launched soon.
“The fact that you swung your sword at a frightened woman, and the fact that you are impudently messing around inside Solia, the Grand Mage Astroa’s stage… No matter which one I look at, it cannot go unnoted.”
Soon thereafter, hiding his true intent, Astroa made a smile as he launched the fireball.
His target was the man who wore a mask looking up towards him.
“I have no choice. I will take care of this personally.”
Of course, because the fireball’s explosion range was quite wide, there was a possibility that the ‘frightened woman’ and other citizens could get mixed in the explosion, but Astroa didn’t care about the aftermath.
To him, the important thing was not the safety of the citizens. It was the citizens’ perception.
‘He is supposed to be highly skilled, right? In that case…’
The grand mage admired by the people of Solia was now, with eyes full of curiosity, staring at the man who wore a mask.
The people’s gazes looked like they were looking at something interesting.
‘His energy itself was strange. He isn’t just some nobody that could handle mana.’
Remembering what Peruda said, Astroa focused mana to his eyes.
He did that to ensure he wouldn’t lose sight of the man’s movements.
Also, it was because it could be dangerous if a skilled swordsman closed in with a sword.
Even though he was floating in the air, he could not let his guard down.
“Now, wait, look at that over there…”
“No way… It’s not, right? The Grand Mage Astroa wouldn’t…”
In light of the magic launched by Astroa from the sky, the citizens in Solia’s Main Plaza were gradually starting to take steps back.
“If it is this much…”
Finally, a voice could be heard from inside the mask.
Because it was a low voice, Astroa didn’t understand it and tilted his head.
The masked man fixed his grip on his sword and took a stance that Astroa had never seen in his life.
* * *
Riley was fixated on Astroa’s magic attack coming at him from above. As he squinted because of its brightness, he tightened his grip on the sword with his fingers.
‘There are three directions I need to keep in check.’
In his head, Riley went over the things he had to do once more, and soon, he started to carry out the moves he had planned in his head.
At this point, the thing he had to take care of first was Astroa’s fireball flying at him.
Riley loaded his sword with mana. With a big motion of his right arm, he moved his body.
While he was deflecting multiple magic attacks from the girl under the rag, Riley noticed one thing. It was the fact that he could interfere with the power called magic using a sword.
‘I’ll divide it into three, and then…’
After loading the sword with mana, by slashing precisely through the center of the magic, it was possible to cut or deflect it.
That meant that, to take it to another level, the experiences so far were suggesting that doing something like what Riley was planning would also be possible.
'All at once…’
Riley’s sword was drawing a blue line from being loaded with mana.
An Aura Blade.
It was an ultimate sword technique that only a swordsman who knew how to handle mana could use.
Astroa, who was floating in the air, had his facial expression changed rapidly.
It was because, in the blink of an eye, Riley divided the fireball into three.
That was not all.
‘…I should be generous with what I made!’
The three fireball parts were changing their trajectories with different angles following Riley’s sword movements.
And soon thereafter, Riley forcefully spread them out.
It wasn’t just because his magic attack was no longer a whole fireball. Not only had it been turned into pieces of flames, one of them even changed its direction and was flying toward him.
Astroa rushed to cast a magic spell of the opposite element.
After neutralizing the piece of flame, Astroa looked below, not able to believe what he just saw.
Still looking surprised, Astroa prepared a detection type magic and turned his head all around.
The mystery swordsman, the one who cut the grand mage’s fireball into three pieces and turned its trajectory to the caster, had disappeared without a trace.
‘Wait, it was definitely cut in three pieces?!’
Astroa who was in the air, turned his head rapidly.
It was because there was only one piece of flame that was launched back at him.
‘Then what about the other two?’
The other two pieces were each headed in a different direction.
Astroa checked the mana in the destinations of the flames and raised his eyebrows as if he wanted to say it was unbelievable.
One of the flames headed off to a blockade on Left Solia’s entrance, formed by the royal guards of the castle.
The other was going to the entrance of Solia Castle, where the people from the temple were rushing toward the Main Plaza.
‘It can’t be…’
Astroa was racking his brain to figure it out.
As he was giving a blank stare to check the directions of the flames, to his back…
A sword that left its master flew at him.
Astroa noticed a sword spinning, carrying rotational force as it was approaching him. He opened his eyes wide, turned his hand toward his back and started to recite a magic spell.
By a very close timing, a barrier appeared in front of Astroa. However, it was not powerful enough to stop a sword carrying mana.
The barrier was torn apart, and the sword that came out of nowhere pierced his arm.
There was no need to wonder who could have been holding this sword that flew at him just now.
It had to be that masked swordsman.
It was Riley, no doubt.
‘Such impudence! How dare he do this to me!’
Astroa’s eyes turned red with veins. He looked around the area to find the bastard.
While he was scanning the area, when he lowered his head to look at the Main Plaza, all he could find was a corpse of a woman just lying there in the middle of a pool of blood.
* * *
On the pathway leading to the Main Plaza from Solia Castle, the people from Solia Temple, who were rushing on their way, suddenly stopped and tilted their heads sideway as they observed the lump of flame flying in their direction.
“It looks like it is headed this way?”
“Please step aside for a moment.”
Priesia concluded that the flame closing in was unusual in size, so she decided to have the priests and holy knights to stand behind her.
A golden light appeared around Priesia’s body.
As she used her holy power, soon, a round-shaped layer large enough to protect everyone from the temple including Priesia, appeared.
It was a protective layer at a whole another level from something that could be cast by ordinary priests.
With her hand extended forward, after neutralizing the flame that flew at them, Priesia wrinkled her eyebrows. It was because the flame was quite powerful.
“It seems like it was the Grand Mage Astroa’s flame…”
“A grand mage from the Magic Tower attacking the priestess? How could that be!?”
Priesia narrowed her eyes and gazed at the sky.
As one of the priests in the back said, in the sky, there was an old man that appeared to be Astroa flying in the air using flight magic.
She couldn’t tell the expression on his face, but at the moment, he was not looking in Priesia’s direction. Instead he was looking toward the Main Plaza.
“It seems like he wasn’t targeting us when he launched the magic attack.”
“Anyway, it would be best if we went over there quickly as well.”
According to the divine message from Irenetsa, Priesia had to find Riley at once.
However… She assessed that there was another matter in the Main Plaza that was even more important.
* * *
In Solia Castle, the people from the temple left the scene as if they suddenly had an urgent matter to take care of. After that, all of sudden, Sera and Ian were left by themselves. Sera asked,
“What could it be?”
“Why is the Priestess Priesia looking for our Young Master Riley?”
Ian started to pretend to be doing other things as if he had no idea.
It was not like he actually had no idea, but he was uncomfortable about saying it aloud.
Riley dropped a bomb by saying that Priesia is ugly. He said it to a priestess that represents a temple.
Even royalty couldn’t say such things.
“…Come on. What is it? Ian?”
While Sera and Ian were deep in thoughts and giving blank stares to the empty space, they could hear a voice from the back.
“Ah! Young master!”
While thinking about what transpired in the temple a few days ago, Ian’s shoulder shivered when he heard the nonchalant voice.
On the other hand, Sera sighed in relief and welcomed Riley.
“You were all here already?”
By Riley’s looks, it appeared that he didn’t run into the priestess.
Ian broke in a cold sweat and forced himself to ask,
“W-Where have you been?”
“As I said to my mother, I went to the restroom? To look for you.”
Looking at Riley, who was scrunching his face as if he was unsatisfied with something, Iris broke into laughter.
“Looks like you all just missed each other on different paths. It is not like there is only one restroom here.”
The castle was huge.
As Iris said, this place didn’t have just one restroom.
Even so, could he possibly get confused about the location of the restroom that he went to only a moment ago?
Ian pursed his lips as he thought about it.
‘Looks like the cat’s out of the bag.’
It was Riley, the one that sang songs about how much he hated bothersome matters.
If he ran into the priestess that was looking for him, it was obvious that something bothersome would unfold.
Like an animal with the instinct for survival, Riley probably sensed a bothersome matter coming his way and chose to take his leave. Or so Ian concluded.
Sera immediately tidied up Riley’s clothes like a maid and asked toward Iris,
“Now that young master is here as well, shall we go back?”
“Let’s do that.”
Iris nodded and started walking first.
In the arena, where the matches ended for the day, there was a commotion for a moment because people from the temple came…but now, most of the people, the people from the temple or the nobilities that came to watch the matches, have already left.
“Ah… I wonder what kind of spectacular tournament will unfold tomorrow. I look forward to it.”
“It seems that of all of us, Sera is enjoying the tournament the most.”
In light of Sera’s words that were uttered due to not being able to contain her excitement, Iris suppressed her laughter and responded.
“Ah, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be getting all excited about this…”
“No. No. I only meant it as a good thing.”
Riley gave a blank stare toward Sera and Iris, who were walking in front of him, and quickly turned his head to look at Ian.
It wasn’t certain what exactly he was thinking so hard about, but Ian lowered his chin and stared blankly at the ground.
“The thing I told you about earlier, was it taken care of properly?”
Riley broke a smile and asked Ian.
“Ah, if you are talking about the young masters from Erengium… Yes. Although I was worried because I ran into the priestess in the middle of it all.”
Ian didn’t quite finish his explanation as he scratched the side of his head.
Ian felt like he didn’t do practically anything.
All he did was watch as Riley made the two men freeze in fear from his murderous aura. He ended up only moving the two men who were frozen.
Looking at Ian, Riley smiled once more.
His right hand slowly moved to his back pocket where he had shoved the mask in.
‘No matter how I think about it…’
Because the timing was bad, Riley had to return without finishing his business at the Main Plaza.
Although it was a bother, he thought that he should go out once more in the late evening. He fiddled with the mask and pulled his chin.