Chapter 118 - Book Eating Magician (1)
The signing of the friendship treaty with the neutral country of the north, Elvenheim, was probably one of the most important undertakings in the past few hundred years.
The Andras Empire as well as other countries of the central continent had dispatched their intelligence sources. So, there was no doubt that the responsibility on the dispatched delegation was enormous. If the talks were ruined due to someone, the responsibility wouldn't end with just them. It would spread to their family and relatives as well.
However, despite their concerns, the delegation returned home with better results than expected. They had achieved the signing of a historic treaty!
The court officials gathered just one hour after being given the news. Later historians might say this was exaggerated, but if they knew that even the most isolated nobles rushed out of their homes, they would shut their mouths.
"It seems like everyone is gathered. White Tower Master, report," the king of Meltor, Kurt III, ordered.
However, Kurt was also a bit different from usual. He was full of dignity as always, but there was a slight anticipation as he waited for the White Tower Master's words. It meant that he was filled with expectations.
Orta's mouth opened amidst the heavy silence, and his words unexpectedly provoked a storm.
-A triple increase in the number of trade items.
-Significant increase in the number of mass production type artifacts to be exported.
-Obtained the right to cut down a limited number of trees in the Great Forest.
-Promised a regular exchange of delegates.
None of those conditions were light. For some, they were heavier than gold, so the nobles and magicians couldn't help stirring. They might have jumped up and rushed over to the White Tower Master if the king hadn't been watching. Just one of those conditions was enough to double or triple their income! Most of the things Orta mentioned were like that.
Finally, once details of the military aid and support forces were mentioned, Kurt III rose from his throne and shouted, "Wonderful!"
Kurt III was a ruler who avoided any formalities or showing off. Had he ever praised someone like this?
At the very least, the people here had never heard him do so. It was the first time they had seen the king smiling with such a joyful expression. He looked around the delegation before stopping at one point.
A familiar young man was standing there.
'My eyes are truly good.'
The young man was wearing a red robe, and there was still a slightly tired expression on his face. He was Theodore Miller, the one who had been at the center of the recent big event. According to the secret report by the White Tower Master, Theodore's performance had been essential.
It was a higher merit than even Orta, who cut off the arm of a sword master, had achieved. If so, Kurt III needed to acknowledge him. "Theodore Miller."
"Yes, Your Majesty!"
"I have heard that your merits are also great this time. You used the national treasure and elevated the name of the Meltor Kingdom."
"I am undeserving of those words."
As Kurt III admired the young man bowing calmly, he revealed the reward. "The achievements you have accomplished are enough to elevate you to the rank of Prime. As of this time, I will declare Theodore Miller a provisional Prime. Any extra procedures will be skipped, and he will be upgraded to Prime the moment he reaches the 6th Circle. Are there any objections?"
"Thank you, Your Majesty!"
"Okay. I will prepare individual rewards for each delegate member."
After nodding a few times with a satisfied face, Kurt III looked at Theo who was still calm.
'I don't know why, but the atmosphere around him has changed a bit.'
The feeling around Theodore had been much lighter a few months ago. Perhaps he had realized something on this journey.
The king of Meltor laughed cheerfully at the thought of the birth of the next tower master. However, he didn't know that the young man in front of him had already jumped over the wall of the 6th Circle.
* * *
As soon as Theodore returned to Mana-vil, he met the king, so he couldn't return to his room until sunset.
The sight of nobles and elder magicians gathering like hungry dogs was terrifying in many ways, but fortunately, they didn't bother the people who had just returned from Elvenheim. The exact cause was Veronica.
Still, she had let Theodore leave after stating that they should have a meal together later.
"Why should you deal with unnecessary things? Those old people." The strongest beauty in the kingdom with blazing red hair had stroked Theodore's head. He had been prepared to be dragged around by her for a few hours. However, she had merely shrugged and laughed, then she poked Theo's heart with a finger.
'...It looks like it has been discovered, my 6th Circle.'
He had to admire Veronica, who was aware of it without his circles being activated. Well, it was true that she made things more comfortable for him, so he would give her a dessert box from the capital's confectionary store later.
Theodore opened his door and unpacked while being satisfied with the quiet surroundings.
Then he lay on his bed and murmured, "Prime, it is definitely an attractive position."
Aside from the Supreme rank which was for the tower masters, the Prime rank had the highest honour and prestige in the magic towers.
They could create their own organization or research team, or use a part of Meltor's budget for their own exploration. Even the princes and dukes of small and medium kingdoms didn't dare look down on the Primes and elders of the magic towers.
If he stated that he was at the 6th Circle at that time, he could've been promoted to Prime. However, Theo decided not to select that path after some consideration.
He would completely become Meltor's new figure. As his status and rights grew, the weight of the responsibility on his shoulders would become heavier. It would be difficult to leave home and travel if he was a Prime mage.
The right to use the kingdom's properties freely meant being part of the kingdom itself. So, the restriction on leaving was natural. The problem was that the constraint was fatal to the present Theo.
Theodore thought this and suddenly raised his left hand, "Hey."
"I know you are awake. There are many things to talk about, so don't waste my time."
It was impossible for deception thanks to the connection between them. So, in the end, Gluttony gave up on the silence and coughed. Then Theo tossed it the books he had already prepared.
['Application of Fire Magic' has been consumed. Your understanding is very high.]
[Proficiency in fire magic has increased. The fire attribute affinity has already reached its limit. In compensation, the level of proficiency will rise even further.]
The knowledge of the book penetrated his head naturally. Theo focused on the sensation for a moment, before looking down at his left palm. It was time for a question and answer. In the meantime, he had used this mainly to receive answers to difficult formulas as well as explanations and applications of magic.
Theo thought carefully about his words before saying, "What is Myrdal's identity?"
-...So, it did come out.
If it had been a person, Gluttony would be frowning. The greedy grimoire paused for a moment before replying in a testy voice, -It is an abstract thing, and I can't give you concrete information. Even this wouldn't have been possible if he hadn't released the fourth seal.
"Then can you give any information about the other Seven Sins?"
-Not more than that. In the case of Pride, its importance was low, and I was able to temporarily answer because we encountered it. If you want to hear detailed information about the other five, you need to release the sixth seal.
Indeed, if Gluttony could answer it, then there was no reason to block Myrdal from speaking. Theodore had felt doubts, which was why he asked Gluttony the questions. However, as he had guessed, Gluttony was under some type of constraint, and it would be hard to answer the question.
Then he thought about Myrdal's advice, '...the secrets I can't tell you right now, and the secret that you shouldn't know...'
At the very least, the old man hadn't shown any signs of malice toward Theo. Maybe Theo just didn't notice, but he decided to trust his own intuition. If he fell into needless doubts, then he wouldn't be able to get out of this situation.
He had to take the first step to overcome the crisis.
Theo shook off the rest of his thoughts and said, "Then I will change the question. Is it true that my body will only last five years, like Myrdal said?"
-It is true. To be exact, it is 4 years, 8 months, and 23 days. The error range is expected to be within a week.
"...Damn." He truly accepted it after hearing the details of the deadline a second time.
In fact, wasn't the grimoire responsible for this? It didn't explain the side effects of the eating, and his life was now suddenly in danger. Thus, it was inevitable that Gluttony should take responsibility for this matter. If Theo died, it would have to find a new contractor and start again, so it would just damage Gluttony as well.
Theodore regained his calm and asked directly, "Myrdal told me to expand my vessel. How do I do that?"
-This isn't a subject that can be answered in reply to one question.
"Don't make me laugh," he coldly dismissed the grimoire's excuse. "I confirmed that you can act on your own discretion during the fight against Pride. If you think of me as your contractor, you have a minimum of responsibility for any situations that you didn't warn about in advance regarding you. Isn't that right?"
-Hrmm, you have a point.
It was pointless to make an emotional argument, as the grimoire was more flexible with logic being refuted. Theo had already been connected with Gluttony for a year, so he had some ideas of Gluttony's personality and behaviour.
As expected, Gluttony accepted Theodore's argument and gave in to his demand.
-The easiest way is human sacrifice.
-I don't distinguish by gender or good and evil. It won't be difficult to expand your soul if you properly sacrifice around 100,000 people. It may also help you get beyond the wall of the 7th Circle.
"...Dismissed, I won't do that."
The grimoire didn't care about ethics and suggested something evil. Human sacrifices? It was the worst sin committed by warlocks a few centuries ago. Sacrificing 100,000 people... It was an evil beyond the national scale.
Theo gritted his teeth and shook his head.
Then Gluttony presented a second option. -Build up your karma.
-Whether good or evil, every act that affects the world expands your 'vessel.' You can save someone. You can destroy someone. Building up dharma will shake off the confines of karma. That is the master level that you talk about.
Gluttony's words were so profound that Theo couldn't comprehend everything, but he understood the gist of it. In other words, he had to create a disturbance which affected the material world in any way. It could be good or bad. If he did so, his 'vessel' would increase in size.
It was a theory Theo would investigate later, so he asked for the next option, "Other than that?"
-There is nothing to ask.
It might be because the two options were rejected, but Gluttony sounded testy. -Work harder than you have done so far. The efficiency is lower, but you can meet the deadline.
"I have to do the same thing?"
-Yes. To the confused Theodore, Gluttony declared, -Hunt original books.