Chapter 120 - Book Eating Magician (3)
Kurt III had taken the throne with the support of all the magic towers, led by the great magician Blundell. When Kurt III was crowned, he had been but a puppet king of the Magic Society in many ways. He had been merely 20 when he reached the throne of the magic kingdom and jumped directly onto the battlefield against the Andras Empire.
After decades of washing away blood, the boy king had grown into a king with sober eyes. He used strong soldiers and a system of reward and punishment. His rule absolutely adhered to these two principles, and the kingdom had now reached its greatest heyday since its founding.
He was a ruler who stuck to these principles but didn't forget to understand the ecology of magicians and that he could be flexible. This was the ideal ruler for the current Meltor Kingdom, Kurt III.
Theodore had grown up knowing about Kurt III's achievements.
'If they persuade him with proper logic and rationales, he will listen to the words of a person below him.'
Then the problems which Theodore needed to solve was narrowed down to one. The question wasn't how to persuade the king, but how to talk to the king alone. Theodore had some accomplishments which raised his status, but it was still difficult to meet the king personally. It was only possible for the tower masters and the top nobles of the kingdom.
However, his worries were for nothing as shortly thereafter, Kurt III asked Theodore to join him for dinner.
"Theodore, it is time."
It was a place where other nobles or servants wouldn't be present, so confidential matters could be discussed. Theodore, who wanted to avoid the attention of others as much as possible, accepted the invitation without hesitation. He had no idea that things would be resolved so easily.
Thanks to that, he opened the door with a much lighter heart.
"Yes, I'll go straight away."
The middle-aged man waiting for Theo was the one who had delivered Kurt III's invitation. The royal chamberlain, Douglas, was a person who had risen from being a commoner to being the closest to the king. He was unusual as he gave off an impression that made people comfortable.
"I will guide you there. Ah, if your body feels uncomfortable..."
"Then we will proceed as scheduled. Follow me please."
Theo was a young man of a lower standing, but Douglas' attitude didn't shake at all. He didn't care if Theo was a hero or young. Douglas just served with an attitude that didn't mix in any personal feelings. This faithfulness to his duties was probably what had caught Kurt III's eyes.
In any case, all the preparations were over.
"His Majesty is waiting inside."
Douglas stopped in front of a gorgeously lavish guarded door. The patterns symbolizing the magic towers were harmoniously intertwined with the patterns symbolizing the royal family.
It meant that neither side was above or below the other and that they were both the pillars of the Meltor Kingdom. These patterns might be sensitive to some authoritarian nobles, but it made independent magicians feel a strong sense of belonging.
Beyond this, the man standing at the top of the Meltor Kingdom was waiting.
'...Let's go.' Theodore placed his hand on the lavish door without shrinking back from nerves.
Was there weight reduction magic on the door? Compared to the weight he'd expected, the door under his palm was much lighter. It was huge, but he had no problem pushing open the door.
The scene beyond the door unfolded silently.
Theodore forgot all the words he planned in advance.
* * *
Theodore had no idea how the situation had flowed into this direction.
It was good that he had achieved his purpose of meeting Kurt III in isolation. The meeting place was also quite good. It was a restaurant in the palace where no one could eavesdrop-the chamberlain's restaurant.
However, he never thought there would be such a variable.
"Now, ahh-" Veronica placed a big chunk of meat on her fork and extended it to Theodore's mouth.
It was a well-known action used by parents for their children... or between lovers. It wasn't to be used at a royal restaurant, right in front of the king's watchful eye.
"What, do you dislike me feeding you?"
The dour expression placed a high pressure on him, making it hard to turn her down. Theo eventually ate the meat that Veronica gave him while feeling like a child. A place for a serious conversation had turned into this.
Fortunately, Kurt III interrupted the interesting exchange between the two of them. "Haha, this is the first time I've seen this. Veronica doesn't take care of anyone, so she must be quite taken with you Theodore."
"Don't be shy. I called this tomboy here for you to relax, so please do so."
So, the culprit was the king. This caused Theo to sneak glances at him. Even Veronica didn't dare interrupt the king's meal without permission. This meant that she had been given permission in advance or that she'd been invited.
Well, Kurt III seemed to have invited her because he thought Theo would be nervous if it were just him. In a sense, it was a small consideration, but it turned out this way.
Theo sighed deeply, looking like a person who didn't get a good night's sleep.
'Well, it can't be helped.'
Additionally, there was a chance that Veronica would side with him.
The situation was different from what he'd expected beforehand, but it didn't change what he needed to do. He conversed with the two of them while waiting for the right time to bring out the topic.
'I don't know if it'll be more appropriate to talk about it after a few dishes and drinks...'
They talked about what had happened in Elvenheim. Theo described the five, out of six, high elves he'd met. He also mentioned the power of a guardian's arrow.
During the description of the close battle with Laevateinn, the thirsty Veronica and Kurt III often emptied and refilled their drinks. One person was a ruler of a country, while the other was too strong to go on adventures. Therefore, they felt satisfied hearing his stories.
By the time Theo's eventful tale stopped, the desserts and tea were brought out.
Kurt III exhaled and muttered in a weak voice, "...How great. I also want to live like you."
"I am undeserving of those words."
"It is a good thing that I issued you the national treasure. Someone might say that I had a vision, but it was just luck. This is why the king shouldn't be stingy." Kurt III took another gulp of alcohol and placed his empty glass on the table.
The king had already gone through a few bottles with Veronica, but his purple eyes weren't shaken at all. His expression was as attentive as always as he asked Theo, "So, what do you wish for now?"
"Don't say there is nothing. At the very least, you must be thinking about something inwardly. I've listened to your story happily, but that isn't the point of this dinner."
Theodore bowed his head as he struggled not to reveal the astonishment on his face. He was worried about showing a disgraceful expression in front of the king. Kurt III had a friendly presence, but Theo was still below him. This was the man who had brought Meltor to its golden age. Theo's ignorance about this area gave him a weakness.
Fortunately, he managed to maintain his composure due to training his mental power steadily after absorbing Umbra.
"...I'll be honest." It meant nothing to avoid it now. Theo realized this fact and opened his mouth to explain.
Regardless of who spoke first, the hierarchy here didn't change. Right now, although he was a hero and worshipped in this country, he still had to ask for his wish in a respectful way.
After his words, the faces of the two people stiffened slightly.
Veronica didn't say anything, while Kurt III asked with a puzzled expression on his face, "Leave? At this time?"
Looking at Theodore Miller's life, this was the most effective time to raise his status. He had the biggest merit in the Elvenheim mission. Theo was a hero who had embarrassed the Andras Empire and elevated the kingdom's status. If Theodore captured this opportunity correctly, he could become a marquis or an earl. No, he could get away from the nobility and receive the treatment of an elder in the Magic Society.
Kurt continued in a voice which showed his lack of understanding, "You made a big achievement with the book you took from the Zero Library last time. It is now a completed version of 'Battle Song,' and Meltor's military power has increased by nearly 10% thanks to that."
It was a feat which had raised Theodore up to the Superior rank in the shortest period of time. Nobody cared even about the excuse he'd made that the original book had been damaged in the process.
Theodore's existence was like a good luck charm for the Meltor Kingdom. The royal family and nobles increased their favorability toward Theo and would give him rewards.
"So, I will give you the right to take another book from the Zero Library."
"It isn't just one book. As a Prime, you have the right to freely rent any books in there. Isn't it much more efficient to train in such a rich environment?"
"...Your Majesty." Theo understood Kurt III's feelings.
From the standpoint of his country, Kurt III couldn't let Theo go so easily.
The king wasn't concerned about betrayal. However, Theo was confirmed to be a tower master candidate by Veronica and was a national guest of Elvenheim. So, it was uncomfortable to place such excellent timber outside his field of view. The king was also worried about the empire, who would be furious after this incident.
However, Theodore didn't bend in his wish. "Your Majesty, please understand my heart."
"Additionally, I've already got a clue about the 6th Circle. I realized that the experience I gained from the mission is the foundation for it, and it is different from wrestling with ink in my room."
Theo raised his head and confronted Kurt III's grim gaze. There wasn't any killing intent or fighting spirit in Theo's eyes, but it made the person facing him feel a strong will. A heavy expression appeared on Kurt III's face as he turned toward Veronica, who had been struggling for a while.
The moment that Theodore's expression was darkening...
"-Hoo, I don't know," Kurt III muttered.
All of a sudden, something flew toward Theo.
The item which came from Kurt III was caught by Theo. It was a heavy metal, but it was thin and filled with magic power. This bracelet, bare of any decorations, was an accessory the king had worn.
Before Theodore could ask what it was, Kurt muttered in a low voice, "It is a self-defense artifact made by the Yellow Tower Master. I don't know if it will help you, but it is better than nothing."
"As soon as you leave this room, you will be struck with inspiration and won't leave your laboratory for a few months. It isn't an uncommon phenomenon. Isn't that right?"
"...Yes, that's right," Theo agreed, noticing the meaning behind the king's words.
Theodore Miller was too famous. If he left the kingdom without thinking, he would have to pay attention to assassins and spies.
So, he should cover up his tracks. Using the fact that magicians were often shut up in a room while involved in research, they would make it seem like Theo was still in Meltor. It wasn't a perfect camouflage, but it would buy him some time.
In other words, it was the same as allowing Theodore to leave.
After making the drastic decision, Kurt touched his left forearm a few times. Then he turned toward Theo and said, "Then it is time for you to go. There is a lot of preparation needed to stay in a room for a few months."
"...Thank you for your kind words, Your Majesty," Theo replied in a small, trembling voice before leaving.
The benefits which Kurt III mentioned were privileges that hardly anyone else enjoyed. Theo could rent books from the Zero Library freely, and he would be treated as an elder. It was a huge kindness that the king had granted Theo's request.
Theo's heart was beating wildly, and a strange heat spread from it.
He now understood why so many people praised the cold Kurt III.
* * *
After Theodore left the room, Kurt III and Veronica were silent. They sipped their bitter tea and swallowed it. Then they bit and swallowed their sweet dessert. This process was repeated again and again until someone opened their mouth.
"...It is surprising."
"Huh?" Veronica looked at Kurt with confusion.
"I thought you would say that you want to follow him. It is rare for the Red Tower Master to do any work directly. I was going to allow it if you grabbed my collar and shook me."
The Blue Tower Master and Red Tower Master... It would be painful for one of the two pillars of the Meltor Kingdom to leave for a short time, but that was how valuable Theodore Miller was.
Theo was a magician who seemed blessed by the heavens. He had become stronger at a faster rate than anybody else, leaving behind achievements which were usually seen in the old stories. Theo was a youth who was following the footsteps of a 'hero.'
Veronica looked down with a strange expression. "Umm, I wanted to follow him too."
"I was going to go with him when I was struck with a thought. I don't want to deal with him at this age."
This time, Kurt III was the one who made a strange expression. "Was there an incident?"
"I thought he would catch up with me in 10 years, but it now seems more like 5 years." As she said so, she licked her dry lips lightly. The sight of the red tongue moving smoothly could shake the heart of any man.
Even though it was only a quarter, she was the great magician who had inherited the lineage of a red dragon. The desires and passion running through her blood could never be compared to men and women of the human species. It was the fate of every generation of draconians to ignite desire in both men and women.
Veronica's instincts, inherited from her blood, were thrilled.
"...Perhaps I won't be able to call him a kid anymore."
Her heart beat violently as she looked at the door through which Theo had left.