Chapter 189 - Uninvited Guests (2)
There was a sound as the locks were engaged. The invaders from Austen had surrendered, so Para had brought out these locks. They were the so-called arm holders which restrained a person from the wrist to elbows. The material looked strange, showing that it wasn't an ordinary restraint.
"Is this perhaps adamantium?"
Para confirmed in an eerie voice that the metal, which resembled opaque ice, was just as Theodore guessed. It seemed to be something she'd made. "I created it in order to catch a master, but there was no time to use them on the battlefield. So, I left them in the warehouse, but now they can finally see the light."
"...Well, I'm glad that it is useful."
"Right? These things are also part of my role."
Paragranum might describe it as useless, but it was a ridiculous tool which could even control masters.
Normally sword masters could tear apart steel handcuffs with their superhuman physical abilities and aura. So, strong magic handcuffs would be ruined if they continued to inject aura. Even mithril would warp if a sword master used their power properly.
It was only possible when used with pure adamantium. Adamantium was difficult to handle, so it was rarely used. However, Paragranum had completed the restraints through some unknown manner.
Mujak's relaxed expression stiffened as he experienced the binding.
At that time, a white tower magician approached him and issued an edict, "His Majesty wants to meet the intruders."
"I understand. Is there anything else?"
"No. You can take this transport to the royal palace."
"I will." Theodore nodded without hesitation. Even if Mujak was bound, he was still a sword master who had crossed the boundaries of the transcendent realm. So, Theodore couldn't feel relieved unless another tower master took over.
Theodore pulled on the chains a little rougher than usual.
Was it due to the shock...? A few drops of blood emerged from Mujak's mouth.
"Well, it is rough."
Theodore just spoke coldly without letting the chains go slack. For whatever reason, they were trespassers who had tried to enter Ellenoa's dwelling. It meant that Theodore couldn't welcome them kindly. No, it wasn't just that. Theodore soon realized that his emotions were boiling inside him.
"What brings you here?"
"If you are from Austen, you should remember what you did in Bergen."
Vince had told Theodore the identities of [Shackler], the ones disguising themselves as elf slave traders in Bergen. Thus, it was also possible for Theodore to know about the truth behind the Bergen incident.
Mujak closed his eyes with a bitter smile. "I don't have anything to say. I won't make excuses."
"Your responsibility for the past won't disappear. And I don't want you to apologize to me."
"That's right. Treat me as you like."
Theodore would've become angrier if the other person spoke empty words, but he couldn't do anything against this attitude. Theodore dragged the chain and started to move forward roughly. After reading the unusual atmosphere between the two of them, the rest of the group followed.
In the end, the uninvited guests from Austen couldn't even see the high elf's face as they were dragged away.
* * *
"You went through a lot of trouble, Quattro's Captain." Kurt III, whose eyes had dark circles from the night before, watched Theodore's group from the throne. He stared at the faces of Mujak and the Janissaries, who were the cause of the emergency gathering.
Kurt III spoke in a mocking manner, "You were the ones who caught the four uninvited guests?"
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"This doesn't look good. They've arrived here, so loosen the restraints."
Theodore was surprised by Kurt's instructions, but other people protested before he could reply. This place might be filled with senior magicians, but Mujak was a sword master who was strongest in a melee.
"Your Majesty, you can't!"
"You can't set those criminals free from their restraints!"
"At least tie up their legs!"
Kurt waved his hand at the crowd. "Stop."
Simultaneously, somebody landed beside Theodore.
Her red robes fluttered from the landing as Veronica emanated a terrifying presence. Her strength exploded from her. The Janissaries fell down foaming as they received the full impact of Dragon Fear. Only Theodore and Mujak could stand in this area.
"If it is like this, are there any objections?"
Who would be able to go against Veronica? Nobody dared refute Kurt's words, and they fell silent. They couldn't say anything because none of them would dare to fight Veronica. Kurt received their implicit agreement and looked at Theodore again, who sighed and pulled out the key.
Once the restraints were released, Veronica spoke, "Old Man, if you move without permission, I will kill you."
"... Hu, how scary."
"Keep looking forward. I will kill you if you speak nonsense. So, look forward."
'She's serious.' Theodore was nearby and noticed Veronica's serious tone. Veronica would kill him if he took even one step. She would kill him if he spoke nonsense. The evidence that her threats weren't empty was her red hair which blazed like fire.
'This is the Tower Master's battle readiness.'
At the time of the fight against Superbia, his consciousness had been fading, so he hadn't been able to see properly. However, Theodore now had a clear view of her eight circles revolving, and the pressure seemed to increase the gravity in this area.
That said, Kurt was still in control as he opened his mouth, "Then I shall listen to the excuses of an uninvited person. Your head will depend on whether you can persuade me."
Despite literally having a knife at his neck, Mujak wasn't shaken at all. "First of all, thank you for listening to my excuses, Your Majesty."
"Get to the point."
"I understand. Then I will tell you what is going on."
The guardian of Austen, one of the Sultan's most trusted swordsman, faced Kurt III with confidence. Behind Mujak was a dying country. Supply had fallen and people were starving, so he had come here to save them. Thus, something like madness shone in his determined eyes.
"Austen is currently dying from an unprecedented drought. Meltor's monarch, please have mercy on us, and give me rice and water for the suffering people."
"Is that all?"
"No. I know you don't have to, but if it is possible, I would like to meet the Elvenheim guests who are staying in your country."
"Huh, you truly have no shame." Kurt smiled and stared down at Mujak, whose head was bowed. Mujak's requests would only be given if Meltor was truly generous. However, as to the issue of them crossing the border without permission and breaking into the capital...?
It was clear that Mujak had other thoughts. Dozens of eyes filled with suspicion cut into Mujak. Then Kurt III raised the question that they were all wondering, "Why didn't you just send a delegation?"
Mujak's green eyes looked down, and he replied in a low voice, "I couldn't do that."
"I do not know why, but Andras' shadows are present at the border of Austen and the Meuse Desert. Above all, I didn't think you would accept our requests."
"...How honest. Although you are still being impertinent."
At Kurt's cold words, the atmosphere started to change. After all, it was Austen who was behind the kidnapping incident in Bergen. It would be uncomfortable in many ways for Elvenheim's ambassadors to face them.
That was why Mujak slyly had attracted their attention with his words about the Andras Empire.
"Is this bait? Let's see what you have prepared for us."
"Think of it as a bargaining material."
"Speak quickly, Austen's fox."
After being urged to cut to the chase, Mujak pulled something out. Veronica became tense at his action, but Mujak didn't pull out a weapon or poison.
It was a leather scroll. In Austen, leather was used instead of paper due to the scarce amount of wood. It seemed that this leather scroll was the material Mujak had prepared for the negotiations. He didn't give an explanation as he opened the scroll.
'...This?' Theodore watched Mujak from right beside him. It meant he could see the contents of the scroll before anyone else. There were twisted lines and a mixture of symbols and shapes with unknown meaning. Shortly afterward, Theodore realized what it meant as his eyebrows twitched.
'Is this a map of the Meuse Desert?'
This was a terrain which only existed in the desert. The terrain of large canyons and sandy hills helped guide the nomadic people over a long period of time. Still, it was difficult to draw a map of the desert, so Meuse Desert's map was a special item. A sophisticated map like this would sell for at least 100 gold. Perhaps it had been produced personally by the Austen royal family.
However, right now, the matter of importance wasn't the map. Mujak pointed to a red dot in a corner of the map and brought up a topic which meant Meltor couldn't sit idly.
"For some reason, the Andras Empire is controlling this desert area."
"What is there?"
"Well, I couldn't get close. But the empire is showing a big interest and is digging in this area. It is a ruin which contains relics from a previous era. According to something I heard, it was probably built during the Age of Mythology."
'A ruin from the Age of Mythology!' Kurt's expression hardened after hearing that. Most ruins of the Age of Mythology had been destroyed during the dark period which followed it, but the Andras Empire had found most of the ones which remained.
They didn't care about the knowledge of a culture from a previous era. Rather, they just wanted the powerful relics and destroyed numerous ruins in the process. It was a hostile kingdom which had been at war with Meltor for at least 500 years.
"...You've brought something quite annoying. I appreciate the good faith report, but I know that isn't the case."
At Mujak's sly expression, Kurt couldn't help gripping the armrests of his throne tightly. If he wanted, he could give Veronica an order to kill, and she would burn Mujak to ashes right away. However, an unexpected person interrupted the conversation right then.
"Huh? Quattro's Captain?"
"Can I look at this map for a moment?"
"Of course. Tell me if you get any ideas."
Having gotten Kurt's permission, Theodore received the map from Mujak. It was because he felt a strong feeling of deja vu from the desert map. In particular, the feeling came from the area where the red dot was located.
It was connected. Theodore realized why he got a feeling of deja vu when looking at that section of the map. He had seen a map of the Meuse Desert two times now, so he remembered it clearly. The second time was now, while the first time had been in the Yellow Tower. This was the location of the laboratory which Paragranum had boasted about with an expressionless face.
'To think that they found it...!'
The ruins that the Andras Empire was trying to dig out...
It was Paracelsus' laboratory.