Chapter 190 - Uninvited Guests (3)
"Quattro's Captain, have you found something?"
It was a short moment, but Kurt didn't miss the change in Theodore's complexion.
Simultaneously, Theodore's thoughts became complicated.
Aside from him, the only person who knew the existence of the laboratory was the Yellow Tower Master, so Theodore had to decide if he should disclose the information. However, if Theodore kept his mouth shut, Kurt III might be led to agree to Mujak's conditions.
Unlike Austen, which wasn't a threat, it would be fatal if the Andras Empire got their hands on the ruins.
'I don't like this situation, so I can't stay silent.'
As long as the Andras' excavation team occupied the site, he wouldn't be able to visit it alone. Moreover, he didn't like the tricks of the Austen Kingdom, which had tried to kidnap Ellenoa. So, this was a reasonable choice which would block both Andras and Austen.
Theodore made his decision and opened his mouth, "Yes, Your Majesty. I thought I remembered seeing it somewhere and realized I recently heard a story about these ruins."
"What? S-Such a thing...!" Mujak's face shook slightly. To think that the information Mujak wanted to use as a bargaining tool was already known? If Theodore's words were true, this was disadvantageous to Mujak.
A pleased expression appeared on Kurt III's face as he nodded. "Interesting. Continue."
"Sorry, I won't be the one telling you." However, Theodore had no intention of assuming responsibility. "Can I leave it to another person from now on?"
"Hrmm? Can I ask why?"
"Of course, Your Majesty," Theodore replied to Kurt's question and turned to look at Para behind him. "There are differences, but I heard it from the Yellow Tower Master. So, I think that Superior Para, his disciple, is the right person to explain this."
"The Yellow Tower Master? Is this true, Superior Para?"
Paragranum, a grimoire under the skin of a girl, her true nature peeped out for a moment, but she bowed politely like she understood the situation. "...Yes. Captain's words are true, Your Majesty."
"Give me the details," Kurt said.
As Meltor's finest watched, Theodore's party member started telling the story.
"This is something my teacher told me sometimes. Alchemy, the magic that forms the foundation of the Yellow Tower, is a heritage from the Age of Mythology. They are teachings passed down from the great alchemist, Paracelsus."
"The great alchemist, Paracelsus..."
"Yes. The alchemy of our Yellow Tower originates from Paracelsus' teachings. That place should be where his legacy is stored."
The moment she was about to explain the ruins on the map, the quietly listening Mujak jumped up. "Nonsense!"
At that moment, Kurt III shouted in an urgent voice, "Veronica!"
It was instant. Before Mujak could blink, flames emerged and wrapped around his neck. With Veronica around, even a sword master was at risk. The whip, made of hellfire, could kill him instantly. If Kurt III's voice had been half a beat later, Mujak's head would be rolling around on the ground.
Gulp. Mujak gulped as he realized how close he'd come to death. Veronica recalled Hell Fire just before it reached his neck. This attack was just an advance notice that she could kill him if he moved.
Without missing a beat, Para continued speaking, "It is unbelievable but true. It is easy to prove after seeing the ruins."
"...What does that mean?"
"The set of 300-meter-long ruins is a dome made of a silver-white metal. Even a sword master's aura won't be able to scratch the metal easily."
"H-How do you know that?" Mujak couldn't deny it because he had seen it directly.
A silver architecture built in the middle of the desert... It was a mystery which couldn't be reproduced with the techniques of this age. This girl described it so accurately that it couldn't just be her imagination.
"It looks like her words are true." Kurt grasped the truth from Mujak's reaction and grinned. "Now, this is the only information you've brought me about Andras. Don't you think the price is much too low?"
"...What more do you want?" The cornered Mujak eventually lifted both hands. Aiding Austen would cost at least hundreds of thousands of gold. There was no way the information he had left could cover this price.
"Write a contract." Kurt was grinning with a relaxed expression, but his eyes were like that of a ferocious predator. "You will escort Meltor's investigation team to the site and not ask for any shares in what we find. Besides, doesn't our Yellow Tower Master have the right of inheritance in the first place?"
"It is in Austen's territory!"
"You can't deal with Andras. Also, you seem to still be mistaken. This isn't a negotiation." With a cold voice and eyes, this was the monarch who ruled the kingdom. "If you can't accept it, I will put the restraints on you again and lock you up. Then you can wait quietly until this is over."
"Kuk...!" Mujak drooped his head because he had no way out. This situation was inflicted upon them by themselves, from their attempt to kidnap the high elf to their unauthorized entry into the capital.
Despite knowing that the conditions were unfair, Mujak was forced to sign a contract with Kurt. It was an ending caused by his recklessness.
* * *
Mujak's negotiations ended there. He signed the contract stating he would devote himself to the investigation team, then he was dragged out. Mujak wouldn't be able to do anything until the investigation of the ruins was over.
The fainted Janissaries were also taken out.
"Phew, it is finally over."
"I wanted to fight..."
Of course, everyone here was scared of being caught up in Veronica's fight.
Soon after them, Kurt raised his hand and stopped the chattering. "Then I will select the investigation team to be sent."
Since a conflict with Andras was inevitable, this wouldn't be a typical investigation. As such, it was natural to recruit people with excellent combat capabilities.
"Veronica, you go."
"Is it finally my turn? Indeed, I am better than Blundell in a desert."
It was as she said. As a magician dependent on moisture, Blundell's firepower was weakened in the desert. On the other hand, these conditions were good for Veronica. The heat of the desert would add to her strength instead of harming her.
However, Kurt's words didn't end there.
"Quattro, do you want to participate?"
"Yes, Your Majesty. If you send us, we will surely capture the ruins."
"Good, go and investigate with Veronica."
This was an opportunity to see a set of ruins from the Age of Mythology. Setting aside the artifacts Para was supposed to give him, he would be sorry to miss such an opportunity as a magician. Moreover, Andras had a debt to pay.
However, an unexpected topic was then brought up.
"Your Majesty, what about the guests from Elvenheim?"
"What about them?"
"According to Quattro's captain, Lady Ellenoa's two escorts are master level. So, perhaps we should seek their help."
"No, we can't." Kurt opposed it right away and gave his reasons. "They are Meltor's guests. We can't ask them to fight for us because of this, and that desert is harmful to elementals. It would be impolite to ask them to accompany the investigation team."
"Uh, you're right. I was too short-sighted."
The person stepped back with shame, while another person spoke up.
"Your Majesty, when will the investigation team depart? The Magic Contest has just started."
"That's right. Therefore, the enemies won't think that we will move at this time. The team will head to the Meuse Desert as soon as the preparations are complete."
"Yes, Your Majesty's words are correct."
Everyone nodded at Kurt's words, and the emergency meeting ended there. They were tired from preparing for the Magic Contest and last night's banquet, so their footsteps were quick in leaving.
Shortly afterward, only the Quattro members, the tower masters, and Kurt remained in the room. From here on out, the conversation wasn't as serious.
Blundell stroked his white beard and spoke to Kurt first, "Five people. No, isn't it six if we add the person from Austen? Your Majesty, is it okay with just six people?"
"Old Man, what? Don't you believe in my skills?" Veronica scoffed.
"I would feel more relieved if you went alone..."
"What are you saying?"
Blundell was a man who looked foolish and carefree on the outside. However, Sylvia had joined the team, so he was worried that something would happen.
Theodore looked at the two great magicians with a tired expression. These two people were already closer to natural disasters than humans. Anyone caught up in a fight between the two would end up badly.
However, Veronica's hand shot out like lightning and grabbed Theodore.
"Since the kid is also a master, don't we have enough strength? Isn't that right? Old Man, say something!"
"H-He is still not fully a master..."
"Ah, he hasn't learned 'Sorcery' yet." Veronica remembered what she had forgotten for a while. Meanwhile, Theodore was distressed about still being in her grasp.
Fortunately, Veronica quickly let go and spoke cheerfully, "Well, the journey won't take one or two days. I will teach you about Sorcery along the way. It will be easier to understand coming from me than from Orta."
"Cough, certainly, but..."
The other two tower masters agreed to let Veronica teach Theodore's Sorcery.
Theodore didn't know what it meant. Why was it better to learn from Veronica than Blundell or Orta? It was still an unknown conversation for Theodore, who only knew the concept of Sorcery.
At that moment, Kurt, who was watching them, opened his mouth, "Veronica, Orta."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"Tomorrow is the dawn."
Kurt spoke suddenly, but the two of them understood the meaning of his words and nodded. Kurt III was looking toward the end of the war which had lasted for centuries, and this ruin would be a cornerstone of the fight.
'It will be in the next 10 years, or maybe earlier.'
The long, long war between the Northern powers was reaching its end.