Mana-vil Capital #1 (End of Book 1)
The raid on the first night was really fierce, but the damage was less than expected.
Hundreds of the hobgoblins had been turned into charcoal due to Vince's flames, while Theodore's appropriate actions had taken care of the ambush in the rear. His merit was especially big since the chief had died.
After that raid, nothing had occurred. Was it because they repelled the hobgoblins who ruled the whole area?
Thanks to their weapons being soaked in the blood of the hobgoblins, monsters such as goblins, kobolds, and direwolves didn't dare charge toward the procession. There were a few trolls who attempted an attack, but they were soon butchered by the bloodthirsty mercenaries.
'Speaking of which, can't a troll's blood be used as a raw ingredient for potions? It's no wonder they fought harder against the trolls than the hobgoblins.'
There was no need for Vince and Theodore to interfere. No, the mercenaries were likely to be angry if the magicians interfered. Fire was most effective in killing a troll, but the raw blood couldn't be obtained.
There would be many complaints if they went and burned the trolls with a Fireball.
Therefore, Theo was staring out the window when he saw someone on a horse approach their carriage. The horse had a glossy brown mane, and there was only one person in the procession who would ride such a horse. It was Gordon, the general manager of this procession.
He approached without hesitation and praised the two people, "This time, I really survived thanks to the two of you! If the professor hadn't accompanied me, I would've suffered enormous damage. At least half the procession would've been wiped out! The professors of Bergen Academy really have great skills."
"And your disciple as well."
Gordon bowed his head to Theo as well as Vince.
The leader of such a large procession was bowing to a 3rd Circle magician, but it was appropriate treatment after Theo's actions. Theo had killed a hobgoblin chief!
The one who led the attack had been the chief of the Surprising River village.
Depending on the size of the group, the strength of the hobgoblin chief was at least a C rank. It meant they were tough opponents for 4th Circle magicians. If Theo hadn't stopped the chief, the rear of the procession would've been destroyed.
However, a 3rd Circle magician had defeated a hobgoblin chief in a one-on-one match...?
If it hadn't been for the mercenaries saying the same thing, Gordon wouldn't have believed it. Still, Gordon's mind was fairly flexible as he was an excellent merchant. He was convinced about Theodore's value, despite not truly understanding.
"I can't repay this favor with just my mouth, so I've personally prepared something to repay you. My conscience will be more comfortable if you both receive it."
"Hrmm, if you say so..."
"Ah, you will accept it?"
Vince nodded, and Gordon took out a box he had placed on his saddle.
The metal box had chains and a lock wrapped around it, making the item seem quite valuable. Gordon took out a key from his pocket and unlocked it. After the chains were released, the box opened its mouth with a rumbling sound.
Inside it was a crystal shining strangely. It was a ball which occasionally changed colours, turning from blue to red.
When Theo saw it, he couldn't help asking doubtfully, "This...?"
There were many encyclopedias in the library about magic stones, but this was the first time he had seen such a strange ball. However, Gordon didn't give a satisfactory answer.
"I'm sorry, but I don't know. It is something that the Magic Society has been searching for these days, but since the quantity is too low, this company could only obtain a few. I am hoping that it will be helpful to both of you."
"Can we take such a precious thing?" Vince said as he looked at it closely.
At the positive reply, Gordon nodded with a bright expression. If he could form a relationship with a magician by using this unknown crystal, it would be a few times more profitable than selling it.
"Of course! If you weren't here, I might have lost everything. This is under my sole discretion."
"Then... I really appreciate it."
"Hahaha! Now my mind can feel at ease! Ah, would you like to return with us after the magic contest is over? I'll provide a better carriage than the one you currently have."
After exchanging a few more courtesies, Gordon returned to the front of the procession with a brighter look than before.
From his standpoint, he had been able to prevent the hobgoblins' attack without much damage. He had also been able to form a relationship with a strong magician. With these, his evaluation within the company would increase greatly. Therefore, Gordon rode off in a good mood.
However, Vince made a noise of derision as he picked up the crystal. "This is why ignorance is truly scary. That merchant didn't know what he was carrying."
"Professor, do you know what this is?"
"...I've seen it a few times in the north. Technically speaking, this isn't a crystal. Sometimes plants that absorb the blood of monsters will make berries filled with magic power. This one, the Magic Society calls it, 'Monster Berry.'" Vince explained as he placed the crystal back in the box and locked it with the key he received from Gordon. Then he placed it in his space pocket with swift movements.
"Monster Berries tempt nearby monsters with its fragrance and will strengthen the monster who eats it. The hobgoblins on the first night probably came for this."
No matter how hard it was to climb the Nadun Mountain Ranges, such a large group of monsters wouldn't be living on the outskirts. The monsters were well aware of the damage they would suffer if they neared human territory. The hobgoblins were more cunning than other monsters, so they wouldn't have been unaware of this fact.
The reason why the hobgoblins had carried out such an unreasonable attack was now revealed.
Vince touched his chin and muttered in an interested tone, "I remember it as an object which use was unknown... Maybe a use for it might have been discovered recently."
"The gifts that I will give you may increase by one."
'Gifts?' Theo stared at him with a puzzled expression.
At that moment, someone shouted from outside the carriage, "It is the capital! I see Mana-vil Capital!"
Theo might be a magician, but in the end, he was a boy from the country. He soon forgot to ask about the gift and looked out the window. Every person in the Meltor Kingdom dreamed of living in Mana-vil Capital. It was said to be a heavenly city where white spires pierced the sky.
Theodore Miller had grown up surrounded by the rice fields of the Miller Barony, so he had dreamed about the big city many times as a child. Finally, the moment came when his expectations were rewarded.
"Wow..." Theodore had no choice but to let out a cry of admiration when he saw Mana-vil.
There was still a while until the procession reached Mana-vil, but the towering spires could be seen in the distance. The city surrounded by white walls truly seemed like a heavenly city. Carriages were flying over it like part of a fairy tale landscape.
This was the capital of the Meltor Kingdom, Mana-vil...
The place which people called the home of magic. Even the empire with the strongest national power didn't have such a city. There were myths which said the dwarves and elves had help to build the city in the past. The city was a symbol of the extreme architecture which couldn't be reproduced by the skills and manpower of modern humanity.
As Vince sat beside Theo, who was filled with admiration, he looked at the capital he had returned to after a long time.
'It is still stunning.'
Vince hated the politics and had removed himself to Bergen Academy, but he couldn't help pay tribute to the city as a magician. He then pulled out a robe from his space pocket and put it on. It was a luxurious robe made of an impressive red colour. Vince didn't know how many years it had been since he last wore this.
The robe symbolized that he was Vince Haidel of the Red Magic Tower.
He muttered as if he was talking to himself, "As soon as we pass through the gates, I will take you to the Magic Society."
The magic contest drew a huge crowd to Mana-vil. Vince remembered the scene from a few years ago, which was why he had started moving a few days earlier. If he procrastinated, one day of work could turn into 10 days.
It would also become annoying if the Red Magic Tower knew about Theodore's existence.
'I have to avoid them as much as possible.'
The Red Magic Tower didn't focus on development as a magician but on fostering magicians specialized in combat. From their point of view, Theodore would be a rising star.