Mana-vil Capital #2
As the capital of the kingdom, Mana-vil was famous for its strict checkpoints during the magic contest.
In fact, a fool had been dragged to jail after trying to cross the checkpoints without any proof of identity. It was said that he'd spent a month in jail chewing on hard bread until he heard from his family.
Therefore, the tourists, travelers, and delegates lined up at the capital's main gate couldn't hide their tension. It was for good reason since the event they had been preparing for several months could all be in vain. Gordon couldn't hide his nervous smile either.
However, Professor Vince looked the same as always. He walked out of the procession confidently with Theo and spoke to Gordon, "Leader, we'll be going first."
"Huh?...Ah! You don't need to wait here?"
"I have a letter of invitation."
Vince nodded as he looked down at the envelop in his hand. It was an invitation to the magic contest. The invitation letter to the magic contest wasn't just a measure of the person's reputation and status but a clear identification card.
The magician who held it had the right to preferentially pass through the Mana-vil checkpoints, and all the stores in Mana-vil would be cheaper for the duration of the magic contest. They also had a bonus right to pick their accommodation.
Gordon looked at the invitation with envy, but it only allowed the magician to bring their assistant. So, Vince couldn't bring the hundreds of people in with him. In the end, Gordon decided to be satisfied with leaving a good impression.
"Things turned out well thanks to Professor. If you need anything, come and find me at any time. I will help you as much as I can."
"Thank you for your kind words. Then I'll see you next time."
"Yes, please go ahead!"
Gordon bowed politely. Vince and Theo left Gordon behind and moved forward, past the long line. Whistles and chatter came from the crowd, but nobody cared about it. Anybody with a normal head on their shoulders would understand what Vince's red robe meant.
'Professor Vince, he belongs to the Red Tower.'
Theo couldn't ask about it and swallowed back the words. He was a student of Bergen Academy, so how could he not know about the four towers of the capital?
The four towers built in the north, south, east, and west surrounded the Magic Society, which stood in the center. The outer walls of each magic tower was said to be painted in a colour which symbolized the four elements.
Among them, the place where the fire magicians mainly resided was the Red Tower. It was the most militant magic tower which raised magicians excellent in battle. The mercenary industry was filled with instructions that they shouldn't confront a magician with a red robe.
Most of the members were excellent warriors who formed the core power of the Meltor Kingdom. The idiots who fought with those war magicians didn't deserve to step into Mana-vil. The same was true for the guards at the main entrance's checkpoint.
"Excuse me!" The guard saluted as soon as he saw Vince's red robes.
By default, those with an invitation card had to be at least of the 5th Circle and equivalent to a viscount. Even Mana-vil's guards, who were superior to the guards of the noble estates, would have to pay homage to them.
Vince received the salute naturally and handed over the invitation.
"I am Professor Vince Haidel from Bergen Academy, a Superior of the Red Tower. The last time I visited Mana-vil was seven years ago. Are there no errors?"
"Yes, that is correct."
The guard confirmed the identity with a tool which contained all the information about magicians recorded in the Magic Society. Then he asked some questions about the information which had appeared on the tool. After confirming there were no problems with the answers, he returned the invitation to Vince.
Then the guard saluted again, "Excuse me, Professor! You can now pass!"
"I'm sorry that you will be so busy. Then, do your best."
"Yes, thank you!"
Vince and Theo crossed the checkpoint and passed through the gate. All the basic checks, including examining their luggage, were skipped, allowing them to enter Mana-vil faster than anyone else.
This was the privilege of a magician who had received an invitation. Theodore once again realized the identity of the person who accompanied him.
Thus, Theodore took his first steps into Mana-vil Capital, the headquarters of magicians.
* * *
The 'Sky Wagon' was an exotic method of transportation which existed only in Mana-vil.
The word 'wagon' wasn't appropriate, but there was no other proper term for it. The magician, who played the role of the wagon driver, would supply magic power to the mana stones, and the wagons would move through the air using the magic power.
Of course, it wasn't flying magic, so the speed of the wagons was quite slow. However, looking over Mana-vil from the air was considered a great tourist attraction. A single sky wagon flew over Mana-vil and settled down gently at the front door of the Magic Society.
"We've arrived at Magic Society's front door. 30 silver!"
"That is a lot higher than before. Hoo, I guess that is inflation," Vince grumbled and gave the driver three silver coins worth 10 silver each.
They'd used a sky wagon which nobles and wealthy merchants often used, so the fee was incomparable to a normal sky wagon. If Theo had come alone, then he would've chosen to make his way through the terrifying crowd.
"Now, let's hurry."
The two people got off the wagon and immediately entered through the Magic Society's front door.
As soon as Theo passed through the two antique pillars and wide open gates, his expression changed.
Any magician would be able to feel the density of mana in the air. Their precision might be different, but they could distinguish between a deep or light density. Theo, however, was much better at distinguishing the difference due to his sensory perception.
'Four or five times what is outside... No, maybe even more than that.'
It had only been a short period of time since he stepped inside, but his breathing was already rough. He struggled with his breathing as he followed behind Vince. Occasionally, a magician with rare garments or one with strong magic would catch his eye, but he managed to make it to his destination without getting lost.
The destination was the reception desk in the center where any external work related to the Magic Society was handled. Vince found an empty spot and extended his letter. "Vince Haidel, a Superior of the Red Tower."
"Please wait a moment." Since this was the magic society, the staff at the reception desk was also a magician. He used a magic tool to verify the authenticity of the invitation.
"Yes, it is verified."
After completing the simple confirmation procedure, the staff returned the invitation and started to explain the schedule for the magic contest this year. It was an explanation which had probably emerged from his mouth hundreds of times.
After the full explanation, the staff member took a short breath.
"...That is all. Do you have any questions?"
Vince was organizing the information in his head, so he nodded one beat late. He glanced at Theo behind him and brought up the reason why they were here.
"I want to ask for a registration form for my student to apply and enter the Pupil Tournament."
"Ah, I will be happy to complete that for you."
The staff member was familiar with this, so he got a piece of paper from a drawer and started asking questions about Theo.
"Please tell me the name and age."
"Theodore Miller, 19 years old."
"What do you belong to?"
"I am a student of Bergen Academy."
10 minutes later, all of Theodore Miller's personal information was filled in. The staff member was about to put the application in the filing cabinet when he remembered something he had missed. It was an omitted question because he had always gotten the same answer back.
"Is your disciple of the 4th Circle?"
It was a question that he didn't even need to ask. They had to be the most talented person in the academy to come to the magic contest and participate in the competitions.
As well as having financial support, all the participates were talented 4th Circle magicians. While the 5th Circle could only be achieved through separate enlightenment or achievements, the 4th Circle could easily be reached by accumulating enough magic power to overcome the threshold.
For that reason, all the participants of the Pupil Tournament were 4th Circle magicians. That was why Vince's answer was even more confusing.
"I said the 3rd Circle."
The employee was confused and said with a bitter smile, "I'm sorry, but can you ask your disciple again? All other participants of the Pupil Tournament are 4th Circle magicians. There are basic safeguards, but every year, someone is wounded and even sometimes killed."
The staff member was afraid to accept the participation of a 3rd Circle magician and therefore explained desperately. It was common sense. Overcoming the difference between circles was never easy. It was difficult for a veteran magician, let along an academy student.
However, Vince looked back with a casual expression and asked Theo, "That's what he said. What do you think?"
"I will do it," Theo replied without any hesitation.
On the way to Mana-vil, he had knocked down a hobgoblin chief alone.
In the process, Alfred's memories and experiences had integrated into his body, so his self-confidence became stronger. No matter how strong the participant, he didn't think they would be stronger than a hobgoblin chief.
However, the staff member still hesitated as he sighed over the application. He was afraid that the responsibility of the student's death would come back to him. It was at this moment that...
"What, only a 3rd Circle? If the disciple is being raised by the Red Tower, then he might be able to overcome the difference of one circle. There's no clause that states a person has to be of the 4th Circle to participate." Someone's voice was heard behind Vince and Theo.
"Hrmm?" Vince looked back with a strange expression and saw a blue-robed magician approach.
A blue robe was a symbol of the Blue Magic Tower. In many ways, they were as famous as the Red Tower.
The blue-robed magician approached Vince without hesitation and spoke in a mock friendly manner, "This is a face that I don't remember. It looks like this is the first tournament for your pupil, right?"
"That's right," Vince gave a short response.
A battle of nerves began, causing the surrounding mana to shrivel. If a 5th Circle magician's emotions got intense, the atmosphere would shake a little bit.
Despite Vince's chilly answer, the blue-robed man wriggled his eyebrows and lowered his voice as he said, "I came to give you some advice, but your reaction is so cold. Don't you know that the rules have changed since last year?"
"The rules of the tournament have changed?" Vince's voice raised slightly at the unexpected words.
This caused the blue-robed magician to smile and nod. "Maybe I can help you."
No matter how he appeared, his expression wasn't one which gave off good intentions.