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 The Voices Calling Him #1

A few days later...

'Today is the fourth day, and there will be some time for the next three days.'

After finishing his mission, Theodore sent word to the Magic Society the next day. The procedure was to report directly after returning, but in a serious situation like this, word should be sent first.

As soon as the news was heard, it was clear that a senior investigator from Mana-vil would be sent to the Miller Barony. Theo assumed the person would arrive in three days if they rode a limited express carriage like Theo.

Until then, he needed to calm his unstable circles.

Wuuuong...

While Theo focused his mind, he was sweating. The bed sheet grew damp with his sweat. He had spent almost half a day in meditation, but the shaking 5th Circle in his body showed no signs of stopping.

The 5th Circle, which had generated from eating the Life Vessel, was quite unstable since it hadn't been reached through the normal process.

"...Hoo, there seems to be discrimination against taking shortcuts." Theo closed his circles and grumbled as he wiped the sweat off his forehead.

Still, it was fortunate that they had become more stable over time. Circles were mandatory for magicians, and they were also another organ fused onto the heart. The movement of unstable circles was no different from a heart disease which could cause life-threatening situations.

As a result, a fortnight hadn't even passed since Theodore jumped to the next circle.

'Grimoires are really absurd.'

The same was true for 'Death's Worship.' Giovanni was a magician who had just entered the 5th Circle. He was a man who had been jealous of Sylvia's accomplishment and had been turned into an elder lich in two months. In retrospect, reaching the 5th Circle wasn't that great.

"How can I tell Master about this...?" Theo thought about this as he left his room and approached the living room.

His father gestured to him from where he was chewing bread at the table. Thanks to the disappearance of the undead, his father's face seemed calmer than usual.

"My eldest son has woken up. Did you sleep well last night?"

"Yes, Father."

"I don't have a lot to worry about now. A trustworthy son has come home. Hehehe!"

He was the noble of a village, but he wasn't a fool. If Theo hadn't come back, then Dennis couldn't guess what the village would've been like. His son, who he thought was young, had ended up solving the problem.

Dennis didn't know about magicians and the monster called the elder lich, but he knew one thing: he had raised his son well. Theo smiled at the voice which was filled with warmth.

"Cough. Father's words are too much."

"Oh, that reminds me about the child called Sylvia."

"Huh? Ah, yes." Theo blinked as Sylvia's name appeared.

He wasn't sure what his father was going to say, so he couldn't help waiting nervously. Fortunately, there was nothing to worry about.

"She went to the front gate as soon as she got up. I think someone came?"

"Who would come?"

"That child clearly said..."

Right now, it was around the time that his message would've reached the capital. Unless they rode a legendary pegasus, an investigator from the Magic Society wouldn't have reached the Miller Barony.

'Did someone else come?' As Theo cocked his head with confusion...

"I think it was an elder from the White Tower?"

It was like a fireball had appeared in front of Theo.

***

'Sylvia, you should use that good head of yours!'

Theo ran out of the house as soon as he heard it. He had to arrive at the appointed place as quickly as possible. Sylvia seemed to be comfortable, but what type of new magician would keep their elders waiting?

Furthermore, 'elder' generally referred to Prime rank magicians, which meant they were above Vince. Theo might be at a disadvantage if he was pushed by such a person. He used Haste and managed to find Sylvia near the entrance of the village. "Sylvia!"

"You came! ...Huh?" She welcomed him, but her expression became one of confusion when she turned around. Indeed, it was strange that he was sweating so much.

"Theo, why are you in such a rush? I thought you would be tired, so I asked someone to send word when you woke up."

"No, an elder of the White Tower has come?"

"Yes, Grandfather Shugel."

"Do you know already?"

Sylvia nodded in affirmation. Then she pointed her finger at a place near the village entrance.

There was a tent which hadn't been there a few days ago. The magic used on the terrain during the fight against the undead had been refined into neat pillars. He didn't know when it happened, but it had been reshaped into a fairly organized defense.

The elder from the White Tower, Shugel, seemed to be staying there.

Theo tried to calm down his breathing as he gestured to Sylvia. "Then shall we go in?"

"Yes, he asked me to bring you in today."

"...I rushed here for nothing." Theo cooled off his body with magic and arranged his clothes before stepping into the tent.

There wasn't as much tension as he'd expected. Was it because he had already met big names like the Blue Tower Master and King Kurt III? He slipped through the tent entrance and bowed with a calm expression.

Inside, a deep and aged voice welcomed the two. "Ohh...you came."

The magician with a beard and hair as white as his robes laughed. Unlike his hair, the aged magician's skin was taut, and there were no signs of aging found anywhere. Like a child, his bright eyes were filled with overflowing energy.

Sylvia walked belatedly into the tent and stood closer to the aged mage. "Grandfather Shugel, this is Theo."

"Yes, thank you for the hard work." He patted Sylvia's head gently like she was cute and turned his eyes toward Theo. Theo bowed as soon as the magician looked at him. However, it wasn't because he was pushed by the pressure. He was a young magician paying homage to an adult magician.

"Theodore Miller, disciple of Vince Haidel, greets Elder Shugel of the White Tower."

"Yes, I am called Shugel from the White Tower. This time, I came as an examiner of the situation that you reported."

"What is an examiner?" Theo knew about investigators, but it was the first time he had heard about an examiner.

Shugel laughed and stroked his beard at the question. It was always the responsibility of the senior to answer the curiosity of his juniors.

"Usually, I wouldn't be dispatched. However, this is an extraordinary incident, so I was sent down separately to determine the causal relationship. It is the reason why the existence of examiners are almost unknown," Shugel explained.

"Ah..., I see."

"Isn't there one more thing that you'd like to ask?"

Theodore flinched at Shugel's words. He did indeed have one more thing he wanted to ask.

Even by horse, it would take one week to go back and forth from the Miller Barony to the capital, yet Shugel had gotten there within less than a day since the news reached the capital. It was a speed which defied common sense in many ways.

However, Theo found the answer instead of asking the question. "Elder Shugel is a space magician."

His voice was filled with a lot of respect. It couldn't be helped since space magic was a magic system which was classified as having top level difficulty. Wind attribute magicians had a fairly high aptitude, but nevertheless, those who could be called, 'space magicians,' could be counted with fingers. Moreover, sitting right before Theo's eyes was Shugel, who had crossed the distance with rare space magic!

"Huh... That is the right answer. You should feel bad for intercepting what this old man wanted to say to you."

"Huh? Ah, I'm sorry."

"Hahaha! It was a joke, a joke. It isn't bad to be serious, but life will get tiring if you don't have a sense of humour."

"I-Is that so?" Just like the Blue Tower Master, it was difficult for Theo to deal with the elderly people of the magic towers.

Theo inwardly sighed as he already felt tired. Meanwhile, Sylvia was just sitting down and reading a book. She must have already finished her conversation, or Shugel must want to hear the report entirely from Theo.

***

Indeed, the old man stopped with the small talk and began hearing the story of the elder lich.

"Finally, I heard that you were the target of the elder lich..." Shugel smiled as he looked at Theo and then continued saying, "Even if you were transferred to the core room, how did you destroy the Life Vessel? Theoretically, it can only be done by a sword master or 7th Circle magician."

"For me, it was a last ditch effort." Theo had prepared an answer for the difficult question a long time ago. He had a simple answer to the trick which could destroy the Life Vessel.

"I put the Life Vessel into the dimension pocket I borrowed from Master and destroyed the entire pouch. It is crazy when I think about it now."

According to Gluttony's explanation, the Life Vessel had only been protected by the negative resource, so there had been a possibility of destroying it if it had been isolated in a dimension pocket. Of course, it was just a possibility, so it couldn't be for certain.

However, in this situation, there was no way to verify it and it didn't sound ridiculous. It was also a great excuse for how he managed to destroy the dimension pocket.

The astonished Shugel repeated his words, "Ah, you destroyed a dimension pocket?"

"Yes, it happened by accident."

"Dimension pocket... Oh, the dimension pocket? I didn't think it could be used for such a purpose... Indeed, truly creative..." Shugel muttered with blank eyes like the answer was quite shocking. Anyone who saw him would be afraid that the old man had lost his soul. However, Elder Shugel of the White Tower gradually regained his original complexion.

"I was thinking in the wrong direction... It is possible. In the end, you did do it."

"O-Of course."

"Huh... Killing an elder lich with a dimension pocket... It is truly lucky."

In fact, it was. If the elder lich hadn't moved Theodore, the owner of Gluttony, down to the core room, then the elder lich would've won. Subsequently, he would have destroyed the Miller Barony and completely eroded the host, causing a worldwide catastrophe. As Shugel said, the catastrophe had been averted due to luck.

Shugel calmed his rough breathing and continued to speak, "Thank you for cooperating. Your words make sense. It matches the testimonies of the other people... I'm sorry that I thought you were an accomplice in this situation."

"No. You just did your job." Theo finished the conversation with a polite expression.

Thanks to his thorough preparation, he convinced the examiner without revealing any dubious parts by mistake.

However, Shugel looked at Theo with a warm expression, like he was impressed by Theo's attitude. "Your words have eased by heart. Then I will give you the final message and end this old man's job."

Theo's eyebrows twitched as the warm atmosphere finished. His work as a examiner was over, so what was left?

Sylvia also looked up from her book like she was worried. Was Theo's peaceful routine going to be caught up in a big whirlpool again? A strange feeling went down his spine.

"If I just came as an examiner, other magicians would be sufficient. But I came here personally because I received an order to bring you."

"Bring... me?"

"That's right." Shugel pulled out a piece of paper and read out its contents, "The investigators dispatched to the Miller Barony, Theodore MIller and Sylvia, should return as soon as possible. I give this instruction to Elder Shugel of the White Tower... In the Meltor Kingdom, only three people can command me directly like this."

The old man spoke as he folded his wrinkled fingers one by one, "Red Tower Master Veronica, Blue Tower Master Blundell, and His Majesty Kurt III."

At this point, Theodore's tension reached its peak. Was it the call of the Red Tower Master who didn't know his face, the Blue Tower Master who had given him the mission, or His Majesty the King?

Theo made assumptions for all three cases, but none of them fit his expectations.

"But this is the first time I've seen all three names on the command. Theodore Miller, you seem to have caught the eyes of those in the upper echelons."

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