Black and White
Meribald was a 367 year old high-ranking wizard, although he preferred to be called a scholar. With the power of his magic, even at his age he was plenty vigorous, and had very supple skin as though he was a young man. Only his greying hair betrayed his age, but it seemed more like an accent to his wisdom and foresight.
He had served as president of the Wizards' Guild in the Dambrath Imperial Capital for over a hundred years, and had handled innumerable major events. He had also awarded numerous medals to talented wizards, and judged notorious ones. By now, he'd begun to think his still and unfeeling heart would no longer receive any blows.
He hadn't expected how stunned he would be today.
Meribald pushed his spectacles up, his finger brushing against the uneven imprints on the identification document. There was no problem with the magic imprint! That was what his abundance of experience was telling him, but he was horrified by what the results of his investigation meant.
"Proof of nobility! Wizard Ernest's testimonial! And the final round of examination of the documents didn't meet with any issues! In that case, this young noble, who is just sixteen years of age, is really a rank 10 wizard? In Azuth's name..." Meribald's jaw slowly dropped as he looked at the young man in front of him.
With such innate skill at his age... Meribald wondered whether he was about to witness the birth of the kingdom's wizarding Legend.
"Excuse me, guild leader. Is there any problem?" The question raised by the young wizard across him shook Meribald from his reverie.
"Of... Of course not! Congratulations, wizard Leylin!" Meribald secretly sighed as he placed his magic imprint on the wizard ranking document. This document would be filed away as proof of Leylin's identity as a wizard.
"From today onwards, you are a mid-ranked wizard as verified by the Wizards' Guild! May Azuth bless you..." Although this was not the deity he believed in, Leylin still lowered his head respectfully to express his humility.
Meribald passed Leylin a wizard robe enhanced with a 'Remove Dust' spell and other coats of arms and documents. When conducting the ceremony, Meribald could see Leylin's love of magic and the pursuit of truth in his eyes; this same look once existed in his eyes when he was younger!
'Perhaps only such a person will truly have the ability to break through into the realm of Legends, and become a being that I can only dream of...' Meribald gasped in admiration to himself, a warm hearted expression on his face. He kindly gave some advice to Leylin as well. "Wizard Leylin! Although you have already entered the ranks of a mid-level wizard, I suggest that you study in the imperial capital's Wizards' Guild for a while. A few of the latest philosophies and models in magic are present here, and will be very important for you right now."
"That is precisely what I wish for, distinguished guild leader!" Leylin performed a wizard's bow to the high-ranked wizard. His movements were unbelievably graceful.
'I didn't expect that things would get this troublesome. It seems like the talent I displayed made me quite outstanding. However, I can't get the attention of the other guys without doing so...' Leylin secretly gave a bitter laugh.
A sixteen-year-old rank 10 wizard! Such innate talent seemed rather horrifying. After verifying his rank, a few old fogeys immediately acted as though they had suffered a stroke, and even involved the guild leader.
Fortunately, he'd already earned his fame as a genius wizard. All of his improvements had been witnessed by Ernest, and it had saved him a lot of trouble. With regards to the Devilblood Dagger and other items that would easily be associated with evil, Leylin didn't carry any of them with him.
'Proof that I'm a rank 10 wizard. Even if I travel abroad, it's enough for me to receive preferential treatment...; Leylin fiddled with the wizard insignia in his hand. It was decorated with a silver moon and stars, and there a sense of indistinct beauty to it. In addition, it was also bound to its wizard owner, and outsiders would absolutely be unable to make a counterfeit copy.
"Leylin Faulen!" A few men carrying the symbol of a high-level inspector stood at the door of the wizard guild. A team of guards crowded around Leylin, intercepting him.
Leylin even saw a few priests of the God of Justice among the team, watching him with judgeful stares.
'They're only here now? It's a little late... Or are they afraid of the power of the wizard guild?'
"Is anything the matter?" Leylin asked the inspector in front of him with a smile.
"You are suspected of a crime in the open seas. I need you to assist in our investigations!" The inspector said expressionlessly.
Judges, public security officers, policemen and the like all advocated righteousness, and were the main source of followers for the God of Justice. Leylin wouldn't be surprised if they had the backing of the church of the God of Justice or if they were tipped off by them.
"If I say no?" Leylin looked at him ridiculously.
"You do not have the authority to reject!" With a wave of the inspector's hand, a few guards immediately closed in.
"You..." Leylin gaze was as harsh as lightning, and he raised his voice by a few notches.
"Don't tell me you dare to apprehend an innocent nobleman in the imperial capital? And slander a noble mid-ranked wizard in front of the wizard guild at that!"
Noble! Wizard! Once these two upper-class identities were revealed, many guards immediately retreated in fear.
In their plain and simple thoughts, this was definitely a struggle between influential powers. Why should they take part? Aren't they afraid of getting into trouble for being involved?
After witnessing this scene, the inspector knitted his brows. But before he could take his next course of action, the intense sound of a horse's hooves could be heard.
"His Majesty decrees that Leylin Faulen will enter the palace and have an audience with the King!" An imperial knight dressed in a splendid suit of armor dismounted his steed and displayed a document to the inspector with the king's royal seal stamped on it. "His Majesty wishes to convene a legislative hearing with regards to this, and has specially gathered Viscount Tim to testify..."
For some reason, Leylin's peaceful state gave the inspector a bad feeling. However, he couldn't stop this from happening, or he would be declaring war on the law that he had vowed his loyalty and devotion to.
"You know... Even when things seem black and white, there will always be infinitesimal shades of grey existing between them. Isn't that right, Sir Inspector?" Leylin mounted the horse and taunted.
"Even with Viscount Tim bearing witness, His Majesty definitely will not let you off." The inspector's face changed drastically, but he eventually chose to have faith in the king.
"I'll wait and see," Leylin smiled lightly as he disappeared into the end of the road along with the knight.
"We'll wait in front of the main entrance of the court. I don't believe it..." The inspector bit his lip and waved his hand firmly. Evidently, the unease he felt had become stronger.
"What a pity... If Lorent and the others can reach in time..." The priest of the God of Justice sighed. "Even if that's the case, the sinner must receive trial and punishment!"
The events that followed progressed like a stage play. Numerous people appeared on stage one by one like marionettes at Leylin's fingertips, and evil got the last laugh.
With the victim, Viscount Tim, testifying personally, as well as the instigation by Marquise Louise, when her husband was asleep, Leylin didn't even need to open his mouth to speak. When it came to such matters, taking part in them himself would lead to a loss. He had to maintain the reserved and cold attitude of a noble.
The inspector's last trace of persistence was thoroughly smashed to smithereens with the king's single statement.
'With regards to the murder of the Gold Thornblossom Marquis in the open seas, our investigations have confirmed it to be a crime committed by the pirate crew called the Barbarians. I hereby order the arrest of the leaders of the aforementioned, namely Odge and Tillen..."
"Why? Why did it turn out like this?" The inspector knelt on the floor with tears in his eyes as he began to sob silently.
"Because this was a misunderstanding to begin with! In actual fact, I'm proud of how the kingdom has such a responsible and diligent inspector like you..." Leylin happened to walk out at this moment, and saluted elegantly to the inspector upon hearing him. He had the attitude of a person who was trying to put a stop to the enmity between them with a smile.
There were now two more titles to his name. One was his identity as an imperial wizard, and the other was as an honorary viscount. They weren't of much use, but they had a nice ring to it. He had received them after entertaining the king.
Even though the king used to be brilliant when he was younger, he was clearly addicted to wine and women at present. As long as it didn't involve his authority and prestige, the king wouldn't have any reaction. Leylin had his methods of handling such an old fellow.
What made him happier was that after this statement was issued in writing, no one else would give him trouble about the pirates. He could also conveniently hinder the Barbarians. What wasn't there to be happy about?
"Why..." Leylin smiled gracefully as he skillfully mingled with the circle of nobles in the imperial capital, and was even chatting cheerfully with Viscount Tim as if they were blood brothers. Seeing this, the inspector sunk completely into perplexity. At this moment, his faith was even in danger of being shattered.
"My child... Justice has always been lonely. The road of people persisting in justice is inevitably filled with thorns, but we believe that the ultimate victory will definitely belong to us!" The priest's warm hand landed on the inspector's shoulder, becoming his sole support.
'The God of Justice? Hmph!' Leylin's expression didn't change, but he sneered secretly to himself.
Outside the imperial capital, Lorent and company could finally see the city walls after a challenging trek.
"We finally made it. According to our intelligence reports, he's in the city. He can't run away this time!" Lorent's face was filled with excitement, and also a little fury at the same time.
Previously in Gloomwood Castle, they had first been impeded by the matter regarding the devil worshippers. As compared to pirates, the movements of devil worshippers were obviously much more important. But after busying themselves with it, they discovered that it was a false alarm. Not only that, they had wasted a huge amount of time, and even let their original target get to the imperial capital!
Fortunately, with the church's information network, he had nowhere else to run to now.
"Prepare to accept punishment, Leylin Faulen!" Although they hadn't met, Lorente had already sketched an image of him in his heart: cunning, savage, and full of evil! This noble should have been burnt alive at the stake!