Chapter 211 - Upcoming Battle (2)
Indeed, Theodore's prediction was right. Baek Dongil was waiting for him in the central tower of the Magic Society, which was responsible for all the administrative work.
Although Baek Dongil looked a little more mature than a few months ago, he still had the same black hair and sweet eyes. The shine in his eyes was no different from the one in Theodore's memories.
Theodore greeted Baek Dongil with a smile, "It has been a while, Dongil."
"Yes, Brother! Have you been well in the meantime?"
Baek Dongil seemed to have learned western etiquette as shown in the way he greeted Theodore. He was more mature than before. His head reached Theodore's shoulders, and there was some hair on his chin. It was evident that this boy was becoming a young man.
Their meeting in the Soldun Kingdom seemed like it had been just yesterday, but time was like a flying arrow which never looked back.
In addition to that, Theodore looked inside Baek Dongil. After discarding the three dan method, Baek Dongil had mastered three circles with the great magic system. It was remarkable progress, even if Baek Dongil's talent was excellent.
'This is a tremendous development in a short amount of time. It's not a level that can be achieved with just talent. Perhaps he only got the minimum of sleep every day.'
It would be better to learn as a blank slate. However, Baek Dongil had started off using the wrong method, so it was obvious that his studying would be twice as hard as that of others. He needed to understand magic theory which was completely separate from shamanism.
A great maestro had said this, 'It was easier to teach a beginner than a learned person.'
Despite such adverse conditions, Baek Dongil had gone beyond that difficulty. It had only been a short relationship, but it was a fulfilling achievement for Theodore who had once taught him.
"You have improved a lot. I thought it would take a year, but you have already mastered three circles?"
"I am still lacking, Brother."
"There is no fault in your spoken common language except for pronunciation, and you have managed to come here in less than half a year. Well done."
"B-Brother." Baek Dongil flushed red at the direct praise. He had been born in a family of prestigious warriors, yet he had no talent and couldn't learn aura. So, this was his first time being acknowledged and praised. Baek Dongil bowed his head to cover his burning eyes. Theodore understood his feelings and turned around first.
"You've just arrived, so you don't know the way, do you? Let's go to my room."
"Let me hear your story on the way up. I am very curious if Master Baek is doing well."
"Yes, I will do so," Baek Dongil responded with a loud voice as he secretly wiped his tears with his sleeves and then followed Theodore. "Last month, Father was named a marquis by the Soldun royal family. He was going to start as an earl, but the crown prince helped my father a lot."
"Indeed, he received the position of marquis after naturalization."
Nobles couldn't exert great power in Meltor, even if they were a marquis. However, in other countries, a marquis would have a knights division, troops, and several territories, giving them power equivalent to the king of a small country. At most, an earl could only lead 1,000 soldiers. Yet a foreigner had managed to climb up to the position of marquis.
'But there are few who will have the guts to confront a master. The complaints will keep accumulating until they explode...'
The prince who had naturalized Baek Jongmyung would be held responsible for all of this. Theodore recalled the prince he had once met. What was the reason for him to proceed with such a political burden so soon?
'...Perhaps...' A possible speculation entered Theodore's mind.
Perhaps Crown Prince Elsid was in the middle of a civil war! If this was a civil war, using armed forces would be the correct judgment. The difference in military power between what an earl and a marquis could mobilize was enormous.
Political weakness? That was meaningless. Once a civil war began, politics would fall to the wayside, and the winner would decide the right and wrong.
'So, the fact that Dongil was sent to Meltor at this time... It is probably to protect him until the end of the civil war. I don't know if it was Master Baek or the prince's idea, but they have a good head.'
Even if the entire Central Continent were at odds, the north wouldn't be affected. There was no country whose blade could reach Baek Dongil here, at the center of Mana-vil. Any hostile acts toward Baek Dongil would be a declaration against Theodore Miller, who was regarded as a hero.
The promise of the past had become Baek Dongil's shield.
'Well, the party involved doesn't seem to know.'
Theodore couldn't find any signs of this on Baek Dongil's face, who was still sniffling. Moreover, it wasn't easy to deceive Theodore, whose senses had become sharper since Mitra's flowering.
As they walked through the corridor, Theodore wondered how he should treat Baek Dongil. He came to a conclusion more easily than he'd thought he would.
"You don't have to give me a definite answer, but... do you want to become a fellow disciple of my master?"
"...Huh?" Baek Dongil looked surprised.
Meanwhile, Theodore thought about his decision.
He didn't have time to teach, so that was directly dismissed. Additionally, he was now the captain of Quattro and didn't have time to take charge of a disciple. Most of all, Theodore didn't have the knack for teaching. It might be due to his habit of studying alone at the academy's library, or maybe it was because his mind was too good.
'I don't know how to make other people understand.'
It was a story from before he'd met Gluttony. The professors had ignored him due to his low sensitivity, and the students had hated to even study with him. He had needed to think and realize things alone. Thus, Theodore's thinking abilities had developed abnormally.
Theodore could find answers to his own questions, but he couldn't sympathize with the questions that others had. Therefore, Theodore thought about asking his master, Vince Haidel, to play the role of mentor.
'I remember a story Master told once.'
Vince had no idea what he would soon be asked, but he would enthusiastically accept. A student with Theodore's talent and sincerity was something that any magician would desire. However, Baek Dongil's eyes turned red as he replied, "I will be Brother's junior disciple?"
"If you don't want to, I can suggest other people-"
"N-No! Absolutely not! I will become your junior disciple no matter what!"
"Y-Yes. Then I will tell him." Theodore took a step back at the enthusiastic reaction.
However, Baek Dongil just smiled at him. "I will become a magician who won't shame our sect!"
"U-Umm... magicians don't really have the concept of sect..."
"Ah, and Brother. Father told me to give this letter to you."
Baek Dongil nodded and pulled out an envelope. It was luxurious. The 'Baek' stamped on the envelope was probably a seal. Theodore received the envelope with a puzzled expression and carefully pulled out the letter.
After a while, Theodore's face stiffened.
* * *
Elsewhere, the influential people in the palace were gathered for a meeting.
The theme of the meeting was 'measures and justifications to intervene in Soldun's civil war.'
It wasn't the Kargas Kingdom but the Soldun Kingdom, which was closer to the south than the north. In order to dispatch troops from Meltor to Soldun, it would take a month by land. Even with the support of the White Tower, it would take more than a fortnight.
However, it was an unauthorized intrusion.
"Secretly dispatch a messenger!" The person who insisted on this was Robert, the minister for the army. "Send an agent of the white tower-no, the Tower Master should move directly to secretly contact the prince. If the nobles have joined hands with Lairon, Prince Elsid will be willing to accept our support!"
"No, that conclusion is too hasty." On the contrary, the minister of foreign affairs refuted this. "We know that the intelligence of the white tower is credible, but in Soldun's case, there is a possibility of creating the misunderstanding of foreign interference. We have to wait for the Lairon Kingdom or Andras' shadows to move."
Robert pounded his chest and shouted like the minister of foreign affairs was being ridiculous, "Then it will be too late! You don't know how dangerous it is to be late to a battlefield!"
"Minister! You can't ignore the department of foreign affairs!"
"You are being ridiculous! We are talking about Soldun's civil war!"
Kurt was just watching instead of participating in the debate. It was fatal to be late for a war, but the minister of foreign affairs was correct that they shouldn't be too hasty. Both sides were reasonable, so it was difficult to choose one.
As he pressed a hand to his temple, Kurt continued to think, 'It is tricky. The nobles of Soldun have already contacted the Lairon government and set up a dark road. The longer we delay contacted the crown prince, the more detrimental it becomes and our odds will fall under 2%.'
The prince might've brought a sword master from the East, but Lairon's special forces wouldn't be small. The situation couldn't be reversed with just one sword master.
Elsid would lose. Still, the prince was unaware of everything, and Andras would be keen to prevent Meltor from getting in touch with him. Their hands and feet would be tied up.
'Damn, this is a really irritating situation.'
It was possible to send the White Tower Master to infiltrate, but the Andras Empire would probably send the empire's Seven Swords to block the infiltration. There would inevitably be a large scale battle, and there would be larger vigilance against the northern powers.
Andras was a close friend of the Lairon Kingdom, so they had nothing to lose. However, Meltor would suffer a big loss for nothing. It was at this moment that...
"Quattro's Captain, Theodore Miller, has arrived!" The voices of the guards at the entrance suddenly rang out, causing everyone to fall silent. The value of Theodore's name was much greater now.
Veronica blinked from where she was guarding the throne and turned to the other tower masters.
Theodore's red robes flapped gently as he entered and said, "Your Majesty, I came because I need to urgently talk to you."
Theodore had the same authority as a tower master, so he could skip the formalities if there was an urgent situation. However, that right was just a ceremonial act, and Kurt hasn't expected Theodore to use it. What was so urgent that a model student would skip the formalities?
Yet the heated atmosphere of the room cooled immediately at Theodore's words, "Today, a guest came to see me, and I received a letter from him that I have to give to Your Majesty."
"Yes, the sender is..." Theodore stopped for one beat before dropping a bomb on everyone. "It is Crown Prince Elsid of the Soldun Kingdom."