Return Home After Five Years #1
The call of the Blue Tower Master, Blundell Adruncus...!
Both men were puzzled by the unexpected call but were forced to accept the request. Even if their senior and junior relationship was flexible, this was a command from the person at the top of a tower. They couldn't refuse even if they didn't know Blundell's intentions.
The Blue Tower wasn't that far from the Magic Society, so the two people followed Melrose and soon entered the Blue Tower. Many faces swung toward Theo as he walked through the entrance.
"..Master, why do I feel eyes on me?"
Vince was also sensitive to the gazes of the people, so he nodded with an uncomfortable expression.
"It seems like you have become a celebrity after yesterday. As expected from the Blue Tower, rumours spread unnecessarily fast."
"Is there anything I should care about?"
"Just ignore it. If you give them any attention, they will just cling to you."
The Red Tower was crude, while the Blue Tower was shady. Those were the words the two towers used when mocking each other. However, there was a basis for them. The Red Tower emphasized strength rather than logic, while the Blue Tower used a lot of tricks rather than frontal competition. The identities of the two rival towers were quite consistent with this.
Just like it wasn't good to face a red tower magician who would immediately duel instead of debating, it was also best to not deal with a blue tower magician who could drag things out for hours.
Theo listened to the advice of Vince, who had the experience, and walked while ignoring his surroundings. The two people followed Melrose's lead and arrived at the top floor where the tower master lived.
They stopped in front of a door decorated with colourful patterns, and Melrose bowed down politely. As Vince stepped forward, the door opened with a horrible sound.
Then as soon as the Vince and Theodore entered, magic was used to close the door again. Just like magic, the room was suddenly filled with artifacts. The old man sitting on the stool, Blundell, got up and welcomed them.
"Ohh, welcome! Sorry for calling you so early in the morn...ing?"
Blundell opened his arms, then he suddenly stopped moving and fixed his gaze on Vince. His eyes which had been laughing suddenly shone like transparent glass beads. After 10 seconds, Blundell smiled so widely that his mouth wrinkled, "Kuahaha! Vince, you finally took a layer off!"
"...What do you mean?"
"Ah, this person! Why are you trying to cheat the eyes of this Blue Tower Master? Anyway, congratulations on going beyond the wall!"
"Hoo, thank you."
As expected from a 8th Circle magician; Blundell had noticed Vince's achievement with one glance. He gave a cheerful laugh. They exchanged greetings before sitting down at a large table. An unknown fragrance came from the hot tea. Perhaps the conversation wouldn't be short.
"Vince, can I ask you something first?"
"932 and 1106. Do you know what these numbers mean?"
Vince frowned at the sudden emergence of numbers. When asked, any wise person would be better off holding their tongues. He didn't answer, so Blundell naturally taught him the meaning of the numbers.
"Those numbers represent the number of people who have been looking for information on Vince Haidel and Theodore Miller, respectively, since yesterday."
The eyes of the two people widened when they heard this. They had achieved some fame from yesterday's awards ceremony, but they hadn't expected so many people to pay attention to them. Considering that those who were qualified to access information at the Magic Society were limited, it was a considerably large force.
As Vince and Theo stiffened, Blundell shook his head and released some of the tension.
"Well, you don't have to worry. I realized this and blocked it before the ceremony began. The only one with more authority than me is His Majesty, so you can relax."
"...Did you know it would be like this?"
"It always happens. Every year, people keep trying to recruit promising participants. The scale is just bigger this time," Blundell replied calmly while sipping his tea.
On the other hand, Vince couldn't help frowning. He despised these political things and had escaped the capital, but the same people were now reaching out to his disciple. As anger boiled within him, his six circles emitted magic power unconsciously. The air around them quickly became heavy.
The wrath of a 6th Circle magician was truly terrible. Fortunately, there was one more powerful magician in the room.
"Come now, don't get too heated up." Then Blundell beckoned.
The air instantly cooled down. The distorted air became cool like the autumn wind, allowing Theo to know the power of the being before his eyes. It was an absolute magic where chanting and casting were meaningless!
The power of this magician, who had reached the 8th Circle 30 years ago, was closer to a natural disaster. If Blundell wanted, he could create ice with one flick of his finger. He could make Sylvia's Blizzard look like child's play, and it was even possible to cover sand with ice.
After cooling down the atmosphere, Blundell spoke, "Even if you are a 6th Circle magician, you can't throw away politics. It isn't a wise choice to be antagonistic to those in power."
"Then what would the wise Tower Master do?"
"Huh? If it were me, I'd just beat up all them up. I'm an 8th Circle magician, so I don't care about stepping on them."
As the two people gaped at the ridiculous words, Blundell laughed and pulled something out.
"That is a joke. I've prepared this for you."
It was an envelope stamped with the seal of the Magic Society. Unlike Theo who had a bewildered expression, Vince knew exactly what it was.
"Is it a dispatch? Theodore is still just the Basic ranking."
"If you can't get rid of the shit, avoid it. It is better than staying in your room until the end of the magic contest." Blundell smiled with satisfaction as he added, "Theodore, hasn't it been five years since you returned home? How would you like to take this opportunity to go back?"
"Huh? Return to my home?"
"Coincidentally, the destination of this dispatch mission is to the Miller Barony."
This made the story a bit different. Vince could remove Theodore from the nuisance eyes of the nobles without worrying about offending them, and Theo could meet his family after a long time. It wasn't a bad proposition if the difficulty level of the request was reasonable.
Vince watched as Theo identified the contents of the dispatch. It was a report of a cave and contained a person's biography. The final mission statement contained a few short instructions.
"...Investigate the whereabouts of the magician sent to survey a cave found in the Miller Barony? Isn't it a pretty simple request?"
Blundell agreed with Theo's words and continued the explanation, "It isn't a dungeon but an ordinary cave found three months ago. A moderately smart person was sent to survey the inside, but..."
"Contact has been cut off."
"Cough, that's right."
It happened quite frequently. By default, magicians were self-indulgent people, and their essence didn't change much after belonging to the magic towers. Once they found something worth investigating, they would become immersed in it for several months. If so, it was common to send someone else to find that investigator.
"You don't need to do any hard work. It is enough to rest at home and avoid some of the rumours. If you find the magician, it would be nice if you came back with them."
It wasn't that difficult. The Miller Barony was his playground, and his father was a poor lord with nothing to hide. If they weren't really deeply hidden, then he would be able to find the magician instantly.
Theo received Vince's permission and accepted the envelope.
Then all of a sudden, Blundell started to speak in an melodramatic tone, "Ah~ This old man is suddenly worried because you are so young. If that person didn't deliberately cut off contact, it may be a bit dangerous~"
"What are you saying all of a sudden?" Vince asked.
"Hey! I have a suitable companion for you!" Blundell ignored Vince and beat his staff against the ground. It seemed like a signal for someone else to appear.
As suspicions appeared on the faces of the two people, someone emerged from behind a large bookcase. With blue eyes and dazzling silver hair, Sylvia was carrying a white staff which was different from the one she used in the competition.
"...Sylvia," Theo muttered quietly.
Sylvia muttered in response while bowing her head, "Ah, hello."
It was an awkward exchange. Both were distant from society, and one person was unilaterally favourable toward the other. It wasn't a scene where they could possibly communicate smoothly. The two of them had only exchanged a few words during their match, so they were awkward until Blundell pushed Sylvia.
"You aren't the only ones who have received attention since yesterday. Sylvia is going through a similar thing."
"Don't tell me that the companion..."
"Yes, it is Sylvia!"
Theodore swiftly put down the envelope as he realized this. "I'm sorry, but I'll take the next opp-"
"No, wait a minute," Blundell interrupted before Theo could say the words of rejection and grabbed Theo's shoulders. As Theodore was being grabbed by an immense strength, a subdued voice rang in his ears. It was a situation where couldn't help feeling afraid.
"It might be a little burdensome, but Sylvia has absolutely no experience with friendship. Her magic skills are great, but she is mentally young. So, I would like her to build up some social experience on this trip."
"Oh, even so, isn't it too much for a woman to go on a trip with a man?"
"As I mentioned, that child is still unaware of the opposite sex. The interest shown to you is due to a feeling of similarity. A friendly person is necessary."
Still, Theo couldn't help feeling burdened. Theo wasn't able to answer easily, so Blundell took out something resembling a plaque and showed it to Theo. It had the symbol of the Magic Society and Blundell's signature on it.
"This is a nameplate given to the inspector from the Magic Society, and a grant is given according to the rank of the nameplate. If you take a mission that corresponds to the lowest Rank 9, you will receive a grant of three gold. But..."
Blundell raised a finger to the nameplate, changing the nine to a number five. "I can do this at my discretion."
"Then the grant..."
"Of course, it will increase. As I recall, I can pay up to 100 gold."
Theo's eyes widened as he heard 100 gold. 'If I receive 100 gold at this time...'
It was a huge amount of money that was several years worth of budget for the Miller Barony! Above all, there were many farmers who were starving to death because they couldn't produce a harvest.
If he added the 200 gold he'd received as the prize for the tournament, they wouldn't need to worry about the harvest for 10 years. He could buy nice clothes for his parents who always wore old clothing as well as ease the burden of the poor and hungry in his home.
Of course, he was forced to agree. "...I understand. I will go with Sylvia."
"Ohh! Yes, you thought well! The opportunity to be accompanied by a 5th Circle magician isn't that common! Huhahaha!"
While Blundell was laughing loudly, Theo faced Sylvia who was staring at him.
As their eyes met, she waved with a shy expression. Sylvia's beautifully smiling face felt much younger than her appearance.
What would he hear when he took her home?
'Phew, can't this be called a gold mine?'
Theo had become a 4th Circle magician and was returning home with 300 gold and a pretty girl. It was something which would appear in the early stages of a hero's story.
While any young man would be in a state of envy, Theo could only let out a deep sigh.