Calian scratched his cheek.
“They’re being so obvious,”
A mountain load of gifts were placed next to Calian.
He supposed they were ‘gifts of consolation’ for last night’s ball where Rumein entered with Franz by his side instead of punishing him. Of course, that was just an excuse.
Calian pointed at the gifts – or bribes – with his fork and said playfully,
“Are they choosing my lane already?”
The rumour that Franz insulted Freya spread like wildfire. The attendants, maids, and knights were all present in the scene, and they also owned their own set of mouths after all.
However, Rumein showed everyone that he had forgiven Franz by entering the ballroom with Franz. The main issue was that Rumein announced right after that he would be rewarding Melfir for the afternoon performance.
“Today’s show was very memorable. As thanks, I would like to award Pollun Merchantry the supply rights for the palace and the Kyrisis knights’ horses and harnesses.”
Normally, knights are expected to bring their own horses and arms. However, that wasn’t the case for the knights in the palace and Kyrisis, the capital city of Kyris. The palace provided everything in order to achieve a high-level standardisation of military power.
Therefore, horses made up a significant portion of Kyrisis’ military power that consisted of forces such as the palace knights, knights in Kyrisis, the outer castle guards, and the security officials of the city. Naturally, their trade value was incredibly high.
And Rumein had given these rights to Pollun Merchantry.
Even when this ridiculous amount of rights was taken away, there were no particular reactions from Silica and Lennon Brissen. This suggested that everything was decided in advance. Melfir Pollun was the only one who was surprised out of his mind.
They had made a deal with Prince Franz on the line.
The nobles were bound to understand that. Brissen had never stepped forward before no matter what Franz did. The fact that they submitted to a loss like this could only mean one thing.
Calian now has enough power to make Silica raise her guard.
Some of the nobles who were reading the atmosphere washed their hands of Franz. The numbers were small compared to if Franz had not been forgiven, of course, but there had to be some who wished to pull away. Those were the people who sent Calian these gifts of consolation.
“What should I do with them, Your Highness?” asked Yan.
“Return everything except two. Just write down the names of the senders before returning them,” answered Calian, enjoying his breakfast in relaxation for the first time since he had become the prince of Kyris. He didn’t attend breakfast this morning for the same reason as his absence at last night’s ball.
The ones whose names will be written down now will never be chosen by Calian again.
Calian didn’t need anyone who was willing to change what they stood for in a mere three days of adjustment.
“Yes, Your Highness. Which two should I leave?”
“The ones from Mages’ Union and Melfir Pollun.”
Calian answered without hesitation even though he hadn’t even checked the names of those who sent him gifts. He sounded confident that the two of them had sent him gifts. Yan scanned the list and nodded, his eyes widening in surprise.
The Mages’ Union and Melfir Pollun were both on the list.
Yan seemed curious as to how Calian knew that the two would be on the list. However, Calian wasn’t finished.
“Just accept the one sent by the Mages’ Union, but let me see what Baron Pollun sent me.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
There was only one reason for accepting the gift sent by the Mages’ Union: to spread the news that he had joined forces with the Mages’ Union with Alan Manasil acting as their intermediate.
Yan began to sort the gifts right away. Soon, having excluded the rest, only two boxes remained on the table. Yan picked up the wide, flat box and opened it.
“This is the gift from Baron Pollun.”
Calian halted in the midst of gracefully slicing his ham. Curious about his master’s reaction, Yan peeked into the box.
Yan’s eyes widened like an owl’s, and Calian burst out laughing. After laughing his lungs out for a long while, Calian drank a sip of water to calm himself down.
“Surely he doesn’t mean for me to wear it. Did you tell the merchantry anything special?”
“Um… I did tell them that you’re quite fond of Raven.”
Calian started laughing again. It was a necklace with a very long chain. It was too long for a person to wear; in other words, it was just the right length for a horse.
Yan had asked the servant at the showground yesterday to take special care for Raven in concern that they might anger Raven. Melfir must have heard from the servant that Calian was particularly fond of Raven.
“A necklace for a horse… I never could have expected that. I don’t even have a necklace myself, and now our Raven’s getting one before me.”
The platinum chain seemed like it would go well with Raven’s black mane. A ruby pendant sparkled brightly in the centre. Calian chuckled and shook off the remainder of his laughter by shaking his head.
“I can’t even refuse this. It looks like it would be perfect for Raven,” said Calian, going back to slicing his ham.
“Appraise the cost and send it to Pollun Merchantry. Tell them that we’ll buy it off them.”
“Would you rather not just accept it?”
“No. I’ll buy it instead.”
Of course, Melfir would not have just sent the horse necklace as thanks for saving his life.
He was probably planning to sound out Calian’s motive for saving him.
‘I can’t let him go with just some pieces of jewellery.’
Calian knew that if he accepted that present, Melfir would send him the real gift that was closer to the value of his life. That’s probably why he sent me a necklace for Raven. He wants to tell me that he has a different gift for me.
However, it wasn’t wealth that Calian wanted. That was why he couldn’t just accept Melfir’s gift.
“The only gifts that I’ll just accept for a while will be the ones from the Mages’ Union. Tell me if Pollun Merchantry sends me something else. You can just return the gifts from other nobles.”
Although he felt bad for not telling Yan about what happened with Melfir, he didn’t have a way to explain how he knew that the accident would happen.
Thankfully, Yan didn’t ask further.
“Yes, Your Highness. I will take care of them.”
Calian glanced at the necklace before bursting into another bout of laughter.
It got funnier the more he looked at it.
Alan sat in front of his desk and massaged his temples. He opened his eyes slightly and glanced at the person in front of him.
“Bring it over here,” said Alan.
The woman, who now had distinct eye bags, placed a new bundle of papers in front of him. Euria unsteadily pulled back her arms and said,
“This is the information from yesterday. There’s really nothing left anymore, Sir Manasil. They scraped up everything.”
Euria Seiren, the head of the Mages’ Union, was the oldest daughter of Count Seiren, whose family were mainly mages and had brought forth many magic engineers. She was a competent mage who had mastered the 5th circle.
Euria believed the Ancient Dragon Sispanian and Alan Manassil more than she believed the Goddess Serenity.
That was how absolute Alan Manassil was to Euria.
She was a true mage down to her bones. It went without saying that Euria was deeply moved to see the red-and-silver-haired mage step into the union’s headquarters on the second morning of the King’s birthday celebration.
The first thing that Alan said to Euria upon their meeting was:
“Do the mages here believe that a baby lion with a dagger is fit to wear the crown?”
“Of course not,”. Euria replied without a moment’s hesitation.
“What must we do?”
The two days since then were hell itself.
Those two days were so rough, that her cult-like faith in Alan Manasil almost died down a little.
If the information that they were combing over the whole city of Kyrsis for wasn’t about Silica’s plot, the mages would not have left the building to find more information while looking like they were about to fall dead any second.
“I can guarantee you that we collected a ridiculous amount of information considering the time frame,” said Euria.
“I know,” replied Alan.
“I’ve been thinking that mages are actually quite good at finding information.”
“Yes. It’s an unexpected talent. I’m also seriously wondering if I should establish an information guild.”
Alan chuckled and nodded, proceeding to summarise the information that they had collected.
“Since Silica came into power, four suspicious deaths happened in the palace that was likely to have involved poison or assassination. Similarly, six mages seem to have been poisoned, and thirteen nobles also poisoned or assassinated… it’s absurd that Rumein sat back and watched until things got so out of hand.”
All of the listed incidents only had situational evidence. However, every one of these deaths were related to either Silica or the Brissen Family.
The only concrete evidence that they had was a mage’s testimony that Lennon secretly took the Tacrimosa that was hidden deep within his estate to the palace, and that a large number of Crimosa was imported in order to make the poison.
‘If only we had collected evidence from questionable deaths at the time of the incident…’
A sense of regret flooded in.
As things stood now, all the information was just recollections. However, Alan decided not to say his thoughts out loud as he knew that those pieces of evidence would never have worked against Silica without him acting as the pillar even if they had collected them earlier.
“Good work. You should go rest now,” said Alan.
“Yes, Sir Manasil. You should get some rest, too.” Euria bowed and left, looking more like a zombie than a human.
Alan, whose outwardly appearance seemed at least twenty years younger than Euria, clicked his tongue.
“I expected the youngins these days to have better stamina.”
Alan picked up the document that Euria had brought. Excluding the title page, it was a short report with just one page.
[The Mystery Behind Franz’s Insult Towards Freya!]
Alan chuckled at the title of the report.
It was mage-like in every direction. In fact, the title of all the reports that he had received thus far was similarly written. The idea was that reports should, first and foremost, be interesting and fun to read.
“The title is playful and all, but there’s a Spell of Confidentiality cast on it,” murmured Alan.
It must contain some important information in it unlike what the title suggests. The title page warned the reader that they must read the report with caution as the report will automatically set on fire when completely read. Therefore, the author and Alan were the only ones who will see the contents of the report.
Even Euria had brought the report to Alan without knowing what was written in it.
“Alright, then. Let’s see how important it is.” Alan leaned back in his chair as he flipped over the title page.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a horseback riding show that the King was also attending!
When I arrived at Pollun’s showground with butterflies in my stomach… alas! My seat was located in the very corner of the 8th floor.
I was in a pinch, you see – I couldn’t see the field nor hear the host.
However, I didn’t surrender to this unfortunate reality, and cast Eagle Eyes and Magic Ears.
They were spells that allowed the caster to zoom into a far distance and hear voices from afar.
“They may be low-level magic, but they both require continuous activation. What a guy, wasting his mana on something quite as useless as watching a show,” scoffed Alan, shaking his head slowly.
This was said by the same man who had splashed Yan with water magic the day before, purely for the sake of his own entertainment.
At last, the royal family entered and I fixed my eyes on Prince Calian, the hot topic of the town. Prince Calian acknowledged Melfir Pollun’s greeting and said,
“I feel slightly uneasy about what’s above. Go take a look.”
And just a moment later, I saw something even more shocking!
Alan, at first, didn’t have high expectations for the report. However, his face turned more and more serious as he read on.
The report ended by stating that Calian stopped an accident that had been planned by somebody, and hypothesised that Brissen Merchantry was likely to be the culprit.
The author must also have realised the weight of his knowledge; he asked that Alan keep his secret in return for his silence regarding what he had seen. It seemed that he was worried about Calian’s well-being should rumours spread.
Although mages were creatures of mischief, they weren’t idiots.
Soon, the letters of the report began to sparkle and disappeared one after another as if they were being burned. The fire spread to the paper, but there was no heat. Alan didn’t let go of the report until it was completely burned.
Alan recalled his first conversation with Calian.
‘I was riding on a horse nearby when I heard you talking to the guard.’
Of course, Alan knew that Calian wasn’t lying.
However, he also knew that Calian had started moving before hearing the name “Alan Manasil”. Alan could detect movement from a larger area than Calian had expected.
“About me and about the accident… how did my dear prince know about all this?”
Alan once again massaged his temples.
Original Translation: Wordexcerpt
Edited By: Tani Andris
Let me know if you spot any mistakes!