* * *
“The Imperial family sent a magician?”
The First Prince Kazer de Crombell narrowed his brows at the unwelcome news and asked. Then Philip, the lord of the Alton Estate, who was standing next to him, nodded heavily.
“His Majesty the Emperor is doing something useless. There’s no way a magician can be my opponent.”
Kazer snorted and looked at the black energy flowing from his hand. It was a power that got stronger the more you used it, just as Oliven had explained. At first, it was just a power that was limited to dealing with a single monster. It was a long time ago that he had a hard time even controlling it because it was not easy. Kazer’s power grew stronger and he was now able to slaughter dozens of monsters at once. It didn’t take long for Kazer to have the arrogance that no one on this continent could ever deal with him. Seeing him like that, Python sighed and said in a worried voice.
“You seem to be using too much power these days. Didn’t the black magician say that it was the power that puts a strain on the body?”
“It’s not that bad. It must have been meant to scare you for no reason.”
Kazer nonchalantly radiated power over his hand. A dark, squishy power swayed, and a hot wind blew up, unpleasantly distorting the surrounding air. Python trembled involuntarily, and Philip made a face that didn’t know what he was thinking and looked straight at the power. He sighed as he glanced into his father’s eyes.
‘He pretended to surrender to the First Prince and managed to get out of prison…… Will Father really be able to please the First Prince?’
He couldn’t hide his anxiety because he knew Philip’s character better than anyone else. The First Prince liked people who knew how to whisper sweet words. How many nobles got themselves thrown into the monster forest just because they had a slightly different opinion from him? Viscount Nathan, who followed in the footsteps of the First Prince, also said that black magic was dangerous, and was immediately thrown into the monster forest. If Python had not sneaked in and rescued him, he would have been prey for the monsters.
‘Even the First Prince didn’t seem to really believe in Father.’
As the First Prince took control of the castle of Lord Alton with the black magicians, there were many inconveniences here and there. The servants of the Lord’s castle secretly escaped in the middle of the night and disappeared one by one. When the servants who were accustomed to dealing with the nobles left, he had to bring in the people in the estate to serve him, but the First Prince could not be satisfied with the rough hands of the lowly people.
‘You want to serve me?’
‘Yes, my son has already served Your Highness. It’s no different from being on the same boat already, so I’d like to serve you properly.’
‘But Philip Alton. Are you not loyal to the Imperial family? You’re going to serve me with a sword pointed at the Emperor?’
‘It’s the Imperial family that I’m loyal to, not the Emperor. My choice now would be the right choice if Your Highness the First Prince soon became the owner of the Imperial family.’
Kazer seemed to have fallen for Philip’s persuasion at first. But he was skeptical in useless places and constantly tested and tested Philip.
“Lord Alton, do I look like I’m putting too much strain on my body?”
Just like now. Whenever Kazer poked Philip and asked questions, Python’s blood dried up. Whether or not he knew about Python’s concerns, Philip answered calmly with a blank, subdued face.
“It means that the other small ones are the vessels which cannot handle the huge power.”
“Ohora. So you’re saying my vessel can handle this power?”
“That’s right. Rather, Your Highness becomes more energetic after embracing power. It’s a natural thing to have a strong power meet a good vessel.”
“I like it.”
As if he liked Philip’s answer, Kazer giggled and grinned badly. It was such a low laugh that no one could think he was the prince of the Empire. Philip would have frowned at least slightly, but his face was so still now.
“When does the magician sent from the Imperial family arrive in Alton?”
“It’s said that they departed from Duke Ambrosia’s family a week ago, so they will arrive soon.”
In an instant, Kazer’s eyes changed. Hatred lingered in the eyes that had been stained with arrogance, and the leisure that had been filled with arrogance disappeared in an instant.
“Are you saying that Ethan Ambrosia accompanied the magician?”
“Yes. They’re coming together.”
“Ha, haha! Hahahahaha!”
After a moment of slow blinking, a maddening laugh escaped from between Kazer’s lips.
“The day has finally come to pay off my disgrace. Finally!”
His voice trembled with excitement. Kazer, full of euphoria, turned around and looked at Python.
“Where is Oliven now?”
“He’ll be in the Lord’s office.”
“I should go meet him!”
Kazer turned around without regret and walked as if running toward the office of the Lord at a pace that Philip and Python could not catch up with. The second son, Powell, frowned as he walked in from the direction Kazer had disappeared.
“The First Prince ran towards the office, what happened?”
“He said he was going to see Oliven. Did you find out what I was told you to investigate?”
“Yes, there were as many as six to at least one or two missing people in each village.”
“Did you find the missing people?”
Powell nodded heavily and looked to where Kazer had passed.
“They all became corpses and were discovered one by one somewhere in the Lord’s castle. In the hands of the black magicians and the First Prince……”
Powell, unable to speak, clenched his fists and glared at Python. Upon receiving that bloody gaze, Python shuddered and bowed his head. There was no excuse. Because of that, he handed over everything of Alton to Kazer. This was the price of missing the time to ask for help from the Imperial family in such vain.
“If this is resolved, your disposition will be left to the Imperial family. Do you understand?”
Python bowed his head, regretting his greed belatedly. Powell, who had been watching his figure for a long time, opened his mouth with a sigh.
“What should we do now?”
“What do you mean?”
“Should we die with the First Prince like this way? Our Alton?”
Kazer, who had only a meager power from the Imperial family, fell into pride the moment he tasted power. Clearly, Kazer must be defeated. There was a price to be paid for easily acquired power. However, there was a separate problem.
“We must find out the purpose of the man named Oliven.”
“……He’s the problem.”
“He was the one who started it all. I’m sure he’s plotting something using the First Prince.”
“He is also said to be talking to the Principality of Senia, the Domelus Kingdom, and the Blight Empire.”
Philip pondered at Powell’s words and then muttered with resignation.
“……Isn’t it said that the black magicians’ favorite thing is the corpse of a human?”
“It looks like they are going to start a war.”
“There must be dead bodies lined up on the battlefield.”
Powell clenched his fist with his eyes wide open. That was no different than saying that the Alton Estate became the seed of fire in this continent where peace had lasted for hundreds of years.
“The First Prince must be a very useful tool.”
“Yes, so we have to cooperate as much as possible with the magician sent by the Imperial family this time.”
“But even if we cooperate, it’s useless if they don’t trust us.”
“……We should try our best.”
Philip sighed heavily and looked in the direction where Kazer had disappeared. At the same time, from the Lord’s office not far away, Kazer’s shout resounded.
“I told you to close the veil right now!!”
Kazer’s face, who had been shouting as if he was using curses, turned bright red. No matter what he said, Oliven would not listen, so Kazer now raised power from his hand and began to shoot at Oliven indiscriminately. However―.
“Aaargh! Why doesn’t it work!”
Kazer’s power dissipated helplessly as soon as it reached Oliven and did not cause any damage.
“The power that comes from me can’t hurt me, right?”
Oliven shook his head as if he was sick and tired of seeing Kazer acting like that.
“You can’t pull back the veil. It’s to buy time.”
“Now the Duke of Ambrosia is heading here. So, are you telling me to keep an eye on it?”
“Yes. Of course, you should be.”
Oliven shrugged and said calmly. It was Kazer who burst into anger at those words.
He beat his chest in frustration and began to destroy the furniture in the Lord’s office.
“What a temper.”
While lightly dodging the flying pieces of desk and paper, Oliven quietly covered his ears. He had a lot to think about, but that stupid human was no help but only interfered with everything, giving him a headache.
‘Master openly showed us that she stayed in the mansion, but she will definitely come here in person. Pretending to send Belluna.’
Oliven had done something like this, so Sarah couldn’t remain quiet in the mansion. Oliven looked out the window of the office. A huge veil, through which not even a handful of sunlight could enter, stretched out like the sky. Only his master could dismantle that veil.
‘But why are there two magicians heading this way? Did she send Benjamin and Belluna? Here? Why? Because of that little bastard?’
Oliven chewed his nails nervously. A fit of indescribable jealousy roused his heart like a burning flame.
‘She’s not coming to see me even though I’ve done this much just because of the little bastard she just met?’
Even if he shook his head saying it was nonsense, the reports of the magicians who were observing Ambrosia and the others from the outside did not change. It gnawed at Oliven’s sanity little by little.
Seeing Oliven trapped in a world of his own no matter how riotous he made, Kazer spit and went out of the office. And at the same time, a black magician who had been hiding came in.
“Oliven, I have good news.”
“There’s no good news in my life. My master is turning away from me…… Just because of a little bastard.”
“So that’s good news. Benjamin wasn’t in Ambrosia’s procession, right?”
“It’s a trick. Seeing that the Third Prince is nowhere to be seen in Pavel, he must be wearing a robe and pretending to be a magician.”
“Are you sure of that?”
Oliven’s face brightened momentarily. But even for a moment, his face went dark in an instant.
“Is the little bastard in the mansion so precious to her?”
The once twisted thinking continued to provoke even more ugly jealousies. It was then that a slanted smile appeared on Oliven’s lips.
“So you’re saying that Master isn’t at Ambrosia’s mansion?”