Dragon Devouring Mage Chapter 228

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Dragon devouring mage

EPISODE.114

The events that followed progressed as smoothly as a ship catching a favorable wind. It was a bit questionable whether ‘smoothly’ was an apt description for a battlefield, since it was a place where blood flowed like rivers and bodies piled up like mountains. Nevertheless…

The territories of the Calion Mountains, trampled by the undead, had been mostly reclaimed, and all 17 mines in the eastern mountains, which had been occupied by the Imperial forces, were successfully recovered as well. Of course, it was natural that Russell and Alex, along with the two superhumans sent from Endymion, were at the forefront of these efforts.

Though it wasn’t a full-scale war between the two powers, it was clearly a preliminary clash that could ignite a larger conflict, and the upper hand was definitely in our favor.

Click-

While fastening the link-snap button on his shirt cuff, Russell checked his appearance in the mirror and briefly reviewed some of the recent events in his mind.

‘Since that day, the coward has not shown his face.’

The quick recovery of Kiell territory was not solely thanks to Russell and Alex. After suffering a defeat, the Empire didn’t dispatch separate reinforcements to contend with the two of them, allowing us to push the front line unilaterally.

‘What are they plotting…?’

Despite Kiell’s morale reviving due to the seemingly advantageous situation on the frontline, Russell felt a small sense of unease about the enemy’s inscrutable motives. He knew all too well that battling an unpredictable opponent was a daunting task.

That was when Alex, who’d been adjusting his clothes behind Russell, asked a question.

“Looks like you are all prepared, Holy Mage.”

“Yes, I tried on the clothing prepared by the Kiell side, but I’m not sure if it suits me.”

As Russell adjusted his collar, Alex laughed heartily.

“I’ve repeatedly heard rumors even from the provinces about the Holy Mage’s ‘original version’ being just as impressive as his magic prowess.”

He gave a thumbs-up.

“You look more than suitable, sir.”

Indeed, Russell looked quite splendid. His attire was elegantly designed, and he appeared even more dapper after growing taller since his engagement. Plus, his black hair and red eyes mingled to create a decadent aura!

Even the fashion models from popular photo magazines would have to take a step back in front of Russell’s current look. Smiling at the robust praise, Russell replied.

“Sir Alex, you look distinguished as well.”

The atmosphere was hardly recognizable as one from the midst of a battlefield. And that was reasonable, for they were standing in the royal palace of Kiell. With the Imperial forces and undead pushed northward, Kiell had managed a brief period for military reorganization and seized a moment of respite.

Additionally, perhaps judging that Russell no longer needed to stay in Kiell, Endymion’s upper echelons had issued a return order for him.

‘Perhaps they want to offer thanks before I return to my home country…’

The thought of Kiell’s monarch wishing to convey his gratitude personally flashed through Russell’s mind, despite the ongoing war making it impossible for a grand banquet.

‘After this event ends, I’ll likely return home.’

Of course, there was no guarantee that this would lead to peaceful everyday life. The current situation not only involved Kiell and the Naje Alliance but also a standoff between two major powers, Endymion and Britannia. It was uncertain when full-scale war might break out.

Russell, revisiting this situation, posed a question.

“I am also concerned about the Naje Alliance.”

“The Naje Alliance…?”

That was where Amelia Merwin, the head of the Capital’s White Tower, resided. Just as Endymion had dispatched Alex to assist Kiell, she was sent to the Alliance.

“Like us being sent here, there’s no guarantee that they wouldn’t have dispatched two superhumans to that side as well.”

“Hmm…”

A moment of thoughtful silence.

“While I understand your concern, Holy Mage, I doubt the Empire would send two superhumans on par with the tower head to the Naje Alliance.”

“…?”

Seeing Russell’s puzzled expression, Alex explained.

“A superhuman capable of opposing someone like the tower head—there aren’t too many in the Empire.”

A veteran of countless battles, attuned to almost 8th Circle Magic—7th Circle Magic. Amelia looked young due to her half-fairy lineage, but the number of death-defying battlefields and war zones she had crossed would easily surpass the sum of one’s fingers and toes.

“Of course, there are some… but it would be quite a shame to use such an influential figure for the war against the Naje Alliance.”

Especially since one of the certain counters against her, the Dark Tower Head, Roderick Armstrong, lost his life in the recent civil conflict. The Empire would naturally be preoccupied with mobilizing their upper-echelon superhumans.

“However, one thing worries me, which is a different concern than what you mentioned.”

“…?”

“As you’re aware, Holy Mage, war, no matter how nicely you dress it, fundamentally rests on the act of plunder.”

Whether it’s territory, population, or even food from another nation.

“But this war is different.”

Perhaps due to the nature of the undead—who hate everything living—not a single prisoner was left alive, and the lands they passed through were smeared with death and loss, making it nearly impossible for even a single blade of grass to grow. Indeed, most of the reclaimed territories were devastatingly desolate, with some showing signs of impending plague.

“We may have taken the magic stone mines, but no matter how you spin it, the cost-benefit analysis isn’t favorable…”

Despite looking younger due to his tempered aura, Sir Alex Kailen was also a septuagenarian veteran. Perhaps he has faced even more life-and-death battles than Amelia Merwin.

It was a peculiar battlefront for him, which he conveyed with a somber gaze. Russell’s eyes deepened as he listened to the tale.

.

.

Soon after, Russell suddenly stood up, having recognized the identity of the person coming to escort them.

It was an astonishment, because, in regards to Kiell-related tasks, there were only two familiar faces in the memory of someone who had only been involved once before.

“Ha ha, it’s been a while, Duke Raymond.”

While Endymion could claim to be an empire and not be misplaced, it was natural that a Kiell count would show respect to a duke from such a great nation.

He was aware since then that the young man was extraordinary, but…

‘Who would have thought he would rise to the rank of a duke in just a few years?’

Casually reminiscing, Russell responded with a warm smile to the greeting.

“Yes, indeed. It has been quite some time, Count.”

He didn’t use a belittling title, likely in remembrance of past relations and taking diplomatic considerations into account.

To Russell’s words, the count awkwardly fidgeted with his neckline.

“Ha ha, about that…”

A somewhat sheepish expression ensued, followed by a realization.

“I’m now a viscount, Your Grace.”

It seemed embarrassing to mention this rise in status to Russell, who had ascended to a ducal rank so quickly. However, Russell congratulated the new viscount with pure intent.

“My sincerest congratulations, Viscount.”

“Haha!”

Perhaps wishing to change the subject, the viscount greeted Alex and then, stepping back toward the door, suggested,

“Shall we continue our talk while en route?”

.

.

It was no common occurrence for a viscount of a country, albeit one with modest national power, to act as a guide. Conversely, this showed just how seriously the Kiell side considered relations with Endymion.

As they followed Viscount Kimberly to the audience chamber, Russell and Alex exchanged stories of recent times—though not close enough to share intimate confidences, it was easy enough to catch up on each other’s well-being.

After a brief amount of time dialoguing, the three of them reached the entrance to the audience chamber, whereupon Viscount Kimberly was about to announce them.

“Your Majesty─”

But before he could speak further, a voice from inside beckoned them first.

“Come inside.”

Click-

With the opening of the door, the audience chamber, not particularly spacious, was revealed. Other than Russell, who was acquainted with Princess Camilla, most of those present were presumably the king’s close advisors. Amidst them sat the King of Kiell.

“You have all worked hard to be here today.”

Before Russell and Alex could bow their heads in recognition of his statesmanlike gaze and voice, the king reached out with his slender hand, preemptively gesturing them to halt.

“Please refrain. It is I who should bow repeatedly to the savior of our nation, not the other way around.”

This was a proposal incongruous with international courtesy, but considering the nonchalant response of the other Kiell dignitaries and Viscount Kimberly, it seemed…

‘This matter has already been settled, then.’

Exchanging glances, Russell and Alex straightened their postures.

“We appreciate Your Majesty’s consideration.”

Representing them both, Russell bowed his head slightly in response to the King of Kiell’s gesture, who grinned and said,

“I’ve arranged this modest gathering today to thank you for lending your strength to our Kiell, despite it being a foreign war.”

“Foreign? Kiell is our ally. We in Endymion will always do our utmost to ensure the peace of our friends.”

“Haha, your words are reassuring, but mere lip service does not suffice for good manners.”

At the king’s signal, two knights who seemed prepared stepped forward, each carrying a large sack the size of a human head and a small, fist-sized wooden box.

“Sir Alex. First, this is a token I wish to present to you.”

As the sack was placed down with a clinking sound, a brilliant blue light spilled out from the inside. A distinct radiance of magical energy.

Based on the flow of magic Russell felt, it was clear.

‘Magic stones, and high-grade ones at that?’

A whole sackful of them.

“This is a selection of the highest quality stones produced from our mines. They are already refined, so please put them to good use, Sir Alex.”

Highest-grade magic crystals were several times more valuable than an equal weight in gold. The amount in question could likely manufacture magical weapons and even armors with plenty to spare.

“I wonder if I should accept such a gift…”

As Alex’s fingers trembled slightly, the king nodded earnestly.

“Considering the help you’ve provided our nation, even if you requested multiple such sacks, it would be no burden.”

His gaze then shifted.

“It’s not the first time we’ve received aid from the duke…”

Facing Russell, he continued.

“Nevertheless, let me show you directly to get to the point.”

With a click, the second knight opened the small wooden box, and suddenly—Whoosh!

A portal of flames appeared above Russell’s head. From within, a miniaturized Pepper peeked out its head.

Gyarururuk.

Mage devoured by the dragon.

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