Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 67

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Mightiest Melee Magician

I noticed someone was tailing me.

The fact that three horses were taken at once suggested there were at least three people involved.

But I didn’t let it show and instead carried on with feigned nonchalance.

Even now, I could feel the persistent gaze following me.

Since I hadn’t identified the person shadowing me, I didn’t react.

I spoke to the stable master.

“Would it be alright if I return here tomorrow at noon?”

“Yes, that would be ample time. All the horses from around Tesian pass through my hands. I will have one ready for you to ride by noon tomorrow.”

“Thank you, then. I’m counting on you.”

“Not at all. Take care as you go.”

I had no choice but to spend the night in Tesian.

So, I entered an inn located at the heart of Tesian.

Then, I flicked a five gold coin to the innkeeper and requested,

“A room for the night, and the quickest meal you have.”

A meal would typically cost between four to five silver coins.

Even including the cost of lodging, a five gold piece was an exceedingly generous amount.

The innkeeper’s eyes lit up as he hurriedly tried to bow in gratitude.

I stopped him, saying,

“Forget the formalities. Instead, I have a favor to ask.”

“Yes? A fa-favor… Oh, certainly! What is it?”

“Someone will come soon, asking about me. How long I’m staying, which room is mine. You just spin them a story and let me know later. How many asked about me, what they looked like, how long they’re staying. Do this for me, and I’ll give you another five gold pieces.”

“Fi-five pieces…!”

“I promise. You won’t have any trouble, neither will the inn.”

Though the innkeeper appeared ordinary, an establishment at the city’s core is bound to experience all sorts of incidents.

He quickly caught on to what I was implying and nodded understandingly.

“Worry not, handling such matters is my specialty.”

I wondered what his specialty truly was.

Nevertheless, the allure of ‘money’ often leads to blunt honesty.

I took a seat at a table, pushing into my mouth the scrambled eggs the server brought, while discreetly observing my surroundings.

However, the sticky feeling of being watched had dissipated.

It seemed my shadow was keeping a distance, probably trying to stay hidden.

In that case,

I ought to give them the slip.

“I have enjoyed my meal.”

“Did it suit your taste?”

“It was quite fine. I’m thinking of taking a little tour around Tesian; could you keep an eye on my luggage?”

After a glance, the server, seemingly understanding, took my bags, saying,

“Yes, of course! I will place them in your room while you’re out.”

Claiming to be a professional at such tasks, the server smoothly took my luggage upstairs.

The person shadowing me was undoubtedly observing me from afar.

Seeing me leave my belongings at the inn so openly,

they would go there to dig for more information about me.

But,

I have laid a bait.

Now, it’s just a matter of them biting.

Who could it be?

I wouldn’t ponder over the same tiresome question since I knew the answer.

‘The Reinak Empire.’

It was the obvious response.

On the surface, they seemed friendly towards me.

But ultimately, they would turn their back on someone they can’t control.

Perhaps, the King of Mages, drawn by a vast ‘curiosity’ in my abilities, sent someone personally.

Or maybe, the peculiar Crown Prince ordered a background check on me.

Whichever it is, neither of them is particularly welcome news to me.

I must catch them.

Before the horses arrive tomorrow and I leave for the Bongwoori Mountains, this matter must be resolved.

Even if I know about being tailed, I can’t afford to let someone keep following me.

I checked the time.

I’d aimlessly wandered through uninteresting Tesian for nearly an hour.

By now, the investigation behind me at the inn should have finished.

So, I made my way back there.

When I arrived, however, the situation I was anticipating was nowhere to be found.

“No one came.”

“…What do you mean?”

“I really mean it. I waited on edge, thinking someone would come by after you left… but nobody came.”

The server didn’t seem to be lying.

Though I couldn’t completely dismiss the possibility that the shadowing figure may have bribed the server, it seemed unlikely.

There was probably another reason.

“However, something weird did happen.”

“What was it?”

“For about three minutes… I have a very short lapse in memory.”

“No matter how hard I try to remember, I found myself lying down on this floor after cleaning the tables.”

Instantly, only one spell came to mind.

Mind control.

A high-level 6th-class spell used to manipulate someone’s mind and take control.

Victims of mind control would lose the memory of the period of dominance, while the dominator could steal memories from the controlled.

It was likely that this spell was used to uncover the conversation between the server and me in its entirety.

Indeed.

The fact that I was aware of being tailed was now known to them.

It was the moment a much more meticulous and powerful ‘mage’ than expected was confirmed.

“…Understood.”

I realized I needed to search for another way to snatch the tracker.

What could be a good method?

As I pondered, heading into my room, I noticed a neatly folded note.

On it was written:

[We do not intend to harm you. Therefore, do not waste time looking for me and proceed with your mission.]

I crumpled the note in my hand.

“Sneaking into my room only to write me this… now you tell me not to worry about it?”

Leaving such a note in my room implies that if they wished, they could threaten my well-being.

“…Fine. Let’s see how this goes.”

I crumpled the note further, gathered all my belongings, and stepped out of the inn.

Then, I spontaneously started running towards the most crowded market area.

Strang turned to me and asked,

“What’s the plan?”

“I have to find them.”

“How do you plan to do that?”

“Don’t you remember? I’m the triathlon champion. No one can beat me in running.”

An admittedly crude method.

But an equally certain one.

“It’s time to start playing tag.”

In this game of tag, although I was the one fleeing,

it wouldn’t be long before our roles reversed.

Because,

“Open the minimap.”

“…You’re just going to smash through, aren’t you.”

“Absolutely.”

With sturdy legs and the minimap,

I had everything I needed.

“The mage of screams, Ruin Ardelle is on the run.”

The three mages had been watching Ruin from a distance.

On the napes of each one was a tattoo of a crushed skull.

The crushed skull tattoo signified the group of mages called ‘Wicked Mage,’ not officially affiliated with a magic tower but residing in the tower’s basement, taking personal orders from the Emperor Theron.

“Should we chase him?”

As the central ‘Wicked Mage’ known as the ‘mage of screams’ yawned as if fatigued and said,

“There’s no need to rush since we know where he’s heading. But… Rejecting an invitation to such an entertaining chase is difficult, especially when I’m curious about our junior’s skills, a winner of the grand tournament.”

“So, what shall we do?”

“Chase him. But don’t kill him.”

“Yes.”

At the command of the mage of screams, the two mages jumped off the roof and started trailing Ruin.

But Ruin was so fast that without using teleportation magic, it was impossible to keep up.

Furthermore, with the crowded market streets in Tesian,

it was hard to follow Ruin without tracking magic.

“We’re going to lose him.”

“Use tracking magic.”

“But won’t that leave traces? Is that okay?”

“Well, that will be amusing in its own way.”

“Yes.”

With no choice left, they used a tracking spell.

A downside to tracking magic is that it leaves a strong magical residue, which could reveal even their location to Ruin.

But there was no other way.

Without it, Ruin would slip away.

“Trace Ball.”

A violet orb materialized in the grip of the Wicked Mage.

The orb began to follow the trail left by Ruin Ardelle.

Following the orb, the two Wicked Mages abruptly came to a stop when the orb suddenly ceased to move.

“…The trail stops here.”

Upon seeing this, the mage of screams who had caught up said,

“No, it’s not that the trail stopped.”

“…….What then?”

“He’s waiting for us.”

As he said, the truth was revealed.

With a loud crash, Ruin burst out from behind a wooden stall, tackling one of the mages.

Crack!

Caught unawares, the mage’s jaw met Ruin’s fist, sending him collapsing to the ground. As he fell, Ruin grasped and twisted his arm.

Snap.

“AAAAaagh!”

Amidst the sound of breaking bones, Ruin leaped towards the next mage.

“…Hop!”

The mage quickly surrounded himself with a protective shield, but Ruin’s fist pierced it, striking him square between the eyes.

Crack!

As the mage’s blood spurted and he flew backward, within seconds, two had been subdued.

Only the ‘mage of screams’ was left.

Even after losing his men, he showed no sign of crisis and marveled with a grin,

“Haha… Hahaha! Now I see why the tower lord warned us about you. I played along out of curiosity, but you… you’re practically a monster, aren’t you?”

“What are you guys, anyway?”

“Why ask when you already know? Sent by the tower lord to ‘protect’ our junior.”

At the word ‘protect,’ Ruin furrowed his brow and retorted,

“I’ve never had a senior like you. And it’s not protection, is it? It’s ‘surveillance.’”

“Same thing.”

“So, what now?”

“I’ve still got my orders to follow.”

As Ruin asked, the mage of screams pulled a paper from his pocket and tore it up.

“See you again.”

He disappeared in a puff of purple smoke.

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