Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 73

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Mightiest Melee Magician

All-Powerful Sorcerer Episode 073

A month had passed since I last visited Leberdain, which remained just as majestic. The Mage Tower still boasted its splendid architecture, but I couldn’t fully enjoy the same sentiment I had felt a month ago. Many things had changed over the last the month.

“Indeed. Did you enjoy your mission?” The Fiend Emperor had doubted my abilities enough to attach a ‘tail’ to me, which was quite blatant. It felt almost offensive—no longer an ally but uncomfortably close to being seen as a ‘dangerous person.’ Yet, I chose to not reveal anything.

“Did I enjoy it? Damn it. Your Majesty Fiend Emperor, you were right. A mission no one would choose. Just like that.”

“……Tell me more.”

“A mission nobody has succeeded in. I was seduced by the title of ‘the first.’ However, that was a double-edged sword. Once I arrived at Heaven’s Mountain, I painfully realized it was beyond my capabilities. The barrier was incredibly tough, and I couldn’t find a way inside.”

The Fiend Emperor Teron narrowed his eyes at my words.

“You’re saying… you failed the mission?”

“Yes, I gloriously failed. I’ve become the figure of failure, the only Grand Tournament Champion to fail a mission. I’m ashamed, truly without face.”

Instead of speaking about the ogres of Heaven’s Mountain, I chose to admit my failure.

However, the Fiend Emperor Teron, seemingly not fond of my approach, frowned and gestured to the long-haired cat standing behind me. It was a signal for them to leave, and Mr. Long-Haired Cat left the room.

Now it was just myself and the Fiend Emperor Teron left in the top chamber of the Mage Tower.

He looked through me with an unpleasant gaze and spoke.

“You’re quite adept at hiding your emotions, but not so skilled at lying.”

“It appears we may need to be a bit more honest with each other.”

Fiend Emperor Teron.

He desired an honest answer from me.

“A sorcerer chosen by the fang of Kun Kan, the founding ogre chieftain, and possessing the same strength as ogres, opts for a mission that leads to the homeland of the original ogres. Isn’t the coincidence a bit too perfect?”

I gave the Fiend Emperor a sly smile in response.

“So, you were watching me?”

“Not watching, let’s say ‘protecting.’”

“The mages said the same thing. But surely the esteemed Guardian Sorcerer must know the dictionary difference between ‘watching’ and ‘protecting.’”

“I was merely concerned about you.”

“Concerned?”

“I was wondering if you would become a sorcerer who goes against the ‘Mage Tower.’”

A sorcerer who goes against the Mage Tower.

What does that even mean?

“So any sorcerer who disagrees with the Fiend Emperor becomes one who goes against the Mage Tower?”

“Of course, it differs case by case… Life experience suggests that most do.”

“That experience doesn’t always provide the correct answer.”

“How tedious. Enough grasping at straws. Tell me straightforwardly, what did you see in Heaven’s Mountain?”

In an instant, a terrifying light flashed in the Fiend Emperor’s eyes.

“Were the original ogres still alive there?”

It was creepy and full of obsession and madness. The other frightening aspect of Fiend Emperor Teron that Dean Tirion Ignite had warned me about.

Facing him, I slowly opened my mouth.

“I saw nothing. I couldn’t even enter.”

“Best not to tell lies that will be exposed. You know better than anyone about ‘Milly’s Pledge.’”

Milly’s Pledge.

The promise among sorcerers that choose not to lie, to keep secrets instead.

I was very familiar with it and had anticipated this turn of events.

“If I wished, I could scour your memories right now.”

“Are you threatening me now?”

“If necessary. It wouldn’t be difficult.”

Yet despite this, the reason I boldly lied—

“Do you not find yourself unable to?”

“••••••What?”

“I told you I failed the mission. But do you truly intend to control my mind and sift through my memories to verify the truth of my words? Mighty Guardian Sorcerer?”

Yes.

Because he wouldn’t do it.

He wouldn’t acknowledge to the world that the king of mages had tailed a student on his mission or probed into a student’s mind?

An action inconceivable to the Fiend Emperor’s pride.

His only real course of action?

To mention ‘Milly’s Pledge’ or ‘mind control,’ using them as threats to extract a confession.

That’s all it will ever be.

And so I asked,

“I’m just a student. Why, then, are you so intent on verifying things with me?”

The answer was already clear.

The Artifact in Sector X of the Mage Tower had chosen me.

It signified the seat where the Fiend Emperor sat,

the next ‘Master of the Throne.’

Of course, this was only a ‘possibility.’

Currently, I was but a tiny thorn,

A petty, insignificant prickle unable to even scratch the foot of the giant that was the Fiend Emperor.

But even the tiniest of thorns can bring down a giant in a single moment—as the Fiend Emperor himself was well aware.

Thus, his vigilance towards me.

“How daring of you to gamble against me…. You, who are ‘merely’ a student, a fact I’m loath to acknowledge.”

As it had always been,

“Fine. I’ll concede this time. Officially, your first mission has ‘failed.’ Now, you may return to the Academy.”

And he would continue to watch.

Always.

♦ ♦ ♦

Leberdain.

The excitement I had felt upon my first visit here was long gone, becoming a city I was eager to leave behind.

‘Whew, that was a close call.’

If the Fiend Emperor had been more irrational than I anticipated, everything would have been exposed. But he too, is a man mindful of the public eye. Someone who must behave in accordance with his status. That’s why he resorted to only a simple threat.

Though today had passed without incident, I was unwilling to linger here any longer, so as soon as I left the Mage Tower, I immediately headed towards the mana train transfer station.

But then.

“Lord Ruin.”

“……Lady Irene?”

At the entrance of the Mage Tower waited a rather welcome face.

“Were you by any chance waiting for me?”

“Yes. I heard you finished your mission and had arrived in Leberdain.”

“Ah, already spread, has it? Then you must have heard I failed, too.”

“Yes. You’ve made history. The first Grand Tournament Champion to ever fail a mission. Ruin Ardell.”

This is getting a bit embarrassing.

Even so, knowing she meant no mockery, I laughed it off.

“Isn’t it good to be ‘the first’ in anything?”

“Haha, you’re as optimistic as ever. I would’ve been really downhearted in your place.”

“Well, I don’t want to be disappointed by such trivial matters. Anyway, what brings you here?”

At my question, Irene Prius shrugged her shoulders in a slightly flustered manner and said,

“Just because.”

“Excuse me?”

“Just… to see you. We were teammates once, after all. I thought we were fairly close… is it wrong for me to come say hello?”

As Irene playfully puffed her cheeks, I found myself the one who was embarrassed.

“Ah… no, of course not. That was a silly question of me to ask.”

“Good to know.”

Laughing together, we walked side by side through the streets of Leberdain.

We hadn’t set a particular destination but naturally headed towards the mana train transfer station.

“How does it feel to be returning to the Academy after so long?”

“Hmm, I suppose I’m looking forward to meeting my peers… but also worried about the nagging that might ensue.”

“Nagging?”

“Everyone doesn’t like me, you know. You know how many enemies I’ve made.”

“Ah.”

What’s that understanding smile about?

Do I really seem like that type of person to others?

Hmm…

Contrary to my thoughts, Irene laughed heartily as if enjoying the conversation.

“When will you visit Leberdain again after returning to the Academy?”

“Here? I’m not sure. It’s not a place I want to come back to.”

“Really? Everyone loves this city.”

“It’s just… too extravagant. Kind of like wearing clothes that don’t suit me.”

The ostentation.

The coldness hiding behind it.

I’ve seen both these facets in this city.

The Fiend Emperor’s real face hidden under a mask of kindness.

And the whimsical crown prince who, despite his dazzling gold, ultimately wanted nothing but a puppet.

However, such stories didn’t need to be shared now.

“Next time, let’s not meet in Leberdain… Let’s meet somewhere else.”

“Somewhere else?”

“Yeah. Come visit my hometown sometime. Sure, it’s a quiet rural territory, nothing like the bustling Leberdain, but… I bet you’ll feel incredibly at ease while you’re there.”

My homeland, the Ardell territory.

At my official invitation, Irene Prius brightened up, her grin spreading at the corners of her mouth.

“……Really?”

“Of course.”

“Don’t ask why I showed up out of nowhere later, like today.”

“I won’t.”

With my promise, she sighed with relief and a smile of comfort.

“The Ardell territory… I’m looking forward to it.”

As we continued to walk, we eventually reached the mana train transfer station.

The departure time for my train was fast approaching.

Then, Irene suddenly reached out her hand to me.

“See you again, then. Us.”

A handshake.

A soft greeting, so different from the rough hand of the ogre Omerush of Heaven’s Mountain.

As I shook Irene’s hand, I smiled brightly.

“Yes. Definitely.”

Simultaneously, the mana train swiftly pulled into the station.

Right.

It was finally time to return to the Academy.

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