Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 89

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Mightiest Melee Magician

Chapter 89

[Critical Hit: 1/1 Times (Complete)]

[You have completed the quest ‘How to Counter a Knight.’]

[As a reward, you have obtained the skill ‘Steel Destruction.’]

[Steel Destruction]

[Active]

[Armor, helms, swords, spears. If it’s made of ‘iron,’ it can be destroyed without exception on a single use.]

[Cooldown: 3 minutes]

I didn’t have time to pay attention to the status window that popped up announcing the quest completion.

“Sir Bolvar!”

I rushed over to Sir Bolvar who was sprawling on the ground.

With a look of frustration on his face, Sir Bolvar was brushing the dust off his clothes while seated on the ground.

“I thought some fearsome magic was coming my way… but it was just a mere ‘Light’ spell.”

“Using non-lethal magic isn’t against the school’s rules.”

“I didn’t see it coming at all. You caught me completely off-guard. Thanks to you, I’ve learned a valuable lesson, young master.”

I extended my hand to Sir Bolvar.

He grasped my hand and hoisted himself up.

Then, smack!

Someone slapped my back briskly.

Ouch.

There was only one person in Ardelle who would hit my back like that.

“Brother! That was unfair! Using magic in a sacred duel!”

Luina.

Though only 12 years old, she passionately accused me of being dishonorable, her sense of chivalry deeper than anyone else’s.

I readily admitted it.

“Yes, it was a cowardly move. But attacking an unsuspecting opponent from behind also makes you guilty of the same, Luina.”

“What? You want another smack?”

“Uh, no. I’ll pass on that.”

“Come back here!”

I ran off with a laugh, and Luina, brimming with indignation, chased after me.

She had a point, after all.

When a wooden sword wouldn’t do, I had to resort to every trick I could think of.

It may not have been an honorable duel by Luina’s standards.

But Sir Bolvar defended my actions instead.

“Miss, the young master engaged in the duel as honorably as anyone.”

“What? But using magic in a duel between knights…”

“The young master is not a knight, but a mage. And all he used was a simple ‘Light’ spell, didn’t he?”

Luina, unable to argue, clamped her mouth shut.

Sir Bolvar, giving me a thumbs-up on the sly, pretended to weep dramatically.

“To think I was bested by a mage who only used a ‘Light’ spell… I can’t hold my head up in shame. I, an old man, should just quietly retire and go fishing, it seems.”

Of course, he was completely jesting.

Sir Bolvar.

If he hadn’t been using a wooden weapon but his real glaive instead.

If he hadn’t been playing along with my rhythm for days on end without proper rest and had been in his normal condition.

Could I really have dealt a ‘critical hit’ against him?

This did not diminish the strength of Sir Bolvar.

“Are you all right now?”

“Huh? Oh, yes, I’m fine.”

“I don’t know what you hoped to gain from our duel, but now you can enjoy a hot bath.”

“I’m sorry for taking up so much of your time, Sir.”

“On the contrary, it was a pleasure to witness your talent.”

Sir Bolvar and I shook hands.

“Wowwww!”

The spectators from Ardelle, who had been watching our duel, cheered.

Whether one won or lost.

They were all assets to Ardelle.

They had witnessed an exciting fight in the morning and were ready to start their day with vigor.

As for me, though, my day was basically over.

I just wanted to collapse into bed.

I was certain I’d pass out the moment I lay down.

♦ ♦ ♦

When I woke up, a whole day had passed.

“How can anyone sleep for 24 hours?”

“Brother, are you a bear or what?”

Sleeping for 24 hours seemed unbelievable to me.

Despite the teasing by Luina and missing out on quests, my condition had returned to pristine.

Over breakfast, I asked about Sir Bolvar’s condition.

But…

“Sir Bolvar got up yesterday afternoon and completed his tasks. Unlike you, who passed out like a corpse, he only rested for four hours.”

Though he often spoke of growing old, he was clearly as hale and hearty as any young man.

During my prolonged slumber, something else had changed in Ardelle.

“What? People have come from Eit-Lake?”

“Yes. They said they’re construction workers.”

In groups of 45, in four squads.

Nearly 50 workers, funded by the leading representative of Eit-Lake, the Baltraze family, had arrived in Ardelle to establish a base and undertake extensive work on building a ‘trade route’ in the South Mountain for several months.

My achievements during the vacation were slowly rising to the surface.

With this trade route established.

Weapons could be sourced from Eit-Lake through this route,

And we could embark on grand-scale subjugation efforts.

“The village is buzzing now. There’s never been this many strangers before. Maria is all smiles, can you believe it?”

For Mrs. Maria, who ran the dining facility, this must have been the busiest she had ever been, and she was thrilled.

Fortunately…

Luina and I stepped outside to see the commotion for ourselves, and it was even livelier than I expected.

“Ah! You can stay right here. It’s all clean and tidy!”

The only inn in Ardelle ‘The Lonely Traveler of the South,’ which had been nothing more than a storehouse swarming with flies, was now cleaned up and ready to welcome guests for the first time in ages.

Clang! Clang!

Mr. Paison the blacksmith, who usually only dealt with farming tools and saddles, was now sharpening all sorts of tools, showcasing his skills for the first time in a long while.

It was a delightful scene.

And beside me…

“Young master. You’re awake?”

“Yes, I am.”

My father.

Steward Begines and Sir Bolvar, too.

The pillars of Ardelle had all gathered.

“The miss was quite worried when you didn’t wake up for a long time.”

“Luina was?”

As I turned to look at Luina, she blushed and looked away.

Whisking around, he muttered, “I thought it was a bear…”

We all burst out laughing.

In the midst of our hearty laughter, Officer Beginz suddenly asked me, “How do you feel?”

“How do I feel?”

“Yes. All of this came about because of a single word from you, sir. I’d imagine you’re feeling quite special about it.”

A single word brought about this change…

No.

It was all thanks to Irene, my father, and a stroke of luck.

But it’s true that I feel something extraordinary.

Pointing to the bustling villagers, I said, “Look at their faces. What do you think?”

“They all seem happy.”

“Yes. Everyone here loves the peaceful and quiet Ardel, but perhaps they were all waiting for this lively Ardel, too.”

“That’s right. More people doesn’t mean the village I knew disappears.”

Nothing changes.

Just that, from now on, it might become a bit more leisurely and…

…a bit stronger.

Ardel.

“This is just the beginning of change.”

Merely 40 days or so.

The change I’ve achieved while staying in Ardel.

I stand at the end of this transformation.

Of course, it’s too small a movement to expect anything grand right away…

…but there’s no need to rush.

There’s a tomorrow to look forward to.

“Your vacation is almost over now. When you return to the Academy, we won’t see you again for six months.”

“With preparations for the subjugation and the trade route… It seems we’re going to have a very busy year, thanks to you.”

“Ardel will be left in the hands of the lord and us. You should just focus on graduating.”

Right.

The long but short vacation was coming to an end.

Tomorrow, I must travel for ten days northward and depart for the Academy.

I didn’t want to go back to the Academy because I was so glad to be home after a long time.

Yet, I still had things to do at the Academy.

Graduation.

At the very least, I should become a formal magician.

I looked at my father.

He looked at me with eyes filled with pride and awkwardness.

I handed him the remaining bag of gold coins.

“It’s 12,000 gold. Please use it for Ardel.”

“I’ve set aside 400 gold for myself, so don’t feel too burdened.”

My father seemed to still be wondering whether he should accept the money or not.

“You’re not going to refuse again, are you?”

“…Thank you.”

His hesitation did not last long.

Father gratefully accepted the bag of gold and held my hand tightly.

“I’m ashamed. It seems I keep incurring debts to you.”

Debts?

I’m also a member of Ardel.

Instead of saying this, I hugged my father tightly.

“Well, I’ll be going then. Off to the Academy.”

“…Take care.”

“Yes.”

That was quite a productive vacation, wasn’t it?

Irene asked me, “Aren’t you worried?”

It was a question about how I felt after splurging the 40,000 gold and being left with nothing.

I shrugged and said, “Not at all. It was too much money for me anyway. Now that I’m penniless… I feel even more at ease.”

Crown Prince Shomeran Rainack.

He said that once I spent all my money and hit rock bottom, I would come looking for him…

…but that’s not the case at all.

I wasn’t interested in gold, mansions, or all those luxuries…

Now that I’ve spent all the money as I wanted, I can’t feel lighter.

From now on, all I have to do is earn it back myself. Heh…

“Besides, I’m not completely broke. I’ve kept 400 gold as my personal reserve.”

“400 gold? Sounds like you’re planning to prepare for war.”

Imitating one of the Eight Representatives of Eight-Lake, Irene asked, and I jokingly replied, “Indeed I must. Preparing for the war called graduation.”

Of course, graduation doesn’t cost money.

But since I don’t know exactly how expenses might arise, it’s a precaution.

I don’t plan on living in dire straits in the future.

Having ridden together out of Ardel, Irene and I stopped.

“This is as far as we go.”

“Yes.”

To the north lies the Academy, to the east, the Rainack Empire. Here our paths diverge.

I wonder when we’ll see each other again.

But as long as she doesn’t give up on her magic, we’re bound to meet again someday, right?

Just as I was about to bid her farewell, Irene said to me, “I’ll help you.”

“With what?”

“After the graduation, with the subjugation.”

“…You sure you’ll be okay during such a hectic time?”

“I don’t care for such things.”

The most hectic period for students is probably right after they graduate.

Amidst a flood of offers, they have to decide their futures.

Irene, too, would surely be receiving several times more impressive offers than most.

She would volunteer for such a task at such a critical time…

“I’m sick and tired of Leverdaine.”

Apparently, this was also part of the ‘deviation’ she spoke of.

Of course, I welcomed it.

Irene was undoubtedly a formidable magician, and her presence would be a great asset to our forces.

I had no reason to decline.

If anything, I wanted to ask her myself.

“I’m grateful.”

“You’re prudent. Even if you had refused, I would have come along with Ruina as an excuse.”

Oh, is that so?

“And there’s a score I have yet to settle.”

“A score?”

“Didn’t I tell you before? I plan to follow you until I can beat you.”

Oh, that…

You hadn’t forgotten after all.

“This time, you were too busy to settle that score, but next time, I will make sure to challenge you.”

Irene Prius is beautiful…

…but the more I see her, the stranger she seems.

But anyway, I…

“Well, as you please.”

…gladly accepted her ‘challenge.’

“Then, until next time.”

We promised to meet again and spurred our horses toward our respective destinations.

Hyah!

The destination is the Academy.

But…

Somehow, I ended up taking a detour along the way.

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