Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 94

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Mightiest Melee Magician

Chapter 094: An Unexpected Visitor

I had only conversed with him a few times via letters, but he was someone I knew I would inevitably meet someday.

Knights and vassals filled the garden outside the window, their banners adorned with the emblem of a golden sunbird. The meaning behind this emblem was clear. “It’s the prince.”

The white sunbird on the golden flag was the national emblem of the Radiant Kingdom, representing the royal family. There were also banners bearing the insignia of the ‘Silver Knight Order,’ tasked with protecting the king’s kin, indicating that it was a prince, not the king, who had come.

No, more precisely, it was “princes.”

“The princes have come to seek me,” I muttered to myself.

“Yes,” the reply came.

“…And why have they come?” I asked.

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“Yes. Quite persistent, aren’t they? Despite my clear refusal in the letters, they’ve come to find me in person.”

Crostur Radiant, the first prince, and Foster Radiant, the second prince. Twins born just a minute apart, yet undecided successors to the throne, leading factions known as the Royal Party and the Holy Party, standing in opposition.

The reason for their visit was so self-evident it hardly needed to be said. Between guarding their petty bowls of rice and engaging in political battles, these busy individuals had taken the time to visit me at the academy…

Should this be considered an honor, or merely an annoyance?

It seemed to lean more towards the latter.

“Do I really have to meet them?”

“You have the freedom to choose, but refusing them could lead to a headache in many ways.”

The one thing that was certain was that they were guests I couldn’t simply decline because they were a nuisance.

“Well, can’t be helped. I’ll go to them,” I sighed, deciding to use this opportunity to set things straight and ensure they cease their bothersome behavior.

But from the start, it was troublesome.

As I descended to the Spring Garden at the heart of the academy, two courtiers carrying tightly rolled carpets hurried toward me, then unfurled them in the direction of the princes, announcing loudly:

“The first prince is coming!”

“The second prince is coming!”

An amusing detail was that there were two courtiers, and two carpets. On the ground were a scarlet red carpet and a deep blue one, and at their ends stood individuals who appeared to be the first and the second prince. Each courtier demanded that I walk on their carpet.

“This way, please.”

“No, walk this way.”

It was as though they were forcing me to choose between the first and second prince.

Indeed. “Which prince will the Grand Festival’s champion choose?”

They were using me for a petty pride contest. How ridiculous.

Is this why the kingdom is weak? The need to fight over such trivial matters of pride?

With my mood turning sour, instead of choosing one, I walked proudly down the dirt path between the carpets.

“Such insolence…” a knight muttered as he watched, clicking his tongue, but what of it?

Finding the princes was not difficult. All I had to do was look for two identical figures at the end of the carpets. I approached and gave them a light bow with all due courtesy.

“I am pleased to meet you both for the first time. My name is Ruin Ardell.”

Immediately, the knight who had scolded me shouted, “How dare you show disrespect to the princes! Kneel at once!”

“Have you not learned royal etiquette? Kneel down this instant, kiss their knuckles, and bow your head in respect!”

The atmosphere turned icy.

Kiss their knuckles? That act meant pledging loyalty.

I was neither a knight nor a public official, merely a student at a magic academy. Even Schomer Tanrainak, the crown prince of the empire, didn’t make such unreasonable demands.

There’s truth to the saying, “the unimportant fuss over trivial matters.”

Annoyed, I looked the knight straight in the eye. He glared back with the intensity of a burning wick, proclaiming, “Do you know who I am? I am the chief knight of the Silver Knight Order, tasked with the weighty duty of guarding the princes…”

But he was cut off.

“Be quiet.”

“…Huh?”

“Stop talking. Shut your mouth.”

“But my prince…”

“If you value decorum and atmosphere, kneel down and be silent. Do you not realize how much I have anticipated today’s meeting with ‘the future of the kingdom’?”

The man who sent the angry knight to his knees was none other than Crostur Radiant, the first prince who had been persistently sending me letters.

“Indeed, you’ve already proven your loyalty to the kingdom by rejecting the imperial crown prince’s proposal. You understand, don’t you?”

“If you understand, keep kneeling until I tell you otherwise. And raise your hands.”

Forced by the first prince’s command, the knight lifted his hands above his head with an expression as if about to burst into tears.

“My apologies on behalf of my subordinate. His excessive loyalty was misguided. As a wise future magician, I trust you will understand.”

The somber mood struck me as amusing.

The second prince, not to be outdone by his brother, spoke up as well, taking my side.

“Listen, knights. I will be discussing with this esteemed future magician how to lift the dark shadows cast over our kingdom. Do not interfere, or be prepared for the consequences.”

Both princes, trying to impress me, and yet fiercely bearing in mind their ‘purpose’ for visiting.

“My lord. We have brought exquisite gifts to appease your shock from our sudden visit. If you will grant us some time alone…”

“No. My gift is more precious. Grant me your time first, not my brother.”

“What nonsense. There’s a pecking order even in cold water. As the elder brother, I should naturally go first.”

“One minute older makes you the elder brother? Stay quiet when it’s your turn to yield. I arrived at the academy five minutes before you did.”

“Such impudence…”

“Shall we?”

There stood the two princes, vying for my ‘affection.’

As a member of the kingdom, it was a moment that almost brought me to tears—not out of emotion, but something akin to despair.

Is this how one should engender trust and loyalty in their future ruler?

I was well aware of their underlying intentions. To be named the heir apparent, one needs power, and since I was the winner of the Grand Festival, supporting one of them would grant significant leverage. But I had no interest in taking sides.

“I have a good idea.”

“A good idea? Very well. Let the wise future magician choose.”

“Agreed. We will abide by your decision.”

I smiled at the two princes and suggested, “Why not see both of you together?”

Both cleared their throats.

Together. When I had been lax in responding to their letters, the princes grew impatient…

And as soon as the holidays ended, they came looking for me at the academy.

They both wanted ‘one-on-one’ time with me, but what could I do?

If I wanted to meet them at the same time…

“Don’t bother trying to come between Ruin and me. I will severely reprimand anyone who does.”

“Don’t get your hopes up, brother. No matter what, Ruin will choose me.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“It’s obvious at a glance.”

“Since when have you been able to tell just by looking?”

“It’s evident…”

“Please, enough,” I interjected, putting a stop to their bickering.

“I have something to say to both princes.”

Their eyes widened in astonishment.

“…To both of us?”

“Yes.”

Indeed. I had something to tell them both.

“I have no intention of choosing either of you as my ‘lord’.”

Please stop bothering me.

I delivered my message earnestly, but the two princes looked shocked by my directness.

Caught in the middle of their indecorous display and rivalry, I asked myself: As part of the kingdom, should I really follow and support such people?

Despite them being somewhat lacking, after all…

They were still princes.

“Well, I’m somewhat surprised you’ve come to find me so suddenly… Welcome. There is something I’ve been wanting to say.”

At ‘something I’ve been wanting to say,’ there was another significant reaction from both.

“Oh! You have something to tell me! Speak now. Wait! I cannot miss a word from you. Perchance, I should take notes.”

“Tsk. Brother, will you please? It’s clear he has something to say to me… Can’t you tell just by looking?”

“What have you been ‘telling by looking’ since earlier?”

“It’s obvious…”

“Would you please stop already?”

I halted both of them, saying, “I want to say this to both princes.”

The two looked at me with widened eyes.

“…To both of us?”

“Yes.”

Exactly. The message I wanted to convey to both.

“I do not plan to choose either of you as my ‘lord’.”

Please, just leave me be.

While I spoke those words with utmost sincerity, both princes’ demeanors visibly shifted with discomfort.

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