The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 18

Episode 18

In the past, it dawned on me that I should properly trace the whereabouts of my comrades.

In my excitement, I had dismissed it as unimportant, but now it was clear that the arrival of the biographies of Lin and Lin’s diaries to this location was no coincidence.

Fortunately, right now, Rain was in the perfect place to gather information. In fact, it might be considered the best in the empire.

Central Library.

This grandest library in the Holy Human Empire housed 58,422 ancient tomes and 274,443 volumes of texts—including numerous histories and character encyclopedias.

Access to materials was forbidden to those with unclear identities, but students, excluding the Forbidden Section Zero, had unrestricted access.

“I’m looking for these books. Where should I go?”

I visited the library after school hours.

The Library’s first Document Information room featured a lofty, double-story structure, with bookshelves reaching a staggering height of 3.5 meters.

Concerns over fire hazards meant no lighting fixtures were installed, and all facilities were made of dragon bone stone, which dazzlingly reflected sunlight and moonlight, making the library as bright as high noon.

“Over here, please.”

A librarian with a scholarly air adjusted her glasses and skillfully climbed ladders to retrieve the books I had requested.

“Princess Kies: The Life and Achievements of Stronghold Kies.”

“Regarding Fride, the Miko of the Fire Dragon.”

As I looked at the titles and thickness of the books, echoes of the past brought a wistful smile to my lips unwittingly.

– Let’s make a bet. Who’s biography will end up thicker in the end?

Three hundred years ago… Fride had made this surprising wager out of the blue. I remember sighing in disbelief.

– What does it matter what some stranger writes in their attempt to make money? Let’s just say Fride wins.

Then Fride had covered her mouth, snickering annoyingly.

– Oh my, are you scared? Afraid because your opponent is the legendary Miko Fride? Pfft!

– Is that so? Then let’s see it play out.

About to scoff, I caught sight of Rista, who, while training with his heavy sword Shirpang, imposed a rock on the blade and made a hundred downward swings, calling out his voice.

– Then, I’ll bet on Lin.

Fride dismissed the bet, shaking her head, however, the gleam in Rista’s eyes as he wiped the sweat from his face with a towel was for some reason wistful.

– I’m a Fairyqueer and won’t live long. As the oldest of our party, Kies will die next. But Lin is young.

– …

– Lin will outlive all of us. Therefore, her biography will be the thickest.

Rista’s expression, when talking about the future, was dejected, shrouded by an indefinable melancholy.

– I do hope that one day, I’ll see a book about Lin’s grandeur.

On that hot summer’s day amidst the mirages from the polar lands, those fleeting, daily memories were really precious.

It was quite ironic.

Contrary to Rista’s words, I was the first to die among the party… There was no need to look any further; I guessed my biography would end up being the thinnest.

‘Congratulations, Fride, you’ve won. Sadly, the wager can’t be paid now.’

Comparing the biographies of Fride and Kies, Kies’s was slightly thicker, possibly due to being published in the empire.

[In the year 1114, the foundation of the Fortress Festival.]

Kies’ life post-marriage seemed straightforward; opening a dojo, he trained many disciples.

‘Idiot. You would’ve made a fortune if only you taught them how to drink.’

It seems Kies did just that.

He taught archery and drinking simultaneously, founding a school known as Drunken Shooting. It was as its name implied, shooting arrows while intoxicated.

‘The end of the world.’

Surprisingly, this faction’s influence was so strong it broke the duopoly of archery and established three leading archery schools in the empire.

‘This rascal even married a young noble before turning twenty and had descendants…?’

His progeny continued to inherit the role of Drunken Shooting leader. It was comforting to know he lived happily and died in the warmth of family.

Kies’ life was simple. However, something about Fride was amiss. Her death was not confirmed.

After the expedition, it was certain she spent time traveling between the Red Mountain Range and the crimson city , guiding the republic as a miko. Yet in 1168, she vanished without a trace.

[And since she did not reappear by 1200, the Witch Association of the Republic officially announced Fride’s death.]

The thought of this flamboyant psycho meeting a quiet end felt strange. Perhaps her personality changed later in life?

“Maybe it would be better to look for books from the Republic side?”

As that thought crossed my mind, I sensed the librarian’s presence, who had just pushed another book across the desk.

“If you’re keen on Rista’s party members, perhaps you’d like to read this. It comes personally recommended.”

A story about Rista?

I didn’t think it necessary to delve into that…

Scratching my head in hesitation, it wasn’t until I saw the cover of the book that my world turned white and my eyes shook.

“The Life and Achievements of Tureina, the Cigarette Ash Miko, Disciple of Lin and Fride.”

In a flash, the image of a young girl with sky-blue hair, wildly chasing through flower fields resurfaced from my past memories.

– Master Lin, Master Lin!

That little brat of a child became a miko…?

In the Republic, if there were mages in the empire, there were witches dealing with spirits through Dragon Speech.

Witches were classified by rank: Magic Practitioner, Apprentice Witch, Witch, Great Witch, topped only by the Miko, of whom only two existed in an era.

‘Has this kiddo become Fride’s successor?’

More shocking than her meteoric rise was the duration of life Tureina had lived.

[1094 ~ 1413]

Does this make any sense? How can a human live this long?

Did she develop some kind of immortality spell? And if 1413… it means she lived until Rain’s childhood.

I felt dizzy, my fingertips trembling. Just as I was about to turn the page, the clock tower sounded.

Dang… Dang… Dang…

The 6 pm bells announced the evening hour. Normally, I’d ignore it and focus on my books, but…

*Sigh*

Today, regrettably, I had a date planned with an insolent junior.

Why would Rista, of all people, involve himself in something so tiresome… I’m exasperated.

Cursing my past self and using magic to clean the bookshelves, I prepared for the meeting with that…

I found the librarian.

“Is this book popular?”

“It’s not nonexistent. It’s not checked out every day, though.”

“Can you hold onto it for me for a moment?”

First-year students are not allowed to use the borrowing service. To be exact, they can only start using it from the second semester.

“I have some business to attend to. I’ll be right back, can’t you make an exception?”

The librarian looked troubled as she glanced at her watch, and after a little while, she reluctantly nodded.

“I can’t hold it for too long. Only until someone else comes to borrow it.”

“Don’t worry. It won’t take long.”

With a reassuring wave of her hand, Rain turned away.

“Maybe 15 minutes?”

* * *

“Hey, where are you going?”

“Idiot! The trash prince is going to fight the muscle-brained Chaik!”

The Blood Pavilion was a massive dome-shaped stadium located in the northern part of the campus grounds.

Capable of accommodating up to five thousand spectators, it was a grand facility where most festivals and practical ability exams took place.

It was for that very reason Logan had chosen this place for the magical duel.

“Today, I want everyone to see Logan, from the Magician Family, beating down the young master.”

Logan stretched his joints with a smile. His massive neck, thick as a bull’s, rippled with veins and muscles.

“But if it’s Logan versus the trash prince, isn’t the outcome obvious? Why would anyone watch this?”

“Of course. When else would you get to see the proud young master of a noble family get beaten up?”

“Obvious outcome? Then let’s bet. I put three silver coins on Prince Rain.”

“Are you crazy?”

“We’ll see who’s crazy after the match.”

Uncharacteristically, the stands buzzed not only with students but also with the faces of teachers, with Caroline and Owen being quite prominent.

“Whom are you here to support, Professor Owen? Surely, Logan from the same faction? Or Rain, whom you mentor?”

“I don’t care about connections like lineage or academic ties. I’m here to support the damn strong one.”

“Haha, as you should.”

Finally, in the center of the Blood Pavilion, Professor Theon began the official ceremony.

“This magic duel is officially recognized by the school, and the conditions wagered by both sides will be enforced by the school depending on the outcome.”

Professor Theon, who was presiding over this magic duel, was always a man of cold expression and few words.

“Both contenders, step forward.”

The first to step out was from Logan’s side. He had casually draped his school cloak over his shoulders, which he then flung off to the cheers from the stands.

His rugged muscles squirmed with health on a body nearly bare.

He wore only a rough bandage around his upper body, and crude leather pants on his lower body.

“Wow, he’s come prepared.”

“Isn’t this a bit much for facing the trash prince?”

“Well, maybe that’s all Logan needs to even stand a chance.”

And there were complex magical circles tattooed on his body, like a spellcaster’s glyphs. Wing type mages would activate these circles as needed to enhance their physical abilities.

“Ah, so you’re here, miss.”

In a quiet corner seat.

Gertrude Fanton snickered, causing Christa, who was in a strange disguise, to shudder before clearing her throat and modulating her voice.

“I’m not here because I’m worried. I’m here to enjoy watching that bad guy get beaten up.”

“Yes, yes, of course~.”

“One more joke and you’ll get hit?”

Across the stands, Professor Caroline narrowed her eyes and stroked her chin.

‘Wing type mages are called the bane of apprentice magicians…’

Apprentice magicians, still lacking in skill, often need longer casting times for their spells.

With no chance to even cast their spells, the wing mages who charge into melee combat are a formidable threat.

‘How will he counter that?’

And then, finally… when Rain stepped out, there was a very brief but odd silence. It was suddenly broken by a burst of raucous laughter.

“What is that?!”

“Is he joking?”

What Rain brought to face Logan was… a broom. Not the kind of enchanted broom used by witches, just an ordinary broom.

Even the students from Magic Academy couldn’t help but give puzzled looks, which must have been even stranger for the presiding professor.

Professor Theon looked bewilderedly at it and gestured for an explanation.

“Ah, this? I just borrowed it from the library. It just so happened they finished cleaning, so it worked out.”

“You plan to use that… in a magic duel?”

“Can’t I?”

“No, that’s not the issue.”

The other students laughed louder, and Christa and Gertrude’s eyes lost their light. Logan also let out a scornful laugh and arrogantly placed his hands on his hips.

“So, is this your way of saying you’re going easy? After all this posturing? Fine, your highness, just forfeit the match and save yourself the embarrassment.”

Clear contempt.

Then Rain sighed and scratched his head.

“Hah, ever since I got to university. As a senior, it’s all just so sad.”

“Senior?”

“Why do you youngsters talk so much? Since when did a magician belong to a race that speaks with their mouth? We’re not witches casting charms, after all.”

Before Logan could retort, Professor Theon swiftly intervened and separated the two.

“Have both sides reviewed the conditions of their wager?”

If Logan lost, he would become a champion for the local development magic club until graduation. If Rain lost, he would withdraw from .

“Yes.”

“Do you agree to abide by the judgment?”

“Yes.”

Professor Theon nodded and stepped back, then expanded a wide barrier around the midpoint between the two contestants.

“Begin after a 10-second grace period.”

* * *

Faculty Office.

As Elin Ludwick’s assistant sorted through the administrative schedule and reviewed students’ assignments, she curiously asked,

“Aren’t you going to watch, professor? I’ve indexed everything, so it should be fine if you go.”

“Why go? It’s not like there’s anything to see. Sent me away just to slack off, as if that’s going to happen.”

“Ah, no, professor! What do you take me for?”

The spring breeze blew in through the open window, gently stirring Elin’s black hair, and with her eyes closed, she smirked.

– Brother, Rain might just be a vessel for a sage!

Hmm… If his talent was significant enough to reconcile that stubborn father and brother, why bother watching?

“There’s no need to see. The outcome has been certain from the start.”



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