The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 21

Episode 21

After the Great Magic War, a number of annoying side effects had emerged. They were truly troublesome.

“Hello, Young Master Ludwig. You remember me, right? We’re in the same class…”

“I live in the room next to yours in the dormitory…”

“I met you in my dream…”

It was a usual day on the way to school, and all I did was enter the classroom as I always do, yet these people annoyingly clung to me, chattering away. The female students especially.

“Wait, there’s no need to mention names.”

If they expected some sweet talk like ‘of course I remember all of your names’ then they clearly knew nothing about Rein.

“I have no intention of remembering nor getting friendly. More than anything, I’m terrible with names.”

The students’ faces froze in shock, then they giggled thinking it must be some high-class joke from a noble’s heir.

“No, I’m not joking.”

“Oh, you jest, Young Master.”

“I said I’m not joking!”

Despite his protestations, Rein’s expression hardened as they continued to laugh. It was as if they had all gone mad…

“Look over there, the high-and-mighty Young Master is throwing a tantrum this early in the morning…”

“Starting the day with deception, such remarkable character…”

The boys muttered among themselves, then attached a bizarre new nickname to him. It didn’t really bother him what others said.

“Excuse me, could you please make way?”

Then a voice cold as a desert wind echoed through the classroom. The sharp undertone in the clear voice prickled everyone’s backs.

Krista Warden.

Upon hearing her, students, both male and female, quickly moved aside or scurried back to their seats.

“Hmph.”

As Krista passed by Rein with a snort, her attendant Gertrude Fenton teased him with a playful smile and a whisper.

“Could it be that your nickname was actually ‘Lady Killer’?”

Lady Killer… Where on earth did that nickname come from? I seem to have more nicknames than Lynn does.

Krista, seated next to him, turned her head toward the window as if she did not want to even acknowledge his presence. She was as immobile as a statue.

“Why do you look angry?”

“…”

“Hey.”

“…”

“Why are you angry?”

After poking the beehive for a while, Krista crossed her legs and lifted her chin arrogantly.

“I wish you wouldn’t talk to me. Didn’t I tell you before? I don’t know someone like you.”

“Ah, sorry. I won’t acknowledge knowing you in the future.”

“And I’m not angry, if anything, I’m rather pleased.”

Suddenly, Krista crossed her arms, revealing the haughty demeanor of a noble. The expression on her face was imperious.

“It was sickening to see you acting weak when you’re actually so strong. You’ve beaten Krista Warden, after all. You should carry yourself with a bit more pride.”

This guy also speaks similarly to Aunt Elin. Must all nobles be strong?

“But now there’s value in thoroughly trampling you, isn’t there? Before, beating you would have been seen as nothing more than defeating a useless noble, but now that you’ve caught Chaihyuk, the game has completely changed.”

“?”

“Look forward to it, Rein Ludwig. The day Krista Warden flattens you like clay. So don’t you dare lose to anyone until then. I won’t let you off the hook if you do.”

Krista stood up with a slam on the desk, looking down at Rein provocatively. Rein did not avert his gaze, and a sharp silence fell.

‘The dignified Young Master from versus the top freshman…’

‘That’s quite the matchup…’

Rein glanced over at Krista’s desk and raised his eyebrows.

“Aren’t you taking out your textbook? Owen’s class is first period. You’re going to lose points if you don’t get ready.”

“Oh right, I’d have been in real trouble if I’d forgotten.”

But just like that, the tension was broken by Krista sitting down and rustling through her things to take out her textbook.

From the row in front, Gertrude Fenton sighed and pressed her forehead.

‘If you’re going to do it, at least follow through properly…’

She thought about how Krista had practiced that declaration of war speech all of last night.

* * *

After attending classes at school and conducting rune research in the afternoon, the weekend had quickly arrived.

“There’s a problem.”

And on the weekend, I was supposed to meet with the junior librarian, Karen, at the library. Karen glanced around cautiously before speaking up softly.

As it turned out, all five publishing houses in the Empire had been queried, but the books about Tureina were almost all temporarily out of print.

“Why have they been discontinued?”

“I’m not sure about the details. It seems that ‘The Golden Children,’ the affiliated heresy interrogation agency of the Guanglong Caliphate, suddenly put all books related to Tureina on the censorship list this year.”

“Does that mean Tureina’s books have been declared heretical?”

It was puzzling. Unless Tureina was engaging in heretical activities…

And if they were to interrogate for heresy, shouldn’t they have done it while he was still alive instead of starting suddenly after his death?

“Have you read that book?”

“Of course. To a librarian of the central library, such books are a must-read. Not to mention, the person was a disciple of the sorceress Lynn and the Priestess of the Searing Dragon, Fride, and left behind a legacy no less impressive than theirs.”

That guy?

I almost burst into laughter.

“Was there anything particularly strange? Like a description praising black magic?”

“Strange parts, from what I saw? No, there weren’t any. Besides, being a biography, any strange parts would have been censored.”

Was Tureina not involved in any mishaps with black magic, then?

It was a relief, but…

If not, then why?

Thinking hard here wasn’t likely to provide the answer, but the situation had undoubtedly become quite complicated.

“Looks like I’ll have to go to the black market then.”

“The black market?”

“The black market has everything. From books judged heretical to magical artifacts corrupted by the Abyss. Finding Tureina’s books should be easy there.”

“But the problem, then, is that Tureina’s books are currently under heresy review.”

That was true. The price would be astronomical.

There’s no need to elaborate on why the price would have skyrocketed, and crucially, it would not be possible to borrow money from the family for this purpose. If the family’s funds were used to purchase the book and it came to the attention of the heresy interrogation agency, ‘The Children of Gold,’ things could get complicated. Of course, the Ludwick family wouldn’t be burnt at the stake for heresy, but it would definitely cause unnecessary trouble for my parents.

‘However, the story changes if I make the purchase personally.’ If any issues arise during the purchase, I could simply excuse it by saying, ‘I wanted to read the book so badly out of respect for Tureina.’ Even if things escalate, it would ultimately be a personal issue.

“I feel that this is getting to be too much… I am truly ashamed, young master. I will contribute whatever I can.”

“How much do you earn per month?”

“I make thirty silver Hyunmu coins.”

Considering that the average worker’s daily wage is one silver coin, this isn’t an insubstantial amount. However, it’s nowhere near enough for the black market.

“I’m not sure about the current market rates, but you’ll probably need at least three gold coins.”

“Three gold coins?”

Karen’s eyes quivered. It took one hundred silver Hyunmu coins to exchange for one gold Hwangryong coin. Karen started to cough as if she had choked while making the calculations.

“This is a serious problem. Even my salary is far from enough, and young master, you mentioned you cannot use your family’s money…”

Yes, this is where I need to think for a moment. After reincarnating into this body, I never thought I’d have to worry about money…

How should I make money?

Should I perform magic on the streets and sell it to those in need? No, that’s out of the question – it’s illegal without a magician’s license (which is automatically issued upon passing the ranking exam).

‘Become a magic tutor…?’ No, that’s also rejected.

I’m known as a waste among the nobles; who would employ me, and even if they did, who would want to learn from me?

Plus, such arrangements are usually made on an annual basis which doesn’t work for me. I need quick cash.

‘Maybe there’s something that takes a bit of time but pays well?’ The eternal truth of life, high risk, high return. Risk equals the stake… The biggest thing I could wager is my own life.

Risk my life to make money?

Wait, no need to contemplate too deeply. Having arrived at the answer, Rein nodded in satisfaction.

“Don’t worry. I had something else I wanted to do anyway, so I’ll pick up the book while I’m at it.”

“You had something you wanted to do?”

“I was thinking of doing some adventuring as a part of my magical experiments. I can make money that way.”

It’s not out of charity. I was going to become an adventurer anyway, and the money I’d earn from that wasn’t earmarked for anything in particular. Just taking care of two matters at once.

“Adventuring? How can a noble of the household engage in such lowly work… No, that’s not suitable, young master. This is my fault, and I will face discipline and handle it at the level of the Central Library─”

Karen’s concerns were dismissed with a shake of my head as I quickly finished what I had to say.

“─It should take me about two to three weeks to earn the money and buy the book from the black market. Wouldn’t that be much faster?”

“……!”

“Let’s meet back here when that’s done.”

With our conversation concluded, I hurried out into the town to register as an adventurer. After all, I am only allowed to go out on weekends.

What seemed trivial initially would later hatch into a significant problem when both parties were absent the next day.

Gathering the librarians, the head librarian raised an eyebrow while reviewing the week’s borrowing records.

“What’s this? Someone has borrowed the biography of Tureina… a young master named Rein Ludwick?”

Everyone knew who the boy was, as his name had been causing a stir at the school. However, the head librarian brought this up because there was a more serious issue at hand.

“What in the world? How did this get loaned out? First-years aren’t allowed to borrow in their first semester. Who approved this loan?”

One of the senior librarians, lines of age etched into his face, skimmed through the records and let out a short hum.

“Looking at the time, it seems to be Karen. She’s only been with us for about four months.”

“Where is she now?”

“She has a day off today…”

“Didn’t she get the message that first-years can’t borrow in their first semester?”

“It’s possible she didn’t get the message, but… it seems like young master Rein was insistent on his request. It’s not like her to make such a mistake.”

The librarians knew how sharp Karen was, which made them all the more perplexed. An assistant librarian, realizing something, suddenly lit up.

“Professor Elin often visits, maybe she borrowed it and the name got written down wrong?”

“Karen’s handwriting is messy, so it might look like Elin at a glance. She’s written Ra to look like El.”

“Plus, with all the fuss about Rein lately, maybe in the confusion she miswrote it as Rein.”

Part of this was correct. Karen had been distracted enough to make such a mistake, not because of Rein, but because the book she was responsible for had disappeared as if it were a lie. And when she wanted to reorder it, it was out of print because of ‘The Children of Gold.’

And then the possibility of purchasing it with her personal savings while also embarking on adventurer’s work at the insistence of the noble young master. It was a series of improbable coincidences that had her flustered.

The assistant librarian chuckled.

“Besides, Karen has been having secret meetings with young master Rein lately. They say when a woman falls in love, such mistakes are often made.”

Despite how implausible this sounded, the female librarians nodded in agreement, as if understanding, while the male librarians simply looked puzzled.

Yet, this was the most rational way to think about it. Karen making such a mistake was unthinkable, and it was true that Professor Elin had been frequenting the library lately.

If you considered it that way, everything resolved itself quite simply. And since Rein was a scion of a great house, unlike other first-year students, if any issues arose, they could be easily resolved.

“Is that so? If that’s the case, then there’s no problem. After the meeting, be sure to correct the borrower’s name properly. To Professor Elin Ludwick.”



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