The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 51

Episode 51

The ant nest incident came to an end by the belated intervention of ‘The Golden Children’ and the special force of the Mage League. The five thieve guilds, which had once dominated the empire, suffered devastating losses and scattered far and wide. The estimated death toll was a whopping two thousand.

The lord of was transported to the Vatican of Law by ‘The Golden Children’ on charges of neglecting such a massive black market.

─Could this affair have been orchestrated by the Vatican of Law?

─Right. They aimed to completely wipe out the thieve guilds.

The decisive reason for such rumors was that the unidentified person who committed the massacre had disappeared without a trace.

The fact that the victims were limited to the members of the thieve guilds and those who illegally participated in the black market only amplified these suspicions.

As a day passed, the blood and flesh pressed against the ground rotted away, teeming with maggots.

Amongst this field of maggots, a man bit into an apple with a satisfied grimace, looking over the abandoned stalls. He was Doran Slayde, head of the special force of the Mage League.

“Hmm, it looks like they took most of it after all.”

A woman with an irritable expression and bags under her eyes approached Doran, yawning.

“Hey! There should be something worth checking. What’s left are just items without any value.”

“Tirinteed, the basics of investigation are `why` and `how`. It’s worth rummaging through.”

Why did the crows attack this place even faster than Doran expected? Did they have an item they wanted to retrieve?

If that was the case, why didn’t they just quietly take the item and leave? Why did they make such a mess? Was it simply to draw attention? If so, why did they need to attract attention?

“Well, with this, the ant nest is finally finished. Now the Vatican of Law will completely eliminate its seed.”

“Will they really?”

“Of course! What `will they really`?”

“The Glowing Dragon has always controlled humanity very intelligently. The fact that they left the ant nest alone despite knowing about it proves it.”

Doran picked up a wriggling maggot from a puddle of blood and set it on a counter before covering it with a goblet.

“Now, here we have a maggot. If we leave it trapped like this, what will happen?”

“You’re giving me a riddle that’s not even a riddle. It’ll starve to death.”

“Or maybe it will awaken some new power, break the goblet, escape, and bring harm to the human world.”

Tirinteed looked at Doran as if she had seen a madman, with disdain in her eyes.

Doran chuckled, lifted the goblet, spat out the apple he had been chewing, and then closed it again.

“The maggot can now feed on these apple scraps. This is the human world now.”

“What?”

“A world being controlled in a very sophisticated way, so it’s neither dying nor exploding… In other words, it’s being maintained.”

Cruel and inhumane entertainments banned by the scriptures and the Vatican of Law are popular around the world.

Haraderim, the Glowing Dragon who is said to have the power to look down on all creation, is knowingly neglecting this.

‘No idea what they’re waiting for, but instead of improving, they’re focusing on maintaining…’

Understanding Doran’s analogy, Tirinteed scratched her head irritably. There are no fools in the special force.

“If they’re deliberately leaving it be to prevent strange incidents… then another ant nest will crop up somewhere else. And the Vatican of Law will neglect it.”

“That’s exactly right. You do live up to being one of my subordinates.”

“Hey! Who’s your subordinate!”

As Doran evaded Tirinteed’s fierce fists, a magician with a notable mustache, Runen, approached.

“Sir.”

“Yes?”

“Take a look at this.”

He handed over a page from a heavy file.

It was a list of adventurers deployed for this event’s security, provided with the cooperation of the Alliance (adventurers’ guild).

Of course, no punishment would befall them. Since the Mage League had no interest in antagonizing the Alliance. The Vatican of Law’s stance was another matter.

“You almost got into a big trouble. The prodigy noble himself had come and gone.”

Doran’s typically closed eyes opened slightly at the always playful smile.

[Rein Ludwig.]

Thankfully, that name was not on the list of deceased… If anything had happened, he wouldn’t have been able to face his senior Kayven for life.

Who could have imagined that a young sixteen-year-old noble would come searching to the black market on a little clue given to him?

If noblemen raised in luxury heard about obtaining a book from the black market, they would chicken out or send a proxy.

‘Ha, quite the character indeed.’

Doran chuckled, but then paused.

But why is he so obsessed with the book of Tureina? Is it just a sense of responsibility for a lost book? Or is there something else…?

* * *

“How is Rein?”

On the outskirts of , in a place where countless shanties were densely packed like a maze, a woman with her face hidden by a hood walked in.

On a quickly made bed, a black-haired boy lay breathing shallowly. Even the familiar voice caused him only to gasp in pain.

Next to him, a plump young man, Semi, was wiping his forehead with a handkerchief and shook his head.

“He shows no sign of waking up. Considering his violent sleep-talking, it seems he’s suffering a lot.”

The woman pushed back her hood, revealing the delicate features of a noblewoman beneath the candlelight. It was Hérpien D’Arle.

“Can’t a priest cure him?”

“I’ve already removed the dark poison. But the pain that was corroded by the poison remains… That’s not something I can heal.”

Only rest would provide the answer. Hérpien sadly smiled.

“We need to leave the city before the investigation spreads further. I must leave this place now. Please pass on my greetings to Rein? Tell him we are all very grateful.”

“Of course.”

“This is the reward money, and this is the item Rein left with me for safekeeping.”

Hérpien placed a purse full of gold coins on the bedside table. It contained five times the usual reward amount.

What surprised Semi more than the amount of reward money was the title of the book placed beside it.

A treatise on Tureina… which ‘The Golden Children’ are now confiscating wherever they find it across the continent.

“Goodbye, Rein… I’m very grateful to you. Let’s meet again when you’re healthy. If you visit the archipelago, I’ll treat you to my utmost hospitality.”

Hérpien suddenly pressed a light kiss on Rein’s cheek.

Eh…?

As Semi watched in stunned silence, Hérpien kissed Semi’s cheek and smiled brightly.

She smiled.

“In our archipelago, when we express gratitude to someone, we often seal it with a kiss on the cheek. It’s considered the highest form of thanks.”

* * *

In the old temple that served as a base for the Black Church, ancient malicious spirits lingered like thick fog, bending and twisting the light that dared to penetrate the darkness.

Flap.

As a crow, formed of magic, entered, the empty high seats pulsated with power as shadows began to take form one by one.

“Numbers three and six have been taken care of.”

The man standing at the foot of the high throne spoke, and forms made of misty magic stirred, each showing a reaction.

[Libeny? Who’s the culprit?]

[I wouldn’t have been surprised if Libeny had died sometime soon, but Milek… it’s hard to believe he’s gone.]

[What, this piece of trash?]

With Libeny and Milek gone, the third and the sixth high seats remained empty.

The one making the most commotion was number two, while number one stayed silent throughout.

The man spoke again.

“Luckily, number six sent a crow before he died, so we managed to get some basic information on our enemy.”

[What is it?]

“Rain, dangerous magic, must be eliminated urgently.”

Dangerous magic… If even Milek, who was always calm and collected, deemed it dangerous, it must be truly formidable.

As each member contorted with their private emotions, number five spoke out.

[There are thirteen magicians registered under the name Rain in the alliance, four are already deceased, and five are nobodies.]

Her consciousness was in the temple, but her physical body was in an alliance branch of a border town, where over fifty bodies lay slaughtered on the ground.

In essence, she was sifting through mountains of paperwork in an office using telekinesis.

“But the remaining four don’t seem like the type Milek would have marked as dangerous.”

[Then is there a secret code hidden in the word Rain?]

“Hold on, there is one exceptional case.”

As number five flicked through the papers, one sheet that had been glanced over zipped out and flew before their eyes.

“Rain Ludwik.”

At the mention of the name, the eyebrows of number one, who sat in meditation, quivered slightly.

“His growth rate is phenomenal. He has reached the Bronze rank in less than a month since registration.”

[Bronze rank? Just a slightly less trashy piece of trash. Are you kidding me right now, huh? Would Libeny really lose to such a chap?]

[If it’s Ludwik, could it be that prodigious young master?]

“Right, wasn’t he the one who topped the recent Delaiten golden generation?”

Number seven snorted as if amused.

[Hah, perhaps he was hiding his power in his youth? The kid seems to have read too many stories.]

Number two, who had been silently listening, erupted once more.

[Come on, do you really think Libeny got taken down by some freshman rat, despite being a top scholar? Use your heads, you fools.]

Then number one, who had been silent all along, spoke softly.

[Considering Libeny’s personality, it’s not impossible that he let his guard down and got killed. After all, the guy was too arrogant. Perhaps he received divine retribution.]

[What?]

Number one was not on good terms with the more radical members like numbers two and three; in fact, their relationship was downright hostile. Before a fight could break out, number five quickly interjected.

“The rest I will capture and check for myself, but this Rain Ludwik is a problem. Kidnapping the heir of the Magus family from Delaiten is no small feat.”

[Why not think about it differently? With number one being at the school, our job might be much easier, right?]

Number four, a woman with a notably playful tone, was the one who spoke.

[Valenciades, even if that guy is truly the expert Milek was talking about, he’s still no match for you. Just make it look like an accident and take him out.]

All eyes then turned to number one.

And to the woman sitting on the throne.

Her expression was hidden behind an old, worn hat, but her overwhelming aura could be recognized by even a child.

“Eliminate any factors that could pose interference for now, Valen.”

After being faced with this immense presence for a long while, number one finally bowed, showing submission.

[…I shall observe carefully and handle it quietly should I confirm that this individual visited the Redcable, Teacher.]

The woman puffed her tobacco pipe to signify the end of the meeting, and the shadows vanished one by one.

‘Libeny… the child I created through human alchemy.’

She had raised him from an infant to become a witch, yet now she felt no emotion upon his death – had she never given him affection, or was it because she had long since carved out the feeling of sorrow from her heart?

She did not cry. Not since that one summer, three hundred years ago, before it ended, the day she said goodbye to him – she hadn’t shed a tear since.

She was not a disciple of the Dragon Witch Freide, nor because she once performed the noble roles of a witch herself.

– Master, please take me with you. I will fight, too. Just let me come along, please…

Only because, on that day, as she begged with tears, he put his hat on her head and left her with the words:

– A magician shouldn’t cry. You’ll earn nothing but scorn.

He said he would return soon and to keep waiting with Pipi, but her master never did come back.

Not for the three hundred years that followed.

The hat he left her with had since become her relic.

There had not been a single day when she did not live for him. If he had yet to awaken, then surely something was wrong with the magic…

After two hundred years of research into both magic and the occult, she finally understood the principles that could overcome the flaws of the Jueyosogeidaeban.

– Impossible.

But the Dragon Race dismissed her findings. Haraderim, the leader of the methodist church, quickly denied her.

– Even if the ice binding the body could be melted, the chill gripping the soul could not be, for that is the domain of the gods.

Wasn’t that something to be proven through trial? If the soul was trapped inside, if it was still wandering in the chill…

The woman took a drag on the tobacco pipe she inherited from her teacher Freide, filled her mouth with smoke.

And as she caressed her master’s hat with a gloomy touch, she exhaled long and hard towards the night sky, beyond the cracks in the ceiling where stars sprawled across.

‘Not long now. Truly, not much longer.’



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