The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 53

Episode 53

Dormitory, Twin Dragons Hall.

As soon as I returned to my room, I thought of collapsing onto my desk with Tureina’s book, but then I remembered Fifi and headed up to the second floor. Krista Warden was using the best room on the second floor of the [True] dormitory for first-year students.

“What’s this?”

However, there was a visitor in front of Krista’s room. No, not a visitor; maybe the term guardian would be more fitting? Gertrude Fenton with her braided hair was leaning against the wall, yawning.

“What are you doing there?”

Then Gertrude looked at me with her dreary eyes and smirked cynically.

“Huh, just keeping watch. By the lady’s command.”

“Why keep watch?”

“So no one overhears or enters the room by mistake. It’s corn time.”

“Corn time?”

Seeing it for myself would be quicker, thought Gertrude, as she gestured with her chin to open the door without knocking. Thoughtlessly, I opened the door…

“Corn, corn.”

First, I heard a familiar voice – Fifi.

“Corn~ Corn~!”

And there sat Krista Warden, feeding Fifi handfuls of corn kernels. I saw a face and heard a voice I hadn’t before.

At that moment, Krista felt my presence and turned towards me… and our gazes, those of the descendants of two families, met in the air.

“…”

“…”

I coughed awkwardly, then decisively shut the door. Thud-thud-thud, a sudden barrage of footsteps followed, and the door flung open.

“You, you, what’s this?! How dare you open someone’s door without permission?! Doesn’t the scion of a Great House even know basic manners?!”

Krista’s face was flaming red as she angrily unleashed a torrent of words, her desperation something I had never seen before.

“No, Gertrude told me not to bother knocking, just to open it…”

I tried to point to my accomplice, but that rascal had already fled without a trace. The nerve of her…

“Hey, sorry. I didn’t know you were in the middle of such an important event.”

“Im-important event? What are you talking about?”

“No need to play dumb. I also lost my commonsense when I first met Fifi… well, Pitch.”

As I was stroking my nose, Fifi flew up and perched affectionately on my shoulder, pecking at my earlobe as if wondering why I was late.

“Sorry, sorry. I got tied up.”

Krista watched this, seemingly jealous, then suddenly crossed her arms haughtily, turned her head with a hmph, and looked away.

“Cute? Such an animal? You’re kidding! I am the young lady of the Warden family. Do you have any idea how much trouble it’s been because you disappeared all holiday, leaving this creature behind?”

Of course, that was a lie.

Krista reminisced about the fantastic holiday she’d spent with Pitch. Exploring the city together, strolling the grounds, filled with laughter and conversation…

Fifi then turned to Krista and gave a low bow.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Suddenly, Krista wanted to embrace Pitch, to tell her how grateful she was… if it weren’t for the rival’s gaze and the dignity she had to uphold as a scion of a Great House.

“Just go, will you? Now I can finally relax and study in peace!”

Krista felt a heart-wrenching pain as she closed the door.

Rain, unaware of her true feelings, exchanged a glance with Fifi and then scratched his head, looking puzzled.

“Hmm, I chose to leave you with the most reliable person… I didn’t think it’d be a nuisance.”

“Fifi, nuisance, Fifi, was a nuisance.”

“No, no, it wasn’t you who was a nuisance. It was my fault.”

As Rain was about to turn away, the door burst open again, and Krista’s sand soldiers handed Rain various pet supplies, including a cage.

“The bill is on your family’s account.”

The set clearly showed Krista’s generous care, making it apparent Fifi had been in good hands.

Still, if Fifi was such a bother, why did she treat it so well? Perhaps it was her straightforward personality necessitating a job well done.

“Wow, all nice things? Thank you.”

“Enough! What are you waiting for? Just leave!”

Pushed out by Krista’s sand soldiers, Rain reluctantly descended the stairs, with Fifi perched on his head looking back.

Instantly, Krista’s face, filled with regret and apology, brightened. She checked to ensure no one was watching, then timidly waved her hands and whispered “Goodnight,” just like she had during the holiday.

* * *

Just past midnight… Rain sat at his desk, arms crossed, in front of the neatly cleared surface. On the desk lay only “The Life and Achievements of Tureina, the Disciple of Rin and Friede, The Priestess of Ash.”

For some reason, Rain couldn’t muster the courage to open the book. What was it? Why did he hesitate?

“Fifi, do you remember Tureina?”

“Tureina, friend of Fifi. Friend of Rin.”

“What was it like? …After I was gone.”

As I mentioned the dear name, Fifi fluttered its wings with joy, but as soon as I asked, it turned away and fell silent.

“What’s wrong? Did you have a falling out towards the end?”

“…”

“Fifi?”

Fifi remained silent. Fifi, even after 300 years, you worry people like this. What are you trying to do?

Taking a deep breath to compose myself, I opened the book’s first page to trace the life journey of my disciple through the printed words.

[Childhood]

The recorded childhood years were familiar to Rin… and they mirrored the descriptions in the biographies of other notable associates.

[After the war ended, the Priestess of the Fire Dragon, Friede, decided to take Tureina as her disciple, marking the beginning of her formal witchcraft training.]

None of it was surprising. Tureina was a genius of geniuses, showing immense talent not only in magic but also in sorcery.

‘Though, I wonder if she realized just how prestigious it was to be Friede’s disciple.’

Witches, unlike magicians who adhere to an academic system, always cultivate talent through a mentor-apprentice relationship. Therefore, whom one had as a mentor was an important asset.

Moreover, Friede was a Priestess.

As one of the two pinnacle figures overseeing the Republic’s rituals, her stature was formidable, reaching even into the Empire. The fact that the Fire Dragon Bel’dakiun himself had bestowed upon her the title ‘Witch of the Fire Dragon’ (later Priestess) left no need for further explanation.

“At thirteen, she was appointed as an official witch, making her the youngest witch in history.”

Impressive… When Friede became a witch at fourteen, it caused a sensation in the country, but Tureina did it a year earlier.

[That’s when her teacher…]

Given the nickname “Witch of Cigarette Ashes” from the ashes she dealt with, she came to be called by that name. The reason behind the nickname was so absurd that I burst out laughing loudly in the middle of the night. It was said to be a reminder from her master after becoming a formal witch to never forget to clean her ashtray. For Rain, who knew about Freyde’s psycho temperament, this was hardly surprising, but it surely startled others.

“Ha, Witch of Cigarette Ashes…” I wondered what it would’ve been like if I lived during that time. I would have teased her endlessly, chuckling and calling her by that nickname every time we met.

– Master, please scold her. She gave me a weird nickname that I can’t even change…

– Why? It’s a good one. It’s catchy. Once you hear it, who could forget it? Haha, Kies, you ash-witch, you ash-witch.

– Rin! Stop it, will you? Tureina’s on the verge of tears! There, there, it’s okay. No more crying. It’s okay.

While Lysta was consoling Tureina, Kies and I would have been snickering, and Freyde likely would have shouted while swinging her pipe around.

– Hey hey! I racked my brain to give you a good nickname, and now you’re saying it’s weird? Life is fleeting, really~. Nowadays, disciples don’t appreciate their master’s grace at all.

– No, I hate it! I tell you, I hate it! You have the grand nickname of “Priestess of the Fire Dragon”…

– Ugh, a grand nickname like that is truly useless. Later on, it only makes you feel embarrassed when introducing yourself. Funny nicknames stay in people’s memories much better and can also create a sea of laughter during introductions. Isn’t that much better?

In a world where all my companions were still alive, I’m confident I would have enjoyed every moment of my life. It’s just a piece of paper with letters imprinted on it, yet why does it feel as heavy as lead in my hands? In the torment of visions flitting past like a daydream, I suppressed the sharp pain in my heart with a bitter smile and turned the page.

[Adulthood]

Tureina’s achievements as an adult were quite notable.

“At the age of 29, Tureina, the first in the history of the continent to master both magic and curses, began traveling the world and providing free treatment to the powerless and poor.”

From then on, Tureina became known as a saint… It was simply astounding what years could do to that small child. Could the reason she wasn’t subjected to a heretical inquiry have been not because she was my disciple, or Freyde’s, but because of such a background?

It was commendable that she mastered 5-star magic at the age of twenty-nine, but she even became a Three Repository Witch, having assimilated the Dragon Scriptures’ three sections: the Vinaya, the Sutras, and the Treatises. Tureina truly became a monster by inheriting the abilities of both Rin and Freyde.

[After seven years of healing countless people, Tureina was appointed by the Priestess of the Fire Dragon, Freyde, and unanimously approved by the Republican Assembly to become the ‘Witch of Cigarette Ashes’.]

The subsequent records detailed Tureina’s life as the priestess serving the dragon race and guiding humans, full of grand biographical content. After an 80-year-long career, she stepped down amidst acclaim and retreated to a worldly life, as the records concluded.

Perhaps what was slightly amusing was that even after passing the age of 100, her appearance remained as it was in her youthful days when she was appointed as a priestess.

“So strange. Why is this a banned book? I see no issues with it at all.”

Musing to myself, I saw a portrait of unparalleled beauty on the next page and couldn’t help but smile broadly.

[▲The Witch of Cigarette Ashes, Tureina]

– Tureina always treasured the conical hat left by Rin and the pipe handed down by Freyde.

That little kid had grown into such a beauty… If the painter wasn’t bribed, it really is a wonder, mate. Men must have been crazy about her, but why didn’t she marry? Did Freyde propagate her great theory that ‘all men are wolves’ as a single person?

“Pipi, have a look at this. She really kept that old, smelly thing as a keepsake?”

As if sulky, Pipi, who had been dozing against the wall, checked the portrait, and, seemingly overjoyed, started energetically flapping its wings around the book.

“Tureina, always wore Rin’s hat. Tureina, wouldn’t let anyone touch the hat.”

The hat was indeed special to me. It was a parting gift from the headmistress when I left the tower.

The sun is strong in the South, she said, don’t let your face get sunburned… But for Tureina, it didn’t seem to hold much meaning, yet I was pleased she valued it.

“Ah, silly me. What an honor, truly an honor.”

Trying to hide my joy, I snickered mockingly, sinking deep into the chair, and blankly looked up at the ceiling.

“The youngest witch in history and the longest-serving priestess…” She monopolized every genius title. Perhaps during her journey, she even discovered the secret to immortality.

Suddenly, I grew curious about what abilities she had created. While the first half of the book was dedicated to Tureina’s deeds, the second half listed the abilities she invented.

“Prominent ones like ‘Ice Spiral Correction’ and ‘Seething Cold Bonds’?” Most were about freezing the body and then amplifying the healing through sacred words and augmentation magic… I was caught off guard by my interest.

“These, they’re similar to Yeoso Gye Dae Ban?”

Not wanting to die, with Freyde’s help, I created a mixed 5-star magic for the first and last time, which flung me 300 years into this era.

“My child, were you that impressed with it?”

Impressed wasn’t the word—it was more like an obsession, which seemed rather strange.

There’s more than one way to use the healing chant of Altigma, but why are they all so similar to Yeoso Gye Dae Ban?

Was she researching Yeoso Gye Dae Ban? No, that’s not necessary. It’s a time of peace…

“It’s meaningful in urgent situations, like wartime, hmm, I don’t know.”

What was clear was that Tureina’s life was nothing short of extraordinary and there was no element that could have led her to inquisition as a heretic.

That’s what the book indicated, at least… But I wanted to believe that.

The first disciple I ever taught, the little one who was a nuisance by doting on me as a master—I wanted to remember her as someone revered and respected.

“Yes, she lived a diligent life…”

As I absent-mindedly closed the book, dawn was breaking. The morning light scattered prismatically off the dew gathered at the edges of my eyes.

“Well done, dear child.”

And I’m sorry. For saying I would return and then failing to do so…



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