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Chapter 267 – Three Days Free (1)

    Chapter 267 - Three Days Free (1)

    Immediately after the battle began in the three areas by the border, the northern powers started the work for a full-fledged war.

    Unlike the Central Continent which hadn't experienced large wars for centuries, the two northern superpowers had clashed an average of two to three times a century, over the course of many centuries.

    The military system Meltor had mastered was already a war machine.

    The business companies started to distribute military supplies necessary for war without a hitch, while residents who learned about the brutality of the empire volunteered to join the army.

    Nevertheless, a war was a war.

    It was a symbol of bloodshed which couldn't be rationalized by anything. Regardless of victory or defeat, the weight of the bloodshed and corpses wasn't light.

    The energetic streets were now filled with an unknown tension, while the residential areas which were usually filled with laughter were now silent. Fortunately, Meltor was used to war, so there weren't any large disturbances. War meant disaster would sweep the kingdom.

    "Hrmm." Kurt III looked around him.

    'Maybe today will be an exception.'

    It was currently the prelude to the unification war, so the royal palace should be serious. However, right now, the atmosphere of the meeting room was quite exciting. Anyone reading the current mood would find it strange.

    Veronica had destroyed one goal, but Orta's failure and injury hadn't been in their predictions. Meanwhile, the small-scale engagements on the Karul Plains were at a lull. Yet, why were they excited in this situation?

    However, instead of feeling angry, Kurt understood their feelings. "...It is hard to keep a cool head today, that's true."

    It was yesterday that their hero, Theodore Miller, had returned to Mana-vil. There was no reason to keep it secret, so the news had been passed on to everyone and this was the aftermath. Theodore had come a long way, but the meeting with him was delayed to calm down the excitement.

    However, one day was probably not enough for the excitement to settle. Kurt clenched his fists with a jubilant joy that wasn't revealed by his calm expression. Even if they poured in all of their power, Andras was an enemy that would be hard to beat.

    Adding one more senior magician wouldn't make much difference. However, a master who had proven his capabilities had returned.

    ...A hero whose name alone would make the army want to fight! If Theodore were in front of him right now, Kurt would've grabbed his shoulders without regard for his dignity.

    "Your Majesty!" From behind the firmly closed door, a servant cried out in a slightly trembling voice, "Quattro's Captain! Marquis Theodore Miller is asking to enter!"

    He had come. It was the appearing of the hero they had been discussing, so everyone looked in the direction of the entrance.

    Kurt inwardly laughed before saying, "Send him in."

    The moment the king gave permission, the guards at the door opened it with great force. Shortly after that, 'he' entered the meeting room with a stately gaze.

    He wore the red robe symbolizing the red tower, with the dark blue uniform of Quattro underneath it. As Theodore Miller gazed at Kurt with shining blue eyes, the atmosphere around him was more prominent than it had been a year ago.

    "Theodore Miller, the captain of the magic division Quattro." Theodore went down on one knee and greeted the king politely. "Before I properly greet the sun of Meltor, I want to apologize for my absence in the past three months."

    "There is no need." Kurt's mouth hardened as he spoke. "Everyone gathered in this place knows what happened. You defended yourself against the despicable actions of the 2nd Sword, Zest Speitem. I can only say that you did well."

    "Your Majesty, still..."

    "I won't allow any objections. Your absence during the past three months was nothing. You have repaid it 20-no, 30 times by returning alive at this time."

    This scene of a subject who wanted to confess his sins and the king who dismissed them... It was a scene that made the people smile. Theodore was pushed by Kurt's firm will. The king looked at him with satisfied eyes and opened his mouth again, "Normally, there would be a big banquet to welcome you back, but please understand that the timing isn't good."

    "I understand, Your Majesty."

    They shared a few words before naturally cutting to the chase.

    After all, both Theodore and Kurt both knew that Theodore was an important figure in the war with Andras. Depending on how he moved, he was a wildcard that could control victory or defeat in this unification war.

    "Did you hear the story about how the White Tower Master failed his mission?"

    "Yes, Your Majesty."

    "Then this conversation will progress faster."

    The preemptive attack, carried out simultaneously by three vanguards, couldn't be called good or bad.

    The value of the fortress destroyed by Veronica was quite high.

    However, there was the significant injury of Orta, as well as the loss of seven elite agents who had infiltrated Rutben with him. This was a war where masters were the key. The war hadn't truly begun yet, so the Orta getting injured was a big loss.

    "According to the diagnosis, it will take the White Tower Master at least two weeks to recover and return to the battlefield. The problem is the time in between."

    "Two weeks... That isn't a short amount of time."

    "That's right. Two weeks on the battlefield can cause significant damage to the army. I have been discussing it with those gathered here and..." Kurt paused, looked at the serious Theodore, and then spoke the words he'd prepared, "Theodore Miller, I want you to fill that vacancy."

    "Isn't this a daunting task to be left to me?"

    "We have discussed it seriously." Kurt grinned at Theodore's concern and pointed to the other people present.

    The core of Meltor's power was the magic towers.

    One of the 8th circle magicians needed to defend the capital, so Veronica and Orta were supposed to take the lead with attacking. The chairman of the Magic Society could also go on the front lines, but it wasn't easy to place him in the vanguard due to his importance.

    To put it briefly, Orta's vacancy was like pulling off one of Meltor's wings.

    "No one has disagreed that you are the only person eligible for this task."

    "...Thank you."

    "I want to give you more time to relax, but I can't afford it. Go to Karul Plains in three days. In addition to Quattro, the personnel you will command will be there."

    Theodore saluted Kurt's will, and Kurt got up from his seat.

    The envoys from Elvenheim were still far away, and even if troops were immediately sent from Austen, it would take a minimum of a fortnight. The enemy didn't know this, so they would go on a full-scale offensive to end the war before Orta recovered.

    The return of the hero, Theodore, was like a ray of light on the battlefield.

    "Rest for today, Captain Theodore."

    It was only a three-day grace period, but Kurt hoped that Theodore could unburden his heart during this time. Kurt's eyes shone brightly.

    "Thank you again for returning and for your efforts."

    They were heartfelt words without any exaggeration.

    *     *     *

    Theodore left the meeting room and let out the breath he had been suppressing. "Sigh, it was burdensome in a different way."

    He wasn't scolded but praised instead...? If he had turned his eyes even a little bit, he would have been met with the shining gazes of the other people present. Their bloated expectations had been on full display.

    This atmosphere was due to Theodore, making him feel a sense of burden.

    'Three days... What should I do?'

    Three days wasn't a long period of time, but it wasn't short either. If he did the right things, it would be a proper investment of the time. He could meet someone, or he could restore his condition by resting quietly.

    Theodore was thinking in the garden when he suddenly recalled something he had forgotten.

    "Ah, that reminds me, has the automaton not been repaired yet?"

    The automaton produced by the Yellow Tower Master, also known as the grimoire, Paragranum. The combat machine, made from Lloyd Pollan's body, had broken down three months ago and had yet to return to its original form.

    Was it because Zest's aura was so strong? Or perhaps his ability to cut space might've severely damaged Lloyd's body. If the Yellow Tower Master could repair it in three days, Theodore would get the power of one more master.

    Theodore came to this conclusion and quickly raised his head.

    "Yellow tower..."  The gold tower shone in the sunlight from far away. The Yellow Tower Master's main body was always in Mana-vil, so Paragranum would reveal herself once Theodore arrived in the yellow tower.

    "Okay, let's stop by." Theodore finished pondering on what action to take and moved quickly. After arriving at the crossroad of the four towers, he moved along the road toward the yellow tower.

    It would take time to climb to the top of the yellow tower. He was thinking about flying there when he heard a familiar cry. It was a yip.

    "Tres?"

    It was a word that meant 'three', so Theodore had given the three-tailed fox this name.

    Theodore hadn't been able to bring him into the palace, so he had left him in the garden. So, why were Tres' cries ringing out around here? Theodore immediately strengthened his body and flew to the place where the three-tailed fox's cries were heard.

    Yiiip...! Yiiiip...!

    Theodore soon arrived at where the fox was.

    "Oh? Long time no see, Gluttony's host." The familiar-looking Paragranum was standing there.

    "...Can I ask why you are catching that fox?"

    "This species isn't present on the West Continent. I want to dissect it."

    "No!" Theodore cried out with horror, taking the fox from her hands and placing him deep in his robes. The anxious three-tailed fox trembled inside his loose robe pocket. Paragranum just raised her hands and teased Theodore, "It is a joke. Well, I would've done it if you had given it to me. It is yours, right? I won't dissect it without paying a reasonable price."

    "...How did you associate it with me?"

    "Hey, I have sources even if I am stuck in the tower. Didn't you go to the East and return on a sea dragon? If so, you are the only one who can bring back a species that doesn't exist here."

    It was a simple explanation, and Paragranum's smiling eyes weren't shaken at all. After all, she hadn't intended to dissect the fox without his permission, but she would've done it if she had permission.

    ...As expected from a grimoire that wasn't human. Theodore shook his head at her inhuman nature and brought up the reason for his arrival. "I'm sorry but I can't give the fox to you. Rather, I want to show you something."

    "Huh? What is it?"

    "Open Inventory." Theodore pulled out the wreckage of the automaton from his left hand.

    There were five pieces and a head. Fluid flowed from it instead of blood, producing a bizarre sight.

    Paragranum stared at it without any surprise and soon deduced the cause of the damage. "It is from a high-density aura blade. This can't be done with simple physical force. Didn't you fight the 2nd Sword? So, it must be hit by 'space cut.' The spirit was cut as well as the body, so it can't regenerate."

    Theodore learned alchemy from the Fairy's Book, so he was somehow able to interpret this meaning. The damage was spiritual, rather than physical. It meant that the automaton's regeneration ability didn't work properly because the nucleus had been cut by the aura ability.

    "Will you be able to fix it quickly?"

    "Of course. This isn't hard for me. But..." Paragranum faced Theodore with red eyes and made a circle with her index finger and thumb. "How are you going to pay for it? The materials required to repair this damage will be significant. In addition to what you received in the laboratory, there are a lot of rare materials. Can you afford to pay..."

    "Look at this before saying anything else." Theodore interrupted Paragranum and pulled a bundle out of his inventory. It was the package White Bear of the Baekun Mountains had given to Theodore.

    Paragranum's eyes shone with a strange light at the fragrance leaking from the cloth. Power spots weren't uncommon on the West Continent, but most of them were the dwelling of dragons and it was too risky to invade those areas.

    However, dragons didn't live on the East Continent for some reason. Instead, it was common for native spirits to protect the earth and nature from humans. In other words, the materials in this package were rare on the West Continent.

    Theodore opened the bag in front of Paragranum, who had stiffened, and smiled cheekily. "Oh, yes, what was that about my ability to pay?"

    "...I will take it back." Paragranum canceled her words with a blank expression, then she trembled and grabbed Theodore's hands.

    After making eye contact with Theodore, the grimoire with an ego abandoned its pride and asked, "What price are you setting for these?"
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