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Chapter 378 - Through Adversity and Towards the Stars (2)

    Chapter 378 - Through Adversity and Towards the Stars (2)

    It was a truly shocking offer.

    Royal duke! The title belonged to the same level as a grand duke, but the handling was very different. A grand duke was a noble with great authority while a royal duke was literally a king.

    He wouldn't be bound to the Meltor Kingdom but would wear the crown as the master of an independent state in a hierarchical relationship with Meltor. Moreover, since all the territories in the East Continent would be recognized as his, it would be possible to build a kingdom that was larger than the Meltor Kingdom.

    It was a temptation that ordinary people couldn't turn away from.

    "Hrmm."

    However, Theodore thought about it without shaking.

    'His Majesty knows... This isn't an offer he would've thought of. Then the appointment of royal duke must be something that the nobles gathered together and petitioned for.'

    The loyalists in his home country would have a fit, but it was Meltor that would lose out if he became a royal duke.

    Theodore hadn't lost his magic abilities, but he had a lot to deal with as Chief Tower Master. If he vacated his position, the work would accumulate in seconds and the necessary budget would have to increase. Additionally, compared to making a manor, the amount of money and labor required to establish a new kingdom was a totally different story.

    Meltor had just overcome a war and would be disturbed by financial difficulties again. The only ones to gain from a weakened kingdom were the corrupt officials.

    '...Well, it might be a suggestion for His Majesty to try and control me. He is a man who would weigh the gains and losses. Even if I accept the offer, he would've already prepared a backup method.'

    The stupid nobles didn't know it. Kurt III was certainly a wise king, but he didn't have a meek mentality. Rather, he was a king who could be ruthless when needed. Since his youth, he had walked a bloody path. Kurt III was a monarch who knew how to draw a sword at any time.

    If Theodore accepted the offer, it was obvious that Orta would squash all the relevant nobles when he returned.

    "Hahat." Theodore thought this and looked ahead with a laugh. "You don't need to listen to my answer, White Tower Master."

    "..."

    "Do you need a pledge? I won't become a royal duke. So, please speak with ease."

    "Sigh, of course. I will deliver it to His Majesty," Orta sighed and smiled after releasing his anxiety. In retrospect, he shouldn't have acted on the spur of the moment. Theodore was a 9th circle magician, a transcendent located in legends.

    'Ah...!'

    As one of the few magicians who understood Theodore's position, Orta realized that it was meaningless for him to seek wealth and power. This didn't mean that a transcendent was abstinent. It was just that the laws of society or providence of the human world weren't valid for Theodore.

    'What does a magician long for after achieving the 9th circle?'

    If he wanted wealth, he could snatch it with force. If he wanted power, he could show off his strength.

    Orta was able to see it because he had fought a few times with transcendental existences. To Theodore, a nation and its army were just a bunch of weeds that could be wiped out at once. Another transcendent would be needed to fight against him.

    However, in the modern age, there was no longer anyone who could stop Theodore.

    "...Chief Tower Master," Orta asked as a mortal, not a tower master, "What are you going to do now?"

    He wasn't simply asking about tomorrow's schedule. Theodore felt the weight of Orta's words and looked up at the sky outside the window before replying, "I'm not sure."

    The boy who had shed sweat and tears in the academy's library, wishing for a good reputation... He had dreamt of finding a beautiful girl and becoming a respectable magician. However, once all those wishes were fulfilled, the wish that remained was simple.

    "I will love those who love me, use my strength to fulfill my responsibilities, live today like it is yesterday, and seek the truth as a magician."

    Some people might say that this conclusion was stupid. Why should he do nothing when he had the power to do anything? It was human nature to attain the things one desired with their own abilities. However, Theodore would laugh at their stupidity.

    A person who wielded their power just because they could was simply an idiot. There was no need for shallow and offensive desires. His desire was to pursue infinite wisdom by exploring the laws of the world, as well as to love his family and lovers and to keep his friends alive.

    "Isn't it luxurious enough?" Theodore kept looking outside the window.

    Once he heard Theodore's wishes, Orta stood stiffly like his whole body had been struck by lightning.

    Theodore could put the whole world under his feet but didn't covet any power. He valued his own bonds and didn't want to be higher than anyone else. Instead, he smiled comfortably in the morning sun, which would be the same today and tomorrow.

    'I see.' Orta seemed to know why Kurt III wasn't very worried about Theodore's choice.

    The man in front of Orta, Theodore Miller, was such a hero.

    "Once again, I salute you. Chief Tower Master," Orta said politely with a sincere heart.

    He was someone with a quiet character, and the sincerity of a transcendent stirred him. Theodore unintentionally settled the atmosphere and looked over with a strange expression. '...?'

    This day in the Baekun Mountains started with silence.

    *     *     *

    "Theo!" After breakfast, Veronica laughed from where she was lying on Theodore's bed. "I'm really impressed. I knew you wouldn't accept the proposal, but your words were so cool!"

    "Eh? What?"

    "I will love those who love me, use my strength to fulfill my responsibilities, live today like it is yesterday, and seek the truth as a magician? I should one day publish a book of Theodore's sayings!"

    "T-That..." Theodore's face turned red, and he waved his hand. He hadn't felt it when he said those words, but he became a bit embarrassed hearing them from someone else's mouth. A quotation in a book? How would he endure the embarrassment if he later saw a book like 'Theodore Miller's Book of Sayings' in a bookstore?

    "I can't do this?"

    "No."

    "Tch," Veronica clicked her tongue at Theodore's stubborn attitude and switched to another topic. "By the way, Theo, putting aside Orta's story, what is the schedule after returning home? Do you intend to return to the central tower where work has piled up as usual?"

    "Well, I would like to take a break. Would you like to take a vacation for one month?"

    "Really?" Veronica blushed at the thought of going with him and couldn't hide her joy. If any red tower magician was present, they would deny the reality. They couldn't imagine her gentle expression and trembling voice.

    'Ah, that reminds me.' Theodore was reminded of something he had wanted to talk about but had forgotten after becoming too busy.

    "Becky."

    "Huh?"

    "It might be a bit unexpected, but I've made you wait too long. When is the best time to schedule a wedding?"

    "..." Veronica's eyes widened at the words.

    Some people might complain about Theodore not being able to read the atmosphere since he talked about a wedding so casually. However, Veronica's reaction was more violent than his imagination.

    Hwaruruk!

    Her red hair started burning, and the room filled with heat.

    "Uwah, Becky! Becky? Veronica! Wake up!"

    "―Ah." Fortunately, Veronica regained her spirit and put out the flames. However, some black soot remained in a corner of the room. It was proof that the heat she emitted was attack magic. The red-faced Veronica remained silent as Theodore erased the traces with a restoration spell.

    "――――――!!!"

    The meaning of the unknown words was as followed:

    Marriage, marriage! Now she wouldn't be an old spinster! Some people might call her a thief, but who cared! Theodore asked her to marry him! If anyone interfered, she would burn them! Ah, how should she answer? She couldn't speak or breathe. Ah, too embarrassing!

    This continued until Theodore put a hand on her shoulder. She barely regained her complexion, but there was still slight red stains on her cheeks. Veronica cited high-level magic formulas repeatedly and barely managed to calm herself down. "W-We! Where should we go on our honeymoon?"

    No, she just looked okay outwardly. She was still panicking.

    Veronica finally burst out and stood up. "Waaaaah! I'm embarrassed! Why am I taking it so seriously at this age? Theo, I'm sorry but talk to me later! I'm not rejecting you. At any time, the wedding date will be good..."

    "W-Wait a minute. Becky?"

    "N-Next time! The next time! I need my heart to be prepared!"

    Before Theodore could nod, Veronica quickly flew out of the room.

    'Why is the topic of a wedding so stimulating?'

    He didn't know despite being a 9th circle magician. Theodore was still in his mid-20s and didn't understand everything in the world. Looking at Veronica's empty space where the blankets were still crumpled, he couldn't say anything for now.

    「 Silence. 」

    It was enough. The world killed all sound according to his will, and only Theodore's breathing was heard in the room. All sound was blocked from going in and out of the invisible wall.

    "Gluttony."

    It was a bit late due to his chat with Veronica, but Theodore had originally returned to the room to have this conversation. His foresight was warning him that the moment he asked this question, an irreversible flow would be created. This wasn't unhappiness or bad luck; it was the inevitable law of causality. Even if he didn't know this, it wouldn't pass him by.

    'To be unaware...'

    This feeling was a bit different. He felt that ignorance wouldn't be good this time. It would not be much different from trying to cover the sky with his palm. If he ignored what was going to happen, he would delay the despair. However, it wasn't a fundamental solution. Following that, Gluttony was woken up by Theodore's call.

    -...Kung.

    It seemed that Gluttony was unwilling to answer the question it knew Theodore would ask.

    "Gluttony."

    Theodore had no choice but to ask one question.

    "Explain what Lust said. What is my destruction that will come soon?"

    -......

    Gluttony was silent for a moment. It rarely expressed that it didn't want to answer something. Nevertheless, Theodore kept waiting. The nerves of the two beings filled the wall of silence before Gluttony eventually spoke.

    -Maybe she was talking about Wrath, Gluttony said, with its voice sounding resigned and helpless. -She is talking about that damn chunk of metal that receives a signal when the majority of Seven Sins are evicted.

    "Chunk of metal?"

    -That's right. I have been banned from talking about it until Wrath is activated, and it is impossible to reveal its existence. To be precise, I had forgotten about it until this point. I only remembered when Lust was destroyed.

    The only Seven Sins remaining in this material world, Wrath... It was good to know about its existence, but that still didn't answer Theodore's question.

    Why were the conditions regarding Wrath so restrictive?

    -User, Gluttony didn't answer the question directly, -How much do you know about astronomy?

    "What? What are you suddenly saying?"

    -Do you know what a comet is?

    The concept of asteroids and meteorites were learned after reading Paracelsus' books.

    Gluttony saw Theodore's curiosity and started to explain with a long sigh, -Humans might not know it, but there is a comet that circles the world at an observable point every 120 years. In the Age of Mythology, this comet was called Deus, and there were a few religious groups who worshipped it as a destructive god with infinite power.

    "So?"

    -...That comet is Wrath.

    As Theodore froze with an ominous hunch, Gluttony's words penetrated his flesh like a sharp blade.

    -It's a weapon that waits on the outskirts of the stars to destroy the planet when the signal comes.

    This was the Seven Sins whose purpose of existence was focused on 'destruction.' Gluttony's voice was rather dull as it added to its terrible explanation, -We call it Planet Buster.
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