Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
The warmth of summer gradually vanished in the darkness of night, creating a slightly damp wind billowed across the alley end of Moldavia. As the cries of the crickets remained echoing between the forests, so would the adventurers who wander between taverns and gathering would never settle down. Their presence caused the entire commercial street to be shining in bright street lights, bringing a little sign of life in the silence of blackness.
Since some unknown point in time, the Northern residents who were used to going home by nine to rest and rising by four to five o’clock had started to become used to the evening entertainment. After that Lord had inherited the old liege’s Count title, the whole of Moldavia was rapidly changed as if the sky and earth had flipped. Though he changed neither decree nor law, some suggestions he made in passing benefited anyone.
Thanks to the already-popularized pyroxene lights, the peasants only need pay a few silver coins to buy those cheap pyroxene stones in Moldavia once every few months so that their homes would be filled with light. Thanks to the free heating pipes that was swiftly being built in every house, many who worried over firewood were relieved at once. Apart from those two aspects, there were instructors always stationed by the communal center built beside the liege’s residence who would explain some practical skills in the frozen forests as well as the population and distribution of monsters in the Great Ajax Mountains. There were indeed quite a lot of people who benefitedeven saved.
Some with agenda had since spread that the heating pipes were merely by-products from the incredible heat produced by magical cores, while those low-cost pyroxenes were just altered scraps of mana stones. However, everyone remained moved by the Liege’s generositynone before him had widely distributed or sold those by-products and pyroxene stones, such was the core difference.
His Lordship also seemed to be planning for a collaboration with the dwarves to build something called a ‘subway’ beneath Moldavia. Legend has it that the unique transport could carry thousands of people on one go, or innumerable loads of ore into the distance.
Rumors also had it that this subway thing was originally called a train and moved above ground, not below. However, because there were too many monsters in the North that would easily damage the rails as well as the dwarves’ considerable ability in underground construction, it was changed and set up below ground.
Feeling the peace within the city, Bishop Artanis stood amidst the darkness in the top of the Saint Laurent’s Cathedral bell tower. The damp wind blew through his white hair while the sight of the entire main city of Moldavia was reflected in his eyes, bit by bit.
However, the old man was not enjoying the prospering city at the moment, but waiting for someone’s arrival.
He had already waited for a considerable amount of time but would not mind waiting longer either. The spirit of a Gold-tier champion is enough to hold on for days and fight without sleep or rest, not to mention such leisure circumstances?
Even so, he did not have to wait for long. When a dimensional undulation wafted from the nearby liege’s residence, the old man opened his narrowed eyes. Then, with a slight lift of his palm, a holy ripple also extended out at the same time.
Meanwhile, at the top at of liege’s residence, the man who had just stepped out of the portal sensed the wave from Saint Laurent’s Cathedral. Blinking, he turned to stare beside him where two young girls were holding his hand, while a whole cluster of parcels and pouches floated behind Joshua, held aloft by a mysterious power. Both Ying and 03 had faces brimming with satisfaction as they carried several valises and pouches, and the warrior could not but feel moved as both girls were starting to resemble ladies of their age even more. Of course, Ling would never show such a contented face after going on a shopping spree of this scale.
“I have something to do, you guys go back to the manor,” Joshua told the girls as he placed the parcels that were levitated by his power on the ground with a dull thud. The pair, who happened to be soaking in the pleasure at the moment, knew better than to bother the warrior’s work and nodded with a brisk ‘ok’ utterance. Nodding in return, he flew towards the cathedral.
After the warrior’s back vanished into the night sky, the silver-haired girl promptly shouted into the doorway leading the top floor beside her.
“Ling, Black, come help carry some stuffMaster and I bought you presents!”
“There’s actually such a move?”
The surprised voices of black dragon-girl and black-haired boy came from the second floor of the liege’s residence. Soon, with the sounds of footsteps on the stairs, both Ling and Ying appeared at the top floor.
“For you, for you.”
Then, after both had their hands full, Ying indelicately handed them the pile of parcels and pouches. “Remember to carry these back inside, and this mission is yourslittle brother!”
“Hey, isn’t that ridiculous?! When will this hoard be carried inside!”
Without minding her younger brother’s complaint, the silver-haired girl pulled the black dragon girl who was worrying over Ling to a side and helped her opened some of the packages, putting on jewelry after jewelry on the befuddled Black.
“I say, is Ling really going to carry everything alone?” Black was still fretting over another person even as she got treated like a mannequin, with Ying happily putting all sorts of ornament over her. “Should I help too?”
“It’s fine,” Ying said, waving her hand carefreely. “It’s fine. It looks like there’s a lot but those things are quite light.”
She never thought that it was because Joshua had been beside them.
Leaving the matter of Ling who grimaced at the packs of purple crystals aside, the artificial lady beside them then displayed her powers.
Getting out of her the steel shell as a single phantom, 03 linked herself to her real body as she returned to her mana projection form. Thick mana immediately turned into materialized energy and lifted the huge packages, floating them towards the storage vault below the manor including the cluster in front of Ling, earning the black-haired youth’s genuine gratitude at once.
The problem at the liege’s residence settled for the time being.
At the same time, the warrior had arrived by the doors of the Saint Laurent’s Cathedral, where Archbishop Artanis waited for him.
“What, Your Excellency, did something happen?” Joshua asked the man who had been a friend of his old butler and father, in curiosity and without much chatter. “I’ve just been gone for a dayand there’s already some accident that needs you to act as well?”
The warrior was also aware that the St. Laurent’s Cathedral had much to do lately. With the expansion of the new city zones, the Seven Gods Church need to build another new churchevangelism has to step up too. Artanis had since been strategizing for such matters, delegating miscellaneous matters to young apprentices.
So, anything that could get the archbishop act by himself was not some triviality to be handled in passing.
“The issue is neither too big nor too small. But whatever the case may be, it’s very troublesome.” The old archbishop sighed, shaking his head and summarized without much polite greetings either. “This afternoon, the Skypiercing White Tower has sent an urgent message to me. They were actually looking for you but they did not have your address or know where you are, which is why it was sent to me firstso that I’ll pass it on to you.”
“It actually has a little to do with the Seven Gods Church too. They would not have let me read the message contents first otherwise.”
“Then what is it?” Joshua pressed.
Taking a deep breath, Archbishop Artanis frowned and said gravely, “The Skypiercing White Tower has lost contact with two of their instructors’Rune Lord’ Barnil and ‘Mind Lord’ William.”
Joshua, however, did not appear surprised by the news. “Those two Legendary champions?” He asked indifferently. “Is it actually strange for them to lose contact?”
It was no callousness on part of the warrior, but it was a habit typical of those two Legendary mages.
The two Legendary-champions, Barnil and William were a rare kind in this world. Unaffiliated with any faction, they instead wander the entire continent in search for traces of Ancient Dragons. They were also most adept at hiding in the crowd as they venture across the continenttheir own family and kingdom had once offered millions of gold in reward to find them, but even with countless bounty hunter veterans acting collectively there was not a hint as to where they were.
Furthermore, the two infrequently visits extremely dangerous and enclosed forbidden lands. In those places, even dimensional magic was shackled by all the elementsnot to mention communications circle. Naturally, there were quite a few of those anti-magic locations on the Mycroft Continent, and while they were meaningless against Legendary mages whose majestic power is held within their own body, it was still a simple matter to cut their contact with the outside world.
“Besides, what does it have to do with us?” Joshua asked doubtfully. “Although I have a good impression on those two mages since they did help me watch my domain for a long timesomething I had yet to thank them forwhy would they look for us after they’ve lost touch?”
As for Artanis, he stared at Joshua for some time and mumbled something like ‘I thought you already knew’ before sighing, shaking his head. “Joshua, to be frank,” he explained, “you may not know about this, but it definitely has a lot to do with us.”
Then, the archbishop continued following a brief pause. “After being entrusted by the Seven God Church, the two Legendary mages had come to help watch over your territory, after of which they never got in touch with the Skypiercing White Tower. Mana readings showed that they were amidst the Great Ajax Mountains all along, as if searching for something.”
“It would be fine if it was just that,” Artanis added. “Those two were never allied to the White Tower after all, although they had worked as instructors there once after accepting a favor from the ‘Elementalist Maven’. They can’t do a thing if those two do not contact the White Tower on their own accord, and since the Elementalist Maven still intends to rein them into his faction he therefore wouldn’t restrain them too much. That may be the case, but the two Legendary mages’ mana ripple had utterly vanished from the world just a while ago!”
The old archbishop did not have to elaborate much since Joshua would understand it anyway.
Legendary champions were free, and that freedom shows in all sorts of aspect. It was the symbolic authority of Legendary that Israel could go out on excursion, accompanying Nostradamus to every Divine Dungeon Shroud before heading to the Void Star-observatory and wait while the ascension completes. If it were any typical Emperor, he probably would not be able to step out of the palacemuch less leave so casuallyand would be forced to only sit on the throne of Morlaix Palace under everyone’s most vigilant protection.
Any faction would give them the warmest of welcome should Barnil and William were willing to stay with them. If they do not, they would be labeled with the highest caution just as how the Northern Empire had denied their entry into their territories. Even so, they could go wherever they wantit was solely because they did not desire breaking the Imperial prohibition that they did not actually do so.
There was nothing else other than searching for Ancient Dragons that would get them to stay in the North too. They hid their tracks so that even Joshua did not notice, which was why both the Empire and the Skypiercing White Tower would assuredly turn a blind eye.
However, things were different if their mana signatures utterly vanished.
Both Barnil and William had left a mark of their mana in the White Tower that could largely identify if those two Legendary champions were alive or on this world and generally discern which direction they were at. It operates constantly and still functions even if they were in anti-magic zonesbut since they had stopped, it meant two things.
“They are dead,” Joshua said, placing emphasis each word. “Or they had left this world.”
That was exactly the case. The old clergy nodded, frowning as he said, “Joshua, it’s no small matter for two Legendary mages to vanish in your domain. When all is said and done, they don’t belong to the Skypiercing White Tower or any other faction, and everyone knows that you could never restrain those two Legendary spellcasters’ freedom or kill them so simply.”
Having said that, the old clergy could not help feeling a pain in his mouth. The mage from the White Tower had indeed been suspecting that that had been the caseArtanis could not help but sigh about his reputation in the world out there.
“But they had ultimately vanished in my domain,” Joshua added. He understood the gravity of the matter and why the old archbishop would deliberately wait for his return from the Imperial Capital. “It could cause an international diplomatic incident Heh.”
Then, the warrior smiled as he turned to look at the direction of the Great Ajax Mountains.
“Two missing Legendary mages in my domain? Really interesting,” he said, his tone leisurely. “To think I’ve just rested for almost a yeardo all fascinating things happen at once?”
Artanis, who had been furrowing his brow and intended to remind the graveness of the matter could not help breaking into a smile mid-sentence.
“Never mind. You just have to take note of it.”
The archbishop had been anxious over the matter since the afternoon. But for some reason, after he had seen the warrior’s figure once Joshua returned, his heart unwittingly relaxed.
There are some people who could make others calm involuntarily just by existing,Artanis thought begrudgingly, looking at Joshua who had already turned away as if to head for the Great Ajax Mountains right now and have a look.
Such swift decisiveness that calms others. That might be his charm.
Of course, it was limited to his friends.