The Book Eating Magician - Chapter 304
Chapter 304 - End of War Agreement (2)
The Sipoto Plains...
It was a boundary dividing the northern and central parts of the continent, a neutral zone that didn't belong to any powers. Dry winds blew throughout the year, with clouds and raindrops hardly ever present. It was a desolate wasteland. This wasn't a suitable environment for nomadic people to live in, so they wandered around the continent instead.
Hwiooooong...! The wind blew.
It had become moist since a while ago. This westerly wind, which had a bit of moisture, had started to blow after the sand dragon, Desertio, died.
Some knew the story, but most people didn't.
Nature had realized before anyone else. This was no longer a wilderness where only weeds could grow. The seeds of eaten fruit dropped onto the clothing of travelers, rolled off their carriages, and into the ground, where they started sprouting buds. The change couldn't be felt in a few years, but after a hundred years, nobody would be able to call this place a wilderness anymore.
However, visitors arrived before a hundred years had passed.
Flash! There was a bright flash of light, and a majestic magic circle appeared on the ground that previously contained nothing. Unlike the disposable magic circles that disappeared after arriving, this one was built for round trip purposes. The white tower had invented it many years ago.
The people who appeared on it looked at the dust clouds.
’’Cough, it looks like we need to do something about the dust clouds.’’ The young man wearing a red robe waved his hand, lifting the dust cloud and revealing the scenery.
There was a beauty, also wearing a red robe.
Then there was a man with two swords hanging at his waist.
Finally, there was a magician in a white mask and white robe.
This was the moment when Theodore Miller, leading the main powers of the Meltor Kingdom, took his first step onto the Sipoto Plains.
’’...Amazing,’’ Orta spoke while walking behind Theodore. ’’Creating a magic circle from Mana-vil to Sipoto by yourself. Even the Red Tower Master and Blue Tower Master couldn't do this... Your Sorcery is more special than I imagined.’’
That's right. The person who invoked the long-distance teleport set up in Meltor palace's garden hadn't been White Tower Master Orta but Theodore.
’’Well, I don't fully know yet.’’ Theodore looked down at his hands with a subtle expression. He didn't think it was much to be excited about, but it was different if both Veronica and Blundell had failed to do this. The reason for it was possibly his Forced Harmonization, just like Orta said.
'I feel like I have taken a step further.'
He couldn't help looking at his right arm. The Umbra imprint, the tattoo that had given him its power, had disappeared. Of course, it didn't mean he had lost the ability. After he reached the 8th circle and healed Veronica's soul, the mark no longer appeared on his skin. It was perfectly within Theodore's body and naturally lent its power. Umbra was also a multidimensional power, so there was no reason for him to be lacking when it came to comprehending space magic.
’’Theo became better than you in a day or two? How refreshing,’’ Veronica muttered from next to him
Randolph nodded. ’’I'm not trying to ignore you, but isn't it too late to be surprised now?’’
Theodore had called a dragon, a god from an old era, and an ancient warlock... Just as Randolph said, it was too late to be surprised simply because of space magic.
’’It seems like Andras has arrived first.’’ Theodore used flying magic to look around and soon found the Andras flag.
There was a splendid building that had just been erected. The empire's distinctive architectural form appeared on the wasteland. The tower rose into the sky, and a familiar presence was felt.
Crown von Andras Andras' strongest sword master and its emperor was waiting for them.
’’Ah, we've been noticed.’’
Just as Veronica said, Crowd had noticed their arrival one beat later, and his presence became greatly exaggerated. Should they fly over? A magician who could use flying magic didn't have to walk up stairs. Randolph was one person, so it was possible to carry him.
The shadow of four people appeared in the sky and then landed on the ground.
At this moment, Theodore and three other people landed on the tower that contained Crowd. It was in a few blinks of an eye. Crowd didn't show any surprise by their sudden appearance and greeted them slowly, ’’You came, dear enemies.’’
He had black hair and turquoise eyes that weren't shaken, despite the power he was facing. The 19th emperor of Andras stood in front of them without a sword.
’’You have no fear... What if we try to kill you?’’ Veronica couldn't help asking.
’’It is a fight I can't win. It is better to come with bare hands, since you would be alert if I was armed,’’ Crowd answered openly.
Theodore felt a strange trust in the Crowd who didn't hide his intentions and intervened in the conversation between the two. ’’Do you really intend to end this northern war?’’
’’I think that it can't be helped. If we keep fighting, the defeat of the empire is definite. Maybe we can strike you until the end, but what is the value of the blood that will be shed?’’
’’...You are serious.’’ After obtaining another divinity, Theodore could see the truth contained in another person's words. Knowing that Crowd was talking from his heart, Theodore fell silent for a moment.
Unless Crowd was trying to make a move, this agreement would be a huge benefit for not just Andras, but Meltor as well. Even if victory was confirmed, a war would still cause blood to flow and national power to be consumed. There was a possibility that the benefits gained from achieving victory would be low by the time Andras was completely destroyed.
This was an opportunity to completely cut off the chain of hatred that had been inherited for hundreds of years due to Invidia.
’’But there is an answer that I must hear before that,’’ Theodore spoke in a cold voice as he cut to the chase. ’’You, what is your identity?’’
Crowd had survived at the hands of Invidia who could wipe out Theodore's group of four without hesitation, a monster that had even repelled the incomplete god-king, Nuada. There was a sword master that wasn't killed despite mountains being crushed by the aftermath of the attack? The only way Crowd could have survived was because Invidia had spared him.
Thus, Theodore had to find out why. It was enough to have one monster who concealed his identity as a neighbor.
’’Sigh, coming all the way here only to hide it would be funny.’’ For the first time, Crowd showed some emotion. This was clearly an expression of self-mockery. ’’I am a waste.’’
’’What?’’ The four people were surprised by his words.
’’A chunk of waste that Invidia, the 'envy' of the Seven Sins, couldn't consume. An excrement of unnecessary ego, strength, and memories. To put it more plainly, I am food waste.’’
’’500 years no, counting from the beginning of the founding period, it has been nearly 700 years. The number of sword masters eaten by him was in the hundreds, and the accumulated egos and remnants of memories reached saturation. So, he made me. He wanted to isolate any unnecessary human debris outside his body.’’
It was terrible. The four people were like statues as Crowd's words continued. Even Veronica, who had grown up in a bad home environment, paled. Crowd wasn't a human. He had been made by necessity and sometimes used depending on the purpose. Simply put, he was a 'tool,' something that shouldn't have awakened an ego and formed emotions.
’’...Crowd von Andras,’’ Theodore pushed down the feeling of nausea and spoke while staring into the Crowd's eyes, ’’If this is true, why are you the emperor?’’
Invidia had referred to the North as a 'breeding ground,' a breeding ground where Andras and Meltor fought each other in order to nurture suitable sword masters.
It was a place where loyalty and patriotism weren't rewarded.
The wreckage filled Crowd's body was a residue of this. He couldn't avoid feeling hatred, and he couldn't avoid blaming someone. Crowd was eligible to hate Andras more than anyone else. Rather than defending the empire, it wasn't strange if he tried to destroy it.
’’I also thought so at first. If the day comes when my sword regains freedom, I will destroy it personally.’’
A question of 'Why didn't you?' was present in Theodore's eyes.
’’200 years,’’ Crowd spoke in a voice that sounded old. ’’After 200 years, the anger boiling inside me cooled down and the hatred lost its sharpness. I watched humans who knew nothing, raised disciples who knew nothing, and fought against enemies who knew nothing.’’
’’I realized that my hatred was aimed in the wrong direction.’’
Their deaths might've been tragic, but the knights inside Crowd had devoted themselves to the nation. Since childhood, they had lived lives of loyalty, honing their sword skills and gaining honor. Crowd didn't know what Meltor was like, but these people loved Andras in their own way and were faithful to it.
Once his anger and hatred scattered, Crowd barely became aware of his own wish.
’’Roy hoped that no one else in his hometown would die of hunger. Dixen prayed for a country where children could laugh. Carlos wanted the great empire to last forever. I received this life from them. So, it wouldn't be strange for me to want to preserve Andras.’’ Crowd finished his story that was both long and short, and no one could open their mouths. Maybe it was because he had been born a non-human that he wanted to live like a human more than anyone else.
The hostility of the four people disappeared. Monsters couldn't be understood, but Crowd's heart was understood by all of the four people present. Crowd might have been born of a monster, but he was all too human.
’’...A non-human has become a human.’’
’’I think it is quite funny.’’
Theodore couldn't help laughing, and Crowd smiled as well. The rest of the people were the same. A light breeze filled the tower as a decision was made.
Then Theodore took one step forward and said to Crowd, ’’Your Majesty.’’ Unlike before, Theodore was now polite and courteous. ’’Meltor acknowledges your appointment as emperor of Andras and promises to participate in this meeting for an agreement to end the war.’’
’’Heh. Thank you, Sir Theodore.’’
It was the greeting of a formal envoy. As Theodore remained on one knee, he spoke of his anxiety before starting the full-fledged talks. ’’By the way, what did you want to talk to me about? Surely it isn't about the terms of the agreement.’’
’’Ah, I called you because you are involved.’’
’’What does that mean?’’ Theodore made a bewildered expression.
This caused Crowd to answer with a strange smile, ’’The warlock who you released into the world, Jerem, approached me.’’
The four people stiffened at the startling words.