Descent of the Legendary Archmage
[Translator – Nya]
[Proofreader – Karane]
The night before Friday, the day Len Smith had mentioned he was going to act.
[Then, let's hope everything goes to plan.]
Before the operation began, I contacted Kim Kangin one last time.
[Fret not. As long as the information provided is correct, there will never be any mistakes on our part.]
[I'll have faith. Then I'll get back to you later.]
After I had finished contacting Kim Kangin, I headed to a building owned by my family that was nearby.
After passing the lobby, I took the elevator and went to the meeting place.
I opened the door and walked into the room where those I had promised to meet were waiting.
At that moment, 4 pairs of eyes focused on me.
The eyes of my two elder brothers and my two elder sisters.
My four siblings welcomed me.
"Long time no see. Hayul."
The youngest out of the four, Shin Minji, approached me first.
Compared to a year ago, she hasn't changed much.
Maybe her hair has grown out a bit?
“It’s been a while. You’re still the same as always.”
“Is that a compliment?”
"Thanks. Hayul, you've grown so much.”
Her every movement was elegant and her demeanor exuded dignity.
It felt as if she wore courtesy as she did her clothes.
Everything about her was the same as a year ago.
As always, I couldn’t feel any ambition coming from her.
'As expected, it's definitely not Minji noonim.'
It wasn't Minji noonim who sent Len Smith after me.
I could be sure of that once more.
"You've really grown a lot haven't you."
The third sibling, Shin Minhyuk, who approached from behind me, smiled cheerfully as he held his right hand out.
I shook his hand with the appropriate amount of force.
''It's good to see you. Though to be honest, it's hard for me to be happy. Anyway, welcome.”
''Yes. Thank you."
He still speaks as frankly as he always has.
He could have just friendlily welcomed me, but the way he just had to say that it was hard for him to be happy was just like him.
'Has his pressure gotten a little more intense?'
I had heard that during the year, he had taken control over an affiliated company and had grown it by a lot.
And because of that, though I couldn't tell what it was, I felt an increased sense of pressure coming from him.
'As expected it's not him either.'
Originally, I had an infinitesimally small doubt that it could have been Minhyuk hyungnim, but in any case he, like Minjii noonim, is clear of any suspicions.
"Haha. You've lost all your baby fat and now you look so manly.”
''It's been a while, youngest."
Finally, the first sibling, Shin Jihan and the second sibling, Shin Seha approached me.
They, too, were the same as always.
'But why don't their smiles reach their eyes...'
I can clearly sense their strong dislike of me from their expressions.
They've gotten better at acting, but because they're the same as they were a year ago, I can be sure of it.
'As expected, it’s one of these two.'
It was one of them who made a deal with the Black Magic Tower and sent Len Smith after me.
There's no doubt about it.
“Let’s get to our seats. We can't stay standing while we talk, can we?"
Shin Jihan smiled and suggested that we sit down.
After everyone agreed, we returned to our seats.
“Well. Should we hear from our youngest why he called us all to meet?”
Shin Jihan, who was sitting on the seat of honor, asked as the representative.
For what reason did I gather all these busy people?
That was what his gaze was asking.
'Why did I gather everyone? Well, to pry out who sent Len Smith after me of course.'
Though I couldn't say that.
"Nothing big. I just wanted to see everyone's faces for the first time in a year. That's why I reserved this place."
I told them the excuse I had prepared.
“You're telling me you gathered us, busy people, for such a small reason?"
Seha noonim frowned.
I met her eyes and grinned.
"Well even if I wasn't the one who had arranged everything, I'm sure either you or Jihan hyungnim was thinking of preparing something, isn't that right? I simply arranged this so that you wouldn't have to have trouble yourselves.”
"...You still speak as eloquently as ever.”
Shin Seha clicked her tongue.
Her expression showed that she disliked me very much.
“Okay then, let’s go ahead and start talking. Youngest. What do you plan on doing?"
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know.”
My sister quickly looked around at our siblings and then said,
"Do you plan on intervening in the succession race?"
It was a very frank question.
“If I were to say that I'm not interested... Would you believe me?"
"No. Absolutely not."
“Then is there any point to the question?”
Seha noonim's gaze became even sharper.
“Agh, fine. Just give me an answer."
''Seha. You can't ask like that."
Shin Jihan, who was still smiling next to her, interrupted.
''Saying that you'll take part or won't take part in the succession race merely with words holds no value. You have to prove it with your actions.”
Shin Jihan is staring at me.
"Hayul. Your vision magic, it seems that you've gotten a hold of some pretty good stuff. Was it called alteration magic?"
His smile becomes darker.
“That magic. Do you have any plans to share it with the clan?"
At that, Seha’s noonim exclaimed.
It seemed that she was genuinely in awe of Jihan hyungnim's words.
“I see. If Hayul shares his vision magic, then I can believe for sure that he's given up on the succession race.”
Shin Jihan smiled brightly and expressed his affirmation of Shin Seha's words.
It's a good move.
Vision magic is like a joker card, a trump card if you will.
Sharing this with the family is like throwing away my trump card.
In other words, by sharing my vision magic, I was effectively proving that I was throwing all my regrets away and saying that I wouldn't participate.
However, if I were to say that I wouldn't share my vision magic, I would be judged to be earnestly willing to participate in the succession race and so they will probably do more to keep me in check.
It really is a good move.
It's not checkmate just yet.
“This is my only hope.”
''Regardless of the succession race, as someone incompatible with AI, I don't want to give away my only chance of living as a mage to anyone."
A refusal to share, not for the succession race, but for my survival as a mage.
My last hope and my last bastion as someone incompatible with AI.
The reason for my refusal is justified.
“Fine. There's nothing we can do when our youngest brother is saying that it's his only hope...”
"Thank you for your understanding."
With this, my will to participate in the succession race remains unknown.
‘But since they are calling upon even the Black Magic Tower to try and eliminate me from the succession race, I wonder if there was any point in any of that.'
No matter what I said, anything was better than giving my siblings a direct answer.
'Politics within the clan is all about justification.'
There's a world of a difference between giving a clear reason to keep me in check and giving a vague answer.
"Now, now. Hyungnim. Since we're not going to get a clear answer, let's put aside that talk about the succession race for now. Let's get caught up with each other.”
Shin Minhyuk intervened to try and lift the heavy atmosphere.
"Yeah, I'd like to hear from Hayul too."
Shin Minji chipped in as well.
"Alright. Let's do that then."
With that, we started talking about trivial things.
About how Seha noonim was going to weave a new circle soon.
Or that Minji noonim is going to take on a small company soon.
These kinds of small things.
I too occasionally talked about what happened at the Academy, and before I knew it, 40 minutes had passed.
'It should be time now.'
And as soon as I had that thought.
The signal came just in time.
''What's this all of a sudden?"
"An emergency call?"
All our phones vibrated in unison.
A fairly strong vibration.
It was an emergency call that was sent only when an urgent event occurred in the family.
"What could it be at this hour?"
Everyone, bewildered, checked their messages.
I also checked my messages whilst paying close attention to everyone's facial expressions.
[It has been confirmed that a criminal mage belonging to the Black Magic Tower was hiding among the staff of the Obelisk Academy.]
[The arrester, Jung Suha from the Blue Magic Tower, had stopped by the Obelisk Academy because she had a small matter to attend there.]
[The spy's name is Len Smith. As the second son of the prestigious French Smith family...]
There was no need to read on.
As planned, Kim Kangin discovered evidence that Len Smith was a spy from the Black Magic Tower and even managed to arrest him.
The plan succeeded.
I took my attention off the message and carefully observed the expressions of my siblings.
Shock, fear, exclamation, disgust etc.
Among the plethora of emotions, a foreign emotion that should not have been felt was felt.
Embarrassment and confusion were plainly displayed on their faces.
He was the mastermind who commissioned the Black Magic Tower and sent Len Smith after me.
* * *
[Translator - Nya]
[Proofreader - Karane]
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* * *
On the way back to the dormitory, I checked the news portal with my phone.
[A great shock! It has been discovered that there was a spy from the Black Magic Tower hiding among the instructors of the Obelisk Academy!]
Articles on Len Smith flooded the portal.
[Today at 10:31 PM, Jung Suha, a 6th circle wizard belonging to the Blue Magic Tower and secretary of Kim Kangin, caught Len Smith suspiciously in the training equipment room of the Obelisk Academy.]
[Jung Suha stated that Len Smith was doing all sorts of funny business with the equipment for the Survival Test. I don't even want to imagine what kind of disaster would have happened on Friday had it not been for Jung Suha, fortunately stopping by the training equipment room.]
[The Korean government, the Korean Magic Association, and the International Magic Association have reported that they have no intention of ignoring the actions of the Black Magic Tower...]
I scrolled a bit and skimmed through the articles.
— Everything happened just as you said it would.
I could hear Kim Kangin's voice through the wireless earphones I had in my ears.
— It was part of the deal, so I moved as you requested, but to think that it was all true.
He spoke as if he was truly in awe.
— You're incredible. Putting all other things aside, just how did you know that Len Smith would be up to no good in the training equipment warehouse?
“It was a deduction I made off the information I had.”
Len Smith had said that he would no longer see me from Friday onwards.
That meant he planned to take action on Friday.
Based on the fact that they purposely used Len Smith, an instructor, there was a high probability that he would do something on the school site.
And Friday just so happened to be the day of the large-scale battle survival test, therefore, there was an extremely high probability that Len Smith would try to do something to this test.
And to mess with the survival test, he needed to get his hands on the training equipment.
The supporting artifacts for survival tests have a surveillance function for the safety of the individual, so if he wanted to do anything to me, he had to turn that function off.
'And usually, the training equipment undergoes checks the night before.'
In other words, Thursday night was the perfect time to modify the training equipment and avoid getting caught by anyone.
So I assumed that Thursday night was the time he was going to act and formulated a plan.
'I asked Kim Kangin to stay hidden in the training equipment warehouse whilst I called and gathered my siblings.'
And after waiting for Len Smith to be captured, I observed my sibling's reactions. Since they would never have even thought of the possibility of Len Smith being captured, their expression was bound to change.
And as long as I didn't miss that change in expression, I would be able to identify the culprit.
'Everything went according to plan.'
As a result, everything worked out.
Len Smith was captured with no issues.
And now I also knew that it was Shin Jihan who had been continuously in touch with the Black Magic Tower.
I thoroughly concealed the information I had gathered.
The danger had been eliminated, and the information had been obtained.
The plan was a perfect success.
'Though it is a slight shame that I was unable to find any evidence of the connection between Jihan hyungnim and Len Smith.'
Though it was a shame, it didn't really matter.
I hadn't set my hopes up for it either.
There was no way that the person who had disobeyed my father's orders and sent the Black Magic Tower after me would have left any evidence.
I'm content just with knowing who it is.
Now that I know who it is that has connections with the Black Magic Tower, I can slowly look for evidence and eventually I'll find it.
There is no such thing as a perfectly hidden secret in this world.
If a deal was made, the evidence for that deal is bound to exist somewhere.
— I get your deductions, but how did you find the information on Len Smith? That's what is bothering me.
"I'm sorry. As I said before, I have an obligation to keep that a secret.”
— Yes. I know, I just said it because it's such a shame.
Kim Kangin laughed bitterly.
— In any case, I somehow managed to benefit again. Rather than repaying my debt, it feels like the debt is piling up.
With this incident, the Blue Magic Tower's image improved.
The image of the Blue Magic Tower improving meant that soon their brand value would increase as well.
— I'll pay you back for this at a later date.
"If you offer to, then I won't refuse."
— Haha. It's nice that you're honest.
Kim Kangin chuckled.
— Then I'll be leaving now to take care of the rest of the work.
''Yes, please take good care of the aftermath as well."
— Will do. I'll contact you later. Then I'm off.
With that, the call ended.
I took my earphones out of my ears and loosened my body up while stretching.
Now that everything's been resolved, today I'll be able to do my magic training in peace.
It really is only a matter of time before I become a 2-circle master.
At most, I'll be one by dawn.
'If I finish the 38 trials and errors I have left then... '
It was at that moment when I was comfortably walking down the street, with thoughts of things to do with resonance in mind.
Suddenly, I felt the flow of mana beside me.
A flame thoroughly mashed together with strong murderous intent.
A huge fireball, which I could tell just by a glance was far beyond a 4th circle magic spell, was flying at me.
"Die! Shin Haayuuuul!!"
Beyond the fireball, I could hear Baek Sahyuk's voice.
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