The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

REAPER SCANS

 

The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

[Translator –  goguma]

[Proofreader – Karane]

 

Chapter 219 (Bonus Story)

 

A few days after Laven received the evacuation notice, a hastily organized investigation party from the Libra Tower was dispatched to the area.

Though they typically didn’t like to use teleportation spells, such an incident called for its frequent use.

“It’s completely destroyed…”

“A natural result when a tsunami hits a harbor city. Still, we are extremely fortunate that no one was hurt. The pier might be destroyed, and the ships may be flooded, but no one was injured.”

“You have a point. I guess life is all about perspective, huh.”

“The difference is whether the tsunami was kind or furious. Regardless of whatever adjective you attach, a tsunami is still a tsunami. The essence of it doesn’t change. Now, let’s stop chit-chatting and go there.”

“It’s my first time being dispatched as a member of the investigation party. It’s making me nervous…”

"It's not difficult. We try to identify the root cause through the traces of mana left behind. If we can't find anything, we simply conclude that it's indeterminable. No one would blame you."

A number of boats made their way out to sea.

The investigation team stood silently together, feeling the growing nerves.

The traces of mana in the waters were so extraordinary that even if they dedicated the rest of their lives to studying magic, they doubted they would ever encounter such traces again.

“We’re almost there!”

“Don’t use mana! You’ll get sucked into the whirlpool!”

“Yes, sir!”

Wooooosh…

The waves were growing larger.

“Check how large the waves are with the wave gauge.”

“They’re much taller than usual.”

“Then we should almost be there. Tie the chains we prepared to that rock.”

“Yes, sir.”

The magicians struggled and groaned as they tied the chains onto the rock.

While they weren’t omnipotent with mana, they were still highly capable with it. Therefore, there was a reason why these adept magicians were enduring this struggle without using mana.

Before they arrived, the kingdom had dispatched its leading investigator to examine the mana disaster. However, when this individual used mana near the whirlpool, they were immediately sucked into it.

After that, using mana near the whirlpool became prohibited.

Regardless, as the boat slowly inched toward the whirlpool, the chain grew taut.

Realizing this was the closest that they could safely go, the magicians began observing it.

“So that’s…”

“The mana disaster…”

Fwoooooooosh…

Craaaaaaaaaaash!

A magician on the boat, the one closest to the whirlpool, brought out a crystal ball.

Chhhhhhhhk…

The crystal ball connected to somewhere.

“What do you think?”

The magician carrying the crystal ball wore an eyepatch adorned with the Libra emblem over one eye.

The crystal ball connected and revealed Santio, the tower master of the Aries Tower.

He still had the same curly hair and wore the same ridiculous glasses.

“Have you arrived, Frannan?” asked Santio.

“Yeah, it’s right here.”

The magician wearing the eyepatch was Frannan.

To uncover the truth about the mana disaster directly, he had led the magicians of the Libra Tower to Frion’s southern sea.

While all of the magic towers in Zodiac were interested in this matter, Frannan, as the one closest to it, was able to go in person.

Upon hearing this, Santio decided to help Frannan as well. There was no reason for Frannan to refuse, either, as nobody in Zodiac was more capable than Santio in situations like these.

“...What do you think?” asked Santio.

Woooooosh…

Frannan continued to stare at the whirlpool.

“I’m looking at it,” flatly answered Frannan.

“In my eyes… it wasn’t a natural occurrence,” said Santio.

"So, you're saying someone was capable of creating a mana disaster of this magnitude? That just raises more questions."

Santio nodded in response.

“Who could do such a thing?”

“Well… one person does come to mind.”

Frannan and Santio met gazes.

The two of them only knew one person capable of such feats.

Well, most magicians immediately thought of one person when they encountered phenomena they couldn't understand.

“The Grand Duke of Frost…”

“Could it be him?”

“There’s no way we could know for sure. However, that bastard might be the only one capable of something this absurd. Then again, we might be overestimating him too.”

“Jealousy makes you look petty.”

“Hmph.”

Santio began tapping his temple.

“We can’t use mana. And since this isn't the wrath of some mysterious, otherworldly beings, even the Daoists from the East wouldn't be able to do anything either.”

“We would need to find a new course to get out into the open sea. Thankfully, it’s near the coast, so they should be able to find one fast.”

“That's odd, though... If it weren't the work of a single individual, it would have had to be done by a large group of magicians. Perhaps..."

"No, there weren't. I didn't find any evidence of a group of magicians traveling together. However, I did come across something on my way here.”

“Huh?”

Frannan then unfurled his hand, showing Santio something.

“A… piece of cloth?”

“Yeah, I found this black piece of cloth nearby. In fact, there were even a few near Laven’s pier.”

“If there’s that much, then…”

“Yeah, it must have been a group of people all wearing the same uniform.”

“So it could have been a clash between two groups… There have been incidents of regional conflicts throughout Pandea, but… nothing on this scale…”

“Regardless, I’ll stay here for a couple more days to find out more.”

“Alright, I’ll also contact you regularly after a bit,” answered Santio.

“Do whatever you want.”

Frannan and the other magicians of the Libra Tower began pulling on the chains to bring them back to safety.

Fortunately, the investigation team was comprised of only veterans, so there was nobody too afraid to act.

However, witnessing the mana disaster firsthand made them extremely honest.

“Could we… try to go back quickly?”

“Huh? Why?”

“I kind of need to pee…”

“M-Me too… Sorry.”

“Hahaha… Anyone would want to pee after seeing that, it’s normal. Why don’t you just go pee over the side of the boat if you’re in such a hurry?”

“B-But if even a bit of mana slips out while I pee…”

“You’d get sucked into the whirlpool. While peeing.”

“I’d rather die.”

The magicians of the Libra Tower continued to talk after returning to the pier.

"Fuuu... I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders, knowing that the entire academic world has their eyes on this whirlpool.”

“We managed to learn that it wasn’t a natural occurrence, but it seems extremely difficult to find anything else out…”

“If it was done by a group of people, who could have… No, more importantly… were there really no witnesses?”

“We issued the evacuation notice beforehand, remember? Everyone evacuated from Laven immediately, without exception. And judging by the whirlpool's location, that was probably why the tsunami didn’t hit the city. They were all able to evacuate safely because of it.”

“So there were no witnesses because everyone evacuated… What a strange fate.”

“They wouldn’t have been able to see it from Laven. Unless someone was there when it happened, we won’t be able to learn what caused it… Huh? Where did Master Frannan go?”

“Ah, he said he was going to look around.”

“On his own?”

“Yes, on his own.”

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - goguma

Proofreader - Karane

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* * *

 

Frannan began investigating the nearby area on his own. He couldn’t approach the whirlpool, but he could walk around the cliffside.

“Hm… if there was a survivor, they should be floating around here…”

In truth, it was ridiculous even to entertain the notion that someone could survive a spell powerful enough to create whirlpools like that. However, Frannan felt compelled to explore every possibility.

After all, he knew he wouldn’t learn anything without such tenacity.

“If I go around this way, I could go higher up…”

“Haah…”

Frannan locked eyes with an individual at the clifftop.

“......”

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!”

“...I’m sure of it now.”

Just from observing the trembling man before him, Frannan gleaned a wealth of information.

‘He knows about what happened!’

Frannan’s tenacity and grit had managed to pull through for him.

Fwip!

Frannan quickly ran toward the man to grab him.

“Don’t come any closerrrrrrrrr!”

“Stop right there! I want to talk to you!”

“Go awayyyyyyyyy!”

“I’ll promise you! I promise I won’t hurt you…”

Frannan was able to gain more information through the man running away.

First, the man clearly wasn’t in his right mind; his eyes were more than enough proof. However, Frannan also noticed that the man was exuding an immense amount of aura.

Fwip!

Frannan had almost caught up to him already.

Grab…

He barely managed to grab him before the steep cliffside.

“Ahhhhhhh! Let me goooooo!”

“Hold still!”

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

Frannan discerned what had transpired through the pulsating black veins on the man's face.

“...Mana backflow, huh.”

“Ahhh…”

The man slowly calmed down.

And it wasn’t because he was tired after moving like that.

‘He’s… dying.’

Those afflicted with mana backflow were doomed to a gruesome fate, and it appeared that the man before Frannan was no exception.

“You saw it, didn’t you?”

“......”

“You were there that day. You saw what happened there.”

“Ahhhhhh…”

Light slowly returned to the man’s eyes.

The man who was exuding a formidable amount of pressure.

He was Zakun, a man who once served Bria.

The same man who narrowly escaped death by swimming away from the ship before Ur’s attack landed.

However, in the end, all he had managed to do was buy time. It was evident that he was destined to succumb to the mana backflow.

“A-A spirit…”

“...A spirit?”

“A very biiiiiiig… spirit… showed up…”

“And then?”

Zakun was shaking.

“A finger… the finger… Ahhhhhhh! I’m so scared…”

Zakun’s testimony was in pieces.

However, his next words managed to completely shock Frannan.

“There was… a man…”

“There was a man? Could you tell me what he looked like? Anything?”

“He punished… punished us… immortal… golden light…”

Frannan’s expression grew cold.

“His eyes… urgh… Ahhhhhhhhhh!”

Splatter!

The man's face turned red before he vomited black blood and collapsed.

Chhhhhhhhk…

There was a signal from Frannan’s crystal ball.

It was from Santio.

Frannan quickly poured mana into Zakun’s body.

Fwoooosh!

Zakun’s body flew off the cliffside, and after that, Frannan accepted Santio’s call.

“Frannan, did you learn anything? Huh? This is…”

Frannan shook his head.

“Nope, nothing.”

“I see…”

Splash!

“Huh? I think I heard something…”

“Maybe dolphins are swimming around here somewhere, I don’t know.”

“...I see,” answered Santio. “Now that I think about it, I might be getting in the way of your investigation. Why don’t you contact me yourself next time when you’re free, Frannan?”

“Sure.”

Chhhhhhhk…

After ending the connection, Frannan muttered something to himself.

“What the hell are the two of you doing…”

A man with golden eyes and a large spirit.

The two individuals behind the mana disaster that could be left behind in magic history were Seol and Ur.

 

* * *

 

[Hey… I think it’s starting to get dangerous…]

The small, mischievous devil was attempting to speak to Seol from within its lantern.

Splaaash…

The ocean currents moved as they pleased. Though they were somewhat predictable near the coast, the further you went into the sea, the easier it was to get caught up in them.

The currents were like a random teleportation scroll. Getting caught up in them could send you in any direction, anywhere and everywhere.

As a few days had passed since the incident and since Seol was sent adrift, it was impossible to know where they were headed.

Seol had managed to stay safe thanks to the consumables he had used beforehand. However, since he had expected to wake up long before, Seol found himself in quite a dangerous situation.

Not to mention the fact that he was adrift with only his body. If he had been on a large ship or even the small dinghy he was in originally, he would have had some means to resist the currents.

Seol was currently extremely far away from Laven. It was impossible to know where he was.

As such, Agony quietly escaped from his lantern to sit on top of Seol.

[Hey, are you… really dead?]

Fwooosh…

Wooooosh…

[Breathing! Right, are you breathing? Uhhh…]

Agony urgently began shouting.

[CPR! I need to do CPR…]

It then quickly froze with a grimace.

[I don’t think we are close enough to do that… wouldn’t you agree? You too, right?]

Obviously, there was no response from Seol.

Suddenly, it spotted something climbing in the water.

[Sh-shark!]

Though Seol had used a consumable to prevent things from approaching him, their effects had run out long ago.

[Go away! Go away! Shoo…]

Oddly enough, it was Agony, a demonic spirit, that was protecting its master.

After chasing away the shark, Agony rested on Seol’s chest once more while thinking to himself.

[Fuuu… So, in the end, it’s up to me, right? Okay!]

Squawk… Squawk…

The sound of seagulls.

There was no one to respond to Agony.

[But what should I do now?]

Agony began thinking about what to do.

[Yeah! I’ll just take him to shore!]

Agony then began hurriedly working.

It used Seol as a ship and its own arm as paddles to wade forward, but…

[W-Were sinking! Cancel this!]

Agony then tried to train a sea turtle nearby by slapping its head.

[Hey, baldie! Come over here! Don’t go!]

The sea was cold and horrifying at night.

Although Agony was born in a grim environment, the persistent cold and loneliness were causing it to cower away.

[Stop playing around and wake up now… I’m bored…]

Agony was completely intimidated.

Drip… Drip…

It seemed as if even the skies themselves were trying to make things worse for Agony.

Craaaackle!

Pooooour…

It began to rain.

Though the rain didn’t matter too much, as they were already wet from the sea, the heavy rain made the sea around them even more terrifying.

Craaaaaackle!

[No! Don’t sink!]

As Seol began to be swept away by the waves, Agony struggled desperately to bring Seol back above water.

It was beginning to worry that this… could really be the end.

[Don’t die until I can corrupt you!]

Then suddenly…

Craaaaaaackle!

Poooooour…

A large ship passed by them as it cut through the rain.

[A ship! It’s a ship! We survived! Here, over here! There’s a person here! He still hasn’t been corrupted yet! Let him on!]

As Agony desperately cried out to the ship, it stopped for a second.

It then spotted a silhouette on deck.

[Hey, you! If you let him onto your ship, I won’t get revenge!]

“......”

Fwirl!

The silhouette threw a rope at Agony.

[You want me to tie him up? Sure! But this will be the only time I listen to you!]

The rope began drifting away as it was carried by the waves.

[No, I was just joking! I’ll listen to you one more time!]

Luckily, Agony was able to grab onto the rope.

And after that, it tied Seol with it.

[Pull!]

Raise…

Agony and Seol were slowly raised onto the ship.

[Phew… You! Huh?]

“Huh?”

The two exchanged glances.

[Ahhhhhh! I-It’s a talking skeleton!]

“Ahhhhhhhh! A sea urchin’s talking!”

The skeleton, its eyes glowing with green flames, was utterly shocked upon seeing Agony.

____

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