21st Century Archmage - Chapter 30
Chapter 30: Cursed Wyvern
It was Igis, the older sister of Razcion and one of only two princesses in Bajran. She was wearing a gorgeous trainee uniform embroidered in golden thread signifying the dignity of the imperial family. ‘Razcion said she wasn’t in the imperial palace; so this is where she was.’
I heard that because the very first Bajran Emperor was a Skyknight with a Black Wyvern, all members of the imperial family, including the emperor, had to be proficient with wyverns. Therefore, the leader of the Skyknight Imperial Guard was traditionally not a noble, but the emperor himself. That’s how inseparable wyverns were to the imperial family.
‘It really increases her charm.’
Igis naturally exuded a refined aura. With her neatly tied up, wavy golden hair and her glowing, clear complexion, Igis broadened my knowledge on the beauty of a woman once again.
“Bebeto, calm yourself. Kyre is a good person.”
‘They know each other?’
The noble princess gazed at the seemingly discarded wyvern with regretful eyes. Then, she stepped towards him.
“Ah! It’s dangerous!”
Despite my warning, Igis continued approaching the wyvern named Bebeto. “Did you eat?” she said to the wyvern, her voice as friendly as if speaking to a close friend.
Gruuuuu… The mountain of a wyvern blinked at her question and purred like a cat.
“I’m sorry… I should come visit more often. Training is done now.” Igis’ voice held deep affection. It was surprising that a princess of a great empire could have such a soft side.
With a gentle touch, Igis stroked Bebeto’s leg, even though his body was incomparably filthy. “You’re already five years old.”
‘Five years old? Then he’s all grown up.’
Wyverns had a lifespan of 50 to 60 years. Once they reached four or five, they were fully grown.
“He’s a reliable fellow, right?”
“Huh? Well, I suppose…”
‘Reliable? If this guy is reliable, then a chick is as strong as an elephant.’
“Bebeto is probably the only wyvern who hasn’t been able to fly in the big blue sky even once despite being full-grown. Even though he has such cool and sturdy wings…”
Igis looked to be on the verge of tears. I saw from my position next to her that her eyelashes were softly trembling, and tears were pooling in her eyes.
‘Is it okay for a princess to be like this?’
According to my common sense, a princess should be even more of a spoiled brat than nobles. But Igis wasn’t like that at all. I was able to confirm that the smile, friendliness, and refinement she had shown me when we first met weren’t pretenses.
“But why is Bebeto locked up in a place like this?”
I couldn’t understand it. Even though he had the size and force to play with an ogre like a marble, he was stuck in this dark, smelly storage room.
“Are you unaware of the hybrid taboo?”
“Huh? Hybrid taboo?” I’d never heard of such a thing.
“One of the taboos among Skyknights, passed down for who knows how long, is owning a wyvern born from hybridization.”
“Why is that a problem? He looks sturdier and stronger than other wyverns…”
“The moment one tries to fly with Bebeto, he would be the first to be attacked by every wyvern from the enemy side.”
‘The heck, then if you fly with him, you get ganged up on?’
“For whatever reason, wyverns become aggressive upon seeing a hybrid wyvern. Even Skyknights themselves will aim at hybrid wyverns first. Essentially, for some reason, wyverns do not mate between races. When a wyvern is rarely born of such hybridization, it often causes a problem. It happens very rarely, but sometimes, a hybrid with unexpected strength is born. The taboo against such wyverns is severe, so hybrid wyverns are considered cursed. That is because the owners of hybrid wyverns have all been killed by other wyverns and their Skyknights.”
‘Mixed-blood racism?’ Racism towards mixed-blood people was slowly becoming an issue in Korea as well. It seemed Bebeto was a victim of such bullying.
“In particular, Bebeto is a hybrid of two of the strongest wyvern races, Black and Gold Wyverns. I suspect that the moment someone takes Bebeto to the sky, they would be targeted by every wyvern and Skyknight around.”
Despite his strength, because of this ridiculous taboo, Bebeto was cast away.
“May I ask how you became involved with Bebeto, Your Highness?”
Bebeto, the hybrid wyvern, was taboo enough to be considered cursed. There should have been no way for them to have met within the imperial palace, which valued honor and prestige above all else.
“When I became ten years old and could choose my own Black Wyvern, I met Bebeto for the first time. Black Wyvern babies had not been born for 2 years, but it was then that Bebeto was born.”
As she spoke, Igis stroked Bebeto’s hide.
‘Lucky bastard…’ Anyone would be able to understand why I would be jealous of a poor guy who was enjoying Igis’ hand.
“Bear it a little longer… I will let you have a taste of the blue sky soon.”
‘How can she be so kind-hearted? A person raised in an imperial palace should be eating rudeness as an appetizer, and arrogance as the main course, and pride as a dessert.’ Igis’ gentle and friendly spirit was somehow uplifting.
“Please leave now. It won’t be good if others find out that you have met Bebeto.”
‘To be living worse than a filthy mutt on the streets…’
From the moment I saw him, I felt strangely drawn to Bebeto. He was a lonely wyvern visited by no one other than the princess.
“Hahaha, hahahaha, hahahahaha!”
‘Eh? What kind of crazy fool is laughing using mana!’
As I followed Igis outside, someone’s raucous laughter rang through the yard. Heedless of the fact that this was a place filled with countless wyverns and their noble Skyknight masters, a man was laughing with extreme arrogance.
“Who is it?” I said testily, unable to contain myself.
“Shh! Please be quiet. It’s him,” Igis whispered, putting a hand to her lips.
“The next emperor of this Empire, the Crown Prince.”
‘Oh man, that shit-tempered crown prince is here too?’ When the crown prince was mentioned, I suddenly thought of one guy– the next lord of the Fasain Duke household and a friend of the crown prince, Tedran. ‘No wonder I had a bad feeling.’
Even though the current emperor was revered as the heavenly ruler, he was the setting sun while the crown prince was the rising sun. Moreover, this was a covert filled with nobles. I could guess that the meeting ahead wasn’t going to be filled with pleasantries.
‘But why did Igis refer to him like that?’ The crown prince may have come from a different mother, but they were half-siblings with the same emperor father.
‘She’s afraid of him.’ I could see it now. A strand of anxiety was running through Igis’ clear and pure sky blue eyes. ‘There’s something going on in the imperial family…’
From the attempt on the kiddo’s life and Princess Igis’ expression, I could see that the imperial family was shrouded in dark clouds.
Baam, bam. Squeaaaall!
‘What’s with the sound of pigs?’
When we were almost out the door, I suddenly heard the squealing of an orc.
“Please be careful. He is violent.”
Igis didn’t hesitate to warn me about the violent nature of her elder brother, the crown prince, Poltiviran. Hearing those words from her, I could tell that the rumors about Poltiviran were warranted.
“Thank you for worrying about me.”
‘Crown prince or whatever, if you fuck with me, I’ll knock you down!’
Igis was unaware of one thing. And that was, that my personality was as tenacious as Poltviran’s.
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“Eat up, Beavis. It’s very delicious, right?”
‘Monsters as a meal?’
As Princess Igis and I slowly walked out in order to prevent detection, I saw a spectacle unfolding outside. At least ten Black Wyverns were sitting in the wide clearing at the center of Kirphone Covert. There were also Skyknights who looked to be the wyverns’ owners, as well as a similar number of orcs.
The orcs, who were seen as nuisances all over the continent, were all trembling. Pierced in multiple places by wyvern claws, blue blood was flowing from their bodies. Despite that, the orcs had completely given up all resistance. As dauntless as they normally were, in front of the top monsters, wyverns, they were mere mice in front of tigers.
‘That guy is the Crown Prince…’
The ten or so Skyknights all had cruel smiles on their faces. At their center was a handsome young man with strawberry golden hair. The Crown Prince was wearing an Air Plate that clearly differentiated him from the other Skyknights; it had a black base with golden adornments.
That was my first impression of Poltviran. With his slightly squared chin and large eyes, nose, lips, as well as a robust physique and reddish golden hair, the Crown Princes’ temperament gave me the image of a raging fire.
“Ohh! So sorry, Beavis likes warm, beating hearts.”
Skyknights and cadets were gathering by the minute. The Crown Prince unsheathed his sword adorned with gold and jewels in front of the crowd.
Then, he plunged his sword without an ounce of hesitation into the chest of an orc that had fallen, trembling, to the ground.
Accompanied by the orc’s scream, Poltviran cut away at the orc’s rib cage with his mana-imbued sword. Then, pulling out the heart of the flailing and still-alive orc, the Crown Prince laughed, “Haha, this one’s very fresh.”
He would be perfectly suited to work at the neighborhood butcher shop, not be the next master of the Great Bajran Empire.
Groar. Poltviran’s wyvern, Beavis, made a happy sound upon seeing the pounding, blue orc heart. The wyvern was a head bigger than the other wyverns in the area. With a crunch, Beavis snapped up the heart and swallowed it.
“Hahaha, eat lots. Let’s go hunting for ogres tomorrow.”
‘If he goes on like this, an Emperor Nero 2.0 might come out.’
I was no soothsayer, but I could see the Crown Prince’s future with a single glance. How could a crown prince who would lead the great empire in the future do such a crude thing? If he wanted to feed hearts to his wyvern, then all he had to do was call his attendants, but the Crown Prince dirtied his own hands with violent actions. It made me sorry for orcs despite them being the enemies of humankind.
‘He’s covered in magic.’ The Crown Prince’s airplate was on a different level from a normal knight’s plate mail. ‘The main section is mithril alloy, and it’s got several high-level spells supported by magic crystals; the thing definitely cost hundreds of thousands of Gold.’
If it was made with an alloy with only a low amount of mithril, enspelled armor that protected a wyvern’s heart and body could actually be cheaper to produce than an Air Plate made for a Skyknight. Enchanting a huge piece of armor with magic circles was a world of difference from doing the same to a small, human-sized armor. An exquisite work of mana created by the efforts of a skilled mage could not be measured in money. That was especially true for the Crown Prince’s luxury Air Plate, which, from looking at its circuitry, had a 6th Circle magic circle at its heart.
“Eat up! As much as you want!” Poltiviran cried.
Rooaaar! At his words, the wyverns’ bloodthirsty eyes gleamed bright.
With horrific ripping noises, the wyverns’ teeth and claws bore into the orcs. Blue blood fountained from the orcs’ bodies as they were torn like paper. The wyverns enjoyed their meal while crunching up the bones and flesh of the orcs, which the group had definitely caught personally.
Nausea rushed up inside me as I watched the wyverns slurping up the hot, steamy orc entrails like noodles and chewing up the legs and bodies with their sturdy fangs.
Some of the cadets who had never seen such a violent scene before could not endure the sight and vomited on the spot.
“Eat lots! Lots and lots! Hahahahahaha!”
Poltviran watched the wyverns eating, his eyes twisted in madness.
‘Isn’t he just crazy?’
My innocent evaluation of Crown Prince Poltviran: A complete and utter nutjob.