21st Century Archmage - Chapter 47
Chapter 47: My Goodness, This Person!
In the covert that had become my foothold, the mercenaries who returned from sweeping Viscount Lukence’s mansion clean saw me and fired off salutes that really didn’t suit them.
Grrr grrrrrrr. Having lost his home, Bebeto expressed his complaints with low growls.
‘Just hold on a bit. I’ll make you a lackey.’
I couldn’t waste a valuable wyvern that was still perfectly alive. With a certain method drawn out inside my head, I opened the side door and went inside.
‘Take a look at this guy…’
The wyvern’s partner Skyknight had died and it had also suffered deep wounds. As I went inside, it glared at me with grey eyes full of bloodthirst, completely unaware of the ill-fate awaiting it.
‘It’s a female.’
Male wyverns had hard combs (like rooster combs) 50 cm large protruding around their horns. On the other hand, females only had traces of a dull-colored comb on their heads. The wyvern with steel chains on its ankles was a female.
Her throat trembled as the wyvern glared at me with bloodthirsty eyes.
I simply sent a cold smile her way.
‘Your master deserved to die twice over.’
I did give people serious injuries with a sword before, but until now, I had never committed murder. However, the actions of this wyvern’s master had made me commit my first ever murder.
My heart was calmer than I expected. Compared to the unpardonable, atrocious murder committed by this wyvern’s master, my actions looked almost noble. And the deciding point was that he was someone who had tried to kill me. My actions were merely self-defense.
The wyvern suddenly tried to skewer me with her sharp horns, which looked like they would carve a hole in me the moment they met flesh.
I swiftly retreated to block the rude wyvern’s attack.
“Why do this? Like an amateur.”
As a refreshing smile appeared on my lips, I made an expression of concern. Then, I smoothly raised my hand.
As soon as I did so, the brat clamored as if thinking I was going to attack her.
I cast Silence within the hangar while watching her antics. What happened from here on out absolutely had to stay a secret.
‘Huhuhu… You’re done for!’
What I came up with was wyvern mental modification. It was a method you couldn’t even dream of if you weren’t a mage.
“It hurts, right? Bebeto, that jerk, is real scary. Seriously, how could he treat a lady this rough? It’s not something I did, but I sincerely apologize.”
I heard that most wyverns had intelligence exceeding that of monkeys. Therefore, they could interpret most of the words spoken by humans. My voice filled with kindness, I apologized to the injured wyvern over Bebeto’s roughness.
The wyvern stopped rampaging at my sudden apology. But convincing her with a few words was impossible.
“Can’t believe me, right? Alright, I understand. If not for me, your master wouldn’t have died, and you wouldn’t have gotten so hurt, either… But it can’t be helped. If it were you and someone was coming after your life, would you have accepted your death with a smile?” I tried to explain my actions with a gentle tone, as if persuading a human. “That being said, I’m sorry that he died. If my skills were more exceptional or I hadn’t been so flustered, it should have been possible to not kill him, but… I apologize again for that.”
I attempted to bait the wyvern, something I had learned from Master.
This was something that had already worked on Bebeto. I was certain that this method could save this twitchy grey wyvern and make her my own.
“O Hand of Healing, appear before me! Heal!”
I used Heal on the wyvern, who was blinking as she sent a deeply suspicious look my way.
Yellow light of mana filled with life covered the wyvern’s whole body as she flinched.
Because of all the injuries on its huge body, even though it was only a 2nd Circle healing spell, it used nearly as much mana as a 5th Circle spell would.
The spell’s healing power shone for around one minute. The wyvern squirmed at the magic at first, but then submitted to the magic, as if reassured by the comfortable energy. Shortly afterward, the magic disappeared.
Even though the wounds inflicted by Bebeto had been deep, the wyvern was perfectly healed by my very sincere(?) spell.
“It’s a small sign of my remorse.”
The wyvern was completely surprised by her injuries disappearing in just moments. However, the venom in her eyes wasn’t completely gone yet.
“And… since things have become like this, why not have a new start with me?”
After doling out injury and then medicine, I proceeded onto my real plan.
However, she must still have resentment towards me, because the wyvern bared her teeth and showed her refusal.
“Alright. I don’t want to force you.” Making a gesture of reassurance, I continued to smile like a good person. “I’ll bring you fresh food soon, so go ahead and eat your fill. I’m going now.”
In this situation, I had no intent to force this trembling wyvern.
Ker-chunk. And as if I really didn’t have any hidden intentions, I opened the hangar’s side door and went outside.
As I came outside, Bebeto, who had been straining his ears against the hangar walls, looked at me doubtfully. Because of the Silence spell, he hadn’t heard a single word. His golden eyes were filled with curiosity.
‘Huhu, Bebeto, do your best.’
From here on out, Bebeto had an important part to play.
“Bar everyone from coming within 100 meters of here!”
Ryker had set up a guard around the hangar with the most decent mercenaries at his disposal.
“As you command!” shouted the mercenaries before hurriedly retreating outside the 100 meters.
“Bebeto, I’m sorry for what I’m about to say, but I feel that it’s something you should know.”
Bebeto, ever so good at understanding my words, cocked his ears.
“The grey wyvern inside just said…” As soon as the wyvern was mentioned, Bebeto’s eyes became sharp. “That you suck.”
Bebeto seemed troubled for a moment by the meaning of ‘you suck.’
‘You don’t even know what that means?! You stupid idiot!’
A stronger push was needed.
“And she also called you a stupid pervert wyvern that isn’t even purebred and only has size going for him.”
Until now, Bebeto had lived his whole life caged up due to being a hybrid wyvern. His eyes rolled wide at the words ‘purebred’ and ‘pervert.’
‘Oooh! That’s it! That’s exactly it!’
Bebeto glared at the hangar door with wild eyes.
No further words were necessary. I scrambled over and opened the hangar door wide, the door creaking.
Stomp stomp stomp!
The earth shook as Bebeto charged inside.
‘Bebeto! Don’t kill her. Huhu.’
I made a sly smile towards Bebeto, who charged in.
As soon as Bebeto was inside, I swiftly closed the hangar door with a big thump.
A moment later, I felt the earth tremble under me as if there were an earthquake. I couldn’t hear the grey wyvern’s gruesome cries because of Silence, but just seeing the way the hangar was shaking, you could tell what was happening inside.
‘Should I slowly go in now?’
Maybe around 5 minutes had passed.
I felt the quaking of the earth stop and opened the hangar door.
“BEBETO!!!! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!!!!!!!!!”
Seeing the still-chained-down grey wyvern half unconscious and Bebeto standing before her licking his blood-stained claws, I gave him an exaggerated yell.
‘Huhuhu! Bebeto, you’re really my lucky charm!’
As I raised my voice to accuse Bebeto and went inside, the grey wyvern on the brink of death made pitiful squawks as soon as she saw me.
Those cries were automatically translated into ‘please save me’ as they flowed like honey into my ears.
* * *
“That’s right, that’s a good decision. Let’s do our best together from now on.”
After I reached out my hand, the grey wyvern pushed her horns carefully against my hand to show her consent. Even as she did so, she looked at the hangar door with wary eyes. Her eyes were filled with concern that Bebeto might come crashing in at any moment and beat her to death.
‘As expected, there’s nothing one can do against pure force. Huhuhu.’
Simple Bebeto crashed into the hangar at my lies a total of five times. After dragging Bebeto out each time and using my very sincere(?) healing magic, the grey wyvern raised the white flag of surrender.
The wyvern’s confident and vigorous pride from before was thrown to the passing dogs and she was transformed into a meek lamb.
Right now in her mind, Bebeto was the bad one. She could only think of me, the person standing before her now, as her savior.
“I’ll bring you a new master in a few days. Rest up until then.”
Still warily staring at the door, she rubbed her long horns on me.
“Don’t worry. I’ll take Bebeto, that naughty gangster of a brat, somewhere else.”
Stroking her head as she rubbed her horns on me, I reassured her.
‘Huhu. You have acquired: one wyvern!’
A happy sound rang out inside my brain.
‘How much money is this, exactly?’
The price of a wyvern AND the gear it was wearing. The satisfaction of scooping up what was basically the price of a territory made my body tingle.
‘Now I have two wyverns, too! Uhahahaha!’
If I could keep acquiring wyverns like this, even taking over the continent wouldn’t be a problem.
“Alright then, see you tomorrow.”
We shared a warm farewell before I opened the side door and left.
The waiting Bebeto pushed his head into me and demanded affection.
“Alright, my goodness, my baby. You did well today~”
I patted and stroked Bebeto’s bowed head with a good mood.
Guoooooo. Bebeto grew happy at my petting.
Behind him, the sun was already setting. So much had happened between the rising and setting of the sun. Contentment from spending a truly productive day filled my heart.
“Bebeto, shall we go on a flight?”
As if wagging his tail, the brat let out a happy warble.
I lightly jumped onto Bebeto’s back.
“Let’s go! Bebeto!” I cried out, grasping the reins attached to Bebeto.
With a mighty roar, Bebeto flapped his two powerful wings.
My body floated up, and then the exhilarating feeling of soaring into the sky hit me.
The red sun that had dipped halfway into the earth dazed my eyes.
A stream of wind flew into me.
I took a deep breath.
And closed my eyes.
Around me was the perfectly clean wind and the glow of the setting sun atop my closed eyelids.
I didn’t have a single thought. Just the feeling of all the fatigue clinging to my body flying away into the wind.
It was nice.
The emotion I was feeling right now was simply and utterly… nice.
* * *
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* * *
“Palmir is dead?”
“Y-yes. Not just that, but the troops in Denfors have all been scattered.”
Inside Gadain Castle, which was a three to four hour ride on horseback from Denfors, the castle owner, Lukence, stroked his blue beard as he frowned slightly.
“Is it Baroness Janice?”
“Not Janice? Then did the military commander come personally?”
Lukence was slightly startled that the culprit wasn’t who he thought it was. The thin Lukence’s eyes filled with questions.
“It is that guy. The person newly assigned to Weyn Covert, Baronet Kyre, is responsible.”
“What? Baronet Kyre? You’re telling me he alone killed Palmir and seized the city?” The flustered Lukence’s voice trembled.
“He wasn’t alone. I am told that hundreds of mercenaries rallied under him and became his men. Along with the Mercenary Guildmaster Ryker, who you said to win over, my liege.”
Lukence’s mouth shut at the words of the knight who was reporting the incoming information with an apologetic expression. And then, a short moment of silence filled the office, which was decorated with the hides of demon beasts and various armors and weapons.
“Kuku… So you’re saying he’s not a rookie after all, this “rookie”…”
Lukence gave a low chuckle as he repeated the word ‘rookie.’ The scar around his right eye wrinkled as he laughed.
“What do you want to do, sir? As soon as you give the order, we will recapture Denfors tomorrow!”
One of Viscount Lukence’s chief advisor knights, Delvado, expressed his confidence with a vigorous voice. This was a loss they suffered due to getting caught off guard, but with the military power in Gadain Castle, taking back the city would be as easy as taking candy from a baby.
“No… There’s no need for that. What’s important for us right now isn’t taking care of one rookie. What we need to do now is to safely pass on the goods. If this transport fails, then those Laviter bastards will seize this place.”
“You don’t have to worry about that, my liege. The transport convoy is fully prepared. And those guys said they would soon depart as well. My liege can…”
“Are you kidding me? Do you have anything to say for yourself after not being able to take care of a single rookie and losing Denfors, Delvado?”
“No, that is… It was a completely unexpected matter…”
“Unexpected? Kukuku. How very laughable.”
He was laughing, but the inside of the office was frigid. Frigid with intense bloodthirst.
“Don’t test my patience. Don’t you know that I’m not a very good person?”
Lukence’s warning was velvet smooth as well as quiet.
The middle-aged knight named Delvado gulped.
He knew Lukence’s character very well. The viscount had never given his subordinates a second chance. And the price for failure was severe punishment. Delvado could even lose his life.
“I will put my life on the line to do my very best!” responded Delvado as bowed low.
“Don’t let down your guard until the moment the transit is completed. If this matter is a failure then all of you…. Will die. By my hand…”
With his warning, a wave of heavy mana whirled throughout the office. The big lamp lighting up the room could not resist the force and went out with a puff.
And then, within the darkness, the mana coiled thick within the room like a Viscount Lukence’s invisible authority.
* * *
“So Viscount Lukence is in control of the southern region connected to the Havis Kingdom, which is the Nerman Plains’ only safe communication path, Commander Yaix and his soldiers are up in the north, where the attacks of the monsters and the united Temir tribes are severe, and Baroness Janice is in charge of the shore—is that right?”
“Yes. And in the middle of those powers is this place, Denfors. Baronet Ternain, a retainer of the commander, and thousands of troops are defending the walls of Denfors and the surrounding fort.”
‘Sigh, I never could have imagined this would be a game of war.’
Even though I had learned Korean, English, math, and various subjects at school, none of those taught kids these kinds of war games. Or well, I did learn of a few battles in history. But that was qualitatively different from abstract battle tactics and the current bloody warfare in front of me.
Here, if you lost, you would have to flee without a single possession to your name or die. I was just a poor highschooler flung into an African safari.
“What do you two think? When do you think Viscount Lukence will attack?”
On top of that, I had to speak with authority and class now. I was a bit more used to it now, but if the kids from my class heard me now, they would definitely band together to ostracize me.
“If he puts his mind to it, he could seize this place within a few hours. But there is no point in making predictions.”
“That’s right. I haven’t been here long, but no one here knows what Viscount Lukence is thinking. Besides knowing that he’s cruel and level-headed, everyone’s so scared of Viscount Lukence’s name that they piss themselves at the sound of it.”
‘What a difficult personality.’
Instead of being called fiery or reckless, or a treacherous opportunist, Lukence was described with the words cruel and level-headed. That meant Lukence and I had something in common—we were always prepared to be stabbed in the back.
“Shall we strike first?”
“Kuku. Do as you please. I’m confident I can escape with my life alone if things come down to it.”
Unlike the flustered Derval, Ryker was the picture of relaxation.
“Please meet up with the commander once, sir.”
“With Count Yaix?”
“If Viscount Lukence doesn’t come attacking today, then we will probably have a few days of time to spare.” Derval uttered prophetic words.
“How do you know that?” Ryker asked Derval.
“It is a hunch. There’s no way someone as level-headed as him doesn’t know the importance of Denfors, and he should know that if given time, there’s a possibility that you and Baroness Janice will unite, my liege. So if he doesn’t attack right away, then it must be in order to take care of something more important than here.”
“Ohh! You sure can pull some ridiculous words out of your mouth,” Ryker bantered.
“I believe it’s likely 90%.”
Derval showed baseless confidence.
“Ah! That reminds me!” Ryker suddenly exclaimed as if remembering something. “The mercenaries that went out hunting a while ago said this. That many people were being moved to Viscount Lukence’s previously dormant transport convoy and that the security has gotten stricter there, too.”
“Transport convoy? Viscount Lukence even has a transport convoy?”
“I don’t know much about it, but he has a few ships capable of ocean travel moored at a dock not too far from Gadain Castle.”
‘Transport convoy? Didn’t they say the sea was controlled by pirates?’
Because of the pirates, this land’s people couldn’t even go fishing far from shore. The Lovent River was large, but it wasn’t big enough for a frickin’ transport convoy to be practical.
“It is indeed fishy. I heard the merchant groups coming in from the Havis Kingdom mostly use the land route.”
At Ryker’s words, Derval’s eyes flashed.
‘Hooh, wouldn’t you know.’
I didn’t know what exactly was going on, but I thought Viscount Lukence and the transport convoy must be deeply connected. It was so important that he would ignore Denfors, which was basically his living room, in favor of whatever had to do with the convoy.
“Let us just keep watch for today. We still have to organize the captured prisoners of war and the mercenaries, and send the residents who lost their homes in Denfors back, after all.”
Mercenaries were swarming in and there was a long line of refugees who had lost their homes. The rumors must have flown wide and far, because there was an endless stream of people coming into the covert. If things went on like this, it wouldn’t be a covert anymore, but a refugee camp.
“Alright, let’s do just that. Send back all the people whose shops were taken by Viscount Lukence. And hire the people among the mercenaries who have decent skills or military experience and roughly organize them like the imperial army.”
“As you command!”
“Huhu. Just believe in me.”
Derval, who was overflowing with trust and Ryker, who could not be trusted at all.
I nodded at the two peoples’ responses.
“Um… but my liege.”
In the middle of leaving while responding, Ryker stopped as if suddenly remembering something and quietly called me with honorifics.
“Do you maybe need a Skyknight?”
“Skyknight? Why do you ask…”
“Hehe. Actually, I rode a wyvern a bit back in the day. So um, could you give that grey wyvern you caught yesterday to me?”
‘Ara? He’s even got a flight license?’
Even though he was noble-like in that he looked like a lecher lusting for money and women, Ryker spoke coarse and ignorant things like a commoner. But now he was saying that he had flown a wyvern, which pretty much only nobles could come across.
“The wyvern must be in need of some reform, but please leave it to me. If you do so, I will transform it into an absolutely loyal wyvern within a few days.”
‘Oho! Absolute loyalty?’
Even if he said that, I could never trust Ryker. He was someone who would sell the wyvern to rent out a bar and indulge in debauchery.
“…I will think about it. There’s no rush yet.”
“Haha. Then I will trust that you will leave it to me and retreat now, thank you, my liege~!”
I never said I would leave it to him, but Ryker counted his chickens before they hatched all on his own and even sent me a wink.
‘My goodness, this person!’
But weirdly enough, I didn’t hate it.
How to describe it? A certain exuberance, the exuberance of wandering the world to have fun, was flowing from Ryker’s body.