21st Century Archmage - Chapter 62
Chapter 62: Portrait of a Warrior
“Theske-nim, all of the preparations are complete,” said the assistant merchant cautiously to Theske, who was glaring at Denfors Castle with a scowl.
Theske ground his teeth. Just recalling that disrespectful, brightly smiling face made him flush with hot rage.
He had conducted countless trades and met countless people during his time as a deputy of the merchant group, but this was the first trade where he took such a loss and got backhanded so damn straight in the face.
Today was the most humiliating day of Theske’s life.
Grinding his teeth, Theske let the resentment build up in his chest.
“Harkline-nim, when will the Tower Master come…”
“Hmpf! Do you think the Tower Master can just get up and leave whenever?”
“Th-then… Who will fix the magic furnace…”
Seeing that Harkline was spewing bloodthirst like a furious, venomous snake, Theske suppressed his anger and spoke with careful politeness. Corvain might be a major merchant group, but a high circle mage could not be treated carelessly. If they abandoned all goodwill with a magic tower, then they could be struck at any time by lightning. All a mage had to do was pretend not to see a caravan on a trade route and let loose a few rounds of magic from a long distance, and the merchant group would meet its ruin. Moreover, mages from magic towers were affiliated with magic towers in every empire and kingdom, so they wielded quite a lot of influence. One had to exercise utter caution and then some.
“Vice-master Andrike, a specialist in magic circles, will come here by wyvern. So don’t worry too much and take care of the merchant group matters properly!”
Theske bowed his head politely. It was a merchant’s way to humble oneself like this in order to live even when it was dirty, disgraceful, and disgusting.
‘This is all because of that bastard Kyre! That bastard!!’
The money was all paid, but that bastard Kyre used soldiers to load the wheat onto the carriages with excruciating slowness. Work that could be settled in half a day with laborers took three whole days to accomplish.
Of course, it did require some time for the Grade 2 magic crystal and someone specialized in magic circles to arrive, but just looking at the proceedings pissed Theske off.
Not only that, but the soldiers that finished loading the wheat demanded 1 Gold each as extra wages. Claiming that they were high-class manpower, they doggedly insisted on receiving 1 Gold each. The soldiers clearly took after their lord, here in this land full of money thieves.
Theske resolved to receive thorough compensation for the loss he accrued this time when he returned to the merchant group.
“There he comes.”
Just then, Theske could see three wyverns flying towards them from afar. Decked in the emblem of the Gauss Magic Tower, a crescent moon and sun on a magic rune plate, the grey wyverns landed slowly in front of the caravan.
A mage of short stature was standing in the lead. On the sleeve of his airplate were six distinct golden lines.
The 6th Circle mage Andrike, a different vice-master of the Gauss Magic Tower, was here.
* * *
After confirming the departure of the Corvain Merchants, I immediately set off on Bebeto. The Rubis Merchants should have reached the entrance of the Dwarven Village that I had told them about around now.
‘I have to settle matters as soon as possible.’
Waiting there was the Rubis Merchants, led by Jamir.
I would have liked to sell the dwarven products myself, but that was also no way to go about things. Yes, I could easily secure an enormous amount of profit that way, but discarding a good relationship over a few pennies wasn’t something a proper human should do.
‘It’s dangerous with just the soldiers.’
I had assembled the most elite troops at my disposal to guard the caravan: 1,000 people from Denfors, combined with another 1,000 soldiers from Orakk Castle, as well as a wyvern flight from some of the Skyknights stationed in Orakk Castle.
As long as the Temir and the monsters didn’t attack at the same time, the North was not dangerous.
However, the future was unpredictable. If the Temir realized the sudden gap in the forces and attacked, then the wyvern flight I had painstakingly prepared might be injured. ‘Who knew I would be using the Grade 2 magic crystal for something like this?’
If the pirates hadn’t given us this magic crystal, I would have been hard-pressed to fix the magic furnace of the dwarves.
‘We need more holy water in order to hatch the wyvern eggs… I wonder how Aramis is faring.’
Luring a temple to Nerman was almost impossible. No matter how much competition there was among the temples, no one would go out of their way to do charity work costing tons of money in such a dangerous place.
That’s why I wrote a letter to Aramis.
In Luna Village, Aramis had told me… that she would do anything for me.
So I shamelessly sent her a letter.
I only knew one person who was a pure priestess, after all.
That person was Priestess Aramis.
* * *
Thu-thump! Thu-thump! Thu-thump-thump!
I pounded the new rhythm for calling the dwarves on the stone wall.
‘I should give them a communication device next time.’
“The dwarves are living here? No wonder,” exclaimed Jamir as he watched my actions closely.
He may be a leading member of a major merchant group, but he couldn’t have known that the dwarves were living in a place like this.
“The preparations are perfect, right?”
“Of course. You can trust me as much as I trust you, Kyre-nim.”
‘Wow, this gentleman! Are you telling me not to trust you right now, then?’
I seriously had no idea why he would say something like that. Trusting in whom? Me? Even I couldn’t trust myself, but others seemed to do so.
A short while later, the stone door opened wide.
“Patriarch-nim, your beard has grown even cooler in the few days we were apart. You would be popular no matter where you go, even in the human world.”
“Haha, thanks for the nice compliment.”
“This person here is the person in charge of the merchant group I trust. He will supply the necessary goods for the Dwarven Village in the future.”
“I am Jamir of the Rubis Merchants. It is an honor to be able to meet the Clansmen of Rock.” Jamir gave a polite greeting.
“For a human merchant, your eyes are clear.”
Even though the Patriarch Cassiars doled praises to humans very sparingly, he complimented Jamir after seeing the merchant’s eyes.
“Nerpopo, haha! Have you been well?”
“Yes! Please come inside. Everyone is waiting.”
“Let us go inside, friend.”
The word “friend” was always so nice to hear.
And when the dwarves amiably called me that, Jamir’s face filled with shock. He should know pretty well too that a dwarf accepting someone as their friend was even harder to see than an orc sharing a cow it hunted.
“Sir Shailt, go command the soldiers.”
“As you command!”
Coming all this way without the help of Skyknights was impossible. In their bull-headed charge, the Corvain Merchants had slaughtered or chased off the monsters in the vicinity, but the monster numbers had been restored to a certain extent after a few days. Thus, on our way here, there had been several battles, and even now, the soldiers were ready for battle.
‘Shall we go collect some money now?’
My steps were light as I entered the Dwarven City with the dwarves.
I was well aware of the ancestors’ wisdom that flies always intrude on a feast, so I didn’t want to waste any time.
* * *
“W-What did you say?! The Rubis Merchants departed towards the area of the Dwarven Village from Denfors??”
“Yes, Theske-nim. Several mercenaries in charge of information in the merchant group definitely said that.”
Lumikar birds were the fastest in the continent and could fly 1,000 km without a single break, so they were used in every empire and kingdom as messenger birds. One lumikar landed on the recognition magic orb, delivering an emergency message from the Gauss branch in Denfors.
“Tsk tsk. How can you take care of matters this poorly!” Listening from the side, Harkline abruptly clicked his tongue.
“I-It should be fine. There are very few people who know how to get to the Dwarven Village. And even if they do somehow find it, the dwarves will remain faithful to the contract, so there is absolutely no reason for concern.”
“If something happens and the dwarves are swayed by a contract of incredible conditions, will you take responsibility for it, Deputy Theske? Your life alone will not suffice for such a loss, but it is good to see how confident you are.”
The mage Harkline smirked as he provoked Theske. He originally had a prickly temperament, but because of the stress he accumulated this last fortnight, the mage’s temper had become even dirtier.
“Bring Leader Cedrian here! Right this instant!”
The completely unexpected message threw Theske into a panic.
‘Kyre… It can’t be that bastard, right?’
And at that moment, a certain evil black-haired devil came to mind.
‘No, how could he manage that…’
However, the unlikelihood made Theske shake his head and dismiss the thought.
If Harkline’s words were true, then Theske’s life was forfeit. No, it wasn’t just the money and honor he had accumulated until now, but also his family; they would definitely all be sold into slavery.
‘I will kill him! No matter what it takes!’
If the improbable became reality, there would be no other way. Since he had enough forces with him to flip the likes of Nerman upside down in a single night, Theske decided to kill Kyre.
Wyverns flew above his head in the sky.
Two 6th Circle Masters and twenty-three wyverns in total.
It was a force that could fight in a full-scale war against most duchies.
* * *
Whirr, whirr, whirr.
‘Seriously, no matter where—or when—I see them, a magic circle made by Master is phenomenal.’
I’ve had the pleasure of “tasting” a variety of Master’s magic circles on Earth. I was also someone who had personally experienced a dimension travel magic circle that even a dragon couldn’t accomplish, but the more I saw and learned, the more fascinated I was by magic.
‘To think I even got something like this. Huhu, what a catch.’
Using the magic circle repair as an excuse, I received the most vital magic tool for mages—a mithril welder.
It was a valuable tool that allowed one to weld mithril in its liquid state onto a detailed magic circuit. Like a fountain pen, as long as you put in a cartridge of liquid mithril, you could make a mana circuit at any time.
Looking like a thick pen, the liquid mithril inside the welder greeted me with a sloshing dance.
‘This part of the magic circle was the problem. I don’t know who it was, but they were seriously stupid. Just drawing a single line like this sent critical mana to other places, but they didn’t even know that. Tsk tsk.’
If other mages were here, they would froth at the mouth and try to stop me. It was basic logic that one shouldn’t carelessly touch a completed magic circle unless they were the maker or an archmage wielding mastery over everything.
I threw that logic to the wind and drew liquid from the mithril welder, completing the insufficient areas of the magic circle.
‘Hooh, so there was this kind of principle as well.’
As was becoming for a magic furnace capable of incredible firepower, the magic circle was extremely complicated. Dozens of arrays, like a fire magic circle, control magic circle, and deceleration magic circle were pieced together like gears in a clock.
As I continued to repair the askew portions of the magic circle, I realized new truths one by one. Knowledge crammed into my head and knowledge realized from seeing it personally were heaven and earth apart.
‘Ah… It’s truly amazing!’
In case my fraud was exposed, I had barred the dwarves from the room where the magic circle was located. So I was alone as I appreciated the magic circle and repaired it. Overflowing emotion rushed into my chest uncontrollably.
‘If this is substituted in 6th Circle magic formulas… This is—!’
Countless magic formulas began to rip through my head as if a floodgate was bursting open. Meshing with the magic circle I was working on, the magic formulas began a dance of magic in my head all on their own.
I closed my eyes.
‘T-The circle wall is about to break!’
It was the wall of the 6th Circle, which had made me worry so much because I had no idea when it was coming. Swiftly assuming the mana breathing position, I allowed the magic knowledge to romp around inside my head.
I saw the 1st Circle Fire spell and a Fire Burst magic circle overlapping and turning into the 6th Circle Fire Explosion spell, and the 4th Circle Frost Ring spell combining with Ice Ball to cast the 7th Circle AOE spell, Blizzard.
It wasn’t one plus one equals two, but three, five, and ten—that was the astonishing mutability of magic. What I considered as common sense was destroyed as new magic formulas were created, established, and organized.
And just like how a chick cracked its egg and emerged into the world, the mana circles that had been lingering in the 5th Circle cracked as they transformed yet again.
The enlightenment of magic always came at such unexpected moments.
My whole body trembled with genuine delight, savoring the hot taste of the enlightenment that I would have never been able to experience if not for being a mage.
At some point, the magic knowledge dancing around in my head gathered at one side of my head as if preparing for a nuclear explosion and exploded like a firework.
And then, as if waiting for that moment, a mana circle was formed at my waist.
I could perfectly feel one, two, three, four, five, and finally, six…
‘I did it!’
Even in my dreams, I had longed to overcome the 6th Circle wall.
And today, I finally broke through.
The 6th Circle enlightenment had come while researching the magic circle.
I opened my eyes.
I could see.
The world looked different from when I was a 5th Circle mage.
It was as if the world was sketched out in minute detail, and I felt as if I could even see the particles of mana floating around.
‘My senses have become more precise!’
I tried raising my hand.
It was definitely the same hand that had always been attached to my body, but it was different now.
It was as if I wasn’t the one controlling my hand, but my hand controlling me; an extremely precise and certain feeling traveled up my nerves all over my body.
‘S-So this is the 6th Circle.’
It finally struck me.
I wasn’t awed by the simple numerical increase of an additional mana circle, but the intense wave of emotion I felt from the mana that revitalized my entire body and consciousness.
Joyful laughter roared out of my mouth.
How could anyone become a 6th Circle mage at my age?
Even in the empire, you could become an imperial mage just for being a 6th Circle mage, and you would be recognized as a skilled talent who could easily receive a viscount title.
And because my upper, middle, and lower dantian were filled with mana, the quantity of my mana wasn’t at the level of the 6th Circle, but nearly the 7th Circle.
Now, I had nearly nothing to fear.
I was confident that I could destroy nearly anybody if they stood in my way.
‘I’ve earned money! Huhuhu.’
Every bit of capability could be calculated into money. Once you became a 6th Circle mage, you could make most magic circles. At the same time, an increase in my capability was directly connected to Nerman’s strength. Now all I had to do was rake in the cash.
People who had been waiting very far away came running over in alarm.
“Haha, it is nothing. The repair of the magic circle is all done. Now the magic crystal needs to be replaced and it will be finished.”
“Ah… So that’s the case.”
“Phew. Mana was fluctuating wildly, so I thought something had happened.”
Patriarch Cassiars, Nerpopo, and Jamir breathed sighs of relief.
“Patriarch, how about it. What do you think about holding another festival today?”
“I’d like to, but we’re all out of beer…”
They wouldn’t understand my feeling of wanting to share my happiness, but the Patriarch and all the other dwarves loved to play and drink, so there was no way they would refuse a festival. However, Patriarch Cassiars slumped as he said the village was all out of beer.
“Jamir-nim, I’ll leave things to you.”
“Please do not worry. There is beer for the dwarf-nims to drink in the carriages. It will be perfectly fine to throw a festival.”
“Ohhhh! You are a truly outstanding merchant. Hahahaha. Then what are we waiting for? Today is the glorious day the friend of the dwarves finally fixed the magic furnace. If you’re a dwarf who knows how to regale in the joys of life, you should of course enjoy a festival! Spread the news! We’re holding a festival today!”
“WOOHOOOO! The Patriarch has ordered a festival!”
“IT’S A FESTIVAL! FESTIVAAL!!!!”
At the Patriarch’s one mention of “festival,” the deafening cheers of the dwarves rang out once again in the enormous underground city. Jamir was dumbfounded by the sight.
‘Today, we eat ‘til we drop! What more can you ask for in life?! Uhahahahaha!’
With a magic crystal worth hundreds of thousands of Gold in my hand, I laughed as much as I wanted in my heart.
Well, there were more things to ask for in life, but for today, I was a very content fellow.
* * *
“Urghhh! You dare…”
Theske savagely bared the rage he’d been clamping down.
The mercenary Skyknights that went on recon had relayed the information that around 2,000 soldiers were protecting Rubis carriages on the plains under the Dwarven Village.
“Kuku, Kyre, that bastard, his guts have truly grown past his body. To look down on the Corvain Merchants and our magic tower…”
The mage Harkline exuded as much bloodthirst as Theske. The humiliation he suffered at Denfors Castle and the contempt from Kyre had mangled the mage’s pride to the point that he would never be able to forget it in this lifetime.
“How many wyverns did they have again?”
“Including the wyvern of the one named Kyre, they have around five. Among them are also Temir wyverns.”
His rage visible for only a short moment, Theske returned to his merchant posture, maintaining a frosty air as he listened to the assistant merchant’s words. He turned to Harkline. “It seems the Gauss Magic Tower will have to help us. We will compensate you satisfactorily.”
“We are on the same boat, in any case, are we not? We shall assist with all our strength.”
“But who exactly is this ‘Kyre?’ I have never heard about him before, but is he strong enough to interfere in Corvain’s affairs?”
Vice-master Andrike, who was as short as a dwarf and had been listening in silence, turned his large head towards Theske and asked a question.
“He is an outstanding person, someone who swallowed the Nerman Plains in just a few months. And… he is the son of a devil. He must absolutely be killed,” said Theske, giving his rational evaluation of Kyre.
‘He’s dangerous. If he’s left to grow, he will endanger the merchant group, no, the entire continent!’
There still wasn’t any information saying that Kyre had completed a trade with the dwarves. However, if that really happened, then the moment Theske found out, Kyre would be consigned to death.
Money was like life to a merchant group.
In all of history, there wasn’t a single merchant group known to survive after getting its prey snatched from it one by one.
Knowing that, the merchant groups waged their own endless war in the hidden darkness.
A war where money, not land, was taken and taken from, a war fiercer than any other…
* * *
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* * *
Words could not describe my joy.
Thanks to becoming a friend of the dwarves, the various goods for daily life, including wheat, were swiftly exchanged for dwarven products of incredible value.
All the dwarves had on their hands was time and metal. The only enjoyment in their lives was eating, sleeping, and festivals; the rest of their time was spent endlessly making things.
Imbued with a dwarven craftsman’s spirit, the creations that did emerge in the human world and were cherished for many years and lauded as masterpieces.
‘T-That sword looks super killer!’
The sword was gleaming with a blue light as it exuded a frosty air that was obvious at first glance.
And it wasn’t just one or two products of such quality.
There were easily hundreds of excellent swords getting dredged from the dwarf warehouse and transported outside.
‘Those armors! Ohh! I wonder how amazing the jewelry is?’
Having almost completely severed contact with humans, the dwarves had no real need for human currency.
Instead, the dwarves were all drooling as they watched the younger dwarves bringing enormous beer barrels into the city, and I was gulping as I watched the dwarven goods getting moved outside.
“We’ve loaded the mithril armor for wyverns on the carriages as well. Unfortunately, because our magic furnace broke down, we could only make five.”
“Haha. That is perfectly fine. We’ll be seeing each other often in the future, so how can something like that be of any importance?”
“That’s true. Between friends, how can such matters be important?”
I decided to treat Cassiars, who respected me for being the disciple of Aidal’s disciple, as a grandpa, and Cassiars accepted that treatment readily.
“I will come frequently to visit. I have a blueprint and alloy for a dravit I designed and would like to research it together with you all.”
“Ohh! A new blueprint and alloy? You’re saying there are still alloys in the human world that we dwarves do not know about?”
As to be expected from the metal-crazy dwarves, Cassiars and the dwarves next to him rejoiced with wide eyes. Their sparkling eyes reminded me of kindergarteners that just learned a new dance routine.
‘My goodness, where else can you find such gratifying people. Thank you, elders~ ♬’
I ardently expressed my thanks inside my heart as Jamir and I reached the exit of the Dwarven City.
And so, the trade was safely completed, and after exchanging a regretful bye-bye with the dwarves that followed us all the way to the exit, the stone door closed a short while later.
“Kyre-nim! I respect you!”
Once the dwarves disappeared, Jamir immediately bowed low as he expressed his respect.
“What, for just this much… Ahem ahem. Let us get going.”
His respect was only natural—we had, after all, just exchanged some goods that didn’t even cost much for incredibly precious dwarven masterpieces.
‘Huhu. I’ve earned at least 10 million Gold!’
It was an enormous sum equivalent to the amount most large territories would make in a year. It was Jackpot #2 after the deal with the pirates.
“Please do not worry and entrust the selling of the merchandise to our merchant group. We will take just a 20% margin and return the rest to you.”
Merchant groups in the continent usually took a 50% profit like it was no big deal. However, that was that and this was this, so Jamir promised to take a meager 20%.
Fervor was flowing from his whole body. Up until now, the Rubis Merchants had lacked dwarven goods, so they had been one of the weaker companies among the continental Big 5. If you missed out on a chance like this to level up and become the best, you’d be no dumber than a goldfish with bricks as a brain.
“How can those minor details be important between us two? Besides the wyvern mithril armor and a few other goods, I’ll entrust the handling to you. Just give me 10 million Gold.”
“Haha. I fear I won’t be able to escape this fiery charm of yours, Kyre-nim. We will pay 10 million Gold. And in the future, all goods you purchase through the Rubis Merchants will only have a 10% fee.”
“Thank you. Hahaha.”
He was technically my hyung-nim, but I didn’t bother with formal speech anymore. There was absolutely nothing to regret, in both here and on Earth, class and rank were just stupid pretenses anyway.
‘We’ve got the cash. Now it’s time for full-fledged territory development!’
The organization of soldiers was mostly finished, and the money was prepared, too. The only thing left now was to start the historical task of clearing the territory of monsters.
After reaching the 6th Circle, my head had become clearer. My thoughts progressed quickly as I sketched out various plans.
‘Hm? That wyvern is…’
While I was happily descending the mountain with Jamir, I saw three wyverns in the distance.
‘Huhu. Did they already find out?’
But too bad, everything was already finished.
There was nothing to fear.
Anyone who blocked my path would get their ass cooked by the hot Fireball of a 6th Circle mage.
* * *
The soldiers, who had received proper military training unlike the mercenaries, marched through the plains with crisp movements that were pleasing to the eye.
The caravan had been put together using every single horse we had. Thanks to the brief dry season of spring, the plains were dry, and the carriages moved without difficulty towards Denfors.
‘These guys are saying they wanna duke it out, hm?’
I confirmed from the air that the Corvain Merchants were camped out in the direction we were headed towards.
‘They have twenty-three wyverns in total. It’s a bit of a shame.’
I had called eight wyverns from Orakk Castle. Even for me, twenty-three wyverns was a frightening number.
‘We have to avoid as much damage to the knights as possible.’
The Skyknights were like my own blood. It felt as if their vows of loyalty towards me were still ringing in my ear. And in return for those vows, I was duty bound to lead them all to the glorious future I dreamed of.
Lord of Nerman, Kyre.
I was Nerman’s master.
* * *
“When the battle between the wyverns begins, immediately charge with the mercenaries.”
“Must this really be done…? We’re receiving more money, so we don’t have any grounds to complain, but if relations with the Bajran Empire were to be damaged because of this…”
Leader Cedrian of the Herz Mercenaries had kept his mouth shut until now, but he cautiously tried once again to stop them.
In exchange for the battle, Herz would receive over 2 million Gold in cash—enough to acquire a wyvern—as well as half of the seized merchandise as spoils.
To be honest, it was a ridiculous battle.
The mercenary Skyknights alone were more than enough, but the three mages from the Gauss Magic Tower were truly frightening existences as well. On top of that, they had 500 mercenaries who could use Aura Blade, each of whom could slaughter a regular soldier in the blink of an eye.
Their force was impossible to oppose.
However, their opponent was a noble of the Bajran Empire and someone who was rumored to have been appointed as Nerman’s lord. If a conflict were to occur with the empire for whatever reason, then things would become a pain in the ass not just for Corvain, but also Herz.
“I will take responsibility for everything. Leader Cedrian should just move as the contract states.”
After hearing the report that the Rubis Merchants completed the contract with the dwarves and were coming with their carriages full of dwarven products, Theske’s reason had snapped.
Why else would Theske want to wage a battle like this instead of running the caravan? But now he had no other choice and nowhere to flee.
‘I’ll kill you and chew your bones, you bastard!’
Theske had experienced the greatest humiliation of his entire life. All the pride he’d maintained until now was nowhere in his thoughts, replaced by pure resentment and hatred towards Kyre.
Flap, flap, flap!
“D-Deputy-nim, they have finally appeared.”
One of the Skyknights flying around waved a red flag from above.
“Order the attack! Right this instant!” ordered Theske to the grimacing Cedrian.
Harkline had already boarded one of the wyverns from Gauss. Saying that he would destroy Kyre’s body with his own hands, Harkline replaced one of the mages and personally flew into the air.
‘Sigh… It can’t be helped.’
Leader Cedrian let out a long sigh.
The only thing he could do now was to go into battle just as his contract stated.
‘That person, he’s strong. In the end, he’s not an easy opponent.’
Cedrian was a mercenary thick and through.
His chest felt uncomfortable thinking of Kyre, who had worn an inscrutable smile. At the rumor that Kyre had brought peace to Nerman on his own, Cedrian had thought that rumors really couldn’t be trusted, but when he saw Kyre in person, he had felt himself growing cold.
A strong person.
That guy was truly a strong person.
* * *
Sensing the bloodthirst filling the skies, Bebeto let out a loud roar to announce his existence.
Eight wyverns followed his lead, roaring with eight different voices. Just like how Native Americans would prove their courage with whoops before a battle, the wyverns were igniting their battle spirit.
‘So in the end, they’ve decided to die.’
It was a fact that the trade with the dwarves was a huge vested business, but this was a world of the victors where business could change at any moment.
It was the logic of the world that if oil prices suddenly rose, you would buy a bunch to stockpile it, but at the same time the prices could also suddenly plummet the very next day.
Thinking that you could always have a monopoly was merely the imagination of foolish merchants.
Moreover, Nerman was my turf. They couldn’t just take what was mine for free. I didn’t know or care how they did things in the past, but in the future, as long as I was here, it wouldn’t be the same.
I silently raised my hand.
And then, I pointed at the enemies flying vigorously towards us in attack formation, giving the order for my flight to attack.
Flap flap flap flap.
The sound of the wyverns powerfully beating their wings came rushing into my helmet.
‘Be safe, everyone. My knights…’
We hadn’t spent long with each other and hadn’t even eaten a proper meal together, but the Skyknights flying with me right now were my reborn knights.
In the end, I didn’t want to lose any of them.
“Bebeto, let’s go!”
At my command, Bebeto beat his wings hard as he sprang forward.
I felt the dynamic movements of his wing muscles with my entire body, as well as the electrifying tension.
I took a Blessed Spear in one hand.
‘Let us make another mark in history today! In the legend of me, Kyre!’
The wyverns were within range.
I traced the incredible speed of the spear’s path as it cut through the air.
Flash! Flash! Flash!
A wave of spears were flying towards me, at least 10 at a single glance.
Another two spears, one in each hand!
Believing in me, Bebeto continued his frontal charge towards the spears.
The fight had begun.
Now, this battle would not end until someone died.
* * *
Sounds of astonishment fell from the lips of mercenaries who had all experienced their fair share of battle.
A battle of 23 wyverns against 9.
It was no common sight.
Even in a territory battle, there would only be ten wyverns at most in total; a battle with over thirty could only be seen in a battle between nations.
But today, the mercenaries were able to spectate an unforeseen battle in the skies.
The Skyknights hurled Blessed Spears as they flew towards each other at incredible speeds.
The spectators didn’t even have time to pick sides. The battle began the moment the trail of the spears could be followed with the eyes and was already hurtling towards its completion.
“!! How can that be!”
And then, they saw it—
A black wyvern with golden stripes sprang to the front, and ten spears cut through the wind towards it.
The distance was around 2.5 km. It wasn’t a distance where precise shots could be made, but the distance was rendered irrelevant by the sheer number of spears.
All of the mercenaries’ eyes turned towards the golden-striped wyvern.
The unarmored wyvern charged towards the spears without even dodging. At the moment when everyone was thinking that the spears were almost there and the wyvern could no longer dodge, a great wave of light burst out in the air, blinding their eyes.
Clang clang clang clang clang clang clang!
They couldn’t see the moment of impact due to the powerful light, but their ears registered loud explosions. Hearing the sound of thunder booming above them, the mercenaries rubbed their eyes as they squinted into the sky with urgency.
“H-How can this be!”
“Ohh! My god!”
And then, they saw it.
The sight of one man who had cleared the wave of spears, narrowed the distance in mere moments, and was hurling a spear at one of the mercenary wyverns.
Before they knew what was going on, one wyvern took a spear to the body and was screeching in agony.
And then, a silver bird appeared.
“I-It’s a spirit!”
“A Shuriel! A Shuriel appeared!”
Shocked cries from the mercenaries rang out everywhere.
Their eyes were focused on the man who was flying like a heavenly god with a Blessed Spear in his hand and Shuriel, the wind spirit, which was flapping its silver wings next to him.
The mercenaries saw everything with their very own eyes.
Their instincts were unmistakably telling them to watch that man’s back.
* * *
The mercenaries were different from other Skyknights. Even amidst their surprise from seeing me rebounding their Blessed Spears with magic, they instinctively activated the Shield magic installed in their wyvern armors. The spears I threw crashed into their shields and rebounded with a burst of sparks.
‘They’re quite something. Huhu.’
It was a battle of life and death, but my mind was as calm as if I were standing in front of a wide ocean rather than a battlefield. There were enemy wyverns flapping all around me, but I wasn’t afraid.
“Shuriel, use Bite!”
As soon as I gave the order, my summoned Shuriel cut through the air.
Having experienced several battles now, Shuriel knew the most painful and important part and chomped down on the muscle joining the wing and the armor.
The wyvern let out a gruesome screech, trying to detach Shuriel as it went around in circles in agony. However, that was just the wyvern’s futile wish. Like an obedient bulldog, once Shuriel bit down, it wouldn’t let go until I ordered it to.
And then, as if they had been waiting for this moment, the Skyknights that recovered their formation threw another round of Blessed Spears at me. This time, the spears weren’t just coming from the front, but from above and below at the same time.
‘Let me show you. The power of true magic!’
It was time for the 6th Circle magic I had memorized for this moment to make its debut. Bebeto didn’t wear any armor so that another wyvern could. And this was the magic I had prepared to protect him.
As the magic was cast, the mana inside me and the mana particles in the atmosphere combined in the blink of an eye as if compressing the air. A half-transparent sphere was formed around Bebeto with a loud vibration.
Clang! Clang! Cla-cla-cla-clang!
Then, the wave of spears crashed into Barrier, the reinforced version of the spell Shield, and in the end, they failed to penetrate.
‘Eat this, f*ckers!’ I easily blocked their attack, and at that moment, two wyverns appeared 300 meters in front of me. Or rather, it was their Skyknights that my sights were set on.
I hurled the spear in my hand.
The spear cut through the air in an instant.
I didn’t hear the impact, but it felt as if I could hear the cry of the spear as it plunged into the Skyknight’s body.
In just a few brief moments, four wyverns were knocked out of the battle.
And just then, I saw three wyverns positioned in the back.
Surprisingly, there was one spear and two spells racing towards me. The 6th Circle Flame Cannon and Lightning Strike!
I couldn’t dodge this unexpected attack from 6th Circle mages.
But instead of feeling fear, a cold smile appeared on my face.
And one spell came to mind.
My mana core whirred as it worked at 100% full capacity.
Thrusting out my hand, the chant burst from my lips.
Lightning energy gathered into a sphere 2 meters in diameter in an instant.
The explosion of lightning flew off like an unbridled colt as I commanded it.
An incredible explosion shook my helmet.
Bebeto hastily swerved his wings towards land.
There were no thoughts in my head.
The 6th Circle spell I unleashed to my heart’s content made my heart gallop like a crazy horse, and my blood rushed backwards as my body was dragged into a world of white.
I had no regrets.
Because no matter what anyone said, at this very moment, I had pulled one over on the sky itself.
* * *
“… How, how can this be…”
While they were blankly following the movements of the wyverns, they witnessed something incredible.
An explosion of magic lightning and red flame.
The mercenaries’ mouths fell wide open as they watched their first ever large-scale aerial duel between 6th Circle mages.
One wyvern was dropping rapidly to the ground amidst the tremendous wave of force. Not just that wyvern, but another three were either flying uncontrollably in circles or crashing with their necks already broken.
The sound of someone audibly gulping could be heard within the stunned silence.
The wyverns from the Gauss Magic Tower, an organization with the continent dancing to its tune, were shot down with a single exchange of blows.
As the wyverns fell, one mage used the Fly spell enchanted on his airplate to escape certain death.
CRASH! CRASH! CRAAASH!
And then, the mercenaries heard three impacts.
They had definitely seen four wyverns falling, but they only heard three crashes. The mercenaries quickly looked to the ground. But a small hill a hundred meters in front was blocking their view, so the mercenaries and merchants couldn’t see anything even though they craned their necks.
Someone let out a cry.
And following on the heels of that cry, an enormous black form appeared.
The mercenaries and merchants threw themselves onto the ground.
With its giant black wings spread wide, the creature flew low above their heads, looking like an envoy sent from the heavens.
A black wyvern with golden stripes.
Surprisingly, the wyvern of Kyre, who had shot down all of Gauss’ wyverns, had survived the explosion.
And then, booming laughter thundered above the crowd.
A man was flying while standing proudly atop the wyvern with the reins in one hand and a Blessed Spear in the other, his crimson cloak fluttering behind him.
That sight became a portrait of a warrior that everyone there would remember for the rest of their lives….
* * *
“How did it go! How!!”
Derval felt like his chest was going to burst because of the life and death fight of his liege. He stood in front of the communication device with his hands together, waiting in fear for any news.
‘Oh Gods above…’
In his discomfort, he called the gods. Having lived his life mostly as an atheist, he didn’t often call for the gods, but after meeting his liege, he kept the gods near him at all times.
That was just how turbulent his liege’s life was.
Even now, his liege was leading a few Skyknights in battle against over twenty wyverns. Derval always thought it was wild and ill-advised, but his liege brought forth miraculous victories each time.
And Derval trusted that his liege would create another miracle today as well, but he was afraid.
He had considered a life without his parents, but he could no longer imagine a life without his liege.
A knock and a soldier’s call came from outside, and Derval answered more sharply than usual due to his frayed nerves.
“A guest for the Lord has come.”
Derval tilted his head at the soldier’s words. As far as he knew, there were not very many people on the continent who would come as a guest of his liege.
The door of the magic communication room opened.
As soon as it opened, Derval was able to see someone next to the soldiers.
To his surprise, his liege’s guest was a woman. The long hood of her robe was obscuring her face, but he could tell that she was a woman from the slim figure under the robe.
“May I ask who you are..?” asked Derval with careful politeness.
At his query, the woman pulled back her robe slightly with her two white hands.
An astonishing and pure beauty appeared shyly before Derval and the soldiers, shocking them for a moment.
“May the hand of mercy be unto you… Neran’s inadequate servant, Aramis, requests to see Kyre-nim.”
The priestess of Neran asked to see Kyre with a voice full of saintliness.
And as she looked into Derval’s eyes, Aramis’ eyes held a question.
They were asking where Kyre was right now….