MTY: Chapter 126

After much deliberation, we all decided we should join the subjugation force. To the best of my knowledge, none of the people that gathered to join should have the capacity to defeat my Wil o’ wisp, but it will likely be investigated further during this subjugation. I can’t afford to let others learn more about it, but I also need to find out for myself what exactly is going on with it.

None of the abilities I gave it should let it raise or control the undead, so why is it traveling with a horde of them? Did it evolve these abilities on its own? If so, how? I’ve not gained any EXP since I created it, and it doesn’t have any offensive capability to gather any itself. It should still be floating around at a measly level 1.

All of these questions compounded my worry when I made my first attempt to answer them.

Summon Failed
The target has resisted summoning attempt

 

So apparently that can happen. When I told Kera about it she seemed just as flabbergasted as I was. It seems a contracted monster resisting a summoning attempt is completely unheard of. That only made me even more sure that the Wisp must have evolved on its own somehow. Even if I can’t handle the power inside of it yet, I have to absorb it back into me before it becomes a serious threat. Something with half my total power that refuses to obey me could become something truly fearsome, even for me.

Unfortunately, that will all have to wait, however. The subjugation force will move out in three days time to intercept the undead horde, whilst they wait for backup from nearby towns and cities to gather together. Undead are a weak and terribly unintelligent monster, but their strength lies in their number. In a group as large as this the threat is considered top class it seems. Though I have my suspicions that the delay’s true reason is to avoid interfering with the tournament. After all, most of the adventurers around are already in the city for the festivities.

With the daylight quickly fading, I spent what little time I had after registering for the quest training with the new ability I received from the headmaster. With the worry about the wisp still fresh and weighing heavily on my mind, I managed to do little but confirm that the ability worked before turning in for the night.

The next day came before I knew it, and now I am sitting in the waiting room for the next fight wracking my brain trying to think up a strategy to win the next round.

knock knock

A cold chill goes down my spine as there is a knock on the door.

Is that the attendant coming to tell me it’s time? I’m not prepared yet!

“You alive in there? Figured you could use a pep talk.” I hear Shishou’s voice say from beyond the door

“Oh, it’s just you. Come in!” I yell back as I let out a breath of relief

At this point, I’m just stalling. My confidence in my old strategy has been slowly falling since last night. I’m untrained in magic, and completely new to this new ability. A lifetime of training isn’t going to fail just because I throw what amounts to a mere gimmick at her.

“Wow, I’ve never seen that look on your face before. Not even when I was beating the tar out of you. I didn’t figure you would be this shook up.” Shishou says as he enters

I say nothing in return. Honestly, I can’t think of what to say.

I don’t even know why this matters so much to me. Even if the Yuusha wins I can just follow his party to the previous Maou’s castle. Even the deal with Juire doesn’t matter to me that much since I could just threaten him if need be.

I don’t even care about winning, it’s just that the idea of losing here scares me. I’m not even facing the Yuusha yet. The monster I’m about to go out there and face is nothing but a small human child. Despite that, I can’t help but think it would take a miracle for me to go out there and win today.

Up to now, I had been thinking that my only real threat was the Yuusha, but slowly I’m coming to realize that there are those that could kill me any time they wanted to. With my enemies numbering so many, do I really have any chance of surviving all of this?

“Oi! Head out of the clouds!” Shishou shouts startling me out of my deep thought

When I look up at him I see an expression of frustration and anger. His teeth gritted together, and his hand balled into a fist.

“You are strong. Stronger than any warrior I’ve ever trained, stronger than anybody I’ve ever known, and as much as I hate to admit it you are stronger than me. How could someone so much stronger than me give up on a fight before it’s even started?! How could you be content to believe you would lose before you are anything short of a bloody mess that has put forth everything you have to win?! Have I not managed to beat even a little sense into you yet?!” He says with a tone that starts softly, and ends with him all but screaming at me

As he speaks his tone becomes more ferocious as anger and determination fill his eyes.

“What are you talking about?! You told me yourself you didn’t think I could win!” I yell back

“Who cares what I think?! You will always have people telling you that you can’t do something! I think your some sniveling brat who doesn’t deserve the power she’s been given. think you’re going to waste it! It’s your job to prove me wrong! At the very least your not allowed to give up until you’re the strongest there is!” Shishou snaps back furiously

knock knock knock

“Um… sorry to interrupt, but the fight will be starting in a few minutes. It’s time for Mano to make her way to the arena.” The attendant says as she pokes her head into the door

The poor girls face is full of anxiety and embarrassment. She must have heard a fair deal of this through the door.

With the mood interrupted Shishou’s anger begins to deflate, and he starts to look as though he regretted what he was saying.

sigh “Before I fight the Yuusha you really need to work on your pep talk Shishou. Treat me to some ramen when I win, okay?” I say as I walk past him to follow the girl

“…I will” The proud old man says after a short pause just before I’m out the door

He’s right though. The odds were stacked against me from the very start, so what’s the point of growing all meek here?

“AND AS OUR CONTESTANTS WALK ONTO THE STAGE IT IS JUST ABOUT TIME FOR US TO START THE SEMI-FINAL ROUND OF THIS YEARS TOURNAMENT!” I hear the announcer scream over the intercoms yet again as I walk into the open arena

It doesn’t seem to bother me as much this time. Perhaps it’s because the ringing in my ears doesn’t even begin to compare to the volume of the heartbeat in my chest.

As I stare across the way to the other entrance I can see Afeuro walking out. As her distant eyes meet mine I see something that shakes me to my core. Her usually plain unchanging expression turns into a wicked smile.

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MTY: Chapter 125

“So, with your enrollment secured, how would you feel about a tour of the campus? With so many of our students absent I’ve got plenty of time to spare!” The young instructor asks me as we walk away from the crazy dean’s office

“Perhaps some other time. Why exactly is the academy so devoid of students?”  I ask out of curiosity

I remember him talking about something happening that spooked them all away, but he never said what it was exactly. If I’m going to be returning here in the future I should probably figure out what it was that started this whole mess.

“…I suppose there is no harm in telling you. Even if something like this happens again i’m sure you would have little to worry about.” The boy says as his look turns a bit sour

This idiot just put me in the same room as that psychopath. As beneficial to me as that may have been, I’m not exactly going to trust his measure of “safe” at face value.

“During the entrance exam, one of the students magic went wild. She was only supposed to produce a small fireball but instead, she produced a military grade fire spell that almost wiped out the academy. Much of our student body is made up of the children of nobles, so some have taken to calling the incident a purposeful attack against the nobles.” The young instructor explains with a pained look

Wait… isn’t that story familiar?

“What happened to the student? I imagine the nobles wouldn’t let something like that go easily?” I ask

“We denied the student entry to the academy, but it seems the nobles wanted more of a punishment than that. Until a little while ago there was a huge rush among the nobles to track down the young girl, but it seems she ended up joining the Yuusha’s party before anybody found her. Now she is basically untouchable.” The boy continues

So it was him after all. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s not like I didn’t already know that kid was a dangerous wackjob. That Yuusha sure knows how to pick ’em doesn’t he?

The instructor still seems to be misunderstanding his gender though… Meh? Not really my problem at the end of the day.

“So everybody left because they were scared of another attack? Wouldn’t increasing security solve the issue then?” I ask

I don’t know exactly what it is that they intend to have me do, but it should be pretty easy to up the security if the students are mainly nobles. I don’t see why I’m even needed?

“That’s just it, nobody is really scared of the attack. With my grandma here just about anything short of the Maou isn’t really a threat. No, the reason why everybody is gone is the nobles have begun to boycott the academy.” He answers

Is that loli-baba really that strong? I mean I know she had me on the ropes, but I’m still far from the strongest thing out there. Heck, I don’t even know if I’m the strongest thing fighting in this tournament. If someone like Afeuro attacked the academy would the dean really be able to beat her?

“Like I said before, they think that our punishment was far too light. They claim that less harsh punishment is a direct insult to the honor of the nobles. The more influential families have started boycotting the academy and forced even the more reasonable nobles to withdraw their children.” He explains as he clenches his hand in frustration

sigh “I think I’m starting to see the issue here.” I say

So it’s another matter of the nobles causing issues then?

bzzt “Hey, princess. Got a moment?” I hear Kera’s voice say through the comstone in my inventory

There is a hint of urgency in her voice.

I pretend to pull the comstone out of my pocket as I remove it from my inventory to make the sight of me responding less weird.

“Kera? What’s up?” I respond in an anxious voice

“The adventurers guild has put out an urgent request. You and Kiel should be exempt from accepting since you are in the tournament, but it sounds like something you should check out.” She continues in the same urgent tone

“What do you mean? What’s up with it?” I ask hoping for more info

“We can talk later” she sharply responds before the call ends

“I’m sorry, but it seems like we will have to pick up this conversation another time,” I explain to the boy as I shove the stone in my pocket and quickly dash away

The look on his face is also one of worry, which is probably why he didn’t try to stop me at all.

I swear if this all turns out to be some prank by Kera, I’m going to finally beat some sense into her.

On Kera’s instructions, I rush to the adventurers guild, where a large group of what seem to be armed adventurers have assembled out front. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that there are so many of them, that they are pouring out onto the streets.

With so many people here I can’t even make my way through the crowd to see what the commotion is about.

“Oi! Princess!” I hear Kera call from behind

When I turn to see her I am surprised to see that she has already gathered everybody, and they are waiting as a group nearby.

“What is all of this about? Did people learn about me?!” I whisper in a panic to her after rushing up to them

How big of a large scale subjugation does this have to be to need this many people? I didn’t even know this many adventurers lived in the capital? It’s only several hundred, but even still it seems like a rather ridiculous number.

“Don’t get scared, you’re still in the clear… well mostly. Here, this is what everybody is freaking out about.” Kiel says as he hands me a flyer

I take it from him and begin to carefully read it.

The flyer describes a large army of undead that has started moving as a group towards the capital. It seems the reason why this is such a big request is due to how quickly the undead gathered, and the fact that they seem to be moving with a purpose. Undead are a rare occurrence, and they lack most forms of basic sentience. The signs point to something raising them and controlling them.

At first, I feel a sense of relief as I read the flyer. It doesn’t mention anything about the possibility of it being the Maou at fault. Until the last line…

“…An unknown pink ball of light has also been seen with the horde on multiple occasions, caution towards it is advised.” I read aloud

Kiel gives me a knowing nod.

Great, the first tragedy that I’m actually the cause of is a result of me trying to make something as harmless as possible.

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Small update

Expect the next chapter sometime around next week. I’ve been trying to get this chapter out for a few days now, but I’ve had so little time to write these past two weeks that I haven’t really been able to focus on it. Rather than rush a chapter out I would rather make sure it is something i’m happy with first.

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MTY: Chapter 124

The young man leads me through the halls of the academy, which are somewhat barren. Although there are the occasional students and teacher that pass by, most of the classrooms are not in use. Nobody that is here seems to be focusing on magic or their studies either, they are simply talking to their friends. Did I arrive on an off day or something?

“Here we are… please don’t say or do anything until I give you the signal. She can be… irritable to say the least.” The young man cautiously advises as we stand at the door

After thinking for a few short moments, I give a simple nod.

I don’t like that he dragged me to meet this person, and then told me to follow strict rules while doing so, but this might be my best chance of getting the skill I need to beat Afeuro. If I have to swallow my pride a bit, then that is just what I will do.

knock knock

“Come in already!” I hear an irritated voice yell out following the boys cautious knocking

“Headmaster! I’ve brought you someone incredible! She has the greatest mana refinement I’ve ever seen!” The boy gushes as he barges into the room, pulling me along after him

FWOOSH

As he does a whirling and wild fireball flies towards him, and only passes overhead by a small margin.

“Hm?!” I let out in surprise

“I said come in, not act like you own the place! and for the last time, I don’t care about every time a student manages to set a new record in something minor so stop dragging them into my office!” The voice from before angrily bickers

I almost don’t believe my eyes in regards to the source of the voice, however, as the only other person in this room is a dark-skinned young girl. If I didn’t know any better I would say she was no older than 8. She does not have the demeanor of a young child, however.

Are children mages common or something? All of the students seemed to be of a reasonable age though. I mean even if this academy had a thing for hiring young teachers, one this young just seems a bit excessive.

“You’ve got it all wrong! She isn’t even a student yet, and the other student wouldn’t even come even close! She is even better than y-”

FWOOOSH!

Another fireball comes flying at his face, but this time there is no attempt to miss and the young boy takes it directly.

A look of worry flashes across my face as I watch the boys head ingulf in flames for a moment.

“Tei-la-war! Create water!” The boy says at an incredible speed as he manifests a ball of water over his head which promptly drops and puts out the flames

Is that faster than usual chant do to the “speed casting” skill he seemed to have? It cut down on the casting time by nearly half I would say… a chant that short would be a pretty significant advantage. I might start looking around for that skill if the one I am looking for isn’t here.

“You better watch your mouth boy. Speaking without thinking is the fastest way to get yourself toasted in my office.” The young girl says in a genuinely intimidating fashion

Her head snaps to me after she finishes scolding the boy, and she appears to be sizing me up.

I can’t act carelessly here. I’m almost certain she has the skill that I am looking for now… but my gut is telling me I need to be wary of this woman. I have to wait for the right moment.

“You. Cast something. I don’t care what.” She snarls in a demanding tone

Wait, what?! She wants me to cast something in here?! Is she testing me? We are inside her office though! Just about anything I could cast at full power would destroy something… maybe that barrier spell I just learned?

“Tei-Va-Proct Barrier” I say calmly as I attempt to put my full power into it this time

Much to my surprise, I can hardly see the barrier this time around, though the sudden quiet all around me assures me it is just as thick as it was before. Why did adding in more mana make the barrier more clear? I wonder how tough it is? If it doesn’t hinder my vision to use it at full strength then perhaps I can use this in my fight with Afuero.

As if thinking the same thing as me, the young girl on the other side of the barrier starts to tap on it lightly. She then steps back and holds out her hand towards me as if readying a spell.

Oh? Is she going to test its strength? Since we are indoors her spell choice must be limited though? I really wish we had done this outside instead so I could see-

FWOOOOOOOOSH! SHUWA SHU!

Mid-thought a stream of fire engulfs the entirety of the barrier. The silence left by it before has been replaced by the loud sounds of the roaring flames, a sound only comparable to a jet engine. The world around me has become pure fire, and although the barrier seems to be holding up, the heat inside of it is rising rapidly. The heat quickly becomes so much that I can’t stay on my feet anymore, and I slump over as the hot air fills my lungs, making it harder to breathe.

Again, how hot are these flames exactly?! My fire resistance should be helping me way more than they seem to be here?!

After what feels like an eternity the flames stop, and I drop the barrier in desperation as I gasp for air.

There is no ventilation in the barrier it seems, and at this moment I am both grateful and cursing that fact as I would have certainly been scorched if there were any gaps at all in it, but having none also means I have to drop my barrier in the face of this monster.

Screw the skill, it’s not worth it!

“You really are interesting. Not only do you actually have better mana refinement than myself, but you also managed to survive being cooked alive in your overly perfect barrier…” The girl says as she looks down at my gasping for air with a curious look on her face

She was actually trying to kill me.

The girl walks back to her desk and begins to root through some papers while I continue to catch my breath.

It is at this point that I notice that the room seems to be undamaged by the jet of flames she just produced. Neither the ground nor the walls around me have the faintest hint of scorch marks, and even the papers on her desk seem undisturbed.

“Fantastic. We have been needing someone like you. If you want we can hire you on as an instructor with a limited contract. If you want to enroll as a student, however, I am willing to wave the first year’s fee’s so long as you help in some ‘extra curricular activities’ for the sake of the school.” The girl begins to explain as she becomes far more serious and organizes some papers on the desk

“You… you’re insane you know that?” I say as I stand and clear my dry throat

“You didn’t? That boy really does skip over details when he gets excited doesn’t he?” The girl asks in a mocking tone

“Ya, I suppose I could have prepared you a bit more, Grandma can be a bit much for people sometimes.” The boy says in an apologetic tone with a smile on his face

A bit?! Wait… did he just say ‘grandma’?

FWOOSH!

“How many times do I have to tell you to call me ‘Headmaster’! Impertinent brat!” The girl yells out as she lobs another fireball at the boys head

Is that just a normal interaction between them?

“… I am wanting to enroll as a student. Before that, however, can I make a request?” I asks attempting to move the conversation along

The sooner our deal is struck, the sooner I can get away from this maniac.

“You want more? We are hurting on resources at the moment because of the student deficit, so please understand that we don’t have much to offer.” The girl says with a noticeably irritated tone

“Oh, no, it’s nothing like that. Today I realized the heights magic can reach because of you. More than anything I want to know just how strong you are. May I please use ‘status‘ on you?” I ask

In case my request is denied, I sneakily activate status while I ask. As far as I know, it shouldn’t be easily distinguished. Several menus pop up, including gained skills, but I quickly close them to not seem too distracted. I will need to check if I got the correct skill later.

“If you want to know how strong I am I will be sure to drill it into you after you start your studies. Now I grow impatient. Sign, leave, or keep making stupid request, your call.” The girl says with genuine fury

Although I activated it in case my request was denied, I didn’t think it would be denied with such anger? The status skill is rather useless outside of learning the general strength of monsters for most, isn’t it? Is there any reason for her to get so angry?

“…In that case, I will gratefully accept. Although I won’t be able to begin my studies until the tournament is over with.” I explain

You are a contestant?… The tournament has gone rather downhill, hasn’t it? Whatever, just sign here then.” The girl says as she pushes forward one of the papers and points to a line towards the bottom

I follow her instructions and sign my name.

She gives it a sharp look as I write it in what must surely be unfamiliar text, but after a moment she shrugs and tucks the paper away.

“Now get out of my office. I was working before this little interruption and I would like to get back to it.” The girl says as she shuffles us away

Almost as soon as the door closes behind us the boy burst out happily.

“Wow! Grandma must really like you! She only tried to kill you once that whole time!” He happily cheers turning to me

Although I want nothing more than to rebut that ridiculous statement, I have priorities before that. I quickly skim my skill list, looking for anything new frantically.

 

… I got it.

 

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MTY Chapter: 123

I discussed the alcohol situation with Juire, and he gave me a rather troubling deal.

“I’ve got some connections with a few breweries in the area that owe me some favors anyways, I’ll go ahead and make a large order for some of their best stuff. In return, however, I want you to supply me with some workers for my fields. Oh, I nearly forgot! Should you lose all of this and I don’t win my fief, you will be paying for the alcohol in full with interest. Better fight hard, this stuff is worth about as much as a castle.” He said with a grin as he made his demands

With little room to argue I set out to start making my countermeasures for the next round.

Afeuro isn’t an opponent I can hold back on at all. Hide my trump cards for the final battle? That kind of thinking will make me lose for sure. Even my current skills probably won’t be enough to make up for the difference in experience, there is no way I could hope to hold back here. There are a few things I will need before the next round if I want to stand any chance of winning.

Before me now stands the “Royal magic academy”. The same one that the bishounen in the Yuusha’s party applied for. The key to my plan for the next round lies here.

Dozens of students are passing me as they enter and exit the academy with leisure.

Before entering I slink into a nearby alleyway and use “Status” on the students that are passing through the front door.

Skills obtained:

Create water

Meditate

Unfortunately, after about an hour, I realized that there only seemed to be small fry coming and going at this time. None were high enough level for me to obtain skills from, but eventually, I managed to get the two skills that almost every person seemed to have.

I’m going to need to go in there if I want to find anybody powerful enough to have the skill I need, but there is a problem with that. The students all seem to have the same robes. They are probably a uniform for the school. I imagine if I don’t have one I probably won’t be allowed to enter. Juire could probably figure out a way for me to get a set, but that would take too long and I wouldn’t want to explain why I need them. With the fight tomorrow I can’t afford to waste a single second that I could be looking for this skill. Especially so since I’m not even sure it exists.

“Umm… can I help you?” I hear suddenly from behind me

Startled I whip my head around to see who it is, but when I do I’m met with an unfamiliar face. A young man dressed in the academy’s robes is standing there with an equally confused look on their face.

“Oh, this is… well, I uh… was thinking of applying! Yup, that’s it, I didn’t know how though so I, uh…” I nervously stumble as I attempt to find an excuse for stalking the entrance from a dark alley

“Oh? That’s fantastic, in that case, follow me!” The young man says as he grabs my hand and pulls me forward

Is he taking me to apply?… This could work. It should get me into the academy after all. The Yuusha’s party member said that the test was just to produce a small fireball, so I should be able to enter.

Looking at him closely though… aren’t his robes a bit different? I suppose it’s worth a shot.

Status” I whisper while looking at the young man

Name: Henry Orwell
Species: Human
Level: 15
Skills:
Dual casting
Speed casting
Mana refinement
Water bullet
Fire circle
Earth elemental
Create liquid
Mana regeneration
The knowledge of others fills you:
Dual casting
Mana refinement
The skill “Mana refinement” has been absorbed into “Royal Mana”.

Well… that’s a new one. I suppose it’s because Royal Mana is a higher tier version of that skill. Still, this boy is quite a bit stronger than his pears. Perhaps a different set of robes indicates different capabilities. Unfortunately this one no good too, he doesn’t have the skill I’m looking for either.

The young man pulls me by the hand to the entrance. In viewing distance from the gate is a courtyard which I am promptly led to.

“Welcome to Teslgar’s official royal academy. I am Henry Orwell. I am an instructor here. Typically we don’t accept applications outside of a few specific periods throughout the year, but after an incident recently quite a few students withdrew so we are somewhat desperately looking for new students.” The young man explains with a jovial attitude after he leads me to the center of the courtyard

He was a teacher? He looks younger than me. Looking at his stats I don’t think he’s some kind of genius so are young teachers just considered more normal here?

“The entrance test is simply to cast a small fireball. If you don’t know how to we also offer a 2-week course for a nominal fee.” He says with a nervous expression

I know they are desperate for students, but can the “royal” magic academy really be training people up from such a basic point? Aren’t schools like this usually used to train up the military grade mages?

“That’s alright, I’m plenty capable of casting that. Fu-Tei-Fier Fireball!” I say with authority as I focus my magic

My goal lies with the most advanced mages they have here. I need to show off my abilities right away if I want to get close to them, so I cast a serious fireball spell.

When I do 3 fireballs of a pinkish hue appear above my head. I don’t need their color to tell me the intensity of the flames, however, as the heat they give off is so intense that I have to distance them from myself immediately.

I have fire resistance, don’t I? Just how hot of a flame am I producing exactly? Still, I was hoping they would be a bit more flashy. This is still a normal fireball no matter how you cut it, even if it’s hotter than normal.

After the fireballs are far enough away that I’m no longer worried about my clothes catching, I look to the instructor for his reaction.

“…” He simply stares in silence at the distant fireballs, however

The look on his face is one of awe as he stays that way for an awkwardly long amount of time.

“Um… hello? Did I pass?” I ask trying to snap him out of it

“Hm… OH! Yes, I’m sorry! It’s just… those flames are beautiful. I’ve never seen such mana refinement before. I felt like I was staring at a miracle for a second.” He says as he adjusts himself and attempts to regain his composure

“I’m sorry but… what exactly did you hope to learn here? Most of our course goes into mana refinement and magical language lessons. You seem to be a master of both.” The young man says with a disheartened look

Ah, I went too far didn’t I?

“Actually, I know very few spells. I don’t know any of the magical language at all either.” I explain

“What?! But your pronunciation was perfect! How are you even casting spells if you don’t know the magical language?!” The instructor asks with intense enthusiasm.

“I, uh, just memorized each spell?” I explain nervously

I forgot how dangerous it could be to let people know too much about how magic works for me. My body runs on auto-pilot when I select a skill from the list. I don’t have to do half as many things as those around me do when it comes to casting.

“Your pronunciation is that good despite not even knowing the language?! In that case, try this one! Tei-Va-Proct Barrier!” the young man demands happily as a thin blue bubble appears around him

Despite his enthusiasm, it takes me several attempts to get my pronunciation of the final word down properly. There seems to be a lot of nuance involved. After a while, however, I manage to successfully do so.

“Tei-Va-Proct Barrier.” I say as I imagine the same bubble I saw around the instructor

I don’t know how to manage my power on this just yet, so I try to hold back a bit on each attempt.

When the spell finally activates I am surprised to see a very different result from that of the instructors, however. Rather than a thin blue bubble, my barrier looks closer to a roughly 1-inch thick glass sphere.

Again the instructor stares in silence at the result… or so I thought. Looking closely his mouth is moving? Is this thing sound-proof?

“-Absolutely amazing! With this, we might just make it! We will need to arrange special courses! I’ll need to get you enrolled immediately!” As I deactivate the barrier I find him blathering to himself, completely in his own world now

“…Actually, I won’t be able to enroll for some time, I only came here today to figure out how.” I explain as I realize the situation is quickly spiraling out of my control

I’m only here to try to mooch a few mage skills. Though, since spell construction uses the magical language it might be in my best interest to study here after the tournament is done. For now, however, my strategy for tomorrow relies on me finding this skill. I can’t afford to have someone else set the tempo.

“What?!… At least come to meet the headmaster! Nobody would believe me if I told them about your mana refinement without witnessing it themselves! She needs to know!” The young man pleads

…The headmaster would be the most powerful person here, wouldn’t she? If anybody were to have that skill it would be her.

“Alright then, please lead the way.” I say with a smile

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MTY: Chapter 122

After splitting off from Juire I return to the Inn I was staying at and retreat to my room to have a private conversation. I need to convey the situation to the goblins and convince them to accept the deal Juire proposed.

“Hey Hierch, you there?” I ask as I activate the com-stone

“…If it isn’t our patron herself, what can I do for you?” He answers after a few moments as the sounds of him fumbling to get the stone out of a pouch play out

“It seems we have a problem. The kingdom discovered your village in a recent expedition through that area, and apparently, they are gearing up to send a raiding party.” I say getting straight to the point

This entire situation put quite a few wrenches in our previous plans. Not only am I looking to make them accept the deal, but I’m hoping for their input on the matter as well.

“…sigh I figured it was a matter of time, but I thought we would have a bit longer to get set up. Wierd though, usually we are good about spotting humans before they spot us. I wonder how they managed to find us unaware?” Hierch lets out in disappointment

“I negotiated a deal with an associate of mine to hide you guys away for a while. If you work his far-”

“Oh, that won’t be necessary.” Hierch interrupts

There is confidence in his voice, which only makes the realization of his meaning that much scarier.

“…What? Don’t tell me you plan to stay there even though they discovered you?” I ask in disbelief

That would be suicide, to say the least. Goblins might be stronger than a normal human, but if the people fighting in the tournament are any indication they don’t stand a chance against a decently armed adventurer party.

“I told you didn’t I? I knew this would happen. Our village was bound to be discovered eventually. The only reason why other monsters don’t try to make villages themselves is that they are usually acutely aware of the fact that it’s only a matter of time before humans come along to wipe it out.” Hierch explains

“Then why even make one in the first place? Whats the point of painting a target on yourselves?” I ask with a bit of anger seeping through

I made a decision back in that forest that I wouldn’t harm these goblins unless they became a threat to me or people I care about. If this entire village idea was just an extended suicide then I would have been responsible for helping them. That does not sit well with me.

“Because we have something that other monsters don’t. Protection.” Hierch says confidently

“If you’re talking about me then I’m going to go ahead and cut you off there. I’m not in a position where I can fight against the humans out in the open like that.” I argue back growing increasingly irritated

“No, I’m not talking about you. Remeber how I told you there were a few monsters that humans have learned to avoid? Well, we happen to have one nesting just below where we are building the village. Before I ever came up with the idea to make a village for us I struck a deal with him. He’s kind of the whole linchpin of the plan actually.” He continues

“A powerful monster? What exactly is he?” I ask confused

Why didn’t he tell me about all this before? Did he still not fully trust me, or did he just not feel like I needed to know?

“A dragon. A geezer of a dragon, but a dragon all the same. He’s got a weak spot for alcohol, so we made a trade where he will let us nest in his territory, and in exchange, we regularly supply him with booze. That’s one of the main reasons why we set up our initial camp on the trade route. Along with resources to support a large number of goblins, we needed to secure some wine for a down payment from the traders.” He explains

Hmm, I suppose it was a bit odd. Even if they needed resources why choose such a public location? Had it not been me that swung along, and had instead been someone hostile their plan would have ended right there. A dragons favor would certainly be worth the added risk.

“That’s why we can’t accept your friends deal, whatever it is. We promised a dragon booze. Whatever danger humans could offer, it would pale to what breaking a deal with a dragon would bring about. We have to be here to make sure that the harvest and fermentation happen as soon a possible.” He continues

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t eh?

“The humans are aware that there is something odd keeping creatures out of the area, but they don’t know exactly what it is. Are you sure his presence will be enough to shield you all?” I ask as I remember the details Faurch gave me

“Ahh, that would make sense. I don’t think the old coot has moved a muscle in over a decade. He might need to put on a bit of a show… that isn’t in our deal though. You might need to secure a large amount of booze for us. If we have enough we should be able to get him to make his presence more known.” Hierch says in a concerned tone

sigh “I’ll see what I can do.” I say as I cut off the call

Now… how in the world am I going to get a ton of booze? Money is out of the picture considering… well, I hardly have any. Between food expenses, our inn rooms, and various other expenses I certainly don’t think I have enough left over to buy enough booze for a dragon. Kera got a share from selling all of the hides we got from hunting monsters, maybe she still has some left to lend me?

Perhaps I can convince Juire to sell me some good booze on the cheap instead of hiding the goblins. I’m pretty sure he had a nice selection back while we were negotiating for the tournament, so I’m sure he can get his hands on it. I’ll need to let Faurch know what is going on as well.

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MTY: Chapter 121

There is silence between the three of us. The gravity of his statement lingers on the air.

In the silence, the woman behind the counter places our food in front of us, then returns to the kitchen area. Perhaps the mood between us was enough for her to understand that the conversation could use some privacy.

“…Explain.” I say without looking away from my food

I choose my words carefully… or rather fearfully. Without knowing what information he has, anything I say could give away an even more damning piece of information. Maou or not, my involvement with the goblins will not be looked over lightly. If I’m unlucky the hunt for my life has already started.

“Relax, I wouldn’t have brought him to you if he was against you. Whether you want to believe it’s because we are business partners, or that our deal isn’t done yet is up to you.” Juire says attempting to lighten the mood a little

His words do little for my nerves, however. I wait in silence for the answer I demanded.

“Let me start from the beginning then,” Faurch says in a resolved tone

I finally look up from my food to see that his face is serious, but devoid of Malice. In response to his words, I simply nod and continue to listen.

“There is an area completely devoid of life north from the village of Jin. No monster, animal, or human dares reside there. Even the most simple of creatures can feel an inexplicable sense of danger from it.” Faurch begins

North of Jin… wasn’t that around where the goblin chief said they planned to set up?

“The reason why is unknown, but the phenomena is strange enough to be under investigation from the local adventures guilds.” He says as he begins to eat his noodles

Should I be happy that he seems to be enjoying them in this kind of situation?

“I’m sure you know what they ended up finding there in their most recent expedition. From your reaction, I can assume that I was right and that these are the same goblins we asked you to take care of before?” He continues

Silence lingers again as I consider how I should answer.

This isn’t a situation lying can get me out of, is it? At this point shouldn’t I just be grateful that is all he knows? If I give him any more reason to dig things will end quite badly for me.

“That is correct,” I say simply with resolve

I’m simply going to have to trust him, even if it’s a gamble.

“Brilliant! I had a feeling you would exceed my expectations when we sent you.” Faurch says with a genuine smile

Rather than the wicked or conniving smiles so many of my associate wear on their faces, this is the smile of someone truly having fun.

“Pardon?” I ask, caught off guard by his answer

“Sure, annihilating the goblins might have saved us from future losses, but it does nothing to return what we have already lost. Turning a problem into an asset is one of a merchant’s greatest tools.” Faurch says regaining some of the dignity he showed earlier, but still unable to hide his good mood

“I don’t understand. Does this mean you like the deal with the goblins? Why? Wouldn’t most people despise associating with monsters?” I ask almost upset at his glee

Why have I been trying so hard to hide this if he was going to react like this?! Give me back my hard work!

“Your not wrong, this one just has something loose in his head.” Juire chimes in, tapping his own head with his chopsticks

“I’m simply someone who knows better than to put the morals of others before their own assertions. The goblins are able to obtain materials that adventurers would hardly dare to go after in such a rural region, asking only for food and tools, which are easily obtained commodities on our trade routes.” Faurch says with a stern glance at Juire

They seem so familiar with one another. They feel as though they are old pals of one another.

“Regardless of how feel about it, however, the kingdom views this as a possible disaster scenario. Monsters organizing means they become more powerful, and thus a greater threat. Should they find out about our connection to this village we will be treated as enemies of the kingdom.” Faurch continues with a completely serious look

“…So what’s the plan?” I ask grasping the gravity of the situation

I’ve not only put myself in danger, but I’ve also dragged them into this as well. Even if they didn’t know what they were doing, the kingdom will still likely punish their crimes all the same.

“That’s where I come in.” Juire chimes in

“Remember that plantation I told you about? The one the king promised me for winning? Well, I might have fibbed just a tad.” He says with his usual wicked grin and playful tone

Sigh

Of course he did.

“Rather than a single farm, what he promised me is more of a fief. I didn’t lie about why, however. Near the center of my territory are several large fields, and I plan to convert each of them to Taurch production.” He continues

“And how exactly does this relate to what we were talking about?” I ask annoyed

“Simple, you need a place to hide your friends, and I could use some strong workers to till and work the fields. We had intended to keep our fields out of public view in the first place to hide our sugar making method. Since the fields belong to us the kingdom will steer clear of them.” He explains

“… I suppose that could work. They would need a field or two to produce food for themselves, but if your willing to shelter them I could probably convince them to work in return.” I begin to say aloud as I mull over the idea

The goblins certainly wouldn’t be fond of this plan. They still seemed to hold a lot of resentment towards humans the last time I was there. Maybe the chief would be able to do something to convince them?

“Wait, what would you get out of this Faurch? With the goblins leaving you would lose all of the materials that you were getting before. Why protect them if they are no longer useful to you?” I ask

Protecting them only serves to deepen his crimes against the kingdom. Coming to us about this doesn’t really seem like it works to his advantage.

“Aside from this being a quick way to make the problem disappear, it also serves to indebt you to me. I’m afraid I’m not doing this out of the kindness of my heart, I am a merchant after all.” He says with a gentle smile

My image of him being a kind gentle old man is slowly fading.

“Don’t forget that none of this will matter unless you can win though. I’ll start making preparations to smuggle your friends out of the forest. I can hide them in some old warehouses we own until we can start setting up the farm.” Juire says as he writes something onto a piece a paper and hands it to me

“Whats this?” I ask as I pretend to read it

“The bill. I’m not a hotel. I’m gonna charge you for every day I shelter them, so you better win me that fief quickly.” He says with a wicked grin

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