༺ The Crimson Sage ༻
A member of the Seven Heroes of the continent, known as ‘The Crimson Sage’, and the current owner of the Empire’s magic tower.
A powerful magician who has earned the title of ‘Archmage’, a title only two people on the continent possess.
My impression of him was…
“His voice is definitely hoarse, isn’t it? Ah, it’s been a long time. Then, the lady here must be Sylvia? Even though it’s been only three days, it’s nice to see you. I’m really glad that the magic jamming device I wanted is properly implemented here. Otherwise, I would have had to come find you directly, or use a common communication device expecting to be eavesdropped! Huh? Both of you? Why are you not saying anything? Hmm, strange. My eyes are like a fireball, so visual information is distorted by 87%, but auditory information should be quite fine. Hoarse? Sylvia? Can you hear my voice?”
He was terribly talkative.
I sighed briefly and opened my mouth.
“…Your slick tongue hasn’t changed. Anyone would instantly know you’re the Crimson Sage.”
“Ha ha! Such a boring joke. If I had greased my tongue, it would have burned to the root by now. And your callous nicknames remain the same. Didn’t I repeatedly ask you to call me Ruellyn? I’ve gotten used to calling you by a nickname since you never told me your name, but I remember introducing myself right from the start!”
Ruellyn’s talkativeness was the same as ever. At one point, I even thought that his long tongue might be the secret to his fast magic casting speed.
During this brief time, his expressions and tone of voice changed incessantly. If a stranger saw him, they might think he was insane.
In fact, that wasn’t entirely wrong. Ruellyn Elsid was a madman obsessed with magic.
I never imagined that the expert Sylvia mentioned would be the Crimson Sage. He basically has no interest in areas he’s not interested in. If he went to the trouble of sending his avatar or something like this, it seems he is quite interested.
Sylvia clapped her hands as if to lighten the mood.
“Let’s end the small talk here. We both don’t have much time, do we?”
“I cannot deny that. In fact, I only have 14 minutes and 20 seconds left. If I exceed this time, the elders of the magic tower will notice that I am communicating with someone in secret, and this news will be immediately reported to the imperial intelligence agency and the heresy court of the law nation, won’t it? Ah, I’m suddenly really scared of my fame.”
I spoke in a trembling tone.
“…Are you always under surveillance?”
“Surveillance sounds a bit harsh, let’s just say there are many eyes watching. There are so many people curious about what I am doing and where. I’ve used a slightly cumbersome method for today’s conversation as I don’t want it to be seen by others.”
Ruellyn spoke in a cheerful tone.
“Let’s get to the point. I’ve also been paying close attention to the ritual performed by the undead corps commander. What on earth happened to turn an entire kingdom into a land of death? Normally, magic disappears when the caster dies, but how powerful must the magic have been for the undead to still wander the land years after the caster’s death? Such intellectual curiosity has always occupied my mind since the war ended-“
“Didn’t you say we’re short on time? Just get to the point.”
He was going to ramble on endlessly if left to his own devices.
Ruellyn paused for a moment and gave an awkward smile.
“To get straight to the point, it wasn’t magic.”
“More precisely, it’s a bloodline power. From what I understand, haven’t you experienced it too? I’m talking about the power that only the legitimate royal family of Ionia possesses, the power that connects to beings of another world.”
The giant spirit that Daisy summoned to the sky of the academy.
Even during the war, I had never seen a summoner call forth such a powerful being so quickly and without any ritual.
At that time, I was just focused on bringing down the spirit in front of me and didn’t give it much thought, but upon reconsideration, it was clearly not a power permitted to humans.
“Most members of the Ionia royal family were satisfied with being moderately outstanding summoners. But after examining ancient texts, I found records that the Ionia tribe often opened the door to another world in the age of myth. The divine realm, the spirit realm, the dark realm… even to a completely new world that belongs to a different place than ours…!”
Ruellyn spoke in an excited voice, unable to hide his interest.
“Isn’t it really amazing? Though it hasn’t been confirmed, there is a hypothesis that Philion the Great came to our world through a gate opened by the Ionia royal family hundreds of years ago. Of course, the Empire strongly denies this, but-“
Ruellyn’s mouth never stopped moving. I was on the verge of getting tired of listening.
It seemed like Sylvia had the same thoughts as me, as she had been leaning lazily on her chair with a bored expression from the moment Ruellyn began his story.
Feeling the audience’s boredom, Ruellyn subdued his excitement and spoke again.
“While it was a topic of great interest to me, it seems it isn’t for you two, so I’ll stop here.”
“Yes. Please, could you?”
Regardless of Sylvia’s bored voice, I decided to ask the most important question.
“So… is Ella alive?”
I didn’t really understand about Ionia’s lineage or rituals. I wasn’t an expert on magic and I wasn’t even interested.
What I wanted to know the most now was whether Ella was alive.
“It’s important to me. So, tell me… Please.”
My voice contained a desperation that felt unfamiliar even to me.
A brief silence filled the underground.
Ruellyn replied in an awkward tone.
“I never thought you’d ask me for something while you’re alive. It’s unfamiliar, but it’s not a bad feeling.”
“Ahem! I was about to say. Yes, you’re talking about the young Ionia royal family member used as a sacrifice in the ritual?”
Ruellyn nodded his head and spoke in a rare serious tone.
“Yes. She should be alive.”
Unconsciously, I clenched my fist.
But I tried to suppress my emotions and asked calmly.
“Why is that?”
“The fact that the land of Ionia is still a den of the undead is evidence. This is my personal speculation, but… the undead corps commander probably used that child, Ella, to open the door to the underworld. From there, he would have summoned the legions of the undead. Otherwise, it would make no sense that the capital was destroyed overnight.”
I had thought the same thing before.
Even if the undead were summoned from communal graveyards across the kingdom and people were slaughtered to turn their corpses into new undead, their numbers were too great.
Moreover, they were not just low-level zombies or skeletons created in a day or two. Most of them were high-ranking undead like banshees and death knights.
In the end, they died at my hands anyway, but I often wondered if it was possible for a single person, no matter how outstanding a commander the undead corps commander was, to do this.
“There is still a lot of death energy left in the land of the old Ionia kingdom. That’s why the undead are still alive and moving, even though their master is dead. That place could only be temporarily purified, even with the power of the saintess. What do you think the reason is?”
Ruellyn nodded his head.
“The door is still open. And in order to maintain the door, the medium needs to be alive. The child you’re looking for is definitely alive. She must be supplying power to the door of the other world somewhere, even at this very moment.”
I took a deep breath.
It was hard to control my emotions, but this was a situation that called for clarity.
My complicated and dizzying emotions sank deep into sleep, and only cold reason dominated my mind.
Sylvia cautiously started to speak.
“Are you okay? I’m sorry to say this… but she’s in the hands of the undead corps commander. Even if we find her, her condition might be much different from what we typically consider being alive.”
“She’s right. She might have had her brain and spinal cord removed for preservation, or her heart might have been turned into a biological item. Mages generally prefer such methods-“
“You, shut up! Please! Just shut up!”
Sylvia drew a dagger from her thigh and swung it at Ruellyn several times, causing sparks to fly everywhere. His form, made of fire, shook greatly.
“Don’t you have a heart? You madman, filled with nothing but magic in your head!!”
“Ouch, it hurts! I can’t feel physical pain, as this is not my main body! But it hurts my feelings!”
In front of the two’s squabble, I spoke in a calm tone.
Sylvia’s flailing ceased.
Both of them quietly looked at me.
“No matter what state she’s in… if she’s alive, there must be a way.”
I was powerless in my youth. I couldn’t do anything because I lacked strength.
It’s different now. I’ve become so strong that it’s hard to compare to my childhood.
TLN: Hi everyone, in case you are wondering, the reason for the slow release rate last couple of months is that the author went on and off with hiatuses. Currently, the latest chapter he released was about 20 days ago.