༺ There are too many people above me (1) ༻
Although it was called unique magic, in reality, it wasn’t something that impressive. Any magician could create magic that didn’t exist before. Creating magic that could only be activated by that magician’s special way of using mana could only be imitated by those they personally taught. That’s what people call unique magic.
That’s right, it’s not just a big deal. It was a huge deal.
The Mage Duchess’s magic was a very valuable one. There were people all over the continent willing to crawl to the Magic Tower if given the opportunity to learn it.
The Principal sitting next to me could control himself due to his age, but if he were younger, he would’ve immediately rushed toward Louise.
‘He’s going crazy.’
The Principal’s reaction made it clear. The fact that Louise could use the continent’s strongest magician’s unique magic was something not even the Principal knew. No one else besides Louise probably knew that. Well, no, I’m sure the Mage Duchess knows it.
‘I’m sure that it was her who taught Louise.’
Imitating unique magic developed by others wasn’t easy to do. If, by a rare chance, someone created a similar unique magic through a similar idea, the resulting spell would still be different based on their mana manipulation.
But what Louise used was definitely the Mage Duchess’s magic. I’ve seen that many times before. Not only that, but the Principal also thought that, so it was certain. That was the Mage Duchess’s unique magic. I can swear it. If I’m wrong, I’ll resign from my job.
“Do you have time?”
“Let’s go right away. It seems like it’s going to be a lengthy discussion.”
The Principal nodded. This was a matter that needed some discussion.
Before I turned to go with the Principal to his office, I made eye contact with Louise. She smiled broadly and waved, so I answered her with a smile. Congratulations on your win.
But it would’ve been great if you’d won with another type of magic instead.
Only the Principal and I were sitting in his office. Even the Secretary left after serving us tea. The topic about the Duchess was not to be leaked, even the trivial details.
“It’s rather fortunate that the magic Louise used isn’t widely known.”
“That’s a silver lining, I guess.”
The Mage Duchess, thanks to her mind-blowing talent, had many unique magics. The one that Louise had used wasn’t one of the most widely known ones. If it were one of the most famous ones, the duel arena would’ve been turned upside down.
Despite that, I let out a sigh of unease. It’s fortunate in a way, but the situation itself was unfortunate. It turns out that Louise, whom I simply thought of as a harmless capybara, is somehow connected to the Duchess.
‘I’m truly unlucky.’
From my point of view, the Duchess was scarier than a powerless prince. All of the Dukes and Duchesses weren’t ordinary people in many ways.
“We need to figure out Louise’s relationship with the Duchess.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to confirm it with the party involved?”
We were obviously talking about Louise. Neither of us had the courage to ask the Mage Duchess directly. We feared what might happen if we bothered her with something unnecessary.
“I thought that the Mage Duchess didn’t have any children nor disciples.”
As we both remained silent, the Principal muttered that as if lamenting. The fact that there was a student related to the Duchess itself wasn’t a problem. After all, the Iron-blooded Duke’s beloved daughter, Marghetta, was currently studying at the Academy. The current Crown Princess, the daughter of the Invincible Duke, was also an Academy student.
The problem was that we weren’t aware of this situation beforehand. If we knew since the beginning that Louise and the Mage Duchess were somehow related, we wouldn’t be in such a shock. It was especially more so since the target was someone who had no connection to the Academy and was someone we hoped wouldn’t have anything to do with it.
That’s how our meeting ended.
‘In the end, I’ll have to ask her.’
I was put in charge of asking Louise about her relationship with the Mage Duchess. I took the task so naturally that I only noticed it after walking out of the Principal’s office. Dealing with things as naturally as breathing. Is this what people call experience?
As I got closer to the club room, I could tell from the noisy sound that the members were already gathered. At least I won’t have to go looking for Louise.
It was a bit disappointing that I was greeted by Rutis as I opened the door.
“Yes, so everyone’s here.”
“We were planning to have a celebration party. We were thinking of going and looking for you since you weren’t here, but you came just in time!”
I looked around the club room. The oven was already hard at work. To think that they’d make their own party food. They were strangely diligent when it came to weird things.
“Good job, everyone. I didn’t see the results of the theory exams, but the practical ones were great.”
I gave them some compliments while sitting down. After all, it was true that they’d done a good job regarding the exams. The ones that had suffered were the two scapegoats and the unexpected third victim of the unique magic.
“Haha, thank you. But Louise was even more impressive than us.”
“That’s right. She drove her opponent into a corner with magic we hadn’t seen before.”
As the topic of magic came out, Rutis picked the topic from Lather. Right, it should be the first time you’ve seen it. If it were famous enough for you to know, it would have been really troublesome.
“She was amazing.”
Because the topic of the conversation flowed into Louise’s magic, I could also ask naturally. I couldn’t outright ask her, ‘What’s your relationship with the Mage Duchess?’ but I could ask it in a roundabout way.
“It isn’t that I’m very knowledgeable about magic, but that was an unusual magic. I’m curious about where you’ve learned it.”
I tested the waters first. She’d been hiding her unique magic, and that could be because she wanted to hide her connection to the Mage Duchess. However, today, she’d revealed the secret she’d been hiding. That could mean that it was something that she could disclose. Well, I would get to know the answer once I heard Louise’s answer.
“I learned it from a wandering mage I met when I was young. She called herself a wanderer, and we happened to meet near my house.”
Wanderer. It was a word the Mage Duchess often used when she wanted to abandon her duties and roam around. I’ve heard that the magicians of the Magic Tower heard the word wanderer numerous times when they went looking for her traces.
“She had blue hair, like Lather. Is everyone with blue hair good at magic?”
“That’s an interesting hypothesis.”
Louise laughed, and Lather just seemed happy. However, I couldn’t laugh.
‘The Mage Duchess’s hair is white.’
If she’d appeared with blue hair instead of white, that meant that she’d made contact with Louise while being disguised. Then, Louise might not know who’d taught her the magic at all.
The quest I was stuck with had changed. Instead of asking Louise, I had to ask the Mage Duchess herself.
The fact that a student of the Mage Duchess was at the Academy was a headache, but it was a manageable incident. However, the fact that the Mage Duchess had raised a disciple while hiding her identity wasn’t something that could be taken lightly.
The Mage Duchess had taught her strong magic in a place where other people weren’t aware of what was happening, so there was no guarantee that there wouldn’t be more cases like this. That would also imply that there could be people with strong powers scattered all over the place, unknown to the Empire.
‘Do I really have to ask her about this?’
My mind went blank in the face of such a dreadful situation. Being contacted by a Duke was already nerve-wracking, but now I had to reach out first. Not only that, but I had to say something like, ‘There’s something fishy with you.’ Damn it, is this difficulty level insane?
‘Should I throw this to the Special Service Agency?’
That thought seriously crossed my mind. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that it was a good idea. After all, the Special Service Agency was responsible for issues related to special powers like magicians. Broadly speaking, this was something that fell under their jurisdiction.
Yes. I belong to the Ministry of Finance. As a Civil Servant, I should be faithful to my duties and not meddle in other people’s affairs. After all, there’s a reason why experts like them exist.
The first communication with the Special Service’s Executive Manager went horribly wrong.
— Did you finally lose your mind?
“It’s related to magicians, isn’t it?”
— That’s not related to magicians; it’s about the Mage Duchess, so it should be categorized accordingly. Don’t put it under a weird category and try to push it to others.
The Executive Manager, who’d calmly received the communication, showed a fierce reaction as soon as he heard it was something related to the Mage Duchess. He was already really busy, so he probably didn’t want to handle a bomb like the Duchess.
But what could I do? I also don’t want to handle it. Do they think I have a lot of free time?
“It isn’t something that can be overlooked. There’s a chance that the disciples of the Mage Duchess are scattered all around the place.”
— I understand that it’s a serious matter, but why are you asking this to the Special Service Agency?
“Don’t you have any information?”
Seeing his reaction made me feel a bit embarrassed. I’d already guessed that they probably didn’t have any information. After all, the five Dukes were nobles, even among nobles. They were loyal henchmen and partners of the Emperor. Even the Special Service Agency struggled to gather information about them without the Emperor’s orders.
Still, I asked, hoping that the Emperor might have issued an order regarding this. However, it seemed like he hadn’t.
After a few more disputes, the Special Service Agency’s Executive Manager sighed and nodded.
— I understand the Prosecutor’s Executive Manager. You’re already busy monitoring key figures, so the Mage Duchess getting involved is probably too much.
“Thanks for understanding.”
— But the Special Service Agency isn’t exactly free either. Prosecutor’s Executive Manager, I’m sure you know that.
— Anyways, since I’m the one who’s in the capital, I’ll try to find a way. I can’t expect much from someone that’s in the province.
Finally, the Special Service Agency’s Executive Manager understood my desperate plea and accepted my proposal. I knew I could trust him, after all.
The next morning, as soon as I saw the message on my communication crystal, such trust was completely shattered.
[I tried my best, but I couldn’t find anything. My apologies. – Special Service Agency’s Executive Manager ]
At first, I didn’t understand what he meant, but I understood it after seeing the following message.
[Baby, contact me once you see this message.]
It was a brief message that didn’t even reveal the sender. However, given the circumstances and the tone, it wasn’t hard to guess the person behind it.
Didn’t you say you’d find a way?
Was the way that you were talking about involved connecting me directly with the Mage Duchess?
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