༺ Carriage Driver (1) ༻
[Does that mean the next Ice Sovereign has been chosen?]
In the northern region, the Whiteclark Duchy.
The Whiteclark family had several secrets that could shake the Zelver Empire to its core. The family magic [Sight Synchronization] was one such example, but even that was merely the tip of the iceberg.
Aichel Whiteclark, the eldest daughter and heiress of the Whiteclark Ducal family was a person of interest. She had a strong backing that solidified her position.
In reality, even her apparent position was not sufficient enough to evaluate her.
There was a roundtable conference room in the basement of the Whiteclark mansion.
Despite the lavishly decorated exterior, the space was dark, with only a few luminescent lamps on the walls casting a faint glow.
There, Aichel stood upright at one end of the roundtable, head bowed.
One of the luxurious seats was particularly bright, illuminated by the figure of an adult man formed of lightning mana.
Noble in demeanor, he propped his elbows on the armrests and lightly rested his chin on clenched fists.
“Yes, Lightning Elemental King.”
Aichel’s voice rang softly. She had an eyepatch over her right eye, which had yet to heal.
The lightning-formed figure was an Archwizard and the Elemental King of Lightning.
It belonged to the man called the ‘Lightning Sovereign’, given his position as the ‘Lightning God’. It was like a remote-controlled puppet.
The sovereigns of each element were known as the Elemental Kings, and each person was like a nation, military, and law in itself.
They have built and governed their own country, their influence so strong that it could shake the entire world through sheer military might. The Zelver Empire was no exception.
For this reason, throughout its centuries-old history, the Zelver Empire had maintained a friendly attitude whenever Elemental Kings appeared.
There had been various conflicts throughout history, but it had become a fully entrenched tradition.
[I was puzzled after seeing the letter… How did the other Elemental Kings react?]
“It appears that they consider it a mere agenda item for the next Council of Kings. They see it as nothing more than a noteworthy human with exceptional magical talent in the ice element, paying it little attention.”
And if it were known that the Elemental Kings gathered for a roundtable meeting every three years…
The world beyond the Empire would be terrified. The Elemental Kings were the pinnacle of all wizard affiliations. In this world, wizards were the strongest existences, and within the Zelver Empire, Archwizards were above the law.
Among those scattered around the world, the people served by demihumans and monsters of each element naturally came to be called Elemental Kings, and ended up founding nations of their own.
Due to the immense power and potential danger associated with the Elemental Kings, they had agreed to hold periodic meetings under the pretext of fostering harmony. In reality, however, these council meetings served as a means to check and balance each other.
Aichel, the next heiress to the Whiteclark family who could stand as a neutral party, was chosen as the host.
She was competent, had excellent support, and had a high noble status, all while being a promising candidate for the next Grand Duchess of the Empire’s northern region. Above all, her love for peace had garnered the unanimous support of the Elemental Kings.
[I had the same thoughts at first, but my curiosity got the better of me. A new candidate for the ‘Ice Sovereign’, a position that has been vacant for a thousand years… you must know the significance of this.]
“Yes, I do.”
[Will you show me? I want to see the Ice Sovereign candidate you spoke of with my own eyes.]
Aichel meekly nodded and placed a finger on her forehead.
Mana slowly emanated from her finger. The process was akin to pulling a video out of her head.
Then, Aichel flicked her finger towards the center of the roundtable.
The memories in her head began playing in front of the Lightning Sovereign, the Elemental King of Lightning.
They were the memories seen through the eyes of a man via the Whiteclark family’s bloodline magic, [Sight Synchronization], which had been stolen from Keridna a few days ago.
In the video, the vision’s owner held the Frostscythe in his hand.
The mythological white dragon, Frost Dragon Hilde, had become his familiar.
The Lightning Sovereign’s eyes widened in astonishment at that scene.
Then, as the man was fighting a roughly four-meter tall demon, he activated [Ice Sovereign’s Majesty].
In a flash, the video disappeared.
Silence lingered for a while. The Lightning Sovereign stroked his chin, lost in thought, before finally opening his mouth to speak.
“His name is ‘Isaac’, the next candidate for Ice Sovereign that I talked about. A commoner with silver-blue hair, red eyes, and no family name. He is currently a first-year student in the Zelver Empire’s Märchen Academy.”
[Hmm, a student?]
There was a hint of surprise in his dignified tone.
A mere first-year academy student.
It was obvious that Isaac was an immensely talented young man. However, his innate magic talent alone wasn’t a big deal.
The most important factor was the recognition of the mythological magic beast and Frostscythe, once ruled by the Primordial Elemental King. This was a problem far beyond their expectations.
It meant that Isaac, a mere commoner, was more suited to be the Ice Sovereign than anyone else.
[Märchen Academy… I’ve heard news of several recent demon appearances. There were even reports of an unknown monster killing them. I inevitably noticed that the Zelver Imperial Knights were mobilized. Was the kid that monster?]
“From the information I gathered, it’s clear that he is hiding his identity.”
[A Magic Cloak of Disguise?]
“Yes, most likely.”
The events that had occurred at Märchen Academy surfaced after the school year ended, involving even the Imperial Knights.
The frequent demon appearances, the wizard monster slaying them, and even the Child of Light, Ian Fairytale.
[Is his purpose… to protect the Child of Light and the people…? Well, there is no point in speculating among ourselves. Nothing is certain.]
[I’ll admit, it’s an interesting piece of information. That child will surely reach the realm of an Archwizard. I dare say it’s beyond simply ‘promising’, he is practically guaranteed to be the next Ice Sovereign.]
As the Lightning Sovereign spoke, Aichel held back her words. He didn’t miss her reaction.
[What is it, Aichel?]
“…The source of the information is my younger sister, Keridna Whiteclark. Based on what she has told me, the candidate for the next Ice Sovereign is infamous for having grade E mana, which is… the lowest level.”
“Just before the first semester ended, he looked weak.”
The Lightning Sovereign immediately guessed what she was trying to say.
[Is it possible that he is suppressing mana?]
Manipulating the maximum mana capacity.
It was equivalent to controlling every single cell in the body at will. As ridiculous as it is, it was possible for those at the level of an Archwizard that had transcended the limits of humanity, like the Lightning Sovereign.
And a first-year academy student named Isaac could already control his maximum mana capacity.
If anyone were asked who the greatest genius in the continent was, they would say ‘Dorothy Heartnova’.
Regarded as a prodigy blessed by the heavens, Dorothy Heartnova had even formed a contract with the Star Fairy Stella. It was anticipated that within the next ten years, she would easily reach the realm of an Archwizard. Even this level of talent was considered exceptional, near the level of the Primordial Elemental King.
But Isaac, a commoner… was already far beyond that?
Tension filled the basement. One of the most powerful individuals in the world was silently admiring a man named ‘Isaac’, a man with talent superior to his own.
[If he were to become the Ice Sovereign, I can only imagine how powerful the Ice Empire will become. Even the Frost Dragon and Frostscythe recognized him as their master, so those ferocious monsters would likely be no exception…]
Isaac. It was obvious to anyone in the know that he would eventually become an Archwizard and ascend to the position of the Elemental King.
There were countless ice demihumans and magic beasts that had evolved violently in the chaos that would regain order by welcoming a new master. They had been waiting only for a new master to lead them.
Among those, there were some they had to be particularly cautious of.
“You mean… ‘Glacial Bear Barbatoma’, ‘Frost Spirit Merphil’, and ‘Icebound Crocodile Tugaros?’”
The Lightning Sovereign nodded.
For over a thousand years, each of those beings developed their strength and joined the ranks of those who could change heaven and earth.
Glacial Bear, Frost Spirit, and Icebound Crocodile.
If those sinister and powerful monsters were to unite under the leadership of Isaac.
As the master of the Frost Dragon and Frostscythe, and with his overwhelming innate magic talent, the extent of Isaac’s authority would be beyond imagination.
[What are your thoughts on this?]
Aichel closed her eyes to gather her thoughts before opening them and expressing her opinion.
“Personally, I believe that this man, Isaac, entered Märchen Academy in anticipation of the frequent unexplained demon appearances. Perhaps… he was born with a heroic disposition, willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of others.”
Aichel couldn’t hide her desires from revealing themselves.
“I am a lover of peace. If a man with a strong sense of self-sacrifice like him were to become the ruler of those natural disasters and calamities, bringing about change and order.”
Aichel’s obsession with peace was clearly visible to the Lightning Sovereign.
“Then I couldn’t be happier.”
She had no idea who Isaac was, his hobbies, ideal type, or favorite foods, and she didn’t care.
Aichel only looked at the objective truth.
The fact that a man named Isaac was killing demons and saving people.
“If Isaac is what I expect him to be… It is my personal hope that he rises to the position of Ice Sovereign and stands shoulder to shoulder with the noblest Elemental Kings of old.”
For a thousand years, the position of Ice Sovereign had remained vacant.
So, on the day Aichel was struck by [Ice Sovereign’s Majesty], she was delighted to learn about Isaac, a promising candidate for the title of Ice Sovereign, and also a means to restrain those monsters of ice.
[…I understand your intention.]
The Lightning Sovereign calmly answered.
[This was good information. I’m glad I let my curiosity get the better of me.]
Having said so, the lightning mana forming the Lightning Sovereign dispersed into the air.
Aichel bowed her head.
The Lightning Nation, ‘Zabrok’.
In the grand hall of the majestic castle, there was a luxurious purple and gold throne, colors that symbolized Zabrok.
Wearing a sleek robe, the man sitting on the throne opened his eyes. His purple hair was neatly swept back, his eyes glowing with dense lightning mana.
[Yes! Lord Lightning Sovereign!]
As the man’s dignified voice rang through the air, the lightning mana in front of throne condensed, taking the form of an indigo gorilla. It was Balkan, a 6-star familiar with lightning mana constantly flowing from its shoulders.
Balkan bent a knee and lowered its head, saluting its master.
“I shall go to the Zelver Empire, to Märchen Academy. Go through the necessary formalities immediately.
The dignified voice of the Lightning Sovereign subsided.
Isaac. He wanted to confirm with his own eyes.
The Lightning Sovereign had made a decision.
* * *
“Eden, will you please not call me ‘Rider Isaac’?”
I was feeling excited and tried talking nonsense with Eden, my little golem familiar. I was grateful when he responded with a smile.
Now that I had the Frostscythe, I began my part-time job as a ‘carriage driver’.
As mentioned earlier, a ‘carriage driver’ in this context referred to a profession that used mana to operate a magical carriage.
That was not to say that there weren’t basic horse-drawn carriages. It was just that mana-powered carriages were favored on the grounds of the Märchen Academy.
By the way, when the students returned home from vacation, they probably took a basic horse-drawn carriage for its reliability.
Anyways, I was wearing rugged carriage driver attire and had rented a small carriage.
Carriage driving was a job greatly affected by [Elemental Efficiency] while simultaneously improving [Elemental Efficiency] itself. It was the perfect side job for a Märchen Academy student like me.
Of course, I had to practice driving the carriage for a few days and gain the recognition of the stablemaster in order to work as a carriage driver, so I diligently drove the carriage for the past several days. Since I was familiar with the layout of the academy grounds, finding my way around was not a problem.
“It’s the summer vacation, so there are few people.”
Eden chimed in with a playful ‘Kyuu!’ sound from the side.
I was at the carriage station. It used to be bustling during the semester but it was now quiet. There were only a few carriages available. Most of the students left the Academy during the vacation, so there was no reason for the coachmen to stay here either.
In other words, the supply of carriage services was very small.
However, with the several commercial districts on Academy grounds and significant numbers of students remaining at the Academy, the carriages would be in demand.
But for some reason, the carriage wasn’t getting any customers.
“Well. Eden, let’s get to business.”
My worries were short-lived.
After all, business is originally something you had to work hard for.
So, I decided to make my move.
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