༺ Surrender ༻
“To-Tower master, my sincerest apologies!”
As soon as the antiquated door of the Magic Tower opened and the Tower Master stepped in, a mage who was diligently firing magic, frantically bowed their head.
“All of you, hold.”
The Tower Master glanced at the mage pitifully before commanding the rest of the mages to cease firing. At her command, the rest of the mages defending the tower stopped altogether and directed their gaze to her.
However, the Tower Master didn’t so much as spare them a glance and simply clicked her tongue while redirecting her gaze towards the intruder.
“For what reason did you return after claiming you never wanted to see me again?”
When the Tower Master inquired with a conflicted expression, the robed person spoke out as she slowly approached the Tower Master.
“I have something to discuss with ya.”
“You rotten girl, addressing your teacher so rudely1 The visitor uses ‘당신’ to address her former teacher, the Tower Master. ‘당신’ is one of the direct way of saying ‘you.’ Korean has formal/casual styles and directly referring to someone as ‘you’ is often considered rude unless close.. It seems you’re still as impertinent as ever.”
“Considering I’m no longer your disciple, I don’t believe there’s an issue with how I address you.”
The rest of the mages held their breaths and froze on the spot as they listened to the heated conversation between the two.
To them, being rude to the Tower Master, who was as exalted as the heavens, was something they couldn’t even imagine doing.
“I was willing to sit down and chat with you… but if you’re going to be this impolite, I don’t think I will.”
The Tower Master raised her lengthy cane and spoke out angrily at the girl in front of her.
“And if you’re going to continue acting up, you’ll have to face m…”
“I completed the magic you so fervently desired.”
“…What did you say!?”
But as the unidentified woman took out and shook the sheet of paper inscribed with a magic circle, the Tower Master lowered her cane with wide eyes.
“A-Are you saying?”
“It’s what you’ve wanted for so long… nice try.”
The Tower Master discretely tried to use magic on the sheet of paper, but the unidentified woman blocked the magic as if she predicted her actions. Then, the Tower Master began to stammer nervously.
“W-…Why don’t we sit down and have a chat?”
“I thought you didn’t want to?”
“You punk! That was before you mentioned anything about that magic. It’s a different story if you really did manage to finish it.”
The woman silently stared at the Tower Master before approaching her and uttered softly.
“I want to speak with you in private. Tell the others to leave.”
“Don’t worry, I was thinking the same thing.”
With a wave of her hand, the mages who stood there blankly quickly parted.
The Tower Master spoke out and entered the tower with as much composure as she could muster. The unidentified woman quietly accompanied her inside.
“…What is all this?”
The two finally arrived at the tower’s lobby after ascending the stairs for a long while. After scanning the room, the nameless woman questioned the Tower Master regarding various items laying around in piles.
“They’re items prepared for my new disciple.”
The Tower Master simply answered in an indifferent voice.
The unidentified woman, shocked, stopped in her tracks and the Tower Master replied incredulously.
“What? I can’t accept a new disciple?”
“That shouldn’t be… In the previous timeline, you definitely…”
“Stop speaking nonsense and follow me. We don’t have time to waste.”
When the unidentified woman murmured in a daze, the Tower Master interjected and pulled the woman’s arm with a frustrated expression.
“So, what are they going to be used for?”
“They’re items to be destroyed.”
The unidentified woman, who was being dragged along, was taken-aback again after hearing the Tower Master’s response.
“Those are all… minerals like mithril, orichalcum, adamantium, and diamonds…it should be difficult to even leave a scratch, much less break them.”
“My disciple can shatter those with a flick of her fingers.”
“…You’re joking, right?”
The Tower Master broke out in laughter as she replied.
“I would have thought the same several months ago, but there hasn’t been a single thing that child wasn’t able to break.”
“Are they here right now?”
When the woman asked about the disciple’s whereabouts, the Tower Master replied in rage.
“She went to the orphanage to play, so enough about her! Stop trying to change the topic.”
The Tower Master opened the antiquated door and entered.
“Now, why don’t you take off that stuffy robe… and show me that magic?”
Irina flung off her robe and slowly took out the paper inscribed with the magic before handing it over.
“Hoh… this… did you just create a new magic system?”
“Not only that, it seems like there’s also magic that hasn’t been proven or confirmed to exist integrated within. Looking at this…”
The Tower Master voiced her thoughts in a daze as she scanned the document ecstatically.
“…It’s as if this magic came from the future.”
Irina looked as if her conscience had been pricked when she heard the Tower Master nearly guess the truth, but she swiftly restored her original expression.
“So, why did you bring me this when you despise me so much?”
“I wanted to consult with you on the probability of the magic activating properly.”
“You want my opinion?”
Hearing the Tower Master’s question, Irina scowled before speaking.
“I don’t want to admit it… but you’re the only one who can understand this magic right now.”
“Puha! Even though you’ve always called me senile, in the end, I guess you do acknowledge me a bit?”
“Then again, I am pretty amazing. I might not look like it, but aren’t I still an archmage that appears only once every few hundred years in the Empire?”
The Tower Master ignored Irina and continued to brag excitedly.
“And I’m also the only person from the Empire to be sent as an envoy for the subjugation of the Demon King. Tsk, to think you were so foolish to discard your position as the disciple of someone as extraordinary as myself…”
Irina, who was watching the Tower Master brag while shrugging her shoulders, cut off the Tower Master with a chilly expression when the “Demon King Subjugation” was mentioned.
“You’re going to die if you keep going.”
“Ha! You have become even more despicable in the time we’ve been apart. To think you would say that to me…”
“You won’t be able to defeat the second-in-command of the Demon King Army, much less the Demon King…”
Irina parted her lips as she sighed. She recalled that the Tower Master perished fighting the second-in-command, Dmir Khan, while investigating the Demon King.
“…So please stop.”
Although the two were nearly equal in combat prowess and Dmir Khan barely escaped with a fatal injury, Irina sincerely advised the Tower Master out of respect for her.
“Do you know something?”
“…It doesn’t matter. Just tell me how likely it is for the magic circle to activate successfully. I’ve reviewed it several times, but I need another mage’s perspective.
Although the Tower Master questioned her after noticing the sincerity in Irina’s tone, Irina dodged her question and urged the Tower Master to examine the magic circle.
The Tower Master, who was studying the magic circle while complaining about Irina’s attitude, soon frowned and spoke.
“Tsk, you messed it up. This is useless.”
“You brat, this magic circle uses black magic as a medium.”
“And since when have you ever concerned yourself with ethics?”
“That was in the past. I care about it now. Besides, it would still be unusable even if we don’t take ethics into consideration. Unlike other types of mana, you can’t concentrate dark mana into one place nor can you preserve it. That means only a single person can activate and utilize this… but there’s not a single person in this world with that much dark mana… Huk!”
“How about this much?”
Although Tower Master began explaining after putting down the sheet of paper with the magic circle, her voice came to a halt when Irina emitted dark mana which permeated the room. She then replied with a quivering voice.
“…With that, it seems you’d be able to barely activate it and utilize it for a few dozen seconds.”
“Is that so? Seems like I was right. Thanks.”
Irina stood up to leave, but the Tower Master hurriedly grabbed onto her.
“Wait. Where did you acquire that amount of dark mana and why did you go out your way to visit me for confirmation…”
“I have no obligation to explain that to you. Now then…”
“Think of our past relationship as master and pupil and just answer one thing.”
Irina turned her head at the mention of their previous relation, and the Tower Master questioned her with a sincere look in her eyes.
“It’s obvious that your body will be heavily damaged once your dark mana is depleted… so why are you trying to use such pointless magic?”
The Tower Master raised her voice when Irina questioned her.
“Even if you successfully activate the magic, you’ll only be able to switch souls for a few tens of seconds! Just what can you do by switching souls for not a few years, not a few hours, but just a few seconds…”
Irina stared at the Tower Master with determination in her eyes.
“If such a situation arises again… it’ll be enough to switch bodies for just a few seconds.”
“That’s why I’m asking! Just what…!”
Seeing the Tower Master explode out in rage after trying to suppress it, Irina continued in a faint voice.
“For when I fuck over that System.”
Afterwards, Irina wore her robe again and left the room as the Tower Master stood there dumbfounded.
The Tower Master stood frozen in place for a long period of time. Eventually, she sat down at her desk and murmured as she poured herself some wine.
“…Those two bitches have both gone insane.”
“Tell me, what does the last portion of your Prophecy say?”
Faced with Serena’s sparkling eyes, I told her in a low voice.
“When everything is over, the Hero will perish in vain alongside the Demon King.”
“Right. It was stated as such in my Prophecy as well.”
Serena looked a little gloomy, but she soon spoke again with a bright expression.
“However… there was another sentence below it in my Prophecy.”
Serena responded with a smile when I questioned her with widened eyes.
“Yes, but I couldn’t confirm what it was due to an unknown magic.”
I replied sadly as my excitement dissipated, but then, Serena took something out.
“So, I cut it out and brought it with me.”
“…What an extreme solution.”
I smirked in response to Serena’s boldness as I accepted the paper from her, but soon frowned upon reading it.
“Hm… that’s weird? I can read it, but I can only see a part of it.”
“That’s probably because it hasn’t been fully restored yet. I’m prioritizing restoring that part, so you should be able to read it in its entirety soon.”
I nodded in response to her reassuring words and began quietly reciting the part I could read.
“Mm… ‘One coincidence,’ ‘Five enlightenments,’ and ‘Boomerang that passes between the half moon and the crescent moon.’ What could these phrases mean?”
“…Not sure what it is, but it doesn’t seem negative.”
Serena spoke with a bright smile as I returned the part of the Prophecy back to her.
“It’ll be restored shortly, so I’ll contact you again when it’s completed.”
“Alright, thanks for everything, Serena.”
Serena began blushing when I thanked her with a smile.
“So, when are you going to catch the Secret Head?”
“Ah, about that…”
“I really want to do ‘that’ with you.”
I began seriously considering just abandoning the birthday party to go search for the Secret Head. Serena curved her eyes and whispered when she saw the state I was in.
“We can still kiss.”
Seeing her extend her arms, I began approaching her with a beet-red face. Finally, I sat on her lap and met her lips.
Serena began licking my lips before slowly penetrating my lips with her tongue.
After entwining our tongues for a long time, I briefly pulled back and stared at her in disbelief.
“Didn’t you say you didn’t drink?”
“…I only had a glass to make my acting seem more realistic.”
I wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol or some other reason, but Serena’s face was beet red.
“Where are you touching?”
“Sorry. I’m feeling drunk, so I’m not quite sure.”
“You said you only had a single glass, though?”
Serena smiled as she slid her hands underneath my clothes.
“You know I don’t have much alcohol tolerance.”
“…Serena, does your curse allow bodily contact?”
“You were already touching me before you even asked.”
I smiled and pushed her down.
I should give her a thorough massage for all her struggles.
“Lord Frey! How is Lady Serena!?”
The imperial maid inquired regarding Serena’s condition as I left the room with a slight blush.
“She’s conscious again, she said she’ll be out after a brief rest.”
Seems like Serena’s act was quite realistic seeing how the imperial maid heaved a sigh of relief.
“Lord Frey, I have something to tell you…”
I began heading off to catch some rest before the birthday party began, but the imperial maid quickly called out to me.
“I think Her Highness Clana is searching for you.”
I questioned her, confused.
“I’m not sure. She was muttering your name on the veranda a while back…”
I nodded to the maid and headed towards the door.
She really was there.
“What are you doing over there?”
She was seated on the veranda with her head down.
I was staring at her perplexed but flinched when she lifted her head.
Her eyes were overflowing and her face was stained with tears.
“Clana? What happened…”
“It’s my loss…”
When I began to raise her up with a disconcerted expression, she slowly began speaking.
“I’m saying I lost to your dirty trick…”
“No, wait. Just what…”
“I surrender. I’ll surrender so…”
Clana spoke with a quivering hand covered with injuries as she stared at me with sorrow in her eyes.
“…Please just hold my hand.”
I didn’t want to admit it… but it seemed like Clana was slowly remembering the events from the Ordeal.
“…This is driving me insane.”
I could already see myself throwing up blood.
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- 1The visitor uses ‘당신’ to address her former teacher, the Tower Master. ‘당신’ is one of the direct way of saying ‘you.’ Korean has formal/casual styles and directly referring to someone as ‘you’ is often considered rude unless close.
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