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Chapter: 188


Chapter 188: I Was Never a Good Master

Translator: Lei

Proofreader: Enigami

"My liege, the enemies are running away. How should we proceed?"

Sir Shailt, the leader of the 2nd Flight, asked me a question through the communicator.

‘It’s fishy.’

After going over the Kovilan Mountains and defeating the empire wyverns in the Yanovis Duchy Castle, we crossed the Havis Kingdom’s border the next day and blitzed another Laviter Skyknight flight. This time, I brought Sir Shailt and the 2nd Flight, the group in charge of the border fort, with me. But there was a problem.

‘They must know about me, so what’s with this response, or lack thereof? They’re so reckless, it’s almost like they’re itching to die.’

As long as the empire’s troops weren’t total idiots, they should have prepared for my attack by pulling back the Skyknights or coordinating their forces to put up a resistance, but the Laviter Skyknights flailed and floundered as if they had never known I was coming. Their formation crumbled after a few spells, spirits, and Superior Blessed Spears. Afterwards, they scattered like mice.

"We’re withdrawing for today."

In just a few moments of engagement, we brought down around 250 enemy wyverns. The ambush’s success was as clear as day, so I turned my reins.

‘The Emperor isn’t stupid. And the opponent is the Laviter Empire. There shouldn’t be any reason for them to use such an idiotic tactic…’

In truth, if this was a war with a different kingdom or empire and not me, Laviter’s forces were more than prepared. I was the uncouth bastard for going into battle against 500 wyverns with one tiny flight of 100. However, I was already well-versed in aerial battle, and there was no way the enemies didn’t know that I could fire spells specialized for the air, unlike regular mages. Of course, they probably never dreamed that anyone would dare to go deep into the empire to launch a blitz, but the slipshod nature of their defense against me greatly aroused my suspicions.

‘When we’re back, I have to find out the details.’

We had just won what could be called a huge victory, but a part of my chest felt dissatisfied. This feeling was on par with the pain of getting a bellyache right when delicious fire-grilled pork belly was ready to eat.

* * *

"It’s hard to find out what’s going on in the Laviter Capital?"

"Yes. The Imperial Capital has been almost completely shut off using the plague as an excuse. In addition, an imperial command has been issued to have all the nobles stay in their territories."

I was back after launching two Laviter invasions in order to reduce the danger at our throats. Although we had won victories worth being satisfied over, I collected information about the Empire through merchants and mercenaries as soon as I got back to the territory because I had a bad feeling. After about ten days, a strange piece of news came in.

"Derval, don’t you also think this is strange? Even though I attacked them, their lack of response rendered them as good as defenseless. Even with their pride as a big, mighty empire, they didn’t proceed to invade or even threaten Nerman."

"I also find it suspicious. In light of the way the Laviter Empire has responded over the years, things should have erupted in chaos by now. But…"

Derval’s eyes narrowed as he thought hard, unable to come up with an answer.

‘It’s definitely strange. And very much so, at that.’

Nerman had made quick work of 500 Laviter wyverns, but I was still uneasy. I tried gathering information, but nothing came up, and my suspicions only grew.

"You still can’t contact the black merchants?"

"No. Not just them, but according to what I’ve found out, most of the external contacts of the black merchants have concealed themselves."

‘Just what the hell is going on? Why’s everyone like this?’

I got the feeling that just like how mice and all kinds of insects and animals knew before humans did that an earthquake was coming, the black merchants that were specialized in survival had slipped away before shit went down.

"But we need information…"

"I think it will be difficult to find out anything about the Laviter Empire at the moment… Unless you go there yourself."

‘I’d have to go there myself, huh…’

"Sir Derval, I have a very bad feeling about this. Recently, Aramis told me she received an oracle where the Continent would be plunged into great suffering. Plague is breaking out and natural disasters are occurring without end in the world right now. I believe we need to stay on our guard as well."

"Don’t worry, my liege. You and the knights are protecting Nerman like an infallible shield," responded Derval with a voice full of confidence.

Whatever happened in the other places, there was no threat of plague in Nerman. Not only was top-grade holy water being supplied to each of the villages, but any strange symptoms were taken care of immediately by our administration network, which connected all of Nerman down to the tiniest hamlets.

"Ensure that there is no carelessness in the border inspections, and instruct the knights and soldiers to constantly be on their guard."

"By your will."

"Also, I have somewhere to go tomorrow morning, so do not panic if I am out of the territory for a few days."

"Where to…?" asked Derval cautiously. I could feel his worry for me.

"It’s not a dangerous place, so don’t worry."

"Understood. Please do as you wish, my liege."

‘In order to eliminate the weeds, you have to pull them out by the roots. I’ll use this opportunity… to show you an example of that.’

I had carried out two surprise attacks, but there was no report of the infantrymen on standby at the Havis Kingdom borders withdrawing.

It was possible that Laviter was the last hurdle I needed to clear in order to achieve my paradise. After all, two tigers couldn’t exist on the same mountain. Either I would die, or the Laviter Empire would perish, one or the other. And now, I intended on bringing out my hidden weapon.

It was time to mobilize all the hidden rage I’d been suppressing all this time and crush the Empire.

* * *

"Ice!"

I used basic ice creation magic, a 1st Circle spell. I condensed mana on the ocean with mana that was nearly 8th Circle level.

Ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing! Crrrrrrrgkkkkkk!

A short moment after the spell was cast, the ocean water froze over, forming a block of ice 100 meters in diameter.

‘Can’t live without magic~ really can’t~’

It was summer, and during the peak of the sun’s baking rays, to boot. I felt my mood improve upon seeing the thick chunk of ice forming over the reflective waves.

‘Huhu. We don’t need a wyvern transport carrier.’

If someone saw this, they would call me 120% crazy. I was going to sail the seas without a single skiff, much less a wyvern transport carrier. I made this artificial ice floe to let Bebeto rest before we reached the island called the Bugle of Repose.

Kuaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Because Bebeto had been flying for several hours straight over the ocean, he let out a cry of happiness upon seeing a place to land.

Flap flap flap flap flap.

Even without being commanded to do so, Bebeto was smart enough to land on his own. He was always one praiseworthy wyvern.

"Nice and cool."

This recklessness was something no one would dare to attempt unless they were a mage, and a high-circle mage at that. Making a 100-meter large ice floe on the summer sea and landing on it was something only those who had experienced it could talk about. I didn’t feel the heat thanks to my airplate, but the summer ocean stretching out as far as the eye could see was suffocating. But from atop a half-transparent block of perfectly frozen ice, it was like looking at the ocean from a beautiful beach of dreams. 

Craaack.

As soon as Bebeto landed, I got down onto the ice, carved myself a piece of ice, and popped it in my mouth.

"Eaugh, ptui, ptui…"

The water hadn’t been easy to freeze because of its salt content, but I had forced it to freeze with brute mana. It was cool, but because it was frozen seawater, the saltiness was unchanged.

"Bebeto, go catch a fish for me."

Unlike me, Bebeto wasn’t wearing an airplate. He was stretching out his wings on the ice to cool down, but I couldn’t bear to see him rest.

Guooooooooooooooo!

No matter how tired he was, the kind Bebeto was swift to carry out his master’s command. He must have already recovered his energy, because he flew over the waves again with energetic flaps of his wings.

‘It would be a gamble for them as well, so will they listen to me?’

In order to pull out the stubborn roots, I wanted to make use of the trump card I’d been saving. And that was mobilizing the Kesmire Pirates, no, the Kesmire Kingdom. If the Kesmire Kingdom were to help us, I would be able to deal a sound blow to the Empire’s foundation and make the Laviter Empire shake.

‘As long as the Laviter bastards would be so kind as to disappear, there won’t be anyone who can threaten Nerman anymore.’

The Temir, who were rumored to be ignorant savages, were linked to me by blood (if you could call it that), the Kesmire who dominated the seas and the Ice Empire, Haildrian, were involved with me and couldn’t ignore me. On top of that, the Bajran Empire was a staunch ally of mine, and the Andain, Kerpe, Tove, Krantz, and Kuviran Kingdoms were desperately tiptoeing around me. Of course, the Delphiran and remaining kingdoms that Nerman hadn’t had any official diplomatic contact with were naturally aware of my name, which was famous across the Continent.

‘Eh, whatever. If it doesn’t work, then I just have to strongarm it into working.’

Since when have I ever moved while knowing what the future held? I did my very best in life and ended up coming this far. I was simply acting on something I had made up my mind to do.

Guoo, guoooooooooooooo!

‘Hrm?’

While I was laying on the ice using my arm as a pillow, Bebeto’s excited cry broke my reverie. My head automatically turned at his voice of excitement, the same sound you could hear when he was engaging in 18+ actions with a female he liked in the depths of the night.

"Wh-What in the world? What is that?"

The moment I turned my head, I saw a certain creature.

The first thing I noticed was that it was long. It had ten or so extremely long legs sporting dozens of suction cups about the size of a man’s head. The legs of this squid-like creature were as girthy as the pillar of an average building.

Guo, guo, guoooooooooooooo!

Having discovered this king squid, Bebeto was trumpeting nonstop.

‘Is it a demon beast that lives in the ocean?’

Sometimes, sea monsters or demon beasts appeared in the seas around Nerman. However, holy water was splashed into the water every day, and the fishing boats didn’t go out far, so we never came in contact with them, and I’d gotten a few reports of them getting attacked by Skyknights on patrol and saying adieu to this world. However, I’d never heard or seen of anything so monstrously huge.

‘Woooow, just one of those legs could feed a thousand fit to bursting.’

Squid was said to be the best thing for recovering one’s vitality. It was a holy grail health food that could make cows exhausted from spring plowing jump back to their feet. By the looks of it, Bebeto was intending on fearlessly hunting the thing after discovering it.

‘Huhu! Alright, let’s do some rejuvenating for the first time in a while, shall we?’

Bebeto was bound to have lost a lot of vital energy from overexerting himself every day (and night). This king sea squid had come to become our prey right on cue.

"Fly!"

With an easy incantation, I flew to Bebeto, who was fighting to the death with the squid.

"Bebeto, make sure it can’t run away!"

My fame couldn’t have spread all the way to the ocean, but I still gave Bebeto a command in case it tried to run away.

Guooooooooooooo!

Grasping a section of squid leg with his claws, Bebeto gave an energetic response.

Kiriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

The fierce sea-monster-or-demon-beast flailed its legs at Bebeto, uttering an enraged scream.

‘Huhu. Looks tasty.’

It just so happened that I was feeling a little peckish. My mouth filled with drool at the sight of the fleshy, shining squid leg.

I approached Bebeto’s back as he clung valiantly to the leg and took out a spear.

‘Take this, Mr. Squid~’

Schwip. Splurch! Splurch! Splurch!

Like a homeopathic doctor putting in acupuncture needles, I gently embedded a dozen spears into the squid’s face and important body parts.

‘This brat, his strength is the only thing he’s got going for him.’

Kiiiiiii, kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

Startled by the feeling of spears lodging themselves into its body, the squid flailed wildly and tried to submerge itself into the depths. Bebeto didn’t let that happen—he grabbed one of the squid’s legs with a death grip and showed off his stamina in the water.

‘It’ll taste pretty damn good with a little grilling.’

Mr. Squid looked like it would taste a bit fishy to eat raw. Even though he was probably quite the influential figure in the ocean, today was really not his day.

"Lightning Shock!"

Still floating in the air, I casually let loose the 2nd Circle Lightning Shock. It was 2nd Circle magic, but the moment it was cast by a 7th Circle mage, it became 7th Circle magic.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt.

When the magic took form and landed on the king squid, it instantly sucked in surrounding mana and unleashed a tremendous barrage of lightning sparks.

Pzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Kiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…

Electrocuted by Lightning Shock, the king squid let out a terrible scream.

Kuaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

And at the same time, came Bebeto’s scream of agony.

‘Kek…’

The moment I saw Bebeto, I froze. Bebeto was still loyally clutching the king squid’s leg, just as I had commanded him. As sparks bounced from the king squid’s body, Bebeto’s screams became ever louder.

‘Well… shit.’

In the end, I had to cut Bebeto away from the squid with Wind Cut.

"Levitation!"

The wyvern armor he was wearing saved him from severe injury, but his black, glossy fur was steaming and he was frothing at the mouth. I had to swiftly fish him out of the water with Levitation and prevent him from seizing into the ocean. The sight of him twitching pricked my conscience a little, but I ignored it with difficulty.

‘H-He’s not bleeding, at least.’

In fights between children, blood was the decider of victory or loss. To my relief, even though I had no idea how his insides were, Bebeto wasn’t bleeding.

Driiiiip.

Unfortunately, that was just a moment of wishful thinking. Blood oozed from both nostrils as Bebeto’s eyes rolled back.

"B-Bebeto. C’mon, time for medicine!"

The only relief was that I had top-grade holy water I always carried around as emergency medicine. It hadn’t shattered in the lightning shocks and was safely stowed in the leather toolkit Bebeto carried around on his body.

‘Without Bebeto, I’d have to fly all the way there with flight magic!’

Suddenly, a chilling thought occurred to me. I wasn’t some pilot who’d crossed the seas! I’d never heard of a mage who had traversed the sea with flight magic.

"Bebeto, noooo!!!!"

Only then did a pained scream leave my lips.

…I really wasn’t a good master after all.

* * *

Flap, flap, flap.

Bebeto flapped limply over the islands. After getting the shock of his lifetime, the wyvern’s strength was at the bottom of the barrel. Even after polishing off several of the well-roasted king squid’s legs, Bebeto flew along at a frustratingly sluggish speed. Since I was the one in the wrong, I could only utter sighs and let him be churlish.

And then, the islands of the Kesmire Archipelago appeared before us. At first, the islands were scattered few and far between, but they were now appearing in rather large clusters.

‘I’ve heard of pearls within oysters, but I’ve never heard of gems within squid heads.’

While handling the lightning roasted king squid, I discovered a gem the size of an adult’s fist. Like some kind of water drop diamond, the large blue gem hidden within the squid’s head was indescribably hard.

"Huhu. I can use this at night instead of magic to set the mood."

Last night, while we were sleeping on some island, the squid gem gave off a constant, strange light. It was just the thing for setting the mood in a honeymoon chamber.

Guooooooooo!

‘They’re finally showing up.’

Bebeto, who’d been pretending to fly limply, let out a cry when wyverns appeared in the far distance. He instantly snapped back to his dignified state, as if he didn’t want to look like a sickly chicken in front of other wyverns.

‘Tsk tsk. To think you appear only now when I’ve already come this far.’

Before coming here we had passed quite a few islands; a few of them had what appeared to be surveillance forts. But Kesmire responded with twenty wyverns only when I had reached the heart of the archipelago. This was probably a visit that the Kesmire Kingdom had never even imagined. It was only natural that no one had expected someone to stray into a den of pirates in the middle of the ocean with a single wyvern.

‘Ara, someone’s waving?’

I was a Top Gun who could shoot down twenty wyverns with my eyes closed. I thought for sure that the Kesmire Skyknights showed up to intimidate me, but the person flying at their head was waving vigorously at me, like they knew me. Moreover, the Skyknights that appeared weren’t holding Blessed Spears in their hands, and they were flying in a non-combat line formation instead of an attack formation.

‘Chrisia?’

As they came closer, I recognized that the person waving their hand was a woman.

"Kyre-nim~!"

A woman’s sweet voice traveled through the wind assisted by mana. As I thought, it was Chrisia.

‘She’s that happy to see me?’

It would be obvious to anyone that Chrisia’s greeting was dripping with gladness. As awkward as it was, I had to raise a hand to signify that I’d heard the still-waving Chrisia.

‘We’re starting off nicely~’

Though I was sorry to be here in the current circumstances, seeing Chrisia’s welcome gave me the feeling that things would work out again.

I was confident that as long as the gods didn’t interfere, I could successfully carry out my plan to give the Laviter Empire a wedgie they’d never forget.

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