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Zweit was dreaming.
One of the reasons he knew it was a dream was that the scenery around him was a dimly lit mansion. Judging from the state of the abandoned rooms, it did not seem real at all.
More than anything, it was because Zweit’s body was moving on its own as if it was being lured by something, and he kept moving forward regardless of his own will.
The unrealistic floating sensation also made him notice it was a dream, but the problem was that he didn’t know how to wake up.
Then, Zweit quietly opened the door to a room, regardless of his own will.
“You’re here, Zweit. I’ve been waiting for you…….”
The owner of the voice sounded familiar.
He was one of his closest friends, a member of the same faction, a friend with whom he talked about his plans and ambitions, and no doubt he was Dio, his roommate.
However, for some reason, he wore a jet-black cloak and would not turn his face toward his friend.
In response to Dio, Zweit’s mouth opened on its own.
“Dio, ……. What do you want from me?”
“Fu …… Dio……. That name brings back memories.”
“No, you’re still Dio, right? What is it? That…… awfully old-fashioned cape is…..”
He did not answer.
When Zweit had no choice but to go to him, Dio slowly opened his mouth.
“Zweit ……. I just want to spend the rest of my life with her. But you know people are standing in my way, don’t you?.”
“A~a…… I’m sure you’re well aware that your future love life looks difficult.”
“That’s why I’m……. I’ve decided to join forces with….. Kreuz.”
“No, why Kreuz? I’m not sure if you’re going to be able to beat my grandfather even if you team up with him.”
However, Dio did not stop talking.
On the contrary, he was shaking his shoulders somewhat amused. He was laughing.
“That’s because I was only human…… Zweit……”
“Well….. I’ve finally abandoned my humanity, Zweeeeeiiiit!”
“If you stopped being human, whAaaat did you become?”
When he turned around, Dio’s face was covered with a jade mask that some great sage would surely have said, “Hey, that looks like the kind of thing displayed in a museum.”
This is the thing that some Aboriginal king wore and was buried with and now exhibited in a well-known museum.
“With this power, I can….. get laid!”
“What the hell? What are you talking about? Is it my grandfather or is it Celestina?”
“On both counts! I’ll have to thank Kreuz for that.”
As soon as Dio said that, a spotlight shone in one corner of the room, where Kreuz was posing in the coolest, sexiest, and most stylish way possible.
“Kreuz! What did you do to Dio?”
“What do you mean, I just asked him to take part in an experiment? I didn’t expect this to happen…… Very interesting!”
“Seriously, what the hell did you do to that guy?”
“It’s a lot of things…… Yes, a lot of things…… Fufufu.”
Kreuz raises his glasses with a ‘quirk’ and smiles with an endlessly maddening dark smile.
However, the thing doesn’t just end there.
“There you are, you worms that gather around Tina! I won’t let you, I won’t let any of yoOuuu touch her!”
“Geez! Grandfather……? What do you mean by that?”
“Of course, I meant BOTH!!”
Old man Creston suddenly appeared.
He was burning up with passion. Though, perhaps because of the …… atmosphere, his body looked unusually muscular.
You can see it through the clothes on his body. To Zweit’s eyes, his grandfather’s figure looked much bigger than usual.
“In order to bury the maggots that come near Tina, I’ve been working out, and….. I’ve finally got this body of steel!”
He suddenly kicked his jacket, and there was a strong body that did not look like it belonged to an old man.
His head looks like an old man’s, but the body is that of a warrior. This is not the body of a mage.
Zweit was so shocked that he was speechless.
“G, Grandfather……what’s with your body……”
“I asked Zeros-dono to train me. I can kill most of them with just my fists!”
The spotlight shone again, and right below it, a hard-boiled, smiling Zeros puffed on a cigarette and casually held up his hand with a thumbs-up, looking pleased.
“Shishou, WHAT are you doing!!”
“Well, Creston-san asked me to help him, right? I just gave him a little help…… He did a wonderful job of transforming his body! That man is….. not an old man anymore……”
“No….. I don’t want you to look at me with a serious expression on your face and regret it… How did he get so muscular?”
.”….. I’ve survived hell. That’s all I have to say… I’ve already deviated from the realm of humanity. Iya~a ~, scary, scary ♪”
“You don’t regret it at all!? In fact, you’re proud of it!? Shishou, how could you do this to him!?”
Without paying attention to Zweit, the two modified humans confronted each other.
One is artificially altered, the other naturally altered. Neither of them is an ordinary human being.
“Interesting……. Would you like to see which of us has the strongest body?”
“Excellent! I will burn you to ashes!”
“I will destroy you in return, URYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!”
“Burn to ashes with my fire! DRAGON INFERNO DESTRUCTION!”
Then they both unleash an outrageous stream of fire and energy.
As they exchange looks, their powers filled the room with a heavy atmosphere, and the situation takes a sudden turn for the worse. The two men confronting each other were fully ready to kill each other. It was truly chaotic.
“Fumu…… you and I seem to be on the same page, Excellent work, Kreuz-kun♪.”
“I agree, you’ve got some interesting results. I would like to know how an old man like you can become that physically fit…… Fufufu…… Truly wonderful♪.”
“Why are you guys so calm? It’s become such a mess, how are you going to fix it?”
With Zweit in the center, the clash between Hellfire and a barrage of fists bursting with incredible energy exploded.
The heat that burned through his bones, the sound and impact of the blows that shattered his limbs, hit him at the same time, and he turned into a lifeless corpse. It was completely collateral damage.
Zweit’s consciousness faded away, and ……
“U wa~a! ? You scared the hell out of me… Don’t scare me that way, Zweit.”
……He was awake.
Breathing hard, he looked around and found himself in a familiar dorm room.
Birds were happily flying around outside the window. It was indeed a long and peaceful early morning.
The room was neat and tidy, and not a single piece of garbage was on the floor.
Beside him, Dio, his roommate, was startled when Zweit jumped out of bed. He was the one who had caused his nightmare.
“A dream…… I just had the weirdest dream.”
“Sounds like a hell of a thing to wake you up, doesn’t it? What was the dream about, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Don’t ask, but …… What’s with the mask in your hand?”
“This one? It’s something that Kreuz said he’d give me, but it looks fishy. I don’t know what to do with it……”
It was not a jade mask, but it was a stone mask that gave off a suspicious vibe.
There was an area around the forehead where something that looked like a jewel could be fitted.
“Kreuz did……. No offense, but don’t wear that mask, okay?”
“I’m not wearing it! It’s too suspicious, and I’m having trouble getting rid of it. It was a gift, so I can’t just throw it away……”
“That’s okay…… I’m sure it’s not worth anything since he collects all these things.”
“I agreed. Anyway, breakfast is almost ready, why don’t you get dressed? I’m going to the cafeteria.”
“Yeah, but more importantly….. what are you going to do with it?”
“I’ll put it in a box and seal it up. If anyone gets their hands on it, there’s no way we can get it back.”
“That’s probably for the best……”
Zweit let out a sigh of relief at Dio’s common sense.
Kreuz’s gift was then sealed.
Zweit had a weird dream, but he pulled himself together and went back to his usual routine. Breakfast was the first priority.
It is unclear where the mask disappeared to after that.
Also, Zweit was curious as to where Kreuz obtained these suspicious items.
“・・・・・・It’s not going to become reality, right… my dream?”
As Zweit dresses, he can only hope that his dream will not become a reality.
The early morning was supposed to be refreshing, but for some reason, a cold wind was breezing through.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
At noon that day, the three siblings were sitting together on the cafeteria terrace of the academy.
“He’s coming…… Shishou’s coming… To be honest, it’s hard for me to meet him…… I still haven’t gotten any results regarding magic.”
“You are right……. To be honest, I’m having a hard time deciding if it’s okay for us to meet him now!.”
“Is he really that scary? I mean, Zeros-dono, right?”
Kreuz looked at Zweit and Celestina, who had been feeling restless since morning, curiously.
In the first place, Kreuz had never met Zeros, and although he had heard about him through stories, he did not have a clear impression of him. The stories being that he is a “great sage with vast wisdom,” “a hermit who loves farming,” “a great mage with unusually high fighting ability.”
What he heard about Zeros’ character is also confusing: “mild-mannered, but with a twisted personality, a good person who gives charity to orphans, but a destroyer who mercilessly slaughters his enemies.”
There is no way that a person who slaughters people is good, and it is contradictory to say that a good person who gives charity to orphans has a twisted personality. It is impossible to determine whether he is cruel or merciful.
Also, if he had been repeatedly experimenting with magic while traveling from place to place, he should be a very ruthless person, but for some reason, he is living a modest life while farming.
And if his personality is similar to that of Kreuz, he becomes all the more difficult to grasp.
“What can I say……. Seems like a contradiction from my perspective, you know?”
“Don’t worry, you two are definitely on the same page……”
“That’s right. Kreuz-niisama and he have a similar way of thinking, and your morals are somewhat similar, right?”
“I’m not such a twisted person, though. Basically, I don’t care about anything but my research, and I don’t want to go out of my way to get involved with other people!”
Celestina and Zweit thought to themselves, ‘Yeah, that’s why you two are very similar! Besides, that kind of thinking itself is twisted as a regular person’, they were silently exclaiming.
The only one who has no idea is Kreuz.
“When will Shishou arrive?”
“According to Misuka, he will probably arrive in the afternoon…… I won’t be able to meet him today, as I’m going to teach magic to my friends. I’m sorry…….”
“I’ve got a faction meeting too. What a pain in the ass…….”
“That would mean that I would have to meet him…… We’ve never met before, have we?”
“Don’t worry about that.”
“”U wa~a! ?””
The Cool Maid appears suddenly out of nowhere.
She pushes her glasses up with her fingers coolly, never showing any expression.
“Misuka…… when did you…?
“You’re still as mysterious as ever……. Please don’t startle us.”
“Lately, something’s …… been going on, hasn’t it?”
She has been busy over the last few days. More than she usually is.
Although she looks cool, she occasionally makes outrageous jokes and makes fun of Celestina.
Of course, this affects Zweit and Kreuz as well.
It’s a lot to take in.
“According to our information, Zeros-dono will be arriving in Sezan city sometime afternoon, and we expect him to arrive here an hour later. It appears that he has created an amazing magic tool, so we will be waiting for him.”
“A magic tool? The Great Sage?”
“Kreuz! You’re talking too loud!”
“You know we must keep things about Sensei a secret, okay? Never speak of his job!”
“My apologies…… It just caught my interest. What kind of magic tools are we talking about…… or, judging from the story, is it magic tools for transportation?”
When it came to research, much less magical tools, Kreuz’s mind began to fire up.
No one knows the exact details of how Zeros built the bike, and only a few have seen it in action, so they don’t know what it actually looks like.
Well, the magic tool bike is basically a large toy with a simple structure, made from several common magic tools, but it is still incredibly fast and strong.
Iron, mithril, and orichalcum. In addition, the bike, which has been fitted with an unidentified and vicious magic tool, possesses an attack power that is too problematic to be treated as a toy.
The materials used are also insane, so for those who see it, it would be something they would want to have their hands on.
After all, it even uses the scales and shells of black dragons, making it easy to repel even magical attacks.
The problem is that the creator, the ossan, put so much emphasis on the appearance of the bike that he doesn’t seem to realize what it can do.
When it was first made, he said “It should look cool or ……. A bike that looks like one of those Riders would better, but I’m also dreaming of a bike that can transform.” No one had any idea what he was saying.
He considered the possibility of a transformation function but gave up due to structural problems. It is a mystery what he was trying to make.
“Hey, Misuka, ……. Would it take three hours by carriage from Sezan to get here? What in the world did Shishou make.”
“Well? It’s an insane thing, that’s for sure. It is Zeros-dono, after all?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Sensei made whatever it was he made. Maybe it’s a useful tool……”
“A useful tool……. Ojousama, are you saying that a piece of farm equipment that flies through the air at ridiculously high speeds is a useful tool?”
The ossan once made a prototype of a winnowing machine that ended up flying through the sky, but only a few people knew about the incident.
Misuka’s information network …… and the information network of the House of Solisthea is not to be underestimated.
“Why, what made the farming equipment fly? What did Shishou create…….”
“I don’t understand ……. Is it because I still lack the experience to even understand what Sensei was trying to do?”
“Didn’t he just fail? I don’t know what he built, but perhaps he made a mistake with the magic formula, or it was just too powerful instead?”
“You understand Shishou well enough…… Kreuz”
“That’s right……. Why is it that you seem to understand Sensei more accurately than those of us who have learned from him?”
Even though he hadn’t seen the scene, Kreuz had guessed the truth.
This alone suggests that he is just like Zeros.
When it comes to their interests, they are very similar in the way they go overboard. The only difference is whether they’re an indoor person or an outdoor person.
“To be honest with you, if you learn martial arts besides magic and become incredibly strong, you will become like Shishou. Seriously, I think you two have the same personality.”
“But, Sensei kept his affairs in order, didn’t he? He’s not as messy as Kreuz-niisama.”
“Oh, you got that too……. Kreuz’s room is a danger zone…….”
“Are you using Zeros-dono as an excuse to criticize me? Is that an indirect advice towards me?”
That was most likely the initial objective.
No matter how old he is, he at least keeps his surroundings tidy. He is not like Kreuz, who creates Danger Zones that have transcended the Rotten Sea.
“It’s time to go, Ojousama. If you don’t hurry up and go, the “Imouto” who is peeking at you over there will come rushing in to get you? To Kreuz-sama, that is……”
“Ojousama, when she became close to Uruna-sama, became popular among the underclassmen. They even starting to call her ‘Oneesama.”
“What are you up to either, Celestina? Why are you going through the oneesama route?”
Well, in her case, it started by teaching them magic out of mere kindness, and before she knew it, she had reached the “Oneesama” stage.
It’s not that she’s yuri. This is the result of being genuinely adored.
“They seem like nice girls, you know? But for some reason, everyone started calling me ‘Oneesama’. I wonder why?”
“You’re oblivious……. The fact that you don’t understand what it means is very typical of you……”
She was not aware of the particular sense of the word “Oneesama.”
The underclassmen who idolized Celestina were all “outcasts” who were not good at magic, but thanks to her improved magic formula, magic became easier to use, and because she was kind enough to teach them magic, they came to have a strong admiration for her.
The fact that Celestina is being called by a nickname, the “Magic Angel,” is completely unknown to her.
She is an object of admiration and adoration by a small group of people.
She was the underdog that everyone admires and is even called a genius, but she still thinks that no one will talk to her and that her only friends are Cristey or Uruna.
She is insensitive to the favors of others since she has been a loner for so long. If Kreuz were to be added to the mix, it would be obvious that trouble would follow.
After all, Kreuz is very popular. He’s as popular as a handsome actor.
Although he is in fact a handsome man, nobody except a few knows that he is a disappointment on the inside.
“There’s no other way…… We need to send Kreuz to welcome Shishou. You have to pay gratitude for the magical medium ring, right? It wouldn’t be right for the ducal House to leave this to Misuka alone.”
“A~a! That’s right. This ring is really good. Fumu…… it would be better if I could meet him in person and ask him to teach me. It would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity.”
“I understand, Zweit-sama. If we allow Kreuz-sama to go alone, he might purchase something strange from a suspicious street vendor. We can’t cause any more trouble to the academy.”
“Please……. It would probably be unwise to ask Celestina, and he doesn’t know Shishou’s face. The others can’t do it either.”
“All of Kreuz-sama’s maids have run away. Without Yi Lin-sama, Kreuz-sama would be rotting in the garbage. That’s for sure.”
Misuka was relentless, even with her employers’ family.
Rather, she was valued for her ability to say things clearly. It meant that she could be trusted.
At the same time, she never discusses confidential matters with anyone outside the household, which is why the head of the family trusts her.
Misuka is a very good maid. Despite her usual attitudes…
“Then, Kreuz-sama, I will come for you when the time comes.”
“I see. Then I will make various preparations until the time comes. I would like to hear Zeros-dono’s opinion on some things.”
“A ~…… I’ll have to go to another pointless argument session. I hate to meet face those lineageists idiots…….”
“Because I had already promised before ……. I must spread some of the knowledge that teacher has taught me!”
Celestina is eager to teach the younger students, whose magic is severely lacking, the proper way to perceive magic.
She has no idea that behind her there are mages of the Solisthea faction who are pulling people into their faction.
The younger students she came into contact with already belonged to the Solistea faction. The fact that it was an open-minded faction, where neither birth nor upbringing mattered, was well received.
Recently, they had begun to gain power at a rapid pace, leaving the other factions bewildered.
The reason behind this is the existence of magic optimized by a certain great sage, but everyone is very secretive when it comes to magic.
The most important thing is to keep the opposing factions in the dark, and Celestina’s own improved magic formula is now widely spread, and the Solistheas have already made use of it.
The only people who can use the ossan’s magic formula are a limited number of trusted mages.
“Well, that’s all I have to say for today. I’ll pay the bill.”
“I’m sorry, Zweit-nisama. I’ll take my leave now.”
“I’ll start preparing things as well. Fufufu…… It’s a good opportunity to talk about magic with Zeros-dono because I’ve always wanted to talk about magic with him. Fufufu…… This is going to be a lot of fun.”
Kreuz was enjoying his own pace.
And he seemed to be having fun wholeheartedly.
“Kreuz-sama, are you wearing your crimson robe to meet Zeros-dono? Or do you prefer the tacky navy blue robe you always wear? May I suggest the blue robe that was sent to you the other day?
“Can’t I wear this one? It’s convenient because it doesn’t show when it gets dirty, you know?”
“You can’t wear that robe to meet people.”
The clothes that Kreuz is wearing are a cheap navy blue robe that is commonly available in the market.
The reason he wears it is that it’s not noticeable even if it gets dirty, but it looks rather plain for a member of the duke’s family to wear, and yet he still looks good in it.
Kreuz is the best student in the academy, and unlike Zweit, he has been sent a crimson robe by them.
It may have been mentioned before, but in this country, lower-level mages wear gray robes. Intermediate mages are required to wear black, and advanced mages are required to wear crimson robes.
The elite mages who are responsible for the defense of the country wear pure white robes, and the criteria for being given these robes is related to their grades at the academy. If they achieve a certain level of performance, they are recognized by the Academy as full-fledged mages, and even if they wear gray robes, they become objects of admiration amongst the students.
There are many ways to become a top mage, regardless of ability, and if you can use more magic, it is a step closer to becoming a top mage. The rest is favoritism with the backing of faction officials.
Both Zweit and Kreuz are mages whose bloodlines have allowed them to learn many forms of magic at a low level, but their abilities are not very high.
The robes were originally given according to ability, but after the factions came to power, the criteria started to be based on merit, and now it became a formality instead.
The reason why Kreuz does not wear the crimson robe is that he does not look good in it.
“I hate to wear the crimson robe, though. It doesn’t look good on me, and I think the blue robe my parents sent me would be better for that…… Huh? I wonder where I keep it…….”
“You……. The robe was sent to you yesterday, right? Have they already disappeared into all the junk?”
“Kreuz-niisama…… I overheard a complaint from the academy, hadn’t you tidied up yet?”
“No one is helping me. I’m not sure what to do with it, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
‘It is obvious! Who would like to step into the dangerous zone!!’, Thought Zweit; and ‘Interesting magic tools……. It could be a dangerous thing?’ Celestina thought to herself.
After that, the three of them parted ways, but Kreuz had to search through a pile of junk to find the red robe that had been sent to him.
Needless to say, his room became even messier as a result.
And so the rotten sea continues to spread. And today, another unidentifiable creature is released into the wild.
How he was able to remain unharmed was a mystery in itself.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
“A ~…… I knew today would be another disappointing day. It was a waste of time……”
“That’ s true. Zweit’s tactical plan was much more thoughtful, even the damage estimates were carefully calculated, and the tactical plan to minimize the damage accordingly was brilliant.”
“Come on…… we’re better off without war. It would be better if none of these plans were used.”
“Yes, but it was Zweit who broke down the fact that reality is not that easy, you know?”
“Well…… That’s why you have to expect the worst in order to keep the peace. If we are led by people who only want to take the glory, there will be unnecessary casualties.”
As usual, Zweit and Dio attended the tactical debate of the Weissler faction.
There was no meaningful debate, just a bunch of convenient tactical ideas from the lineageists, which Zweit and the others were able to defeat.
It’s always the same, and he’s getting tired of it. He could only sigh in the hallway.
Naturally, he would pass by other factional members, however, today, he encountered someone he did not like.
It was a group of lineageists, including Samtroll and Braemite.
“What a nice way to say hello. You are in a good mood…….”
“You and me both. Talking about getting rid of me by sneaking around behind my back and getting in touch with a bunch of nasty people?”
“Wh, what do you mean…… I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“He~e…… I wonder what Father’s plan is now that he’s in contact with the remnants of the group of people he destroyed……..”
Zweit smiled fearlessly, and Samtroll was inwardly impatient that the dark organization he had contacted behind the scenes was being exposed. However, he was skilled at defending himself by never mentioning it.
“That’s okay. I’ll play my best hand if that’s what you want. I’m sure my father will take out the people behind it.”
“If you’re asking me something I don’t know, I can’t answer it! What exactly do you mean!!”
“If you don’t know, why don’t you just listen? You’re not the only one with tricks up your sleeve, we have them too. The most powerful of them all ‘The Mage of Purgatory’. ”
“!? Wh, What the……?”
“Now, if your plan fails, what will happen to you? Even if you succeed, you will be doomed.”
“I, I don’t know what I don’t know! Don’t bullshit me!”
Samtroll felt despair for the first time in his life.
He was terrified that not only was his contact with the underworld known but that steps had already been taken against it.
He didn’t know how much Zweit knew, and he felt like he was getting closer to ruin with every move he made. In addition, the information network of the Solistea Ducal House was so accurate that it was unfathomably frightening.
Having Zweit brainwashed was effective as a means, but at the same time, he was facing the wrong person to oppose, the Duke of Solistea. They already had him by the throat.
“Well, enjoy the moment while it lasts. I’m sure you’ll be dealt with accordingly.”
“Fu, Fumu! I’m of the Weissler family! I’m not! You can’t do this to me……”
“Of course I can. You’ve already been dismissed by the Weisslers. They don’t care about your situation. You’ve gone too far, Samtroll.”
This was the first time Samtroll heard that he was cut off.
The Marquess of Weissler is one of the Houses that serve the royal family. And since the House of Solisthea were of royal blood, they would naturally be cut off if they were hostile to that family.
In addition, if the assassination of the duke’s heir had already been discovered, the death penalty alone would be a lukewarm punishment. The situation had developed to a level where it was no longer a case of youthful rashness.
The reason he didn’t realize this was because he himself was an arrogant fool.
He didn’t even listen to the opinions of others but imposed his own opinions in the form of brainwashing, and this was the result.
“Well, that doesn’t concern me. This is your problem now, and you’d better figure out how to take care of yourself.”
After saying that, Zweit and Dio left the place.
As for Samtroll who were left behind……
“Succeed or fail, you’re going to hell…… this is not a joke!”
“What are we going to do, Samtroll……? The Duke of Solisthea has turned completely against us, and once we’ve dealt with Zweit, we’re……”
Braemite was pale.
They were already exposed, already in such a tight spot that they could no longer talk their way out of it against the dukes who had taken countermeasures so quickly.
Even without proof, the Duke of Solisthea could easily dispose of themselves. Moreover, his family, the Marquess of Weissler, would not protect him.
Samtroll finally realized how shallow he was, but it was already too late.
If he hadn’t asked for the assassination, he would have had a way out of it, but he had nothing left but death.
“Damn it! If it comes to this…… I’ll take him down with me……”
A fool was a fool no matter how far he went.
With his arrogant nature, Samtroll could not even think of the option of selling the assassin.
If he had sold the existence of the assassin to the Marquess, he might have been able to save his life. However, the decision he made was irredeemable until the very end.
‘This is bad……. I don’t want to end up like this idiot.’
Braemite decided to sell Samtroll for his own protection.
After all, it was just a group of people who wanted power, and there was no such thing as trust there.
He prioritized his own safety over power.
Whatever it was, things were already in motion.