Alberu looked toward Taylor Stan with an elegant smile on his face.
“You will take control of the House of Stan and help me out if I give you the Healing Star?
“That is correct, your highness.”
Taylor gave a short response, slightly bowed, and then observed Alberu.
He had quite the upright and firm gaze.
Alberu’s evaluation of Taylor Stan, the man known as the trashed eldest son, was quickly modified.
‘If Taylor Stan becomes the Marquis, his support would be quite useful for me.’
The Healing Star. It was a single-use power that would be helpful to Alberu sometime in the future if his life was in danger.
‘But I don’t need that power right now.’
What Alberu needed right now was to solidify his crown prince position that was slowly getting out of his grasp and his goal was to become the Sun of the Roan Kingdom to brighten its future.
‘It’s not a bad deal if there is a certainty that Taylor Stan would become the Marquis.’
As Alberu did not have support from any nobles right now, getting Taylor’s loyalty would mean that he would not only get the House of Stan behind him, he would get the entire northwest region of the Roan Kingdom.
However, he still couldn’t help but think it over.
‘My mother gave me this power.’
This ancient power was something left behind for him by his mother.
His rationality and his emotions were clashing underneath his calmly smiling face.
“I understand your offer, young master Taylor, but I need time to think it over.”
“Of course, your highness. I completely understand.”
Taylor did not show any impatience. Instead, he pointed toward Cage who was standing behind his wheelchair.
“If you are worried that I would go back on my word, I do not believe you need to worry as I plan on making a Vow of Death, your highness.”
Cage smiled once she made eye contact with Alberu. Alberu gave a benevolent smile back before looking elsewhere.
“You’re the one who told Young master Taylor Stan that I had this power?”
“That is correct, your highness.”
A man whose face was covered from the nose up with a white mask respectfully bowed. His actions were following the proper etiquettes while looking full of elegance.
Alberu’s eyes clouded over and he had a gaze of suspicion that quickly disappeared as he looked down at the bowing person. Alberu addressed the man in the white mask with a gentle gaze once he raised his head.
“You dare to step foot in here.”
Taylor and Cage flinched. Alberu had a warm expression on his face but the aura around him was cold.
Cage subconsciously gulped. The man in the white mask started speaking.
“Your highness, I understand that you are wary of a person, who knows about something you have hidden, coming to see you so openly. However, would you please give me a chance to chat with you?”
He was not being servile but not going overboard either.
Alberu quietly observed the reddish-brown eyes of the man in the white mask.
“You want to chat alone?”
“Yes, your highness.”
Taylor and Cage quickly got ready to excuse themselves. Alberu called his attendant standing outside.
“Escort young master Taylor and the priestess.”
“Yes, your highness.”
The attendant responded, but hesitated after seeing the man in the white mask. He was concerned that leaving Alberu alone with this mysterious person would land Alberu in a dangerous situation.
The attendant bowed after hearing Alberu’s gentle voice.
‘There are knights stationed outside the reception room so it should be okay.’
The attendant trusted the crown prince’s judgment, as Alberu was quite thorough about things like this, and headed out. Taylor and Cage followed behind him.
The people leaving exited the room and only Alberu and the man in the white mask were left in the reception room.
Alberu smiled as he spoke.
“Take the mask off.”
His voice was gentle but stern.
“I do not wish to chat with someone who has covered their face. Especially since you have my information but I don’t know who you are.”
The eyes of the man in the white mask curled up. He raised his hand and slowly removed the mask.
He had red hair that reminded Alberu of blood and reddish-brown eyes.
Alberu slightly nodded his head after the man’s face was completely revealed.
“I am the White Star, your highness.”
One of Alberu’s eyebrows slightly rose.
“And your name?”
“I do not have a name, your highness.”
“I see. What else?”
He casually asked and got a casual response.
“I will give you power.”
However, Alberu’s gaze changed at the casual response. The man who introduced himself as the White Star calmly accepted Alberu’s reaction and continued speaking.
“I’m sure you are aware of the situation in the Whipper Kingdom, your highness.”
Alberu barely managed to hide a reaction.
The Whipper Kingdom was about to go into a fight for power between the mage faction and the non-mage faction. Alberu had been wary about Toonka appearing in the kingdom because he knew the current situation.
Furthermore, there was another reason he was paying close attention to the Whipper Kingdom’s situation.
It was because of the mages.
Alberu wanted to be the one to make magic the Roan Kingdom’s new power.
“There are people among the Whipper Kingdom’s mages who are reclusive or rebelling against the Magic Tower. Some of them wish to escape to foreign kingdoms. They are currently looking for a kingdom that would be willing to take them in.”
The White Star, who had put his mask back on, smirked.
“I came here for them.”
“Is the Roan Kingdom one of the candidates to take them in?”
“No, your highness. It is the only candidate.”
The White Star emphasized the word, ‘only.’ Alberu’s gaze seemed quite odd.
He chose to remain silent and the White Star continued to speak. He was not done yet.
“Furthermore, the non-mainstream faction of the Mogoru Empire’s Alchemists’ Bell Tower wishes to leave the Empire and go elsewhere.”
“…Is that the truth?”
Alberu couldn’t hide his shock this time.
‘The Alchemists are trying to leave the Empire?’
What was the Mogoru Empire’s current power?
It was the Alchemists’ Bell Tower.
Alberu couldn’t help but think of someone. It was someone who, unlike him, had completed a thorough path toward succeeding the throne and was revered by all within the Empire.
Imperial Crown Prince Adin.
‘Will he let the alchemists go?’
Alberu’s gaze turned sharp as he glared at the White Star.
“Why are they trying to leave?”
“They are being alienated as they are not part of the main faction and wish to find somewhere that will treat them as they deserve to be treated. They also have a goal of creating a new Alchemists’ Bell Tower.”
“And the proof?”
The White Star pulled out a video communication device and placed it on the table in between them.
“You should be able to contact the leader of the non-mainstream faction of Alchemy with this video communication device, your highness. You will be able to confirm it as the leader’s face is known, and most importantly, you should be able to trust it because the coordinates to contact are within the Alchemists’ Bell Tower.”
The White Star continued to speak.
“It is also possible to communicate with the mages as well. You will probably not know their faces as none of them have key positions in the Magic Tower, but they are all gathered in a secret base within the Whipper Kingdom right now. You will be able to verify the coordinates as well as test their abilities, your highness.”
The crown prince had a gentle expression on his face again as he calmly asked.
“Why the Roan Kingdom of all places?”
The Roan Kingdom was one of the weakest kingdoms on the Western continent. Why would they pick such a place?
Furthermore, why had the White Star come to see him instead of the king?
The White Star answered Alberu’s question as if it was simple.
“Because you need us.”
Alberu let out a snort.
That wasn’t wrong.
In fact, it was too accurate.
“Both the mages and alchemists wish to quickly move and get settled in. However, I know that it is not simple and that you need to be sure that you can trust them. That is why, if you would allow it, we would like to transport a few of them to meet with you, your highness.”
Alberu picked up his teacup. His hot tea was now warm. However, it wasn’t cold.
Alberu had to think about too many things in that short period of time for the tea to turn cold.
“Yes, your highness?”
“Do you think that all of this makes sense?”
“Yes, your highness.”
The White Star slightly leaned toward the crown prince.
“There will soon be a celebration for his Majesty’s birthday, isn’t that right?”
Alberu realized the hidden meaning behind that statement, but answered as if he didn’t notice it.
“It happens every year.”
“Your highness, if you show off the people who will become the new power for the Roan Kingdom at that celebration…”
The White Star smiled as he whispered.
“Wouldn’t that be enough?”
‘Wouldn’t what be enough?’
The answer was obvious.
A crown prince with power. Beyond that, becoming the future king.
It would be enough for all of that.
The masked man in front of him was saying this was what he needed for power.
A quiet laugh came out of Alberu’s mouth.
“Yes. That’s not a bad idea.”
He put a bright smile on and added on.
“But you will have to wait a bit as well.”
“Whenever. I will wait until you have thoroughly thought things over, your highness.”
The White Star stood up and bowed to the crown prince.
The conversation had ended.
Alberu informed his attendant who had returned to escort the White Star out and the White Star bode farewell while saying one more thing as he left.
“I hope that today’s meeting turns into joy for both of us, your highness.”
The door slowly closed and Alberu quietly observed the confident eyes that looked at him until the very end.
The attendant closed the door and addressed the White Star.
“Please follow me.”
The White Star followed without any complaints. An odd smile was on his face. He then quietly mumbled so that even the attendant could not hear.
“…Joy always turns into despair.”
While that was going on…
Alberu, who had been observing the closed reception room door, was now alone while sitting on his chair.
A cold gaze was visible on his now smile-less face.
‘Pulling the powers of the Whipper Kingdom and the Empire to Roan?’
Alberu sighed almost like a laugh.
“It’s too perfect.”
This so-called White Star person showed up at just the right time, as if he knew everything about Alberu. There was some logic in what he said, and Alberu could confirm to a degree if what he said was true, which was why it seemed trustworthy, but…
‘I can understand the Whipper Kingdom, but the Empire is weird.’
Imperial Crown Prince Adin wasn’t someone who would let power go.
‘It would make more sense for him to send Alchemists to the Roan Kingdom to steal information or to plot a way to take over the kingdom.’
Of course, what the White Star said might all be true. If it was, Alberu would not only become the crown prince with reliable powers behind him, these powers could help the Roan Kingdom become a powerful nation on the Western continent in the future.
However, he did not trust that possibility very much.
Alberu recalled what the White Star said as he left.
‘I hope that today’s meeting turns into joy for both of us, your highness.’
Alberu had an elegant smile on his face.
The smile soon disappeared.
“Joy does not exist in what we do. I’d be happy if I don’t get stabbed in the back.”
Alberu knew what was most important. That was how he was able to persist in the extremely bleak and dreary palace without any backing.
That was the most important thing.
Alberu had no plans to make a rash decision because he was drunk on potential or power.
He was quietly looking at the door that the White Star left through with a cold gaze. An elegant smile soon appeared on his face again.
“But I should at least use him.”
Alberu had long since stopped wishing for something like that.
* * *
How did things end up like this?
Cale’s back was full of sweat despite being a ghost.
“Haaaa. That bastard was suspicious as well, but it is exactly as he said.”
An Elf with white-gold hair. Ancient Dragon Eruhaben looked the same as he had looked the first time Cale met him as golden dust sparkled and swirled around him. He was channeling his cold rage toward Choi Han, Rosalyn, and Clopeh as he continued to speak.
And across from Eruhaben…
“Hmph. I am not young! Both you and I are Dragons!”
Choi Han, Rosalyn, and Clopeh. A black Dragon was in front of them with his short wings spread open and his chin up as he glared at Eruhaben.
Bang, bang! Baaaaang!
Black mana gathered around Raon and caused a lot of explosions. The black mana was faint compared to the gold mana, but it was almost just as explosive.
Rosalyn, who was weaker because this was two years ago, curled her body as she tried to breathe normally. The swirling of formidable amounts of mana was burdensome on a mage like Rosalyn.
Choi Han quickly supported Rosalyn. The corners of Eruhaben’s lips curled up as he watched. His gaze was quite cold.
“Foolish Dragon, free yourself from their brainwashing.”
Eruhaben looked at Raon with pity.
“Brainwashing? What kind of nonsense are you spewing, you old Dragon?”
“…You sure are a disrespectful little guy.”
Black mana and gold mana… The two manas swirled as if they would crash and try to overtake one another at any moment.
Cale’s back was full of sweat and he crouched down on the ground while that was going on.
‘This isn’t what I expected.’
As Raon and Eruhaben’s manas were about to crash into each other… Cale was right in the middle sitting down and curled into a ball.
It was at that moment.
Eruhaben’s expression stiffened up.
In the spot where the two manas were about to slam into each other… Although Eruhaben couldn’t see or smell anything or even feel any sort of body heat… He realized that there was something there warping space.
It was as if a person or a living being was curled up there.
‘What is this? What is this odd warp in space?’
It was extremely faint, but Eruhaben could recognize the warp in space because mana had been around him as if it was air for a very long time. Unlike how Rosalyn only realized it when she was activating the teleportation spell, he was able to notice it simply by expanding the domain of his mana.
‘Is it a person? A person shouldn’t be able to do this. If not, then what kind of existence is it? It is definitely not someone inferior to me.’
Eruhaben had organized his thoughts before he spoke in an extremely cold voice. His voice was also full of wariness.
“Who the hell is hiding like a damn rat?”
Cale was wondering how things had ended up like this as he let out a deep sigh.
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