Dragons that went extinct about 300 years ago…
Most people had only seen Dragons in pictures. They had heard the legend-like stories of the Dragons’ overbearing powers.
People had imagined… They had imagined how a real Dragon would be like.
Zero felt chills in his arms.
The power that had shot up around the entrance of the Imperial Palace a few days ago…
The person responsible for it was said to have created a white-bone dragon.
Zero looked up at the sky.
Although it was only bones, this almost ten meter long bone dragon gave off the feeling that it was a real dragon.
It was doing that despite not being real.
‘It is not hard to simply make a large skeleton monster.’
But how similar it was to a living creature…
The amount of control in it and the endless supply of power from the main body… A necromancer’s power made the bones seem as if they were alive.
That was why the necromancers were called the Sovereigns of the Dead.
They were the only ones capable of making the remains of the dead move once again.
That glorious power…
Zero turned his gaze to look at the person who created this large Bone Dragon.
Zero recalled her name in his mind as he asked.
“You- are strong?”
Zero then saw Heni Wishrop’s purple eyes turn to look at him.
She calmly spoke as if she was saying something completely obvious.
“I am strong.”
Her tone didn’t have any feeling of doubt or bluffing. Her tone was completely certain.
She was showing full belief in her own abilities.
Furthermore, her subordinates behind her were looking at her with indifferent gazes as if this was obvious.
‘This test truly is entertaining. And it will probably continue to be entertaining.’
However, he could not remain in his thoughts.
The black mud monsters started roaring after seeing the white bone dragon. It sounded as if something annoying had appeared.
“…Let’s quickly take care of them.”
The Second Imperial Princess must have snapped back from being dazed by the bone dragon as she spoke for the first time in a long while and pulled up her sleeves.
Cale could see a white whip that was wrapped around her arm. That whip was made of multiple equal-sized small bone pieces.
The whip was very thin. It meant that the bone pieces were very small. They were each only the size of a fingernail.
However, they were wrapped all over her arm. He could not see the end of it from just the part of her arm that was revealed.
The old priest had said the following.
‘Necromancers have many ways of fighting. Some use the orthodox methods but there are others who change it to meet their strengths.’
The Second Imperial Princess swung her arm the moment the black threads that came out of her hand touched the whip.
The endless thin whip gathered together with the black threads and floated up into the air.
The Second Imperial Princess looked toward Mary as she spoke.
“I will capture them, so please grab them and move them!”
She then addressed Zero.
“You corral the other monsters to one location so that they don’t scatter.”
“Hooooo. The Second Imperial Princess seems to know about my strength?”
The Second Imperial Princess simply ignored Zero as if he was saying something obvious.
Zero laughed out loud as he moved forward.
“I will do as the Imperial Princess asked. Only this time though, because I saw something precious as well.”
Zero pulled something out of his pocket.
‘The handle of a sword?’
Choi Han saw that the sword in Zero’s hand did not have a blade. He was just holding the handle.
“Alright, monsters! Don’t run around wildly and gather together!”
The black threads that came out of Zero’s hand crawled up the handle and created a blade.
The blade made of black threads turned into a blade as large as the large handle.
– He uses that kind of method.
Cale listened to Eruhaben’s assessment as he looked at Mary.
As the black mud monsters hesitated because of Zero’s blade that was filled with dead mana…
The Second Imperial Princess surrounded the mud monsters with her whip. The whip formed something resembling a fence.
‘She’s watching everything.’
Mary was watching Zero and the Second Imperial Princess fight the monsters. She seemed to be learning.
– Looks like Mary is learning something new again. This is what is so scary about that child. It is also the reason she is so strong.
As Eruhaben mentioned, Mary was getting stronger once again in this place. Cale could be completely certain while watching her.
‘Mary will grow even stronger during this test. I’m sure of it.’
The white bone dragon started to move.
The existence floating in the air leisurely descended and…
Snatched up some black mud monsters.
It had one monster in each claw.
It also had one between its sharp teeth.
“…What amazing strength.”
Even as Zero was swinging his sword, he could not help but gasp in admiration at the power of the bone dragon that allowed it to pick up three monsters that were close to three meters tall at once, no, the power of the necromancer controlling that bone dragon.
“…How is this-?!’
The Second Imperial Princess’s pupils were shaking, but she still watched without missing anything.
‘She shouldn’t know the proper method of developing her necromancer abilities because she is not a part of the Imperial family. How does she have such strength?’
Mary did not have the Iska Imperial family’s necromancer secret method.
However, in the Desert of Death that is one of the Forbidden Regions… As the only necromancer to carry on the legacy of the last necromancer who died there, Mary had learned a lot of things.
“Where should I move them?”
Mary calmly asked the Second Imperial Princess.
The Second Imperial Princess looked with disbelief at Mary, who was asking so calmly despite using such strength, and responded.
“…There is a forest on the east side of the Imperial Palace. Nobody should be there so we can move them there for now. As for the rest-”
It was at that moment.
Mary turned around.
The ancient Dragon and Choi Han were already looking there.
Cale also turned around after hearing the cheapskate’s voice.
The Second Imperial Princess stopped talking as well.
“There is no need, your Royal Highness. I will take care of it.”
The House of Huayans. The Black Bloods were the family that had been the Emperor’s instructor for generations and held the title of Duke.
Cale looked at the patriarch who was coming over with the black mages and Knights Brigade.
‘Half of the Knights Brigade is filled with Dark Elves.’
He had been confused because he had not seen Dark Elves or other darkness attribute races despite hearing about how they held a lot of authority in this world.
But about half of the Knights Brigade consisted of Dark Elves.
‘I’m sure Vampires and other races are around the Imperial Palace as well.’
As for the people wearing mage robes…
‘They must be black mages.’
The patriarch gently smiled at the Second Imperial Princess before raising his head to look at Mary’s bone dragon.
His gaze turned toward Mary.
Cale’s eyebrows slightly twitched under the mask.
‘He already knows her name.’
The patriarch was already aware of Mary’s name.
“Could you please throw those monsters into the air?”
“I can, sir.”
“That sounds great. Please throw them as high as possible.”
The patriarch asked in a relaxed and gentle tone.
The leaders of the Knights Brigade and Black Magic Battalion moved next to Zero and the Second Imperial Princess to take over their roles.
Mary looked at the patriarch for a moment before waving her hand in the air.
The bone dragon flapped its wings, and…
The dragon cut through the air and flew up.
Once it flew up a bit…
It threw the three monsters into the air.
“That was wonderful.”
The patriarch responded calmly before taking a step forward.
He then gently stomped his foot.
The ground shook.
Cale saw Eruhaben’s gaze sink down.
– …It’s coming.
The cheapskate mumbled as if he sensed something too.
Cale felt it as well.
That was the only thing he could think to express this feeling.
From the ground and the sky…
Something was coming from all directions.
– It’s dead mana.
Cale could see a white light gathering with the patriarch at the center as Eruhaben said that.
‘That is white magic-!’
This was black magic because it used dead mana, but it was called white magic because it had a holy white light.
It was the power mentioned by the youngest young lady of the Duke’s House of Orsena.
The gathered power turned into arrows and shot up into the air.
They moved past the white-bone dragon and struck the black mud monsters.
There was no explosion.
Choi Han groaned.
The monsters disappeared as if they had turned to dust the moment the arrows touched them.
They died immediately without even being able to self-destruct. It happened without any noise.
Even though they were simply struck by arrows…
– Dead mana is a power with death in it. Those monsters disappeared in the presence of overwhelming death.
Eruhaben’s voice was calm but cold as he spoke into Cale’s mind.
– He’s strong.
Eruhaben assessed the patriarch’s abilities before looking at Cale.
The corners of Cale’s lips were oddly twitching.
The cheapskate grumbled in his mind.
– Either way, it is a power that uses dead mana as its foundation. Let’s burn it up.
Rather than being suppressed by the enemy’s strength, the cheapskate seemed quite filled with a desire to fight.
That meant that it was worth trying.
– For some reason, just using a small amount of power in this world releases a significant amount.
As the cheapskate mentioned, Cale had felt the same thing when he fixed the Wall of Purification.
– If you do it properly and use only the Fire of Destruction without using any other ancient powers…
The Super Rock, who had not said anything for a bit, finished the sentence.
– It’s worth trying.
‘Is that so?’
Cale knew very well that this was not the full extent of the patriarch’s power. However, he could at least fathom how strong this person was.
‘…Let’s learn some more first.’
About this world, the Black Bloods household… And the Imperial family.
“Our esteemed candidates may return now. I will take responsibility and take care of things here.”
The patriarch gently told them to leave and Cale’s group returned to Palace Nineteen without saying anything else.
The celebration was unable to continue now.
* * *
“Heni Wishrop. Gather all the information you can about that person.”
Zero’s subordinate made sure that nobody was in the room and approached him to stealthily whisper.
“Should I deliver the information outside as well?”
Zero nodded his head and looked at his subordinate with a cold gaze.
“And watch your mouth.”
Zero opened the window while watching his subordinate depart.
The celebration had fizzled out and the nineteen palaces all had their lights on.
“Hmph. I guess everybody will be busy.”
He closed the open window.
He had no reason to show himself to his competitors.
A few moments later…
– Human! There were a total of Eleven people who stealthily went out of the palaces! Palace Nine, Palace One, Palace Two……
Raon shared all of the information he gathered while flying up in the air to Cale.
As it got close to midnight…
A hawk cut through the darkness and entered Cale’s bedroom.
The black Hawk made eye contact with Cale and his red eyes squinted as he asked.
“Cale, don’t you want to hear about the Imperial Palace’s wall incident?”
Information from both outside and inside was being delivered to Cale’s hands.
Naturally, he was sharing that information with his friends.
“Cale-nim, what do you plan on doing?”
Cale looked down at the luxurious parchment in his hand after hearing Choi Han’s question.
‘Due to the unexpected incident, we must deliver the contents of the test this way.’
Palace Nineteen’s Chief of Staff’s voice echoed in his ear.
< First test: harmony. >
Courage, harmony, and determination. The first of the three tests was harmony.
< The task given for the harmony test will require teams to solve a problem. >
Mary handed a small note to Cale.
It was a note that was stealthily delivered to Palace Nineteen.
< Come under me. >
Cale looked at Mary as he asked.
“You said that the Fourth Imperial Prince’s attendant sent it?”
“Yes, young master-nim.”
“What do you want to do?”
“This person is funny.”
Cale nodded his head while looking at Mary’s reaction.
‘The Fourth Imperial Prince is not even an opponent for Mary.’
“Who else contacted you?”
Multiple places had stealthily contacted Palace Nineteen since the content of the test was delivered.
They had no choice.
< Each team will consist of three candidates and their helpers and everybody will be going to the western edge village of the Empire. >
It was not a name for a specific place.
The Pope had told Cale’s group about edge villages.
‘All of the lands in this world are being eroded by dead mana.’
‘The human territory that is the boundary is usually called an edge village.’
‘It is quite dangerous because of mutant monsters, animals, and dead mana, but it is also somewhere that humanity must defend.’
Eruhaben started to speak.
“It looks like it will be quite dangerous from the start.”
“So the candidates probably want to make teams with strong people.”
“That’s right. They need to survive through it after all.”
The cheapskate kept talking to Cale ever since he confirmed the information about the test.
– Let’s burn up all of the dead mana, hmm? We will purify it! Purification!
Cale just ignored him and started to think about the eighteen people that the church sent information about through Sui Khan. It was the information about the rest of the candidates other than Mary.
Tomorrow morning, the candidates would all head to the edge village.
* * *
The sun was up in the sky.
In the center of the Garden of the Stars… The Chief of Staff started to speak to the candidates in this beautiful garden.
“In the next hour… Please select your teams and submit your list.”
I wonder who Mary will team with.
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