Chapter 1. Prologue
[tn— Thank you so much to Debwu for the donation! ⅛, Enjoy!]
At dawn when everything was asleep, the sleeping cat curled up in the bed, opened its eyes.
Only the bright yellow eyes shone in the dark room.
The cat jumped down the bed in a very stealthy motion without making a sound.
At that moment, the cat disappeared as if it was sucked into the shadow, and soon *something black rose out of it and it was a human figure.
[tn— *from the shadows, after coming out a human figure was revealed]
Quite different from the people of the Empire, he was a boy with brown skin, dark black hair as if someone moved darkness itself to his head, and beautiful golden eyes under the beautiful features with distinct lines.
The pupils in the boy’s cat-like raised eyes were so insensitive that it would give one goosebumps at first sight.
Like earlier, he silently walked to the bedside and looked at Rosiane sleeping.
‘A strange person.’
What kind of amazing coincidence is this? No, should I call it bad luck?
When I saw her in the carriage incident, I expected that she had an important status, but I didn’t expect her to be the princess.
As the boy slightly tilted his head, his smooth black hair rustled with a soft sound.
He bent down a little, and his outstretched hand touched the nape of Rosiane’s neck. It was a white, thin neck that looked fragile as if it could break even with a little force.
The sound of a beating pulse was transmitted to the tip of the finger touching the nape of the neck.
If I give it strength as it is, she’ll probably just die like that. The boy leaned a little lower.
It was only when the red ribbon tied around his neck was about to reach Rosiane’s face that the boy stood upright.
Although he has a bad relationship with the Imperial Family of Esteria, he has no intention of killing an innocent life. However, he also had no intention of staying here.
Right now, it’s just a small brief whim.
He permeated into the shadow and disappeared like that. Only the bleak silence lingered in the room as if it had been Rosiane sleeping alone from the beginning.
* * *
“Today, I will tell you about the distant past, the ‘Era of Magic’.”
Continental history class is very interesting, so it’s one of my favorite times. I’m looking forward to today’s topic as well.
“Currently, the oldest country on the continent is the Chehetten Mado Empire, which was established 3210 years ago.”
Compared to the 736-year-old Estherian Empire, it is more than four times older.
“Before that, there was an ‘Era of Magic’ , records were lost and little information about it remains. The country was not divided as it is now, and the entire continent was unified. This period came to be called the ‘Era of Magic’ in modern times.”
“Why was it called the Era of Magic? Did Magicians make up the majority of that time?”
“That’s right. At that time, the quality and quantity of mana floating in the air was different from now.”
The teacher added a light explanation, saying that it was an era when even babies could easily handle mana. It’s quite different from now where magicians are rare.
“However, after the Mana Explosion, everything returned to nothing, and all those who possessed the mana of the Age of Magic within their bodies lost their lives.”
I raised my head, which was bowed down to take notes on the paper, and looked at the teacher.
“If so, then how did humans come to exist again?”
“It’s because even in those times, there were rare people who couldn’t use mana. Those who survived gave birth to offspring and they prospered as they are now.”
Hmm. I tapped on the table with the tip of the pen and asked.
“After that, the country established by Chehetten, who became an archmage after feeling the change in the flow of mana, is the current Mado Empire, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. Also, the most developed area during the Era of Magic was the place where Chehetten established the current Mado Empire.”
The teacher smiled contentedly, seeing me asking questions enthusiastically.
“Ah, but what about the Mana explosion, Why did it happen?”
I nearly left out the most important question.
“First of all, you know that wizards store and use mana in the air with their bodies, right? That is what we call magic. The Mana explosion literally means that Mana expanded and exploded.”
It’s a terrible thing. It means that those who used that mana as a driving force to use magic with magic power also exploded due to the expansion.
“The exact cause is unknown, but there are countless hypotheses about the cause of the mana explosion. The most likely thing is the conflict or malfunction between the ancient magic weapon.”
“It is a huge weapon that can blow up the entire continent. The quality of mana required to operate the Magic weapon has changed since the Mana Explosion, so it cannot be used now, but it would have been possible then. It would be impossible for such a big explosion to happen unless it was a magic weapon.”
It was like that too. It is also unusual that everything was wiped out, leaving only humans without magical powers. Perhaps it was a deliberate explosion?
Today’s class ended with the talk about the Magic weapon.
By the way, I wonder when I will be able to feel mana. Today, I will try to work hard with meditation as Timofey taught.
When I returned to the room at a quick pace, the cat was still nowhere to be seen.
Where have you been since morning? He’s a cat who likes to wander around a lot, but it’s still a bit disappointing.
Leav’s voice was heard through the open door.
“The cat is not here today too…….”
“He’s probably sleeping somewhere. He’s been gone since this morning.”
At his somewhat sullen look, I approached him.
“Leav, do you like cats?”
In an instant, the tips of his ears turned red. I didn’t mean to tease him, but it was an embarrassed reaction.
“Ahem, more than that sister, I have something to tell you.”
“Yes, what is it?”
I guided him to the sofa as if I wasn’t aware that he was changing the subject quickly.
“Brother and His Majesty are coming back.”
At his unexpected words, my hand which was holding a teacup stopped abruptly and I looked up at him.
“Yes. They finished their business safely.”
The happy news automatically made me smile. Rather than that time I had waited with my whole life, the period of a little over a month without them was so lonely.
They said that the emptiness is enormous if what used to be there is gone, but I was only able to realize the meaning of those words this time.
“By the way, where did Nanuk and Dad go?”
No matter how much I asked, everyone didn’t answer, so I gave up on finding out, but now that they’re coming back I thought it would be okay, so I asked.
At my words, Leav slightly hardened his expression, then spoke naturally with his usual calm expression.
“It is said that they went to inspect the South for the education of brother, who will become the next emperor.”
“Is it hotter in the south?”
“I have heard that it’s hotter than the capital. Instead, it is cool where the humidity is low and the sunlight is not shining.”
Um, Dad’s letter said that it was unpleasant because it was more humid than the Empire though?
“Are the inspections abroad?”
As expected, perhaps it was a ridiculous question, Leav tilted his head.
“It’s usually around the country.”
The two are saying different things. When I squinted my eyes and suspiciously looked at him, Leav began to break out in cold sweat.
Leav looked away at my serious expression. His gaze was restless and moved from place to place.
“Where did they really go?”
“I’m about to be disappointed. Everyone knows but I’m the only one who doesn’t know…….. I think I’m being left out, that’s not it right?
As I fidgeted with the handle of the teacup, lowering my eyes, and pretending to be sad, Leav became restless and repeatedly sat down on the sofa then got up.
He opened his mouth only after he repeatedly unfolded and clenched his fingers more than five times.
“……. They went to the Principality of Karkun.”
I stopped my act and looked at Leav with wide eyes.
“We declared war on them for the sin of sending an assassin and trying to poison you.”
“Don’t tell me, is it related to the commotion of the founding festival?”
Seeing Leav nod his head, I slightly grabbed my hair and pulled it.
Why didn’t I expect it? I lamented over my foolishness, then Leav sneaked up next to me and sat down.
“Those basta— excuse me. Those bad guys have been safely taken care of by His Majesty and brother so you don’t have to worry.”
“That’s true, but……”
At my fading voice, Leav held my hand tightly.
“I’ll make sure there’s no danger in the future so, just trust me, sister.”
Unlike my chaotic inner thoughts, I smiled lightly at Leav’s sparkling eyes.
In the next five years, there will be a war with Roshahai, I’m worried that they’ve already unnecessarily lost power because of me.
It’s because no matter how talented Esteria is, it will inevitably be shaken if a war happens several times.
* * *
After the refreshments with Leav, I meditated and came down to the underground warehouse where I found the family of mice.
In the end, the cat did not return, but today was Lora’s day off, so I had no choice but to move alone.
The dark interior was full of floating dust, and the unpleasant smell pierced the tip of my nose that it was uncomfortable.
[tn— this is not yet the warehouse it’s like an underground interior with a door inside which leads to the warehouse]
I walked quietly with a small lamp and entered deeper inside where I saw the mouse last time.
It was not until I reached the end of the path that I arrived in front of a huge wooden door that was smoothly sanded. Oddly enough, the door to the warehouse was very slightly open.
Did I leave it open when I came out last time? I don’t remember it well.
I tried to slightly push the door a little more without any noise. It hadn’t even been greased, but it opened smoothly without the sound of the hinge creaking.
I felt it from the first time I saw it, but the structure of the warehouse was a little unique.
First of all, as soon as you enter, a huge bookcase like a partition is placed in front of you, connected to the wall on the right, making it impossible to see the interior at a glance.
As a result, it was possible to check the interior only by walking to the left after passing through the bookshelf.
Just as I was about to go around the corner and look inside, I heard a rat cry. The moment I slightly lowered my head, my gaze was precisely entangled with the yellow eyes of the boy who was squatting and holding a mouse in his hand.
The lamp that slid from my hand hit the floor, shattering and making an explosive sound.
In an instant, the inside of the warehouse was engulfed in darkness, and only the bright yellow eyes could be seen.
The jewel-like bright eyes stared at me only.
I also looked at him quietly, receiving the boy’s gaze as it was without avoiding his eyes.