People I Need To Protect (3)
The calm before the storm. A voice abruptly echoed out, “Captain!”
It was the young knight who was standing outside. The one who recognized Ian first, he came into the mansion in a hurry.
“The food ingredients that the cooks had requested have finally….”
The knight couldn’t continue his report.
He felt the tension between Oliver and Ian.
“Cook? Food ingredients? What is going on?”
Ian couldn’t understand the knight’s report.
All of sudden, did he just say cook and food ingredients?
“Uh…… The crown prince called the royal cooks. But the food ingredients in the mansion weren’t enough, and extra ingredients just arrived from the palace….”
The knight reported with nervous eyes.
After the report, Ian drew back his mana.
In addition, his murderous aura had stopped as well.
“S, so may I let them in?”
The crown prince ordered the ingredients by himself.
However, the knight asked permission from Ian.
The previous tension was still affecting him.
“…..Yes you may.”
After Ian stopped his aggressive attitude, Oliver took off his right hand from the sheath. Also, he unblocked the path.
“My apologies. I misunderstood the situation.”
Then, Ian passed Oliver.
Oliver looked at Ian’s back with silence.
Oliver could guess what kind of misunderstanding Ian had.
However, the murderous aura, aggressive attitude, those were not a 12 years old child’s.
‘Could I slice him down?’
During the time he confronted Ian,
That’s what Oliver only had thought.
If he would bet, which side would he choose?
The imperial sword master, Oliver’s sword?
Or the 4th class Arch Mage, Ian’s magic?
‘I would bet on magic.’
Oliver smiled with bitterness.
A grievous, cruel fact.
He couldn’t even defeat the young boy.
‘I must be stronger than now.’
To keep the promise with the current emperor.
The promise that he would protect the crown prince.
To protect the crown prince.
Oliver followed Ian to guard the crown prince.
“Is it true? Mrs. Page?”
Ian was heading to the dinner hall of the mansion.
From there, he could hear voices.
“Is he truly like this?”
“He always asked me to bake it for him…”
The first voice was the crown prince, followed by Vanessa.
The crown prince was sitting at the huge table alone.
In front of him, there was red bean pie.
It seemed he only had one bite.
“Huh! I can’t understand it. It tastes like baked mud, why does he like….. Maybe he used to live in hard circumstances?”
Severe criticism was coming out of the crown prince’s mouth.
He shook his head as he couldn’t understand Ian’s tastes.
“I tried it because of your sincerity, but…..”
Eventually, the crown prince dropped his fork and knife on the table.
Then, he shouted to the kitchen.
“How long will it take for the food to be ready?”
With his shout, a young royal cook ran out full of sweat. He was obviously embarrassed.
“Y, your majesty! The extra ingredients just had arrived. It won’t take long from now on. Please wait for a min……”
“W, we will serve your food very soon!”
The crown prince started to feel uncomfortable.
He closed his eyes and started to think.
Wouldn’t he lose his magnificence if he kept tolerating their actions?
If the cook was a noble or an Ivory Tower member, he would show him his wrath. However, he was just an ordinary cook. To become a successful king, the king must show mercy to his people, shouldn’t he? The crown prince recalled some quote from his memory. He couldn’t remember which book it was from though.
“Fine. But you should bring us the best quality meal. I want to impress my brother in oath, Ian, and his mother with the best kind of food that they haven’t ever experienced before. Do you understand?”
“I, I will serve the best of best!”
“Fine. I trust you. Go on.”
After turning the cook back, the crown prince looked at the red bean pie again.
What kind of people could live on with such pathetic food?
And Ian had grown while eating this pie?
His eyes were betraying his thoughts.
Ian, who was waiting, quickly entered the dinner hall.
If he waited any longer, the crown prince might have forbidden red bean pie in the country.
“Oh! Look who is here! Archmage of the Ivory Tower, Ian Page!”
The crown prince welcomed him warmly.
Ian was a bit embarrassed.
Ian felt sorry for him, that Ian was almost trying to kill him.
‘Well, it’s better than having a bad relationship with him.’
With optimistic thinking, Ian bowed his head.
“I heard you were waiting for me for long.”
“Yes. It was a bit long.”
“I apologize to you, highness.”
“No, you don’t need to feel sorry for that, but please don’t tell me you already had your dinner, did you? Then you may have to feel sorry for me….”
Furthermore, now he joked with Ian.
Did he become mad?
Maybe thanks to mother’s red bean pie?
Ian was confused.
“How about you sit down there? As well as Mrs. Page. Dinner will be ready soon. I guarantee you would be surprised! Wow I never knew there is such delicious food in the world! Like this. Ha ha!”
While saying that, the crown prince tapped the red bean pie dish.
It was a silent order to the maids.
A maid quickly took away the red bean pie.
And Ian was looking at it with sorrowful eyes.
He flew to the mansion to eat that pie.
Ian barely managed his mind to drive away the sadness.
While he wasn’t paying attention, Oliver was next to the crown prince.
“Your highness, did you bring a present for Ian?”
Oliver whispered to the crown prince.
Maybe there was a specific reason that he visited the mansion.
“Ahh! I almost forgot about it.”
As he now remembered, he clapped his hands.
After stretching his neck, he looked at Ian.
“Hmm! I came to visit your house for a simple reason. I heard the announcement that you became an archmage. So, I came here to celebrate it face to face. I forgot to send a message before coming here, but as you know, our relationship is special, isn’t it?”
“I thank yo….”
“Uhuh, it’s not the time for gratitude yet. I am the crown prince, I never celebrate someone without any presents, do I? You don’t know me yet.”
With his hand gesture, maids started to move. Soon, they brought the box that was sealed with silk, and its size and sound gave a hint to Ian that it is not just money or a treasure.
“Open it. It wasn’t easy to bring it here.”
Wasn’t easy? What could it be?
After unwrapping the silk, Ian looked at its content.
There was a small flask in the wooden box.
The inside of the flask was filled with a liquid.
Did he bring the royal special elixir?
If that’s so, Ian would accept it without any hesitation.
It was one of Ian’s targets.
“What is this, your majesty?”
Ian asked the crown prince like an innocent child.
“It is called elixir, have you heard about it?
“Yes, I know it.”
“Then, you would know what it does. It is a precious elixir that was inherited through royalty.”
As Ian expected.
“Especially, this one, even I’m only able to drink it once per year.”
Even the lowest level of royal mastery elixir would help Ian greatly. It was a secret key of the previous emperor’s long life. Without mana enhancement, there was nothing bad about it. Furthermore, did he just say even he could drink it only once per year? It must be a high level elixir.
“To increase your growth rate, I especially bring it for you. Not in the name of my father, but I’m giving it to you as my first present. So please drink it without hesitation.”
Yes, Ian wouldn’t hesitate anyway.
Soon, Ian opened the cap.
Red colored liquid tempted Ian with a dim smell.
From deep inside of his body, his instinct forced him to drink it.
“Come on, quick.”
With proud eyes, the crown prince pressed Ian to drink it.
Ian brought the lid to his lips.
Suddenly, he had stopped for a moment, then took his lips away.
A bad memory had come.
The moment he was poisoned by the emperor, Ragnar.
It wasn’t that much difference from that time.
Royalty, Royalty’s visiting, and liquid that was suggested from the emperor.
‘It shouldn’t be poisoned.’
Yes. Ian also knew his thoughts were paranoid. It was a totally different situation.
The crown prince wasn’t brave and cold enough to murder him in front of many people. In addition, normal poison wouldn’t be able to kill a mage. Furthermore, the poison that Ragnar brought 30 years later mustn’t exist yet.
‘Also, elixir is of good quality.’
The status of elixir calmed Ian down.
Elixirs were brewed through a very sensitive and careful process. If tiny unexpected materials are mixed in it, it lost its unique colors and scent. The color became dark and the smell became bad.
Ian slowly calmed down his mind.
The desire that he felt when he smelled its scent at first, and the bad memory of his former life.
After he erased both negative thoughts, his insightfulness returned.
‘It should be a great present for mother.’
The key of the previous emperors’ long life.
The royal mastery elixir was the fundamental factor of it.
Of course, Ian’s mana can be enhanced greatly, but he also couldn’t forget about his mother.
‘I can’t do it for now.’
The crown prince’s eyes were full of pride and expectation. Furthermore, the eyes of his mother. She didn’t know about elixir well, but she was happy that her son received a great present.
He chose to fulfill the crown prince’s expectation.
Ian drank it.
Elixirs had their own unique slimy taste.
It wasn’t tasty at all. It was bitter.
Other elixirs and medicine were no exception.
However, its effect on Ian’s body was definitely different to his former body.
His body was young enough to absorb most of its power.
*Beat! Beat! Beat!*
Mana heart, actually, his whole heart started beating greatly.
His blood circulated much faster than usual.
And through the blood, a giant amount of mana had flown.
His body started to become hot.
On the other hand, his mind was crystal clear.
Ian exhaled his warm breath.
The power of an elixir, and a body that takes its power, they did their own work at best.
With Ian’s appearance, Vanessa started to worry.
On the other hand the crown prince’s eyes were full of expectation.
That reaction, he knew it well since he had drank it before.
The elixir was working perfectly.
Ian’s body was getting stable.
Including his shaking heart, blood, mana and his burning temperature.
Ian spit out his last hot breath.
He could feel that his body was full of sweat.
“How is it? Can you feel any difference?”
The crown prince asked with an excited voice.
Did he just ask Ian if he can feel it?
His mana pool hadn’t increased. Each elixir had its own type and characteristics. However, Ian could feel one big difference. His ‘mana regeneration’ had increased greatly.
‘Similar to the Mogrian ring.’
The low level artifact that increased the mana heart’s activity.
The elixir fell into same category.
‘More accurately, around half the amount of the Mogrian ring.’
It was more than he had expected. Especially the fact that the characteristics of his body itself had changed made him satisfied. It was a good result from the collaboration between a good elixir and a young age.
“Y, you don’t like it?”
The crown prince started to feel nervous as Ian didn’t show any reaction.
Ian looked at the crown prince’s face.
‘I had thought of him as just a useless idiot.’
A tool that made a connection between Ian and the emperor.
After that, a useless man in the empire.
Ian used to consider the crown prince just like that.
Rascal, Idiot, Man of inferiority, Naughty.
Many nicknames and points of view for the crown prince, Hayden.
Ian also had agreed with that.
‘Well, those words are kind of true though.’
Though he wasn’t a case that ‘in fact, he was a kind and diligent prince’.
However, he was a better man than Ian thought.
‘I can see some kind of use in him.’
But of course, ‘just a little bit better’ than Ian had thought.
The crown prince’s laughter was spread to the streets.
The supper at Ian’s mansion had finished well.
Ian’s reaction to the crown prince’s first present was good, and the meal was outstanding.
In addition, they had talked a lot and left with peace.
“Very good. I feel very good!”
The crown prince was going back to the palace through the night street
The crown prince looked especially happy.
As usual, he didn’t miss to drink wines, and the crown prince drank most of them. Ian was too young, and Vanessa didn’t drink. That was the reason he became hyped.
The captain Oliver, who was standing next to the crown prince silently, opened his mouth.
“Are you okay with it?”
“It’s only allowed to royalty. If our emperor highness hears that you gave it as present….”
Royalty mastery elixir. Its recipe and brew process was strictly forbidden to expose. Especially the elixir he gave to Ian was only allowed to the emperor and the crown prince. The crown prince just broke the law that was kept for hundreds years.
“Ahh, that’s no problem at all. It was my father who told me to draw Ian to my side by any means necessary. I just followed my father’s advice, that’s all I did.”
There must be a limitation for ‘necessary.’ However, the crown prince was literally using any kind of methods he knew.
“Or are you displeased, because I didn’t give it to you first…..”
With teasing eye, the crown prince looked at Oliver.
“Not at all.”
“You should have told me if that is so.”
“HaHa! I’m just joking. Come on. I have my rights to joke, don’t I?”
He had drunk a lot. Even Oliver who had served him for 12 years, only rarely experienced the crown prince’s jokes. He used to joke once, only while he was very young. At some point, he stopped making jokes.
“I feel sorry for you, but I should draw him to my side. You and your knight order can’t smash those arrogant Ivory Tower bastard’s noses, can you?”
The crown prince wasn’t looking down on the knight orders.
It was just reality.
“However, that boy may be able to do it, might he not? He became an Archmage as soon as he entered the ivory tower.”
Oliver couldn’t deny it.
The boy was a mage who never existed in history with such talent. If he managed to overcome the diversions from his surroundings, he would become the greatest mage of the Ivory Tower in history with ease.
“We will see. The day he gives the Ivory Tower to me! I will wipe all the mages who made me feel uncomfortable out! Especially the tower lord who kept following Ragnar, bastard! You tell me if any of them made you feel bad!”
However, Oliver couldn’t agree with the crown prince’s plan.
Oliver strongly doubted the possibility.
Remembering what he showed in the mansion.
He was targeting the crown prince.
Although he had misunderstood, he was a dangerous man.
Would it be possible to make such a monster stand on his side?
While the crown prince was about to speak more,
The gate of the royal palace was visible.
In addition, there were more than just gates over there.
A boy and his followers were coming out from the royal palace.
The crown prince’s face instantly turned ugly.
The 5th prince, Ragnar, and the 5th royal prince guards.
The people who he hated most.
Ragnar never called him as ‘highness’. Just like other common non-noble children, he called him as ‘brother’. It was tolerable if they were very friendly, however the crown prince had no good relationship with any of the other princes, rather they were enemies. Ragnar insulted him with his intention.
“It is quite late, where have you been?”
“Then what about you, where are you sneaking off to?”
“Same as usual. Check how other people’s lives are. In addition, breathing some fresh air. I will come back soon, so you don’t need to worry about me.”
“Humph! I don’t care about you.”
Ragnar replied to the crown prince with a smiling face.
The crown prince wanted to punch his face.
“Well then, see you later, brother.”
With a single meeting with the prince, the crown prince felt uncomfortable. While caught in a fury, he rushed into the royal palace. The second royal knight followed him with haste.
“Your Highness prince.”
Only one man, the captain Oliver was left alone and spoke to Ragnar.
“He is his Highness the crown prince. By law of royal manners, please call him with the proper title.”
He requested with manners, but it was criticism. One of the fifth royal knights came and tried to manage the situation.
“Hey, Oliver. They are brothers, please try not to ruin their friendly relationship.”
The captain of the guard, royal knight, ‘Caleo.’
He used to train together with Oliver.
“I understand. The best swordsman is serving the idiot…. Khmm! I mean, the crown prince, so you may have many problems to deal with. I understand, but.”
As he misspoke, Caleo called the crown prince as ‘idiot’. And the other guards were laughing silently. Their reaction was natural.
“How dare you say something like that to his Highness the prince….”
“Those who insult nobles will be executed in instant, but.”
It happened within the blink of an eye.
None of the men recognized what just happened.
They just knew that Oliver drew his sword, and his speed was uncatchable.
And they didn’t recognize it for a moment.
“For insulting royalty.”
*Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash!*
“Will be cut into 5 pieces from arms and legs to head.”
Oliver’s voice was serious and brought terror.
And his intention was soon relayed to the others.
*drop drop… drop.*
The first thing that had fallen was the beard. Caleo had grown it to follow the recent trend, but now it had been cut and dropped. Furthermore, his leather mail started to fall from arms and legs continuously. If Oliver slashed a little bit deeper, Caleo’s arms and legs would’ve been cut into pieces.
In reality, only his beard and armor had been cut.
However, in Caleo’s mind, he had already lost his body parts.
He was caught in an illusion that he had been cut into pieces.
Caleo bumped his butt on the ground while shaking his body.
Actually, Oliver’s sword touched Caleo’s skin.
Although he didn’t bleed, Oliver actually touched it with his sword.
“Please remember, sir Caleo.”
After sheathing his sword, Oliver looked at Ragnar.
Then, he bowed his head with proper manners.
As if nothing had happened.
“Then, have a safe travel.”