Sometimes, the stick is better than the carrot (1)
(Tell me the truth. It’s an expensive one, isn’t it?)
Vanessa spoke through the communication orb.
While hiding his nervousness, he replied naturally.
“No way, mom. If you can’t believe me, check the gold coins that the emperor highness had given to me. Except for the few coins we have used, there would be no difference at all.”
Of course there wasn’t.
Ian bought the orb with jewels.
(Really? Hmm it is really surprising though. Other communicative orbs I have seen in this mansion and the province castle, they only allowed me to communicate within a close area. But this… how?)
It was quite a natural reaction.
Ian was heading to the ivory tower at the moment.
Even if he was quite far from her, the communication was working.
According to her experience, it was impossible.
“I did some tricks on it.”
(C, can you even do such things?)
“You don’t say. I’m a mage.”
“Mages are always the best.”
Hmm, didn’t Ian say something similar before?
Whatever, Ian changed the topic.
“Anyway, please always keep it safe.”
(But this size…. is a bit too big, my dear.)
“I will try to fix it to reduce its size soon.”
(It’s too big, isn’t it?)
“Well, I’ll try to find a way.”
Yet, Ian couldn’t decide the shape of the orb for his mother. The appearance wouldn’t be the problem. There were not that many visual differences between Ian’s orb and other ordinary orbs. So he just needed to consider its portable factor.
‘But I can’t think of any decent ideas for it.’
And that was the problem. He couldn’t think of any.
A ‘portable design’ of the orb.
He should visit the workshop later to get some advice.
“And wherever you go, please go with guard soldiers. Not just you alone, nor just with maids. Please. And this is the order of the crown prince, not just my advice, you know right?”
The crown prince was more useful than Ian had thought. At first, he complimented Vanessa’s beauty for hours. Ian had worried for a while that he might be interested in her, but he wasn’t. Instead, he sent a few guards for Vanessa’s body guards.
‘Whenever I see Mrs. Page, she reminds me of my passed away mother. She was very beautiful. As you can see from my face. Haha! But, hmm, you…. may look more like your father.’
Still, the crown prince’s word remained in Ian’s heart.
Ian used to worry about it when he was young in his former life.
Why didn’t I inherit my mother’s beauty?
The crown prince’s words reminded him about it.
‘Ah, but there’s nothing wrong or bad about it. You may grown up as a cool guy, later. Hahaha!’
With his continuous jokes, even his mother had laughed.
Even Ian had lived much longer than ordinary people. But since the crown prince had given his bodyguards to his mother, Ian forcefully calmed himself. Royal bodyguards weren’t just well physically trained soldiers, but trained well mentally. They were much more trustworthy compared to mercenaries.
(Ok ok, you little mage. Why did he become so chatty after he became a mage? Where did those characteristics come from? The crown prince said he may be similar to his father. Was my husband chatty though?)
Vanessa’s voice had stopped.
It seemed she left her room without the communication orb.
Ian disconnected the orb’s mana.
While he was sighing, his lips were smiling.
Compared to when she was a kitchen maid, she had changed dramatically. Now she wasn’t depressed, but confident. She looked more comfortable and brighter.
‘Circumstances and environment are important for a human, indeed.’
No one now ordered her around and looked down her.
Her only son became a powerful man one day.
Ledio, who is usually bright and funny whenever he felt comfortable.
Douglas, who acted like a child, unlike Ian and many other facts might have affected her.
‘By the way.’
Ian swung his staff with the orb hanging on it. Unlike his mother’s orb, his orb was already fixed into staff form. There were absolutely no people in the empire who would hold doubts about a mage who brought his staff.
‘Private lesson of the Ivory Tower, huh?’
Today was the entrance day of the magic academy.
Of course Ian wouldn’t go to the academy. He would be sent straight to the Ivory Tower and receive private lessons from Archmages. Well, they called them ‘private lessons’, but they would try to convince him to stand with the Ivory Tower.
While Ian walked far, he could see the academy.
He refused to use a carriage today.
He wanted to see the academy slowly.
‘In my former life, I was there as well.’
From a distance, Ian could see the outer meeting area of the academy.
There were kids who called to the mages, from every side of the empire.
Actually, there were only six kids from every side of the empire.
‘My academy class mates.’
They were Ian’s classmates.
Although not this time, but in his former life.
‘Haldis, Kaldaram, Jayjay, Roana.’
Especially those four were Ian’s best friends.
They all got killed during the first war, though.
‘This time, please live long.’
He decided to say hello to them soon. Although it won’t be easy to became a close friend like in his former life, but he would try his best. It made him feel happy.
“S, sir Ian Page?”
From the Ivory Tower, a man with a robe ran into him.
It was the mage who guided Ian in a rude manner when Ian page visited the Ivory Tower for the first time.
“We meet again.”
“H, haha. H, hello.”
While recalling his misbehavior a few days before, he made an awkward smile.
With his awkward gentle manner, he continued his words.
“I, I am Parvon Parker, who is ordered to serve you as a support mage for this year. Pleased to meet you, sir!”
A support mage. They were ‘errand boy of the Ivory Tower’ for archmages. They selected from newbie official mages by volunteering or by compulsory service, and they were changed for every year.
“I had received the report. Thank you for your help.”
“T, this way! I will guide you, sir.”
Parvon volunteered to serve Ian as a support mage.
The reason was simple. By any means necessary, he needed to turn Ian’s bad first impression of him.
‘This is about my future mage life!’
Until he met Ian, his life was easy and straightforward. He was born as the second son of a powerful house, and his magical talent was confirmed. He achieved 2nd class when he about to graduate the academy, and conducting another region had ended in just one year, with great luck.
‘I need to fix this. I MUST!’
If more than two potential mages were found in the conducted region, a privilege was given to the conducting mage, to finish his conducting mission earlier than usual. To motivate other conducting mages to do their best for mana testing on children. It only happened once per 50 years, though.
‘Come on, I can’t ruin my perfect career!’
However, that special event had happened in the ‘Soyten Province.’ Three potential mages were found. And it was the place where Parvon had conducted, so by the tradition of the Ivory Tower, he had received an official mage title.
“Uhm, Sir Ian.”
“Yes, Mr. Parker?”
“Y, you don’t need to call me like that, sir! Just call me Parvon.”
“I prefer this way.”
It used to be a perfect life.
A life that had been stable.
But that life had been ruined by slipping up just once.
He left a bad impression on an Archmage.
“P, please forgive my misbehavior…..”
He had to change his fate.
His twisted life needed to be fixed.
Even if it would be at the cost of being Ian’s dog, ‘Parvon Parker’ was ready for that.
“I sincerely apologize for……”
“Ah, that one? I’m okay with it.”
“A, are you?”
Parvon’s face turned bright quickly.
On his face, Ian warned him lightly.
“You can do better from now on.”
“O, of course sir! I’ll serve you with my best!”
Those two had entered to the ground floor of the ivory tower.
As before, Ian stepped onto the golden disk, the disk for Archmages.
Suddenly all mages looked at Ian.
Their eyes were full of confusion.
“Please take this. It will lead you to the 19th floor, the sanctuary of Archmages.”
After that, Parvon quickly stepped onto the public elevator of the Ivory Tower. It was violet instead of gold.
Soon, the golden elevator started to raise.
Simultaneously, other mages now recognized the little boy’s identity.
Their eyes were now full of respect, jealousy and envy of Ian.
A natural reaction from the young mages.
‘They are still young.’
Soon, the golden elevator had stopped at the 19th floor.
Parvon had also arrived through the violet elevator.
“Sir, your private research room is this way.”
At the sanctuary of the Archmages, there existed 24 private research rooms. When the Ivory Tower just moved its location, there were 24 Archmages who had achieved 4th class. Thanks to that, there were many spare rooms now.
“I’ll quickly bring your private Archmage. The first lecturer would be….”
While he was saying that, Parvon handed Ian a key.
And Ian was caught by surprise.
‘This is the same room as in my former life.’
He received the same room as in his former life.
Well of course, he was the 12th Archmage like he was now anyway.
The only difference was his age, but it was an expected process, anyway.
Actually, there was nothing special about this situation.
‘But still, it makes me reminisce.’
The more familiar the room was the better.
Ian delightedly opened his room’s door.
A sharp female voice.
Parvon didn’t need to bring today’s lecturer.
The first lecturer for Ian had already arrived.
“Long time no see, you arrogant brat.”
She revealed her emotions transparently.
It was Archmage Helene.
“Who are you?”
Ian was now officially an Archmage.
He had no reason to be patient. Although she was a senior, they were still on the same level, and she had to keep the mutual manner between Archmages. In addition,
‘The reason they sent her.’
She had no interest in teaching, nor did she have talent in it.
However, they sent her as the first lecturer.
The reason was simple. They wanted to overwhelm Ian at the very first lecture. By using her rough and violent temper, they wanted to put pressure on Ian.
‘Humph, old farts.’
Ian didn’t want to be played around on their plan. Since Ian possessed a ‘power’ after destroying the mana container, he had only one choice.
‘Making a new stand in the Ivory Tower.’
Creating many followers under the name Ian Page.
Making new trends for the group of young mages.
Furthermore, controlling a half of the Ivory Tower.
‘Within 6 years.’
It was the time left for Ian, before Ragnar started to make his move with the support of the tower lord. Ian wanted to make a new power line, that would interrupt every single plan of Ragnar’s and the tower lord, Habert’s.
‘At that point, I might be able to overcome the tower lord’s level.’
There must be a moment he managed to rule the Ivory Tower, when he reached the same level as the tower lord, or maybe, even higher.
“Ah, now I remember. You are the one who was picking up the storage’s shards, weren’t you?”
And Helene was Ian’s first step in conquering the Ivory Tower.
Ian replied with an innocent child’s voice.
Of course, its content was not innocent.
It was insulting.
“……. You are not just arrogant brat, I recon.”
Helene jumped down from the table where she had sat, and stretched her body.
She was quite tall considering her gender.
Her tight red robe was revealing her glamourous body.
“Ha, fine! I bet you briefly know about this already. History, theory, manners and others that you’re supposed to be taught by the academy, we will teach it to you instead. Imagine a freak like you going to the academy. Children over there would be scared, and lose motivation, wouldn’t they?”
With her single gesture, books on the shelves were flying and stopped in front of her. The history of the Ivory Tower, fundamental theory of magic etcetera. They were all basic textbooks of the academy.
Helene quickly picked one of those, opened it, and turned its pages.
“What is the use of these things?”
Then, she smashed it to the ground.
“Also, it’s not my profession. I bet other elders will teach you well. Such as Dekard, who has been teaching for more than ten years. And maybe even the tower lord will teach you, if he has some time.”
Soon, the rest of the books had fallen to the ground.
She wanted to do whatever she wanted.
“You defeated that chick, Cecelia. Didn’t you?”
Helene put her head close to Ian’s face.
She made a same level of eye contact, by binding her body.
“That bitch had some sense. Ah, I mean for magical combat. How about I give you some lessons? There are many kinds of mages in the world. A mage who’s good at fighting, good at supporting other mages, or mages who stay in their labs and spend their lives there forever….. And the rest are garbage.”
In fact the ‘garbage’ that she mentioned was referring to most of the Ivory Tower. Many mages who serve to develop human’s life. And she hadn’t changed a bit, compared to his former life.
“And what do you think about me?”
“I guess you are the first case.”
“Correct! In magical fighting, there would be no others who are able to defeat me.”
Helene said full of pride.
Ian was admitting that fact.
There were not that many combat agents who weres as good as Helene.
“I expected a lot from her, Cecelia. If she grew well, she could maybe touch my feet. And I may have been able to do some warm ups with her. But she turned out to be a spy. How sad.”
She never cared for the empire, nor policy.
She looked disappointed.
“She should’ve covered herself better, stupid bitch.”
Helene shook her head.
Then, she looked at Ian.
“But then, you got her.”
Her eyes were full of interest.
Not with eyes of fear while she was picking up the broken mana storage.
“Honestly, I was surprised at first, but now, I just care about one thing. I got a new opponent. All others were being pussies, declining my challenge. By giving me bad excuses, such as ‘to preserve the dignity of Archmages’, blah blah blah. Well I understand though. The reason was the same. They didn’t want to be humiliated.”
To young mages, a duel of Archmages was a spectacular event. Especially Helene always preferred public open duels, so there was always a big audience, and it was very hard to defeat her in a magical duel. They chose to avoid her challenge, rather than being humiliated.
“But you know what? You can’t refuse it. Even if you are one of the Archmages. Why? Because I came here to teach you. I am your teacher. As a teacher, it is natural to teach my student with my style, isn’t it?”
The thing that Helene prided herself with.
It was magical duels.
“Come quickly, you don’t have a choice anyway.”
With her word, Helene left the room.
And she talked to the Parvon who was waiting outside of the room.
“Bring other kids to the arena.”
“Are you deaf?”
“A, arena…. Ah! Yes Ma‘am!”
She told Ian she’d ‘teach’ him, but she was gathering an audience.
She always wanted to receive attention and respect from other youngsters.
She hadn’t changed a bit.
“Are you his supporter? Well, I wish you and him good luck.”
Helene headed to the rooftop of the Ivory Tower.
Ian had followed her silently.
The rooftop wasn’t connected by the elevator. It could only be reached by stairs. And Helene delightfully stepped up the stairs, while showing a bewitching figure with her pelvis.
“Do your best, risk yourself. So that I may teach you happily.”
The highest area of the capital Greenriverdium.
The very top of the Ivory Tower, opened to every side. From the floor to the air, the white area was protected by shield magic. It was the only place where mages can cast their spells without any care. So it was unofficially called, ‘arena’.
“What about this area, do you like it?”
Helene was full of confidence.
She didn’t care whether he was talented as the mage of beginning, nor if he was a 4th class mage, but she only made sure that she had superior combat experience and sense of it.
“It is wide.”
“Yeah, isn’t it?”
However did Helene know it?
That it wasn’t first time Ian was visiting.
That he came here more than ten times for duels.
That he had never been defeated.
That Helene was the challenger most of the time.
‘Helene was my opponent.’
He claimed his victory from the red robed lady, Helene, more than ten times.
‘Nothing different to my former life, I recognize.’
His age was the only difference.
The youngest 12th Archmage.
The same research room.
And Helene who wanted to test Ian’s power.
‘She didn’t let me have a rest.’
In his former life, Helene was stubborn.
With various excuses, she re-challenged him.
Even if she lost again and again and again.
The key to break that meaningless cycle.
Ian knew the answer.
‘A shameful defeat.’
In his former life, that’s what Ian did. He overwhelmed her, which even made her shut her mouth about the result.
‘And this time,’
Fortunately, young mages started to gather.
The bigger the audience, the bigger the humiliation of losing would be.
Helene also knew it. That’s what she was aiming for.
The council of Archmages asked her to overwhelm Ian, and she also used to enjoy humiliating her opponent anyway.
‘I’ll stomp her at the very first duel.’