I am the Monarch – Chapter 328: The Great Warring Period (9)
Standing on a terrace looking down at the garden beneath, Ian Phillips heaved out a deep sigh. This was his first time feeling this frustrated.
‘Now isn’t the time for this…’
Currently, there were battles being held everywhere around the border. Fortunately, thanks to the commanders of each Provincial Army, the Special Corps Commanders and numerous exceptional knights and Taemusas, the war was at a stalemate.
It was a situation which allowed one to smile in relief, but there was a separate issue that was worrying Ian.
‘I can’t understand what in the world the pattern is…’
From within his clothes, he took out a small paper the size of four palms and spread it open. On the paper, the map of the entire Amaranth Kingdom, as well as the area near the borders, were drawn in detail. However, unlike other maps, there were no symbols representing towns, villages or roads, and instead, there were black mysterious dots here and there.
At a first glance, the dots appeared to have been drawn casually but after a closer inspection, it was clear that they had strange patterns.
‘A map indicating the large-scale suicides that happened throughout the kingdom as well as in the surrounding regions…’
The black dots represented the areas where suicide incidents occurred. Turning the paper left and right, Ian attempted to understand the meaning behind the black dots and the patterns but after a short while, he shook his head with a short sigh.
It had already been a few days without him finding the answer and it was impossible for the truth to just appear out of the blue.
‘Even the professors of the academy under the Education Department can’t find the answer to it.’
Ian did not try to solve the problem by himself. Let alone those directly under the Grand Strategist, he had also given out the same map to those belonging in several departments under the Administration and requested, instead of ordering, them to find out its meaning.
And yet even after around ten days since he distributed the maps, there wasn’t anyone coming up to him.
In frustration, another deep sigh escaped. It was then.
“Sir Grand Strategist!”
One of his deputies urgently walked up and lowered his head. He seemed slightly excited, proved by his expression and tone.
“What is happening?”
When Ian asked with a careful expression, the deputy faintly raised his head up and gave a quick reply.
“Finally, a person that can solve the problem has appeared.”
Ian let out a small gasp. It was clear what the ‘problem’ was referring to without the need of an explanation.
“Who is it?”
His voice trembled.
“He’s outside right now.”
What came back was a short reply. Unable to wait any longer, Ian walked inside from the terrace and waved his hand.
“Quickly invite him in.”
Hearing that, the deputy immediately ran out of the office as Ian wandered around the room without taking a seat.
‘Even the talented personnel of the kingdom couldn’t figure it out so who in the world is it?’
He felt his heart swell and it was then that the door of the office was pushed open as the same deputy official from before appeared with a young man behind him. The young man had an average appearance and even the clothes he had on was that of the lowest officer.
‘I’ve never seen him before.’
Ian took a deep breath in.
‘Was there a hidden talent in our kingdom I didn’t know of?’
Feeling marvelous, he tightly held the youth’s hands.
“I’m Ian Phillips.”
There was no way the youth didn’t know his name and position but Ian thought he had to be polite. In response, the youth got startled lowered his head.
“My name is Perth, an officer under the Education Department.”
Ian’s eyes flashed with light.
“If you’re from the Education Department, does that mean that you’re from the Academy, as expected?”
The young man had a look of surprise on his face and shook his head, as if saying that that was unthinkable for one like him.
“No I am not. I’m a librarian in the Amaranth Central Library.”
Hearing the unexpected response, Ian’s eyes widened into circles. Considering that it was the person that figured out the answer to the problem which no talents of the kingdom had solved, Ian naturally thought that he would be either a professor or an assistant of the Academy at the very least.
‘A librarian of Amaranth Central Library should be an officer that manages the accounts and organises books though…’
It was the most unimportant post which students applied for after graduating from the Administration Education without a place to go – it was the kind of place where those with normal talents ended up.
‘No no no. I can’t have such prejudging thoughts.’
Inwardly Ian shook his head. Judging people based on their household, education and identity was something that must be banned. Before long, Ian made a bright smile and faced Perth.
“You figured out what the patterns on the map meant?”
Perth likewise returned a smile and nodded.
“Yes. I was fortunate enough to find out.”
Modesty. At least Ian thought Perth was being modest.
“It wasn’t an issue that could be solved through luck and no-one in the entire kingdom could solve it. You must have astonishing knowledge and wisdom…”
Before Ian could finish his words.
“That’s not it. I was really lucky to discover it.”
Perth appeared to be truly baffled as he continuously shook his head. When he remained that stubborn, Ian realised that the current situation wasn’t normal.
“Can you please tell me in detail?”
He showed a cautious tone and attitude. Soon, Perth gave a nod and took out a thick book from his clothes.
Then, he brushed through the pages with nimble hands before stopping at one place and showing it to Ian, who received the book with curiosity on his face.
<Corrupt priests and the secret agreement with the black magicians.>
The words written below were baffling. Stories about the corrupt priests and the black magicians that vanished hundreds of years ago were written in detail. As if possessed by something, Ian stood still and digested the contents of the book.
The hand flipping the pages became faster and eventually, a low mutter escaped Ian’s lips.
His fingers that had been turning the pages came to a complete stop as his eyes were drawn into a picture filling up one of the pages. In the picture, there were complicated and difficult, yet familiar patterns. With an absentminded look on his face, Ian slowly reached for the map in his clothes.
Another long sigh escaped Ian’s lips.
“It’s the same…”
What escaped was a despondent voice.
Ian looked back and forth from the map to the book. The patterns drawn on either side were the same. Actually, the patterns drawn on the map looked less polished but on the whole, they were almost the same.
‘These patterns shown in the book are magic circles of some sort of a sorcery, perhaps magic, or divine arts, or maybe even a circle of destruction that brings the end to the world.’
Ian’s expression turned stiff.
‘It wasn’t suicide. They were being offered as sacrifices. The blood was being used to draw the circle of destruction!’
He wanted to let out a scream but it was then that Perth, who had been silent, cautiously opened his lips.
“S, Sir Grand Strategist. The thing is…”
The youth then pointed at the map, at the southern section of the Amaranth Kingdom, to be specific.
“In other regions on the map, there are black dots shaped like the patterns on the book but this place doesn’t have anything and is empty.”
Perth didn’t know what the black dots on the map were.
Ian who had been extremely agitated discovered his mistake in that instant. As Perth had said, the patterns drawn on the map were still incomplete.
‘The southern region of the kingdom is still empty.’
His heart felt rushed.
“I must go to the Intelligence Department.”
He had to convey what he knew to the Southern Provincial Army as fast as he could. Ian urgently carried his feet out of the office but stopped immediately before the door and turned towards Perth.
“Officer Perth. You have done something truly great. As soon as the urgent tasks are taken care of, we will give you the right rewards.”
Perth made a bitter smile in response.
“I just coincidentally found that picture while organising the books. The actual great person is the one that knew those patterns from the beginning.”
In other words, he was saying that the author of the book was the great person but Ian returned a bitter smile. Because Ian had read the book just then, he already knew who its author was.
With his eyes facing Perth, Ian slowly gave a nod.
“Not sure about his personality and disposition but his erudition and talents were definitely the best throughout the continent. At the very least, this time around…”
He raised the book up slightly.
“It’s thanks to Clay.”
Clay – the author of the book that had the circle of destruction drawn within was none other than Clay.
‘He truly is an amazing person.”’
The secret library discovered after Clay’s death had an enormous amount of books within which were either written by Clay himself, or were his continued versions of existing studies.
Although Ian did not want to admit it, the books written by Clay contributed greatly to polishing the groundwork of the Amaranth Kingdom and strengthening their foundation. Since there were all sorts of books branching out in various fields, it was safe to say that there were no departments that were not assisted by those books.
The Administrator Swift Clock did not try to hide these facts and thanks to that, the deceased Clay was called by a different name, the ‘Godly Brain of Lancephil’ among some officials.
Ian took a deep breath in.
‘Clay. Watch closely from the afterlife.’
There was something he wanted to tell him.
‘I’ll show you how a great talent ought to be used.’
Tapping the book with his fingers, he carried his feet once again in an extremely rushed state. He had to make it before it was late but unfortunately, time was not on his side.
A thud sounded and at the same time.
A large body flew off and was stuck in the middle of the mountain.
Rocks and the cliff in its surroundings couldn’t survive the crash and crumbled down as a dust of dirt bloomed open.
From within escaped a cry wetted in madness.
A black pair of wings appeared from inside the cloud of dust. Those wings showed off an overwhelming dignity that covered the entirety of the mountainside.
With one flutter of its wings, the dust flew off in a circle and revealed the owner of the black wings, the black dragon letting out a cry of madness with its head facing the sky, the Mad Dragon Lunark. Its huge, circular body was filled with large and small wounds. The dragon’s scales which no known swords in the world could ever scathe were completely shattered and like humans, the dragon Lunark also showed red blood.
Lunark, in his crazed state, screamed and fluttered his wings. That was when a small meagre human appeared in front of him. Seeing the young man before him wearing an ornamented armour of red and white mixed together, Roan Lancephil, Lunark opened his mouth wide and flapped his wings.
“I’ll kill you!”
His voice and glare were filled in madness but Roan returned a faint smile and a shake of his head.
“I’m sorry but…”
White and red light spread across following his two hands.
“It’s still my turn.”
As soon as his words left his mouth, Roan vanished.
At the same time, another thud sounded as a part of Lunark’s body indented in, due to a sudden punch from Roan who had reappeared in the blink of an eye.
The rigid scales of the dragon cracked into two and fell on the ground and Roan followed up with another punch with his other hand.
A meagre human’s hand, tiny in comparison to a dragon’s menacing body pierced through the dragon’s skin.
Feeling the dreadful aura seeping into his body and the pain, Lunark screamed.
He poured out all the mana he could muster up into magic as offensive spells carrying enormous amounts of mana and aura struck Roan.
Roan was long gone and before anyone could realise, he had already reappeared beneath the other side of the dragon’s body.
A heavy thud resonated yet again and Lunark felt a part of his body being caved in. Then as expected, Roan continued another array of punches.
“Kuaaaaah! Damn it! Damn it!”
The fact that he couldn’t do anything to a mere human, made Lunark scream in frustration.
“Die! Die! Die!!”
He continuously fluttered his wings, swung his tale and trembled his body while pouring out all sorts of offensive spells. Even then, Roan dodged all the attacks leisurely and threw a punch after another without rest.
Kkang. Kkang. Kkang.
Whenever his hands landed on the body, black scales fell as red blood flowed. Lunark had no choice but to stay on the receiving end but that naturally didn’t mean that Lunark had received a fatal wound from Roan’s attacks.
His scales fell and his skin penetrated, those were minute wounds compared to the size of his body. However, if this continued, his wings could end up broken or maybe even his neck.
‘Damn. This Lunark to a mere human… Kuuk.’
Lunark was frustrated but he still retained his sanity as he quickly comprehended the situation.
‘In my current state, I can’t fight against this bastard.’
The fact that he had used a considerable amount of mana due to the two breaths was a huge issue as well.
‘Escape, no, it’s just me taking a step back.’
He did not want to use the word ‘escape’. Gritting his teeth, Lunark flowed the remaining mana into his two wings.
In that instant, a huge tempest came crashing in and Roan immediately understood Lunark’s thoughts.
“Where do you think you’re going!”
Lightly kicking off the ground, he soared into the sky as his hand grabbed onto the Travias Spear.
“My turn is still not over yet.”
Roan casually let such words out as if rebuking him and swung the large spear down.
Hiding the urgency inside him, Lunark once again flapped his wings. The flutter of his wings that contained all the remaining mana inside his dragon heart was truly extraordinary, enough to even cause Roan, floating in the air despite having no wings, to stagger back.
The Travias Spear in his hands missed its trajectory and trembled heavily which Lunark did not miss.
“I’ll see you later.”
He left behind such farewell and soared into the skies. Although it was important to hide his identity as much as possible, he deemed it more important to escape from Roan’s grasp first.
It was a pitiable escape.
Meanwhile, Roan regained his balance midair and gently dropped onto the ground. He didn’t bother chasing after Lunark because, in fact, he couldn’t.
A low groan escaped Roan’s lips.
Along with that, the ornamented armour disappeared in sparkles of light as his armour returned to its original red colour.
Lowering his head, he let out a deep breath.
‘I was barely able to endure.’
Letting out such incomprehensible words, Roan raised his head back up, staring at the sky which no longer had any sign of Lunark’s existence.
‘It was fortunate that Lunark was deceived like that.’
In fact, Roan’s current state wasn’t normal. Of course, that didn’t mean he hadn’t fully absorbed Felius’ body.
With a holly smile, Roan shook his head.
It sounded completely out of place, but that was a clear fact without a single falsehood.
‘It’s the same as when I awakened Felius’ spirit sleeping inside the Travias Spear.’
At the cost of awakening Felius with his blood, Roan felt an unimaginable, immense hunger.
‘My eyes are dizzy.’
It wasn’t strange for him to collapse any moment from the extreme pain given off by the hunger but he could not allow himself to fall.
‘If I collapse here, I’ll die of hunger.’
The strongest man within the continent or even the strongest throughout the Middle World might have an unseemly end of dying in hunger.
Gritting his teeth, Roan forcibly carried his feet. There was still enough divine power inside him to allow a teleportation spell and he wanted to fly off to the closest village or the headquarters of a Provincial Army straight away but there was something he had to take care of.
To be more specific, there was an existence he had to take care of.
Roan called out to Kalian leaning his back onto a rock but did not receive a reply. Kalian had his eyes closed and did not move a single inch.
Reaching his arms out, Roan held Kalian and enduring the extreme hunger, he carried Kalian with his arms.
“Sir Kalian. You can’t die yet.”
Bringing forth all the power inside his body, Roan formed a teleportation spell.
A white pillar of light soared up from around his feet.
“It’s our turn.”
His gentle voice was carried off by the wind.
The light soon vanished alongside Roan and Kalian, leaving behind the desolate wasteland and the deformed mountain range.
<The Great Warring Period (9)> End.