Chapter 116: The Three Great Magic Towers and Operation World Cleansing
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
As the diplomat group traveled further north, the weather became increasingly colder. Snow often floated down the sky, and the amount was increasing gradually, even covering most of their field of vision. If it was not for the Cold Resistance Trees planted on both sides of the road, then even the best scouts would be lost halfway.
It was said that this was the prelude to the Day before the Bitter Cold Winter.
Thales tightened the cloak he had put on a day ago and covered his face tightly, then he asked Ramon, “That’s why you don’t know how many types of magic there are and what sort of characteristics they have?”
They had set up camp and were resting again. They were currently located at the juncture between Eckstedt’s Prestige Orchid Region and Reformation Tower.
They traveled through the hills for a short distance from Rayman Pass, and once they passed the area where the Archduke of Reformation Tower governed, they moved along the path in the hills and began heading northwest.
Soon, the diplomat group and the Black Sand Region’s army escorts would enter the Archduke of Prestige Orchid’s area of governance. Once they pass Prestige Orchid Region, Nuven the Seventh’s territory, Dragon Clouds City, the area directly under his command, would be right in front of their eyes.
“You should say that I don’t possess the complete view on magic.” Ramon shook his head, “It’s said that there are plenty of strange and bizarre schools of thought, and categories for magic. There would always be eccentric geniuses who would create new schools of thought or research fields based on the knowledge they possess.”
Ramon sat beside the fire and explained to Thales, who was beside him, “But besides these strange people who always like being alone, most of the other wizards have their own places they clearly belong to.”
“A place they belong to?” Thales’ eyes lit up. “Are you saying..?”
“During ancient times, these were places where wizards gathered, and these were the magic organizations they belonged to.” Ramon’s eyes shone brilliantly.
“The Three Great Magic Towers.”
Thales turned his head around swiftly. The brief descriptions of these towers he had obtained as he investigated the origins of Mystics in Mindis Hall rushed to his mind again.
“I have heard some related information about them before.” Thales’ eyes lit up. “So, the wizards of ancient times gathered in these three magic towers to do their research?”
“The Three Great Magic Towers are not just three towers, and they were not located in just three spots,” Ramon muttered, “Wizards are not just tower-dwelling eccentrics either. It’s said that the Three Great Magic Towers symbolize the three types of attitudes and values among wizards.”
“What attitudes?” Thales questioned curiously, “Are you saying the attitudes the wizards possess when it comes to knowledge?”
Ramon shook his head. “I don’t know… Information about wizards are very hard to come by.”
Thales sighed. “Alright. Then, what are the Three Great Magic Towers? Don’t tell me you don’t know about those as well.”
Ramon nodded and smiled. “I do know about this clearly, at least.”
He snuck glances around the area and saw Aida dozing off by the fire, Putray and Kentvida arguing about something in the distance, Wya still trying his best to communicate with Ralf but failing in the end, Tolja leading the scouts to investigate their path ahead and who had not returned yet, and also at the Eckstedt soldiers around them, who seemed to have grown used to them.
When he saw that the distance between them was huge and their attentions were far from Thales and Ramon, Ramon cautiously approached Thales. Situating himself in an angle so that no one else but the two of them could see his actions, he extended his finger towards the snow-covered ground.
“First, the Ascetic Tower.”
Ramon gently drew a square that was turned 45 degrees and had one corner facing downwards. Then, drawing two diagonal lines in the square from corner to corner, he drew a cross in that square, “Based on the only remaining information I read, they are the oldest wizard group. In fact, Ascetic Tower has existed during the Uncivilized Period and before the Holiness Exorcism Campaign… But they are also the most mysterious. I don’t know what they do either. I didn’t manage to obtain a lot of their information.”
“Next is the Alchemy Tower.”
Ramon drew a circle, then on both sides of the circle, he drew two triangles with the points each facing outwards. The base of the triangles were arced and they ran parallel to the circle’s arc. Ramon then drew another, smaller circle at the center of the circle. Thales recognized it. This picture resembled an eye.
Ramon continued speaking, “Just like its name. It is said that Alchemy Tower provided important assistance during the war where the humans won against the orcs. Their creations are all for warfare or practical uses. Some of their creations have lasted up to today, and are still being used. They are rare and valuable treasures held by the hands of only a few people in the world.
“The last is the Soul Tower.”
Ramon drew two ‘S’ shapes on the ground. The half circles of the upper and lower part of these two ‘S’ shapes overlapped with each other. This picture was incredibly strange, and the meaning behind it was unclear.
“There’s plenty of strange information about them, there’s also all sorts of rumors about them. One moment, it’s said that they are the protectors of the mortal world, and in the next moment, it’s said that they have an agreement with the Empire. Some say that they are on extremely bad terms with the other two magic towers. In fact, some even say that their existence has brought much chaos to the world, and that they are the source of all evil… I don’t understand what they’re researching on either… It’s clear that they are different from the other two magic towers.”
Ramon stared at Thales. Only after the latter had nodded his head to show that he remembered, did the doctor then quickly extend his hand to anxiously erase the three pictures, until not a single trace of them was left.
“That’s all I know. As for the other things such as the Three Great Magic Towers’ inheritance, characteristics, history, and origins, I know nothing about them. Information about magic has been completely banned, a bit too thoroughly, in my opinion.” Ramon sighed, “Also, absolutely do not draw these three pictures in front of anyone else… like Morat… There’ll be trouble if you do.”
Thales raised his brow. “Then why were you so at ease when you drew those pictures for me? Am I that trustworthy?”
Ramon turned his head around to reveal that strange expression on his face again. “Trustworthy? Heh.” Ramon chuckled lowly, his nose from his movements. “I believe that there is a reason behind why you are so interested in magic. That ability of yours that could change the line of fire of those Mystic Guns…”
Panic rose in Thales’ heart. ‘Damn it. I knew it, he still cares about that a lot.’
“I still think that it isn’t a psionic ability.” Ramon snickered and said, “It should be some type of magic, it’s just that I still don’t know what type it is. That’s why you’re so hungry for information about magic, right?”
‘Some type of magic? To be precise…’ Thales said in his heart, ‘your deductions aren’t wrong.’
Thales stared at Ramon intently.
“Constellation’s new prince and the next king. Not only is he interested in magic, he even has some form of power related to magic.” Ramon was beaming. That haggard honor and glory of the past reflecting on his face made Thales sick to his stomach. “Just thinking about it makes me excited…”
Thales heaved a long sigh, then started thinking carefully about the information he had obtained from Ramon over the past few days.
“Then, the Three Great Magic Towers no longer exist?” the second prince asked quietly.
Ramon’s smile froze. He clasped his hands together, lowered his head, and hunched his back.
“That’s what is said,” the Strange Doctor brushed some snow off his nose and said with a sigh, “Do you know about Mystics? They are not just slightly stronger warriors that an average person might imagine. In truth…”
Thales’s heart somersaulted thrice in his chest excitedly.
“Mhm…” On the surface, the second prince said without batting an eye, “As a member of the royal family, I do know a bit about Mystics… They are calamities who will never die, and can never be destroyed.”
Ramon stared at Thales, his gaze filled with a solemn expression. “That’s right. It’s said that the political powers of all countries, the churches of the Gods in heaven, and even the Devils in hell fear them… They fear that the Mystics will make a comeback one day, and launch the second Battle of Eradication. This is why they want to ban magic.”
“Fear… If that’s the case, then aren’t the calamities the main reason for the destruction of the Three Great Magic Towers, and for why the legacy of magic was destroyed?” Thales asked dazedly.
Ramon straightened his collar, and his expression became incredibly serious.
“I don’t know if the calamities were the ones who destroyed the Three Great Magic Towers,” Ramon replied in a whisper, “but I do believe that these so-called calamities and Mystics are the products of the magic towers and the wizards after countless research.”
“So, the destruction of the magic towers, the extinction of the wizards, and the loss of magic’s legacy is not a coincidence,” Thales said in disbelief, “Everything related to magic in the world, be it the legacy, knowledge, history, and even wizards themselves, were intentionally banned by the political powers of all human countries?”
Ramon exhaled deeply, “That’s right… I think that someone doesn’t want to see the birth of a new calamity.”
Thales frowned deeply, “Magic brings a risk that is unmanageable, that’s why it’s better to put a stop to it and ban all existences of magic?”
Ramon grunted ambiguously.
“That’s just too stupid.” Thales sighed, “Because they were afraid of possible Mystics appearing and were terrified of their power, THAT’S why they banned all magic? That’s such a short-sighted and dumb decision…”
Ramon clenched his fists tightly. “Our opinions align in this matter. We need to find a possibility from magic to fight against the Mystics and the dangers they pose, now more than ever, isn’t that so?”
“The Three Great Magic Towers might have been destroyed, but their ruins should still exist, right?” Thales stroked his chin. “Didn’t you go there to test your luck?”
“Ruins?” Ramon curled up a corner of his lips and said with a sour expression on his face, “This is what frustrates me the most… Those damn countries. They’ve found practically every single bit of information about magic, wizards, and magic towers, and destroyed them utterly and completely. I can’t even find the location of the magic towers’ ruins!”
Thales frowned deeply. “Perhaps when I return to the kingdom, I can go check the royal family’s records…”
“Say no more about it, especially your Constellation.” Ramon let out a cold harrumph. “Your ancestor, the founder of the country, the great King of Renaissance, Tormund the First, personally gave the order to completely erase all traces related to magic in Constellation!”
Thales was momentarily stunned.
“And around six hundred years ago, the law enforcers in charge of banning magic all came from the newly established Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department,” Ramon hissed fiercely, “With great difficulty, I finally found some traces of it in Eckstedt. They called it…
“Operation World Cleansing!”
Thales looked at the snow-covered ground in a daze and pulled the cloak tighter around himself.
“How did they do it?” The prince lifted his head. “If magic is as important in the past as you said—”
“They just did it!”
Ramon raised his head, his eyes were filled with hate. “During the few decades after the Battle of Eradication ended, the countries imprisoned the remaining wizards, expropriated all books, scrolls, records, and items related to magic. In fact, they even investigated all the people who once had close ties to the wizards… The main point is that they erased all traces of magic from history…
“Of course, once they are discovered, all the people who want to research magic and bring about its revival would immediately turn into a thorn in the side of all countries’ governments and the Gods’ churches, and they would be killed without hesitation…
“All so that magic would never appear again!”
For a time being, only the sounds of fire crackling and the wretched howls of the freezing wind could be heard as they sat beside the fire.
“If the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department was the one in charge of Operation World Cleansing six hundred years ago, then there might still be plenty of information remaining in the department…” Thales said while he mulled over his thoughts.
“‘Good’ idea,” Ramon said mockingly and disdainfully.
“You’re right, if I want to get something out of the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department without anyone knowing about it…” Thales understood what the doctor meant and sighed.
“… It’ll be even harder than trying to breach Broken Dragon Fortress.” Ramon stared coldly at the fire as he finished Thales’ sentence.
Thales thought of a question, and a strange expression appeared on his face.
“Doctor,” he said slowly, “Morat is not the first Chief of the Secret Intelligence Department, am I right?”
“Nonsense. The Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department was formed over six hundred years ago, when Constellation was formed.” Ramon let out a cold snort, then exhaled, “Morat… is a human. He’s not an immortal or an eternal being. He can’t live for that long.”
Thales rolled his eyes. ‘It’s really pitiful when you don’t have enough EQ.’
Thales said in annoyance, “You didn’t understand what I meant… I’m asking who the first Chief of the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department was and who was the person in charge of Operation World Cleansing?”
Ramon was stunned, then turned his head around to stare at Thales.
Thales rubbed his red, cold hands and blew out a puff of misty breath. “This is a clue. No matter how terrifying and mysterious the Secret Intelligence Department is, and no matter how meticulous, efficient, and fastidious they are… as long as they are an organization, they must rely on the actions and mental state of mind of their members—who also happen to be humans.
“And humans are always complicated.” Thales blinked. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“What?” Thales asked, puzzled.
Ramon looked around himself cautiously, then turned his head around and said, “Two people. Six hundred years ago.” The Strange Doctor lowered his voice. “In the Year 38 of the Calendar of Eradication, two people led the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department and were in charge of the detailed implementation of Operation World Cleansing…”
“Very good,” Thales whispered quietly, “Even if six hundred years has passed, we’ll still be able to discover their past… Who are these two people?”
Ramon chuckled softly and said two names, “Leinster Covendier.”
Thales’ expression instantly changed. ‘Covendier?’
“That’s right, he’s the first Chief of the Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Department.” Ramon wore an expression as if he knew Thales would react this way and watched Thales’ response with a look of interest, then smiled and said, “He is also the first master of the Covendier Family, one of the Six Great Clans of Constellation.
“The First Duke of Iris Flowers.”
Thales widened his eyes. There was a crease between his brows.
Ramon gritted his teeth and exhaled before he continued speaking, “And his assistant—Halva Karabeyan. The first master of the Karabeyan Family, one of the Thirteen Distinguished Families, the Sword of the Twin Towers. The first Count of Walla Hill, and later on, the kingdom’s Minister of Intelligence.
“Do you still think this path is possible, O honorable prince?”
Thales fell completely silent. Ramon did not speak either.
Just as Thales was mulling over these two names and the meaning behind them, the Eckstedt sentinels emitted a loud shout that rang through Northland sky that was filled with the rustling, cold wind.
The elite Eckstedt soldiers around them drew their weapons in an instant. Numerous sounds of metal leaving their scabbards rose into the air, and the atmosphere was tense and threatening.
The Northlanders’ faces were stern, and not a single hint of panic could be found. Compared to the group battle formation Constellation employs, the Northlanders formed groups of two and stood next to each other shoulder to shoulder, standing scattered from the other pairs around the perimeter of the camp and blocking the path inside while facing the cold wind and floating snow around them.
“Find your positions!”
“Where are the scouts and mounted sentinels? Why didn’t we receive a warning from them?”
“Light cavaliers, mount your horses, and don’t dawdle around!”
Amid the noise, the light cavaliers mounted their horses under their commander’s orders and rushed to the perimeter while the heavy cavalry and heavy infantry started equipping their armors first.
Aida instantly rushed to Thales’ side. Wya and Ralf followed suit.
“Stay on alert,” the elf guard of unknown age said solemnly, “How unfortunate… it’s another army.”
‘Army?’ A thought appeared in the second prince’s heart.
Under the moonlight, the sharp vision he gained after the fluctuations modified his eyes allowed Thales to quickly see the source of the threat clearly.
To the north of the camp, in the falling snow that caused their vision to be unclear, countless cavaliers in full armor appeared.
Light armor, gray shirts, white horses, masked faces. Quick but silent. They practically melded with the snow around them.
“In this kind of weather…” Putray rushed to them from behind and frowned. “They’re elites.”
Thales sucked in a deep breath. ‘Am I really that unlucky?’
These cavaliers, who were clearly hostiles at first glance, suddenly spread out when they were a hundred meters before them.
Then, with disorderly movements, but in an organized fashion…
… They outflanked Thales’ group.