Chapter 44: Morat Hansen (One)
There was a long silence, but the old man seemed very patient as he waited for Yodel's answer.
Finally, the voice of the secret protector came from behind the mask.
"You should not be here," Yodel said coldly.
Anyone present would have noticed that Yodel's voice was very similar to the old man in front of him.
The black-clad old man did not speak. Instead, he looked at Yodel with a peculiar smile.
His eyes did not move.
In spite of that, even though he was at the peak of the supreme class, Yodel could feel the old man's presence gradually pressing on him.
"That night, all three and a half of the legendary anti-mystic weapons that could seal Mystics were at their respective locations." The old man in black leaned on his walking stick. He grinned and spoke slowly.
"The Constellation Staff is a symbol of monarchy and it is always held by His Majesty. The Ruler's Spear was wielded by the Legendary Wing, who was guarding the western front... The Kingdom's Wrath was at a countryside manor, cleaning the Motionless Bow... That leaves the half piece, the Supreme Shield, which along with the Fortress Flower were at the Broken Dragon Fortress in the north."
Yodel inhaled gently.
"The remaining half is the Supreme Sword, which has just been thawed not too long ago, and followed you to the Lower City District, Yodel Cato.
"It was also that night the Air Mystic disappeared from Red Street Market, which was at the border of the Lower City District and Western District."
The old man grinned again. His grin was unsightly. "I had originally wanted to praise you. The last time someone was able to perform the magnificent feat of sealing a Mystic by himself can be traced back to the Ancient Empire."
Yodel's hand slowly clasped the dark-colored, cross-shaped short sword under his sleeve.
"But…" Morat's pupils contracted as the topic of discussion suddenly changed.
"You should have laid low when you were tasked to receive the Kingdom's blood. Why did you risk your life and seal the Air Mystic? Don't tell me that you wanted to be an angel of justice."
Yodel did not speak for a long time.
The old man became impatient. The wrinkles on his face trembled as he said, "Or should I report to His Majesty and have him personally ask you?"
After a long time, Yodel took a deep breath. Confronted by one of the five most frightening people in the Constellation, he lightly replied in a hoarse voice.
"That night, I saw Asda Sakern at Red Street Market. He was on Thales' escape path."
The old man in black continued to stare at him, as though this was nothing new.
However, no one knew that at this moment, Yodel was carefully considering his choice of words.
"For Thales, I had no choice but to take action."
"Although the Supreme Sword is only half of the entire piece of the legendary anti-mystic equipment, it was enough to seal the Air Mystic."
The old man in black gently coughed twice. The eyes on his ordinary looking face suddenly lit up.
"I believe you won't mind telling me about all the details before he was sealed? From things like his words to his emotions, his attitude to his actions. I am very curious. Why did Asda return to the capital? This is a very dangerous place to him."
Yodel lightly clenched his fists under his robes.
He had to be careful as he was facing the Black Prophet. He could not lie.
"Asda Sakern is a madman," Yodel murmured.
The Black Prophet laughed softly. His wrinkles twitched for a while. "Of course, all of them are madmen. So what? Even madmen have their own thoughts and actions. Am I right?"
"He was very excited before he was sealed," Yodel slowly answered after taking his words into consideration.
The old man stroked his cane. His dry lips parted. "You'll never be able to understand their emotions… They aren't human anymore, so how could it even be possible for them to have emotions?"
'This nonsense will not be able to distract his attention,' Yodel thought in his heart.
Yodel hesitated for a second before deciding that he had to say it.
He had to.
"He said…" Yodel's hoarse voice could be heard behind the mask.
"He said that he found a new Mystic."
[As recorded in history, the first time a Mystic appeared was during the era of the Ancient Empire, about a thousand years ago. It was somewhere between the year 825 to 835 in the Imperial Calendar.]
'The Empire from a thousand years ago? The Imperial Calendar ran for another fifteen hundred years since the Ancient Empire reached the end of its era and became the current Empire. We then switched to the Calendar of Eradication. It is currently the year 672 based on the Calendar of Eradication.'
Thales recalled the basic knowledge he learned during the past few days.
'In other words, the Mystics had appeared more than one thousand three hundred years ago?'
However, it was not a good time for him to be thinking absentmindedly.
Under the sandy land's setting sun, Thales gritted his teeth despite the pain in his left shoulder. The seven-year-old held his heavy, wooden shield and charged towards Jines.
[According to the incomplete records of the Ascetic Tower, a caravan heading towards the Alchemy Tower witnessed an unusually huge bolt of lightning. On the same day, thousands of members from one of the tribes a hundred miles outside the God of War Desert turned into corpses.]
'Lightning? Why is the Air Mystic able to control air? Are they the Fantastic Four? Maybe they're actually elementalists.'
Jines stepped forward without batting an eyelid. She cleverly positioned her wooden shield and struck Thales' shield.
Thales was knocked back and he lost his balance. He fell awkwardly towards the side of the shield.
Thales gasped with his sword resting on the ground while his heart beat in anxiety.
Jines saw the state Thales was in and started screaming at the boy, "What the hell were you thinking of? Being absent-minded on the field is the same as committing suicide!"
Thales shook his head. He made a great effort to drive away the contents of 'The Battle of Eradication Chronicles: The World's Destruction' from his head. However, his efforts were fruitless. Thoughts concerning the contents about Mystics constantly emerged in his mind.
[The Alchemist Tower was as mysterious as usual. There were no explanations about it, and it could not even be found in historical records. Existing history books of the Ancient Empire also did not contain information about it. However, it managed to foreshadow the subsequent, tragic war that is the Battle of Eradication.]
'What are the Ascetic Tower and the Alchemy Tower? Are these organizations or places?'
Thales held the center of the wooden shield and struggled to swing his wooden sword, which was not much lighter than the shield. He twisted his face as he swung his body and sword around.
[The war began in the year 1509 of the Imperial Calendar. However, no historical data could identify why the Battle of Eradication started. It was as though all the hostile parties suddenly stood at the opposite ends of a chessboard and started fighting.]
'Why? Why are there no proper records of the beginning of a war that changed everything?'
Jines moved effortlessly to dodge the edge of his sword. She then used the hilt of her sword to gently push Thales, who had already lost his balance.
Gilbert shook his head as he watched from the sidelines.
Thales once again fell to the ground. He fell face first like a dog eating sand.
Thales spat out the sand in his mouth. Once again, he grabbed the shield and stood up.
"Enough!" Jines shouted unhappily.
"Seven sets of attack patterns and you are only putting on a show. Your efficiency is completely different from the time you learned defensive tactics. If you are not a fool, it means you do not have the heart to practice today!"
Thales gasped. He nodded, full of shame and regret.
"Sorry, Madam Jines."
[The number of Mystics were less than the legendary dragons. At the very least, there were forty dragons whose names were recorded. However, the number of Mystics who appeared in the Battle of Eradication were only ten.]
'Ten people? Ten against the world?'
Seeing that Thales was still in an absent-minded state, Jines angrily threw her shield and wooden sword down. "Get out of class! Tomorrow morning, get up at six and make up for today's progress!"
Gilbert was also frowning. He did not know what was wrong with Thales.
He then noticed Jines turning her head and shouting to him, "He is yours before dinner. Fix him up."
Gilbert smiled, lifted his hat and bowed.
Thales threw the wooden sword away, feeling dispirited. He began to deal with his left arm. It had been bruised by the shield again.
[Despite the fact that there were not many of them, the majority of casualties from the United Army were caused by the Mystics. The most famous record was on May 1514 of the Imperial Calendar. The battle in the eastern front of the Sighing Mountains was slowly progressing to victory. However, when the Power Mystic appeared, eight thousand of the Mountain Elves Patrol and fifty thousand black-armored elites of the Dynasty Dawn Army were destroyed.]
'Power Mystic? Power? A one-man show. Fifty-eight thousand. What kind of power could cause such a massacre? It is almost comparable to an atomic bomb. Can Asda do this too?
Wearing an unhappy expression, Jines rubbed her palms together and was about to leave. However, she saw a guard walking in solemnly and whispering a few words to Gilbert.
The very next moment, Thales was surprised to see Gilbert's look of shock, worry and fear.
'The diplomatically experienced and poker-faced Count Cato is actually capable of showing such expressions of worry and fear?'
While Thales was still being puzzled, Gilbert had stopped Jines. Gilbert then said, "His Highness sends a message. Lord Morat Hansen will be coming to the Mindis Hall tonight. He wants to see Mister Thales."
'Morat Hansen? Who is that?'
Thales was surprised to see the change in facial expression of the first-grade female official, Kessel the Fifth's lover.
'It is shocking, worrying and... upsetting?'
Jines' eyes grew cold as she spoke, "He would have come sooner or later to meet the Royal Bloodline and successor of the throne.
"He is Chief of the Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Department, Black Prophet Morat. It would be impossible for him not to get involved..."
The old man in black, Morat Hansen, no longer spoke.
For the first time, Yodel noticed the eternally mysterious and weird-looking Morat, appearing alarmed and… afraid.
"A new Mystic?"
After saying that, Morat took a huge step back. Suddenly, he looked up!
'It is working!' Yodel thought to himself.
Morat knew too many secrets including the Mystics. However, it was because he knew too much that he was more likely to be distracted by these things. He missed what Yodel really wanted to hide, for instance, the communication between Asda and Thales.
It was just like the current situation.
"Impossible. The birth of a Mystic needs…" Morat looked shocked. He held his walking stick tightly and stared unwaveringly at Yodel's mask as though he wanted to break the Purple Crystal Drop with that look.
"Who is it?" Morat's eyes seemed frenzied.
"Who is the new Mystic?"
Morat stared at his son like a poisonous snake with sharp pupils.
"You know how serious this is?!" Morat frowned and focused his gaze. He started breathing faster and held on to the cane even tighter. "The new Mystic. Before that thing… Get rid of it."
Yodel regulated his breathing. Breathing, an easy thing for supreme class masters, right now, seemed very difficult.
'Thing. What thing?'
The figure of the boy with black hair and grey pupils gradually appeared in his mind.
"They would stay with you… I will go alone." The stubborn boy with the determined look at Sunset Pub vaguely appeared before his eyes.
Yodel gently clenched his fist as Morat slowly narrowed his eyes.
"Asda did not mention or know his name." Yodel carefully selected the true information and organized it into words. "After that, I sealed Asda."
'The man really did not know Thales' name. I am not lying,' Yodel told himself.
Morat did not speak and only gave Yodel a weird look.
A few seconds later, Morat turned his eyes away.
"Very good. You did not lie," The man said affirmatively with a solemn expression.
"However, this is very bad. Precisely because you did not lie," Morat added gloomily.
Yodel relaxed, feeling that he got away.
"Now, let us see that Sir Thales, as according to His Majesty's command." Morat hid his gloomy and solemn expression. Once again, he displayed an ugly and terrible smile as he walked towards Mindis Hall.
Yodel's breathing suddenly stopped.
Morat stroked his cane as he exposed his few remaining teeth. He turned around and laughed. "I am sure you do not mind me asking that boy about what really happened at Red Street Market, and also about the so-called new Mystic.
"Do not misunderstand. This is just a professional habit, just... to see if you are hiding anything."
Yodel looked up, his eyes were filled with an intense expression as Morat laughed happily.