Book 2: Chapter 31
Lukas seemed to see an illusion of flowers blooming around Min Ha-rin when she saw him.
He felt that she was exuding joy that was far greater than the last time they’d met. Min Ha-rin ran up to Lukas and smiled like a lost puppy.
“Is everything okay?”
“Huh…? Oh. I can summon two Fireballs at the same time now.”
“That’s a pretty encouraging achievement.”
“Yeah. But besides that, I’d like to ask you something… Ah.”
Min Ha-rin, whose attention had been focused on Lukas the entire time, finally noticed Leo.
“…who’s that behind you?”
“This is Leo Freeman. My new disciple.”
Min Ha-rin froze.
Lukas nodded and wondered.
It was strange. He was having a strong sense of deja vu at that moment.
It was Nina.
She’d had a similar reaction when he’d said he was taking Min Ha-rin as his disciple. Even their stiff facial expressions were the same.
“Master’s… new… disciple…”
Min Ha-rin spoke each word slowly.
“This is the first time I’m hearing about this…”
“Because this is the first time I mentioned it.”
There was silence again.
It was at this time that Leo stepped forward and bowed to Min Ha-rin.
“I’m Master’s newest disciple, Leo Freeman. Please take care of me.”
Min Ha-rin stared at Leo for a moment with a blank expression on her face.
What was going on? This boy had an unbelievable appearance.
Leo appeared haggard because of Lukas’ training, but that did nothing to hide the sheer brilliance of his appearance. At least Min Ha-rin had never seen a boy with a face as pretty as Leo’s.
She’d never had an inferiority complex when it came to her appearance, but she couldn’t help but feel this way now because of a man.
With a complicated expression on her face, Min Ha-rin replied.
“I’m Min Ha-rin. Please take care of me too.”
“Please speak comfortably, Senior Sister.” (TL: Actually had a bit of trouble with this as I never had to translate it to English. But in essence, he’s putting himself beneath her and saying that she doesn’t need to be polite to him.)
This caused her expression to become even more complicated.
Min Ha-rin turned to look at Lukas as if asking for help, but Lukas simply avoided her gaze as if he was telling her to deal with it on her own.
“I’ll take care of you.”
Leo smiled faintly, and the atmosphere in the room seemed to soften.
It was like an invisible bond had been formed between them. And the fence that made them a community was Lukas.
This was probably how Schweiser felt.
It was a different relationship from family and friends, but it was not lighter than them.
Lukas felt that he could finally understand why Schweiser had accepted so many disciples.
‘Come to think of it…’
Lukas couldn’t remember when last he’d had such a comfortable feeling.
“Can I ask you one thing?”
“Was Master training you for the past week?”
“Yeah. He’s been at my side guiding me the entire way.”
“…at your side… the entire way…”
Because he could feel a gaze on him, Lukas looked up and found Min Ha-rin staring at him with a complex gaze.
But he didn’t think much of it.
“I’m curious about what you achieved so far. Can you show me?”
Min Ha-rin nodded.
A ball of flame bloomed on the tip of Min Ha-rin’s finger.
Her casting speed was admirable. She was already comparable to a 2 star Wizard.
Then, another ball of flame bloomed on another finger.
Lukas looked at this fireball.
It appeared unstable and flickered as though the flames would go out at any time. Then, the flames did go out with a ‘huk’ sound.
“You failed to maintain it. That’s a phenomenon that occurs when your mind is distracted during casting. Focus a bit more. You won’t be able to play your part if you’re like this.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know because I trained on my own for a week. I didn’t have anyone to explain it to me.”
Lukas’ expression became strange when Min Ha-rin bowed her head.
A sudden, tense silence filled the room.
After a while, Lukas opened his mouth.
“Are you perhaps…”
“…no. It’s nothing.”
Lukas was about to ask if she was upset.
But his sharp and accurate intuition, which had been honed after living for such a long time that humans couldn’t even imagine, was telling him.
To just stay still for now.
* * *
“President. We received a call from the Chinese Branch.”
She could already predict what they wanted, but she still asked him anyway.
“What did they say?”
“It seems they are asking for Lee Jong-hak’s return.”
Nina burst out into a laugh that was a mix of cynicism and helplessness.
Naturally, Lee Jong-hak didn’t listen to Nina’s orders. This wasn’t a situation where she was pressuring him and forcibly keeping him in the European Branch.
Lee Jong-hak was performing missions in Europe of his own volition.
And Beijing, China, in other words, the East Asia Branch, should also have known this fact.
Nevertheless, there was one reason why they were sending their requests to Nina.
Because they didn’t have the power to force Lee Jong-hak to return, either.
‘It’s easier to use me.’
Nina grit her teeth.
Europe and Asia didn’t have a balanced relationship.
This wasn’t just about the headquarters in Russia. The entire European Branch, which was now in a precarious position, was receiving great support from them.
From manpower to food, information, and other important material resources. If any of these were cut off, the effects would be devastating.
‘They wouldn’t publicly cut off their support.’
But it was still possible for them to delay the shipment of goods or subtly reduce the amount they sent by using all kinds of excuses.
The pressure from that alone would give Europe a hard blow.
“Did you tell them that Lee Jong-hak refused?”
“I’ve said it numerous times… but they don’t believe me.”
“They’re only pretending to not believe. After all, they’re not stupid. Hmm. They know, but they’re still pushing us.”
“They’re trying to get something from us.”
Then what does the Asia Branch want?
There was nothing for them to gain by squeezing Europe. Or at least that’s what Nina thought.
The number and quality of their hunters were all superior to the ones on this side. And they didn’t lack resources or have a special crisis.
“…can you excuse me for a moment?”
Ludwig pointed to his ear. He’d probably received another report.
When Nina nodded, he turned slightly to the side and lowered his head.
“It’s me. Right. I just reported it… What?”
Ludwig looked shocked.
He glanced at Nina for a moment before speaking.
“…wait a bit. I’ll report it now and contact you after. Right.”
Ludwig fell silent after saying that. It seemed that he was trying to organise his thoughts.
“What is it?”
“They made a request to connect a portal.”
“Yes, they want to meet Lee Jong-hak directly and persuade him.”
Nina pressed her fingers to her temples for a moment.
In truth, she didn’t have to agonise over it for very long. Their request wasn’t troublesome at all.
The two sides would meet and directly have a discussion.
For Nina, this was something she should welcome.
She wouldn’t have to suffer like a shrimp in a battle between whales anymore.
“Where is Lee Jong-hak now?”
“Contact the German Branch and connect the portal.”
(TL: I wonder if you know who is coming to Europe… Could he and Lukas have a meeting and subsequent clash soon? Or are the Chinese hunters just trying to warn Lee Jong-hak)