Book 2: Chapter 60
(TL: Brief note before we start. The rank ‘Great Mage’ that was mentioned in the last chapter in conjunction with the ‘Archmage’ rank has been changed to ‘Great Wizard’. At first I didn’t realise what the author meant by putting ‘great mage’ two different ways… but it finally clicked this chapter when they were placed side by side. Sorry for once again misinterpreting something, but these are basically words the author ‘created’, so it’s hard to figure out an english equivalent sometimes.)
Joanna flopped down to the ground.
She won. No. Instead, it would be better to say she ‘survived’.
In any case, she’d managed to defeat all of the Demon Beasts.
Her stamina was at its limit. She felt like if she relaxed her guard even a little bit, she would fall unconscious in an instant.
Forcing herself to sit up, she looked at her shoulder.
The longer she took to take care of it, the more dangerous it could get. If she didn’t get first aid immediately.
It was at that moment when she saw someone walking towards her from the ruined city.
It was a man with gray hair and a black coat.
The very same man who’d abandoned her.
His carefree attitude made her rage rise up in an instant.
“Where the hell were you-?!”
She suddenly stopped talking.
The man was just looking at her with a blank expression on his face. And somehow, seeing his stupid face made her calm down.
In all honesty, she didn’t even have the energy to be angry. It could be said that her resentment had been sapped.
The man looked around without saying anything. His expression didn’t change even when he saw the devastated surroundings and piles of corpses.
Instead, he simply walked over to Joanna and inspected her injuries before taking a potion out of his bag.
Judging from the color, she could tell that it was a potion that had been made with high purity soul crystals.
Then, he poured it onto Joanna’s injuries.
Joanna couldn’t help but groan in pain for a moment. Nevertheless, the fact that she could feel the pain was a good thing. At least it meant that the nerves in her arm hadn’t been badly damaged. And it also meant that she wouldn’t need to worry about amputation anymore.
Only then did the man open his mouth.
“You’re pretty skilled.”
She couldn’t help but shake her head and wonder if that was all he had to say.
“…hmph. I am an Archmage.”
As she said these words, Joanna’s expression was humbler than usual. This was because she now felt assured of this fact.
When she recalled how she used to introduce herself like this in the past, she felt a stinging sensation in her chest.
But those feelings disappeared when she recalled what she just experienced.
Joanna’s face became bright with excitement as she continued.
“I also heard the Great Mage’s voice.”
She felt slightly smug when she saw the surprised expression on his face. She had never seen him make such an expression before.
Mmm. It was definitely worth it.
“Haven’t you heard about it? The Founder of Magical Science, the Master of Spells, the God of Magic!”
“…this is the first time I’m hearing about it.”
Joanna couldn’t help but look at him.
“Why are you so surprised? Don’t you go around saying you’re a Wizard?”
Unlike sorcery and witchcraft, magic was not a supernatural power that had existed in the world before.
Instead, this mysterious power with a solid system had suddenly appeared in the world one day.
Therefore, unlike swordsmanship or martial arts that had thousands of years’ worth of legacy, there were only few records about magic.
Naturally, this meant that it was only possible to get hints from the grimoires that were randomly scattered across the various regions.
Eventually, after reaching a certain point, Wizards had no choice but to start carving their own path.
Walking towards the next level, which no one had ever reached before. Something that they weren’t even sure existed in the first place.
It went without saying just how thorny that path was.
As time passed, more and more wizards became blocked by this proverbial wall, causing them to become frustrated. Time and time again, they gathered together to discuss a solution, but no conclusion was ever reached.
They wondered if that was the limit.
Wondered whether they’d ever be able to take the next step.
Then, just as all the Wizards became filled with despair, something strange happened.
All of the Wizards who had been stuck successfully jumped over the wall simultaneously. It happened at the same time as if it had been planned.
And all of the Wizards who stepped into the new stage said the same thing one after the other.
They heard a ‘voice’ who gave them the hint of how to move forward.
From that moment, this voice was called the Great Mage, or the God of Magic.
And suddenly, a rumour emerged that only a Wizard who had heard this voice could reach the legendary 9 stars level.
It was one of the few legends in the Wizard community.
Joanna had also heard the tale. When she was younger, she often fantasised about hearing the Great Mage’s voice. But as she grew older, that thought gradually faded away.
Because she thought it was just a fairytale.
But today, she’d heard that voice. Clearly and indisputably.
Without a doubt. She’d heard the voice of the Great Mage.
Her heart beat violently in her chest.
Wasn’t she the first person in the world to have such a lengthy conversation with the Great Mage?
Joanna smiled smugly when she saw the man’s blank expression.
“Ah, well. It’s not unreasonable for you not to know. After all, the God of Magic only reveals himself to those who have the talent to reach 9 stars.”
“…is it so amazing? You just heard a voice.”
“Just a voice?! Ugh!”
Joanna shouted before feeling hot pain ripple through her shoulder.
Wiping tears from her eyes, she spoke bitingly.
“You’re so annoying. Don’t you understand how great this is? It’s said that only the chosen Wizards can hear the voice! And I’m one of them!”
Joanna’s voice became louder as she continued.
“I was chosen by the Great Mage!”
* * *
He thought he was a reliable person.
At first glance, he hadn’t been able to see any dishonesty, and there was even a glint of determination in his eyes. So he hadn’t inspected him too deeply.
As a result, he realised that it was a hasty judgment. He wasn’t an upright man but a man who thought what he was doing was upright.
There was no hesitation or unease in the eyes of such a person. Because they wouldn’t feel guilty even if they did something morally wrong.
It was either one of two things.
Either he was doing shady things in the shadows to survive or he believed he was doing the right thing.
Lukas looked down at the map in his hand.
The map given by Destin was supposed to display the shortest route to Egypt. And it seemed that Destin had drawn the route himself.
If they were to continue along this path, it was clear that they would run into countless Demons and Demon Beasts.
Nevertheless, Lukas decided not to switch routes immediately.
He turned to look at Joanna.
She was humming happily while driving.
It was completely different from the day before when she grumbled constantly.
‘…God of Magic.’
He hadn’t known that such a legend had circulated among the Wizards.
About 20 years ago, some time after he’d first introduced magical science to this world, some Wizards were frustrated by the huge wall that they’d encountered for the first time.
The wall of 7 stars, called Archmage.
The Wizards who were at the forefront had no Masters. This meant that they had no one to consult when they were lost or unsure about something. The best conclusion they could reach was to come together with those on their level and discuss their different opinions.
In a way, this wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it was actually better than being taught by a Master.
However, such methods usually took a long time before revealing their effectiveness.
If they were left alone, it might take them decades before they were able to find even the slightest clue.
So Lukas stepped in.
He gave hints only to those who were blocked by the wall, especially those extremely talented individuals.
And those Wizards were able to get a great realisation due to Lukas’ advice and take the step to the next level.
Lukas checked the effectiveness of his action before leaving them to their own devices once again.
…But he hadn’t realised that his actions had developed into such a legendary story over time.
‘The Great Mage’s Chosen Ones.’
The strange feeling that this title gave him caused his heart to flutter slightly.
Lukas had never mentioned the title ‘Great Mage’ to anyone.
The terms Great Wizard, Archmage, or Mage referred to the state, but ‘Great Mage’ was different.
In his homeworld, everyone thought of only one person when they heard the name Great Mage. That was a title that had only been held by Lukas Trowman.
But in this world with no magical history whatsoever, he was once again called the Great Mage. As if it was a logical conclusion from his spreading and teaching magical science.
‘Is this related to my essence?’
Lukas was shaken from his thoughts.
Joanna, who had been humming to herself all this while, was looking at him.
“What are you daydreaming about? You didn’t answer even after I called you ten times.”
“Did you really call me that many times?”
“Well, no. It was only two or three times.”
“Anyways, I think we should take a break. Aren’t there any safe spots nearby?”
Joanna tapped her thigh.
She wasn’t whining. It was just that it had already been three hours since she started driving.
The gas was running low, and she was a bit hungry, so she thought it was a good idea to rest now.
Lukas opened the map. Then Joanna stretched her neck to look at it.
“Focus on driving.”
“Isn’t it fine to just step on the accelerator in this wilderness without even the shadow of a person? I don’t even have to hold the steering wheel.”
Her words might have been a bit exaggerated, but she wasn’t exactly wrong.
Lukas hadn’t told Joanna about what he’d learned about Destin. This was because there was nothing she could do about it and because, with her personality, she might try to turn back and try to raze the Congo Branch to the ground.
Or report it to Neil in North America.
Neil Prand. What would that man do if he learned about this?
‘He might not even care.’
Even if Africa became hell, or worse, Neil wouldn’t care as long as it didn’t affect North America.
What about Joanna? How would she react?
“…let’s go here.”
Hiding his thoughts, Lukas pointed to a location on the map.
It wasn’t the location of a city. In fact, it was an uninhabited rocky area that was completely out of the way of Destin’s recommended route.
“Don’t you think it’ll be hard to move through such a rocky area with the truck?”
“We’re not going across it. We’ll just rest at the entrance before taking another route.”
“Huh? I think it would be better to stick with our current route… there are many cities and well-paved roads.”
In all honesty, Lukas didn’t particularly care what route they took. The reason he decided to go to the rocky area was purely out of consideration for Joanna.
If they continued along the original route, it was highly likely that they would encounter more Demons and Demon Beasts. And Lukas had no intention of fighting Demons or Demon Beasts on this mission.
In other words, the burden of fighting would entirely be on Joanna. Of course, the injury to her thigh and shoulder that she’d received the previous night had already been healed, but there were still some aftereffects. More importantly, constantly pushing her limits in a fierce battle like the one she just fought should have given her a lot of mental fatigue.
But Joanna didn’t show it.
Was it because she didn’t want to show any weakness?
Perhaps it was because of her pride.
“We can’t blindly trust the information on the map. Destin said that the map was old. It seems that there are large mountains in the rocky area, so it would be better if we went there and got a good look at the surroundings before making a decision.”
“Hmmm… All right.”
Seemingly convinced by Lukas’ words, Joanna turned her head once again to look out the windshield.