Shadow Court Magician Chapter 108: Shadow of Expana
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When we escaped from Reinhardt’s villa, I quickly met up with Victor and Nine.
As soon as they saw me, they expressed their happiness at seeing us again.
“I was so surprised when I heard that you and Her Highness were going to the villa alone.” (Victor)
“I thought Brother wouldn’t come back anymore.” (Nine)
“Unfortunately, this staff officer has a lot of bad luck.”
Putting it together like that, I kicked off one of the Black Elites who have attacked.
“As usual, you’re still quite a good magician.”
“Thank you.” (Nine)
“So where should we escape? If we stay in the Royal Capital as it is, we will be treated as rebels.” (Victor)
“We don’t have to stay. Well, we could run to Mount Shibi.”
“Mount Shibi? Isn’t there a ferocious dragon there?” (Nine)
“The dragon was defeated by our strategist here. He killed it while he was saving me.” (Victor)
I remember my encounter with Victor.
Victor had a conflict with a nobleman who was his superior at the time and was accused of a crime he did not commit. In order to save him, I went to the mountain of Shibi and defeated the dragon.
“Mount Shibi is famous for its lair of dragons, but I defeated one of them. I’m thinking of making its nest our stronghold.”
“It’s a good idea. The mountain of Shibi will scare the weak people of the Royal City and they won’t come to us any time soon.” (Victor)
“That’s true, Brother.” (Nine)
“Well, it will only buy us some time, but in the meantime, we can make some preparations.”
“So, what are the odds, Leon?” (Victor)
“The military strategist Leon von Almarsh never fights a battle without a chance of victory.” (Nine)
“But this time, the odds are overwhelmingly against us. The opponent is the next king, and he has the support of the military. We have less than five hundred soldiers in our division, while they have more than twenty divisions and can mobilize at least two hundred thousand soldiers.” (Victor)
“Of those, only about five divisions are completely subordinate to Maxis. The rest are subordinate to him because he is the next king. If the war situation gets worse, they will easily leave and side with us.”
“Hmm, so we only have to deal with five divisions?” (Victor)
“Did that make you feel better?”
“No way. They’re still ten times our numbers.” (Victor)
“No, we’ll make up the difference.”
“What is your basis?” (Victor)
“Because I’m the Shadow Court Magician.”
It’s a bit pompous, but Victor and Nine seem to be convinced. They’ve seen the miracles I’ve been able to perform. Saving the princess with just thirty soldiers, conquering an impregnable fortress with a single brigade, and destroying the empire’s strongest Titan Corps.
They were always a bunch of reckless guys who loved to fight against the odds and showed a tremendous amount of trust in me.
It could be summed up like this.
“Well, we just trust you and the princess. You’ll never bore us.” (Nine & Victor)
In order to repay their trust, I gathered up the soldiers of the Libra Division and headed for Mount Shibi.
The Wandering Libra Division Arc
The Libra Division became a group of exiles after that.
However, there was no feeling of being a defeated soldier. The morale of the division was high.
This was thanks in part to the princess’s speech.
On her way to Mount Shibi, she declared to all the division’s soldiers.
“Today, from this day forward, I am a rebel. There is no doubt about it.
But that does not mean that we have become enemies of this country.
I have only become a personal adversary of my brother Maxis and the cabal that nests in this country.
I promise you this.
I will not act against the people of Ernia in any way, morally or in the national interest.
At all times, I will only do what is in the best interest of my country.
I will sweep away the darkness that covers this country.
I promise to sweep away the dark, deep black clouds that cover this country.” (Sicily)
Sicily declared that and said that those who did not equalize their ambitions could leave the Libra Army behind.
She declared that she would not blame them if they ran to Maxis.
All of the soldiers who were deeply moved by her generosity and the princess’s character were moved in unison, and almost all of them stayed behind. However, some of the soldiers left in tears.
Most of them had left their families back home. For them, the salary from the army was their lifeline. They all had children to feed and elderly parents to care for.
But even so, it was fortuitous that more than 90% of the soldiers stayed behind.
I was once again grateful for the princess’s charisma.
“If I had made a speech, I doubt if thirty percent would have stayed.”
Nine teased “It would have been ten percent?”, But that was true. I’m a warrior who sways wisely from the shadows. It is not possible to connect the hearts of soldiers with that aspiration. All I could do was boost the morale of the soldiers by “victory.”
I wanted to devise a strategy to achieve this, but…
When I arrived at Mount Shibi, I holed myself up in a cave to work out a plan for the next hundred years.
I began to read a book in the officer’s quarters I had built in the dragon’s den.
It was not a book on military strategy.
It was just a novel. However, reading books gave him a strange sense of inspiration. A seemingly endless stream of thoughts flowed into my mind.
Maybe it’s because reading relaxes my body, but the maid, Chloe, says that I’m a “clever man”.
I gathered my thoughts as I read a book about an ancient gladiator called “The Struggle of a Warrior.”
“It’s not a bad idea to have the princess’s brother as the king.”
This country is a patriarchal society, and for some reason, they’re allergic to queens. It should be a good strategy to put her brother on the throne and give him a cushion.
“The only problem is that we’re a few months too late.”
Apparently, Reinhardt’s mother had already been seduced and had joined Maxis’ faction.
“No, not seduced, but blackmailed. I’m sure she was coerced after the assassination attempt.”
The attempted assassination of Reinhardt, perhaps, was all a ploy by Maxis.
Perhaps Maxis is trying to get his forces on his side by not killing Reinhardt and stopping the attempt. He was sure that Rainhard’s mother, who is not a very strong person, would take his side if he did.
“It’s a ploy unlike the crown prince with an F rank in intelligence. –I wonder if there’s an excellent military strategist behind it.”
I was well aware of the stupidity of Maxis, the eldest brother. It’s not just that he’s the king’s eldest son, he’s a fool who’s getting carried away. He is a fool with no significant military or intellectual strength. There was no way that such a fool could come up with such a plan.
It reminds me of Kerich, the second brother.
He is the man who became a demon in order to eliminate me and the princess.
According to reports from Ernia’s intelligence agency, Kerich was in league with a wicked order called the Demise Cult. In exchange for borrowing power from the wicked order, he was plotting to take over the throne in place of his brother Maxis.
That ambition was thwarted by my left arm, but the wicked order was still alive and well.
I guess they shamelessly switched sides to Maxis, the brother they had been enemies with until the other day.
I should have assumed that they were lending their evil wisdom and power to Maxis.
If that was the case, then the series of deft actions would make sense.
“What a pain in the a*s.”
It was not only Maxis’s powerful army that was troublesome but the addition of the cult’s scheming power might create a nasty chemical reaction.
“Well, I have no choice but to do it anyway.”
As I was gathering my thoughts in this manner, I felt an evil presence in the natural officer’s quarters.
I felt as if the air and magic around me were being cut off.
I feel a lonely feeling of being left behind in the world.
“–What is this sensation?”
I murmured and picked up the small staff that I had left by my bedside.
I felt an uneasy atmosphere.
Observing the room, I noticed a crack in the mirror. The source of the evil cried out from there.
“As expected, the Sage of Balance, did you notice?” (Expana)
“I felt your disgusting breath..”
“If you hadn’t noticed, I would have killed you, but I guess that’s not so convenient.” (Expana)
“I’m not going to die that easily. I’ve been in this kind of trouble since I was a child.”
“As expected of an exiled nobleman from the Empire. Well, then you must be aware of my true identity.” (Expana)
“You belong to the Demise Cult. And a very important one at that.”
“As expected, the Sage of Balance.” (Expana)
“I can tell right away. You have a gloomy face and a pompous air about you.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment. My name is Expana. The High Priest Expana.” (Expana)
“It’s not only hard to remember, but it’s also hard to pronounce.”
“Of course, it is. It’s a sacred name, a holy name. My real name is much simpler.” (Expana)
“I won’t remember it for the rest of my life, so don’t bother saying it.”
“How cold, I came to see you, you know?” (Expana)
“In ancient times, coming to assassinate a man in his sleep was not coming to see him.”
“That’s true. But even if we don’t remember each other’s names, we can still fight together.” (Expana)
“Well, we will fight each other.”
“Yes. We should fight together.” (Expana)
“Are you on Maxis’ side?”
“That was decided by the cult’s executives. I’m not interested in him.” (Expana)
“No, you shady b*stards have to stick together to beat us.”
“I have no intention of winning. If this world dies, I’ll disappear. I don’t want to disappear. I want to survive and reap the fruits of my glory.” (Expana)
“You’re a pompous fool. Don’t you think the Demise Cult wants to bring the world to an end and start over from nothing?”
“That’s what the leaders seem to think, but not me. The only thing I’m interested in is my own prosperity, and the order is a tool to get ahead.” (Expana)
The fact that he could say it so clearly was proof that he was a big shot, and I felt a strange affinity for this man, but that was why I couldn’t help him.
I told him loudly and clearly.
“Well, you will still choose a path that is against me? If you and I worked together, your princess could be queen.” (Expana)
“Yes, but there will also be hell to pay in this world. My goal is to make her queen, but at the same time I want her to smile.”
“You are a greedy man. The princess has the monopoly on the kingdom’s authority and power, and I have the monopoly on the power behind the scenes. Isn’t that enough?” (Expana)
“The princess will be sad.”
“Yes, but if you continue like this, you will not even be able to grieve. Maxis and the Order want your princess dead.” (Expana)
“I don’t care. I’m going to kill the Cult and her brother. I’ll kill them and you too.”
“You’re treating me like an afterthought. –You’ll regret it.” (Expana)
“I’ll regret working with you a million times more. Now, if you open that filthy mouth of yours one more time, I’m gonna blow it off, okay?”
“As you like.” (Expana)
“As you wish.”
And then I release my magic power at full force.
The overwhelming magical power wraps around Expana’s body, but he probably doesn’t feel even a bit uncomfortable. The reason is that the one who appeared here is just his “shadow”. It was the shadow of the High Priest, not his actual body.
His shadow would disappear in a few seconds, but in the end, he left behind a few parting words.
“You’ll regret it in hell for underestimating me.” (Expana)
I will reply to that word.
“Wait for me in the special seat in hell. I’ll kick you’re a*s there, too.”
Those words would come true in later years, but it would be a long time before I died. –It was as it was supposed to be.
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