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    Chapter 120: The End of Outing

    As pollen signaling the start of the New Year’s Eve celebration blanketed the entirety of Bariel, Barsabe returned to the palace in a sorry state. The small downtown mansion without her father had lost its meaning, so now her only abode was the lodging prepared for soldiers next to the training ground.

    Bang!

    “Barsabe, what the hell!”

    “Shut up. Be quiet.”

    “Did you get into an accident somewhere?”

    “No. Mind your business.”

    Barsabe roughly took off her tattered clothes and searched for her uniform. The Guard Corps tattoo on her left shoulder was still clear, despite the heat rash that had erupted all over her body due to her mishandling of magic.

    “I don’t have gloves. Lend me yours.”

    “Uniform? Why are you suddenly taking out your uniform? The New Year’s Eve event hasn’t started yet. The pollen signal has only just gone off.”

    Although she didn’t know what Ian’s intentions were, there was only one thing she could do right now.

    Go along with him.

    Since he said he would hand over her father’s belongings if she came formally dressed, she had no choice but to comply. With the body not even recovered yet, it was truly the last trace of her father.

    “You didn’t go looking for that guy Ian, did you?”

    “I did. And I came back empty-handed.”

    Her colleague facepalmed at her response. The news of Petreio’s death had spread rapidly within the Imperial Guard. Although he was a retired senior, Barsabe had joined the same order after him, and since the knights actively interacted with each other, it was natural that everyone would find out.

    It probably started when Morlin returned to the administrative office in a near-dead state. That Ian guy chopped off Morlin’s arms and legs in the process of usurping the lordship.

    Of course, while the gossips mostly talked about Erica, it was clear that Petreio’s name was also mixed in.

    “What about my father?”

    “I’m sorry, Barsabe. Petreio fulfilled his knightly duty to protect me from Ian.”

    “But why? Sir Morlin is clearly the administrative officer of the palace…”

    “To that despicable traitor, that didn’t matter. Barsabe, while I was imprisoned in the dungeon, I heard your father’s agonizing screams day and night.”

    Barsabe grimaced as she recalled her conversation with Morlin. Morlin had clearly told her that Ian had killed her father in a painful manner. However, the problem was that after meeting him, he didn’t seem like the kind of person who would do such a thing at all.

    “I know you shouldn’t judge people by their appearance, but still, the feeling is a bit…”

    “Barsabe! Are you listening to me?”

    Her rambling thoughts came to an abrupt halt. Her colleague was holding her arm with a worried expression. To be precise, he was holding her left shoulder, where the tattoo was.

    “If you get hurt during training, you’ll be expelled without warning. You know that, right? I understand your feelings, but that man is going to be a noble by order of His Majesty the Emperor. It means he’s not someone we should point our swords at.”

    Except for Mariv’s faction, it was natural that no one in the palace welcomed Ian. After all, even the neutral Imperial Guard had negatively labeled Ian’s first impression with Petreio’s death.

    “I understand. But even if I get expelled, don’t I have no father to scold me?”

    “T-that’s not important! And why did you recklessly attack a magic user? He’s the man who pacified the savages in the borderlands! Even Sir Morlin and Erica’s central army were defeated by him, what were you thinking?”

    The palace was a hotbed of rumors. Those who had heard of Ian’s exploits focused on different aspects depending on their own perspectives. The Ministry of Magic was particularly interested in Ian’s status as a magic user, while the Imperial Guard was particularly interested in the fact that Ian had driven out the central army.

    “That’s right. And that one escort Ian always brings with him is crazy. What’s different about the food in the borderlands? He’s just a brute with no brains.”

    Barsabe muttered nonchalantly, but she meant it. The fact that she had unknowingly released her magic was proof of that. Even taking into account the tension of the situation, where she was about to avenge her father’s death, it was a clear mistake.

    ‘I’ll let it go for now. I’ll let it go and take a good look at him.’

    Whether Ian was responsible for her father’s death or not. Since she had already fought him once, she would be able to approach the next battle with more ease. It was at that moment that Barsabe picked up her sword case.

    Weeeeeeng.

    A loud assembly call rang out from outside. It was a signal for all the knights in the barracks, except those who had gone out on duty, to put on their uniforms and come out.

    Her colleague glanced outside and then looked back at Barsabe with a sly smile. The knights who had remained in the palace were lazily wandering back to their rooms.

    “Take off your gloves.”

    “Ah…….”

    “I only have one pair too.”

    If she had known this would happen, she would have just grabbed her clothes and left. Barsabe frowned and put down the sword case.

    ***

    “Wow.”

    Beric exclaimed as he looked around the devastated blacksmith’s workshop. It was already a mess with dirty dust and ashes, but the floor was now charred black from the traces of an unknown explosion. The blacksmith’s long beard also appeared to be scorched and blackened.

    “My lord! You didn’t tell me about this!”

    “Calm down and let me explain the situation.”

    “No, how could you not tell me about this when you entrusted me with this? It’s just a silver coin for a special sword! It’s much cheaper than the cost of the damage!”

    Ian came here thinking that someone might be pulling a fast one, but it turned out to be true. Ian kept telling him to calm down, but the blacksmith didn’t lower his voice easily.

    No wonder, because the sword exploded!

    To be precise…….

    “I heated it up, but the heat wouldn’t go away.”

    I heated the blade to flatten the curved blade. I thought it was heated enough to start hammering, but the temperature didn’t drop over time. I was embarrassed and quenched it, but it exploded with tremendous heat and ruined everything! The blacksmith complained.

    “Hehe, it’s my sword. It’s so sharp!”

    “I almost got blown away because of that!”

    But a craftsman is a craftsman. Despite the shock, he finished the job perfectly. The client is guilty, but the sword is not. Beric quickly ran over to grab the sword and swung it. His eyes widened and he smiled in satisfaction.

    “It’s gotten lighter. This is crazy! The blade is even straighter now!”

    “You’ll have to pay me for the compensation and the life insurance! Oh my, what are you doing carrying something like this around? Excuse me, but did you by any chance steal it?”

    “I stole it, what els-!”

    “I apologize. He didn’t steal it, but in fact, he received it secretly from his family, right? Please understand the situation.”

    Romandro quickly covered Beric’s mouth, and Ian fumbled to get a checkbook. It was a situation that he understood all too well.

    “How much do you want?”

    “Give me at least one gold coin.”

    “That’s too little for life insurance. I heard from Lady Viviana that you are the best blacksmith in the capital.”

    Ian asked innocently as he picked up the pen. The blacksmith’s raised eyebrows softened slightly. The craftsmen of the rough blacksmith’s workshop were men of great pride. It seemed that Ian’s compliment had hit the spot quite well.

    “I’ll give you two gold coins. Think of it as a reward for a result that is even better than expected.”

    Ahem. No, well, if you say so, I’ll gratefully accept it. I’m glad nothing was seriously injured or broken.”

    “Thank you for saying so. Beric. Do you like it?”

    “Absolutely! I love it! It’s the best!”

    Beric continued to swing the sword around here and there, testing it out. Romandro clicked his tongue as he watched him.

    “Tsk tsk. That means there’s no dinner tonight, you brat!”

    “Huh? What are you talking about? Ian said he would buy me meat.”

    “That guy, that guy! He’s a pig who gobbles up money.”

    Romandro whispered to Ian, but his voice was too loud. Beric, who had overheard him, jumped up and ran towards Romandro, and Ian calmly finished the calculation.

    “You’ve worked hard.”

    “Yes. Next time, please leave it to an ordinary guy. I’ll do it better.”

    “Beric! Stop pestering Sir Romandro and come out.”

    Squeak.

    As they went outside, Viviana, who had been waiting in the carriage, leaned out her head with a worried look.

    “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

    “Yes, my lady. It’s nothing. It’s cold, so please stay inside. It would be better to finish here today and go home.”

    Ian looked around again as he spoke. He didn’t know if it was because he knew that the pursuer was Barsabe, or if it was just his imagination, but he couldn’t feel any more strange energy around him.

    “Beric. That thing will explode if it gets hot, so handle it carefully. Okay? Don’t just put it in a fireplace for no reason.”

    Romandro pulled Beric aside and warned him again and again. After all, this was no longer the borderlands where Ian was the ruler, but the capital. It was difficult to predict the consequences of even a single incident.

    “Do you think I’m an idiot? Why would I put this in a fireplace? You put food in a fireplace!”

    Ian glanced at the smelted sword.

    It was definitely not an ordinary sword. Whether it was made from magic stones, dragon’s teeth, or even meteorite fragments, there were too many possibilities to guess. But one thing was for sure, it was no ordinary object.

    “Beric, swear to me that you will take good care of it. Otherwise, I will have no choice but to confiscate the sword for everyone’s safety.”

    “Master? What are you talking about? We came here all the way from Karenna without any problems. I just have to not let it get hot. Seriously!”

    Just don’t let it get hot?

    Ian’s gaze suddenly lingered on Beric’s red hair and eyes.

    ‘Come to think of it, magic is also a kind of heat and energy.’

    What if he releases his magic through the sword?

    It would be the same as applying heat.

    “Beric, you mustn’t let your magic flow through the sword when you’re holding it.”

    “Yes, yes. I’ll do whatever you say. Don’t I always listen to you?”

    It was something he could try at any time, but now was not the time. The location was not ideal, and he didn’t have the capacity to deal with the situation if something went wrong.

    “Ian. What are you thinking?”

    When Ian didn’t answer, Beric asked him cautiously. Ian got into the carriage and threw out a playful joke. It wouldn’t feel like a joke to Beric at all, though.

    “…I was calculating how much meat I can buy with two gold coins.”

    “No, is this my fault?”

    “You brat, if you hadn’t picked up that thing, would this have happened? And what are you going to say when you tell them how you picked it up? Do you have something to investigate?”

    Romandro also threw in a word and got into the carriage. Beric, who felt wronged, hurriedly followed up the steps, and their noisy outing came to an end.

    ***

    And finally.

    Ian woke up earlier than usual and watched the sun rise. A luxurious uniform and new shoes hung on the wall. Gloves and accessories were also perfectly set up. The servant, Minnie, had been preparing since dawn.

    Knock knock.

    “Lord Ian. Are you awake?”

    “Yes. Just now.”

    “You have a lot to prepare. Hurry up and get dressed and come out.”

    At Minnie’s urging, Ian got out of bed. Today was a special day, and the day when the pollen that covered Bariel was in full bloom.

    “Today is the day to attend the New Year’s party.”

    The day Ian meets the emperor of this era.

    And it was the day he would start a new family and rise to the position of head of the family.

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