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    Early chapters of this series is currently being re-translated and proofread. So there may be discrepancies regarding character names, titles used, location names.

    Current re-translation status: Chp.1-25.

    “Commander Hail, what is the meaning of this!”

    “There’s a limit to being despicable!”

    “Argh! Quickly, do something about it immediately!”

    Chaos erupted. Even Ian was surprised inwardly, let alone the direct victim. Clutching his burned hand, the man collapsed, groaning in pain. His colleagues approached to assess his condition, and soon someone who seemed to be his superior grabbed Hail by the collar.

    The size difference made it appear more like he was hanging onto the collar rather than grasping it.

    “Have you gone mad? Do you want to fight?”

    “Commander Sailo, please calm yourself!”

    “Release me at once!”

    The commanders had similar magical power, but Hail was an exception. His physique spoke for itself. Furthermore, unlike the Magic Support Department that only handled palace paperwork, they were a field unit that hunted magic beasts nearly every day. Their combat sense for killing and dealing with enemies was unmatched compared to regular magicians.

    “Sailo, those who attempt to kill others should be prepared to die themselves.”

    “What nonsense are you spouting!”

    “Your subordinate tried to burn our kid’s palm, so I extinguished it first. Any objections?”

    Sailo gradually loosened his grip on the collar and glanced at his writhing subordinate on the floor. A fire-type magic circle was drawn on his right hand. Had Ian grasped it, his entire palm would have been severely burned.

    “Nevertheless, your actions are excessive!”

    “Excessive, you say? Then I apologize. I should have summoned the flames directly myself.”

    “……”

    Hail muttered again while taking out another cigarette to smoke. Despite recently gaining popularity due to the Roxane Battle, his combat-type magic was renowned even before. Its heavy and deeply penetrating power left a lasting impression, irrespective of his political standing.

    If he were to use magic here…

    “Just my luck! Remember, the Ministry of Magic is a communal society! Properly manage the new recruit, and if something like this happens again, I won’t stand idly by. I’ll report it to Lord Wesleigh!”

    Sailo shouted loudly as if boasting, then tended to his subordinates and departed. Without even awaiting a response. Other observing departments did the same.

    “Take care then.”

    “Welcome, newbie. You’re in for a tough time.”

    “Don’t talk to him, you idiot.”

    “Alright, alright. Let’s go. Time to work.”

    “Oh my, excuse me. I’ll just pass through.”

    Apart from expressing interest, they strongly implied not wanting to get involved. In an instant, only silence remained in the empty conference room.

    “Haa.”

    Tomi broke the silence with a deep sigh and glared at Hail. What was he going to say? The moment Ian wondered that.

    “I told you I dislike when you extinguish it with a cigarette. The ashes fall.”

    Saying that, he took out a handkerchief from his pocket and began cleaning the floor. Nakina chuckled and lit a cigarette, just like Hail.

    “Tomi has a bit of an odd cleanliness quirk. Anyway, be more cautious from now on. You need to develop your magic detection ability first. How can you act as the youngest when you’re this dull?”

    They seemed to misunderstand that Ian couldn’t detect the prank and tried to shake hands. Well, no matter. He handled it well without their intervention, so he could only smile.

    “Thank you.”

    “Yeah, yeah. Now that you’ve joined the Magic Operations Department, let’s do well together no matter what. Feel at ease with us.”

    People who could have each other’s backs in battle.

    As far as Ian recalled, that was the image of the Magic Operations Department. It made sense given how urgent and dangerous the field was. At that time, the goal seemed to be cultivating skilled individuals…

    “What about the other members?”

    “Ah. They didn’t come to work. They’re all on vacation after returning from the Roxane Battle. Since they never know when they’ll have to go out and use their bodies again, they don’t come unless there’s something special. You can meet them gradually.”

    The atmosphere of a department usually follows the leader. When Ian glanced at Hail, he grinned and extended his hand. As if to do the handshake they couldn’t earlier.

    “Nice to meet you, newbie.”

    “Nice to meet you too. Commander.”

    He had the physique of someone who would have succeeded even as a warrior, not just a magician. He tapped Ian’s shoulder and then stretched with a yawn. As if signaling to end the boring joining ceremony.

    “Well then, shall we go for a drink?”

    “What drink in broad daylight? Let’s have beer.”

    “Ian, do you drink beer? I’m not very familiar with noble tastes.”

    “Of course. But I have a companion.”

    “Companion? Who?”

    Creak!

    As soon as he finished speaking, the front door of the conference room opened. Beric, face swollen, shouted in surprise.

    “Iaaaan! Why aren’t you coming out when everyone else is? I thought we missed each other!”

    Even though instructed to wait at the entrance of the conference room building, it seemed he couldn’t endure it after seeing the magicians leave and came inside. The Magic Operations Department members gaped at his condition.

    “…What on earth is that?”

    “His condition looks terrible, it’s impressive that he’s walking.”

    “This is Beric, the swordmage I brought with me. He’s like that because he came from a match at the training grounds.”

    “Then could it be that he’s the one who fought Captain Jeirutt?”

    “That’s right.”

    Tomi and Nakina’s gazes intertwined simultaneously. The Magic Operations Department, already short on manpower, was thrilled Ian had joined, but he had a swordmage as his subordinate? And that guy who was the talk of the town at that?

    ‘This is a complete bonus, isn’t it?’

    ‘A bonus, a bonus!’

    Tomi and Nakina’s eyes sparkled. And they approached as if welcoming him and put their arms around his shoulders. Beric’s expression frowned briefly at the sudden skinship.

    “Oh ho, we are the ones who will be with Ian from now on. We’ll see you often too. Nice to meet you. I’m Nakina.”

    “I’m Tomi! We’re going for a drink, want to join us?”

    “…Drink? Will there be meat too?”

    “Yeah! What the hell, since the youngest joined, the commander will treat us!”

    “I’m in the red this month.”

    “Who cares~? Let’s go! Eat rice, eat meat! Let’s drink!”

    “Let’s properly puncture the commander’s wallet!”

    “Yay! By the way, who’s the commander?”

    “You’re an idiot, aren’t you? Can’t you tell at a glance that the guy over there who looks like a bandit is the commander? Well, it’s fine. I like idiots. Because I’ve noticed that no one smashes bodies as well as an idiot.”

    The three of them hit it off and instantly stuck together. Ian and Hail, watching from behind, smiled absurdly. Hail nodded his head and suggested.

    “I’ll tell you the detailed work schedule while we drink. Let’s just go.”

    ***

    Click.

    “Oh my.”

    Minnie felt like she had returned to the day of the New Year’s party when she opened the door. Seeing Beric unable to properly support his body, the coachman sweating profusely while moving him, and Ian letting out a labored sigh. At least that day it was the middle of the night, but she wondered what was happening in broad daylight.

    “What happened? Gasp, Sir Beric! Are you alright? Just how badly were you beaten up to be in this state?”

    “Beric is here? Right, right! He’s totally smashed!”

    “I need to call a doctor. This way, lay him down!”

    “Tsk tsk. You fool, I told you to be careful!”

    “Hmm? But why does it smell like alcohol…?”

    Minnie, who had been making a fuss, wrinkled her nose and sniffed. Romandro also hesitated and checked the soup stains on Beric’s clothes.

    “He got dead drunk at the Magic Operations Department welcome party.”

    “No, it was sir Ian who joined the Ministry of Magic, so how did he…?”

    “Kikik… Ah, I can’t eat anymore. Stop!”

    “Stop, you rascal! Right, just stop it!”

    Smack!

    “Aaaah!”

    “Oh no, I hit a bruised spot. Sorry.”

    When Beric screamed, Romandro floundered and soothed his injury. Ian plopped down on the sofa and roughly explained that this and that had happened.

    Beric having a match with Jeirutt at the training grounds, going through the joining ceremony, and even the welcome party. Before the sun had even set, a lot had happened and he was very exhausted.

    “You’ve worked hard. Sir Ian, shall I bring you some warm tea?”

    “Please do, Minnie.”

    “Gosh, but it’s truly fortunate. That his neck is still properly attached even after a match with Commander Jeirutt.”

    Romandro clicked his tongue and handed Ian the letter on the table.

    “A letter came while I was out for a bit.”

    “Oh, it’s from Karenna.”

    “The mayor interrogated the bandits and sent a report, so take a look. Hasha! Hasha! Where did that kid go?”

    “Where did Hasha go?”

    Ian tore off the sealing wax and looked around. Come to think of it, Hasha, who used to sit in the corner of the sofa every day, was nowhere to be seen. It seemed like he hadn’t seen him in the morning either.

    “He’s been going out a lot these days. I have no idea what he’s doing and coming back.”

    “Tell him to be careful. Wesleigh will be paying attention.”

    Hasha’s personality itself was serious, so he wasn’t very worried, but just in case. At Ian’s request, Romandro nodded and covered Beric with a blanket. He also carefully removed the black sword attached to his waist and placed it on the floor.

    Rustle.

    Ian rubbed his eyelids and opened the letter. The handwriting was surprisingly small and densely packed.

    -Greetings, Sir Ian. This is Mayor Onyx of Karenna. I hope you have safely arrived in the central region. Thanks to your help, this place has returned to normal.

    So, I am delivering the news you have been waiting for. The answer to your question back then, “How did the blue-haired child follow the bandits?”

    It had remained a mystery as to why Hasha’s corpse, which had been under a spell, followed the bandits when it encountered them. Ian turned to the next page and read the letters, then frowned.

    -The bandit leader is also not certain, but based on his speculation, it seems to be a phenomenon caused by the black sword of the Atan tribe, he testified.

    The Atan tribe. They were a warlike race that mainly operated in the north of Variel, known as the Blood Tribe. In the future, they greatly expanded their power during the attack of magic beasts that shook the empire, but they were eventually defeated by the commander of the Imperial Guards and perished.

    ‘Right. Even if that’s true, I had guessed it.’

    -Regardless of whether it’s true or not, I’m just conveying it as reported. The Atan tribe are those who survive by drinking the blood of magic beasts, so it’s questionable if they are really human. The black sword they used to summon magic beasts is that very one, so perhaps that’s why the blue-haired boy followed, he revealed.

    At that time, Hasha’s corpse was not human, but undead.

    If it reacted to the black sword, it makes sense.

    -I have a question. Is the blue-haired boy you mentioned not human? The more I continued the interrogation, the bandit kept talking about slave traders and corpses, things I couldn’t understand, so I judged that this was not something a local city could find out.

    Ian realized that the flow of the continuing text was strange. The very last page. He unconsciously held his forehead.

    “Why did he do something I didn’t even order…?”

    “That mayor? He looked incompetent at a glance! But why? What does it say?”

    -So, I submitted a request to the Imperial Palace for detailed information, so please wait a little longer. I sincerely apologize for my negligent handling in the past. And please relay a message to Sir Romandro, the advisor who was with you. Then, I will report again. Thank you.

    It meant that if things went awry, the Imperial Palace, more precisely Wesleigh among them, could find out about what happened in Karenna.

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