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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.

    Unlike the pleasant atmosphere of other departments, the entrance to the Mana Stone Management Department was different, starting from the air. The sticky walls, the powder and dust attached messily, the mana stone storage boxes shining in the darkness, this place that contained heat and cold as they were reminded one of the back alleys of a marketplace.

    “Try lowering the fire.”

    “Strange. The threshold is much lower, isn’t it?”

    “Don’t do that, I said lower the fire?”

    Boom!

    With every step, strange sounds echoed from all directions. They were traces of research crushing, grinding, and boiling mana stones. Occasionally, there were sounds of explosions, but no one there paid much attention. They only protected the flasks with their bodies so that their research wouldn’t be disturbed.

    “Hehehe… It’s brilliant, brilliant.”

    Ian leaned against the door and watched Akorella’s back. A space completely cut off from the outside. Only the faint purple light from the Luron stones illuminated her face. It was truly the appearance of a madman. Akorella’s subordinate knocked on the door to make his presence known.

    Knock knock.

    “Chief Akorella.”

    “Why!! I told you not to call me when I’m researching!”

    “Minister Ian has arrived.”

    “Oh? Really?”

    The shift in attitude was so fast it was scary. She took off her goggles and gloves and approached Ian.

    “What brings you here? Minister? I submitted the report as you told me to. Ah, no. That’s not necessary. This is perfect timing. Come this way. When Luron stones is subjected to a gradual increase in pressure at ultra-low temperatures, the change in bubbles occurs much more actively. But we only received it in powder form, so how could we have known? Ah, so what I mean is… This bubble is practically the core of the mana stone-“

    “Chief Akorella.”

    Ian calmed Akorella down, who was rambling excitedly. Then he placed a report an inch thick on the desk and smiled brightly.

    “That’s what I came to ask about. I’d appreciate it if you could write the reports in an easy-to-understand manner next time. From what I roughly understood, you can eliminate the side effects mentioned in the Truth Potion.”

    “That’s right. Vomiting blood after drinking it greatly contributed to the negative impact externally. It was a part that needed to be resolved for commercialization, so I pondered over it. I think it will be no problem.”

    Indeed, what changes the world is money and will. Research became much easier once the chunks of Luron stones came in. Ian continued flipping through the report and asked.

    “There are no issues with the efficacy?”

    “It seems to vary depending on how much Luron stones is added. Originally, the function only worked at the moment of vomiting blood, but while resolving the side effects, it might be possible to adjust it by time. Since we’re focusing on commercialization, we’ll discuss that with other departments first.”

    Boom!

    Another explosion was heard from the end of the corridor. It was clear that someone’s research had failed. Ian nodded, indicating he understood, and tapped on the table.

    “And this is a question based on a hunch.”

    “Yes, yes. Ask away! I don’t know what it is, but when you start like that, it’s almost always correct. It will be a correct hunch.”

    When Akorella’s eyes sparkled, her subordinate left the lab, looking like he couldn’t stand it anymore. Once they were alone, Ian crossed his arms and smiled.

    “There wasn’t a single word about neutralizing the Truth Potion in the report. Are you planning to submit a separate report?”

    “Oho! Mr. Ian. You’re sharp.”

    The research on the Truth Potion was being conducted with commercialization as the goal. Being commercial meant being chosen by the market, and the easiest way to be chosen by the market was to aim for a trade-off.

    For example, if swords sell well, shields will also sell well, and if poisons sell well, antidotes will also be in high demand. It would be the same for the Truth Potion. Surely, there would be an explosive demand for neutralizing it.

    “The Ministry of Magic, of course, has no plans to officially research neutralization. But who knows about foreign countries or unknown pharmacists in the marketplace. Figuring out ways to neutralize the Truth Potion in advance is ultimately the method to maximize profits in the long run.”

    “Honestly, I’m not good at such personal calculations, I’m just curious about a spear that pierces everything and a shield that blocks everything. A few error cases that get neutralized when ingested have been discovered. I was planning to organize and give them to you separately.”

    “That information is confidential.”

    “Of course. You don’t have to worry about our kids. They rarely go out because they only do research.”

    Boom!

    Another explosion. When even the pungent smoke rose, Ian frowned. As if asking if this situation was really okay. But Akorella rummaged through the drawer with familiarity. Dust fell between the stacked parchment papers.

    “Uh, I put it here, but where did it go? Anyway, I’ll organize it roughly and submit it today.”

    “I’ll be in the minister’s office for the time being, so come up directly.”

    “Yes. Understood. Minister Ian, loyalty, loyalty!”

    Not only did he provide a large supply of Luron stones, but he was also someone who had an understanding of research. Akorella playfully saluted, thinking it was truly a good thing that Ian had become the minister instead of Wesleigh.

    “Good work.”

    Ian constantly waved his hand in the air as he left the Mana Stone Management Department. Didn’t he understand too well why the mages called that place a ‘den’? It wasn’t like this 100 years later, it seemed the personality of the leader definitely influenced the atmosphere of the department.

    ‘This side seems roughly prepared.’

    “You’re here? Minister.”

    “Someone from the Administration Department just came and left.”

    “The Administration Department?”

    When Ian returned, Tommy followed him timidly and put down a stack of documents. What was that again, Beric frowned as if he was disgusted, lying on the sofa peeling a Gulla.

    “They came to check if the manufacturing of the Truth Potion was going well. A schedule has been set, and they asked if there were any setbacks. Just in case, I told them I would write a separate reply.”

    It was a kind of trial. A trial to determine whether the curse Gale testified about was true or not. The direction in which the rapids of the Imperial Palace would swirl would be determined by the results of that day.

    From what he could guess, the path was roughly visible, but it was literally rapids, so it couldn’t be perfectly traced. Who knows where the water droplets will splash?

    “Tell them there are no problems.”

    “Yes. Understood.”

    ‘Gale narrowly escapes death and gains a shield that no one can touch for the time being.’

    Since his death would be the death of Bariel. It will be newly revealed someday, but until then, even Mariv won’t be able to harm him easily.

    ‘Then how will Mariv act? He’s the one trying to drop him, and Gale is the one holding on. Will he just watch him survive on the edge of a cliff?’

    Absolutely not.

    It’s also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Mariv. In order not to miss it, he will use all means and methods to push Gale away. So that he can’t climb up, so that he falls into the abyss.

    ‘Among them, the move with the biggest impact is…’

    Ian unknowingly bit his lip. It was something that was frightening to even think about as disrespectful and shocking, but it wasn’t entirely unrealistic.

    “Ian, your expression is bad again.”

    Beric, who had been watching him quietly, remarked. Wasn’t he often lost in deep thought like that lately? When Ian smiled brightly, Beric clenched his fist and spoke passionately.

    “Everyone is doing it to make a living, you know? Let’s not work! He just gave it to us roughly anyway.”

    “There are levels to making a living too. Beric, if you’re going to live off just eating Gulla, go ahead.”

    “…Then will Ian work a little harder?”

    “Ah, did you smell it?”

    Ian had Beric smell the drug Gale had given him. Since he passed out and had hallucinations as soon as he put his nose to it at the frontier, if it was the same thing, the reaction would be the same. At Ian’s words, Beric sniffed.

    “I missed dinner because I passed out.”

    “It’s the same thing, right? Did you also have hallucinations?”

    “Yeah. But it’s a bit less than before.”

    “Even if it’s the same drug, it varies greatly depending on the manufacturer and the method. Anyway, what’s important is that it’s of the same nature.”

    Ian nodded, twirling a pen with his hand. What kind of connection did the merchant group distributing this drug have with Mariv?

    ‘I sent a letter to Hielo and also gave a heads-up to Mereloth. I asked them to find out where that drug Mrs. Lien gave me came from.’

    But it would take a long time. Moreover, Mrs. Lien had only gotten her hands on the drug, and the possibility of her being connected to the central force was extremely low. Because at that time, she couldn’t engage in much external activity under the count’s fierce surveillance. For now, the quickest and most definite method is to receive the data Gale has collected.

    ‘A clue about the merchant group is Mariv’s Achilles’ heel.’

    It’s best to think about it after the meeting is held. Depending on the outcome, or more precisely, Mariv’s actions, the response he would take would also differ, wouldn’t it?

    Swish.

    Ian looked out the window, gauging where the messenger he had sent to Hielo might be flying. Thanks to the garden that replaced the annex, the sunlight was pouring down without reservation.

    ***

    And finally, the day arrived.

    “You can’t enter the palace today? Why?”

    “Today is the delivery deadline.”

    “I don’t know the details either. An order has been issued to block the entry of outsiders to the palace as much as possible until sunset today.”

    The atmosphere in the Imperial Palace was quite different. They were fierce and solemn like those facing a battle, sharpening their blades. Just in case, the guards minimized the entry and exit, and all the palace staff gathered in front of the grand council hall.

    “It’s the Ministry of Magic.”

    “The Ministry of Magic has arrived.”

    “It’s Minister Ian Hielo, right?”

    “Ah, he’s the new minister.”

    Ian walked at the front, dressed in full uniform. His cape fluttered, and behind him followed Akorella and the members of the Mana Operations Department. Until they reached the grand council hall, the murmurs around them didn’t stop.

    “I heard they newly manufactured the Truth Potion.”

    “Is that so? Haha, well then.”

    At someone’s words, those gathered in small groups made strange expressions. As if Prince Gale was finished now. Since it was a potion made by the one who became the Minister of Magic riding on Mariv’s authority, the result was obvious.

    “But recently, I haven’t seen Prince Gale at all.”

    “Isn’t it because he’s been cursed? He’s refraining from going out.”

    Ian unknowingly glanced in that direction. In fact, he was also very curious. Of course, he couldn’t contact him alone due to the eyes of the public and Mariv, but he had been silent even to messages.

    ‘I changed the Truth Potion and even sent him a way to neutralize it just in case, but there was no reply.’

    Has he gone crazy? Well, if so, he had no intention of stopping him. At that moment. The sound of a carriage running loudly echoed behind Ian. It was a fine horse with such good momentum that the ground shook.

    “Ah.”

    And on the flag attached to the carriage was the emblem of the Hayman family. Ian and the Ministry of Magic, as well as the staff of each department, all stopped and looked down at the carriage.

    Hee-ying!

    The man who got off with a light movement was Gale. He smiled leisurely and swept back his hair. At Gale’s sudden appearance, everyone bowed their waists and greeted him respectfully.

    “Prince Gale, please take my hand.”

    And then, the voice of a woman was heard. It was Melania, the youngest daughter of the Hayman family. Gale naturally took her hand and then wrapped his arm around her waist.

    “Be careful, Melania.”

    “With you holding me, Your Highness, there’s nothing to be careful about.”

    Everyone noticed that the atmosphere between the two was unusual. As Gale climbed the stairs, his eyes met Ian’s, and he subtly raised his eyebrows.

    ‘You were busy doing that.’

    It was one of the ropes Gale could grab before falling off the cliff.

    Ian let out a fake laugh and met his eyes. As if saying, very impressive.

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