It was truly a catastrophe!
Five 6th Circle magicians, sixteen 5th Circle magicians, and three gust wagons formed a tremendous loss. It wasn't a damage which couldn't be recovered from, but it would be hard to fill their vacancy for the next 10 years.
If Veronica hadn't been able to protect the survivors of the convey, Theodore Miller and the high elf, then the damage might've expanded by several times.
Kurt III praised Veronica's achievement publicly while convening an emergency meeting to deal with this case.
"Listen carefully. The Tower Masters, heads of the Magic Society, and members of the court must gather in the meeting room without anyone being absent. This issue has an enormous impact, and it is strictly forbidden to leak any information to the outside world. This is an edict I proclaim in the name of Kurt III."
An edict in the king's name…! The meaning of such a thing was never light. If a person rejected this edict or broke it, they could immediately be hung on the gallows for treason. That was why they all headed to the meeting room of the royal palace after receiving Kurt III's order.
Among the people present were the Tower Masters, who rarely gathered in one place.
"Huhu, it has been a long time since I've seen some of the faces gathered here," Blundell Adruncus, the Blue Tower Master, muttered while still carrying his staff.
"Oh, what is all this? I am young, but I feel old when gathering in this place," Veronica, the beautiful Red Tower Master muttered in a petulant tone.
"..." The man wearing a white robe and a plain mask which covered his eyes, nose, and forehead was the White Tower Master, Orta.
As always, the position of the Yellow Tower Master remained vacant, but no one questioned this. He was the only one qualified to refuse any call, and this was an open secret at the heart of Mana-vil. More than anything else, he had no interest in national affairs.
Blundell settled his big body in a chair and opened his mouth to speak, "Now, let's all sit down first. It is awkward to talk while standing."
As three of the four seats around the throne were filled, the rest of the people started to sit down.
On the right side of the round table was Kurt III's court, who were responsible for state administration. It included the household department, the military, foreign affairs and so on. Meanwhile, the left side of the table was for the nobles present in the capital. There were a few earls and dukes waiting for the king.
Not long after that, Kurt III entered the meeting room.
"Presenting His Majesty!" Unlike other times, the king's knights declared the presence of the king directly. It meant this meeting had such an important agenda that it was impossible to even approach him.
Kurt III opened his palm and restrained them before they bowed. "The bowing will be omitted today. Please be seated."
Nobody dared refuse. They quickly followed his order and sat down.
Kurt III nodded and headed to the throne in the center. He sat down on the throne covered in white leather and looked next to him. "Veronica, summarize the case briefly."
"Yes, Your Majesty." Veronica wasn't playful like usual. She got up from her seat with a cold expression and spoke as the attention of the people focused on her, "Two days ago, the convoy passing through the Nadum Mountains was attacked by an unidentified monster. All the gust wagons mobilized for the mission were destroyed, and 21 magicians killed. The high elf was unharmed at the end of the engagement, but the monster escaped."
Silence fell for a moment before a storm exploded in the meeting room.
"Red Tower Master, the monster got away from you?!"
"Surely this will become bigger…!"
Each reaction was different, but they were all shocked. The 21 magicians dispatched as the convoy were a strong power. They had been veteran war mages from the time of the war against the Empire. It was an elite group which could even grab the ankles of a sword master when working together.
However, the convoy had been wiped out suddenly? Did it mean that master level monsters existed in the world? Perhaps Veronica was lying?
Dismay, horror and disbelief filled the eyes of the people in the room.
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"Stop," Kurt III spoke and calmed the atmosphere at once.
The attitude required in this situation was to find the best countermeasure for the outcome of this event, rather than them being shocked. The people gathered noticed the chilly look in the king's eyes and quickly got into the right mindset.
"It is fortunate that the high elf is safe. We avoided the worst case scenario somehow."
The people nodded at Kurt III's words. What would the damage be if the high elf had also been killed? Meltor would've suffered at least three times as much in the future. They would lose the chance to gain a good relationship with Elvenheim.
The damage this time was painful, but there was some small comfort.
"Provide compensation to the families of the magicians who were sent as part of the convoy. And we must thoroughly receive compensation from Elvenheim. Isn't that right, Blundell?"
"The elves are a species who consider silver as a sign of gratitude and no grudges, so it will be done according to Your Majesty's will."
"Right. No, it would be difficult if that wasn't the case." The wooden arm holder of the throne was crushed by Kurt III's grip.
Due to international relations, he had lost more than 20 elites. If the value of the high elf was lower than this, there would be no point in them sacrificing their lives. No matter what, he had to obtain a price for them.
After a while, Kurt's face returned to that of the sober ruler. "Blundell, escort the high elf to Elvenheim. I'm sorry since you've just returned from a long distance mission, but you know that the elves don't like Veronica."
"I would be delighted. By the way, Your Majesty."
"Hmm?" Kurt III looked puzzled by Blundell's additional words.
"I have a request to ask of you from the high elf."
"A request? For me?"
"Yes, that's right."
The king made a gesture to allow the message.
Blundell grinned and delivered Ellenoa's words. "She asked to stay until the healing of Theodore Miller, the survivor of this incident, is over. She doesn't know about the other injuries, but his right hand is in a serious state. If it isn't healed with the power of the high elf, she predicts there will be aftereffects."
"I have no reason to refuse the request. Rather, I would like to ask that from my side." It was a warming story. Kurt III's stiff face loosened as he heard it.
Whether the myth about the silver was true or not, the high elf hadn't left Theodore alone after being escorted to the capital. She had hugged the bloody and bandaged right arm and continued using her healing power on Theo.
The cold atmosphere of the room became a little warmer.
"Hoh, this young man has earned the grace of a high elf."
"Isn't he 20 this year and already at the 5th Circle? Brilliant. Why wasn't this talent known until now?"
"Look carefully. He took first place in the Pupil Tournament recently. It was just a few months ago."
"I see that he has no sponsors."
They read about Theodore enthusiastically and expressed their appreciation for him. The court fought over which department the young man would fit into, while the nobles wondered what conditions they could use to recruit him.
However, the fierce debate was once again stopped by Kurt III. "…Theodore Miller, that young man again."
Kurt III looked at the paper which contained Theodore's history with his distinctive purple eyes.
Theo had won the Pupil Tournament and taken care of the elder lich, and now, he had even survived the convoy. It was a rare case where a 20-year-old magician would end up facing the king three times in less than half a year.
Naturally, the king was forced to develop an interest Theo.
'Is his talent luck or does he have the qualities of a hero? Or maybe he has something extraordinary.'
There was something unknown which couldn't be discovered from the information written on the document. It was clear that he had helped the kingdom a few times, and it was the king's role to make the most of it.
According to Veronica, within the next 10 years, Theo would grow enough to be able to threaten her. Then the right thing to do was spray water and fertilizer on the ground to help the tree grow.
Kurt III decided on the way to treat Theodore. "Listen carefully."
"Yes, Your Majesty!"
The king refused to allow any arguments as he announced in front of everyone present, "To the only survivor of the convey, Baron Miller, I will present the title of Viscount and, in addition, reward him with a Silver Medal of Merit. This decision is an edict in my name, meaning it can't be overturned."
"What? If you didn't hear it, then I will tell you one more time."
The court officials, nobles and tower masters couldn't hide their surprise. The title of viscount was good. An honorary nobleman didn't have a manor, and magicians belonging to the Magic Society weren't likely to care about title anyway.
However, the Silver Medal of Merit was a reward that none of them had imagined.
The nobles who tried to suggest it was too much soon fell silent at Kurt III's harsh voice. They knew this tone meant that no objections were allowed and that the decision couldn't be overturned.
"There are no objections. Then it is time for the next agenda."
30 years after the last recipient, the next recipient of the Silver Medal of Merit was decided in a secret spot.
* * *
Theodore didn't know he was the protagonist of a glory which hadn't appeared in the last 30 years, as his eyes hadn't even opened yet when the decision was made.
Thanks to Ellenoa's dedicated healing, all of Theo's external wounds, including his right arm, were recovered perfectly. However, she couldn't heal the crack in his mind which had arisen from Alfred's 'Transmission.'
In the end, Ellenoa couldn't wait for Theodore to open his eyes and was forced to leave Meltor. Blundell, who was assigned as her escort, scratched his head with an apologetic expression when he saw her sad face.
"Hmm, I'm sorry but we can't afford to wait any longer. The ambassadors from Elvenheim are urging for your return."
"…Yes, I understand."
Still, Ellenoa couldn't help feeling disappointed as she kissed Theodore's forehead gently. The kiss of a high elf was like receiving the blessing of an elemental. It was a blessing which would prevent any elementals belonging to enemies from getting close to Theodore.
"Will we meet again someday, Theodore?"
Ellenoa said goodbye, and the forest dancer returned to Elvenheim.
Then exactly 10 days later… After the battle with Superbia, Theodore Miller had been collapsed for three weeks due to his mental fusion with Alfred.
The topic of conversation in Meltor finally woke up.