A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 120

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 120. The Empire’s Guardian (1)



“Seriously, where have you been?”




“We’ve been waiting for ages!”




When  Desir  and  Adjest  reunited  with  their  party  members, Pram and Romantica were fuming fervently.




That was to be expected, because by the time they arrived at the  meeting  place,  the  first  part  of  the  Chronicle  play  was already over.




“Sorry, there were a lot of people on the streets, so it took some time to get here.”




Like that, Desir made an excuse.




Pram  and  Romantica  reluctantly  accepted  his  apology,  but that didn’t mean their anger had died down.


Seemingly quite displeased, they vehemently picked out their snacks  and  constantly  annoyed  Desir  by  pointing  out  things they  could  play  with.   It  was  as  if  they  were  trying  to  get compensation for the time they hadn’t spent with him.




Being in a good mood, Desir willingly gave in to all  of their demands.  He even went as far as saving seats for them in an incredibly crowded restaurant.




At this point, they started getting suspicious if anything had happened during his absence with Adjest.




“Has Desir ever been that kind before?”




“He  seems  to  be  very  happy  about  something.  The  festival must have been rather fun.”




Freechel added on to Romantica and Pram’s speculations.




“Hmm, if I had to take a guess, I’m pretty sure he’s been like that since he started spending more time with Adjest instead of us. Something clearly happened between the two.”



“… Freechel?”




The moment Freechel heard Romantica’s voice, a sudden chill went down her spine. It was winter, so it was still cold, but that chill most definitely was not from the weather.




Understanding  the  situation,  Freechel  quickly  attempted  to back-pedal.




“I, I mean, it’s probably because he’s very happy to be with you, Romantica.”




“Of course, right?”




As  he  was  busy  enjoying  the  festival   at  its  peak,  Desir’s communication pad rang.  It was an audio message from Prof. Bridgette.




It   was   a   request   for   Desir   to   go   to   the   Dean’s   office immediately.


Getting a sense that it was quite urgent from her tone of voice, Desir had no choice but to end his break there.




The other party members tried to return to the academy with Desir, but since he had been the only one that Prof.  Bridgette had summoned, he told them to enjoy themselves more before heading back towards the academy.




When  he  arrived  at  the  Dean’s  office,  he  could  see  several professors including Nipleka and Bridgette waiting for him.




“You barely made it in time.”




As opposed to his usual attire, Nipleka was all dressed up in a fancy suit.




All too aware of his usual snobbish self, Desir was immediately struck with the image of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The image nearly made him lose his composure, but he was able to distract himself by asking Bridgette a question.




“What’s the occasion?”



“I’ll explain that in just a moment. First, please follow me.”




The one who answered was Bridgette, who was standing next to him.




Bridgette headed to her office with Desir in tow.




The moment he saw several  dress suits hanging in a bunch once  the  door  opened,  Desir  had  to  press  Bridgette  for  an answer even though he knew it would be discourteous.




“Professor, this is a bit unexpected.”




“I know that this may come as a shock. It shocked us as well. Not this one… This one won’t do either… ”




In   short   order,   three   suits   were   held   up   against   Desir’s clothes, only to be tossed on the floor.




As  she  held  up  a  lightly  checkered  shirt  to  Desir,  Bridgette opened her mouth.




“I’m sure you’re aware that a party is held by the royal family every year on the anniversary of the empire’s founding.”




“Of course.”




Every year on the founding day, the nobles attended or hosted various parties. The scale of the party and the class of the nobles that attended said parties was determined by the host’s status and power, and the best of them all  was, without a doubt, the party hosted by the royal family.




The annual  party hosted by the royal  family was extremely well-known.  Not  only  were  important  figures  invited,  but  so were  the  continent’s  most  powerful  figures.  It  was  truly  the pinnacle of high society.




A  social  party  that  only  the  most  powerful  figures  of  each nation could attend.  It was a place that lower nobles wouldn’t even dare imagine attending.




Having finally picked out an adequate suit at last, Bridgette grinned slyly as she opened her mouth.



“His Majesty said that he wants to meet Hebrion Academy’s best student. It was so sudden that all of the professors were left flustered, but it would be ludicrous to not obey His Majesty’s orders.”




Hearing the story up to that point, Desir was able to fill in the blanks.   However,  there  remained  one  question  he  couldn’t fathom on his own.




“But  wouldn’t  it  have  been  impossible  to  select  the  best student based on the academy’s system?”




Hebrion Academy did rank the students by skill, but the ranks were  given  based  on  grade  level.  This  meant  that  it  made  it difficult to compare students of different grades.




But Bridgette just smiled as if she had seen that coming.




“Hehe.  That’s  why  we  had  a  meeting.  We  had  to  choose between  Radoria,  Alseria,  and  you,  all   ranked  first  in  your respective grades. And do you know what the results were like?”


She spoke quickly in a tone that made her excitement evident.




“Unanimous,  it  was  unanimous.  All  of  the  professors  chose you. Even Prof. Pugman agreed that you were the best student! Do  you  know  what  that  means?  It  means  that  you  will   be representing  Hebrion  Academy’s  students  as  you  attend  the royal family’s ball!”




Bridgette’s cheerful voice echoed throughout the room.




* * *




Desir  was  in  a  carriage  accompanied  by  Professor  Pugman, headed for Edark’s Palace, to attend the royal party.




Unlike previous years, this year’s party was said to be held like a masquerade ball.




Leaning on the door of the bumpy carriage, Desir adjusted his mask. As was common for a masquerade, the mask completely hid his face.


He saw this as a great opportunity.




‘This is an unexpected gain.’




He  had  been  trying  to  figure  out  how  to  get  close  to  the Emperor  anyway.  And  as  if  right  on  time,  the  Emperor  had invited him to his party first. That proved just how noteworthy Desir’s achievements had been.




‘… I have a rough idea of what he wants, so I might as well start planning my response.’




As Desir was lost in his thoughts, Pugman turned his head to face him.




“His Majesty is being kind enough to show you what it’s like in the upper class, so I recommend you keep your mouth shut. Needlessly rambling will only reveal your limited insight.”




“I didn’t expect you to care about me so much.”




Professor Nipleka pursed his lips at Desir’s response.





“If it was up to me, I’d enjoy watching you get ridiculed by the other nobles after your identity is revealed.  However, the fact that  you’re  Hebrion  Academy’s  representative  prevents  me from  taking  any  pleasure  in  doing  so.  The  academy’s  honor mustn’t be tarnished.”




“How touching, indeed.”




“You always need to have the last word, don’t you?”




“It’s all thanks to your wonderful teaching.”




The carriage reached its destination. Pugman and Desir did a last check, to ensure their masks were securely attached.




Truth be told, Pugman didn’t gain any anonymity by wearing a mask.  His presence was so distinct that it made it trivial  to guess who he was.




As they entered the palace, the party hall’s impressive interior came into sight.




The jewels that adorned the interior dazzled brightly as the light  bounced  off.   It  almost  seemed  like  jewels  were  more common in this palace than pebbles on the sidewalk.




Despite  being  overly  extravagant,  the  artistic  value  in  this room was undeniably outstanding.  Even Desir, who was often unfazed  by  displays  of  wealth  or  power,  felt  his  jaw  drop  an inch.




Even   the   rather   luxuriously   decorated   Hebrion   Academy looked plain in comparison to the Royal Palace’s banquet hall.




By the time Desir and Pugman had arrived, there were already quite a number of people occupying the area.




Despite  their  faces  being  hidden,  the  elegance  that  exuded from   their   every   little   movement   made   it   clear   that   they weren’t ordinary people.




Stately music filled the party hall.


The people at the party talked to each other naturally despite not being able to see each other’s faces.




“Well  then, I’ll  be going off to mingle.  I’ll  have the carriage stand by, so leave whenever you wish, although the faster you leave, the better.”




Pugman added on as he got up from his chair.




“I hope we don’t cross paths again.”




“My thoughts exactly.”




Desir looked around as he sipped on a drink at his table. Some people had already started dancing after finding partners.




‘Now, what do I need to do?’




Desir hadn’t come to this place to admire the surroundings. Nor had he come to enjoy the delicious food.


His goal was to get close to the Emperor.




‘And the Emperor himself wants to meet me as well.’




The   Emperor   had   said   that   he   ‘wanted   to   see’   Hebrion Academy’s best student. But with the party being a masquerade ball, he couldn’t have meant that he just wanted a glimpse from afar.




Desir  thought  of  two  reasons  why  the  Emperor  could  have changed the party to a masquerade ball.




First, to keep his commoner status from getting exposed.




And  second,  for  the  Emperor  to  keep  himself  out  of  the spotlight at the party.




Combining  these  two  reasons,  the  conclusion  he  drew  was that the Emperor wanted to meet him while out of the public’s eye.




He was sure that the Emperor was within the crowds.





Des1r’s  eyes  moved  quickly,  scanning  the  crowds  of  people within the party hall.




A person busy talking with others, a person that sipped his drink through lips that their mask didn’t cover, a person that got embarrassed as his identity was exposed.




And.




“Thank you for coming on such short notice.”




A person that was approaching him.






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