A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 219

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 219. Divide (8)



The banquet ended on an uneventful note. Desir had mixed success in meeting his goals for the night.




The group headed back to the Magic Tower.




It was rather late at night.




Desir went back to his own room to rest. There were only twelve hours before the Great Council was due to convene.




“Why don’t you show yourself?”




Desir spoke to empty air.




“You may be observant, but you’re still careless.”




Swan Katarina strode out of the darkness.


“How was the party?”




“Well, nothing we were concerned about eventuated.”




“Good. How about others?”




“They seem exhausted after being so high-strung. I can’t blame them, I’m going to get some sleep too.”




*Flop*




Desir lay down on the soft bed. Before he could drift off to the sweet sleep he so desired, Swan roused him and vied for his attention.




“Uh-uh, not yet. You still have one thing left to do.”




Swan suddenly tossed a communication orb at the drowsy Desir. He fumbled for a bit, but managed to catch hold of it. Once he accepted the incoming communication, he found himself connected to the Side Guard.



[-Sorry for the late call, Desir Arman of the Royal Guard.]




It was a communication orb that utilized appropriate magic frequencies with numerous countermeasures to ensure confidentiality.




[-As per your order, I will now relay the information the Side Guard has gathered.]




Desir, who had ordered the Side Guard to find whatever information they could on the Outsiders and alchemy, asked them to report back on their progress daily.




The frequency and urgency of the updates was because Desir was only in Divide for three more days. Once he crossed over the border, it would become impossible to receive further information from the agents within Divide.




He had to get as much information as possible within these three days to make informed decisions later.




“Very well. First off, are all of the agents okay?”




[-Yes sir. One was caught, but they managed to get away safely.]




“That’s a relief.”




Swan chimed in while listening, making her presence known to the Side Guard on the other side.




“They must be fairly skilled agents. Despite the number of agents we have in one area, only one managed to get caught.”




“I know.”




The spies of the Side Guard were amazing at their job, and Desir was making use of the best agents that had been placed in Divide.




[-Thank you for the kind words. I promise the information we got won’t disappoint you.]


[-As you’re well aware, the power that Divide holds both internally as well as within the Western Kingdom Union has skyrocketed recently.]




Desir nodded. He had read many reports about Divide’s explosive growth, even before Divide started to tightly control the flow of information out of their kingdom.




They had implemented a lot of national projects and rooted out corruption to improve their national finances drastically.




It was a complete revival of a languid country. The Kingdom of Divide that had been slowly collapsing was brought back to its heyday. The current king of Divide was now considered to be the best monarch to lead Divide since their last golden age.




‘I didn’t see him that way though.’




[-According to a maid who worked in the Divide Palace until recently, that has very little to do with the King’s insight or rule.]




“That means… ”





Desir had a hunch.




“Is there anyone helping him?”




[-Apparently, it is not King Clora who is currently in charge of national policies in Divide, but some external advisor. That person is only known as the “advisor” in the palace. It is said that he has won the immense confidence of many government officials.]




Finally, Desir had his hands on some precious information.




‘Is that so?’




He finally realized the Outsider’s strategy.




It had always been a fact that the Outsiders were deeply involved in the internal workings of Divide.




Until now, he could only conclude that the Outsiders were


involved in some abstract manner. How they were doing so had been a complete mystery to him. However, that changed now. He had found out exactly how they had infiltrated Divide after hearing the Side Guard’s report.




‘It’s a similar strategy to what we saw happen to the Magic Kingdom in that Shadow World.’




They would show up, bring rapid change and development, and win the trust of the vassals as an internal advisor and power broker for the nation. As the country significantly improves, they can consolidate the national power they built and the goodwill they gained in the process.




‘Just like a parasite.’




It was simple, but effective.




‘After seizing authority, any person they suspect may hinder their plans or reveal their motives will be removed immediately.’




[-This coincided with when they started controlling the


media. Lately, spreading rumors related to the Empire, expanding their battle readiness, and increasing their defense budget have all been traced back to this advisor. He must be preparing for a war.]




Whom Divide is preparing for a war with is an easy question.




The Hebrion Empire.




Desir mentally sifted through this new information and arranged his thoughts.




‘It wasn’t this bad in the Magic Kingdom.’




This was beyond the capabilities of Skull Mask, who had simply controlled the country from the shadows. This time, the infiltrator had gained traction while leading the country to its former prime, a feat only possible with superior planning and management.




‘Moreover, he has been dealing with dissidents ruthlessly and efficiently.’



Those were the core concepts of this anti-Empire strategy.




Desir felt the pieces falling into place. He could wager a guess on the advisor’s identity with reasonable confidence.




‘The advisor has to be Crow Mask, no, Icarus Quirgo. Therefore, I need to focus on digging up as much information about this advisor from now on.’




The results had been fruitful this time. He had made great gains, piecing together the vague clues the Side Guard had managed to obtain. Although Desir had done the lion’s share of work, he didn’t forget to thank the Side Guard for their hard work in providing these clues.




“This is invaluable information. Please focus on gathering more information about the advisor immediately.”




[-Thank you for the kind words, sir. I only did what I was supposed to. Ah, there’s one more piece of information, Desir.]




Desir could hear the Side Guard breathe deeply before


continuing.




[-I made a few more enquiries on alchemy, since you urged us to make that a topic of priority. Progress has been minimal, but given your specific interest, it felt important to share.]




The communication orb started shimmering as an image began to form.




“A tower?”




“It looks too huge to be a mere tower.”




Swan and Desir stared intently at the image.




The quality of the image output was truly wonderful without doubt.




It displayed a huge, dark-colored tower in crisp quality.




This structure was taller and wider than the Magic Tower.





[-This is the biggest structure in this city. It is enormous enough to be seen from the capital.]




The design of it did not suit the nickname of Divide, the Kingdom of Steel.




It was clear that this building was not something normal.




[-The important thing is, this building commenced construction after the advisor came into power.]




This meant that it was the work of the Outsiders.




“Have you found out what the building was built for?”




[-I haven’t found that out yet. Information about this tower is being controlled far more strictly than anything else in the city, and that’s saying something. I could only capture this image.]




“But if they’re that cautious, there must be more to it.”




[-Yes. It’s got to be an important part of the Outsider’s plan. While looking through various records, I found that a large amount of magic stones and budget have been spent building this. Even now, a big chunk of the royal budget goes towards it.]




His prior cheery tone had become a little gloomy, likely due to the lack of information he could show for his work.




[-The problem is this is not the only one of its kind. Several others are being built elsewhere.]




The screen split showing several other towers in different parts of Divide.




[-Although they aren’t as huge as the one in the capital, these other towers are steadily being constructed in other regions. The Outsiders are putting a great deal of effort into this. Based on how much time and resources are being thrown at this, we have a growing theory about what they’re going to produce.]




“They’re facilities for chimera production.”


Desir came to the same conclusion as the Side Guard. Chimeras weren’t something that could be made so easily, after all. They required countless dead bodies of monsters and a high level of technical skill and machinery to combine them into something stable. In order to produce military grade chimera, they needed world-class facilities.




‘So they are producing chimeras on a large scale to supplement their insufficient military force.’




Desir did not stop thinking there.




‘However, if they put that much of their strategic budget into it… ’




There was something else superior to chimeras.




‘They might possibly be making homunculus again.’




It was a distinct possibility. A possibility that he could not afford to reject offhand.


He felt a sense of crisis.




He had to stop this situation from developing any further.




‘But I can only go off my strong suspicion.’




A large amount of budget and magic stones had been invested into them and the timing of their construction coincided with the Outsiders coming into the fold.




However, it was just an assumption without concrete evidence.




“Is there any detailed evidence?”




[-If you wanted anything more detailed, I’d need at least another week.]




“No matter how long it takes, getting accurate, irrefutable evidence is crucial to making our next move.”


‘If we have that evidence, we can put a stop to the Outsiders. If I can persuade not only the Empire, but also the Western Kingdom Union…’




Even if they didn’t produce homunculus, manufacturing chimeras was still a major taboo.




[-But… it will take us some time to work around their strict control. When I mentioned one week, that’s only possible if we use all of the deployed agents in Divide, not just those within the Side Guard. Trying to contact them will take time, too.]




“Can I be of help then?”




Swan stepped forward, having listened in on the talk so far.




“Although I can’t secure information in secret, if you have my strength, getting the information should be possible with more forceful means. Don’t you think?”




This was true.


[-Brute forcing it greatly increases the possibility of conflict. If your identity is revealed, war could break out between the Kingdom of Divide and the Hebrion Empire.]




“If I’m careful, it won’t be an issue. You guys can work hard to hide my identity.”




[-But… ]




“It’s just a possibility of it happening. Nothing is guaranteed.”




The Side Guard seemed bewildered with Swan talking so one-sidedly.




“Well, it’s Desir who makes the final call, no matter what I say. So, what are you going to do?”




Swan turned around and asked Desir.




What she said made Desir contemplate heavily.


“If Swan goes, then we’ll either get the evidence quickly, or find ourselves on the brink of war… ”




When you weighed the two outcomes, it wasn’t even worth considering.




If Divide was working with the Outsiders, war with Divide was inevitable.




If he put Swan on the case, not only would the operation be easier to pull off, but if something were to go wrong, it would be far easier for the other spies to escape unharmed.




‘In the worst-case scenario, as long as we don’t get discovered, even if we can’t find sufficient evidence… ’




Desir made a decision.




“Please, Lady Swan.”






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