Chapter 82 – Meeting
“Well done! Well done, Noelle!”
“What a relief! Now they won’t treat me like a war criminal!”
“Thank you! Thank you so much!”
After the battle, I was mobbed by my ecstatic coworkers.
It was only a draw, and yet they were celebrating as if I had won.
I suppose that defying everyone’s expectations by not being defeated by the Holy Blade really was a significant achievement.
Though, it seemed that I had greatly inconvenienced those who managed the event, by causing a crack to appear in their magic barrier.
However, it was still seen as the most entertaining event in recent years, and overall, people had a favorable impression of it.
“This is to show my gratitude for saving me from a war criminal’s fate. I’ll buy you anything you can eat.”
And so I was taken to a famous steakhouse in the city.
Dining on such expensive meat filled me with happiness.
I ate a lot and had a wonderful time.
Ah, red meat with marbling like falling snow!
Why are you so delicious!
The tender meat seemed to spread through my whole body as I consumed it.
“Another plate, please!”
“Yo-you’re going to eat more…”
“Huh? But I’m only about forty percent full?”
But the thing that made me smile the most was the thought that my magic had been effective against the Holy Blade.
The Holy Blade seemed like someone who existed so far away. Someone I could never reach.
I had known about him since I was a child.
It was hard to believe it when I thought back on it. I almost wondered if I had been dreaming this whole time.
…Wait, what if this really was just a dream?
“You have a strange habit of underestimating yourself.”
The others chuckled with exasperation after I told them how I felt.
“I knew you were capable, ever since I saw you start training, but you were especially brilliant today. You faced the Holy Blade without backing down. You were going for the win. I know, since I too have dedicated most of my life to magic. It is clear just how much time and effort went into your work.”
And then the conversation became more serious.
“Why don’t you believe in yourself more? At the very least, I think that you’re amazing.”
I did not expect to hear such words, and so I was surprised.
It was so different to what I had been hearing repeatedly before joining the Royal Magicians Order.
I was praised more than ever here, but I wasn’t used to it.
And so sometimes, I wondered if they were really talking about me.
But that was also why I was happy.
From the bottom of my heart, I was happy that I joined the order.
I never would have felt this way if I stayed in that town.
I should be more grateful to him for picking me up.
I remembered the person who was not with us.
This draw is the result of both our efforts! I had said, repeatedly inviting him to come with us. But Luke said that he had some business to attend to.
That was a shame, as it was an opportunity to eat at someone else’s expense.
Now that I think about it, what business was it, anyway?
When I thought about it now, it was actually quite unusual for Luke to turn down an invitation from me.
And though I was enjoying this wonderful time, I couldn’t help but tilt my head and puzzle over it.
◇ ◇ ◇
At the same hour.
Luke Waldstein had changed into formal attire and was adjusting his collar in the mirror.
And with the expression of a soldier who was heading off to the battlefield, he made his way to the grand palace.
As he strode through the gardens, he recalled that night where they had danced here together.
It had felt like they were the only ones in the world.
Her small hands.
The cheerful voice.
The sounds of breathing.
The warmth of her body.
It was a joyous time that nothing could ever replace.
He would do anything in order to stay by her side.
He felt that way deeply. She was that important.
And he realized the danger of having such feelings. But he was not capable of changing.
And so he could not fail.
“We’ve been waiting for your arrival, Master Luke.”
The chief butler said with a bow.
He had prepared the stage himself.
He gave the order to a noble he was secretly in contact with, and so a meeting that did not exist as far as the outside world was concerned, was created.
Things went much more smoothly than he expected.
He had prepared several alternate plans in the event of obstacles appearing in their path, but none of them had been necessary.
The situation was just as he had desired.
However, he had also taken note of the deliberate intention there as well.
Up to this point, the opposing side had probably wanted things to play out the same way.
And it was after understanding his stance, that they wanted to face him, head on.
This immensely powerful figure that no magician could beat.
The first prince, Michael Ardenfeld.
“Well, let us begin then.”
However, he was not remotely afraid.
Perhaps it was because he had seen, from up close, the sight of another person who had repeatedly stood before those who ranked above her, and not backed down.
His true nature was that of a realist, who saw things in the long term.
It was from her that he gained things like courage and a little recklessness.
The only thing he was afraid of was losing her.
There were no doubts in Luke Waldstein’s mind.
And so the meeting began.
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Expelled From a Black Magic Item Craftsman Guild, I Was Picked up as a Royal Magician ~but It Was Too Late When I Realized That I Was Actually the Highest-Level Magician in the Kingdom. Starting a Happy Life Anew With Those Who Acknowledged Me in the Royal Court