A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 313
Episode 313 . Epilogue (1)
It was a humid, sultry summer . The bright afternoon sunlight reflected off of the newly paved street .
I was used to the rattle of the carriage, so it didn’t bother me, but I spent my time admiring the passing view .
“It’s nothing new, but I still can’t believe it . ”
The city’s distant skyscrapers were magnificent and vibrant . The buildings lining the street were tall, and the street itself was wide and well-maintained . When you took in the beautiful scenery, nobody would think the final battle of a war had unfolded in this very city .
“It’s only been four years, and things are way nicer than they were before . What an excellent restoration . ”
This was the imperial city of Dresden . It had been the heart of the Hebrion Empire for one-thousand years, regarded as the best city on the continent . It was the home of an international figure of glamour, the Hebrion Academy .
However, the entire city and its academy were razed due to that unsavoury incident . For all of the glory it had historically held, it was not a city trying to heal its wounds from the past and get back onto its feet, but a city that used the opportunity to rebuild with advances in technology and redefine itself . It was no longer just a city of historic value, but a bustling metropolis that pioneered the way towards the future .
Oh, I’m sorry . I forgot to introduce myself .
My name is Pram Schneider . I graduated from the Hebrion Academy, and I’m now serving as one of the Empire’s knights!
“Mr Pram, hello!”
Sometimes there are people who recognize and support me . I thought this was something I would get used to, but I’m still shy so I end up giggling .
In response, I waved my hand while directing a smile in their direction .
“Mr Pram, are you a woman or a man?”
“I’m not sure which title to use, Sir Pram?! Miss? or Mister?”
From time to time, the children ask me mischievous questions . I sighed and closed the window, pretending I didn’t hear them .
I clenched my fist tight .
How could they be so ridiculous? I am obviously a man!
I tried to gain some muscles to avoid the misunderstanding, but no matter how hard I tried, I was stuck with this effeminate form .
Perhaps it has something to do with my constitution, but unless I figure something out, I’ll be stuck with questions like those forever . Sad . How very unfortunate .
“We have arrived, Sir Pram . ”
Before I could grow despondent, my carriage arrived at the destination . What a relief! I nearly started wishing that I was actually a woman .
“Thank you! I’ll be back soon!”
Once I stepped out of the carriage, I was greeted by the main gate of an iron fence that encircled a giant dome-topped building several hundred meters in diameter: the new Hebrion Academy . The harmony between the restored original gate and the modern architecture made for a picturesque sight .
It’s also the head office for the Ministry of Education .
Ah, what is the Ministry of Education? It is a state institution that was built under the order of His Majesty the Emperor three years ago . The Ministry of Education maintains the country’s educational system on a national level . They recruit numerous professors and build new schoolhouses wherever people live .
This was the establishment of public education .
The foundation of the Ministry of Education brought about many changes . Under the Empire’s bold and wholehearted support, they succeeded in providing all citizens with education, something that used to only belong to the nobles, the rich, and the lucky . Thanks to the expansion, they found a good number of talented individuals who would have otherwise remained hidden .
The future of the Empire is bright, and it will continue to remain as such .
On my way towards the new main building, a structure caught my eye, and for a moment my heart stopped . Twelve large gravestones were arranged in a semi-circle just off the main path . When I stood in front of them, I felt solemn . Inscribed within them were the names of over three thousand people . They were those who had fallen during the Artemis Church’s invasion .
I paid a silent tribute to them briefly .
‘Thank you, everyone . ’
The Empire survived thanks to all of you . No, not just the Empire, but this whole world was saved .
‘And sorry . ’
If I were just a bit stronger, then perhaps…
I began to walk again, leaving my mixed feelings behind .
[-Sir Pram Schneider, your identity has been confirmed . ]
When the intercom buzzed its approval, the building’s entranceway automatically swung open . Once I walked in, I was greeted with the maze-like tangle of corridors that made up the building’s first floor . While trying to make my way through the unfamiliar terrain, a familiar voice sounded from behind me .
“Oh my, oh my . What brings you here?”
“It’s been a while, Pram . ”
I turned around towards the source of the voices to see a man and woman holding hands, approaching me . Excited to see old friends again, I lowered my head politely .
“Hello, Radoria and Kelt . ”
After Argeria graduated, the two of them had been the leaders of the Red Dragon Party and the Blue Moon Party, which were known as the strongest parties when I was a student at the academy . Now, they were accomplished Sixth-Circle magicians who co-represented the Empire’s Magicology Lab, their new magic research facility .
“Wait, is that you Pram?”
I unintentionally flinched after I met the eyes of the surprise third arrival . The person had such an intense disposition that he bordered on the edge of hostility whenever he spoke . Even though I already knew him, it had been a while since I last talked to him, so it caught me off guard .
“Ronde! It’s so good to see you . It’s been a long time!”
Ronde Fizzlebang .
He was currently acting as an assistant professor . While he was a student, he was a member of the Starling Party . As my junior, I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished .
“Are… you alright? You look like you haven’t slept for days… ”
“You’re correct . I’ve got a lot on my plate right now, so I’ve been pulling all-nighters recently . ”
As I gave him a concerned look, Ronde shrugged as if it was nothing .
“Well, if they keep giving me work, then it means they recognize my talent, which isn’t a bad thing . Once I finish this current project, I’ll ask for a holiday . ”
The Hebrion Academy always held renown, but now that it was the center of a national education system, it had even greater prestige . To be an assistant professor at such an education institute was a testament to his competency .
“But what brings you here… Ah, is it because of the occasion?”
“Yes, indeed . Though I’m not quite familiar with this place, so I’m a bit lost . ”
Ronde smiled and pointed in a direction .
“Dean Pugman and Bridgette will be in the last room at the end of this hall . ”
“Thank you . ”
I bid goodbye to them and walked along the path Ronde gestured .
Ah, Professor Pugman had become the new dean of the Hebrion Academy after Dean Justin retired .
He used to discriminate against the commoners unfairly, so he used to carry a poor reputation, but once that side of him disappeared he started to gain the trust of the students . His ability is first-class, so this could not have worked out any better . Though he still has a bad temper, he’s still an excellent teacher than everyone acknowledges .
As I reached the end of the hall, I found a room with a nameplate:
[Ministry of Education]
I was about to knock, but a sudden raised voice from beyond the door surprised me .
“It’s not going to be an issue . Please approve the program . ”
It was Dean Pugman, but his tone wasn’t that of the arrogant aristocrat I remembered .
“There’s no way . If you thought you could get approval for a large budget by providing poor documentation, then you’re greatly mistaken . ”
Her response to him was soft but firm .
Professor Bridgette, no, that wasn’t her title . She was Bridgette, the Minister of Education .
“But the documentation you’re asking for is double what we normally give for this kind of project . ”
“And the budget you’re asking for is higher too . The more money involved, the stricter the procedure . ”
“But we don’t have the time . I need to leave soon . ”
“Then take your time . I’ll gladly wait until you have time to finish . ”
“Dear me… ”
They had always opposed each other since becoming professors, and their relationship had not changed . Although, the power dynamic seems to have reversed since my days as a student . The contrast between the old Pugman and this one is too much; I can’t stop giggling .
After getting the giggles out, I opened the door to the office and confronted the two .
“Are you ready yet? It’s time for both of you to leave . ”
As I entered, they exchanged joy and sorrow . Minister Bridgette looked extremely disappointed, and Dean Pugman nearly cried tears of relief .
“Is it that time already?” Bridgette pouted, “Don’t we have a little longer?”
“I’m sorry, but we’re on a tight schedule . I’ve already prepared carriages, so let’s get going . ”
“I guess it can’t be helped . I couldn’t possibly be late to miss Adjest’s coronation ceremony . ”
Finally, Minister Bridgette set down her seal, and Dean Pugman nearly cheered in victory . He used to have so much pride, and now he had become someone who could find joy in such petty things .
Bridgette and I both broke out in laughter at the absurd sight .
* * *
Even if I never knew my father, that didn’t stop me from finding a family .
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No matter which Imperial palace you went to, you would be greeted by a magnificent sight, but Leonhardt Palace was in its own classification of decorum . Classy, vibrant fountains adorned the gardens; chandeliers, laiden with the prettiest jewels money could buy, decorated the arching ceilings; priceless works of art garnished the elegant hallways that connected the rooms .
Every bit of decor was a priceless treasure, the total of it reflecting on the status of the palace’s occupant . Even after several of them were sold to help fund the country’s reconstruction, the palace remained gorgeous thanks to the quick recovery .
It made me wonder if I even belong here .
“I’ve always thought this but… ”
Considering the dignity of this atmosphere, I tend to reflect on what I wear .
“I don’t think clothes like this suit me . ”
I felt heavy, looking at the shiny golden lion insignia on my shoulders . Because this insignia was only given to four people, the Royal Guardsmen of the Empire .
That’s right .
Some time after the war ended, I joined the Royal Guard .
Jean Euremrin was regarded as the master of swords after mastering over ten-thousand techniques, but he resigned from the Royal Guard to train after he lost against Argo . He felt his absurd skill was insufficient, and so I was able to take over his position .
At some point, people stopped calling me the Silver Light Swordsman, and started calling me the Invisible Sword .
“What, are you saying? Are you saying the clothes I designed especially for you don’t suit?”
“N-no, I didn’t mean that… ”
“Hah hah . Just kidding, Pram . You’re so fun to tease . ”
This person who is smiling at me while pinching my cheek, is Romantica .
Romantica started her fashion business after the war ended and she is currently managing several large-name brands, and had become a true leader of the fashion industry . After doing so, she was offered the opportunity to be the sole designer for Hebrion’s royal family .
“Nuuh . Please stop that, miss Romantica . I need to focus on my guard duty . ”
“Okay, okay . ”
Although miss Romantica stopped pinching my cheek, she still continued to bother me . She hugged me tightly from behind, like I was some kind of stuffed toy, and ran her hands through my hair .
Well, this is bearable .
I looked around the corridor, leaving my hair in her hands .
“Hey, isn’t that man with the whiskey bottle Donape Aslan? He’s supposed to be the strongest barbarians of the north!”
“Jeez… He’s as gigantic as the rumors say . The rumor that he split a mountain with a giant axe might actually be true . ”
“Hey, the one sitting across him is the king of Prillecha!”
“Didn’t he make a massive fortune when he secured an exclusive trade deal last year?”
Incessant babble spewed forth amongst the countless reporters . At the event where the new ruler of the Hebrion Empire was revealed to the world, many distinguished guests and nosy reporters naturally flocked .
Would this not be the first time this many celebrities gathered together?
“Incredible . ”
Sir Raphaello approached me . He, too, was trying his best to perform his duties as a member of the Royal Guard .
“Who would have thought this many people would attend?”
I nodded at his remark . Until relatively recently, the Hebrion Empire and the Western Kingdom Union had a poor relationship . Even when they were united against the Outsiders, it had been done so begrudgingly, but with time the two powerhouses had grown to respect each other . If not for… If not for his actions, it would have been impossible to see such a sight .
“It would’ve been nice if the lad was here too… ”
Perhaps Romantica had a similar thought .
I felt a chill in the corner of my heart .
Desir Arman, my one and only teacher . He was the man who made me who I am today, and the greatest magician in history . He single handedly saved the world, sacrificing everything in the process .
As I was caught reminiscing, the signalling bell echoed throughout the palace .
The gathered guests quickly grew silent, fixed their posture, and stared towards the front of the main corridor . The gallery’s gate slowly swung open, and Adjest strolled forward, the crowd respectfully parting for her .
She was beautiful .
The pure white dress Romantica made and her platinum blonde hair harmonized together and emphasized her beauty even more . I thought I was used to her stunning looks, after being around her for so long, but today’s Adjest looked especially extraordinary . Every person gathered, man and woman, were absolutely stunned by her beauty . A few even failed to keep their mouths closed .
Soon, miss Adjest stood in front of Guiltian, the Emperor, who held a glass of consecrated oil .
“You’re here, Adjest . ”
“Your Majesty . ”
Guiltian looked at Adjest with sentimental eyes .
“Thank you for coming all the way here . ”
“I did what I must . ”
There was a brief silence between the father and daughter .
What broke the silence after a while was completely unexpected .
“I'm sorry . ”
Miss Adjest widened her eyes .
“In order to raise you to be strong, I chose to be indifferent . In order to keep you safe, I chose to suppress your freedoms . When I did what I thought to be the right course of action, I coerced you into taking a path you never would have chosen for yourself . ”
His Majesty Guiltian did not hesitate at all in disgracing himself in front of the crowd . He treated his absolute dignity as the Emperor of the Empire as worthless and said unbelievable things .
“I don’t know if I’ve been a good Emperor, that’s for history to decide, but I know I was a failure of a father . Despite that, you grew up perfectly . ”
His Majesty Guiltian blessed Adjest while sprinkling holy oil over her head .
“My daughter, I’m so proud of you . ”
Miss Adjest lowered her head without saying anything, taking a moment to collect herself, before eventually raising her chin and responding in a teary voice .
“I will do my best to be the daughter you’re always proud of, and try to be an Empress that the Empire can rely on forever . ”
Now with the holy pledge and the crown presented to her, the succession ceremony was over . The only thing that remained was for Adjest to pledge her vows to the people of the Empire .
An ear splitting ringing echoed out before reddish mana appeared as space itself distorted .
Teleportation magic . The Side Guard quickly readied their shields to protect the guests . Lord Raphaello also moved quickly to shield His Majesty, the Emperor, and miss Adjest, while I pulled my sword loose in preparedness .
This was an unprecedented event . For someone to intrude upon the Imperial succession ceremony, where people of international importance were gathered, was nothing short of ridiculous . The quiet hall suddenly became uproarious .
But Romantica seemed displeased at the scene, and some of the dignitaries looked excited instead of afraid . In fact, the other knights and I had only moved to guard those present as an extra precaution . The chances of an enemy appearing in the middle of the ceremony was extremely unlikely, especially when there was only one person who could cast that kind of teleportation magic .
Soon someone walked out of the distorted space .
“I’m not too late, am I?”
It was a man with black hair as dark as the night sky .
Desir Arman .
As he showed up, the hall was filled with raucous applause, surprised murmurs, and even a few screams of admiration .
His Majesty Guiltian smiled bitterly at his appearance .
“Though you are later than the time I informed you of, the ceremony has yet to conclude, so it is fine . ”
Even though Desir had interrupted the middle of an extraordinarily important succession ceremony, Guiltian didn’t seem too offended . After all, when you considered what Desir had been busy doing, his sudden arrival was understandable .
I threw myself in Desir’s arms, forgetting my role .
“W-Wait . You’re pushing into me too hard . You’re heavy, Pram!”
“I know, I’m doing it on purpose!”
It was his punishment for being late . His Majesty, the Emperor, might have forgiven him, but I could not .
“Fool . How could you be late for something like this?”
Romantica felt the same as I, and she slapped Desir’s back forcibly .
“Sorry . Things ended later than I thought . ”
Desir grinned awkwardly . Then he turned his head to look at Adjest .
Adjest wore the warmest smile she had ever shown anyone when they made eye contact . The corners of her lips turned up slightly . She did not say anything but it wasn’t hard to guess what she was thinking .
‘Thank you for coming . ’
Desir responded to her silence with his own .
‘It's a matter of course . ’
Once the crowd finally calmed down, the ceremony continued .
I held Desir’s and Romantica’s hands in mine, and looked at Adjest in front of me . We stood in silence for a while, watching the ceremony unfold, when Desir suddenly broke the silence .
“… This is it Adjest . Now I’m happy . ”
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t worry about it, just a little inside joke . Hehehe . ”
Desir chuckled to himself before ruffling my hair . I gently closed my eyes and basked in the warmth of his hand .
I used to be lonely and sad . I thought that was because I missed my family, despite never knowing them . I always wanted to find them, to fill that hole, but now I realize that’s no longer necessary .
Because now I am no longer lonely nor sad .
Chapter brought to you by mokura .
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