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Chapter 12: How Could I Say No to That? (1)
Despite submitting a request to the Adventurer's Guild, I’m facing unique problems now that I’ve become Louie Permarten.
I’m already the target of many probing eyes around me. On top of that, I can’t leave the city's walls.
As a matter of fact, no Permarten can escape the ‘walls’ of the city due to the curse of the Infinite Labyrinth.
This means I must look within the city to find someone I share blood with.
When I suspect that someone could be a Permarten…
Wait, this is no time to be distracted.
I’ll think of a way to find my half-sibling later.
While no one from the Permarten bloodline can leave the city walls because of the curse, there’s a place where we’re not allowed to enter in the name of protection.
“Ahhhh! What if something happens to you while you’re in the Labyrinth?! Please don’t even joke about something like that, sir!”
Permartens can’t enter the Infinite Labyrinth.
It would be like letting children run loose in the middle of a laboratory filled with poison and experimental potions.
It might even be worse, actually.
The Infinite Labyrinth will react to Permarten blood and go into a frenzy…
Overwhelming numbers of monsters will spawn to kill the Permarten, which could cause a backflow in the Labyrinth.
If that ever happened, the entire city would be in danger. That’s the reason why no Permarten is allowed to enter it.
That won’t do.
How could I stay idle while my people enter the Labyrinth?
It doesn’t matter whether I’m the commander of my knights or not. Being unable to see what they’re doing means I’ll have to wait around with my thumb up my ass until they clear it.
So, I came up with an idea…
“You said that you want to control a familiar?”
It’s a being that I can summon using mana or an entirely separate entity that I can project my consciousness into.
“I need a familiar that can serve as an extension of myself.”
There are adventurers who specialise in familiars. It’s even possible to use something like a djinn or alchemical golem as a familiar.
“Why would you want to…?”
“If I use a familiar, I can oversee Labyrinth exploration without stepping foot in it.”
The granny in front of me is the Master of Permarten’s Magic Tower and the Head of all Mages within it.
...And a con artist.
I don’t mean that in a bad way.
I mean it in the best way possible.
She’s a character specifically made to be the opposite of a cliché. Wait, is that also a cliché?
“I… do not understand you, Scion.”
She’s a 3-star character and one of only five Archmages on the continent.
While she looks like a grey-haired granny, she’s actually a beauty in her 20s.
She’s pretending to be the now-deceased Master of the Magic Tower.
She changes her appearance once you limit-break her to 5 stars.
To be precise, once you get enough faith points, she’ll trust you enough to show her true self.
But for now, she’s undoubtedly an old witch.
She’s not a must-have or anything, but she can be used in clan battles as an ace in the hole.
I know that she’s useful, but it just feels wrong to try and flirt with a granny…
“Is there something wrong?”
“Not at all. I’m just a bit disappointed you’re denying my request.”
“But you must already be aware that every move you make is more substantial than that of a Minotaur. The entirety of the Infinite Labyrinth quakes under your every step.”
Don’t be so rash.
That’s what she’s telling me.
It makes sense, considering the Tower is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Labyrinth.
The magic stones and raw materials adventurers farm are studied and crafted into valuable objects.
The Magic Tower wants the continuation of the Labyrinth just as much as the guild does.
“Even a familiar could trigger a frenzy. The Labyrinth is just that kind of place.”
“That’s why I’m asking you to send me one of your best. I just need to learn how to control a familiar.”
“Why do you insist?”
“I’m going to send my people into the Labyrinth. To be specific…”
I told Barvas exactly what I said back at the guild.
“...A knight’s order. That’s a huge risk.”
“The Permartens can stand tall as Permartens with the help of both the Adventurer’s Guild and the Magic Tower.”
“The Tower is neutral.”
“Just being neutral is more than enough. I’m still asking you to send me one of your own.”
Barvas smiled gracefully, but her piercing gaze shot through her narrow eyes.
She must be trying to figure out my true intentions.
But I’m being sincere.
Whether it’s Bernhardt or Barvas, I need to show sincerity to those staying neutral.
Where I showed Bernhardt the ambition and the vigour of a real man, I need to show her…
“Fine. I offer you a trade, Master of the Tower.”
“In exchange for sending me one of your mages, I’ll allow the Tower to overbid on items that said mage acquires as she clears the Labyrinth.”
“...Are you saying you’ll hand over a share of the profits from the Labyrinth?”
“Indeed. Her job will be simple. She’ll teach me familiar summoning magic, and when the time comes, she’ll travel down to the Labyrinth to help with the ‘treasure hunt’. The Magic Tower stands to gain much by helping me with these two simple tasks.”
“You’re telling me that this is an investment.”
“That’s right, and…”
It’ll be a pain in the ass to negotiate all the small details with her.
I need to show her my trump card.
“We’ll only take 70% of the market value when my knights sell their loot to your people, including rare items.
A 30% discount.
Sure, it’s a discount on future transactions, but a 30% discount is still a big deal.
“If the Tower doesn’t want to purchase them, they’ll be sold to the public. But you’ll still be the first to check over the loot, no matter what.”
And I’m giving them priority on top of that?
This is an offer she can’t refuse.
“What do you think?”
“I’m rather suspicious because your offer is too good.”
“I know this is the only way for you to send me one of your own, or am I wrong?”
Barvas asked with a bewildered expression.
“Does the person who will teach you familiar summoning magic and become your knight… have to be a woman?”
I want a woman.
Clearly, a man isn’t a woman.
“...Then I have someone for you. Although, she is a bit difficult to work with and refuses to listen to me.”
“That’s fine. I can convince her myself. Who is she?”
“Is this granddaughter of yours shrouded in rumours and mystery?”
“Yes. She’s a bit—very eccentric, but she’s a nice girl deep down.”
She isn’t talking about herself here.
Barvas keeps everything about herself hidden, and I know she only has one granddaughter.
According to the lore, it’s actually her younger sister.
Barvas could live her life as normal, but it wasn’t the case for her sister.
The curse isn’t as severe as the one on the Permartens, but it’s enough to stop her from living a normal life.
A 3-star, nice-to-have character!
Damn, I’m being introduced to her right now?
I need to calm down.
I know her already, but I have to pretend I don’t.
“Hmm, that’s interesting. She must be a powerful mage for you to speak so highly of her. Has she entered the Labyrinth before? If so, how far has she gone?”
“...She has never entered it.”
Of course, she hasn’t.
“Why is that?”
“I… think you should speak with her directly. I realise this may offend you, but I can’t speak on her behalf on this matter.”
This doesn’t bother me because I already know everything, but Louie Permarten doesn’t.
“...Well, that’s something I’ll have to see for myself. I’ll see her since you speak so highly of her, but I’ll be sorely disappointed with the Magic Tower if she falls short of my expectations.”
“I understand. Come this way.”
Barvas took me up the tower.
We’re climbing the stairs to the top of the tower because that’s where her granddaughter resides.
Even the entrance to this room is strange.
The magic circles on the door and walls meant that even someone who knew nothing about magic could tell there were layers upon layers of magic barriers in place.
“This room belongs to… Astarote.”
…Damned with the succubus curse.
I knocked on the firmly shut door.
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