Chapter 65 - The Clan Of Eugendiph
‘Richard? The master of the Mage’s Tower?’
The man was so famous on the continent that even Cecile was familiar with his name. Richard would always be mentioned alongside the mysterious stories about the Mage’s Tower, after all. He was a mysterious individual who was said to have lived for a very long time, and aside from the title of Mage Lord, he was also known as the Great Sage. But for all that, Cecile felt inexplicably hollow inside.
‘I should stop reading novels with mages for male leads starting today.’
Cecile pulled Estian’s cloak over herself. Richard was a handsome one alright. Most male leads that were mages in the novels of the continent were based on Richard, which was why even their names were mostly slightly different versions of his: Hardt, Lehart, Rihard, and so on. Also, Richard was definitely depicted as a cold, haughty, and proud man of few words. He was normally written as the kind of character that ignores the female lead at first but then ends up being her stooge…
‘Who knew he’d turn out to be a perverted stalker like that.’
Richard had not even spoken many words, yet Cecile could already feel the image of the Great Sage in her mind falling apart. Meanwhile, Richard was being roughly shaken around in Estian’s hand.
“Oh, just touch it I say! I’m telling you the words written on the slab are real! Give me the benefit of the doubt and touch it! Just once!”
To the side of the shouting Richard was the representative of Stoan Kingdom, collapsed to his knees and looking lost, muttering, “But there was no one like this among our delegation?”
“Well of course! You think a face like this is common?! I’ve spent over 400 years maintaining this body and face of mine!” Richard cried out in response to the representative, even as he was being shaken in midair by Estian… though of course, that only served to provoke the latter to shake him even harder.
‘I wonder if my job’s done now?’ Cecile mused to herself as she turned to look elsewhere, and immediately she grew wide-eyed. She shot to her feet, causing Estian’s cloak to slide off to the floor, but she did not even have the mind to notice that as she sprinted toward Estian. “Your Majesty!”
Estian looked back at Cecile’s voice and saw the arm he had cut off moments ago hopping toward him with the phantom beast in its grip, and Cecile standing between him and the egg. Before he could reach out, Cecile’s hand made contact with the object brought by Richard. At the same time, the world shook, and a twisting, cracking sound tuned out everything else—it was the sound of the phantom beast awakening.
* * *
“Wh-what’s going on?” Richard gazed above him, his collar still in Estian’s grasp. He had made his severed arm up pick up the egg and hop over while everyone else was distracted by him.
‘I just need him to make physical contact.’
Richard thought he had succeeded at the sight of the arm carrying over the egg, but who knew the empress would interfere with his plan?
‘Well, the egg won’t react to an ordinary woman like that anyway.’
Richard recalled the words written on the stone slab discovered along with the egg.
It shall awaken at the touch of the strongest of all.
Upon examining the stone slab, Richard was able to identify who had created the slab as well as the dungeon: the ancient clan of Eugendiph. They were the masters of the dungeon. Long ago, they held a monopoly over magic and power across the lands and reigned over other humans. But even among these powerful clansmen, some stood at the very top that knew their blood was different from the others.
‘Which is why they evolved that blood even further.’
And there was only one person they would deem the strongest of all—the bearer of Eugendiph’s Blood, which was created by collecting their blood. Eugendiph’s Blood was a concoction that was made from the blood of the strongest clansmen. There was a problem with their creation, however; their bodies could not bear the power of the blood.
‘Which is why they all died in the end… yet here it is again, resurrected in this day and age.’
Richard scanned Estian from head to toe again. Eugendiph’s Blood was discovered long ago in an ancient dungeon, and from the very moment Estian’s father, the previous emperor, found out what it was, he poured his efforts into controlling its power. An uncountable number of humans, beastmen, and animals were dragged to his experimental labs in his search for a body that would withstand the blood.
Back then, Richard thought it strange that the lab animals contracted to be sold to the Mage’s Tower were instead sold to some other place, leading him to investigate the truth of the matter and discover what the emperor was up to. Richard did not have the slightest thought of stopping those experiments, however; in fact, he was so glad to the point of wanting to thank the emperor for taking the trouble of doing what he wanted to do.
The emperor’s experiments were a series of failures. Eventually, there was not much left of Eugendiph’s Blood, only enough for one more chance at success, at which point the emperor brought in a child. He dragged his youngest son to the labs, his son who was born between him and his empress, whom he had never once given the time of day—Estian. Richard had clicked his tongue at the sight of the boy screaming as he was hauled off.
‘He really must want to control Eugendiph’s Blood, going so far as to use his son as a guinea pig.’
Richard hid and waited beside the laboratory. As the next experiment was bound to be the last, he intended on taking something back to the Mage’s Tower, even if that something was the corpse of a specimen that was fed with Eugendiph’s Blood. But contrary to Richard’s expectation, Estian came out of that place alive… Although, by that point, 8 years had passed and it was hard to say he was still a human, considering how he had destroyed his way out of the laboratory.
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