'There is a commotion.'
Cheers reverberated throughout all of Manvil. The whole castle seemed to be shaking. The pigeons sitting on the castle walls flew away, and the flags of each house fluttered vigorously. It was the day that the Meltor Empire was announced. After grabbing the rod which symbolized the Imperial Guardian, Theodore looked down at the landscape below his feet. The people currently looking up wouldn't know about how a person raised in a rural area had reached this place and what hardships he had overcome.
The world's best magician was once the dunce of Bergen Academy...? It was a story that even he couldn't have believed in those days. The sky, which he looked up at, was blue as always and clear without any clouds. Emotions rose and sank quickly. He wasn't so immature as to be swayed by this. Still, wasn't it okay to return the cheers once?
"Um." Theodore raised the rod in his right hand and aimed it at the sky.
The people who saw his movements became silent. They watched the best magician of this century with curious eyes, wondering what he would show on this auspicious day. Would it be fire? A lightning strike? This was the perception of those who didn't know much about magicians. They thought Theodore wasn't that different from the other great magicians.
'Okay, this is fine.' Theodore visualized it in a matter of seconds and carried out the magic. The gem at the end of the rod shone once before dimming. The central square fell silent, expecting something tremendous. However, nothing happened.
One of the disappointed people sighed and looked up. "...Eh?"
Then his loud exclamation shattered the heavy silence, "T-The sky! Look above you!"
People raised their heads as soon as his voice was heard. It wasn't just the people gathered in the central square but the magicians around the stage as well. All the citizens of Manvil looked up at the sky, which had blackened. Like the sky from half a year ago, night had come despite the sunshine. However, unlike Doomsday, this night sky was beautiful. The blue sky still remained at the edge, a color border that decorated the night sky. Additionally, starlight shone in the warm darkness. Due to Theodore's magic, the night sky was closer and clearer, captivating everyone's eyes.
He was a magician who covered the sun in daytime and brought the night! This alone was enough to cause awe. However, Theodore's magic didn't end there.
"Ohh! The curtain of light in the sky..."
"These jewel-like lights... are really beautiful!"
"An aurora over Manvil...!"
There was a whirl of light where the color couldn't be determined. Some people recognized it as an aurora, while others didn't. However, everyone didn't hesitate to admire it and rejoice. In front of Theodore's magic, both the young and old were joyful. The aurora in the sky gathered in one place and started to draw several complex patterns.
Someone saw through the meaning and cried out in a loud voice, "That... is the flag of the empire!"
The first and most dramatically drawn pattern was the flag of Meltor. The eagles, spires, and crown pattern planted a flame in the hearts of the crowd. The next pattern consisted of the symbols that represented the magic towers.
Owl, owlet, crow, and osprey—when the four wise birds flew in the sky, the people became speechless. The symbols of the nation—the magic empire, Meltor—they would live as in the future were filling the sky.
Nobody knew who opened their mouths first.
"―The Imperial Guardian, hooray!"
Once one person cried out, the ten people around them also shouted. It wasn't long until ten people grew to the hundreds, and hundreds grew to the thousands. The crowd in the central square cried out in one voice.
"Imperial Guardian, hooray!
"His Majesty the Emperor, hooray!
"Theodore Miller, hooray!
"The magic empire, hooray!"
The voices of the 10,000 people were almost like a storm. The passing wind was broken, and the surprised birds fell out of the tree. The patriotism and pride that resulted from Theodore's magic inspired the people. Later, historians would assert:
It was said that the endless glory of the Meltor Empire began with the first cheer.
* * *
The Imperial Guardian could speak on the same level as the emperor and be involved in any policy domestically and abroad. It was legally absurd, but Theodore's transcendent power and achievements made the exception possible. In the first place, if he decided on something, who would dare argue against him? The position of Imperial Guardian was just a deception.
Of course, it seemed great for those who didn't know the circumstances behind it. It did make it easier for Theodore to do his work.
"Sigh..." Theodore returned to his office on the top floor of the central magic tower and took off his tie.
Despite obtaining a tremendous position, his work hadn't changed much. Theodore was still mediating disputes between nations, dealing with the aftermath of wars, and stabilizing the unstable dimension. He wandered around the world from dawn to early evening and then checked the faces of Adellia and his brides.
Theodore buried himself in the armchair and whispered in a low voice, "Goetia, assistance."
[Yes, Master,] a voice emerged from the ring on his right hand. [Aquilo has sent a message that she has normalized the water vein in Austen. Elvenheim said that the condition of the world tree will be normalized in approximately two or three months. In the East Continent, the Western Xia has dispatched reconnaissance troops across the border. Half of them were wiped out by the border guards in the south. The establishment of the Science Academy is 72% completed as scheduled. The screening of magicians who are suitable as researchers for the 'magic engineering' is delayed a bit.]
"...I see," Theodore said and closed his eyes, summarizing the situation before replying, "I will return to talk to Aquilo directly. It is pleasing that the recovery of the world tree is twice as fast as expected. Mitra and the spirits added strength. I need to get some gifts."
[Yes, I will act according to Master's will.]
"But the Western Xia..."
It was Baek Dongil's native kingdom. Theodore could understand why the Baek Family left the East Continent. When did a person reveal their true colors? The leader of the Western Xia was filled with inferiority and jealousy. Now the leader had no more patience left to watch.
"Just leave it alone. The power of the South Kingdom and the New Central Kingdom isn't bad. They will take care of it."
"And the lack of researchers for 'magic engineering'... There aren't many magicians interested in science? We can support it with the budget."
Thanks to the 9th circle magic, Materials Conversion, money and materials wasn't a problem. Additionally, the materials which were essential to magic engineering were steel and lead, not mithril or orichalcum. There were many studies that could be done with rare metals. However, there was still a long way to go from the beginning.
Goetia laughed at Theodore's words and said, [The magicians of this age are only focused on magic. It is hard to study a new field.]
"It would be quite helpful for magic too... Well, it can't be helped."
There was no point forcing magicians to participate. If he built an academy and taught people from childhood, the problem would be solved after one generation. This was a blueprint made for a thousand years. He could afford a margin of error that was one generation. Therefore, Theodore abandoned his impatience.
"Is there anything else to report?"
[Yes. There are a few more things, but I can handle them autonomously.]
"Okay, you have worked hard today. Get some rest."
[I understand, Master. Please have a comfortable night.]
The blinding light of the ring stopped shining. Theodore took it off and placed it on the desk. The darkness that came in from outside the window cast shade over the small silver ring. It was the night view of Manvil with countless stars and lights.
'It was quite busy today.'
Theodore sat in the chair and looked at the scenery as he thought back on this day. It was better to be busy than to be bored enough to yawn. If he didn't enjoy life, then he wouldn't be able to live for a long time. He calmly looked out the window at the lights and the people wandering below.
'...How long can I carry on with my life?'
When there was no work to do, many thoughts were born. Theodore recalled the words that Paragranum had said a few months ago. He was different from the people down below. He would live endlessly, unlike the people caught on the wheel of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This was why transcendents left the world or went into hiding.
Those who lived finite lives and those who were immortal—there was a gap that couldn't be narrowed down between the two.
Theodore could live like this for another 100 years. There would be no big problem after 200 years. But what about 1,000 years? 2,000 years? After everyone he loved died and he was alone in this world, it wouldn't be possible to live like he did now and he would stop breathing.
Once he closed his eyes, the infinite vortex appeared in his mind. Right now, it was like he could grip omnipotence in his hands. It would be easy to lead all the surrounding people to transcendence and build a paradise that would remain until the end of the universe.
"Hah!" Theodore scoffed and shook off the temptation. "It isn't funny."
Even if his loved ones left, there would be children connected through his blood and name. It was the bond he'd created with Sylvia and Adellia which kept him in this world. Remembering the past and preparing for the promising future was the right way to live. It was against Theodore's principles to fear the unfamiliar future and hold onto a past that should be let go.
Theodore sat back in his chair and said cheerfully, "We are born, born, born, and born again. But we can't understand where life begins."
Those were the words of grand Buddhist master in the East.
"We will die, die, die, and die. But we won't know the end of death."
Even a transcendent who had seen a part of the truth couldn't understand universal life and death. Theodore was the same despite having looked at Akashic. If he were asked why the universe existed, he would answer that he didn't know. This answer was the truth of everything. The existence of life and death was an existence complete in itself.
"Without her, without him... As long as there are traces of them left in my descendants in the future..."
Theodore Miller wouldn't forsake this world. He pledged this once more and picked up a book from his desk. There was no title, and the notebook had no words.
Life wasn't meaningless. He wasn't sleepy and there was still time left in the night, so Theodore didn't hesitate to pick up a quill pen. He thought it wouldn't be bad to write about his own life in print. It would be an autobiography. Theodore brought the tip of the pen to the notebook. There was a text that should precede the table of contents.
One title came to mind—[The Book Eating Magician.]
The palm of his left hand tingled. Theodore wrote the first chapter without disturbing the illusion. It was a story which began by meeting a bad book in the library.
...And that story wasn't over yet.