"About this… I have found a unique composition by researching those mages’ blood. They have indeed drunk the magic potion, but I think that composition can’t reach the extent of life-linking."
Benjamin shrugged, "Just by the magic potion alone is impossible. A magic potion combined with some ancient curse would achieve that sort of control. So, do I need to find you some theoretical book on curses?"
"No." The old man shook his head, "What I meant is that the supposed life-linking effect is a lie."
The magic potion matter was told to him by the guild master from the mage guild. The guild master would definitely be on their side, so there would be no need for lies, right? Moreover, after interrogating those captive mages, they had also admitted that the magic potion had linked their lives with the Queen.
"Why do you think so?" He asked.
"Because I have been researching this for the past few days." The old man’s tone was firmer than he had imagined, "I have analyzed the ingredients from the potion; it’s about the same as the formula you handed me. However, regardless of how I combined them, even utilizing the oddest of refinery methods, it cannot achieve the effect you’ve mentioned."
"But… There’s still the curse. Perhaps you do not understand this, but a curse is a tactic that can easily take control of someone else’s life. If the summoner is willing to, they can make the life of the cursed a living hell."
"I know. However, that summoner must first have an unimaginably high Spiritual Energy to trigger the magic hidden deep in one’s body," The old man rebutted, "The Queen is not even a mage. If she unexpectedly passes, there will not be any spiritual oscillation. This will mean that the things in the mages’ body will not be triggered, and they will die along with the queen."
Benjamin couldn't help but place his hands on his chin and start to sink into his thoughts.
The old man was proficient in researching this, so his words did carry some degree of weight to it. As for the curse, the old man was correct. The basis of curses lied in the Spiritual Energy. Perhaps the Queen was now a half-mage. However given her mortal-leveled Spiritual Energy, there was no way she could have caused an oscillation.
If the life-linking depended on the Spiritual Energy, then it would be like binding an adult and an ant together… Could it be?
"Perhaps this magic potion was strengthening the Queen’s Spiritual Energy in a way?" Benjamin exploratorily asked.
The old man instead responded, "There is a similar magic potion, but the ingredients of the formula that I have researched showed not even a slight extent of similarity."
Benjamin had nothing left in him to refute the old man.
Could the life-linking really be just a lie?
If that was the case, how then did the Queen control the Mages’ Guild?
After giving much thought, Benjamin decided to interrogate the few mages that they had held captive.
He turned to leave the refinery room and headed down to the basement. For the convenience of the old man’s research, one of the captive mages was locked in the underground basement.
"...Are you getting used to the place?"
Using a key to open the big metal gates, Benjamin walked in and saw an idle, middle-aged man sitting on the straw mat.
"Hmph, done using my blood again? If you want it, come and get it. Don’t dilly-dally over there!" The person did not recognize Benjamin, yet his voice was filled with the tone of resistance.
"I am not here for your blood." Benjamin walked before him, "I want to ask you, why are you loyal to the Queen?"
The old man coldly snorted once more. He turned away without saying a word.
Benjamin couldn’t help but shake his head.
If he must add, the conditions here were much better than any regular prison. There was no distasteful smell and there were regular housekeeping and food provided. Apart from the anti-magic chain locked on the person’s body, it really was quite the comfortable life.
However… there would always be some people who showed no appreciation.
Benjamin could not summon magic as usual, but if he was willing to activate the Descent of Water, he could put on those flashy tactics to prove himself to the mage before him.
"It seems that you have forgotten how I treated you for those few months. Do you need me to remind you?" He did not want to waste any more time and thus resorted to threats.
The mage turned to glance at Benjamin, finally recognizing him. At that moment, he was scared to his wits that he retreated backward while trembling.
"You… Why are you here again? Didn’t I tell you everything? Ge-get out!"
It looked like he was pretty traumatized.
Benjamin was feeling odd that he did not recognize him in the first place. Was his change that big from the past few months? Or could this fellow be locked up too long that he went insane?
Alright, he was going to put that aside.
"Answer me properly, then you will not go through that again," He stiffened his face.
"You mentioned before that magic could bind your lives with the Queen’s. Once the Queen dies, you will also die, is that true?"
"Ye-yes, it’s true."
"Then… If the magic potion loses its effect, will you still pledge allegiance to the queen?"
The mage was dumbfounded and immediately confirmed, "Of course I would. Although I am a mage, I am still from Icor. If it wasn’t for the Queen, I would not know magic. Of course, I pledge allegiance to the queen."
Upon hearing it, Benjamin scratched his head.
Such a strong secular belief... It was rare to see this kind of mages.
No, it should be said that once regular people became mages, the secular beliefs usually fade out. It was more important to be on a path to seek out magic, and so the spirit of patriotism wouldn’t be that strong.
"Where did that thought come from?" Benjamin couldn’t help but ask.
"Where did what come from… Sh-shouldn’t that be certain?"
"It’s important to have loyalty and righteousness. However, the Queen used the magic potion to control you. When you drank it, didn’t you have an inch of unwillingness?"
"That was to prove our loyalty to Her Majesty. Her Majesty once said that when she’s nearing the end of her time, she would disband the effect of the magic potion as she does not wish all mages to be buried with her. This was so that Icor would forever continue its legacy."
Benjamin did not know what else to say.
So... this person was not brainwashed?
Or… Could he be brainwashed by something?
The potion master’s words crossed his mind. The life-linking might be a lie. However, could the potion effect be some sort of brainwash on the spirit to reinforce the mages’ loyalty as well as belief towards the life-linking?
Benjamin narrowed his eyes as his thoughts reached here. He observed the person’s spiritual state. He was unsure if it was because he had been locked up for long, but he gave a weird vibe to Benjamin.
When Benjamin first entered, he did not even recognize him.
"… Okay then. Just stay here, I have nothing more to ask."
Benjamin suddenly blurted out and left without hesitation. He locked the metal gates in the underground basement. The captive mage was left scratching his head, starting at the back of Benjamin with question marks in his head.