The Trap (1)
The content of the note was very simple. There was no report, only an interesting message that said, ‘If you want an initial report, then come out in front of the mansion. If not, I will continue to investigate.’
Seems like the story was that it might not be what he was looking for, but if he wanted to hear it, come out. Something subtle and interesting.
‘Let’s hear it.’
Ian stood up with determination. He took the vial from the table next to him and drank the painkiller that Douglas had made.
If it had been a normal human, they would have thrown it away, since it was made with poison. Ian, however, had mana protection so there was nothing to worry about. The drug had a scent that spread all over and a bitter taste that he didn’t like.
‘Why is it this bitter?’
He had witnessed the preparation process and knew exactly what ingredients were used. Yet, it still tasted bitter. Will other people be able to swallow this potion without any doubts? Ian drank it because he knew the entire process. Unfortunately, there was no way to know the cause for this bitter taste.
‘There is no suitable explanation for this kind of taste.’
No matter how much he thought about the medicinal product and its preparation process, Ian couldn’t understand it at all. It seemed like something with a different taste had been mixed in. Amidst his endless thoughts, Ian finished drinking the vial and exited the mansion. It was still early morning.
Usually in these kinds of cases, they simply sent a letter or an underling. The head of Day Break, Crude, appeared in person this time. Was it because of the intensity of their first encounter? The fear was showing.
“It has been a while since I last saw you. Has it been that bad?”
“It wasn’t that bad.”
“What? Well……. Ah, I heard that you took a vacation, for the purpose of training. Seems like you are tired from all that.”
Ian’s vacation was actually work for the Tower Lord. It couldn’t exactly be considered confidential, as other wizards knew about it. Although it wasn’t an information trade, Crude knew all of it.
“So to say, you might still be weak, but please look into the name of the castle. Even though it isn’t favourable work and you’re still in the middle of your training…….”
Crude stood in an empty spot, gesturing to something with his hands while speaking. Ian understood the content without any difficulty. Maybe it was an elixir.
“It is an elixir.”
“The whole world knows that if it wasn’t for elixirs, the mages wouldn’t be able to survive.”
Surely, that wasn’t the reason for the elixir. In his past life, Ian had also received a lot of those. Crude often gave bribes in the form of little gifts like elixirs. Is this an elixir that can only be tasted once every few years?
“This is a precious little thing compared to a normal, commonly found elixir. Since it can only be made once every few years, it is still hard to obtain even with lots of money. I will give this to the Tower Lord who is training.”
This was definitely the same.
Only the statement was a little different.
Ian had to receive that elixir.
To give it to his mother.
“I’ll take it.”
“Uh? Ah, yes, thank you very much!”
Without any hesitation or doubt Ian took it. Crude was a little flustered as Ian took it without even thanking him. He was especially perturbed since this was an obvious bribe and most people of high status, such as the Tower Lord, would show some kind of hesitation or pretend to be humble. Ian showed none of this.
‘Is it because he is still young?’
With those thoughts, Crude handed some documents to Ian. It was the information that he had investigated until now. They were filled with very detailed stories, none of which were very useful.
“I’m very sorry for speaking like this, but I don’t have the expenditure to pursue your request anymore. This is it.”
Crude’s voice tapered off.
He came close to Ian’s ear.
There was no one around to overhear, but it was an instinctive action.
“If you review the documents, you will know, there were a few stories related to the Dragon. That said, they are a kind of a trend.”
“For example, it may be a story related to a dragon, but it holds status, while the other ones don’t exist? The trend of collecting those kinds of things has been widespread among the nobles.”
Things related to dragons is a trend?
Ian couldn’t remember this from his past life.
Surely, this trend was far from anything.
Considering this, it was a strange story.
“It is unknown whether this is related to the requested order, as the nobles are sure to collect trendy items. For such a minor reason, there has to be something unbelievable there, right?”
There must be a reason for this trend to appear amongst the nobles.
This was obviously something that was worth investigating.
“And the distribution of the goods is also quite secretive. These goods aren’t found in the market anymore. They are being auctioned to the nobles.”
Crude’s speech grew longer.
Yet there wasn’t any stuttering or faulty vocabulary in it.
“You see, only nobles can attend the auction, and on top of that, delivery of the dragon related items is strictly confidential. I think that, there is at least six major groups that have a share in the empire’s trade.”
Six major groups of the empire.
This was familiar to Ian.
No, to be precise.
‘I know the top five groups.’
In the past life there had been ‘five’ major groups in the Empire. But a sixth major group? I have been involved in the upper level work related to the Ivory Tower. It wasn’t possible for him not to remember it.
“Where are each of the six major groups?”
Unlike his previous life, the upper level were reborn as the major groups.
Ian curiously asked Crude.
“If I start with the easiest name first, The Jameson Top, Morton Top, Highway Top, Mario and brothers. This one is also the name of the groups. They were originally mercenaries.”
“I know. Please continue.”
‘If he knew, why did he ask?’
Crude’s lips went stiff.
‘I would’ve yelled if he was a good man.
No, I wouldn’t have met with him in the first place.’
“Yes, Muratra Top and the last one is the……… Boien group. Even the Tower Lord might know about them. This group is originally from the area North of the Tower Lord’s hometown, Mogrian, and is quite active over there. For a few years now, they have been in the continental basin.”
If it was the Boien group then Ian definitely knew them. Were these the people that he sold the mountain goblins’ bodies to six years ago?
‘Because I intervened, did the future change?’
It was definite that they didn’t suddenly become a major group just because Ian sold them bodies of dead goblins. Ian just changed the flow of the stream. Even then, he still felt great pleasure.
“I wrote down the details in the documents. Please go through it once, if there is something that needs to be added then please contact me. Ah, there is no need for you to come all the way to our headquarters. You might have noticed it when you first contacted us, but all the commercial districts on route 1 are owned completely by us. I would be grateful if you contacted us through that side.”
Ian’s eyes were on Crude right until the end. It wasn’t like this in his past life, his second impression of the empire’s Tower Lord was the first intense impression in this one.
“Let’s do it that way.”
Once Crude left, Ian returned to the mansion.
When he entered the bedroom, he saw figures who hadn’t been there before.
(This……. a book with……..their language.)
(Is that so? That human can read this.)
(Their language……. is only….)
(Only those ones can read it.)
The Fairy Queen and the soul of the dragon Sparto were there. The Fairy Queen was flipping through a book that was larger than herself and showing it to the dragon.
“What are you guys doing?”
At Ian’s question, they turned to the dragon. This was the conclusion that he could get over the last few months, to these people Dragon was a parent like being. It felt like a mother from one side and father from another. Ian never knew what it felt like to have a father. It was just a guess.
“Queen. I have something to ask.”
“If so, is that from the Dragonian household?”
(What is up with you?)
“If you can’t understand what it is, it means that you cannot write it.”
If you do not understand it, you cannot write it.
There was a pretty disgusting expression.
Nevertheless, it was the Fairy Queen.
There was no way he could argue.
(What, I will. Anyone with the power will be able. The loyalty towards them will not disappear. Surely, only the Fairy clan kept their nest till the end.)
(I also…….have their shield.)
(Noisy! Always talking about the bones that sleep.)
(The sleep……..has its own reasons.)
At the intervention of the dragon Sparto the arguments became frequent. Ian reached a point, where just by thinking about it, he could block the noise, without having to rely on any magic.
‘I can’t get through this. No one can.’
Ian thought about the current issues. He should take measures to check the relationship between the dragonian who is likely to be the founder of the Order of the Dragon denomination, the trend that is circling among the nobles of the empire regarding the dragon, and the secret auctions that were being created by them.
‘Everything can be pulled out in one shot.’
If you only look at the process, it is simple.
Try exhibiting some dragon related items.
The secret auction among the nobles.
It could be used as a lure.
‘It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a relationship.’
It is enough to recover the item again.
Ian had the power of funding.
He’ll only have to pay a small fee.
‘The secret auction will have security. How am I supposed to get invited as a buyer? I have to resolve these two……..’
Those two were the major problems. The issue was that the auction was run by the six major groups of the empire and in order to be invited as a buyer, he needed to be close with a noble.
‘Since I’m not a noble.’
Mages were also like nobles. If a command was sent from the Ivory Tower, the Lords would have to leap. Be that as it may, mages were still not nobles. As long as this was the case, it was going to be hard to enter into the secret auction of the nobles. Even more so if he couldn’t get acquainted with anyone. A mage who was a noble, is there such an existence?
‘I have to do this.’
Ian’s head was running at a high speed.
He started to go through his numerous memories.
The 42 years of his past life and the 6 years of his current life.
Ian extracted everything from there.
* * *
A few days after that.
The famous household, that has the ability to influence all the aristocrats of the empire, the ‘Parker’ family, hosted the secret auction at their estate. While hosting the auction, one can preview the items that are going to be exhibited, this was that kind of management. Auburn was also in the process of managing their quality.
“Duke Auburn, it’s an honor to meet you here like this.”
“AhAh, are you the one of the Boien group?”
“I’m Roberto. Please look after me.”
Auburn Park and a large-bellied middle aged man shared their greetings. He introduced himself as the exhibitor and director of the Boien group. The impression he left wasn’t a great one. Could it be said that he looked like a perfect example of a vicious trader? If based purely on appearance, then it was so.
“It depends on the quality of the thing.”
“That’s the thing. It’s highly satisfying.”
“Wow, a confident guy.”
“Are you confident? I’ve been eating chopped rice and went all over looking for things. Through all of my experience, this was my first time seeing something like this.”
Roberto started to praise it loudly.
Auburn was feeling suspicious of these praises.
It was rather counter productive.
It was like that until now.
“There wasn’t a single person until now who would introduce an exhibit item with such praise. Everything here must be related to Dragonians, so don’t talk like that again. Since the code of this auction house is Dragonian. You are aware about it right?”
“Is that what you mean?”
Auburn Park folded his arms and glared at Robert. The merchant Robert knew it for sure and nodded his head. Will Robert show me the item?
“Please come over to this side.”
Boien group’s top, was definitely Roberto.
Roberto took out a locker from the carriage and placed in it front of Auburn, who gently opened it. Inside, was a huge book, that wasn’t normal. Just by looking at the cover, you could tell it wasn’t made by humans.
“The, the hell, this book……..”
Looking at it, the image stayed in Parker’s eyes.
Recovering from the shock of seeing the book, he asked.
“What, what is this? Where did you get this book?”
“Don’t be so surprised. This is exactly……”
The merchant Roberto stopped speaking for a moment and went closer to the ear of Auburn.
“An item related to the Dragon.”