Chapter 4 – A Branch in the Coffin, Mistiltein (1)
The night was steeped in darkness when a woman was making her way with quiet steps.
Her long blonde hair shone in the moonlight, illuminating her surroundings as she stood alone; her eyes slightly sunken, and her gait calm.
As if filled with melancholy, her eyes that gently pushed through the landscape, had a seductive allure that would make a man turn around and have an another look.
And so she continued with her gentle stride,
She opened her eyes.
No, they were open, and she was awake.
A few strands of hair stuck to her lips.
“……Ah, here we are.”
Elin looked at the front of the house and checked her clothes.
“I don't think I bumped into anything.
The other day, she had walked all the way home with the leaves still in her hair.
Huam, still sleepy, she yawned.
When was the last time she was not sleepy?
She opened the front door.
“Uh, sister, you home?”
Her brother greeted her, sitting on the couch.
No, he shouldn't have greeted her when he wasn't even looking up from the WeezerView.
Elin cast a questioning glance at her brother, Aster Evans.
“Are you acquainted with a first year from House Roach?
“Frondier, the human sloth.”
Aster tilted his head a little more at Elin's words.
Her younger brother was so oblivious to the outside world that he didn't even know who Frondier was.
“I think I saw you and Frondier together in the training room.”
“Is that ……
Astor said, as if something had dawned on him.
“But we weren't together.
I just said hello in passing.
He looked like he was waiting for someone.”
“Hmm,” Elin let out a short snort and walked past Aster.
Aster watched her stride toward the refrigerator in disbelief, “No, that's it?”
“I was worried you'd get something weird again.”
Elin pulled out a pitcher of water and poured it into a cup.
Behind her, she heard Aster snort, “You're being funny.
You've been sleeping all day and-“
With a snap, Elin's hand swung out.
The cup and the water inside it extended from her fingertips, the whole thing came flying toward Aster in a clean, horizontal line, as if it had been placed on the table and pushed.
Aster caught it with his hand, leaning his body backwards to follow its momentum, and then twisting his body once, altering the direction of the force.
The water in the cup splashed slightly.
Elin looked at it with a frown and said, “It spilled.”
“That's because you threw it that way!”
“That way? Do you want to be thrown that way too?”
Damn it, Aster swallowed his anger and took a drink of water.
If he had used his divine power, it shouldn't even be a fist's throw away.
Aster shifted his gaze to the WeezerView, trying to get his mind off of it –
– when he heard a news report that was playing on the screen, the contents of which stopped Aster in his tracks.
A party has discovered a divine artifact in a dungeon near Solgitov.
The divine object is a branch nearly two meters long, and its appearance resembles that of a Mistiltein, causing a stir-]
Aster muttered, and Elin responded; she put down the cup of water she was drinking and walked over to Aster's side.
On the screen, a member of the party was holding a transparent coffin; Inside it was a long tree branch.
He was in the middle of being interview.
[Why did you put it in the coffin?]
[We didn't put it there, it looked like this when we found it in the dungeon].
[Did you ever think about breaking the coffin?]
If it is truly a divine artefact, including this coffin, it will incur the wrath of the God].
There's some speculation in the world that it's Mistiltein, what do you think?]
[We don't know.
If that's really the case, I'd be happy!]
The leader of the party smiled cheerfully.
Hearing that voice, Aster looked at the branch in the coffin.
Meanwhile, Elin studied Aster's expression and asked, “What do you think ……
“I don't know, I've never seen the real thing.”
“By any chance, how did he react to it?”
Aster shook his head.
When Elin said ‘He,’ she meant Baldur.
Since it was a weapon that killed him, she hoped that he would tell Aster something.
For the record, most gods have died.
Just as gods have throughout history and mythology.
But it doesn't mean they're completely gone.
It means that they have left the human world.
They now existed in a ‘world of salvation,’ which was a higher concept than the Greek ‘Netherworld’ or Norse ‘Helheim,’ which appear in each mythology.
Therefore, Baldur will also be there, and he might be able to say something or drop a hint to Aster if he wanted to.
Unfortunately, Aster hasn't gotten any hints from Baldur.
His eyes were still nailed to the branch.
“Still, you want to check it out, don't you?”
If that is indeed the Mistiltein, then I must have it.”
The branch that killed Baldur.
For Aster, Baldur's beloved, it would be a weakness.
Conversely, if he had it, his greatest weakness would disappear.
No, not just that, but rather, if he could wield it.
If there was anyone who could use it, if there was anyone who could get permission from the God to use it, it was him.
[Then, what do you plan to do with the divine artifact? You won't be able to use it as it is].
[I think it's too presumptuous a weapon for us to have.
I’m considering selling it if I can get the right price].
That weapon will surely fetch an exorbitant price.
It doesn’t matter if it's real or fake.
Even if it's fake, it's the real thing until the real thing shows up.
If it's a family unrelated to combat, they would never use that weapon.
They would just keep it as a family heirloom without ever proving its authenticity.
That alone would increase their prestige, and just the purpose of possessing it would make the price skyrocket.
And for commoner Aster Evans, it was a price he couldn't even dream of.
━━━━━━ ⊙ ━━━━━━
“Did you hear? The Mistiltein.”
“Oh, I thought you said the auction was canceled?”
A few days later.
In Constell, the Mistiltein was the talk of the town; students, professors, everyone's attention was on it.
The party that discovered the Mistiltein put it up for auction.
However, it was soon canceled.
That was to be expected.
The bids from the prestigious families could not simply be converted into money..
Eventually, the heads of the prestigious families would gather together and come to an agreement.
The lesser nobles would not even be allowed to attend.
And today was the day of that meeting.
For once, all eyes in the room were on Frondier.
Regardless of his unworthiness, Frondier was the son of a prestigious family.
His father, Enfer de Roach, was said to have great love for his son and in this case, the son in question was not Frondier, but his older brother, Atzier.
Besides, Frondier had made a remark as few days ago and his incomprehensible bravado, saying ‘Mistiltein don't look like that,’ had become a rumor throughout the school and soon the moment will come when his bluff will be exposed.
For many of those reasons, in today’s Constell, interest in Frondier had skyrocketed.
Of course, the man himself, Frondier, was quiet and languidly sleepy today.
After school, Elodie came to Frondier's classroom.
There were six classes at Constell for each year and Elodie and Frondier were in different classes, even though they were in the same year.
Frondier was in class 5, and Elodie was in class 2 with Aster.
Since Aster was the protagonist in the game Etius, many of the Named characters were in Class 2.
When Elodie approached Frondier, all eyes were drawn to them.
But in a way, Elodie's behavior was expected.
She was the daughter of a prestigious family – she was the daughter of the House Rishae, rivals to the Roach family.
Naturally, she would attend today's meeting.
“You, don't say anything strange at to the meeting.”
Elodie said warningly.
“Saying that Mistiltein doesn't look like that or something.”
“I'm not going to say that, don't worry.”
“I’m not worried.
I'm just afraid that shame will become my share.
Well, I'm glad you're not going to say anything ridiculous.”
Elodie sighed in exasperation and Frondier laughed.
For a moment, his dull face lit up.
“Even if I don't do that, that's mine.”
What did he just say? It’s mine?
“Oh, you mean it belongs to the House Roach?”
“You could say that too.”
“Then just say that.
Don't say it in a weird way.”
━━━━━━ ⊙ ━━━━━━
Together, Frondier and Elodie made their way to the school gates.
As the walked, many students watched the two.
Just like looking at a bride and groom coming out of a wedding.
Of course, their relationship was more like the opposite.
Then someone approached them.
It was Aster.
Being in the same class, the two talented students were naturally close.
By now, even by game standards, Aster has spoken to Elodie.
“Have a good day.”
Not that there's anything I can do.”
Elodie smiled and cracked a joked.
Aster smiled back, but there was a slight stiffness in his smile.
“Elodie, can I ask you a favor?”
“I know it's a lot to ask, but if possible, bring the Mistiltein.
It would put my mind at ease.”
Elodie smiled bitterly at Aster's words.
She was not unaware of Aster's situation, but it was easier said than done.
From the House Rishae’s point of view, the Mistiltein is not something to be coveted that much.
They'd take it if they could, but it was not something that would cause them to shed family blood.
The most likely candidate was House Roach.
She’d heard that there was nothing that Patriarch Enfer wouldn’t do for Atzier.
There was a reason why Frondier says that the Mistiltein is House Roach’s.
“……Well, I'll try,” Elodie said.
Depending on how the meeting went, she might be able to get her voice heard, though she didn't know how much it would mean.
“Don't worry, Aster Evans,” Frondier said suddenly.
Aster looked at Frondier.
They were strangers, except for their encounter in the training room.
To Aster, Frondier spoke calmly, “I'll take away your worries.”
With those words, Frondier walked away.
Elodie followed a short distance behind.
“What do you mean, you're going to take away his worries?”
What the hell is literally? Elodie frowned.
In truth, there was something more important and nerve-wracking on Frondier's mind right now than the meeting itself.
The figure waiting for him at the school gates, that is.
A cold voice called out to him from the stationary carriage.
Frondier's first impression of the man was, metaphorically, of a sharpened sword.
Sharp, hard eyes and those tightly closed lips were like a symbol.
By the standards of beauty, it was a beautiful appearance that could be counted among the best on the continent, but few could approach that figure that looked like it will be cut if touched.
” …….Older Brother”
That man was Frondier's older brother, Atzier de Roach.
Etius official fraudulent character who inherits all the talents of the iron-walled Enfer and grows on top of them.
“We have lost much time.
Climb into the carriage.
Father awaits us.”
Atzier moved without letting Frondier say yes or no.
It was a natural gesture that should be done.
Elodie, who had accompanied him, too climbed into the carriage accompanied by House Richae
Frondier climbed into the carriage.
This man he saw for the first time today was his brother, and the person most likely to reveal Frondier’s identity.
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