Ellen shared everything that had happened with Harriet. Reinhardt’s strange behavior, the assassination attempt that started everything, and what she had been able to confirm that day.
Harriet was horrified to find out that Ellen had witnessed that human-controlling bug with her own eyes.
“I can’t believe that there’s really a human-manipulating hairworm…”
Ellen tilted her head as if she had never heard of the insect called a hairworm.
“It… It’s something that… infests the intestines of insects and… U-urg…”
Harriet tried to repeat Christina’s explanation, but she only grew pale as she tried. Harriet was so smart that she could recall the locusts and mantises whose stomachs were stuffed with those thread-like worms, so she took mental damage while she was talking.
“Anyway, they are insects that can control other insects…”
“Are they made with magic as well?”
“No, it’s just like that by nature…”
While it was bizarre logic to assume that, since there were insects that were able to control other insects, there were insects that could control humans as well if magic got thrown in the mix, it wasn’t as bizarre if they actually existed.
That line of reasoning led to alchemy rather than black magic.
Of course, that didn’t mean that black magic wasn’t involved at all. If black magic was used in alchemy, one could use black-magic-type alchemy, so one couldn’t be certain that it was completely irrelevant.
Could they determine what kind of magic had been used just with that parasite as the first clue?
They couldn’t be certain. However, that was all they had.
“Let’s go ask Mr. Mustrang.”
It might be something they had no knowledge of because they were still students, so Ellen and Harriet decided to go ask one of their homeroom teachers.
Homeroom teachers of the Royal Class usually didn’t have any dedicated lectures they were in charge of—they were focused on protecting and managing the members of their class. They were talented individuals who were able to take immediate action in case of an emergency.
If they were asked to hold lectures, they would be able to do it, however, they were simply teachers who were tasked with the management of the Royal Class.
Therefore, just like the individual teachers resided in a dormitory, the homeroom teachers also lived in Temple. As such, when an accident occurred, they would be called upon, even on weekends.
“He’s a funny person.”
“Is that so?”
Harriet commented on Mr. Mustrang as they traveled to the faculty quarters.
While Mr. Mustrang wasn’t an alchemist, he was the advisor of the Magic Research Society. He would sometimes check on the children who were studying while giving them bits of advice.
Since their research projects were on such a large scale, he would sometimes try to tell them how things were done, however, after some time, he let his worries rest and just idled away next to the students.
He would often be left alone in his seat, self-deprecatingly calling himself an incompetent teacher.
His self-esteem had been falling endlessly those days.
Visiting the faculty’s living quarters in Temple, Harriet took the lead to Mr. Mustrang’s room to ask him a very specific question.
Is it possible to use alchemy to make bugs that can control people?
“Guuys! You absolutely can’t make these kinds of thiiings!”
Mr. Mustrang, who was plagued by a lot of worries, grabbed Harriet, seeming incredibly frightened.
Ellen seemed to understand why Harriet thought that he was quite amusing.
Mr. Mustrang calmed down when they said that they had gone there to ask that because they were simply curious, even though he didn’t really know the details.
After sitting down at a nearby cafe, they ordered some drinks.
“Homunculi or chimeras that can control people… Why are you curious about something like that?”
Mr. Mustrang still seemed worried.
“Just because. I think I heard someone talking about such things somewhere.”
“Are there things like that?”
“Well… If there was, no matter what type of magic they were made with, they most certainly would belong to the prohibited ones. Prohibited spells are literally forbidden spells, so there is very little information about them. I can’t even tell you if there are spells that can achieve something like that.”
Being a teacher made no difference in that matter.
“Still… Bugs that can control people… While I don’t think anyone would have even tried making something like that…”
Still, Mr. Mustrang knew the madness of wizards a lot better than his students. There were those whose pursuit of happiness turned into madness, so there were those that dabbled in the forbidden. There were more unknown than there were known things in that world, after all.
“I believe that you guys don’t plan on creating something like that, but you should never dabble in that kind of research or even talk about it outside just because you’re curious, okay? If you do, it would be pretty hard for us to protect you.”
“Of course we won’t. Ellen isn’t even a magic major student.”
“Yes, but still…”
Mr. Mustang tended to worry excessively, so it seemed like he was very worried that the kids were thinking of creating strange things. He looked at Ellen and Harriet’s faces and smiled at both of them.
“Alright. I don’t know what you two are up to, but if someone ever did something like that, the Taboo Hunters wouldn’t leave them alone.”
Ellen and Harriet tilted their heads at those words.
Neither of them had heard of that group before.
“What are those?”
“Aah, right. It’s not surprising that you don’t know of them. Nothing good comes from knowing that group…”
Mr. Mustrang spoke in a low voice.
“Have you ever heard of Magic Societies?”
“Yes, I know of them.”
While both Ellen and Harriet knew that such groups existed, they didn’t know the specifics.
“They are one of those Magic Societies. They are hunters who hunt wizards that break taboos.”
“Mr. Mustrang… Please don’t pass on speculative information to students.”
Ellen and Harriet turned around after hearing a familiar voice coming from behind them.
Translator – KonnoAren
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Proofreader – ilafy
Mr. Epinhauser, wearing his usual cold expression, was looking down at the three of them. He was wearing comfortable clothes, completely different from his usual suit, perhaps because he just stopped by as he was passing them. Ellen and Harriet were staring at him wearing casual clothes as if he was some sort of rare animal.
Of course, even though the clothes he wore were different, his attitude towards them was still the same.
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Mr. Mustrang’s face turned red as if he had been caught playing a prank.
“Th-the Taboo Hunters exist!”
However, his expression was just like a child who completely believed in some urban legend.
Certainly, the Taboo Hunters were more like a legend. Mr. Mustrang just enjoyed those kinds of stories.
He was the complete opposite of Mr. Epinhauser.
“…They should exist.”
“But one shouldn’t go around talking about them too much. They haven’t been properly identified yet.”
Mr. Epinhauser was just there to get a drink, so he walked away when he was done.
“…You get along unexpectedly well.
Harriet was amazed at the experience of coincidentally meeting Mr. Epinhauser acting familiar with Mr. Mustrang.
“H-hahaha… Actually, he doesn’t really talk to me after work hours except when it concerns work. I think today was the first time he did so this year…”
Even the word “affectionless” was too much to describe Mr. Epinhauser. It seemed like he didn’t really share any private things except for when it concerned his work.
Still, the year was already nearing its end.
When he said to Harriet that it was his first time talking to him about something other than work, she looked stunned.
Is it necessary for him to separate his private and work affairs this thoroughly?
That was what Harriet thought.
It was quite rare for Mr. Mustrang to react so harshly. While all Magic Societies were secret organizations, there were some rumors, often exaggerations, floating about the known Societies. However, the one thing they had in common was the Black Order.
All of the rumors were of cases where they caused harm to the world. From small things such as assassinations to large-scale things like using a whole village as their experiment sites. It seemed like a wizard under a certain feudal lord actually tried to swallow his lord’s territory after receiving the order from the Black Order.
Their purpose was unknown, but they were beings that caused great harm to the world.
However, as was the case with Magic Societies, no details had been revealed about either the Black Order or the Taboo Hunters.
“Anyway, if you kids want to learn more about this, you’ll have to ask someone who majored in alchemy and not me.”
He took out a notebook and wrote down the address of such a professor’s office as well as their name.
“He’s one of the teachers in charge of the alchemy lectures in Temple. He gives lectures exclusively to high-ranking students, so his skills are certain.
If he doesn’t know of the existence of something like that, it most certainly doesn’t exist. Since he’s a teacher only in charge of holding lectures, he won’t be in Temple during the weekend.”
It was an alchemist recommended by Mr. Mustrang. That meant that his knowledge of the matter wouldn’t be lacking. Normally, they would have waited until the next week, but Ellen and Harriet were in a hurry.
They were in urgent need of information.
That was why Harriet hurriedly spoke up again.
“Can’t we go to his home directly?”
“Hmm… Coming to meet me aside… Please don’t be rude now. While he has an amiable personality, it’s not very polite to suddenly visit him on the weekend. You know that, right?”
Ellen and Harriet nodded upon seeing Mr. Mustrang’s concerned expression.
“Is this for certain?”
“While I’m not completely sure, it certainly involves some form of forbidden art. Even if they don’t mean to harm Your Highness, if this were to come to light, they wouldn’t be able to avoid the death penalty.”
I nodded as I listened to Sarkegaar’s report. He passed the information he had found out to me in my private room located in Temple’s dormitory.
“Wizards are people who can do a lot of things in a short amount of time. It’s not like them to run away.”
The mansion of Aaron Mede, the professor in charge of Alchemy at Temple, wasn’t very large, but the property was fairly big.
While the mansion could hardly be called simple, it was still far inferior to other mansions.
In fact, all the substantial facilities were underground—facilities for researching many forbidden dark arts. I was looking at something similar to a wiggling worm before me.
It looked like a hairworm, but it was completely black.
A sparrow had flown toward me with the worm in its beak, so I thought it wasn’t Sarkegaar at first.
“He planted this in other people and tried to kill you using a borrowed knife. It’s…”
“Yes, a magical creature. Fortunately, it seems unable to pass through Temple’s barrier, but… it can be brought in through the air.”
When one crossed the entrance of Temple, ‘Dispel’ would be cast over the person. Homunculi were magical creatures, so the best way to deal with them was through ‘Dispel’.
However, Sarkegaar had flown in, and the homunculus was still alive since ‘Dispel’ wasn’t cast on it.
His attempt on my life aside, Aaron Mede was a guy whose death would benefit the world greatly. Perhaps the assassin on that day wasn’t Aaron Mede himself but someone controlled by the special creature.
After he saw that I noticed, he decided to be careful.
He wasn’t a teacher who belonged to the Orbis Class; that was why he still remained in Temple
However, killing me directly inside Temple posed too high a risk.
—So he was trying to kill me outside of Temple.
“What do you want to do? I can handle this matter, Your Highness.”
I told Sarkegaar to just observe and not take action for the moment, which was why Sarkegaar gave reports like that. If I hadn’t said anything, Sarkegaar would have killed Aaron Mede right then and there.
“I’ll have to do it myself.”
“Why does it have to be Your Highness? You can just use my, Eleris’s, and Loyar’s power.”
The culprit had been identified, so I didn’t have to feel nervous anymore.
“No, there are some questions I want to ask him myself.”
I’d found the guy who had tried to kill me.
Killing him was a natural conclusion, but I still had some things I wanted to ask him before that.
I got up from my seat.
”Let’s go. Sparrow.”
While Sarkegaar seemed to sulk a bit, he still obediently turned into a sparrow.