Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 21
Claude should finally have some peace. He finished dinner and went back to his room. He thought about his brother stiffness during dinner and smiled again.
Arbeit hadn't been able to sit still at all. He didn't know how much Claude knew. He kept staring at Claude at every opportunity he got while they ate. He probably wanted to ask Claude how much he knew, but he didn't dare. Claude actually enjoyed playing hot potato with their gazes. He'd let his brother stare at him for a few seconds then suddenly look at him, and the man would quickly look away. The moment Claude's eyes returned to his plate, however, Arbeit would stare at him again and everything would start over.
It became so obvious even their mother noticed and asked what was going on.
Arbeit nearly fell of his chair to quickly explain it away, gobbled the rest of his dinner down and all but ran out of the house. He was probably heading to be boutique to ask them a few questions.
<i>Date: 15th day of the 8th month, 3341 NM. Weather: Sunny.</i>
<i>Three more units arrived today. They're from Marino, Shaliz, and Chilasos. They're lucky to not have been attacked.
<i>Bota spent the whole day playing around with the neighbourhood's girls. He doesn't behave like a magus should at all. I'll rather not say what he did look like. Even Tawari doesn't bother with him.</i>
<i>I heard Krimondo crying in his room. When I asked him about it at dinner, he only glared at me. Aliya said I was lucky I didn't know anything. 'Ignorance is bliss' she'd said.</i>
<i>They're hiding something from me.</i>
<i>Date: 16th day of the 8th month, 3341 NM. Weather: Sunny.</i>
<i>I heard the unit sent out of town to investigate where Jones was attacked came back. Tawari said all seven corpses were brought back. They found 22 corpses that weren't magi. We now know who the attackers were. They're part of that damned brotherhood.</i>
<i>They're all madmen. I don't know why they attacked, but they're very disciplined. They don't budge even while they're being blown up. Maybe I shouldn't have done that work on guns.</i>
<i>Another five units arrived as well but they're not staying at our inn.</i>
<i>I don't know where they're from. I wanted to meet them but Tawari told me to stay put.</i>
Claude read the sixth entry with a furrowed brow. He finally found a term with which he was familiar: the brotherhood.
The brotherhood was the core of the resistance. As the end of the dark era neared, it was the brotherhood that led the people in their resistance against the magi. They sacrificed countless members to drive the magi off the continent.
The diary seemed to have been penned during the war. Did that mean that it was at least six hundred years old? Incredible! People might believe him if he said it was a hundred years old, but no one would believe it was six hundred years old. Even the best beastskin only lasted three or so hundred years.
Maybe the book was infused with magic and that had kept it from rotting away. The cookbook was still in great condition, after all.
Claude might as well decode the last three while he was at it, he thought. He'd copy the rest of the pages after he was done.
<i>Date: 17th day of the 8th month, 3341 NM. Weather: Sunny.</i>
<i>I heard a loud explosion last night at about midnight. It was accompanied by a massive wave of magic. Tawari didn't allow us to go out though. I heard from people in the tavern this morning that two magi had dueled. They were courting the same woman, it seems.</i>
<i>Their fight destroyed four houses and killed 17 people. Over a hundred were injured as well. If they weren't stopped, they'd have killed even more people in their fight.</i>
<i>Bastards... How could they fight in the middle of town? Tawari said the two involved were made to pay a gold coin for everyone that died and a silver coin for everyone they injured. They fought in town because they were too afraid they'd be ambushed if they tried fighting outside of town.</i>
<i>They weren't punished enough. They only paid one shaliun a life. They ought to be damned. I noticed how hatefully people were staring at us.</i>
<i>Three more units arrived today. I couldn't be bothered with them.</i>
<i>Date: 18th day of the 8th month, 3341 NM. Weather: Sunny.</i>
<i>I've been in Golddew for eight days now, but the messenger hasn't arrived yet. I don't know when they'll let us head for the city of Symposium either.</i>
<i>More and more magi are gathering. And the atmosphere just keeps getting worse. A lot of magi have started behaving badly. I heard many start fighting after shouting at one another for a while. But we luckily have the disciplinary unit. They're all five-ring magi. They've been stopping most events before they escalate, but a few still slip through the cracks.</i>
<i>I heard this afternoon that the two that fought last night are ded. One died from eating smoked mutton that had been poisoned with jimsonweed and the other was stabbed to death.</i>
<i>The two murderers were caught and were executed. They were hanged in the centre of town. Even their souls were burned for three days before they were allowed to die.</i>
<i>The townsfolk now avoid us like we're a plague.</i>
<i>Date: 19th day of the 8th month, 3341 NM. Weather: Sunny.</i>
<i>The temporary enforcement unit decided to move the townsfolk out of the town centre out of town. They gave their homes to the new arrivals.</i>
<i>Everyone now checks their food before they eat.</i>
<i>I heard the council didn't summon us to fix the inscriptions in the sky-piercing tower. We're instead being sent to Kenpus through its teleportation rune. They say magi are in high demand there. I asked Tawari about it but he only frowned at me.</ii>
<i>Didn't they say Kenpus had a lot of magic? Even rabbits can take on a five-ring magus there and everyone constantly has to fight to survive. What am I going to do? I can't fight, I've spent all my time studying alchemy and runes. </i>
<i>I hope this is just bored woman talk. But the tower's boss, Loenk, went to Kenpus last year. He's a seven-ring, though.</i>
<i>A massive caravan started arriving this afternoon. It's apparently got 50 thousand people. They're setting up camps just east of town.</i>
<i>They're apparently taking certain materials, like black crystals to Symposium. The caravan also brought us eight thousand gunners.</i>
The the seventh, eighth, and ninth entries had a lot of information. It turned out the gathering he'd been talking about was a lot bigger than Claude had initially thought. He also finally learned the writer specialised in runes and alchemy.
He'd never known how difficult magi were to kill, but it seemed, at least the weaker ones, were quite killable. Despite that, it appeared magic was quite powerful.
He wondered what kind of plane this was to which everyone was being sent. He said it was just a rumour, but he also struck Claude as a pretty naive man.
It felt almost like he was reading a webnovel. This was the first he'd heard of the people of this world, if only the magi, knowing and being able to travel to other worlds. It also appeared that the different worlds didn't have the same amount of magic.
He also heard about Symposium for the first time. From the way the writer talked about it, it was their destination and it was where the sky-piercing tower was. And even common people had to obey the council's summons.
Claude was most intrigued by the mention of the council. He'd never read about how exactly the magi ruled before, it was certainly not taught in school and it wasn't recorded in any of the books.