In reality, Adandito wanted to separate Dianel and Siara as soon as possible. Not only did he feel extremely uneasy, but it was also because Dianel mentioned her name.
‘What exactly is the relationship between those two?’
He found himself nervously biting his lips. He became even more desperate, fearing that it might show. Unintentionally, Adandito discreetly glanced at Dianel. In such a situation, it was a calculation that the shameless man would not easily back down.
However, something strange happened. Dianel willingly took a step back.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
Surprised by this unexpected behavior, Adandito asked in disbelief,
“Are you trying to leave?”
“Well, yeah, but…”
Adandito looked at Dianel as if he couldn’t believe it. Whether he was aware of his gaze or not, Dianel didn’t care and continued walking confidently.
With his determined stride, Adandito asked again with an incredulous expression. His delicate eyebrows trembled in astonishment.
“Really, are you going to find Hierian?”
“It sounds like you’re telling me not to go.”
“It’s not that, but… I didn’t expect you to willingly come along.”
Dianel only smirked and didn’t offer any response.
‘Seriously, is this for real? What on earth is happening? It’s like a miracle.’
As Adandito walked alongside Dianel, he continued to bombard him with questions, but he remained silent. The one-sided questioning continued until the teleportation engine activated.
* * *
After parting ways with Adandito, I meticulously searched every corner of the temple. On the way back, I made sure to thoroughly instruct the temple officials.
‘There was a hole under the frame on the right side of the entrance to the chapel.’
‘Please close it immediately. There might be a very dangerous creature lurking around there!’
The officials were bewildered but obediently made their way to the chapel. They would soon discover the opening, and then no ferocious cat would be able to enter the temple freely.
I brushed my hands together and enjoyed the everyday routine with a light heart. No, I tried to enjoy it. However, the eerie silence only sent shivers down my spine.
‘Why is it so quiet?’
If Adandito had met Dianel, it wouldn’t have been this quiet. By now, a building might have been demolished and collapsed.
With a suspicious feeling, I opened the window and grabbed a passing temple official.
“Excuse me, do you know where High Priest Adandito went?”
“Oh, High Priest Adandito used the teleportation engine in the underground.”
If it was a teleportation engine in the underground of the temple, it would be near the location of the underground vault.
‘Adandito wouldn’t have gone to the palace with Dianel… Could it be to meet Hierian?’
Hierian was the youngest ever Archmage, a high-ranking wizard, and a member of the Subjugation Corps. He also had a deep grudge against Dianel.
‘Hierian wouldn’t welcome Dianel’s visit.’
I tried to dispel my mounting worries, but it was in vain. In the end, I couldn’t overcome the uneasy feeling and got up from my seat.
‘I should go to the underground.’
If I went to the teleportation engine, I would be able to access the records of their movements. Then I could find out where they went.
Intending to just check that and return, I started walking.
Finding the teleportation engine was not difficult. Every time Adandito showed me the underground vault, we passed by the teleportation engine.
The teleportation engine was blocked by a hazy golden divine barrier. Adandito was the one who cast the spell.
“How do I break through this?”
Lost in thought, I noticed sparks emanating from inside the barrier. As I approached, I saw purple lightning flashing and swirling around the barrier.
“That seems like a magical power.”
Was Hierian trying to move in this direction?
As I tried to examine it closely, suddenly the barrier dissipated, revealing the teleportation engine. But then a sudden storm-like wind engulfed me. It was a powerful gust that made me stagger and lose my balance.
“What is this?”
My hair flew in all directions, and I was completely disoriented. In the midst of staggering, I inadvertently stepped on the teleportation engine. And in that moment…
With a brief voice announcement, a surge of purple magical energy shot up from the teleportation engine. Outside the barrier, nothing could be seen as the divine energy obscured everything.
“W-What is happening?”
Without a chance to regain my composure from the unexpected event, the magical energy enveloped my body.
I was teleported to somewhere unknown.
* * *
The land where the sun does not rise, Hyregia.
The sky of Hyregia was obscured by magic, making it impossible to see the clouds, the moon, or the stars. Threads of magic stretched and flowed like spiderwebs throughout the land.
They were traces left behind by the dragons, all of them extinct.
In the beginning, among countless ancient races, dragons were known as one of the strongest. However, they were completely wiped out as punishment for defying the will of the gods.
Nevertheless, the passageways that dragons used to traverse between the sky and the underground remained. Those passageways were known as the pillars of magic.
After the dragons went extinct, the god Eora distributed their power among humans. She specifically selected individuals who were strong and responsible to manage the pillars of magic.
They were called “Administrators.”
Throughout history, the Administrators possessed extraordinary abilities that were unmatched by other wizards. As a result, the humans who inherited the power of the dragons, known as wizards, wanted to stay by the Administrator’s side and receive their knowledge and wisdom.
Gradually, the wizards gathered near the pillars of magic, and a village was formed. In the center of the village, the desire of the wizards to respect the Administrator and be close to the pillars of magic converged, leading to the construction of a magic tower. Naturally, the successive Administrators took on the role of Archmage.
As time passed, Hyregia became the homeland of the wizards.
All wizards were managed within the Mage tower, and all knowledge, advanced magical techniques, and research started and concluded in Hyregia.
It was a land that was most surreal, rational, and filled with determination.
Adandito and Dianel set foot on that land. They were true adventurers who had arrived in front of the “No Entry Zone for Non-Administrators” sign to find the missing Hierian.
Before Adandito finished speaking, a woman with her hair tightly tied up and a stern voice asked them.
“The No Entry Zone for Non-Administrators is off-limits to outsiders.”
“We received a message from the Mage tower. They said Hierian has gone missing.”
“Ah, it’s the Priest and the Crown Prince. Yes, that’s true, but except for Hierian, no one is allowed to enter.”
“No matter what the circumstances?”
“Yes, it is the will of the god Eora. It’s not just a formal restricted area; it’s a zone where only the Administrator can enter.”
Adandito frowned at the woman’s words. Even the temple had sanctuaries where only the priests could enter, but in reality, anyone could enter. He thought the “No Entry Zone for Non-Administrators” would be the same. But now they were told they couldn’t enter, which was a setback.
Dianel smirked as he watched Adandito feel discouraged.
“If the wizards have finished exploring Hyregia and we can’t enter, then there’s nothing more to see.”
“We have to find Hierian.”
“How do you propose we do that?”
Dianel raised an eyebrow. The tight-fitting white robe he wore in the temple was becoming suffocating, and one of the buttons around his neck had been torn off.
Adandito frowned at Dianel’s disheveled appearance but responded quietly,
“Don’t you know that he’s someone who won’t leave the magical pillar?”
As Adandito had stated, Hierian was a madman obsessed with the pillar. He spent three days and nights starving himself, dedicating his every moment to the pillar. Such was his obsession that he had been away from the pillar for three years due to a mission to subdue a deranged mage.
Throughout his mission, he made sure to block out any mention of the pillar, to the point where even the letter ‘a’ from the word ‘pillar’ would irritate him.
However, Dianel’s thoughts seemed different as he responded indifferently,
“Is he bored now? Enough to just destroy everything and run away?”
“Dianel! Do not insult him. At least his feelings towards the pillar are genuine.”
Instead of answering, Dianel shrugged and turned his head towards the secretary.
“Let our esteemed magician speak. Tell us what more we can do in this situation.”
“The reason the two of you are here is that you wondered if Hierian might be in the empire or the temple,”
“Haha! As if Hierian would be in the empire or the temple,”
Dianel twisted his lips in response.
“His destination is the empire. You know that well. Besides, magic is the power of the dragons annihilated by the god Eora. For Hierian to enter the temple, Adandito would have to personally offer prayers.”
Dianel looked at Adandito, asking if it wasn’t true. Adandito silently nodded in agreement.
“I already obtained the authorization for entry, but if he’s in the temple, I would have known.”
For the first time, the woman’s face turned pale, as even her last hope seemed to vanish.
“Then where is he…? The magical pillar has reached its limit. If it continues, the seal on the Demon King might be released.”
“Is the situation that dire?”
“Yes, several regions of Hyregia have already exploded. If this continues, natural disasters may occur, starting from the magic strongholds. We need Hierian to come immediately.”
No sooner had she finished her sentence, the teleportation gate located right next to the restricted area for administrators flashed brightly. Simultaneously, the magician dashed out, letting out a scream-like sigh.
“Yes, only Hierian can use that teleportation gate!”
The woman urgently stood in front of the teleportation gate. Adandito and Dianel followed her.
However, instead of Hierian, a blonde woman sat alone on the shimmering gate. Adandito, who noticed her, asked with a bewildered expression,