Lennok quietly observed Geonis as he retreated, lost in contemplation.

Why had Geonis, bypassing Evelyn Marcia, the leader and responsible figure of the group, come to find Lennok first, who was concealed in disguise?

One could argue that it was purely driven by a competitive spirit, especially considering his mention of ice magic and his proposal for a duel.

However, Geonis’s reaction didn’t add up.

Unlike the concealed elders, there had to be a clear reason why he was the first to arrive here.

While Lennok pondered, the crowd in the practice area began to disperse gradually.

A few wizards who had come to assist him hastily followed, but the murmurs in the background persisted.

This couldn’t be helped.

There was insufficient information to immediately decipher Geonis’s intentions.

Despite the unexpected competition, it was imperative to gather more information.

Furthermore, Lennok needed to understand how the altered left eye, the Mystic Eye, functioned during his duel with Geonis.

For a moment, it felt as if the scene he had visualized in his mind, the pivotal observation point, had materialized. The issue of the changed Mystic Eye was equally crucial.

Lennok let out a soft sigh and turned his gaze towards the wizard who had been guiding him up to this point.

“It seems I’ve caused a commotion unintentionally.”

“That, that is…”

The guide hesitated, his friendly demeanor from moments ago replaced by an awkward expression.

For an outsider wizard, particularly an ice wizard struggling to wield his power in such an environment, to compete with the direct disciple of the tower master raised questions about how this should be perceived.

It was only natural to exercise caution in speech and conduct when in the presence of someone significantly skilled.

“One last place I’d like to see, could you guide me there?”

“…Where should I take you?”

“To the largest library in the tower.” Lennok said with a smirk, turning his head. “I’d like to look around the place with the most books.”

* * *

“Oh ho, oh ho!!”

“…….”

“Good, very good!! Yes, this is it!!”

Mauser’s face was aglow with excitement as he rushed around, his beard quivering.

“I came here for this!!”

Evelyn watched the short, middle-aged man enthusiastically waving his arms and legs as he moved about.

Although she had followed him out of concern for his safety, visiting this place within three days had been her plan all along.

The Blaiver Tower in the volcanic region, a facility carefully chosen by mundane wizards who were willing to endure the inconvenience of the terrain. It was a place difficult to find elsewhere.

The lowest level of the spiral tower housed a massive furnace directly connected to the intense heat of the bubbling volcano.

Three colossal pillars surrounded a towering pillar of fire, the largest and hottest flame in the volcanic region of Claronis.

The abnormally scorching lava, a sheer force of nature, flowed over metals brought from various sources after minimal processing.

The potent natural energy blended within the lava seeped into the metal, melting it into a malleable form with intense heat. These molten metals were then molded as desired.

Metals processed through this furnace once became significantly easier to work with. With the application of external stimuli, their hardness and durability would gradually increase.

The furnace’s metal-processing capabilities simplified distribution and facilitated secondary processing.

The giant furnace tower of Blaiver in the volcanic region of Claronis and the considerable effort the tower invested in constructing it.

There was no official explanation for what made this possible, but such hidden depths were not uncommon on this continent.

For Mauser, what mattered was that he had found the perfect furnace for metalworking right before his eyes.

As he eagerly questioned the wizards overseeing the furnace, Evelyn observed him. Then, a familiar voice called out from behind.

“Is it alright just watching?”

Evelyn involuntarily turned her head and erupted into laughter.

Lennok had emerged with a composed demeanor, but the area beneath his eyes was nearly shrouded in darkness.

“The shadows under your eyes have grown. How diligently have you been researching?”

“…I got carried away with the research.” Lennok replied awkwardly, his fingers grazing the corner of his eye.

In the central library of the tower, he had spent the night poring over various books, oblivious to the passage of time. While there weren’t many magical texts that could assist someone of Lennok’s caliber, the tower’s history and records of their achievements fascinated him, particularly given his limited interactions with fellow wizards.

“You seem to be working harder than me. Have you finally decided to join the agents?” Evelyn teased, causing Lennok to avert his gaze and respond with a smile.

“It’s true that my condition deteriorates easily. I’ll be more careful in the future.”

Although his condition had improved significantly, the aftereffects of successfully imprinting the mental image in the Domain had yet to fully dissipate. While it posed no particular problem in magical battles, any exertion would trigger these symptoms.

Evelyn regarded Lennok in silence before shaking her head.

“Take care of yourself. The Blaiver Tower’s reaction is more favorable than expected, but you never know what might happen.”

“I know. That’s why I’m looking at this in advance.” Lennok replied, gazing up at the colossal furnace tower.

The deep red heat emanating from within, the heat coursing through the tower, cast a faint shimmer, creating a mirage-like effect and obscuring the view.

“Undoubtedly, this is a core facility highly valued even in this great tower… The fact that they’ve opened it up to us has significant implications for this event.”

“……”

“I wonder how they control the flow of heat to manipulate such an amount of heat… But it seems they won’t reveal that much to us.”

This facility constituted the primary source of external revenue for the Blaiver Tower’s Western Continent branch. It likely contained the essence of all the tower’s research, dedication, and investment.

If Lennok could only decipher it or obtain the internal designs, it could have diverse applications.

While Lennok, hand on his left eye, immersed himself in thought, Evelyn, observing him, shrugged her shoulders as a voice suddenly emanated from behind.

“Is the investigation ready smoothly?”

For Lennok, it was the same voice he had clearly heard just yesterday.

Whether he had recovered from the aftermath of their duel in a mere day or not, the man greeted Lennok with ease and confidently entered the furnace control room.

Evelyn turned and immediately recognized him, extending her hand.

“It’s my first time seeing you in person, Lord Geonis.”

“Pleased to meet you.” he replied casually, removing his glove and shaking hands. “I’m sorry for showing up late. There are mountains of issues to handle inside the tower.”

“No, I understand.”

“In fact, that’s why we’ve opened our internal facilities to our guests. Everyone except the wizards managing the tower’s functions is busy cleaning up.”

“It seems the conflict with the Dark Wizards was quite intense.” Evelyn remarked.

Geonis gazed up at the furnace that had Mauser’s undivided attention before responding.

“Would you believe it if I told you that this furnace was almost taken over?”

“……”

“Just two people broke through the tower’s strict defenses and took control of the control room managing the furnace. If our response had been a bit slower, the furnace would have exploded, and the tower would have been destroyed.”

Even as he recounted the perilous moment when the venerable tower teetered on the brink of defeat, Geonis’s expression remained unflinching.

“I see. So…”

Evelyn nodded quietly.

This was why the Blaiver Tower had been cautious about disclosing the conflict with the Dark Wizards. The control of the core facility, the furnace, had been at risk of being wrested away, potentially resulting in a catastrophic explosion due to a loss of control.

The breach in security and the threat to the furnace’s control were grave concerns. Making this fact public would inevitably lead to a plummet in the tower’s stock value and business prospects.

“We managed to stop it by forcibly shutting down the system by blowing up the engine room… Most of the elders are bedridden, having used all their mana.”

So, that explained why the elders had remained hidden. At least on the surface, it was a valid reason.

As the two listeners displayed signs of comprehension, Geonis paused briefly before continuing.

“Therefore, I’d like to propose a trade to you.”

“A trade… you say?”

“Yes,” he replied in a cool tone.

“Lately, unknown caves have been continuously discovered outside the tower.”

“That’s…”

Wasn’t that the very cave Mauser had mentioned?

As Evelyn appeared to piece something together, Geonis promptly added,

“The elders suspect that these tunnels might have been dug by the Dark Wizards to infiltrate the tower. If that speculation is true, we must secure the routes they created at all costs.”

“……”

“If it’s alright with you, could Lady Marcia investigate those tunnels? We’re concerned about any traces or hazards left by the Dark Wizards that might hinder future visits by outsiders.”

Geonis continued with composure.

“Normally, this would be a matter for me and the other elders to handle… but due to external perceptions, it’s difficult for me to act alone.”

“So, you want to enlist our help now?”

“Of course, it’s not just a verbal request. We can’t simply assign unpleasant tasks to our guests.”

However, Evelyn merely feigned consideration for a moment before shaking her head decisively.

“I’m sorry.”

“……”

“As the leadership has granted us access to the tower’s facilities, I would like to focus on investigating within the tower during this period.”

It was a logical decision. If, as Geonis had claimed, the Dark Wizards had infiltrated the furnace control room, there was no need to explore caves near the volcanic region to uncover their tracks inside the tower.

Unless there was an exceedingly compelling offer, there was no reason for Evelyn to split her efforts.

“I see… In that case…”

Geonis let out a soft sigh and was about to speak when suddenly,

BOOOOOOOM!!

A deafening explosion, powerful enough to rupture eardrums, sent shockwaves rippling in all directions.

“AAAAAAHHHH!!”

“TOOONEEEEEE!!”

Desperate cries and panicked shouts calling out a name.

All three of them immediately turned their gaze downward toward the furnace beneath the control room.

The once-sealed iron doors of the furnace now stood wide open, torrents of raging flames erupting outward like a rocket’s exhaust.

A wizard who had been diligently overseeing the furnace became engulfed by the inferno, vanishing in an instant as his flesh and muscles evaporated into nothingness.

Amidst the panic, as the other wizards bore witness to the horrifying sight of their comrade’s instantaneous demise, Evelyn sprang into action.

She leaped swiftly toward the control room, deftly avoiding the indiscriminate furnace flames that billowed outwards. With remarkable speed, she scooped up the fallen wizards.

Instantly, Lennok, grasping her intentions, created an ice chute in mid-air to slide the injured wizards into the control room.

Although the ice slide melted rapidly under the searing heat, it bought them a crucial moment.

“AAAAAHHHH!!”

“AHHHHHH!!”

“GUUUUUUHHH!!”

It is said that the most excruciating agony a human can endure arises from burns. Even the wizards who had spent their lives working with flames were not immune to this anguish.

“Call the medical team now, and contact the power room!”

Geonis, wearing a stern expression, barked orders to the nearby wizards.

“We can stop it by cutting off the power source to the furnace. Move!”

“It’s too late. We need to act now.”

Lennok muttered as he removed his gloves.

The reason for the sudden furnace malfunction remained unclear, but if it wasn’t halted promptly, the central tower building could crumble.

“We need to temporarily block the flames from the furnace and close the door. Otherwise, the damage will only increase.”

“…I’ll try to manipulate the direction of the furnace flames. We have to do everything we can.”

Geonis, summoning his magical prowess, dashed out of the control room without hesitation.

Lennok also initiated intricate hand gestures as he descended the stairs.

In that brief interval, Evelyn, having skillfully evacuated the other wounded individuals, landed behind Lennok and whispered,

“Van, can you do it?”

“I can only stop it for a moment.”

Lennok responded.

“Considering the heat and concentration of mana I feel, we have 30 seconds after the iron door closes… Geonis needs to control the flames of the furnace within that time to break even.”

“Got it.”

Evelyn replied, gradually crouching down.

“I’ll close the door, you handle the rest.”

“The heat will be intense. Are you sure you can handle it without proper gear?”

Evelyn replied without hesitation.

“Well… if that fire keeps spewing out, the central tower might turn to ash. If we don’t want to die, we have to stop it.”

“…Alright.”

Lennok answered and then closed his left eye, covering it with his hand. When he reopened it, his iris had transformed into a vivid shade of purple.

Chapter 245
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