If The Sage Arte Said So
The girl who was in charge of the magic attack, Sage Arte, was now cornered. She thought she was talented. If we excluded Saint Sophia and Holy Knight Cleon, there shouldn’t exist an adventurer stronger than she was. In fact, she graduated as the top student and managed to become one of the executives in The Knights of Saint Sophia in no time.
What’s more, Arte was a beautiful girl and this was said objectively, not because she was conceited. She was a girl with black hair and black eyes, a rarity in the empire. Because of that, she was popular as a woman with a unique presence. Arte was envied by women around her and she was also confessed by many men, but she never cared about that.
The one with the right to stay next to the exceptionally beautiful Saint Sophia had to be not only talented, but also attractive. That was why Arte thought she was the one with that right. And an ordinary man like Solon the magic swordsman, shouldn’t be near Sophia by any means.
Arte has always wanted to be close to Saint Sophia since she was in magic school. Because of that, Solon, who was always by Sophia’s side, had been an obstacle. Solon seemed to be a special person for Sophia and Cleon. With the three of them as the founding members, there wasn’t any room for Arte.
However, Arte has managed to exile Solon. The exile was troublesome, but because of that, Arte became the substitute vice-captain. With that, Arte became number three in the knight order, both in name and reality. Arte believed she was talented.
But why did this troubling situation happen? Arte wasn’t facing a strong enemy, neither was her life at risk. The problem was the knights who were supposed to be her companions.
They were in The Knights’ executives meeting room. It was a regular meeting, but the room felt empty. Both Saint Sophia and Holy Knight Cleon were absent, but this wasn’t unusual. In addition to these two absences, Solon also wasn’t there because he had been exiled. There were a total of ten knight executives gathered, all were wearing uniforms and dark expressions. It was to be expected, because the failure of the knight order to conquer underground ruins loomed in the air.
One of the executives, Notara the summoner, stood up. Notara was a thin young man with thick round glasses and buzz cut hair. He was the type that Arte disliked.
Notara said in a high-pitched voice, “Arte, didn’t you say that when Solon’s gone, we could do better?”
“Yes, I did say that.”
“From what I saw, is this the situation that you wanted?”
“Can you stop being sarcastic? Isn’t it fine to say honestly? That we made terrible mistakes?” Arte tried to answer Notara calmly, but in the end, she couldn’t hide her irritation. Because it was clear that The Knights of Saint Sophia were suffering since Solon was exiled.
Scouting the enemies, obtaining supplies, finding maps and guides, negotiating with local officials. Solon did all these miscellaneous tasks, necessary to investigate the ruins alone. Arte thought it would be an easy thing to do without him, but when she tried, it didn’t work well.
Arte’s pride as an aristocrat was high, so she wasn’t good at bowing down to local officials, seeking cooperation. It was her weak point. Solon used various knowledge, such as law, medicine, biology, literature, history, and even folklore to solve these miscellaneous problems. But Arte only had magic power and knowledge.
Arte also couldn’t scout the enemy. Because she was a magician, she had no defense. If she moved alone, she would immediately become prey for the enemies. On the other hand, Solon the magic swordsman possessed all skills an adventurer needed to have. While he was not proficient in each of them, he was able to act independently and accurately grasped the enemies’ position.
So as a replacement for Solon, Arte dispatched several non-executive members of the knight order to scout the underground ruins. However, all of them were wiped out. They were all dead. The reason for this tragedy was because Arte misunderstood the complexity of the ruins and strength of the enemies. Up until now, Solon had been the guide to conquer underground ruins. When he was in the knight order, there were almost no casualties.
“Our knight order has been known as invincible. What’s more, we always put the lives of our members above all things.”
“What are you saying?
“Aren’t you the one who ruined our knight’s objective?”
“I didn’t like the fact that those people died.”
“But they actually died. This such thing didn’t happen when Solon was here, because he was a jack of all trades, master of none.” Along with Notara’s words, some of the executives started whispering their support.
‘It became worse,’ Arte thought. The talk was going in a bad direction. In the first place, all the executives were in favor of Solon’s exile. So Arte thought it was cowardly for them to blame her on this.
“Even though you all said you didn’t want that incompetent magic swordsman as the vice-captain!” Arte stood up and punched the desk. Seeing her raged, Notara kept his composure and only smiled. He more or less nodded as a response to Arte’s protest.
“Yes, you are right. Certainly, I didn’t object to Solon’s exile, but that was because you and the others said convincingly it was okay not to have Solon here.”
“That’s right…” The words “it wasn’t my fault” got caught in her throat.
Arte admired Saint Sophia, but at the same time, she knew Sophia had a timid personality that made her unfit to lead The Knights order. The saint herself seemed to be aware of this, but she still remained as the leader and a symbol for the knight order.
Instead, the one managing the knights was Vice-Captain Solon, but that Solon was now gone. So the one who should unify the executives was Cleon, yet he hasn’t shown himself recently.
Former Vice-Captain Solon always chose the underground ruins that could be safely conquered, but that kind of cautiousness and conservativeness was also one of the reasons for the knight executives’ frustration towards Solon. Cleon, on the contrary, ordered to attack the challenging underground ruins with brute force. However, the knight executives and members were exhausted with this rapid method of expansion. Due to such situation, Arte became the leader for conquering the ruins, but she wasn’t able to do well.
“Even though I am a sage, I am still a lady who is ignorant of the ways of the world.”
Notora smiled. He was more or less an aristocrat, but he was from the lowest rank with no power and questionable background. Arte heard there wasn’t a land nor retainer’s allowance in his property, because the people who lived there were in poverty. On the other hand, Arte was born in a well-known aristocratic family with a marquis peerage.
“Then, what should I do?” Arte asked Notara with dampened spirits and weakened voice.
“Isn’t it already decided, that we will call Solon back?”
“Not that… anything but that.”
To call Solon back meant admitting that Arte was wrong. Then, when he returned to the knight order, she would have to yield to him and make him the vice-captain again. But Arte’s pride wouldn’t allow that. If that happened, Arte would certainly lose her seat as the knight number three she has just got. And it wouldn’t be strange if Solon completely exiled Arte from the knight order when he returned.
“Those who agree to bringing Solon back, stand up,” Notara said quietly. Three executives stood up in response, but that was it. Arte and the remaining five were still in support of Solon’s exile.
“Then, it can’t be helped,” Notara shrugged and sat on his chair.
‘It’s good,’ Arte thought. Somehow, the worst situation was avoided. There were still many executives in favor of Solon’s exile because they didn’t have good relationships with Solon, such as Garrels. Furthermore, there was still Cleon, the leading figure of Solon’s exile. Before that, Cleon wouldn’t listen to the idea of exiling Solon no matter how persistent Arte appealed, but suddenly, he came to support the idea and actually exiled him.
In this knight order, the voices of Saint Sophia and Holy Knight Cleon were overwhelmingly strong. It was because their combat abilities topped other executives and they were charismatically popular with the members.
However, this situation wouldn’t stay like this. ‘There won’t be next time,’ Arte thought. It was necessary to convince everyone by that time. Then, Arte’s eyes were focused at a map in the corner of the room, looking at underground ruins slightly north of the Imperial Capital.
It was a land that countless strong adventurers had tried to conquer, but no one has succeeded. In the lowest area, it was said, were dazzling treasures. If one could conquer the ruins, they would be rich beyond measure because the ruins were located near the economic center of Imperial Capital.
If Arte could conquer it, the people of the Imperial Capital would cheer and with that, Arte’s status and fame would be cemented. It wouldn’t matter how much she sacrificed because no one would be able to criticize her ig she succeeded. This time, people like Solon and Notara wouldn’t get in her way. It would be known as the dawn of the best woman in the empire, Sage Arte, along with Saint Sophia.
Arte closed the executive meeting, pondering over her dark ambition. That time, Arte hadn’t noticed yet, but on the night before, Saint Sophia sneaked out of The Knights’ headquarters and headed to the Imperial Capital.
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