“Oh my, how cute.
Did you come out to play together with your older brother”
When I turned my head to the voice I heard, a middle-aged woman was looking down at me and smiling.
With a smile on her face, she naturally reached out to me.
As I instantly moved back to avoid her hand, I heard a laugh.
“My younger brother is a bit shy.”
He took my hand and gently hid me from her as he said this.
Then the middle-aged woman frowned as if she were sorry.
Really Sorry, Aunt didn't know."
She kept trying to talk to me, saying sorry, but I didn't move at all, hiding behind him.
I didn't even want to look her in the face because of some kind of unknown reluctance.
As I did not move while hiding behind him like that, he who was covering me laughed awkwardly.
We have some urgent business to attend to, so we have to go.”
With those words, taking my hand, he, no, Evangeline, who had changed her appearance to about a high school boy's, led me carefully.
Having changed to about an elementary schooler, I silently followed her lead.
“… is there perhaps something wrong with your body"
Evangeline, who had changed her appearance to an epicene appearance, asked, staring at me.
Whether or not she knew about the glancing gazes from around her, she was staring only at me.
I let out a small sigh.
"No, it's not like that."
“Then why were you like that earlier It didn't seem like you just avoided her simply because you didn't like it, though....”
When I came to my senses at her words, I noticed that the hand she was holding was trembling slightly….
I thought I knew a little about why I was like that earlier.
"It's just, I mean....”
I nodded slightly.
“It's just that when I was young, my relationship with Mother was a little… No, it was very bad.
Maybe it was because my body became smaller during that time, but the memory came back to me instantly."
At those words, Evangeline let out a small sigh.
“… sorry, it's been a long time since I've changed another person, so I couldn't think of that."
“I also didn’t know, so it doesn’t matter.
It’s a thing of the past anyway.”
She nodded quietly.
Then she muttered as if she were joking, but it was clearly visible that she was observing my expression.
“If I had known this would happen, I would have just dressed you up as a woman.
Let's do that next time we have a chance."
“Please make me an old man rather than dressing me up as a woman.”
At my complaint, she burst into laughter.
Then she carefully held me in her arms, saying, excuse me.
"There are a lot of people.
Can you hold on a little until we get in the taxi like this"
I muttered silently as she held me in her arms.
“Rather than that, do you know people around us a paying a lot of attention to us It seems the disguise is meaningless."
“It’s because you’re cute.”
“Or maybe it’s because I’m handsome.”
Replying slyly, she strode with me in her arms.
On the way, she even smiled at the people taking our pictures, showing composure, but as soon as we got in the taxi, she let out a small sigh.
“… I should change my hair color next time."
She muttered so, touching her soft blonde hair with her hands.
I stared at her like that and shook my head slightly.
Her hair didn't seem to be the problem.
We immediately rode the taxi that way and went to the World Tree.
It was because of her words that if we use the warp gate, the magic might be released along the way.
After riding the taxi for about an hour, we immediately moved to the place where the clans of the World Tree resided, not the place open to the public.
On the way, I also didn't forget to take a picture of us and send it to Shin Woo-Seok via text, asking him to make sure we were allowed to go in and out.
Perhaps because of that, we were able to pass without any problems, even at the entrance where we should have been stopped.
As soon as we passed the entrance, a woman who was waiting for us immediately greeted us with a smile.
It was the first time I had seen her face.
“I was waiting after hearing Shin Woo-Seok-nim’s words.
Are you the children of his acquaintance”
Where is Uncle Woo-Seok”
At Evangeline's words, she took the lead, saying that she would guide us.
As we walked a little further, Shin Woo-Seok was waiting for us.
“Long time no see! You've really grown up!”
Shin Woo-Seok hugged me right away, giving a good-natured smile.
Then, looking at Evangeline as if he was familiar with her, he nodded with an emotional look on his face, as if he hadn't seen her in a long time.
"You've grown a lot, too.
When I saw you before, you were really small, but… do you remember Uncle"
“Yes, of course.
You even gave me pocket money.”
Shin Woo-Seok burst out laughing and looked at the woman who had guided us.
“You worked hard.
I'll do it now.”
“No, it was no hard work! Please call me anytime!”
She smiled brightly, bowed her head several times, and disappeared, stepping backward.
Come to think of it, since Shin Woo-Seok is also Lee Ye-Eun's closest aide, he must be a very powerful man.
It was when I was thinking so.
“… are you Young Master”
He muttered cautiously.
I felt him gulping and exhaling a tensed breath.
“Even if you're uncomfortable in my arms, by any chance….”
“No, it’s not like that… if you just drop me off, I'll walk on my feet.”
“No, if you fall by doing that, by any chance, I'll be dead meat the very day."
With those words, Shin Woo-Seok adjusted me in his arm like I was a fragile piece of glass.
Then he opened the door of a building that looked like a warehouse and went inside.
It was around the time I wondered why he had come to this place and not to the main hall.
"I've been waiting.
I am the Clan Head of the World Tree Clan....”
As soon as the door opened, Lee Ye-Eun, who was sitting on a chair, hardened with a cold expression.
Her gaze was fixed right on me in Shin Woo-Seok's arms.
“He's the young master.”
Shin Woo-Seok said so, looking at Lee Ye-Eun as if he had expected it.
Lee Ye-Eun took out her cell phone without saying a word.
Then, even though she dropped it on the ground, she absentmindedly moved her hand and went through the motion of taking a photo.
After a while, noticing that her hand was empty, she muttered blankly.
Then she jumped up from her seat, hit her knee on the table, and let out a sound like a scream.
* * *
“I came here in disguise like this, just in case.
Evangeline bowed politely as she took her seat.
Lee Ye-Eun nodded with a solemn expression.
“Thank you for your understanding.”
Shin Woo-Seok immediately excused himself, saying, I'll be outside guarding the place so that no one can get in.
I was sitting between Evangeline and Lee Ye-Eun, to be precise, right next to Lee Ye-Eun.
She was about to hand me over to Shin Woo-Seok with a motion like flowing water.
When I stopped her, she slapped herself on the cheek, as if trying to come to her senses.
Then she fiddled with my cheek just once and tackled the meeting with a serious attitude.
… she kept glancing at me during the conversation, but she looked serious anyway.
"First of all, please take a look at this."
Evangeline handed the documents to Lee Ye-Eun.
Lee Ye-Eun, who received it and read it meticulously, nodded slightly.
“I think I understand why you asked me to make an agreement.”
With a serious expression on her face, she muttered quietly.
“… if it really is as written in the report, then this is not the time to build up pride because of a pointless position.”
"As you said before, let's move after making an agreement."
At Lee Ye-Eun's words, Evangeline closed her eyes as if sighing.
Looking at her like that, Lee Ye-Eun nodded.
“The man who just stepped outside is a fairly capable wizard.
He is also my closest aide.
We can talk about the details through him.
If not him, here….”
Lee Ye-Eun naturally touched my cheek and put her hand on my shoulder.
"You can talk with Yoo Ji-Hyuk, who is also my younger brother.”
“Um, indeed, but I think it'd be better if I exchange opinions with the Clan Head directly….”
Lee Ye-Eun shook her head.
“Ji-Hyuk’s will is my will.”
She declared like driving a nail.
“Conversely, my words will soon be Ji-Hyuk’s.”
“… I understand for now.
Then, shall we talk about two important things first”
“I suppose it's about the children of Milited and the veins related to the seal of the Seven Evil.”
Since there was very little information found in relation to the Children of Milited, it was quickly concluded that the one who found out about them first would share it with the other party.
The following was about the veins, which were directly related to the seal.
"According to the information obtained from our side, the seal of the Seven Evil Minerva can be controlled through a total of five veins.”
Evangeline explained slowly.
"We've secured one of them, but… we couldn't even locate the other four.
A spy from our side tried to dig up, but....”
She licked her lips for a moment, adding that it had failed.
“Anyway, it can be said that the priority is to find and occupy these four veins first.”
“Um, if you don't mind, can I say something”
Both of their gazes focused on me at my words.
I took a moment to catch my breath and stared at Evangeline.
“First of all, I want to ask you, Evangeline-nim, what do you intend to do after you have suppressed all the veins”
“We have to make sure that the seal doesn’t collapse.”
"The seal that once has begun to collapse can never be stopped."
She retorted to my words.
“We can delay it as much as possible.”
"Do you mean to pass it on to the next generation like that If the seal is unexpectedly broken in the process, what are you going to do then”
“… So, is this what you want to say”
Evangeline said, staring at me with cold eyes.
“Rather, let’s break the seal and intercept it”
“At the time we want, after all preparations have been made, the seal will be broken.
If the evacuation of nearby citizens is also completed, there will be nothing to worry about operating the Aegis system as well.”
“This is outrageous.
What are we going to do if we break the seal that way and then can't stop it It would be like hastening the destruction with our own hands.”
“Evangeline, let’s be frank.”
I said, pulling myself up and staring at her.
"Frankly speaking, the Ten Strongest, the World Tree Clan, the other guilds, the hunters, the heroes, the Aegis… Anyway, if we can't defeat that Seven Evil even after concentrating all our power and preparing everything, everything will be over from the moment the seal is broken anyway.
And that moment is approaching even now."
Evangeline kept her mouth shut.
I felt the need to take a step back here.
“… then, let's find the veins first, and then we'll talk.
We have to secure all the veins to know for sure what the status of the seal is like, anyway.
It won't be too late to come to a conclusion then.”
I glanced at her.
“On top of that, only the three of us can't talk about such an important matter."
“… I suppose."
“For now, six people, including me… I'll pass the word on to them as well.
That an agreement with the World Tree clan has been made, and whether to defer the seal as much as possible or rather fight against it."
If we can't secure the veins after talking among ourselves, it'll just be a meaningless argument anyway.
Now even one more person....”
“So I mean….”
Lee Ye-Eun said, looking at the two of us as if saying, calm down.
“How do you plan to find the veins Shall we dig behind Isaac McDowell who came here, or shall we capture and torture him”
She muttered that in a calm voice.
"It's too late to rummage through now, so I think it's much faster and more certain to listen to those who already know."
“They won’t talk even if they die.”
I muttered like that.
And it was true.
“… well, I have an idea, so can you leave this to me I'm confident that I'll find them in 15 days at the latest, no matter how."
Evangeline and Lee Ye-Eun stared at me as if in wonder at my confident attitude.
I just laughed.
It was because the person with the most outstanding ability in extracting information was my absolute ally.
I didn't even need to get a confession from them in the first place.
Dead people don't talk, but they do leave traces.
She was the only one capable of reading the traces of a dead person.
To be precise, she was able to dig through their brains and extract information.
“Anyway, I'll find the location of the veins in a short time.
After that, I'll ask the two of you to occupy the veins.”
I relaxed and leaned back, saying so.
My legs, which had become so short that they could not reach the ground since I became a child, swayed back and forth in the air.