2. Defrosted Chocolate

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Year X778, Iceberg Country

In the frigid expanse of the Iceberg country, the imposing silhouette of a colossal, obsidian-hued airship dominated the skies. Magical glyphs, luminescent and ethereal, floated all around the airship. These arcane symbols, carefully cast and enchanted, not only adorned the vessel but also served as the force of energy guiding its levitation and flight. Two particularly potent glyphs, positioned strategically at the rear of the airship, mimicked propulsive forces, propelling it through the skies. 

On the central hull of the airship which was built in a streamlined shape, resembling a ship that sails through water, a red mark decorated over the black paint. The red mark was a guild mark of the guild that used the airship as their base of operations. 

A guild is an organizational body with their modus operandi being obtaining and disseminating job requests to their members. In return for accepting job requests and completing those jobs, the guilds are given appropriate compensation by the quest providers. This compensation is then used by the guild to expand their influence and also to pay salary to their members.

There are a variety of guilds spread across the continent of Ishgar, monitored and overlooked by the Magic Council. The magic council is the governing body that sets up the rules and regulations for the guilds registered under it to follow. The council is run by a selected group of wizards who take various decisions regarding the functioning of the guilds across the continent.

The guilds that chose not to be under the jurisdiction of the council are often referred to as Dark Guilds. The members of the dark guilds are labeled as criminals by the magic council for they often defy the norms and regulations set up by the council. They often indulged in activities which are normally declared as illegal by the council and their associated law-making bodies. 

The airship belonged to one such dark guild. A dark guild whose name was more than enough to induce fear in the hearts of people whenever they talked about it. The guild was none other than Grimoire Heart.

In the observation deck of the airship, there was a single throne where an elderly man with long, silvery white hair, a well defined mustache and a long beard which almost reached his torso, was sitting. He had an eyepatch over his right eye and several wrinkles on his face. Yet he had a sturdy physique that defied his age. 

He seemed intrigued about something which was evident given his facial expressions. The moment their airship entered the airspace of Iceberg Kingdom, he could sense a high amount of magical energy being emanating from somewhere either within or around the kingdom. It had piqued his curiosity, leaving him wondering on who, or rather what could be releasing this much amount of magic.

"Master Hades." One of his many underlings walked up to the observation deck and bowed down to one knee right in front of him. "I have something to report regarding the high magical energy that our sensors picked up."

"Go on." Hades gave his confirmation, attentively listening to what his underling had to report.

"The team we had sent to scout and examine the source of that energy have just returned." The man went on. "It is coming from the mountain range at the border of the kingdom."

"Did they find the source of this energy?" 

"They did in fact." The man took a brief pause before continuing. "There was a cave from where the magic energy was being released. The source of it lay within the cave."

"Why didn't they bring it in the ship for further examination?" Hades inquired with a puzzled expression. If they had indeed found the source of the magical energy then it made no sense in not bringing it on the airship. 'Finders-keepers' was an absolute and unspoken policy, not only among the dark guilds but also among the treasure hunter guilds around the continent of Ishgar.

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