After the fateful half a month, only about ten of us were able to become mages.
Among my friends were Alec, Mary, and Cliff. I heard that he heard the voice while he was relaxing in a bath.
I was surprised that he had brought the magic stone with him into the bath even though he had said that he always kept it with him. He really is thorough.
All the situations where we heard the voice were different but perhaps the common thread was that we needed to calm our mind.
Empty your mind and relax. I guess that was what Harold-sensei meant when he told us to give up. He had given us some surprisingly sound advice but why was what he said so frustrating?
Matty and Rock didn’t hear the voice of the magic stone in the end. It was clear that if one didn’t have the aptitude to become a mage then they wouldn’t hear the voice no matter how relaxed they were.
Fortunately, they didn’t have to leave the school.
Rock stayed with Alec and Matty wanted to learn spell development and work at the Research Institute in the future.
Matty was unusually excited instead of being depressed and spoke endlessly about the person he admired.
“Do you know Clemens Cooei? The brains behind Ellis Rain, the Founding Mage.”
Ellis Rain was one of the heroes who contributed to the founding of this kingdom.
He was said to be the most powerful mage in history and was a celebrity whose legacy ranged from the unbelievable to the unimportant such as the fact that he single-handedly wiped out an army of enemies or that he hated women and never married.
The former name, however, was new to me.
Or maybe I have heard that name in my lectures, but it must have been glossed over since I couldn’t remember it.
“Cooei invented most of the magic that Rain used. He wasn’t a mage himself, but he created many of the spells that were lost when the Mitoan people perished from scratch based on what was recorded at that time and his imagination. He made the spells from scratch! Wasn’t he amazing? I want to be a researcher like Cooei.”
So that’s why he doesn’t mind if he can’t use magic himself. Matty smiled shyly after he spoke so enthusiastically.
“I hope that everyone will use the spells I develop someday… even though I know it’s impossible.”
It would be a difficult task, but his dream was unshakeable, so I’m sure he can make that dream come true.
Incidentally, Mary was more depressed than Matty about this.
The road to the Research Institute was difficult. Mary was more worried about his future than he was.
The dormitory was quickly vacated on the holidays.
I slipped past the servants who were carrying large furniture and bags down the corridor and entered a room.
A schoolgirl with a red ribbon was putting her shoes on the bed and packing her belongings.
She, Eunice Rakwell, noticed me and widened her eyes, then she scoffed.
“Did you come to make fun of me before I leave?”
Eunice stayed the same even as the attitudes of those around me gradually softened. She was no longer harassing me, but she glared at me when our eyes met and spoke ill of me when she opened her mouth.
But now she was scoffing at herself. I came to apologise to my classmate.
“I’m sorry for making you feel bad.”
I looked up after bowing deeply and saw that Eunice was stunned. She even forgot about her contempt and criticisms.
“I know you really didn’t like me. But I still would have liked to be your friend if I could.”
I tried to talk to her as an equal even while knowing she disliked me, but she kept on rejecting me.
I thought that we would eventually come to an understanding and get to know each other if we both stuck to our values. I believed we could have achieved this if we had more time.
But I don’t have what I don’t have.
I thought I should at least apologise for making her feel bad.
“… I don’t like that carefree attitude of yours. You pretend to be open-minded while putting everyone down with your clever words.”
I can’t make excuses and say that I didn’t mean to come off that way. What she feels is true to her. If there is something that she’s misunderstanding, then it’s this.
“Nothing I say or do will change your own self-worth.”
Eunice probably paid more attention to me than anyone else because she despised me. She got defensive as if she was defending herself, but there was essentially no connection between me and her.
“Let’s have a cup of tea and chat the next time we meet.”
“… The next time?!”
“Your life doesn’t end here. Let’s get along if we meet again. By then, I would have done something that you will acknowledge.”
As usual, I had the habit of talking big. She snorted a little, probably because she disliked what I had said.
“I don’t ever want to see you again.”
Eunice went back to her usual attitude and ended the conversation with a sharp remark.
New people entered the school as half of my classmates left the school because they didn’t want to become researchers.
Parting with old classmates and meeting new students was bittersweet, but I had no time for feeling sentimental since magic class was about to begin.
The easy way to learn how to use magic…
Was to first chant the Opening Spell.
I didn’t know how to feel about having to use such an ominous word every time I use magic.
In response to my spell, the magic stone attached to my chest unlocked and mana flowed into me. The sensation of being invaded by something foreign sent a shiver down my spine. I can’t get used to this feeling no matter how many times I experience it. I don’t like it. It feels disgusting but I bear with it.
I held the power, which hadn’t entered easily, in my body and chanted the spell I had constructed when I had drawn out the required amount of mana.
I pushed the power all the way out to the tip of my hand at the same time. It was easier to do this if you shout out loud.
The mana is converted to heat by the spell, ignites and becomes fire.
I concentrated and continued to channel a certain amount of power into the flame to maintain a flame that was large enough to swallow a person’s head. This part depends on the individual’s senses.
The position of the flame should be inserted into the spell in advance so that you don’t burn your hands.
There were no units for distance in Mitoan, but if you incorporate words like <one fist away>, the power will warp in that position after passing through me.
The two basic components of a spell are: what should the mana be converted to and at what position should it activate (there is a limit on how far it can be).
Mana wasn’t something that exerted a certain effect. It was a force that can be converted into a variety of energies depending on the spell.
The conversion between energies is common in nature, just like how we are powered by the sun’s energy. It was mysterious that that conversion can be done with words alone.
It wasn’t difficult to activate the spells, but it took quite a lot of precision to maintain it.
If we put too much power into the spell, then it will go out of control and unexpected things will happen, but if we don’t put enough power into the spell then it will dissipate.
Apparently, the more complicated the spell, the more difficult it was to control. I have yet to learn a difficult spell though.
I heard the teacher’s signal and chanted the Sealing Spell.
The power lost its power source and disconnected, and the flame went out.
Ah, that felt disgusting.
The teacher gave me some advice after I had finished.
If you’re unlucky enough to be instructed by Harold-sensei in the practical magic class taught by two teachers, then you’ll simply feel as if you’re being bad-mouthed, but you have to endure and listen.
“You probably don’t have that much aptitude. Too bad.”
I really wanted to say, “Don’t smirk.”
I can activate and control my magic to a certain degree, but I was slower than the average mage at drawing mana from the magic stone; a shortcoming that became apparent after several lessons.
It’s just weird. Anyway, the feeling of mana entering my body feels disgusting.
Apparently, I have a constitution that doesn’t adapt well to mana. It was similar to electrical resistance.
When mana passes through the circuits in the body, those with little resistance have a smooth flow of power while those with high resistance have a lot of friction in those circuits, and that sensation was the cause of the ‘disgusting’ feeling.
And friction means that mana is lost along the way and the amount of mana that one can use is reduced.
In other words, it was difficult to use powerful magic, or well, it took a very long time to prepare powerful magic.
Even so, it seems that one’s body will adapt as they continue to use magic and mana will pass through the body more easily but that will happen slowly and there is a limit to how much your body can adapt to mana.
The conclusion that can be drawn from this was that I wasn’t a mage who was suited for battle.
I don’t mind that at all, but I really hope that this disgusting feeling will quickly go away.
The only advantage of this constitution was that it was easy to control mana since the power that can be drawn out all at once was small and the flow was slow. It was far away from being out of control. In fact, it was difficult to lose control.
In contrast, Mary had the makings of a great mage.
The flames she created at the exact same time as she chanted the spell became a pillar of fire that scorched the ceiling of the domed atrium.
The excessive mana in the spell caused some kind of side-effect which resulted in a small explosion around the pillar.
The students immediately evacuated.
The teacher yelled loudly for her to restrain it and she quickly casted the Sealing Spell while in a daze.
The practical magic lessons were held in an empty stone-walled hall, so the building didn’t burn much but people could. I can’t get close to Mary during the practical classes. I hope she learns how to control her magic soon.
“It would be great if we can give half of her power to you.”
Harold-sensei blurted out while looking at the blackened ceiling. If we could, we would.
Cliff was at the perfect position at that moment.
The size of his flame was stable and can be made bigger or smaller at his will. He had the hardest time hearing the voice of the magic stone, but he was growing the fastest.
Alec went out of control sometimes.
But he was calm and seemed to know when he would go out of control. He would say ‘Ah’, then cast the Sealing Spell to cut off the mana supply, so he doesn’t cause damage like Mary does.
Apparently, Mary and Alec didn’t feel disgusted when they used the magic stones.
I’m jealous. I’m super jealous. Get used to it, my body.
Our daily schedule generally consisted of classroom lectures in the morning and practical lessons in the afternoon.
We are taught about the structure and effects of spells that have been used in the classroom lectures and the students practice those spells in the afternoon classes.
Practical lessons are self-study time for students who aren’t mages, but they can come observe the practical lessons.
Rock was always at the practical lessons to guard Alec and Matty frequently came to the practical lessons to take notes.
The classroom lectures are mind-intensive, and the practical lessons are nerve wrecking, and we get assignments too. We need to submit a report about what we analysed from the structure of the spell we are going to learn and what effects it might possibly have before each class.
Even though I was exhausted, the assignments were quite interesting. They were like riddles. It was also fun to discuss our predictions with each other.
A list of the spells that we will learn, and practice has already been handed out. This meant that the students could study ahead and complete their assignments ahead of time without having to wait for the spells to be taught in class.
“It doesn’t seem like there are any flying spells.”
I haven’t analysed all the spells properly yet, but I didn’t see any spells that would incorporate such words from a quick glance.
When I mentioned this to Alec in the lounge, he seemed to have given up on the idea.
“It must be hard for us ground people to fly.”
Well, yeah. It’s hard with our flesh and blood.
People are too heavy because of their bones, and they don’t have wings to catch the wind like birds. I don’t know what kind of energy I needed to convert mana to in order to fly freely at this stage.
But we’ve finally become mages, why won’t we try to make our dreams come true?
“It’s too early to give up.”
“It’s exhilarating the moment your vision becomes reality. The effort to make that happen is sometimes barren and silly but even failure Is necessary for the world to move forward. It would be a shame for you to give up and waste your past efforts.”
It wasn’t difficult to imagine what a young kid who dreamt of flying like a bird would have done.
“Did you put wings on yourself and jump off a building?”
I asked and Alec nodded while laughing.
“I made wings by sticking cloth to a bent stick. That worked best. Wind happened to blow hard from below when I jumped down from the second floor and I was able to float a little. But I crushed Rock when he was trying to catch me.”
I’m glad he didn’t end up getting hurt and I’d like to thank Rock, who was looking grim behind Alec, for his efforts.
“I see… The wind, you say? Maybe we can use the wind to our advantage.”
I’m not an expert in aerodynamics, but I can vaguely picture it now that he had mentioned it.
Creating wind wasn’t difficult magic. I could fly if I could use anti-gravity magic… But I don’t think that’s possible.
“Do you have any good ideas?”
“Maybe. Let’s study a bit more and see what we can come up with.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
It was strange that even I, who wasn’t particularly interested in flying, became excited when he said that.
“――― Speaking of which, I heard that there’ll be a big festival coming up soon, is that true?”
I asked what I overheard during break today.
“Yeah, it’s a festival to celebrate the founding of the kingdom. Oh, it’ll be your first time celebrating here. There will be more stalls and exhibitions than usual and I’m sure it’ll be lively and fun.”
“Really!? Then I’ll take a look around.”
The royal city was usually lively, so it was hard to imagine it being even livelier than it usually is.
The most common way to have fun at a festival was to invite your friends to join you…
“By the way, what will you be doing at the festival, Alec?”
I recalled the white building that was dedicated to the Sky God that I glimpsed at. I’m pretty sure it’s usually off limits to visitors.
“Are normal people allowed inside during the festival?”
“No, only royalty and a limited number of nobles are allowed in there.”
“Hmph. Do you attend those events the whole time the festival is on? You don’t go around the city?”
“Don’t ask the obvious.”
Rock interrupted. Well, okay.
“If I just look around, then I can do that at the parade.”
Alec smiled bitterly.
“There’s a parade?”
“When we go from the royal palace to the shrine in the north, the royal family and the palace guards circle around the rampart walls of the first gate.”
“Oh, that sounds interesting. I’ll definitely go to see the parade!”
“Thanks. I feel a bit embarrassed now thinking about how you’ll see me.”
He touched his ears and looked embarrassed.
“I’m sure you’ll look great.”
I wish I had a camera. And ―――
“――― I think it’ll be really cool if we flew at the parade.”
Alec hadn’t thought of this, but people usually want to try things they come up with.
“But well, I’m not sure we’ll make it in time for the festival. We’ll start after the festival finishes”
Magic is when you can do something that surprises everyone.
My mind was still occupied with thinking of ways to fly after that, and it never occurred to me to even ask Alec why he wanted to fly in the first place.