“You’ve brought a noticeably flat chested girl with you this time.”
Why must I be criticised by an old man whom I’ve never met before for having been brought up poorly on my first day of work?
And he’s someone who had just fallen asleep after consuming a few drinks at work. The water you’re drinking now is the one I gave you.
“You’re not much different from me, huh? You’re not a little girl, but a little boy?”
“Ah, Master, another one will run away again if you talk like that. Please stop since I’m the one who’s going to get in trouble with the Director if that happens.”
The young man, who had come through the window, said to the old man in a troubled tone.
Just to be clear, he’s not someone suspicious.
The young man had aristocratic pale skin and wore a white robe.
“What’s wrong with what I just said? I can’t just *yawn*… say that something exists when it doesn’t.”
The old man yawned.
His breath smelled of alcohol even from a distance.
“Don’t you feel bad for saying it out loud? I’m sure she’s bothered by it.”
They say whatever they want just because I was silent.
They are, unfortunately, the magic engineers who work at this institute.
The old man is Finn and the young man is Konrad Norrish.
Konrad-san calls the old man, Master, not teacher. It sounds less and less like an institute.
“Well, you’re still in your teens. There’s hope for you.”
“You’re too optimistic. Most girls who don’t have them by this age never grow them at all.”
“Stop talking about it!”
I don’t need boobs! I don’t have trouble looking up or lying face down! It’s none of your business in the first place!
I’ve never met them before and they are older than me, but they were rude to me first so I decided to yell at them without hesitation.
Hah, I feel tired all of a sudden.
It was vexing to realise that there were no one else in the magic development department except for these two s**ual harassers.
I don’t know much about them yet. I only know a bit about them.
Konrad-san came to work through the window because he didn’t want the Director to get angry at him for being late, and Master Finn was sleeping after drinking because that was his room.
That’s enough about Konrad-san. I know he’s not a serious person.
It was strange that Master Finn had his own room in the office. He, like me, had no surname, and his wrinkled features were different from those of other people in this kingdom.
“Master Finn is an immigrant from Galesh~. He’s the one who brought us the reliable magic stone processing technique, so please respect him.”
Konrad-san explanation finally made me see Master Finn as something other than a drunken man who s**ually harasses people.
The Galesh Kingdom, where Princess Philia is to marry, was said to be a nation where magic stone processing was flourishing since before the war.
It was only about 20 years ago when magic stone processing technology was properly introduced to the Traus Kingdom and before that, the people’s knowledge about how to process magic stones was so vague that it was almost impossible to make proper magic tools.
There were many holes in knowledge during the early days since magic was introduced during wartime.
“Master Finn defected?”
I followed Konrad’s example and immediately called the old man, Master.
“It wasn’t anything like that. I just drifted into this kingdom by chance during the war and settled down here.”
The old man turned away from me after that brief explanation.
He may have worked in the royal palace in Galesh if he was a magic engineer. It’s interesting that he moved here before the ceasefire agreement was signed.
But it’s only been 20 years since he started working at the royal palace in Trause which meant that he wasn’t working as a magic engineer for a while after the war.
How the heck did he come to work at the palace?
I had a lot of questions, but it would be rude to pry on our first meeting.
I’ll have the opportunity to ask him later.
For now, I’ll greet my seniors with respect.
“I am still a novice who doesn’t know much, so I look forward to your guidance and encouragement, Master Finn and Konrad-san.”
“Lookin’ forward to working with you. You don’t have to be so stiff. There aren’t any bigshots here~.”
Konrad-san replied light-heartedly, and Master Finn snorted coldly.
“Magic swords aren’t that big of a deal.”
Konrad-san said as he carved letters into a small green magic stone which was smaller than a brooch with a needle-like thin drill on the tidy workbench.
The old man had ordered me to observe, so I pulled up a chair beside him and watched the way he moved his hands.
Even though he was doing delicate work, he was used to it, so he could work and talk at the same time.
“It would be really scary if all the soldiers could do magic.”
I said frankly and Konrad-san laughed while keeping his gaze fixed on the magic stone.
“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But they’re no match for mages. So-called spells, the signal for activation, and the amount of mana that can be released must be engraved into the magic stones in detail for non-mages to use magic, so it’s difficult for them to use powerful or complicated spells.”
“I don’t get what you mean. Please explain it to me in detail.”
After listening to Konrad-san’s explanation several times, which didn’t quite make sense, I summarised what he had said.
Non-mages didn’t have a ‘circuit’ that connected them to the magic stone, so they cannot use a magic stone.
Nothing will happen even if they chant the same spells as mages, so the spells must be engraved into the magic stone that will be attached to the magic tool.
That was the first problem.
A magic stone cannot use any other kind of magic once a spell has been engraved on it.
While mages can use all kinds of spells with a single magic stone, a magic tool can only use the one spell that is engraved on it.
If someone wants to use another kind of magic on an engraved magic stone, then they would need to sand the surface clean and engrave another spell on it. Doing this was not only wasteful but also time-consuming.
Next, the magic stone must be engraved with how much mana to use as well as the location and direction where the spell will activate.
The Mitoan people do not have units for distance, but they do have units for mana.
They called this unit ‘mekta’ and it was usually used next to numbers.
This was the unit for how much mana should be drawn from the magic stone and magic engineers needed to ensure that a certain amount of mana is always released from magic stones since non-mages cannot adjust their own mana.
That was the second problem.
The constant release of mana means that it also releases mana when it wasn’t in use, since a magic stone does not respond when a non-mage chants ‘open’ or ‘seal’.
Huh, so that spell is always activated? I thought, but that wasn’t possible.
The conditions under which the spell is triggered, other than verbal chanting, are engraved on the magic stone, or programmed into it so-to-speak.
For example, when you tap the magic stone with your finger or when you swing your sword as hard as you can.
The mana from the magic stone was released in advance and when the spell can be released by having a soldier do the action that corresponds to the activation condition; the same goes for stopping the spell. This was easy to understand if I compared it to an electrical appliance.
Casting an opening spell was like plugging it into an electrical outlet and actions such as tapping the magic stone was the switch.
Just like how the electrical appliance releases voltage while it’s plugged in, the mana from a magic stone is wasted and discharged if left open.
The mana in the magic stone is wasted and if not used properly, the magic stone may run out of mana before it’s even used once.
If the released mana is suppressed to a certain extent, then it can be stored and used for a long time, but the output will be weak. It would simply be a waste of magic stones if you have no immediate plans of using it even if you make a powerful magic sword.
“We’re not preparing for war, so there’s no rush in producing magic swords. Currently, our job is mostly just to maintain the swords we have.”
That was the reason for the pile of swords on the wall.
The actual blade itself was being repaired by a blacksmith outside of the palace. What they did here was collect and fix faulty magic stones.
It was a simple job.
“Magic swords are just decorations to make a soldier look a little stronger. Well, we do need to pass on the magic stone processing method~.”
… I kind of felt this when I was at school.
Magic tools are neglected in this kingdom.
I learnt one of the reasons why it was neglected today, but the biggest reason would be the influence of the genius in the past.
I.e., Ellis Rain was too strong.
Rather than slightly increasing the strength of each soldier, the top believes that it was better to create a powerful mage like Ellis Rain, so that the mage could defeat an entire army in an instant with a powerful spell.
The fact that magic tools couldn’t become their main weapon in Traus when they were at war because of how inexperienced they were with processing magic stones must still be fresh in their minds.
So, magic stones are used for research and stockpiling, and only few people were sent to the Magic Tool Development Department.
“Do you only make magic swords here?”
“What? Well… Oh, we do a few spears and shields too.”
“I meant, do you only engrave magic stones for weapons here?”
“Well, huh? What do you mean? What else would you make?”
Konrad-san didn’t even use his imagination.
“You could use engraved magic stones to make other things if they aren’t really great for weapons. Like something that would be useful in people’s daily life. There would definitely be a demand for them.”
“Ah, hmmm, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but we need permission to use magic stones for something other than weapons.”
“But we’re not at war.”
“Not exactly. You could say that there are no wars because the three nations are equally as powerful as each other.”
I… don’t know about that.
But I know that magic stones can become wonderful tools to help people.
So, I feel that it would be a waste to use it only for military purposes.
“Well, don’t think too much about it.”
Konrad-san looked up at me and said when I didn’t speak.
“All the people who came here went to other departments because the work is too boring. Well, most of them left because they didn’t get along with Master, but I think this job is great. I get paid well just to carve letters according to the Master’s blueprints, I don’t have to use my brain and I can spend my free time on my hobbies. Isn’t this bliss?”
I don’t want to criticise how someone lives their life, but this person is hopeless.
You were late because you don’t feel like working.
I wasn’t interested at all. I was just making small talk.
“Going to the theatre. Well, I go to the playhouse though.”
“Not the noble theatre?”
“No, that’s for the upper class. The second son of a poor countryside noble is almost a commoner, even if I’m granted an audience with His Majesty as a mage, I won’t get land or a title unless I’ve done something great.”
Konrad’s friendly attitude, which was unlike that of a noble’s, seemed to have come from his birthplace. The eldest son inherits the fief and title.
It’s nice that he isn’t stuck-up. I feel like I’m talking to an older male in my neighbourhood.
He’s not a bad person even if he lacks work ethic.
“Alright, it’s done. Give me the sword.”
I handed the sword that was propped up on the desk to Konrad-san. He fitted the magic stone into the hollow of the hilt, with the engraved side facing down.
“Is it supposed to be face-down like that?”
“The purpose of putting it in like this is to prevent the engraved letters from being erased. It would be better to engrave a spell to coat the surface but that would be a waste of mana~. Also, look, you can’t engrave a lot of letters into the magic stone if it’s small. A bigger stone would just get in the way.”
I see, so that’s why Gis-nee’s magic sword looked as if it had no letters engraved in it; the letters were on the other side of the magic stone.
Konrad-san called Master, who was working next to him with an alcohol bottle in his hand, when one of the swords was completed. He’s still drinking. Is this alright?!
“Master, I’ve explained everything to her.”
“Let her get the magic stones for the swords.”
Master didn’t even look at us.
“Hmm, I’d like to know how to carve and create magic circles.”
“Your job is to do chores, so don’t complain.”
My request was brushed off.
“… You’ll teach me eventually, right?”
Why are you acting like that?!
I didn’t get assigned here just to do chores, did I?!
I can become a magic engineer, right?!
“That’s how everyone started off. Here you go.”
Konrad-san handed me a tool and a piece of paper.
Numbers and Mitoan language were scribbled on the paper.
“The numbers are engraved on the swords’ guards, so check them against these numbers, recite the sealing spell and remove the magic stone. The ones with nicks and broken blades will be picked up by the blacksmith this afternoon, so carry them to the entrance.”
I’m supposed to carry this mountain of swords by myself!? Without a cart or anything?!
How many round trips will I have to make?! Aren’t you being too harsh?!
A lot of complaints popped up in my mind when I heard those words, but I swallowed them down.
My expectations were betrayed, but it’s okay, I’ve only just started.
It was common in workplaces for newcomers to be forced to do chores.
I’ll just shut up and do the work.
“It’s easier to carry the swords when you don’t have t**s.”
But can I punch the Master before I start work?