Taking out the magic stones and carrying out the broken swords before the blacksmith arrived ――― well, there’s no way I could do that.
It took me so long to get the hang of removing the magic stone without causing damage to the swords, and it was hard to carry the swords with my two skinny arms.
Surprisingly, Konrad-san nor Master helped me at all.
I wrapped them in a sheet and dragged them on the floor when I got tired of carrying the swords which damaged the carpet in the laboratory and the Director got angry at me.
In the end, I could only deliver half the swords to the blacksmith, so I had to ask him to come back later to pick up the rest.
After that, I worked endlessly to put the stones into a square partitioned drawer in numerical order.
Master and Konrad-san would also leave magic stones around the drawers after they had finished retouching them which made things confusing.
Plus, they forgot to check the number on the magic stones that they finished retouching and put them on the shelf, so I had to take them out and CHECK THEM ALL OVER AGAIN!
Overall, this workplace lacked ambition and the drive to work.
There were only motivated boys and girls at the magic school, so the difference between the magic school and here was difficult to deal with.
I was Master’s certified errand girl.
“Go buy me some alcohol.”
I snapped. I had no good memories with alcohol.
“Don’t drink while you’re working!”
“How can I work without drinking? I’m not going to work anymore if you don’t go buy me some.”
Old people are, in a sense, the strongest because they act like nothing has happened whether you yell at them or try to reason with them.
I believe that Director Theobold has a faint idea about what happens here, but mages don’t get fired even if they act like this.
Not to mention, we need permission from the palace to go to the city, and we can’t go home!
I had no choice but to go outside the first gate to buy him alcohol, and when I got back, I finally started removing the rest of the magic stones from the swords.
What am I doing?
I haven’t even finished my chores.
I stared at the setting sun and miserably muttered to myself.
My motivation started waning after three weeks of doing that.
The swords were brought in one after the other and I removed the magic stones, Master asks me to run errands for him, and sometimes Konrad-san comes with me. By the time all this is over, it’s evening.
I had no time to learn how to process magic stones.
They’re seriously treating me like an errand girl.
I tried to talk to Master but he wouldn’t listen.
“Don’t talk to me until you’ve finished your own work.”
He pointed at the swords which hadn’t had their magic stones removed yet. Let’s finish all that then. I worked frantically to finish the day’s work without taking a lunch break.
I didn’t have to carry the swords to the entrance since the blacksmith wasn’t coming today.
“Go clean up.”
I’M NOT HERE TO CLEAN!
I was angry, frustrated, and annoyed because I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t just teach me.
Konrad-san told me that he was just seeing how long I would last since a lot of people leave straight away.
What you’re doing has the opposite effect!
I’m so tired.
Konrad-san wouldn’t teach me either when I asked him to.
“It’s better to leave that to Master. I haven’t finished my work yet.”
He had a lot of excuses, but he probably found it troublesome to teach me. He was an unreliable senior.
So, the day ended like it usually did; with nothing to show.
It has become a habit of mine to throw myself onto my bed at the boarding house as soon as I get home.
I’m so tired.
My arms are sore and being irritated all day has drained me.
I lied with my face on the pillow and wondered why my days were like this.
I’m sure I’ve risen in the world.
I wanted to make Rille-nee happy and repay Gis-nee for her kindness, so I worked hard in my studies and became a mage.
I did get paid several times more than normal and I won’t get fired.
But what was the point of working hard to become a mage if all I had to do was remove magic stones from swords and run into town to buy alcohol?
He might teach me how to process magic stones, but I want to learn how to do it as soon as possible.
I was as impatient as when I was told to listen to the voice of the magic stone.
I let out a deep sigh and a soft hand rested on my head.
Rille-nee, who happened to come home at the same time as me, was sitting on my bedside and patting my head.
It felt ticklish but good and it warmed my tired soul.
What’s this? It’s so soothing.
Is Rille-nee emitting some kind of healing vibrations from her hands?
“Is it hard to study to be a magic engineer?”
I shook my head with my face still in my pillow when Rille-nee asked me this in a gentle voice.
“I haven’t started yet. I’ve just been doing chores.”
“That’s how it is at the beginning.”
I don’t want to complain since I never feel better after I do.
I looked up and changed the topic.
“I’m just a little tired since I’m not used to it yet. I’ll be fine.”
“I see. I don’t understand much about what you do but I think you should just be yourself and do your best.”
Her hand moved from my head to my cheek, and she used her thumb to lightly rub under my eyes.
“Nee-chan loves you for heading straight to your goal.”
… You’re amazing, Rille-nee.
My energy, which had waned from disappointment, was back.
Yes, I had a goal.
I had almost forgotten about it.
It was pathetic of me to have been swallowed up by the atmosphere of that workplace in less than a month.
“――― Thanks. I feel better now.”
Rille-nee is kind, cute and wise, and she says the words I want to hear even if she doesn’t know it.
I am able to keep moving forward because Rille-nee is pushing me forward.
I heard Anna’s voice coming from the first floor just as I got up.
“Aime~! Can you light the fire again?”
Her voice echoed throughout the small boarding house with only two floors.
I immediately went down to the kitchen and crouched down at Anna’s feet. She had already thrown branches, leaves, and other combustible things into the bottom of the stove, so all I had to do was hold my hand over those things and magically ignite them.
Mages are special but that doesn’t mean that commoners will overtly respect them.
I’m casually used as a lighter by those who knew me from the beginning. I have no complaints about that. In fact, I’ll do this for anyone if it’s useful.
They use flints to light fires in this world, and lighting a flint was quite troublesome. You can’t light a fire with a flint on humid days.
At every house after they light the fire in the morning, tinder such as charcoal from wood or mushrooms are buried in the ashes of the fireplace or hearth to keep the flame going but sometimes the flame burns out.
“… I wish there was an easier way to light fire.”
“Well, I suppose it would be convenient if I could light a fire instantly like you could.”
I looked from the burning flames to Anna and smiled for the first time in a long time.
“Just you wait. I will surely make it so that this useful power will be available to you as well.”
This wasn’t the time to be sulking.
I have something I want to do, so I can’t remain as a student who will be taught without saying anything.
I mustn’t go along with the flow. I must think of ways to make what I want happen.
I can do my best tomorrow since Rille-nee healed me and I’ve eaten Anna’s delicious food.
The next morning, I arrived at work just as the gates opened at dawn.
I was alone in the quiet workshop with a broom and dustpan in hand.
“Alright, let’s do this.”
I whispered since Master Finn was still sleeping in the next room.
I took off my robe and put it on the workbench so that it wouldn’t get dirty, then opened the window and started cleaning up.
I had left the place clean and tidy yesterday, but I found papers with magic circles scribbled on them all over the workbench and floor again, and someone even left a magic stone out.
This didn’t happen every day, but it did happen often.
Konrad-san always leaves on time, so Master did this. He was surprisingly diligent since he worked overtime albeit while drinking, but I want him to clean up after himself.
I wasn’t sure if I should throw away the paper, so I picked them all up and stuck them on the workbench with a needle.
I put the empty alcohol bottles that were lying on the floor into an empty box to throw away later and swept the floor.
I even vindictively swept all the grit and dust that had gotten into the crevices of the floor, and when I was done with the floor, I wiped down the windows and walls.
These are expensive glass windows, they’re useless if they’re dirty. The window in the houses of the people is wood, wood! You can’t see the view at all. Though, you don’t need curtains when the glass is this dirty.
After cleaning the windows until they shone, I went on to my next task before the first bell rang.
“Good morning, Master! It’s morning!”
I put the cleaning supplies away in the corner of the room and went into the drunkard’s room to wake him up without knocking.
He would sleep forever if I didn’t wake him up.
Konrad-san had already handed the task of waking him up to me.
“Wake up, Master!”
“Eeehh, you’re being noisy so early in the morning.”
“People work in the mornings!”
Like you would with a child who hasn’t woken up yet, I pulled off his robe which served as his blanket from his head and served him the meal I had brought from the government residence’s kitchen.
“What do you want?! Aren’t you earlier than usual this morning?”
“You have to get up by this time if you want to be ready by the time work starts.”
I would usually wake the Master up after the first bell had rung and serve him something to eat, but I realised that was too late.
But he criticised me for waking him up earlier than usual.
“Let me sleep a little longer. You’re giving this old man a hard time.”
“Old people are early risers.”
The old man complained, and the bell rang exactly when I came back from putting his dishes away.
Master came out of his room and Konrad-san, who had arrived late through the window, looked around the clean workshop with a puzzled expression on his face.
I told him, “I cleaned up like you had asked me to, and the tea leaves that Konrad-san asked me for yesterday are on that shelf over there. I asked my sister, a pharmacist, to find me some tea leaves that have a soothing effect, so Master can have some of that too when he runs out of alcohol. I am sorry but I will not be buying you alcohol from now on. Master, you’re probably an alcoholic. The more you drink, the worse you’ll get.”
“What the hell does that mean?!”
“It’s the ingredients in the alcohol that are causing your addiction. It may interfere with your work a little but continuing drinking doesn’t do you any good. Please bear with your cravings for now.”
“My hands shake when I don’t drink! I can’t work if my hands are shaking!”
“There are hands here.”
I thrusted both my palms in front of Master’s eyes.
“I have two hands and ten fingers. I can carve letters into the magic stone and draw designs for you until your hands stop shaking. You should help others when you finish with your work.”
I really can’t understand why they won’t teach me, but if they’re not teaching me because it’s a hassle, then I’ll push them to the point where they have to teach me.
Knowledge is something you gain.
I looked at Master’s eyes which had widened in surprise.
I could see that they were a strange reddish colour.
“I became a mage because I want to become a mage engineer, so I won’t stop. I will follow you until you teach me even if I have to go to heaven with you.”
It was said that the souls of dead people are summoned to the Sky God. In the terms of my old world, I would say, “I will follow you to the depths of hell.”
“Now, teach me Master. What should I do first?”
Master grumbled for a while, and then quietly said.
“… So, you want to make a tool to kill people?”
Master went to the shelf before I could ask him what he meant and threw something at me.
I quickly caught what he threw and looked at him again, but he had already turned his back towards me.
“Go practice carving letters.”
He had given me a black magic stone with no mana in it. I could practice on this without worrying.
He didn’t teach me the composition of a magic circle, but let’s take this one step at a time.
I got even busier since I was copying the patterns that Konrad-san gave me onto the magic stone while doing my other chores, but I felt great since I was finally learning.
In between feeling satisfied, I imagined various reasons why an old mage engineer was working with his bony curved back in a nation that didn’t place much importance on magic tools.