2.2 The Superior Bad Students
Alus shifts Tesfia and Alices’ attention to the rod in his hand by staring at it. For them, this is the first time they’ll see his magic, however questionable the performance might be.
He covers the rod with mana in an instant. The action is as simple as breathing. Nostalgia hits him as he recalls repeating that action every morning for training.
Magnificent. Alus won’t comment, but the flow of mana speaks for itself. Tesfia and Alice widen their eyes at the sight, but, That’s natural.
Alus isn’t familiar with the limit of Alice’s magic, but the difference between her and Tesfia is revealed through the insuppressible disbelief on Tesfia’s face. The few millimeters of mana flowing over the rod is akin to a clear stream. They both forget to blink as they draw closer to the rod.
Tesfia says, “What is this!?”
Alice says, “So beautiful!”
Alus says, “I probably don’t need to tell you this, but you shouldn’t get any closer. This is practically a formless sword.”
Tesfia says, “Uuu……” as she and Alice pull back their faces.
I wonder if she felt a cold blade slide against her cheek.
Alus continues to release his mana. It wells out and spreads across his body. That mana will never reenter his body. Mana that leaves the body deteriorates. As a result, he needs to constantly pump out mana in order to maintain the cover. He says, “I will tell you now that this is training for beginners. Anyone unable to do this won’t be able to defeat mamono. You could instead say that the person is courting death.”
Gulps echo from Tesfia and Alices’ throats.
Alice then notices there is only one stick. Yet, before she can open her mouth to comment, Alus says, “Well then, how about starting? —tsuto.” He chops the rod in half with his hand.
““——!!”” The two girls are lost to what just happened. While they know that people can train their bodies into having such abilities, they’re also vaguely aware that that rod isn’t an ordinary stick. Furthermore, there isn’t a single crack on either half.
The action makes them wonder if what he did even classifies as magic. Mana is originally an energy source used to make magic possible. That magic for amputating and severing exists isn’t strange. Alus’s chop, however, manifested without him even chanting an aria. He reversed the need for wielding an AWR.
Alus could dispel their doubts in an instant, but whether they could understand him is a different matter. It’s also too troublesome.
Alice says, “….Ah, this is another method of utilizing mana.”
Tesfia refuses to accept the event that happened before her eyes. “Impossible, I didn’t see any mana being used!”
Alice probably feels the same way. Her hair flutters as she nods to Tesfia’s assertion.
Alus says, “If you could see through this technique, you’d be able to call yourselves Singles.” Neither of the two are able to accurately grasp the meaning of his words. They tilt their heads as curiosity fills their eyes. Guess I need to explain how this works. With them this motivated, they’re probably too anxious for anything else.
Alus then shrugs while saying, “Whatever.” He rolls a memo-pad so it resembles the rod and gives a demonstration in slow motion. The ridge of his hand is eased down against the pad as though he were rebuking it.
Tesfia and Alice watch as close as they can without endangering themselves. Neither of them make a sound to keep from distracting Alus. The two green magicians see the mana ease its way across his hand up to the tip of his fingers just before he connects with the paper. The layer of mana is so thin, it wouldn’t be noticeable unless stared at from point-blank.
Alus’s knife hand splits the roll of paper without any resistance. Tesfia and Alice disregard their caution at the sight. Tesfia says, “It’s true! Except…”
Alice says, “Yeah, how was it cut?”
The limits of their knowledge are what let them feel that way.
The act of bestowing mana to organic matter, or even increasing the body’s strength, is by nature a pointless task due to their conflicting affinities. A layer of mana applied to a fist would immediately deteriorate with the residue scattering.
There is more to Alus’s technique than just mana. That expertise utterly leaves common knowledge behind and is omitted from his explanation to keep from confusing the two.
Alus wants to hit the director. She recommended the two girls as superior magicians, but they’re already stuck. This is pointless. He extends his hand in order to end the explanation the simplest way he can. He points at Tesfia and says, “You, lend me your AWR.”
She holds her katana to her chest as she says, “I have a proper name.”
That small, pointless, exchange makes Alus feel as though he’s eating his own words. He says, “What is it?”
Tesfia draws her sword from its cloth sleeve while saying, “—!! This guy…”
Alice pacifies Tesfia with, “Fia, stop.”
Alus makes a villainous expression as he says, “I see, it’s Kasfia. Thank you, Alice.”
At the serious impasse, Alus says, “Tesfia, if you’re not going to lend it to me, then do you mind if I take a quick break to eat?”
Tesfia is at a loss to Alus’s persistence— She’s unable to keep pace. She’s furious and won’t forget her indignation any time soon, but the pause gives her a breath. Only Alice is able to accurately discern her feelings.
Alus releases his amazement as he unsheathes the sword and gives it his open praise. “This really is a sharp sword. The magic inscription is precisely engraved too. If this katana is the AWR, you don’t get to not choose it.” As he expected, the inscription is one that grants an affinity to ice magic.
That’s when he envelops Tesfia’s katana with mana. The two girls are captivated by the sight with rapt expressions. With him holding a physical object, their reactions are dangerous.
Alus says, “Hey…”
Tesfia and Alice regain their senses. Tesfia says, “It’ll obviously cut through paper like this, but how?”
They both realize the truth with an, “Ah— —!!”
Alice says, “That’s right! Even though mana covers the blade, it accents the characteristic of the edge.”
They return their gazes onto the sword, this time moving even closer. Tesfia says, “Like that!”
Alus’s precise manipulation of mana lets him create a covering that is barely visable. He says, “Something like this isn’t that big of a deal. Since the real thing is here, I only needed to nudge my mana into moving around the sword.”
Neither Tesfia nor Alice are capable of preforming that feat. Alus speaking as though it’s child’s play has them once more recognize his prowess.
Alus says, “You might assume this was applied to my knife-hand earlier, but that wasn’t a nudge of my mana. For that, I had to consciously manipulate my mana into the form of a magical sword.”
Disbelief over comes Alice as she says, “Something like that…” The evidence before her eyes forces her to cut her words halfway.
Mana has a natural tendency to be absorbed by the body. While it can be molded, the time frame to do so is small. Neither Tesfia nor Alice are unable to not notice the occurrence of this natural contradiction. Despite that, Alus continues to do as he pleases. He makes that feat possible. They wonder if they’d be able to imitate him even after learning how.
Alus says, “Well, if you could do this, you’d enter double digits.”
Tesfia and Alice accept his remark with displeasure. The joy they initially felt was premature. They realize that their abilities are lacking. Despite their reserves of mana, they’ll need to put in an extraordinary amount of training to reach that level. Furthermore, there is no guarantee they’ll succeed after all that either.
Alus hands the two halves of the rod to Tesfia and Alice while saying, “Therefore.” They scrutinize the rods and upon determining nothing is strange about them, grasp them with firm hands. Alus then adds, “I made it from the corpse of a mamono I once defeated…”
Two dry, clattering sounds ring out off the floor.
Alus says, “Hey! That’s a valuable item. No other like it exists in the world.”
Tesfia says, “No, well…” Being enthusiastic about using such an item to defeat mamono is difficult.
Alus says, “Relax, I’ve been training with that for years without any problems.” Alice picks up the rod upon hearing his reassurance. Tesfia, however, picks it up by pinching it between her fingers. Alus understands that when it comes to teaching others, there won’t be any progress unless he bullies them a bit. Therefore, he adds, “Not that I needed to.”
He then says, “First off, try channeling your mana.”
A high level of enthusiasm laces Alice’s words as she says, “Got it!” She and Tesfia channel their mana, but then, bashuu. Their mana disperses.
The corners of Alus’s mouth rise as he says, “Mamono have the natural ability of diffusing mana that comes into contact with them.”
“Then, how are we supposed to channel our mana?”
A natural question. Alus wants to say, “Figure that out yourself,” but such a reply would waste who knows who many days. Instead, he says, “Suppress the mana.”
Tesfia and Alice are at a loss to Alus’s words. Neither of them have ever consciously manipulated their mana before. Them not acting on his advice is proof that they don’t know how. Alus says, “Aren’t you often called excellent magicians?”
Tesfia says, “We never called ourselves that!”
How overly self-conscious. That sort of arrogance is just bait for mamono. It’s like a curse that’s been festering inside her for a long time. The thought makes Alus hold his head. People who don’t give up trying to teach deserve to be called teachers. That moment leads to him somewhat softening his attitude towards his teachers.
Alus says, “Both of you, show some of your skin.” His words are taken as sexual harassment for a moment, but he can only blame himself for the misunderstanding. With any area of skin serving his purpose, Alice bares her arm while Tesfia rolls up a sleeve.
He pinches them.
Tesfia says, “Itaa!!”
Alice says, “Iie!!”
Tesfia says, “What are you doing?”
Their question is natural, but having them try it would be simpler than explaining.
Alus says, “Focus your mana towards your feet while I’m pinching your arms.”
Mana is generated within the body and cycles through it as necessary. When magicians use AWR, they unconsciously focus their mana into the hand holding the AWR.
Since it can be accomplished unconsciously, then it can also be willed. However, since magicians are accustomed to directing their mana unconsciously, an overwhelming amount of preference is given to that method.
Instinct deeply influences the flow of mana and let’s magic materialize on reflex. That relationship between mana with the mind and body allows for unintended discharges and is also why magicians must always remain calm.
In short, the pain from Alus’s pinch is the focal point for a proportional flow of mana. This allows Tesfia and Alice an opportunity to training the conscious manipulation of mana. The military would never let them get away with something as simple as a pinch. They’d have been given thick welts from a whip.
Regardless, if the pain is too low, then it won’t serve as training. Therefore, some patience is needed to provide a constant pinch.
The faces of Tesfia and Alice turn red. But it shouldn’t be so painful it stops them from thinking.
Tesfia isn’t able to manipulate her mana, but should I keep saying that? Her mana is starting to split apart. Alice is Alice. Mana is somehow gathering at a terrifying rate where she’s being pinched.
Tesfia says, “…What?”
Make up your minds already.
Alus says, “Are the two of you really four digits?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m starting to question if you really are four digits if you can’t even do something this simple.”
Alus is a magician— a magician uneasy about humanity’s future, he is not. Whatever happens to humanity is of no concern to him. If humanity were to go extinct, Alus is confident he’d be able to survive. However, researching would then become meaningless and his life would deteriorate into one of idleness. Simply stated, while humanity’s fate is irrelevant, he doesn’t want more than is necessary cut down.
Tesfia says, “No- not a problem. I’ll master something like this in no time.” Her awareness, despite her enthusiasm, is already fading.
Alice displays her burning fighting spirit with a vigorous nod, but does the opposite of what she’s required.
Alus releases them while saying, “Great, I have work to do. The two of you should be fine on your own. Call me once you’re finished.”
Tesfia and Alice are baffled as they rub their erubescent arms. Their training is different from what they anticipated, but they won’t reject it now that they understand its significance. Regardless, they interpret his words to mean they’re bad students so he’s abandoning them. ““………!!”” Anxiety wells up inside of them. They become doubtful they can accomplish their goal.
Tesfia calls out to Alus as he turns back for his desk. She says, “About this, isn’t there a hint…?”
Alus stops walking and glances back to them over his shoulder. He barely opens his mouth and says, “Don’t hold back.” He then gestures that he’s grabbing something with his fingers and twists.
The action is vague and can’t really be called a hint. Regardless, Tesfia and Alice, more than protesting, stiffen their spines.
T/N: It’s been a while since I’ve updated~ Sorry for the wait everyone. I have been super busy with my move to Japan and teaching English at three different elementary schools. My biggest trouble right now is finding time to translate. On the plus side, my Japanese has been improving and will continue to do so. It isn’t a noticeable change right now, but it should soon reach a point where it’ll let me translate faster. That’s why, please be a little more patient with me. I promise I’ll be making it up to all of you in the future.
Next, about the next few releases. The next 4-5 chapters will be focused on Saikyou Mahoushi, the entirety of the second volume. Please direct your thanks to M4L4DD1CT10N for his generous donation.
See you guys next release. I swear, the wait won’t nearly be as long as this one was.
 Alus says, “Omae.” That is a very rude way of referring to someone in Japanese.
 A pun with her name. The change means something close to worthless garbage, but not quite. Kinda like somewhat useful garbage.
 The story never actually states that she handed him her sword. It’s probably implied with Alice is the only one able to understand her feelings line, but again, nothing was directly stated.