2.4 The Limits of Talent
Alus watches and critiques Tesfia and Alice despite them only working on basic magic manipulation. Yet, even when they make mistakes, he can’t call them immature magicians. Although the technique they’re developing is essential for battling mamono, it takes long, unrelenting practice to develop. He predicts they’ll need to continue as they are for at least a month before they can advance to the stick.
So then, how? I’d have to be delusional if I thought they got this far after yesterday because I flourished as a teacher. No, this is the result of their diligence. But to get to this point after one night… just what did they do?
Alus says, “Not there, gather your mana at your fingertips,” as he pinches their arms and eases his mana inside them. A mana rebound follows, but Tesfia and Alice are provided with clear mana contrasts which allow them to better recognize the mana inside their bodies. Still, even though they’re becoming aware of their mana, they can’t yet direct the flow within their bodies.
It’s only a matter of time now until they can use the stick to suppress their mana.
Unlike yesterday, mana is gathering in their fingertips bit by bit.
When two people work side by side, the subconscious has an easier time of influencing the outcome. Constant instruction is required to keep the mana training from stagnating. As such, Alus says, “Don’t stop concentrating.”
Tesfia says, “Hey, be quite!” She diverts her attention from her mana, allowing it to flow away from her fingertip and pool around where she’s being pinched.
Alus sighs as he says, “There, see?”
Alice also loses concentration. She scratches the light sweat on her forehead as she says, “Ahh, it’s no good…”
Neither of Tesfia nor Alice are actually exhausted. Their training barely consumes any mana. Their frustration is starting to build up mental fatigue.
Alus says, “How about a short break?”
Both agree with limp nods.
While they rest, Alus settles himself behind his desk. Searching for data on his now clean and organized desk isn’t as difficult as he first anticipated. He can switch between documents with little trouble.
Tesfia’s eyes burn with curiosity as she looks at Alus. She says, “By the way, what are you researching, Al?”
Alice’s eyes glitter with a similar interest as she says, “I’m curious about that too.”
Alus says, “I’m assessing if transfer magic can be used in combat.”
The magic transfer Circle Port within the school is a byproduct of Alus’s space manipulation magic. Strictly speaking, spatial manipulation magic does not exist. It is nothing more than a theoretical paper. That said, Alus has experimented on his own.
Much magic has been researched by Alus’s own hand. He himself intends to elevate the standard of being a magicians as a whole so that new magic can arise. The ambitiousness of his goal is so grand that new applications are discovered for much of what currently exists as consequence.
I should avoid revealing too much.
Alice clutches the school badge hanging from her chest as she says, “When you say transfer, you mean this?”
Alus is prompted to answer by Alice’s vacant expression. “That’s right. This will be the first time transfer magic will be utilized with the school badge.” Currently, circle ports are established at regular intervals for the magicians watching over the national defense line in case of state emergencies.
While the application is the same, this is the first time such a general application is being attempted. Alus adds, “There is a defect. Its range is only 3km at best.”
It has a lot of room for improvement, particularly in the action most commonly referred to as “Jumping.” Mana is duplicated and used as a reference in order to tether the coordinates of a transfer gate’s destination. The nickname arises from the outcome occurring without regard to the concept of time.
The fundamental problem is that the duplicated mana signature will deteriorate. Containing formless mana in of itself within an unseal space is impossible. While mana deterioration doesn’t occur when mana is converted to magic, it will slowly wither away over time once it alone is released outside of the body. Experiments show that this phenomena inhibits transferring to designated gates.
Room for improvement exists, but researchers have their hands tied by the premise that the mana’s information body needs to be protected.
Alus continues to speak without anticipation for an answer. His researcher’s spirit leads him to say more than he should. “Although this dilemma originally stemmed as an offshoot from research on applying this magic offensively, it has now become an important, fundamental, issue of magic.”
Tesfia says, “Wouldn’t directly using it in combat be the best method?”
Her suggestion is the problem with developing original magic. Whatever Alus creates must be usable by magicians as a whole. “Well, that’s not wrong. However, even with that large constriction, it can still be used for killing mamono, inhibiting movement, supporting a comrade’s assault, or even retreating.”
Tesfia tilts her head and groans “Mn~…….”
Tesfia thought the idea held merit since Al himself was a magician who fought on the front line, but then recalls the director mentioning that he’s an exception.
Using the number one magician as a reference for crafting new magic would be pointless since only one person would be able to use it. Alus himself views the idea as out of the question as it contradicts his goal of raising the standard of being a magician.
Alice raises her hand and says, “Could a wide reaching cover protecting magicians be implemented?”
Alus will not flat out deny an opinion. Furthermore, Alice’s proposal offers a conclusion. As a researcher, he himself considered the various possible applications of this magic. He says, “That’s impossible; transfer magic isn’t omnipotent. Depending on how it’s used, it can assist magicians in defending against attacks. However, leaving everything entirely to a single spell is flawed.”
Recognized magic has its name recorded within the magic encyclopedia. Of all the recorded spells, none of them are unspecialized. Specialized magic has much more preference over unspecialized magic. He adds, “Well, that’s something you might learn better from a magician actually standing on the front line.”
Alus afterwards arbitrarily continues lecturing Tesfia and Alice. Having never had the opportunity to share his thoughts with other people before, he continues well past the break’s end with no thought to the flow of time. While curfew isn’t broken, they complain a great deal about having their training interrupted.
The next day after school, he is unable to refuse their request for uninterrupted guidance with their training.
Tesfia and Alice are returning to their dorm.
Tesfia looks to her side with a smile on her face as she walks. Her tone isn’t one regarding the inaccessible number one, but one used for those of the same age. “Either way, Al really surprised me there.”
She speaks without consideration towards her words since Alus isn’t with them. He separated from them with heavy footsteps after being called upon by the director over an academy broadcast.
Tesfia adds, “Wasn’t he just like a child?”
Alice says, “I need to say this, but that was appropriate action for his age.”
“No, that was completely childlike. It was like he was showing off a new toy.”
Alice cusps a hand over her mouth as she smiles and says, “In that case, it must have been an amazing toy.”
“Must have. Anyway, I understand his skill as a magician, but I wonder how good he is as a researcher?”
Alice is doubtless towards Al’s ability. She says, “Don’t you think he’s soaring above everyone else?”
“I wonder if that’s how it is. He might just be looking into a dead end.”
“Yeah~ I don’t think it’s anything like that…… Let me see the spell you mentioned earlier today once it’s completed.”
Tesfia rebukes her the same way an onee-san would. She says, “Oh, come on, Alice. Don’t laugh at me and emphasize so much about tinkering with magic.”
Alice returns the favor by saying, “That’s just like you, Tesfia! You’re an aristocrat, yet every time you open your big mouth and say something funny, we’re not allow to laugh?”
Without anyone noticing, Alus’s research arbitrarily became pointless. It’s only saving point now is that it allows the two a mirthful walk. Later, when they actually understand a miniscule fraction of what Alus is researching… their expressions do a complete one-eighty.
Alus, having parted ways with Tesfia and Alice outside the research building, drags his feet towards to the Director’s Office. He has a bad premonition about the invitation. No real, present, reason exists for the feeling. It’s a reaction his body developed after speaking with the director and coming to know her behavior. The most Alus can do is trust those feelings, yet not do anything about them.
Alus’s laboratory within the research building is only a few minutes’ walk away from the Director in the main building. Regardless, no one would blame him if he accidently wandered into the circle port.
Even though he knocks several times in order to maintain proper decorum, his expression is one of open aversion. A muffled voice grants him permission to enter the room. As he eases open the door, the Director says, “I haven’t said anything yet…” She understands his discontent in an instant.
Alus corrects his attitude with feigned ignorance and says, “I haven’t heard anything yet.”
She’s the one on top here.
“Well, that’s fine. You probably already know this, but there’s a proficiency test coming up at the beginning of next month.”
The test is included within the curriculum every year in order to update the admission rankings given to the students. This is needed because over 1,000 students are evaluated during the admission’s test limited time frame. While the results aren’t carelessly determined, they do lack in accuracy. For that reason, individual competency examinations are scheduled for soon as possible.
Alus has already guessed the Director’s intentions. He says, “In other words, this is about the rankings?”
“That’s right. In order to avoid causing a pointless uproar, I’ve decided to personally administer your exam.”
Alus wants to declare that she’s abusing her authority, but more than that, also wants to avoid a pointless uproar. That’s probably the best solution. I was able to realize there’s an examination period every year, but I haven’t figured out how it’s conducted.
He says, “Understood. Now, why did you call me?”
The director isn’t surprised that Alus saw through her. Instead, she releases a sigh.
This must be the main issue.
She gestures to a stack of documents on top of her desk while saying, “This.”
The documents had been placed in reverse, giving Alus a clear view of their contents. He asks for permission to continue with his eyes and is encouraged through a smile.
A sigh flows out of Alus upon reading through them. Written within the materials are new teaching instructions proposed by the military. There is nothing he can do about what’s written. The Second Magic Academy, according to national policy, must accept. “What do you want me to do?”
“Nothing in particular, just… what’s your opinion?”
The Director isn’t in a situation where she wants Alus’s opinion, but one where she’d want everyone’s opinion— especially Alus’s.
Alus says, “Would asking something before that by all right?”
She gives a bewitching smile that makes Alus wonder if everything is progressing as she desired. She says, “Go ahead.”
“Did this proposal result from my retiring?”
“Perhaps.” She gives a vague reply, but doesn’t consider that this issue resulted from Alus retiring the problem. The problem is the material’s contents. Under the pretext of extracurricular lessons, students are to accumulate combat experience against mamono. She adds, “We can actually consider ourselves late in its implementation. The First, Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Academies have already begun introducing this into their curriculum. However…”
“All this will accomplish is increase the number of casualties.”
The nuance in the Director’s tone shows her frustration at the situation not being taken seriously. “I think so too.”
The situation revolves around life. While graduates will enter military service where they’ll sooner or later gain experience fighting mamono, students don’t have the training for it. No, the issue here should be on whether enough consideration has been placed on the insurance measures failing. Even magicians who are still students will be able to suppress low ranked mamono.
Yet, as Alus once explained, in the slim chance that the students are over taken by fear, the moment their hearts give up, they won’t be able to use magic. Whether a semi-permanent trauma develops will depend on the individual.
A safety net has been prepared for just that situation, but that person is the first year director. During state emergencies, they are given control over higher grade students. In other words, while there is a difference in skill, they don’t have much more experience than first years in subjugating mamono. Should a state emergency happen, such personnel becoming useless is easy to imagine.
Alus says, “Put short, this is from the top brass?”
“Seems like it. Only some great leader-san who’s never fought a mamono would be able to come up with something like this.”
Alus then changes to the main issue in order to deal with it faster. He says, “What do you want me to do?”
“I was mostly assigned defense missions. You’re more familiar with mamono than I am.”
Whether the Director truly is bothered by that is something Alus would like to question her on, but instead allows her to continue. She says, “So, Alus-kun, can’t you do something about it?”
“By exerting pressure on the higher ups or sweeping the mamono away on you own?”
Alus isn’t received well enough among the higher ups to have any influence on them. While he was good at his duty, he was nothing more than a tool being pushed around. He might have been able to say something if this document was proposed by the Governor-General, but whether he can do that here and now is a different matter.
Towards the Director’s other suggestion, he says, “Just how many students do you think you have? Covering all of them is impossible.” He can only be in one place at a time.
The Director puffs her cheeks, creating an image inappropriate for her age. She says, “Then, do you have any ideas?”
How irresponsible. I probably won’t be able to go home without saying anything either.
Alus shrugs his shoulders and scratches his head in annoyance. He says, “How much of this can you change?”
Even if she’s the Director, she could end up calling upon misfortune by speaking out against a notice from the top. Even if her argument is justifiable, advocating a different opinion is taboo. There for, if a good plan is presented, the Director has no choice but to force it through.
The Director speaks with an earnest expression. “Only so long as it doesn’t alter the proposal’s purpose.” Whether she can or can’t do it is irrelevant, she will absolutely see it through.
T/N: Make sure to thank M4L4DD1CT10N for sponsoring this chapter. So, with this, we can finally see something that was left out of the manga, Alus having his house cleaned~ That said, we’re finally caught up with the manga. It’s been a long road, mostly because I’ve been busy. Still, if another manga chapter pops up… Well, I won’t say no to another chapter. That’s just more motivation to update~
Funny thing about catching up to the manga. I’m in the middle of editing this chapter and the manga updates too >->
So, from where I live there’s a ramen shop right behind my apartment. I can hear them chopping food on the chopping board and customers coming and going. I’m not sure if I should be happy that I can’t understand them or not~
Thanks for reading,
 I may switch this term for “teleportation” in the future.
 I could be wrong and this section could be specifically talking about space manipulation magic: アルスの研究はその手のものが多い。本人は魔法師全体の底上げを図って新たな魔法を生み出しているつもりだが、基本的に既存物から掛け離れた構想は同時に多くの利用形態が生まれるのだ。
 It translates to large division. I think it means, “large constriction.” 「大きな分け方でも、魔物を倒す、行動を阻害する、味方の攻撃を支援する。それとも逃走に用いるとかだな」
 The context as to who is speaking here is confusing. I think it’s Tesfia
 I did not understand the second half >.> 上に働きかけるとか、単独でちょちょいっとさ
 This one is complicated… たとえ理事長であっても上からのお達しに口を挟めば不況を買いかねないし、それが正当なものであっても異論を唱えること自体ご法度のようなものだ。