3.5 The Preceding Day~ Top~
The date is May second, the day preceding the extracurricular lesson.
Tension within the school has been accumulating ever since its announcement. Today, that tension finally peaks. A sense of grimness floats over the entire first year class. Also coinciding with the announcement was an increase in after class, group, training ground, reservations. Even today, each area was booked in an instant. Furthermore, present circumstances have reversed the preferential treatment in ground reservation to favor first years.
Unlike the outside world where one’s life is at risk, injuries at the training ground are converted into mental damage. Not once do the hatchling magicians experience doubt over whether the actions they devote themselves to practicing are the correct ones for returning home alive. Their training is free from such anxiety.
Regardless, various complaints rose over the lack space for magic to be practiced. In response, the academy opened up more areas for those students to utilize. Combat against other humans, however, is pointless for training to face off against mamono. As such, that was the limit to how far the academy would go to appease them.
Groups were announcement the previous week. That led to an increase in discussion over topics such as tactics and cooperation. Lesson contents were also forced to undergo hasty revision in order to make mamono their core focus.
Since Tesfia and Alice are ranked at the top of the first years, they are not placed within the same group. In other words, the five man teams appear to have been created by taking the average of all five members. That average is then further augmented by the Director. She addresses the anxiety dwelling within the groups by assigning top rankers from within the academy to serve as their group leaders.
Every student’s expression is still filled with tension, but they are all noticeably more relaxed in comparison. Arus isn’t sure if they were soothed by the addition of the upper classman to their groups, but doubts any of them have actually seen mamono either.
At first, everyone’s expressions were stiff from anxiety. The students, having never experienced the threat of mamono, were undergoing a crisis. As time wore on, that sense of crisis, whether for good or bad, wore away.
During lunch, the usual four are seated around a table; Ferinella isn’t present. Arus speaks as though he’d rather not be talking. “Today’s training is cancelled so you can prepare for tomorrow.”
His words are abrupt, but neither Tesfia nor Alice object as they refrain from offering a counter proposal. Unlike their previous training where they simply manipulated their mana, using the rods to suppress their mana consumes mana. Such practice leaves them fatigued the following day.
Tesfia says, “That’s right. I also have a meeting with my group after our classes end. Attending that is probably important.”
Alice says, “I agree! I also get the feeling that is important.”
So that’s why they didn’t object.
The next day, the fruits of their training prove themselves more than what was anticipated.
Once the lessons end for the day, no one returns home save for Arus and Loki. Tesfia and Alice, just like the other students, remain behind in the classroom to prepare for the next day.
Arus says, “Tomorrow will be busy.”
All that remains for them to do is meet with the Director in her office. They have been visiting her every day. As such, Arus can no longer see any of the anticipated improvements brought up during their discussions. However, because of the powerful incentive derived from their agreement, he doesn’t break away his support. Nevertheless, his cooperation isn’t flawless. As he first told the Director, everything depends on the competency of the students. All he can do is reduce the amount of harm they will suffer.
Loki is also well aware of her role’s importance. As a supporter with an abundance of combat experience, satisfaction is the anticipated result of her work. The sole concern is over whether her reinforcement units will turn out useless. Even if the upperclassmen screened for the role are excellent students, ninety percent of them lack actual combat experience.
Arus precautions Loki over the possibility of her support units failing. “Loki, I’ll clean up after the others. You are not to leave your post.” His words also serve as a confirmation.
Loki’s eyes hide her true feelings. Her response is spoken just like always, expressionless and free from tension. “Very well.”
In truth, the likeliness of encountering a high ranked mamono is low. Furthermore, in the unlikely chance that an invasion occurs, installed local detection magic will notice it. Its defensive line extends across 20km. There will be sufficient time to withdraw from the area even after completing the required confirmation.
–diamond line trio–
Arus and Loki reach the laboratory. Once there, it’s Loki’s responsibility to open the door. The panel identifies and confirms Loki’s mana from her palm. Her mana signature was long since registered in order to prevent the occurrence of potential inconveniences from their cohabitation. The lock clicks three times and the door eases open.
Each time she opens the door, the mirth from a deep, yet suppressed, laugh spreads across her face. Arus, intrigued by the act, once tactlessly asked her, “Is that fun?”
The tone Loki responded with ended with a bounce of glee. “This is my duty.”
The laboratory’s interior has undergone great change over the past month. It was once those changes were finished that Loki became fully settled. Simple partitions were placed within a corner of the spacious laboratory. While the structure already came with a bedroom, that room is too cramped for two people to share once Arus’ personal belongs are taken into account.
A simple room was made for Loki once the fact was pointed out by Tesfia. Loki too seems to have been dissatisfied with her conditions. Despite the room only meeting the minimal requirements needed to be considered one, she accepted it without reluctance.
The laboratory, even with all the machinery staying as they were originally placed, is a room with too much space. Only the bedroom is small. Even now after a segment has been allocated to Loki, a sufficient amount of space remains.
Arus and Loki are usually frugal with their time. Any free moment they have is spend delving into research. Today is different despite their final meeting with the Director not being until later that night. Even though they possess plenty of time to set aside for research, Arus enters his room. From a corner he draws a hidden, jet black, case.
Loki stands behind him. She suppresses any curiosity from showing across her face.
Arus says, “Never wanted to use this again.”
Although that comment wasn’t meant for Loki, she follows it with a monotone question. She takes advantage of her question to tilt her body in order to peak at what he’s holding all without breaking her posture and while keeping her back straight. “What is it?”
Arus brushes his hand across the beautiful, jet black, case. Less dust than he expected gathered on it. He looks over it with a weary gaze as he says, “My AWR.”
“Will you utilize it for this mission?”
“It’s my best option.”
Arus’ feelings can be understood just by watching him. The amount of interest he shows towards wielding that weapon make them obvious.
He has his mana crawl around the fastener where it then unclasps itself with a light snap. From the case, upon being opened by the practiced action, swings out an eerie knife attached to a chain. Those chains were stored inside a small gap within the scabbard.
The weapon, however, bares a closer resemblance to that of a dagger than a knife.
Loki is too overwhelmed by its blade to speak. The black luster edge pressures her with all the mamono it has slaughtered. More than that, however, is her shock towards the blade itself.
AWR are purposed with the task of transmitting mana. They are axillary weapons with the role of making magic smoother to wield. Complex and arcane formulas are thus inscribed onto them for the sake of making highly difficult spells easier to cast for their wielders.
Those required inscriptions cannot be seen on Arus’ blade.
No, they are engraved. There are two letters. Loki doesn’t know what they mean, but is positive there is something unusual about them. As a weapon belonging to the strongest magician, there must be more to it.
Arus frowns and grabs the chain. “The magic ceremonies are inscribed…” He yanks it while adding, “here.”
The chain clatters, unfettered by Arus’ rough handling, and spreads across the floor.
Loki gaps as she taken aback by the revelation. “Would touching it be alright?”
Once Arus tells her with his eyes, “Doesn’t matter,” she scoops up the chain with both hands.
“— — — —! This chain… the ringlets, are magic formulas engraved on each one of them?”
“Yeah, it’s actually pretty easy to use. Each spell just needs to be memorized first.”
Although magic can be supported by inscribing formulas on AWR, only one system of magic can realistically be supported. The magical formula inscribed to support the selected system is the only section used so that it may act as the core for all spell craft. The versatility that method offers is the sole reason it is regarded as the most efficient.
Engraving magical formulas of multiple systems isn’t recommended due to the rivalry created between the systems. That act brings more demerits than anything else.
The construction of a single magic formula is formed through a series of combinations. [Icicle sword] for example, uses the ice system as the core to its magic formula. Built up on top of that is convergence, anchoring, a coordinates system, strengthening, and shaping.
Tesfia most likely only succeeded in utilizing an AWR solely centered around a magic formula for the ice system entirely because of her aptitude and effort. Rather than that, her’s is the norm.
Since only the magic system’s magic formula is long, a suitable base for it to be engraved into is required. That said, when only the formula for one system in engraved, then all magic belonging to said system is supported. However, only the spell’s composition process can be simplified. If the caster is inexperience and the lacking components aren’t incorporated, it will never be expressed as magic.
When fully inscribing the magic formula of a sole spell, extra space is needed to insert the system + the components. But being able to use a single spell isn’t a perfect replacement for discarding the chant. The merit is in drawing the magic’s original power. However, wielding it without a deep understanding of the magic formula won’t result in anything useful. Thus, the real problem lies in that even if magicians discard a spell’s chant for its original power, very few possess the required intimate knowledge needed to make it succeed. Therefore, due to there being more benefits to using various spells during combat, no one inscribes the magic formula of a single spell onto their AWR.
Loki’s always calm expression inevitably trembles as she says, “Is there a spell on each chain-link?”
The larger the inscribed magic formula is, the greater the assists for the magician in wielding magic. If the opposite is done and smaller inscriptions are made, the benefits from making them become harder to receive. This occurs because manipulating magic is equivalent to threading a needle during the middle of a battle.
A magic formula emits light as it receives magic and begins to construct its spell. During that time, the magician must keep the framework of the intended spell in mind up until the moment when the magic formula can be substituted for process and the spell arbitrarily manifests. Also, since the magician needs to trace the process up until the spell’s materialization, an unskilled magician could have one or two chants of the spell forced.
the formula is shrunk, then even if the constructed formula channels mana, the
spell produced would be inadequate. Any benefits gained by omitting the chant
would be lost.
“Invoking magic with this…” Loki refrains from completing her sentence. It was engraved as such because it can be used. When considered from that angle, it becomes proof that the one standing before her is the strongest magician.
She then bows her head. Despite stopping herself partway, she says, “Excuse me.”
Arus forces a smile. Receiving such a level of respect from his roommate isn’t something he can get used to. However, responding to Loki’s slip of the tongue with something like, “Don’t worry about it,” would only deal her a crushing blow.
“It isn’t a big deal.”
Loki’s expression darkens, but maintains a hint of its shine. Arus’ response implies to her that she didn’t make a slip of the tongue. She says, “That’s true.”
The corners of her lips rise at her conclusion, For the strongest magician, such an endeavor would naturally be easy.
“Loki, even though you’re not being deployed for combat, be ready for it. We don’t know what can happen out there.”
Arus’ worries are wasted on Loki due to her experiences in the outside world. She pulls out a throwing knife type AWR from her behind herself while saying, “I am always prepared for combat.”
Loki’s action isn’t a big deal. It isn’t… except she’s in uniform. In other words, she modified her academy uniform so that she could hide a knife on her persona.
Arus, without realizing it, loses the opportunity to voice his thoughts.
The preparations Arus and Loki need for tomorrow do not require advanced preparation. Therefore, to reduce the amount of time being stolen away from them, the two head to meet with the Director earlier than agreed upon.
“Al, Loki-chan.” Alice calls out to them while on her way home.
Arus feels something off with their encounter. Once he judges her close enough, he says, “It went on for quite a while.”
Her voluntary overtime was almost as long as our training.
“The others are still there. Even Fia is still at it.”
That’s what it was… Since Alice and Tesfia are always together, Arus has been treating them as a set. Thus, he found running in Alice on her own unusual.
Alice speaks with a helpless tone. Her words, however, aren’t an assentation. “You’ve been a pretty bad influence.”
Arus gives a wry, “Hahaa.”
“Since Fia ranks at 4000, there aren’t any other girls there either.”
“This is a good opportunity for her to understand my hardships.”
Loki nods from behind him while repeating, “That’s right.”
Alice, once more becoming aware of Loki, tries changing the topic. “Where are the two of you headed?”
Arus judges that since Alice is already aware of their situation, there is no need to keep the truth from her. “To meet with the Director.”
“You could say that.”
“Don’t stay out too late now, Al, Loki-chan. Tomorrow morning, we need to get up early.”
“That’ll depend on the Director, but we’ll keep it in mind.”
Arus is bothered by the large smile Alice forces despite her concerns. Regardless, he doesn’t offer her anything concrete with which to sooth her mind.
“I’m probably in your way. Let’s do our best tomorrow… right…… Loki-chan?” Alice was staring at Arus when she started, but ninety percent through, concluded that wishing him well would be rude. Unable to take back what was already spoken, she changed her target. Despite that save, she’s also aware that those concerns are unneeded by Loki.
Alice’s words usher in a silence which even she wavers over undoing.
Arus notes that her behavior is different from usual. Her insecurities are probably causing this. Alice isn’t like Tesfia, she is much more delicate.
The combat ability of Alice and Tesfia aren’t at a level he needs to criticize. He doubts either of them would struggle against a low ranked mamono. However, even if he encourages her by saying, “Don’t worry about it,” he won’t be able to relieve her dread towards the unknown.
He resumes walking for the Director’s office, but upon passing by her side, speaks in a low tone. “Well, depending on what happens, I’ll help out.”
Since he can’t take away her fears, he instead lends her his strength. Accepting to look after her is no big deal for him. It’s only one extra responsibility on top of his already existing duties towards resolving tomorrow’s troublesome developments.
Despite his feelings, Alice responds with a bright smile exactly as he anticipated.
Her smile is free from all anxiety. Even if this relief is only temporary, not a speck of doubt clouds her heart.
T/N: Special thanks to M4L4DD1CT1ON for sponsoring this chapter~
Anyway, these technical chapters where magic is explained are interesting, but they are a pain to translate. It was a small chapter, but those small segments all on their own increased the translation time by almost a week >.>
I want to say more about it, but nada. Hope you liked it,
Oh, for all of you who doubt me, nothing’s been dropped!!