It’s been three months since I possessed Norwin’s body, and I’ve mostly gotten used to this world. I’ve finally learnt the script, general knowledge, and have also gained a much better understanding of noble etiquette of the Arcadia kingdom, the stage for the game Arcadia Quest. Though, with me living under house arrest, I don’t have a chance to use it. Without having gleaned any idea as to why I was isolated, I didn’t see this house arrest ending any time soon.
I was frowning at the magic textbook in front of me when Misha, who was seated next to me peered at me worriedly and asked, “What’s the matter?” How do I put this? She was too close. Then again, why would she be worried about the intentions of a five year old? She probably sees me as her baby brother. “No, it’s just that I’ve already learnt the contents of this book.”, I said sombrely. “Amazing! That’s a good thing right?”, exclaimed Misha as she hugged me from the side and patted my head. I had mixed feelings under such unrestrained praise. I guess she’s trying to act like a parental figure, but please stop it. Rather than enjoying the maternal love, I feel like I might get aroused.
“Isn’t there a more difficult text on magic?”
“Well, they do exist, but you need special permission to borrow any magic text that is third grade and above.”
That was how it was in the game too. The grades of magic were like a ranking system, with one being the lowest, and ten the highest. As the rank increases, the spell’s difficulty and fire power also increase accordingly.
In Arcadia Quest, the protagonists would gain strength as they rise through the ranks of magic. But the first hurdle was always the ‘Third Rank’. By clearing a particular quest, you would gain the right to learn third ranks spells. There is no way the current me could earn such a right. Why was someone like me, who possessed the game’s knowledge, trying to obtain a third rank magic text, which in the greater scheme of things could only be seen as elementary? That was because this world’s magic system was far more well documented here than it was in the game.
One could cast lower rank spells by just chanting its aria and roughly controlling the mana. First rank spells are a prime example of that. The five principal attributes, Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, and Light. The first rank spells of all these attributes were in the order of creating a flame, spurting some water, causing a slight breeze, crudely manipulating a clod of earth, and creating a luminescence. Their simple effects were matched by their easy casting and operation.
However, in the second grade, one will have to configure additional parameters like the temperature and size of the flame. Doing so adds more complexity to the spell while also increasing the mana expenditure. I somehow managed to cast rank-2 spells with my level of mana manipulation and chanting, but rank-3 spells were too steep a climb with just that. Even when I succeeded in rare occasions, my minuscule mana pool would run dry immediately after. In other words, I wouldn’t be able to do any more magic training for the rest of the day. I was counting on some explanation in a rank-3 magic textbook, but…
“…What do I do now?”
“I tried asking around and learnt that it is very rare to find a five year old who could cast rank-2 spells of all the attributes. Aren’t you already working hard enough Nor?”
Misha, who had recently taken to calling me ‘Nor’, was trying her best to console me. Ah, how relaxing would it be to lean on her and indulge in her kindness. But I don’t have the luxury to do that. In just a few short years I will have to protect my dearest Crescentia. I am still far too weak for that.
Fuck! If only I weren’t confined here I would have been able to go around this world and even get the jump on some events. Is it time for me to make a run for it? But I knew I was only being hasty thinking like that. The events and battles that I’d have to go through to surpass the protagonists would be accompanied by commensurate risks. If I attempt them with my current strength, I would only be running to an early grave.
No other choice. Let’s put a pin in rank-3 spells until I’ve grown my mana pool a lot more. For now, I’ll try out various things with rank-2 spells. And so I decided to think about different ways to apply the rank-2 spells in practice. However, having cheated so far using my game knowledge, my creative side was struggling to come up with ideas.
I sat there for several minutes, trying to wrangle something out of my brain. Unable to hold back any longer, Misha said, “Wouldn’t it be very effective if you could cast a spell that was completely different from the aria you were chanting?”
No one in the game had a skill like that. Which means, if I succeed in learning such a technique, I would gain a completely unique strength unmatched by anyone in this world. It would be an important ace up my sleeve in the quest to save Crescentia. So I decided to try it out without wasting a minute.
I began the test by trying to chant the rank-1 fire spell while trying to activate the rank-1 water spell ‘Create Water’. “Oh spirits of fire…” The mana in my body began moving on its own. I was familiar with this feeling. The chant has an auxiliary effect of partially automating the mana manipulation that is required for activating the spell. “…heed my command” Colourless mana began concentrating on the tip of my finger, and was progressively dyed with a red tinge. If it continued in that fashion I, would just end up activating the ‘Fire1‘ spell. So, I recalled the kind of mana operation involved while casting ‘Create Water’, and tried to forcibly reproduce it.
Abruptly, it felt like someone had tied a knot in my brain, and the mana that had accumulated on the tip of my finger burst apart with a pop. “Nor! Are you okay!?”, asked Misha worriedly as she checked to see if I was hurt somewhere.
“You are hurt!”
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing.”
“It’s not nothing! What to do…let’s go see a doctor right away.”
“And what explanation are you planning to give for this injury?”
Misha was brought up short mid-panic. There was no way to explain away this injury. We couldn’t afford to leave any trace of my magic training. Which meant, I couldn’t show this injury to anyone else. I suppose I’ll have to use some healing magic even if costs me more mana. While I was thinking that, suddenly Misha put my finger in her mouth.
“Eh?” I know they say “Just put some spit on it”, but why do it now?
“Dof if huut? (Does it hurt?)”
While I said yes, I never mentioned what. After all, it was my little Johnson that felt like it should be hurting. I mean, can you blame me? A sixteen year old beauty is painstakingly sucking on my finger. The feeling of her tongue slithering around my finger was indescribable. Maybe I should make a habit of getting injured.
Feeling that things would get weird if I let it go on for any longer2, I chanted, “Oh bountiful goddess, bless me with your healing.” When I activated the rank-1 healing spell, Misha’s lips, where my wounded finger was held, began to glow. It was amusing to watch her surprise turn into embarrassment as she realised that I could cast healing magic.
“Uh…um…sorry for acting so disgracefully.”
“There’s no need for an apology, in fact, I should be the one thanking you.”
“Oh, never mind, it’s nothing. Let’s forget about it and continue with the training.”
First, I began ruminating over the sequence of events in my previous trial. When I attempted to cast Create Water while chanting the aria for Fire, my thoughts were thrown into chaos and I lost control of the mana I had gathered, causing it to explode.
Even if only for an instant, I suspected the cause was trying to use two different spells simultaneously. It was like I was attempting to read two books simultaneously and understand its contents.
Was it wrong to focus on Create Water in the middle of my chant? Should I target the short gap after fishing my chant and before the pure mana gets turned into fire? All right, no way to know without trying.
I decided to focus of the mana operation required for Create Water right from the beginning of the chant. But that trial also ended with the gathered mana exploding. Turned out that my mana would begin moving as necessary for casting Fire once I began the chant. Trying to channel my mana to cast Create Water in such a situation would make it run counter to the motion induced by the chant. My brain could not process the motions necessary to neuter the induced flow and produce a resultant flow capable of casting create water.
I see. So that’s why there was hardly anyone in the game who could use two spells simultaneously. At the crucial moment where I needed to switch over from Fire to Create Water, it felt like my brain got scrambled and errored out. If it’s like this, of course there wouldn’t be anyone who could use two spell simultaneously. That is, except for the main characters.
Dammit! With that being the case, I had to master this technique. I needed to get my brain used to such unreasonable loads.
“Hah…” Bring it on!
It was extremely difficult, but it wasn’t like I felt no response. If I manage to master this technique, I would probably leave most people in the dust when it came to magic. I would catch-up to the main characters, and maybe even surpass them.
Since that day, I’d been diligently practising to cast a spell that differed from the aria I was chanting. In addition, during my lesson time in the afternoon, I was reading two books simultaneously. Of course, I found it near impossible to follow both at the same time, but I was betting that my body would get used to such tasks if I kept at it for months. If I succeeded, I would be able to absorb knowledge at least twice as fast, and my brain would be trained to handle such loads. It was two birds with one stone. Besides, I had no other choice.
Also, after that day, Misha began training in the use of healing magic. Apparently, it was very frustrating that she couldn’t help when I was hurt.
Our days were filled with such efforts, but after awaking one morning, I noticed that there was an unusual commotion in the annex building. Of course I would find it unusual. The primary purpose of this annex building was my confinement. So there was only a bare minimum of personnel posted here to point the point where I’d barely heard anyone else’s voice before.
After a while, another unexpected thing occurred. A servant that I’d never seen before entered my room. “Oh? Has Ms. Misha not come in today?” Wearing a complicated expression, the servant ignored my question. Did something happen? Don’t tell me…they found out that she was cooperating with me? It was natural that I would suspect that, but I couldn’t sense any blame from the servant who was briskly going about her duties. Then, is she just sick?
My optimistic thoughts were shattered when Misha didn’t show the next morning either. So she really was found out? Or Is it some other reason?
To gather more information, I sneaked out of my room to eavesdrop on the servants’ conversation.
“It sure was a shock to hear that Misha was kidnapped.”
“Day before yesterday morning. Apparently a search party is out looking for her.”
“Whoa, that’s crazy. That’s why I haven’t seen her around these days. Is it for ransom?”
“Nah, I doubt it. I don’t think the Baron would shell out ransom for an employee.”
“Yikes, then is it that after all?”
“It has to be right? Misha is pretty cute after all. Ah! What a waste! I wonder if she’s surrounded by men now.”
Listening to that conversation, my head went blank. Kidnapped? Misha? I couldn’t form any coherent thoughts. Why, who, when, for what? Stuck in this place since I awakened in this world, it wouldn’t have helped even if I could think.
Is she still alive or is she already dead? —No, wait. The word “kidnapped” had been ringing a bell in my head since I heard it. That’s it! Was it in the mid-phase of the story? There was an event where a kidnapping incident would occur at the inn where the party went to relax. The criminal would turn out to be a vampire who persistently targeted young women. The event would end with the protagonist putting an killing him.
About ten years before the event, the vampire was said to have run wild in the town of Romeria and ended up on their wanted list. Learning the dangers of basing his operations in one town, the vampire then took up an itinerant lifestyle, devouring any woman it fancied along the way. This information would be presented once the event was cleared.
Romeria is the name of this town. And the ‘ten years ago’ with respect to the story, is now. This can’t be a coincidence.
At this rate, Misha would die.
If it’s during this commotion, I might be able to slip out. Without hesitating, I made my escape from the annex building.
- The author changed the name from Flare to Fire.
- Too late for that.
One thought on “Chapter 07 – Choice”
Multi-casting??? If no one else could do it, then that’s where his “OPness” will go to lol
Thanks for the chapter ~~