Chapter 119 - Book Eating Magician (2)
Original books were not books which were created with duplication magic, but the first copies the authors wrote directly. So far, Theo had swallowed three original books: Ballistics Magic; Introduction to Elemental Magic; and Battle Song. They acted as the foundation Theo's abilities were built on.
However, how would original books solve his problem?
"...I don't understand. Hasn't my vessel already reached the limit?"
"Then won't eating original books be like pouring more water in? Why is that the solution?"
-Hrmm, the explanation is lacking. Gluttony thought for a moment before opening its mouth again. -Your question isn't entirely wrong. The abilities you learn from the original books will fill up the vessel. But in the process, you can acquire something else.
"What is it?"
-The fragment of the author's soul set inside the original book.
Gluttony said that although it was small, a piece of the author's soul was contained in the original book. So far, Theodore had met the author's of the original books he'd eaten. He had experienced Alfred on the battlefield and Lee Yoonsung using his martial arts. Myrdal's case was a little bit different, but the old man should be treated as an exception.
Theodore realized the meaning of Gluttony's words and asked, "So absorbing the fragment of soul can expand my vessel?"
-That's right. In fact, your vessel was already half full when you absorbed Umbra. If you hadn't used 'Transmission' on Alfred, you would've died.
"...Transmission." Theo noticed a secret hidden in the word.
General predation couldn't absorb all the abilities of a book. It didn't matter about his talent or aptitude. Just like how it was impossible for Theodore to shoot Magic Bullet like Alfred, it was impossible for him to obtain 100% of the author's ability.
However, Theo overcame that limit with Transmission. Theo thought had that Transmission was just a function which effectively accepted the author's ability, but he now realized it was different. Transmission was the ability to expand the vessel beyond its limits.
Otherwise, there was no reason to take the risk that the contractor's ego would collapse. If Theodore's mentality hadn't been strong and Alfred hadn't been willing to help, he might've become brain dead after fighting Pride.
-No, that is a bit wrong.
As it had read Theo's thoughts, Gluttony interrupted, -Transmission isn't normally used in that way. At that time, it was instant because the situation was imminent. However, it was originally a process that allows for gradual assimilation.
-As you can see, sometimes a confusion of self can occur. Of course, it isn't a problem if the user is overwhelming strong. But if the other party is superior, the user could end up being eaten. You were lucky in many ways last time.
In other words, if Alfred was a bad person, then he could've taken over Theo's body. However, after that, Theo couldn't call on Alfred anymore.
Theo organized the information he had received before replying. There were three ways to avert the three-year deadline. Among them, he erased the first idea without even thinking about it. Human sacrifice belonged to the black magic area and was a taboo in Meltor, with severe punishment if caught. Theodore wouldn't be excluded from the punishment even if he had received a medal.
The second method, however, was worth considering. 'Doing something good or evil.'
It was strange to think about. So far, Theo had taken down two grimoires and destroyed the elder lich. As a result, the number of lives he saved wouldn't be light. Regrettably, Gluttony asserted that his heroic actions weren't helpful at all.
-Grimoires don't count. They are located outside the causal relationship and don't affect karma. It would be more meaningful to catch a few bandits.
It was unfortunate, but it made sense. Theodore understood this and looked at the darkness outside the window.
The capital of the Meltor Kingdom, Mana-vil... From the tall magic tower, the scenic view of the capital was spectacular, but it was nothing compared to the superb views he'd seen with Ellenoa on the branch of the world tree.
There were still many sights in the world which he hadn't seen. On a bookshelf in a narrow room, there might be an unknown mystery hiding. A magician should find their own wilderness.
'Am I prepared to leave the comfort of the familiar road for a hard and unfamiliar road?' Theo asked himself.
"Well, it seems like what I need to do is already determined."
As Gluttony fell asleep, Theo made a fist.
He wished to experience hardships in order to improve himself. Just like when he broke through an army of undead, when he faced Pride, and when he jumped into Laevateinn without any fear... Just like always, he had to believe in himself and move forward.
Regardless of whether he would be a hero or not, Theodore made a decision as he looked at Mana-vil's night view.
* * *
The next day, as soon as Theodore opened his eyes, he went into action. A person's determination could dull over time, so the sooner he put it into action, the better.
Theo dressed in the familiar robe and decided to first tell his master his choice. It wasn't merely a procedural problem but a matter of morality.
'He will certainly be worried, but... I can't conceal it from him.'
Despite reaching the 6th Circle, Vince Haidel was Theodore's master and a companion whom he shared the secrets of the grimoire with. The relationship between the two men was much stronger than an ordinary bond shared between master and disciple. He couldn't keep the threat to his life a secret, and Vince might be able to give him useful advice.
Theodore finally stopped in front of Vince's door.
As Theo took a deep breath and knocked, he heard the familiar voice of his master.
"Theo, is that you? It is open, so just come in."
As Vince said, the door wasn't locked. The familiar smell of coffee greeted Theo after he opened the door.
It was the handmade coffee Vince had been drinking since Bergen Academy. Theo felt like smiling as he sat on the chair Vince brought him. The face of his teacher, who had a few grey hairs, appeared before him.
Theo felt his heart relaxed as he opened his mouth to speak.
The story wasn't long. By the time Theo's story finished, the steam rising from Vince's coffee mug was gone, and the angle of the light coming through the window had changed by a few degrees.
However, Vince's expression wasn't as simple as the story. Vince swallowed down a sigh and tried to act calm as his disciple mentioned the time limit. It wasn't a story which should come from a young man who was only 20 years old.
"...Hoo. I have a lot of things to say, but I won't. You already seem to know how serious this situation is."
"Thank you for your consideration."
"There is no need to thank me. Ah, wait a minute. I just completed the present that I was going to give you."
A present he was going to give Theo? Theodore looked confused as Vince pulled out a book from his drawer.
Based on the still wet ink, it was true that Vince had just completed it. He used a simple drying magic and handed it over. It was a summary of his years of research.
[Ancient Magic Overview - Balcard] was written on the cover.
[Ancient Magic Overview - Balcard]
[This book deals with the magic of Balcia, an empire which existed in ancient times. The magicians of that era used magic which was several times more efficient and powerful than modern magic systems. After years of research, the author, Vince Haidel, has awakened this system. The depth of wisdom is superior to ordinary magic books.
* The level of your understanding is minimal. (0%)
* This magic book is rated 'Rare.'
* When consumed, the fundamentals of the 'Balcard Language' will be learned.
* This is the original that was directly written by the author. You have a close relationship with the author. There is a high probability that you will absorb some of Vince's proficiency.]
Theodore looked at the information from the unconsciously used Appraisal and felt great awe.
'Restoring a magic system that was used in ancient times!' Once this achievement spread through the Magic Society, it was clear that Vince Haidel would be given a Prime position as well as praise and rewards.
Vince smiled at Theo's impressed look and said, "If you need original books, then mine will be helpful. Although I don't know if it will help your problem."
"...No, it is brilliant."
"Well, it was thanks to you that I was able to finish the research. I'm glad it can be of use to you in this way."
Theo placed the magic power in his inventory, while Vince's expression became heavy.
'Going on a trip to find original books... It won't be easy,' Vince thought.
Theo had already decided. Leaving the country where he was lauded as a hero was never easy. In order to avoid the empire's gaze, he had to conceal his identity and couldn't do as he wished in a foreign country.
Perhaps he should tell Theo to forget Myrdal's advice. It was shameful as Theo's mentor, but he might not have given that advice if he were in Myrdal's position. Still, Vince passed on what information he could.
He pulled out a map and moved his fingers as he started to explain, "If your purpose is to look for original books, you must first go to the central continent."
Meltor was known as the magic kingdom, and as the name suggestion, it was full of magic books. However, the story was different when it came to original books. As mentioned several times, the Magic Society treated originals and copies the same. It was because they didn't want to see the value of knowledge rising or falling due to scumbag collectors.
So, the people who collected original books weren't from Meltor. Instead, they were nobles or merchants who resided in other countries and wanted to decorate their office.
"In particular, the trade kingdom Kargas at the center of the central continent. All types of people swarm there. Original books are sold there for an expensive price, meaning only people who have nothing but money will buy them."
"Kargas on the central continent... I will keep that in mind."
"If possible, don't cause any friction. Your skills aren't a problem, but there are many outlaws in the central continent."
Experienced advice was always valuable. Theo was taught by his teacher about things necessary for the journey, such as how to get across the border, the laws of different countries, and how to act in them.
Fortunately, Theo had a strong memorization ability, so he remembered all of it without much difficulty.
"Oh, I forgot." After a lengthy explanation, Vince sipped from the coffee which had cooled down. "You are now the hero of Meltor. The Magic Society and royal family won't like you leaving the kingdom. How are you planning to go abroad?"
It was a reasonable fact. Theo's status had increased after confronting the monster called Pride and becoming the national guest of Elvenheim. There was no way to guarantee his safety outside the kingdom.
If Andras' Knights of Shade had an assassination list, the name 'Theodore Miller' would probably be among the top five of the list.
For that reason, Theo had only one person he could depend on. He was the culmination of power in Meltor and the only one who could command all four tower masters.
"I have no choice but to ask His Majesty directly."