Chapter 161 - Delicacy from the East (2)
"It took more time than I thought..." Theodore mumbled before setting down the thought.
This was because the language was unfamiliar, despite having received Lee Yoonsung's knowledge. It took him three or four times longer than usual to finish reading.
Furthermore, it was common for the magic books to use not only Chinese characters but also special languages such as Sanskrit and Urdu. They were languages which Lee Yoonsung didn't know.
So, Theo had no choice but to learn from the beginning.
'Well, it has been a long time since I've studied this way.'
It had been around the time when he entered Bergen Academy. He remembered his desperate days of spending all night studying over paper.
Theodore recalled the memories as he replaced the worn down pen. Over the past fortnight, he had used more than a dozen ink cartridges. If it wasn't for recovery magic, he would've got a stress fracture in his wrist.
If Theodore had to study like this, what about the warrior's son?
"B-Brother..." A faint voice called out from the desk next to Theo. Like Theodore, dozens of books were piled up in front of Baek Dongil, who had a dark stubble.
Baek Dongil was in the same predicament as Theodore. Along with runes, which could be called the basics of a magician, it was necessary to raise his skill in the common language to the level of a local. Additionally, there were the mathematics and geometry skills needed to calculate the magic formulas.
However, Theodore was a cruel figure when it came to studying.
There was no chanting. Healing and Refresh, the two spells which were triggered with a single tap of his fingers, wrapped around Baek Dongil's body. The combined magic which healed physical fatigue and mental fatigue was really effective.
"Are you okay now?"
It was as Theo said. The dark circles under Baek Dongil's eyes lightened up, and his throbbing fingers, sore from hours of use, felt lighter. However, the accumulated tiredness was still the same, causing Baek Dongil to look at Theodore with a sullen face.
"Uhh... I still can't get used to this feeling, despite experiencing it a few times."
"It is still just a shortcut. This is already the eighth time, and the gap between recovery spells is getting smaller... It is a little early, but we will end it here for today."
Magic was limited when it came to recovering the body. If recovery magic was used repeatedly, the effect would decrease. Additionally, the body which received the excessive magic power in a short period of time would become temporarily resistant to magic.
Of course, people from the magic tower would've collapsed from dizziness at least 20 times already. However, their physical bodies couldn't be compared to Baek Dongil, despite him still being a beginner.
Once Theodore's permission was given, Baek Dongil got up from the seat he had been stuck in for hours and grumbled, "Urgh! But Brother, do I really need to learn this official language? Can't Brother teach me instead of reading the books?"
"No, that won't work," Theodore firmly rejected the idea.
Theodore had faithfully accumulated his knowledge, so he knew that such a narrow viewpoint wouldn't work.
A person who used a shortcut for a comfortable path would have their ankle grabbed one day by the insincere attitude. This method might seem insufficient now, but it wouldn't be easy to forget the words.
For magicians who pursued infinite wisdom, oblivion was the worst enemy. A person who couldn't find a path through their own will would eventually wander in silence.
"You can't forget to set up the foundation of a pillar just because you're in a hurry. As a descendant of a warrior, don't you know what happens to a person who neglects the foundations?"
"T-That..." Baek Dongil stammered at the sharp words.
This made Theodore pat his shoulder and smile. "I understand that your heart is urgent. Is it because I will leave this country soon?"
"...I have nothing to say." The boy dropped his head with a red face, embarrassed because his inner thoughts had been exposed. It was a situation where he had a time limit regarding his teacher, and his young age meant he couldn't calm his mind while knowing this.
Theodore knew Baek Dongil's mindset, but teaching him that would be the worse answer. So, Theodore stated in a quiet voice, "Dongil."
"I am teaching you as asked, but I can't be a true mentor."
Baek Dongil's eyes shook slightly at the words. He replied in a heavy tone, "I-I see. It has only been a fortnight, but... starting at my age and expecting great achievements..."
"No, that isn't the point."
"Huh?" Baek Dongil raised his head at Theo's decisive voice. He stared earnestly into Theodore's blue eyes and gulped.
"Your skills are quite excellent, but I'm not a good teacher. You have an abundance of power but are still immature. I can only tell you the path that you should take."
"Magic isn't something that can be learned in just a few months. If you do it that way, you won't be able to get a glimpse of it, from birth to death. Are you going to walk along that path?"
After listening to him, the cloudiness returned to Baek Dongil's eyes. It was the so-called heart demon. Could it be due to the accumulated discipline built up in him since childhood...? Baek Dongil's eyes eventually cleared up as he continued listening to Theodore speak.
"Obviously, the amount of time during which I can teach you is short. However, there are many magicians, and some of them are suitable to be your teacher. My role is to build up your foundations for when you meet that good mentor."
"...B-Brother." Baek Dongil lowered his head with shame after hearing the truth from Theodore.
It made a lot of sense. How could he impart great knowledge to Baek Dongil, who hadn't even reached the threshold of a beginner? It was obvious that Baek Dongil wouldn't understand even if he was taught. Once he accumulated his basic knowledge, he could learn under another teacher or enter an academy.
Baek Dongil had an enlightened expression on his face. He was too embarrassed to be overly grateful, but the atmosphere was too heavy to remain silent.
Theodore noticed the atmosphere half a beat later and rose to his feet. "Let's start again tomorrow at noon. Until then, review what you've studied and have a good rest."
"Yes, Brother! I'll finish it thoroughly!" Baek Dongil responded vigorously, before looking at the stack of books on Theodore's desk.
Baek Dongil hadn't finished learning the official language, but Theodore was already reading the magic books by himself. Baek Dongil was quite confident in his studying ability, but his pace was much slower.
"By the way, Brother is really awesome. You must've received a lot of praise from your elders since you were a child, and you were definitely called a genius right?"
"...No." Theodore smiled bitterly as he spoke of his old nickname, "In the academy, I failed three times and was called a dunce."
"Maybe it is one of the reasons why I am teaching you. You resemble my old self."
Baek Dongil couldn't say anything as the unknown past flashed before Theodore's eyes. Theodore patted Baek Dongil on the shoulder again before turning away from him. Then the door closed without a sound, with only the faint echo of footsteps in the corridor.
The memories were like faded watercolors.
* * *
After finishing the study session with Baek Dongil, Theodore had a quick meal and then returned to his room. The sun was setting in the western sky, turning it a reddish color. Normally, it would be time to feed Gluttony and spar with Randolph... but not today.
Theodore looked at the book before him and muttered, "...In the end, it is this one."
A fortnight wasn't a long time. In the meantime, Theodore had only gotten a high degree of understanding with three or four books of shamanism. There was the [Nine Rulers Magic Book] he picked up on the first day, but Theodore was drawn to another shamanism book.
He cheered when he first saw the information window.
[Art of Onmyōdō Treatise]
[-This book explains the magic system based on the theory of yin and yang. The author divided the world into yin and yang, as all things maintain balance and harmony when interacting with each other, such as water and fire. The author's understanding of the laws of nature has reached an advanced state, but the author was murdered by ???? (can't be determined).
* Your understanding is very high. (96.9%)
* This magic book is rated 'Precious.'
* When consumed, you can learn 'Art of Onmyōdō.'
* When consumed, understanding of magic attributes will greatly increase.
* This is an original book written by the author. However, since he wrote six books, his power is divided into six. Even so, the fragment of soul inside this book is powerful and maintains an individual ego.
'It is best to eat this book.'
The prudent Theodore judged that [Art of Onmyōdō Treatise] was the most useful book for him right now.
This idea grew, instead of diminishing, as he slowly read through the 'Art of Onmyōdō Treatise'. Art of Onmyōdō was the technique of combining two incompatible powers. Learning this would give Theodore a solution to his unfinished spell. He could batter at the master's wall, possibly destroying it.
Theodore made the decision and stretched out his hand, dragging the magic scroll into his hands. The scroll was worth at least a few gold, but Theodore tore it without any hesitation.
Simultaneously, a light burst out. The light wasn't attack magic or secondary magic. It was a special spell which produced an object with the same shape and weight, as long as certain conditions were met. Theodore had created a copy of the scroll.
As two versions of the same book appeared, Theodore picked up the copy and placed it on his desk. This was done with the consent of Baek Dongil which he had obtained in advance.
'Well, to most people, there will be no difference between the original and the copy.'
There might be some financial differences, but it was a penny compared to how much money the Baek Family had. Therefore, Baek Dongil had easily accepted the request.
"Okay, this is finished."
His preparations were over. Theodore then sat on the bed without hesitation and aimed his left hand toward [Art of Onmyōdō Treatise]. In this situation, only one sentence would emerge. "Eat, Gluttony."
The red tongue immediately swallowed the book, as if it had been waiting.
['Art of Onmyōdō' has been consumed. Your understanding is very high.]
[Your perception of magic attributes has greatly increased.]
[Accepting the proficiency of 'Art of Onmyōdō'... failed.]
[An original book has been consumed. The synchro rate with object name 'Abe no Seimei' is being checked... Blocked. Abe no Seimei has refused to sync with the user. You can try to force a sync using the permissions of a user, but it is not recommended.]
Synchro was refused! Theodore was shocked because he had never experienced this before. Not only was synchro denied, the task of absorbing the proficiency of 'Art of Onmyōdō' had failed. It was like the original book had blown up. Fortunately, the system wasn't done yet.
Once again, it was the first time Theodore had experienced this type of message.
[Object name 'Abe no Seimei' is asking for a conversation with the user. Would you like to accept?]
"Before that, I want to ask something."
Rather than responding to Abe no Seimei's request, Theodore wanted an answer for this unprecedented situation. Gluttony was strictly confidential about hidden functions or certain information, but it didn't care much about the functions which had already been revealed.
Unsurprisingly, it replied in a blunt voice, -Do you want to ask why the synchro was rejected?
"Of course. So far, you've never mentioned it."
-To be precise, it wasn't that I hadn't told you, but more like I couldn't.
An ordinary person might ask for more, but Theodore stopped and thought about it.
It wasn't that it hadn't, but that it hadn't been able to. In other words, the authors of original books didn't have the ability to do so. Then how did the author called Abe no Seimei have this ability?
To confirm his guess, Theodore opened his mouth again and asked, "Abe no Seimei. Is he special?"
-Special... that word isn't wrong. Simply put, his spirit is high.
"Spirit is high?"
-That's right. He wasn't fully transcendent, but he was close to the end of a mortal existence. The strength of such an existence can't be completely subdued. You could connect with Myrdal because he accepted the connection.
Theodore groaned slightly. It meant that among the authors he had met so far, Abe no Seimei was possibly stronger than a master. This might be an existence comparable to the great elementalist, Myrdal.
In the end, he was encountering such a monster in an original book about shamanism.
Theodore declared to Gluttony with a determined expression, "I will accept Abe no Seimei's request."