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 The Greedy Grimoire #2

The library wasn't far from the dormitory.

When he was a few steps away the library's shabby door, the scent of old paper and bookshelves tickled his nose. It was a pleasant smell he was now familiar with.

After pushing the door half-open, the empty library was revealed.

'Well, I thought it would be like this.'

The sight was always the same. It could be said that no student other than Theodore Miller would be found in the library after class.

Most of the books collected here talked about difficult concepts which the professors only explained the simplest parts of in class. There was no reason for adolescents to feel excited when they were busy playing.

Thanks to that, Theo was able to secure a peaceful space.

"Today... I should look up lightning magic one more time."

Theo walked between the bookshelves in a familiar manner. Having spent five years in this library, he was able to find any book with his eyes closed. Even professors who occasionally came to find books would come to Theo before the librarians, so there was no doubts about his accuracy.

Theo pulled out the books he wanted.

'[Lightning Magic Primer]... I've memorized everything, but I might have missed something. Additionally, [Why is Lightning Difficult to Control?] could be helpful. [Principles Behind Lightning Strikes]? It is closer to meteorology than magic, but let's take this as well.'

Three thick books were instantly piled up.

Each book was very thick. Even a person with a fast reading spend would have to spend a day and a half to finish them. One book might be memorized, but that didn't apply to the other two books.

There would be a loud spectacle if other students needed to read this for homework. However, to Theo, this thickness was only a day's worth of reading. The professors were aware of this but ignored it because it was no use.

If they knew the amount of knowledge Theo had read, they wouldn't be able to hide their regret like Professor Vince.

Rustle... rustle...

There was only the sound of pages being turned in the library.

Theo liked this silent time. It was because he coveted knowledge which could help him shake off this suffocating situation. Here, there were no professors who dismissed Theo or students making jokes.

Theo channeled all his stress into studying everyday. Theo's superior brain was used to this stress, and it absorbed the knowledge which had been accumulated in the library like fleece sucking up water.

It had been five years. Was he imagining it?

As Theo looked at the books carefully, it was like the letters on the paper were sparkling.

* * *

Tak.

Theo's fingers closed the last book. This was the third book. The clock in the library was pointing to 10 o'clock. He had arrived in the library at 6 o'clock, so he had read three books in only four hours. This was a pace truly worthy of being called speed reading.

'Um, that was quite interesting.'

They were interesting books. In particular, [Why is Lightning Difficult to Control?] systematically summarized why lightning magic was so difficult.

The most difficult spell in the 2nd Circle was 'Lightning Bolt' as creating lightning and keeping it flowing in a straight line was difficult. It wasn't uncommon for even 3rd or 4th Circle magicians to be inexperienced with lightning magic.

Theo laid aside the book before aiming his palm at the window and muttering.

"Lightning Bolt."

Just maybe... He hoped it would work.

Pajik.

However, the result was as expected. There was faint electrostatic discharge before the spell was broken. The formula of the magic spell was perfect, but his ability to control it was too weak. A person who lacked control couldn't be a magician.

It was something he had heard time and time again, but it was still a sad sight.

"Damn! What the hell is wrong with me...!"

Sensitivity was also known as affinity, and it was considered a talent. It referred to one's ability to control magic power. Magicians with high sensitivity were more powerful than other magicians, even if the same spell was used. It was the same for the rate of magic power accumulation.

Therefore, sensitivity was an indispensable part of being a magician. Since there was no method to raise it, the trait became more prominent. For Theo, it was like reaching for a pie in the sky.

"Haaaah..."

He couldn't help sighing.

After five years, Theo's hope had been worn thin. Theo thought of his parents who were waiting for him and the people who thought of him as their master. He would be shamed if he couldn't get his degree.

A magician who graduated from the academy would be able to waste time for several years just by relying on the academy's name.

'But can I graduate next year?'

Despite having reduced his amount of sleep, he had only reached the 2nd Circle. It was almost impossible for him to master the 3rd Circle, which was a Bergen Academy graduation requirement, without dying. Next year would be meaningless.

The boy, who had been so confident when he left home, became a young man afraid of failure.

Ding!

It was the bell which signaled lights out. This was also the sound which indicated Theo's time was over. He had to hurry or the door of the dormitory would be locked.

First, he needed to put away the three books. Theo embraced the three books, like he had done in the beginning. However, the moment he tried to raise his body...

"Eh?"

A book on the desk caught his attention.

'Didn't I clearly only bring three books? Did I accidentally carry another book among the three?'

It was strange, but he should put it away anyway. Theo stood up and stretched out his left hand. It was a fairly thin book, so he was going to pick it up with one hand. However, the sensation at his fingertips was strange. It felt like he had stuck his hand in a sticky barrel of syrup, or like a slimy flesh was tickling the palm of his hand.

...It was like he had put his hand in the mouth of something alive.

Slurp.

"Uwaack!"

Theo hurriedly pulled back his left hand at the creepy feeling. He fell to the ground hastily, letting go of the books in the process. However, that didn't matter. Theo needed to identify the thing which had touched his palm.

After he scrambled back up, Theo gazed toward the unidentified book. However, there was nothing on the desk.

"Eh?"

Theo's eyes widened as he couldn't understand the phenomenon. Had he seen a hallucination? He could still feel that creepy, sticky feeling that tickled his palm.

Theo touched his left hand carefully. He wanted to check if it was damp. It would prove that what had happened just before hadn't been a hallucination. However, the palm of his left hand was dry without any signs of wetness.

"Hallucination...? Didn't it feel slippery? There was clearly a shabby book on the desk..."

Theo muttered and sank weakly to the floor. He sat on the edge of a book, so his butt was sore. However, the pain was nothing compared to the psychological impact.

Didn't a magician always need to be cool-headed? Had his mental state fallen to the bottom due to his sense of insecurity?

'Should I drop out this year?'

It was better than being expelled. Theo knew that, but he had held onto the hope of becoming a magician for five years. It wasn't a dream he could just throw away. Without making a decision, Theo sighed, then he put his hand on the cold floor to raise himself up.

It was at this moment that...

Slurp...

All of a sudden, his left hand felt a strange texture. It was slippery and sticky... The hallucination which had tickled Theo's palm had appeared again!

Theo looked down reflexively at his left hand touching the floor...

And he saw something shocking.

"...T-Tongue?!"

A tongue was sticking out of Theo's palm. It had a smooth pink surface and was a long piece of flesh which looked like it came from a reptile. The tongue sprang from a hole in the middle of his palm and shook like a snake in front of food.

The tongue swayed slowly from side to side.

Slurp!

Like a frog grabbing a fly, it snatched a book from the floor. Its speed was so fast that Theo couldn't even see the afterimage. The tongue wrapped itself completely around the book.

No one could've predicted what happened next. The tongue which held its prey was then sucked back into the hole in Theo's palm.

Gulp.

There was the sound of something being swallowed. A book on the ground had suddenly disappeared into his left hand.

Theo looked down at his left hand with an absurd expression. However, the book his palm had swallowed didn't emerge.

Instead, Theo heard a voice. It was a voice with a strange tone he had never heard before.

['Lightning Magic Primer' has been consumed. Your understanding is very high.]

[2nd Circle magic 'Lightning Bolt' has been acquired.]

[After waking up from a long sleep, Gluttony is very hungry. Hurry and relieve Gluttony's hunger. The time limit is 10 minutes from now. (1/5)]

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