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 Outside the Academy #2

Theo nodded at the irresistible words, and Vince immediately handed him the application form to fill in.

It was an event which people couldn't attend unless they proved their identities clearly. For this reason, Theo spent a long time trying to recall the name of his great-grandfather on his mother's side. However, he eventually managed to fill in all the blanks.

Vince received the application form from Theo and nodded.

"...Okay, this is fine. Last year, a magician misspelled the name of one of his family members and was dragged out by the guards. So, if you can, it is better to put everything down."

"Hoo, it is thorough."

"The magic contest is a symbol of the kingdom. This level of security is justified for this event."

There were quite a few foreign spies or magicians who tried to sneak into the affairs of the kingdom, so they had to be thorough. Theo checked the application form again; there were no parts which needed to be fixed.

Theo's face was tired from spending nearly two hours on the application form, but the conversation wasn't over yet.

Vince smiled at him and said, "Theodore, do you know why I am taking you to the magic contest?"

Theo tried to answer but soon fell silent. Professor Vince wouldn't ask about obvious things. Perhaps there was something Theo didn't know or couldn't guess. Indeed, his reaction was satisfactory as Professor Vince smiled.

"It is important to distinguish between knowing and not knowing, but understanding what you don't know is the most important thing. You have a talent for the path of a magician."

"Thank you."

"Then I'll explain."

There was a thud as a thick book hit the desk. Theo looked at the familiar cover and soon realized the identity of the book. It was the guidebook which contained all the rules of Bergen Academy. Theo had read the book once when he'd been admitted to the academy, then he'd stuck it in his dormitory's closet. There was no test on the book, so it was enough to just look through it.

Vince laughed at Theo's bewildered expression.

"You must be wondering why I brought out this old book. Well, don't worry. I don't intend to teach a class on it."

Then he opened the book and pointed to the corner of one page. Theo unconsciously chased his finger and read the words. It was a recently revised Article 38, Clause 12. Looking at the year, it had been changed approximately 10 years ago.

[Section 38.12. Students of this academy are eligible for graduation after completing three and a half years of studying. However, there is an exception if the student wins a level 3 prize or higher at an contest organized by the Magic Society. The winners can obtain their diploma whenever they want.]

Theo had read it, but he couldn't understand.

"Professor, this...?"

"You might have guessed already. I don't think you can obtain anything else from this academy."

"That..."

Theo stopped because he couldn't deny it. Vince's words stabbed straight at the boredom he'd been feeling these days. In fact, Theodore's theoretical knowledge was already comparable to the professors. This was already the third time he was repeating the third grade, so he couldn't help getting tired of it.

He could only relieve his boredom briefly with the library books. However, the level of the books in the academy weren't very high, and he hadn't been able to find a single magic book over the 4th Circle.

"Additionally, you have become a controversial subject in this academy."

To Professor Vince, Theo wasn't a student but a fellow adult.

"Do you remember the professors who tried to expel you? They are people who live for the sake of their pride and authority. Those idiots will never regret their actions. They will just blame the other person."

"...Ah."

Theo couldn't help recalling Professor Bernard. He was a middle-aged man who never looked in Theo's direction, and sometimes an unknown expression would cross his eyes. Perhaps, malice was growing behind that expression. It was quiet now, but Theo didn't know what Bernard might do someday.

"It would be better to put some distance between you, rather than get tangled up in something dirty. Anyway, I will soon be going to the capital. If you graduate early, you can practice in an environment better than this place."

"I understand what you are saying."

The capital of the Meltor Kingdom, Mana-vil...

It was a place with four magic towers and a central magic institute. There was no magician on the continent who hadn't heard about it, and there was nobody who dared not to feel respect for it. Mana-vil was overflowing with all types of artifacts, magic books, and talented magicians...

However, Theodore couldn't help but ask, "But can I win the contest? I might have the grimoire, but I am still just a 3rd Circle master."

"Well, normally, it would be impossible." Vince agreed with Theo's words. "But the story is a little different when it comes to you. Garcia can't be compared to them, but with your skills, you should be able to deal with 4th Circle magicians. Against another student, you will win."

"The battle magic division?"

"That's right. The magic contest has a division where only the assistants of the magicians invited can participate. They are students like you."

At that moment, Theo had a hunch. 'Indeed, it is worth a try.'

Even though the difference between the 3rd and 4th Circles was large, Theo's situation was a bit unusual.

He had the 'Memorize' ability and his perception had risen thanks to Alfred's experience. It was a sensory perception which other magicians could only achieve by spending years or decades on the battlefield. If it had been so beneficial in a spar, he couldn't imagine what it would be like in a contest.

Vince, who had once been a war magician, must have realized this and made the proposal. If Theo had expert-level experience, then he would be able to overcome his magic power difficulty. Truth be told, if Theodore could use Alfred-style Magic Missiles at will, then he would have no reason to fear 4th Circle magicians.

"I will try it."

"Well, I can fill in some of the lacking parts."

As if Vince had been waiting for it, he opened a chest of drawers.

"The Magic Society prohibited the distinction of the original and copies of books 50 years ago. Therefore, distinguishing between an original and a copy can't be done using an ordinary method. But people are always looking for methods. Do you know what this is?" He laughed and handed over the book to Theo.

"A duplicate can't be made from another duplicate. So, you will know if you use duplication magic on it. It is a simple and reckless trick, but there are some people who go around collecting original books. For reference, this one is worth 50 gold."

The price of a normal magic book was around 1 silver, so this was a huge price. It proved that people had a strong lust for collections. However, Vince didn't care about such things. He would never have bought this book if it wasn't something that Theodore needed.

However, Theo's reaction was more intense than Vince had expected.

"C-Can I appraise this?"

"Of course. This was the deal."

Theo reached out cautiously and picked up the book on the desk. If this was an original, it likely had a special ability like Alfred's [Ballistics Magic]. He took a few deep breaths before touching the book with his left hand.

"Appraisal."

The tongue stuck out and licked the cover of the book.

[Introduction to Elemental Magic]

[This book describes the four elementals in more detail than any other book. It is a book about the relationship between magicians and elementals, how to call and make a contract with elementals, and the concept of elemental magic. The author, Myrdal, has been called the greatest elementalist of the century. He is the only one who has succeeded in calling an elemental king.

* Your understanding is very high. (95.4%)

* This magic book is rated 'Rare'.

* When consumed, the proficiency of 'elemental magic' will increase.

* This is the original which was directly written by the author. When consumed, the elemental affinity which suits you will be opened. There is a low chance that you might form a contract with an elemental.]

'Elemental affinity!'

Theodore's mouth dropped open as he discovered what he had been hoping for. He didn't know how many times he'd read the books on elemental magic in the library. [Introduction to Elemental Magic] was a book that he had read many times.

However, it wasn't the original book, and he had given up on eating it due to having no elemental affinity. Yet Professor Vince was giving him a gift like this?

"This is one book. What is the rating?" Vince murmured in a low voice.

Theo finally realized the meaning of this gift.

One week ago, Theo had confided his secret to Vince and signed a contract with him. It was in order to obtain the infinite wisdom which the owner of Gluttony had available to him.

-Vince Haidel will provide Theodore Miller with magic books or artifacts.

-Theodore Miller will give Vince Haidel the right to ask a question and receive an answer.

"It is Rare."

"Then there are two books left. I'll give them to you soon."

It would be either three Rare grade items or one Precious grade. That was the decision which Theodore and Vince had made. The Precious rating was difficult for even Vince to find, but Rare grade items could be obtained through just a little difficulty.

Even so, receiving one book after a week was really very resourceful.

"That's it for today."

It seemed like it was over.

Vince picked up the parchment he had laid down and spoke while picking up his pen, "We are departing for the capital in three days, so be ready to leave."

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