Chapter 235 - Old Books Maniac Heinrich (3)
The transaction between the two bibliophiles reached a satisfactory end.
One was a magician, and the other a scholar. There were many differences in their jobs, but their desire for new knowledge was the same.
Regardless of how expensive they were, the balance between 'books which had been read' and 'new books' tilted toward the latter. They were books which hadn't been seen in Kargas, and there was no doubt that the translations of the books were perfect.
Starting from the Book of Clouds, dozens of books were traded.
It was a barter which was based on thoroughly subjective standards, completely disregarding financial standards. If there were a merchant in this place, they would've squeezed their own head.
Every time one exchange was made, one side lost money. The amount lost was several hundred gold. Nevertheless, the two people made the exchange without any hesitation. There was an unspoken consensus that this was okay.
'This grandfather, isn't he a good match for me?'
'It is rare for there to be a young man like this...'
Theodore and Heinrich felt a sense of kinship with each other. They were willing to throw away money if it was a book they wanted. They craved knowledge from the bundle of old papers because their spirits couldn't be satisfied with their current knowledge.
This kinship crossed the age difference of almost 50 years, and they spoke like they had known each other for a long time.
In the end, the sun headed to the west, and the blue sky became dark. After a few hours, the two men moved from the secret library to the reception room.
Heinrich felt a deep affinity with Theodore and offered an unprecedented proposal, "If you don't mind, would you like to stay overnight? I live alone except for the servants, so there are quite a few rooms left. It should be enough for a short stay."
"Well, I haven't found accommodations yet."
Due to his circumstances, Theodore tried not to reveal himself as much as possible. Therefore, it was hard to find a good place to stay at sunset. In that case, it would be better for Theodore to accept Heinrich's offer. "I will accept your goodwill, Sir Heinrich."
"Haha! I am honored to have a 'hero' stay overnight. Tell me if you need anything." Heinrich gave a laugh and clapped his hands. Then a maid waiting outside entered, and Heinrich told her, "This is a precious guest. Please guide him to the room on the third floor and make sure he doesn't feel uncomfortable."
"Yes, I will do so."
"Ah, what do you want to do for dinner?"
Theodore didn't have a great obsession with food, so he just ordered lightly, "I'll have a simple meal in the bedroom. I spent a few days in the carriage, so I just want to rest."
"Oh, I was being rude again."
"No, I also had a great time."
The two people finished their goodbyes and got up from their seats. Then the maid naturally turned around. Theodore followed her into the corridor, where she spoke with a polite voice and attitude, "I will guide you to your bedroom. Should I move your carriage to the stables?"
"Ah, please do so."
"By the way, where is the driver? I will also give him a room."
"That's okay. He has already left and will come back to the mansion tomorrow."
"Yes, then I will have the carriage put away."
Heinrich's residence was rather large, but it was nothing compared to the royal palace and magic tower which Theodore was familiar with. Shortly after speaking a few words with the maid, he was able to arrive at the bedroom.
"Then I will go now. Please pull the string from the ceiling when there is a problem," the maid said and closed the door.
Theodore immediately threw himself onto the bed once he was alone. It was because the carriage ride had been quite severe.
The shortest distance meant crossing over a mountainous road, not a paved road. No matter how good the carriage was, the wheels would jolt when they hit something. He had barely slept since it had been a few days' worth of this. Moreover, he had motion sickness and dizziness as well.
However, the result made it all worthwhile.
"Even so, I didn't think I would see the Book of Clouds."
In fact, Theodore had seen the Book of Clouds in the past.
There was no copy of it, but a manuscript was present in the white tower. The symbols and drawings were too difficult, and there were many passwords hidden in the words to show that other manuscripts were false. At that time, Theodore hadn't been able to understand half the contents. Then what about now?
'Okay, I should try again.'
He would set the goal of reaching 98% understanding by the time he reached Meltor. Theodore made a pledge and opened the book. 'I can do it somehow if I don't give up!'
Then exactly 30 minutes later...
He remembered it clearly. There had been high-level formulas and descriptions, as well as a magic power control which hadn't allowed even a single leak. This had been close to the level of obsessive-compulsiveness, so it hadn't been easy for Theodore to understand despite being in the 7th Circle.
However, Theodore opened and closed the Book of Clouds several times with confused eyes. It wasn't because it was too difficult, but because it was the opposite.
"Why is it so easy?"
His understanding had originally been at 32%, and it was now already up to 97%. He just needed to read it once or twice more to go over 98%. It was a great success, but Theodore felt no sense of accomplishment. He had spent less than half a day reading and his understanding was already at 97%? It was a phenomenon that was hard to understand.
The unfamiliar notions came easily to him, and the difficult formulas felt like simple arithmetic operations. It was like he received knowledge from the gods-
'Wait a minute, the gods?'
At that moment, Theodore recalled Aiolos' Pocket which contained the divinity of the wind. What if it raised not only his affinity with wind but his comprehension of magic as well? It was just an uncertain hypothesis, but it wasn't a story without credibility.
Apart from talent, magicians had aptitudes to certain magic attributes. Theodore originally had little wind magic aptitude, but it was now sufficient with Aiolos' Pocket. However, Theodore shook his head and reached out his hand.
'It is still just a hypothesis, no matter how I think about it. It would be faster to ask the party involved.'
The criteria to eat a book was 95% understanding, and he had already reached that standard with the Book of Clouds. Originally, Theodore would've anticipated it, but now he was filled with deep suspicion.
-You have brought me good quality food.
Gluttony had been awake from the moment it felt the Book of Clouds, so now it reached out its tongue.
The magic book, which had only two copies in the continent, disappeared.
['Book of Clouds' has been consumed. Your understanding is very high.]
[Proficiency in wind magic has increased. The wind attribute affinity has reached its limit. In compensation, the level of skill proficiency will rise even further.]
[You have acquired knowledge related to 'meteorology.']
[An original copy has been consumed. Synchro rate will be checked with object name 'Heathcliff'...It is judged to be a fine rate. Heathcliff has accepted your request. At his discretion, Heathcliff has approved the spiritual connection.]
Theodore was laying in bed when his eyes darkened. His mind couldn't withstand the separation of his consciousness and rejected it by making him faint. In retrospect, it had been a long time since he had experienced Synchro. The authors of the recent original copies he had eaten were monsters, and they had refused the Synchro.
Surely a former tower master wasn't common?
Theodore laughed a little bit as his consciousness disappeared.
* * *
He didn't know when precisely his consciousness returned. Theodore opened his eyes and saw the landscape of the sky.
When he saw that he was lying on clouds, Theodore realized that this space was someone else's imagery. Were clouds nothing more than mass of water vapor, or were they filled with hopes and dreams?
At that time, a loud voice spoke out from behind Theodore, "I understand your appreciation, but you are acting a bit impolite, my junior."
Theodore turned around at the voice and saw a middle-aged man in a white robe. Once Synchro was established, one's surface thoughts could be read. Theodore was reminded of what he had forgotten and hurriedly bowed apologetically. "I'm sorry."
"Well, it's okay. Anyway, I am a dead man, and you are a magician of the magic tower. You don't need to be so formal."
"It is nothing, Senior."
Theodore looked at the senior before him.
Heathcliff had been a white tower master. He had been a great magician of the 8th circle when he'd still been alive, and his reputation continued on to this day. Heathcliff might've left the magic towers, but he was still one of the great masters whom Meltor was proud of.
However, Heathcliff just chuckled as Theodore said this and waved his hands. "You... Aren't you quite eloquent? I had no idea that I would hear such words after my death. I know that glory is useless, but it feels better than I thought."
According to rumors, Heathcliff had been famous as a playboy. He scratched his head like he wasn't accustomed to such praise and sat next to Theodore. Unlike the closed-off Orta with his mask and cold atmosphere, Heathcliff seemed like the type to get close to the first person he saw.
"Okay! Rejoice, Junior. I will give you three answers."
"I know your first question, and I will answer it."
Theodore recalled his thoughts from before he ate the Book of Clouds and stared at Heathcliff. He was doubtful, but Heathcliff really knew the answer.
Heathcliff began the explanation by raising his fingers with a cheerful expression, "As you know, divine power and magic reject each other, so you don't know what effect divine power has. Isn't that right?"
"...Yes, that's right."
"I will say something before explaining. Divinity is a form of the circles and is one of the final destinations that magic can reach. It is a 'power' that can exert maximum strength in the material world."
Deities were the incarnations of this material world. Their power to defend the world was so great that they repelled the demons who invaded from outer space. Their traces had disappeared when the Age of Mythology ended, but their impact lasted for thousands of years. Magic imitated that power.
"It is inferior, but a magician's circles are like the deities in that they control the power of the material world. It is just that the scope and authority fall far behind. If I compare it to the power that an 8th Circle magician can exert, the gap is at least 3,000 times greater."
"I'm not exaggerating, Junior. Even the dragon's heart, which is far superior to circles, is 10 times less powerful than divinity. Divinity is literally the supreme authority that rules the material world." Heathcliff looked at Theodore with bright green eyes. "And you have two divinities. Is it called Aiolos? The god of wind... It is an incomplete divinity, but it still makes the 8th Circle look like a small trick. Once you reach the 9th Circle, you should be able to see through it, from the principles to the application."
Then the master of wind and the previous white tower master stopped speaking.
"Now, so let's move on to the second thing. Is your heart ready?"
"...What are you saying?" Theodore asked with uneasily when he saw Heathcliff's strange expression.
What was Theodore going to be told? Theodore endured patiently to the end, as Heathcliff finally opened his mouth.
"You... Aren't you doing to die soon?"