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 Catch the Genius #2

After deciding to spend a large amount of money, Vince led Theodore out of the Magic Society building. Commercial activity was forbidden in the vicinity of the Magic Society since it was a research institute.

For this reason, the two of them quickly boarded a sky wagon as there was no better method of avoiding the crowds in Mana-vil. As soon as Vince got in the back seat, he said the name of their destination, "Please go to the commercial district. Sector D, area 27-2 is fine."

Then as the sky wagon began to move, Vince turned toward where Theo was sitting. "What do you think is the most urgent thing you need to do?"

"...Reach the 4th Circle."

"Definitely." Vince nodded at Theo's correct answer.

The circle was considered the most basic and important indicator of a magician's abilities.

The number of circles wasn't just limited to the amount of magic power. The more circles a magician had, the faster their magic power moved and the more complete the spell became. Even if the same procedure was used, a 5th Circle's Magic Missile would be stronger than that of a 3rd Circle.

Sylvia was a genius of the Blue Tower Master, an opponent who would definitely have the advantage when it came to perfecting the magic.

However, didn't Theo have an advantage when it came to experience? This meant he would have to use a shortcut to raise his odds, rather than filling the gap in other places. Fortunately, Gluttony's ability meant he could speed up his growth.

'I wish that I could go up to the 5th Circle if possible, but... it is impossible to reach the 5th Circle simply through accumulating magic power.'

If it were possible to reach the 5th Circle in that way, anyone with money could become a 5th Circle magician.

Just like in an field, there was a limit which couldn't be overcome by investing money in magic. This was the so-called 'wall' which had to be overcome through their own research and enlightenment.

Therefore, Theodore couldn't escape from this fundamental principle despite possessing Gluttony.

Vince looked down at Mana-vil and said with a confident expression, "This time, there will be many good items in the commercial district. There will be plenty of items that will be able to help you."

* * *

Rattle! A cheerful bell sound rang out.

A bell had been placed at the front door to signal of any visitors.

After hearing the sound, the owner, Fred, raised himself up at the counter. This was a busy time for tourists, but there was no big difference in the number of customers at high-end artifact stores. Since the prices were so high, it was burdensome to even enter.

Today, he had only had visitors, so he couldn't help having no strength in his voice. "Welcome-"

However, his helpless attitude disappeared the moment he confirmed Vince's attire. Since Fred first opened his store in Mana-vil, he had seen thousands of magicians and artifacts. A person in a magician's robe always had the smell of money around them.

However, Fred's sense of smell shook for the first time in many years.

'The Red Tower, and also... a Superior rank...! From his gait, he looks like a war magician. There are no artifacts on his body, and is the person accompanying him the disciple? Maybe I can get two servings.'

Typically, the largest spenders came from a magician's research funds. The Yellow Tower, known as the Alchemy Tower and money-eaters, consumed 30% of the kingdom's yearly budget buying materials.

In comparison, the research costs of the White Tower and Blue Tower, which were relatively cheaper, exceeded the annual budget of a trading company.

However, there were some exceptions.

"Owner, show me all your good products, regardless of price. It doesn't really matter, but I have an invitation to the magic contest."

"Yes! I will happily arrange it for you!"

Fred was excited by the expected sale and rushed into his warehouse.

'As expected from a war magician from the Red Tower, their spending ability is different!'

The only tower which didn't have large spendings was the Red Tower, which was considered to be the headquarters of war magicians who spent more time on the battlefield than in the laboratory.

Apart from buying pieces of equipment which would save their lives, they normally collected most of the money they earned. If the magicians were satisfied with the goods, they would pay as much as possible. So, a war magician from the Red Tower was considered a VIP in artifact stores.

Fred ran like lightning toward the warehouse and back again at the same speed.

"Sorry to keep you waiting!"

Kuuong!

An iron box containing dozens of artifacts was placed on the floor of the store. Despite the strict seal, the magic power leaking from it was fearsome. As Theo stared in anticipation, the lid of the iron box was finally opened.

When he saw the contents of the iron box, Theodore's eyes widened.

'Ohh...!'

Theo had touched many artifacts at the black market store, and that's why he knew that the artifacts in front of him were all of the 'Rare' rating! If he absorbed all of this, he would be able to fill up more than half of the magic power required for the 4th Circle.

However, Vince asked about the rating of these artifacts and made another request to the owner.

"Didn't I say regardless of the price?"

"Huh? But these are the best items in our store...?"

"No, there is definitely still something."

Vince smiled at Fred and knocked on the counter. "B rank, please take it out."

"...I understand." Fred nodded with a face filled with tension.

A Superior magician of the Red Tower was indeed qualified to purchase this item. It was an artifact which he hadn't taken out for the last few years since opening the store. He'd thought he wouldn't be able to find an owner for it because of its tremendous price.

Clink! The metal lock of the tightly sealed space under the counter was released, and silver gauntlets appeared.

"Appraise it."

"Yes."

Following Vince's whisper, Theo picked up the remarkable gauntlets carefully. Then he called out to Gluttony, 'Appraisal.'

[+ 8 West Wind's Protection (Armour)]

[These are gauntlets made of mithril alloy by dwarven craftsmen. The defense is amazing on its own, but the right method is to use the magic engraved on the gauntlets. By applying wind magic, the owner's magic power will create an air current which deflects any projectiles. In the past, the owner of these gauntlets was said to have passed through barrages of arrows without much difficulty.

* The rating of the gauntlets is 'Precious.'

* When consumed, a considerable amount of magic power will be absorbed.

* When consumed, the digestion time is 1 hour and 45 minutes.

* When consumed, the skill in wind defense magic will increase.

* When worn, 'Blessing of the Flowing Wind' is applied.]

'Precious rating!'

Theo's eyes shook as he confirmed the information.

These gauntlets were at the same level as 'Roaring Flames' which had been given to him by the Carter Family as an apology.

Theodore wasn't very knowledgeable in worldly affairs, but he could judge that the value of the gauntlets wouldn't be below 100 gold. It would be a few times the Miller Barony's budget, so it was natural for Theo's calm to be shaken.

"T-The price?"

"It is 180 gold, but there is a discounted rate for those with invitations. I am willing to accept 144 gold."

"144 gold...!"

As Theodore felt a little breathless, Vince stepped forward and pulled out his wallet.

It wasn't a gold coin that appeared but a gold ingot stamped with the symbol of the kingdom. It was worth 100 gold. Vince placed two of them on the counter and said to Fred who was staring blankly, "It is a lump sum for all of them. Are more procedures needed?"

"Uh, no."

"Then I will take it."

Artifacts worth 200 gold were swept away in an instant by Vince. The objects disappeared into the space pocket like they were a dream. Fred, who hit the jackpot, just stared after them blankly as the bell at the door sounded.

"...I can stop business for the day."

Then he placed a [CLOSED] sign on the door as he thought about drinking a cup of expensive sake.

* * *

Vince and Theodore didn't stop with just Fred, who had few customers.

Even in Mana-vil's luxurious stores, only one or two more B rank pieces could be found. After purchasing 'West Wind's Protection', Vince bought items from other stores. The amount consumed in the process was enough to buy a manor house in Mana-vil.

Theodore arrived at their accommodation and was finally able to look at all the artifacts they purchased.

'Wow, how much did all these cost...?'

He had never seen such a sight before in his life. Most of the items belonged in the 'quantity' category, but there were some quality ones among the mountain. Gluttony, which was still asleep, stretched out its tongue like it could feel something. It was because of the tempting the fragrance of the magic power coming from the artifacts.

Vince pushed the 'Rare' grade artifacts forward first.

"Feed it all the Rare grade items. If Gluttony was a person, then this would be an appetizer."

"I understand."

After taking several deep breaths, Theodore aimed his left hand towards the artifacts. He knew that there was no problem if he tried to feed it several different things at the same time, but he was nervous at the thought of trying to swallow items worth a few hundred gold.

It was a tremendous amount of money for a person from the country.

"Now, eat it."

At that moment...

Gluttony's tongue started on its sumptuous dinner. Necklaces, bracelets, boots, daggers, and armors were sucked into a whirlpool. As the tongue swung once, the familiar voice rang in his head continuously.

['The Necklace of Cleanliness' has been consumed. The amount of magic power is common.]

[Proficiency with the 2nd Circle magic 'Clean' has increased.]

['Stone Fist Magic Bracelet' has been consumed. The amount of magic power is common.]

[Proficiency with the 3rd Circle magic 'Stone Skin' has increased.]

['Sticky Boots' has been consumed. The amount of magic power is common.]

[1st Circle magic...]

[············]

[It will take 1 hour and 58 minutes to fully digest.]

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