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 Question and Answer #2

After hearing those words, Theo couldn't hide the shocked expression on his face.

'A hidden feature...?'

Over the past few months, he had tasted the value of the grimoire, Gluttony. There was the 'eating' which changed knowledge into proficiency through the eating of magic books. Theo could also gain 'skills' through eating rare artifacts as well as use 'Memorize' to store magic.

If there were artifacts capable of recreating just one of Gluttony's abilities, it would be enough to instantly become the national treasure of a country. Yet, now, there was a condition to add another function to it? It was enough to overwhelm anyone.

-It seems like it is appetizing.

"I won't deny that, but what is the catch?"

-No catch, I just want to help my user grow quickly.

Gluttony whined before continuing.

-The problem is the quality of the food. You've never fed me rare books except for [Ballistics Magic] and [Introduction to Elemental Magic]. Don't just feed me commonplace books.

"The quality of the food...?"

-You might think I am greedy, but doesn't it benefit you as well?

Certainly, he had experienced eating a 'Rare' grade magic book twice. However, there was a limit to how many original books were still roaming around the public.

[Ballistics Magic] had been obtained by coincidence, and [Introduction to Elemental Magic] had been thanks to Vince's help. The books of applications from heroes in other fields weren't things a student could covet.

However, if Gluttony's words were true, then Theo had no reason to refuse.

'In any case, I need to eat Rare books for my growth. If one hidden function is freed up in the process, then that is advantageous to me.'

The same was true even if the conditions to free it were absurd. Whether Gluttony released the hidden function or not was up to its will, so Theo could always give up if it was difficult. There was nothing to lose, only potential benefits to gain.

In the end, Theodore listened to Gluttony's suggestion.

-The release condition for this function is simple. You can free it by eating something that exists around you.

"What is it?"

-It is just...

Theo's eyebrows twitched as he heard the condition to free the hidden function.

'...Why is it that?'

***

Some time passed by.

Vince, who had been in a trance for a while, opened his eyes slowly. His blue eyes glowed for a moment, but the glow soon began to fade. It was a phenomenon caused by the new 6th Circle stabilizing in his body.

"Huuuu..."

A soft sigh emerged from Vince's lips, and Theo realized Vince was awake.

"Congratulations on your 6th Circle Professor!"

"Thank you. It is all thanks to you," Vince responded to the celebration in a sincere voice.

Vince had been stuck at the 5th Circle for more than a decade. If he hadn't met Theodore and heard advice from Gluttony, he might've been stuck for many more years. No, would it have just been be a few years? Some magicians were fated not to cross the wall until death. For Vince Haidel, his relationship with Theo might have been his only chance.

"If I had been studying alone, I might have wasted the next 10 years, maybe more. I think it's the greatest luck of my life that I met you at Bergen Academy, Theodore."

"P-Professor."

"Don't look at me like that. The question I asked was something which will advance the archaeological field for many years."

It wasn't exaggerated praise. All relics involved with the ancient magic empire, Balcia, had already been destroyed.

If Vince hadn't discovered a slate by chance, then he would've never studied the Balcard language. The ancient document had preserved the Balcard language in a good condition. It was an opportunity for Vince to study archaeology, but it also acted as a shackle to stop him at the 5th Circle.

He had studied dozens of Balcard slabs and spent 10 years waiting uselessly for more artifacts to be excavated.

'I have been rewarded for the years I waited.' Vince barely managed to suppress his magic power as he shook with joy.

Filled with overwhelming emotions, Vince couldn't help grasping Theo's hand. Any senior magician knew what it meant to cross the 'wall.' Now, Vince's mind and body were overflowing with magic power. His aging would be suppressed, and he would take the first step on a path to transcend humanity.

It wasn't unreasonable that uncontrollable joy would be bubbling within him.

Theo thought, 'Is it okay... to do it now?'

One of the virtues of a magician was having sober thinking, so such excitement was rare. It was highly likely that Vince would accommodate a small demand from Theo. Theo thought about the 'condition for liberation' Gluttony had told him before falling asleep.

'Feed it a dimension pocket... Doesn't it know how expensive and rare that is?'

That's right, the condition Gluttony had presented was to feed it a Dimension Pocket.

Spatial magic required at least the 6th Circle, and in the case of a dimension pocket, a certain amount of space had to be sewn into the pocket, which meant the difficulty was high.

So, in the kingdom, it could only be sold to those who were authorized by the Magic Society or magicians of at least the Superior rank. Obviously, private sales were prohibited, and it was almost impossible to replace if lost or destroyed.

Yet Gluttony wanted to eat such an object? Theo would've sneered if Vince hadn't been there.

"Excuse me, Professor."

"Huh?"

"That... Well, there..."

However, Theodore wasn't such a person. He knew the amount of money Vince had used for Theo to win this tournament and would pay him back one day. Theo couldn't say that he needed a dimension pocket, so he swallowed back his words. "No, it is nothing. I forgot."

"Ah, I see." Vince smiled and tapped Theo's shoulder. His warm hand stabbed at Theo's conscience.

'Hoo, let's find another way. I can feed it substandard goods if needed.'

Just as Theo changed his mind, Vince said, "Oh, that reminds me, I have something to say to you as well. I almost forgot about it because of this."

"Professor...?"

"Umm, don't think of it as a burden."

As Theo looked at him with a confused expression, Vince hesitated slightly before asking. "Theodore Miller, will you be my successor?"

"...Huh? Those words... perhaps?"

"It is as you think. I want to put your name as part of my family tree."

Theo's expression turned blank as he listened Vince's words.

Any magicians of the Average rank and above were eligible to obtain a disciple. A magician could wander the whole world in search of the second generation to whom they would pass on their research.

It was different from teaching students at the academy. This was the same as being the successor of the research which Vince had built up over his lifetime. The student would become the teacher's responsibility until death.

Vince's declaration that he wanted to hand over everything to Theo caused Theo's eyes to turn redden.

"...Will it be okay with me?" Theo asked like it was ridiculous.

However, Vince nodded with a little smile. "You may think it is cowardly. I am a shameless person for aiming at the grimoire's knowledge, even if I don't deserve it."

"......"

"Still, will you believe in me? I am quite old and have been wanting to ask you this for a while," Vince spoke these words and finished with a refreshed expression.

He didn't know what Theo thought of him, but Vince wasn't a saintly person. The war magician, who used to kill people for no reason on the battlefield, was now asking someone to trust in him. The existence of the grimoire was merely a chance and not the main target.

Vince liked the human called, 'Theodore Miller,' so he was pushing this firmly.

Soon, Vince Haidel's name would become enormously famous. He had reached the 6th Circle in his 40s, so his name would surely be among the top ranking magicians within the next decade. If he could go further, then he would become a candidate to be the next Red Tower Master.

If Theo accepted the proposal, he would become the disciple of such a person and take over later. Theodore was well aware of the weight of this proposal. 'It really is a burden. This...'

If he refused, then Vince was sure to accept it. He would continue helping Theo like before without revealing his sadness. Occasionally, they would feel obliged toward each other and the cycle would repeat. They would work together without opening up their innermost hearts. It would be equivalent to a calm exchange between magicians.

Theo didn't want to remain in that type of relationship. He walked forward with a calm face and grabbed Vince's hand firmly. The trembling passed across each of their palms and met in the middle.

"Thank you, Professor."

"...No, I'm not your professor now. You have graduated from the academy." Vince smiled brightly and corrected his title, "In the future, please call me Master."

During this moment, the relationship between these two magicians, the long-time dunce and a senior professor of Bergen Academy, was newly established.

***

The next day, Vince enrolled himself as Theodore's master at the Magic Society's reception desk. It was a difficult process to cancel once it was established, but he didn't hesitate to give his signature. He had made up his mind from the beginning.

"Y-You can do it slowly..."

"Don't worry about it."

"...Yes, I understand."

The receptionist in charge of the desk advised Vince, but he didn't listen. Vince's expression was cold as usual.

Thanks to that, the process which normally took one hour ended in 20 minutes. After receiving the completed file, the receptionist disappeared with an expression like he had seen a monster, while Vince and Theo walked away.

The schedule for the magic contest would really start today. There weren't many events where the magician could be accompanied by their disciple, but that wasn't all.

The center of the Magic Society had a large poster which contained the schedule for the magic contest. Vince pointed to the events there and explained what he knew. There were many events he didn't know about, but fortunately, there were a few events his disciple could attend.

"If you are interested in summoning magic, that event isn't bad. This time, magicians from the east are participating, so it is an opportunity to see different types of elementalists."

"That sounds interesting."

"The 'attack magic' hosted by the Red Tower is also good, but... personally, I don't think it's a place you should go. There are many there who are interested in crushing small trees."

In the first place, most of the events from the Red Tower were focused on the battlefield and destruction magic. Consequently, the Red Tower's budget would be used to pay for the repairs of the damaged buildings.

The two people shook their heads briefly and looked for the next event.

At that moment, someone spoke to them, "Excuse me, are you Vince Haidel and Theodore Miller?"

"Hrmm? Who are you?" Vince asked as he turned around, only to see a magician in a blue robe scratching at his temple.

"I am Melrose from the Blue Tower. I have come to find you for a specific reason."

Compared to Loren, the blue-robed magician was very polite. Therefore, Vince replied in a blase manner, "Yes, what is going on?"

However, he didn't anticipate the words which came after that.

"I'm sorry, but please accompany me for a while. The Tower Master has called for the both of you."

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