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 Zero Library Delicacy #2

Theodore's eyes widened as he read the information window. 'A magician can fight in close combat? Is that really possible?'

Theo had pride in being a magician, but he also acknowledged the strength of aura users. No matter how much he strengthened his body with secondary magic, it would be impossible for him to deal with a real swordsman like Randolph.

Aura, an extremely refined bio-energy, was a power which gave terrific physical abilities in exchange for giving up other possibilities. Even if a 7th Circle magician used Haste, it would be difficult to respond to Randolph's sword.

"Ah, is that Battle Song? It has been a while." At this moment, Veronica approached and looked over Theo's shoulder at the book he had picked up.

As a tower master, she could freely go back and forth from the Zero Library, so it wasn't strange that she knew about the Battle Song. It might be awkward, but she truly was qualified to be his guide.

Theo turned around naturally and asked, "Is it a famous book?"

"Huh? Rather than famous... it is a bit wicked?" Veronica thought for a moment before explaining why. "Usually, ordinary magicians won't touch this. It is popular with our kids, so studying it is a requirement, but it is more difficult to find someone who has actually learned it."

"Why? Magic that assists in close combat would be useful in any situation."

It was as Theo said.

Battle Song reinforced the lack of physical abilities, so it wasn't just limited to war mages. It was a magic which could take care of a magician's only weakness! So, why did other magicians ignore this magic?

Veronica smiled like she knew what Theo was thinking. "Everyone who sees the book for the first time will say something similar. Kid, Battle Song is a magic that is as great as you think. If you are a skilled war mage, then it is possible to move at the level of aura users."

That wasn't all, so she continued speaking, "However, Battle Song is permanent magic, unlike Haste or Strength. Do you understand what I mean?"

"...Perhaps."

"It is like this. If you want to use Battle Song, you have to allocate at least four circles and chant the order without stopping. Which one is more risky?"

Indeed, Theodore had no choice but to accept it.

Just as Veronica said, this was different from magic which would be kept in effect automatically. In order for the effect to persist, he had to spin his circles continually in order to maintain it. Additionally, the flow of magic power had to be fixed by chanting the spell without interruption.

If a 5th Circle magician used 'Battle Song', they would only be able to use 1st Circle magic. In that case, it would be better to stand in place and chant a spell.

'Apart from war magicians, it is a good idea to avoid this...'

Even 7th Circle magicians would be limited to magic of the 3rd Circle when Battle Song was used. If they weren't war mages who had perfected their fighting skills to the master level, the disadvantages far outweighed the benefits. Even if a magician could move at the speed of an aura user, it would useless if they didn't know any fighting techniques.

Despite the fact that Theo could use Alfred's Magic Missile with only one circle, it was hard to trust his unstable fifth circle. While Theo was worrying about Battle Song...

-User, select this book.

Out of nowhere, a familiar voice was heard in his head.

'Gluttony?'

He was glad that Veronica was standing behind him instead of before him. She didn't get to see the astonishment which had formed on Theo's face, then he recovered after realizing it wasn't a hallucination.

-Don't ask questions you already know. It is a waste of time.

'You, can you speak through this method?'

-It is a function that returned some time ago. Isn't it welcome since you want to hide my existence?

It made a lot of sense. Right now, Theodore's choice of magic book was more important than a minor addition to Gluttony. So, Theo asked for advice about the magic book.

'What is the reason for selecting this book?'

-It is Treasure rank, so it is a prey to release the 3rd seal. In addition, the function that will be released from the 3rd seal will allow you to use this magic more efficiently.

'...You can't tell me what that function is?'

-That's right.

At the end of the day, the one with the final decision was Theo. He looked at the book in his hand and the glass boxes around him. There was only one choice available to Theo at present, but one day, he would come back for the wisdom in another book.

In the end, Theodore picked up [Battle Song]. Veronica nodded with a pleased expression at his choice. It seemed like many of those who learned this magic were from the Red Tower.

"Well, it isn't a bad choice! The magic that a kid like you can learn in here isn't easy, so you should pick something that is in your scope."

"Yes, thank you."

"I will be staying in the capital for a while, so you should visit Vince and have a good night's sleep. We can talk about your circles later, okay?"

It seemed Veronica wasn't the friendly type to adjust her schedule for others. She poured magic power into the wall while tapping Theo's head with her other hand. Despite it being a truly awkward touch, he could tell that she was expressing her affection.

"See you later, Theodore!"

Theodore was sent out alone before he even realized that he had been kicked out of the Zero Library.

***

After finishing his work in the Zero Library, Theodore headed to his private room with Vince. The magic towers and Magic Society were greatly enlarged on the inside, so there were rooms to accommodate 1,000 magicians.

Of course, the conditions for a private room were tricky, but it wasn't hard when the person was a Superior magician.

After an early dinner, the conversation between the two people began in earnest.

"...So, that's what happened."

Vince listened seriously to the story and was amazed.

It had only been a fortnight since Theo's tournament finals, but it seemed like the owner of a grimoire could never live an uneventful life. As soon as Theo returned home, he'd had an encounter with an elder lich and Death's Worship.

After Theo finished telling his story, he bowed his head and apologized, "I'm sorry Master. The dimension pocket that you lent me..."

"No, your judgement was correct. It would be a disaster if that grimoire was running free. If the issue could be resolved with one dimension pocket, then everything is fine. Consequently, the dimension pocket has been reissued and the grimoire is sealed, so this is the best result," Vince praised Theo's decision.

Despite borrowing the power of the grimoire, the salvation of the Miller Barony was a feat which had been accomplished by Theo.

It was a heroic accomplishment which had saved hundreds of lives and prevented the unprecedented disaster that might have followed. There would be no idiot who would disparage Theo just because of one dimension pocket.

Vince wanted to lighten the mood, so he switched to another topic. "By the way, I didn't know that Tower Master would like you so much. She has a temper and is fickle in many ways, so it isn't easy for people to approach her."

"...Is that so?" Theo's expression changed subtly.

As soon as they met, she had put her arm around his shoulders and dragged him along. She hadn't showed any signs of dislike toward Sylvia or Vince; she just seemed more interested in Theo. Her facial expression had been the same when looking at the muscular Blundell.

However, Vince spoke decisively, "She is someone who gives off a bad first impression like a dragon, and it takes time for her to get to know a person. In my case, I remember that it took two years until I was called by name."

"I-It is tricky."

"It isn't just me. In any case, I thought you might have chosen for Gluttony to eat something that would be wrong for you." Vince thought it would be a poison like Hell Fire, but he then saw the book next to Theo and whispered in a moist voice, "Is this Battle Song? It must've been 10 years since I last read a copy."

"Master also learned this?"

"Of course. It is appealing to have a melee ability even though it is limited. Even if it can't be used often, it is a hidden trick."

Duplicated copies of the books in the Zero Library existed. If duplication magic didn't work with it, then it meant it was a duplicate. The special power in the book couldn't be copied, but it wasn't a problem to distribute the knowledge contained in it.

Books were archived in the Zero Library were treated as special because they were original copies, but most of the knowledge itself was widespread through the duplicate copies. Of course, there were some prohibited and forbidden books, but... it was impossible for them to be read, unless the person was a tower master or the king.

Vince had also learned the Battle Song and repeated all the words. The memory of a senior magician wouldn't dim even after a few years had passed.

"If you don't understand something, you can ask me. I don't know what you will get from this book, but I haven't forgotten any of the verses of the song."

"Thank you."

"Does this mean you will come to the Red Tower?" Vince's question might sound strange, but in fact, a mentor and his disciple weren't obligated to belong to the same tower. Even though they were split into four towers, the root was still the Magic Society. So, regardless of the tower they belonged to, there was no impact on their relationship.

Every magician had the right to belong to the tower they wanted to, and Theo chose the Red Tower. "Yes, I want to go to the Red Tower."

He had become quite interested in the Yellow Tower until he returned home. Theodore had a contract with Mitra the earth elemental, so he'd thought that the Yellow Tower would be good. However, that idea was overturned after meeting the powerful elder lich. Theo had a hunch that his life would never flow calmly.

'Power is required. If I don't become stronger than I am now, I am bound to be overtaken by the grimoire. This time, I managed to get out from the situation, but I shouldn't expect the same luck next time!'

From the very beginning, Theo hadn't want to live as a researcher. He wanted to live like the adventurous magicians he'd read about during his childhood. Theo wanted to save people and find treasures... He had been obsessed with living the special life of magicians.

After meeting the grimoire, Gluttony, he'd thought his dream had come true, but in the end, he was still an immature magician.

As Theo's desire was made clear, Vince nodded firmly. "Okay, I will go and complete the entrance procedure now. Since you are an Average magician, you will be given a private room inside the Red Tower."

"Thank you, Master."

"Well, then I'll be going. Read it at once."

As Vince left with a warm expression, Theo opened up [Battle Song]. "Uhh... There are a lot of ambiguous words."

It seemed like the myth that the Battle Song had originated from a foreign magician was true as strange words were mixed into the song. So, the translation of some words were difficult. It was a tricky book worthy of being kept in the Zero Library, but it wasn't beyond Theo's comprehension.

His eyes fixed on the characters and started to move back and forth in a mechanical manner.

'Life energy flows in the body, just like magic power and aura. The body's performance will change drastically depending on the direction it flows, and the magic described in the book aims to direct this change...'

In the room where Theo remained alone, silence flowed. This tranquility was a haven for magicians acquiring wisdom. His consciousness quickly sank to the depths as his uncommon level of concentration remained focused on the book in front of him. If he could use the Appraisal ability on himself, he would witness his understanding level rise quickly.

95% was the minimum of understanding required to extract an essence. It was the so-called 'very high' level when Theo paused halfway through the book. The combination of exotic vocabulary and extraordinary knowledge reduced his concentration.

Nevertheless, he chose to push himself in order to learn the strange form which was different from the existing magic he already knew.

***

On the sixth day, Theodore finally put down the book.

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