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 What does this book taste like? #3

Dagadak, dagadak, dagadak.

As Theo's consciousness returned, the scenery around him was moving at a frightening pace. No, it was more correct to say that he was moving through it. Theo, who still didn't understand the situation, turned his head as someone's shouts reached his ears.

"General! The enemy forces have appeared before us!"

General? The enemy forces had appeared before them...? This was something which would be heard on the battlefield.

Theo tried to make a bewildered expression, but his vision moved independently of his will. Then he looked at the face of the knight running next to him. Shortly after that, Theo realized his lips were moving on their own.

"Hrmm, it is a little faster than I expected." It was the deep and and solemn voice of a man.

His fingertips touched his chin and felt a rough texture. Theo wasn't 20 years old yet, so the beard on the chin definitely wasn't his. If so, there was only one possibility.

'My voice... No, this isn't my body?'

Maybe this was the right answer. Theo thought confidently.

This was right after he'd consumed Alfred Bellontes' [Ballistics Magic]. So, Theo could guess that this phenomenon was related to the description which had said he could absorb some of Alfred's experience.

He didn't know what synchro meant, but if it was absorbing Alfred's experience-

"Prince! I will stand in the lead! The general infantry can't possibly defeat the charge of our knights. I, Vince, will protect Prince with this sword at all costs!"

It was a cry that sounded like roaring flames. The passion in that voice was incredible as the person moved in front of him. Based on his shout, this man seemed to be the leader of the group of knights. Furthermore, his blazing eyes proved what he'd said weren't just words.

However, the prince, Alfred, didn't accept Vince's comment.

"No, I will stand in the lead! You must follow behind me!" The one with the most noble body declared that he would stand in the most dangerous position.

Despite seeing the enemy coming close, Alfred Bellontes didn't slow down his horse. Alfred shrugged off Vince's hand and rushed forward. The two armies soon crashed into each other.

Kukwakwakwang!

There was a huge roar as the warhorses collided with the the infantry troops. The terrible power of the charge was added to the horse hooves and smashed the human body. The enemy's formation collapsed from the surprise, and the Bellontes troops were temporarily dominant as they pushed the enemy forces back.

Alfred roared wildly from the vanguard.

"Bellontes' prince, Alfred, is here! Come forward if you want to claim my head for yourself!"

It was an obvious provocation. As the prince and war hero of Bellontes, Alfred's head really was worth several thousand gold. If they killed him, then this long war might end.

A knight moved through the confused soldiers in response to his provocation.

"I am Richard, the eldest son of Earl Jason!"

Every time his sword flashed, several soldiers were knocked down. It wasn't uncommon to cut through humans like they were straw. Any knight should have at least this much skill. A mere magician would have their heads cut off.

Richard smiled as he moved closer to Alfred. Theo became frightened as he faced the murderous intent in front of him.

'It is dangerous. At this distance, there is no way to survive unless I am a 6th Circle magician!'

In any era, a magician's enemy was a knight. They were masters of weapons which dominated in close combat. A knight could cut off a magician's head before a spell was completed. Therefore, magicians always hired escorts. However, there was no one near Alfred right now. It was a great opportunity for Richard Jason, who was famous for his agility.

As Richard quickly took care of 30 people, he shouted righteously, "Bellontes' hero! I salute your bravery to confront me with the body of a magician! But..."

'But it ends here!' was what he was trying to say. However, a gruesome ball of pressure passed through him.

Paang!

"...Then I will pay homage to your stupidity," Alfred scoffed as he aimed his finger.

One beat late, the body fell to the ground. The brave knight, Richard Jason, who had been rushing toward Alfred just a moment ago, suddenly died.

This was because a hole was drilled into the middle of his brain. It was impossible for any human to survive that, even if they had the blood of an ogre. Once the brain was destroyed, even an ogre couldn't regenerate.

Meanwhile, Theo was astonished by the incredible situation.

'That is Magic Missile? No way!'

It was a blue flash. If Theo hadn't been inside Alfred's body, then he wouldn't have grasped the moment when the spell had activated.

Although it was 1st Circle magic, the chant had been omitted and the output of Magic Missile had been far beyond common sense. It was likely that even the 5th Circle Magic, 'Force Bolt', was weaker than that.

Paang!

Once again, light emitted from Alfred's finger.

"Kuaack!" Simultaneously, somebody else's breath was cut off.

Every time Alfred's fingertip flashed, one person fell over and died. It was the same for magicians who used defense magic or knights covered in body armour. The speed of the Magic Missile didn't let anyone escape, while its power penetrated the defenses and caused havoc. It was literally a mortal blow.

After a few hundred Magic Missiles were shot...

'...Indeed, Alfred's Magic Missiles are fired in this way. Even if the same formula is used, it is bound to fail.'

Theo had surprisingly succeeded in digging out the principles of the powerful Magic Missile. So far, scholars had been studying [Ballistics Magic] for 30 years and hadn't been able to achieve it. It wasn't because Theodore Miller's talent was superior.

The 'synchro' which allowed him to share Alfred Bellontes' senses was the answer.

'The magic is completely within his body.'

Usually, magic was a technique to handle mana outside the body. Sensitivity was the concept which referred to the efficiency of drawing mana out of magic power. However, Alfred improved Magic Missile in a way which was completely contrary to that concept.

He completed the magic inside his body and shot it out of his body.

It wasn't an easy method. The human body wasn't a vessel to hold magic spells. Alfred had to give up other spells in order to learn this Magic Missile. Through special training, his bones, flesh, and blood had been converted into the magic circle specific to Magic Missile.

As a result, he was able to produce the most powerful Magic Missile.

'A magician who only shoots Magic Missile... Can he be called a magician?'

What made Alfred think of this magic? He had given up the freedom of being a magician and just concentrated on killing people with Magic Missile. Theo couldn't help sympathising with Alfred. He attributed it to the shadow on Alfred's face as he calmly shot a human being.

Soon after, the last enemy soldier was brought over.

"Kuk, release me! Let me go! I am Marquis Belford Astro. My status isn't something to be trifled with!"

He wore a burgundy cloak over splendid plate armour. The intricacy of the embroidered pattern showed that he wasn't an ordinary soldier. Wearing such flashy clothes on the battlefield proved that he was a high-ranking noble.

The soldiers kicked him, making him kneel down. Alfred gazed down at the man with cold eyes and said, "Marquis Astro is worse than a dog, that's what you are."

Resonating with an eerie voice, Alfred continued to say, "Didn't you plunder the houses near the border and sold the women as slaves? I have no intention of letting you live as a captive of war."

"Now, wait a minute, Prince Alfred!"

"I don't have a hobby of listening to dogs. You will die here like a dog."

Alfred stretched out his finger, condemning the man in front of him to death. This man was a person who wasn't even worthy of captivity. Alfred's finger shone with a blue light.

Paang!

The corpse collapsed with a hole in it.

"...Dispose of the body," Alfred said while turning around.

Usually, it was polite to take the body and send it back to the enemy kingdom. However, this was a person who had burned down villages and caused men to lose their wives. In such a situation, there was no need to preserve his body. The ugly mass of flesh called Belford soon disappeared without a trace.

At this point, Theo left Alfred's body.

'Ah, it ends here.'

The experience was truly impressive. Theo looked down at the ground which was becoming more distant. It was a battlefield filled with blood, death, knights polishing armour, nauseous magicians, and soldiers calling for medics...

Then finally, he saw Alfred Bellontes. At that moment, Alfred also looked at him.

"W-What?'

Theo was confused as he saw Alfred's lips moving.

-Young magician who craves my strength.

The profound voice echoed.

Alfred wasn't talking to himself. It was advice from Alfred Bellontes to Theodore Miller. This was a gift from the man who had given up freedom for strength and had lived as a war hero instead of a magician.

-Don't give up your way as a magician.

Finally, the connection with Alfred was cut off.

[The synchro with Alfred Bellontes has ended.]

[The synchro rate is 85.7%, the experience has been maintained.]

[1st Circle magic 'Magic Missile' has sublimated into 'Alfred-style Magic Missile'. Alfred Bellontes' experience has turned into proficiency for that magic.]

[Gluttony is satisfied with the food that it has consumed. Ask a question or feed it one more book.]

* * *

In the eastern part of Meltor Kingdom, Bergen Academy's library...

The fallen Theodore regained consciousness.

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