What does this book taste like? #4
Theo first touched the back of his head before examining his palms, which had no calluses unlike Alfred's. He had only left for 20 minutes, but his body already felt unfamiliar. This meant that the memory of the hero called Alfred Bellontes was deeply ingrained in him.
Even now, it felt like a blue flash of light would emerge from his fingertips.
'No, is it possible right now?'
Theo aimed his finger impulsively. This was the secret of the war hero, Alfred Bellontes... the flash of death which had shot and killed even first-rated knights.
That feeling was still vivid. The magic power would be pulled from the fixed magic circles inside the blood vessels of the body, then the magic power would take action outside the body.
There was a pang, like his skin was burning from the inside.
His arm was different from Alfred's. It was much weaker than the arm which had been conditioned for many years, perhaps even decades. The formation of the Magic Missile caused several of Theo's blood vessels to rupture. If Theo tried to reproduce Alfred's output, then his entire right arm would be broken.
Fortunately, Theodore Miller wasn't that arrogant.
He had asked whether it was possible for the him, as he was now, and the memory of Alfred had nodded. Simultaneously, as Theo's blood vessels were ruptured, a blue flash popped out.
The blue light, which was thin and hazy compared to Alfred's, shot through the window of the library and disappeared. However, the power was double or even three times that of conventional Magic Missiles. Even so, the amount of magic power consumed wasn't much different from conventional ones.
This was the essence of [Ballistics Magic] and the art of Alfred Bellontes, which had been studied by many magicians.
"...Really, it is a success."
Theo looked at his index finger with trembling eyes after managing to reproduce it. His forearm was throbbing from the reaction to the Magic Missile, while bruises appeared where the blood vessels had burst.
Anyway, Theo couldn't care less about that right now. He was the academy's long-time dunce, someone who had received the repeater letter three times.
No one expected anything from him. Even Professor Vince, the only one to recognize his talent, had eventually turned his head away. The common magic which anyone else could do wasn't possible for Theo.
He had resigned himself to it. It was too difficult to chase after others, so he had given up. Maybe that was why...
The emotion boiling inside him was a joy he had never felt in his entire life. An unknown joy tickled his spine at the thought of mastering a magic that no one else had managed.
'I can do it. I can!'
Theo had been betrayed by his talent and neglected in reality. He had gone five years without anyone stretching a hand out to him. Everybody in the academy had called Theodore a loser, and he didn't have the power to contradict that. He had just shut himself up in an old library.
However, it could be different from now on. No, it would be different.
Theo breathed for a while as he suppressed his heated emotions, then he looked down at his left hand. Today, it had swallowed two books-
Ignite and Alfred-style Magic Missile.
Thanks to this achievement, which was beyond expectations, even the gross tongue seemed cute to Theo.
The tongue swung at his call.
-Question, do you have?
Theo nodded without hesitation. The two magics he'd learned were enough for today. The magic he got from Alfred Bellontes was greater than the entire profit of the past week. Furthermore, Theodore examined himself calmly and realized that there was no other spell he needed to 'consume' at the moment.
'I have enough of the 2nd Circle magic right now. With some exceptions like Afred's magic, I don't need to feed it any more. Now, I need magic power that can help me reach the 3rd Circle.'
If magic was a flame, magic power was its fuel. He couldn't use magic spells if he didn't have enough magic power. Conversely, if his magic power was huge, poor control could cause terrible havoc.
Possessing almost limitless magic power was the reason why dragons reigned as the strongest species.
If Theo had been born in a wealthy family, then he wouldn't need to think about this. He could gain large amounts of magic power if he bought reagents. It was said that the effect decreased the more it was taken, but it would be enough to fill the amount of magic power required for the 3rd Circle.
The problem was that the amount of money needed to buy that many reagents would require selling the Miller estate five times.
So, he asked Gluttony, "I would like to know how to increase magic power."
The ancient grimoire... A relic from a time which wasn't recorded in history books... Among the numerous knowledge which Gluttony had consumed, Theo believed there would be a way to increase magic power without taking reagents.
Gluttony was silent for a moment.
"What, do you not know?" Theo asked, suddenly anxious.
Gluttony then replied in an unpleasant, mocking tone,
-Silly, guy. Question, too verbose. Magic power, over 100 ways, increase it. And, I can tell, you, only one thing.
"T-There are over 100 ways?"
Theodore's mouth fell open with astonishment.
The Tower of Magic announced that there were only three ways to increase one's amount of magic power: eating flora and fauna which contained magic; taking alchemy-refined reagents; or receiving a magic circle from another magician.
All these methods demanded an expensive price, so he had never dared to think about them. Yet, apparently, there were over 100 methods. Additionally, Gluttony said he could only tell Theo one method.
"T-Then what should I do?"
If there were 100 methods, then Theo could find one which suited him. Gluttony urged in a trembling voice,
-Conditions, attach. I, narrow down, answer.
"A condition... for example?"
If the adverb 'most' was attached, then there could only be one answer. Having two or more answers would violate the meaning of the word 'most'. Theo understood Gluttony's explanation and hesitated for a moment before deciding.
"Teach me the most efficient method that I can use right now."
No matter how excellent the method, it was useless if it was impossible for him.
For example, it would be useless for him to receive advice which required the use a dragon heart or forbidden black magic. Moreover, he could ask for the most efficient method in general and something that would benefit another species could pop out.
So, Theo narrowed the range. This allowed for Gluttony to tell Theo the most efficient method that was possible for him.
The familiar voice was then heard.
[A hidden feature of Gluttony has been unlocked! As a greedy grimoire, Gluttony can feed on anything that is magical. Until now, it has only been extracting the essence. However, it will now absorb a portion of the item's abilities.]
[Items with magic power will increase the owner's magic power. Gluttony can even digest cursed artifacts.]
[Simply eating, instead of essence extraction, can be used in Gluttony's sleep state.]
The information the voice provided was amazing.
Theo was surprised Gluttony had hidden features and that asking this question had unlocked it. It seemed that questioning Gluttony wasn't simply to acquire knowledge. If Theo used it well, he could increase the functionality of this powerful grimoire.
'Things which contain magic power... It seems easy but may be more difficult than I thought.'
It was easy to find objects which contained magic power in the academy.
The academy was a place to teach magic, so there was a lot of equipment and materials filled with magic power. If he went to the alchemy classroom right now, there would be a stack of magic tools.
However, eating these tools was different from eating the library books.
The library didn't have any proper administration as all the librarians did was lock up. Who would know that a few books were missing from the library? Even if a few bookshelves were taken out, there wouldn't be any sense of incongruity.
However, the classrooms weren't neglected like the library. Even in the alchemy classroom, there were three or four caretakers who checked the quantity everyday. If even one reagent vial were taken, they would be able to check the entry and exit records, and figure out that it had been Theodore.
'I can't do it inside the academy. The risk is too big.'
If so, the answer had to be found outside the academy. As Theo agonized over it, he eventually came up with an answer.
He needed someone's help to implement the answer. One person came to mind.
"...I have to ask the professor."
Vince, who felt regret regarding his talent, wouldn't turn down Theodore's favour easily.