Dealings with a Black Market Trader #1
The next day, Theodore went looking for Professor Vince.
'The path is set, so the sooner I act, the better. I'm glad that Professor Vince is staying this year.'
It really was lucky.
Theo was known as the academy's long-time dunce, so his relationship with the other professors wasn't very good. Some professors blatantly told him to drop out while others ignored instances of bullying.
A person like Professor Vince, who didn't care about his statue or origin, was hard to find.
When Theo arrived at Professor Vince's laboratory, he knocked on the door .
His voice was cold as always.
"Excuse me," Theo greeted as he entered the room.
He closed the door silently and faced Professor Vince, who was looking at him with confused eyes. It was Vince who put down his fountain pen and opened his mouth first, "You are an unexpected guest. I didn't know you would come to find me... Come over here and sit down."
"Yes, I understand."
Theo sat down, and Professor Vince asked, "So, what brings you here?"
Theo replied like he had been waiting for the question, "I'm here to apply for a permit to go outside."
"Huh? Go outside?" Vince's eyes widened at the unexpected words.
Theo quickly placed the documents he had prepared last night on the desk. If the conversation got too long, then questions about why he wanted to go out might be asked. The confused Vince stretched out his hand. It was so abrupt that he didn't understand anything.
'I expected him to be shocked about receiving the third repeater letter. Yet he says that he will go outside.'
Usually, Theo was a student who would only be interested in the books at the library. Vince hid his confused expression and signed the papers Theo had brought. However, Vince was a little bit concerned about the validity period. During the vacation, students were more free to leave the school than usual.
"Theodore, even if you don't apply for a separate permit, you are permitted to go out until 3 o'clock in the afternoon. This should be sufficient for wandering around the city."
"That isn't enough for me," Theodore replied without hesitation.
The city of Bergen, where the academy was located, was quite spacious. As Professor Vince said, that time limit would be just enough for wandering around the city. However, Theo's purpose was to obtain some magic items, and it would take time to travel there and return.
Vince cocked his head and asked a few more questions.
"What is your purpose in going outside?"
"It is a simple diversion."
"Are you planning to stay out overnight?"
"I don't think so."
The fountain pen starting moving and didn't stop until it had filled out all the paperwork.
Professor Vince hesitated before the final stamp, but he finished everything and handed the permit over to Theo. With this, Theodore would be able to leave the academy until the end of dinner time.
Theo then spoke with a brighter expression than before, "Thank you, Professor."
"You don't need to thank me for this minor thing."
Vince waved his hands like it was inconsequential and immediately changed the topic. There was also something he wanted to talk to Theo about. He pulled an envelope out of a drawer, put it on his desk, and opened his mouth. Depending on Theo's answer, Vince would decide whether or not to hand over the envelop.
"Theodore Miller, have you thought about what I told you last year?"
Theo searched through his memories hurriedly.
Last year, Professor Vince...
A few core keywords came up, and Theo could figure out what he was talking about.
"Becoming a magic scholar... that conversation?"
Magic scholars referred to those who studied magic with pen and paper instead of mana and staffs. In order to become a magic scholar, high intelligence was required more than being super sensitive or having powerful magic power.
Theodore was worthy of that standard. Last year, while Theo had been frustrated with his second letter, Professor Vince had invited him to become a magic scholar.
Sure enough, Vince nodded.
"Yes, if you think positively, then it would be a good choice. I can't stand to see someone with your talent decay simply due to a lack of sensitivity."
His sincere voice rang throughout the room.
In fact, Professor Vince had been really disappointed. Theodore could obviously become a distinguished researcher at a magic institute. If Theo wanted it, then Vince would send a recommendation to the capital's magic laboratory.
What was Theo thinking? Theo's eyes shook for a moment before he bowed his head.
"Thank you for your concern, Professor."
Professor Vince spoke in a slightly louder voice, "Then..."
"I'm really sorry." Unlike before, Theodore Miller spoke his dream with a strong and confident voice, "Nevertheless, I would like to become a magician."
Vince was silent for a moment before replying, "Hoo...is that so?"
"Even though I am your professor, I can't deny your dream. However, if you change your mind, come find me at any time."
Theo rose from his seat and bowed to Professor Vince before turning around. He was the only one who recognized Theo in a place where no one looked at him. Although Theo was really appreciative of the offer, he couldn't accept it at present.
The door closed with a sudden sound.
After the visitor had left, a heavy silence filled the room. Vince put aside the papers he had been looking at, put down the fountain pen, and leaned back on this chair. He picked up the now useless envelope and placed it in the bin. Vince had a premonition that his student would never become a magic scholar.
Until recently, Theo had been a sad student. He was a young man in despair at his lack of talent, desperately seeking knowledge in order to resolve it.
Vince thought that the way out was to become a magic scholar but...
"...Have you found a different answer?"
Hope now filled his student's eyes. Maybe he had found a way to live as a magician.
Vince's intuition made him feel optimistic, despite cold reason telling him otherwise. Professor Vince smiled like he had found something interesting after a long time.
* * *
"Third grade, Theodore Miller... confirmed. You must come back here before 7 p.m."
"Yes, then work hard."
Theo crossed the academy's gates for the first time in a while.
Last year and the year before that, he had never left the campus. Therefore, it had been almost three years since he'd gone outside. His last memory of going outside was to practice during the 2nd grade.
As he recalled that time, the city of Bergen soon filled his field of view.
"Ah, I guess not much has changed in three years."
There were neatly arranged roads with street lights installed at regular distances as well as facilities common in most major cities. Additionally, all the facilities were powered by magic. The presence of the academy, which nurtured magicians, made Bergen richer and more magical than before.
'So, magic related items and artifacts are more common here than other cities.'
The average price difference was more than double. Meanwhile, rare items had five times the difference. An item which other cities were selling for five gold could be bought here for one gold. Therefore, the number of people looking for items increased and so did the circulation of goods and money.
The current intersection at which Theo was standing alone had four artifacts stores.
"...It isn't like this at Miller Barony."
There was a bitter taste in his mouth. Anyway, today's destination wasn't an artifacts store. Even if the artifacts was cheaper than other cities, the value of the artifacts themselves hadn't changed. Due to the high volume of supplies, the prices had fallen but they were still out of Theodore's budget.
"I should speed up."
Theo headed to the outskirts of the city, rather than the centre. He wasn't looking for a proper store. Theo's wallet was too thin for an equivalent exchange. That meant he needed to take advantage of the power he currently held.
If things went the way Theo planned, he could sweep up artifacts without spending a penny. The memories from his second grade were helpful in guiding him to an odd place.
'There was a black market trader on the outskirts who handled genuine, defective, and cursed artifacts.'
They were things which ordinary people couldn't use. The idiots who wanted to save money would buy the defective goods, while the fools who expected a big hit would buy the genuine items. There were villains who tried to trap people with cursed items.
It was a place without any proper goods.
"But that shouldn't matter to you, right?" Theo said as he looked down at his left hand.
Cursed items were nothing compared to this guy. The greedy grimoire, Gluttony...
Everything was just prey for it to eat up all the magic.