Outside the Academy #1
It had been a week since then.
"If you put the ingredients in the triangle drawn in the center of this magic circle and insert magic power-"
As always, the professor was standing in front of the chalkboard, giving an explanation on magic circles.
Theodore had already studied this three years ago. So, instead of wasting ink on writing down something meaningless, he was looking back on his conversation with Vince.
A relationship filled with trust had been established with Professor Vince, but Theo's routine didn't have any major changes. He still attended classes as a student and the fed Gluttony's hunger with library books.
However, he didn't have to worry about the aftermath now.
-In the future, submit a list of library books consumed on that day to me. There aren't any teaching staff managing the library, so it won't matter if I say that I am in charge.
Indeed, Vince was a professor at Bergen Academy, and his position was very different from Theodore, who was a repeat student. It wouldn't be difficult for Vince to supplement the library books which had been consumed.
No, there would be no shortage of money even if he bought out the whole library. As a 5th Circle master, he had the prospects and income of a senior magician.
Vince's face had also distorted when he heard that Theo had been visiting a black market trader.
-...I won't deny that it was a good method for you. But the black market is a much more dangerous place than you think. I would recommend that you don't go anymore.
-Even though I used the Geass Scroll?
-Yes. A Geass Scroll is just a forced pledge between you and the black market trader. It isn't uncommon to be caught in other places. The darkness of that world is deeper than what ordinary people know, and the black market trader is only at the entrance.
Professor Vince hadn't shown a single smile as he spoke. It was the face of a man who had looked into the darkness seriously and experienced the madness of that world. Facing such an expression, the only thing Theodore could do was nod quietly and retreat.
'Besides, there is no reason to go to the black market trader like before.'
If he needed artifacts to increase his magic power, he could get them through Professor Vince. The price of artifacts was relatively high, but it was cheaper compared to conventional magic reagents and the ratio of magic power was also excellent. Furthermore, there was the advantage of absorbing the magic skills.
That wasn't all. Theo looked at the visual information in his head again.
[Grimoire "Gluttony"/ E Rank]
[Skill: Magic Power Amplification, Attributes Affinity
One of the seals containing Gluttony's power has been removed. From now on, Gluttony can save a few spells and cast them freely. This ability can be further extended depending on the amount of magic power. The previous owner called this feature 'Memorize.' As the current owner, you can change the name if you want.
* Incomplete state. Most of the functions are sealed.
* Once a day, it will wake up to relieve its hunger.
* Immediately after relieving its hunger, it will answer one question.
* The abilities it feeds on will be given to its owner.
* Extracts an essence from eaten books or items. The higher the owner's understanding, the greater the efficiency.
* Absorbs some magic power from an item which contains magic power.
* The Memorize function has been activated.]
This change was triggered a week ago when he ate 'Roaring Flames' in Professor Vince's room.
The amount of magic power rose from the beginning of the 3rd Circle to more than half-way, and one of Gluttony's seals was lifted. The activation of the Memorize ability was enough to make Theodore's mouth drop open.
'Magic can be saved and then used freely...?! That is a difficult ability to find even in higher ranked artifacts!'
Theo's astonishment was indeed correct.
Even the Carter family's 'Roaring Flames' had been an intermediate ranked artifact. Once an artifact reached a higher rank, it wasn't something that a family or person could possess. It was common for the artifact to go directly to the kingdom and be designated as a national treasure.
Just the 'Memorize' function was enough for it to be considered a national treasure. However, Theo had acquired the ability just by feeding Gluttony.
'Only three spells can be stored at one time, but... the explanation means that there can be more.'
Since he had three circles, a simple calculation was one magic spell per circle. Even so, the momentary firepower had quadrupled, so he would be able to exert more power. Professor Vince had called the grimoire a 'book of unprecedented power.'
As fear rose up inside Theo while he thought about it again...
Ding~! The bells of the wall clock rang.
Chatter instantly spread through the quiet classroom, and the professor put down the chalk as he noticed the lively atmosphere. It was the professor who had been humiliated last time due to the 'Full Moon Bead.' In the end, Professor Bernard left the classroom silently without ever looking in the direction that Theo was sitting.
'Phew, pitiful human.'
Theo thought as he stared at the professor's back before raising his body from his seat. Professor Bernard wouldn't apologize for his harassment, so Theo would never apologize for embarrassing him. It might stay like this until graduation.
Theo sighed and left the classroom. It was time to find a book to feed Gluttony.
* * *
Theo stopped by the library as usual, pulling out a few books and placing them in his backpack. Until a week ago, he would wait for Gluttony to wake up first, but now, he could just take the books. The written permit from Professor Vince solved a lot of things.
'Well, there are several things that I need to do.'
It was nothing compared to what Theo received in return. Apart from submitting a list of eaten books to Professor Vince, there was nothing else he needed to do.
So, he moved toward Professor Vince's laboratory as usual. Soon after, he arrived at the laboratory. Theo knocked politely on the door.
"Professor, it is Theodore."
He turned the doorknob as soon as he received permission. After the conversation last week, it wasn't burdensome to go to Professor Vince's laboratory like before. As always, there was the familiar smell of coffee, and Professor Vince would be covered by the thickly stacked books and papers...
Theo looked around as he felt a subtle sense of discomfort. He looked for something different than usual and quickly realized the difference.
"Professor, did you do some cleaning?"
The cause of Theodore's discomfort was simple. Professor Vince's lab was unusually clean. The parchment and books scattered on the floor were neatly organized. The other part was the laboratory equipment, but those were left alone by Vince.
Vince laughed lightly and answered Theo's question, "Something has happened. It isn't unrelated to you, so our talk today might be a little longer."
"Please sit down."
Theo sat down in the chair he had become accustomed to. Vince pulled out a pile of paper from his drawer and rummaged through it until he found two sheets of paper. He then handed them to Theo.
Theo looked down at them reflexively. A few letters on the top of the first page filled his vision.
"Meltor Kingdom... 126th annual... magic contest?!" His initially quiet voice grew louder as he exclaimed with shock.
Meltor Kingdom was famous for its magicians.
The magic contest held every year in the capital attracted magicians from everywhere in the continent. Magicians from the kingdom, as well as foreign magicians, would swarm to Mana-vil, the capital of Meltor. However, magicians who couldn't prove their credentials weren't allowed to enter the contest, so there was a long line of people waiting to be tested.
Yet, the sheet of paper Professor Vince just gave him was a letter of invitation allowing Vince to enter the magic contest. Although Theodore was a student, he was also a magician. He knew the value of this invitation.
"Professor, you've been invited to the magic contest?"
"It isn't a big deal. I get it every year."
In contrast to the excited Theo, Vince was sitting down and sipping his coffee calmly.
Until last year, he had been busy with his research and hadn't paid any attention to the invitation. He had also planned on staying at the academy this year to focus on his research, but the situation had changed.
He asked with a casual expression, "Do you know the reason why I showed you this invitation?"
Theo looked at Vince's face with expectation.
"You can probably guess. The invitation states that I can enter accompanied by one assistant. Normally, I would throw it in the trash but..."
As anticipation filled Theo's eyes, Vince trailed off and laughed. Normally, Theo's expression was stiff for his age, but what about now? Theo looked no different from the excited peers of his age.
Vince presented his gift with a pleased mood.
"How is it? Do you want to go to the magic headquarters with me?"
The answer was already fixed.