Chapter 192 - Around the Desert (2)
The carriage followed the trail of Veronica's breath straight through the middle of the desert.
It was better than traveling through sand which went up to the height of an adult male's chest, but it was hard to say that the path was smooth when it had suddenly become melted igneous rock.
Despite bouncing over stones, and traveling up and down steep slopes, the carriage was still moving somehow. Fortunately, it wasn't bad inside the carriage. It was because there were all types of magic covering the carriage to prevent external shakes or shock.
Rather, there was an unnatural stillness. The landscape seen through the windows on either side of the carriage was just sand, while the people inside it didn't break the silence.
There was the great magician who was notorious in many ways, the Red Tower Master Veronica...
Meltor's four top prospects gathered together, Quattro...
And the guardian of Austen who had been captured by them, Mujak.
Mujak was guilty of unauthorized entry, so he wasn't in a position to speak first. Meanwhile, William and Sylvia found it hard to act freely in the presence of Veronica, their superior. Para never spoke unless she had to, and Theodore wasn't good at socializing either.
Therefore, there was only one person who could break this silence-Veronica. Veronica was bored and spoke in a husky voice, "Ah, it is too boring. And we have to continue for a few more days like this."
She stretched out her legs while complaining. It was a considerable distance that they had to travel, even if this was just the outskirts of the Meuse Desert. As such, the expected arrival time was three days.
Veronica was bored after looking out the window for a while and spoke to Theodore, "Since I have to do it anyway... Shall I start the promised class on Sorcery?"
Theodore was surprised by the sudden offer and questioned, "Huh? In here?"
"Isn't it okay? The rest are still young, but they are tower master candidates, so they should learn it."
"That's right, but..."
It was fine for Quattro to hear it. However, the problem was the outsider, Mujak. What if a sword master learned something key about Sorcery? There was no reason to take the risk. However, Veronica waved off Theodore's concerns.
"It doesn't matter. The Aura Ability is different from Sorcery. No weaknesses will be revealed just from knowing the theory, and it is hard for people who aren't high-level magicians to understand."
"Then we will listen."
"Okay, pay attention. I won't tell you twice."
The others might not have seven circles like Theodore, but they were magicians who were more enthusiastic about learning than anyone else. With the exception of Para, the prospective tower masters focused their attention on Veronica.
As three pairs of eyes gathered on her, Veronica created a few fire circles in the air and started explaining. "I'm not sure as to the extent of your knowledge, but you know that a magician's circles are slightly different for each person, right?"
"They are the same as muscles and bones. Nutrition and discipline... Their composition and form will change with several variables and environmental conditions. Specialization in specific attributes is formed largely from the efficiency of magic power circulation. In special cases, it can deviate from the existing magical system. Sorcery is a term referring to the phenomenon that is this change."
Veronica's index finger moved, and the circles tangled together, merging into a curious shape which was neither circular or spherical. They were dual spheres in an oval shape. At a dizzying speed, this soon changed into a cube, a triangular cone, a disc, and others shapes.
"No one knows what the final shape will look like. It depends on the inherited lineage, the method of training, the process of growth... There are too many variables for it to be determined. Regarding this part, I can say that it is somewhat similar to the aura ability." Then Veronica joined her palms together. "If Aura Ability is waking a sleeping ability, then Sorcery is realizing that something inside has changed. Awakening and awareness are similar, but they mean completely different things."
"Awakening and awareness..."
"Hmm, is it a little vague? If you take my case for example, I took an hour to realize my Sorcery."
The cries of three magicians resounded in the carriage. The difficulty of learning Sorcery was low compared to the Aura Ability, but that didn't mean it was easy. Some people took a few months or even a few years. There was a record of a genius doing it in a week, so Veronica's one hour was truly ridiculous.
However, she laughed like it was nothing. "Well, I didn't tell you that to boast. I wanted to ask you something. What do you think 'heat' is?"
"Y-You are asking us?"
"That's right. Heat doesn't just have to do with being hot."
The three magicians were troubled by the sudden topic. Paragranum, the grimoire who possessed a lot of knowledge about science, would be able to answer the question in more detail than anyone else. However, she didn't reply because she didn't feel the need to.
The three people thought about the concept of 'heat.' Then surprisingly, Sylvia was the one to open her mouth first. "Invisible fire, the force that moves the phenomenon."
"Ice stops every phenomenon. Then heat must be the force that drives all phenomenon."
"Proof by contradiction, it is an inspired approach," Veronica remarked. Then she continued with a charming smile, "It is comprehensive, but not wrong. Yes, heat is the power to move phenomenon, a power that can't be seen with the human eye."
Then the next moment...
She added, "They can't be seen with 'ordinary eyes.'"
Veronica's golden eyes were bright.
Humans couldn't observe the phenomenon which was happening around them. However, having inherited the blood of a red dragon, Veronica broke the wall of the 7th Circle and stepped into this area. Her eyes could grasp the 'movement of power' and control it. She went beyond the boundaries and became the ruler of the superthermal realm!
The reason why she was capable of awakening the dragon blood, which was weak in her body, and exhibiting a strength equal to a pureblood was due to Veronica's Sorcery.
"You know, my case is very special. A dragon's bloodline has a greater impact on the circles than any other variable, so I was able to roughly guess the result of Sorcery."
Even with numerous variables, a dragon's blood was something which could survive the most challenging circumstances. Veronica had inherited the lineage of a red dragon and was also a genius of magic, making her the youngest Red Tower Master ever. What she could do well and what she wanted to do well...
These two perfectly matched elements caused Veronica's growth rate to be unprecedented. It was why she could comprehend Sorcery so quickly. In other words, this was what she wanted to tell Theodore.
"There is no need to be hasty. Take a look at yourself. Theodore Miller's magic, Theodore Miller's strength... You are more aware of the possibilities inside you than anyone else. Instead of trying to change yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and think."
The advice of an experienced person was better than anything from a book. Theodore felt like he was on the edge of capturing a clue, so he didn't hesitate to bow his head.
"Thank you, Tower Master."
"...Don't thank me. One day, you have an obligation to teach this to someone else."
The essential principle of the Magic Society was to pass on their knowledge. Theodore smiled faintly as he was reminded of this. Maybe it was because his smile was charming, but Veronica's cheeks turned faintly red.
Meanwhile, the carriage fell into silence again. However, this time it wasn't awkward. This was a silence caused by the magicians thinking about the story on their own.
Theodore gazed up at the air and contemplated deeply.
'My own magic...'
Theodore Miller slowly looked back on his 20 years of life.
* * *
Exactly three days later...
Every time the road ended, Veronica would use Dragon Breath, and they would make their way again. Then the wagon, which had been rolling well without stopping, suddenly stopped. As the successor of the White Tower Master, William examined it but couldn't find any problems.
Mujak watched him and said, "It is no use. We will probably have to walk from here."
"Ah, there was that. I forgot." Veronica didn't wonder why they would have to walk and nodded easily.
As confusion filled everyone else's eyes, she pointed to the distant horizon and briefly explained, "I don't know why, but whenever there is a drought, the duration of magic is greatly reduced in the Meuse Desert. Artifacts like this carriage will stop working. Think of it like pushing magic power into a broken jar."
"Then we can't use secondary magic?"
"Spells like 'Battle Song' are okay, but 'Haste' will be blocked."
This was a troublesome terrain. Theodore wasn't the only one to think so, as William grumbled at the now obsolete carriage. Due to the nature of the White Tower, the carriage had cost an enormous amount of money to make.
"Damn, you know how much this costs..."
"Can't we take it on the way back?"
"It will be covered in sand and leave no traces in just an hour. It is regretful, but it can't be helped."
It had been easy to travel up to this point, but it was now time to taste the harshness of the terrain. As soon as the six of them left the carriage, they were greeted by the sandy breeze. They triggered the magic on their robes, but sand had already entered the gaps.
Veronica's brows furrowed. "Damn Imperial bastards, making me come here..."
This was an irrational rage toward the Andras Empire, but no one was idiotic enough to point it out. They were fairly close to the destination, so Veronica didn't shoot a Dragon Breath. It was to save her magic power in case of misfortune or an unexpected event.
In this situation, there was one larger issue.
"Um... My detection magic isn't working. No matter how much magic power I use, it doesn't go beyond 20 meters."
"It can't be helped. This is one more penalty." Veronica looked around with a hard expression after William tried detection magic. The sand wasn't at a constant height, which made their visibility limited.
First of all, the Andras knights were at the ruins, so this wasn't a good environment to approach in. Unlike the neutralized detection magic, aura was still working. At that moment, Theodore thought of a method.
"Can you wait a minute?"
"Huh? Do you have a method?"
The party stopped moving while Theodore concentrated. He was looking for the contract Satomer had given to him. This was the connection with the crow 'Hugin.'
'I would like to borrow Mitra's strength if possible.'
Unfortunately, it wasn't possible. Maybe it was because Meuse Desert wasn't naturally created, or it was due to the power of the sand dragon. Either way, this was an environment where elementals couldn't be called.
Fortunately, summoning seemed to work regardless of environment.
As soon as Theodore moved his magic power, a crow popped out of thin air.
"A s-summon?" Veronica was surprised by this magic and examined Theodore. The effectiveness of summoning magic had decreased over the past hundreds of years, making it difficult to be seen now. When had Theodore learned summoning magic?
"Summoning magic... You have learned a fairly minor branch of magic."
"It was by chance." Theodore smiled wryly as he guessed her meaning. Was it because he hadn't used summoning magic in quite a while...? Hugin was enjoying the sky after having not appeared in the physical world for a while.
'Do you see this, Senior?' Theodore briefly thought about that skinny face, the face of the summoning magician who had handed over all his knowledge and dream to Theodore. Everyone in this era remembered him as a loser, but he was the summoner who had managed to call Fafnir.