Sometimes I wonder, was it me who had been causing all this trouble so early in the semester, or was it Irene?
Pochi and I followed the trio as we all headed to the Maginasium.
Lina followed a little further behind us; she seemed cheerful for some reason, and behind her were Claris and Anri. I might have heard some remarks from them expressing worry for me, but I didn’t hear Lina voice at all.
So most of that was probably chatter between Claris and Anri.
In the Maginasium, Irene was sitting on a chair to recover her arcane energy and behind her were the rest of my classmates, sitting on the floor.
“Took you long enough, Asley.”
“…Didn’t you say that we were allowed to leave?”
“I never thought you’d use that method back then. It’s been quite a while since I last exhausted my arcane energy.”
“Oh good grief…”
I invoked the Appraisal Glasses to examine Irene’s statistics.
- Name: IRENE
- TITLES: Magic University Graduate, Rank S, Six Archmages, The Invincible Sprout, Great Mage, Professor, The Mischievous, Staff Wielder
- LV: 100
- HP: 1612
- MP: 249
- EXP: 9,999,999
- SPECIAL SKILLS:
- Attack Magic (Skilled)
- Support Magic (Skilled)
- Recovery Magic (Skilled)
- Purification (Advanced)
I had already seen them before, but they’re amazing to look at all the same. As I am now, I wouldn’t stand a chance against her in a fair fight.
Even with magecraft up my sleeve, the sheer difference in raw power was simply too great.
I hadn’t been paying attention before, but for some reason, I realized that magic spell archetypes I developed myself did not show up in appraisals. That was also the case for magecraft. Perhaps the appraisal magic formula did not respond to them properly.
Also, one’s magical power recovery rate was an attribute separate from the power pool itself. An average mage’s rate was about 5 per minute. Seeing that it had just been 15 minutes since I had left, Irene’s recovery was nothing short of impressive.
“Rise, A-rise, Giving Magic.”
I drew and then invoked a Spell Circle under Irene’s chair. The Circle shot up a green beam of light that wrapped around her.
“Heh, I knew that you’d know some spells to speed up arcane energy recovery… But wouldn’t you need to keep your MP up for the upcoming battle?”
“I don’t remember agreeing to any fights, though…”
“I’ve come to some simple agreements with those kids, you see.”
“I had them promise that if you won, they’d never bother your ears again. And, well, if you lost they could demand anything they like.”
What an arbitrary agreement. But if I cleared this, it’d be one big thorn off my side. Well, more or less, I could expect the agreement to be enforced to some degree. So it’s like an offer I can’t refuse… I suppose.
“Fortunately, those three were the next top graders in the entrance examination, right after you and Lina.”
“I question your definition of ‘fortunate’…”
“It’ll improve your standing in your class year. Make them recognize your abilities, such and such.”
“…So you knew about my situation.”
Irene showed a wide grin.
“I’ve heard the story from Trace. Something about you insulting them, was it? You should’ve just given them a good beating or two.”
“I don’t really feel like doing this, but that agreement does sound pleasant, so I’ll just play along.”
“Hu hu hu, I’m looking forward to it…”
As Irene showed her suspicious grin, I turned away from her and faced Hornel and his team.
Pochi was lazing around beside me and I waved my hand to deny her participation.
“You’ll be fighting alone, sir?”
“It’s more effective this way.”
“Shame… and here I thought this would be my time to shine…”
Pochi, with her ears folding down, seemed a tad bit disheartened in saying that. I brushed her head a few times before stepping forward.
The Maginasium had a special force field-like spell set up to protect the walls and the people sitting behind Irene. It didn’t seem all that durable but it was still plenty for lectures and practical training.
“So, which one of us first?”
“Make your choice!”
“You’ll still fight all of us, of course, but we’ll let you recover between matches–“
“Nah, it’s a waste of time. I’ll take you all at once.”
The trio were taken aback.
From behind me, I could hear Irene’s muffled giggles and soon overriding that was Pochi’s burst of laughter.
“D-damn you little…!”
“You’re way over your head–“
“Enough talking, guys. Come on.”
Idéa’s mouth trembled, her molars clattering in visible rage. She doesn’t respond well to taunts, I see.
“You better… not regret this!”
Midors tightened his grip on his staff and rushed forward.
So he’s a close-combat mage… Perhaps he’d originally been a warrior and then turned to a mage like Tangalán.
Idéa, positioned behind him, started drawing a Spell Circle.
And Hornel is just standing there, saying nothing as he kept watching on. Is he planning to go at it alone? Considering how prideful he seemed to be, that may very well be the case.
Midors charged forward, swinging his staff at me. The staff feels… fast? Perhaps that was the effect of a Swift Magic charges in the staff. I can definitely learn from this.
“Bam, bam… bam!”
“Orah — Hmph, hah!”
As I continued dodging Midors’ blows, I used one of my Swift Magic charges to destroy Idéa’s Spell Circle.
Does Idéa’s staff not support Swift Magic? …No, seeing that it has an emblem, it’s very likely that it does. Perhaps she had support or restoration spells saved up instead of attacking ones.
Idéa shook off the destroyed Spell Circle and began drawing a new one.
“Wha — Oof–!”
The heavy impact of one staff clashing against another resounded. Midors’ staff had produced a small explosive sound and then… spontaneously accelerated!?
…I could have parried it just in time, but the blow numbed my arms for a bit there. Right, it was a spontaneous speed spell. I suppose, since it could be put into a staff, it could be used in this fashion as well.
“Tch, never thought you’d take that–“
An exclusively close-ranged mage wasn’t something I see every day. And since I hadn’t dabbled much in martial arts, he is a tad bit tough to handle.
“Eat this! Fire Arrow!”
The Fire spell I shot engulfed the Fire Arrows, extinguishing them.
I still felt numb from that hit I had parried before, but I could aim just fine.
“No way! How’d that beat Fire Arrow’s piercing power!?”
“Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire.”
“Wha — Kyah–!”
Idéa took a direct hit from my Fire barrage and was disqualified from the match.
Before Idéa was burned for more than a split second, Irene casted a recovery spell on her. At the same time, I used Remote Control on my Fire to get it off her.
Idéa, now without fire and wrapped in a white light, collapsed on the spot.
“N-no way… That’s too fast even with Swift… And it hits like a brick…”
“Pochi, get Idéa out of there.”
“Asley, I don’t think that sort of Fire was taught in classes here?”
While Pochi was getting Idéa to safety, Irene called out to me from behind.
And she was correct. The Fire spell that I had stored in the Star Rod was no ordinary Fire.
Fire, Rapid Fire Augment and Velocity Augment… It was an improvised Spell Circle comprising one magic spell and two basic magecrafts.
From a practical standpoint, it would be impossible to make a composite spell of magic and magecraft, but it was theoretically possible through drawing a new Spell Circle. I had thought that I could exploit that possible loophole by storing it within the Star Rod, and that experiment had shown frightfully effective results in one of my monster hunts.
I had never utilized it during hunts where Irene was present, so today could be considered the technique’s first public showcase.
“Trade secret. And… Hype Up! Hmph!”
That was my other Swift Magic… a composite Spell Circle of Hype Up, Velocity Augment and Vitality Augment.
They were magic and magecraft that boosted physical abilities, temporarily enabling those affected to perform extraordinary maneuvers.
Taking advantage of the opening Midors showed, I struck Midors’ abdomen with a swift, powerful thrust of my staff. He collapsed, and Irene promptly invoked another recovery spell.
“Arrgh, I’ve never seen Hype Up being used like that before!”
“And why are you even making a fuss about it…?”
“…Bah. Hornel? What will you do now?”
Hornel did not respond.
Irene, irritated that she had presumably been ignored, slightly harshened her tone.
Seeing that Hornel was standing up perfectly fine with his arms crossed, I kept a sliver of doubt as I approached him.
“Hey? Hornel, man…?”
“What is he doing?”
Irene approached him from another side and circled around. When she got around me, I finally noticed what was up.
“He… He’s passed out.”