Teaching Sem some self defense techniques left Nick strangely excited, and he ended up staying up late.
“For example, let’s say you get dragged into a fight in a place that doesn’t allow weapons, like a bar. Let’s say a guy gets annoyed seeing people at a table having a great time and comes at you.”
“That does happen.”
“When you have to fight bare-handed, you don’t need to clench your fists right away. Use the heel of your palm, or look for a wooden stick or something.”
“Heel of the hand?”
“Like this, close to the palm of your hand.”
Nick motioned to hit Sem on the chin, but stopped just before making contact.
“This way you don’t hurt your fist. Try it.”
Just like Nick, Sem motioned to hit with the heel of his hand, but stopped before making contact.
“That’s right. You can use support magic on yourself too right? That’s enough of a threat.”
“But will an amateur’s hits really land well?”
“Not really, but they don’t have to.”
“Basically, attacking once or twice with confidence is enough to deal with your average drunkard. Adventurers, even ones that stay in the back row, tend to train their bodies, so even a couple of missed attacks are enough to scare them.”
“Then let’s try a couple of times.”
“Not fair, teach me too!”
“You’re strong enough already Karan…”
“I don’t know techniques like those…”
“Oh alright, geez…”
“It’s dark already, calm down.”
“Yes, it is already very late.”
And that was all Nick remembered.
He taught some more self defense techniques, sort of sparred with Karan, and did other kinds of exercise, until the exhaustion caught up with his body, and before he knew it, he was fast asleep. He managed to slip inside his sleeping bag, but had no memory of it.
But a more serious problem arose.
“…I think it’s a fever.”
“Geez, it’s because you act like a kid.”
An exasperated Tianna handed Nick a cup of hot water.
“It’s alright, just rest so we can get back to the city. You think about this too Sem.”
“Yes, I’m sorry for getting too excited… How bad is your fever, Nick?”
“I don’t really know. I’m not feeling out of it or anything.”
“Hum… Excuse me.”
Sem placed his hand on Nick’s forehead and said ‘oh?’ in surprise.
“Seeing a specialist make a face that looks like he has no clue what’s going on is kind of scary.”
“Ah, no, it doesn’t seem like a cold. Maybe magic energy intoxication?”
“Magic energy intoxication?”
Nick repeated Sem’s words back to him.
“Yes, it happens a lot to children when they start learning magic… It’s what happens when your total amount of magic energy goes up.”
“Hum… So like growing pains?”
“Kind of, yes.”
Sem nodded at Nick’s question.
“But I’ve always had next to no magic ability. I don’t even have the magic energy to use normal spells…”
Nick was saying, but…
“What? Do you know something?”
“The mushrooms we ate yesterday.”
“Ah, those grotesque things.”
“They’re not grotesque, they’re a high class item!”
“…And they were natural ones that grew close to a labyrinth. Maybe your latent magic energy was drawn out by force. Still, for it to happen to someone with next to no magic energy…”
“Perhaps it was my influence. Perhaps using Union several times has increased your affinity with magic energy.”
“Is that sort of thing possible?”
“There are people with low magic energy, but no one has zero magic energy. In the days of the ancient civilization, it was possible to buy supplements to increase it as well.”
“Not that they had that much of an effect. But they still worked.”
Tianna and Bond started having a technical discussion, and Nick, left out, complained.
“Hey hey, worry about me. It’s not going to affect my life or anything, right?”
Tianna heard Nick’s complaints and smiled.
“Hey, I’m serious. You know?”
“Sorry sorry, it’ll pass soon.”
“Say that sooner…”
“It’s not good for the body to have excess magic energy, but it will pass as you use magic or magic items.”
Said Tianna as she took out a cylindrical object from her pocket and handed it to Nick. It was light enough to be held with one hand.
“Hold this for a bit Nick.”
“It’s a magic lamp that ran out of magic energy. Once it starts shining, it means it has magic energy.”
“What do I do?”
“You let out magic energy. Relax and focus on breathing, like when you’re training with your sword or something.”
“What a pain…”
Said Nick, but he did as he was told.
“If we can’t do it like this, you can relax your body, make it loose, meditate and… Oh?”
Tianna looked at the tip of the staff with a surprised expression.
“There’s a dim light.”
They were all surprised, but no one was more surprised than Nick.
“Seriously… I thought I couldn’t use magic…”
But it was a short lived joy.
He realized that even if he could use a magic lamp that had run out of magic energy, actually learning practical magic would be difficult.
“I guess I can use… 《Magic Response》?”
Mumbled Nick as he looked at his hand, to which Tianna nodded.
“It’s a basic spell necessary to learn Enemy Search. It’s used to see if something you touch has magic energy but… If you keep training, you might be able to learn Enemy Search.”
“It’s fine, I think even something like this has its uses. Ideally, I’d like to be able to use strengthening magic like Sem but…”
Sem shook his head.
“I think that will be difficult… But I think you may be able to use the basic magic that precedes it.”
“There’s basic magic?”
“Yes, they’re like buffs you can’t use on other people… I don’t have my textbooks with me, but I’ll teach you later.”
“Yes, you can do it when you have the time. In fact, sorry for making you do that.”
Nick seemed to be doing better, and Karan excitedly said something.
“Nick, do you want to learn Breath?”
“No, there’s no way I can do that.”
Breath was a special technique only races like dragon people could use. It used magic energy, but didn’t need an incantation like regular spells, and was not something that could be systematically taught.
But Karan smiled, as though she was planning something.
“Fufu… There are some secret tricks.”
“If you get a mouthful of a strong drink and cast 《Ignition》 as you spit it out…”
“That’s what street performers do.”
“Ah, you already knew?”
Karan let out a sigh of disappointment.
“I actually think I could do it, but I don’t want to.”
“Che, but it’d be fun…”
“Come on, we should be going back to the city. We need to cash in our materials.”
Said Nick, and everyone started getting ready to leave.
[…Nick has no magic ability?]
A question popped into Bond’s head.
Nick was being humble, but definitely not self-deprecating. But when he used Union, Bond understood his abilities better than Nick himself. His height, weight, health, and even the magic energy inside of him.
He was not a prodigy like Tianna, but definitely not worse than the average person either.
If Nick really had no magic ability, he would not be able to use the Sword of Bonds, and eating something rich with magic energy would not be enough to increase his magic energy. If it did, it could only be because it awakened what had been dormant inside of him.
[So basically, he was never blessed with an opportunity, or was he purposefully kept away from training magic… Hm…]
Bond swallowed his question.
There was nothing that could be done about it on the spot, and choosing physical training over magic training was something that was done even during the time of the ancient civilization. It was not something that was harmful to Nick.
“Hey Bond, hurry up.”
“The city will not run away even if you are not in such a rush. Do you want to see a live event that badly?”
“I do not know what to say when you agree so bluntly.”
“Come with us too. There’s bookstores with stuff about cryptids and mysteries.”
“Ou, that sounds good!”
Bond completely forgot what he was thinking about, and happily made his way back with his partners.