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“Let’s get started, then.”
“Don’t expect to beat our challenge so easily — ’cause we’ve changed a whole lot!”
“Fire Lance & Remote Control!”
Idéa sent the single Fire Lance high up into the sky — so high that it’s probably the highest a Fire Lance could reach. Then it just… stopped and stayed there, about 400 meters overhead.
“Now, can you get rid of that Fire Lance way up there? And do it without using magic and magecraft!”
Man, this reminds me of the Magic University’s entrance examination. This one is an incomparably more difficult problem to solve than that, of course.
Midors placed an MP-regenerating Spell Circle under Idéa’s feet.
Hmm, this means I can’t simply wait for her to run out of energy. Maybe they learned to do this back when I pulled the waiting trick on Irene way back then.
“Hmm, that looks hard~~”
Natsu is catching on quick. Despite being in the intermediate level of difficulty, the Fire Lance has the longest range out of all common attack spells. There’s no spell that hard-counters it. And I won’t be using any magic or magecraft for this anyway, because that’s what Idéa is challenging me to do.
To achieve that, though, pretty much the only option is to physically touch it.
I could use the Levitation spell to reach it, but that wouldn’t count, considering the intent of the challenge.
I mean, this is probably the same task that Idéa and Midors were given by their mentor. And from the faces they made when I explained the Levitation spell to them, I don’t think they knew beforehand that I could actually use it.
In other words, these two must have cleared the challenge without using Levitation… or any mobility-enhancing spell, really.
Man, this really brings me back to my school days.
“It took me three days to figure out a solution.”
“And I needed five days.”
“Now, what will you do, Asley? Or will you simply give up?”
“Nah, I just have so many choices that I can’t settle on one.”
Idéa’s reaction now is pretty much the same as Irene’s back then, too.
“Let’s see you do it, then.”
“Okay, I’ll just do… this! HUP!”
“Whoa, what a jump!”
A tad too simple, maybe, but I’m totally jumping my way up there — not by using the Levitation spell, but another method I can use to stay airborne, namely the arcane energy platforms. For now, the method is called the ‘Magic Table,’ a name I just threw up the other day because Pochi wouldn’t shut up about giving it a name. I’ll have to come up with a better name for it later.
Anyway, using the Magic Table method, I made several high jumps straight up. The rest is easy — all I have to do is smack the Fire Lance with my Drynium Rod once I’m up there.
Idéa and Midors looked at me in amazement as I glided down, and Natsu gave me a round of applause.
“By the way, how’d you two clear this challenge?”
“Well… I rode on a boulder, lifting it with a tuned-up Remote Control.”
Huh, so they weren’t forbidden from using mobility magic and magecraft to reach it — they just couldn’t use them to perform actions directly on the Fire Lance. Things must’ve been simple for them once they managed to reach the spell up there, too.
“Did Midors do that, too?”
“Nope. His solution was something more… funny. Try not to laugh.”
Idéa said with a bitter grin, and Midors started groaning.
“T-that doesn’t matter! I mean, I STILL cleared it just fine, you know…”
Looks like he’s a bit embarrassed about it.
“He… lifted up the caster on his shoulders and ran far away.”
Right, because the task was to get rid of an UNMOVING Fire Lance. The spell would naturally fade if the caster was moved far enough away from it. Moving the Fire Lance along with them might have moved the task out of its originally intended scope, too.
“I’d like to ask about your ‘many’ other options, but it looks like someone else is eager to provide her answer… So, Natsu, what would you do?”
“Hmm… now that I think about it, it’s surprisingly easy!”
“I’ll ask Baladd for help!”
Damn, this kid is a genius. There’s no rule saying one can’t rely on others, after all.
Everyone got their own unique answers — their own way of solving their problems.
Idéa and Midors, looking real surprised right now, must have realized that, too.
One could use their own abilities to achieve their goals, but if they get stuck, they could find it useful to ask for help from others. As cheesy as it sounds, realizing that your friends are a part of your powers, and you a part of theirs, is but another step towards greater heights.
“I… might have wasted three whole days of my life.”
“And five days for me.”
“No, that’s not it — the time spent thinking also counts as training. It’s never a waste.”
“Y-you think? Well, I guess that’s true…”
“Hahaha, yeah, it’s gotta be!”
Also, what I said just now — “The time spent thinking also counts as training” — THAT sounded pretty damn nice. I gotta write this into the Principles of a Philosopher.
“So, Asley, what are your other options?”
“Well, I could just throw some weapons up there — just like any high-leveled warrior could, really. Rocks and trees would have worked, too, if I adjusted the throwing angle a good bit. Besides, the Fire Lance’s range is only the longest among ATTACK magic spells, remember. Remote Control can operate at a much longer range, for example. I mean, isn’t that what you used to clear the challenge? That’s it — the interesting part of this challenge isn’t the spear, but actually the spell that’s used to control it.”
“As, I see… so anyone who can use Remote Control can clear the challenge easily enough, huh?”
“Right. It’s just that you couldn’t use magic directly on the Fire Lance — using them for other stuff is fair game. You weren’t even told that you couldn’t ask for help from other people, right?”
The challenge’s got a lot of loopholes… but that’s what makes it interesting.
What kind of mage came up with it, anyway? A thickheaded one, or someone who’s grown up in an unusual environment?
One could learn the many uses of magic while searching through countless solutions. This method of teaching provides equal learning opportunities to beginners and experts alike. Very interesting.
…Still, I’m curious…
“Who’s the mage who made you do this challenge, anyway?”
“Ah, we can’t say exactly who just yet, but they’re one of the people invited to be a lecturer for your magic classroom. We only knew that because Fuyu went there, though.”
“I see, I see…”
“If not for her, we definitely wouldn’t be back here yet, you know.”
Ah, so they put the training on hold… Right, considering the number of days since I last saw Barun, it IS too little time to get any training in.
“Now, how about you show us some of your new spells?”
Normally, I’d refuse, because it’d be like revealing a mage’s trade secret to the public.
But this time, it’s special. Idéa knew that, too, which is why she’s willing to ask. I mean, she probably wants to see what I’d be teaching in class anyway.
“Just a little bit, all right?”
“Hehehe… yeah, yeah.”
Idéa looked a little happy, like she’d completed a negotiation in her favor or something. And Midors, for some reason, seems dissatisfied with Idéa’s reaction.
“Let’s start with the Teleportation spell’s new functions. You can use one Spell Circle to move to multiple locations depending on the direction you step on it from…”
I proceeded to explain things to Idéa, Midors, and Natsu — mainly the discoveries I made in the past, and the breakthroughs I might achieve in the future — and spent some time discussing them.
Natsu listened intently while rubbing her sleepy eyes, trying to learn from me as much as possible. Goes to show that she’s as desperate to get through this chaos alive as the rest of us.
Logically speaking, we could just drink some Pochibitan D and power through, but we were all too engrossed in the stuff being discussed that we totally forgot about that.
Then, at dawn, we had to end the discussions because Betty shot us a Telepathic Call telling us to get back immediately.
After returning to the mansion with Idéa’s Teleportation spell, Pochi pointed at her belly and said,
“Look at this, Master! Look!”
She’s got a circle drawn on her belly with ink… and in the center of the circle, the words ‘Master’s Head’.
She repeated while pointing at the letters,
“Here, sir! Right here! This is the important part!”
It took me a few moments, but I finally figured it out — she was angry that I hadn’t used her belly as a pillow last night.
She really can’t figure out if she wants to be a little girl or a sapient beast, huh?
“Now then, is everyone ready?”
Everyone was in high spirits and Ryan addressed them.
Now that I think about it, this might be our first time traveling in such a large group.
“Now we cross the Kamiyama, to the Scarlet Devil Wetlands!”
All right, let’s see what these monsters and their unique evolutions are all about…!