The store’s interior turned out to not be as shabby as its exterior would suggest.
A wide range of equipment, from armor for lightweight fighters to that for the heaviest soldiers, was on display for customers to browse through.
They were organized distinctly into categories, so we immediately searched for the things that Haruhana would prefer.
The wide and deep interior of the store was filled with weapons such as daggers, long swords, great swords, estoc, and even magic blade artifacts, collectively displayed in a grand gallery.
Hmm… after seeing all that, it’s no wonder that the Silver has taken a liking to this place.
“So, Haruhana… are you sure you’re fine with wielding a katana?”
“Yes, I am. I would never prefer anything else.”
“The katanas are over here!”
Pochi, standing in front of the katana display, called out to us.
Still, I’m not a weapon connoisseur or anything, so what good would my being here even do?
I wouldn’t dare to make a suggestion because it has a high possibility of being a bad choice down the line.
Hmm, looks like the best bet we have now is to ask the shopkeeper.
No, on second thought, it seemed that Haruhana knew what she was doing well enough. Having finally let go of my arm, she intently observed every katana on the shelf. She held up some, tried unsheathing others, and analyzed the ripples on all their blades. She looked somewhat like a suspicious assassin, yet somewhat like a beautiful artisan.
Hmm, the ones hanging on the wall seem to be better … wait, since Haruhana is Rank D now, she should be able to handle those price tags.
She also looked in the miscellaneous section and found some good quality weapons, but I noticed that she had her eyes on one particular katana, hung high up on the right-hand wall, for a while now.
I see, so that’s the one she really was here for. Its asking price was a whopping 58,000 Gold.
That’s enough for two years’ worth of living expenses without a minute of work. Its inscription read… [小桜], pronounced ‘Kozakura’. Its length seemed to be a perfect fit for Haruhana’s stature… now, should I or should I not fork out the gold for her?
I mean, I wouldn’t want to face Betty’s wrath for spoiling her too much…
I folded my arms and thought it over, and without warning, Pochi pointed at the Kozakura and spoke up,
“We’ll take this katana, Boss!”
…Well well, my Familiar sure likes saying strange things. I don’t remember her having any cash on her though?
Now that strange doggo is winking at me. Is that supposed to be some sort of sign?
Ngh – and now Haruhana seems extremely happy for some reason as she wrapped her arms around mine once again and dragged me to the shopkeeper’s counter.
How strange. It seems that the contents of my wallet have decreased by 58,000 Gold since I had exited the store.
Why? Why am I kneeling down on the floor and receiving a lecture from Betty while my Familiar is eating her delicious-looking dinner right in front of me?
It’s bizarre. Of all the 5,000 years I have lived, I had never experienced an unexplainable phenomenon such as this.
Luckily for me, Betty’s straightforward mindset meant she doesn’t hold grudges in most cases… but then again, this case of straight up buying an expensive katana for Haruhana might very well stick with her.
I don’t particularly mind Bruce laughing his head off to her side, but my Familiar, now leisurely scratching her neck with one of her back paws? Unforgivable!
As for Lina, she did not come home today. She was apparently busy with work. It seems that she has been staying overnight at the University more often lately.
Her being the Student Council President, it was probably a given that she would be busy during the influx period of new Freshman candidates. Warren, the previous president, hadn’t given the impression of that being the case at all, but I suppose he was a… special case.
That reminds me, I wonder where Warren is now and what he is up to. I had heard from Irene that, despite having been invited to join so many teams, into the employment of several aristocrats as their house mage, and even the major agencies of the Nation, he had declined them all… and come his graduation, he had simply departed from Beilanea without leaving so much as a trace nor clue. Considering his skills, he would undoubtedly thrive at anything he decided to do. Since he said that he was striving for the upper tiers of the Nation, I thought he would try for a more direct approach, but… well, I’m sure Warren has his ideas and methods well thought out.
“And with that out of the way, Pochi-doggo, thou shalt offer thyself as the first victim of my new staff, the Torrent Dragon Staff!”
“What do you mean, victim?! I thought that things were off when we were leaving town without visiting the Guild… so you were after my fur after all?!”
We had left Beilanea through the west gate and headed to this rarely-visited wasteland, where Pochi and I then stood facing each other.
While monsters appeared here, they were relatively weak, so this location was ideal for me when I wanted some privacy for my training and experiments.
As for the two staves, I had initially planned to discuss with Lina to decide on which one we wanted, but my choice ended up being fixed down by the Silver trio’s suggestion.
The one I had taken was the Torrent Dragon Staff, which I seemed to have better affinity for. In fact, it fit me so well that it might as well be magnetically attracted to my hands, practically tuning itself to my body.
And now… it was nice and all that Pochi played along with my joke, but now she was inclining her head in doubt and asked,
“So… what’re you trying to pull, sir?”
“Well, you remember when that Cleath guy whipped out a big spell with Swift Magic? I figured I’d try implementing it now that I’ve got more slots, and thought you might be fast enough to-“
Blades of wind came flying from Pochi’s nails.
“Wha- what the hell are you doing?!”
“I should be the one asking you that! You always come up with asinine reasons to shoot at me! Are you really God’s chosen one?!”
“He never even chose me, damn it! First I’d need to offer a sacrifice, THEN I’d have a shot at being chosen!”
“By ‘sacrifice,’ you meant ME, right?!”
Tsk, I swear she’s been reading my mind…
“Hah, it’s written all over your face. What a helpless Master you are, sir!”
“I know, right?! Only someone like you would stay by such a useless guy’s side for centuries!”
“Yes, yes, you can say that again! Excellent mages are a dime a dozen, yet I chose to stay with you! Bask in my godly light of kindness!”
Looks like she’s very proud of herself having said all that. Good – my strategy to distract her with a trivial victory was a success.
“Well, you know how it goes. I’ll lay out what I have in mind, and if you have any issues with it, just point them out as we go.”
“But of course! Anything for my helpless Master, sir!”
“First is a division of a big spell’s formula. For example, splitting the Sharp Wind Asteriskos spell into two parts and storing them in the staff.”
“Hmm… but if you do that for two large spells, wouldn’t you be down to just those despite having four slots? How many big spells did Cleath use again?”
Now that she pointed it out, I recalled that the big ones Cleath had used were Rock Blast, Hell Stamp, and Icicle Hellfire – though Rock Blast and Icicle Hellfire had been invoked by drawing Circles. Hell Stamp was technically the only spell that he had unleashed with Swift Magic.
Used in tandem with the Hell Stamp was Remote Control, which also had to be invoked via Swift Magic, and in turn, took up an additional slot. If he were to work with my first idea, he would need a staff with at least three Swift Magic slots.
However, the staff he had wielded… was most likely an Earth Rod, which supported only two slots.
“…Right… now that I think about it, the division method doesn’t seem likely to work.”
“Then what are your other ideas?”
“Operate several Spell Circles using Remote Control, and then stack the spell parts into the emblem at the same time.”
“Doesn’t that sound way too difficult to be practical? You’d be casting one instance of Remote Control for each spell part involved, which means if the spell had three parts, you’d still need to maintain three castings at once. That’s not feasible even for you, sir… Well, it may be doable if multiple casters were involved. I can cast some simple spells myself, so would you like to give it a try?”
“Yeah, let’s see if it works.”
“Nope, didn’t work.”
“Didn’t work, indeed, sir.”
It turned out that the process still involved putting the parts in at once. After all, the stacking ‘at the same time’ was only our perception, and not necessarily the case for how the staff carried out the process. Even the most ‘instant’ timing for us would have a sliver of delay that the staff would register as a new step. Considering this information, my hypothesized method was practically impossible.
If I were to be blunt, I had been quite charmed by the prospect of easy invocations of large-scale magic spells.
I would like to accomplish it with whatever means I could, so as to alleviate as much future pain in my career path as possible. Because of this reason, hitting such a wall was quite a discouragement.
I had tried to list out the people whom I could rely on with this subject, but… well, Tūs was the first to come to mind.
Damn it, it’s like that guy just pops up everywhere now that I know what he’s capable of. Yet he’s made himself inaccessible, refusing to pick up Telepathic Calls. I had wanted to ask Melchi as well, but as it turned out, she had recently gone communication-free as well.
Oh, for the love of God… What’s up with the mentor-and-student duo being so unreliable?
After I was done considering those two, the third name popped up in my mind.
Of course – the man who had given me the Torrent Dragon Staff, Gaston the Great Mage of Flame. I still needed to thank him for the staves too, so I immediately contacted him.
[“Hello? This is Asley. It’s been a while, Sir Gaston.”]
[“Ngh… Young man? We did meet just the other day, so it hasn’t been THAT long, don’t you think? Well, whatever. What do you want?”]
[“I’ve received the Torrent Dragon Staff and Blazing Dragon Staff from the store. Thank you very much, sir.”]
[“Hmph, finally got those off my shelf, I see. I suppose I can’t blame you since that… incident… happened. Which one of them do you plan to use?”]
[“I seemed to have a higher affinity for the Torrent Dragon Staff, sir. And with that, I’ll be handing the Blazing Dragon Staff over to Lina.”]
[“I see, I see. Hehehehe… Then I look forward to next year’s Fourth Month.”]
[“What about the Fourth Month… sir?”]
[“What, haven’t you heard? Lina will be working for me after she graduates from the Magic University. I’ve already discussed the particulars a while ago, when I went to a meeting at the Pochisley Agency.”]
Oh… So that’s it… Well, I mean, this was Lina’s choice to make. It’s not my business to say anything regarding the matter.
‘So what about you, young man?’ Gaston asked, but I gave a non-committal answer and shifted the conversation to the topic I wanted to discuss.
Although Gaston was audibly peeved at having his question dodged, he still responded to my inquiry.
[“…So THAT is actually a thing.”]
[“At least from what I’ve witnessed, yes. To be honest, I consider such a short casting process for large magic spells as quite a threat. So, Sir Gaston… I thought you would know something about it?”]
[“My initial reaction should be enough for an answer, don’t you think?”]
[“Yes, but I thought you might have something to add, you see…”]
[“Hmph, you’ve gotten good at flattery, haven’t you? Anyways, I reckon being able to use magecraft is the key here. You can use it as well, so I would say that this thing is for you to figure out for yourself.”]
And with that, my discussion with Gaston ended for the time being.
I was sure that Cleath was capable of using magecraft as well. He couldn’t possibly be able to use black magecraft without knowing how to use the normal variety. Word has it that Swift Magic had been invented quite recently too – on the scale of centuries, anyway – so him having black magecraft in his arsenal might be an important factor. No way could he just whip out his big spells with a relatively ‘new’ technique just like that.
Still, magecraft, huh…
Now, to consider the presumed fact that large-scale magic spells could not be invoked via Swift Magic. Why is that the case? With some thought, it was so simple – their magic formulas were so large that, even on the off-chance that they could fit in a slot, they could not be invoked through the method. With that in mind, would it work out if the focus was put on decreasing the size of the formulas instead?
Wait, no, even if the magic formulas could be optimized, their size could not be reduced. Then what about putting in magecraft? No, that would further increase its size…
“Hwah… Master, it’s gotten pretty late now, don’t you think? The more dangerous monsters start appearing around this time too, so let’s go home already… There’s no one to watch us here, so you can use the Teleportation spell!”
Oh, I didn’t realize it was already this late. I ought to hurry back, otherwise Betty will be angry at us again.
As Pochi said, I could just make a Teleportation Circle here and be home instantly… and if I were to put in a Time-Limit Termination formula, then I could immediately erase it once… wait, is that it?
“…! That’s it! The key is the Time-Limit Termination magecraft!”
“Huh? Wouldn’t the spell’s information itself disappear if you use that?”
“C’mon, I’ll just try it out once, so look! Rise, A-rise… Here we have the Sharp Wind Asteriskos… and now I put this in here…”
The emblem glowed, and the Spell Circle inside it did indeed vanish. This signified that the spell itself has now been slotted into the staff.
In turn, this meant that spell exceeded the informational volume limit, and could not be invoked with Swift Magic.
“…Sharp Wind Asteriskos!”
Yes, without a doubt, the spell in its unaltered form was unleashed from the staff. It streaked through the wasteland, leaving a prominent trench in its path.
Pochi, with eyes almost popping out of their sockets, glanced at my free hand to verify that I hadn’t been drawing a Circle.
“It-it worked! Wait, how did you do that?!”
“Like I said, I just put in the Time-Limit Termination magecraft!”
“Answer me seriously, or else I’ll get angry, sir!”
Well, it wouldn’t be nice of me to anger Pochi when she’s as thirsty for knowledge as she is now. I coughed to clear my throat and started to explain,
“It’s pretty simple actually. Again, the key is to put the Time-Limit Termination magecraft into the large-scale spell’s formula. This means the magecraft formula will make up the biggest section of the magic spell’s information.”
“And… what then, sir?”
“See, the spell is analyzed at the step in which its entirety is slotted into the staff’s emblem – and remember that there’s no need for all its parts to be magic formulas for it to be put into the staff. If I make it so that the Time-Limit Termination magecraft takes up the largest section of the ‘magic formula’ information, then I can set that information to be terminated after the whole thing is in.”
“Ohh! So the information you initially forced into the staff mitigates in volume, allowing the staff to unleash the remaining parts!”
(Xemul: For those who still didn’t get it, here is a clarification from Barnnn –
Originally you can force a large spell in but can’t cast it because the emblem calculating the info of the whole spell to be too much. Padding it with unrelated info and deflating it, once inside, fools the emblem to think the spell is actually far smaller, semi-forcing the emblem to cast it out. It still consumes the required amount of energy from the caster though.)
“That’s amazing, sir!”
“HAHAHAHA, keep the praises coming!”
“I knew you could do it, Master! I knew I was right to choose you!”
Yeah, this doggo might be a bit too much into her ‘God’ role-play.