A Monster Who Levels Up
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The expression on Johannsson's face as he looked at Sae-Jin's ball of white flames was quite something else.
But his reaction was understandable. Moving Mana around the body according to one's will was a highly specialised skill set that one only acquired after repeatedly going through arduous training. It was not for nothing the Wizards were seen as true professionals.
But now, a man who had never ever received training nor education on how to wield Mana was, after taking one single look at a grimoire, somehow went beyond simply replicating it, he also corrected the apparent errors and advanced its grade, all at the same time. No matter how much his Trait helped him out here, this was just too…
"I told you, try it out at least once. Like this." (Sae-Jin)
As Johannsson stood there, busy escaping from the reality of the situation, a voice entered his ear canals. After waking up from his daze, he lowered his gaze downwards and saw a grimoire full of chicken scratches… no, rather, pages of content corrected with a red pen.
"Try it according to this diagram. The effect should be same as mine. Mister Johannsson is a great Wizard, after all." (Sae-Jin)
"…Ah, yes… Please, wait for a moment."
Persuaded somewhat by Sae-Jin's words, the still-dazed Johannsson began circulating Mana according to the 'corrected' grimoire.
Originally, 'White Flames' was a spell that appeared on the caster's palm after circulating Mana a few times through one's heart. Shockingly enough, Mana circulated far more efficiently and smoothly than before. Most of all, though - the density of magical energy formed at the end of the process was… It was a lot more explosive than before.
"Well, what do you think?" (Sae-Jin)
Magic had two standards to judge its merits: 'grades' of the spells used, and 'strength of the aura' emitted when the spell activated.
Higher grade spells were obviously seen as high class magic to perform, while the skill and proficiency of the caster was judged by the strength and the vividness of the hue released by the aura emitted from the spell.
To explain, the difference in magic spells was the difference in their grades, while the difference between the same magic cast was the difference in the deeper hue of its emitted aura. Every Wizard was taught that the biggest factor in determining the 'aura' was the Magic Strength of its caster, the ability to control Mana at will.
That was why, Johannsson was even more speechless. He could not form one line of coherent thought inside his head, as he silently looked on at the hotly-burning ball of flame above his palm.
Hell, he wasn't even feeling the elation and satisfaction of advancing magic by another step forward. No, only questions bubbled up in his head. Without a doubt, his Magic Strength stat did not grow an inch. Yet, why was this ball of flames burning up so much hotter than before?
"Didn't I tell you? My Trait is quite exceptional." (Sae-Jin)
Johannsson dazedly stared at Sae-Jin, the perpetrator of this unimaginable situation. All Sae-Jin could do was to scratch that itch behind his neck.
"For now… let's postpone the rest of the tutoring to a later date. I have some unfinished work to attend to…" (Sae-Jin)
As Sae-Jin stealthily turned around to leave, Johannsson took a large stride forward.
"Excuse me, Mister Kim Sae-Jin!!" (Johannsson)
At his loud call, Sae-Jin's footsteps came to a halt. Johannsson alternated his gaze between the grimoire in his hands and Sae-Jin while carrying a determined expression, and then, handed the book over to him.
"Please, take this. This '
White Flames' is no longer the 'White Flames', and so, it's not the property of our Wizard Tower anymore." (Johannsson)
"No, thanks. I don't need it…" (Sae-Jin)
Johannsson forcibly shoved the grimoire in Sae-Jin's arms. Then, he stared at Sae-Jin who was feeling rightfully awkward at that moment, with a pair of passionate eyes and spoke fervently.
"And if it's at all possible… Can you lend us your power, to our Wizard Tower? No, it's fine if it's not just our Wizard Tower. The world of magic probably hasn't seen a genius like y…. Keheum. No, the world has been waiting for the entrance of an extraordinary Trait like yours. Plus, the number of Wizards specialising on attack spells have seen a noticeable decrease of late as well, because the difficulty of mastering such spells. And thanks to that, during the recent Monster incidents…"
Sae-Jin found it a bit difficult to understand everything Johannsson was firing out of his mouth. But he was sure of a couple of things. This guy wanted him to become a Wizard, and…
"Also, I, I would like to be your s, spokesperson or a middleman. I may look like this, but actually, I am one of the most promising Wizards affiliated with the Seoul's Wizard Tower…" (Johannsson)
…He wanted to gain some benefits along the way.
Sae-Jin scratched his chin as he fell deep into a thought. He wasn't too keen on hiding behind the veil of anonymity, at least not at this very moment. Well, he got a lot of flak for that fiasco as the Orc Blacksmith, after all.
But as he stood there, looking at Johannsson busy yapping on and on about big contributions towards the world of magic, Sae-Jin couldn't help but think this guy was quite adorable in his own way. Plus, leaving behind a tangible 'footprint' for others to follow, in order to combat the upcoming calamity seemed like a…
"…Mister Johannsson. May I ask you where you live at the moment?"
"Excuse me? Oh, I, uh… live in Bangbae-Dong. But why….?" (Johannsson)
"Nah, it's nothing. Well, I'll sleep on it first. For now, have a nice day." (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin smirked slightly as he saw Johannsson to the door. And in the hands of the leaving Elf, he was holding the grimoire of the White Flames - the Wizard of Bangbae-Dong Edition.
Grimoires were the most important assets for Wizard Towers.
They played such an important role, the rankings of a Wizard Tower and its reputation among its peers were determined by the number of grimoires in possession of the said Tower.
So, it was obvious that Wizard Towers would be especially strict on the upkeep of these grimoires, as well as on who gets to read them. Restrictions were placed on renting the books out according to a Wizard's grade, and once successfully renting one, the Wizard was forbidden from leaving the Tower with it until he or she returned the book.
However, those low-grade magic spells, such as Fireball, Ice Arrow, Haste, etc, etc, were deemed unnecessary to store in secrecy by the Towers and so, were available to the public and were even used as teaching materials in schools.
Although these people would rush in like a bunch of wild, crazed animals if a grimoire got leaked out of a Tower whether by mistake or through deliberate means, they still made an exception to these low-grade spells. The truth was, any learner wishing to become a Wizard would have mastered these spells by the age of 14 already.
"…Senior Sehmen, Have you seen this?" (TL: Yes, really. That's the name written by the author…)
Funnily enough, though - the spells that were garnering attention from various Wizard Towers at the moment were these low graded ones.
"What is it?"
"Here. It's a blog run by a Wizard whose not affiliated with anyone… There are corrected versions of Fireball's and Ice Arrow's grimoires uploaded on it."
The place here was the middle floors of the Korea's best Wizard Tower, Seoul Tower. This was an area where mid-ranked Wizards stayed while studying various magic as recorded within grimoires, or invented a new spell, or even researched new methods to utilise artifacts efficiently during many different circumstances.
"And why are the grimoires being corrected? No, wait. Which crazy idiot did that in the first place?"
The lowest-graded grimoires almost never saw any corrections. Not only was it a waste of effort to correct the errors of such spells, but from a long, long time ago, these weak-sauce spells were pretty much set in stone for the rest of the wizarding community anyways.
"I was thinking the same thing, but… it's a weird thing, this."
When the junior Wizard projected the blog in the air as a hologram, messy pages of a grimoire floated up. With several words carelessly written alongside the path of Mana's circulation, now it resembled more of a graffiti rather than an actual grimoire.
"..What the hell is this rubbish?"
Normal grimoires simply recorded the paths where Mana was to be circulated. And the individual Wizards were tasked with figuring out the correct chanting that personally suited them to get the Mana's flow right. It was a poor reasoning without a doubt, one of many inconvenient things found in the closed-off world of wizardry and magic.
"This Wizard wrote that this is a better way to circulate Mana… Apparently, it's become quite famous among the cliques of the newbie Wizards. I hear the 'F-grade' Fireball can display, at minimum, an E+, and at maximum, a D-, worth of power."
"…Haaah. What the hell is this scam now?"
The Elf Wizard named Sehmen slowly shook his head.
"But, dude. I don't care about noobs and civilians, but why the hell are you believing in this sh*t? Don't you know there are a lot of these quacks popping out everywhere lately? Besides, did you say he's unaffiliated? Can't you see that he's busy showing off, trying to get a little bit of fame so he can enter a good Wizard Tower?"
"Ah, the thing is, though… I tried it out just now…"
"What? You did?"
"Yes. I was thinking the same as you, Senior. But there was just way too many controversies surrounding this in our Wizarding community, so…"
"Okay, fine. So? Did it work as advertised?"
"…Yes. As I said before… it seemed that the spell's power increased by several grades."
Hearing this somewhat shocking admission from his junior, Sehmen crossed his arms and studied the hologram projection.
Reading the recommendations such as 'be more mindful here since Mana can spin around nonstop if you make a mistake', his nerves were slightly pricked, but still, he calmed his mind and then tried the spell out as it was shown on the diagram…
A ball of flames came to life. However, the powerful aura it was emitting was nothing to laugh about. Panicking at the ferocious flames that were busy licking the ceiling's paint, Sehmen hurriedly controlled his Mana and decreased the size of the Fireball. And this flame became a perfect round sphere that emitted a brilliant light as if it was a miniature sun or something.
"A, as expected of Senior!!"
The Junior Wizard let out a gasp of admiration at that beautiful light. Meanwhile, Sehmen gulped visibly before shifting his eyes back to the hologram of that blog page. His lips moved up and down silently. He must've been trying to memorise the address of the blog, unbeknownst to the junior Wizard by his side.
"Yeah, it is quite strange. B, by the way, you know who this Wizard is?"
"He's got a nickname. It's the Wizard of Bangbae-Dong. But no one knows his real identity. It has been only a week since he made his debut…"
"Oh, is that so? Anyways… is, is there a higher grade spell than this one on the blog?"
Sehmen asked in a voice that said I don't need it, but I shall ask since that'll be rude to you, who have gone out of your way to introduce me to it.
"No. Only 'Ice Arrow' and 'Fireball', and nothing else. But really. Will he reveal the others for free like this? I mean, he'll probably sell it for good money to a Wizard Tower or monopolise it for himself."
"…Hmm, you think so?"
Sehmen took a deeper glance at the blog, and then sent a signal with his eyes to the junior Wizard as if he had come to a decision.
"What should I write here?"
The junior was quick on the uptake, so he clicked on the comment box.
"…Ask if he's got other spells. No wait. That's too obvious. Write, 'What a truly wonderful original method you have, sir. I can only admire you for having the bravery to express your thoughts on the matter which coincidentally, I had been dreaming of all along as well. By any chance, would you like to work alongside our Wizard Tower?' Okay, make sure you send it as a private message. Hey, dude!! I said, PM him, PM!!"
"Oh, my, my bad. I'll erase it and start over…"
Still clueless about the small-ish waves created by the two rectified grimoires he had uploaded as a sort-of trial run, currently Sae-Jin was holding a serious meeting with Kim Yu-Sohn.
"As you have suggested, that hidden village could very well be the sanctuary of Nosferatus. They are the only Vampire types that don't hunt humans, after all." (Kim Yu-Sohn)
"Are you planning to go there?" (Kim Yu-Sohn)
Sae-Jin was in a dilemma. If he wanted to find out why his mother was cooperating with with these Vampires, he had to go and talk to them. But he was rather fearful of the prospect - just what kind of shocking truth will he get to hear from them?
*SFX for a mobile phone buzzing*
The alarm on Sae-Jin's phone went off. When he took a glance, it was something like [A new comment has been uploaded on the Wizard of Bangbae-Dong's blog…]. Ignoring it for now, Sae-Jin concentrated on the documents Kim Yu-Sohn handed over to him.
The Nosferatu's sanctuary was located right on the boundaries of the Monster field, but there didn't seem to be any serious danger. Still…
His phone went off again. Furrowing his brows, Sae-Jin simply chose to switch the phone into 'silent mode' as soon as he saw the words [the Wizard of Bangbae-Dong…]
"…What is it? A blog?" (Kim Yu-Sohn)
"Ah, yes. Not too long ago, I started a blog about magic out of curiosity. But it seems like most of the Wizards do not like what I've uploaded on it." (Sae-Jin)
Sae-Jin chuckled slightly as he turned the phone's screen off, while thinking, Is it because I've made corrections willy-nilly?
"Well, they are famous for their stubborn pride, aren't they." (Kim Yu-Sohn)
Sae-Jin just laughed it off and concentrated on the documents again.
"It should be better to arrive at the entrance with Mercenaries as escorts, right?" (Sae-Jin)
"Yes, sir. That's the point I'd like to talk to you about. More than likely…" (Kim Yu-Sohn)
The meeting between the two continued on.
All the while, the name of 'the Wizard of Bangbae-Dong' was slowly spreading within the communities of Wizards.
< 35. The Wizard of Bangbae-Dong (2) > Fin.
(TL: Good news!! There will be four sponsored chapters this weekend. I plan to release two on Saturday and the other two on Sunday. Well, see you guys and gals tomorrow.)