Chapter 4: The Apprentice meets the Soldier – Unexplainable (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
In the following ten days, Saleen repeated the spell continuously, but never once managed to complete it. Regardless of how perfect his incantation was or how skilled his hand gestures were, he just could not complete this simple level-0 magic.
During this time, Mage Jason had appeared only once. The rest of the time, he was in the laboratory, which had been transformed from the former large living room. It appeared as though he did not need to eat anything, and was continuously conducting magical experiments in the house.
Saleen was a little anxious, but it was useless to be anxious when learning magic. Hence, he could only practice over and over again. Finally, on the thirtieth day, Saleen mastered this magic.
He dashed to Jason’s laboratory excitedly. Jason saw the excitement on Saleen’s face and sighed as he said, “It took you thirty days to learn level-0 magic. This shows that your aptitude is extremely poor. I suggest that you do not continue, or you will probably remain an apprentice for the rest of your life.”
Saleen was stunned. “Teacher…”
“Not convinced? Let’s do an experiment then,” Jason took out a crystal ball, placed it on the table, and said, “Face this and complete the spell.”
As instructed, Saleen hurriedly cast the Reading Magic spell, but there was no change in the clear crystal ball.
Jason put the crystal ball away and said, “This is worse than I expected. You have great mental power, but your affinity to the elements is too weak. According to this assessment result, you will probably only be a grade-1 mage when you are a hundred years old. Saleen, if you are willing, I will give you a sum of money. You can find a swordcraft hall in a city of the Sikeqinya Empire. You should do quite well learning swordcraft at your age.”
Saleen felt as though he had been drenched by cold water. If it had not been for this opportunity, he probably would have accepted Jason’s suggestion. However, having practiced for thirty days, he was now obsessed with magic. When he had completed the level-0 magic, the sense of euphoria that he had gotten from being in control could not be diminished from his core.
Become a swordsman? Like the armed escorts of Ceylon City, who patrolled the streets every day and blocked the city gate to collect taxes? Or like the useless mercenary ones who, at thirty years old, could not even find themselves wives?
“Teacher, is there no other way?” Saleen asked as he struggled with his inner self.
“It is not that there is no other way, but I cannot afford to pay the price. This is not a problem that gold coins can resolve. You would need nine grade-9 mages willing to help you to reform your body’s constitution. Even so, your future achievement would be that of a lowly mage at best, and it would not get you to grade-4,” Jason replied helplessly.
“Teacher, I would like to give it a try. I would rather be a one-hundred-year-old apprentice than a swordsman. Please teach me the method of meditation,” Saleen said, gritting his teeth. He had a bad impression of swordsmen. None of the swordsmen in Ceylon City were up to standard. In addition, there was no knowing what would happen after he took Jason’s money to learn swordcraft. After having been deceived by many from a young age, Saleen was disheartened with this world.
“If you insist, alright. But you are not allowed to leave after you have mastered my method of meditation until you have become a qualified mage.”
“I am willing to persist.”
“My method of meditation is very valuable, even in the Qin Empire. If you ever reveal it to others, I shall take your life. Do you understand?” Jason said this calmly. Saleen felt a chill at the bottom of his heart. He knew his teacher was not taking this lightly, and if he ever went against this request…
“So where do we start?” Jason mumbled to himself. He was at a loss, as this was his first time ever having an apprentice. In the past, he had been a grade-2 apprentice with a strong foundation in knowledge when his teacher had taught him the method of meditation. Saleen obviously did not know anything.
“The method of meditation is basically comprised of meditation skills, absorption of the elements, hypnosis, and spiritual resonance. The average mage only learns meditation skills. The full method of meditation can only be learned from a mage master. The books only offer simple meditation skills. Based on self-learning, one can never be a mage master…”
Jason patiently conducted lessons from scratch for Saleen, and imparted every single piece of knowledge he possessed to him. Saleen took merely half an hour to memorize everything that Jason had said. Jason was speechless at Saleen’s intelligence, but felt sad for him at the same time. He was such a bright child, but possessed such an unusually low affinity to the elements.
“Alright, I have told you all about the method of meditation. You are very bright. Read the books upstairs according to the sequence. Meditating at least once a day will probably benefit you. Remember to prepare a meal for me once a week, and go to the city to get some bread if it runs out. I will give you a gold coin. After you have completely mastered the method of meditation, I will have jobs for you.”
“Yes, Teacher,” Saleen bowed his head and exited the room. He was still young and did not know that he had chosen an exceptionally tough route. He only felt elation, as though the door to another world had opened up for him. What he did not yet know was the price he had to pay for entering this door.
Saleen immediately went to the first room filled with books and began his learning. The first bookshelf covered language study. Saleen was illiterate and could only take it one step at a time. Reading magic was mystical in that it enabled him to self-learn words. The only trouble was that after he had used reading magic once, he would need to rest for half an hour before he could use it again.
Because of this, it took Saleen a month before he finally learned the common language of the mainland, which was the language he had been speaking. He had wanted to move onto the next book in advance, but noticed that the types of magic books in the house were much too varied. In addition, not all of them were written in the common language. There were at least twenty languages in the books on those bookshelves. Saleen had no choice but to finish the books on the first bookshelf before moving on to the next one.
Mages were learned men. Without reading magic, it was impossible for one to fully practice magic.
It was fortunate that Saleen mastered the method of meditation within a month, at a much faster pace than before. He could now deploy reading magic twice and fully recover in ten minutes.
The magic elements found in apprentices of magic were usually pitifully low in number. Saleen had even less than the average apprentice. Despite this, he was very content. Each of the four large rooms had dozens of big bookshelves amounting to tens of thousands of books in total. It was more than enough for him to read!
He was no longer anxious about progression. Instead, he yearned to acquire more information. Saleen patiently conducted his learning according to the sequence of the books. Language study comprised of more than a thousand books – common language, Myers language, magical language, Qin language, Sikeqinya language, Tanggulasi language… Saleen even learned the Caucasus language. There had never been a mage in Caucasus. The area was very primitive and only had priests. Saleen was now obsessed with learning languages. It took him half a year to master the content of more than a thousand language books.
It had been a slow start at the beginning, but as he started to recognize more words, the speed of his learning increased.
By the time he completed the last book, he was able to deploy reading magic three times in succcession. This signified that he had attained the grade of a grade-2 apprentice. Saleen was unaware that because his mental power was very strong, he had only exhausted a small amount of it while controlling his magic. As it had been used on level-0 magic, its usage had been pathetically low. In reality, the magical elements stored within his body were only comparable to that of a grade-1 apprentice.
Such speed was not only unique, but absolutely unheard of. An average person with such speed would have been kicked out long ago. Saleen indeed possessed a most amazing law of meditation, and he had used only half a year’s time to learn it. However, he did not even have any stored energy to work on his element magic. Jason was not positive that Saleen was suitable for learning magic.
The next topic was the knowledge of magic, which could similarly be found on a bookshelf of over one thousand books. Since he had discovered the mysterious world of magic, Saleen had no idea how much he would be able to learn, but he believed that his hard work would pay off.
The year in which magic had originated was unknown. Many believed that the magic in the Myers Mainland possessed over thirty thousand years of history. It was not until about ten thousand years ago, during the Second Dynasty, that it had been properly categorized into six parts. These parts were namely earth, water, wind, fire, light, and darkness. From then on, the calendar in the Myers Mainland had been improved. A year was divided into twelve months; each month had thirty days; six days formed a week. The sixth day of each week was considered the dark day, and was the day of rest for all trades. Even with the fall of Myers Goddess, the Goddess of Nature, and the rise of the Holy See, this practice had remained unchanged.
The Holy See’s calendar had been too complicated. It had thought that there should be seven days in a week. After one hundred years of implementation, out of the entirety of the mainland, only within the Holy See did anyone make use of the new calendar. In the end, they abandoned it as well.
It was not that apprentices were limited to deploying level-0 magic before they became grade-1 mages. After progressing to grade-6, magic apprentices were generally allowed to learn level-1 magic and complete it. This was known as the method of acceleration within the magic formula. There was only one chance to use the method of acceleration, but it was not unusual for mages to succeed in it.
However, after a mage accelerated, they would be weakened. It would be almost impossible for them to recover on their own. Only by relying on meditation could they recover their expended magic chords.
Magic chords were the cornerstone of magic. Without them, an apprentice would not be able to progress to being a proper mage. The formation of the magic chords required strong mental power and a strong affinity to the elements. Saleen’s affinity to the elements was extremely low, thus Jason had said that he would have to wait until he was one hundred years old to become a mage.
Based on Saleen’s current speed of progress, this had been no exaggeration.
Regarding what magic chords were, there were detailed descriptions in various books but they were not universal. What Saleen understood was that they were the base for the deployment of elemental power. The apprentices, through their continuous practice, would accumulate magic elements in their bodies. The volume of the magic elements would eventually change their qualities as well. This was the process in which magic chords were formed, similar to how an apprentice would progress to becoming a true-blue mage.
Saleen was dismayed that he had not seen any book mentioning other ways to form magic chords. If he were to depend on accumulation, he had very little hope of ever becoming a mage.
Within half a year, the food stored in the kitchen had all been eaten, and Saleen knew that it was time for him to go into the city to stock up. He went to Jason’s laboratory, and told him that he needed to go to the city.
“How is your practice coming along?”
“I am able to complete three reading skills in succession.” Saleen emphasized the word “three” in the hopes that it would attract his teacher’s attention.
“That’s great. Go ahead.” Jason did not say much but gave Saleen five gold coins as he usually did. Saleen’s speed of progress was slightly faster than what he had predicted. However, Jason knew that it had only been due to Saleen’s strong mental power. He judged that since Saleen still only had the capabilities of a grade-1 apprentice, it was meaningless for him to deploy any additional level-0 magic; it would not help Saleen accumulate enough magical elements to form any magic chords.