Put precisely, Richard had learnt to cast a grade 1 fireball.
Fireball was a legendary grade 3 spell, just as important as Sharon herself for mages level 1 to 3. The spell was a unique existence with many myths and proverbs floating around it, the most common of which was that a mage who could only cast fireballs wasn’t a good mage. Regardless of that proverb’s views, though, its very spread acknowledged how unique this spell was. Fireball was simply far too important for mages at and below level 3. It allowed mages under level 6 to play a role in the battlefield as well, making it the first spell one would learn when they advanced.
The spell took three seconds to cast, and could be launched at a target up to thirty metres away. There was a 10 metre area of effect where enemies would face slight burns, and a direct hit would eliminate a normal level 5 warrior. The strongest of grade 3 spells, the ability to target more than one person ensured that warriors who had to target individuals wouldn’t meet a good end at the hands of a mage.
The spell’s might had sparked a lot of research by low level mages once upon a time, directly instigating the creation of that proverb. At the pinnacle of research into it, a level 8 mage had once stated that it was possible to kill even a grand mage with five fireballs.
This came from a study that altered the course of magic history, making the fireball a popular subject for people to study and discuss. The study, originally titled, ‘Probing Into The Compounding Of The Fireball’s Power,’ had concluded that even a level 18 mage wouldn’t be able to survive a head on collision with twelve fireballs at the same time. In the most extreme of cases, if the mage was inside a sealed space that reflected the explosive power back onto him, only five would be required to finish him off.
This study had actually gone unnoticed for a while, until that particular busybody had changed the study title to ‘A Grand Mage Can Be Killed By Only Five Fireballs.’ It enraged the grand mages; the people were downplaying their strength, but the logic of this study was detailed and sound. The calculations were accurate and the conclusion was proper despite the fact that it remained theoretical.
No grand mage would allow themselves to be put into a sealed space and have five fireballs strike them. They had great amounts of spiritual force and mana, being unaffected by low-grade magic spells like fireballs. These effects could only be brought about in a controlled environment. Still, weaker mages and those who couldn’t use magic alike couldn’t care less about these facts. The only thought they had was that a fireball could slay a grand mage.
This made the grand mages furious, but they were helpless as well. It would be stupid to argue the idea of being hit by five fireballs at the same time. This school of thought caused some hindrance to the progress of magic, so a grand mage ended up taking it upon himself to lead a team of tens of mages and hundreds of acolytes in intense research. Three years later, their report concluded that a mage who spent too much time on studying the fireball would face difficulties in advancing in the future. The fireball could very well be the last spell they mastered!
The paper sent the mages who excelled in the spell into a clamour. Countless criticisms were levied against the data used in the study, mentioning that the collated statistics were illogical and full of errors. Still, the weak mages performing research on the spell couldn’t cross-reference the data with their own findings, and they didn’t have the resources to get their own. Thus, everyone ended up having to cite this study in their own theories, turning messy data into fact along the way. If someone’s theories didn’t tally with this data, then their experiment had to have been wrong.
No matter how much this caused these fireball mages to fume, they eventually accepted the ‘truth.’ They themselves had been scared by the possibility of their research affecting their own advancement as well; while the grand mage wasn’t particularly famous, he was still a grand mage after all.
This ended up changing the situation around the fireball again, easing up the development of magic in the long run. Still, the process had proven that group size didn’t matter as much as the levels of the mages.
Fireball was fireball, in the end. No matter what people thought of it, the spell itself was special. Even a level 20 grand mage, in a battlefield against tens of thousands of soldiers, would likely start off by tossing a few fireballs. Instant casting, silent incantations, upgrades to the precision, a slowing effect… All sorts of research had been performed into the spell, making it the best spell below grade 6.
The mage who wrote the original theory was forgotten by the time the fad had come to a close, labelled the Five Fireball Mage and banished to the annals of history…
Having browsed through the vast information resources of the Deepblue, Richard understood the complicated history behind the spell.
The only things related directly to magic in an entire month of study was the various schools of magic, basic meditation, and beginner spells. This had only taken up three days out of the whole month as well.
The professor teaching beginner magic was also a grand mage, so he only taught them to stabilise the elements as well as the theory behind spellcasting. Incantations, hand techniques, and other practical portions were mentioned briefly and left for self-study. The month of schooling had shown Richard that the professors focused on theory, delving into it more. Practical lessons like spellcasting were brushed over, and the students were left to figure things out on their own.
A different place would have labelled them frauds or low-level, but in the Deepblue theory was put up on a pedestal; good research was a shortcut to Sharon’s delight. Besides, other than the old history teachers everyone else was at least a great mage at level 14. That alone crushed all forms of suspicion.
Richard had learnt fireball from a magic text he’d received. It wasn’t that hard to cast or control, the main reason for it being a grade 3 spell being that it required a lot of mana. He’d practised after the lessons each day, both meditating and training his casting. He’d taken a total of fifteen days to master all six grade 0 spells, gaining an understanding of the lower end of the magic system as he looked for his first spell.
It was there that his blessing of wisdom had unconsciously been put to play. He’d discovered the grade 3 fireball was extremely easy to cast, much more than even some grade 1 spells. Thousands of years of research and study had brought the spell close to perfection, making casting it effective and efficient. Richard was still a youth, and his curiosity could not be satiated. When he applied everything he’d learnt, and simulations showed that he already had the mana needed to cast the spell, his heart had sped up tremendously.