Descent of the Legendary Archmage
[Translator – Nya]
[Proofreader – Karane]
'Ko Sangjun. The author of this thesis is Ko Sangjun.’
'Thank you. I'll repay you for this later.'
Immediately after hearing the author's name from Adella, I headed to my room and gathered information on the person named Ko Sangjun.
[Independent Magic Researcher]
[Their gender seems to be male]
[They've published only 1 thesis so far, that being 'The feasibility of space transportation magic']
[Perhaps their mind was shattered by the harsh criticisms directed at their thesis, but 1 year after the publication of their thesis, they disappeared without a trace.]
As a student, this was all the information I could gather.
Because they hadn't accomplished anything nor gotten any awards, I couldn't even find a picture of them.
“As I thought, it's going to be hard to find him on my own.”
Since he has no affiliations, it'll be hard to find anyone who has any connections to him, so trying to find him will probably be impossible.
''I need to borrow the power of the Blue Magic Tower."
Although if I asked father, he could probably deploy Seokhyun ahjussi to find him, this time it's better to ask a favor of the Blue Magic Tower.
The Magic Shin Clan has very few personal connections with magic researchers. However, the Blue Magic Tower has several magic researchers, so they're the perfect people to ask if I need to find one.
I immediately sent a text to Kim Kang-in.
[Could you find someone for me?]
* * *
The weekend flew by.
I decided to leave the search for Ko Sangjun to the Blue Magic Tower.
Thanks to this, I was able to concentrate on the second test all weekend.
All weekend, whenever I had the chance, I went to the second test's page and took it.
After about 40 hours of hardships, I succeeded in activating up to the 25th magic circle.
'I'm a quarter of the way there.'
It took 8 hours to be able to activate 10. And 40 hours to activate 25. With the rate at which I'm progressing, it could take over 100 hours to progress to the 40th circle. No, even 100 hours might not be enough.
'Especially since the more I progress, the more complex the magic circle gets...'
The start was a pain, but the end is even more of a pain. To think it'll be like this when I'm only on the 25th. I can't even imagine how much more difficult it'll become when I get past 50 or 75.
“Then next. Shin Hayul."
Whilst I was in the middle of sighing, the instructor called my name.
I slowly got up from my seat and headed to the training room.
"How many points do you reckon he'll get?"
"Well, Shin Hayul's been in great form lately, so maybe over 50?"
“Isn’t 50 too much?”
“I think it might be possible. Shin Hayul's magic sensitivity and control these days are top tier.”
Monday's morning class was a sort of test to check the individual's mana sensitivity and control.
"Student Shin Hayul. Please enter immediately.”
As I entered the training room, 10 mana stone panels greeted me, placed all around like buttons. I took my position amidst the panels.
'They sure did put in a lot of work.'
These mana stones are a kind of luminous stone. When you have mana, it emits light, and when you lose your mana, the light disappears.
— There will probably be one final confirmation before the test. Student Shin Hayul. Try to block the mana of the illuminated panel. The panel at the center emits light by absorbing mana flowing in from the outside.
I put my hand on the panel and blocked off the mana.
The light of the luminous stone faded away in an instant.
'This is easy.'
This is what this test is all about.
The 10 mana stone panels glow randomly, and the examinee puts their hand on the illuminated panel to block the mana flowing into the mana stones, therefore turning off the light. The test is that simple.
— As I've heard, your control is excellent. To think that you would completely block off the mana of the mana stone at that moment...
Of course, just because the test is simple doesn't mean that it's easy. In fact, it's on the more difficult side.
Up, down, left, right, front and back. Instantly detecting which of the mana stone panels placed in all 360 degrees lit up and putting my hand on the corresponding panel. Accurately analyzing the value of mana flowing into the corresponding mana stone and moving my mana to block the mana.
This sequence of actions is repeated nonstop for 1 minute.
'The average score for this test is 27.'
It takes elite students with an average magic casting speed of a little more than 1 second about 2-3 seconds to clear a panel. In fact, everyone says that this training is the most difficult and most complicated.
— Then we'll start in 5 seconds. Get ready.
Of course, that doesn't apply to me.
...Difficult and complicated? Something like this where you only need to have a clear understanding of the value of mana? Even though I'm trying to take a test where I have to control not one but 37? And I'm controlling not one but two circles at once!
Beep, beep, beep!
....I snorted and blocked off the mana coming from the mana stone panel.
'Those who say this is difficult should really go into the second test's page and try it.'
This kind of training is nothing compared to the second Bytenor-style exam that I'm currently struggling with.
If the Bytenor style's second test is Starbucks, then this test is instant coffee. No, scrap that, it's just plain water.
'...Ah, I got mad for no reason.'
Perhaps I've accumulated a lot of stress over these past 3 days.
I was preoccupied with training more than necessary.
Ding ding ding ding ding ding!
The mana panel's light faded away at tremendous speed. And like so exactly one minute passed.
— The training session has ended! Student Shin Hayul! Number of panels touched! 74!
I easily broke the all-time record.
‘...If only the second page's test had only this level of difficulty.'
I sighed deeply.
* * *
[Translator - Nya]
[Proofreader - Karane]
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* * *
Today was the day of the one-on-one training.
''Hey, hey! This isn't right!"
My training partner this time was Soonchan who was shouting with a frightened expression.
"Why? what's wrong?"
“That crazy magic! Come on now, this just isn't right!"
Five wind spears continue to revolve around Soonchan.
“It’s just your everyday one-circle magic, what's wrong?”
I grinned and five wind spears simultaneously flew towards him.
"Bullshit! In what universe is that your everyday 1-circle magic! You conscienceless bastard"
Soonchan used his speciality fire-attribute magic to set up walls of fire in all directions.
He's using the 3rd circle magic 'Fire Wall'. If it collides with my wind spear, which is only a 1 circle magic spell, it will disappear in an instant.
''What's the point in protecting just your upper body?"
As long as they don't collide, there's no problem.
My wind spear bent like a snake, out of the range of the Fire Wall, and flew towards Soonchan's lower body.
Soonchan, who had noticed that the Wind Spear was targeting his lower body, used double casting to cast a barrier on his exposed lower body. He blocked my wind spear.
"Oh. You're blocking well though?"
“Wow, that really is absurd. What kind of magic does that?"
Soonchan looks at me with a disgusted expression on his face.
“Ordinarily I really wouldn't say something like this. But it’s really disgusting.”
''Thanks for the compliment."
In battle, to call one's magic disgusting is the highest form of praise.
“I wanted to experience how dirty it was, so I jumped straight into a magic battle. But this can't do. There's no answer.”
"Don't be such a crybaby."
"No, I'm being serious. If I fight any more long-distance magic battles with you I'm going to lose my hair."
It was a serious expression he had on his face.
“Then what are you going to do?”
“What do you mean what am I going to do?”
Soonchan lowered his center of gravity and took a stance as if he was about to rush right at this moment.
"I'll have to fight you in hand-to-hand combat so that your bullshit magic can't intervene!"
His mana shone in silver, a color reminiscent of steel. That mana permeated all over Soonchan's body.
Soonchan, who had closed the gap between us in an instant, swung his fist toward my face. It was a fist infused with a ton of mana. He used all of this 3rd circle class mana to strengthen his body.
"In hand-to-hand combat, whether it be your alteration magic or whatever, it's useless~ That's what I mean!"
A heavy fist brushed past my skin.
“You thought this out well.”
He took great advantage of the fact that I'm unable to use magic more powerful than 2-circle magic.
''You're right. In a hand-to-hand battle, alteration magic loses its strengths and the only thing that determines the outcome of the fight is the difference between 2-circle and 3-circle magic. Mm. It's a good strategy.”
Soonchan swung his fist at me again with a content expression on his face. A powerful punch filled with pure 3-circle class mana.
I dodged the punch very easily.
“Are you confident? Fighting me in hand-to-hand combat I mean."
"...Uh, fuck?" Soonchan swore with an expression on his face that said, 'I'm screwed.'
* * *
“Your very existence is busted, you bastard.”
Soonchan, who had lost, glared at me while gnawing at his lips.
''Your long range abilities are filthy. And short distance is a no since you're good at that too. Sigh. You're disgusting! Disgusting!"
“If it's pissing you off, then just train with the same routine as me, no?”
"...Oi. I want to stay as a human being? I've heard what you've been up to at the gym recently, but by the sounds of it, you've completely left the human realm."
''Mhm. My athletic performance has definitely improved by a lot lately."
By becoming a 2nd Circle Master, my Infinity Circle improved my body again. As a result, my morning workouts are getting more and more intense.
"You're a real monstrous bastard..."
"That's a compliment right?"
"It's an insult, you bastard!"
Soonchan giggled as he said that.
“In any case, what do you plan on doing now?”
“Isn’t your goal to win the Olympiad in two months?”
My eyes widened slightly.
"...What gave it away?"
"What do you mean what gave it away? It's not like I only see you for a day or two. If you try to hide something I can tell.”
Soonchan smiled slyly.
“In your position, right now, if you want to properly compete with your older brothers and sisters, that’s the best thing to do. So I thought that maybe you were trying to win~”
"And I was 100% sure when I saw that lately, whether it be exams, tests or training sessions, you always take first place by a landslide."
Soonchan smiled broadly.
“I'm right, huh?”
"I can tell I'm right just by looking at your face. Keke."
“Anyhow, you know that it's going to be hard for you to win as you are now right?"
The World Academy Olympiad, a contest between the world's greatest rising stars, where only the world's cream of the crop gathers.
To win this competition, completely overwhelming 3rd-year 4th circle users is a must.
"In fact, the winner of this year's competition is a 5th circle user."
It's not just 4th circle users, you even have to beat a 5th circle user. In my current state, there's no chance that I can win.
“No matter how much I think about it, as someone who can only use 2-circle magic, winning is going to be tough.”
“Winning with just 2-circle magic is unreasonable.”
Soonchan doesn't know this, but if I use resonance, I can use 3rd circle magic as well. But it doesn't change much.
'Even if I use resonance, there's not a chance.'
I might be able to somehow manage against 4th circle users using resonance, but against 5th circle users, there's not a snowball's chance in hell.
'And in the first place, using resonance at the Olympiad is going to be hard.'
I have a limited amount of opportunities to use it because of the 12-hour penalty. In other words, I have to be able to win against 4th circle users without resonance in order for the gold medal to come into view.
'At least 4 circles.'
I have to reach 4 circles by the time the Olympiad comes around. This is a prerequisite for the gold medal.
'And in order to do that...'
Ko Sangjun I have to find him and get my hands on the other 'book' that my master left.
'And this 'book' isn't something that's needed just for the second page's test. I also must have it to tackle the 3rd page's test.'
* * *
Finally, the long-awaited call arrived.
— We've found where researcher Ko Sangjun is located now.
Kim Kangin despondently smiled as if he himself had never imagined that it would take an entire week just to find one researcher.
— The saying that the beacon does not shine on its own base fits perfectly in this case. To think that he would be right under our noses.
Ah, so there was another reason as to why he was laughing so despondently.
“Could it be that they were in Seoul?”
— Yes. Not just that, he was at the shopping district near the Academy this entire time.
It's fair to say that situation represents the saying that the beacon does not shine on its own base.
— I'll send you the address of their precise location.
“Okay, I'll check.”
I checked the text that Kim Kangin had just sent. They really were close. They're about 20 minutes away on foot.
— Maybe they received a huge shock a year ago from the criticisms they received from the thesis they spent their life on? Because currently, they've given up on all research and hid away in a small bookstore.
— Yes. A little worn-out bookstore store. The store doesn't even have a name.
A nameless, worn-out bookstore... At this location?
'Could it be?'
I slowly searched for the address on the Internet portal. Then I went into the street view and checked out the surroundings of the store.
And I was simultaneously shocked.
— What's wrong?
I'm a regular at this bookstore and it's a place I often visit to buy ancient books. Furthermore.
"Ah, it's nothing... I was a little surprised because it's a bookstore I frequently visit.”
And it's the bookstore that I speculated was the place where I got Eadred's grimoire.
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