Descent of the Legendary Archmage
[Translator – Nya]
[Proofreader – Karane]
The next day, when all my classes were over. I went straight to the worn-out bookstore where Ko Sangjun was supposed to be.
Right from the entrance, the pleasant, unique smell of old bookstores tickled the tip of my nose. Maybe it's because it smells similar to that of my own room, but my mind is at peace.
Nothing has changed inside the bookstore. It's far from being organized, with all the books piled up in a stack.
I wonder if he even wants to sell his books.
It was a right mess that had me thinking that.
“Are you Hayul?”
In the midst of the pile of books, an old gentleman called out my name.
"It's been a while."
He had silver hair that was half-heartedly grown out and tied at the back, with a shaggy beard, giving off the impression that he cared not for looking after his appearance.
And though he looks as if he should be dirty, I don't feel that from him at all. It's probably because of his clean clothes, sharp features and strong physique that no one would believe belonged to an elderly person over 80 years old that created a mysterious atmosphere around him.
“Have you been healthy?”
“Hmph. I've been holed up in this bookstore for 16 hours a day, do you think anything could have happened to me?”
I don't know his name.
Since even as the owner of a bookstore that I've been regularly going to for over a year, I never got the chance to get his full name.
“I heard the rumors. That you're able to use magic properly now.”
“The heavens are said to help those who fend for themselves. I was certain one day, you would receive their blessings."
''Thank you. It's all thanks to your help, Sir."
"What could I have possibly helped with? All I've done is sell books.”
“Without those books, I might have lost my motivation and given up long ago.”
The old books in this bookstore were a kind of lighthouse for me.
A newly found lighthouse that I discovered while drifting in the open sea after losing the waypoint, that is, modern magic.
If it hadn't been for this bookstore, I would have completely lost my goal and just rotted away day by day.
"...Even if I know they're just empty words, it's nice to hear."
The old man put a book to one side and approached me. Then he grabbed my hand very lightly.
“I'm the one that should be more grateful.”
I gripped the old man's hand with gratitude.
"Alright. So why have you come today?”
There was no way I would have come here without a purpose. That was what the elder had assumed.
"Go on. Speak."
"Could I perhaps... meet your son, Ko Sangjun?"
Ko Sangjun. The moment I said that name out loud, the old man's pupils dilated.
''What business do you have with Sangjun... No, before that. How did you come to know about him?"
He stared at me with a complex set of emotions.
“I've read the thesis written by researcher Ko Sangjun. There was something I wanted to ask him about regarding his thesis, so I asked around. And I got information that he was here.”
A dark cloud hung over his complicated expression.
“I apologize for investigating his background. But this shows just how much I needed to consult him. So can you please let me meet Ko Sangjun?"
''You want to meet Sangjun...”
The old man stroked his beard with a bitter smile.
''I don't mind letting you meet him, but you won't get anything from Sangjun."
“I understand. The thesis was said to be heavily criticized when it was published... So it makes sense that he doesn't want to talk about it...”
“No that's not why.”
The elder interrupted me and shook his head.
"I mean what I said literally. You won't be able to hear anything from him. Forget talking about the thesis, he won't even be able to greet you.”
"What do you mean..."
Ko Sangjun senior let out a deep sigh.
“Sangjun was involved in an accident half a year ago...”
And then he said the following, with a forlorn and miserable expression on his face.
“He is currently in a coma.”
His words were a complete shock.
* * *
[Translator - Nya]
[Proofreader - Karane]
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* * *
I followed the elder to the deepest part of the bookstore.
I took notice of how the interior was constructed.
We followed the passageway that was obscured by books to the end, opened the door that was also obscured by books and entered the room.
In the room, a man was sleeping as if he was dead.
On a piece of medical apparatus, that I could tell was expensive at just a glance, he lay, breathing intermittently.
"So this is... "
"Yes. This is my son. Sangjun.”
As if to prove that he hadn't woken up for half a year, his skin was a very sickly color and not even a speck of vitality could be felt on his face. Just as he had said, Ko Sangjun was in a coma.
“May I ask how he ended up like this?”
What kind of accident could it have been? The old man sighed deeply.
''Sangjun... He broke the taboo of mages.”
The old man laughed bitterly as he stroked Ko Sangjun's head, as he remained lying on the medical bed. ''The greatest taboo for mages, the taboo of circulating mana into the brain.”
“Mana... in the brain..."
When mana comes into contact with the brain, it becomes poisonous. This is basic common knowledge. I was only unharmed thanks to my brain having a special characteristic.
If an ordinary person were to circulate mana to their brain, their life would be forfeit and they would become braindead.
"Why did he do such a thing?"
“Because of his thesis.”
The old man's eyes twinkled with regret.
“In order to validate the theory of his thesis, which, starting from the middle, had completely collapsed, he had no choice but to circulate his mana to his brain. That's what he had said.”
Circulating mana to the brain.
In other words, the basics of the Bytenor style of magic.
'As expected, Ko Sangjun had, to some extent, come across the study of the Bytenor style of magic.'
As expected, he seems to be in possession of my master's book. Otherwise, there would be no way he would do something so crazy like circulating his mana to his brain.
“I should have stopped him no matter what it took...”
The elder let out a deep sigh.
“Anyways. I’m sorry, but it seems it'll be difficult to satisfy your curiosity. Sangjun was bound to have liked to talk to you as well... It's such a shame.”
"No sir. It seems I've complicated your feelings by bringing up something needless. I apologize."
"No. Don't worry about it."
An uncomfortable silence fell on us.
“Uh, Sir. Would I be able to take a look at the books your son used to study for his thesis?"
“Are you talking about Sangjun's books?"
“Yes. I've learned most of the ancient languages anyway, so I thought I'd investigate it myself."
The old man seemed a little reluctant.
"Hm... alright. It'll probably be better to give it to someone who needs it instead of letting it rot in the study. Alright. Do as you please.”
"Ah, thank you so much."
The old man gently stroked Ko Sangjun's hair again and got up from his seat.
“In return, can I ask you for one favor?”
"Yes, of course."
''If after reading Sangjun's books you happen to rewrite Sangjun's thesis... a thesis on space transportation magic, would you please mention his name at the end."
“Ah, sure. Of course, I will."
He's asking something I was going to do anyway as if it were a really bothersome favor. I'm not an asshole who completely ignores the results of other people's research as if I'm the only talented one.
"Don't mention it. It's only natural that I do that anyway.”
"Huhu. There are many in this world who don't accept something so obvious as obvious."
"...I guess so."
It's a sad reality.
“Then let’s go. Let me guide you to Sangjun's study."
I followed the elder to Ko Sangjun's study.
“This is Sangjun’s study. All the books that Sangjun's collected over the past 24 years have been kept here.”
"It's a lot."
"Indeed.” The old man gently took a book out and handed it to me.
“This is the book that Sangjun always carried around with him. His treasure if you will. Have a read. Whatever you were curious about is likely to be written there.''
"Yes. Thank you.''
I immediately looked through the book. Like Eadred's grimoire, it was a book with a very luxurious hardcover. And there was something very similar about the feeling the book had.
'This book has no title.'
Is the only difference between this and Eadred's grimoire the fact that this book doesn't have a specific title written on it? I slowly opened the book up. And gave a shout of joy.
This familiar poor handwriting. There's no doubt.
'This is a book written by my master.'
The author of this book is Ray Vell Bytenor. My master. The only person who could be the owner of this dirty handwriting is my master. I, who was sure of that much, immediately closed the book.
“Can I take this with me and read it?”
"Sure. Take it with you."
“Aside from that, you are free to take home any of the other books you want.”
“Thank you. I'll take a look around and let you know.”
I looked through the books on the shelf in ones and twos.
I scanned through the books in hopes that I would be able to find my master's handwriting again.
"Sir. Are there any other books written in handwriting similar to this one?"
“Handwriting similar to that book, hm...”
The old man seemed to think for a while.
"Well for starters, not that I know of, no. But that being said, I myself haven't searched through all the books here, so I can't be sure."
“That answer's more than enough. Thank you."
As expected, there's no way there would be more than a single volume here. But still, you never know, so I'll have a thorough look.
“Oh, and Sir. Do you remember seeing this luxurious red hard cover anywhere else?"
No matter which way you look at it, there's a high probability that I obtained Eadred's grimoire from this second-hand bookstore. And because of that fact, I tried asking one more time.
''I don't remember seeing anything like that here."
"Then maybe not here but in the bookstore?"
“There's nothing there. We don't handle hardcovers in our bookstore. Those things are usually premium so aren't sent our way.”
"...Ah. I see."
But it seems that my prediction was wrong.
'Then how on earth did Eadred's grimoire get into my room?'
I searched through the study with that thought in mind.
* * *
I finally returned to the dormitory at dawn.
'I guess I had been hoping for too much?'
I thoroughly searched Ko Sangjun's library, but couldn't find anything else with my master's handwriting in it. It's a little bit of a shame.
"Well, I should be thankful I even got a hold of just one."
Looking on the bright side, there was nothing to be sad about. I quickly brushed my regrets to one side and sat down at my desk.
'Now, what could be written in this book?'
I opened the book with a pounding heart. And that moment.
A light shone from my newly acquired book.
But it wasn't just that book that shone. Eadred's grimoire shone with it. As if the two books were resonating together, they both shone with the same intensity.
“What's this all of a sudden...?"
This didn't happen when I opened it in Ko Sangjun's study a while ago.
Why was it doing this all of a sudden?
And at that moment when I was in a state of confusion.
'I'm leaving this appendix to the one in possession of Eadred's grimoire and the rightful heir.'
I heard a voice that I had gotten used to. It was my master's book.
'This name of this appendix is Mimir's grimoire. It's a book about my life.'
And with those words, Eadred's grimoire rumbled and its pages started to turn.
'You may enjoy the blessing of knowledge to your heart's content.'
And in the next moment.
"...Where am I?"
I was standing in a place I had never seen before.
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