[Translator – Anwen]
[Proofreader – Enigami]
Shirone, with a history book in hand, returned to Rian.
“Get up, and bring a book to study.”
“Ugh, the training these days is too harsh.”
After shoving Rian from the study, Shirone sat down and opened a history book.
As the fieldwork finished faster than the paperwork recently, plenty of time was used leisurely.
Once he was able to focus on the book, the pages were flipped over in a flash.
He already knew most of the contents, and even the rest of the book was predictable to him.
This meant that the level of knowledge contained in his head exceeded the level of books.
Since he understood the 650 historical books, the remaining two hundred books would probably be easy to take in.
“Hey, Shirone. I found an interesting book.”
After finding a book to read, Rian was amazed at the speed Shirone was turning the pages.
Once upon a time, Rian had taken over 10 hours to turn a page.
He was definitely reading a book, but by the time he blinked, it was morning.
Rian sat quietly beside Shurone to avoid disturbing him and opened his own book.
Swordsman vs. Mage was the title of the book.
“Introduction. You may have asked this question at least once before, but if a swordsman and a mage were to face off, one-on-one, who would win?”
Shirone’s hand paused as Rian read aloud.
It was also an interesting topic for aspiring mages.
“I have traveled all over the world to find an answer. Even now, when I close my eyes, those thoughts flicker in my head. On the Artusna Mountain, 6,000 meters above sea level, there are carnivorous trees that eat wild birds…”
Rian closed the book.
“How terribly boring.”
“What? I was having fun!”
Rian jumped at the sudden shouting.
He pretended not to be interested, but he must have kept his ears perked up.
“What do you mean ‘fun’? There are no pictures, and there’s no mention of swordsmanship.”
“You didn’t even finish a single page! What are you even talking about?”
“A writer should be considerate of his readers. He should start with a fun beginning and a touching conclusion.”
“This is not a novel. Give me the book. So, who’s going to win?”
“What’s the point of knowing who wins or who loses? For what absurd reason would a mage and a swordsman need to face off? If it's favorable to one side, they would want to fight and if it’s disadvantageous to the other, they would flee.”
Shirone opened the middle part of The Swordsman vs. The Mage and searched through the pages.
“There may be times when they have no choice but to fight. If that happens, who will win?”
“May I make a rough prediction?”
Abruptly, a sharp voice was heard over the bookshelf.
“Of course, the swordsman would win.”
A man with a cold impression appeared.
He wasn’t as bulky as Rian, but he was much taller, and his limbs were slim and long.
He was the second son of the Ogent Family, Rai Ogent.
Although they were brothers, his atmosphere and appearance was quite different from Rian’s. First, his hair was pitch black.
There were two undiluted characteristics that descended from the Ogent family. Bischoff, the head of the family, the eldest son, and the second son inherited black hair. The light blue hair was passed on to the eldest daughter and the youngest son, Rian.
In addition, Rian’s grandfather, a nationally recognized Grade 3 swordsman, also had blue hair.
The family had a strong bond, but it was interesting how they would sometimes be divided according to mere hair color.
Which heritage stands out depends on the generation, but this time, black hair was leading as Bischoff and Rai had black hair.
Shirone quickly bowed his head.
No one knew that he was friends with Rian, so if Rai had heard the conversation a while ago, he would be in trouble.
“The swordsman wins? How can you say that with such conviction? Because you’re one?”
Rian knew that, so he tried to get on Rai’s nerves with a sarcastic tone.
“Conviction? Is it necessary to use such a dramatic word? It’s a fact that can be acknowledged just by knowing where mages and swordsmen lie on each continent.”
Rai didn’t seem to care about his brother’s relationship with the male servant, but Shirone could not relax.
He felt this every time Rai came to the library. He was a difficult man to read.
“Whatever the position, it’s a face-off. You’re not going to talk like that on the battlefield, are you? Imagine saying things like ‘It’s over, I have the high ground!’”
Rian laughed, satisfied.
But Rai didn’t even respond and looked at Shirone with indifferent eyes.
“What do you think, kid?”
“Well… assuming we’re talking about the highest level, magic is definitely powerful enough to inflict fatal wounds on a swordsman. But swordsmen have excellent physical abilities, so if they attack before magic is casted…”
“No, you’re wrong. A mage cannot beat a swordsman.”
Shirone choked up. Although he was only an aspiring mage, he was still undoubtedly working towards becoming a mage.
Rian was pissed that his friend was ignored.
“Who are you to say something like that, huh? You think you’re some kind of swordsman representative?”
The corner of Rai’s lips went up. It was the infamous smirk that Rian detested.
“Not just anyone can gain the dignity of a swordsman. However, money can buy just about everything you need to become a mage.”
There was a hidden criticism behind Rai’s words.
In fact, swordsmen had a way to defend against magic. It was an artifact called ‘Anti-Magic.’
A special mental wavelength contained within Anti-Magic can disturb a mage’s Spirit Zone.
In other words, the artifact reduces concentration.
Artifacts were usually processed in the form of crystal balls and could be installed on armor, shields, and even swords.
The price was also quite high, considering one key material was a dragon’s heart as it emitted the waves required.
However, wearing up to ten artifacts, with each having 10% efficiency, did not equal to 100% efficiency.
This was due to the nature of the waves.
If a new additional wave was to be added to the already existing wave of Anti-Magic, an overlap would occur.
Therefore, the more artifacts one had on, the lower the efficiency.
The best artifact by far to exist was the ‘Armor Set of the Five Gods’ created by the Archmage Yakra.
Artifacts were embedded in helmets, chest plates, gauntlets, boots, and shields. Each with a maximum of 20% efficiency.
The Armor Set of the Five Gods reached an overwhelming 65% efficiency worn all together, which was fatal to a mage.
The percentage was a result of bypassing the overlap of the waves as much as possible.
Another problem was the ‘Essence of the Spirit.’
Four types of essence could be found in nature: fire, water, wind, and earth. And when Anti-Magic is put into the equation, magic activation, along with the elements listed above, could be completely blocked.
The total number of essences known to exist so far was 17. 2 for fire, 3 for water, 5 for wind, and 7 for earth. The value of just a single one exceeded the budget of a small kingdom.
Shirone tried imagining it.
What kind of wizard would be able to win against a master of Schema, equipped with each kind of essence in the Armor Set of the Five Gods?
Of course, it was still all theoretical.
The armor set was scattered all over the world, and the locations were all unclear. Adding to that, it was nearly impossible to obtain an Essence of the Spirit unless you were given explicit permission from a nation that had one.
There was also a problem with installing several Anti-Magic artifacts.
Even Yakra, an expert on wave equations, spent 10 years trying to coordinate the waves of the Armor Set of the Five Gods.
In short, if the waves of Anti-Magic were clumsily coordinated, the ingredients, along with the produced item, would become worthless.
* * *
[Translator – Anwen]
[Proofreader – Enigami]
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* * *
Efficiency did not increase unless the interaction between the waves, the resonance frequency, and the mana relationship was fine-tuned.
It wouldn’t be a joke to say that half of an aristocrat's wealth could be blown away trying to raise Anti-Magic efficiency by 1%.
But that’s where the dilemma begins.
Rather than investing a huge amount of money to raise the efficiency of Anti-Magic, it was much cheaper to carry around a mage who knew anti-magic spells.
That was what Rai’s words implied.
That a mage was just a subordinate of a swordsman, and that his knowledge could be bought with money.
In fact it was mages, not swordsmen, who developed Anti-Magic.
Even now, numerous mages were studying the effect of dragon mana on the Spirit Zone.
This was because if one ended up with good results, one could gain tremendous wealth and honor.
It was ironic. Mages were creating a weapon that could only do harm to them.
Rai pointed out that dishonorable situation.
Mages would do just about anything for money. This also meant that they could not win a swordsman in terms of pride and honor.
“What do you think? You seem to like history books. You know the position mages in this world. Magic can be sealed off with money, but money cannot stop a sword.
This was a biased, swordsman point of view, but Shirone understood what he was trying to say.
“That is what a mage is.”
Rai raised an eyebrow.
Rai thought of the boy as someone who liked magic. So he should have lost his temper, however, contrary to what Rai thought would happen, Shirone admitted it was true… Sort of.
“A mage is a person who persistently digs into the balance of all things. So it’s not strange to study how to suppress magic. What they find important is not whether they win or lose, but whether they know it or not. Artifacts are a result of that never-ending search. For that reason, I think claiming that mages are at a disadvantage is wrong.
Unlike Rian, Rai had a personality that wished to beat his opponent using his brain.
Nevertheless, the reason why he kept his mouth shut was because he couldn’t refute.
Rian struggled to hold back his laughter.
‘Ehehehe! Serve you right! My friend has a way with words! I’m telling you, he has the sharpest tongue. If his tongue were a sword, it would be the sharpest sword in the world!’
Rai’s face gradually began to distort as he could not find a way to refute.
He couldn’t just make up ideas that were never there.
“Well, that is in an ideal world, but the reality is different. It doesn’t change the fact that a mage can’t win against a swordsman.”
Rai coldly turned around and left the library. Rian had a hard time suppressing his laughter.
‘Reality is different? That’s it? Ugh, he reeks of stupidity. Get away from here. Quickly, get lost!’
Then, when the door finally closed, he grabbed Shirone and bursted out laughing.
“PUHAHAHA! Shirone, that was awesome! I’ve never seen my older brother make that kind of face before!”
While being dragged around by Rian, Shirone’s eyes were staring at the place Rai left through.
‘Swordsman vs. Mage!’
Maybe the reality was different, as Rai had said, but Shirone believed he was right.
He believed that the mindset of a mage who explored the boundaries of knowledge without hesitation, despite the fact his weaknesses may show, would overcome a swordsman.
That cold will was the reason for the existence of intelligence in this world.
* * *
The Great Library was cold enough to make one feel chilly.
The bookshelf, which used to be filled with knowledge, was now empty. The luminous lamp that had once brightened up the inside was now also turned off.
Only a single ray of sunshine from the 4th floor window shone on Shirone.
Under the sunlight, Shirone turned the pages.
One page after another… Until finally… he finished the last page and closed the book.
Shirone stroked the cover gently.
It was easy work to flip a book.
However, to finally turn the last page after swimming through a sea of books? Now that wasn’t something anyone could do.
850 books of history.
Shirone read all the history books in the Great Library.
‘I’m done… This is my Core of Knowledge.’
It was warm.
He felt the light filling up his heart.
Although he was a hunter's child, he could now confidently say he knew nearly everything about the whole world!
‘A year and six months!’
Although it was a slow start, after reading and reading, Shirone started to accelerate, and once he did that, he never slowed down again. He sped up so much that he finished his work six months ahead of schedule!
Now, he could go back home any time and there would be no reason for his family’s life to be in danger.
‘It’s like a dream!’
His mind was filled with the numerous experiences he went through the past year and a half.
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