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Infinite Mage

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Infinite Mage

[Translator –  Anwen]

[Proofreader – Enigami]

 

Chapter 37

 

* * *

Prior to Siena arriving at the Engine room.

Under Alpheas’ instruction, the other instructors cast the Illumination magic which was meant to stop the exam.

The sky glowed red, but Shirone and Mark showed no intention of stopping.

‘It's a huge trap.’

As the iron bar bent, circular rings of various sizes started heading towards them.

From the front, the trapps overlapped like a net, so there seemed to be no room to escape through it.

‘Do I have to give up?’

Shirone and Mark glanced at each other. And right as their gazes collided, they teleported.

BOOOOM!

Some instructors started shouting when the shapes of the two were obscured by the obstacles.

“How foolish! Are they planning on going through with this to the end?"”

Siena spoke.

“They just don’t want to give up first because the one who does will definitely be shamed later.”

“This is a problem. What the hell is Mr. Thadd doing?”

Another reason for this chaotic atmosphere was that Alpheas was silent. To be honest, anger was boiling inside Alpheas. Especially towards Shirone.

‘Sometimes you have to know when to back down. Don’t you know that much?’

But he also knew that at times, doing such a thing was not an option.

‘...There are times when you can never back down.’

There was no right answer in life.

‘Whatever you choose to do, as long as you take responsibility for your decision, what others think becomes meaningless.’

“Let them proceed. Neither of them seem satisfied with my decision.”

The instructors were surprised.

“What? But if an accident were to occur, this could turn into a huge problem.”

“No matter what happens…”

Alpheas' eyes turned icy.

“I'll take responsibility.”

The instructors were bewildered and could not reply back to their Headmasters’ cold attitude that did not usually surface.

The only one who could perhaps somewhat understand Alpheas’ intention was Thadd, who was currently absent.

His gaze went back to the competition.

‘Alright, I understand your will.’

He had heard all about Shirone’s past, his origins, and the things he had to go through to enter the academy.

‘Every moment must feel like your last. I will respect that. But if you can’t take responsibility for the results…’

Alpheus was resolved.

‘This will be the end of your path to becoming a mage.’

 

* * *

 

Shirone felt dizzy.

“Keuk!”

The traps were so fast that he had no time to dodge one and have the luxury to think about the next.

‘I have to look at the whole thing all at once.’

To compare it to a maze, it was like running after memorizing the whole map.

‘There's no end to it.’

Due to being too focused on avoiding the obstacles, Shirone advanced less than two meters.

‘At this rate, my mental strength will be exhausted first. I have to try and move forward somehow.’

Mark was thinking the same thing.

‘There is a possibility that both of us will fail. The one who gets the furthest will probably be the winner.’

Like a lion in a circus jumping through a hoop of fire, Mark broke through the obstacle.

“Here I go!”

The instructors admired Mark’s bravery and decisiveness as he sharply swerved and penetrated through the obstacle.

“The change of direction of teleportation is by no means easy. I see Mark has prepared well.”

Mark was delighted.

‘It worked! I can do it!’

When Mark turned his head to look back, he saw that Shirone was in the same place he was previously.

‘Kekeke, he’s terrified.’

Mark was no longer worried about Shirone as he felt he had taken a far enough lead. 

Shirone shook his head.

‘No.’

If it was simply avoiding a couple of obstacles and advancing forward, that was something Shirone could do as well. However, after analyzing the combination of all obstacles approaching from afar, Shirone realized that there was only one way out.

‘The path Mark chose is blocked.’

As expected, Mark felt the difficulty of the traps increase as time went by.

“Keuk!”

The iron bar that waved around like a whip came at him in the shape of an X.

“HEEUUK…!”

Mark looked like he was about to break down.

The endless number of iron bars that were seemingly dancing in the air suddenly tangled up and transformed into a net.

‘I can't avoid that.’

Ever since the beginning, Mark was mistaken to think he had chosen an easy path. He tried to leave the current route belatedly, but the net was already right in front of his eyes.

The observing students paled.

“He’s going to collide!”

As soon as the obstacle passed with a roaring sound, the eyes of those watching tightly closed. On the other hand, students who could not move a muscle had their eyes opened wide.

“Shirone!”

Shirone had snatched Mark away on time and escaped the net using teleportation.

“Did he jump in to save Mark? One can only be so nice. He still annoys me.”

“How can you say that? Isn't it natural to try and save people who are about to die?”

“Natural? Would you be able to do that?”

“Hey, you jerk! Why are you imposing that on me?”

Yiruki had a knowing smile while the other students were busy arguing with each other.

‘It's not that, idiots.’

Meanwhile, Shirone was lost.

Although he did good in saving Mark, he was knee-deep in trouble.

“AAK! S-Save me!”

Mark, who had already lost his beast-like will, floundered about with tears in his eyes

“Just keep still!”

Even though he was shouting, Shirone's eyes did not leave the coming obstacles and continued to analyze.

‘There’s none.’

He had rescued Mark from trap hell, but he himself couldn't find a way out.

‘No, there’s no way. They wouldn’t make a trap that has no way out.’

At that moment, his frame of common sense shattered.

‘I was being stupid…’

Wasn’t there another escape route? Go back out the way he came in.

“Ahhhh! We are all gonna dieeeee!”

Ignoring Mark’s screams, Shirone rushed backwards with teleportation.

Yiruki jumped to his feet in the audience.

“That's right!”

Backing up was also a strategy.

The key was to not obsess over moving forward. Shirone didn’t have to only go straight in order to avoid the obstacles.

“Here I go!”

Shirone, who was moving rapidly, jumped over a huge obstacle that was approaching.

‘Yes, it worked!’

The immediate threat had passed, but level 10 was not level 10 for nothing.

As soon as Shirone jumped up, the iron bar tracked him down after transforming into a large parabola.

‘So it’s impossible to escape this cycle even if I move up?’

As long as the participant did not fall to the ground, the Bridge That Cannot Be Crossed would continue to harass the participant until they either failed or got to the end.

“Keuk!”

The trap became harder to analyze than before due to a slope being created because of its parabola shape. Though, the presence of Mark was also a big burden on Shirone.

Sharelle grumbled frustratedly.

"Why is he doing such a reckless thing? If Mark is eliminated, he will be promoted. And not to mention, it's really dangerous to teleport with someone else. You only do that in case of an emergency.” 

Amy’s replied.

“That’s just who he is. He actually does the things other people only dream or talk about doing.”

“I know that Shirone is kind, but Mark even hired people to bother him.”

‘Perhaps that is why he’s more…’

She thought it a little strange that she understood Shirone’s intention.

“He wasn't interested in the ranking from the beginning.”

 

* * *

 

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[Translator – Anwen]

[Proofreader – Enigami]

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* * *

 

“Shirone is not competing with anyone. His only goal is to become a mage. A person who is deadset on a goal does not really care about the process or what other people think. It doesn’t matter whether they’re first or last. All the things they do are in service of reaching said goal…”

‘And in his case, it’s to become great at magic.’ 

While Sharelle was lost in thought, Amy watched the struggling Shirone.

She knew Shirone had no luck this time.

‘No one in the Intermediate class can cross level 10. It's right to stop the exam here.’

All she could do was hope that Shirone would come back alive.

“AAAHH! AAAAAKK!”

Shirone was so focused on the traps that he couldn't even hear Mark's annoying screams.

‘It's getting more and more difficult.’

This was of course natural, however, the difficulty was so high that it now seemed like the iron bar was a huge worm-like parasite, instead of an object.

‘It’s unpredictable.’

Mark's scream disappeared around the time Shirone advanced 100 meters through the wriggling parasite.

Mark fainted with foam coming out from his mouth, but Shirone continued on with no care. He had already forgotten about him.

Focusing on one thing while thinking of the whole was similar to the Deviate Form of the Four Way Formation.

The instructors who were arguing and the students who were making a fuss a minute ago had all gone silent.

Alpheas narrowed his eyes.

‘Crisis raises one’s ability… However, everyone has limits…’

How was he still holding out? The traps present in the Bridge That Cannot Be Crossed were moving at a speed of 200 km/h.

It was safe to say that any average student would have long lost consciousness.

Yet, Shirone continued to pass between the black iron bars.

‘ …Does that boy have no limits?’

The reason why some couldn’t soar indefinitely even when they once rode through an upward trend was because they would eventually feel satisfied with themselves. 

The same went for magic.

Why couldn’t all mages be the best? Was it just a matter of skill or talent?

Satisfaction was the enemy of progress. But at the same time, it was human nature and something everyone eventually felt. The feeling of satisfaction was not something humans could do without. 

‘But I don't even see a hint of that in you. Shirone, are you dreaming of infinity with that human body of yours?’

It seemed like he never had a vessel that held him back to begin with.

Since satisfaction did not exist in him, his mind was able to handle the ever-increasing difficulty.

Shirone, who must’ve been in a trance, would not remember this moment.

However, Ethella, the youngest bishop of the Karsis Order, would never forget the dance… No, the valor she observed today.

‘Even in a trance, he’s constantly calculating and finding a way out. An exit that he has a one over-infinity chance of finding.’

What kind of mental state did one have to have to be able to do that?

‘Even a high priest can only maintain that kind of mentality while in a transcendent state for a short while.’

‘However…’

Ethella’s face turned serious.

‘Even if he can feel and calculate everything, techniques and skills are a whole other matter. The next trap is really hard.’

Shirone had anticipated it.

The distance between the obstacles was extremely narrow. They left Shirone with only a 1-meter gap.

It was literally a trap of chaos where no such thing as rules applied. The only rule was that things would continue to become more difficult.

‘I have to break it down smaller.’

He had to reduce his 10-meter teleportation distance to 1 meter.

Doing so would place Shirone at a level that absolutely surpassed Class 7’s, but no such distracting thoughts bothered him.

‘Left and right pattern.’

Shirone analyzed dozens of ring-shaped traps arranged in pairs at the same time.

Left, right, left, right… The moment his thoughts finalized, he teleported left and right without even taking the time to look at each trap.

A flash of light zigzagged through the rings.

‘I made it…’

However, the moment Shirone finally started to regain his bearings, the rings with up-and-down patterns rushed towards him.

‘KEUK!’

In a situation where the angle was not straight, his body took another leap forward.

‘If I break it down to the extreme…’

Shirone’s body shone once again, and as it did a flash of light that bent appeared.

The students’ eyes opened like saucers.

“The light bent?’

Yiruki got up and opened his different-colored eyes wide.

“Rainbow Drop! He actually did it!”

Most of the students did not understand the flash that followed the trajectory of a wave, but that was probably because Rainbow Drop was a top-level skill that teleportation specialists learned.

“Is that really possible? How does teleportation bend? Lights only travel in a straight line!”

Yiruki tapped his head twice and said,

“It’s a simple principle. Differentiating a circle yields an infinite straight line. Break down the interval of teleportation enough times and you can make it look like light bent.

“How do you even calculate how many times you need to break it down?”

“It's not a calculation, it's a sense. Even then, it's hard to do, but let’s just say he has more omnipotence than omniscience. Though, I can confidently say that he is a genius with a tendency opposite to mine.”

The students turned their heads back to the examination hall.

‘For someone who’s only in Class 5? Genius my ass.’

When the speed of the Bridge That Could Not Be Crossed reached its maximum, even the shape of the structures could not be easily distinguished. Though Shirone's eyes had adapted to it, so he could still tell.

30 meters left to the end.

The students began shouting words of support towards Shirone. 

For the first time in the history of the magic academy, they were expecting a student from the Intermediate class to cross a level 10 Bridge That Could Not Be Crossed.

“Headmaster! Over there!”

The faces of the instructors paled.

As if jealous of Shirone’s near success, the iron bar started twisting randomly, creating a three-dimensional structure.

“Damn it! It’s the Dragon’s Labyrinth! What the hell is Mr. Thadd doing?”

While the instructors were busy shouting, Siena had a deep frown and hurriedly cast Spacial Warp.

‘Thadd! You fucking…!’

The Dragon’s Labyrinth, which only appeared at level 10, was a trap with a gigantic dragon’s head.

Once you were swallowed, it was the end, so you had to link your magic while also remembering how the structure was created step-by-step.

Shirone bit his lips and analyzed the pattern.

“AAAAHHHHH! What the fuck?! What the hell is that?!”

When Mark regained consciousness and screamed his head off, Shirone’s Spirit Zone shook violently.

“Keuk!”

Even at that moment, the Dragon’s Labyrinth approached at its fastest speed with its jaws wide open.

‘Here it comes!’

 

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