21st Century Archmage - Chapter 2
Chapter 2 – Hellish Magic Training
Proofreader: Masadeer (Japtem)
A tingly energy made my whole body prickle as if I’d been bitten by bugs.
“As the important component of elements like the sky, earth, fire, wind, and water, mana is the driving force that operates the world. For a long time, humans desired to make mana into their own strength. Using the boundless talent granted to them by the great god Adeine, humans sought a method to use nature’s power for many years.”
I opened my eyes and glared at old fart Bumdalf, who had pretended to be Gandalf. It was one thing to annoy someone while they were asleep, but this old fart Bumdalf had also put me on top of a strange magic circle shooting sparks and was now giving a long speech. Even among kooky old men, there probably wasn’t one who was this much of a nutcase.
‘That was no damn magic; he definitely put sleeping powder on the bracelet.’
I couldn’t believe it even though I tried. How could magic exist within a civilization that used cutting edge technology? If magicians truly existed, then they would have already appeared in Youchube videos.
“Magic puts emphasis on communicating with nature. The hard-won fruit of the ancients who worked to harness the strength of that nature was the creation of magic. Thus the magic language, or rune language, was born. Some said that magic was an amusement of man, gifted to them by the grace of a dragon. Others said that magic was a seed of evil planted in the human world by demons. But that was the ignorant manifestation of a sense of defeat by the foolish. The true root of magic was humans. The master of the world, the Great God Adeine, had chosen only the humans.”
I was one step away from being driven insane by the shocking wave of electricity that was rippling through my body, but this Bumdalf was going on and on about a ridiculous magic theory.
‘Could it be mad cow disease?’
How else could he write out a fantasy novel that calmly, If he wasn’t somehow wrong in the head? Even in my pain, I couldn’t help but be suspicious of the mad cow disease that was still prevalent in Europe.
“But the fertile age of magic did not last long. Addicted to the present dimension’s mana, magicians of darkness opened another dimension and summoned monsters from the demon world, bringing about a terrible ravenous ambition that would swallow the world. And thus began the long, long war between humans and the magicians of darkness. It could be called a proxy war between gods and devils, a divine war.”
Hearing old fart Bumdalf so fully immersed in emotion, as if telling a story from long ago, even I was made to listen closely despite my pain.
“And then, the dragon appeared. A dragon from another dimension was summoned via the great god’s permission in order to preserve mankind, which had been driven to near extinction. Thus the First Divine War ended. The humans, who had once been the rulers of the land, entered a long, long period of a magic ice age, while suffering the contempt of the dragon and other races.”
As if he were really that angry, Bumdalf was grinding his teeth.
‘Tsk tsk, he’s totally off his rocker.’
It seemed like the man had written a proper fantasy novel with his imagination. There was no way something like that could have happened in the history of the earth. Of course, Bumdalf had said that magic users had existed, but no human would have had the guts to fight a war with devils. Besides the hotshot bluffing warriors who appeared in Greek and Roman myths, of course.
“That’s why I became a mage. I wanted to return everyone who dared to disrupt the land that mankind should have ruled over— the demons, the various races, and even the dragon— to whence they came. For myself, the Archmage Aidal!”
The real name of this Czech gramps who was incessantly spewing madness was Aidal.
My fear withered away and instead, pity filled my heart.
‘Well, in this rough world, it’s probably not too bad to become so fully crazy.’ If you were only half crazy you’d probably be called a weirdo, but if you were to become perfectly bat-shit crazy, then no one would be able to call you out. For someone like that, even a mental hospital would pay money to reject someone like that.
“Kekeke, I trained in magic like crazy, and became an 8th Circle mage, a stage hadn’t been reached in all of human history. And that was when I was exactly ninety-nine years old, too.”
‘Tch, this is interesting.’
When writing a novel, you had to write it with realistic lies like that to make it fun. Even while in electrifying pain, I could feel that I was engrossed. The feeling was like coming across an interesting work after a very long period of time.
No matter how you sliced it, old fart Bumdalf Aidal didn’t look much older than seventy. Proudly saying that he had become an archmage at age ninety-nine, that mental world of his was admirable. Even so, it didn’t seem like he was paint-the-walls-with-poop level crazy. Rather, he came across as a pure and beautiful soul who was still dreaming about a fantasy. Even Don Quixote would call him an elder brother.
‘Now all that needs to come up is dimensional travel.’ Pleased, I tried my hand at predicting the next part of the story.
“But that was as far as I went. Even during the lost Magic Era, the 9th Circle was a godly domain not permitted to humans. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t rise to the 9th Circle. Bloody hell, damn it…’
He spat out the very familiar words: bloody hell and damn it. Such frustration was necessary in order to proceed with the story.
“Even though I wanted to attain 9th Circle magic and attempt a mana change! Like a dragon, I wanted to become a handsome man through polymorph magic and have all the world’s women… Arggghhh!”
Now he was suddenly spouting a very human idea.
‘H-have all the world’s women… Guh!”
As I reeled in pain from the shock that followed his frustration, Bumdalf Aidal didn’t even look to see what kind of shock I was in, and continued with the next part of the story.
“Ahem, even so, it was still worth living. Before I knew it, I became the master of a magic tower, and every empire and kingdom was desperate to curry favor with me. Kuku, worldly treasures and endless research funds poured in at the start of every year. I passed a hundred years of age and was somehow able to find solace. I could restore my youth to some extent with 8th Circle magic anyways, so I was able to hit it off with the fresh chicks in no time at all! If only I hadn’t met that bastard. Urgh!”
Aidal’s life story was getting more exciting. I knew it was fiction, but my ears were sharply tuned in to his forceful melodrama. There was still a tinge of tingliness in my body, but I was so immersed in the story that I was able to forget about that pain.
“T’was a very windy day. When I had just finished writing a polite letter asking every kingdom to quickly send me the princesses who would become my wives, that bastard appeared. He was a truly shit-faced bastard!”
Even I was curious about who it was.
The story was pretty watertight. I felt like if I could just return to Korea, even I could debut as a writer with this story as a base.
“It was a shock. A bastard who hadn’t even reached his forties challenged me to a magic duel. Me, this 8th Circle Archmage Aidal-nim!”
As if recalling that moment, lightning sizzled from Bumdalf Aidal’s eyes.
‘A dragon came to have some fun? Or a devil?’ I tried guessing who had appeared.
“At first, I thought he was a silly novice and magnanimously showed him mercy. My temper is as sharp as a blade, so I normally just burn alive the little shits that charge at me. But I held back since that was a felicitous day when I had made my first step towards getting married.”
‘M-maybe he’s not an archmage, but a sorcerer instead? And one that made the world quiver, at that…’
Otherwise there would be no reason for empires and kingdoms to send him bribes, and an old man like him wouldn’t have been able to send invitations to bring forth the princesses. If he had been an honorable, good-tempered mage, he wouldn’t have even dreamt of getting married at a hundred years of age.
“But the bastard just smirked at me. Kyaa, I was crazy. To have agreed to the duel without knowing that I was being baited.”
Though it would have been fun to listen to a story like this while eating chicken and drinking a cola, my regrettable situation didn’t allow that— it was lacking by just 3%.
“At first I very lightly tried to burn the bastard to death with a 3rd Circle Lightning magic. But the guy dodged with an Air Shield, as if he’d been waiting for it. I thought to myself that he was pretty good. To be at the 4th Circle at that age, he was on the level of geniuses.”
For being such a ripe old gentleman, he sure commanded a rich vocabulary. It didn’t sound awkward at all to me.
“That roused my interest a bit. So this time, I resolved myself and unleashed Burn Flare, a 5th Circle magic. Since I was serious, it was a powerful magic that could destroy a pretty good castle wall, you see. But no, that rotten, moldy, son of a bitch deflected it with a Fire Ball! I mean, does it make sense for a 5th Circle magic used by a 8th Circle mage to be blocked by a 2nd Circle magic?!”
The moment Bumdalf asked me, I found myself shaking my head. According to my fantasy knowledge, that was impossible.
“I felt something was wrong then and should have stopped. But being a hundred years old and still in my prime, I lacked patience.”
Aidal was nonchalantly spouting words that were three or four times beyond just being surprising. I waited for the next part of the story with anticipation.
“My anger boiled over. So then, I prepared the 7th Circle magic that I had spent several minutes memorizing every day just in case. Since 7th Circle mages were the upper limit in all the magic towers and empire courts at the time, I thought it would end there with that. But no, that shitty, poop-faced bastard just fanned himself with his hand as if it were hot inside that 7th Circle Blizzard magic and refused to fall over! Gaah, I’m so fucking mad.”
I could see it all in my mind’s eye. To think there was a guy who would fan himself inside a 7th Circle magic!‘Next, next!’
This situation had escalated while I had been asleep. About now, the school field trip group was probably in an uproar because of my disappearance, but I couldn’t just stop here. The properly senile Bumdalf gramps’ story was so interesting that it made my hands sweat.
‘It’s a dragon. Definitely.’
Making my own guesses was a great deal of fun.
“So rude. For a newborn calf who was probably in his forties to block a 7th Circle magic… kyaaa, I didn’t know that the bastard had a skill that wasn’t magic, but something else.”
“Wh-what was it?”
“You, you thought to yourself that it was a dragon, right? Haaah, it also suddenly occurred to me at that point that it might be the dragon looking for some fun, but it wasn’t. Even if it was a dragon just playing around, as a 8th Circle mage, I could surely recognize that energy.”
‘It’s not? Then what is it?’ I cursed my lack of imagination and blankly stared at Bumdalf’s white beard.
“The only option left was to use 8th Circle magic. Actually, there aren’t very many 8th Circle attack spells. But each and every one has enormous power capable of destroying a fair-sized castle or so. Haah, to think that I completed such magic.”
The gramps was tooting his own horn, and I was once again able to confirm that there was no cure for this man.
‘Seriously, how does the next part of the story go!’ Even if I died, I wanted to hear the next part.
“It was then.”
As if he knew my burning desire, Bumdalf gramps opened his wrinkled lips again.
“That was when that Orc penis shitface put forth a devilish proposal.”
The foul-mouthed Bumdalf used curses like Korean teenagers did. I was incredibly curious about the Orc dingus’ proposal.
“He said that if I finished his incomplete magic circle, he would admit his defeat. Actually, not to brag, but I wasn’t just the best at Circle magic, but also at magic circles and theory, including alchemy.”
This Bumdalf gramps showered himself with praises every time he opened his mouth.
“Of course, you agreed, right?” Having gotten used to the prickly energy digging into my body, I directly expressed my curiosity.
“Yes, of course I did. I knew every type of magic circle that existed at that time. Actually, if I just knew the principle, I could easily figure it out by using my head a bit. There was no magic circle that this marvelously brilliant Archmage Aidal could not solve. Keuhahahaha!”
Now it was perfectly clear. A person had to be defeatable to be worth fighting. It was just a guess, but fearing that he wouldn’t be able to do anything with magic, Bumdalf had probably fallen for the Orc dingus’ scheme.
“Ah! But the magic circle inside the bizarre cave that the rotten bastard led me to was one I had never seen before in my life. To think it was a magic circle from the lost Magic Era! That scoundrel!”
‘Magic Era? The Magic Era before the Divine War?’
“But since I had already promised, I was helplessly trapped there and had to finish the magic circle. No, that magic circle aroused my passion for research for the first time in ages. It was more than enough to excite me.”
Of course that was the case. For a mage who was stuck at the highest stage and unable to advance further, it was obvious that he would be more intrigued by an unsolvable magic theory than worldly matters.
“For a few years, I researched the magic circle to death. A good several meters in size, there were dozens of high-level rune characters engraved in the large magic circle. I interpreted the runes and figures one by one and worked towards completing the loose ends. And with such speed that those little brats couldn’t have even imagined, too.”
‘Brats? It wasn’t just one person?’ My questions grew.
“And then, one day, I was able to complete the magic circle. Puhahahaha! I perfectly analyzed and completed the magic circle from the great Magic Era, which even the legendary dragon wouldn’t have been able to complete.”
‘What impressive tenacity!’
I was filled with awe for Bumdalf Aidal’s copious imagination, which allowed him to spout fantasies so vivid it felt as if he had truly lived it. It was enough to make me determined to become perfectly insane like that if I were to ever go crazy.
“That’s when the bastards appeared. Euuurgh! Those despicable bastards, who wheedled the great Archmage Aidal-nim into fulfilling their own ambitions! That’s when I realized. That the one who had tricked me into a duel was Yasmahal, the master of the Golden Magic Tower, a secret group, and that every kingdom and empire’s court mages were involved. It was a plot devised by the underling mage shits to eliminate me, a great Archmage! Keuaaaaahh!”
Laughing and then crying, this Bumdalf Aidal mage was sure to have a bushy bottom. He even shed tears as he agonized.
TN: In Korea, people jokingly say that if you laugh and cry at the same time, your butt will get hairy.
‘Wow~! He’s really good at acting!’
He was delivering the perfect, full package of empathy. It was so convincing that one might believe he was a real archmage.
“Keuhaha. But I couldn’t do as the bastards wanted. If they found out about the completed magic circle, it was certain that all the magic techniques from the Magic Era would fall into their wicked hands. Those stupid brats…” Lightning shot out like lasers from his eyes. “The bastards laughed. They laughed at me, who had squandered several years trapped like a fool in their scheme while under the guard of master level knights. But I laughed back at them. They had no idea that the magic circle they had led me to was a Dimensional Travel magic circle. Huhuhu.”
Upon hearing that it was a Dimensional Travel magic circle, an exclamation inadvertently burst out of me.
‘M-maybe he’s really a mage?’ I thought he wasn’t, but the foreboding feeling in my heart was blaring out a warning.
“And as they watched, I activated the Dimensional Travel magic circle. While silently clenching my teeth… Keuhaha, those idiots. There was no way they could figure out the magic circle no matter how much they struggled. After I, the great Archmage Aidal-nim had perfectly mastered the magic circle, I had modified it to only activate by my method. Kuhahahaha!” Aidal was holding his belly while laughing delightedly. I didn’t know why he looked so pitiful then.
‘Idiot, in the end, doesn’t that mean you used dimensional travel to run away?’
It seemed like the poor fool hadn’t found a way back home yet. If this was all true, of course.
‘But is there really a world like that?’
My curiosity grew and grew inside my heart. If what Bumdalf Aidal had said was true, then I wanted to go there at least once. A totally different world that Aidal had agitated after becoming an Archmage. For all the Koreans who were living a painful reality, they might desire such a world.
“So then, you were chosen.”
While I had been briefly lost in thought, Aidal’s calm voice fell on me like a cold splash of water. Aidal had somehow regained his composure and was looking at me with flashing, golden eyes.
“Huhuhu. You’ll go instead of me and take revenge.”
“Go, go where?”
“Where else? Did you think I was spouting lies up ’til now? I’m talking about the Kallian Continent, where I lived!”
This bad-natured Bumdalf had suddenly gotten mad and was berating someone who had done nothing wrong.
“Why do I have to be the one to go? If someone goes, shouldn’t it be Bumdal—, no Aidal-nim? One can only live their later years in peace if they solve their own problems and finish what they started!”
I wanted to get away from this crazy old man. I had a bad feeling that he would send me to that other world if he was really a Bumdalf.
“Don’t wanna. I’m going to live comfortably now. Now that I’m nearing two hundred years of age, my joints are creaky and I don’t even have much of an appetite. Where are you telling your old master to go?”
“That’s right, master. You accepted my proposal and even got a present.”
“When? When did I get a present… ah! No way?”
I suddenly felt something cold on my wrist. Somehow the silver bracelet had wrapped itself around my left wrist.
“You and I have already undergone a mana succession ritual. You’re now no different from a clone of me, Aidal. Kuhahaha!”
This crazy Bumdalf was even laughing uproariously.
I suddenly thought of my parents’ unfriendly faces. Why I wanted to see them so much today was a mystery.
“If you’ve rested, then let’s start again.”
Aidal’s actions were so unpredictable.
“What else? It’s the original Mana Injection magic circle I developed for this day. Alright, prepare yourself. I’m activating it for real now.”
“Wait! Please wait!” I called out to Bumdalf, who had frighteningly raised a staff while wearing a wicked smile. “This went through a safety inspection, right?”
Glowing with a number of opaque colors, this existence that was called a magic circle didn’t seem like it had been properly made, considering Aidal’s condition.
“Dunno. Some of the magic crystals were made in China, so there’s no guarantee. Then, here we go! Power up!”
Without a chance to be surprised by his words that it was made in China, I was assailed by a surging energy. The last thing I remembered seeing was Bumdalf’s evil face. And then I was out, all the while desperately praying to God that this was all a dream.
* * *
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I concentrated and unleashed Fire Bolt, a 1st Circle attack magic, at a rabbit.
But what kind of nice rabbit would let itself get hit by a lame mage’s Fire Bolt? Surprised by the magic that hit the ground, the rabbit began to scamper away.
“Stop! Hey! At least leave a leg behind! Little bunny! Little bunny!”
What I had received as weapons were a single chipped dagger and some lame 1st Circle attack magics.
I idiotically chased after the rabbit, which was running through the meadow with its rump quivering behind it, as if it were being chased by a pervert.
‘STOP! I said stop! Waaah!’
If I couldn’t catch the rabbit, I’d starve for the second day in a row. Even Lineage, a popular game these days, probably didn’t torment their beginner players like this.
But the rabbit paid no heed to my desperate wish and ran far away.
I breathed heavily as I laid down in the thickly grown wild flowers.
“Damn… I’m gonna go crazy.”
I felt like I was going to go crazy from this absolutely unbelievable reality. While suffering after meeting a crazy mage during my cool eastern Europe school excursion, in this moment, even though she always calculated the cost of the food, I longed for my mom’s kimchi stew so much I could cry.
‘Haah, so that’s how it is, this was all planned.’
Right now, I was in some unknown grassland area in Iceland, Europe. It was a month since I woke up after dying from the original Mana Injection magic circle, which used Chinese-made magic crystals. Exhausted, I had opened my eyes to this place.
‘For a mage to really exist… And for him to be a mage who used dimensional travel from a different world, too…’
Everything was unbelievable. The fact that Bumdalf was an Archmage was particularly unimaginable.
‘So he rigged an illusion magic circle in the Golden Lane and was having fun fishing, in order to find only the mana-sensitive people among the tourists.’
While I was on the Mana Injection magic circle and resting, he had told me countless things. Bumdalf Aidal master had dimensionally traveled to an unfamiliar planet. He told me that at the time, a science-based civilization had begun to develop since the entire planet had been at the peak of the Industrial Revolution.
In such a world, he used magic to easily adjust and make a fortune. Back then, the earth hadn’t been so polluted and mana had been rather abundant, so apparently he had been able to do all sorts of things with magic.
He used magic to become a medicine peddler selling a panacea, entered a university to become a professor with his outstanding intellect, met Rockefeller and even tried digging for oil with mana detection. He even told me that he had happened to meet Einstein while eating out and indirectly told him about the mana correlation theory that stated that time and space were closely related, thus leading him to publish the world’s general theory of relativity and nurturing him into a great scientist.
These facts couldn’t be confirmed, but I had no choice but to believe them.
Aidal, who called himself a master. Surprisingly enough, I was able to confirm with various pieces of evidence that he had enormous riches exceeding those of Bill Gates, piled up in several places.
There was an underground magic tower with dozens of floors in size not far from where I was training. and inside, treasures and all kinds of rare items I’d never seen or heard of were scattered about like rubbish.
‘This greedy Bumdalf!’
Just thinking about it made me angry. He had amassed a fortune in the world for about a hundred years. But right now, to me, he was only a truly cruel, sicko of a mage.
I could forgive everything up to the magic circle he had made. I knew from my half-baked fantasy knowledge that magic started with feeling mana and accumulating it. But the special training that occurred afterwards… Though I wasn’t even some character in a game, he made me undergo this survival special training with one dagger and the 1st Circle attack magic that I had just started to learn.
‘I’m hungry. Shit.’
The clouds floating past in the sky started to look like the menu items from the food stall in front of the school— odeng, kimbap, and all kinds of tempuras.
[T/N: Odeng is processed fishcake in a light broth. In Korea, food stalls like this sell cheap food in little cups. So good.]
‘If this goes on, I could starve to death.’
My callous master Bumdalf , whose sanity wandered to and fro… It was currently my highest priority to survive under him.
‘I see, that’s it! Huhuhu. I didn’t think of that.’ While losing my sanity from hunger, I suddenly thought of a spell.
“Little bunny, you’re dead now.”
Many rabbits had bred in this grassy area. While thinking of the magic that had popped into my head, I searched for a rabbit. And then, with my hand clumsily drawing out an incantation, my magic will manifested.
“Oh! A rabbit!”
Just then, I spotted a fluffy rabbit munching on grass just several meters away. As the rabbit turned to look at me, I completed the magic incantation.
* * *
“Wow! He caught it!”
[T/N: Sound of fire.]
‘Geh! To think he’s already at that stage.’
Kang Hyuk was the first disciple he had managed to get in years. Hiding himself with invisibility magic, Aidal hovered around his disciple. In this wilderness, there were fierce predators, including black bears. In a place like this, a disaster could occur to his disciple, who had just learned 1st Circle magic.
‘I guessed he would be talented, but to think that he would grow accustomed to magic that fast.’
1st Circle mages were more than plentiful on the Kallian Continent. If you had even a little mana affinity, you could learn 1st Circle magic. But Kang Hyuk was fundamentally different from those sloppy mages. Though he had come to be able to feel mana through the Mana Injection magic circle, there weren’t many people who could learn 1st Circle magic that quickly. Even he himself, Aidal, who had been called a magic genius of uncommon proportions, was only really able to use mana after three months. But this Korean boy named Kang Hyuk had used mana breathing within one month to utilize mana. Not only that, but he had simply made and used a Fire Ball even though he hadn’t been taught how to.
“Kuhahaha! I’m a genius after all!”
Having succeeded in hunting a rabbit by burning an area with fire, Kang Hyuk laughed heartily.
A faint smile appeared on Aidal’s lips. He began to feel more warmth towards Kang Hyuk, who didn’t give up and was doing his best, despite having been forced to become Aidal’s disciple.
‘You rascal, you might think you’re a genius, but starting from tomorrow, I’ll make you swallow those words. Kuku.’
Aidal had also learned magic like this. He had started as a combat mage rather than a theory mage, and had received the title of the Golden-Eyed Reaper Aidal. He knew that there was nothing more important in magic training than being desperate. Mana didn’t easily allow happiness if you didn’t work to the death for it. Everything in the world was like that, but magic was even more so.
Mana— the more you loved her, the more she danced for you.
* * *
“As you know, the circle has been added to your body’s mana field.”
‘I know that too, you evil archmage-nim!’
Sitting with my legs crossed, I shoved master Bumdalf’s words deep into my memory.
“Mana breathing exists even in the Kallian Continent. The knights have a breathing technique exclusive to the knights, the mages have a technique for the just the mages, and the summoners have one for summoners— The techniques are passed down respectively. Even I wasn’t able to find out why each one is different when I was on the continent. But on the Earth, after meeting him, it became glaringly obvious to me.”
After becoming sure that he was a mage, I didn’t ignore master Aidal’s words. No matter the reason why, as long as I was sure he wouldn’t release me back into the world, I needed everything I could get to survive. Plus, by nature, I was the type to cling on and see things to the end no matter what, so I was determined to challenge this Andromeda-level, fourth dimension subject.
“While I was traveling in South-East Asia after coming to this world, China was in an extreme state of chaos. It was a time when the empire had collapsed, Japan was invading China, and the nation was lying in ruins within the ranks of the Communist Party and the Guomindang. While I was traveling to China in disguise as a British construction attendant, I met him. In a place called Zhangjiajie, I met an ascetic monk starving himself and dying while lamenting the corrupt world.”
‘He said that he could speak most foreign languages including Korean, so there’s a reason why.’
“The mana breathing technique you fundamentally trained for the past month is from something I learned from the ascetic monk, called internal chi meditation. I then reinterpreted it and turned into a mana breathing technique. I was able to understand once I encountered internal chi meditation from the ascetic monk. Why mages had to undergo difficult mana training, and why knights could only use Aura Blade despite possessing a lot of mana. And also, how summoners could open dimensions and summon spirits with their weak mana.”
This magic lesson couldn’t be compared to a normal cramming session. I focused my mind in order to capture every single word.
“The difference lay in the danjeon. What the ascetic monk told me was, all natural energy, or mana, has no form yet still exists. It exists, but it cannot be said to be an existence— that is the true essence of natural energy. Humans randomly chose that natural energy, stored it in their danjeon, and began the accumulation of chi, or mana accumulation.”
[T/N: Danjeon is the Korean term for dantian, the sea of qi. There are three main centers: the lower, middle, and upper (Wikipedia).]
At my master’s tranquil, friendly explanation, a small flame was ignited in my heart.
‘Have I also become a mage?’
Just one month ago, I had merely been an ordinary student who knew nothing. That person was now training in unknown magic, which hadn’t existed in the world before.
“Desiring great physical strength, knights are instinctively easily corrupted, but they accumulate mana in their lower danjeon, which can produce a big mana field, and through many generations, they found a way to manipulate mana. That is the mana breathing technique of the knights. And for the mages who wished to powerfully draw the strength of nature within set laws rather than physical strength, they accumulated mana not in the lower danjeon, but in the middle danjeon, or around the heart, which could store pure energy. Prioritizing communication with spirits more than mana, the summoners accumulated mana in the upper danjeon, near the crown of the head, where they could most purely feel the energy diffused in nature. This became the differentiating factor between the knights, mages, and summoners.”
‘Mm, so there was such a deep reason.’
No matter how much I learned and learned, there was no end to this magic. It was so fun it made my heart boil.
“By any chance, did the internal chi channeling you learned from the ascetic monk also include the term ‘multi-chi channeling?’”
“Huh? How did you know that?”
‘Oh whaaat! So that multi-chi channeling I saw in wuxia novels was right?’
I didn’t relish reading fantasy or wuxia novels that much, but I enjoyed reading them to cool my mind off once in a while. That imaginary world that I enjoyed on top of my bed while eating a tasty snack— that was a heavenly resting style that only those who knew of it could enjoy. But the fantasy and wuxia that I had regarded as 100% false had gone from being fiction to reality.
“I don’t know how you know, but in the tome given to me by the ascetic monk, it was recorded as ‘Mystical Multi-Chi Channeling’. It’s an amazing mana technique that couldn’t be found on the Kallian Continent.”
‘Really, where’s the limit to this Bumdalf master?’
He surprised me every day, but after seeing the hobby lifestyle that my Bumdalf master enjoyed, I was totally amazed.
There were dozens of giant TVs installed in the central hall of the underground tower. The hall was filled to the brim with cutting-edge plasma TVs over 50 inches in size. And on those TVs, broadcasts from almost every nation on the planet were noisily blaring out in their native languages. Master Bumdalf enjoyed his time crying and laughing while watching those broadcasts. As someone who didn’t have much talent in languages, it was enough to garner my respect.
“The most pure mana in the world gathers here, where the magic tower is. As you know, over many years of industrialization, the Earth’s mana has been severely polluted. That’s why, compared to when I first came to the Earth, at least half of the mana has been polluted or lost. Since the Earth’s mana was far lower than the Kallian Continent’s in quality and quantity to begin with, that pollution has a huge effect on those training in magic. But since you met a good master, you can discard those worries. You just have to believe and follow me; your master.”
There it was, a dramatic phrase that a man used to coax a woman. Master Bumdalf stroked his white beard while spitting out a cliché phrase like ‘just believe and follow me.’ He was wearing an expression like that of a kindergartener who was starved for praise.
‘Should I cry or should I laugh? Goodness!’
“Once my master, always my master! With all my sincerity, I shall treasure master’s grace deep in my heart!” I said, putting a lot of emphasis on ‘treasure’.
Who would have thought that I would’ve become a mage? Around now, I should have been living a dreamy school life while making lovey dovey eye contact with Seo Ye-rin, who I had just started to talk to. Bumdalf, an unwelcome guest, had appeared in such a time of my life. I had wanted to imprison him on charges of abduction, but after more than a month, I had become quite fond of him.
Master Bumdalf had the slight look of a grandpa who lived encrusted to his home while farming in the countryside. Every so often, he showed a look of indescribable longing. Sometimes, I could feel an unknowable longing and loneliness in master Bumdalf’s golden eyes.
“If you feel that way, then I can’t sit around as your master. Yes, today I opened a new hunting ground just for you. You should look forward to it. Huhuhu…”
‘Ah, of course. Dammit, that look of longing is…’
The sicko master was happily spitting out a wicked laugh that didn’t match his age. I resented my purity, which had led me to misjudge the man for just a moment.
‘My family discipline is to blame for all this!’
My family discipline, which had absolutely no connection to our house tradition of ‘honesty.’ It was the main culprit responsible for a soul as pure as mine being brought into this world.