21st Century Archmage - Chapter 25
Chapter 25: Summoner Dreams
‘I’m gonna go nuts.’ Before I knew it, rumors had spread all over the school, causing students to turn on their heels and run away at the mere sight of Hyneth. ‘To be a loser here…’
This kind of collective exclusion was a first for me, even considering my life in Korea.
“Che, I didn’t even do anything wrong,” grumbled Russell while walking next to me.
“Hoho, elder brothers, this small guy is the red kylie flower; it blooms in the spring and releases its fragrance until summer.” The cause of the bullying, Hyneth, got excited all by herself while looking at the campus plants.
‘How can such a scary strength come from such a fragile body? Did her ancestor drink ogre blood?’
Old people in Korea would hurry to slurp up the blood of not just deer, but all sorts of animals, as long as it was good for your body. I wondered what kind of hereditary information was being spread through the blood of the Petrins.
“Russell, how did you summon a spirit?”
I heard that commoners who lived in rural areas had higher spiritual affinity than nobles. Because one needed spiritual affinity, mana, and a summoner’s help on top of that, a commoner becoming a summoner was as difficult as an orc eating garlic for a hundred days and evolving into an ogre.
“My father was a summoner.”
‘Hm? He was? But he’s a commoner?’
In some ways, summoners received more respect than mages. If you managed to summon an intermediate spirit, you would receive at least 4th Circle mage treatment. But despite being a commoner, Russell’s father was a summoner.
‘It’s fishy. This guy has been hiding something from the start.’
He had introduced himself as a commoner, but Russell’s every action was filled with grace. I would believe it even if you said he was a noble.
“Wow! As expected of the ‘Forest of Spirits,’ it really feels like we’re inside a big forest.”
I wanted to ask Russell something else, but we had already arrived at the Forest of Spirits on the palace grounds. This was where summoners received their education and spirit-related classes were held.
‘There are just about 20 summoners in the Imperial Family. They have a High Summoner of wind and a High Summoner of earth, right?’
Spirits were divided into 5 different classes: Spirit King at the pinnacle and then arch, high, intermediate, and lower grade spirits. A summoner’s greatest goal was usually to summon a high spirit. Archspirits and Spirit Kings did exist, but historically, the number of people who had summoned an archspirit could be counted on one hand, and no one had managed to summon a Spirit King. Summoning an archspirit would grant you treatment equal to a 7th Circle Archmage.
For Skyknight aerial battles, ranged offense was provided by a magic spear called the Blessed Spear, which I had personally experienced, as well as magic from mages and spirits from summoners. Today, we would be learning about the spirit side.
Unfortunately, some scum were already waiting ahead of us in the class location.
‘They sure crawled out here early,’ I thought, looking at the no-good bunch. ‘So that guy is the next duke of Fasain?’
The leader of the group was a haughty-looking man in his early 20s with blue hair. Perhaps because he was going to be the next head of a ducal family with a high position of power in the empire, the others were wagging their tails around him like dogs.
‘He really reminds me of Hwang Sung-taek.’ The next Duke of Fasain, Tedran Fasain, gave me the same feeling as Hwang Sung-taek, the ‘Crown Prince’ of the Ohsung Group back in Korea.
Our eyes met.
After our eyes met, a greasy smile came to his lips and he walked towards me, accompanied by five other cadets, including the guy whose balls I had cracked, Jusaine Termon, and Alfonso.
“Your name is Kyre?”
‘Why do you think you can be so casual with me?’ I didn’t even give him permission, but he was already being so informal.
“And your name is Tedran?” I responded in the same manner.
“You! Who do you think this is!”
“You bastard! How dare you speak so carelessly! Wretched commoner!”
At my bravado, Tedran’s dogs went red-faced and blurted retorts. Their words went through one ear and out the other.
“Puhahaha! Good! A man should have this much spirit.” Instead of getting mad, Tedran let out a hearty laugh.
‘He’s different from them.’ He was on a different level from the other petty nobles.
“Come under me. I will make you into a Skyknight who flies under the ducal banner rather than a Skyknight of the empire with no other affiliation.”
“Gasp!” As if he was granting some huge benevolence, Tedran’s words brought surprised expressions to his goons’ faces.
“D-do you really mean it?” I asked with a polite expression.
“Of course! I am the next Duke of Fasain—”
“—Is that what you thought I would say?”
Tedran, who had been about to toot his own horn with a satisfied smile, instantly turned dark with displeasure.
“You don’t even look that old, so don’t try to act the elder. What’s with a young guy pretending to be so high and mighty? Che!” I made a threatening movement with my fist, making all the goonies flinch. For good measure, I threw out a combative warning that a mercenary might use. “Watch yourself. If you make light of me one more time, you could be buried under the training arena.”
“Hoho! My orabunni is so cool,” cheered Hyneth, who was just as fearless as me.
“Y-you dare!” Tedran wasn’t even a duke yet, but was hasty to play with power. At what was possibly the first insult he had received in his life, his face flushed red.
“Problem? Then I’ll see you tomorrow during sparring~”
Others might be afraid of an empire’s duke, but not me. The world was wide and there were more than enough places that would welcome someone with skills like mine.
Instead of responding, Tedran audibly ground his teeth.
“The weather sure is great~”
Putting his beastlike gaze behind me, I cheerfully swung my arms as I strolled into the forest. If he provoked me again next time, I would bury him three feet under.
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“You must watch out for the attacks of spirits, particularly spirits of wind, when you are aloft. Although the airplates equipped by Skyknights can block magic up to the 4th Circle, it cannot block a spirit’s physical force from a flanking attack or an ambush from the back.”
In the Forest of Spirits, our class on spirits was well underway, led by Count Capuin, a High Summoner capable of bringing forth the high wind spirit, Djinn. Looking to be in his mid fifties, unlike the other instructors so far, the count gave off an impression of a friendly neighborhood mister. His explanation was precise and warmhearted.
“In particular, if there is a High Summoner on the enemy side, offensive maneuvers will be impossible. The fact that spirits of the same element cannot defy a higher level being is a special characteristic of spirits.”
‘Hoh, then if I can become a High Summoner, I’ll be nigh unstoppable.’
There was only a single Arch Summoner on the whole continent. He was apparently a duke in some kingdom.
“As you know, students, there are two High Summoners in the empire. But only one of them is a Skyknight, and that’s me. And in the Laviter Empire, our Bajran’s greatest enemy, there are also two High Summoners.”
As soon as the Laviter Empire was mentioned, Russell’s body began to tremble next to me.
“They are Count Lainke, and Count Midion, who suddenly perished ten years ago. If Count Midion were still alive, we would have taken greater losses in the battle with the Laviter Empire.”
Russell clenched his fist.
‘Why is he so worked up?’ The instructor’s words had a visible effect on Russell.
“Count Midion was, in particular, a successor of the wind more formidable than myself. If he hadn’t died, there would surely have become another Arch Summoner in this continent.”
At the mention of Count Midion, Russell had closed his eyes. I could sense there was an indescribable story behind Russell’s stiff face.
‘Could it be?’ Could Russell be connected to Midion, who had been a summoner of wind? ‘Naw, no way…’
As I watched, Russell regained his composure and returned to normal. I couldn’t be sure, but I pushed the thought to the back of my mind. Why would he be here trying to become a Skyknight in Bajran instead of being in the empire where he was born? And he would have been a count’s kid at that.
“I heard there are summoners of wind among the new students this year. Come forward!”
Clearly wanting to show us something, Count Capuin called out the summoners.
Three cadets, including Russell, stepped forward.
“Three of you, huh… I heard we had an outstanding batch this year, and it seems to be true.”
The count seemed happy at seeing three young summoners. His reaction was proof that summoners were a rare breed.
“Since you’re Skyknight cadets, you must all be Intermediate Summoners. Students, summon your spirits, the ones you have contracted to,” said the count with a calm smile. “Summon Shuriel!”
“Your contractor commands thee! Summon Shuriel!”
Three different voices summoned their spirits.
‘Wow!’ As the summoners cried out, three intermediate wind Shuriel appeared 10 meters above their heads. ‘So these guys can even topple over a decently-sized boat.’
Each Shuriel was about as big as an eagle. They were capable of physical force that belied their small size.
“Hahaha! Your affinity is impressive. You are all still young, but your mana is pretty sturdy, too.”
The mana supplied by the summoners to their spirits was as small as a rat’s tail. However, that was enough for summoners, who drew mana from their upper danjeons and had better mana efficiency than mages.
‘Spirits can only move as far as the summoner can extend their mana.’ That applied to Sylphs, which were useful to normal soldiers, as well as the more efficient intermediate spirits, which could be compared to Blade Knights and mages. The summoner’s mana determined the spirit’s abilities. ‘I also want one.’
Once the term began, we were so busy that I hadn’t yet been able to bring up a summoning with Russell. I wanted to ask him tonight, at least, and get one for myself.
“Like I said before, spirits are bound by their elemental hierarchy. Just like how a lion dominates other animals in the animal world, so too reigns a hierarchy in the spirit world. See for yourself.”
‘A high spirit!’
Count Capuin could only be thinking of one thing. He wanted to summon the high spirit of wind, Djinn.
“Djinn, my friend~! Show yourself to me!”
As spirits went up in grade, their consciousness itself would also develop. According to what I read in a book in the Imperial Library, a high spirit possessed intelligence greater than a human’s.
As Count Capuin’s words fell, a terrifyingly powerful wind began to blow in the Forest of Spirits. The cloak on my shoulders whipped around as if it were going to fly away.
And then, a huge, transparent human made out of wind appeared before us.
‘The Genie from the Lamp!’
The Genie from the Lamp in the Arabian Nights was also called ‘Djinn.’ Through some strange coincidence, I was able to see the genie from shows here on Kallian.
‘His pecs are killer!’
The image of the transparent spirit swayed in the air like rippling water. The high spirit of wind, Djinn, was five times as big as a person and boasted bulging muscles made of wind that looked just like a bodybuilder’s.
“Students, command your summoned spirits to attack,” said Count Capuin with an air of utter confidence.
“My friend! Attack!”
Anticipating Count Capuin’s command with dread, the summoners tremblingly told their spirits to attack. They were also summoners just like Count Capuin, but it was as if they were seeing a high spirit for the first time in their lives.
However, the Shuriels, who should have attacked with lightning speed, simply screamed in the air like chickens in front of a hawk.
“Ah!” Cries fell from the summoners’ lips.
“Did you see, students? When you become Skyknights in the future, you must remember that when the opponent has a High Summoner, you should only attack very carefully with mages and knights. Be sure to remember that the difference between a high spirit and a lower spirit is like a Blade Knight and a normal soldier. Djinn, I ask you to force the spirits’ return.”
Count Capuin spoke as if he was asking a friend for a favor rather than giving a command.
Whooooosh! In that moment, a small whirlwind blew forth from the Djinn.
Their summoned spirits forcibly returned, the cadets sank to the ground with cries of pain.
“It was a forced return without bloodthirst, so your spirits haven’t been harmed. However, if you are to meet with an enemy of a higher level, do not bring forth your precious spirits.”
The count taught us one thing after another with sincerity and care. His eyes held deep affection as he gazed at the young summoners.
“If there is anything you are curious about regarding spirits, come find me at any time. Then, let’s end the class here. I pray that the blessing of the gods will guide the bright future ahead of you…”
Despite occupying the title of a count, the exceptional Count Capuin lowered his head to pray for us. He lacked nothing as a teacher.
‘I’ve decided! I will ask him to help me with the summoning!’
The most important thing in a summoning was a summoner’s help. I was a little hesitant about asking Russell to help me, but with Count Capuin, I could rest assured.
‘You’re called Djinn, right? Huhu, just wait for me.’
The rippling high spirit of wind, Djinn, looked down on the puny humans below.
I met eyes with the ripped Djinn, and a slight smile formed on my lips for a moment.
‘Uhahahaha! You’re mine, Djinn!’
There was a saying like this: the bigger your chest muscles, the smaller your brain!