Chapter 150 Magical Mechanisms and the Delayed Sense of Reality
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
On the day after returning from the Elf village, I’m in a corner of the settlement that had lately turned into a training ground, holding the magical book Renash had handed me. While spatial magic wasn’t inherently harmful like offensive spells, it remained an enigma to me, and I felt it necessary to approach it with caution.
I had read the magical book yesterday and selected a few spells I wanted to prioritize learning. The first one to attempt would be the fundamental spatial magic: creating an spatial space. Just as with creating an entrance, most spatial spells assumed the presence of the other dimension, so it all began with establishing that foundation. I carefully recreated the spatial creation rune from the book, sketching it on the ground with a branch. After thirty minutes of effort, the rune was finally complete.
”Okay, there it is… My back is killing me.”
”What are you doing?”
As I straightened my sore back from bending for so long, a voice spoke from behind. Turning around, I saw Momoka standing there, looking at me with a puzzled expression.
”Well, just practicing some magic.”
”Hmm… So, no sword training today?”
”Nah, not today.”
Seemingly ready to join in the training, Momoka’s spirits seemed to droop at my response. While I hadn’t promised training today, her demeanor made me feel slightly apologetic.
”If you want, you can watch. I can’t guarantee it’ll be entertaining though.”
After a brief moment of contemplation, Momoka said that and approached me with small steps.
”Is this a magic rune?”
”I’ve only ever seen weird symbols like this for magic. They look like scribbles.”
While I understood what she meant, there must have been a more delicate way to put it. Setting aside her choice of words, I briefly explained the symbols used in constructing magical spells, as a form of apology for disappointing her.
”So, these are the symbols you were talking about, right?”
As I spoke, I wrote several characters next to the completed rune with a wooden twig.
”Yeah, magic is activated using these symbols. This type of magical rune is for special cases. At least, it’s crucial for activating most non-basic spells, like the one for spatial creation, to use this ‘Rishou (理象)’ character.”
”In essence, these are visual representations of the world’s principles turned into characters. For example, this character represents fire, and this one represents wind. Let’s try infusing the fire’s rishou character with magic.”
Placing my hand near the drawn rishou character without disturbing the rune, I channeled magic into it, causing a small flame to ignite atop the fire rishou character.
”As you can see, you can light a fire just by infusing magic. Connecting this fire rishou character to the wind rishou character, drawn here, results in…”
”Wow, the fire got more intense.”
”By adding two more characters here…there!”
Adding two more characters beside the fire and wind symbols and infusing them with magic caused a fiery sphere the size of a human head to shoot up into the sky.
”It turned into a fireball and flew off… What did you write?”
”These are characters for launching and determining the direction. Various magical effects emerge by combining different rishou characters. By the way, the spherical shape of the fire wasn’t due to the characters; it was a result of manipulating the magical components that make up the flame.”
”I see… So, anyone can use magic if they learn rishou characters?”
”Of course, that’s how it might seem when explained like this.”
”What do you mean?”
”Let’s put it this way: while it’s technically possible to use magic by learning rishou characters, inscribing them on surfaces and infusing them with magic, true magic users refer to those who can cast spells without relying on these methods. Watch this.”
Drawing my sword, I imbued it with magic, causing flames to emerge from the blade.
”These rishou characters aren’t inscribed on the sword. I manipulated the magic within the blade to take the form of rishou characters and activated the spell. It’s only after achieving this level of control that one can truly say they can ‘use magic.’”
”Creating characters with magic… Sounds really complicated.”
”Yeah, that’s right. Proficiency in manipulating magic is undoubtedly required to a certain extent. But this is just the basics. You have to consider combinations of characters, the effects changing with their order, how much magic to infuse into each character, and even the distribution of that magic. There’s a lot to think about.”
”…Impressive, but it sounds difficult.”
Whether it was essential or not, Momoka emphasized the same point. Well, it wasn’t denied that it was difficult, but as long as one wasn’t completely inept at magic manipulation, mastering the basics shouldn’t be too much of a struggle… at least, that was the assumption.
In my case, I had a somewhat dubious ability that could be called a “good memory” for learning up to intermediate-level magic rather quickly, so there wasn’t much struggle. However, as soon as I entered advanced or applied magic, my memory seemed to deteriorate, and I distinctly remembered my teacher giving me odd looks…
”Thinking about it while listening to your explanation, these magical tools that let anyone use magic just by channeling magic – are they actually incredibly remarkable?”
”Yes, indeed. People who aren’t familiar with magic often say things like ‘just carved some characters,’ but in reality, as I mentioned earlier, not only do you need to think about combinations and sequences of characters, but also the depth of carving for each character to adjust the amount of magic flowing into them. Creating a device that activates magic exactly as intended just by channeling magic isn’t easy.”
”So, does that mean Master Neil, who developed those magical tools, is also incredibly amazing?”
”Well… in my case, while I’m good at thinking of combinations, I’m not that skilled at carving characters or adjusting depths. So, that’s where Mei comes in… yeah.”
Momoka’s admiring gaze was making me feel quite uncomfortable, revealing the somewhat embarrassing fact that while I came up with ideas, it was Mei who actually crafted the physical devices. It wasn’t that I was entirely incapable; it’s just that the balance between the magical tools I wanted to create and my skills didn’t quite match up.
For simple magical tools, I could have made them without Mei’s assistance. Unable to endure the words I’d spoken myself, I changed the topic overtly and attempted to wrap up the conversation.
”Anyway, the magic in this world is based on rishou characters and their combinations. So, most of the time, it’s expressed in the form of strings of characters.
That’s why Momoka hasn’t seen magic circles before. Well, while character strings are the basics, depending on the magic you want to cast, you might use a magic circle-like arrangement to circulate magic. But those cases are quite rare.”
”So, what Master Neil is trying to do is also one of those rare things?”
”Mine is even rarer. After all—”
Oh no, I can’t casually explain about the Elves yet; I can’t afford to be careless. But since Momoka knows that I’m a Ihomono and has been keeping my secret, I might be able to ask her to keep this secret too. However, there’s no need to go into too much detail, so I’ll just explain the spatial magic.
”I can’t reveal who exactly, but I managed to borrow a lost magic book on spatial magic.”
”Well, it was something that existed a long time ago but is now recognized as an incredible lost magic. It involves creating a new dimension on top of an existing one.”
No need for such a detailed explanation; I’ll keep it vague and simple. With that, I placed my hands beside the completed rune. I remembered the sensation from yesterday, but honestly, I had strained too much back then. The color of the magic wasn’t this intense even when I was with Renash.
With that in mind, I consciously drew power from the depths of my soul, gently releasing magic while relaxing my grip on it. The magic’s color seemed slightly different, but it wasn’t sufficient to activate the spell yet. While I still sensed a slight difference in the magic’s color, it was as if white and red were blending into a peach hue.
At that point, I felt a subtle sense of unease. It was an indescribable sensation, but I had a strange conviction that there was something invisible about the size of a person’s fist in front of me.
”Something feels strange… Could it be that it succeeded?”
It seemed Momoka felt a similar sensation, as she began to move her hands rapidly in a position where something invisible might be. Though I stopped channeling magic into the rune, the sensation didn’t disappear. As the magical book had stated, once the spell was cast, the spatial space seemed to be maintained without continuous magic infusion.
If the spatial space was created, the next step would be expanding it and creating an entrance and exit. Expanding the spatial space meant using magic to enlarge the space from its current fist-sized state to any desired size.
As for the entrance and exit, there were several types aside from the type that maintained the space only while channeling magic, as Renash had done. This time, I decided to try a type that could be permanently attached once created. First, I started with expanding the spatial space. Without a size big enough for an entrance and exit, there was no point, so I redesigned a part of the rune and attempted to expand the space.
When I poured magic into the rune, I felt the sensation of the spatial space absorbing the magic. The absorbed magic hit the walls of the space and pushed against them, gradually expanding the space.
Perhaps due to the difference in the quality of magic or the unfamiliar sensation, the spatial space expanded with a distorted shape. It was my first time, so it couldn’t be helped. Anyway, now that the spatial space had expanded to a size where an entrance and exit could be installed, I adjusted a part of the rune once again.
”There are no characters in this rune?”
”Oh, right. Spatial magic is completely different from regular magic. As I explained earlier, regular magic uses the world’s principles, while spatial magic doesn’t. After all, there’s no reason to consider principles of a space that doesn’t even exist. From the very foundation, it’s fundamentally different.”
While regular magic involves combining prepared materials to shape a form, spatial magic requires starting from shaping the materials themselves. That’s why regular magic, which utilizes principles, is simplified using rishou characters, whereas spatial magic takes on complex forms of magic circles.
It’s not just a matter of arranging complex magic circles through catalysts and magic manipulation – that’s an understatement. Therefore, I chose the method of carving a trench into the ground and channeling magic there from the very beginning.
”Hmm… you concentrated so hard on pouring magic, but is it not enough to just channel magic into this rune?”
”No, it’s not enough. As you probably saw, the quality of magic I channeled into the rishou characters earlier is different from what’s needed here. And not everyone has that kind of magic. Even if someone has it, they need a unique sensation to draw out that magic. So, individuals who can use spatial magic are quite limited.”
Though it’s unknown exactly how many people have the aptitude, based on Renash’s words, it’s not hard to imagine that they’re quite rare. After all, not utilizing the world’s principles essentially means going against them. If many people could do that, the world would likely be in chaos.
”Oh, I see. So that’s why I’m a ‘poison.’”
While Momoka responded to my muttering, I didn’t have the luxury to be concerned about that. It was only now that I finally grasped the meaning of being called a “poison.”
When I was told that my soul was different, I honestly didn’t care much. However, the tangible feeling I got from activating spatial magic made me realize, albeit belatedly, that I was indeed a poison capable of defying the world’s principles. It was a feeling that squeezed my chest.
Despite being well aware of my tendency to be excessively laissez-faire, it was ironic that I was called a poison that inflicts pain upon the world. So, by relying on this power to activate spatial magic, would I unintentionally cause irreversible consequences as God intended? Filled with such an unavoidable anxiety, it was at that moment—
”This should do it. Ei―――― Oh, it worked.”
My consciousness, which had been deeply immersed, was abruptly pulled back to reality by Momoka’s words. When I looked up, sure enough, there was an entrance to the spatial space. The rune carved into the ground was infused with a blue magic that was distinct from my crimson hue. Momoka’s hand was beside it, clearly indicating that she had opened the entrance.
”No way, right? I struggled a bit to grasp that sensation, but you did it so easily.”
While she had been brought here with a different purpose than me, Momoka was also an Ihoumono like me. Most Ihoumono were brought here with the aim of obtaining unique powers or knowledge that didn’t exist in this world, as the Divine Spirit Tree had mentioned. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if Momoka had a special power enabling her to handle spatial magic. Still, to grasp the sensation so effortlessly…
”Hahaha, I see… So, I’m not as special as I think I am, huh?”
”Master Neil… Well, Master Neil is amazing. I don’t really understand magic, and what I did just now was just me imitating what I saw you do, or it was just a coincidence. So, uh…”
”It’s okay, Momoka. I’m not feeling down or anything. Sure, I was a bit jealous that you managed to do something I struggled with so easily. But more than being jealous, I feel relieved.”
Ever since the Divine Spirit Tree told me that I’m a poison threatening the world, I’ve believed that I’m a unique being unlike the other Ihoumono. Since my specialization is causing pain to the world, it’s a fact that I’m exceptional in that sense.
However, I’ve been fearful of the Divine Spirit Tree’s words that labeled me as a poison capable of causing pain to the world. I’ve taken things quite seriously. The aptitude for spatial magic, which defies the world’s principles, is another reason for my fear. It’s because it’s also a power that could cause harm to the world.
But now, someone like Momoka, who should be different from me since she’s not a poison, has shown even greater aptitude for spatial magic than me. It’s an undeniable fact that I could use spatial magic because I possess the power to inflict pain upon the world.
However, possessing the power to inflict pain upon the world doesn’t necessarily mean using spatial magic would cause harm to the world. Momoka has shown me that. Yes, I’m not just an entity that threatens the world. I had no intention of becoming such a being.
”Thank you, Momoka. Thanks to you, I’ve gathered a bit of determination.”
”Determination? What for?”
”A determination to not underestimate me as an excessively laissez-faire person in the eyes of the God who brought us to this world.”
As the Divine Spirit Tree had mentioned, in the face of the mighty existence called God, I, as an existence, was insignificant. Resistance against them would likely be in vain. However, just because resistance would likely be in vain didn’t mean I had a reason to give up from the start.
”All right! Let’s continue, Momoka.”
”I don’t really get it, but I’m glad to see Master Neil in good spirits.”
If I’m going to inflict pain upon the world, then so be it. In that case, I’ll heal those wounds as well. I won’t just play into the hands of the God’s intentions. I’ve decided to resist, even if in a small way.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.