Chapter 161 Questioning the Situation
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Amidst the brewing of alcohol, on the third day of accompanying Yurus and the others in their training, progress Eurus be seen even though each of them was at a different level.
Firstly, Yurus had managed to learn how to manipulate magic through the pressure-based spell. However, because he had been practicing it only by activating it close to himself, he was still unfamiliar with manipulating magic externally. Yet, by the second day, he had grasped the technique and Eurus now crush a pole made of soil with his magic. He was currently attempting the same with a pole of increased durability.
Next was Seira. While there was no progress evident on the first day, by the second day, she had gradually become able to pull branches towards herself. By the end of that day, she Eurus pull them towards her with ease within a two-meter range. On the third day, she was challenging herself to extend the distance to four meters, and while she managed to pull the branch towards her in three separate attempts, she had not yet succeeded in one continuous pull.
Lastly, there was Ranbaa. To be frank, he didn’t show much improvement. Similar to Seira, there was no progress on the first day, and it barely changed by the second day. At the end of the training on the second day, the branch only scraped the ground by a few centimeters. Today, he was attempting the same at a two-meter distance, but after an hour of trying, he Eurus only pull the branch about a meter closer.
Perhaps due to the frustration of the slow progress, Ranbaa suddenly threw a tantrum.
”Arrgh! How long are we going to keep doing this petty stuff? Master Neil! If I’m going to be taught something, I’d rather learn a more combat-oriented magic than this!”
I had a feeling this might happen, so I smiled wryly and tried to calm Ranbaa down.
”Given your current level of magic manipulation, it wouldn’t make much difference what kind of magic you learn.”
”But if it’s a magic useful in real combat, I’d be more motivated to train!”
”Sigh… Useful in practical combat, huh? Well, that makes it sound like the magic you’re learning right now isn’t useful in real combat.”
Hmm, this is a bit troubling. While I Eurus continue training them using this method, it wouldn’t satisfy Ranbaa, and more importantly, I needed to break through Ranbaa’s rigid mindset.
”Alright, I understand. In that case, let’s have a little competition, Ranbaa.”
”Huh? A competition with Master Neil?”
”If Ranbaa wins, I’ll teach you a new magic that aligns with your request. If I win, you’ll continue the current training without complaints. The competition is simple: I’ll cast a magic spell just once, and all you have to do is avoid it.”
”Is it safe to use magic for this…?”
”It’ll only have the force of a sound and an impact, at most it’s like being lightly pushed by someone’s hand—of course, even though I say that, you might still be a little uneasy, so I’ll show you the magic just once.”
With that, I unsheathed my sword and infused it with magic. Then, I pointed the sword at the soil pole I had been using for Yurus’ training. A white sphere appeared at the tip of the sword, and I sent it flying towards the pole. The sphere was drawn towards the pole and vanished with a burst of sound as it touched it. However, the pole remained unaffected, with no signs of damage.
”The power is as you saw, not particularly significant. It won’t cause any harm even if it hits you. So, what do you say? Will you accept the challenge?”
”Alright then. Let’s start at a distance similar to the pole we were aiming at earlier, about ten meters away. The rules are simple: once the match begins, neither of us should move around too much, Ranbaa shouldn’t try to get away from me, and I won’t try to close the distance. However, moving around to dodge the incoming magic is allowed, of course.”
”Understood! I’ll definitely dodge it!”
Seeing Ranbaa’s determination, I couldn’t help but smile. While I did, Yurus and Seira, on the other hand, exchanged whispered words.
”Hey, Yurus, what do you think about this challenge? From what we heard about the magic and the conditions, it doesn’t seem impossible, but I can’t help but feel Ranbaa won’t win.”
”Yeah, I also think Master Neil definitely has something up his sleeve.”
”Does that mean he’s going to cheat?”
”Hmm… I mean, this challenge is meant to convince Ranbaa, so I don’t think I’d cheat to the point where Ranbaa becomes unsatisfied with the outcome. But…”
”When I saw that magic earlier, something felt off… I can’t quite put my finger on it.”
It seems Yurus noticed something, albeit faintly. He was in the closest position to the pole, so he might have observed more closely. On the other hand, Ranbaa didn’t seem to have any suspicions. If he had the same uneasy feeling as Yurus, he might have hesitated a bit more.
”Master Neil! Is this distance okay?”
”Yeah, it’s fine! Let’s begin!”
Just like before, I readied my sword and pointed it at Ranbaa. In response, Ranbaa lowered his stance, ready to dodge at any moment. Even though the magical sphere had formed at the tip of the sword, Ranbaa remained calm and composed, not flinching at all.
Impressive focus. If he moved carelessly, he’d create a brief opening until the next action, and it seemed Ranbaa understood this vulnerability well. He might be the type who excels in actual combat situations.
”Here we go!”
A timed challenge with an unexpected warning. Ranbaa’s eyes widened in surprise for a moment, but I didn’t pay it much attention. I cast the magic. As the magic was released from my control, at that exact moment, Ranbaa swiftly dodged to the right.
At the moment when Ranbaa was confident in his victory due to the perfect timing, the sphere that seemed to pass by Ranbaa at an angle suddenly changed its trajectory, as if being pulled towards him. The sphere moved towards Ranbaa as if drawn in. Ranbaa, who had jumped away expecting to be hit, hadn’t landed yet and was defenseless as the sphere struck his back.
The force of the impact pushed him forward as he was mid-air, causing Ranbaa to crash onto the ground face-first and letting out a strange sound.
”Ranbaa! Are you alright?”
”Oh dear, it looks like Ranbaa lost. But still, that magic just now…”
”That’s the magic you two have been practicing for a long time.”
Approaching the three of them, I answered Seira’s puzzled question.
”Ouch… While we’ve been practicing magic that can only pull things towards us, actually…”
”Only capable of pulling things towards us?” Seira interjected.
”That’s a misconception. It’s more accurate to say we can also pull ourselves towards what’s connected. Imagine magic as a rope. If the object you’re pulling is light, you can pull it towards yourself by reeling in the rope. But if the object is much heavier than you, like a boulder, you’ll be pulled toward it. So, this magic isn’t unidirectional pulling; it’s mutual attraction. When you cast the magic, you didn’t notice that the medium at your end was being pulled?”
”I didn’t notice at all… well, actually, I couldn’t even pull the branches towards me…”
”In my case, it’s more like I didn’t realize until now. I didn’t feel a sensation as if something was being strongly pulled, but looking back, I think the wooden tag I was holding did move slightly.”
”The mutual attraction might still be weak. By the time you can pull something from ten meters away, you should be able to sense it more clearly.”
”But Master Neil, this magic only responds to the same type of magic, right? Why did Ranbaa get pulled towards your magic?”
”That’s simple. That magic was constructed by me, but I used Ranbaa’s magic to cast it.”
”Huh!? When did my magic…”
”While I was extending the challenge and waiting for your agreement, I discreetly borrowed magic from your hand. Remember that moment?”
”That time? I thought you were just asking if I’d accept the challenge!”
”At that moment, I pretended to gain your agreement while secretly borrowing magic from you.”
At that moment, I had pretended to accept the challenge from Ranbaa, using it as an opportunity to draw magic from his hand.
”Once you become proficient in magic manipulation and can sense your own magic within, you’ll easily notice such things. But for Ranbaa, it might still be a bit challenging.”
”Ugh… but still, I never heard that magic Eurus do something like that!”
”True, I didn’t say it explicitly, but didn’t I demonstrate it just now?”
”It collided head-on with me without curving or anything!”
”Well, it actually curved very slightly. Ranbaa just didn’t notice it. Yurus, did you notice it even though it was faint?”
”I did feel something off… Well, not strongly, but it was there.”
”If you were able to notice that, it’s quite good. It shows that you’re not just fixated on the power of the magic, but trying to grasp other aspects as well.”
”Yes, Master Neil. I have one question, though. When you showed it to us the first time, you used your magic, right? The earthen pillar was created using your magic, and it’s obviously infused with magic, so I understand why it responded to it and got pulled. But then, why didn’t it rebound on you?”
”Ah, that’s because I had set a time delay before activation. The first time, it was to avoid nullifying the momentum of the magic by pulling me in. But the second time, I didn’t aim it directly at Ranbaa from the start. I thought it would surprise him more if it suddenly started following him midway… and I also added a handicap.”
”Huh? A handicap?”
I explained to Ranbaa with a surprised expression.
”For the second time, I didn’t actually need to set a time delay. If I had aimed it straight at Ranbaa from the beginning, the challenge would’ve been settled easily. With the current Ranbaa, there’s no way he Eurus dodge a magic flying at him with such force. However, that would have left Ranbaa with no chance of winning. So, I designed the mechanism to trigger the suction just before passing Ranbaa, and the sudden change of direction would also reduce the magic’s momentum. This would allow Ranbaa, if he noticed the oddity of my magic, to at least evade with minimal movement and transition to the next evasion action. If the magic’s initial force is completely gone and it’s only being pulled by gravity, it becomes easy to avoid if you can gauge its movement. But…”
”Ranbaa didn’t doubt it at all and simply assumed it was just a magic that would fly straight at him. He didn’t think any further.”
”Having the capacity to question things isn’t limited to just learning magic. Holding onto misguided assumptions can endanger you or your comrades in real combat situations.”
Just as I finished saying that, seeing Ranbaa’s startled expression, I continued with words of advice.
”Do you understand why I proposed this challenge now?”
As I saw Ranbaa nod solemnly, I refrained from saying anything more. It’s easy to tell someone to have doubts, but I understand well how challenging it is to put it into practice. Even when you’re being cautious, fixed ideas can sometimes prevent you from questioning things, and you only realize your mistakes after making them. I’ve repeated this experience many times. Just like how I received a lecture from His Majesty about “not giving arbitrary personalities to the nation,” that incident was also a result of my own misguided assumptions, of not questioning things.
Ranbaa, Seira, and Yurus will undoubtedly taste this experience countless times from now on. “If only I had thought this way at that time,” “Why didn’t I notice?” These are inevitable parts of life. I’m aware that I’m being stern with these children. Nevertheless, I’m saying these things because I want to minimize the number of times these three will have to go through such experiences. I admit, even I think I’m meddling too much. But as long as these three continue to follow me, I intend to teach them not only about magic but various other things as well.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.