── And so.
That night at dinner, I asked Merlin a question that I had been wondering about for some time in the dining room.
“By the way, Merlin?”
“Yes, what is it?”
“Why didn’t you use… level 9 or higher magic during the mock battle with me?”
“…What do you mean?”
I’ve been busy with changing residency, changing schools, and Anastasia’s slave crest, so I couldn’t ask her about it until now….
I mean, it seems to have something to do with the decline of magic civilization, and I felt that it would complicate things further if I were to hear about it.
But now that things have settled down, I decided to ask her.
“In the first place, why did you dabble in such an onerous technique like four Parallel Activation of level 8 magic?”
Parallel Activation takes a long time to cast.
Merlin’s four Parallel Activation were comparable to the time it took to employ level 10 magic.
The consecutive attacks style of Ephthal School that I have established is only meant to interfere with the opponent’s spell construction with two or three strikes in a row.
The tactic is to crush powerful magic with subtle magic and win without letting the opponent do anything.
── In the end, it is not an exaggeration to say that in the case of a decisive battle between great mages at the level of Merlin and I, victory or defeat will be decided by the first shot of level 10 magic.
Parallel Activation is a technique that can be flexibly adapted according to the situation of the battle.
Attack while defending or recover while attacking.
Teleport to safety if defenses are breached, or a mix of frontline and air defenses…. Well, if anything, it’s a useful technique for support.
Opening Four Gates at the same time is amazing and all, or rather, even I can’t do it, but if she’s going to attack with all gates, it’s faster and more efficient to train for level 10 magic in terms of power.
At least… it’s unsuitable to use it on me in the sense of hitting me with all of her power at the time
Then, Merlin made a sorrowful expression.
“Judging from the environment in which Ephthal-sama grew up in this life… I was wondering if you knew about it. Though if you do know about it, I’ve been careful not to tell you because I thought it would only bring back horrible memories…”
“What do you mean?”
“About that ── in conclusion, as far as I know, the only person in the world who is currently capable of handling level 10 magic is… Ephthal-sama”
For a short while, I froze.
After being in shock for a short while, I exclaimed to Merlin loudly.
“So you didn’t know, huh?”
After exclaiming for a while, I fell into a daze and just froze in shock for a while.
After I’ve recovered, I spoke again.
“Just what do you mean, Merlin?”
“To be exact, there is no one who can use level 10 magic except for Ephthal-sama and one other person. I’ll explain that little by little…. It was about four hundred years ago, ten years after Ephthal-sama’s death in your last life”
“One day, all of a sudden ── the existence of level 9 magic and above disappeared”
“…Like I said, just what do you mean?”
“Have you ever heard of the Magia Monolith?”
If I remember correctly, it’s a mysterious stone monument found in the ancient ruins of a super ancient magic civilization that died out more than tens of thousands of years ago.
“Yeah. I know”
“When the monolith exploded, it caused a transformation in the astral body of the humanoid species. An invisible wave of magical contaminants spread throughout the world ── we call it the Magia Burst”
“Yes. As a result, humans, demons, elves, and dwarves. The brain of the humanoid species as a whole… has changed since that day. No, to be exact, the soul that is housed in the organ called the brain… or the astral body in magic terms”
The collection of brain cells becomes the cerebrum, and the cerebrum creates the individual personality or consciousness.
The depths of what we call consciousness lurks the astral body, which is the spiritual capacity or the spiritual body.
With that, mages create magic circuits in their brains through training. These magic circuits work on the astral body to produce supernatural phenomena ── magic ── through the spiritual body’s power.
“It is the very basics, written at the very beginning of the Magic Fundamentals Book. How could I not know that? So you’re saying that the astral body was transformed and weakened by the outburst of Magia Burst?”
“Yes. Magic is the use of spiritual power, but the astral body of humanoid species is no longer able to withstand the use of level 9 magic and above”
“…What happened to those who were already able to handle level 9 and above magic at the time of the incident?”
“The astral body was damaged due to the inappropriate use of power, and they became cripples who can’t use magic. Since then, humanoid species couldn’t even learn any level 9 and above magic… I’m also one of them”
Level 11 magic, called Extra Level.
Even in the case of the ritual magic that brought together the power of the Four Emperors who defeated the demon king, there was a risk that the astral body wouldn’t be able to withstand the magic as a vessel and would be damaged because it was originally magic that human beings could not handle.
So I can understand what Merlin is saying.
“But the explosion of the monolith, you say, huh… for such a phenomenon to happen…. Well, I guess that’s just the result of what happened. So, why did the explosion happen so suddenly? In over two thousand years of magic history, this has never happened before, has it?”
“I’m pretty sure there’s one person involved in all of this”
“Someone that you know very well, Ephthal-sama”
“Someone that I know?”
“The day before the monolith explosion became the center of the Magia Burst, two of the Four Emperors at the time and an elite investigation team from the magic society were dispatched to the ruins, but in the end, none of them came back from the investigation”
“Did they get caught in the monolith explosion?”
“No, that’s not the case. The corpses at the ruins showed no signs of having been caught in the explosion”
“Corpses, you say…?”
“Yes, the corpses of the Emperor of the Ice God and the investigation team”
“The Emperor of the Ice God was killed!? That calm and vigilant man!?”
“And the magic that was used to destroy the monolith was Level 10: Emperor of the Fire God, Kliff… small-scale nuclear explosion magic”
I can’t believe everything Merlin said.
No, it’s impossible, isn’t it? That guy was kinder than anyone else, and he opposed the war against the demon king more than anyone else until the very end…. Even though I’m older than him, I have to admit that he’s worthy of being the leader of the Four Emperors….
“Why, just why…? No way it’s true, right?”
“I see. So from here on out, it’s just you, Ephthal-sama. The investigation team was all killed, and the monolith was destroyed by Level 10: Emperor of the Fire God, Kliff, causing the Magia Burst. And there was no sign of the Emperor of the Fire God among the corpses. That’s all I know”
“The Emperor of the Fire God… Kliff?”
“Based on the circumstantial evidence, he is certainly the cause of the Magia burst. And even now, the Emperor of the Fire God is probably… still alive”
“That’s impossible, right!? Kliff should be a normal human being… and doesn’t have any long-life demi-human blood in him, right!?”
“I don’t know how, but sightings of what appears to be him have been reported to the magic society in different eras and places”
“No, but it’s been four hundred years, you know!?”
“There are signs of handlings of level 10 magic… so it shouldn’t be a mistake. Sometimes he is a villain who has turned a frontier country into scorched land, and sometimes he is a hero who has slaughtered the Kaiser Dragon. Whether it’s curing a widespread plague or carrying out large-scale pillage… there is just no consistency in his actions”
“…I really don’t know what to make of this”
“Anyway, at the present time, only Ephthal-sama and the Emperor of the Fire God can handle level 10 magic”
“So, in other words…?”
“You will be a nuisance in his eyes as you’re the only one who can face him alone. So you will definitely be perceived as dangerous”
It looks like I can’t afford to stand out anymore.
I haven’t even been able to surpass the ‘me’ of my previous life. It would be absurd to expect me to fight against Kliff, who I was no match for back then.
I can’t let him know that I’m here yet.
“Also… Ephthal-sama? I’d like to talk about the magic aptitude…”
“What is it?”
“You do know that the Emperor of the Fire God originally created the method of measuring magic aptitude, right?”
“Yes, of course”
After all, I died in the worst mood because I found out something I didn’t need to know.
“Are you aware of the academic field of the Emperor of the Fire God?”
“Magic aptitude and… ah!”
Something connected in my mind.
“Research on ancient civilizations”
“Yes, it’s not a major field, and it’s not profitable. However, the Emperor of the Fire God’s aberrant commitment to his research field was the stuff of legend”
“He was ridiculed for doing research twenty-seven hours a day. Seriously, when does he sleep…?”
“I heard he was half out of his mind, though ──”
“Yeah,” I nodded.
“That’s why it’s so easy to understand. Magic aptitude, ancient ruins, and Magia Burst. There’s a connection between these three”
“Yes, perhaps there is something there that the Emperor of the Fire God wanted… to the point of making enemies of the world and weakening all of the mages”
“Magia Burst… weakening of a person’s astral body, altering it. And magic aptitude is… related to the nature of the astral body, too”
“That’s right. It could possibly be the key to solving Ephthal-sama’s magic aptitude problem ──”
Don’t tell anyone. I signaled Merlin with my right hand.
“But it looks like a troublesome man is holding the key to all of this”
For now, I’m probably still no match for him.
But that’s because my magic aptitude fetters me.
If it weren’t for that, I’d be able to compete on the same playing field as Kliff… I don’t think all of my dedication to magic is inferior to him.
No, I don’t want to admit that. I won’t.
The summit of magic is mine to set foot on in this life. No one else but me.
“Well, in that case, I’ll have to greet Kliff someday”
── And so, with a premonition of trouble, my academy life began.
TL Note: This is the end of Volume 1.