This fellow was absolutely a genius in magic research!
Duwei had already made his assessment of his captive magician! If this fellow could continue his research, then one day he might become the great scholar of a generation!
But right now Duwei was most interested in how he had used alchemy to use magic.
As the magician talked about how he had expended immeasurable effort to reach results, he couldn’t help but get a bit excited. Even if was surreptitious and shameful about these results by necessity, he really somewhat regretted not being able to share his life’s greatest discovery with others. Now that he could finally speak without worry, the magician’s eyes were shining, pride plastered across his whole face, he couldn’t even help gesticulating wildly with excitement:
“Someone like me, with sufficient spirit power, that is magic power. But sensitivity a bit lacking. Unable to sense the magic elements in the surrounding nature. Then, I thought, like someone with bad hearing, if the voices are too low, he won’t hear anything…… But, if the voices are louder, very noisy! He might be able to hear!”
Duwei interposed with shining eyes: “Therefore…… You thought of a way to extract something that increased the magic element content in the surroundings?”
“Yes! The most basic of basics in fire magic is ‘fireball’, but not even the highest level magician actually knows what the so-called ‘fire element’ actually is, since everyone just knows how to use it, they’ve never thought about how it works. But those incendiary preparations, that they can ignite proves they contain ‘fire element’! I posited a hypothesis: In an equal environment where someone with strong sensitivity could feel the surrounding magic element, and I couldn’t. Then…… If I could increase the surrounding magical element, increase it by some amount, then even with my dull sensitivity I should still be able to feel it! In this case, wouldn’t I be able to use magic?”
“Afterwards…… Did you succeed?” Duwei gasped.
“Yes!” The magician solemnly said: “I did many, many experiments, mainly researching fire magic. I hypothesized that those incendiary materials contained fire element. But finding a way to extract them cost me a lot of time. I left my master and headed south alone, I built a tiny magic laboratory, I filled it with refining tools, and after years of research I finally found it.”
Duwei couldn’t help be excited: “You found the fire element…… Then what is the fire element really?”
“…… I still don’t know.” The magician looked a little helpless: “I experimented with more than a hundred formulas and more than three hundred methods, until at last…… After I finished an experiment extracting a kind of powder from more than ten different kinds of plants, a kind of black dust. Afterwards…… Afterwards I suddenly felt it!”
“Felt it?” Duwei’s eyebrows rose.
“Yes! I felt it! With my dull sensitivity that would usually be unable to sense the magic elements around me! Just when I worked with this powder, using a ventilator of my own construction, when this powder rose into the air…… I finally felt it! As I tried a fire spell, I discovered I could clearly feel the pulse of fire element around me! I…… I had actually succeeded!”
The magician was moved as he spoke: “I started on the path of magic when I was thirteen, and had spent twenty years! I finally used magic…… Even if it was only the most insignificant, the very lowest level fireball spell! But, when I saw I had used magic to launch that only fist sized fireball, I was so happy I could die.”
Looking at this fellow’s face, Duwei couldn’t help sighing: “In other words, when you fought with my people in that tavern, the fireballs were also……”
“Yes.” The magician nodded: “I carried some sealed bottles containing the powder I extracted, and when I needed to use magic I would open one in my sleeve, releasing the powder…… Afterwards I could feel the existence of the fire elements, I could use magic.”
It was a strange method…… But this fellow really was a genius!
However…… Duwei suddenly recalled something, his face a little odd: “Then you used this kind of method to get magician’s qualifications?”
The magician blushed: “I know, this method is the same as fraud. But I really couldn’t control my desire to be called a magician.”
“This I can understand.” Duwei said: “But what baffles me is why you are only the very lowest first level magician? Since you have the talent for magic, and now also solved the problem of magic sensitivity, shouldn’t you be able to pass even higher level exams?”
“No, it’s impossible for me.” The captive shook his head: “My methods may have settled the issue of sensitivity, but…… I was immediately confronted with a new problem. And that problem, even after long and careful consideration, I was unable to settle.”
“What problem?” Duwei was very concerned…… After all, whether he could learn and use magic all depended on this fellow.
“After my experiments I managed to extract that yellow powder with fire element, but my sensitivity really is too lacking, so even when there is plenty of fire element I’m still unable to use more than the lowest level fireball spell.” The magician smiled wryly: “Do you think I wouldn’t want to take higher level exams? I even imagined that since I could use my own methods to raise the fire element density…… Then I should be able to increase the fire element density even higher! I might even be able to use the highest level forbidden spell ‘city conflagration’! Becoming a forbidden spell mage, wouldn’t that be glorious, wouldn’t that be an achievement? Like that I could instantly leap to the summit of magicians on the continent!”
Unfortunately his excited mood suddenly dimmed: “But, the problem is…… My sensitivity is lacking. Therefore, if I want to use higher level fire magic I have to use some way to increase the fire element content in my surroundings even more! The higher the concentration, the higher the level of spells I can use. But in fact, that powder I made already contains a very high amount of fire element! I really wanted to increase the fire element content even higher…… Moreover, I did some rough calculations…… If I can cast the lowest level fireball spell with such a high fire element concentration…… Then in order to cast a mid level fire system spell, the fire element density in my surroundings would have to increase by several tenfold! Several tenfold! How could I do that? Only if I threw myself directly into a fire! Only flames would have such a high content of fire element! But if I did that I would burn to death before I could use it.”
“So…… Despite overcoming the difficulty of sensitivity, you could only use the lowest level spells.” Duwei concluded.
“Then, your instant casting?” Duwei was still interested in how he could continuously throw fireballs without chanting.
“That is a quirk of alchemy.” The magician seemed somewhat embarrassed: “My magic doesn’t use the natural magic elements, but rather my own…… When ordinary magicians cast spells they have to use incantations to summon and find the magic elements in the air…… But I don’t need to summon anything, I don’t need to find anything, because my fire element is right there in my sleeve……”
This time Duwei’s expression changed!
If it was like this…… Then…… If…… Suppose that!
Suppose that he could overcome the present problem, letting him use high level magic…… He could do it with instant casting!
Imagine a magician that could use high level fire magic…… And at the same time do it without even chanting…… How formidable that would be!
Duwei patiently talked with this magician for a long time, he deliberately shifted the subject to magic alchemy. What astonished the magician was how this half-sized youngster, this respected little noble (Even if at the start the magician didn’t know of Duwei’s status, nobody other than the Rawling clan possessed such a large castle in the Rawling Plain, so this youngster had to be an outstanding scion of the famous Rawling clan!)
Such a venerable noble had such proficiency in such a disdained field as magic alchemy…… this was truly rare.
But this little noble had actually done careful research into magic alchemy! His learning made even the magician feel admiring. After their discussion had become a bit amicable, Duwei finally revealed his own story: How he had wanted to become a magician, but had been defeated by the lack of ability……
Such an experience immediately made the captive sympathetic! Giving birth to a feeling of fellow victims.
This little noble actually had a similar experience as him! They had both been brimming with a longing for magic, both discovered their lack of talent, both of them even had outstanding magic power, but lacked sensitivity!
Under such circumstances, even if their relationship had been hostile before, and with one of them even a captive, the magician’s dislike for the little noble decreased significantly.
The other side also had a heart that thirsted for magic.
At least, they resembled each other in their desire to become magicians.
“Thorskei.” Duwei softly spoke the magician’s name (Duwei had learned the magician’s name in their conversation), he looked at the magician: “I want to ask you something…… Why is it you want to become a magician? After learning magic, what do you want to accomplish?”
“…… This.” Thorskei pondered it: “A magician’s calling should be to investigate the ultimate mysteries of magic, researching magic, being engrossed in the secrets of magic for a lifetime. But fate made me unable to become a high level magician, so what’s the point of magical mysteries, it’s unrelated to me…… So I just want to obtain the things I want.”
“You’re talking about the position and treatment of a magician?” Duwei smiled: “It’s an honest answer. And you’re right. A magician is treated very well. No matter where it is, a great magician will never want for lords trying to recruit him and can obtain the highest degree of respect and pay…… But don’t forget that you’re just a first level magician! There are no lords that would pay greatly to recruit a mere low level magician.”
Thorskei was silent…… He knew what Duwei said was true. Wherever he went, even if he had the recognition of magician’s qualifications, as a lowest ranked first level magician he would discover he wasn’t as popular as he had imagined.
At first when people found out he was a magician, they would be filled with astonishment and respect! But afterwards, as they found out he was just a first level magician, the enthusiasm would immediately drop tenfold.
This was also a final wronging for Thorskei, and the reason he had joined Rolynn’s little adventuring party! Originally he had wanted to join a large mercenary company, but they wouldn’t even look at him.
Seeing Thorskei’s helpless expression, Duwei knew the moment had come and said with a smile: “Thorskei, since your dream is to obtain the salary and respect of a magician, it would be better to swear loyalty to me! You can become my private magic consultant. I’ll pay you quite well! Respect, status, and anything you want, I can satisfy. I believe you already know I come from the Rawling clan. Surely the Rawling clan’s name shouldn’t dishonor you?”
Thorskei’s heart thumped!
Relying on this little lord…… It seemed a good option. Even if they had some conflict before, it was just because the other party was interested in magic. And their conversation just now was pleasant, and most importantly, this little noble was like himself, researching magic alchemy after being unable to walk the path of magic…… This encounter really engendered a kind of feeling of intimacy in Thorskei!
Moreover, being able to become a magic consultant under the banner of the Rawling clan, obtaining generous treatment…… What was there to hesitate about?
“I……” Thorskei thought a moment: “I would like to accept your offer, but I have to return to the south first. My laboratory is there, and I still have all my tools and a lot of precious materials there, as well as a lot of powders I’ve extracted. They would all have to be moved back here. I’ll have to go myself…… You should know that a magician’s laboratory can’t be transported by ordinary people. It’s dangerous.”
Duwei thought about it for a moment: Releasing him to go back south wasn’t a problem…… But this fellow wouldn’t be trying to escape?
This fellow who had managed to cheat himself to the title of magician was worth more than ten thousand gold to Duwei! He absolutely couldn’t get away!
Duwei made a decision on the spot: “Then, since I’m quite interested in your laboratory, I’ll come with you to the south!”
On this day, the future Roland devil’s road, had begun.
At dawn, the old butler Hill personally arrived at the study with the breakfast trolley. As he pushed open the door, he found the family’s young master standing on the bookcase ladder, entranced by a thick work on astrology in his hands.
Apparently the young master hadn’t slept, and even though he looked a little peaked, his spirit was still lively. He just seemed a bit dirty…… Don’t tell me he was rolling about in those ledgers all last night?
He had also removed a dagger from the wall and placed it on the desk…… Oh dear, that was an ancestral antique.
The old butler sighed, immediately summoning people for the young master to freshen up.
Duwei stretched after eating breakfast: “Did you find a place for the people that came with me from the capital last night?”
“Of course, they’re at the back of the castle. Your guardsmen have all been folded into the castle guard regiment, in accordance with family administration…… Excuse my presumptuousness, respected young master, you seem to have recruited a knight on the way, and a female knight at that. Originally I wanted to arrange a place for the knight within the castle, but she refused…… Since you also brought a prisoner. As I didn’t know how that captive had offended you, I arranged for a cell in the dungeon. Last night that female knight and her retinue stayed in the dungeon room.”
“Very good.” Duwei exhaled: “Then is there anything I need to do during the day…… Continuing reading these accounts? I think that in order to finish these I would need at least three or four days…… That’s just too boring. Hill, I have to find something to do.”
Three or four days? It would be good if you did it in ten.
The old butler swallowed such words and kept his face deferential: “Yes. You are the master here. Everyone in the castle are your servants. Here your will is law. As for the accounts, there is no need to finish them immediately. These are all last year’s accounts anyway. I actually think that if you hereafter can find a bit of time, it would be more effective to choose a couple of places in the clan estates to inspect than to read these musty old accounts.”
Duwei smiled, raising his eyebrows: ”A good suggestion, Hill, a good suggestion! That what do I do today? Here…… is there any schedule?”
“Eh……” The old butler had a difficult expression: “Here, you see, is a lot less busy than the imperial capital. Even the closest town requires a day for a round trip on horseback. There are no particular activities to pass the time here in the castle, but the surroundings are pretty good. If you’re interested you can take a ride, or bring your cavalrymen to hunt in the woods. Even if there isn’t much prey in this season, just going out is a good option.”
Duwei nodded and sipped his black tea, when abruptly his mind stirred: “That captive I brought back…… Would there be any problems? I mean, do I have the authority to……”
“The authority of law enforcement? My heavens…… Young master, this is Rawling Plains! The whole plains belong to the Rawling clan! As long as you don’t rebel against the Empire, the Rawling family’s wishes are law here! And at present, you are the most senior member of the Rawling family in this castle.”
“Good.” As Duwei stood, a maid at the side came forward with a long fur coat to dress him. Duwei glanced at this piece of clothing made from the fur of some unknown animal and shook his head: “It’s warm today, no need for this…… Oh, Hill, I want two attendants at my side, I like using people I’m familiar with…… Let Marde handle it, I like his company. As for the others, you said the twenty cavalrymen I brought from the capital had been folded into the castle guard? That’s fine, I’ll find some time to go look in on them today, and inspect the castle guard soldiers while I’m there. Eh…… One last thing, as a child I was instructed by a well-known astrologer, mister Lochart, under his tutelage I gained some interest in astrology. While I stay at the castle I will use the room at the top floor of the white tower.”
“White tower…… Top floor……” The old butler mouth fell open, his expression difficult: “This…… Young master, I’m afraid you don’t know that in the clan there has always been a prohibition, besides the clan head, nobody is allowed to climb the white tower.”
“Eh?” Duwei’s eyes brightened: “Really?”
He wasn’t the slightest bit rejected, and on the contrary even excited…… Yeah, if it was prohibited then presumably there should be something of Saimel’s left inside? Perhaps he could still discover something.
As for…… not being allowed in? If it wasn’t allowed, then couldn’t he sneak inside?
“Good. Then I there are a few things I would like you to dispatch people to get me.” Duwei stopped talking and picked up a goose feather pen from the table, swiftly scribbling down a few things on a piece of paper.
These were all some things he had determined necessary to study astrology.
Didn’t researching the stars require at least a telescope? And the best astronomy telescope at that. But something like that didn’t seem to exist in this world, so he would have to build it himself.
This world had things like glass, and the craftsmanship for mirrors was very high. With a bit of research he should be able to construct a crude telescope.
Actually…… Ai, in this world there was very little use for telescopes, since its main application would be military. But this world had magic! Sorcerers had an ‘eagle eye spell’ that was far better than binoculars.
Ai, magic, magic! It seemed he would have to find a way to learn magic.
Thinking about this, Duwei immediately stood up: “I should probably take some time to go visit my prisoner in the dungeon today.”
Duwei left the study and the old butler swiftly followed his instructions, calling for Marde.
This former stable hand’s expression was a bit depressed. After all, on the road he had the pleasurable feeling of ordering twenty cavalrymen as a valet. But at the castle those soldiers had immediately been folded into the castle guard, staying in the small barracks outside the castle on the left, and the valet had immediately become a commander without an army.
A boss without anyone to order.
The old butler here seemed to be a grandee level person in the Rawling clan, so how would he dare exert any authority? After a gloomy night in his room, Marde was still a bit worried about his future…… The little master didn’t let me wait on him last night, he wouldn’t forget me, right?
Therefore, when Marde heard Duwei’s summons early in the morning he immediately dashed over, his hastily arranged appearance left the punctilious old butler Hill somewhat dissatisfied, but Marde didn’t care. Running into the castle hall, as he saw Duwei and promptly walked up to him, he wished he could hug the little master.
“Eh, milord, I am your faithful servant Marde. Did you have any instructions?”
Duwei looked helplessly at Marde. In this place it was after all only Marde that could be considered trustworthy. Others…… Yeah, that Rolynn might be at least halfway trustworthy.
Duwei didn’t worry about immediately going to see that magician, rather his first order was: From today onward, without his command, nobody was to enter the study!
The old butler complied with this strange order without a word.
First heading to the barracks where the people he had brought with him were, in the barracks were stationed three hundred Rawling private armsmen of which one hundred was cavalry, twenty to a squad, forming give cavalry squads that took turns to patrol the castle surroundings each day. The twenty cavalrymen Duwei had brought from the castle formed a sixth squad, and having exchanged their equipment in the barracks they welcomed Duwei warmly.
Duwei had talked it over with Marde on the way, and Marde immediately stepped forward, selecting six cavalrymen as Duwei’s private attendants. Marde had observed thee six on the journey and though of them as loyal men who discharged their duties conscientiously. These six cavalrymen exchanged their armor for light equipment without any objections, and left the barracks on horseback.
Their colleagues all looked at their departure with envious expressions…… Ai, they were after all at the master’s side, perhaps if the master took a liking to them they might have a chance for promotion.
It had to be said that leaving the stifling earl’s court in the capital for this Rawling clan territory castle was still a very pleasant life.
At least here Duwei was senior, and this kind of noble life was rather invigorating. As he was leaving, a servant immediately brought over a docile horse, its saddle and bridle both goods of the most exquisite quality. He had heard that this horse had been personally chosen by Marde in order to curry favor with Duwei. This former stable hand still had a good eye for horses.
In the morning Duwei brought the six attendants for two laps in the forest, finally he chose a spot.
At the edge of the forest some distance from the castle was a brook, a tributary of a tributary of the Emerald River (Rawling River). The stream was gentle and, on inspecting the surroundings, without any traces of large animals. Duwei immediately decided to have a log house built here.
This would be his first magic laboratory —— even if he wasn’t a magician right now and still didn’t have the talent for learning magic, Duwei wasn’t a bit anxious.
There would always be a way.
After taking note of the location, Duwai again brought the followers to look in all directions.
This young master’s actions certainly seemed eccentric.
In the same morning, besides touring the surrounding forest, he went to talk to some castle servants. And the first people he interviewed were actually the groundskeeper and gardener!
Afterwards the young master unfolded a list of items of strange flowers and plants for the groundskeeper and gardener to prepare. This list quickly fell into the hands of the old butler Hill, who immediately followed the instructions without saying anything.
It was only in the evening when Duwei finally headed down to the dungeon to meet his captive.
After two straight days of torment, presumably that magician had suffered a lot. Should he take a look at whether he wanted to surrender?
Duwei very confidently brought his people back to the castle, but the first to find him was nevertheless the old butler Hill.
“Young master, regarding those several lists you issued today with things you wanted procured, I have already dispatched people to see to them.”
“So quickly?” Duwei was especially pleased.
“Of course, this is Rawling family territory, your wishes are our commands. After I received the lists I immediately dispatched people on fast horses to procure them in the surrounding towns, the items are being delivered as we speak. But there’s a minor issue……”
“I’m afraid you might not have enough money.” The butler replied without batting an eyelid.
“……” Duwei hadn’t expected that: “Money?”
“It’s like this.” The old butler’s expression was calm, a calm expression to go with a calm voice, but Duwei couldn’t help be annoyed by that expression. It was because he felt the old butler’s expression clearly concealed mirth at his misfortune: “Young master, since you haven’t yet reached your majority the clan head issued a provision, besides the expenses for your everyday food and clothing, each month you may draw three hundred gold coins from the clan for your own expenses. Only three hundred gold coins each month, this is the specified amount you may use. But if you exceed this, it must be deducted from next month’s sum.”
“……” Duwei was speechless.
Money? Duwei hadn’t expected to, as the eldest son of the illustrious earl, actually have problems with money?
The old butler swiftly fished out a monocle from his breast pocket and placed it over his left eye, then taking out the lists of items Duwei had handed out today: “Four pieces of top quality crystal, twenty glass mirrors, one smelting furnace, half a cart of stone coal. With the gardener you ordered one batch of golden scale flower seeds, one batch of arrow orchid seeds, and further one bottle of Jarohei rugosa pollen…… Besides a set of first rate florist instruments. With the groundskeeper you purchased two tiger striped broad leaf trees, one hundred clovers, further……”
The old butler swiftly recounted the lists, then slowly said: “Purchasing these things will altogether cost you approximately four hundred twenty gold coins. In other words, you have not only spent this month’s quota, you have even withdrawn money from next month’s limit…… Moreover, I have also heard that you plan to construct a log house by a creek in the forest. I have done the calculations and if you plan to construct a simple two floor house, I’m afraid it will require another three hundred gold coins. If you wish for the rooms of the house to be decorated and furnished…… it will be another two hundred gold coins. With these figures, I’m afraid you have already used your money for the next four months.”
Duwei was speechless.
He had realized he might have miscalculated!
The illustrious earl’s eldest son was unexpectedly penniless!
But those plants were all necessary. Those were the most basic raw materials for Duwei’s alchemical studies.
Duwei looked at the old butler, lowering his face: “Yes? You’re saying that I, father’s oldest son, the supervisor of the clan territories, can only use a trifling three hundred gold coins every month? I didn’t mishear you?”
The old butler’s manners were still very respectful: “Yes, this was all stipulated in a letter in the clan head’s own handwriting. Even though it’s true that the clan estates each month generate several tens of thousands of gold coins, you must know…… that those are public funds. You still haven’t reached your majority, still haven’t obtained your own peerage, still haven’t obtained your own territory, therefore……”
“Therefore I only have an allowance of three hundred gold coins every month, right?” Duwei’s tone was cold, waving a hand behind him: “Fine, I get it, for the next few months I can’t casually go shopping, right?”
“I’m very sorry, these are the earl’s commands. You can at most only withdraw three months of funds.”
As the old butler saw that this little master was unhappy, he immediately took his leave.
After the old butler left, Duwei looked at Marde at his side who prudently said: “Young master…… I still have with me the one thousand gold coins you gave me for safekeeping, that the countess gave you before leaving the imperial capital.”
Duwei sighed: “Ai, I thought it was strange that mother would stealthily slip me money…… But now I understand…… Hehe, it seems that his lordship my father is afraid this retard will mess up the clan territories, afraid I will ruin the ancestral estates, so he only nominally made me the supervisor but without letting me use the funds.”
“This…… We can cut down on some expenses. Actually, three hundred gold coins every month is already a lot……” When Marde had said this he very conscientiously closed his mouth, because the little master was thinking.
“…… Fine, since it’s like this, we’ll just have to figure out a way to make some money on our own.” Duwei immediately got over his brief dissatisfaction…… Anyway, wasn’t there a lot of valuables behind that trick door in Saimel’s secret passage? If it came down to it, he could just use the money there.
Only…… It seemed that the days he would spend here might not be as free as he had imagined.
“Let’s go, we’ll have a look at the dungeon.” Duwei waved his hand, calmly saying: “I hope that magician won’t refuse me again today. I’m already in a bad mood!”