Thanks to the Editor for pointing out issues
Invitation of the Ivory Tower (3)
“Thank you for accepting the invitation of Ivory Tower.”
Firstly, the Tower Lord greeted Ian. Ian was a 12 years old young boy. Nevertheless, he greeted him with manners.
“Come, sit there comfortably.”
Mages surrounded Ian in a circle. The chair was located at the center, so that every Arch Mage could see it. And Ian had sat on the chair.
“It may confuse you, I understand.”
The Tower Lord lightly wielded his the staff of the Ivory Tower. Soon, blue colored mana formed words in the air.
“But there is no need to be afraid or shrunken. As members of the Ivory Tower, every one had passed this process once.”
Those words were a report to Ian. From his brief introduction to his private actions. They did a good job on it.
“As I heard, I knew of your talent, but still you did many dramatic things. It is not just ‘impressive’, the things you did.”
While reading the record, the Tower Lord said. Although he had read it more than hundreds of times, he kept reading it as he was still interested.
“But, we are brothers and sisters in mana, which is thicker than blood, aren’t we? But if there are any misunderstanding or suspicions between us, we had better solve them now.”
Suspicion of the Ivory Tower, and their spying. In addition, a room which was full of interrogation magic. As Ian had expected. So, he prepared the stone heart mushroom.
‘They are overestimating their magic.’
The best of bests of the Ivory Tower created this interrogation magic. They must have trusted and felt proud of it. If Ian can overcome today’s interrogation…
‘No doubt will be left on me.’
Then, they would only care for Ian’s ‘talent’. A precious talent.
“Uh, are you going to torment me or something bad?”
Ian replied as if he knew nothing. With a warm smile, the Tower Lord replied. His smile harmonized well with the wrinkles on his face.
“Haha! You’re joking, right? Those barbaric methods are not our style. We will just ask you some questions. You just have to answer it.”
While he saying that, the Tower Lord glanced at the Arch Mages. It was a silent sign to start the interrogation magic. The time has come to test Ledio’s potion.
“Ian Page. Born in 488 in imperial calendar. Red goat stars. Father was a wandering traveler, Pran Page. Mother was a kitchen maid of the province castle, Vanessa Page. Is there anything incorrect?”
Re-Editor’s Note: Haha, Pran Page. I don’t think that’s his name, but I’m leaving it.
“Everything is true.”
There were no lies. He asked continuous questions related to Ian’s identity.
Ian answered it calmly. The main questions started after that.
“How did you know that goblin corpses can be sold to receive money?”
“I heard it before and tried it, just in case.”
“I wonder your relationship with the alchemist, Ledio.”
“My mother has a weak body. I needed one who can brew potions for her, a merchant guild introduced him to me. As I heard, mages earn a lot, don’t they? So I hired him.”
“What is the real purpose of visiting the old Ivory Tower ruin?”
“I had seen it in a lot in books. I wished to visit there once in my life.”
There were many questions that were sharp. Of course, it could be expected. Ian just needed to answer it step by step, as he prepared. Everything he said, would become the truth.
“Do you remember the mage, Cecelia?”
“And you said that you saw she was meeting with masked man, and Cecelia attempted to kill you when she saw you there…….. You sure what you said was true? She still kept silence about it.”
“I do. I almost died.”
Endless questions from the Arch Mages. Whenever Ian answered one, then a another question came.
“And you truly never learned magic from anyone?”
“Then, from fireball, summoning elements, to frost nova. How do you know all of those formulas? I better hear something persuasive.”
Magic was made by quickly calculating formulas through mana brain. However, didn’t Ian say he hadn’t learnt any formulas but he could still yield magic? In terms of mages, it was impossible.
“Please don’t tell me ‘It just worked’ this time again.”
A statement that Ian said while doing the mana test in his home town. The questioner knew it in detail. However, Ian answered similar to that.
“…… I just visualized.”
“For example, imagine a fire appears on my palm.”
While answering, Ian sparked a small fire. It was a weak level of fire ball.
“I just imagined it. One day, it became real.”
Casting spells by just imagining?
“If I imagined a small fire, then fireballs appeared.”
If he wanted to summon spirits, then he used conjuring magic.
If he tried to freeze his surrounding, then Frost Nova.
“What nonsense are you sayin……”
It was totally nonsense. All of those Arch Mages shouted that interrogate spell would figure out his lying. However, nothing had happened. It only said what Ian said was crystal clear. The result hadn’t changed.
‘He’s not lying?’
Arch Mages quickly checked their interrogation spells. However, nothing had changed. The strongest interrogation magic of the Ivory Tower kept saying Ian was telling truth.
‘How could this happen?’
The first mage in the legends. Was Ian truly his reincarnation or someone like him?
‘If he is telling lies.’
It also didn’t make sense. It meant that their magic couldn’t work on him. What would that mean?
‘Has he achieved a higher magical class then us?’
The interrogation spell which was cast by the Tower Lord and Arch Mages. And the mage who was invulnerable to it.
‘That’s impossible. It makes no sense at all.’
Rather, trusting what Ian had said made more sense. Actually, it had to.
The endless questions had paused for a while. While everyone was waiting the Tower Lord’s decision,
“Humph! I don’t care about it!”
A lady who hadn’t questioned Ian once. She used to be the youngest 4th class mage, before Ian had appeared. ‘Lady of Flame’, ‘Helene’ stood up while smashing the table. Her nickname was given not only because she liked to use fire magic, but also due to her impatient characteristic.
“Who the heck are you?”
“Helene! Calm down. The Tower Lord is with us…….”
“Come on, we didn’t gather for this, did we? Stop asking those boring things. Let’s ask something we really wanted to. A real question!”
Mages who are in even the same class had their level difference. And Helene was one of the strongest 4th class mages. At least, for now.
“With your damn mouth, tell me. Who the heck are you? Stop making up bullshit. Huh? Would you pleaseeee- tell me?”
Helene said very aggressively. Other mages looked embarrassed, but they looked Ian with interest. They couldn’t ask like that, because of their pride.
‘Yeah. That’s how she was.’
In his former life, Helene acted the same. Rude and aggressive voice and language.
“I thought you already knew it, didn’t you?”
“It’s on there as well.”
While squaring his shoulder, Ian pointed first sentence of mana words on the air. A section that listed his brief information.
“Ian Page. Born in 488 in imperial calendar. Red goat stars. Father was a wandering traveler, Pran Page. Mother was a kitchen maid of the province castle, Vanessa Page.”
Furthermore, he started to read it for her. Every single words, slowly.
“I don’t know what to say anymore.”
Ian’s word contained disregard, and Helene knew it.
“You dare spea………!”
The Tower Lord’s short shout stopped Helene’s angry voice. Even Helene couldn’t go against him.
“Let me ask a last question.”
This time, the Tower Lord picked his own question. He thought similar to what other Arch Mages had thought, that if what Ian said was true, they had to admit his talent. Even if it was lie, still, Ian was great mage.
‘However, isn’t it too…. plain?’
The Tower Lord was curious. Ian’s body kept showing plain bio signals, for any questions they asked. It might be just due to his calm characteristics, however,
‘It needs to be checked.’
A question that might sway his calmness. The Tower Lord asked a question to do so.
“On the day you did the mana reaction test, I know there was some kind of problem. You remember the soldier, Jonathan, who insulted you and your mother, don’t you?”
Ian nodded quietly. There were no specific bio signal change, yet.
“On the next day the soldier found was dead.”
With a sharpened eyesight, the Tower Lord continued his question. He focused to catch any sort of mental disturbance from Ian.
“Perhaps, the death of the soldier, is it related to you?”
The Tower Lord was a smart man. He was different from others. He didn’t overestimate their magic. He didn’t stop doubting, and testing every possible case.
‘However, he wouldn’t know it’s the power of a potion.’
It was the limit of the Tower Lord for now. Mages and alchemists were quite close. They had many chances to collaborate. They often received good elixirs. However, their relationship wasn’t horizontal, it was a rather vertical relationship.
‘So, mages only know the basics of it.’
Like Ian knew some herbs, other mages knew the basics of alchemy. Harbert wouldn’t be exception. Rather, he would know it better than others.
‘However he doesn’t know of the existence of the mushroom.’
The potion that could help avoid the interrogation magic. Any medical herbs, or poisonous grasses that had such effect.. He wouldn’t even able to imagine such things.
‘I better erase the effect.’
In most cases, poisons wouldn’t affect mages. They could use their own mana to remove the poison from their body. And that was why Ragnar asked Douglas to brew a special poison in his former life.
‘He said it would be the last question, didn’t he?’
The Tower Lord cared about reputation. He was likely to keep the promise that he had spoken if he got satisfying results.
‘I will give you the answer you want.’
Ian removed the effect of the stone heart potion. As he determinedly opened his mouth.
“…… I have no idea about it.”
“Are you denying the suspect?”
“Yes I am.”
What Ian just said was clearly a lie. Naturally, his body reacted. Several body reactions which the Tower Lord wanted. Those changes were informed to everyone. The Tower Lord and other Arch Mages.
Everyone figure out Ian’s lie. However, their face became relieved. The interrogate magic was perfect. It wasn’t their formula’s problem, nor were they deceived by a higher class mage, nor was it the support of a third person. Just, what the boy said was true.
‘Still, a kid is a kid.’
It was a common thought between the Tower Lord and others. The boy spoke truth until the last question. At last, he finally lied for murder. It meant a lot to them.
‘A talented kid is better than a mage who has already overcome us’.
Wouldn’t this be the best case? Rather than hiding his overwhelming power.
“Indeed, I don’t think it’s you who killed him, too.”
After his thought, the Tower Lord smiled. He finally regained his confidence.
“Thank you for answering our tricky question.”
Nobody blamed him about ignoring Ian’s lie. Killing a soldier wasn’t that much of a problem unless he was a mad serial killer.
“I really want to have a meal with you, but there are still many things to do. Please excuse me.”
He had found out everything he wanted from Ian. He checked everything he wanted to. Now, the only thing left was Ian’s talent. An objective measurement of it.
“As you know, the talent you bear, is not of the type we have faced before. It is an unknown mysterious power. So….”
The Tower Lord held the crystal orb on the table. It was a communicating orb which was connected to every floor of the Ivory Tower.
“We need more precise measurement of your power. Not only your current status, but your potential talent. So that we can help guide you as seniors of the Ivory Tower, do you understand?”
More precise measurement of power. It meant they want to change their ‘estimation’ to ‘fact’, that Ian had reached around 2nd class to 3rd class starter.
‘Now it is the problem.’
There were two ways of classifying magical class. First, of course, was the amount of mana. Second, the ‘calculating power’ of the mana brain. Higher class magic required the mana brain to calculate harder formulas. If a mage failed to calculate it fast enough and perfectly, the magic wouldn’t be cast. Literally, it was an ‘inborn intelligence’, and many mages couldn’t overcome this wall.
‘I won’t be asked to show my calculating power.’
Ian lied to people that he could yield magic with simple imagination. Thanks to that, they wouldn’t test it.
‘They will only check my mana pool then.’
Ian expected correctly. Young mages arrived at the room by riding the elevator. Mages who guided Ian rudely brought a huge semi-transparent sphere to the center of the room of the Tower Lord.
‘What……? Did he pass the interrogation magic?’
The young mages’ faces turned pale. They assumed it was an exaggerated rumor. They had believed that Ian’s secret would be revealed by the interrogation magic. They thought Ian would spend his rest of life in the mana prison.
‘All the rumors were true…….?’
They couldn’t believe it yet. However, Ian was still standing at the room of the Tower Lord. He already had passed the interrogation magic.
“What is this?”
The giant sphere landed in front of Ian. He didn’t ask because he really didn’t know its use. It just became Ian’s habit, pretending to be an innocent child.
“It is called Mana Storage. It is one of important resource that powers most of objects in the Ivory Tower.’
Mana elevator, air conditioner, communication orb, etc. The power source that was needed for such magical devices, was called mana storage.
“At the moment, it doesn’t have specific colors, but whenever it is charged with mana, it will glow as blue. Right there, can you see it?”
There was a mana storage where the Tower Lord pointed. It wasn’t just blue, it was a thick deep blue colored sphere. The storage could contain the maximum of a 3rd class master’s mana, and its color got thicker and deeper the more it got charged.
“Try to inject your mana to it.”
“You better. We want to see your limits.”
“Same method as other objects?”
The Tower Lord answered clearly. Ian stretched his arms carefully to inject mana in it.
‘Should I humble myself for this?’
Until now, every event had passed as Ian expected. This was his last acting part.
‘If I just fill it with amount of 2nd class master…..’
At the moment, Ivory Tower was expecting Ian to achieve around 2nd class master to 3rd class beginner. If he just showed that much amount of mana it will relieve other Arch Mages, and Ian will get a proper standing.
‘It is the best choice I can think of.’
Minimized diversionary move, but still high enough authority. It will allow Ian to live an easy life as he had done.
‘Just like I have done since I have rewound time..’
With a manipulated atmosphere, he handed over the spy. With an innocent child’s face, he deceived the emperor. With the stone heart potion, he had passed the interrogation. And so many other situations he could remember. And he could choose the same way this time. He could act wisely to deceive others and change his surrounding in his favor. It was simple.
He didn’t always act wisely. He often solved problems emotionally. Even he was living his second life. Just like now. His brain said no, but heart said yes. Unsatisfactory. Something made him feel uncomfortable.
He could find the answer easily. Every time when he acted emotionally, there were common points to it. A source of dissatisfaction.
He could be patient for other things by considering his surroundings and situation. He could shake his body like a scared child. Or deceiving others with a lie. However, whenever it was related to magic, he couldn’t. Whenever he had to use his magic he became emotional. Not only this life, but his former life as well.
Ian was just an 8th class mage. He wasn’t a sage or leader who would be recorded in history. The wisdom, philosophy, and determination- he might lack of those talents. However, for magic…
‘I can admit my other limitation. But for magic.’
No other mages in the Ivory Tower, nor other mages in the continent, nor other mages who existed..
‘There is no one higher than me in magic.’
His pride blinded his wisdom. Ian poured in every single ounce of mana he had. Without hesitation, without moderation.
Suddenly, people looked at the storage. The storage which were blue started to turn darker and thicker. From sky blue to blue.
From blue to deep dark blue.
From deep dark blue to black.
*Crack! Cracckck! Cracckk!*
The surface of storage started to crack.
Soon it exploded with an enormous noise. There was not enough space to store extra mana.
Whirrrr – !
Soon, mana spread out to everywhere. Its blue energy whirled like a tornado.
Mages covered their face from strong wind pressure. The Mana elevator started to go up and down, out of control. The light globes started to turn on and off rapidly. Documents were blown, chairs fell down.
A few moments later.
There were only silence.
No one could open their mouth easily.
*Pant!… Pant!… Pant!*
A rough breathing echoed through the tower. It was Ian’s breathing, he was suffering from the after shock. He couldn’t stand any longer, so he sat down on the ground. Still, he was watching the others surrounding him.
‘Look at their faces.’
Young mages who brought the storage, Arch Mages who expected Ian to be a 2nd class mage, and even the Tower Lord, who seldom revealed his expression, their faces looked shocked.
“I- is it….”
Helene said unconsciously.
“Is it even possible….?”
Helene now started to collect shards of the storage. She checked it’s industrial standards. It was meaningless, though.
‘How did that kid…….’
Other people didn’t express their shocked mind as Helene did, but they were very embarrassed. The storage couldn’t hold Ian’s mana. It supposed to store a 3rd class master’s mana. That was the limit of the storage and Ian just destroyed it by overcharging it. What would it mean?
‘More than just 3rd class……. master?’
At least 4th class beginner’s mana quantity. Furthermore, he didn’t need to calculate formulas. It was the very beginning of the twelfth Arch Mage’s appearance.
Re-Edited by FlawFinder