This was the same testing ground where that accident happened before. The defensive barrier was currently back up, maintained to its usual state. Inside the barrier were two people of differing heights standing across each other.
One of them was the youngest prince of this kingdom: Herscherik. The other was the professor employed by the Church to teach the youngest prince about magic: the young man so beautiful that he could be confused for a beautiful woman and named Shiro by the prince.
The professor, Shiro, produced a ball of fire on top of the palm of his raised hand, controlled it at will, and finally erased it. It was a beginner-level attack magic with the fire attribute. An advanced magician would be able to produce several balls of fire, and the spell itself was versatile if you applied a magic schema to it, such as allowing you to track your target and creating an explosion upon impact.
Shiro demonstrated this in front of the prince and had him try it out himself to measure the prince’s abilities.
“You understand up to here, right? Then, try it out.”
“Yes, professor! I cannot!”
Herscherik cheerfully responded to Shiro with a smile.
(Ah, he’s frowning.)
Shiro furrowed his brow in displeasure. This wasn’t his first time experiencing fear from being glared at by a beauty, so Herscherik glossed over things with a vague expression.
“You can’t? What part didn’t you get? Even if you’re not good at magic, you’ve at least used some beginner-level magic, right?”
“Well, I guess you can say that…”
“Then why can’t you show me?”
Herscherik scratched his cheek in response to Shiro’s demand for an explanation.
(He asks why, but it’s because I don’t have mana. And the only magic I’m capable of using is done with wandering mana…)
He was reminded that the only ones who were aware of his lack of mana were his father and his first magic instructor. There hadn’t been a time up till now that required him to use magic, so Kuro and Oran shouldn’t be aware of it. Perhaps, those two believed that he didn’t use magic simply because he wasn’t good at it.
(Well, I’m not really trying to hide it from anyone.)
“I don’t have any mana.”
Shiro looked at him like he was some kind of rare animal. There were hardly any people in this world who lacked mana. Their numbers were practically nonexistent. There may or may not be one in the whole country. That was why Shiro’s surprise was natural.
“Yes. I wasn’t born with any, so I can’t actually use magic.”
Herscherik said and took out the beautiful, old, silver pocket watch.
“So, basically, the only ones I can use are the most basic of beginner magic by using the wandering mana stored in me through this pocket watch. And, the magic has to be the ones that barely use any mana.”
What he could do was make some light, produce a small fire, and create some water. He couldn’t even use magic tools. This naturally meant that he was unable to apply any magic schemata.
Shiro understood what Herscherik was saying and nodded.
“I see. That’s why…”
(He wasn’t scared when he saw my unusual ability.)
Absorbing wandering mana into your body was probably normal to Herscherik. Since he didn’t view this as heresy, he found nothing abnormal about it.
Shiro suddenly felt disappointed for some reason and laughed at himself.
(What was I expecting?)
Herscherik asked, but Shiro lightly shook his head. Then he pointed at the pocket watch.
“Let me see that.”
Herscherik was hesitant to comply for a moment, but he stroked his cherished pocket watch once before handing it over.
Shiro accepted the pocket watch and closely examined it. The pocket watch was slightly aged, but the beautiful design on its silver cover was elegant. Your average person would view it as such, but Shiro was different. He looked at the craftsmanship and opened his eyes wide.
“This is…primeval heritage?”
Shiro controlled his growing excitement. He narrowed his amber-colored eyes and further examined the parts.
(I knew it!)
Just as Shiro had predicted, the craftsmanship on the pocket watch had a sophisticated magic schema carved into it that he had never seen before. Those less knowledgeable would have written the pocket watch off as nothing outstanding. But, only those knowledgeable would see the worth of this pocket watch.
Herscherik was confused by Shiro’s words.
“Do you know the history of this world?”
Herscherik nodded. Excluding the current time, there were three eras of history in this world. However, just saying three wasn’t exactly right.
The era before present time was known as the “Dawn Era.”
At the start of the Dawn Era, both large and small nations sprouted up across the world and wars persisted. People believed these wars would continue for eternity until a hero of unknown birth and gender brought forth world peace within one generation. Wars were like a dark night without any hopes of seeing dawn, so when a single hero brought dawn with them, the era was named the Dawn Era. Later on, the hero was called a saint and was said to have become a pillar among the gods after their death.
The world remained unified for this era spanning roughly a thousand years, but people became divided along with the passage of time, leading to their current state and this current era.
The era before the Dawn Era was known as the Void Era. It was an obscure era with not a single record left about it.
One theory was that a cataclysm destroyed the whole world and the gods had to create it anew. Similar ones popped up, but there was nothing written from that era. The entire era, from its start to the beginning of the next era, was empty, thus giving it the name: the “Void Era.”
Finally, there was the oldest era, the one mentioned in the conversation: the “Primeval Era.” The magic and civilization from that era far exceeded present time, and the era was said to have lasted several thousand years. There hadn’t been an era discovered that dated further back than this era, thus it was given the name “Primeval Era.”
The three eras were: the Primeval Era when magic and civilization prospered, the Void Era when not a single record of it could be found, and the Dawn Era when the hero brought peace to the world. The eras could be further divided, but in general, the history of the world fell into one of these three large groups.
“The era before the Void Era was the Primeval Era. The civilizations were far more prosperous than in our current era. So, it wouldn’t be strange that tools from that era were capable of converting mana.”
There were numerous magic tools left behind from the Dawn Era, but they were equivalent to rubbish in comparison to the ones from the Primeval Era. Even if the magic tools from the Primeval Era, the primeval heritage, couldn’t be used, the magic schemata in them were incomparably more detailed and complicated than the present ones. Research was still being done during this era, but the fruits of this research were like baby toys when compared to the magic schemata found in the primeval heritage.
(This means that the people in the past were far more amazing, right?)
In that case, why were they wiped out? Why did the Void Era exist? Herscherik pondered such contradictions, but what really occupied his mind was the phrase: converting mana.
If Shiro’s words were true, then the pocket watch was a magic tool from the Primeval Era and converting mana was a very unusual thing.
“Eh? It’s not normal to absorb wandering mana?”
“Is that so…?”
Having the pocket watch returned to him, Herscherik stroked it with the ball of his finger. He realized the worth of the object in his hand and felt conflicted.
“Should I hand this pocket watch over to the Research Bureau…?”
It was a functioning primeval heritage. That alone gave it worth. Why had Count Luzeria been in possession of such a thing? Maybe he had been simply unaware. Either way, Herscherik didn’t know if he should monopolize it.
(But I don’t want to let it go…)
This wasn’t a simple pocket watch to him; it was valuable and precious.
Shiro saw that Herscherik was clearly saddened, so he finally opened his mouth.
“…You don’t need to. Even if you hand it over, no one can comprehend it. And, the primeval heritage will just end up being displayed in a museum. In that case, it won’t be much different if you just keep it on you.”
Herscherik cheerfully responded, causing Shiro to avert his eyes. He cleared his throat, trying to change subjects.
“Anyways, what’ll you do?”
“What do you mean?”
Herscherik put the pocket watch away and asked, confused.
“I came here to teach you magic. Yet, you can’t use any. So, what’s the point?”
Herscherik thought about Shiro’s statement.
“Then, just teach me about magic in general.”
Herscherik had his first lesson on magic after his third birthday, but he learned that he had no mana and thus stopped taking classes on the subject. He had read several technical books on magic, but his understanding was still lacking.
(Besides, it would go against my plan if I end ties with Shiro, my only connection to the Church.)
He didn’t know how much Shiro would be involved with the Church’s possible plans in the future, but he truly felt that it would be a waste to forfeit these lessons with Shiro.
Being asked with a smile, Shiro sighed and muttered.
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