“This is the Magic Tower?”
Because it was a tower-shaped structure, Riley thought it would be quite narrow inside, but once he entered the tower, it was surprisingly expansive..
“It is more spacious in here than I expected,” Iris murmured aimlessly as she looked around inside the tower.
“It is similar to the Right Solia entrance which has a Soundproof Stone installed. I heard it is more spacious in here than outside because of a special magic device. I don’t know the specifics because it’s just something I heard in passing.”
In light of Sera’s supplementary explanation, Riley interjected,
“The more I look at it, the more miraculous it seems.”
It felt convenient in a different way from the science that Riley had experienced in his past life.
The first floor of the Magic Tower had inventions made by mages and their famous articles on display for the visitors.
“Anyway, it really is a Magic Tower. How should I put it…everyone here looks surreal,” Sera murmured as she looked around the place.
The few people working in the Magic Tower, walking around in their thin fabric cloaks waving in the air, reminded them once more that this was indeed the Magic Tower.
“Excuse me. What brings you here today?”
Riley was giving dazed stares to marbles of glass and white square bricks floating around the first floor, but then he turned his head as he heard a voice from the rear.
The person that stroke up the conversation was a young man with a thin fabric cloak wrapped around his shoulders like the others, making it apparent that he may be someone associated with the Magic Tower.
“We are here to just look around,” Ian responded for the group.
“The Magic Tower is not a place that anyone can enter. By chance, do you have anything that you can present to prove your identities?”
Ian showed the marker that proved their identities as people from the Iphelleta House. The young man, who appeared to be an associate, took a good look at the marker and nodded, satisfied.
“Ah, you are from the House of Iphelleta. Welcome to the Magic Tower. We will allow you to look around the first floor, but please do not go up to second floor or handle any objects without permission… Ahah?!”
The associate was continuing his explanation, but then he became bug-eyed and pointed toward somewhere with his finger.
The direction he was pointing was where Riley stood.
“Th-that! Please do not touch that!”
The associate rushed forward and pulled Riley’s arm away.
“Ah, this…is it something I am not supposed to touch?”
It was one of the inventions created by the mages that were on display in the first floor.
Riley was brushing a ‘blue boulder’ with his right hand. He scratched the back of his head as if he felt awkward.
“Ugh, you are a Young Master from a Count’s House, but still, you mustn’t! This is not an ordinary object…”
“This boulder, what could it possibly be?”
“I cannot tell you that.”
The young associate was breaking into a cold sweat over the possibility of the boulder having smudges from Riley’s hand. He immediately examined the parts of the boulder where Riley touched and confirmed that the item was fine. The young associate sighed in relief.
“Phew… Most of the objects on display must not be touched. As for the ones that are ok to handle, they have signs that say so, so please keep that in mind. Other than those ones, you must not touch anything! Please enjoy them with your eyes alone.”
Riley beamed a smile and nodded.
“…Phew, still, I am glad you understood me. Thank you.”
The associate added that it was common for people to fire back and tell him ‘just who the hell do you think you are?’ The associate sighed bitterly.
“There are more than a few nobles that acted outrageously like that and went straight back to their residences. Of course, whenever that happens, I am the one that has to clean things up…”
His face was smeared with grievance.
As if feeling sympathy, Iris tilted her head to the side gently and asked him for a favor.
“Then could you please guide us through the Magic Tower? We don’t know about this place all that well.”
“Ah, if that’s what you would like, I will gladly!”
As if he was waiting for the request, the associate promptly responded.
“My name is Peruda. You can call me Peruda.”
As they listened to Peruda’s story, they learned that the associates took turns to protect and provide guidance in the Magic Tower’s first floor.
Peruda, the one that Riley’s group ran into today, was the one in charge of the task for the day.
“Mages, magic technique scholars, alchemists, and others… If I tried to sort them in detail, there would be endless varieties of mages in the Magic Tower. If I tried to sort them further down to the very specifics and explained, it will take more than a whole day.”
“This is the manual for the basics of magic given to the apprentice mages. With this, you can use light circle magic such as energy bolts. Ah, what I mean by a circle…”
“With this round device, you can pour water inside. If you wait a certain amount of time after pouring water in it, it comes out as ice. It works thanks to the magic circle drawn inside which activates when it comes in contact with water. The type of magic circle is…”
“Um, it is like a refrigerator.”
“Oh, it’s nothing.”
Perhaps an hour or two passed since the group made rounds around the first floor of the Magic Tower.
Thanks to Peruda, they were able to look around the first floor with efficiency. Riley crossed his arms and murmured his impressions.
“Hum, it looks like even mages don’t have it easy all the time.”
“Please come to visit again. If you go through the proper procedures, you can visit the second floor as well.”
“What’s on the second floor?”
“Um, that floor is best known for being able to spectate the apprentices practicing magic. For instance, the fireball that master Riley was curious about.”
“…Master, over here, here.”
While Riley was having a conversation with Peruda on various things, Iris and Sera had already made their way to another place and called for Riley.
Ian too was already over there and looking at Riley from the other side.
“It’s for mana measurement. You said you wanted to try it once.”
With excitement, Ian’s eyes lit up as Riley walked towards them in acquiescence.
Unlike other objects in the Magic Tower’s first floor that must not be touched, the mana measurement device had a blue orb placed in plain sight with a sign that said it was fine for anyone to use it.
“Peruda, how do I use this?”
“Just place your hand on top of the orb. Ah, are you left-handed by chance?”
“No, I am right handed. Why?”
“In that case, just place your right hand on the top. When you do, the orb will glow briefly, and then it will fill with water to the extent that reflects the amount of mana measured from you, sir.”
The device in front of Riley was a mass-produced version, the kind for a distributed widely and used by anyone. To that end, the orb had measurement lines drawn to help the user easily discern the mana measurement.
“Excuse me, Mr. Peruda.”
“Yes, Mr. Ian.”
Before Riley placed his hand on the orb, Ian asked Peruda,
“What happens if the dissemination type orb breaks?”
“Uh…that only happens in extremely rare circumstances. If that happened, the Magic Tower or someone else will attempt scout the user, especially if the person is still young since that would mean the person possesses jaw-dropping talent.”
Peruda was shrugging his shoulder as he was responding, but then he changed his words in the middle.
“No, that’s not it… Instead of saying it is rare, it is correct to say it never happened. The orb could develop a crack, but if it broke, that means the user is showing talent beyond the level of a genius. To this day, orbs have never been broken. Haha! It’s not like the user is a dragon or something. There is no way for it to break.”
Peruda waved his hand as he explained that it had never happened before, and he added explanations on the figures that managed to make the orb to develop cracks.
“So, making the orb develop a crack alone is an incredible feat. To tell you about the most notable figure that made it happen, there was the grand mage Astroa from our Magic Tower, and then there is the renowned mercenary hero from the world war of the past…who was that? I cannot recall his name very well, but there is also that gentleman.”
Sera and Iris, who were watching from the back, made noises of suppressed laughter as they gazed at Ian.
It appeared that a very long time had passed since after all.
“By chance, Mr. Ian… are you expecting to occur? When sir Riley tries it?”
Ian omitted a response as he just made a fake cough.
It was not certain if Riley was aware of how Ian was feeling or not, but Riley placed his hand on top of the orb and casually murmured,
“After this, let’s just go eat lunch. I am not certain about the time now… Is it going to be a dinner instead?”
The measurement orb started to exude a steady blue light.
Perhaps about ten seconds had passed.
The orb’s light turned off as if it was signaling that it had finished the measurement, and Riley took his palm off the orb.
“How was it?”
“What was the result?”
Not just Ian, but Iris and Sera also gathered in front of the orb that had just finished measuring.
Upon close inspection, the water filling the inside of the orb was up to about half.
“It’s…normal. It’s about average.”
Peruda, who had joined afterward to stand right beside everyone, observed the water inside the orb and opened his mouth.
“Yes, average. If you tried hard, you could learn magic, but the progress would be slow…so it would be better for him to find something el…”
“This cannot be.”
“This is not possible.”
Ian got right in front of the orb and grabbed a firm hold of it with his both hands.
He was hoping maybe that would make the amount of water inside to increase a little or even make the orb to develop a crack.
“M-Mr. Ian! You mustn’t do that!”
“Let… Let go of me Peruda! There must be something wrong with this thing!”
Riley shrugged as he watched the two men struggle. He quietly went to stand next to Sera and Iris and asked,
“What should we eat? We are going to eat at Right Solia right?”
“Sera said she had things prepared.”
“Yes, there is a restaurant that I made reservations with. Let’s go there.”
* * *
It was dinnertime.
In the first floor of the Magic Tower where the strange guest had just left,
Peruda sighed wearily, as he cleaned the floor by himself.
“How could an old man be so strong? Oh man…”
It was a problem for Peruda that a visitor caused a commotion that could have broken the measurement orb.
He looked tired from stopping Ian. His exhaustion was apparent in his face.
“Oh, Peruda! Looks like you are in charge of the floor for the day?”
The mages and scholars, who were either doing research or training on the upper floors, were coming down one by one to go back home or go eat dinner.
Peruda was greeting them as he was sweeping the floor, but he raised his ears as he heard light disturbance in the back.
‘What’s the commotion about?”
Upon closer observation, Peruda realized the people from the Magic Tower were gathering around a certain corner in the first floor.
Peruda noticed that the Magic Tower’s teacher that he had just greeted was also standing over there. Intrigued, Peruda walked over to the corner.
“Hey, P-Peruda? You were the one in charge of the first floor today. right?”
Noticing him approaching, the people gathered around looked towards Peruda as he approached the area. With pale faces, they asked Peruda,
“Yes? Yes…I am?”
“That…over there… What happened?”
“What is it?”
Peruda pushed aside other people’s shoulders in order to get past them to the front. There, he witnessed the sight himself.
Peruda gasped for air and turned pale.
What he saw there was the ‘blue boulder’ on display on the first floor.
‘This…how could this be?!”
The object was a special mana measurement stone that could only be used by those with high mana concentration such as monsters or the Magic Tower’s grand mage Astroa. The device was not for ordinary humans.
Because it was a boulder, its size was beyond comparison to a measurement orb. On a boulder like this, there were deep cracks as if someone had decided to sculpt lightning patterns on it.
“W-who could have done this?”
“We don’t know who did this…but it is only a matter of time until the entire Magic Tower is turned upside down when grand mage Astroa learns about this.”
The sound of someone gulping could be heard.
“W-we need to find the one responsible for this.”
“In the worst case…we could be framed for this.”
The boulder finally lost its balance from the crack and collapsed. Not just Peruda, but everyone from the Magic Tower had their faces turn pale.
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