I added a flavor of threat to my demand, and the mage quickly changed her attitude. Reluctantly, she started to teach me magic.
The knight was watching the situation from the side. He joined and convinced the mage to teach me magic. His persuasion played a large role in convincing her.
The knight passionately convinced the mage.
He kindly explained why teaching me magic willingly would be good for her health.
Listening to knight explaining it all to the mage, I felt like I was a scum of the Earth and a violent thug who had gone all the way to the ultimate extreme of the villainy.
I already had threatened her earlier, so I couldn’t even deny it.
Anyway, the knight’s exaggerated description of me convinced the mage to give up on the idea of holding out without teaching me magic.
Also, my magic abilities were not even at the level of the beginner.
It was better to assume I knew absolutely nothing about magic.
What she had to teach me were the basics of the basics. Hence, the content was not going to be any different from the very basic education that would have been given by any other magic towers out there.
Thanks to this, the mage didn’t have to worry so much about the potential punishment from her Magic Tower. With lightened heart, she decided to teach me magic.
The mage started with the theories behind the magic and mana.
There were two problems with the lectures.
First, instead of describing things through speech, she was writing things on the notepad instead to explain. The second problem was that I could not read her language.
The mage’s writing mixed and matched various different languages and special symbols.
Despite the translator ability from the knowledge before the time of Babel, there was a definite limit.
This might be a different story if my level on the skill was higher. Regardless, for now, it was difficult for me to fully comprehend the mage’s writings.
I asked the knight to help me decipher the writings. However, there were words that even the knight could not read.
In the end, we thought hard to figure out the words in the middle of sentences here and there.
Soon, we gave up.
“How long will it take to learn all these linguistic characters?”
[It will take about a year.]
She may as well have been writing the passages from Iliad without teaching me the ancient Greek language first.
Still, I could not afford to study these linguistic characters.
I only had four days left until the stage was over.
I also could not afford to camp out and repeat the 16th Floor for a year.
“Just skip the theories and tell me how to activate the magic. Teach me the simplest and easiest one to master.”
The mage said she will teach me a magic known as a wind arrow.
First, she explained the basic theory about the mana’s type and how to endow the mana with that elemental type.
Afterwards, we gave up again.
The basic theory behind elemental magic was too difficult.
Even when I barely managed to read the writing, I could not exactly understand the meaning.
Instead of calling it a scholastic study, the sentences were like words from a monk who trained through meditation.
The sentences were excessively condensed and philosophical.
“Usually, how long does it take for people to master this magic?”
[Talent can factor in, but half a year at least.]
“How long did it take you?”
[Half a year.]
“How long does it take on average?”
[A little over five years…]
The mage was a little embarrassed to say it.
What the hell is this? Is she boasting?
Is this one of those situations where the answer is already set and I just need to say the answer the person is expecting me to say? Should I praise you and say you are super talented?
“… Let’s skip all that and get to the actual practice. The real thing.”
The mage didn’t like the idea, but she didn’t complain. She promptly told me about the method of mana operation, the spell and the hand sign.
I could not comprehend the spell at all; I didn’t even understand a single letter.
It seemed the knowledge before the time of Babel is completely useless here.
All the words I could not comprehend in middle of the theory lectures seemed to be of the same language used in the spell.
Is it like an ancient language exempted from knowledge before the time of the Babel? Should I understand it as something like a machine language for a computer?
I could not be certain. However, I remained hopeful that I might be able to use this one day if I memorized the spell and the hand sign, so I thoroughly memorized it.
Afterwards, I sat at a corner for a while, recited the spell and tried out the hand sign as I operated the mana in the way the mage explained.
When operating the mana, the most important parts were the heart, mouth and hand.
The heart was the mana circuit’s center in the body. When the heart emanated mana, it had to be flown through a specific path.
While that happened, I had to recite the spell to form the desired construct.
Honestly, this last part was the one I understood the least.
Anyway, I tried it as instructed.
Surprisingly, just from reciting the spell, I could feel the mana being spent and disappearing around my mouth.
Does the spell itself have a special effect?
At the final stage, I spoke the activation words and focused mana in my hand.
She said I didn’t need to use the hand for focusing mana.
However, since most magic were used through the hand or a staff that helped the discharge of the mana, she said the hand was used for the purpose of focusing mana.
Now, once I expel the focused mana to the outside, the magic spell will be complete.
Of course, nothing happened.
I smacked my lips out of disappointment.
What I lacked was comprehension of the process.
I was lacking comprehension of the mana operation and the elemental-type characteristics that the mage was trying to teach me.
I’ve been handling mana for a long time, so when it comes to the mana operation I think I can cover it somewhat.
The problem is the characteristics of elemental-type magic.
Since the magic is wind arrow, it must be a wind elemental type.
The problem is how to endow this element into the magic.
… How would I know?
I opened my eyes. The mage was looking at me, surprised.
She quickly wrote something and said,
[I never expected you to succeed in activating it already. You really never studied magic before?]
That just now was a success?
I asked the mage. She said it was not like I activated the magic perfectly, but she also said it would take two to three years of constant study since childhood to achieve what I just did.
[If you are interested in learning magic, please visit our Magic Tower.]
I am sorry, but that will not be possible.
Anyway, I properly used the spell and the hand sign. Apparently, my ability to operate mana was decent too.
Honestly, I was confident about handling mana.
Except when sleeping, I had been running mana circuit all the time, even when I’m eating or taking a dump.
I had utilized it in various ways for combat too.
I worked hard, but I had been thinking I am exceptionally good with my method of handling mana.
Because I had such confidence, I bluntly asked her to tell me the usage instruction first.
However, I could not resolve the problems I ran into with the elemental type.
I asked her to explain to me about the elemental type, the wind type in particular.
Of course, I couldn’t understand it.
* * *
The sun rose up for the fifth day.
Well, since we are inside a sealed dungeon room, I guess that would be a weird way to put it.
Anyway, the morning came.
“I’m sure everyone had the same experience I had. The narrow pathway was big enough for one person to barely pass through. I had no choice but to take off my armor and crawl through it with just a sword like this. The pathway became narrower as I went in further, to the point where I had difficulty just crawling. There were comrades of my Order of Knights who were following behind me, but… I am worried if they were crushed by the ceiling when it collapsed.”
“I’m sure they are fine. From where I was, the trap’s mechanism was exposed, so I can say this with certainty. The ceiling inside the dungeon collapsed, but on the outside, only the wall is blocking the path.”
As usual, we ate breakfast and gathered around to talk about junk.
It was very interesting to hear about the group’s story regarding how they searched the dungeon for the rumored treasure as if they were on a competition.
To find the hidden pathway, they fought each other and eventually made amends and decided to collaborate. The process sounded like a scene from a fantasy novel.
In the end, the found the hidden pathway inside the dungeon. When the pathway eventually split to several directions, the group split up as well.
Although they all went their separate ways through these different pathways, as if it was by magic, they all arrived in this dungeon room at the same time and fell into the trap.
The story is like a game.
It had been a while since I questioned the background setting of a Tutorial’s stage.
Is this an artificial situation created by the architect of the Tutorial? To assume that, the memories that these people have are too detailed and vast.
To put it simply, for a seven-day stage, the appearing characters have too many and too detailed settings.
I wonder, when I will be able to resolve this curiosity?
Perhaps I will never get the answer.
There was a bitter taste in my mouth.
I drank a sip of water and looked around.
Afterwards, I said as If I was spitting it out,
“Aren’t you guys all being too relaxed?”
Having heard what I said, everyone turned to look at me.
On the surface, they looked rather leisure.
Could it be that they forgot about the fact that there is a doppelganger hiding here and we need to hunt it because the daily routines?
Everyone’s face looked uncomfortable when I pointed this out.
It was not that they forgot. I see now.
They looked like students who were certain about failing the test that they were supposed to take soon. Because they were certain about failing the test, they didn’t bother with studying for it, and instead, they played around until the very last day before the test. The group had the same look as students in such a situation.
They were just hiding the anxiety inside.
“I told all of you this before. There is a way to resolve the problem even if we don’t find the doppelganger until the very last day, and that method is taking turns beating the crap out of one person until the doppelganger shows itself.”
Now, the uncomfortable faces changed to anxious faces.
“Come on. I’m not saying this because I don’t like everyone getting along so well. It’s good that everyone is being friendly with each other. I like that too. Still, we need to hunt down the doppelganger. If possible, I would like to minimize the amount of blood on my hands.”
Still, it was not like there was a way to find the doppelganger. I was just pressuring them to find the doppelganger because they were going to pay in blood soon.
I was the one who intentionally brought about such friendly atmosphere. Now, I was saying thing like this. I didn’t want to say it. Still, we really had to find the doppelganger now.
We only have two days left until the rescue party arrives and the 16th Floor’s stage ends.
“Km… The fact that we have no way of identifying the doppelganger is the problem, isn’t it? Km… Mr. Apostle, in that case, how about we try the method you mentioned last time? What was that… Mabia game or what not.”
The mercenary mentioned the Mafia game.
“You mean Mafia game? I proposed that just because I wanted to hear information from everyone.”
“Still, I can’t think of any other way, so what do we do?”
Everyone agreed to the mercenary’s idea.
There was no basis to claim that the doppelganger could be identified by playing the Mafia game. However, it was not like we had any other idea.
Like that, the Mafia game started.
* * *
About one hour passed since we started the game.
“What the! Damn it! Why are you saying I’m suspicious? Huh? You think you can say anything you want because you have an open mouth? You should say stuff that makes sense. This bullcrap…”
The dungeon used to be in tranquil and amiable place. However, it was now thrown in chaos.
“Even so, there is no proof to say that you are not the doppelganger.”
“What? Damn it. Are you all accusing me?”
“Please cool your temper. Collecting thoughts after a calm conversation may not be enough as it is. Why are you being so temperamental?”
“Seriously. They are accusing me of being a demon and framing me. How could I stay calm! Mr. Holy knight, aren’t you are suspicious too?”
“Anyway, that mage is the most dubious one. Do you realize how many could have died as casualties of her spells?”
[That’s an excessive criticism. We were in middle of a battle. Why are you casting doubts on people based on insufficient evidence? Adventurer, by any chance, are you the doppelganger?]
“Honestly, I am doubting the mercenary a little. He is only showing outlandish reactions. They say that overdone denial is an affirmation. I don’t remember where I heard it, but that’s how it is. The same can be said about the holy knight. There were a few questionable things about his attitude for the past seven days. He didn’t let us know when the mage turned out to be a lady. Of course, the most suspicious one here is the mage. I am not saying this because I almost died by her magic. It is definitely not that. Of the people in this dungeon right now, four people could have been hurt by her magic. If they were attacked, there would have been just the holy knight, the mage and the mercenary left. Isn’t that a great situation for the doppelganger?”
Meanwhile, the knight was bubbling with his obsessive compulsive explanation disorder potential.
“Would you shut the hell up!? I think you are the most suspicious one!”
Oh my, this is a complete mess; it’s as if a dog full of mud-stains came in and ran around wild.
I’m starting to think it would be more peaceful to beat the shit out of them all one at a time until the doppelganger reveals itself.
However, because there is no guarantee that there really is just one doppelganger, it is a choice that is hard for me to accept.
Even if one doppelganger is discovered, as long as there is the possibility of another one, I need to beat the entire group to pulp.
I cannot leave any exception.
I didn’t like doing that, so I handed the problem over for the group to figure out, yet…
“Are you picking a fight here?!”
“That’s right, let’s go at it! Draw your sword you bastard!”
“Lower your sword at once!?”
“Old man, why don’t you lower your sword!”
I wonder if this is how it would feel to experience a soap opera in real life? I pondered about this for a moment and decided.
I don’t think the situation would improve even if I interfered.
I will be able to put a stop to this chaos, but the situation will just go back to the beginning.
First, I should just wait until they come to a conclusion on their own.
I thought it would be better if I just stayed out of this. I went to a corner and practiced magic.
I thought I won’t be able to focus if I hear them talk, so I intentionally blocked my hearing.
While they argued, I spent the time while practicing magic, but I could feel someone approaching.
I immediately opened my eyes and looked forward to see the entire group was there to staring at me.
“What the? Did you guys finish fighting?”
“Um? You couldn’t hear us? That’s an incredible focus. Um… About that…”
It seemed the holy knight had something to say, but it was hard for him to say it.
So, I looked at the knight.
Organize it for me, Mr. Compulsive explanation disorder patient!
What is it?
Feeling my gaze, the knight seemed to panic. He tumbled around for a moment.
However, it seemed he realized his role soon. He opened his mouth and started to explain.
“We spent the past two hours and succeeded in gathering our thoughts, although there were lots of arguments and fights in the process. We decided on the person who we thought was the most likely one to be the doppelganger.”
Oh, from that chaos, you guys came to a unanimous decision?
“Who is it?”
The knight paused for a moment. It was like a scene from a court drama with a surprise verdict. He raised his index finger and shouted,
“Mr. Apostle, it is you!”