It is unknown as to who first came upon this world’s magic formations.
However, that person must have undoubtedly been a graceful, gentle individual.
Around a week after discovering scarlite.
“Hey, hey Mentor! Look look look!”
When I turned around to Rin who’d shouted in delight, she literally jumped onto me.
“Rin!? What’s the matter?”
I caught hold of her out of reflex, my opened my eyes wide in surprise.
She was wheelchair-bound, but it wasn’t as though she couldn’t leap.
“Ehehe, look, look!”
Moving herself away from my body slightly, Rin pointed at her waist. She was pointed at was her waist fins, now large enough to look like a skirt. Although it had grown quite a lot in the past ten years, it was obviously much larger than yesterday.
“Such rapid growth…!”
“Hey, a bit back, remember the sword Shig made?”
She very abruptly changed the topic, but I took it in stride and nodded.
“I was like, can I change their shape? So then I tried, and I could.”
Rin’s concise explanation put me at a loss for words.
When I took a better look at her waist, she still had the same number of annual rings.
“Rin. Please, let me know before you want to use magic on your body, alright?”
Rin cheerfully raised one of her hands into the air. She’s so obedient.
I don’t know if I should be happy she was willing to use her body for research or be frightened by it, though…
“What’re you doing? What’s that?”
Rin tilted her body to the side and asked to peek at what was behind me.
What was behind me was what looked like a poorly made snow hut built out of clay. It was made to be hemispherical with a hole in the front. You could see flames burning inside the hole.
“This is a kiln.”
After the events of a few days ago, I came to know that we had a large amount of metal nearby.
However, it wasn’t like there were no problems with it. Unlike the condition of the metal found at Mount Hole, the majority of it wasn’t in a crystallized state, but rather as ore mixed with rock.
“I’ve been trying to extract scarlite from the rock using this, but…”
It should be fine as long as I can extract pure metal… I think. Since the temperature at which the metal melts is lower than that of the rocks, in theory I should be able to melt only the metal when I heat it. Probably. All I had to give me the information I was working on what this poorly constructed kiln.
I’d tried applying flames to it directly to see if it would melt, but the flames I produced from my dragon form after going so long without breathing them out were much too strong and wound up evaporating the scarlite ore instantly.
I figured in that case, I should just control my output in my human form, but then it wouldn’t melt no matter how much I heated it up.
Creating a flame somewhere in between was bringing me all kinds of stress. Using magic at any steady amount of power was earth-shatteringly difficult. Although I was able to regulate it to some extent, keeping a constant temperature or constant strength wasn’t possible to do so easily, so although I could do it, it was awfully tiring. It demanded an extreme level of concentration and stamina.
To compare it to something, it was like blowing dandelion fluff. You could easily blow it weakly or forcibly, but just trying blowing it with a constant strength than could keep it hovering at a single point in the air.
Therefore, I decided to rely on science, rather than magic. Instead of heating it directly with magic, I would increase the heat in the kiln to melt the metal. With this method, I should be able to increase the temperature without going too far.
—And that shallow reasoning blew up in my face, along with the now-exploded kiln.
“Amazing! Do it again!”
“… That was a failure.”
Rin was happy as could be, but I just sighed with my shoulders drooping.
Was it the structure’s fault? Or maybe the materials I used? Either way, when I increase the temperature up to a certain point, the kilns end up exploding before the scarlite melts. No matter how carefully I increase the temperature, the same thing always happens.
Just in case, I wasn’t using just soil for the kiln. On top of using properly prepared clay, I also used reinforcement magic on it. At the very least, it seemed impossible to make a kiln that could withstand the heat necessary to melt metal with my scant knowledge in the field.
“Why not ask Luka how?”
I parroted back her question.
“Yeah, Luka’s good at this kind of stuff!”
It’s true that she is good at keeping her magic output stable. Speaking only in terms of output though, she ranked as the second lowest next to Shig. However, that was hardly helpful. I’d initially thought that talent was something that you were born with based on your species or personality, but it might be something you can learn the trick of. Like getting the hang of juggling, for example.
Striking while the iron was hot and deciding to give it a go, I headed to the schoolhouse with Rin in tow.
She was chatting with the other students.
“Oh, Mentor. How are you… huh!? Rin, you’re walking on your own!?”
When Luka turned toward us, she saw Rin next to me and stared in wonder.
“How’d you do that!?”
“Ahem…—I’m awesome right!?”
Rin boasted with her chest puffed out in response to Shig’s surprise.
Looks like she came to me to show off how she could move about on her own now. It’s a fairly simple thing, but I’m a bit.. no, I’m very glad.
“Luka, I want to ask you something. Is there any trick to stabilizing magic?”
After Rin was done showing off the effects of the magic she’d used on herself to everyone, I cut into the conversation.
“Yeah. Luka, you’re incredibly skilled at stabilizing the output of your magic, right? I’m, well… I’m like this. Light, produce a tiny light at my fingertip.”
As soon as I finished my incantation, a dazzling light overflowed from my hand and immediately enveloped the surrounding area in brightness.
“I said my fingertip!”
Closing my hand as I shouted at it, the light calmed down like a stifled fire.
“Ooow, my eyes…”
“Mentor’s magic is as intense as ever, I see.”
“That control though.”
After accidentally staring directly at the light, Rin used her hands to cover her eyes. Violet voiced her admiration, while Shig just said that sarcastically.
“Oh come on. It’s not like you’re amazing at it either.”
“Not as bad as you at least.”
“You give it a shot then.”
Having a verbal back and forth, I urged Shig on.
Shig agreed to it, not the least bit hesitant. Even if I’d only meant it as a joke, him accepting the challenge could be called progress.
“Light, you who are white, who are dazzling. Come to exist on my palm.”
His incantation finished, light burst from his hand. It repeatedly pulsated from weak to strong and back, eventually going out.
“Big brother, it’s not that different from yours.”
Hearing Yuuki say that so frankly, Shig and I groaned at the same time.
“Alright then, Luka. I believe it is your turn now?”
Prompted to go by Violet, Luka recited her simple incantation and made a bowl with her hands. A ball of light appeared within her hands. It wasn’t dazzling like mine, nor was it changing its intensity constantly like Shig’s. And above all, its shape was beautiful.
The light sphere she produced was a virtually perfect sphere. It looked like a full moon in the night sky. Compared to that, Shig’s looked like a flame with an ambiguous, constantly changing outline. Mine probably would’ve looked like that as well. If you were a hundred or so meters away, maybe.
Although Yuuki and Violet were both much better than us, not even they could produce a light with such stability.
“I got it!”
Unexpectedly, Rin popped up.
“If you do that with your hands, it goes good!”
She pointed over to the bowl Luka formed with her hands.
“If you think it’s that simple…”
Interrupting Shig, Rin mimicked Luka and shouted with her hands together.
Shig’s eyes were wide, Violet had placed her hand over her mouth, and Yuuki cheered in excitement.
What appeared in her hands was a slightly distorted sphere of light. It was distorted, but it could easily be seen as a sphere.
Rin’s magical stability was low amongst the students. On the other hand, her output was high. Although imperfect, that Rin managed to stabilize her magic.
“L-Light! … Oooh!”
Shig followed suit and put his hands together, followed by him letting out a voice of amazement as a small spherical light appeared above the palms of his hand. Violet and Yuuki did so as well, likewise also confirming that their magic would be stable.
No way, could it really be that simple…
I cupped my hands together and shouted out in high spirits.
—A moment later, the classroom was filled with light.
＊ ＊ ＊
“I’m still seeing spots…”
“I’m sorry, really.”
I bowed to Yuuki and the others, who were all blinking repeatedly and grimacing.
Apparently, my magic diffuses much too much.
As a result of stabilizing and concentrating itself, the strength of the light that came from it was so much that it could at least momentarily blind someone. Even though I’d immediately stopped invoking the magic, all of the students were complaining about being unable to see properly.
I’m not sure if it’s because she’s particularly sensitive to light, but the usually energetic version of Rin was no where to be seen—she was basically limp with her eyes shut. I checked and it looks like I don’t need to be afraid of potential blindness, but still…
“I never thought that how you held your hands would affect the output of a magic…”
It’s true that magic normally comes from one’s hands. To be exact, a place slightly off of the hand. Even so, I’d never concerned myself with the shapes my hands had made until now. We’ve all just been using magic with whatever way was most convenient at the time.
“I’m not sure why… but I’ve always imagined that the light is settling into my hands.”
Looking as though her eyes had recovered somewhat, Luka said that as she once again formed a bowl with her hands.
It’s true that the light sphere she’d produced was about the same size as her palms.
“I see. I agree that when you have something to use as a standard for size, it becomes easier to manage.”
Violet also once again formed a bowl with her hands and produced light.
It was more stable than before, perhaps due to her now understanding the principle.
“So that’s how it is…”
“Don’t do that again!”
Seeing me make another bowl with my hands, Shig spoke up in a panic.
“A standard size…? Luka, how many centimeters are your hands?”
Hearing Yuuki’s casual question for Luka, I accidentally shouted out loud.
“Wh-What’s wrong, big brother?”
“That’s it! That’s it, Yuuki!”
I grabbed her hands in excitement and shook them up and down.
“Violet, could you please create a vine? A suitable size will be fine.”
“… Here you go.”
Binding one end of the vine Violet made to a stick, I tied the other end to charcoal. Then, drawing a spot on a desk using the charcoal, I stood the stick up on its other end, held the charcoal against the desk just far enough away so that the vine was taut, and drew in a circle. With that, I had a proper circle drawn on top of the desk. To put it simply, I’d made an impromptu mariner’s compass.
“Luka… actually, no.”
There was a possibility that Luka’s would be too perfect for me to be able to see a difference at all.
“Yuuki, could you please try making a light while imagining it fitting perfectly into this circle?”
I asked Yuuki, who had good intuition and could probably figure out what I was planning, to do it. Holding her hands around the circle, she spoke the inccantation. With that, light emerged not within her palm, but above the circle. It was a beautiful sphere of light, like a full moon lighting up the night sky.
The simplest of magic formations.
What significance do magic formations hold in this world? The answer is something I realized intuitively.
They are rulers for magic. Not to measure a line’s length, but to allow for drawing the line straight in the first place.