Waking up before Erica he looked towards Nina and Erica. Erica was leaning against Nina's shoulder, arms wrapped around her arm, and Nina looked very uncomfortable about it. Renal felt sorry for Erica and asked the question he was wondering before he fell asleep. "Was she close to Boes?"
"Not many others for her to talk to while you lived in that tower since no other apprentice had servants apart from you, but Boes wasn't close to her since he talked more to old Renal." And then after a slight pause she added. "Carl and I arrived quite a bit later and we're not near her age, not to mention quite a bit over her stature. So both yes and no, probably the only one she had to talk to on an even standing, but they never really got close to each other."
'Sounds like he was the only real support she had. I am still a bit shaken about feeling both scared about facing a situation of uncertain death, and realising that people can die from mundane things other than large unstoppable forces. A mage in a world as rich of mana as this is essentially immortal if they know what they are doing, so I might have considered myself as such already. But even when I was feeling distressed about that I should have been more of a help for her, am I so unfeeling that I didn't realise that she lost one of the few people she could even talk to?' Renal felt ashamed, but he kind of realised that he was a bit too shaken up at that time.
"Can you take over now? I really hate having others touch me, and I want to read more of these books while we're moving." Nina looked at Renal both pleading and commanding. "You look a lot more collected now so there isn't a way to keep pushing this on me." Renal nodded and they clumsily swapped places in the carriage.
It was a small miracle that they managed without waking up Erica but now she was clinging to Renal instead and Nina was sitting opposite with a book. Looking at the books that Nina had left beside him he wondered if it was okay to look through them since he'd already read the journal-diary he'd gotten before he needed something new. Oh, and it mostly contained dirty daydreams of what he would do to Nina, things that made even new Renal who wasn't new at reading dirty books blush, that she gave it to me to learn to read was probably a comeback aimed at old Renal.
"Do you have any books here about magic? Since I can read somewhat and I only need practice now I want to see what good I can be too the kingdom." She works for the king so let's butter her up a little.
"Third book down is a primer on fire magic. Don't know much about it myself." Well, the buttering seemed to make her grumpier, well it really was true since he didn't want this world to become like his last one and the best way was to make it strong enough to stand up against invaders and spread magic. But the book really was a primer.
And just what he needed, one that explained fire magic. But instead of categorising it as 'temperature control' it viewed it as 'eating and expelling fire through your body' in other words truly backwards. It didn't take long for him to get very angry at it.
"'You make your body into a kiln that...' This book is suicidal if you do these things you will damage your body beyond repair!" When he started to scream at the stupidity of the book he started Erica awake, who realised that she had been clinging onto Renal and became embarrassed. But he didn't notice this but was instead increasingly angry as he read. "Who wrote this moronic mockery of magic? I want to find his grave dig up his body and burn it to show him what real magic is supposed to be!"
When Nina realised that he was about to destroy one of the books she had spent a lot of work stealing she snatched it from his hands. "Careful, magic tomes are expensive even if you think they are filled with gibberish. It took me a lot of effort to steal these."
"I'm not sure if this book is written in this way intentionally so that he can control his 'apprentice-slaves' better or it was written in ignorance. If it was to control there are far better ways, such as making them only cast spells through staffs but make their basics really strong. But this way is just stupid, your workers won't last long and they'll cost a fortune to train." Nina's eyes lit up at the explanation of cheaper troops.
"Oh do explain more how these 'staff-casters' would work."
"Well you get a large group of people and you only focus on making them learn how to infuse magic into something, this is very good for non-war purposes as well since you can make them charge magical items during peacetime. Sounds harder than it is since the only really hard thing you need is the know-how of a spell-staff. It is essentially a staff engraved with the spell of your choice, usually firebolt, and then you only need to teach them the absolute basics about how to infuse magic into it. In other words, you save up on teaching them about how spells work, looking up what elements they are, how to cast a spell under duress, and a lot more things. And even if they die so long as the staffs don't get destroyed you'll not lose that much." This was something that had fascinated Renal last life how magic had gone from hidden in the corners of the world into becoming a vital part of the modern armies, regular fighters and archers were still more important but having a team of mages was vital. Especially when they started to invade other worlds that had enemies that were stronger, faster, larger, and hardier than humans. 'I should be able to sell these to the king at a pretty steep cost, I should still go over it with my family first before I agree to anything since they will know the politics of it.'
"Can you design one of these staffs?" Nina looked absolutely thrilled at the idea of it.
"No, not yet anyway. I need to be able to cast magic and see just how much I still remember, and test if I remember it correctly. But any mage you ask should be able to design a fairly crude staff." This wasn't all a lie, he really did need to refamiliarise himself with magic before he could, but he knew the staffs by heart.