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Stahlia Ten Years Old, Seventh Month of 947

“Oh Fire, #### a ball and fly ##### to ###### my target! [Fireball]” As I said the keyword, I felt the heat of the flame formed on my hand, as a sphere of flame manifested. It shot off and struck the orc-shaped straw target a little ways away from me. Sarala was off to the side with Edith, both of them watching me. Sarala raised an eyebrow.

“Lady Stahlia, you said you had something to show us, but that was just a regular beginner tier Red Magic, was it not?” I nodded.

“It was for demonstration purposes. This is what I wanted to show you.” I once again exhaled, clearing my mind. Mana was much easier to control with fewer distractions, emotional and physical disturbances only got in the way and clogged things up, which made it chanted spells cost more and outright disturbed Blood Magic by making the Mana harder to control. The Fifth Law of Magic stated that the amount of mana cost and power of a spell would go up or down based on the caster's emotional state. In general, a clear head would be most effective, although certain branches of magic might actually be cheaper with strong emotions. For example, Fire Magic tended to be greatly enhanced by hatred and anger. The phrase "burning with hatred" was quite literal in this world.

After clearing my head, I opened my eyes and chanted again. “Oh Water, #### a #### fly ##### to ###### my target! [Water Ball]” At my command, a sphere of water manifested in the air in front of me, before flying off at speed and piercing the chest of the target. I grimaced at the mana drain, this spell cost a lot more than the first one, likely having to do with my kitbashed chant. The sight of the spell caused Edith to open her eyes slightly, while Sarala stared completely wide-eyed with her mouth hanging open.

After taking a moment to collect herself, Sarala approached me. “Stahlia, that wasn’t the chant for a water ball spell like we learned in our Blue Magic, what did you just do?!” I smiled wryly, Sarala tended to get a bit flustered and forget her manners when excited. Once you got her to open up to you and stop being so shy, she was really a sweet girl.

“Indeed, it was the chant for a fireball spell, I just replaced a few words with ones from the water ball spell. It costs a lot more mana than doing water ball normally though, I’m not exactly sure why that is.” Indeed, over the past several months I had been learning various spell chants during my Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green Magic classes. then, using that information, I had begun the painstaking process of comparing the effects of the spell to the magic language composing its chant. By cross-referencing the different words from my repertoire of chants, I was beginning to form a comprehensive reference of what different words meant. Of course, I could easily be missing something, unlike when I learned to speak the common language ten years ago, nobody was available to teach me. In fact, if I were to tell people I was actually trying to translate the language I would get laughed at.

The general consensus varied from person to person; some said that the words have no meaning; mana was formed by the soundwaves produced in the chant. Others said that it was the language of the gods not meant for mortal understanding. Still yet another theory stated that the words themselves were only part of the chant, and that somehow they held meaning only when observed from a higher dimension. I wasn’t exactly sure what the difference between the language of the gods and higher dimension theories was; in my mind the gods were essentially higher dimensional entities.

Still, I had to imagine that those theories were all wrong since I was definitely making progress. As demonstrated by my recent success at combining the invocation and keyword of one spell with the chant of another, from two different colors to boot. Albeit it came at the cost of exponentially more mana, rendering its usefulness questionable. There was also a logical argument against this rule; if it was the sound vibrations that were responsible for shaping mana, then how the hell did Magic Talents manage to cast spells when they assisted to omit the chant entirely. There was also the existence of Blood Magic, I had recently become able to produce a small flame on the tip of my finger without speaking at all.

I glanced at my stat sheet, confirming my mana expenditure, and confirming the fact that my mana was not recovering.

Life Summary Screen:

Life Point Balance: 20

Name/Age: Stahlia von Ris, 10

Gender: Female

Class/Level: Custom Class, 9 Experience: 1450/9000

Species: Human (Pureblood)

Social Strata: Nobility (Baron Ris, Drakas Kingdom)

Starting Gift: Small Seed [LOCKED]

Ability Values:

  • Strength D: 96
  • Endurance B: 126
  • Dexterity S: 190
  • Intelligence S: 270
  • Charisma B: 126
  • Mana A: 76/126[FROZEN]*

Fighting Style: Drakan Style* [Swap Style]

Talents 3/3: Prodigy III*, Eidetic Memory II*, Stealth IV, || Monster Handling III*, Dagger Fighting V* Unarmed Fighting IV*, Alchemy Correction IV*, Teaching II*, Mana Efficiency II*, Fire Magic II*, Water Magic I*, Earth Magic I*, Wind Magic I*

Skills 3/3: Divine Authority[Class Features]*, Finesse Fighting*, Blue Blooded*, || Language Proficiency[Central Human]*, Fighting Style[Shadow Blade]*, Blessing of Winter*

Talents Experience: [+]

It had been five months, unfortunately I was not making much progress in searching for Rosial, the fact that the Shadows had potentially caught on to us was stymying our efforts. Still, it wasn't like I had been idle; I had been studiously working at translating the magic language, name pending. Eidetic Memory made that much easier than translating an unknown language with no reference normally should be; since I only needed to see or hear a chant once to properly remember it now, I was able to swiftly increase my sample size of words and use the context of the spell effects to try and puzzle out meaning. I had also managed to pick up Drakan Style to the point it would be listed as an option on my menu.

The initial fireball had cost me ten mana, a bit less than in the past given my increased rank of Mana Efficiency. The Water Ball, however, had used a whopping twenty. If I had cast Water Ball using the normal chant, it would have been about the same as Fireball, perhaps just a couple of points more expensive.

 Honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure about how effective my mana consumption was when chanting. My Blood Magic used way less mana, compared to a dexterity enhancement spell found under Yellow Magic, my own physical enhancements used less than about half of the mana to produce the same effect. Of course, there was the limiting factor in that I could only manage to influence my own body or things that were very close to me. According to Kell and Gustav, this was a normal limitation of Blood Magic.

And I still haven’t had any change in the amount of experience I have. At our last tea party, Sana told me that she’s level six now, and Giogi is level seven. Both of them were only level four when we left Ris. I suppose I really am only able to get experience points by killing things, otherwise, all the effort I’ve been putting into my translation and studies should have leveled me up at least once by now…

Shaking my head to clear the idle ramblings, I glanced over to my assistant and my observer, who I had been tuning out. Sarala had been helping me with my experiments, teaching me chants she knew from before the Academy. Edith had been providing me a place to work, with the promise that I would let her drop by and watch from time to time. At first, I was wary of sharing too much with them, but after having Jacqueline do a thorough background check, I was now confident that I could let them in on a few small things, like my kitbashed water ball chant.

It was also very helpful to do my experiments at the Claurence Estate courtesy of Edith since I had Rowell following me at the academy and in all likelihood informing the Order of Shadows on everything I did there. Likewise, at the Francois estate, I would have to contend with Elienor pestering me to teach her magic, something she had started doing over these past months. There was also the case of Pet. I felt bad for her, as I had more or less placed her under house arrest in my room. I just had to keep telling myself it was to protect her, due to her Envious skill, I couldn’t risk her seeing anyone using skills or talents.

I had been bedridden for almost a week after acquiring the Wind Magic Talent, and when Pet had seen me using a fire magic spell with talent casting, she had been knocked out for three days. According to an appraisal I did while wiping her forehead with a hot towel, the only change was that she had acquired Fire Magic I thanks to Envious. These two events combined caused me to suspect there was more going on behind how talents were actually acquired, and that getting too many too quickly could be harmful. Or maybe it was the potency of the talents, I didn’t have enough information and was wary of conducting any experiments to find out more.

So it was that for a variety of reasons, I turned to Edith for help in securing a location to run experiments at. Even if I was still worried about the political ramifications of owing her a favor, or the risk that some things I didn’t actually want to be discovered came to light. Especially considering my end goal was to have figured out enough of the magic language to create my own custom spells, something that was largely viewed as impossible; the vast majority of currently in use spells had been passed down orally or in grimoires, and new spells only seemed to come from ancient texts occasionally discovered in ruins left over from before the demon war.

Enough of my rambling, I still have things to do today. I cleared my throat to get the pair’s attention. “Sarala, do you remember that thing Instructor Kell was talking about in the last lecture?” Of course, I remembered, I had heard almost the same thing three times in a row.

Sarala nodded. “Yes I remember, “Chant Holding” right? he was saying it was one of the requirements for passing the advanced blue magic classes, they first introduce it in the introductory class since it takes so much effort to learn. Nobody in our class was able to get it right, not even you or me.”

I nodded, “Yea, Chant Holding. I got to hear about it three times, which also means I got three times the in-class practice.” Edith giggled and Sarala rolled her eyes exaggeratedly. Both of them had heard me complain about the uniformity of the introductory courses on numerous occasions. That aside, I looked at the thoroughly abused target and stretched out my hand. “[###### ###]”.

A beam of white light fired out from my palm and skewered the target through its head. This time it was Edith who spoke up. “…Stahlia, that was a chantless Light Ray, was it not? The White Magic Spell? Forgive me if I am mistaken, but you are not currently enrolled in White Magic.” Sarala nodded emphatically.

“Correct, I am not enrolled in White Magic. However, that was not a chantless spell. I chanted it this morning, and have been chant holding it since then.” Chant holding, as explained by our instructors, was the act of chanting a spell ahead of time and releasing it when needed by reciting the keyword. It was a method to combine the convenience of Talent Magic with the versatility of Chanted Magic since a chant-held spell could be augment chanted. The one major downside was that Mana wouldn’t regenerate while you were focusing on a chant-hold.

Sarala eyed me suspiciously. “From this morning? Even though last week nobody in the class could do it?” I nodded.

“Yes from this morning. As it turns out, there’s a really simple trick to it that I was able to work out while I was mixing parts of different chants to see what would happen.” Edith rolled her eyes at my explanation, even if she wasn’t enrolled in the magic classes like Sarala and I, she at least knew the theory and was able to correctly recognize how absurd what I had just said was. Sarala just shook her head before offering her own thoughts.

“Even if you “can only hold one spell at a time” that is still more than the majority of the class, no, all of us can do… …so… are you going to tell me how you did it? That’s why you brought it up right?” I nodded.

“As far as I can tell, the trick is understanding the spell you want to chant-hold. You need to know exactly what will happen when you say the keyword and hold a mental picture of that in your head. It’s easier said than done, but you should be able to manage it with Water Ball.” Sarala looked thoughtful, most likely she was imagining what happened when a Water Ball spell was formed.

After a moment, she closed her eyes and stilled her breathing. “Remember Sarala, you need to hold the picture of the Water Ball in your head until you feel your mana freeze; that’s when you know you’ve properly formed the spell.”

“Until I feel my mana freeze. Got it.” Sarala breathed out one last time and opened her eyes. “Oh Water, ####### #### ### ##### a ball and fly ##### to ###### my Target!” She then paused, brow furrowed slightly. After a moment she twitched before glancing around. After about a minute, she fixed her eyes on the remains of my straw orc and opened her mouth again. “[Water Ball]” Instantly, a fist-sized sphere of water formed in front of her and launched out at the target, thoroughly obliterating what dregs of it had thus far managed to survive.

Sarala wiped her forehead clear of the sweat that had begun to form, gratefully taking the towel Edith offered her. She had only cast the one spell, but it had taken a much greater amount of effort for her than me. I haven’t appraised her, but I would have to guess she probably doesn’t have my mana efficiency talent. Likewise, she is likely a lower level than me, based on what I’ve seen with Giogi and Sana, and would have a lower mana rating meaning that overall she could probably only manage that two or three times at most.

“Congratulations Sarala, it looks like you have successfully managed to chant-hold. I am sure Instructor Kell will be quite impressed.” Sarala accepted my praise with a wry smile.

“Until I tell him you were the one who taught me the trick to it.”

I shook my head and replied sarcastically. “Noooo anything but that!” This wasn’t the first time Sarala had made such remarks since we started interacting more frequently. At first I had been worried about them, but eventually, I realized that she was just being playful.

Edith lightly cuffed Sarala on the back of the head. “Do not tease her like that.” Like Sarala, Edith had opened up to me over the past months as well, revealing a less formal private side.

Sarala clutched her head in mock pain. “Lady Edith! That was mean!” Honestly having friends like these two isn’t so bad, I hope I can manage to save our friendship even after I strike a serious blow to the kingdom…

As I was warmly watching my two friends banter with each other, I heard the city bell toll out one pm. Damn, I’ll have to head back… I was not looking forward to my afternoon plans. While I had grown used to the accursed piece of cloth Jacqueline made me wear on my chest, the fact remained that my body was still changing. One of the more irritating side effects of those changes was the involuntary bouts of self-consciousness I now tended to experience when dealing with boys, especially whenever I received a compliment.

It was like I was becoming tuned into the opposite sex. Not like, I am becoming… aware… of it. The whole experience was exceptionally uncomfortable given my disposition in my previous life. Dominic was a particular nuisance since I was nominally engaged to him. I would occasionally be struck with thoughts of what came after marriage, even though I had no intentions of going through with any weddings. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have my past life’s memories to go on, I don’t recall ever being taught sex ed in this life atleast, so those particular thoughts wouldn’t be an issue.

Presumably, that would be one of the things I was intended to learn during bridal training, another life event I was hellbent on avoiding, which was supposedly set to occur after I finished at the academy when I was thirteen. Predictably, the thought of receiving sex ed from my new perspective caused my cheeks to flush, a phenomenon that Edith noticed.

She swiftly stepped up close to me, forcing me to turn my head back slightly to meet her gaze. As I looked up at her, she reached out and poked my cheek. “That was the bell just now was it not? Is someone thinking about a particular meeting they have planned for later today…?” While her tone was teasing, I could detect a hint of amusement behind it.

While that wasn’t the reason behind why my face had reddened, it was a fact that I was scheduled to have lunch with Dominic today at two pm, meaning I had to leave Edith’s family’s estate around one. Still, this was a misconception I had to correct, even if it hadn’t worked the past dozen or so times I had corrected it. “No Edith, I was not thinking of Dominic just now, I was thinking of…” Right, it’s not like I can say “I was just thinking about sex!” at best she would brand me a pervert, and at worst, she would assume it was sex with Dominic. That’s assuming she knows what sex is in the first place. God forbid she asks “What’s that?” and I have to explain…

My face had gotten progressively redder as my thought train ran away from the station, which in turn caused Edith to grin mischievously and pinch both cheeks in her hands. “Shtahp hit!” She gave one final squeeze before letting go.

I glared at her and began picking up my things; preparing to head off to meet with my other, more serious, tormentor. Edith called out to my back in a somewhat sad voice, giving me pause. “You know Stahlia, I really am jealous that you actually like your fiancée… Your family was only recently given their peerage, so you don’t really realize how rare that is for us young noble ladies.”

I didn’t turn around and just shook my head. “I do not like him. I wish you would stop teasing me about that.” I could hear Edith sigh as I left the yard.

“…Right, whatever you say Stahlia.”

★★★★★★

I arrived back at the Francois Estate by one-thirty, and quickly headed to my side building; I would of course be expected to change into a fresh dress before meeting Dominic for lunch. Upon arriving, I heard a shrill cry and Stil bounded up to me. I smiled and gave him a piece of the dried meat we kept on hand for him, and stroked his head feathers.

It must be frustrating for him. In the beginning, Stil had been excited about the city; it was full of new sounds and smells. However, that quickly changed to what was obvious boredom. Unlike Ris, I couldn’t let him wander around freely here; he was, after all, a monster. As such, other than going out with Jacqueline or myself on occasion, he spent most of his time cooped up on the grounds of the Francois Estate.

I felt a tug on my sleeve and glanced down to see Pet. Like Stil, she also suffered from extreme boredom, due to me having placed her on house arrest for her own safety. Thankfully Lucy and Frieda hadn’t questioned me doing that, explaining Envious to outsiders was obviously not a thing that was going to happen, and I had been struggling to come up with a good excuse for my decision. As far as I was aware, they had come to the conclusion that I simply wished for Pet’s existence to be kept a secret. Something or other to do with my “pride as a noblewoman” and the “shame of keeping a filthy beast”.

I smiled at her and rubbed between her ears. That was another discovery I made over the past few months; Pet liked being pet. At least on her head, I had gotten curious and tried stroking her tail once. She had most definitely not appreciated that nearly as much as having her head pat. “How are you doing this afternoon?”

Pet glanced around the room quickly before answering. “Pet was playing with Lady Elienor earlier, but I missed nee-san a lot…” I nodded.

“Sorry for having to keep you in the house like this… I’m just worried about you getting sick again.” I was really sorry to, but as much as I disliked restricting her; there was no way for her to go around unaccompanied, and I couldn’t take her with me to the Academy. Due to all the students learning and practicing there, that was basically asking for Envious to activate repeatedly, which would at best probably advance her demonization, and at worst might actually kill her from talent overload.

“Pet doesn’t mind!” I had apologized several times before, and she always adamantly insisted that she was fine with it. “It’s lonely without nee-san, but this house is a lot nicer than Pet’s last house!” Right, an actual house is nicer than a literal cage… Jacqueline came out from her room, presumably having heard mine and Pet’s exchange.

“Lady Stahlia, I have prepared your change of attire, please hurry; you must not be late.” I grimaced but allowed Jacqueline to lead me to my bedroom and change me. My new dress was similar to a sundress, though it fully covered my shoulders, and had a frankly excessive amount of lace according to my sensibilities, though it was presumably quite fashionable; Jacqueline tended to excel at picking my clothes, she had even arranged a new training bra that was dyed and stitched in such a way that it wouldn’t stand out under what was more or less a sundress.

Though as I look at it, this bra seems to have the same dimensions as the other ones… it just serves to remind me of how annoying everything is currently. I don’t think I’ve grown at all! Unlike most girls, I had foreknowledge of exactly how big I would get; my hope was that I could use this to estimate how fast I was developing, and thus estimate when my hell would be over. By the time we had finished changing me and redoing my hair, it was nearly one-fifty.

As I was leaving, I looked back over my shoulder at Pet, who had climbed up onto a chair at the table and was coloring with some of the pastels I had acquired for her. “Itte kimasu!” Pet glanced up at me and nodded.

“See you soon Nee-san!” I shrugged to myself inside my head and made my way towards the main building. I had played a few JRPGs back in my previous life, and thanks to Eidetic Memory, I could remember a large portion of the dialogue. I had been using some Japanese words periodically when I was alone with Pet, out of curiosity to see if I would elicit any response.

The thought had crossed my mind that she might actually be another reincarnation like myself, but so far she had been unresponsive whenever I tried speaking to her in earth languages other than a handful of Japanese words and phrases. She reacts properly to Japanese, but not English, German, or French. Even with the Japanese, she doesn’t react to anything more advanced than what I would consider “weeb talk”. While the jury was still out on whether or not Pet had memories of a past life, as the months dragged on and I poked at it from more and more angles, I was drawing to the conclusion that the Beast-kin, or at least the Ebony Cats, simply had a few Japanese words woven into their language.

I arrived at the main house’s reception hall just as the city bell was ringing two pm. Waiting for me was Dominic, alongside his father Nikolaus. I balked for a moment, I had been aware I was eating lunch with Dominic, I had not expected his father to be present as well. Hurriedly, I performed a curtsy and greeted him. “Greetings, Lord Francois. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

Nikolaus inclined his head towards me. “Do not mind me, Lady Stahlia. I simply have a message for the two of you from Lord Percius. Once I deliver it, I will be going.” Chancing a glance at Dominic, for once he seemed just as I was. Nikolaus withdrew two sealed envelopes from his suit pocket and passed them to Jacqueline. Right, that’s odd. Normally he would have a servant pass those to her. That would indicate it is a matter of some importance… but in that case, shouldn’t he have passed it to me directly? Or to Dominic?

Jacqueline received the letters and put them away, whereupon Nikolaus bid his farewells to me and Dominic and departed. Dominic glanced at Jacqueline before addressing me. “Well Stahlia, would you prefer we go to lunch first? Or should we see what the Duke wants with us that is so important he would use a count as a messenger?” Right, there’s that too. The fact that he sent a high noble to deliver a message to a Baron’s daughter. Even if I am nominally engaged to his son that’s just weird.

Right, well, let’s put off the message for now. “I spent the morning working on my magic studies so I am rather famished. If it is alright with you Dominic, I would like to eat first.”

Dominic nodded and extended his hand out towards me. Doing my absolute best to keep a straight, normal face, I reached out my own hand and allowed him to escort me. My efforts failed when he did something quite unexpected and raised my hand to his lips. I was pulled out of my surprise by the sensation of something relatively soft and slightly damp pressing against the back of my hand. I immediately felt my face growing hot and jerked back my hand.

What the hell?! He’s been getting more and more irritating the past few months, always slipping in compliments and trying to make me react in public, but that’s the first time he’s done that! I would maybe have expected him to do it in a public setting to get a reaction out of me or something… but the only people here are the two of us and Jacqueline. His own manservant isn’t even here! I realized I was staring at my hand and quickly shifted my gaze. To my horror, Jacqueline had a faint blush of her own, and Dominic had definitely noticed me looking at my hand if his expression was anything to go by.

I tried my best to glare at him, but the best I was able to manage was to blink my eyes and flap my mouth. This… this is the worst. Dominic affected an apologetic face and tone. “My apologies, Stahlia, I didn’t mean to startle you. You simply looked so lovely in that dress that I was overcome.”

God fucking damn it! With a significant deal of mental effort, I managed to meet his eyes. “T-thank you… sh-should we go?” I managed to forcibly raise my hand and offer it to him. Dominic smiled, flashing me with two rows of perfectly white teeth, and took my hand. Thankfully he refrained from kissing it. I really hope this meal goes by quickly. Being near boys was an uncomfortable experience. Being near Dominic was exceedingly uncomfortable, and seemed to only get worse every time he did something. Worse, I was starting to think I might actually like being complimented, despite the fact that it always made me incredibly embarrassed.

We passed out into the yard and boarded the carriage that had been prepared for us. Our plan for lunch was to visit an eatery in the upper city and then attend a play. Presumably, there were some guards mixed in with the citizenry, as we were not going undercover as merchants like we had been back when we bought Pet. Though I have Jacqueline with me, so even if there are no guards, it should be safe. As had become the norm, Giogi was unavailable to serve his job as my guard knight; I was told that he had deemed himself entirely unfit and requested special training. Not that I was too bothered, one less boy my age was better for my mental stress. When we arrived at the location we would be eating, Dominic stood first and extended his hand towards me; clearly intending to escort me down from the carriage.

Resigning myself, I took his hand. He better not fucking kiss me again, there’re so many more people watching now. I descended the carriage steps with Dominic’s assistance, whereupon he turned and led me towards the door. Letting go of my hand, he opened the door and politely motioned for me to enter the building. Wait? He really didn’t kiss me?! I looked down at my hand before I could stop myself.

Of course, Dominic noticed this movement and raised an eyebrow. “Were you expecting something?” He had on an infuriating self-assured half-smirk.

“No! It’s not like I was expecting anything!” The instant the words left my mouth, I clapped my hands over it. Oh my fucking god. I really just said that… The blushing, the constant embarrassment, insisting that he irritates me whenever anyone asks, the expecting things and then getting surprised and… no, there’s no way I was actually disappointed he didn’t kiss my hand. Other than the secret disappointment, because I definitely am not I’m turning into a textbook fucking tsundere! I even physically abuse him during swordsmanship classes!

Despite my mortifying realization, I knew I had to get off the street and out of public sight before I further embarrassed myself. I ducked my head and went to walk past Dominic and enter the building. As I was passing him, I heard a mutter so quiet I doubted my ears for a second. But the words I heard caused me to do a double-take.

“…it’s not like I was expecting anything… She said it. She actually said it! My fiancé is a real-life tsundere!” The mutter sent a shiver down my spine and I felt like I had been doused with cold water. What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck. What the actual fuck! I froze mid-step.

“…Dominic, did you say something…?” Please, please, please, PLEASE tell me I was mistaken!

“Hmm? Yes, I just realized something as all, I was talking to myself, you do not need to worry about it, Stahlia.” FUCK! There’s only one legitimate reason he would know the term “tsundere” and react to the specific phrase I used. This makes things a lot more complicated. I pasted a fake noble smile on my face and nodded.

“If you say so, shall we enter?” Thankfully, the ice water that had been dumped over me had thoroughly cooled my head, allowing me to act properly. If worse comes to worst, maybe Cold Hearted? Is there even a combination of emotions I could turn off that would help me stay calm? Love, Empathy, Remorse, Anger… none of those seem like they would work. Fear might work… no. I can’t risk a lack of fear causing me to tell him I’m reincarnated too.

One thing for sure, this was going to be a much more interesting meal than I had originally thought. What I really need, is information. I need to somehow learn if he poses a threat, and I need to consider the possibility of other reincarnations working for the kingdom. Their presence would complicate things when I make my move. My own custom class was most likely fairly unique since when I picked it, it had been marked as an alpha feature. Of course, that didn’t mean there was zero chance someone else had it, just that the chance was lower.

But I’m pretty sure the staple is that transmigrators and reincarnations always get powerful abilities. I might not have been big on the whole Japanese media craze, but I do recall seeing some people complaining about that trope on some message boards. What would be perfect, is if I could come up with a way to safely appraise him… but there’s no way I could do that without him noticing.

As I was lost I thought, pretending to read the menu, Dominic was watching me intently. One things for sure, if he wasn’t interested in me before, He definitely is now. Fuck, he probably had a tsundere fetish in his past life. I stepped in such a steaming pile, why couldn’t I stop myself before I said anything? The waiter came by and pulled me out of my thoughts to take our orders.

I quickly skimmed the menu; I hadn’t actually been reading it. “Right, I would like to order… the Gratin” The waiter nodded and Dominic placed his order, a Quiche. As the waiter was making his way back to the kitchen, another thought occurred to me. I didn’t realize it earlier, but a Count’s son taking his fiancé out to a restaurant to eat instead of having chefs prepare food at his estate isn’t exactly normal either. But looking at that menu, a lot of the items were from earth… As if reading my mind, Dominic spoke up at that moment.

“Gratin is a dish made of baked cheese with a meat or mushroom filling. I actually developed it and the other items on that menu myself and arranged for this place to be opened. Hopefully you enjoy it.” I gave what I hoped was a decent smile. And I didn’t bother asking what the dish was made of, because I already knew and was distracted. Shit, I hope he didn’t notice…

“Ah, if it is cheese, I imagine I will find it quite appealing, truthfully I simply selected an item at random; I did not recognize any of the names and was too embarrassed to ask…” To punctuate my statement, I averted my eyes and turned my face away slightly. Dominic nodded to my comment. Right, Hopefully, he bought that… I need to change the subject though…

“Ah, while we wait for our food, should we check the contents of Duke Percius letters? Jacqueline can seal the room for us.” Dominic thought for a moment, then nodded. At his nod, Jacqueline first cast her noise-canceling spell, then a locking spell. Finally, she produced the letters from her hidden pocket and presented them to the two of us, according to which was addressed to whom.

I took the offered letter opener and broke the seal. Surprisingly, the letter was quite short, and entirely devoid of noble euphemism. Though its phrasing raised other concerns.

 

Special Student Stahlia,

In accordance with your contract and obligations, please forgo your morning classes and meet with me together with Special Student Dominic and Special Student Asten tomorrow, the fifth day of the seventh month, year 947.

The three of you are being deployed alongside a contingent of knights in your capacity as Special Students. Details will be discussed during our meeting. When finished reading, dispose of this letter.

I read it one more time to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, before gripping it between my thumb and pointer finger. “[########]” At my spoken command, the letter burst into flame. Dominic handed me his letter, as he lacked the ability to use fire magic. I likewise burned his letter before asking him the million-dollar question. “What do you think that is all about?”

Dominic shrugged. “A monster outbreak most likely. Duke Percius is just fond of conspiracy and secrecy; the majority of the times I have seen him contact my father, he used equally contrived language. Do not worry, I will be there to protect you.” He flashed me another full-toothed smile. Great, the last thing I want is to be deployed alongside you without knowing how big of a threat you are… At least this will let me get some experience and potentially level up… silver lining?


Fifth Law of Magic

The cost and power of a spell is further affected both positively and negatively by strong emotions, with the color of a given emotion corresponding to the schools of magic that it most greatly affects. E.g. Anger, being a red emotion greatly enhances the power of Red Magic while reducing its cost, but makes Blue Magic less efficient in terms of both power output and mana cost.

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