Chapter 1: Prologue
In The Mage Tower which was considered the essence of magic, the so-called magicians gathered just to hear my words.
It was a beautiful sight;
The fence of magicians surrounding me moved naturally as I moved.
With wide open eyes, rough breaths, and notebooks opened as if they would jot down even the slightest detail of what I said felt like a melody to my eyes.
Perhaps because my heart was already happy, I found this scene quite fascinating.
One person hesitated and looked at me.
“What are you hesitating about?”
As I glanced at her, she continued her words in amazement.
“Um, I'm just surprised…
you're so much younger than I thought…
and you're already an Archmage…”
“Ah! No! Mr.
Kaplan! This is the ancient magic thesis you just published! I've been trying to interpret it and summarized it up to page 2 in my own way.
Please read it once when you have some time…
When I received it, the person who gave me the paper couldn't believe it.
She stumbled and bowed immediately.
Perhaps the magicians who had been watching us also gained courage when I accepted one paper; The fence surrounding me became even closer.
But suddenly, the fence split like a red sea.
With such murmurs, Rumble, the second-place Beltla magician, walked toward me.
However, as he arrived in front of me, he immediately put a smile on his face.
Kaplan! Congratulations on your promotion to the top rank.
Have you thought about becoming a professor at the Academy? Of course, the conditions will be adjusted to your need.”
“I'm not interested.”
“Please think about it again! Many students need your teaching.
How happy would they be if you became a professor? This is for the future…”
“I said I'm not interested.”
With a twist on his face, he swallowed what he was about to say and stepped back.
Now, another magician appeared.
She was a fresh-faced girl who seemed to have recently entered the tower.
“Hey, does that mean Archmage Kaplan-nim will be doing research in the tower from now on?”
“I have no intention of doing that too.”
The group of magicians who had been walking after me suddenly became agitated like a wave.
“Most magicians aim for a promotion to receive better treatment in the tower! What kind of mindset must you have had…”
I couldn't help but chuckle at her question.
Her expectations seemed to be for something grand, but the answer I gave in return was too simple.
Everyone was shocked into silence.
The authority of the Mage Tower, as a magic research institution, was absolute.
Who could dare to say that it was boring?
Only I could do that…
I liked doing things that no one had done before.
I always gave my best to accomplish such things, and I intended to continue doing that in the future.
That was why I drew the line and didn't stay in the Mage Tower.
If others could easily do something, then it was not fun for me.
“It's boring, you say? The Mage Tower, where the top magicians explore magic, is considered the most enjoyable place for magicians…
What part of it did you find boring?”
“Creating cliques is a characteristic of the weak.”
I was honest.
I pursued luxury and pleasure over frugality and simplicity, and I was more often driven by spontaneity than diligence.
To me, the Mage Tower was suffocating and full of pretense.
There were many things that restrained me, and the structure of magicians who had reached their own peak and supported each other without any intention of moving forward was frustrating to see.
“Then, what are your plans for the future?”
“I'll take a break and think about it.”
Magicians reacted furiously to every word I said.
There were still a lot of questions rushing toward me.
Among them, there were also criticisms disguised as questions.
“I think that if you are promoted to the highest rank, you should also take responsibility! Even for the development of the magical world, staying at the Mage Tower is necessary…”
“Merhen is a rank that can be achieved even without teaching.
As a Merhen myself, I guarantee it.”
Then, the magician who was about to attack me closed his mouth.
“See! Even if you don't stay at the Mage Tower, please present the interpretation of this research! All the magicians are waiting for that interpretation!”
Around that time, I stood up from my seat.
Isn't that why we came to the Mage Tower today?”
The silence that fell when I took out the document from my pocket was intense.
This lightweight thing in my hand was the reason why I visited the Mage Tower today.
It was material for interpreting a thesis on ancient magic.
first of all, I don't think there's a magician who doesn't understand the content of the first page.”
Everyone nodded and waited for my next words.
Breaking off in the middle was more frustrating.
They must be feeling a greater thirst than ever before, as the interpretation had been blocked at the most interesting part.
The only piece of information shriveled up in my grasp.
That was my answer.
Everyone let out a silent gasp.
I continued talking with that bewildered face in front of me
“If you cannot interpret it on your own, then it is too early to access ancient magic…that is my conclusion and interpretation.”
At that moment, a magician hurriedly came over and grabbed the material that had turned to ashes.
“Kaplan! What on earth is this?! If we can use ancient magic, the world will become twice as great…!”
“The world will become great.
However, the magicians are not yet great.”
The professors, whose lips were only twitching in frustration, turned blue.
Their faces were a sight to behold, as they had followed their own convenience.
Leaving behind those faces, I was about to leave the Mage Tower.
“Whatever choice you make, I support Mr.
The voice was strangely clear.
In an instant, it turned all other sounds into noise and delivered only his purpose to my ears.
I had no choice but to stop walking.
“However, there is one thing I want to hear.
I would like to know Mr.
Kaplan's honest feelings.”
Without realizing it, I opened my mouth again.
It was nothing special.
I was about to say that, but since I was in front of the magicians, I had to control my words.
I still love magic.
The path of a magician, who pursued truth and wisdom, was still a noble realm for me.
Once I reached the top, it was literally nothing but emptiness.
With the single determination to reach this position, I created countless subordinate goals and achieved them relentlessly.
I used to think I would never be able to achieve it even if I died, or perhaps I would only achieve it just before my death.
But it had already ended.
A clear voice continued
“Then, what if Mr.
Kaplan is placed in a position where he has to prove himself again?”
To prove myself again…
I grew up in an environment without parents, and despite growing up in such an environment at an early age, I proved that I was not lacking compared to others.
And then, magical abilities, the courage to approach unsolved problems, the creation of theories…
Throughout my life, I had been given numerous tasks, but I had come to the same conclusion every time.
I finally proved everything and became the Archmage.
Looking back, it wasn't that bad.
If there was another assignment to prove myself, I wanted to receive it.
“That would be interesting.”
“Are you serious?”
It was around that time that I realized that the person, with whom I had been conversing all along, had no face.
It was beyond discomfort, it was eerie.
There was only a black circle where a face should be, and there was nothing that others would normally have, such as eyes, nose, mouth, or ears.
I didn't even have time to feel the unease for long.
In an instant, everything in front of me turned pure white.
A discomforting ringing filled my ears, and my breathing became difficult.
What type of magic was it? I tried to approach it as if I was dealing with a spell, but there was no sense of magic.
It was not magic!? If so, it was even more incomprehensible.
I should be the only Archmage who had reached the same level as Merhen.
All senses disappeared.
I floated only with my thoughts in emptiness.
Could this be the task that I needed to prove myself to again?
'It must be fun.'
“I'm really sorry for changing my mind…
I don't think we can be together.”
The unpleasant tinnitus subsided and the first thing I heard was the voice of a woman I didn't know.
Someone was notifying me of an unknown farewell.
I wanted to look around, but it was not easy.
It took time to get used to the light.
I inhaled and exhaled.
Breathing was possible.
Fortunately, it seemed that my breath was still attached.
“To be honest, I didn't expect Flan to do this.
Huh, was the shock too much?”
I felt the sensation of someone tapping my shoulder.
It was only around this time that my eyes blink open.
The person who touched me was a stranger.
A woman I'd never seen before was glaring at me as if she was regretful.
I didn't even know who she was.
I didn't even know where this place was.
I didn't know where I was, but I know what this place was even without anyone explaining it to me.
A blackboard in front of me, and desks and chairs arranged at a certain distance.
Even if someone didn't bother to explain, I could tell that this was a classroom.
The woman on the other side was still watching my complexion.
Her golden hair and lake-like eyes were shining brightly in the light outside the window.
She was beautiful, but I had no time to be impressed by that.
The problem was that I didn't know this woman at all.
“To be honest…
I want to be with a man I can admire and respect.
A man like Louis.”
I didn't remember confessing to anyone recently, nor do I remember receiving one.
But what was this strange atmosphere? It was extremely unsettling.
“It’s still too much for you.
I thought about it, but I don't see you as a man.”
In the midst of a confusing situation, that woman extended her index finger and pointed to my hand.
Come to think of it, there was a book in my hand with the title “Basic Magic Theory” on the cover.
Basic Magic Theory…
I reflected on my past.
I could hardly remember how long ago I studied it.
Of course, the foundation was engraved in my soul.
“Even if I try to like you, if I see you struggling with magic, my affection for you will gradually decrease without my even realizing it.”
She spoke calmly.
“So, the promise we made to date is canceled.
Let's just be acquaintances at our academy.”
The cradle of learning where magicians were trained.
It had been a long time since I graduated from the academy.
Now that I think about it, the woman in front of me was wearing an academy uniform.
Her name tag near her chest said 'Hailey.'
I needed more time to understand the situation, but first, I wanted to correct the absurd misunderstanding that I didn't even know basic magic.
“I know everything.”
“Huh? You don't know, though.”
“I do know everything.”
After saying that, I was stunned.
My voice had changed, and it sounded like a teenage boy's voice.
Yes, this was not my voice.
Something was definitely wrong.
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