A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 187

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 187. Enlightenment (3)



The hub of magic engineering, city-state Altea.




Desir could easily move between Dresden, the capital  city of the   Hebrion   Empire   and   Altea.   He   was   able   to   use   the teleportation gates freely thanks to the golden plaque bestowed by the emperor.




Desir examined the lab Zod had secretly built.




The lab had changed greatly in the span of just a few days. The number of devices restraining the homunculus had doubled and panels detailing various readings from the homunculus had been installed.




Desir sighed as his eyes drifted across the lab.




“Progress on the research hasn’t been great.”




Zod   stopped   operating   equipment   near   the   homunculus, dropping it and sighing.





“Yeah. No progress at all.”




He continued, pointing at the screen in front of him.




“This is just the top-level  observations of the homunculus’s body.”




Desir took a closer look at the screen.




“That’s… ”




It was convoluted even at first glance.  Even Desir, equipped with knowledge from the future, found most of it difficult to understand.




“… I see why there has been no progress.”




As Zod fiddled with the screen, the information changed from a generalized overview to individual detailed elements about the homunculus.





“The more I research, the less I find myself understanding it. There is far more here to understand than I thought.  This is well  beyond the current technological  capabilities of the Magic Tower.”




He smiled in a self-deprecating fashion.




Desir felt anger creeping into Zod’s voice.




It was a natural reaction. Zod Exarion was the most powerful magician in this day and age as well as the best magic engineer. His pride was wounded significantly, admitting that there was something beyond his ability to understand.




“At this rate, we’ll  never make any substantial  progress.  As much as I hate it, the best choice of action would be to build a team to work on this..”




“I understand your frustration, but this project requires the utmost  secrecy.  We  can’t  afford  to  allow  their  evil  hands  to interfere.”


By their evil hands, Desir meant the mysterious power leading the  Outsiders,  most  likely  Skull  Mask  and  Crow  Mask.  Zod understood what he meant, and smiled faintly.




“I’ll hire reliable helpers. Don’t worry about that.”




“There was one success though.”




He  sounded  a  little  excited,  but  still  too  calm  for  it  to  be anything major.




On the screen, circles near the heart area of the homunculus were displayed. They were the mana circles of the homunculus.




“I can’t believe my theory was right.  It really has artificially implanted mana circles.”




Each magician carried a unique set of mana circles. This was a truth that never changed.




“I had prepared myself for this after hearing your theory, but I still cannot believe it.”





Desir  had  seen  evidence  of  the  Alchemist  extracting  mana circles from humans and implanting them into the homunculus’s body. That was why Desir was confident that the homunculus had mana circles taken from various magicians.




These implants served as an important key to the homunculus’s power.




“Have you figured out how the Alchemist implanted them?”




“Yes.   Though  trying  to  understand  how  the  homunculus manipulates causality seems to be impossible, I have however, figured out how the mana circles were implanted.”




Desir  sincerely  admired  him.  Getting  these  kinds  of  results after  only  a  few  days  was  something  only  Zod  Exarion  could achieve.




Desir felt his heart fill with anticipation.




“… Finally, I can reach the Fourth-Circle.”




Desir had long hit a wall. An impassable barricade that stood between him and the Fourth-Circle.




‘I never thought I could overcome my poor mana compatibility.’




Mana compatibility.




It was the primary measure for the potential  and talent of a magician. Those with superb mana compatibility could achieve higher circles than those who were cursed, like Desir.




All  other  aspects  of  a  magician,  whether  it  be  calculation speed or situational judgment, could be improved with training and experience.  However, it was impossible for one to surpass the   limitation   of   their   mana   compatibility.   The   size   of   a magician’s most valuable resource, their mana pool, essentially determined how gifted they were as a magician.




As a result, the Desir who had long given up on reaching the Fourth-Circle,  was  now  presented  with  this  heaven-defying opportunity. He couldn’t help feeling utterly delighted.



“But I can’t implant a mana circle into your body carelessly.”




With  Zod’s  warning,  his  heart  emptied  in  an  instant.  Desir was covered by ice-cold despair.




“Will  extracting a mana circle from the homunculus hamper your other research?”




“No.  The mana circles only allow it to mobilize its power.  It has many other circles too. If I extract one of them, it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem to further research.”




“Then what is the issue?”




Desir didn’t understand why Zod was hesitating.




“Implanting the circle isn’t the hard part.  It’s what happens after, that becomes the issue.”




Zod leaned back in his chair.



“The mana circle implanted will  fundamentally be someone else’s.”




Desir realized what he was trying to say.




“Of course.  The mana circles will  have a different resonant frequency.”




Every set of mana circles has their own unique harmony, built from the mana circles within the body.




When Desir had taken mana out of the mana crystals in both his  Clothes  Line,  as  well  as  the  Aurora  System,  he  had  used them as batteries, allowing him to make use of more mana than he  was  theoretically  capable  of  harnessing.  All  of  this  mana, since it wasn’t directly produced by Desir, had to have the same unique frequency as Desir’s circles if he wanted to use it.




The  only  way  he  was  able  to  use  the  mana  crystals  was  by harmonizing them to the same frequency as his own mana flow when he invoked whatever spell he needed.


“Unlike with a mana crystal, it will be incredibly difficult for you  to  synchronise  your  existing  mana  circles  with  an  alien mana circle.”




A magician’s mana circles are incredibly important to their ability  to  spell  cast.  Mana  circles  are  created  by  a  magician’s body  for  the  purpose  of  gathering  and  storing  mana.   As  a magician slowly depletes their internal  mana supply, it is their mana circles that draw in mana from the area around them in order to restore that supply.




As  fantastic  of  a  system  it  is,  it  posed  a  huge  problem  for someone  who  wanted  to  artificially  boost  their  mana  supply. Each  individual  mana  circle  within  a  magician’s  set  draws  in mana at a different frequency. Luckily, mana circles generated by the body naturally stabilize with each other. It’s impossible for them to not be in harmony.




The  task  of  ensuring  that  mana  circles  stay  in  harmony  is truly   meticulous.   A   mana   circle’s   resonant   frequency   will naturally react to changes in the mana around them as well  as what  is  absorbed.  When  all  mana  circles  are  from  the  same source,  a  magician’s  mana  circles  run  like  a  perfectly  oiled machine,  whether  there  were  few  like  Desir’s  or  many  like Zod’s. If a magician wanted to introduce a foreign mana circle, they   would   have   to   continually   adjust   the   mana   circle’s


frequency in order to ensure it was in harmony with the rest. As such a procedure had not been successfully completed before, it was   impossible   to   tell whether   the   magic   circles   would eventually remain synchronized without conscious effort from the magician, or whether this would be a life-long struggle for them to maintain.




“Theoretically, controlling a mana circle wouldn’t be impossible.”




“Yes. I think you can do it, given enough time.”




“… ?”




A look of puzzlement crept onto Desir’s face.  Why was Zod making  such  a  big  deal  out  of  this,  if  it  was  something  he ultimately believed Desir could manage?




“The mana circle will explode if you fail.”




The answer he desired came from an unexpected source.


The homunculus opened its eyes, its face consumed in utter madness. As it quivered in rage, it managed to choke out a few words.




As  if  it  were  all  a  dream,  some  kind  of  plug  for  the  group chronicling his life, Desir snapped back to reality...




The  homunculus’s  eyes  fluttered  open,  glaring  at  Desir  and Zod.  To  call  the  homunculus  alive  was  only  a  partial  truth. Chunks of its flesh and organs were interconnected with tubes for  blood  flow  and  wires  for  nerve  stimuli.  The  beeping  and pumping of machines was the closest thing it had to signs of life. The  sight  was  gruesome,  inhumane;  were  it  actually  human, Desir and Zod would likely be charged with war crimes.




“You’re not unconscious?”




“I stayed still because there was no need for me to talk, but I heard something interesting. You’re planning to implant one of my circles?”




*Clang*


The chains clattered.




“If you implant a mana circle that exceeds your body’s natural production, your mana compatibility will  be forcibly increased to accommodate it.  It’d make you very happy, if that was the only side effect.”




The homunculus giggled.




“But  it’s  not  going  to  end  that  simply.  When  your  mana compatibility is forcibly increased due to the implanted mana circle,  it  won’t  be  long  until  it  disintegrates  and  floods  your body with mana..”




“But you succeeded.”




Even though Desir spoke confidently, he wasn’t entirely sure.




“Ah,  yes.  I  did  succeed.  After  using  my  ability  ninety-eight times, to be exact.”




When it mentioned its ability, it was probably referring to its


ability to control the principle of causality.




And by ninety-eight times, it must have meant that it was on the verge of death ninety-eight times.




Zod sighed.




“It’s right. The risk of implanting a mana circle is too big. The homunculus only succeeded due to its ridiculous abilities.”




It was an incredibly slim chance.




At stake was his very life. If he failed… he would die.




“You’ll live out the rest of your life as you currently are.”




The homunculus snarled out, but Zod didn’t move to dispute what it said.




There is nothing more precious than life.  Risking his life on such a remote possibility was foolish to the extreme. Giving up


on it would be the choice ten out of ten magicians would choose.




However, Desir chose differently.




“It’ll  be possible if it’s me.  My ability to control  mana is far better than the homunculus.”




“I’m well aware of your skills, but I’m not going to change my view that the risk is too great.”




To be able to control the mana before the explosion destroyed the body, you would have to finish everything in an extremely short amount of time.  Both the analysis, calculations, and the manipulation of mana.




This was on an entirely different dimension to interfering and inverting someone else’s spell.




Zod’s concern was natural.




Even then, Desir could not back down.



He had found a method to reach the Fourth-Circle at last.  It was a realm he thought would remain beyond his reach in this life as well.




“I cannot give up this hard-earned chance.”




Zod  inhaled  deeply.  He  adjusted  his  posture  as  if  preparing himself for a long conversation.




“You’re strong enough already, Desir.”




Zod looked genuinely worried about him.




“Your combat strength is comparable to a Sixth-Circle’s. How many people do you think can face off against you in a magic duel?”




Desir shook his head.




“But I’m already facing walls.  I felt my limits when I fought Feather Mask. I cannot stop here.”




Zod’s voice was more serious than ever.




“All  humans  have  limitations.  That’s  why  we  form  parties. You   have   your   party   members,   the   Hebrion   Empire,   the Western Kingdom Union, the barbarians from Harrowind, the Saintess of the Artemis Church, and the Master of the Magic Tower,  me.  You’ll  have  full  material  and  emotional  support from everyone.”




This  could  be  considered  a  list  of  Desir’s  most  important achievements.




Harmony.




All  the groups in power across the continent had started to unite as a result of his effort.




Desir knew the importance of this better than anybody.




‘It’s still not enough to stop the Shadow Labyrinth.’


Zod continued.




“If you’re worried about the remaining Outsiders, don’t worry about them.”




Nothing he said hit home with Desir.




“With  this  current  climate,  we  can  easily  deal   with  any disaster. Even a Level One Shadow World would mean nothing before us.”




‘You’d  think  that  is  the  case.  However,  you  know  nothing about the Shadow Labyrinth.’




“… It’s not that. I must become stronger for other reasons.”




Desir hesitated, choosing not to reveal his true motive.




“Let’s find a different method.”




“A different method? I can’t afford to be carefree and wait for


years… !”




It was at this moment that he felt something deep inside him tumbling down. His thoughts were interrupted.




*Thump*




It sounded like something had fallen.




“Desir!?”




It was Zod’s voice.




At  some  point  or  another,  Zod  was  lying  on  the  ground looking up at Desir.




Desir’s mind snapped back into clarity. Zod’s chair had fallen down.  He belatedly realized that he was the cause of this, that he had pushed the chair.




“Urm… ”





Desir could not believe his behavior.




‘Why am I so angry?’




Zod  was  simply  worried  about  him.  He  was  trying  to  help Desir out.




“I’m sorry. I… I don’t know what came over me.”




“I know, it’s fine.”




Zod dusted himself off and assisted Desir in righting the chair.




“It’s not something we can decide right now in a hurry. Let’s talk again in a week. I hope you think it over.”




Zod beat around the bush but Desir knew what he meant. He had deferred the decision to a later date.


Desir couldn’t reject this offer.





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