Extra 12 – Disciple’s Distress: A Close Call
This story happens a few days after chapter 92 of the Main Story (For those that don’t remember, it’s the Garden Date between the Prince and Sakura)
I am Sophie Kapoor, a 17 years old apprentice magician. My family is of commoners, but a traveling magician noticed some talent for magic in me and brought me in, I didn’t really understand it at the time, but as sorcerers are very rare, whenever someone shows aptitude for magic they should be appropriately taught, which is why some sorcerers travel all across the country to find possible apprentices.
Also, the mage that found me was actually a court magician! He is at the top of the country’s magicians and even those from the neighboring nations can’t compare, I became the disciple of a great man.
Not only that, being a mage is a very prestigious profession, so I’ll never have trouble finding work. Even if my lifestyle and master’s are as different as heaven and earth, the life I live now is already dream-like for someone that was used to the countryside. I can get plenty of food and change clothes everyday, rather, it’s apparently rude to use the same clothes multiple days in a row. I’m also paid even though I’m just an apprentice, and the salary is big enough to feed a whole family at that!
What’s more incredible is that some of the magic tools in master’s room are so expensive that one could live for several years by selling them, at first I got terrified from just entering his room, wondering what would happen if I accidentally broke one.
In any case I became the disciple of such a great man, I struggled a lot at first and cried many times wanting to go home, but master didn’t scold me and instead taught me patiently, with his help I slowly learned the pleasure that is handling magic. I still can’t even compare to him, but I dream of one day getting at least half as good as he is.
Though just the other day, I got into some trouble… I met some members of the royal family, the queen and the princess in particular, which is a great honor in itself, but… After the princess forcefully pulled me from a corridor, she made me stalk the second prince and hide our position.
I didn’t really want to do it, but of course I couldn’t reject a request from the princess and the queen, so I obediently followed their instructions, which ended up forcing us to run away.
Overall, I don’t think I’m suitable for handling the royal family, so I’m glad nothing else occurred in the past few days. Peace is the best…
Today, I came to master’s office for an errand. As a court magician he has both an office here and a room of his own, though he also owns a house in the capital… Which he sadly doesn’t use much as he frequently needs to sleep in the castle because of how busy he is. Apprentices like me can live in his house if we don’t have residence in the capital, which is quite the blessing.
By the way, my errand was to bring a specific magical tool from master’s house. After he finished inspecting the tool I brought, I was given permission to leave, but just as I was about to do it, someone knocked on the door. Since I’m an apprentice, of course I’m the one that will attend the door, although… The door opened before I even arrived at it.
That was incredibly rude, I was about to berate the person that opened it without permission, but then I saw that it was a child that came inside! She has black hair, black eyes and looks about 7 to 8 years old, her skin is of a slightly different tone than ours, but it mashes well with the rest of her appearance, she will undoubtedly grow into a beautiful woman in the future.
Though why is a child entering master’s room like that…? While I stared at her, she seemed to notice it and tilted her head… She’s too cute! I want to hug her and then rub our cheeks together! I almost gave in to this impulse, but some weird feeling stopped me, as if I saw her somewhere recently… Uh oh.
She’s the girl that was with the second prince! I was about to scream when I realized it, but if I let my voice out it will get suspicious, and even if I was forced by the queen and the princess to use magic for that troubling situation, I’m sure master will get angry at me, so I best avoid mentioning it at all.
With this in mind, I forced myself to take my eyes off the girl and pretend I didn’t knew her. However, my effort was in vein when faced with her statement. “Len-san, as I told you before, I need you to adjust the magic tool.”
“Eh!?” Is this girl crazy? Master is one of the most talented people in the country and above anyone in the neighboring nations, does she even realize how busy he is!? This request is impossible! “Hey, wait a little, how dare you call master name’s out so casually? Do you even know who you’re talking to? You better just ask any specialist in magic tools to fix it for you!”
This disrespect caught me so off guard that I forgot my position and berated her in front of master… However, he didn’t scold me, but instead talked in a casual voice, “Calm down Sophie, it’s alright. That tool is something I made, and other mages might just break it if they try fiddling with it anyways.” Eeh!? It can’t be…
Master’s magic tools are of far higher quality than anything you can find in the market, even high nobility is desperate to obtain them, how does a girl like her own one…? It should be something only the royal family has access to.
While I was wondering about this, master and the child had already progressed their conversation, I somehow caught wind of a part of it and apparently her pendant is the magic tool?
When I looked towards them confusedly, master noticed my gaze and started explaining. “That’s a necklace with a magic seal.” As expected of master, to notice my questions without me even voicing it… But a magic seal, that’s something for criminals isn’t it? Then is this girl…? No, it can’t be, it wouldn’t be something easily removable in that case, and there would be no need to have it custom-made by master then…
Just more and more questions kept flooding my head… Master continued his explanation to the confused me, “You see, Sakura-san is a special case. Her mana is so concentrated that she can’t cast spells normally, she needs the seal’s limitation in order to achieve normal input. And well, using a handcuff would be too bothersome, so I made this necklace instead.”
“But… Shouldn’t the seal just stop you from casting altogether? Then why does she…?” I started asking, but master cut me with the answer.
“Not quite, I suppose this is a good moment to teach you about that. The magic seal just limits the efficiency of your mana output, it makes your spells reach 10% efficiency in fact. With this kind of limitation, nobody would normally be able to make any sort of magic.” He explained.
“Then… It just makes you use 10x more mana than normal?” I asked.
“You’re almost right. You have to remember that spells will end up failing if you put too much or too little mana in them, so even if your efficiency drops, by putting excess mana to compensate, your spell will still fizzle.” He clarified.
“Oh yes! But then, why does she…?” I started asking before he answered the implied question.
“In Sakura-san’s case, her magic is so concentrated that is basically over 10x stronger than ours, so she couldn’t cast normally without the limitation.” He said.
“But then… She can only use 10% of her mana pool?” Isn’t that deadly for any magician? Even if you’re able to cast the same spells, being able to only use 1/10th of your mana pool is the same as being unable to do anything.
However, master continued to explain with a troubled face, “About that… Not only is her mana extremely concentrated, but her pool is outrageously high, even limited to 10% of her output, she might still be able to use spells for longer than even me.”
What…? I was so surprised I couldn’t even raise my voice, master is the top sorcerer in the country, and also better than any of the neighboring nations, and yet she can use more spells than him even with the seal? I have a hard time believing it even if it’s master saying it. “I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not lying. In other words, Sakura-san is a better mage than me, she can cast her fair share of advanced sorceries too.” He intervened as if reading my mind.
“Eh!? Thi-this child can!?” As soon I said that, I felt a strong pressure from her, when I looked at the girl’s direction, I felt an incommensurable fear that I could not explain where it came from.
Master sighed, “Sophie, Sakura may look like that, but she’s 16 years old already, it’s rude to call her a child.”
“Eeeh? She’s only 1 year younger than me!?” I exclaimed.
“She’s also a great swordsman and a B-ranked adventurer.” I was too surprised to show any reaction this time. Has stronger sorcery than the best magician of the country, is an excellent swordsman, can handle tools made directly by master and has contacts with the royal family while looking like a 7 or 8 years old child… “I understand your surprise, but Sakura-san came here today because she wants to be able to adjust the power of the seal…” He then turned towards her, “This would be too troublesome though, so it’s better to make a new one from scratch, do you mind keeping yours for a while longer?”
“There is no problem, I knew it would take some time from the beginning, so I’ll stay the day In the castle, please call me if you need anything.” She answered.
“Understood, will you need help?” He asked.
“No need, I already told the prince in advance and the king gave me permission, so I’m going to find Chiffon-san. Then if you excuse me.” There were so many surprises In this conversation that this last bit didn’t even surprise me.
Took me a small while to realize she was leaving, so I hurriedly followed after. “Please excuse me!”
“Keep up the hard work.” Master told me. I didn’t really need to rush out, but I felt I needed to leave after all that.
Once I got out, I heard her voice calling me from the side. “You’re the sorcerer from that time, aren’t you?” Hearing her voice so suddenly surprised me and I jumped on the spot.
“… Ju-just what are you talking about?” I looked at her, she looked annoyed, did I do something bad?
“It couldn’t be helped since it was Princess Aria’s request, but could you please not use such weird sorcery?” It took me a while to understand what she was talking about, but there is only one thing that could involve the name of Princess Aria… But she shouldn’t have seen me…
“Why do you think it was I that-?” She interrupted me.
“Because your mana is the same as the one as I felt last time.” So she is also skilled enough to tell sorcerers apart by their mana…?
Then, this girl remembered my mana signature from days ago and could actually recognize it when she say me by chance…? “Oh, well…” What am I even supposed to say to that!?
Ah, I need to tell her to not tell Master. Before I could though, she was already talking again. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep it a secret from Len-san.” That’s a relief… “But even if it’s Princess Aria requesting, you need to know when to refuse, you know?”
“Uhn… But… It was not only the princess, but also the queen…” Excuse me!? I tried to refuse, but what am I supposed to do when ordered by the queen!? I can’t go against her…
“Just what were those two doing…?” She sighed tiredly, seems like she also has a hard time dealing with them, I can relate. “Anyways, please don’t use such weird spells again, I’m the one that ends up suffering from that.”
“Huh?” What does she mean…?
“No-nothing! Anyways, please keep that in mind!” She suddenly screamed.
“Oh… Alright?” For some reason my face went red when I remembered that day…
And with that, I saw her walk off hurriedly.