During the nights, he would be with Max in nearby forests or wherever the view was obscured, allowing them to practice magic together. The Magus would do his best to learn and understand Hiro’s knowledge and way of doing things, and in return, would guide the youth on the ways of the world, as well as the different standards, per his request.
From what he found out, a mage could be at several different levels of mastery, with the pinnacle being a Magus. However, that required a title bestowal by the Monarchy. Below that, there was Grandmaster, Master, Expert, Adept, and unclassed. This was taken from the different classifications of martial artists, such as swordsmen. The martial artist equivalent of a Magus was called a Legend.
With Max’s help, Hiro made a mental template of each level, having him demonstrate and explain their capabilities, and then attempting to adjust his own power output to match them. He had also began practicing with a wooden sword, learning the moves behind the sword style he had created, and making sure it worked. As expected, it was like debugging a program. There were a lot of flaws to work through and iron out.
Like this, one week of three had passed by, and Hiro had started to feel more comfortable in his own body, especially after he did some physical exercise at night, training with the sword and doing calisthenics from his own world to become acquainted with his capabilities. As it turned out, his prowess with the blade was deadly. He had to learn to control the battle instinct created from his knowledge.
During the second week, Hiro worked with Max at night to help with an idea he had. He would voice his ideas and rationalization of them, as well as how he would do them, and the Magus would use his knowledge and wisdom to make amends to any problems he saw with the ideas, before anything irreversible happened.
In the process of doing so, Max ended up teaching Hiro about enchanting. By using glyphs and words to cause specific phenomenon, one would fill it with magic. The main different is that it is like casting the spell itself and more costly, imbuing it into the object being used. But because of what Hiro wanted to achieve, they had to explore unknown territory. The engraving on the body itself without any side effects.
What the youth wanted to do, was to use the mental templates to apply limiters to himself. Both physically and magically. They would be separated into several levels of limiters, one to match each level of skill for a mage and a martial artist, with one final level being his original power.
Max found this idea to be both amazing and confusing. Because there was no one who had too much power before, no one had thought to do such a thing. People liked to boast about how strong they were in order to gain more fame and status. What Hiro was trying to do was true to his wishes; remaining unnoticed. Of course, he was more than happy to help. They spent the entire second week studying how to make a limiter on the living instead of an inanimate object.
With Hiro’s insights and different kind of understanding, combined with Max’s more grounded knowledge and experience, they worked through things much faster than any had before them. The Magus felt like things had gone in a blur, things being achieved so quickly. While he was excited at the progress, we was also fearful of the future, and how things could go wrong.
Nearing the end of the third week, the night before they were to reach the castle, the duo once again went into the forest. Now was the time to create a limiter. Before they begun, Max spoke up.
“Hiro… I ask of you, as a friend… do not abuse this power of yours… You’ve learned how to seal someone’s magic, possibly even their physical prowess. In the wrong hands, this could be disastrous.” (Max)
“I know what you mean. I don’t see any reason why I would use it on others, but there may come a time where I use it against an enemy. Not like there’s much that could stop me if I actually tried to do wrong but… yeah. As your friend, I’ll try to behave myself.” (Hiro)
Hiro’s words were somewhat cynical, revealing how close they had grown as he was feeling open enough to say such things, and to someone who was renowned throughout the land as a hero at that.
Max had also gotten to know Hiro more deeply. While he didn’t know anything specific, he did understand that his new friend had a troubled past, causing him to be dissociative. Giving a sigh and a shake of his head, he smiled wryly before putting on a serious expression.
“Let’s start.” (Hiro)
Suddenly, the very air became heavy, thick with mana to the point it was beginning to make the entire surroundings glow. The pressure on Max who had to withstand that, and so close to the source, was immense enough to bring him to his knees. Hiro had his eyes closed, his mind spinning and turning over and over as he essentially began to program the limiters one after the other.
In his mental landscape, his enormous mana pool was the sky itself, appearing like a starry sea in the sky. From this, he pulled out seven fragments, each of a different size. These sizes were in accordance with the mental templates he had created of a mage at different levels, with the 7th being that of a non-mage. Taking inspiration from stories he had read, he shaped each fragment into a ring, the smallest being overlapped by the ones bigger than it, similar to that of a gyroscope. In the center of it was his heart. As for the rest of his mana pool, still an immeasurable amount, he calmed it down so that instead of a tumultuous ocean, it was a serene lake, peaceful and hidden inside him as best as he could.
With the seven rings solidified, they rotated around each other, glowing a brilliant blue, indicating they were active. Slowly, he began to calm them down, one after the other, starting with the largest, and the strongest level. As the largest ring, Level 1, stopped. The power of a Magus was sealed.
“『Limiter Set: Level 1』” (Hiro)
As the largest ring slowly came to a halt, the glow it let out dimmed until the ring eventually turned a slate gray color. Now he was only at the level of a Grandmaster. Level 2.
“『Limiter Set: Level 2』” (Hiro)
The next ring began to halt and dull, before becoming idle like the large one before it. Now he was only a Master. Level 3.
“『Limiter Set: Level 3』” (Hiro)
Another ring, making him an Expert. Level 4.
“『Limiter Set: Level 4』” (Hiro)
Another ring stopped, dropping him to an Adept. Level 5. Nearly done.
“『Limiter Set: Level 5』” (Hiro)
And another. Unclassed, Level 6.
“『Limiter Set: Level 6』” (Hiro)
And finally, the last ring was halted, bringing him to the level of a non-mage. A civilian, Level 7.
“『Limiter Set: Level 7』” (Hiro)
Letting out a long breath, Hiro took a seat for a moment. The mana in the air had dissipated as he sealed it, letting the Magus relax again. Inside of him, Hiro could tell that was was currently accessing only a tiny bit of his mana, as if holding a glass of water. But still, he could sense the rest of his vast mana inside of him, as if he was holding a glass of water while sitting in a boat in the middle of an ocean.
“Everything work properly?” (Max)
“Yeah… Gotta say, sucks feeling weak.” (Hiro)
“Well, now you know how commoners feel like as children.” (Max)
“Fair point. Right, let’s move on to the physical prowess.” (Hiro)
Standing up again, Hiro dived into the depth of his mind once more, this time finding what he called his physical prowess. The way he had constructed the image in his mind was by imagining a lake of blood. It couldn’t compare in size to his mana, but it was still bigger than a pond that a trained soldier would have. Manipulating this, he pulled out seven fragments, equaling about a third, maybe half his lake, and shaped them into rings like before. In the pit of his abdomen, he shaped the remainder of his lake into a cube, a box.
From this, he turned the seven rings into a gyroscope around his box which he labeled as his core. With both the rings and the core glowing red in contrast to his blue mana, he first let the core dim down to almost nothing. It wouldn’t be good if he was in an emergency and couldn’t bring forth a burst of power to protect himself, after all.
“『Restraint Set: Level 1』” (Hiro)
From here, he began to calm each chain, one by one, same as before, going from the level of Legend at Level 1, to novice/civilian at Level 7.
“『Restraint Set: Level 2』” (Hiro)
“『Restraint Set: Level 3』” (Hiro)
“『Restraint Set: Level 4』” (Hiro)
“『Restraint Set: Level 5』” (Hiro)
“『Restraint Set: Level 6』” (Hiro)
“『Restraint Set: Level 7』” (Hiro)
When he finished those, he once again sat down, feeling exhausted. His body now felt like he was treading through mud, his body stressed, as if deprived of oxygen. It was definitely the perfect means of camouflage, but it came at a price it seemed. Seeing the youth looking exhausted, Max came over and gave him a pat on the shoulder.
“Congratulations are in order, I suppose. Any side effects?” (Max)
“I feel like… I’m in a swamp… Just gimme a night to adjust, I should be fine… Just need some sleep, maybe…” (Hiro)
With a nod, Max sat down next to him, looking at the moon in the sky.
“You told me that the large circle in the sky is called a moon where you come from… And that the earth is round. I guess our civilization hasn’t advanced enough yet to travel around and prove this yet. If there wasn’t so much for me to do here, I would travel with you.” (Max)
“Well, we’ll be able to meet up every now and then. Exploring the world and the unknown… I mostly just want to find a place to settle down, be left alone.” (Hiro)
“As long as you let me visit sometime. But either way, the meeting with the King comes first.” (Max)
With that, they sat staring at the moon for this last night of peace before things were to become busy again. For the both of them. When they returned to camp, they had their meal before going to sleep.
Come morning, the First Army and co. marched along the road, the castle visible in the distance. The duo had been walking part of the trip, and staying in the carriage sometimes when they were discussing things. Currently in the carriage, they approached the entrance to the castle town, being granted entrance immediately upon sight of the Knight Captain at the front. The difference in discipline and skill between the army and the guards were visible to the trained eye, with the latter being lax and tense in comparison.
There wasn’t much that Hiro observed about the castle and the town itself, aside from what he had already suspected. He hadn’t been too interested in masonry type stories, though some city building stories were quite good, if only for the strategic and logical structuring, and accounting for future possibilities.
Coming to a stop at the castle’s entrance, Max, Hiro and Bhalrom were guided by a guard, heading in the direction of the King who was apparently in the study room. Along the way, Hiro spoke up.
“I know a little bit of etiquette, but I’m not sure what is suitable… Anything I should know?” (Hiro)
“Be respectful, lower your head, and speak only when spoken to. You should be alright with just those. It’ll be less troublesome in the future that way, at least.” (Max)
“Heh… Understood.” (Hiro)
“We’ve arrived.” (Guard)
Coming to a stop outside some double doors, the Guard knocked and announced the arrival of the trio before taking up a position beside the door. After being told to enter, Bhalrom opens the door and gives way to Max. Hiro waits for the other two to enter first, knowing he was of the lowest social status in the group, and took up a position a step behind and to the side of Max, who was his “Mentor”.
Of course, Max made sure the guard knew that Hiro was to be allowed in with him.
“Bhalrom, Maximillian, come in. I’ve waited long to hear from you.” (King)
Just as Max and the Knight Captain were about to speak up, a voice interrupted, speaking out clearly, dripping with disdain and contempt.
“What is this commoner doing in the King’s presence, in the King’s Study?” (???)
Observing the man, Hiro noticed he was blonde, around the age of 23, with an expression that didn’t hide his contempt for commoners in the least. Just from his body language and facial expressions, the youth could tell that the man was full of himself. Taking from previous stories he had read, and history in his own world, he could only mentally sigh as he ignored him, keeping his focus forward, standing upright with hands behind his back.
As he thought, Max and Bhalrom stood up for him.
“Apologies, my Prince. This youth was one of the mysteries we found when we reached the Endher Forest. I thought the King would like to meet him.” (Bhalrom)
“You think too much, Bhalrom. You should reconsider ever bringing his kind into the---” (Prince)
“Enough, Kasius! I can speak for myself. You are dismissed. Leave.” (King)
The King’s voice was powerful and commanding. Bowing to his father, Kasius turned to leave the room, but not before looking at Hiro and Bhalrom with a dirty look, clearly angry. He also completely ignored the presence of the Magus.
He’s going to be a problem in the future… Should I nip the bud before it sprouts? … Nah, I’ll wait. Will feel all the more pleasant to kick him down afterward... (Hiro)