Mother of Learning

by nobody103

Original COMPLETED Adventure Fantasy Mystery Magic

Zorian is a teenage mage of humble birth and slightly above-average skill, attending his third year of education at Cyoria's magical academy. He is a driven and irritable young man, consumed by a desire to ensure his own future and free himself of the influence of his family, whom he resents for favoring his brothers over him. Consequently, he has no time for pointless distractions or paying attention to other people's problems. As it happens, time is something he is about to get plenty of. On the eve of the Cyoria's annual summer festival, he is killed and brought back to the beginning of the month, just before he was about to take a train to Cyoria. Suddenly trapped in a time loop with no clear end or exit, Zorian will have to look both within and without to unravel the mystery before him. And he does have to unravel it, for the time loop hadn't been made for his sake and dangers lurk everywhere... Repetition is the mother of learning, but Zorian will have to first make sure he survives to try again - in a world of magic, even a time traveler isn't safe from those who wish him ill.


If anyone is interested, I have a story-related worldbuilding site that can be found here. I don't update it as often as I should, but there is a fair amount of content there already. It also contains a page with all the fanart, fan translations, audio books and the like - you can reach it directly by clicking this link.

I have a patreon account for those kind people that want to give me money. It also contains info for those who want to donate via paypal.

The story was originally posted on fictionpress, back in 2011. When I reached chapter 91, I started uploading the story to RoyalRoad, one chapter per day. The story will continue to be updated on fictionpress as well as here, and can be reached by clicking on this link if somebody is interested, though at this point there is nothing there that isn't also on RoyalRoad.


The cover you see on the side has been made by a fellow RoyalRoad user Sydorow. Thank you for your time and art skills.

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Word Count (16)
Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
1. Good Morning Brother ago
2. Life’s Little Problems ago
3. The Bitter Truth ago
4. Stars Fell ago
5. Start Over ago
6. Concentrate and Try Again ago
7. Of Gaps And Pretending ago
8. Perspective ago
9. Cheaters ago
10. Overlooked Details ago
11. Limiters ago
12. Soul Web ago
13. Any Second Now ago
14. The Sister Effect ago
15. Busy Friday ago
16. We Need To Talk ago
17. Sympathy for the Spider ago
18. The Pact is Sealed ago
19. Tangled Webs ago
20. A Matter of Faith ago
21. Wheel of Fortune ago
22. Complications ago
23. Lighting the Fuse ago
24. Smoke and Mirrors ago
25. The Unexpected ago
26. Soulkill ago
27. Cast Adrift ago
28. Cauldron ago
29. The Hunters and the Hunted ago
30. A Game of Shops ago
31. Marked ago
32. Alternatives ago
33. Gateways ago
34. Unreasonable Things ago
35. Mistakes Have Been Made ago
36. A Battle of Minds ago
37. Slow Burn ago
38. Return to Cyoria ago
39. Suspicious Coincidences ago
40. Shifting Tracks ago
41. Myriad Clashing Motives ago
42. Sum of its Parts ago
43. Overwhelmed ago
44. A Show of Trust ago
45. Fine Structures ago
46. The Other Side ago
47. Politics ago
48. Well of Souls ago
49. Substitution ago
50. Containment ago
51. Out of Control ago
52. Things Fall Apart ago
53. Phantoms ago
54. The Gate Is Barred ago
55. Threshold ago
56. Obscure ago
57. Unwanted ago
58. Questions and Answers ago
59. One Step Forward ago
60. Into the Abyss ago
61. Anthills ago
62. Improperly Used ago
63. The March of Days ago
64. Distance ago
65. Dangerous Ground ago
66. Marred Perfection ago
67. Convergence ago
68. Green Hell ago
69. Ruin ago
70. Carried Away ago
71. Shadows of the Past ago
72. Crossroads ago
73. Plodding Ahead ago
74. The Return ago
75. Soul Stealer ago
76. Critical Blunder ago
77. Testing ago
78. Grinding Stone ago
79. Crime and Evading Punishment ago
80. Enemies ago
81. A Civil Conversation ago
82. Ancient Circles ago
83. Scorpion ago
84. Powerless ago
85. Critical Mass ago
86. A New World ago
87. Agents of the Crown ago
88. Mysterious Ways ago
89. Victory ago
90. Change of Plans ago
91. A Path Paid in Blood ago
92. The Scramble ago
93. Shelter in the Storm ago
94. Ghosts ago
95. Betrayer ago
96. Contract ago
97. Illusory ago
98. Beneath the Surface ago
99. Powderkeg ago
100. Sacrifice ago
101. The Switch ago
102. Giants ago
103. Window of Opportunity ago
104. I Win (I) ago
105. I Win (II) ago
106. I Win (III) ago
Epilogue ago
Afterword ago

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  • Overall Score

One of the best stories for me

One of the best stories i've ever read. Although i'm surprised it came to royalroad as well

M Afxarr
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This is one of the first and definitely one of the best original English novels I’ve read. First discovered on 

Great addition to the Time Travel genre of novels. Highly recommended 

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Just started reading and i am 100% hooked....

  • Overall Score


monthly updates that sate your soul... Until you crave more 3 minutes later.

highly recommend reading.

if your a binge reader and cant wait as he's stated there is at least 91 chapters available.


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How come this didn’t happen sooner?!?!?

This. Is. Great.

Full stop.

No, really, what are you doing here, go read it a second time.

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Probably one of the best webnovels out there.

I've been following this for years now, and it's probably one of the best novels I've read so far.

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Examplary world building and story telling.

[This review contains very mild spoilers. I've tried to keep it limited to things introduced in the very first chapters, though.]

This stories name is shortened from the old saying "repetition is the mother of learning" and that the "repetition" is not in the title quite well describes the story: While the story takes place in an ever repeating month (a bit like the ground hog day film), it is not repetitive at all.

The world this story takes place in is a high fantasy world of magic, with a profuse backstory. It's not one of those common "magic keeps the world inthe medieval period" worlds and also does not feel like one of those "let's just add some magic on top where the story needs it without any actual integration with the world" at all. Instead the magic feels quite well integrated and history, economy and technology match how a world with actual magic might actually develop.

The thing I like the most about it though, is how this world building is revealed. It is not dumped on you, but slowly revealed over time and where it feels natural. For example look at the beginning of the first chapter. You learn that this world has magic by his sister asking the MC enviously about his learning in the magic academy. Like this many things are introduced almost alongsidely. Another way of introducing world lore is by having the MC reflect on something. (Which nicely avoids the pitfall of adding unmotivated lectures of topics noone would talk about seen in far to many stories). I especially like how information about a topic is spread over multiple chapters or even the whole story, seemingly reflecting how the MC learns more and more about magic and history.

This is also not limited to the world itself, but also skillfully done with the different characters (including the MC himself!) and what is happening in this repeating month. Over the chapters you learn more and more about it just as the MC learns more about it. I especially enjoy how the author makes an art form out of hinting at what comes later or rather incorporating things only revealed much later in a innocuous form you can only detect when rereading the story. Telling you I laught so hard when rereading the chapter with the cat on the bridge the first time for example might be technically quite the spoiler, but actually might only confuse you how this can be anything more than a atmospheric detail. If you ever need an example for Chekhov's Armoury, take a look at this story.

The author is also very good in shielding the repetition inherent in the plot from the reader. I suspect this mostly feels so naturally as the story's perspective follows the MC so closely, who will obviously not focus much on expected repetitions. Even the waking up part feels much less repetitive than in the groundhog day film.

Some other reviewer wrote that he thinks the story misses some "show not tell". I must quite contradict here. The story does a fantastic job of describing things in this indirect "show" way that deepens your immersion without overdoing it in a way that backfires. Where it does "tell" it does it in a way that perfectly matches the MC's perspective, effectively being a form of meta-"show".

In conclusion I can only say I really enjoy the story a lot. And I suggest to reread it from time to time to enjoy all the hidden hints and hidden running gags in it.

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There's a small chance the writer will read the comments since so many people made a review. I wanted to thank him for this awesome work. Lots of novels have brought me joy over the years, but when mother of learning comes out, it's always a special day. Even at times where I had too much going on, and I stopped reading novels, this is the one novel I never even tried quitting.

Lord of a Thousand Blades
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It's seriously worth your time. The time loop becomes enduring instead of opressive

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I don't know what this classic is doing by coming here, when the end of the story is near, but I couldn't not rate one of my favorites with the rank it deserves.

To everyone who hasn't read it yet, enjoy the treat !

(and be ready to binge it - so reserve several hours)