Mother of Learning

by nobody103

Original ONGOING 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.


Next Chapter Target Date: November, 2019 (No Exact Date)

The story updates with a new chapter every 3-4 weeks. I aim for one chapter every 3 weeks, but real life sometimes interferes with that and I end up taking an extra week to finish things.

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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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

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  • Overall Score

absolutely well written, very entertaining

The Timeloop setting makes it actually perfect to easily build up a lot of subtle foreshadowing and make use of every character, but damn this story has really really made very good use of it. 

I was binging 1500 pages of this, like 12 hours a day during my holiday and it didnt get old. I find it hard to call it the best to ever exist bit i find it equally hard to give it any less than full 5/5 stars.

If i had to choose something this story could improve upon it would some more meaningful realization by the character and messages for the reader.
Like (tiny spoiler)
the realization he has about his sisters character etc. Maybe he could have added some romance liason and the resulting struggles. ah well i still have like 40 chapters to read so i keep my hopes up :)

Andrew B. Salmon
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Don't be fooled by chapter one -- a brilliant, meticulous story

I've finished the first arc, which is long enough to properly be called Book I, and I'm blown away by the level of sophistication in this story. When I started reading, I rolled my eyes at Chapter One. Okay, his sister is waking him up. How riveting. But please, keep reading if you're unsure of the opening (and pay attention; it's important)! It seemed like it was just one more silly story that would devolve into an OP MC who fit all the stereotypes.

Instead, I discovered one of the most meticulous, brilliant stories I've read, either online or in print. Everything is carefully planned and exceptionally detailed. The rules of magic are deep, consistent, and understandable. The characters have quirks and rough spots in ways that feel human, not gimmicky. As the time loop plays over and over again, the story twists and turns in clever and unexpected ways. Nothing ever feels cheap or rushed. The pacing is excellent, the story is surprising and exciting, and the world feels rich in history. This is a fantastic adventure tale that's had time to mature and grow.

Unreservedly recommended. Mother of Learning shows the potential for serious works of art in a web serial. If you like magical school life stories with war, politics, adventure, and friendship, then Mother of Learning is for you; it should be considered on par with Full Metal Alchemist, Gunnerkrigg Court, or Name of the Wind -- true heavy hitters in the field. I can't wait to see where it goes from here!

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Best Story on RR and one of the few that see the light at the end of the tunnel

I know this story didn't start on RRL and I did partly read it before it came onto this platform.

I will say that this is a very engaging story that makes me love taking in all the detail because the little things truly do matter.

The beginning is somewhat slow-paced with sprinkles of foreshadowing here and there. This was probably the only hurdle when I first started reading because I really didn't know what to expect and I had taken some time off before coming back to get myself up to date.

However, the way the story works around this time loop is incredible. There is progression not just in utilizing the loop to become a better mage, but also trying to figure out the loop, why it's happening, and how it drastically changes your character and personality that would never have been possible without it.

The author really likes to challenge his characters' ethics and morals such that they feel more human, even with the more villainous ones. You see the logic and reasoning behind their actions even if you may not agree with them. In the MC's case, Zorian does not abandon his moral guideline just for the sake of taking advantage of the time loop to its most extreme potential. For example, with the nature of the time loop being that everything practically resets after 1 month, it would be easy to convince yourself to do horrendous acts to even friends or the innocent if they have something you want. However, the MC also isn't an angel and has no qualms with brutally torturing information out of his enemies.

Even the way mana works is well-explained and that goes for certain spells as well. 

The author didn't slack in the action department either and I can very vividly picture the fighting scene by scene as there is fluidity in the way the author writes them. Especially in the latest chapters, the action is amazingly thrilling and descript and I can easily immerse myself in it.

I would say that the pace really picks up around the time Zorian eventually stops acting alone and the plot and mystery starts to slowly unravel itself.

All in all, this is a really great story. All the details are very cleanly fleshed out with no glaring flaws or plot holes. I really can't fully express how good this story is and how great it's been a great experience. Definitely 100% x a million an AMAZING read.

Here are my hopes, expectations, and ramblings for the coming end(?) of the story:

My biggest hope is that the story does continue past the final showdown. I really want to see how they will resolve the things they couldn't in that 1 month time limit. However, it's also understandable that it doesn't unless the author creates a new plot.

Spoiler: Spoiler


 I'm mostly expecting maybe a glimpse of what goes on past that 1 month they keep reliving, about how they are doing now, how the time loop has affected everyone, will they spread knowledge of the time loop (I think writing a book was alluded to). Also, who he will most likely end up with has been under-explored and there are a great many candidates. He'll most likely want that break he's always wanted after the whole fiasco is over. I don't think a time skip straight to him being in a relationship/married is the best result, but I'd be happy to see some sort of result or hint to him being in a happy love life. Or maybe he will end up focusing all his effort on magic research. Or both because why not.