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.

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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.

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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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nobody103

nobody103

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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
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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Szatan0
Overall

One of my all time favourites

Reviewed at: 100. Sacrifice

Over time i had a chance to read a lot of novels, be it originals or translations. This one I started reading before many others on my list. And this one is one of few i can always remember about, when other are long forgotten.

Nostalgia that was inside me is gone now, so let's speak about this novel from more technical side.

Authors writing quality is great. I am writing here not only about grammar and such, but also about story itself. Story, that had me interested in each chapter, which is also important thing. 

I am always very bothered by plot holes, illogical behaviour or just plain stupidity of characters portrayed by author. Here i had no such problems. Every character, his actions and motivations were very believable.

I had also no problems bonding with MC, which many authors (whether they create good or evil MC) can't really manage.

The only CON i can think about is that the story ended :). And don't get me wrong, despite it only being 100ish chapters, those chapters are really long and packed to the brim with story. Just like i like it.

It's must read.

Isa Lumitus
Overall

It's the top rated story for a reason

Reviewed at: Afterword

This is definitely the best webnovel I've ever read. Better than Dungeon Keeper Ami. Better than HP:MoR. Even better than Worm.

The story is technically a high fantasy, but it doesn't feel like one. The main character is not the Chosen One. The main character isn't some kind-hearted farmboy with a tragic backstory. There is no evil overlord to defeat, nor is there the standard adventuring party to carry the hero toward his destiny. Instead, the main character is basically a college student who ends up way over his head.

I would instead describe this as a Groundhog's Day story. What makes it different is that the main character is not the only person in the loop. Instead, one of the villains is a looper, and more experienced than the main character. Instead of the hero using infinite retries to make a "perfect run", he's in some sort of shadowy chess match trying to figure out just what he needs to do.

The spot where MoL truly shines, however, is the planning the author put into it. The villains are intelligent, and take actions that make sense for what they know, even if that isn't immediately obvious. The mechanics of the time-loop are foreshadowed, and make sense within the rules for how magic works in the story.

The main character, Zorian, is another area that the author truly handled well. He's been described as flawed, and maybe he is. But for me, I found him to be the most identifiable hero I've seen. He's not some Purity Sue, or Friend to all Living Things. He's not the typical Idiot Hero, either. He's smart, driven, and sick of the morons surrounding him. And then, when handed freedom from all consequences? He grows up. Unlike most time loopers I've seen in fiction, he becomes less of a monster over time.

I've described this story to others as being basically the opposite of Xianxia. Instead of getting the power to steamroll opposition, he gets the power to work on wide scales. Instead of pushing past his limits to reach a new level of power, he explores new abilities, which he then finds ways to synergize with his other skills. Instead of charging in recklessly, Zorian schemes. Instead of finding the Infinity Plus One Sword, he makes his own tools. If that's the sort of thing you like, this is the story for you.

zachshifrel
Overall

Really brilliant story and writing that improves over time. If you read anything on this site it should be this. You'd expect the month long duration of time travel to get boring after a while but the author nicely squeezes everything interesting out of it. Also has great reread value.

blash96
Overall

Best Timeloop Series I have read

Reviewed at: Afterword

Nothing much to say except its amazing. The only timloop series where the loop does not get old at all at any point

Hypocrite1
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Time Loops Are Kinda Cool

Reviewed at: Afterword

By webnovel standards, this book is definitely one of the best I've read.

The plot is solid and maintains an appropriate pacing throughout most of the story, with only the end feeling perhaps a tad rushed. I haven't seen too many time loop stories outside of fanfiction so to many readers this should be a novel take on fantasy. The world is very fleshed out and consistent and the magic system is simplistic but well built.

The grammer is pretty consistently great as far as I could tell with only a couple of spots that had noticeable typos, but that is easily fixed with a round of editing which the author seems to plan on doing.

The writing style is good but a little bland with some spots where descriptions or explanations drag on longer than necessary and other spots where more imagery would really help flesh out the scene. Particular scenes didn't deliver the impact that they should have because the writing didn't manage to build up a proper atmosphere or the required tension.

Characters have believable roles and actions but don't particularly stand out from each other. They felt fairly similar in their personalities and could do with a bit more development.

Overall its a great fic with mostly minor flaws and definitely one worth reading.

Orrm
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The closest thing to a perfect novel I have ever seen throughout the interweb

Reviewed at: Afterword

I love this story and adore what it represents, a genre done right. Characters gain power at a good pace, characters are explored magnificently, plot pacing is heavenly and there is never a boring part or lull which would result in leaving the story to 'continue' it later. 

A hallmark in virtual novels. 

 

I'm going to be honest here, the beginning of the story was captivating, but a bit slow, however, the plot progressed and the author really displayed his skill and grabs your attention to the point where you find yourself blazing through the story in its entirety with a fervent passion akin to a raging inferno as it caresses a wooden house. 

There are very few plot-holes in the story, despite its length and characters are flushed out so well!

This piece uses that small cast and does wonders with it, and from beginning to end its one hell of a ride becuase you learn so much through sk many different events. Every chapter is novel in some way and ALWAYS introduces some new element or piece of information to the story. 

These additions are never irrelevant. 

There are no great leaps in logic, no plot-convenience nor and McGuffins or concrete elements.

Power is balanced in the story and it goes through great lengths to clearly express to you, the reader, that regardless of power, you can die. 

Beyond that, antagonists and protagonists, as well as the supporting cast, all have a sense of depth and while this depth may vary depending on screen time, it's done in a way that allows you to easily understand what you're reading and possible long-reaching consequences of various courses of action. 

Also, the author is an expert at integrating modern ideas or references in a way that makes the world your ead seem foreign to what you know. Frankly, I'm impressed. No author I've ever read from gas managed to do it so thoroughly and so convincingly as this one has. 

Also, there are occasional theory-dumps, but those mainly occur at the last few chapters and are quite small, the only inconvenience is that you won't understand how the very complex magic functions. And the author sometimes fails to properly integrate certain jargon or trips over modern terms. Though, this only occurs 3 times in the story. This story is 108 chapters long. I find that almost complete lack of errors/blunders, amazing. 

Magic itself, is astounding in how well it's presented. The way its explored is astounding and the growth which occurs throughout the story is both believable and logical. That's a very hard thing to find in ANY story.

And in later chapters there are some grammatical errors, but I chalk that up to them not being edited yet. 

Dear me, I almost forgot the fights! Nothing in battle is ever static and every single one is unique, never once have I grown bored reading a fight in this story, quite the opposite. I don't know what is going to happen and I cannot accurately predict how their new skills will apply. Also, the style makes the scenes very concise and to the point. 

Redundancies are an extinct species in this novel. 

All in all, despite some minor gripes with the story, it's a thoroughly captivating experience that I would recommend to everyone. 

Gruff
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The perfect story after years of reading fiction

Reviewed at: Afterword

I've been dissatisfied with the fanfictions and original stories I've been reading for the past few months, but this story seriously fulfilled everything I wanted out of a work of fiction. I remember in my initial days of reading stories on NovelUpdates and XianxiaWorld I would get completely swept away by the world the author created, though this became a lot harder as I read more fics. I was able to get back that same level of happiness of losing myself in a fantasy when I read this story. Afterall, it took me a single day to finish it, though I literally spent my every waking moment to read it.

The initial wonder of realizing the MC was in a time loop, to the surprise of seeing Zorian take completely unorthodox decisions, to nobody103's frankly amazing ability to make rewards and new objectives actually original, everything created a constant mystery (which was solved piece by piece). There was never a point that I felt the story was a rehash of previous story arcs which is unfortunately really prevalent in wuxia and xianxia works. Everything really just combined and made me completely enamoured with this work. I'll definitely be reading other fics by nobody103, and I honestly can't recommend this story enough.

stuffedbunny
Overall

As good as Groundhog Day

Reviewed at: Afterword

At its heart this is absolutely a story about repeating the same time period over and over. It was so good I didn't do anything else for the last couple of days while finishing it.

I've read a lot of the other stuff posted on here, trawled through the best rated section looking for worthwhile things to spend time on, and have waded through a river of absolute **** on this site. This story is easily in my top 5 stories anywhere and definitely my number 1 on Royal Road. (things in my top five include The Kingkiller Chronicles, Everyone Else is a Returnee, and Worm)

Number one reason to read this over some of the other best stuff and things that are in Trending or Popular This Week, this one has an actual ending. This story is long enough to keep you engrossed in it for a while without being so long as to be daunting to finish.

Other reasons to read this would be that the plot continues to advance without feeling "samey" or forced. There is enough groundwork and purposeful mystery that when something comes out of left field it doesn't feel forced or just for the purpose of adding pointless conflict. While some of the sections get a little long winded I didn't really feel like it was just words being vomited out to increase the amount of "content" there was.

I don't know, this was just really fun to read and I really enjoyed myself, everything else is just my opinion/how I felt. So read it or not, whatever.

P.S. If you are looking for anything similar to read, Everyone Else is a Returnee has the starts week and trains to be strong and then solves things with skill and intelligence and foresight, Worm has convoluted plots/plans within plans and emotional investment taking you on a rollercoaster throughout it, and Kingkiller has magic, but isn't finished yet so maybe hold off.

Vouru
Overall

An amazing novel worth the time invesment!

Reviewed at: Afterword

I've read this series to complete from the authors patreon after after I found it on TVtrops for logical writing and it has been by far the most interesting well done novel I've read to date!

The author does a wounderful job not just creating a skeleton to support their story but creating a wonderful world bult with such strong foundations that it could support many future stories as well if the author so chose to continue writing in this universe.

Excal04
Overall

Inspite of it being a world where the MC would keep re-living a part of his life in loop, the author made sure to not make him ultra OP unnecessarily or even quickly.  

It’s definitely a great read. I love how the Author kept human feelings practical and though it’s a bit slow paced which is very fine considering how most novels jump from level one to 1000 in mere 10 chapters, this story has good aspects of life, leveling and certain SOUL to it.