Chapter 16//Working Hard
Even after several consecutive weeks of experimenting on his abilities, there was still so much left undiscovered. That said, if ever there was one class Mordred had felt reservations about using, it would most definitely have been the ‘Bard’. Singing and playing musical instruments amid a serious battle wasn’t exactly an efficient way to fight. Indeed, one was more prone to getting strange looks of pity from their opponents the moment they tried. Or conversely, the opponent could fly into a rage as they might perceive this kind of thing as an insult- which may be useful in its own right. In any case, the point was that it wasn’t a good thing that Mordred had an entire set of skills that he wasn’t likely to use, though the remaining nine classes were still very powerful.
However, “I’ve been experimenting,” Mordred spoke to a Morialia who had been lying around stuffing her face full of cookies on one of the clinic’s beds.
“Mmmphhh?” she asked while crumbs fell from her mouth, disregarding the strange look of pity she was getting from him.
“About how to use my Bard class, or rather, how to more effectively employ it. As it turns out, one doesn’t necessarily need to sing or use an instrument; as long as the intentions and magical enchantments are carried through sound waves, it will still activate the effects of the skill. For example, I can use it while I’m talking like this, but in a direct confrontation scenario even that may be cumbersome. Instead, what I can do is this,” Mordred clicked his fingers as a powerful percussive echo rushed through the air. Even the nonchalant Morialia seemed to have felt that one as she stopped eating and perked up her ears. “That. Just that is enough to activate the effects of my Bard skill. However, doing it that way reduces the effect potency and duration. Since Bard skills are mostly channelled abilities, and the longer you channel the longer and more powerful the effect are, the most I can affect someone with just a single click is about two minutes.”
“Mmmmhhh, sst’ so?” Morialia shrugged and continued with her endeavour of defeating her box of cookies. “Well, I don’t have a Bard class so none of that is relevant to me.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”
“What do you mean?”
“It means that one of either two things can happen depending on the result of Graham’s training. First, on the occasion he can learn magic from our previous world, and then if Eris truly was in this world, then there is a chance that someone else might’ve learnt Bard or any other skills from her. In that case, it’d be good for you to know of the limitations and countermeasures for Bard skills. If conversely he cannot learn our skills, then there shouldn’t be too many problems. That said, perhaps you may still be able to learn it since technically you are from our previous world even if you were ‘summoned’ in this world.”
However, Morialia was quick to deny that. “No, I can’t learn any new skills.”
“How can you know that?”
“I don’t know; it’s just a feeling I have. I mean, I can try if you wanted me to, but I honestly believe it will end up being futile effort.” Though not backed up by logic or evidence, it appeared that she truly believed this. It was true that back in the game summon familiars could not level up or learn any new skills. He had thought maybe that system limitation would’ve been alleviated, but perhaps if she had that much mental resistance against learning, then it might really not be possible. Regardless, for now it was better to take her word for it and leave it be to focus on other things. She was absurdly strong enough already. While time wasn’t critical, there were still a lot of things he wanted to do and wasting time wasn’t one. Perhaps when he had time later he would try.
“We’ll leave it for now then,” he agreed.
“So? How is that boy doing? Did you say his name was Graham or something? What are you even trying to teach him, anyway?” she shifted the conversation.
“I’m trying to teach him ‘Flare Acid’,” replied Mordred. ‘Flare Acid’ was an elementary tier magic spell that dealt relatively minor damage but left the target with two status afflictions: ‘Burn’ and ‘Poison’, which periodically chunked their health down. It was a useful skill as later in the Magician class’s skill tree there were spells that would have their damage amplified depending on what sort of status ailments the target was inflicted with. However, that wasn’t the only reason he had taught that spell instead of something more normal like ‘Fire Bullet’. “From all the elementary tier magic spells, that one alone is fairly unique and has the highest chance of being new to this world. Something like ‘Fire Bullet’ or anything else generic likely already exists in this world so it wouldn’t be useful to the purpose of my experiment.”
In the game, every skill of every class had been divided into ‘skill tiers’, which acted as a sort of progression metre. As a player advanced through one class- around every 40 levels- they would unlock more and more powerful skills. There were five tiers, from lowest to highest they were: ‘Elementary’, ‘Intermediate’, ‘Advanced’, ‘Master’ and ‘Grandmaster’. The Grandmaster tier skills were usually unlocked only once the player had reached level 200 of that class.
“Why are you teaching him boring stuff? Don’t boys like skills with more pizzazz? Like Inferno Hurricane!”
“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just ask that.”
“Hmm... This is quite the problem,” Mordred one day commented out aloud in his clinic. Of course, he said this deliberately hoping Ann would be within earshot.
“Is something that matter, doctor?” Ann innocently inquired as she came back from her morning jog. Her condition had been steadily improving, and she had now started regularly exercising when she wasn’t helping Mordred around in the clinic. At first it had merely been due to Mordred’s recommendation, but lately she commented that it was likely ‘something she did previously’, meaning before her memory loss. Speaking of which, there were no signs of her amnesia being cured anytime soon. However, that her body was subconsciously telling her to exercise might’ve been a good thing as it meant that some of her muscle memory had been retained despite the ‘spare parts’.
“Welcome back, Ann,” he greeted with the same soft, false smile. “It’s just that I’m missing a few ingredients for the potion I’m trying to make. The village’s spare stock is starting to run a bit low, though it’s not exactly a critical issue. I’d go retrieve it myself but one of the villagers made an appointment with me this morning so I’m kind of stuck,” he shrugged.
“If that’s the case, I’d be more than happy to go in your place to get it. If you can just describe what sort of ingredients you’re looking for, I can even go right now,” Ann happily offered.
“That’d be helpful, but are you sure?”
“Of course! You’re letting me freeload here; it’s the least I could do.”
Mordred pretended to think for a moment and eventually conceded, “very well. Give me a second,” he quickly vacated his spot and soon returned with a small sketchbook he had made of the various herbs and plants that grew in this area. Since there was nothing like ‘status menus’ there was no real way to keep track of all the resources that were available- thus this sketchbook. His artistic skills were non-existent in his previous world, but perhaps due to the increase in his dexterity, but he had become quite talented at sketch art. “Take this,” he passed it over to her. “On the third and forth pages are the ingredients I need right now. They grow rather frequently and in large numbers just slightly north of the village, so there shouldn’t be too many problems.”
“Understood, doctor,” Ann nodded as she swiftly left for her first official quest.
After confirming she had left, Mordred stood up and got ready himself. “We’re leaving, Morialia.”
“Mmmphh?” Morialia perked up, swallowing the piece of roast potato down her throat.
“To help out a poor lady suffering from amnesia. We’re going to attempt to jumpstart her memories.”
Morning practice for the garrison soldiers started early and most diligent out of them all was First Lieutenant Marianne. She had gotten up at Five-in-the-morning and prepared herself for the day. After running light laps around the garrison base, she practiced her form with the sword until everyone else was up and ready to practice.
Recently, Graham had also gotten the idea of waking up early to studiously practice the magic that the doctor was trying to teach him; what had once been an unenthusiastic soldier was now laboriously working. It was a rather refreshing sight.
“How’s your magic coming along?” she asked.
“It’s coming along... great?!” suddenly his voice spiked up as his face turned beet red. At first she was confused why he was acting so bashfully, but when she stared down, she noticed her white shirt had been soaked with her sweat and was revealing the contents underneath. “I... I didn’t see anything,” he awkwardly tried to laugh it off.
“As much as I would like to blame you, I am also at fault for not paying attention to my appearance,” for the time being she covered herself with her towel. Since until recently she had been the only one up at this hour she had neglected to think about her appearances. “Excuse me for a moment,” she temporarily left and returned with a fresh shirt. “Sorry about that.”
“Ah, no, it was honestly a treat, I mean, I saw nothing!”
Letting out a sigh she lightly hit him over the head to cover her embarrassment. “Anyway, how are you doing with your magic?” she wanted to reset the mood and thus returned to the original topic.
“Honestly, it’s not going as well as I hoped it would, but If I were to show you my progress, you would probably tell me I’m doing great. I suppose if there’s any problem, it would be that I’m rather impatient.”
“Nothing in life works that quickly. It’s the same with learning how to handle a sword; it takes time to get used to it. Magic is even more complex so there’s nothing you need to feel worried about. What kind of magic is it, anyway? All I know is that it’s some kind of fire magic.”
“It’s amazing!” his voice brightened as he explained. “The doctor’s teaching me magic that I never even heard of. Granted, I knew little about magic before, but I honestly don’t think those arcane scholars in the capital even know about this kind of magic. It’s a spell called ‘Flare Acid’ and mixes the properties of fire and poison. It’s not exactly a flashy technique, but it’s very effective at what it can do.”
“I’m guessing it burns and poisons people?”
“Correct. Well, I guess if you think about it like that it’s a bit cruel of a technique, but in a fight it would undoubtedly give you an edge, especially over other magicians. The burning and poison would no doubt distract someone from properly channelling their spell, so it also has interruption properties. Even if you weren’t fighting another magician, try fighting with two excruciating ailments on you.”
“Yeah, that sounds very powerful. Are you sure you can learn something that amazing? I mean, shouldn’t you be starting off learning simple magic, like ‘Fire Bullet’?”
“According to the doctor, this is just elementary tier magic, which is on the same level as Fire Bullet, so there shouldn’t be a problem.”
“I see. Hmm?” as they were discussing, in the distance they spotted Ann’s figure and called out to her.
“Good morning, Marianne, Graham,” Ann greeted.
“Morning,” they returned.
“What are you doing so early in the morning?” Marianne asked. Ever since finding out that Ann had been staying with the doctor under one roof, she had felt a little threatened. While she didn’t believe the doctor was the kind of person that would lay his hands on a poor girl going through amnesia, who knows what kind of scandalous things could happen when people live together?
“The doctor ran out of ingredients so I’m running a quick errand,” she replied innocently. It honestly seemed like Ann wasn’t particularly interested in the doctor in the romantic sense, so there was relief there, but then again... ‘co-habitation’...
“If that’s the case, why don’t we go with you?” Marianne volunteered both her and Graham.
“Huh?” Graham gave of an expression as if to suggest he didn’t want to bother with something that tedious. “Is, is this a direct order from a superior?”
Ann chuckled at their banter and commented, “you two seem to get along very well.”
“Well, we’re part of the same company, so we kind of have to.”
“Yes, I can sort of understand. Anyway, if you’re willing to help, I’ll gladly accept.”