A note from dotturndot

It's self-edited (too young to hire an editor) --I've read through each chapter at least twice.. but that doesn't mean it's perfect so take it with a pinch of salt yeah>

Forest Sprites.

From the same shelf, Curtis took out the encyclopedia he read last time; the one he accidentally stumbled upon with facts regarding this creatures. Opening the book to that specific page, he reread the contents. Curtis felt that the encyclopedia wasn't complete. After experiencing the encounter first hand, he knew that the information inside lacked something.

So, Curtis went back to the small shelf, categorized as Creature Database, and found a different book that also contained the information he wanted. The book was a lot smaller and thinner in comparison, the number of creatures recorded were also lesser, and looked to be even further incomplete. That said, it still contained records regarding the Forest Sprite. Jack Hugo was the author. Based on a rough glean, Curtis assumed that most of the written means were based off his real experiences. He was possibly a legendary adventure back in the golden days.

It was he that had tasted the brink of death many times due to his encounters with various creatures. In one instance, taking down a lesser geoprimal Megaledon with his party. His long odyssey left him with rich information that he hope could be passed on to many more aspiring like-minded adventurers to come. Although the guide wasn't as complete as the encyclopedic, it was more detailed in certain other aspects.

"Forest Sprite: they love playing with people."

Curtis scrutinized the scripture. The way he wrote it was unorganized, feeling more like a dairy, cracking a few jokes here and there.

"I remember my teammate got knocked out the moment he took a whiff of a weird thin yellow gas, and he recalled it as a sleeping concoction of sorts."

"The Forest Sprite appeared, thinking that it had probably sent everyone to bed. I signaled my archer, Hank to stay vigilant."

"I went up to approach the glowing vine that crept closer, and it suddenly transformed into my father, having fairy wings!"

"Forest Sprite are masters of deception, using our inner weaknesses against us. Luckily, Hank shot my lecturing dad in time, if not, I'd probably be dead."

"It was a sort of hallucination, Hank himself didn't see my dad, but a gorgeous woman with plant-like features, a siren call was what he thought of it as, chanting in a weird language."

From the first floor, Curtis glanced down at the wooden rails, observing the mages and professors conducting their classes in respective cliques. His gaze wasn't fixed on any particular group, swimming around then stopping, blurring his vision and then returning it into focus again, blinking slowly until a droopy feeling started to settle in.

Curtis was currently seated at a table on the first floor of the library, overlooking the ground floor. The library was divided into 4 floors, the first floor to the second floor were where books of different genre could be found. There were sections for novels, economic books, self-enrichment books, magic repertoires compilations, educational resources, creature database, so on and so forth. Asides these books that one could reach out and grab, there were also historical records of the kingdoms that were regarded in the initial construction of the empire, including anything confidential and sacred such as the royal bloodline tree. All of which, kept away on the third floor of the library. It was strictly off limits to normal people.

The ground floor was the most interesting. It was where most mages would gather to learn, practice and master their magic. Usage of magic was allowed, but only at the ground floor and with consideration to other rules. One section had been designated for anything assistive to magic construction—from magic conducting equipments, various ores and minerals, crystal and gems of various colours, alchemy equipment that were rarely used, transcription stands and conducting scrolls.

Curtis returned his attention to the book in front of him.

Past memories?

Who was the person behind that girl's voice? He didn't feel anything particularly familiar about it, but he knew that voice was from somewhere.

"Searching inside my memory was probably the best ways to describe it."

Memory, Curtis had no such memory of the girl's voice back then.

The answers lead nowhere. 'Well— forget it.'

He retuned the book back onto it's shelf and went to search for an advanced spell transcription guide book, a collection of repertoires and books regarding the basics of personalizing a Spellbook. Curtis was unsure which guide was the best when it came to organizing one's Spellbook, so he took three of them, one being nefariously bulky, while the other two were more reasonable in size. Curtis returned to his seat with 5 books stacked beside him, adding on top his spellbook, making it 6 in total.

He unconsciously glanced to the opposite seat and was about to say something when he realized that— Ellis wasn't with him. Right, she was accompanying the princess. Curtis wondered how their trip was turning out.

Without Ellis, the place turned somewhat quiet, empty, even though most of the time, Ellis wouldn't even say much as she was too occupied reading whatever she was reading. Speaking of which, Curtis did take a peek at the previous novel she had borrowed. It turned out to not be a horror novel. Based on its summary, it was about a magician fighting in an alternate world. Curtis only had a brief look over and found something rather interesting. The protagonist, the magician, was able to use a shadow element, melting into any dark cracks while being able to appear anywhere from within. (reference to, guess which webnovel?)

To Curtis, or any other sane mage, this sounded very promising. Too bad it didn't work too well in reality. There was no such thing as being able to melt into the shadow. The best they could do was to thin their presence or create an optical barrier that distorted light.

Curtis returned the novel to the librarian. He seemed to know Curtis— no, Ellis' habit of losing books. So he was pleased with the the book not turning into thin air this time.

Many pages were gleaned through— many repertoires. Curtis was researching new spells to apply to Ellis' new sword while searching for possible spells to be used. Spells and repertoires were one in the same. Repertoires were like music notes written on paper, arranged in patterns combined in certain order and composition.

Taking an example, It would be possible to play a music instrument without the usage of notes, but asides the simple random pleasant rings that one could create by sound, to execute something more advance, interesting and elating, it required musical repertoires. By closely following the notes on the piece, it could also help improve one's skill, accuracy, expression and thereby improving the knowledge of possible combinations.

Magic repertoires worked in the same way. To cast a basic spell, one would just need to memorize a short clause. Advanced spell however, had a more sophisticated structure. So unless one was willing to memorize it all, it was best to just transfer the repertoire into a spell book or conducting scroll. A spellbook acts as a conductor, one with many pages of special paper— paper that had the ability to conduct mana, if the correct ink was used.

Once Curtis got a few interesting repertoires down on a scrap paper, he shifted over to another book: 'Basics of personalizing a spell book'. Curtis already knew how to organize repertoires inside his spellbook. Just that, he was wondering if he could optimize it further once he got his Maverick Spellbook. His current one was already 4/5 filled, a third of which consisted of the fundamental components of magic. Basic speaking, Curtis had categorized his spellbook into two parts. One was for the normal written repertoires, the other was a collection of various cut-outs and clauses from all different sorts of repertoires. It was all for the sake of practice. By focusing on the few key, most commonly seen clauses, Curtis could perfect it's execution. Doubling that up, it also made it easier for him to learn new advanced spells.

For the most part, the magic system in Haital only noted the 4 basic elemental magic, the rest were known as additional magic (to Curtis, he preferred the term veritable magic). Advanced magic were combinations of elemental magic and additional magic, considered to be of a higher grade. Most people never understood that many parts of a repertoire were repeated, just that there various changes in the ornaments or position of the 'notes'. Unless one really broke it down into it's very essence, it was not possible to recognize that two parts were actually the same.

Furthermore, techniques in handling each clause of the repertoire were scarce. Some complicated portions could be executed easier using proper techniques. Just as in piano, playing a romantic piece would need one to bend their hands forward; whereas for violin, one would need to pick up the springy momentum to play spiccato.

Curtis' unorthodox way of breaking down a full magic repertoire into clauses, categorizing it and practicing it one part at a time until perfection was what helped him discover the best techniques to execute each of them precisely. However, since most of it were his findings, it lacked practicality. So, for someone else to learn magic using this way would be difficult. Ruth was an exception.

Curtis kept referring to the 'basics of personalizing a spell book', while flipping through his own spell book.

"Purge your spellbook from time to time, figure out the most important spells, the ones frequently used. Take away the rest that aren't in use, as it only stifles the addition of better repertoires."

Curtis then fixed his gaze on the last few pages of the spell book. The front portion of the spellbook had been mostly used up. And in the pages after the second portion, there were few scanty, randomly arranged items. They were repertoires, no doubt, but it was the kind where Curtis could not understand.

Why would there be a few random repertoire lying at the very back few pages? And It didn't looked like any normal piece that one could get from the library either. The usage of notes were crude, limited but complicated.

There were 3 repertoires that Curtis felt to be the most interesting. One of them, which he had managed to decipher, though not quite fully understanding it's contents, was a mesh-net spell, flexible and incorporeal. It had to be combined with other spells to have an effect. Which was how {Coat O' Arms} became a thing.

The other two were a lot weirder. The first one was short, half a page, but nefariously complicated. Unless Curtis could figure out the proper techniques he wouldn't be able to execute it. Curtis felt that this repertoire too was an incorporeal magic since it lacked any clause that cited elemental magic.

The third piece was— the most ridiculous. A 10 page behemoth hastily written, many smudges could be seen, eraser strokes and some random lines. Worst was, Curtis had no idea how to even start. Every single clause contained things he had never seen before. He didn't know what it was, what it proved or what it did.

'Where in the world did this repertoire come from?'

A note from dotturndot

Thanks for reading nyan!

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