Anlal closed the large book in front of him and pushed it aside on the desk. Using his hands, he twisted on the chair and jumped down, being careful to avoid hurting himself. Even though his body had recovered significantly during these last two months since he started inhabiting it, it was still frail for its age. It was tiring, but there was nothing he could do about it but wait. It was better than his old curse-afflicted body at the very least.

Walking over to one of the bookshelves he stood on his toes to pull out one of the books in the middle row. Bringing it back to the table, he jumped up into the chair again and opened the book — examining the pages closely.

Unfortunately, he still couldn't understand the language too well and could only decipher a small fraction of what he read in these books. But he had a dictionary close by and was starting to get used to all the different characters the people here used in their written tongue. It would take some more time, but hopefully, he would be able to understand it at a workable enough level in another month or so.

As for his verbal mastery of the language...Well, that too was improving quickly, but it was far from being at a satisfactory level. He could make himself understood most of the time and could comprehend what others spoke of, but he felt that his vocabulary was somewhat...crude.

That young girl who had helped him find the library earlier had looked at him as if he was a dullard! His inability to eloquently express himself was bound to at least partly have engendered that reaction.

Although he felt that that was no proper way to treat someone you believed to be your younger brother. But Anlal couldn't blame the girl. She was still a child after all. An aristocratic child, yes. But a child nonetheless. And he lacked knowledge regarding the workings of this country, and this family in particular.

Which was the main reason — other than him going stir-crazy from being stuck in the same room for two months on end — that he petitioned the mother of this body for him to be allowed to leave the room for a tour. And why he paid a visit to the library. While he couldn't read much of the books written in this language, he'd held hopes of finding books written in either Alemno or any other language that he recognized.

He had no such luck, regrettably. He'd already spent over an hour here looking through several dozen books and while some seemed to be written in languages other than the Old Imperial that they spoke here, he'd yet to find anything even remotely similar to a language that he'd encountered before.

He had even looked at maps of the surrounding countries — there were none depicting the entire continent, at least not in this collection — but all the nations and geography looked different from anything he remembered.

As a dimensional mage, he'd traveled to many different places. He had visited three of the four continents in the material plane and was quite certain the nation he was in currently wasn't located on any of them. As for the fourth continent...that was equally unlikely. It wasn't a place suitable for any of the races of man to inhabit.

Which left only two alternatives. The first possibility was that he was on a completely different continent that had yet to be explored.

He highly doubted this.

It was a well-known and indisputable fact that the material plane was spherical in shape, and that large swaths of it consisted out of water. Enough of it had been mapped that he felt it hard to believe that a continent the size that these maps implied existed without anyone seeing traces of it before. Something as important as the existence of a fifth continent wasn't something one easily kept secret.

That left only one other alternative; he was not in the same world that he'd lived in before.

There were many different planes of existence amongst the planar realms. Examples were the different elemental planes such as the Elemental Plane of Fire or the Elemental Plane of Earth, or higher planes such as the Etherial Sea or the Empyrean Realm where some of the gods were said to reside.

Not much was known about the true nature of the different realms or their magnitude — though there were some planes known to be almost endless while others were barely the size of a city — but over the ages, several mortal sages had conceived different models to try and explain and structurize all of it. None of these models — or most of them at least — claimed to be entirely accurate, but they all had their own explanations for some of the different phenomena that had been observed. One of the most commonly accepted and used models among scholars was the Grelude Cosmogenesis, which compared the Planar Realms to one giant tree — with the Material Plane in its center.

What most of these models had in common was that — even though there was a large number of different planes in existence and new ones were still being discovered — the vast majority of them posited that there was only one Material Plane. It was connected to many of the other planes in spots where the planar boundaries grew thin and if you were knowledgable —or merely unlucky — you could use these spots to travel to some of these other planes of existence. Despite this, no evidence of any of those other planes being connected to another Material Plane had ever been found.

But Anlal suspected that this wasn't the truth of the scenario. After all, he was in the Material Plane right now, that much he knew. The dormant mana flowing around proved that fact — sparse though it may be in these particular parts.

And while he often adopted the model of the Grelude Cosmogenesis because of its practicality when navigating the planes, in no way did he delude himself into thinking that it didn't have its flaws.

For one, its presupposition that the Material Plane was the center of the Planar Realms was nothing but narrow-minded conceitedness on the parts of the mages who originally conceived of it. While they'd had no reason to assume that there existed more than one Material Plane, Anlal himself as a principal dimensional mage was traveled and experienced enough in these matters to know that everything did not revolve around the Material Plane. In fact, the name 'Material Plane' was itself misleading in many ways and fostered numerous misconstructions.

But that wasn't what was important right now.

Anlal felt his pulse quicken at the notion of what this discovery meant. The thought of exploring completely uncharted territory mixed with what this revelation might mean for cosmological theory tickled his mind as a mage.

But it also filled him with apprehension.

This might very well be completely new ground, untread by any of his peers or predecessors. If this was another plane of existence similar to the one he originated from...could he find his way back — return to his disciples and companions?

Even if he could, it was likely to take years. He was but a child right now; despite his training, even casting one spell still left him exhausted for most of the day. Two would completely knock him out. And that was from merely performing simple things such as altering one of the three dimensions of an object for a short amount of time. More advanced dimensional magic like displacement or a spatial fold wasn't something he could hope of performing for quite some time.

Immersed in his thoughts, Anlal almost started off the chair when he felt something grab ahold of his shoulder. Turning his head, he found himself face-to-face with the servant that he'd forsaken in his earlier bout of exploration.

"You look...not glad," Anlal said, wishing this language wasn't so unnecessarily abstruse. What was the word for unsatisfied now again?

He was over sixty years old and had on several occasions spent months on end consumed with research without problem, but two months of learning this blasted language and he was already going mad.

The servant, a man in his twenties that Anlal was certain was named either Miachel or Michael, had an annoyed expression on his face as he started pulling Anlal down from the chair.

"Young master Khalid, I ask **** you **** run away **** me. ** **** Ivana has asked us to look ***** you and ******* you at all ***** so **** you **** **** ********. Please, **** with me."

Anlal didn't resist and let the servant lead him out of the library. He'd learned about as much as he could for now — he'd have to return later when he was more versed in reading this language.

Thankfully Miachel — or Michael. It felt awkward to ask at this point — didn't seem inclined to tell the lady of this house about his little excursion. Anlal had seen first-hand how protective that woman was of him. it was best for all ends if she remained unaware.

That young girl had seemed to agree on that front.

That reminded him that he'd have to remember to ask how many family members there were in this family later. Who knows when he might run into them.


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