Infinite Mage Novel Chapter 3

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Shirone jumped back in surprise.

‘Wh-What should I do?”

‘Should I run away, or should I answer? No. Do I, a commoner, even have the right to answer?’

Alpheas continued.

“There’s no need to panic. Come over here. I would like to see your face.”

Shirone, who continued to question himself, walked to the wall as if possessed.

If he didn’t cross that wall right then, he felt like he would never be able to cross it.

As Shirone climbed the wall, he saw a white-haired, elderly man who would look quite common on the street.

In truth, he was a certified Grade 4 mage, recognized by the kingdom. He was well known in other countries for his high virtue.

Alpheas, sitting on a rock, waved.

“Come. Are you here to be my friend?”

Having gained confidence from his kindness, Shirone jumped over the wall and entered the academy.

Under the shade of the tree, children around Shirone’s age sat in a circle.

One child frowned.

“Headmaster, he’s not a nobleman. I think he’s a commoner.”

“Huh? Really? Commoners aren’t allowed here. Hey, get out of here!”

Alpheas looked puzzled for a moment, as if he was expecting someone who was of noble status, but soon spoke warmly.

“It’s all right, come this way. So, what part of this old man’s words drew your heart?”

Shirone hesitated.

He wanted to get closer to Alpheas, but the eyes of the children were preventing him from doing so.

“Show me magic.”

“Hoho, have you never seen magic?”

“I’ve read about it in books, but I’ve never seen it in person.”

A child pointed his finger at Shirone.

“As if! What kind of commoner can read?

When Alpheas looked into Shirone’s eyes, it certainly didn’t seem to be a lie.

However, it was the nature of children of that age to deceive adults.

“Okay. What kind of magic do you want to see?”

“It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. Anything is fine, so show me. Please.”

Shirone realized his situation, so he lowered his head. Then Alpheas waved his hand and laughed.

“This old man’s one and only joy is to show his magic to his honey buns. Alright! Then this time, I’ll show you magic that creates wind.”

“Wooaah! It’s wind, wind!

While the children clapped their hands in awe, Shirone clenched his fist in tension.

‘Wind? How can I…?’

In that instant, when Alpheas raised his hand, Shirone’s eyes opened wide in shock.

“Whoa!”

The weight of his body disappeared and flew up to a height of more than 20 meters.

The numerous buildings of the magic academy, and the mountain ranges that were situated beyond it, were noticeable with a glance.

“AHHHH!”

Screaming broke out as a matter of course, but the other children were enjoying it while cartwheeling around the sky.

After a while, the children start to drop, one by one.

The speed of the drop was so great that Shirone closed his eyes tightly at the sight of the fast approaching ground.

“Wha–?”

There was none of the impact Shirone was expecting.

Feeling strange, Shirone opened his eyes slowly and saw that his body was floating a little above the ground.

When the children burst into laughter at the sight of Shirone, Alpheas also laughed mischievously.

“What do you say? This is magic.”

Of course he was kind at times, but he wasn’t boring enough to not enjoy the child’s reaction.

That may be why he came on a bit stronger than usual, but Shirone could not answer him.

The beating of his heart was all he heard.

‘This… is magic.’

This sensation he experienced for the first time in his life was completely beyond the nebulous boy’s fantasy. 

Shirone, once he came to his senses, spoke.

“What is magic?”

“Well, let’s see. Magic is…”

“It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand. Please tell me the truth.”

The children’s expressions hardened.

Even though they were young, they knew what position Alpheas had in the magical world. Therefore, even the children of the prominent noble families laid low and acted like obedient children in front of him.

‘Our teachers can’t say things like that to him.’

Alpheas also thought it was bold at first, but after a while, he changed his opinion.

‘He’s a smart kid.’

He was not trying to understand things right away.

‘I know what kind of opportunity I have right now. That’s why I’m not trying to understand it easily, at an elementary level. I would rather have difficult, but accurate information so that I can study it myself!’

If he hadn’t had an education on magic before this, then this child’s judgment had to be excellent.

‘But really? Does he believe he can do it alone?’

So far, Alpheas, who was deep in thought, looked at Shirone with a different look from before.

He was tense, as if his life was on the line.

“Haha! Listen comfortably, it’s not a difficult thing to understand. But if you would like, I can raise the difficulty a bit. Magic is something that deviates from common sense. In other words, it’s the mental process of exploring the truth of a phenomenon.”

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Shirone was engrossed in thought.

“If you don’t understand, you can just say so.”

“So it’s not an easy phenomenon to explain, but you’re saying that is the truth?”

Alpheas blinked.

“Where did you learn that?”

“Oh, well, in a book.”

“There was a book with content like that?”

“No, I just thought about why books are used. Even if someone goes out their way to write down something that everyone knows, no one would bother looking at it. Truth is something that is different from the common sense we normally know, that’s probably the reason why books are written and are read.”

‘Anyone can memorize and recite. However, understanding the concept of a book requires an inherent characteristic… insight. Is he really a commoner? What a shame!’

Looking at his appearance, it was highly likely that the commoner was from the lowest of the low, living outside the city.

Shirone asked another question.

“How can I learn magic? Does it require special powers?”

“I don’t know what special powers you’re talking about, but it does take a lot of mental strength.”

It was an unexpectedly lackluster answer. 

“That’s really it? Does that mean you can fly in the sky when you think of the wind?”

“Well, that’s difficult to answer. But to add a little exaggeration, yes. Of course, it’s not just ordinary thoughts. The mage’s consciousness must coincide with the world. An extremely sensitive state of mind, for instance.”

Alpheas’ serious expression prevented the children from intervening.

“What is a sensitive state of mind?”

Alpheas smiled.

‘This isn’t curiosity. He’s really planning on learning magic!’

On the contrary, it was concerning.

‘It’s unfortunate, but he’s a commoner. He won’t be able to get a formal education. If I were to encourage him further, he would only be more dejected later on.’

Alpheas looked back at the students, with the intention of cutting off the flow of the conversation before it went any deeper.

“When a mage focuses, his mind becomes sensitive enough to sense everything around him. Mages call this as entering the Spirit Zone. I’ll show you a demonstration, so watch what this child does. Shuamin, would you like to enter the Spirit Zone?”

“Yes, headmaster.”

A girl with braids answered confidently.

It was natural for them to show off their skills, because they were born with extraordinary talents.

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[Translator – Anwen]

[Proofreader – Harley]

Shuamin closed her eyes and the other children created a reverent atmosphere on their own.

As if such an attitude proved their own superiority.

“I entered the Zone.”

“Then let’s get started.”

Alpheas, who took out a coin, shook it in his hand. Suddenly, he clenched his hand and held it out.

“Now, how many coins are in my hand?”

“Six.”

When he opened his hand, there were exactly six silver coins.

Alpheas repeated it for a second time as Shirone watched with a surprised look.

“Three.”

Once again, that was the correct answer.

After that, Alpheas tried a few more times, but the result was the same.

“That’s enough, Shuamin, you did a great job.”

“Haaah.”

Shuamin let out a long breath.

The only thing she did was guess the number of coins, but her forehead was covered in cold sweat.

Alpheas looked back at Shirone.

“That, right there, was an example of an extremely sensitive state of mind. The moment they enter the Spirit Zone, a mage can perceive the outside world with extrasensory perception. Excellent mages can even guess the number of leaves at a long distance. Of course, the skill Shuamin showed us was great, too.”

Shirone, who succeeded in performing the ‘Thunder Strike’ by relying on his senses, could vaguely feel and understand it.

‘She wasn’t counting the number of coins!’

She was sensing the totality of the primitive data that existed long before that.

To sense the entire state of affairs in front of you…

It was not an empty assertion to say that a master of the Spirit Zone could guess the number of leaves from far away.

Then a question naturally followed.

“Can I as well… No, perhaps I can’t?”

Alpheas replied.

“Anyone can do it.”

The Spirit Zone could be reached by anyone, but also at the same time, not just anyone could achieve it.

The grand total of constant effort and talent to test human limitations… That was magic.

“Practice in a quiet place. You first have to feel yourself, and then dismiss it. If that happens, a different world will unfold. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“All right.”

Shirone understood.

“If you don’t feel yourself, it will be impossible to erase yourself.”

Alpheas couldn’t help but admire him again. That was not an insight that a 12-year-old could easily put forward.

Two cases occurred to him.

Either he was a natural talent, or a mischievous acquaintance of Alpheas sent the kid to pull a prank on him.

“Would you like to give it a try? Here.”

There was no reason to refuse, so Shirone nodded without hesitation and closed his eyes.

‘Recall back to the ‘Thunder Strike’ incident.’

Except when he started to focus, it was on another level from back when he was trying to find the vital spot hidden in the grooves.

How much do we know about ourselves?

‘Who am I?’

Shirone realized for the first time how difficult it was to clearly define himself.

‘I was mistaken!’

‘There is just too much of me to delineate, and none of it is accurate.’

‘Me. What actually am I?’

At that moment, Shirone felt a very simple truth springing up like a fish.

An extremely sensitive state of mind.

Alpheas’ previous claim was frighteningly accurate.

‘Brain.’

It’s not an organ of the body.

‘I… I don’t know the world beyond the brain.’

The concept of the brain.

The truth was that all the senses and realities he accepted were actually arbitrary. 

‘There’s no need to define it. Just feel it. It’s not that my existence gets sensitive…’

Only a keen mind would remain.

Instead of trying to define it, Shirone erased everything he thought was ‘himself’.

Because if you erase it like that, eventually there would be nothing left.

And finally.

Even Shirone’s thoughts disappeared.

At one point, Shirone’s eyes opened wide.

“Haah. Haah.”

The scene in front of him was peaceful.

The children were yawning in boredom and Shuamin was playing with her hair.

Shirone did not notice that 10 minutes had already passed.

Alpheas wasn’t expecting much.

He acknowledged the concentration that lasted 10 minutes, but that was not enough to succeed.

“Yes, I heard it.”

Alpheas raised his eyebrows at the unexpected answer.

“Oh, what did you hear?”

“Sounds. I heard everything.”

“Hoho, I see.”

Alpheas nodded as if he was expecting that result.

‘As expected, it’s not possible!’

It seemed like his senses had become extra sensitive, but the things that happen in the Spirit Zone were different.

First, you experienced synesthesia.

From sound, you could smell. From light, you could taste. And from the shape of the landscape, you could feel it touch your skin.

‘That’s too bad. He was talented.’

If he was a noble, wouldn’t he have achieved something similar to the children here if he was trained from an early age?’

Of course, that alone wouldn’t have caught Alpheas’ eyes.

That was because there were many children in the world who had superior skills to those of the children there.

“Well done. If you practice hard in the future, you’ll be able to hear more.”

Although reaching the Spirit Zone was not successful, that concentration training would be of help in the child’s life.

“Well, that’s the end of the special class today. You all go back, too.”

When Alpheas walked away with the children, Shirone jumped over the wall without delay.

He was feeling disappointed in Alpheas.

He was trying to be considerate when he walked away first.

“Haah. Haah.”

Shirone, who crossed the wall, sat on the floor and breathed heavily.

His heart beat to the point that it started to hurt.

“It really worked. It really did.”

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