I managed to fix the player, but I don't know how long this solution will last. I apologize for all the inconvenience caused by the change in rules on the audio file server side over which I had no control.
This chapter is updated by Novels.pl
“Students, please behave… There is no running in the main mage hall. I understand that you haven't been here for long, but you are mages now. You are held to a different standard, so you must behave!”
“Sorry, Miss Elsa…”
A group of twelve children, aged between ten and twelve, huddled around an elderly-looking woman. It was evident they were unfamiliar with the place, constantly looking around, captivated by the magical occurrences - flying book pages, magical animals strutting about, and some even able to talk when approached.
“Remember, don't touch anything without asking for my permission. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, Miss Elsa…”
The children responded in a monotone voice, as if accustomed to replying to their instructor. The tour continued as Elsa resumed the lecture.
“Now, where was I? Ah, yes! We find ourselves in the main Mage Hall of the institute. Don't confuse it with the main Arcane Hall, which serves as the main travel hub of our grand Institute. Remember, never lose your emblems, or you will be punished and unable to freely move through the various magical corridors. Here in the Mage Hall you will receive your first emblem, cherish it as if it was a part of your family as it has various uses such as…”
The children continued to nod at the woman, but their young minds couldn't help but tune out the long and boring speech that continued. They yearned to sprint around and explore the shiny, magical artifacts scattered throughout the hall. One of the children, a young girl not yet eleven, spaced out and failed to move out of the way as a certain individual approached.
“…Could you move out of the way?”
A deep, authoritative voice emanated from behind her, startling the young gir.
The child looked up at the strange-looking individual - a person much larger than her, wearing some type of armor under a loosely fitting dark robe. Her gaze fixated on the helmet emitting a strange, eerie glow.
Frightened by the armored figure's presence, the girl tried to move but fumbled, stumbling forward. Anticipating a painful fall, she closed her eyes, but instead of impact, a magical weightlessness enveloped her. Opening her eyes, she found herself floating, surrounded by a mysterious force.
“Ohhh! Teacher, look! Anne is floating around! Some strange iron monster is assaulting her!”
“Calm down… no one is assaulting anyone… That man is a part of the Institute… ”
The woman adjusted her glasses while squinting. Noticing the absence of emblems on the man, she sensed a significant magical force emanating from him or the suit he wore. Uncertain about the spell's nature, she concluded that the man was either a skilled mage or the suit itself was a quick-cast artifact.
“Hm… or is he? Who might you be, good sir? You seem to lack an academy emblem."
The woman observed the man, noting the absence of any identifiers of his rank - an unusual situation. Her tone carried respect, recognizing him as a senior, likely a tier 3 class holder, while she herself remained a tier 2 mage.
“Yes, I'm new here; I was told to receive my emblem here."
The man shifted his gaze to the older woman as the child floated back to her feet. Laughter erupted from the kids, but the woman noticed the man’s adept mana control. Even while conversing, he effortlessly manipulated a high-tier levitation spell which was not something easily done. The children identified the man as someone friendly and instantly moved closer.
“It's not fair. Anne got to float around! I want to be next.”
“Calm down, children. This good sir is probably busy.”
Before they could huddle around him, the woman decided to place herself between the children and the unfamiliar individual. The man nodded in understanding, and the woman felt a sigh of relief. She knew that mages, especially at tier 3, could be peculiar. It wouldn't be surprising if he attempted to administer some form of punishment to the young girl, and with a high standing in the institute, such actions wouldn't be considered strange.
Roland, the man in the armored suit, observed the commotion he unintentionally caused. He swiftly deactivated the levitation spell, and the young girl descended gently to the ground, landing on her feet. She gazed up at him with wide eyes mixed with awe and curiosity. Despite their initial panic, the other children now seemed intrigued by the magical display orchestrated by the armored man.
Ignoring the woman's remark, Roland reached into a pocket on his suit and produced the letter Master Rathos had given him. He handed it over, and the woman quickly scanned its contents. Her eyes widened slightly, realizing that the man before her was not just a newcomer but a newly appointed Assistant Professor.
The institute maintained a distinct hierarchy, with the Headmaster occupying the highest position. Following the Headmaster were the department heads, commonly addressed as Professors, and beneath them were the assistant professors. Individuals such as her, who served as regular instructors, held the fourth position in the pecking order. The hierarchy extended beyond mere departmental affiliations, incorporating a notion of prestige and perceived excellence. This individual was a member of the Runic Department, one of the less prominent branches within this institute primarily populated by classical spellcasting mages.
‘This place is perplexing, but I suppose hiring an architect for a dimensional relic is no easy task’
Roland observed the older woman as she scrutinized his recently drafted introduction letter. The parchment he had received was peculiar, emitting a set of green fireflies that served as his guides to this location. However, upon reaching the Main Hall, they dispersed, and the enchantment concluded. He now found himself gazing at the diverse crowd in the spacious room, narrowly avoiding a collision with an excited child.
The children presented a peculiar sight, all adorned with smiles and reveling in their joy - an expression less frequently observed among the older academy students. Roland observed that the absence of emblems might explain this; without distinct groupings, the children had not yet divided themselves into factions. The future allocation of ranks, he speculated, would likely reshape their worldview, potentially leading some to develop a sense of superiority based solely on their birthright.
“You can collect your emblem at the faculty member reception; it’s just over there. Just give them this letter.”“Thank you.”
She guided him by pointing towards a distant, unmarked room. It became evident that he would have to explore the whole academy multiple times to memorize essential locations, as the mages here seemed to prefer maintaining an air of mystery. As Roland made his way towards the reception, he couldn't help but ponder the complexities of this magical institution. It was a place where spatial magic, dimensional relics, and diverse branches of magical studies coexisted. The mixture of traditional spellcasting and runic arts created an environment unlike any he had encountered before. Upon reaching the reception area, Roland was greeted by a middle-aged woman who seemed to exude a calming aura. She took the letter from him and began to read its contents.
“Ah, Assistant Professor Wayland! Welcome to the institute. Your emblem is ready. Here you go.”
She handed him a small, intricately designed phoenix emblem, a mark of his official status within the academy. The emblem was adorned with the symbol of the Runic Department, indicating his primary affiliation, and was depicted by a lone rune. While he had been forced to join up with the Enforcement Department, only the association to the main one was engraved on this silvery insignia that could be worn in various ways.
Assistant Professors were exempt from uniform requirements and had the liberty to position their emblems as they saw fit. Most opted for brooches or pendants around the neck, while some, like Arion, incorporated them into collars as he assumed the form of a floating cat. Roland chose to affix his emblem temporarily to the robe covering his armor, with plans to magically meld it to his armor later if necessary.
Apart from indicating his affiliation, Roland's rank within the Assistant Professors was discernible from the number of stars displayed at the bottom. The woman he had just met, an Instructor, could have up to two stars. Tier 3 class holders, on the other hand, could boast up to five stars. As a newcomer, Roland possessed the minimum number of stars possible. Nevertheless, even this modest designation granted him unrestricted access throughout the entire academy. Eager to take advantage of his current privileges, he intended to head straight to the library.
‘But first I have to find it…’
Soon, Roland embarked on a small expedition through the magical institute, encountering various trials and tribulations. Despite having the key to access the library, his sense of direction left much to be desired. He had previously relied on a mapping feature that guided him to every location, inadvertently becoming dependent on it and neglecting to learn alternative methods. In this environment saturated with magical artifacts, creating a proper map became nearly impossible; the mana interference was overwhelming, and his invention struggled to navigate the multitude of dimensional doors scattered everywhere.
‘This should be the place, it only took me two hours to get here…’
After navigating through a series of twists and turns, Roland stood before an ornate door adorned with ancient runes etched into its surface. The door emitted a faint magical aura, signaling its significance. Along the way, he encountered a diverse array of people and students, eliciting various reactions. Some were frightened by his appearance, others intrigued, and a few even took offense. The prevalence of nobility in the surroundings added an unpleasant layer, as Roland was uncertain whether he might unintentionally offend a powerful noble's child, potentially turning his life upside down. Eager to put an end to such encounters and prioritize advancing his research, Roland's main objective now was to leave this place.
‘It won’t budge normally as I remember correctly…’
The library entrance was protected by statues crafted in the likeness of griffins. As Roland approached, an unusual noise, reminiscent of rocks grinding together, reached his ears. The statues’ heads turned in his direction as he neared, their unyielding gaze fixed on him as he attempted to push open the wide double doors. Entry into this space necessitated acknowledgment of his new role as an assistant professor. It was only after infusing his emblem with mana that the spell activated, allowing the library door to swing open.
‘There it goes… quite the simple locking mechanism…’
Throughout his tedious journey, Roland engaged in some investigation. His emblem, a creation of runecraft, had been readily dissected before his arrival. Although not entirely identical to the devices he crafted personally, the underlying logic was similar. The key factor was his distinctive mana fingerprint, recorded the moment he interacted with the emblem. It seemed likely that the entire school operated within a comprehensive system, wherein his unique mana signature was now logged.
With each attempt to access a door, the system performed a scan for his mana fingerprint to ascertain his entry permissions. Yet, the process extended beyond this; there was a kind of handshake involving the emblem he wore. It wasn't sufficient to exert his mana on the door; activation required using the emblem provided to him. Should he seek entry into restricted areas, he would need to both upgrade the emblem to a higher rank and gain access to the mainframe storing his mana pattern. A task that wouldn’t be easily achieved.
As Roland entered the library, he marveled at the vast collection of books, scrolls, and magical tomes that lined the shelves. The air carried a faint scent of old parchment and the subtle hum of magical energies. The library seemed to stretch on endlessly, with various sections dedicated to different branches of magic.
‘I have to admit, this place is impressive.’
Roland strolled through the aisles, occasionally stopping to glance at the titles of books or inspect particularly intriguing artifacts displayed on pedestals. He noticed students and mages engrossed in their studies, each absorbed in their own magical pursuits. As he walked deeper into the library, the atmosphere became more serene, and the ambient noise of rustling pages and magical incantations filled the air.
‘Now, where is that section on advanced runic theory?’
Roland's primary objective was to deepen his understanding of runic magic, but this wasn't his sole focus. The mana phantom phenomenon he had encountered remained inadequately studied. While Professor Arion provided some initial guidance on where to commence his investigation, he admitted his limitations, unable to offer substantial assistance due to the phenomenon being outside his area of expertise.
Initially, Roland found it somewhat peculiar that no one intervened as he examined the bookcases. However, the denizens of this academy held immense faith in their magic. In their view, even an individual with a somewhat suspicious appearance like Roland had to possess proper identification for entry. There was an unwavering confidence in the impregnability of their magical defenses, a potential flaw that someone with Roland's skills could likely exploit given ample research time.As he progressed, Roland noticed students and mages deeply engrossed in their studies, each absorbed in their individual magical pursuits. In this world, magic had a peculiar aspect, intertwined with a game-like system. People could fully utilize and enhance it by delving into the intricacies of mana control for each specific spell. While somewhat akin to his runes, achieving perfection was more challenging.
The process involved studying correct chant intonations, leveling up skills in various fields, and executing them in stressful situations - it was no easy feat. In contrast, Roland could prepare most of his magical arsenal beforehand, and even if something malfunctioned, he could easily restore it as long as he had enough mana.
Yet, Roland wasn't entirely versed in the intricacies of regular spell casting, having focused on an entirely different field. The spells he created were often assisted by the world system, akin to a pair of training wheels. This reliance led some mages to become complacent, and Roland found that the library dedicated to delving into the intricacies wasn't being used by as many students or teachers as he anticipated.
‘I guess they probably train out in the field more than surround themselves with literature, to level up skills one has to use spells and not read about them. Though if you want to master the craft, you have to do both…’
As he walked deeper into the library, the atmosphere became more serene, and the ambient noise of rustling pages filled the air. Finally, Roland reached the section on advanced runic theory. The shelves were filled with ancient manuscripts, thick tomes, and delicate scrolls that held the accumulated knowledge of generations of runemasters. He carefully selected a few volumes that caught his eye, finding texts on rune combinations, advanced enchantments, and experimental runic applications. To no surprise this section of the library was quite empty and the shelves were even filled with some dust.
‘This should keep me busy for a while.’
With a satisfied nod, Roland settled into a quiet corner of the library. He immersed himself in the study of advanced runic theory, eager to expand his knowledge and discover new possibilities for his craft. A magic glow illuminated his reading session as time ticked by and minutes turned to hours. Before he knew it, a loud booming noise echoed through the library to indicate that it was time to close.
Startled by the abrupt
, Roland reluctantly closed the tome he was engrossed in. Before he could pose a question about the sound an owl with glasses appeared before him.
“Closing time, sir. You'll have to continue your studies tomorrow.”
“Ah sure, my apologies but could I take some of them with me?”
“If you wish to borrow books from the library, you must inquire with the main librarian before closing times.”
“I see… then I’ll come tomorrow.”
The magical owl emitted a hoot before taking flight. Roland remained uncertain whether the creature shared similarities with Arion or belonged to a different category, perhaps serving as an animal familiar or an intelligent monster. Regardless, he needed to leave the library and make preparations for his upcoming first day at the academy. Arion had assured him of a tour around the runic department, where the creation of various artifacts took place. Roland's temporary life at the Institute had officially commenced, and he could only hope that within a month or two, he would amass enough knowledge to return home and pursue the creation of runic prosthetics.
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