* * *
After having breakfast with Van, he went to the meeting Mamil had arranged. He explained the details to Van, but didn’t bring him along.
It wasn’t because Van was in the way. The problem was Mamil’s personality. The more people he was around, the more hysterical he would become. Fewer people were better for a comfortable meeting.
“Let’s see, the cafe ‘Carrot and Chiffon’…….”
A cafe with the cute name ‘Carrot and Chiffon’ was Mamil’s hand-picked meeting spot. He left as if he was running away using the teleport magic, so he didn’t write down the appointment time…… Well, if he waited, Mamil would come. Cadel decided to keep it simple.
After asking a passerby for directions to the cafe, he found it deserted, with only a few customers inside. Cautiously looking around for a table, he wondered if Mamil would be there first. Soon, out of the corner of his eye, a familiar face caught his eye.
Unfortunately, it was not a welcome sight at all.
“Why are you here?”
With a look of disbelief on his face, he approached the table where a man sat. The man sat gracefully cross-legged with a newspaper spread wide open. Peeking out from beneath the folds of the newspaper, his piercing blue eyes stared up at Cadel.
“Do you know that you ask that every time you see me these days?”
“That’s because you keep showing up in the strangest places! What are you doing here? Go back. Mamil will run away when he sees your face!”
“Running away after seeing my face? No way. Normally, he’d be too stunned to move a step.”
Stunned or not, Lumen was the one who humiliated Mamil. While Cadel himself was the ultimate culprit, it was Lumen’s sneer that sent Mamil on the run.
Mamil certainly hadn’t forgotten yesterday’s humiliation, and if he were to find Lumen sitting at the meeting place he’d come to so anxiously, he’d probably leave for good. Anxiously, Cadel glanced back and forth between the cafe’s door and Lumen.
“You’re gonna blow my hard-earned opportunity? You may be a temporary member, but you should at least have some decency. Did you forget we’re watching each other? You’re leaving a pretty bitter taste right now.”
“Leader isn’t exactly sweet either.”
“Are you really going to be like this!”
What kind of stubbornness was this? He didn’t know when Mamil was going to show up, so he was stomping his feet.
‘If Mamil gets here, I’m screwed. No, I’ll have to take him out by force…….’
He couldn’t guarantee that he could pull him out, but he’d try to grab him by the collar for now. With that in mind, Cadel snatched the newspaper that Lumen was holding.
“I think you’d better go back.”
The moment he realized Lumen’s stealthy gaze was on the doorway behind him instead of the newspaper that had been snatched from him, Cadel could feel the irreversible damage had been done.
He didn’t have to look back to know. Mamil Kifa had shown up for the appointment. With a shaky hand, Cadel shoved the newspaper in Lumen’s face, and Lumen accepted the crumpled newspaper without a word.
“Make sure you’re properly covered.”
He snapped his head around with a murderous snarl. His face, freshly sharpened as if he hadn’t had his teeth bared a while ago, went straight for Mamil Kifa.
Mamil had found the most secluded spot in the cafe and sat down. When he finally made eye contact with Cadel, he rolled his eyes. It was an uncooperative demeanor for someone who had come to him for what he wanted, but Cadel would have none of it. He was a character in the game who was forced to meet with the player in order to obtain ‘Demon Bone Powder’.
After ordering drinks and dessert in advance, Cadel sat down across from Mamil. He rested his arms on the table and smiled brightly, and Mamil clicked his tongue to show his displeasure.
“Did you bring my magic book, Mr. Mamil? Is it real or fake? I hope you didn’t throw it away because it’s fake. It was a gift, after all, and it would be rude to throw it away―”
Mamil quickly retrieved the magic book and placed it on the table, fearing that Cadel would start blabbing like he had last time. If he hadn’t thrown it away, this magic book must be genuine. Cadel grinned at the unexpected fortune.
“It’s a pretty good magic book, but it won’t be of any use to you. Sell it on the black market or whatever.”
“Pardon? Why? Why is it useless?”
“This is the Tome of Wind Magic. Didn’t you introduce yourself as a fire magician with that loud mouth?”
Cadel’s mouth dropped open at Mamil’s words. A Tome of Wind Magic.
‘I guess this is where they fill in for Lumen!’
There were as many magic books in this world as there were magical properties. No matter how advanced a magic book you acquired, if it didn’t match the magic element you were working with, it was useless. You’d have to sell or trade it for a high price. Given that most magicians in this world only learn one attribute, magic books were a dime a dozen, even if they were authentic fakes.
Of course, that didn’t matter to Cadel. He could drill through a variety of attributes for as many points as he wanted to spend, and there was no limit to the magic he could wield.
‘Of course, if you learn this and that from the beginning, you will become a half-assed player with nothing to put forward, so it is usually ideal to grow focusing on two attributes. If it were a magic book with any other attributes, I’d have to wait a while to use it……. I got lucky.’
Luckily for Cadel, the magic book he got was [The Tome of Wind]. He was lucky that the magic book he obtained was [The Tome of Wind] because he had broken through the magic of the wind attribute while he was fighting the witch the other day. This meant that he would have a lot more flexibility in how he spent the attribute points he’d been saving up as quest completion rewards.
He could pour points into the fire magic and use the wind magic as a support, and vice versa. Cadel, elated by his unexpected good fortune, pulled the magic book toward him and said excitedly.
“I’m a fire magician, but I can also use wind magic. How do I decipher this magic book?”
“……What did you say?”
“I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t decipher what was written even when I open it―”
Mamil hastily raised a hand to interrupt Cadel. He picked his ears for a moment as if he’d heard something he shouldn’t have, and then his gaze settled.
“Did you just say that you can use the magic of two attributes? You? Fire and wind?”
“If you dare to prank me again…….”
“Um? Why would I?”
Cadel had an innocent look on his face, as if he really had no reason to, and as far as Mamil was concerned, there was no reason for Cadel to tell a lie that would be discovered so quickly.
But he couldn’t believe it. The young man in front of him was in his mid-twenties at best, his demeanor flippant and devoid of any trace of intellectual grace. He was a genius magician with two attributes? This stupid man who couldn’t crack a magic book on his own and begged him to teach him basic things like mana operation and management?
Facing Mamil, who expressed his disbelief with every facial muscle in his body, Cadel held out both hands in a good-natured gesture.
“If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you.”
He spread his palms out on the table, and a small ball of fire appeared in one hand, and a small puff of wind hissed and pulsed in the other. Mamil’s eyes widened as if they couldn’t get any wider. Cadel thought his eyes would fall.
“It’s done now, right? Please decode the magic book first.”
Cadel quickly and casually withdrew the spell, but Mamil’s shock did not fade.
He was amazed that Cadel was truly a two-attribute magician, that he could cast a spell, however weak, so instantly and without a chant, and once again that he could manifest both attributes simultaneously.
He was stunned and speechless. He was once again struck by the absurdity of the world, something he had tried to avoid thinking about after he reached a certain age.
‘Someone of his caliber would come all the way out here to ask me for basic magic lessons? That’s ridiculous. He’s a two-attribute magician, not some other guy. I’m sure a bunch of name-obsessed magicians would be clamoring to take him on as a disciple. Neither the family nor the territories he belonged to would have left him alone. And yet he doesn’t even know the basics……. Has he been hiding his power? But why? There’s no reason for that…….’
While repeating reasoning about Cadel’s unconvincing behavior, a hypothesis flashed through Mamil’s head.
‘This punk, don’t tell me……!’