Chapt 2 – What is Magic?

Chapter 2 – What is Magic?

In my past life I never knew my parents.
By the time I became self-aware I was already in an orphanage. That orphanage told me that my family was destroyed by terrorism.
As the sole survivor, I stumbled around without purpose until a certain woman appeared and adopted me.*
She was a strange person who lived alone in the mountains.
The fact that I managed to live till 60 was probably thanks to her (my Shishou’s) guidance.
In other words, it’s thanks to the living hell (the ‘training’) that she put me through every day without rest.
Thanks to that, be it now or in the past, if I were to meet my real family (*in heaven?) I could stand proud and say I did my best every day.*

That said, despite my mind being that of a 60 year old, in this world with Erina-san, Noel and Dee I’m not particularly lonely.
Although this world is missing many of my world’s modern necessities, for now I only need to concentrate on forging a strong body.

Half a year passes. (?)

Today as-well, without being seen by the maids, I carry out my daily training.
Though I say training, right now all I’m doing is lifting my arms and legs up; it’s closer to gymnastics.
Since I’m still in an infant’s body, putting too much strain on myself will only be detrimental to my development –and could even kill me.
Though this may look unrefined, it’s part of a diligently devised plan. The one who developed this training method was my Shishou.

“If we were to get a baby, and start their training before they’d even become self-aware, I bet they would quickly become an even greater warrior than me!”
“…Shishou definitely killed people even before becoming a warrior.”
“Well… those were, you know… it was killing in order to live!”

‘Hell’s training from birth!’ was a name with bad taste, but Shishou enthusiastically told me about her planned method with a gleeful smile.
I never expected I’d be using it for myself. The plan was rough and the training severe, but all of it had sound reasoning behind it. Where it may have been lacking I adjusted it with my own knowledge.
It was tough, but seeing my rapid progress kept me encouraged to continue.

A few days ago I started crawling. *
When Noel saw this, with a wide grin, her ears and tail stood up and she dashed off to summon everyone in the house. They were all very pleased to see me moving about. That night at dinner even Erina-san , who didn’t usually drink alcohol, was giggling away with good-humoured tipsiness.

A year after being born.

My body has been developing favourably. The daily training has moved on to things like push-ups and sit-ups. I’m still careful not to over-train, as doing so could stunt my growth.
It’s about time I started jogging to increase stamina.
My debut as a warrior is drawing near.

“Haihai~ Sirius-sama, look here please.”
But Noel’s attitude toward me still doesn’t change.

Although Erina-san told her ‘don’t use fire magic around him because it’s dangerous’, she seems to enjoy showing it to me. That said, since one day I’d like to learn how to use it too, I’m grateful for her disobedience.

“I ask thus; reveal the truth of fire, let the fire God’s power come forth! [FLAME!]”
With her eyes closed she chants these words, and a flame appears in her palm.
No matter how many times I see it, I don’t understand. What’s the theory behind it? What’s being burnt as fuel?

“Heheh~ with this do you respect Onee-chan’s ability? …although this is the only magic I’m good at.”

Oi now, young lady, you’re letting the truth slip out… I guess she just wants to put on the air of a strong older sister.
Although I have the mind of an old man, a child trying their best to surpass their limits is definitely cute**
After that, Erina-san saw and got angry with Noel again.

The next day, after getting up and finishing my physical workout, I decided to challenge magic.
It’d be all good if I had an instruction manual, but forget that; I haven’t even found a single book. Without modern manufacturing techniques, paper its-self might be an expensive rarity.
Furthermore, my only knowledge of magic is from the time Noel showed me her fireball.
For the time being I decide to try imitating what she did, but… nothing happened. Is it concentration I’m lacking, or is it another matter? After that failure, I continued with trial and error for a while but in the end nothing happened.
There’s no helping it, shall I try bait her into play-teaching me somehow?****** being told I had no talent would really suck though.*

It’s after lunch, and everyone is gathered together.
In this relaxed atmosphere, Erina-san and Noel are nitting and Dee is sipping tea.
While staring at these three sitting there, I begin put my plan into action.

“Erina-san, Sirius-sama is looking this way ya know?”
“So he is. Perhaps he’s interested in knitting.”

“Erina—“

“!?”

Erina san drops the thing she was knitting.

“…Sirius-sama. Once more. Please say it once more.”
“Erina-“
“aa…..aa….”

A few tears flow out as she’s overwhelmed by emotion.

“Sirius-sama! Me too! Me too please! Noel! No-e-l!

Her face is close.*
It’d be fun to see the usually emotionless Dee’s reaction too, but it seems like that’d crush Noel’s pride.

“Noel~”
“Kyaa! Sirius-sama, next please say ‘onee-sama’ !”

Getting carried away in the confusion… just what is this girl trying to make me say? Since she’s like that I’ll ignore her.
Turning around I see that Dee is also nearby. Do I want to push my luck? Yep. I’ve already said this much. I point toward him and say;**

“Dee~”
“….yes” (hai)

As usual his expression doesn’t show much change, but as if savouring the moment he closes his eyes.

But, my plan isn’t over yet.
Putting power into my feet and supporting myself with my hands, I stand up. *
Heading toward Erina-san as she wipes away tears, I slowly place one foot in front of another.

“shi-Sirus-sama!? That is…!”
“He’s walking! Sirius-sama is walking!”

To suddenly starting to walk perfectly might seem creepy, so I advance while occasionally pretending to stumble.
It was only about 5 steps, but I safely reached Erina’s outstretched arms and met her embrace.

“Very well done Sirius-sama, Erina is proud of you!”
“He’s a genius! This boy is without a doubt a genius!” *(TL note: I may have misunderstood something here; He’s 12 months old now, right? most healthy children learn to walk when they’re between 8-15months old, so surely this isn’t that strange? Rather than walking, purposely naming individuals like ‘Dee’ would be much more abnormal…?)

Being crushed between the two of them as they dance around in celebration is a bit painful.
Rather than stop them, Dee announces that he’ll prepare a feast to celebrate.
Perhaps I overdid it a bit…

**something about a drunk.**

The next day I increase my walking distance. These people don’t seem to see my growth as abnormal, so I should be able to start my jogging in about a months’ time—no, as it is, half a month shouldn’t be a problem.
The problem is magic – as something which didn’t exist at all in my old world, I have no idea how to get started.
Though it was only a few words, I’ve shown I can speak, so somehow perhaps I can get Noel to tell me.*

“Good afternoon. Today I’ll show you some different magic~. Uuumm… if I remember right, this one shouldn’t be too dangerous…”

Noel came to show me magic again today. But unlike before, because she aparently wants to show me something new, today she is holding a single thick book.
Nice one, Noel!
I was waiting for this moment! Now, stop hogging the book to yourself, hurry up and show me!
Pointing at the book, with all my might I try to give off the feeling that I want to see it.

“Ehhh, you’re interested in this? Hmm. Wait a second please.”

She likely went to get Erina-san’s permission. Before she would have shown it to me without asking for permission, I guess this means she’s grown up a bit?
While I was feeling moved by her growth, Noel returned with permission.
With me sitting on her soft lap, the long awaited ‘Elementry magic textbook’ finally opens. I look at the page before me– Oi! I can’t read any of the characters!… Bah, no choice, I’ll have to wait for her to read it out to me.

“uhhm, ‘Magic – first principles: Magic is still an unexplained phenomenon, however, it is an omnipotent power which can bring out the blessings of any object.’ … it says. Though I don’t understand it at all!~”

I answer her with a beaming smile.
I can’t understand the letters, but as long as I know the basics of magic I can improve through my own efforts.*
Though she doesn’t understand what she’s saying, Noel dutifully keeps reading aloud.
The writer uses very poor grammar and indirect syntax*, and his handwriting is so bad that just being able to read it is impressive. *(good thing our 1-year-old grammar-nazi –who can’t even read– is on the case, huh?)
I try and organise the information in my head in a way which I can understand;

Magic is using mana* to create physical phenomena. *magic power=mana
Mana can’t be seen, but is present in everything. Humans also store and use mana to live.*
By using the mana within our bodies we’re able to produce things like Noel’s flame; a common magic.

It seems that by drawing a magic circle you can activate magic simply by pouring in magic.
The night-lamp and cooking fire seem to be magic tools which work on this theory.
Expending a large amount of one’s magic power into such magic tools seems to make a person feel physically weaker.
It also seems that you only have to draw a circle once and it can be reused time and time again; making daily life much more convenient.

Another type of magic is to borrow the power of the spirits, ‘Spirit magic’.
Spirits huh…it sounds like something a person suffering from Chuunibyou would write*/enjoy.
Because the magic’s effectiveness depends vastly on whether the spirits like the one who summoned them or not, it doesn’t seem to be very popular. Since spirits can’t be seen or touched, you have no choice but to wait for them to approach you.* How to increase intimacy with the spirits still hasn’t been figured out.

There are a lot of mysteries surrounding spirit magic. What is known is that to invoke magic you need to cast a chant. As you chant, the magic within your body starts to gather and becomes a phenomenon. Each magic has its own keywords, but they’re not set; for example when Noel used flame, her words could have been slightly different and still produced the same result.* . ‘as long as it’s something to do with fire, and you have the confidence and desire to summon a flame, it’ll work’ is what I think the book is saying. So basically, there are some key-words which you need to include in the chant for it to work, but otherwise chants can vary*. It says that there are researchers who work night and day experimenting with chants in order to shorten them. For example, ‘Flame’ is the basic keyword for fire magic, and the rest was read from the book to give support.**

To use magic you consume your magic power; which is why you feel weak after using too much. As your magic power depletes, your whole body starts to feel sluggish – if you continue to use magic then you end up fainting. Training until exhaustion during childhood will increase mana capacity and skill; if you haven’t reached your maximum potential by the time you’re an adult then it is near impossible to do so as training once reaching adulthood has a significantly reduced effect. It also seems that maximum magic potential & how quickly you’ll advance is largely decided before birth, and the potentials vary greatly.
The training method mentioned in this text book has an exponential growth effect; so if I started training it along-side my physical training now at only 1 year of age, then my magic-power should grow extremely fast. * Though compared to physical strength the potential for this to cause trouble is much higher, so perhaps I’d better not.*

That said, even if your magic power is low… isn’t it alright to rely on the external mana?
Since the book said that magic power is just floating around all over the place, if you were to use that then surely you could use super-strong magic with ease? The book answered my question though; apparently the magic in the air is of a different quality to that in our body, so it can’t be used. As an example, if human mana were black, then the mana floating around in the atmosphere is white. To use the white mana, you’d need to gather it all up and convert it to black mana; such is simply not possible, and even if it were, it’d be inefficient – is roughly what the book says.

Even more important than one’s mana capacity is their mana attribute.
This too seems to be decided at birth, but unlike mana capacity, your attribute is impossible to change.
Since Noel used ‘Flame’ magic, her attribute is obviously fire.
Since she’s fire attribute, she excels at fire magic, while someone with the water attribute would excel at water magic.
Hearing this, my current objective has become to find out what attribute I am.
Though it’s not that you can’t use magic from different attributes to your own, but when doing so there is an extremely steep drop in quality.

When we finished the section on affinities, Noel closed the book.
Quite a long time had passed. **

“Fuu~ let’s leave it here for today. Reading aloud has tired me out~”
“Good work. I’ve prepared some tea so go ahead and take a break.”
“Wah! Erina-san, when’d you get here!?”

Looking around, Erina-san stood there with a smile with a tray of black-tea.

“Just a bit ago. Rather, you must be thirsty right? I’ll take care of Sirius-sama so go ahead and relax.”
“Thank you very much.”
I get up and start waddling towards Erina-san’s lap.
The young Noel’s lap is comfortable too, but as expected Erina-san’s is exceptional.
Erina-san took the book from Noel while gently stroking my head.
“Anyhow he sure is studious. It already feels like Sirius-sama will be using magic any day now”
“ahaha. No chance! Afterall even I had an awful time at learning just elementary magic. Besides he can’t even read yet you know?”
“That’s true. But if it’s Sirius-sama then I can somehow see it happening.”
“mhm, I can’t totally deny it…But it’ll still be a few years yet.”

And as such the two of them laughed while drinking tea.
Hmmm… if it’s me, huh? If they’re putting such expectations on me, I have no choice but to meet them! First of all I better start learning to read ay.

“Attribute huh… by the way, what do you think Sirius-sama’s attribute is?”
That’s something I want to know too!
I’m not too fussed over what it is, but if it were water or fire I think it could be pretty handy.

“Shall we look into it? There should be a testing tool in my room.”
“Ah- that. I’ll go grab it.”

Noel returned carrying an object wrapped in paper. Inside was a small, round crystal.
From the looks of it, it seemed to be something easy to manufacture. However, the wrapping paper had a complicated pattern painted on it – this would probably be the ‘magic square’ mentioned in the book.
The basic attributes; Fire, Water, Wind and Earth, were written on the magic square. It seemed that you’d place your hand on the crystal, and it’d light up with a different colour to indicate your attribute.

“Uhmm, I’m done filling it up with magic; we’re good to go!”
“Well then, Sirius-sama. Please put your hand here.”
“ai” *(baby speak for hai//yes?)

My heart starts racing with excitement*//nervousness as I stretch my hand out.
Immediately the crystal emits a dazzling light. I instinctively close my eyes. Because I was temporarily blinded, I missed the colour change. Since I took my hand off the crystal without thinking the moment it started shining, by the time I’d opened my eyes the light had already disappeared and I had no idea what colour it had been.

“Erina-sama, just now was…?”
“Yeah, it was a light, but… “
Oh? Somehow their words and expressions seem stiff.
Since the result seems uncertain, let’s give it another go. This time, while using my free hand to partly protect my eyes, I’ll see what colour it is.

“It’s colourless after-all.”
“no way…”

Ehh.. why do the two of them have such a sad expression?
I thought it was a really strong light though…
Does it being colourless mean I have no talent? Is that why they look down?
A bit bewildered, I embrace Erina-san, who looks as though she’s about to cry.

“God is… so cruel. Sirius-sama, I’ll…. I’ll definitely give you a magic-charm*”.
“M- me too!”

Why am I being looked at with such pity? I’m begging you, give me an explanation.
Thinking about it, these two have always cared for me and put great expectations on me*.

But ‘colourless’ huh…
It has an ominous ring to it…

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