Angelina Wants to Learn Magic
Angelina was practically whispering, as if she was afraid that other people would hear it. Yet, it sounded like a thunderous roar to Claude’s ears. He turned around ferociously and said, “You… You can see the blue Ancient Hez text as well?!”
She started at his sudden movement and parted her mouth like she was going to bawl. However, she snapped out of it, hugged the cookbook nervously and nodded.
Claude only just noticed that his jerk had startled her. He approached her, knelt and said gently, “How did you manage to see it?”
“Y-you forgot the cookbook and left it with me. I wasn’t able to sleep at night, so I opened it to read it and the pages turned white all of a sudden. And then, lots of dark blue words popped up, just like the Ancient Hez words we’re learning at school…” As she spoke, she suddenly recalled what Claude said. “C-claude… how did you know it was Ancient Hez?”
He smiled at the thought that his sister was similarly talented in magic like him. However, he wasn’t aware of how potent she was nor whether she was fire-element-oriented like him. Either way, the fact that she could see those words probably meant that she had pretty good talent.
“Being able to see the Ancient Hez text inside this cookbook means that you have talent for magic. You can become a magus,” Claude said as he stroked his sister’s head.
She clutched her mouth as she gasped and widened her eyes. “Ma… gus… Those evil people in the story books that wear black robes and white masks? Those people who do bad things and kidnap princesses?”
Claude admit that he had been beaten by his sister, but it was only natural. The magi described in the books were varied in all sorts of ways, apart from a single quality: their evilness. As for their deeds, instead of calling them magi, it would be more appropriate to call them clowns. He didn’t know where all the princesses waiting to be kidnapped by the magi came from in this world, especially when the magi did nothing particularly of note to them following the abduction. All they did was wait for people to come and save the princesses in their magic tower, all the while offering up the precious treasures they had gathered over their lifetimes.
After ruffling his sister’s brown hair to his heart’s content, Claude said awkwardly, “Don’t believe the made-up stories in those books. Not all magi are evil. They’re just like people we know. Some are good, some are bad, some are selfish, some are generous. There are 100 different personalities for 100 different people. What the books say aren’t always correct.”
“T-then.. How do you know magi aren’t evil?” Angelina said unyieldingly, “When I talk to my classmates about magi, they all say that they’re evil and that we should report it to the authorities if we ever see one so that they don’t escape.”
“Then, have you seen a magus before?”
“Well…” She wracked her brains and said, “Nobody would walk out in the streets with a white mask and a black robe.”
“Haha, even magi wouldn’t be so stupid as to dress themselves up like this in public. Most of them live like normal people. They’re like you and me, they need to eat, sleep, work, buy clothes, and so on. If they don’t show you any magic, you’ll never know that they’re magi.”
She breathed a sigh of relief. “But Claude, you said I had talent for magic… Will I become an evil magus in the future? I’m… I’m really scared.”
He stroked her face gently and said, “What are you scared of? You won’t become a magus just because you have some talent for magic. You can only do so if you want to. Having talent is only the first step. After that, you’ll have to train hard in meditation. You have to endure loneliness and live a life of secrecy, never telling anybody about your training. And you’ll only be able to use some basic spells after you become a first-ranked rune magus. Only then can you truly be considered one.”
“W-why do you know so much, Claude?”
Claude opened his hand and a bright, white ball appeared in it. It slowly widened and hovered in the air.
“It’s… it’s beautiful…” She looked at the white ball that emanated bright light in a daze.
Claude almost did a double take.
Shouldn’t she be shocked to see that he knew magic? At the very least, she should be freaking out. He thought he had to stop her from waking his mother and brother. How did women’s minds work anyway? Why did they pay attention to whether something was pretty or not? Wasn’t it only a white ball? There’s nothing amazing about it.
Claude had forgotten the expression of shock he showed Maria when she first used Luminous Pearl. Seriously speaking, he didn’t fare much better than Angelina.
The ball slowly rose to the roof and illuminated the whole ceiling.
She stared at the ball for a good while and finally looked away with satisfaction. “That’s great! It’s so bright! We don’t have to use candles anymore.”
Well, at the very least, the first thing that’s on her mind is how to save cost for our family. We really did raise her well.
But then, she snapped out of it and stared at Claude. “C-claude… W-why do you know magic?”
He shrugged and said, “Anna, as you can see, I’m a magus. Actually, this spell, Luminous Pearl, is something Lady Maria taught me. She is a magus as well.”
“I-it’s no wonder she would give this hut and the land around it to you… She’s a magus like you as well,” Angelina said with a tone of realization.
“That’s not just it, Anna. Magi aren’t always friendly to each other. Sit down and I’ll tell you everything about it.” He shook his head. His sister didn’t know that the real reason Maria gave him all that property was because he gave her the formation diagrams of the four forbidden spells.
“Actually, I also learned from the cookbook you’re holding that I have magical talent. I translated the Ancient Hez text within and found a lead which allowed me to start training in magic. It was a coincidence that I got to know Lady Maria. I saved her life by using magic to stop her panicked horse on a mountain path. The horse is none other than Jemmy over there. That was when she realized I knew magic as well.”
Claude chuckled. “At that time, I was thinking of killing her to silence her. As you know, if people realize that I’m a magus, it’d be over for me. I’m not willing to be caught and accused to be an evil magus. Little did I know that she was one too and she saw through me right away and invited me to her residence as a guest. That’s when she showed me the spells she learned. Look, that’s one of them.”
He pointed at the floating white ball of light and continued, “I’m really thankful for Lady Maria. Even though she’s not the same type of magus as I am, she did guide me on a lot of important things after we met. I was lucky that the first magus I got to know was Maria. She didn’t have any ulterior motives nor ill intentions at all. She tried her best to help me by making me the supervisor of the wood so that nobody would disturb my magical training.”
Claude then sighed. “Anna, you’re not wrong in a sense. Some magi are evil too. The second magus I met was just like that. He wanted to rob me and steal the precious magical materials I just bought. We fought for our lives and I was the last one standing. That’s why I trust Lady Maria so much. If she had meant ill towards me back then, I would’ve lost my life long ago.”
The girl’s eyes widened as if she was being told the epic tales from the Arabian Nights. That her brother was actually a magus was probably too big a shock for her young mind to bear. But when she looked up at the ball of light, she thought, how beautiful… So magic can be that pretty as well…
“Anna, do you think I’m evil?” Claude asked.
She shook her head. Claude was currently the relative she relied on most. Even if he was a magus, it wouldn’t matter. He wasn’t evil as far as she was concerned!
“Oh, by the way, did you show anyone the cookbook? Did you tell anyone that you can see the blue Ancient Hez text inside?”
“No. The first time I saw it, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. It was only later that I truly saw the change. After I stare long enough, the words would appear and it wasn’t a dream. I showed it to Blowk, but he said I was lying to him and even wanted to tear the cookbook into shreds. So I took it back and didn’t tell anybody else…”
Claude stroked her hair once more. “Never tell anyone about this in the future. Don’t let anybody know you have magic talent either. This isn’t a good thing. If you get found out, lots of bad things will happen. Just like your classmates, everyone is afraid of magi. Oh, and you must keep my status as a magus a secret too, alright? You can’t even tell mom or Blowk about it. Can you do that?”
She nodded with certainty. “Don’t worry, I won’t say anything.”
“Haha, very well. Remember, this is a secret between the two of us. Nobody but us can know. Alright, it’s getting late, so you should go get some sleep.”
She hummed her agreement and headed for the door. But just before she opened it, she turned back. “C-claude… C-can… can I learn magic too? I want to become a magus like you…”
Claude walked over and bent downwards to look into her large eyes filled with innocence. “Anna, you have to think about this properly. Becoming a magus isn’t something worth boasting about. In fact, it would be best if nobody knows about it, just like how you didn’t know that I was one back then. Maybe you might have powers normal people don’t have if you become a magus, but similarly, you will have to face the risks those powers come with. Your life might even be in danger.”
He pointed at the ball of light. “Magic is not just for show. It can be dangerous and cst lives too. If you are certain you want to become a magus, then you will have to prepare and train long and hard. You’re not going to succeed overnight. It’s not something as simple as training either. I’ll give you three days to think properly about it. If you really want to become a magus, I’ll teach you everything I know, understood?”
She hummed again, this time with a lower pitch, before she left.
Claude lost all interest in performing alchemical experiments. He sat back into the couch and listened to Angelina’s rhythmic steps as she headed upstairs, before sighing.
Welikro’s farewell during the afternoon gave him a bad omen. He felt that the time he had to leave Whitestag was coming soon. While he didn’t really care where he would be sent, his mother and siblings were people he couldn’t just let go of. They were his family in this completely foreign world, his flesh and blood.
If possible, he wouldn’t want to serve in the military. However, he was but a common peasant that wouldn’t be able to escape the fate of being dragged to the frontlines and used as cannon fodder. Even though he had become a magus, he didn’t have any power to go against the decrees of the kingdom. If history was a wheel that rolled forwards, Claude felt that he would be the ant in front of that wheel. He would easily be crushed by its weight on his back.
It was that feeling of foreboding that caused Claude to reveal his identity as a magus to his sister. Angelina’s talent for magic was a surprise no doubt. Perhaps that way, she would be able to protect the household with her newfound powers after he left.
It looked like Angelina didn’t need three days to think about it at all. During the same time the next day, she knocked on his study and entered with her eyes looking more resolute than ever. “Claude, I’ve decided that I want to become a magus like you.”