Chapter 10: Until I Turn Ten (2)
Aside from aura and mana, there are some people in this world who wield other special powers—although they are few and far between. Amongst these ‘special powers’, spiritual power is the rarest of them all.
And the beings who control spiritual power can be separated into two categories.
Those who were born from Solderet, just like Murakan, and people who made a contract with the god, just like Jin.
During his prime, Murakan could use spiritual power to fend off five 9-star magicians simultaneously without having to escape. Jin couldn’t even picture the dragon’s full power.
In other words, now that Solderet was refusing to show himself, Murakan was the perfect teacher for Jin.
“People like you and me who can use spiritual power can release spiritual energy. It’s the first and last technique we need to know.”
“First and last?”
“It’s a basic technique yet also a lethal move. The principle is easy. It’s similar to how a magician uses mana.”
When magicians reached the 3-star stage, they could release mana.
In other words, if someone could release mana, they had reached the 3-star stage. Since Jin was a 5-star magician in his past life, releasing mana was a piece of cake for him.
However, while Murakan knew that Jin had ‘mana’ within him, he didn’t know that the child had the ‘knowledge and skills of a 5-star magician’.
Jin had yet to tell the dragon about his rebirth, and he wasn’t planning on telling anyone from here on out.
“But as far as I know, magicians don’t use mana release as a lethal move… do they?”
“Just because they both use the word ‘release’ and are similar in style doesn’t mean mana release is on the same level as releasing spiritual energy.”
“In any case, before you learn how to release spiritual energy, you must learn how to release mana first.”
At Jin’s question, Murakan simply shrugged.
“You need to begin with learning the easier techniques. Would you try to learn how to swing a steel sword when you can’t even lift a wooden one?”
Jin nodded as he grasped the meaning, despite his reluctance. He had already mastered how to release mana in his previous life, so he was feeling impatient…
‘Oh well, I should just think of this as a revision. I haven’t tried to release mana ever since my regression either, so this is a good opportunity.’
Once Murakan sat straight before Jin, he suddenly burst out in laughter.
“Pffft hahaha… How amusing. I never would’ve thought I’d teach magic to a Runcandel child. If your father ever finds out about this, you and I are both as good as dead.”
Learning magic as a Runcandel signified treason.
Most martial clans disliked magic, but not many of them despised the very thought of magic as much as the Runcandel Clan. Ever since the death of the first patriarch, the Runcandels considered magic and its usage a taboo within the clan.
The clan members’ thought process was that if one learned magic, one wouldn’t be able to reach the pinnacle of swordsmanship. In actuality, several magic swordsmen had appeared throughout history, but none of them achieved incredible feats. They slowly disappeared and all traces of them vanished.
It was the same for the magic clans.
While magic clans didn’t ban martial arts, they highly looked down upon the usage of ‘aura’. It was believed that aura would dirty and muddy the purity of mana.
However, these beliefs were flawed.
The true reason why the Runcandels had banned magic was due to a humiliating and disgraceful pledge made with the Zipfels a thousand years ago.
During the era when Temar was still alive, the Runcandels were a clan of ‘magic swordsmen’.
Back then, the Runcandel Clan wasn’t as famous as it was today, and history wasn’t as distorted and fabricated.
The only ones who were aware of this truth were Jin—the regressor and Solderet’s contractor—and Murakan, along with some key figures of the Runcandel and Zipfel Clans.
“My father will kill us when he realizes I learned magic from you? Not if he kills me before that for secretly coming down here without authorization.”
“Indeed. If what you’ve told me about your father is true, then I have no doubt he’d kill you. Since we are accomplices, let me tell you a secret before we begin training. The people around the world believe that despite being rare, ‘magic swordsmen’ can never become truly powerful, right?”
“They certainly do, oddly enough.”
Jin pretended to be ignorant, to which Murakan chuckled.
“That’s all bullshit! It’s a lie made up by those Zipfel morons who are far more evil than the Runcandels. While you need a precondition to achieve it, magic swordsmen are the ultimate powerhouses. Your clan was once a venerable and respected clan of magic swordsmen.”
“Really? First time hearing this story.”
“…Are you not surprised?”
Murakan asked in a disappointed voice. Albeit belatedly, Jin let out a gasp and wowed at the dragon, who just shook his head at the child’s terrible acting.
“Haha, nothing could ever top the surprise I felt the day I met you. Anyways, you said something about a precondition?”
“Geez, you really aren’t cute at all, kid. So, you need to have a great affinity with mana, sensitivity to aura, and an excellent physical body. Oh, and a contract with a god.”
“So I already cleared the conditions.”
“Now that you understand, there’s no need to be afraid of learning magic from here on out. But promise me one thing, kid. You must never reveal your magic to the clan until you’re strong enough.”
“There’s no need to make me promise that. I already know of the potential consequences. I’ve only just turned eight, and I don’t plan on biting the dust anytime soon.”
“Good, good. Then from now on, your objective in life is to stand at the summit—stronger than anyone else—in order to let me live comfortably and in luxury. Let’s begin training now. First, let’s try to stimulate and awaken your mana. Hm, in order to do that, you need to…”
Jin created a mana sphere the size of a walnut on top of his palm, and Murakan could only stare in disbelief.
“This crazy twat… What in the world? How could you do that in a second? You didn’t even let me finish explaining!”
Jin also couldn’t hide his surprise.
He was planning on holding back and showing the dragon only the bare minimum in order to satisfy him, but had created the mana sphere subconsciously. It was more difficult to minutiously control the body of an 8-year-old compared to that of a 28-year-old.
Moreover, he hadn’t used magic in a long time, which was another cause of this mistake.
Before Jin could come up with an excuse, Murakan clenched his fists tightly and stood up.
“I see, Solderet! I finally understand why you chose him as your contractor after a thousand years! Kuhaha, he’s really something. He’s truly unbelievable! Kid, you make my heart beat so fast in excitement!”
The mistake seemed to have benefited Jin.
In order to continue his childish act, Jin scratched the back of his head and wore an awkward smile.
“Is this something that impressive?”
“Is that even a question? I’ve only ever seen three people succeed in creating a mana sphere so early in their childhood! The first time was with the Zipfel Clan’s first patriarch, the second was with the fourth patriarch. And finally, you!”
Murakan began to recount the story of how the first and fourth Zipfel patriarchs had achieved this feat at the tender ages of 5 and 7, respectively. However, Jin wasn’t very inspired by the story.
Because he was the same as them.
Jin, along with those two patriarchs, were all ‘magic geniuses’ in its truest meaning.
Before his regression, Jin had become a 5-star magician within 3 years. And since he had managed to make a contract with Solderet, Jin was potentially even more talented than those two acclaimed magicians.
‘If I were born in the Zipfel Clan during my first life, I would’ve reached the 8-star stage, at the very least, by 28 years old. Maybe even the 9-star stage.’
Murakan finally ended his maniacal laughter.
“Kid. Honestly, I thought it would take you at least a few years in order to learn how to release spiritual energy. But at this rate, you might be able to succeed before you leave the Storm Castle. Let’s move onto the next phase immediately!”
The next lesson was on mana transfer. It was a basic technique which required one to extinguish the mana on one hand, and move it to the other with pinpoint accuracy.
Learning this technique was a piece of cake for Jin once again, but he had to control himself and hold back this time.
Now that Murakan held high expectations towards Jin, there was no need to increase it even further. Otherwise, Murakan’s overwhelming yet unbearable expectations would become a burden to Jin, and could come back to bite him later on in life.
Additionally, even though his earlier mistake benefited Jin this time, the fact that he made the mistake was important and alarming. In order to gain the skills and techniques to control mana as proficient as his previous life, he had to train repeatedly, even for the basic techniques.
Jin listened to Murakan’s explanation and attempted to transfer the mana on his right hand to his left.
‘Hm… I should fail on purpose for a while before succeeding. 10 minutes should be enough.’
10 minutes later, Jin successfully transferred the mana on his right hand to his left accurately. Murakan then grinned widely.
Droplets of sweat began forming on Jin’s forehead. It was actually more difficult for him to purposefully perform an easy technique a lot slower, just like how lifting a heavy object slowly was more taxing compared to lifting it quickly.
“Good. Excellent work. If you manage to complete this procedure within 5 seconds, you should be able to release mana. In other words, you’ll have become a 3-star magician.”
“How long do you think it will take me to achieve that?”
Jin asked as he wiped his sweat away.
Hearing the answer, Jin decided that achieving it in 1 year would be convincing enough.
Having finished the calculations in his mind, Jin nodded to the dragon.
“Good. Then practice mana transfer for a bit more and then head back up for today. And just in case, don’t practice within the castle when I’m not with you.”
After training for another hour, it was time for Jin to return to the surface. As he packed up his notebooks and the basket, Murakan lied back down on the floor, scratching his groins.
“Oh also, kid. When you come by tomorrow, make sure to fill that basket to the brim with strawberry pies. Otherwise, I’ll make sure you know of the consequences.”
Murakan warned Jin as he began walking away.
“The strawberry pie you ate earlier was the last of it. Do you have any idea how many strawberries you ate during the past 6 months?”
“Goddammit, then bring me another type of pie your nanny bakes!”
“Then what about a rat pie?”
“You wretched brat, come here and have a taste of my fist… Hey, hey! Hey!”
Jin dashed out the hole connected to the underground corridor.
“Something other than rats! Please! I’m begging you!”
When Jin returned the next day, his basket was full of apple pies instead.
Murakan was satisfied and stroked the child’s head.
A year went by. Today was September 9th, 1789. Jin’s ninth birthday.
Spending their birthdays at the Storm Castle—which was stormy and wet all year round—wasn’t good for children’s mental and emotional growth.
As a dozen servants and Gilly, along with 5 knights, placed candles on the cake, the fierce gale outside was smashing into the castle windows.
“Happy birthday, Young Master Jin.”
“Thank you, everyone.”
As the 9-year-old blew on the candle flames, everyone gathered around him and clapped.
Clang, clang, clang, clang.
Since the knights were wearing gauntlets, their powerful ‘clapping’ noises overpowered everyone else’s. The birthday party was bleak and desolate, as if they were mere commoners who couldn’t afford a lavishing meal.
Despite this, Jin was still overjoyed and felt blessed. In his previous life, he hadn’t even received greetings from the people living in the castle for his birthday, other than his nanny.
As Gilly sliced the cake and gave everyone a piece, the lone knight who was guarding the Storm Castle’s main entrance suddenly barged in the room.
“Young Master Jin!”
It was the guardian knight called Khan.
There weren’t many situations in which Khan would dare to run within the castle hallways.
Jin’s intuition told him that someone from the clan’s main house had come to visit.
“The eldest lady has come to visit!”
“Elder sister Luna…?”
Jin exclaimed as he stood up.
Jin’s eldest sister, Luna Runcandel.
The firstborn of Cyron Runcandel’s 13 children. It was a well-established fact that she was the strongest out of all the siblings. At her current age of 28, she became a 9-star knight, which proved the previous assumption.
However, despite her strength and fame, she never participated in the Runcandel’s ‘War of Succession’—a hideous and unsightly competition for the throne—in Jin’s first life, and always moved on her own.
‘She’s not the type of person to come congratulate her younger sibling on his birthday. Why is she here…?’
Jin ran to the window and looked outside. Luna was taking large strides as she walked up the stairs leading to the Storm Castle.
On her back was her emblematic sword: the enormous axe-sword, ‘Crantel’.