Infinite Mage (Novel) Chapter 73

  



C73

When about 10 children sat down at the table, Lumina's mother served generous portions of boiled meat.

Shirone seemed aware of the situation. Preparing this much food must have cost quite a bit of money. Paying for it was not a problem, but it was still an odd situation.

Altor, as if reading Shirone's mind, said.

"Don't worry. We can sell the monster's hide for money. I plan to start working on it tomorrow. Of course, I have to get your permission first."

"Huh? No, of course you should. Oh, and the monster's name is Ulk. I heard that its claws and fangs can fetch a pretty good price."

He thought that if it was Shirone, of course he would allow it. Moreover, the fact that other parts could be sold for money meant a greater income than expected.

But more than anything, he was glad to have learned the monster's name.

In this world, knowledge was also worth money.

If they had put it on the market without even knowing its name, they would have been taken advantage of. Perhaps they could have lost even more than the effort they put into the preparation..

"Right. Anyway, thank you. Like Ulk, without you, our village would have had to move to another place.”

For those who had been living by farming and selling things from the mountain for generations, losing their land was a terrible thing. In that sense, Shirone was a hero who saved the village.

"It's okay. This place is precious to me too."

Shirone sincerely thought so. Ulk's meat would decay over time and be unsellable, but the children did not go up to the mountain and remained.

They weren't wealthy. That's why life was hard, and they had more embarrassing moments than nobles, but he liked these people who knew how to live together.

As Martin chewed on the meat, he said.

"Anyway, I'm sorry that your hard-earned vacation turned out this way. Do you want to go up the mountain with me tomorrow? Let's sell all the shells and claws and have fun with the money."

When it came to playing, Hwajeonmin village never missed out, but Shirone sadly shook his head. He wanted to go back as soon as possible and analyze the insights he had gained.

"No, I've had enough rest. Thanks to that, my fatigue was relieved. Now I need to study hard. I'll have to return to school tomorrow morning."

--------------------

After dinner, the children went back to their respective homes. It was a moonlit night, but they still had work to do. They had to tend to their equipment all night and check their wagons.

Shirone climbed the hill and looked down at the Hwajeonmin village. The children were preparing for tomorrow's work, going from house to house with torches in their hands. As they played around and chatted happily with one another, a faint smile crossed his lips.

"Shirone, you were here."

"Huh? Altor, how did you find me?"

"I just thought you'd be here. What are you thinking about? You didn't even notice me coming."

"I was thinking about the old days. I used to play around a lot when I came here with my father. We played tag in that field over there."

"That's right. But you spent much more time reading alone. Of course, it's probably because of us."

"No, it's because I really like books..."

Altor let out a friendly laugh.

"You don't need to do that. If you don't know, it makes no sense. The kids have always admired you since then. So there were many times when I was jealous too. Looking back now, I have more than one or two things to apologize to you for."

"No, it was me who was strange. I might have been afraid of meeting people. It was a confusing time."

Unlike other children in Hwajeonmin village, Shirone was the pride of his parents as he never caused trouble. However, in reality, since he encountered magic at the age of 12, it has been a series of endless agony and worries.

It seemed Altor had a guess about it, and he nodded. Today, he realized it after seeing Shirone's magic.

The boy who was thought to be ignorant of the world and only reading books was actually fighting more fiercely than anyone else.

"I'm sorry, Shirone."

"It's okay."

"No, not that. At the drinking party. I said something presumptuous. Everyone has something called a vessel. I made a mistake. Please don't take it to heart.”

Shirone recalled Altor's sharp criticism from last night. He wasn't hurt. It was also a burden he had to bear as someone who chose magic.

"I don't think like that. In fact, I've never thought about it before. How blessed I am and how lucky I am."

"No, Shirone. You worked hard. That's why others help you too."

"But the truth is the truth. What you said is my reality, and that's why I have to embrace it for the rest of my life."

Altor gave a bitter smile. There was no one in Hwajeonmin Village who could criticize themselves like that.

"It's amazing, being a mage."

He couldn't understand the way a mage think. But that's probably why people in the world revered them.

Shirone and Altor looked down at Hwajeonmin village. They didn't say anything to each other, but their gazes were fixed on the same place.

--------------------

The next morning.

The adults started their day's work from early dawn, leaving only the children.

Shirone had breakfast at Lumina's house and left the house.

The kids saw him off, but they too were carrying a load of tools to dismantle the Ulk.

Shirone suddenly realized how heavy the path he was walking was in the lives of these children who didn't even have a day off.

"Take care, Shirone. Study hard and become a mage."

Altor offered a handshake. The other children also crowded around Shirone to say their goodbyes.

"Shirone, you'll come back to visit, right?"

“Next time you come, tell me more about the magic school.”

"Haha! Okay. I'll come back when the semester is over. You guys take care too."

After saying goodbye to the children, Shirone turned to look at Lumina. Despite the cheerful atmosphere, her face was the gloomiest.

Shirone had a faint idea of Lumina's feelings for him. But what could he do? Things between a man and a woman are not things that can be thought of with the head.

"Lumina, I ate a lot of delicious food thanks to you. You'll cook for me again, right?"

Lumina then smiled. It was a fragile smile. She knew that wishing for more would be greedy.

"Of course! So come visit often. If you act like you don't know me after becoming a mage, I'll hit you."

"Alright. I'll definitely come back."

As Shirone walked down the hill of Hwajeonmin village, he suddenly looked back. And he shouted at the children who were still in place.

"Take care, everyone! Stay healthy!"

As Shirone turned away and walked further, Lumina finally dropped her head weakly. What made her sadder than the fact that Shirone was leaving was the reality that she could no longer even love him.

"Hey, are you okay?"

Altor asked as he patted Lumina's shoulder. Unable to hold back, Lumina burst into tears. Altor felt a strange sense of guilt. He had suspected her feelings for Shirone since they were young but didn't realize it was this serious.

“Sheesh, if it's that upsetting, you should have said something. What, should I have beaten him up and brought him back?"

"No, it's okay. Shirone isn't gone."

Lumina wiped her tears with both hands and raised her head. A bright smile appeared on her face.

"Shirone is heading towards his dream."

Lumina prayed to the gods of the mountains and forests.

‘May warm light fill the path he takes.’

-------------------

On his way back to school, Shirone thought about the question Hwajeonmin village had thrown at him.

How far can I really go?

Becoming a guest of the Ogent family or studying with the students of the magic school didn't mean he had achieved something.

The saying to learn from failure and steadily improve didn't apply to him as a commoner.

He had to keep exploding his talents without rest. He must progress without hesitating for a moment.

He was attending school with the support of the Ogent family and studying the advanced subject of magic, thanks to his parents' sacrifice.

Is this really the right path?

If I fail, can I accept it and go back to living the way I used to?

Upon arriving at school, Shirone headed to the study group. He didn't feel like going to his dormitory due to his troubled mind.

'I wonder if the kids are having fun? They shouldn't have lost too much...'

By now, Iruki and Nade would be excitedly betting at the casino, which is a world apart from their own. He just hoped they wouldn't bet the house deed.

Passing through the Eastas maze and entering the warehouse where the research group was located, Shirone stopped in front of the iron door. Voices could be heard through the door.

"Huh?"

When he opened the door, Iruki and Nade were sitting on the sofa and arguing. Iruki was excited like never before at how heated the discussion was.

"You idiot! A perpetual motion machine is absolutely impossible!"

"Why are you so narrow-minded? I'm not talking about infinite power, but a Type-2 perpetual machine!"

"That violates the laws of entropy!"

"Then what's this! What is this thing I made!"

Nade pointed to the spring-driven carriage on the table. In fact, it was an iron box with wheels that would be ambiguous to call it a wagon.

"Um... there..."

Nade looked back at Shirone and quickly held up the spring-driven carriage, shaking it in front of him.

"Shirone! You look and tell me. I made this. First, wind up the spring like this, and then put it on the ground...!"

The wagon moved with a circular motion. Yet, the wound spring did not unwind.

Iruki raised his ax eye and pointed.

"Hey, Shirone! Don't be fooled. That's a complete scam!"

"What's a scam? You're just tired of waiting for it to stop, and that's why you're arguing with me now!"

"Idiot! If it was proven to last for 1-2 hours, anyone could make it! The machine you made is just highly efficient! Even when I turned the spring, it was filthy tight!”

"What's the problem? It's a miniature, so there's a limit. If I make it bigger, I can increase its performance by 100 times!"

"How big are you going to make it? As big as the sky? It'd be much more efficient to feed a horse and have it pull the carriage!"

"All I have to do is show the possibilities! Technology is bound to move toward lighter weight over time!"

“Technology that is not supported by theory will eventually collapse!”

"What does theory matter! Just make it and use it, that's the end of it!"

Both the mathematician and the engineer had a point. Shirone blinked his eyes and listened before looking at the carriage.

Seeing them getting worked up over a useless carriage, Shirone suddenly felt his earlier concerns flying away.

'Ah... I see.'

Someday, that spring-driven carriage will be given a proper name and be reborn through the research of numerous scholars. And someone will create new knowledge through it again.

‘How arrogant it is to think that only I can do something. It wasn't because I was exceptional that I came this far. ‘

‘If my father hadn't bought me the book, if I hadn't entered the Ogent family, if I hadn't had the teleportation test, if I hadn't met Iruki and Nade....’

There is no current Shirone.

A series of coincidences that occurred with a very small probability. All these events led Shirone here.

'Thank you. Thank you for letting me stay here.'

Lost in his own momentary emotion, Shirone quickly regained his smile and asked his friends.

"By the way, how did the casino go?"

Nade, who had been head-to-head with Iruki, turned his head with a wronged expression.

“How is it? We got cleaned out in one day and came back. If only the last bet had hit, we could have hit the jackpot."

"That's why I said it would be a spade. With a 57% probability."

"Are you kidding? I listened to you and lost a ton! 57% my foot! How is that different from a 50-50 chance?"


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