Around thirty minutes later, we arrived at a huge gate that led into the city. One of the many guards who were checking people’s belonging walked up and asked what we were here to do and quickly skimmed through our small money bags and pockets. After making sure we did not have anything remotely dangerous on us he gave us a gentle smile, or as gentle as a scarred face can be, and told us to have fun, and to try not to make any trouble inside.
Stepping into the city you could see how busy it was on the main road with stalls and shops covering the sides of the road to the point you couldn’t even see the space between the buildings, or the gaps between the carts and stalls.
“Come on guys,” Bel tried to push us from behind, “let’s go get some sweets and look at some clothes.”
“No way,” Fatty Rex wouldn’t budge, “The first thing you should do when coming to a city is look for fried food.”
“You guys probably already ate not too long ago,” Rin sighs, “Let’s go see if there are any Magic Games in the arena that we can watch.”
“”OOOOOOO,”” Rex and Bel’s eyes sparkled.
“Magic Games? You mean tournaments where mages throw flashy lights at each other that can slice and blow them up, all day?” Nel asks, “No thanks. I’d rather not watch something so bloody.”
““Are you serious?!”” Rex and Bel looked livid. Now that I think about it, the only time those two are of the same mind is when they talk about anything related to magic.
“Magic Games are one of the most important aspect of any major city and growing small cities,” Rex starts his lecture for his poorly informed friend, “Magic Games often takes place at the arenas which are most often in the center of almost any major city, which shows how important they are. Magic Games are also usually hosted by the magic academies that reside in or in nearby cities, which also means that the prizes for winning should be amazing!”
Bel goes next, “Also there are several reasons why schools host these events. First is to give their students actual combat experience in a safe environment. Think about it Nel, compare practicing combat in Arenas where there are trained medics standing by to help, with training out there in Magic Beasts’ territories where you can die any second. Obvious it’s far safer to gain combat experience by fighting in arenas.”
“Another reason is to search for talents,” Rin joined in, “It’s not rare that poor people who were taught the basics of magic glyphs by a close relative or wandering mages would participate as well. By participating in the Magic Games there’s a chance that they could impress one of the teachers of a Magic Academy enough to be offered to enroll and attend classes free of charge.”
Rex went again, “There’s also that tiny chance that someone from a prestigious clan would be impressed enough by a contestant to offer them a working contract with many benefits including sponsoring them for the duration of their learning period,” then he suddenly made a lewd look. “Or even offer them to marry into the clan. I heard that if they are offered to marry into the clan, the girls who they marry are always beautiful enough to have a line of suitors long enough to circle a city. But it’s extremely rare for someone to be offered to marry into the clan. Last time I heard that it happened was a decade ago.”
“And so,” Bel finished off, pointing a finger at her sister Nel, “Magic Games are not simple tournaments. It’s a chance for contestants to get a good turn of fortune, and for viewers to be able to have insights about a new way to use magic.”
“Thank you so~ much so that wonderful lesson,” Nel’s voice was dripping with sarcasm, “but I don’t know if you realized this but here’s the reality. We don’t know how to draw ANY runes or how to use ANY magic!”
Hearing this I started laughing. Perhaps they don’t know. But I was once one of the strongest sages in this world. I may not have the strength I had before but I had all my memories. Every rune I drew, every pill formula, every refining method, and every training method to become a mage was all in my head.
Hearing me suddenly laugh, everyone turned to me and stared at me, as though I had lost my mind.
“Sorry sorry, just something I remembered from the past,” I try to hold it in, and look each of them in the eye before making a decision.
“Follow me,” And I walk off towards a random alley, as what was going to happen next would probably make everyone nearby turn their heads.
I stopped after several minutes in a random alley and turn to face them, making sure no one else was nearby.
“I can train you all to be mages if you are willing to learn,” I say with the straightest face I could manage and began counting.
One. Two. Three. . .
Once I counted to nine, Rin was the first to snap out of it. “Kira, are you joking?”
Nel woke up next, “But how?”
“Study and cultivate, like everyone else.”
“But we don’t have any books on rune drawing or cultivation methods to use mana. It’s super expensive for even a basic rune drawing guidebook,” Bel questioned.
“I’ll teach you some runes and glyphs, and also give you guys some cultivation methods.”
Rex got excited, probably his imagination going wild, “How do you know? Did you meet some hidden master? Did you find a book in the trash? Did you. . .”
“Doesn’t matter. All I’m asking you is. Do. You. Want. To. Become. A. Mage.”
“Good,” I smiled, “but there are some rules that you guys need to follow. No matter what.”
Their eyes were sparkling, and I swear that their ears somehow got bigger as they tried not to miss a single word I was about to say.
“First, do not tell ANYONE that I’m teaching you anything. Even your parents. I don’t want people questioning how I know magic.”
“Second, unless I give you guys permission, do not do anything else with what I teach you than I told you to do. It’s dangerous to mess around with magic until you know exactly what you’re doing with it.”
“And third, give me any money that you get until I say that I’m done teaching you.”
They were nodding at my rules until they got to the third rule.
“Wait what? Why,” Nell asked.
“Because we’re going to need as much money as we can get for supplies. We may not need books, but we need plenty of other things like mana leaves, magical beast blood, and other things. So that means that unless there’s a good reason to celebrate something, no more snacks, sweets, fried food, or whatever else you guys are always buying.”
Rin and Nel agreed almost right away and thinking about it, but Bel and Rex was very amusing to watch. Bel had sat down and was rocking back and forth muttering something. I think she was counting how many candy balls she would be missing every month if she handed over her allowance to me. Rex though, won the grand prize for acting. He was on his knees and pounding on the floor while crying; yes crying, about how unfair the world was. He was going on about how fried food should be the miracle food that helps cultivate mana in the body or something. Well, not like that’s going to ever happen though.
After the three of us watched Bel and Rex go through their despairing phase, Rin suddenly turned to me and asked, “Hey Kira. I won’t ask where you got your knowledge from, but I do feel like I should ask you some things.”
“Why do you want to teach us? And why now, because it looked like you suddenly came out of nowhere asking that. I know we’re friends and all but that shouldn’t be enough for anyone to offer to teach them magic. Not to mention how well known it is that right now should be the best time for people our age to start cultivating.”
“Well for the first question, to make it simple, it’s because I can. And besides, later when I go on adventures, who better to go with than my closest childhood friends,” I smiled, “And for why now? You already answered it. Cause it’s the best time for people our age to start cultivating, and not trying to brag, but I’m pretty sure my progress won’t slow down too much while I’m trying to teach you guys.”
I turned to the two comedians who finally got up, “Done? Alright. Hand over your coins so we can see how much we have to work with for now.”
They all handed me their money pouch.
“32, 49, 82, so we have 102 bronze coins to work with. Not nearly enough. For now I’ll teach you guys some cultivation technique once we get home and try to make more money with what we’ve got so far. Sound good?”
The four of them nods.
“Alright you guys can go watch the Magic Games like you guys planned. When you do watch, don’t just watch how flashy the spells look. Try to look at the shape, how much damage they look like they’re doing, along with after effects of the spells. It’s a good way to start getting an idea of what kind of spells exists, and the varieties there are. For me I’ll go buy some supplies I’ll need to make something that’s worth selling.”
With that the four of them made their way towards the arena while I made my way back to the busy main street to find some supplies I would need.