Theodore closed the door to Professor Vince's laboratory and headed back to his dorm room.
There was no need to rush, but he wanted to feed Gluttony the 'original' as soon as possible. Maybe a special phenomenon would happen, like when he received Alfred's memories through [Ballistics Magic].
'It should be time for Gluttony to wake up.'
He lined up the books on the bed and waited for his sleeping partner to wake up. How long did he wait until…?
-…H-Hungry. Come, feed me.
The hungry Gluttony finally opened its mouth.
[Gluttony has awoken from its sleep and is complaining about an empty stomach.]
[The regular meals have reduced his hunger a lot. There is more room to choose its food. Gluttony will answer one question after eating one book and will immediately fall asleep after eating two books. The remaining time is 1 hour.]
Theo's expression changed subtly as he listened to the guide voice.
After eating 'Roaring Flames' and reaching the E rank, Gluttony's hunger had reduced. The quota of one or two books a day was much lower compared to the five books it had required after waking up for the first time.
Theo might have welcomed the change during his days of secret eating the library books, but that wasn't the case anymore.
'If this is the case, won't I have to be more selective about the books…? Once more seals are released, it might wake up every few days instead of once a day.'
Or it might only want to eat Rare grade magic books as its food…
A magician should always calculate all the possibilities to get the best results. Theodore worried about how Gluttony's changes would affect him and decided to discuss it with Professor Vince next time.
Today, he would focus on [Introduction to Elemental Magic]. Theo shook his head and spread open his palm.
"Come out, eat."
At those words, the tongue stretched out towards the two books on the quilt. As if it wanted to eat the appetizer before the main meal, the tongue started from [Understanding of Healing Magic] which was next to [Introduction to Elemental Magic].
['Understanding of Healing Magic' has been consumed. Your understanding is very high.]
[Proficiency with the 2nd Circle magic 'Cure' has increased. You can heal wounds efficiently.]
A cool breeze blew through his head, and a soft sensation seemed to permeate through him. Theo understood how to use magic on the blood vessels, muscles, and bones. He knew the tricks and tips which magicians at healing clinics used. Now, he could attach sliced off fingers back on.
However, Gluttony didn't end there. Next was today's main dish; [Introduction to Elemental Magic] was sucked into Theo's left hand.
Theo couldn't help gulping along with Gluttony.
[Introduction to Elemental Magic' has been consumed. Your understanding is very high.]
[Your proficiency in elemental magic has increased significantly.]
[An original book has been consumed. Promoting a connection to Myrdal Herseim… success. Myrdal Herseim has accepted the connection with the user.]
[Connect is starting.]
That's it! Theo formed a fist when he heard 'Connect'. Last time, he had heard the word 'Synchro'. This time, a new word had popped out. Theo wondered what the difference was. However, there was no time to think about this question.
Despite his determination, the sharp sound gouged at his head.
There was a feeling of uncertainty, as if his spirit had left his body and was being lifted into the air. He was aware that it was futile to resist, but the fear of looking into the abyss aroused his reluctance.
Was this the feeling of taking a carriage to a marriage meeting?
Theodore's pointless resistance ended, and his consciousness fell into the abyss.
Myrdal Herseim was waiting for him.
* * *
Fresh grass, moist air, and a sweet scent…
The warm wind tickled his skin, and he was lying on a bed which felt like it was made of cobwebs. Theodore, who was enjoying the coziness, suddenly opened his eyes.
"Ah!" Theo got up with a startled expression.
The hammock, tied between two trees, swung roughly, but it turned out fine. A moment ago, he had been on the bed of his dormitory, and now, he was in a place like this. The only possible reason for this was that Gluttony had eaten the [Introduction to Elemental Magic].
Theo looked down and saw that he was in his own body.
'This time, my body hasn't changed. Is it different from last time?'
It wasn't Synchro but Connect. He didn't understand the meaning, but the two words seemed to trigger different phenomenons.
Synchro was assimilation, while Connect was connecting to something. Theo decided to think about the two words in that sense.
It was at this moment that…
"Ah, you are a noisy child."
A decrepit voice filled with the weight of years spoke out from behind him. Theo looked back hurriedly.
There was an old man with a white beard and long hair. The moment he tried to speak, Theodore realized there was something strange. His eyes widened, but his body didn't move.
'W-What? Why don't I have a voice?
His body became stiff the moment he met the old man's gaze. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't move even a finger. How could the eyes of the old man exert this type of binding force when he didn't give off any pressure?
The confused Theo continued staring into the old man's eyes, and he soon realized the reason why.
–Your presence is lacking in front of this grandeur.
The white hair of the old man was like an ice-capped mountain peak, while the shabby body reminded him of the greatest mountain range on the continent. His eyes were clear as the sea and seemed to see right through Theo.
'T-This person, is he a human…?!'
A magnificent mountain in the shape of a man seemed to be before him. The huge presence was like a weight on Theo's shoulders.
There was no doubt about the man's identity. He was the greatest elementalist of the century, Myrdal Herseim. With a pure lineage, the one who opened the door to the elemental world…
He was a genius who would've reached the ultimate nirvana if he had lived longer and succeeded in calling an elemental king.
"Hrmm… Let me look at you, " he said in a low voice as his eyes became sunken.
Myrdal's blue eyes pierced through Theodore Miller. It was with the perception and wisdom that he had acquired as a magician. The eyes of the old man, who had reached the peak in both fields, gazed into Theo's essence.
Elementals wouldn't open their hearts to the impure or the false. They only reached out to sincere people. Inevitably, the eyes of an elementalist looked closely at this essence.
After looking at Theodore for a long time, Myrdal opened his mouth. "You don't know how to burn like fire. You avoid burning yourself and don't enjoy reckless challenges. A fire elemental would not go well with you."
It made a lot of sense. Theo was a magician who moved with a cold head rather than a hot heart. As Theo grew as a magician, he didn't have a fire-like nature as he'd tried to suppress all impulsive behaviour.
"You're not free like the wind. You are strict on yourself and hate acting without purpose. The wind spirits won't feel any interest towards you."
Myrdal saw it correctly. Theodore had always condemned his talent and worked hard to overcome it. Every act which wasted time was a sin, so relaxing was regarded as laziness.
"You're not as flexible as water. You have defined your life and will move along the set course. That rigidity is certainly wonderful, but the water elementals who always change shape won't welcome such a person."
This too made a lot of sense.
Theo had walked the path of a magician until the end, even when he was mocked and told to give up. Instead of acknowledging his insufficiency, he added more effort. Despite knowing that it was pointless, he couldn't give up on such a life.
'Are you saying that I'm wrong? Is it wrong to not be as hot as fire, as free as the wind, or as flexible as water?'
Theo, who was rejected by three types of elementals, bit his lip with a bitter expression. That bitterness… it was like protesting that he did have talent.
However, Myrdal wasn't finished.
"But you know how to persevere. No matter how large a rock is, it will someday become sand. The rock has to endure hot lava and have its rough surface smoothed by rain. Fire, wind, and water. Nothing can shake that perseverance."
Then Myrdal's mouth, half-obscured by the white beard, rose upwards in a smile. He tapped the floor with the staff in his hand, while Theo was still immobile.
"I will call the elemental that is suitable for your stupid honesty!"
Simultaneously, a bright glow emerged from the end of his staff and brightened the surroundings. Theo blinked unintentionally because of the light, then tears started welling up in his eyes.
'A young child…?'
The shape of a young child was vaguely visible. It was at least the size of an adult's palm…?
A small child made of clay floated in the light toward him. Then it hit its head lightly against Theodore's forehead.
"Hahaha! That child likes you! The child's name is Mitra, a forgotten ancient elemental."
Myrdal's voice was getting further away. Was the connection with him ending? Myrdal's voice became increasingly faint as Theo's consciousness faded. Only the tiny dot of soil on his forehead became clearer.
The earth elemental, Mitra…
As the strange bond formed with Theo, his consciousness returned to reality.
[The connection with Myrdal Herseim has been terminated.]
[You have formed a contract with the forgotten earth elemental, 'Mitra.']
[Affinity to earth has increased significantly.]
[Gluttony is satisfied with the food it has consumed. Having fed it two books, it falls back into a deep sleep.]
TL Note: I checked the comments on chapter 20 in the raw and apparently there was a part that ended up missing when the author posted the chapter and he couldn't fix it.
Anyway, it is basically about the how duplicate magic couldn't be used on another duplicate. Here is the part that is missing:
"Then wouldn't the original have to be kept separately?"
"It is enough to make a physical copy of the duplicate and then use duplication magic on that copy."
But in that case, it won't have the abilities of the 'original'. It would have the same affect as a copy.
The author also stated that the original and second physical copy can be distinguished because a mark if left when doing this. If any illegal copying takes place without the mark being left, those caught will be severely punished.