It wasn't just about gaining enough magic power to reach the 4th Circle. As a 4th Circle magician, Theo needed to be able to use 4th Circle magic. He only had a short amount of time, so he had to select useful magic in advance and increase his understanding.
Vince, who still had plenty of time remaining until the magic contest, also joined in. As someone with a rich amount of experience as a war magician, he was able to give detailed information about the strategies which the magicians of the Blue Tower used.
After looking at books for two hours…
The magic power in Theo's body suddenly boiled up. The last time his magic power had increased this much was when he had eaten 'Roaring Flames.' The flow of magic power emerged from the palm of his left hand and wrapped around Theodore's body, drawing the faint outline of a shape outside the three circles.
It wasn't at the completed stage yet. The shape was there, but he needed more magic power to fill it up.
However, even that was a great accomplishment compared to the days when the 3rd Circle had been far away. Theodore calmly scattered the remaining magic power throughout his body and opened his eyes once the 4th Circle outline finished. He certainly felt more magic power than before.
Vince recognized the magic power emerging from him and congratulated him, "Congratulations. Now, you are a fellow magician and walking the same path as me. Don't forget this fact in the future, and I hope you will continue to devote yourself wholly."
"Yes, Professor," Theo replied in a trembling voice.
The 4th Circle was just the start of the magic path. The invention of the magic reagents meant that many people crossed the threshold of the 4th Circle. However, those who reached the 5th Circle were just a handful. Some blamed the limits of their talent and remained in the 4th Circle until they died, while others felt desperation and frustration at the existence of the 'wall' beyond the 5th Circle.
In fact, even those who were considered as the top magicians in the continent couldn't cross the wall of the 7th Circle. The tower masters, excluding the Blue Tower Master and Red Tower Master, were also stuck at the 7th Circle.
The 9th Circle, which was considered the apex of humanity, had already become a legend and myth for a long time.
In the truest sense, the 4th Circle Theodore had now stepped into was a desert where numerous pilgrims had died.
Then Theo looked at the three Precious ranked artifacts remaining on the bed. They were similar in price to the West Wind's Protection, purchased for 144 gold at the first store. Each one had a great performance matching their price.
[+7 Hawk's Skull (Armor)]
[The helmet, made of steel and adamantium, is truly artistic and shaped like a hawk. The blacksmith, who created this helmet for a magician, added the ability for it to function like a real hawk. As a result, the 'Insight' magic is given to the wearer of the helmet. The person who wears this helmet will immediately acquire the Insight magic.
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* The rating of this helmet is 'Precious'.
* When consumed, a considerable amount of magic power will be absorbed.
* When consumed, the digestion time is 1 hour and 32 minutes.
* When consumed, the Capture magic formula will be acquired.
* When worn, the skill 'Hawkeye' is applied.]
[+8 Night Prowler's Mirage (Shoes)]
[These are shoes made from luxurious leather with magic circles of mithril thread sewn on them. These are the reason why the thief Orwell hadn't gotten caught until the end. The guards had continued chasing the illusions Orwell left behind, and the secret had only been exposed after he'd been killed at a gambling place. The wearer of these shoes can create a lifelike illusion of themselves.
* The rating of these shoes is 'Precious'.
* When consumed, a considerable amount of magic power will be absorbed.
* When consumed, the digestion time is 1 hour and 41 minutes.
* When consumed, the Illusion magic formula will be acquired.
* When worn, the skill 'Illusion Track' is available.]
'Hawk's Skull' had been worn by a famous mercenary leader, and 'Night Prowler's Mirage' was the symbol of the legendary thief Orwell. They were too expensive and rare to be used as artifacts to gain magic power. If the craftsmen were here, they might've tried to break Theodore's neck.
To the hesitant Theo, Vince said, "Don't hesitate."
"Use whatever means possible for the full preparation. Once you have made up your mind, don't stop. I will take on all the costs, so you don't have to be sorry."
The last of Theo's hesitation went away at Vince's words.
It was correct that he should use all means possible. According to the guesses of the two people, 'Precious' grade artifacts wouldn't end with just increasing magic power. After eating 'Roaring Flames', he'd been able to acquire two abilities as well as magic power.
Artifacts couldn't be used in the Pupil Tournament. However, there was no rule prohibiting the use of a grimoire. Therefore, it was possible for Theo to use the function of the grimoire, not that anyone would notice.
The grimoire was separate from artifacts, so there was no way to detect its existence. It was fine as long as Theo didn't reveal the tongue in his palm. In a sense, it might be cowardly, but it didn't break any of the stated rules.
Despite being sick of war, Vince was still a war magician of the Red Tower. War magicians didn't care about the means and methods used to win. Similarly, Theodore had received Alfred's memories so he had no objection to it.
In the end, Theo moved his left hand towards the three artifacts worth around 500 gold.
The tongue was still unsatisfied and popped out like it had been waiting for the command. The gauntlets, helmet, and shoes were sucked in. This was the moment when the value of a mansion in Mana-vil was sucked into the stomach of the grimoire.
* * *
After reaching the 4th Circle with Gluttony's abilities, Theo received special lessons from Vince for a few days.
Theo had gained a fraction of Alfred's experience, but it was nothing compared to Vince's years on the battlefield. He searched through memories of the past and picked information which would help Theo.
"The biggest advantage of the water magic attribute is its versatility. Offense, defense, suppression… these applications aren't impossible when it comes to the water attribute. A skilled magician in the water attribute would be an annoying opponent."
If he thought about water, there was no other attribute which existed in such a variety of forms. The clouds floating in the sky were water, and the river running through the ground was also water. The snow capped peaks were water, and so was the fog rising early in the morning.
The freedom to go between solids, liquids, and gas was the strength and essence of the water magic attribute.
"Are you saying there are no special weaknesses?"
"Its attack is weaker than fire, its defense is lower than earth, and its speed is slower than the wind. The limitations of the water attribute is that it doesn't specialize in anything."
"…It is the medium in various aspects." Theo understood the meaning and nodded.
If so, there were some methods available to him. His earth-related defense magic had increased greatly due to the contract with Mitra, so he could block 4th Circle magic without much difficulty. He could also use the skill gained from 'Roaring Flames' to break through Sylvia's defense.
While Theo thought for a while, Vince opened his mouth and said, "This is just my guess but… you should avoid a close confrontation with Sylvia as much as possible."
"A close confrontation?" Theo was confused by the unexpected words.
However, Vince firmly nodded and explained, "The Blue Tower Master. Do you remember the staff the old man was carrying? It is a crude and large wooden staff."
"Of course." It was rare to meet a person who gave off such a strong impression. If Blundell hadn't been wearing a robe, Theo would've thought he was a warrior. Blundell's terrifying appearance matched his staff.
"That staff was really big."
"It isn't a staff."
Theo made a lost expression, causing Vince to shake his head with a sigh.
"It is good as a stick."
"He learned the eastern method of fighting with a stick as a hobby. The problem is that he reached the rank of a master with it."
Theo's face turned pale as Vince added, "He broke the heads of a few knights with it on the battlefield."
Sylvia was carrying a similar staff to her master. He would rather be hit by a Fireball than a rough staff wielded by a pretty girl.
"Don't narrow the distance if possible. That is my advice."
"Ah, I understand."
The two people took a break for a while before the discussion continued again.
Fortunately, Vince was a good mentor, and Theo was an excellent disciple. Vince explained the weaknesses of the Blue Tower Magicians, and the information came together in Theo's head with Alfred's experience.
Even though one thing was taught, Theo would gain enlightenment in a further three things.
* * *
As the end of the Pupil Tournament approached, Vince rented out a practice room for a final check.
If Theodore's abilities didn't meet his standard, then he would oppose the match with Sylvia. He didn't want Theo to be ridiculed in front of everyone. However, he became sure of something. 'This much is enough to win!'
Vince didn't specialize in water magic, but he was still a Superior rank of the Red Tower and a war magician. He was a few times stronger than an Average of the Blue Tower, but Theo had stood up to him without backing down. Theo had even saved some of the functions of the grimoire.
Theo, laying on the floor of the practice room with a weary expression, took deep breaths and looked up at Vince. "Professor, did I pass?"
Vince smiled and nodded. "I'll give you a perfect score."