The lively bell sound announced the end of the second semester. Every student's final report card would be distributed one week from this day.
Bergen Academy's school year had ended today. Students, who were not dressed in their school uniforms, ran out the doors, and the professors' advice to not play around during winter vacation was disregarded by the students.
Generally, except for some young students, the academy's students avoided staying in school.
"Huu, there is an uproar. Even though it's chilly, they can still run around like this. Truly, I think being young is the best."
"Who doesn't? Ah, maybe a lich?"
"Hahaha, I'm afraid that a lich will just be more bones."
"Aha, that is a pretty nasty point!"
Even the professors were in a good mood. Finally free from the students who caused them all types of problems, they enjoyed a cup of coffee while chatting with their colleagues. Some talked about the students, while others talked about what to study during the holiday. Some professors were planning to go home a few days later too.
One professor asked Vince, "Professor Vince, are you staying at school during this vacation?"
"Yes, I am," he replied with a cold expression as usual.
Professor Vince's soulless voice matched his blank expression.
His fellow professor couldn't help flinching.
However, due to the fact that they had spent a few years together and had adjusted a little bit, he didn't stutter when he spoke again. "Recently, I heard that you were focusing on a research project. Is it because of that?"
Professor Vince's eyes became cold. Naturally, it was rude for magicians to spy on each other's research. His low voice revealed his discomfort. "That isn't something to be talked about here."
"Ha, haha. That's right. Forget that I asked."
Vince glanced at him for a moment before turning his gaze out the window.
The atmosphere of the room suddenly grew chill. Professor Vince was famous for not being very friendly. He was a first-rate magician dispatched from the capital to Bergen Academy, and his position as a senior magician (6th Circle) put him above the other instructors.
In other words, he was a dispatched lecturer and was difficult for the other professors to deal with.
"Oh! You were here, Professor Vince."
At that moment, a professor entered the office. To put it mildly, this professor was a person with a lot of fat. He packed it in a neatly dressed suit, making him look like a balloon. Thus, the students nicknamed him 'Balloon'.
The so-called balloon, Professor Balloon, spoke in a giggly voice, "Can I ask you one thing?"
Vince couldn't spit on that grinning face. He stared at Professor Balloon with an annoyed expression. Vince didn't like this pig who liked to chatter on. Not surprisingly, the words which emerged from Professor Balloon's mouth didn't fail to irritate Vince's nerves.
"Did that boy not graduate again this year?"
His eyebrows wriggled in an obvious taunt.
Professor Vince's eyes flashed as he recalled the student. Theodore Miller was a student who was betrayed by his talent and wasn't rewarded for his efforts. The fact that Theodore had received a repeater letter three times meant he became a notorious celebrity.
Other faculty professors approached them.
"Aha, is it that Theo child?"
"Isn't this year his third repeater letter? After next year, we won't see him anymore. I'm sorry… Should I not say it? Hahaha!"
"Professor Claude is very mean, saying such empty words."
"In the end, he is a child of a fallen noble family. Their talent has dried up."
Obnoxious remarks were being spoken.
'The ones who open their eyes but can't see anything.'
Vince took a few steps back and stared at them with disdain. It felt like his ears would rot away if he continued to listen to their conversation. These were educators who didn't even know the truth about the students they were teaching.
No, even if it was correct, should an educator be disparaging their students?
He shook his head firmly at this question.
'Theo is a far better magician than you.'
Yet those words couldn't emerge from his mouth. Vince wanted to grab Professor Balloon's hand and throw the coffee cup in his face. However, Vince stopped himself… because in the end, it was true.
He had given up his personal sponsorship of Theodore due to Theodore's lack of sensitivity. There was no denying that Vince had turned away a student due to his lack of talent. That was the only thing which stopped Vince from meddling in their words.
Vince looked out the window with a nauseous feeling in his stomach. The newly darkened sky seemed to represent his inner heart. Then he realized that the lights at the opposite building were coming from the library and sighed once more. There was only one person who would visit the library on the day of the closing ceremony.
Vince prayed for the day when that effort would be rewarded.
* * *
At this time, Theo's shoulders were dancing.
The desk shook with a loud thump. This was because seven hardcover books had just been placed at the center of the desk. Dropping these many books on his foot wouldn't end with just a bruise. It was a joke but there was a ghost story which told about how librarians were often killed by cursed books.
'Even if there isn't a curse on these books, wouldn't I die if this were a normal situation?'
The books were heavier than bricks. If one of them fell from a high bookshelf and hit someone, the skull of that person passing by would be broken. That's why there was a warning to not make a disturbance in the library.
It truly was dangerous, so they had even put a sign up.
"Okay, this is enough for today."
Theo rubbed the grey substance off the palm of his hand. The library was a place where people didn't frequent often, so every book he picked up was dusty. The person in the position of librarian would just check the locks occasionally. It was lucky that Gluttony had swallowed without chewing, otherwise he would've had to wipe the books down first.
'First, I have to use Appraisal.'
Theo moved his left hand in a familiar motion. He was about to measure the value of the book using Gluttony's 'ability to judge food'. The way to use this power was much simpler than he'd thought.
Theo pointed his left hand at the book, just like when Gluttony had been eating. Then he gave the command, "Appraisal."
The tongue shot out from Theo's left hand. It appeared with a loud sound and reached out towards the targets. Then it licked the cover of the book on top. At the same time, a visual representation of the information emerged.
[Ignition and Ignite are Different]
[-This book is about an improved version of Ignition magic and explains Ignite magic. Unlike Ignition, which creates fire on a surface, Ignite can create an ignition point in the air. The advantage of Ignite is being able to use it from a distance. However, the firepower is slightly lower than that of Ignition.
* Your understanding is very high. (96.7%)
* The grade of this spellbook is 'Normal'.
* After ingesting, 1st Circle magic 'Ignite' will be acquired.]
"I remember that this spell seemed useful."
He laughed and picked up the book.
Gluttony's 'Appraisal' was a means of measuring the food. This helped him determine the benefits of the food which was consumed. Using Appraisal meant there would be no problem even if it was a book Theo hadn't read before. Having the Appraisal magic also meant he could pick out the books with special qualities.
'Thanks to this, picking a book is much easier.'
It was also possible because it was Theo. After spending five years in the library, there was no book that he didn't know. Theo put the books he'd read once and those he'd read a few times but didn't understand on separate lists.
The moment he was about to use Appraisal on the second book…
-…Hungry. feed, please.
Gluttony woke up.
[Gluttony has woken up 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 two books and will immediately fall asleep after the third book. The remaining time is 30 minutes.]
Two books or three books…
It was a choice he'd made several times already, but it was always a struggle. If he selected two books, he could get an answer. If he selected three books, he could extract one more essence. Last time, he'd thought it was important to improve his skills and had chosen to feed it three books.
What should he choose this time?