In other words, it was a matter of priority.
Theo could choose to learn one more magic or borrow Gluttony's wisdom. If he selected the wrong thing, he could just wait for tomorrow. As a result, there was no difference. If Gluttony suddenly started fasting, then he would be more worried about the situation.
Therefore, Theo came up with a simple answer.
"Let's do two books this time."
He had something that he wanted to ask Gluttony.
Theo grabbed [Ignition and Ignite are Different] and put it aside. Ignite was a rather useful magic for the 1st Circle, except that the difficulty was too high.
Above all, it consumed less magic power than anything else. Despite Theo only having the magic power of a 2nd Circle, he would be able to use it 100 times.
It was now time to pick the other book.
'I think that all six books I selected earlier are good but… I don't know yet.'
He would leave it to Gluttony's Appraisal rather than his self-judging. Appraisal magic was probably better than his own analysis anyway. Instead of being unreasonably stubborn, Theo extended his palm.
The hungry tongue slipped out quickly. It moved over the six books lined up before it and started using Appraisal. As the books became sticky with saliva, the information entered his head.
With calm eyes, Theo looked at the essences of the books Gluttony had discovered.
'[Fire Elemental Summoning]… eliminated. If I don't have an affinity with the elemental, then I can't make a contract with it, which means there wouldn't be much point in summoning the elemental.'
30 years ago, the mystery of making a contract with an elemental had been revealed, showing that it was impossible to make a contract with an elemental without having an inherent affinity.
A magician who adored elementals had finally achieved success. He had opened the door to the elemental world with a magic circle and developed a way to make a simple contract.
The [Fire Elemental Summoning] was a book from that magician, and Theo could summon the elemental with Gluttony's abilities.
However, this book only gave him the magic to summon the elemental. Making a contract with the elemental and using its power was a different story. When Theo entered the academy, he had been told to give up because he had an elemental affinity of close to zero.
"It is regrettable, but it can't be helped."
He had experienced it several times already. Thanks to that, Theo had gotten used to getting rid of any lingering attachments without any fuss.
It had been a week since he first began the strange cohabitation with Gluttony. Theo might be the academy's dunce, but he had grasped this guy's bizarre nature.
One, it was meaningless to feed Gluttony a book if Theo's understanding was low.
Two, no matter how high was Theo's level of comprehension, it was impossible to acquire magic beyond his competence.
Three, there was some magic which was useless even if he learned them.
Four, eating the same book again wouldn't give him anything.
…There might be other habits which Theo didn't know about yet, but he never saw anything apart from these four. [Fire Elemental Summoning] was an example of the third case.
There were other magic with a magician affinity attached as a condition. This was why he didn't acquire white magic, which required 'divine power'.
'There's a magic where 'castration' is the prerequisite… Urgh, just thinking about it gives me goose bumps again.'
Apparently, some lunatic in the east had done it to learn magic. Even Theo didn't have the stomach to read through the pages. What had the person been thinking?
Theo touched his skin before moving his hand to his next prey. It was [Circulation of Water] which would increase his water affinity but was put as pending for now.
His understanding of [Enchant – the Basics] was lower than he'd thought. He would eat it after studying it a bit more, so it was eliminated. The vision enhancing magic [Hawk Eyes] had a side effect of gradually worsening his eyesight—eliminated.
Theo repeated this as he filtered through the books.
By the time 15 minutes passed, there was only one book left in front of Theo. He remembered the title of the final book, so expectation filled his face.
According to Theo's conjecture, the value of the last book in the list was obviously the highest among the seven books he'd gathered today.
Finally, the essence of the book popped up.
[This book describes the high application of magic missiles. It explains techniques to form compressed magic missiles and modify the shape of the arrowheads. The author, Alfred Bellontes, became a hero of the war with these magic missiles. The depth of the wisdom is superior to that of ordinary magic books.
* Your understanding is very high. (97.2%)
* This magic book is rated 'Rare'.
* Once ingested, the proficiency of 'Magic Missile' will increase greatly.
* This is the original copy which was directly written by the author. There is a low chance to absorb some of Alfred's experience.]
Indeed, its contents didn't betray his expectations.
"No, wait a minute. This book is the original?!"
Theo was shocked to read the final line in the description.
Magic books were usually created by the author and then a copy was made of the original. Everything from the cover to the contents would be copied completely using magic.
Therefore, it was very hard to distinguish between the original and the copies. The originals were hidden by those who hated having a value added to knowledge by collectors.
If it wasn't for Gluttony's abilities, Theo wouldn't have known that the book in front of him was the original.
He had been born approximately 30 years ago as the third son of King Bellontes. Magic power didn't accumulate naturally for him, and he only became a master of battle magic after cutting into his bones.
Magic Missile was only a 1st Circle magic. Alfred had killed dozens of knights and hundreds of magicians with this shabby magic. He'd died at the end of a long war, but he then became renowned.
'Alfred Bellontes wrote [Ballistics Magic]! If book collectors know about this copy, it would be worth a few thousand gold, even covered in dust.'
Theo removed the dust carefully. If he were to prove its authenticity, then this book wouldn't be piles of paper but an item more expensive than a gold bullion.
Yes, if it was possible to prove it. Theo's excitement subsided at the thought.
"…No, there is a problem even if I can prove it."
In the first place, this book was owned by Bergen Academy. Although he was feeding the books to Gluttony, he planned to put back some of the books which were eaten one day.
If Gluttony didn't threaten his life, then he wouldn't have taken the books. In some ways, it could be called a struggle for survival.
However, taking Alfred's book was simply stealing. It wasn't seeking knowledge as a magician or saving lives. As a noble, Theodore Miller couldn't throw away his pride.
He would rather feed it to Gluttony than exchange it for money. His worries lasted for a while, but his decision was quick.
The tongue popped out without any hesitation.
Gluttony grabbed [Ignition and Ignite are Different], and it was sucked into Theo's left hand.
['Ignition and Ignite are Different' has been consumed. Your understanding is very high.]
[* After ingesting, 1st Circle magic 'Ignite' will be acquired.]
A familiar wave flowed into his body. It was knowledge about ignition magic. At this point, Theo could create a small fire in the air.
Due to the fact that it was a 1st Circle magic, there wasn't that much information, and the wave soon calmed down. It was similar to eating bread, but Theo was satisfied.
Gluttony's meal wasn't over yet. The unsatisfied tongue snatched its next prey…
The original [Ballistics Magic] written by Alfred Bellontes. It was the moment when a precious book with the same value as a gold bullion would disappear forever.
Then there was a moment of silence.
Theo waited for the change with a more nervous expression than usual. It was the first 'rare' rated book he had fed Gluttony. This was also the original copy of a famous war hero's book. This food would definitely be worth more than ordinary books.
Previously, it wasn't unusual for Theo to feel pain when four books were eaten in one go. Theo closed his eyes and prepared for the aftermath.
'Now, come at any time!'
Shortly after that…
['Ballistics Magic' has been consumed. Your understanding is very high.]
[Your proficiency of the 1st Circle magic 'Magic Missile' has increased significantly.]
[An original copy has been consumed. The synchro rate with Alfred Bellontes is being checked… You are at an appropriate level. You can absorb some of Alfred's experience. The episode will play for 21 minutes and 35 seconds.]
[Synchro is starting.]
What was that? Then at that moment…
There was a sharp ringing sound! The sound cut through his eardrums and made him dizzy. It felt like he was being pulled out of his body. Before that godlike sucking power, the human mind was like a weak blade of grass.
In the end, Theodore's mind was sucked into the palm of his left hand. He fell into the darkness and reached the faint stars.
This was the remnant of the memories contained in Alfred Bellontes—no, in [Ballistics Magic].
* * *
Around 45 years in the past, on the frontlines of the Bellontes Principality…
Theodore Miller opened his eyes.