Anne-Sophia’s Magicology Crash Course
“By the way, Euphie, I think it’d be good for the two of us to make sure we’re on the same page.”
“The same page…?”
“Yeah. Euphie, you know I can’t use normal magic, right?”
Euphie seemed a little lost by the sudden shift in conversation but nodded all the same.
In this world, it’s expected that each and every aristocrat can use magic. And, to go deeper than that, levels of magical talent, aptitude and innate power become something of a status symbol to go along with their existing title.
If we’re to use the typical way of thinking as a measuring stick, I’m grossly incompetent. Even if I have magical power, I lack the constitution necessary to actually use it. At first, I thought that there was some change in me that had caused this at some point, and that if I researched enough I could somehow ‘fix’ it, but the conclusion I arrived at was that I was simply born this way.
“As to the reason I can’t use magic like everyone else, I can only posit my own hypothesis, but…”
“Please, hold on just one moment.”
“Posit a hypothesis…? This is the first time I’m hearing about any of this, though…?”
“That’s why I said I’d like us to be on the same page as soon as possible.”
“…I see. Sorry for interrupting you, please continue.”
Euphie still seemed a little puzzled, but she still nodded like she was convinced.
“First of all, as you know, the means of practising magic lies through using the power of the spirits.”
“Yes. By using the power of the spirits that exist throughout the world, you can use your own magical energy and have it take shape into usable magic. At the Academy, they also taught us that by having certain aptitudes, once can better align their powers with certain types of spirits.”
“Yeah. That’s pretty much the gist of it, huh? But, I’m looking to really get to the core of all this, though.”
“Literally speaking. Just how are magical aptitudes with certain spirits decided? Just how is the amount of magical power exchanged with spirits in order to use magic determined?”
In the most basic sense, the use of magic in this world is done through spirits. And, as you’d expect, there are many different kinds of spirits as well.
There are the Primeval Spirits of Light and Darkness, the Four Great Elemental Spirits of Fire, Water, Earth and Air, and a bunch of other subspecies of spirits on top of that. Well, I say ‘a bunch’, but… Outside of the big name spirits that everyone knows, there’s just way too many subspecies! I actually tried to fill out a taxonomy, but I ended up scrapping that project halfway through because the list just never ended!
But, although the differences in the attributes of the spirits changed wildly across all the subspecies, in my research I determined that on an ecological level they’re all fundamentally similar. If a spirit is on its own, it’ll just float listlessly in the air. But, if multiple spirits gather together and form a collective will, it will become what they call a great spirit, and if even more gather then it could become something people will worship as a god.
Simply put, spirits are incorporeal beings that float throughout the entire world, but when they begin to coalesce together they have both a stronger visual and physical presence in the environment around them. And, they’re an existence that sustains themselves on magical energy.
“So, magical energy is like sustenance for spirits?”
“Individual spirits are incorporeal beings, and magical energy is likewise an incorporeal power. Personally, I like to define magical energy as power that you draw from the soul. What’s more, spirits themselves aren’t sapient or even self-conscious until they coalesce together and form a collective will, and at the same time become visible. Rather than eating, I’d say that the spirits just process magical energy.”
“The holy spirits that we pray to, you’re saying they’re nothing more than magic processors?!”
Euphie couldn’t help but let out a surprised laugh. I guess my point of view here really is pretty out of the ordinary, huh?
“I understand where you’re coming from, but I can’t see them the same way you do. To me, spirits are something that just drift through the atmosphere without any sort of real will, basically no different to air. By providing it with magical energy, it in-turn is converted into practical magic. There’s an upper limit to the amount of magical energy that one spirit can convert as well. Think of it like magic being to both the soul and these spirits what blood is to the body. You can fill the spirit with as much magical energy as it is able to take, but any further energy isn’t converted and will just be spent up on nothing.”
The soul is packed full of magical energy, or rather you could say that it is the source of magic itself. So, similarly to the spirits, any excess magical energy beyond its limit won’t be retained. That is the true nature of magical energy.
Spirits are simply beings without any form of consciousness that are attracted by magical energy, and can only have a tangible impact on the world through the will of a conscious being, like a human. That way, I explained to Euphie that magic was simply a method of processing the spirits that existed in the atmosphere, and wasn’t a form of sacred pact or transaction between humans and a conscious being that was acting according to any sort of will, like is commonly believed.
Unsurprisingly, Euphie didn’t seem all that pleased. There are many people who worship the spirits as ardent believers in this world. From their point of view, my ideas probably wouldn’t be that welcome. Actually, wouldn’t they be heresy? So, this isn’t something I bring up much, if I can help it. But, since Euphie is going to be working with me from now on, this is something that I have to explain to her if we’re going to be getting anything done.
“…Until now, I just thought of spirits and their magic as a natural thing, I’d never really given it this much thought before…”
“I ended up landing on this theory because I had to research this. And, once I realized how it works, I also figured out just why I can’t use magic normally.”
“You figured out why you can’t use magic?”
“Basically, the spirits don’t like my magical energy.”
That’s right. I do have magical energy. There’s no doubt about that. I mean, how else would I be activating my magic tools? But, I can’t use the same magic everyone else does.
Spirits are instinctually drawn to magical energy, and unconsciously seek out the magical energy of those who are compatible with them. There’s something in a spirits nature that allows it to recognize one with ‘fitting attributes’.
If a person has magical energy that has an aptitude with water, then water spirits will be attracted to them. In other words, a person’s aptitude for specific elements can be almost measured by the amount and type of spirits attracted to them.
“My history is a little rusty, but the roots of the royalty and nobility stem from our ancestors who made pacts with certain spirits, right?”
“You mean the Spirit Contractors? The legends say that certain people made contracts with great spirits, and that by using their power they became the first nobles. There aren’t many left now, but there are still some Spirit Contractors around today.”
“Right. Being able to create a pact with a great spirit that has formed its own will would give you power on a completely different level to regular magic. It makes sense why the entire country was put under the control of those who contracted with them, and why they were able to put themselves on top of the food chain as nobles.”
“I see… Then, the reason why the nobility can use magic is that our ancestors made contracts with those great spirits?”
Probably. It happened such a long time ago, that unless I went digging through all kinds of ancient records I doubt I’d be able to find the truth.
Certain people have a romantic passion for history, but my interests lie elsewhere.
“I can’t really say for sure whether or not the spirits prefer the magical energy of people who descended from Spirit Contractors. But, putting that aside, I’ve concluded that my magical energy isn’t compatible with any spirit, so no matter how much energy I try throw at it I’ll never be able to process a spirit into magic I can use.”
“So, that’s why you decided to develop magical tools, Princess Anise?”
“I do have magical energy, after all, so I need to make sure to use it effectively somehow, right? What’s more, I really wanted to use magic. Whether it was magic that came from spirits or not didn’t matter to me. By the way, spirits preferring the magical energy of the descendants of Spirit Contractors would explain why there are very few commoners that can use magic. That would mean that any commoners that can must have exceptionally rare circumstances. That, or they’re the illegitimate child of a noble.”
“By exceptional circumstances, you mean they were born with magical energy that was favoured by the spirits? I suppose that would be considered lucky?”
“Well, something like that. But, putting that aside, without naturally being able to use magic I had to cover the gap by some other means. And, I ended up discovering another way.”
“Discovering? You mean, something that lead to developing magical tools?”
“Right. At first, I was just looking for ways to use magic without relying on spirits.”
Any excess magical energy is released from the body and just disperses into the air. If that excess magical energy isn’t attracting spirits, it’s not unfair to say that it’s just a gross waste of resources. So, I researched into seeing whether or not I could use it for anything. This must’ve been six years ago now, I think?
“The first possibility I landed on was spirit stones.”
“The crystals said to form where spirits gather, or are even bestowed personally by great spirits, right?”
“Yeah. But, I wanted to figure out just what their true nature was.”
“…? True nature…?”
“It’s not just some regular crystal, right? I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to reproduce them without understanding the process behind how they were formed, could I?”
The crystals that are formed in spirit rich environments known as spirit stones. Using these, even commoners can use magic like a noble. But, they have limited uses.
A fire spirit stone can be used like a fireplace. A water spirit stone can bring forth water, but that’s all. A spirit stone can create wind, but not nearly enough to allow people to fly. An earth spirit stone could help to enrich a farm’s soil, but can’t do anything as great as cause an earthquake.
Basically, it’s like using a degraded form of magic. But, that begs the question; just how are spirit stones formed by spirits, and for what purpose?
“Well, to cut a long story short, they’re dead spirits.”
“Or, maybe it’d be better to say it’s a crystallized spirit? A spirit that has materialized into a physical form, but still doesn’t have a consciousness. So, basically the same thing as a corpse, I guess?”
“…I appreciate the explanation, but putting it that way definitely leaves a bad taste.”
“Not much point in sugarcoating the truth. Well, unlike actual living things, you can’t really apply the same concept of ‘death’ to spirits, so you shouldn’t really think about it in terms of pain and regret. Though, that’s obviously not the case with great spirits that have formed their own will.”
That’s why spirit stones are so commonly found in places abundant with spirits, and the Kingdom of Palletia is a land with a cordial balance between its population and nature. Spirits are naturally drawn to dwelling in natural places like forests compared to towns, and likewise there are still many humans about producing excess magical energy to sustain them.
If you go out into the wilderness, you’ll be able to find high purity spirit stones that will be able to provide greater magic, but even people living in villages won’t have to venture far to find spirit stones that can help with their day to day lives. It’s also not an exaggeration at all to say that spirit stones play a key role in the kingdom’s export industry.
“Ah, how nostalgic. I too remember your first flight trials, Your Highness, when you used up a large number of air spirit stones and ended up becoming The Princess Stuck in the Wall.”
“Stuck in the wall…?”
“Honestly, I’m surprised I survived that one.”
Although that failure didn’t bring me closer to understanding anything about my own magical energy, it was able to answer some of my doubts about the spirit stones.
The understanding I gained was that without a vast number of spirit stones, there’s no way I could achieve the magic I’d always dreamed of. So, my days of trial and error testing began.
“Well, I ended up trying out a lot of different things. Honestly, though… I could say the last ten years were all about trial and error…”
“And that’s the reason you became known as an eccentric princess…?”
“Yeah, probably. I just really wanted to use magic, though. Even now I’m still not satisfied with how far I’ve come, either. I’ve managed to reach the point where excess magical power let out of my body can be used to activate magical tools, but I still want to develop these tools more and more, and take them to greater heights.”
“I see. So… just why did you want me to be your assistant?”
Euphie tilted her head as she asked me that. In a way, I suppose you could say that Euphie and I are opposites. Whilst the spirits seem to hate my guts and ignore me, Euphie is super popular with them. Having an aptitude for all sorts of spirits like that… I’m a little jealous.
“It’s important for me to be able to see all sorts of different magic. Also, I want to figure out just how the body of someone with the ‘all attribute aptitude cheat’ ticks.”
“Uh… Cheat? Um… Am I really that strange to you…?”
“Totally strange. Your very existence is weird, Euphie. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something wrong with your body, really. So, I wouldn’t mind harvesting some data, if that’s fine?”
Euphie had gone a little pale as she blinked at me. Actually, the truth is that this world had a body-affection condition that’s wholly unique to it. As you might’ve guessed, it’s a disease relating to magic.
“For example, excess magical energy trapped in the body can cause mental problems. It’s not unheard of, right? Examples of children from exceptional parents growing up to become infamously bad apples among the nobility.”
“Yes, well… Isn’t that just an issue of poor education, not disease…?”
“It’s an illness of the mind, I would say. Excess magical power is something that spills out of the soul, but if there isn’t a proper balance between the body and the soul, then either one or more than likely both will suffer as a result. That’s why there are many cases where excess magical energy created in the souls of nobles doesn’t flow safely outside of the body, and can either cause mental or physical problems.”
If excess magical energy isn’t properly passed from the soul out of the body, it will set in as rot. The body and mind can’t deal with the saturation of the soul’s magical energy, and will begin to deteriorate. It was quite a significant discovery when I figured out that, if the soul of a child becomes warped in some way, it will stop properly dealing with excess magical energy and distort their personalities or harm their bodies.
But, this information hasn’t become common knowledge for the country just yet. I was the one who discovered it, but I haven’t completely come to grips with the theory behind it yet, and above all else, I’m not a doctor. Right now, the information has been passed to the court doctors gathered by the royal family, who are busy researching it.
“Then, because I have magical energy that the spirits like, I don’t have to worry about that kind of thing?”
“The opposite. It’s possible that with that many spirits attracted by your magical energy, the soul might release more magical energy than it should to sustain them, which could lead to the soul itself becoming sickly. Euphie, maybe you’re loved by a God or something? Your balance is almost like a miracle. You might be a prodigy that shows up once in a hundred years, or maybe once in a thousand years?”
“…Rather than calling me a genius, I’m more concerned about how magical power can cause people to become ill like you say.”
“You sure are kind, huh, Euphie? Well, anyways, it’s important for magical energy to be balanced. That’s more or less the gist of it. I’ve heard that they’ve started running magical tests now? Basically seeing how much magical energy someone has, and how efficiently they can use it, something like that?”
“Ah, so that’s why the Academy started doing those tests…”
Even if the truth can’t be explained to everyone right away, there’s still preventative measures that can be taken. But, that’s right. A few years after I developed this theory, the Academy began to start testing students on the amount of magical energy they possessed as well as their level of spellcasting in relationship to it in order to check for abnormalities.
Of course, it’s not just unbalanced magical power that can damage a person. If the truth gets twisted into the idea that having too much magical energy corrupts people’s minds, then it’s possible that people skilled in magic might start facing fear and persecution from those around them. Apparently, this is part of the reason why father is dealing with this all very carefully.
“I’ve heard that children who are born with a lot of magical energy and acted out at a young age began to calm down and become more stable once they began to learn about and use magic themselves. Well, if things don’t go well they can still sometimes be prone to fits of anger and things like that, but that comes down to personality as well, not just magic.”
“But, still, finding out the cause behind something like this is a real step forward… that said, is looking at things like this part of Magicology?”
“No, if anything it’s just a by-product. This isn’t really my field of expertise, so pretty much everything I said was more guesswork than anything else. I’ll leave it to the actual experts to figure out. I may be a proud Magicologist, but I’m not a doctor.”
Magicology is a field of study I invented solely because I, who was unable to use magic, wanted to use it by any means necessary.
It’s closer to something like the ‘science’ I remember from my previous life, except this time the appliances and tools are tailored to use magical energy and replicate magic.
By the way, it’s not as if there aren’t researchers who study magic itself in this world, but I’m not exactly on good terms with them since they approach the matter from a more… theological point of view, I guess it’s fair to say?
Well, it does seem like I made a good impression on certain members of the magical researchers with a more practical mindset. The discovery of the abnormalities that can arise through an imbalance of magical energies in the body was apparently a revelation to them, and since it had a positive effect on how they were training their apprentices they showered me with praise.
Well! Damn right! As it should be! You damn magic users, how eaaaaasy it must be being you, huh?! But you were always treating me like a problem child! Making fun of me the whole damn time! I thought I was going to die of shame when they were laughing at my magical tools for years! Well, who’s laughing now?! You sons of bitches from the Ministry of Magic…!
“Haa… Sorry, I get a little bit worked up when I think about the Ministry of Magic.”
“The Ministry of Magic? I heard that… you don’t exactly get along, but…”
“Well, the Ministry has certainly begun to see the benefits recently. But, it’s not as if Her Highness is on good terms with them, either. Though, that’s mostly because Her Highness is stuck in the past. That, along with her deep-seated feelings of jealousy.”
“Ahh, shut up, will you?! Who do they think they are, those so-called wizarding elite?!”
The fact that all of those bastards are so weirdly good looking as well just makes me even madder…! And they’re always super cynical and sarcastic whenever they actually listen to what I have to say… They should all just drop dead…
“…So, that’s the reason? I heard that Prince Algard was on quite good terms with the Ministry of Magic, though?”
“Hm? Allie? I know he’s not as good as you, Euphie, but I heard he’s pretty good at magic as well.”
“Yes. Even at the Academy, he was often talking to the sons of some of the nobles who worked inside the Ministry.”
“Well, I guess they’re a pretty big faction, huh…?”
A lot of them believe that the use of magic is a sacred privilege that only nobles should be allowed to enjoy, and look down on the idea of commoners using magic in any way, shape or form. Honestly, they sort of make me sick. Down with elitism!
Though, I guess being able to use magic is a symbol of status, huh? But, I’d like to think that magic isn’t the only thing that defines a person’s worth. I guess that must sound like a strange thing for me to say, considering how much I obsess over magic and magical tools, huh? But, that’s because this is just a hobby for me.
“It feels like we kinda got off track? Ummm, just where were we before all this again?”
“We were discussing the beginnings of Magicology, I believe? Though it seemed like we flowed from one topic into the other quite easily.”
“Ah, yeah, that’s right. At some point we just stopped talking about Magicology and went into magic and spirits and stuff generally, right? It’s kind of hard to separate those topics though, so I guess it just sort of happened.”
“But, even though you call it Magicology, it’s really quite a hard thing to understand from an outside perspective… That said, I’ve heard that you often visit construction sites? Such as for new roads or sewers?”
Ahh, that’s right… There was one time I mentioned some things to father about a sewage system, then I suddenly found myself placed as an assistant to a construction foreman.
Basically, all I’d done is mention how the capital would look nicer if there was a proper sewage system to deal with wastewater or something like that. But after I mentioned that people might actually be getting sick because of a lack of sewers as well, father apparently ordered an investigation and actually verified that was true.
Of course, all the investigation and gathering funds for a construction project took quite some time, and suddenly three years later I found myself pushed into assisting on a project based on something I barely remembered casually mentioning.
‘This is totally eating into my research time!’ was how I fumed about it at the time. But, in the end, it actually turned out to be a good opportunity to start developing magical tools that helped with construction work. So, I don’t regret it that much.
“Helping out with the sewer construction was a total bolt out of the blue for me, but I show up at the paving of new roads for the monsters. Well, to be more exact, I’m after the magic stones they drop. So, as part of my royal inspection of the construction’s progress, I hunt nearby monsters…”
“What kind of Princess does something like that?!”
“I think it’s quite normal for Princesses to make royal inspections, though?”
“That’s not what I meant, though?! Obviously a normal inspection was never your goal, was it?!”
“Well, let’s just leave it at that. Basically, I needed magic stones, as well as other materials I could make use of like monster bones, skin, fangs, etcetera… But, if I just left the royal palace to do that whenever I wanted, certain people would be really angry when I got back…”
“That’s quite right, isn’t it? Just how many times did Her Highness escape, I wonder, only leaving us behind a note? After some time, though, now you only use official excuses such as inspections of road developments, isn’t that right?”
Illya’s words were actually quite nostalgic. It’s true, I used to be a bit more of a free spirit back in the past. But, now I’ve become a nice, calm lady. Well, that’s mostly because my research has become much more important than fieldwork, though!
But, whenever I do feel the need to escape the castle, it always turns into an exciting chase scene between myself, the Royal Knights and the maid corps who had become quite the well trained and drilled force before I knew it. That said, I think the Knights essentially see me as an opposing force in a mock battle scenario that might get sprung on them any time, huh?
“Well, I had to do it, you know? I wanted to get my hands on more magic stones, since they’re basically twisted forms of spirit stones.”
“We’re talking about magic stones, aren’t we? The crystals that certain monsters like demons can leave behind, especially ones that are particularly strong or infamous?”
“Yep, that’s right. Since their characteristics change based on which monster you get them from, people like to study them or display them like badges of honour.”
“T-They’re actually spirit stones, then?!”
“To be precise, a magic stone absorbs and crystalizes spirits to strengthen the power of the monster it inhabits. That’s why I said they’re twisted versions of spirit stones.”
“Such a thing… Then, do magic stones also have a lot of power in them?”
“There’s certain magical accessories that use magic stones, I guess… Well, to be honest, it’s pretty rare for any one person to own one.”
Since hunting monsters strong enough to have a magic stone is pretty dangerous business it’s usually done in groups, and you can’t exactly split a magic stone between party members. Ah, there’s something awful in Illya’s stare. I wonder if she’s realized where this conversation is going?
“So, it’s sort of like a spirit stone, but the ways you can use it are even more limited. It can’t be converted back to a spirit stone, so up until now for the most part it really has just been used for accessories or bragging rights.”
“Then, is there an application for magic stones in Magicology?”
“Hmm… Well, it’s not something I’d recommend copying.”
“Not something you’d recommend…?”
“Wanna see? All right, I’ll just strip, okay?”
“Huh? S-Strip… Hold on, Princess Anise?!”
I quickly took off my jacket and shirt to reveal my upper body. We’re all girls here, so it’s fine.
Then, turning to Euphie, I showed her my back. As I turned around to look over my shoulder, I could see Euphie frozen in shock.
I can almost see my ‘engravings’ reflected in Euphie’s eyes. If anyone happened to see them, all they’d see were tattoos. And, well, getting tattoos is akin to committing a serious crime in this world. Since, traditionally, criminals are branded with tattoos so that the sin of their crime could never be washed away. So, especially for nobles, getting a tattoo is basically the ultimate taboo, huh?
“Are these… tattoos? Just why would you do something like this to yourself?!”
“Because these are the catalysts for a sort of “magic” that I can use.”
“Right, right. Basically, I pulverized magic stones into something similar to a paint, and then used that to engrave them on my skin. Then, after the magic stones seeped properly into my body, I could use their power for myself. That’s why I said it’s not something to imitate, right?”
“That goes without saying?! Just how could you do such a thing to your own body?!”
“Ahh, don’t worry, I’ve already heard this sermon over and over again back when I did it before… Yes, yes, I won’t do it again…”
Among the few ways I can imitate regular “magic”, this is my number one right now. By passing my magical energy through the engravings on my back, I can reap the benefits of the magic power of the stones.
That said, it’s less me using magic and more me leeching off the magical power of evil monsters, so father called it a form of heretical black magic and forbid me or anyone else from doing it ever again. Well, even I won’t pretend it wasn’t a risky thing to do, I guess.
“…Haa, I feel so sorry for everything His Majesty has endured. So, just what can you do using these engravings?”
“Hmm… Basically, I can imitate the strength or speed of the monster the stone came from, or even use their unique characteristics. I’ve got one that’s actually super special, too!”
“…Just which monster did that stone come from?”
“…I get the feeling that you’ll get mad if I say it…”
“It came from a dragon, Lady Euphilia.”
Ahh, Illya!! Why’d you have to tell her like that?! I’m the one who’s playing show and tell here, not you!!
“A dragon?! But isn’t a dragon’s magic stone supposed to be on the level of a national treasure?!”
“Hey, I’m the one who wanted it so much I put my life on the line for it, so it’s fine to use it how I want!”
“Though that particular outing wasn’t made public.”
“Just how on earth did you get such a thing, then?!”
Uh, just through some dragon hunting…? I wonder if she could read my mind, because Euphie was glaring at me before I’d even said anything.
Well, I mean, I guess dragons are disaster-class monsters, huh? But, I’d heard that a dragon had just happened to cross over the border and that a large force had been sent to try and subjugate it, so before its magic stone was taken and left to gather dust in the royal treasury, I just went on a liiiittle bit of a dragon hunt with all the magic technology I had at the time… That’s all…?
“D-Don’t worry! There are also other ways I’ve learned how to use magic stones! I’m the only one who’s engraved them on myself!”
“If you crush them up, you can take them like a drug. Though, there’s some side effects.”
“I’m sure you’ve had plenty of people say things to you over the years, but I don’t think you’re the type of person who will listen to words alone. So, in that case…”
Euphie, just why are you looking at me like that?
“If you ever go out of your way to do something insane again, I will do everything in my power to stop you. Please keep that in mind.”
…Did I just get an ultimatum from one of the most powerful people in the Kingdom?
Mm, well, I guess a reliable and upright assistant really has come after all. It’s okay, from now on, I definitely won’t act out anymore! Yep, definitely. Maybe.
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