Chapter 96: Graduation credit (7)
Bob felt that the atmosphere at the breakfast table was very strange. This involuntarily made him think about what had happened after the door had closed. It had to be known that he had watched the door for an entire night and was sure that Young Master Di Lin indeed hadn’t left the room after entering. Moreover, the servants who did the cleaning in the morning had solemnly vowed that Young Master Di Lin and Hydin had left through that door together. So, even if he didn’t want to continue thinking along that line of thought, he still couldn’t stop himself from thinking about a certain matter.
Even the heavens knew that his Young Master was still in his growth phase!
Thinking of this, the gaze Bob directed at Hydin contained a veiled bitterness.
Hydin was unaffected.
Di Lin’s buttocks felt like it was on fire, yet his expression was very calm. Other than using a little too much strength when spreading the jam, there was nothing about him that seemed different from usual.
Bob’s gaze landed on him, sympathy and tenderness instantly filling his eyes. “Young Master, the weather today is very good.”
Di Lin made a sound of agreement.
“Do you want to sleep a while more?” Bob asked.
Di Lin stared blankly and asked a question in return, “Why?”
Bob reacted very quickly. “Young Master has endured hardship in the school for so long. It’s not often that you can return home, so you should have a good rest.”
Di Lin also very much wanted to lie down. But when he turned to look at Hydin, the scene from yesterday night rose vividly in his mind. His fighting spirit was instantly roused. Waving a hand, he said, “No need, I still need to practise later.”
Bob probed, “You’re sure you want to practise today?”
Di Lin nodded firmly.
The doorbell sounded. Bob turned and walked towards the main door.
Hydin looked thoughtfully at Bob’s back. Turning, he told Di Lin, “Sleeping might be a good idea.”
The word ‘sleeping’ made his scalp feel numb. “What do you mean?”
“Rest,” Hydin’s gaze drifted down the buttons on his clothes. “You need it at the moment.”
“No need,” Di Lin said heavily. “The only thing I need at the moment is to practise magic and then defeat you.”
Hydin looked with interest at the youth who had once followed behind him but had now been reborn into a youngster with high fighting spirit within a night’s time. “I’ll be waiting for it.”
Bob returned very quickly with a letter in his hands. “Young Master, your letter.”
Di Lin put down his teacup, used a napkin to wipe the corners of his mouth, and then opened the letter.
The letter was a very short one. He finished reading it with just a sweep of his eyes.
“I’ll be going out today,” He said.
Bob inquired, “Would Young Master require the carriage?”
Di Lin thought about it and nodded. “I’m going to Magil Town.”
Hydin looked up.
Di Lin explained, “It’s one of my three tasks. The magic guild has already informed mage Abner and he wants me to rush over by today.”
Hydin said, “I think he will be very pleased with the free labor.”
Di Lin’s eyes shone. “It is my honor to study under the renowned master of magic arrays.”
Hydin furrowed his brows.
“Tutor thinks it’s not suitable?” Although he had set Hydin up as a rival, Di Lin was very clear in his heart that in the realm of studying magic, no one would be more suitable than Hydin to teach him.
“Magic arrays have little impact on individual magic achievements,” Hydin stated.
Di Lin replied, “But it can aid in magic progression.”
“Under the circumstances of a bottleneck, yes. But bottlenecks are only applicable to junior and intermediate-level mages. Which high-level mage have you heard of that relies on magic arrays to advance?” Hydin said. “Even if he exists, that means he will never become a true magic master in his life.”
Di Lin knew that his words were true.
“Remember, the world of magic is full of shortcuts, but the outcomes will not make up for the losses. Only with true comprehension of magic can one create magic. And only with the creation of magic can one become a true mage in every sense of the word.”
Di Lin asked doubtfully, “A true mage in every sense of the word?”
The corner of Hydin’s mouth curled. “It means making the impossible come true. Repeating what someone else has done before is merely completing again what somebody else has already accomplished.”
“I understand,” Ever since the day he became Hydin’s student, ‘creation’ became the core phrase his learning journey revolved around. It wasn’t only Hydin who placed great emphasis on this but also Saint Padeus’ Institution. This was why there was a demanding requirement for all graduates to create magic exclusive to them. However, this also meant that he would need to create his own magic in order to defeat Hydin. After all, Hydin was publicly recognized as the top mage currently. Existing magic would clearly be incapable of knocking him down.
Ambition and optimism rolled off him as he thought of this. “Let’s set out soon.”
Completing his studies was the first step. The second step was to catch up to Hydin. And finally, he would surpass him!
Magil Town was a small town not just in name but in reality.
Di Lin and Hydin stood at the entrance to the town and could already see the other end of the town in one glance.
“Who are you looking for?” A big-bellied elderly woman eventually couldn’t help asking after watching them for a long time.
“I’m looking for Master Abner,” Di Lin answered.
The woman said, “Master? The only master here is Hank. He’s a carpenter, haha.”
Hydin gave her a sidelong glance.
The woman’s laughter stopped abruptly.
Di Lin explained, “The person we’re trying to find is a mage. He mainly researches magic arrays.”
“Mage? We don’t have such high-level fellows here.” The woman contemplated, “But speaking of array and whatnot, if you follow this path all the way down and continue walking out of the town, you’ll see a very strange old man. He might know the person you’re searching for.”
If Di Lin and Hydin didn’t finally see an enormous magic array half an hour after walking out of the town, they might even have thought that the woman’s directions were a hint for them to silently leave the town and not look back.
The ‘strange old man’ in the woman’s words was stooping and making measurements with a ruler.
“Master Abner?” Di Lin called out hesitantly.
The old man suddenly looked up. His pointed head and chin made his entire face seem like an olive.
“I am Di Lin·Basco,” Di Lin self-introduced. “I’m from Saint Padeus. I received your letter…”
“Why are you so small?” Abner interrupted him abruptly.
Startled, Di Lin asked, “Are you referring to height or…”
“I’m referring to your mentality. I can’t believe you still need a nanny to accompany you,” Abner was very dissatisfied.
The ‘nanny’ raised a brow. “How does he and me look like we’re together?”
“Hah!” Abner shook his head. “Both of you are just short of plastering yourselves to each other, how can I not notice that you’re together?”
Di Lin wanted to find a hole to burrow into. Hydin and him were used to moving together, but he hadn’t thought that he appeared like an underdeveloped child to others.
Hydin stated, “We’re not together.”
Abner looked askance at him as if he was a thief who refused to admit his guilt despite being caught red-handed.
“I came to search for you,” Hydin said.
Abner asked suspiciously, “Who are you?”
Abner leapt up. “What do you want with me?”
The corner of Hydin’s mouth curved. “What do you think?”
Abner’s eyes shifted. “You might be a bit famous, but I won’t accept disciples. And you!” He pointed at Di Lin. “You’re here to work for me! Don’t stand at the side and put on your Young Master act for me. Quick, quick, take off your clothes!”
Di Lin was startled. “Take off my clothes?”
Hydin raised his right brow.
Abner hopped again. “How are you going to work if you don’t take off your clothes? You can’t be thinking of wearing those fancy things to touch my most respected and divine magic arrays, right?”
Di Lin looked down at his clothes. Regardless of which angle he looked at them from, they couldn’t be considered fancy… at most, it was a bit more on the elegant side for manual work.
While he was changing clothes, Abner continued to glare at Hydin.
“Do you have to stay here?” His tone was unkind.
Hydin replied, “No.”
“Then why aren’t you leaving yet?”
“I don’t need to stay here, I’m just staying here during the period Di Lin’s here,” He said indifferently.
The corner of Abner’s mouth twitched. “Which teacher sticks to their student so tightly?”
“Who says I’m his teacher?” Hydin asked nonchalantly.
“The entire Continent knows,” Abner said aggressively. A hint of doubt appeared in his eyes. “Are you not?”
“It’s the holiday period now.”
“… So what?”
Hydin said, “I’m just his lover.”
Abner stared blankly and then burst into laughter. “Aha, and you still say you didn’t accompany him?”
“Who stipulated that I have to accompany him here just because I’m his lover?” Hydin asked mildly.
Abner’s mouth opened. Then, he realized that there was really no link between those two things. He couldn’t help flying into a rage. “What exactly are you here for?”
Hydin answered, “To challenge you.”
Abner’s two eyes and mouth rounded at the same time.
Di Lin had just finished changing and was greeted with Abner’s dull face immediately after coming out. “Master Abner?” He looked at Hydin questioningly.
Hydin said, “He found out that I came to challenge him and got too excited.”
Abner shrunk behind Di Lin and pointed at Hydin from far away. “Why do you want to challenge me?!” Sure, he was called a master, but he was only a master at making magic arrays! To be challenged by the Continent’s top mage… Would definitely end in him dying many times over!
Hydin shrugged innocently. “I need an excuse to find you.”
“…” Abner looked at him and then at Di Lin. Eventually, he surrendered under the threat to his life. “Actually, this place of mine very much welcomes… students’ family members to visit and stay over.” He definitely had to break off relations with Saint Padeus’ Magic Institution! Lest they shove this sort of messy task to him again.
Hydin smiled. “I’ll be troubling you then.”
“…” Abner decided to ignore him. He turned and glanced at Di Lin who had already put on the special work clothes, and brought him to the area behind the house.
There was an extremely large magic array there, so large that it exceeded Di Lin’s imagination. If he had to use a phrase to describe it, it would be ‘as far as the eye could see’. There were many types of magic liquid used to draw magic arrays, all corresponding to the four elements. The quality of the liquid varied according to its purity and concentration. In Di Lin’s eyes, the magic array he was looking at now was priceless. This didn’t refer to the price of the completed magic array, but that the price of the liquid used to draw the magic array was in itself an astronomical figure.
Abner saw his stunned look and felt immensely delighted. “You are the second person to have the fortune of admiring this magic array.”
“You’re the first person?” Di Lin was humbled.
“… The first person is the president of the magic guild, Brandry; the magic guild provided funding for this magic array. I don’t count!” Abner felt that it was very tiring to talk to this teacher and student.
Di Lin realized as well that he had become very stingy with his words after getting to know Hydin. “What kind of magic array is this?”
“Illusion array. It’s a type of space magic array,” Abner paused. “I heard that your group also made an extremely complicated, large-scale magic array at Langzan?”
Di Lin nodded. “Tutor designed it.”
Abner snorted coldly. “Didn’t it fail?”
Di Lin wanted to say that it was because the enemy was too powerful, but immediately thought that this excuse didn’t have any meaning, so he didn’t say anything.
Abner never had any intentions of belittling them in the first place and was simply curious about the magic used at that time. Seeing that he didn’t continue the conversation, Abner couldn’t help but feel anxious. He questioned, “How did it fail?”
“It was broken,” Di Lin didn’t actually know how it was broken. According to reason, given Hydin’s understanding of space magic, there should not have been any loophole. But at that time, the other party had indeed appeared from the magic array.
Abner said, “That means the magic wasn’t strong enough. Its impossible for large-scale magic requiring inter-person coordination to be as secure as a magic array after all. But this thing of mine is different – it’s based off 78910 types of empty spaces caused by distortions. To break this array, the 679880 bonds between these spaces have to be undone.”
Di Lin recalled Hydin saying that the key to a space magic array was not the number of bonds between spaces but the level of complexity of the bonds. But faced with Abner’s proud look, he swallowed these words in the end.
“Since you’ve studied space magic, then I won’t elaborate on the basics. I’ll briefly explain the principle behind magic arrays and its set-up,” Abner looked at him doubtfully. “But my illusion array is quite complicated. Other than distorting and creating spaces, it can also embellish it so that it can become a beautiful palace.
That was something Di Lin hadn’t learned before, so he pricked up his ears in curiosity.
Satisfied with his attitude, Abner nodded. “Illusion arrays are one of the most complicated space magic arrays. The complexity doesn’t lie in the bonds between spaces, but in the setting. The defining characteristic of illusion arrays is its ability to lead those who enter the array into a land of fantasy. Therefore, this land of fantasy must be done up beautifully. I heard you’re a wind and water mage?”
Di Lin wanted to explain that wind stemmed from water, but Abner didn’t give him any chance to. He continued, “So, what you need to do at the moment is…transport things.”
Di Lin stared blankly.
The transportation that Abner mentioned… referred to simply moving things around.
Di Lin deeply suspected that Saint Padeus had not sent him to help Abner because he knew space magic, but because he could use wind magic, making it very convenient to transport things.
The palace Abner had constructed in the space was more or less complete. It was mainly made out of earth, while the most fashionable paint was used for the exterior. The overall style was very modern and was indeed much prettier than the current buildings.
Di Lin was amazed the first time he saw it. “You designed this?”
“Of course? Did you think that I only knew how to make earth rise and logs of wood collapse?” Abner could hardly conceal his delight.
Di Lin was at a loss for words. If Abner wasn’t a mage, he would definitely have been an outstanding architect.
After transporting things for nearly a month, the construction of the palace was finally complete. During this period, Hydin had been living his own life without disturbing them. The only time they saw him was during mealtimes.
Di Lin temporarily tossed magic and their relationship to the back of his mind, immersing himself in the construction of magic arrays.
After that, Abner started to teach him knowledge related to space magic arrays. Di Lin had heard the majority of this knowledge from Hydin before, while Abner’s personal experiences made up the other small component. There was virtually no difference in the principle behind space magic arrays, but when it came to the details, every master of space magic would have their own unique key points. For instance, Abner’s space bonds were simpler in comparison to Hydin’s, which naturally meant that it was inferior in stability.
“In fact, space bonds aren’t necessarily required for space magic,” Abner suddenly blurted out this statement one day as he watched Di Lin draw out an elemental spell according to his specifications. “Your tutor really designed large-scale space magic only for inter-person coordination?”
After this period of interaction, Di Lin had a rough gauge of Abner’s personality. He knew that Abner might appear proud and arrogant but was full of zeal for magic. “Yes,” He replied.
Abner was silent.
“Tell me, what use does this illusion array have?”
Abner said seriously, “This illusion array might only be completed two years later. But by then, it’s possible that Brandry might just treat it as a tourist destination. Comparatively, large-scale space magic is more useful. As long as there are enough people and there is mutual understanding and coordination, it can be carried out anytime and anywhere.”
Di Lin stated, “But space magic arrays have their advantages.”
“What advantages?” Abner resembled an overgrown child who downplayed his own achievements yet longed in his heart for others to refute him.
“It’s… Hiccup, very pretty,” Di Lin said.
Abner was even more dejected. “It’s still a tourist destination.”
“Not necessarily,” Di Lin contemplated. “Maybe it can be used as a… refuge?”
“Refuge?” Abner stared blankly.
Di Lin explained, “Aren’t illusions the defining characteristic of illusion arrays? Not only can it make enemies who enter lose their way, it can also allow one to enter and evade enemies. Isn’t that the case?”
Abner’s originally dull gaze suddenly brightened. He rushed over and hugged Di Lin, patting him fiercely on the back. “You’re a genius, a genius! Why did I not think of that? Haha, a refuge. This way of thinking is genius!”
Ever since becoming a mage, Di Lin could feel his physical strength declining rapidly. Just these few pats on the back was enough to give him the misconception that he had suffered internal injuries.
“You’ve completed your task!” Abner suddenly released him and announced happily in a loud voice.
“Ah?” Di Lin was stunned.
Abner said, “I’ll tear down the palace and design a maze instead. Aha, let it become the nightmare of all enemies!”
Di Lin hesitated. “I can stay behind to help.”
“You haven’t had enough of transporting things?” Abner winked mischievously. “Even if you haven’t had enough of it, your lover tutor has already waited till he’s at the end of his patience.”
Di Lin’s face reddened.
It was very hard for Hydin’s impatience to be seen from his face, but as long as one was within a five-meter radius from him, they would be able to tell from the atmosphere. Di Lin had always thought that he was the only one who could sense it. Unexpectedly, Abner had also realized it.
Abner said loudly, “You’ve resolved a huge problem of mine and enabled me to find new meaning in life. So, I am very happy to announce that you’re free!”
“…” Di Lin felt a kind of blissfulness from ‘leaving prison’.
Despite the announcement that he had been ‘released from his sentence’, the dark sky meant that Di Lin and Hydin stayed one more night at Magil Town.
Di Lin watched Abner tear down the palace with regret. In the end, a building with such beauty only existed for a brief moment of time.
As if making out his regret, Abner commented, “Different phases are meaningful in different ways. If giving up is for the purpose of pursuing something greater and better, than it isn’t a pity at all and should be celebrated instead.”
Hydin uttered coldly, “Don’t regard your own conclusions as truth.”
Abner glanced at him. After one month of interaction, he was certain that this guy who was even harsher than him was only severe in his words and did not actually have any intention of taking things to a physical level. Thus, his words became much more casual. “Are you worried that your student will abandon you and search for a greater and better lover tutor?”
Hydin said, “You said Di Lin has passed the test already.”
“Yes, so what?”
“So, even if you vanish now, it won’t influence the results of his test.”
“… No, it will. I haven’t reported the results of the test.”
“I can wait.”
“… No, I’ll wait for you instead. I’ll do it when I confirm that you’ve left Magil Town,” Abner said resolutely.
Sure enough, Abner personally sent Hydin and Di Lin off the next day. Only when they disappeared inside the transfer magic array did he heave a sigh of relief.
The elderly woman who had been in charge of their meals during the one month period had also accompanied him in sending them off. She suddenly chuckled.
“What’s wrong?” Abner stared at her with displeasure.
The woman said, “Before leaving, Golden Hair told me to tell you something.”
Despite knowing that it wouldn’t be anything good, Abner couldn’t resist asking, “What did he say?”
“He said that many brilliant murderers make their move by sneaking back after leaving.”