12: Learning Sorcery
Part 1: Vagabond Arc "Ash-crowned Princess of Slaughter" Chapter 1: The Heroine Went Against Fate
Now then, let's train in light sorcery.
When it came to learning sorcery spells, for a level two sorcery skill...or as was known in sorcery terms, second rank sorcery, if you wanted to learn second rank sorcery or above, you had to become the apprentice of a master just like that woman, or join the Sorcerers' Guild and pay to be taught the sorcery you wanted.
The exception to this were the nobles, who were admitted into the Sorcery Academy, where they were taught the fundamentals of sorcery.
Then how could normal people learn basic sorcery without even knowing their elements? Apparently they learned from a book the Sorcerers' Guild released into the market to increase the number of sorcerers, but the book only taught level one, first rank sorcery.
Even so, it was an academic book so its price was five small gold coins, but it was normal for nobles to buy them so the parents could teach the basics to their children.
That woman's master owned a copy of the book, and she had been ordered to copy it as part of her lessons. ...Though she sold it immediately when she became independent.
Training in an elemental magic began with memorising the spell correctly and chanting it accurately.
Alongside that, you also had to learn the meaning of the spell and how it affected the world in order for it to work...was what that woman's master said.
Firstly, a "spell" was a simplified version of the "spirit language" that spirits used to interfere with the world, which was simplified by the ancient elves so that even humans could use it...well, to put it bluntly, it was more like a degraded version of the spirit language.
Although it was made usable to people, it was originally a language used by existences with a different form of thinking, so for a person to understand the language it would take months...if not years for people without ability.
That woman had a vague recollection of the meaning of the spells she could use herself, but at least she memorised the meaning of the light sorcery spells (even though she couldn't understand them).
Let's do a short review of the two first rank light sorcery spells, Heal and Cure.
Heal restored stamina and forced the body to heal its wounds naturally. So when used by a person without proper knowledge, the bones could stick together crookedly and the scarring could be severe.
Cure was closer to regeneration than self-healing. It healed wounds completely and left no scars, but its scope was limited and it took time, and it seemed that if you forced a deep wound to heal it would consume stamina, leaving the target on the verge of death.
Well, in reality, a typical injury could be treated with just Heal, so most people didn't learn Cure just like Feld.
The spell for Heal was "Ritīwārusutorizahīkā", and the meaning seemed to be "heal that target".
...Isn't the spell strangely long? Is there any significance to the fact that the spell is long even though it's short in the human language? Did it become longer because the spirit language was made into words that humans could use?
The spell for Cure was "Ritīshuwāruborudeanosutōrīsuten", and the meaning was "return the body to its original state".
...Both are nuanced and difficult to remember. According to that woman's "knowledge", there were times when the sorcery didn't work because of slight differences in pronunciation.
Apparently it was easier to activate if you rhymed when you chanted, but I believed the ultimate solution was what that woman's master had been nagging her about.
"Understand the meaning of the spell properly and chant it accurately."
For now, let's just chant it once. Fortunately...if I can call it that, I have plenty of minor injuries due to living in the forest.
...Is it a bit different? Sure enough, there was no sign of the sorcery activating, and my magic power didn't decrease when I looked it up with an Appraisal Crystal.
Although usually when using Heal people said "heal" at the end, it was not part of the spell's spirit language, and was instead an "activation word" from the common language. In short, it was chanted to help make the mental image clearer, so omitting it wasn't an issue.
Still, even with non-elemental sorcery, aside from Body Strengthening, most people didn't seem to be able to activate Battle Techniques unless they said their activation words out loud, so it might be better to use them until I got used to the sorcery.
Whether it was due to poor pronunciation or a lack of understanding of the meaning, my first chant was a failure.
After that I tried a few more times, changing the pronunciation a little bit each time and adding "heal" at the end, but there were still no signs of the sorcery Heal activating.
I tried investigating the "knowledge" a little.
The Heal used by that woman's master and the Heal used by Feld were the same, but when I tried recalling them, I had the impression that their pronunciation was slightly different.
Feld said it took him around six months to be able to use it, and all he did during that time was to repeatedly practice chanting the spell.
So how did he learn to use it? Is it just a matter of repeatedly trying to pronounce the spell until you learn to pronounce it correctly? I tried recalling the vague memory I had of the Heal that Feld used and compared it to the Heal used by that woman's master.
...I have a feeling that there is a small...but noticeable difference. In fact, it seemed that the spell chanted by the master was slightly shorter in some parts than the spell that woman had memorised.
"...Could it be..."
...That the spell was shortened? And it was still able to activate?
I tried forming a hypothesis. Even the common language of mankind that I used differed slightly from region to region, and people shortened words in their daily lives.
But despite not talking using a formal style, shortened words could still make sense if both speaker and listener knew their exact meaning.
This may be why it was necessary to "correctly understand the meaning" of the spell.
Perhaps the spells passed on by the ancient elves were supposed to be the "proper style". So the reason they were shortened...was surely because they were "too long".
To be precise, they were too bothersome to be used in daily life, so they were shortened.
Perhaps in that process, the "proper style" had become obsolete, just like the "ancient language" of humans, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
There were people who learned incorrectly even the words of the modern common language, which were becoming harder to understand. On the other hand, people who knew of their correct meaning would find it difficult to understand modern words, which would result in the "conversation" becoming a failure. But if all parts of the conversation understood the modern language, it should be able to express more than the ancient language.
That was how sorcery evolved and degenerated.
Spells were getting harder to remember and easier to get wrong, but on the other hand, once they were properly understood they should be much easier to use compared to the original sorcery.
So far these were assumptions, and now came my hypothesis.
The spell must have started out as a "sentence". In which case, how did it change?
For example, the sentence "Treat and heal all the injuries on that person's body" in the common language could be shortened to "Treat and heal any injuries that person has" and then "Treat and heal that person's injuries" which could become "Heal that person's injuries" where the meaning became a bit harder to understand, and finally it may change to "Heal that person".
...Although I'm being too forceful in my argument, I think that a similar phenomenon occurred.
Depending on the situation and the pronunciation, the meaning was just barely understandable. But without knowing the meaning in the first place, the slightest accent would end up as just a meaningless "sound".
That was the hypothesis I tried to form, but I wondered just how accurate it was.
Of course, there were other ways of learning spells, such as Feld's, which involved repetition until the pronunciation was "just right".
But I was worried about using that method. Because if I didn't know what I was saying, I wouldn't even know when I was wrong.
I needed strength in order to survive. I was female, and more importantly I was still a child. I knew that if I did the same things as a normal male...as a man with a well-endowed physique like Feld, I would one day lose in a crucial situation.
I won't be picky with my methods. I will become strong. Even if it means going about it in a slightly roundabout way, I want to obtain real strength on my own.
If I assumed that Heal's spell—Ritīwārusutorizahyikā—was a sentence, then it should have several words in it I could use to divide it.
Some of the words themselves may have been shortened. There could also be some where the preceding word has been combined with the following word.
If I knew more spells, I could study them for similarities, but that woman only knew spells up to the second rank of light, fire and water. I would have said that it was a great achievement to remember that much, but I couldn't praise her too much because she didn't remember the spells she rarely used.
I tried changing my method for learning spells.
The first step was to look for the "words" mixed inside the spell. That said, there was no way of knowing whether I had found a correct word if I chanted blindly, so I decided to look for a word that definitely existed—heal.
The spell, which was spoken in "degraded spirit language", wouldn't show any effect from just chanting. I had to understand the meaning of the words and say them out loud, but I also had to put magic power into the words.
When I tried doing that, it wasn't that difficult. It may be difficult for a new sorcerer to learn, but in essence, it would seem that when the magic power inside your body was activated, your actions themselves would contain magic power.
In my case, it was similar to the state of Body Strengthening, where magic power was flowing through my whole body. I decided to look for the spell's words alongside my Body Strengthening and combat training, although eventually it would be necessary to be able to activate spells without Body Strengthening.
I picked out what seemed to be a word from the Heal spell and chanted it while wishing to "heal".
I repeated the process over and over, not minding all the failures. However, in order not to let my combat training become sloppy from doing that, I paid attention while moving my body carefully and letting out my voice as I wished for "healing".
The first day didn't yield any results. I hadn't expected to find it so easily in the first place, but the simultaneous mental and physical training was more taxing than I had expected, so I slept like a log that day.
The second day was also without results. Perhaps there were some letters missing from the pronunciation. At present, there may have only been the "hea" part of "heal", so I tried to mix in different sounds.
The third day, no results. However, my stamina had decreased slightly and my maximum stamina value had increased by 1.
The fourth day, I had become accustomed to doing both at the same time. There were no results, but I noticed that my magic power consumption was a little bit higher.
The fifth day, I searched for the word that consumed magic power. Maybe due to the constant use of magic power, I felt that the efficiency of my Body Strengthening and Daily Life magic had increased.
The sixth day, I began to worry whether this method would really help me find words.
In the first place, if it were easy to find the words, other sorcerers would have found them. Perhaps it was because of these thoughts that I cut my fingertip on a rabbit bone. That hurts.
The seventh day...
When I said that, a slight glow of light elemental magic power shone from my hand.
...I was mistaken. The word "heal" doesn't exist in the Heal spell.
I had assumed that Heal was a healing sorcery. That was what most sorcerers would say if you asked them. But that was wrong. Recalling the effect of Heal, the wound closed up and gradually healed at the same time as your stamina was restored.
That's right...this is a recovery spell. The wounds healing was just an after-effect of the process of recovering stamina.
The words "ritiru" and "hīkā" consumed magic power, though only a very small amount. There were still similar words, but by putting these two together, the sorcery-like effect was finally activated.
Most likely, these were the two words that corresponded to the word "heal".
But that's not exactly right. They have another meaning. Assuming that the Heal sorcery has a recovery effect, is it "stamina"? Or is it "vitality"? If there is a word for it...it might be "recover". "Recover" the "stamina"? ...From the feeling I got when chanting, "ritiru" should mean "recover" and "hīkā" should mean "stamina".
From that point, I repeated the process over and over, changing the pronunciation little by little and the meaning to similar words.
Because of the increased amount of magic power I consumed, I couldn't do physical training with magic power, but I concentrated on sorcery for the time being.
And two days later...
"Ritīru wārusutoriza hīkā...Heal."
When I chanted the spell, my hand glowed slightly and the small wound on my fingertip that I got a few days ago vanished.
"...I did it!"
The meaning still wasn't perfect, and the effect of the sorcery was quite weak, but Heal was definitely activated, and Light Sorcery Level 1 was added to my status when I checked it with an Appraisal Crystal.
♢ Aria (Alicia) Race: Human ♀ Rank 1 1Up
⦗Magic Power: 24/65⦘ 13Up ⦗Stamina: 32/37⦘ 1Up
❮Strength: 3 (3.3)❯ ❮Endurance: 4 (4.4)❯ ❮Agility: 5 (5.5)❯ ❮Dexterity: 6❯
◄Stealth Level 1► ◄Night Vision Level 1►
◄Light Sorcery Level 1► New
◄Daily Life Magic ×6► ◄Non-Elemental Magic Level 1►
◄Magic Power Control Level 1► ◄Detection Level 1►
◼Comprehensive Combat Strength: 26 (During Body Strengthening: 28) 2Up
Claydale Kingdom, one of the largest nations on the Thurs continent, annexed the Dandall Duchy in the north 150 years ago, and then the Melrose Duchy in the south 120 years ago.
But it was not a peaceful annexation, but rather an "invasion" of the two nations by the Claydale Kingdom, through continuous political and economic pressure, and finally through military coercion.
The two duchies—the royal houses of Dandall and Melrose—were not destroyed or killed, but were left as "margraves" to consolidate the north and south.
The reason why the two royal families were left in place was a political one. The Claydale Kingdom was superior to them in many fields, but it did not have the military power to invade and control them by force. The power and the "name" of the old royal houses of Dandall and Melrose were necessary to suppress the discontent of the people and the noble houses of their territories.
"What do I do... This, is the world of Silver Love..."
The eight-year-old girl, the granddaughter of one of the old royal families, the Margrave of Dandall, and the first daughter of the legitimate son of the Margrave of Dandall, has been suffering from a high fever for several days, and when she woke up, she had regained the memories of her "previous life".
She had lived to the age of eight, and her memories and ego were still there. The combination of those two, mixed with the "self" of her previous life, brought her out of a state of confusion to finally understand the situation.
Clara Dandall, a young lady from the Margrave House of Dandall, eight years old. At the age of thirteen, she would enter the Sorcery Academy, and at her graduation party, her fiancé, the Crown Prince, would break off their engagement and she would either be exiled or, in the worst case, executed. She was a "villainess".
Realising that she was "Clara", the former senior high school student wrote down her knowledge of the game in a notebook while avoiding the watchful eyes of her maid, and after weeks of struggling to avoid the worst possible outcome, she finally arrived at one solution.
"...I might have no choice but to kill the heroine."
Clara is, in a sense, a generic "villainess".
There will be one more villainess.
Next time: Back in town. And the mystery that awaits.
- [+] Something that was added in the light novel.
- [–] Something that didn't make it into the light novel.
- [≠] Some difference in details.
- [–] The mention of the price of the book and the fact that nobles normally bought them to teach their children.
- [–] The mention of that woman's master making her copy the book as part of her lessons, and then selling the book as soon as she left. I'm assuming it's the one she copied herself, but it's not completely clear. Wouldn't be an unexpected dick move if it was the original, though.
- [+] Specific mention of her starting to analyse the spell for real before going into sentence analysis for Heal.
- [≠] There is an error in the light novel's translation of her status where the strength, endurance and agility values are actually from two chapters ahead. They don't have the "Up" in this one but have the same values with the "Up" on that later chapter.