Link never thought that for someone who was a poor student on earth, he would actually be able to sit quietly and focus his attention on reading a dry and technical textbook on magic and spells. In fact, he had been engrossed in the reading for almost a whole day.
When he started, he had to force himself to focus. It was almost torturous at first-his eyelids were heavy from the endless numerical Mana formulas and the sea of magic runes that looked like nothing he'd ever seen before.
But as his focus gradually settled into the subject of the book, he became more and more interested in the contents, and by the end of it, he was completely enthralled.
The experience of reading the magic textbooks now was completely different from what he experienced last night while reading Theory of Mana Turbulence in Celine's room. Yesterday, he was only roughly scanning the book's pages; he wasn't paying close attention at all, and he didn't apply himself to the knowledge. But this time, Link put in all his efforts into the book.
He flipped through each page slowly, sometimes he even stopped between pages to carefully think about what he had just read.
According to the book, spells were divided into six major types: elemental spells, secret spells, conjuring spells, summoning spells, enchanting spells, and alchemy spells.
For spells of Level-3 and below, the differences between these various types of spells weren't significant. A Magician could develop their skills in all types of spells. But as the Magician reached Level-3 and above, they would need to specialize and decide which type of spells to focus on.
A Magician could normally only develop and advance their skills in only one spell type. To be an expert in more than one type of spell after Level-4 was fundamentally impossible, and very rarely were there any exceptions.
The book, Foundation Structure of Spells, listed Fireball and Earth Spike as examples of elemental spells, and Lesser Invisibility as a conjuring spell. As for secret spells and summoning spells, there were no examples given because these two branches were extremely obscure subjects. Very rarely could someone learn about them through textbooks alone. The only way to learn about them was to study directly with a tutor.
As he finished reading about the magic structure of Fireball, Link took out his New Moon wand and tried to cast the spell.
The spellcasting process consisted of three steps: first was to attract Mana, the second was to build the spell's structure, and the third was to release the spell.
The most critical phase was building the spell's structure. The success of any spellcasting process depended on this very step.
Link focused all his attention and followed each point instructed in the book. Two seconds later, the tip of the New Moon wand lit up, and a tiny point of light appeared in thin air near the tip of the wand.
This was the Fireball spell's prototype.
The light point was about the size of a grain of rice, it was maintained for about a second, and then with a puff, the light disappeared into thin air.
If the building of the spell structure failed, then the spellcasting would abruptly come to an end.
This can be quite difficult.
Link pursed his lips. He realized that this method of learning was completely different from the way he learned the spells he obtained with his Omni points. Right now, Mana was as wild and mischievous as a child. When he wanted it to go left, it would insist on going right. When he wanted it to stabilize, it would become agitated. It was almost impossible to keep it under his control.
Link tried again.
Three seconds later, there was another puff, and a pebble-sized light orb once again appeared then rapidly disappeared-another failed attempt at Fireball.
Link felt a hot rush of air hit his face. He was lucky that he was only testing out a Level-0 spell. Had it been the Level-4 spell, Flame Blast, and he had messed up in the middle of the spellcasting process, he would've been burnt to a crisp.
Magic was considered to be the biggest force in this world. But it was also a double-edged sword. The more powerful the Magician the more cautious they had to be at spellcasting. This was a saying by a famous Master Magician, whom which Link now deeply agreed with.
If one couldn't stand the collapse of a Level-4 spell, then a legendary spell might even kill them.
In truth, Magicians who wished to study high-level spells must make use of different types of tools to aid them. The most important among these tools was a fully functioning Mage Tower.
A Mage Tower could help a Magician by monitoring and controlling the area surrounding the tower, and the equipment inside the tower could also be used to protect them while they were experimenting with new spells.
However, the downside of these towers was the cost to build them. A normal Mage Tower required a huge amount of magic and anti-magic materials, costing about 10,000 gold coins to build-an unbelievably high price.
Strength always came at a cost.
Magic was like an expensive hobby that burned up money at the speed that was simply unbelievable to the average man!
Of course, Link had not thought of Mage Towers yet at this moment. Fireball was nothing but a Level-0 spell, he could boldly experiment with it without worrying about his safety.
The third, fourth, and fifth time casting the spell were all failures. Then on the sixth attempt, after about five seconds, a white marble-sized glass orb finally appeared at the end of the wand's tip.
Link now directly observed and experienced the whole process of how a spell came to be from scratch.
Mana flows in, and the spell's structure was constructed, and the fire element was drawn in, building a stable structure. What a beautiful process.
He felt a warm rush of air from the small fireball in front of him and Link's heart was filled with pride at his small achievement.
Fireball was the very first spell that he had truly learned.
But then Link laughed at himself. This is just a Level-0 spell, and I still needed five seconds to cast it. Besides, my Fireball is only good for lighting a match.
In the game, he could release Level-0 spells in 0.1 seconds. Only with that speed could they be of any use in battle.
However, Link had faith that he would get better in time with more practice.
Link also had no reason to worry that he would use up all of the Mana in his body while practicing. He made sure to reabsorb the Mana used for the spell, and so when the Fireball slowly disappeared, the lost energy re-entered Link's body.
Then, Link let some more Mana flow into the wand, then built the spell structure again. This time, after four seconds, the Fireball was completed.
Link was beginning to get the hang of it, and he incessantly practiced again and again.
He was so fully immersed that he was unaware of the flow of time.
He cast the spell again and again, not realizing when the spellcasting using his own efforts and the spellcasting obtained from Omni Points melded together and became indistinguishable.
Fwoosh. A stable fireball appeared at the tip of his wand, and then-puff, the fireball disappeared, and the Mana was re-absorbed. All of this happened quickly, just as one would switch lights on and off.
Without knowing it, Link's spellcasting had sped up to less than 0.1 seconds. Link felt that in just one second he could release at least 20 Fireballs.
He was in an unusual state right now, where he still received aids and boosts from the gaming system, but he could also feel and understand each step in the process of spellcasting and the underlying structure of the spells.
"Did you boost my spellcasting?" Link asked the gaming system. It would be impossible for him to advance so quickly if it was only just his efforts.
The gaming system replied.
Of course. Repeated practice of a single move would only consume a player's energy, and wouldn't help with the player's understanding towards magic. When the player has developed their understanding of the spell's foundation, the system will boost the player's spellcasting to speed up their overall spellcasting speed.
"Then how fast can I release each Level-0 spell exactly?"
0.0512 seconds. That's the limit for Fire Element spells. You can't get any faster than that.
Spellcasting time for elemental spells was divided into two parts: First, was the Mana structure construction time. This depended on the mental speed of the Magician, which could surely be improved with practice. Second, was the time for the elements to accumulate and arrange into proper configuration. This speed depended on the concentration of the elements in the surrounding area. To compare between the snowy grounds of the North and the deserts of the South, the latter would accumulate fire elements ten times faster than the former.
In the room that Link was staying, fire elements needed 0.05 seconds to accumulate, and this was the fastest time limit for the spell.
Oh, that means I'm pretty fast then. 0.0512 seconds, that was as fast as lightning. Link was satisfied with this level of progress.
The next time he practiced Fireballs, he didn't pay too much attention in controlling the stability of the spell structure, instead, he put his efforts into the process of attracting fire elements.
After more than ten minutes, a doubt emerged in Link's mind. There are flaws in this spell's structure.
Once he'd gotten practice and some experience, Link now started to question things. He now understood the whole spellcasting process, and he could discern some shortcomings in the structure of the Fireball spell.
He paid thorough attention to the structure of the spell and made further discoveries.
This spell's process in drawing on fire elements from its surroundings isn't perfect, and not very efficient. But it is very stable, and the simplest and easiest to develop. But these aren't what I need in my spells, maybe I can modify and improve it.
Link was a man of action; once he had an idea he immediately set out to do it.
But at this moment, someone knocked on the door. From outside, Eliard called out, "Link, it's time to get going now."
Link turned around to look out the window. It was only then that he realized that the sky was getting light.
"Wait, I'm coming," Link responded hurriedly.
Putting away his wand, he hastily washed his face and tried to make himself appear more energetic. But, from what he'd seen in the mirror, no matter how he looked at himself, he just looked like an average person. The ailing Mana had surely been affecting him.
He opened the door and saw Eliard. Link felt even more nervous now.
After a good night's rest, Eliard had changed into new clothes. His whole person seemed more vivacious now, as if he were glowing. Those pair of light green eyes of his were clear, yet meaningful as if they were shining themselves. Anyone who saw him would know that he had strong spirits.
In magic, there was a spell called Aura Detection, where one could measure the auras emanating from a target.
Link hadn't learned it yet, but he believed that if anyone were to check Eliard using this spell, they would find that he was glowing with a brilliant Mana force.
Ah, what can you say when he's the number one most talented Magician and the number one most handsome man in the game. He really has a dashing appearance that no one can compare to! Link couldn't help but lament.
After the two had their breakfasts in the hall, they were on the move.
East Cove Academy was 30 miles southeast of River Cove town, in a coven area. It wasn't that far away since the road was level. They only had to walk for about two hours, then the cove entrance was already in view.
At the entrance was a massive stone plaque, and on it, written in huge letters, was the name of the East Cove Higher Magic Academy. There was a crest on top, with a lion's head in the middle, and crossing wands beneath it, signifying magic in service of the Kingdom of Norton.
Beside the stone plaque was a small two-story wooden building, and in front of the building was a courtyard where a white-haired old man clad in a bluish grey Magician's robe was sunbathing on a long chair.
Just as Link turned to the direction of the old man, a notification flashed up.
Level-2 Normal Magician
Status: Measures constant auras.
Position: East Cove Magic Academy admission and qualification tester.
At the time Vincent saw Link and Eliard, he swept a glance at them and asked, "Are both of you trying to enter the academy?"
"Yes," both of them answered respectfully.
Vincent raised the wand in his hand and pointed it towards Eliard, then nodded, "You may enter, as long as you can pay the tuition fees."
He pointed the wand towards Link, then shook his head, "You, your innate Mana is too low. Unless, if you could prove you have enough knowledge and insight in magic, if not then go back to where you came from."
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