The Archmage’s Reincarnation in the Hero’s Party chapter 9

Episode 9

– My name is Arad Ludwik, a genius wizard who became the youngest Atlas (3-star magician) in the empire at the age of twelve!

There are memories from 300 years ago, overlapping with reality somewhere with a sense of déjà vu. It’s quite a paradoxical explanation, isn’t it? For me, that was just a short while ago.

– Strange, isn’t Lin the youngest in the empire?

While the Priestess of the Fire Dragon, Fride, tilting her head in confusion, I replied with a yawn.

– No, I got it at thirteen.

To be precise, I acquired the ranks of Dandoran (1 star), Limitess (2 stars), Atlas (3 stars), and Gladoss (4 stars) all at once at the age of thirteen.

– Huh? What? Why?

– It was bothersome.

The ranking tests were such a hassle that I remained a rankless magician until the dean lady dragged me out to take them.

– Come at me, Lin! It’s not someone base like you who doesn’t even understand the basics that will stand beside the beautiful and noble heroes like Lord Rista and Lady Fride, but me! I’ll prove it by defeating you!

Rista, who chuckled feeling like she was a princess involved in a love triangle, seemed about to flare up, but Fride held her shoulder back and gave a small smile.

– Endure it. He’s young; he doesn’t know any better.

And then, putting her hand on my shoulder, she whispered low enough so that Arad couldn’t hear.

– Instead of overpowering with strength, think of it as a chance to teach him various things.

– I don’t want to. Why?

– Because a true adult isn’t someone who forces others into submission with strength, but one who knows how to push someone forward with that power.

Even though Fride was usually overflowing with mischief, there were times when she showed a smile more mature than anyone. Facing that smile often made me look away before I could even think of a rebuttal.

And as I remembered that, Fride gave a strong push to my back towards Arad… At the same time, the recollections of the past faded from before my eyes.

“What…”

Just like Arad from that distant past, Krista narrowed her eyes arrogantly and propped her hands on her hips.

“You’re challenging me? What’s your angle?”

“I came here to take a test, so I’m going to take it.”

“What nonsense… Don’t you know this is for supplementary exams?”

“Right where I meant to be. I was late for the regular test time. Need to take the supplementary one.”

Krista’s mind went blank in response to the immediate reply.

This kid, a legitimate heir of the household taking a supplementary test? And all because he was late? Doesn’t he feel any shame?

While Krista was bewildered, Professor Caroline stepped forward.

“Young master? Sorry to ask, but do you know what kind of magician Krista is?”

“Yes. Something about being moderately skilled?”

“That’s an understatement. Krista graduated top from the intermediate education institution Delaiten and has been selected as an excellent magician to join Delaiten through recommendation, which is granted to only one person each year.”

Hmm, self-proclaimed geniuses were the same then and now, surrounded by humans who adored them.

I remember how a brat claiming to be Arad Ludwik’s seed babbled about his master’s greatness for about five minutes. I didn’t want to be in that situation again.

I replied with a nonchalant yawn.

“I’d like to sightsee the city a bit more, so can you keep the introductions short and start soon? It’ll be over quickly anyway.”

It’ll be over quickly?

Caroline let out a silly laugh, while Krista turned red and grabbed Rain by the collar.

“You’ll finish quickly? With me? Ha! Fine, bring it on. I’ll crush you like clay!”

Ah…

Caroline gave a bitter smile.

‘This child’s competitive spirit turns on at the strangest times…’

And when his competitive spirit was ignited, his mouth would get rough. Caroline checked the official documents. It was the list of supplementary exam candidates.

‘Huh, isn’t his name missing from the list of supplementary exam candidates?’

No, there it was.

After sifting through the documents for a while, Rain Ludwik’s name finally appeared at the very end. His records drew attention.

‘No graduation from magic primary or intermediate school. No accolades from city competitions. No rank achievements…’

So far, it was consistent with the widely recognized epithet of the genius young master.

It was just a sophisticated play on words, making fun of the household’s young lord.

Yet something odd stood out in his record.

‘[Served three years as an assistant under the headmaster of Rivarden Magic School, Scalzi Ludwik.]’

Assistant to Scalzi Ludwik, the previous head of the Magic Federation and the dean of the Magic Castle?

As far as Caroline knew, he was not someone to coddle ‘family’ lightly.

If he deemed someone useless, he’d cast them off without hesitation. Caroline had seen Elin Ludwik, a senior, being scolded to tears several times.

‘If he really assisted in those lessons… why is he called a genius young master among the Eight Great Mage Factions?’

It was quite curious.

It was more interesting to her than puzzling. She felt compelled to verify it for herself. Whatever the outcome would be…

“Okay, let’s proceed with the exam.”

* * *

On the marble floor of the testing hall, two magic circles interlocked like gears and rotated.

Shock absorption, damage mitigation.

Shock absorption magic was for minimizing structural damage, and damage mitigation was for protecting the bodies of the candidates.

“We’ll carry out the duel according to the previous Illuveden rules.”

Illuveden.

In the language of the gods, it meant ‘3’.

It was a magical duel style where one had to deploy up to three spells to neutralize the opponent’s magic before subduing them.

“The duel will be immediately forfeited if either participant poses a threat to the other’s life. Have both parties understood?”

Standing on that marble floor, the boy and girl nodded at each other from a distance of several steps.

“Yes.”

“Alright, then begin immediately!”

As soon as the command was given, Krista spread her right hand.

Voom.

A magic circle began to form above it.

Magic circle construction, rune inscription, and mathematical calculations… these were the typical processes for invoking magic, which altered the world’s natural laws.

‘A Battle Mage’s duel is exactly like a battle of magic casting speed.’

Proof of genius.

Most magicians carry a grimoire with various pre-drawn magic circles, channeling their mana into the relevant ones to cast spells as needed. Doing mental calculations was the realm of geniuses.

‘In that respect, Krista’s magic casting speed isn’t something children her own age can keep up with…’

The magic circle that had formed in Krista’s palm was finely adorned with intricate details.

A rune was inscribed at its center, and complex equations capable of altering natural laws filled the circle with precision.

‘Facing Krista, how does he plan to counter?’

Was Krista thinking the same? Her eyebrows twitched curiously while looking at Rain.

“Aren’t you getting ready for magic?”

She had no choice but to ask.

Constructing the base, namely spreading the palm to unfold a magic circle, was the most elementary part of a magic duel.

However, the boy didn’t appear to be doing anything.

“There’s no need to prepare anything special when fighting with low-level magic, is there?”

The boy’s reply was truly outrageous.

“Just keep doing what you’re doing. I’m thinking of a fitting spell that won’t hurt you too much.”

“A fitting spell that won’t result in injury?”

Ha, Krista chuckled only for her eyes to suddenly turn icy.

“You’ve been taunting me with nothing but wordplay… I’ll shatter that cocky mouth of yours so you can never speak again!”

And then came the moment.

On Krista’s palm, the circling magic circle…

On the magic circle, a second magic circle was born, intricately interlocking with the first.

“Second-tier magic…!”

At the same time, magic energy whirled around, causing ripples in the atmosphere, and Caroline’s dress began to flutter chaotically.

“Christa, it’s dangerous! To use magic of that grade…!”

“So what! This guy is confident! If it becomes too dangerous, it’ll stop on its own, so no worries!”

The ability to use second-tier magic with mental calculation alone was a sure mark of genius.

Can you calculate two mathematical formulas at once in your head? That’s exactly what second-tier magic demanded from the caster.

Christa finally grasped the brilliantly burning, rotating magic circle in the palm of her hand.

With a clear, ringing sound, the magic circle shattered, and a miracle materialized within everyday life.

“The Warden family’s inherited limit is earth attribute summoning magic….”

If the Ludwig family was known as ‘the thieving magicians,’ then the Warden family was called ‘the controlling magicians.’

Roaaar…

Dust whirled like a storm, and soon a massive figure descended behind Christa, exuding an overwhelming presence.

“Now, Sandstone Golem!”

Its solid sandstone frame and joints that moved smoothly due to the buoyancy of sand…

The magic was cast perfectly.

As Christa pushed back her hair, the golem’s eyes flashed fiercely in resonance.

“The match is over with this.”

“Why?”

“You’ve done nothing but talk, and in the end, your level is just this. You couldn’t use any magic until I brought out a second-tier spell, right?”

Truly pitiable.

Considered a genius of the century, Christa had only ever seen magicians with powerful magic or immense magical energy. In other words, they belonged to the celestial sphere of magic.

‘Compared to practice duels with such people, a match against this guy is…’

There was no tension.

No urgency, no anticipation for what magic the opponent would pull out. It was a complete waste of time.

“Be thankful. If I hadn’t chased away the other candidates, and someone saw you in this pitiful state—”

That’s when the boy smirked and raised his index finger.

“—it would be embarrassing, so here’s a tip.”

“What?”

“It’s not the one who uses magic first who is strong.”

Before him, a ring of light appeared in the palm of his hand and began to rotate dazzlingly.

“It’s the one who uses the most effective magic according to the situation who is strong.”

Christa drew in her breath.

The speed at which the runes were engraved onto the magic circle and the mathematical equations unfolded… it was truly in the blink of an eye.

‘Even if it’s first-tier magic…?’

The magic was cast, and even before Lain finished speaking, the magic circle’s expansion was complete.

“Sandstone!”

Sensing danger, the golem’s master shouted, and with its giant fist raised, the golem scattered dust in all directions.

The shape of the magic circle was a circle (圓).

The runes engraved were a series (烈).

Lain’s magic essentially input the attribute ‘expansive spread’ into the water attribute magic.

Boom──!

With the magic circle’s dissolution, water born from it spread out in midair forcefully, pouring down on the golem that was bringing down its fist.

‘Was it a water attribute magician…!’

Christa’s hair and clothes were drenched as she was caught in the downpour, and she frowned.

‘Water is a natural adversary to earth, a well-known fact… But even with first-tier magic, it’s futile!’

While the golem’s defensive and mobility might have been lowered, such magic was incapable of dealing a fatal blow.

Thud───!

The golem’s fist smashed into the ground, turning it into a mushy mud splatter.

In an instant, the world became a muddy mess.

But at the same time, the visibility was disturbed by the mud flying everywhere.

‘I was aiming for this…!’

Just when Christa tried to incapacitate the boy with a ground-blasting attack using the golem’s control in that moment.

‘Wait…?!’

Before she could even complete the thought, she saw that the ring of light in Lain’s right hand was spinning in double layers.

‘No way, it’s only been 2 seconds since he cast a first-tier spell, right?’

In the moment of confusion, every calculation in Lain’s head had already finished.

The shape of the magic circle was a double square.

The runes inscribed were a precept (律) and a chest (櫃).

They ascribed ‘restraint’ and ‘flow reversal’ traits to the earth attribute magic. The mathematical formula he had to do in his head was ‘Previs differentiation.’

“The answer is derived, the principles altered.”

With the scattering of light shards, the magic ring shattered, and countless vines burst forth from the cracks in the marble slabs.

Pow pow pow pow──!

The vines deeply penetrated the golem’s legs weakened by the water attribute magic and continued to climb upward.

Grooooan…

The golem convulsed wildly as if impaled by a spear, but its movements quickly stiffened, and soon it was fixed in place, unable to move at all.

“Sandstone, Sandstone!”

Christa cried out in urgency, but the golem could only creak pitifully, unable to move any further.

And then, as the last vine shot up from the foot, it promptly bound both of Christa’s hands and feet.

The bindings were so strong that she couldn’t budge in the slightest. Lain’s voice could be heard.

“See, just because you’re first doesn’t always mean you win, right?”

‘I’ve lost…’ Christa attempted to process the current situation in her dazed state and then burst out.

“Hey, let me go! Will you let go?”

“The match seems to be already decided.”

“Shut up! I’ve only used one magic so far, okay? So this doesn’t count! Besides, I gave you many chances─”

“—It’s not a pleasant feeling to be defeated, is it?”

Christa, struggling in the vines, suddenly stopped her motions in response to that calm and composed voice.

“You seem fairly strong, there was no need to crush in despair like before.”

“That, that was…! That’s what the test is about in the first place. I have an obligation to test for aptitude!”

“Being strong isn’t just overpowering with strength; it’s truly strong to know how to give a push with that power.”

I don’t fully understand the meaning yet, but having watched those three’s backs for 5 years, I think I somewhat get it.

Really.

It really doesn’t suit me.

But still, I thought I wanted to change, like those guys… After conveying Pri-de’s words, I felt embarrassed and cleared the magical vines with an awkward cough.

“……”

Whether or not that poignant lesson reached the boy, Christa could only silently close her mouth, speechless.

‘It doesn’t make sense.’

On the other hand, watching the situation unfold, Professor Caroline could not keep her mouth closed.

‘He didn’t use magic at the beginning because he chose not to…?’

Was it for a perfect counter? More than that, what was that ultra-fast calculation just now?

‘After deducing the golem’s weakness with water attribute magic, he finished with a decisive blow…’

The magic calculation speed that enabled it was unrealistically fast.

‘That calculation speed… isn’t it almost on par with the chancellor?’

Yet, it was an unbelievable event.

Wasn’t Chancellor Madelia Page of Delaiten currently a Glados (4-tier) magician?

The next moment, Caroline muttered without realizing it.

“How is that a calamity bestowed by the heavens…?”



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