Chapter 3 – Measuring Magic Ability
The invitation was so unexpected that I was speechless as Luke went on to explain the detailed conditions.
“That’s how much your salary would be.”
“And you will have two days off every week. And thirty days of paid vacation a year.”
“What? I thought paid vacation was like an urban legend…”
“Also, you can freely use the great library in the palace.”
The shock I felt from those words was especially big.
Only a very limited number of people were allowed access to the great palace library, and it was the dream of all those who loved magic.
There were magic tomes left by the ancient great sages, prophecies discovered in the dead sea, and they stored countless books that could not be found by ordinary means.
I had assumed that I would never be allowed in such a place!
“What do you think? I do not think that they are bad conditions.”
“Ye-yes. They are so good that I can hardly believe it.”
It was like a dream, and did not feel real at all.
However, the thing that moved my heart the most was that someone needed me.
‘No one wants you here. You’re useless.’
‘I’m sorry, but we have decided that we will not be hiring you.’
‘Forgive me. But the mayor’s son will be angry if we hire you.’
No matter where I went, I was not needed.
I had felt depressed, thinking that I had no worth as a magician.
But like the last dog in a pet store, I had finally been chosen.
I could not express how that made me feel.
Though, I’m sure that Luke did not notice it at all.
“Thank you for the invitation. If it is within my power, I will do anything. Just tell me.”
“I think you will be fine if you just do things as you always have. There is no one else that I trust to have my back.”
That being said, if I am to work as a royal magician, I would have to move to the royal capital by necessity.
And when I told my mother of this, she was against it at first. But once Luke visited the house, her attitude changed immediately.
“Is he really the royal magician…? The one that was the youngest to be promoted?”
She stared at Luke for a moment and then said,
“Tell me, Noelle.”
“What is it? Mother?”
“That man. What is your relationship with him?”
“Nothing of note. Well, we were friends back when we were students.”
“Well done! What a great opportunity for you!”
Mother talked quietly so that Luke could not hear, but she was clearly excited.
“What wealth you will have if you marry him! Your future will be secured! A happy ending!”
“No, it’s impossible. He is the son of a duke. He is not in the position to be marrying a commoner like me.”
“A small concern before the power of love.”
“No, and we’re only friends to begin with.”
While we had spent so much time together, the idea had never even crossed my mind.
On the outside, Luke had always looked like a prince, and was an eloquent prize pupil, and had always been popular with the girls.
But in spite of that, he had never become attached to any of them.
Surely there had to have been someone that he liked?
“Listen to me…! You will make him yours no matter what…!”
As it was too troublesome, I gave her a noncommittal reply.
Of course, it was clearly ridiculous that I would ever be in such a relationship with Luke.
More than anything, I wanted to work hard with magic so that I could continue to live by doing something I enjoyed.
In any case, my mother was not accepting of the idea of moving to the royal capital, which was rather convenient.
And so my mother and I took the carriage that Luke sent, and we moved to the royal capital together.
The extravagant carriage was owned by the duke himself, and the people of the town were astonished.
“Oh, yes. My daughter happens to be friends with a duke’s heir. And they just had to have her go to the palace to work as a magician. Hohoho. Oh, but it’s really nothing at all.”
I looked at my boastful mother with exasperation.
That being said, it did feel good to see the looks of surprise on the townfolk’s faces.
Especially the chief at the magic artificer guild. He was standing there with his mouth hanging open.
After that, we moved to a house for rent that Luke recommended in the royal capital, and a few days passed.
And finally, my first day working as a royal palace magician arrived.
“Are you listening? You must make him yours at all cost. If push comes to shove, then push away! Love is war!”
“No, as I said before. It’s not like that.”
I muttered as I left the house.
After walking for about twenty minutes, I arrived at the royal palace. It was the kind of glorious and resplendent place that a commoner like me could have only dreamed about.
Per-perhaps this was going to be so much more than I thought…
Should I really be working in a place like this?
“Um, I’m sure you will not believe me, but I am to be employed here. Uh, unless it was some kind of mistake, which I would understand.”
I said rather defensively as I called to one of the guard knights.
“Do you have anything as proof?”
“I was told to show this letter.”
“…I see. So you’re the one they’re talking about.”
The knight said with some emotion in his gaze.
“Turn to the right when you go in, and you will reach the magic training grounds. Sir Marius and Lord Luke should be waiting for you there.”
They let me inside.
With an anxious and flighty feeling, I headed towards the place he directed me to.
The training grounds were vast, and I saw Luke was waiting there with a man with white hair.
“Ah. So this is the person.”
He must have been about fifty years old.
The man with white hair wore robes and stared at me appraisingly.
“Good morning, sir! I will do my best!”
A cheerful greeting was a good way to start a good relationship with coworkers.
I thought, as I bowed my head. However…
The man with white hair just stared at me coldly.
Huh? Did I do something wrong?
As I looked confused, Luke chuckled and said,
“Good morning. This is Mr. Marius, the head of the personnel department. He is a bit of a stickler, and is not quite happy that I called you here.”
“Of course, I am not. While you may have the authority of an Adamantite rank magician, bringing in an outsider with no achievements whatsoever is quite unprecedented. And to choose her as your buddy. Quite unthinkable indeed.”
Mr. Marius said in a calm voice.
“You must show that you have the satisfactory ability. Or else we cannot welcome you in.”
I was silent for a moment and then turned to Luke.
“Is he saying that if the results here are not good, I will not become a royal magician?”
“It seems to be the case. But, surely it will be no problem for you?”
“What do you mean? You should have told me this in advance!”
I thought I was to be admitted without any exams!
I had completely lowered my guard!
As I looked frantic, Luke covered his mouth and laughed. Then he said,
“The content of the test is ‘Measuring Magic Ability.’ Can you see that great wall over there? It is made of the same material as a measurement sphere, and it can measure the ability of a magician. So you only need to make a hole in that wall to pass. Easy, isn’t it?”
“No, no, that actually looks very difficult.”
Even when seeing it from far away, I could tell that the wall was very durable.
To put a hole in something like that, you would have to be a very good magician…
“Surely someone who wants to be a royal magician should be able to do that, at the very least?”
I decided to agree.
After all, it was only a small handful of magicians in the entire kingdom who got to be royal magicians.
People who were considered to be geniuses had to work hard for the chance to get in this place.
So of course the barrier would be high.
And as someone who was unneeded in a frontier town, it might be too high for me to surmount.
‘A useless person like you could never…’
However, I brushed such anxious feelings aside.
First, I used ‘Multi-cast’ and then ‘Enhance,’ and ‘Mana Boost’ to increase my mana.
Then added both ‘Spell Boost’ and ‘Mana Charge’ on top of that, sharpened my senses and assembled the magic formula.
Some people may think that I can’t do it.
No, most of them would think so.
However, I want to believe in myself.
That I had that possibility within me.
I had no rest or time to myself.
But still, I had continued to study magic, even if it meant sleeping less.
I just love magic.
And that was something that no one could ever take away from me.
I had spent so much time on it.
And I would have faith in that time I spent.
That it wasn’t a waste.
That it all had meaning in the end.
Surely…surely, I can do it.
There was no hesitation.
I was completely focused.
…Go. The spell that I love.
In the next instant, a powerful and violent wind shot towards the wall.
The earth shook.
There was a thunderous roar from the ground.
The wind tugged at my hair.
I closed my eyes and for a moment, I was afraid.
I didn’t think that I had made a mistake.
I had no doubt that I was able to show my own power.
But in a way, that was what was frightening.
What if it wasn’t enough.
As I braced myself slowly opened my eyes again, I saw a thick cloud of dust rising.
Then the wind started to clear it and…
There was a hole in the wall, and I could see the rest of the training grounds through it.
“I did it…!”
I had done it…!
As I felt the joy of the moment with my entire body, I heard that familiar chuckle.
“Ah, so you managed to break it after all.”
That Luke. He didn’t actually believe that I could do it.
But he had said, ‘surely it will be no problem for you?’ That was a little horrible of him, wasn’t it?
I had actually been quite happy that he trusted me so much.
“Hmph. So you didn’t think that I could do it.”
“Sorry, sorry. But only a very few royal magicians are able to break a hole in the wall, so I didn’t think you would be able to.”
I could hardly believe my ears, but I then turned to Mr. Marius.
He was staring at the wall with a stunned expression. That told me all I needed to know.
“So…I could have qualified even if I didn’t break through it?”
“Yes. As I said before, it’s to measure your abilities as numbers. There is a line you need to reach in order to pass. But you broke it.”
“Th-then I must have done something rather serious…”
“At the very least, people will be talking about it for a week. Perhaps even His Highness the prince will know your name. Congratulations. From today on, you will be famous.”
Luke smiled, but my head was starting to hurt.
Th-the prince would hear my name…
Really, what have I gotten myself into…
“Luke, I really don’t like that side of you.”
“But I like this side of you. It’s very amusing.”
He said as he laughed mischievously.
“Well, you are the one person who I couldn’t beat, so I would hope that you can do this at least. I look forward to having you as my buddy, Noelle.”
And so I listened to the mutterings of the royal magicians that had gathered, and held my head warily.