༺ Twin Witches (1) ༻
As the door of his room came into view, Siwoo found himself subconsciously relaxing his body as the effects of hours of hard labor accompanied by a lack of sleep assaulted him.
Pushing past the creaking door revealed the same dusty old room that he had gotten used to.
It was surprisingly spacious; it was an old barn that used to house 20 horses before being modified into Siwoo’s room.
Inside the 10-meter-wide-room, a haystack, which worked as both a sofa and a bed, lay resting on the ground. The open ceiling was covered in dirt and unidentified spots could be seen littered throughout the paint.
An open window showcased the beautiful night sky in all its glory.
“All this room and I don’t even have to pay rent.”
The only downsides to it were that because it had an open-roof design, the rainwater from rains would flow into his room, the snow on a cold winter day would numb his bones and the smell of dung that would emanate from the walls during the summer would get into his nose.
Nevertheless, humans have always found a way to adapt to uncomfortable situations.
After 5 years of adapting, the barn had become a lot more comfortable as compared to when Siwoo was first issued the place.
“Fuck. Everything’s been soaked through.”
The ditch that had been dug out by Siwoo beforehand to catch the water had flooded and rainwater spilt out, soaking everything in the room leaving nothing dry.
Removing his work clothes, Siwoo made his way over towards his bed, where he found a small glass bottle laying on the hay.
It was a discarded bottle of perfume that Amelia had used, it was intricately crafted and looked beautiful.
“The bottle’s almost empty.”
Holding up the bottle, a whitish liquid glistened at the bottom of the bottle. Siwoo had barely managed to get a hold of around one to two drops of leftover magical water whilst cleaning out the research laboratory’s trash bin.
The liquid, which glowed in a myriad of colors, was a type of magical water purification liquified using simple alchemy.
All of the professors in the academy were wealthy.
They would throw away used bottles of magical liquid that still held a minute amount of material, just as how the rich in our world wouldn’t try to squeeze out toothpaste from the very vestiges of a used toothpaste tube.
In fact, simply a drop of this fluid could get him several packs of cigarettes.
“If not for this, I would’ve been completely out of luck.”
It provided Siwoo with the only chance for him to use magic.
While cleaning up all sorts of research waste, he was able to collect a bit of residual mana.
“Just a little bit of it will do…”
Tipping the bottle, Siwoo dabbed half a drop of the liquid onto his fingertips.
Gender was a strict requirement when it came to the ability to wield magic.
However, Siwoo found that when placed the magical liquid on his body, its latent mana could be used for a short period of time before eventually becoming volatile.
Siwoo muttered a light chant.
The chant activated as the mana within the droplet began to glow with a noticeable blue tinge.
It would put Siwoo in a really shitty situation if the others knew that he could use magic. Thus, he avoided practicing magic and focused his efforts on studying it instead. If there ever came a time when his ability to use magic is exposed, his days of peacefully sleeping on his hay bed would cease.
Siwoo tried his best to recall Amelia’s movements earlier that day.
Lying behind her pearly blue eyes, laid the secrets to magic.
Magic is the power to create anything whilst Telekinesis is the ability to convert mana into kinetic energy which in turn allows for the caster to move objects simply by willing it.
Today, Amelia used that very same amount of mana to create hundreds of orbital rings out of nothing.
These intergalactic chunks of rock were bound by the laws of the universe and yet Amelia was able to control each of the planets and stars that she had created individually. It was a testament to her control over her magic.
That level of control was something that Siwoo was not able to achieve yet.
Although that level of control over objects was something that Siwoo didn’t possess, he could still lift lightweight objects with ease.
Closing his eyes, Siwoo tried to recall every twitch of her fingertips and the chant she muttered during her casting process in an attempt to imitate her level of proficiency.
Upon slowly opening his eyes, swirls of flames could be seen dancing within his pupils.
It was a natural phenomenon known as ‘Mana Reflection’ when one was casting magic.
Looking around him, thousands of water droplets seemed to surround him.
The rainwater that had seeped into the ground after the rain had dug itself out of the mud and was now floating around him.
Each of the droplets glowed like incandescent pearls in the air, reflecting the moonlight.
The act of casting magic required its caster to visualize a mental image of the phenomenon that they wanted to paint onto reality. Of course, this was only one of the many requirements that the caster would need to fulfill to be able to cast their desired magic.
The image that Siwoo was visualizing was the scene of Amelia using magic to gather the dust that had laid in the laboratory.
It proved to be quite effective as the water droplets started congregating, forming one big water droplet.
At that moment…
Siwoo let out a brief sigh.
For a brief moment, he had lost his concentration and the image he had in mind wavered.
Siwoo needed to consider a total of 3 paths: malleability, change, and range in order to successfully imitate telekinesis.
He had unintentionally allowed the mana that governed malleability and range to clash against each other, rendering the magic spell useless.
The magic spell was overloaded when he tried to combine all of the water droplets together, it grew to an amount that he had not anticipated resulting in the large ball of water exploding in front of him, and falling back onto the floor.
Fortunately for him, the ball of water had collected itself above the ditch, leaving his room unscathed.
“I failed to continue calculating because the conversion factor seems to have been overloaded.”
It was nigh impossible for him to imitate an unfamiliar spell.
Siwoo then made the decision to take the day off and laid down on the hay bed, its rough surface stinging his skin.
Solely visualizing the magical phenomenon was difficult enough as it is, and to add another layer of complication by improvising the magic circle made it an insurmountable task.
Still, it was a huge improvement when compared to the past.
He used to feel like his skull would explode just by lighting a candle. In the past, every time Siwoo tried to cast a simple spell like lighting a candle, his head felt like it would explode.
At the rate he was going, it wouldn’t take long for him to open a ‘Portal’ in order to get out of the city.
“If I just use three more of these transition mediums and connect the range module to the transition module… It could theoretically dampen the shock caused by the deployment.”
I can’t. I’m so tired today.
Siwoo closed his eyes, as he quickly entered the land of dreams.
After cleaning up his room, Siwoo wolfed down a sandwich before meeting up with Takasho. Together, they headed down into Tarot Town.
The horse they rode was Sophia’s, a witch whose magic revolved around beasts and as a result, they were able to travel into Tarot Town at breakneck speeds.
Half an hour later, they arrived on the streets of Tarot Town.
“Just like before, I will come to the fountain by 10 PM!”
Running to Sophia’s residence, Takasho waved Siwoo goodbye.
Catching his breath, Siwoo placed a hand on the fountain while taking in his surroundings.
If one had to describe Tarot town, it would be that it looked like what the Renaissance would look like with Sci-Fi elements strewn around the place.
The houses that looked like cottages encompassed the street that was paved with concrete. The hustle and bustle of the city were reminiscent of the streets of Shibuya in Tokyo.
This was the result of Gehenna being cut off from the outside world for over 600 years.
It wasn’t surprising to see the level of prosperity that the city had achieved, especially factoring in the 600 years of magical history that allowed them to avoid any wars or epidemics that could have occurred.
Unlike in ‘Ars Magna Town’ and ‘Lenomond Town’, where the elite lived, the people that lived in Tarot Town were mostly second-class citizens.
It was also a place where various artisans and professionals chose to settle down and live their lives in servitude under the witches.
“Apples! Apples! Freshly picked apples! Only for 5 pennies each!”
“Head down over to the beluga tavern! We’ve got exciting performances, lively music, and cold beer for all to enjoy! You won’t regret visiting the beluga tavern!”
“Welcome one! Welcome, all! Come on over! Our dresses are something that are popular even among witches!”
Unique sights dotted the streets as coachmen desperately tried to calm their horses down, newspaper boys darted around the alleyways, solicitors advertise their wares in front of their stores, from merchants smoking a cigar whilst bargaining to the artists that stood under the fountain playing their flutes.
The central square had always been like that, bustling, noisy, and so filled with life.
Taking in the sight that beheld his eyes, Siwoo got off the road and proceeded to walk to his destination.
West of the square, Siwoo could be seen entering an alleyway.
Loose tiles littered the alleyway and mud could be seen splattered all over the pavement. It seemed like it had been neglected for quite some time.
The white whale bar that Siwoo passed by seemed to be overflowing with customers, most likely due to it being a holiday. Crossing a bridge, Siwoo spotted a stone building hidden under the shade.
In the cellar of the building was a magic shop that Siwoo decided was worth it for him to spend his precious holiday in.
The door that led to the stairs to the shop was stupidly short. Ducking his head, Siwoo went down a flight of stairs.
It was a small shop measuring only 10 pyeong and had a faint stench of sulphur.
By Siwoo standards, the shop didn’t feel small, but the furniture and the goods that they sold made the shop feel cramped.
The shelves were packed with items that contained a myriad of colors, there were even withered dead animals that hung from the ceilings.
“Oh, you’re here. It’s been quite some time, eh? I was starting to become worried.”
The store owner, a man wearing round glasses, greeted Siwoo with a smile on his face.
Folding up his newspaper, the store owner stood up.
“So… what do you need this time?”
“Anything new come in lately?”
He glanced over at a list which seemed to be where he recorded his goods and took out a bundle of rope-bound papers.
“These are the only things new around here. You want one?”
“Sure, how much are they?”
Siwoo pulled out the pouch he had hidden in his chest.
Coins, the size of thumbs could be seen glistening within the pouch.
Siwoo had saved for three months, scrounging his way around the campus. He hadn’t spent a single penny from his weekly wage of five pennies.
Pennies were usually made of copper and silver, 12 of which would make a single silver coin. Siwoo had accumulated a total of five silver coins.
He had enough money to buy the items, but his heart still bled when he went to pay for it.
“That’ll be a silver coin for three of these items.”
“Huh? What do you mean by one silver? Last time I came here, I only used a silver coin to buy two items.”
“You’re my only customer nowadays. I’ll give it to you at a cheap price, so just take it.”
“Ah, thank you!”
He was originally going to enjoy a meal with the penny that he would’ve been left with.
But now, things are different.
Siwoo emptied his wallet and handed over the silver coins to the store owner.
“What would a slave need magical paper for anyways? I mean it’s not like you can use it.”
“I have different circumstances. You understand.”
“Well, it’s none of my business anyways. My shop is always open… Come again next time.”
Siwoo turned around, evidently proud of the purchase he had just made.
“Hello, Mr. Assistant.”
Behind Siwoo was a witch with purple eyes. Siwoo instantly recognized her as Odile, the older sister of the twins who were studying under Professor Amelia, she tilted her head to one side and said,
“Hey, what kind of magic artifacts do you even sell in such a shabby place? Whoa! What is this? It’s like a mummy!”
Odile fiddled with the strange bones, which in this case were dried Japanese peppers, that hung from the ceiling. The store owner remained silent, not daring to speak a word.
She wore a dress that was decorated with colorful laces, a half bonnet hung around her chin and the luxurious shoes that she wore made her look all the more beautiful.
It could be seen from the way Odile dressed that she was confident in both her natural beauty and the aura of nobility that seeped out of her.
No one would dare scold her, a powerful witch, for touching the artifacts on display.
Siwoo felt a chill run down his back. What was Odile doing here? In this out-of-the-way, dingy basement? Did she follow him?
He had to keep his ability to use magic a secret. It was his only ticket to escape from slavery.
“But why would the assistant, a slave, have any business in Tarot Town? What more? In a magic artifact shop?”
Chuckling, Odile circled around Siwoo.
Siwoo tried to hide the paper he bought, but it was a futile attempt at best.
“You can’t reply, can you?”
This was the worst possible scenario that could’ve happened.
“Something interesting is going on.”
Unlike in the academy, Odile, who was dressed in an eye-catching outdoor dress, said so with a grin hanging from her lips.