༺ Change (1) ༻
Amelia walked through the quiet academy by herself.
The Trinity Academy was a quiet place even during the day, but at night, it was even quieter than that.
If the weather had been a little warmer, she might have heard the sound of the grasshoppers.
That was the only thing that she found disappointing during her current stroll.
“Why does this keep happening…?”
The reason why she took a stroll in the first place was to make her mood better.
Yet, she found herself biting her lip over the thought of a certain man that kept surfacing in her mind.
This wasn’t the first time it happened.
Their unique encounters were enough to make her think of him from time to time.
Whenever she was in a rut, he would come to her mind as she took a brief smoke break. He would also appear in her mind when she had to organize the materials she needed for her lecture.
On those occasions, she’d visit him and give him assignments for no particular reason.
This was mostly because she didn’t know how to start a conversation with him outside of work.
Looking back, she really just wanted to talk to him.
Why was that the case?
Because he was a diligent person? Was that why she wanted to talk with him more?
Even when she asked Sophia a subtle question about her feelings, the witch only gave out an ambiguous laugh.
Whatever came out of her mouth next was nothing of importance.
Her small figure looked pitiful and insignificant.
If magic was involved, she would be able to solve anything that was thrown at her. However, she was completely clueless about interpersonal relationships.
Amelia wondered whether there was a predetermined answer for her problem.
She walked aimlessly.
The source of the problem that ailed her mind was Shin Siwoo. As she reminisced about him, she found herself walking wherever her feet decided to take her. Before she knew it, traveled quite a distance away.
It was a relatively familiar meadow, but this time the landscape was painted by the moonlight instead of sunlight.
This was the barn where Siwoo used to live.
The place he lived in for five years.
Suddenly, she felt bitter.
What if he were to find out that the reason why he lived here was because of her?
He would probably get really angry at her.
Amelia walked along the path through the meadow toward the barn itself.
When she opened the old wooden door, a spacious yet worn-out barn revealed itself.
Suddenly, she felt a tug in her heart.
As if someone poked it with a blunt needle.
Various thoughts emerged, intertwining with each other.
“Maybe, there’s more…?”
This was the extent of his suffering that she could see with her eyes.
Her assignments that she casually threw at him out of frustration were probably even more cruel than this.
She had probably caused him far more suffering than she intended.
That thought made her afraid.
But it also made her understand.
The reason why he had kept his distance from her.
Why he only showed ambiguous reactions whenever she gave him gifts and showed him her considerations.
And the reason why he had been close to the twins while secretly avoiding her.
She had been taking everything too lightly.
All this time, she had only thought of herself as she selfishly threw her tantrums at him.
And that wasn’t okay.
Since that wasn’t okay, she’d have to correct it right away.
As she wandered around while reflecting on her past mistakes, something caught her eye.
Next to the ditch that crossed the center of the barn was a pile of straw, something that was used as an alternative to a bed.
To her though, it looked like horse feed more than anything.
“He’s been living here… For five years…”
Amelia bent down slowly and sat on top of the pile of straw.
She couldn’t imagine how uncomfortable it was to lay down on that pile by just looking at it
And as soon as she sat down, she was startled.
Its appearance looked soft and fluffy, but she could feel sharp pieces of straws pricking her buttocks through the gaps in her clothing.
While Amelia was sleeping in a soft bed, he had been tossing and turning his body on this thing.
Lying on the pile of straws, Amelia looked up at the ceiling.
The poorly stitched traces all over the ceiling showed how badly damaged it was.
Her back felt like she was leaning against a hard wooden box.
She felt the prickly sensation from the hays when she sat down, but it became even more pronounced after she laid down.
Amelia was at a loss of words.
This was too much for her.
The bed was so uncomfortable that the idea of sleeping on it felt outlandish to her.
‘I need to apologize.’
‘I need to tell him everything and apologize.’
As a witch, to apologize to a slave like Siwoo was simply an absurd thought.
That was the reason why Amelia had kept her mouth shut all this time.
She was taught to think that way.
Her understanding dictated her to live that way.
It was just, she had never expected that things would come to this.
And she couldn’t bring herself to admit that she was wrong.
She thought that if she were to stay quiet and make up for it in other ways, the issue would be resolved without any problem.
Like back when she buried her longing for her master.
But now she realized that would never be the case.
Her delusional sense of authority managed to convince her conscience that it was wrong.
And since it was wrong, she had to correct it and give him the compensation he deserved.
With a melancholic heart, Amelia turned her body around.
When she flipped her body to get up from the stack, she felt a sharp sensation piercing her tailbone, causing her body to tremble in surprise.
There seemed to be a box beneath the pile of straws.
She then rummaged through the pile to see for herself what exactly it was.
It was an elegant looking wooden box.
The box didn’t look particularly expensive for her.
But it was a luxurious item for a slave to keep around.
The weight that the box had implied that there was something inside of it.
Amelia knew that prying into someone else’s belongings without their permission wasn’t something that a noble should do.
However, her curiosity got the better of her as she wanted to know what exactly was the thing that he treasured so much.
‘Did he accidentally leave this box behind?’
‘I wonder what’s inside?’
She gently shook the box and jingly sounds of coins came from inside.
Aside from that, there were also the sounds of clanking bottles and rustling papers.
‘I should probably return this to him.’
With the box in her arms, Amelia left the barn.
Suddenly, a thought crossed her mind.
“I need to give him a present as an apology… But what should I give him?”
Amelia glanced around as she spoke to herself even though there was no one around to hear her.
“Let’s treat this as a part of my investigation to find out what kind of gift suits him.”
She swiftly justified herself and opened the wooden box quietly.
The content inside the box made her freeze on the spot.
Aside from gold coins inside a leather pouch.
There was a bunch of magic paper inside.
The surprise didn’t stop as there was a top-grade bottle of mana water, sealed with an emerald tablet-certified sealing wax.
And lastly, there were hundreds of pages containing Siwoo’s magic circle designs.
Amelia put all the items down.
Her mind was completely blank.
It had been a while since she was overwhelmed by confusion.
To describe the extent of her confusion, it was similar to back when she first learned about sex.
The matter with the gold coins, she could understand it.
If Siwoo had been diligently saving up his wages, it wouldn’t be unthinkable that he had at least this much gold.
Besides, knowing him, it was unlikely that he had stolen the gold from somewhere.
She could also understand the matter with mana water and magic paper.
Recently, he had been getting closer to the twins, though she didn’t know how or why.
As the apprentice witches of the prestigious Gemini family, it wouldn’t be surprising for them to gift him those items as a sign of their goodwill.
The magic circle designs however, were a different story.
Those weren’t some fancy magic to use in everyday life, but designs for large-scale magic.
Since she recently entrusted him with copying and creating indexes for work-related assignments, Amelia was familiar with Siwoo’s handwriting.
A bold and vigorous handwriting, befit of the man himself.
And that handwriting was the thing that decorated the 200 sheets of paper she had just seen.
That was the first word she uttered after she skimmed through the sheet of paper and stared at it for a long time.
Magic circles were a highly complex and demanding field of study.
Being proficient in one thing wouldn’t be enough to master it.
One had to have talents in various fields for it.
It used a whole different language with 128 runic characters, so one would have to be talented in linguistics.
The formulas used to calculate the mana that flowed through the circuits demanded one to be talented in mathematics.
Since one also needed to express their idea using geometric symbols, one had to be talented in arts.
And to harmonize everything together, applying each of the elements in creative ways, evoking inspiration that no one had ever thought of, one needed to have the natural talent for it.
That was the basics of magic.
Apprentice witches who inherited the ‘witch’s lineage’ naturally possessed the innate talent for it, but they typically still needed at least ten years to master everything.
“What on earth…”
But, it had only been five years since Siwoo came to Gehenna.
If he had only been proficient in the basics, Amelia could have understood and accepted what she was seeing.
She could accept his claim as a mathematician in the modern world and he was so good at it that if he were to become a regular citizen, he’d have the potential to be the greatest mathematician in the world. She could brush everything off with that excuse.
But, what was drawn on the paper wasn’t something that could be considered as basic.
It was a carefully made construct that Amelia had never seen before, drawn in a great consistency as it formed a single rule within it.
This was a unique method and formula that she had never seen before.
She felt like an English monolinguist reading a poem written in Latin.
While she could decipher how certain formulas worked in certain places, she couldn’t understand the overall meaning, nuances or the purpose of why those formulas were created.
If Siwoo were beside her, explaining to her what was going on with the circle, then things would be different, but even for the talented Amelia, someone who ranked 22nd in the witch’s hierarchy, understanding the content of the paper at first glance was impossible.
This felt like a self-essence magic.
The state of mastering all the basics and pioneered one’s own ‘Ain1Ain here refers to an individual witch’s unique magical abilities..’
Who would believe that a mere slave who didn’t inherit a single brand could achieve all this?
The world truly was wide.
Siwoo’s accomplishment was far greater than what the twins’ could comprehend.
Amelia invoked her ability2Author didn’t specify, but part of her ability is that she’s able to visualize certain things in her mind..
From the first page to the yet incomplete 228th page.
She connected everything like completing a puzzle and a faint vision of a magic circle appeared.
This way, she could easily guess the function of the magic circle.
Though, it was only a faint guess as she couldn’t see the details within the circle itself.
“Absorbing external mana like magnets… Controlling input variables… This is…”
Within it seemed to be an attempt to interfere with the space itself.
The true nature of Siwoo’s self-essence magic was the dimensional magic, something that no one had ever delved into since its creation by the hand of Duchess Keter.
Knowing this much, Amelia could guess what it was that Siwoo wanted.
‘He’s trying to run away from Gehenna.’
The unfolded paper gathered back together, returning to its stack.
Amelia pushed the stack back into the box where it belonged.
She felt dizzy.
But, exhaustion wasn’t the cause of it.
‘He’s trying to run away…’
That wasn’t an uncommon wish.
Slaves that were captured by Gehenna without knowing the reason behind it would naturally look for freedom.
But, if he were to run away to the modern world…
Amelia lowered her head.
She couldn’t explain the logic behind her feelings or why she was experiencing this kind of feelings in the first place. But, the one thing that she knew was that she was afraid.
And so, she decided to look for him.
Mana gathered beneath her feet.
Her body bounced like a ball as she started crossing through the academy.
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- 1Ain here refers to an individual witch’s unique magical abilities.
- 2Author didn’t specify, but part of her ability is that she’s able to visualize certain things in her mind.