༺ Grimoire of the Great Library (1) ༻
There was a student-only cafeteria in Merkarva Academy. Normal student cafeterias were for student welfare so they usually had okay taste and the same menus with the only good side being their cheap prices, but the one in this Academy was on a whole new level.
First off, the ingredients were great.
I had no idea where they were coming from but every ingredient including the potatoes, corn, rice, flour and meat were all of exceptional standard.
In the past iteration, the quality of the ingredients did have a sudden drop as if they changed to a different supplier in the middle but the academy used great ingredients in general.
What I liked the most were the types of cuisine of this world.
“This is it… Tonkatsu is the best.”
Although I wasn’t sure why there was tonkatsu 1Japanese Pork Cutlet in a fantasy game world, there was even kimchi which was apparently from the eastern continent, so tonkatsu wasn’t anything new.
And, you know, the isekai novels of the country on the other side of the ocean had katana and kimono popping up every time, and this must be something similar to that.
“Why aren’t you eating? Do you not like it?”
I was munching through the crunchy crust and the thick piece of meat, but young man Lark had a confused look on his face and did not even bother lifting the fork.
“Can we first talk about the grimoire…”
“Shh! What if someone hears it? Keep your voice down.”
Lark timidly shrunk back. I waited for him to pick up the tonkatsu with his fork before opening my mouth.
“This is something I heard from my uncle who used to be a student here…”
He meekly bit on the outer crust. It was evident that he was very nervous.
“He used to come to this Merkarva Academy. And you know the library, right? Library 1?”
– Nod nod
“Apparently there’s a hidden place there which has a grimoire inside.”
“G, grimoire… Is that the same one as what I’m thinking of?”
Grimoire – easier put, it was a skill book; a phenomenal and rare artifact that allowed one to learn spells or specialties just by reading a book. It was something like an excuse to allow the player to learn all sorts of skills and enchantments of different nature.
Anyone could gain abilities by reading a grimoire but it would lose its effect in return, which was why it was exchanged at an expensive price. Even a house was nothing in comparison.
“C, can we get it? Where is it? I, if I can read that…!”
It was natural for Lark to go crazy for it, because he was unable to use spells despite having saved the ‘enchantments’ until now. This was linked to the intuition of a mage – even if they knew about the theory behind a spell, they still had to feel and understand it.
Imagining a spell and weaving it into an actual form with mana was pretty much in the realm of instincts.
However, a grimoire had the power to force that intuition and comprehension. Even a normal citizen without mana could instinctively remember the enchantment as well as its principles upon reading a grimoire, even though they won’t be able to manifest it due to having no mana.
“Yes. I know the secret room of the library and where the grimoire is.”
“And w, why are you telling me this?”
Oh, he was finally rational enough to throw a normal question. Right, it was obvious that I had to explain the reason behind such a story that was too good to be true.
“Do you know I’m a knight?”
“Yeah… You look like one.”
“There are 2 grimoires according to what uncle told me. One is about an enchantment and the other has a specialty.”
“Yeah. But my Mana Rank is low and it would be useless for me even if I learned an enchantment. In other words, one of them is worthless for me.”
“C, can’t you still sell it though?”
“How? How can a normal student like me contact places like the black market? What if they ask me how I got it? They might just steal it from me if I can’t answer them properly.”
Walking in the backstreets with a piece of jewelry that is too much to handle would obviously lead to death and robbery.
More importantly, I definitely needed the help of another one to send the Unique Grade demonic spirit stuck next to the grimoire all the way to heaven.
“One book for you, one book for me. I think this sounds like a fair deal.”
“…I don’t understand. What do you want from me?”
As expected of a hard worker who was good at theory, he was fairly quick-witted.
“I have 2 conditions. One is for you to be possessed by a demonic spirit for me. That’s what we need to do in order to eliminate it.”
“B, but anyone can…”
I cut him off and told him about the second condition.
“Secondly, I want a ‘Contract of Pledge’.”
“…Then you need a mage then.”
Contract of Pledge was a vicious short-term contract which only mages could do, that immediately made them lose all their mana upon not keeping the contract.
“But… There are other students and professors of the Magic Department. Why me?”
“Striking a deal with a professor is a stupid thing to do. Both their power and authority are in a whole different league. What if they knock me down and force me to tell them the location?”
“Ah… Then what about other students?”
“It’s highly likely that they haven’t learned the contract spell yet.”
Even though the contracting spell was not hard, there was no reason for students to learn such a vicious spell so it was hard to find anyone who learned it. But–
“It’s different for someone like you who has Memorize.”
“…Because we can learn the contracting spell with Memorize and use it immediately, right?”
“That is correct.”
That was the advantage of Memorize. After saving a spell in the spell book through Memorize, it was possible to use it immediately.
It might be difficult for high-tier spells but an easy one like the contracting spell would not take much time to understand.
“First off, we have to start with the contracting spell but…”
“That’s okay. I’ve saved it already a long time ago. I used to work part-time as a contractor.”
“Hoh~. That will make this nice and easy then.”
“Tell me the conditions of the contract.”
“Let’s not make this hard for the two of us and go simple.”
Lark and I headed to the library located at the center of the campus.
The library of Merkarva Academy was as big as the scale of this massive academy. Rather than a library, it was constructed in a fancy way that reminded people of the ancient temples. In fact, it was also sometimes used as a temple.
As for the size of the building, it was probably as big as 4 high schools of Korea combined into one.
“It, it’s massive…”
Lark was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Great Library and gulped.
“How many books even are there?”
“I heard there’s around 8 million including the ones in the basement.”
“E, eight million…”
It was so much bigger than what he thought that Lark couldn’t even continue his sentence.
“Why did they build such a large library in the middle of the campus? No-one can enter the academy apart from students and professors, right?” Lark asked.
“There’s probably about 3 reasons.”
“The first is the provided reason for building the Merkarva Great Library. It is to preserve knowledge and convey it to the future descendents.”
“…That one’s a bit too obvious.”
“Secondly, it’s because that is more beneficial for the academy. It’s probably to keep the professors stuck in the academy right? Because this would be the best environment to gather data for research.”
Teaching students was less than half of the entire job of a professor. Their real jobs were related to research and thesis, and because of that, Merkarva Academy was the most attractive environment for those professors.
“And what’s the third reason?”
“It’s to hide the grimoires, banned and sealed books using the overwhelming number of books.”
Hide a tree in the forest.
It was a simple and standard rule, which was also why it was difficult to fight against.
How could anyone find the book you want out of eight million books?
Normal people wouldn’t be able to but that was a different story for me. I even knew the secrets that the Grade 1 librarians didn’t know of thanks to my prior knowledge through the game and the previous iteration.
I walked into Library 1 along with Lark.
“Welcome. Which book are you after?”
One of the librarians at the front entrance welcomed us.
“We are looking for books related to the specialties of Merkarva Academy. Those… what were they called again? Merchelin stars or something?”
“Ah~. If you’re talking about that book, then let’s see…”
The librarian senior browsed through the list on the parchment which was created from a documenting spell and found what I talked about.
“If you head to 3rd Floor, L32, you will see it in the 2nd row. The ladders are located next to each of the stairs so feel free to use them.”
Following the words of the librarian, we climbed up the stairs of the wide Merkarva Great Library.
I recalled how I used to come to this place quite often to gather bits of information with Park Sihu, who was also from the Magic Department like Lark. This was also where I had read stuff about rune magic.
As we soon entered a place that had no signs of other people, I whispered to Lark who was walking behind me.
I will be giving a grimoire to Lark and Lark was unable to mention this deal to anyone. It was a simple contract.
After arriving at the secret room, I told Lark to stay still and rummaged through the bookshelves.
‘Time to fulfill my Duty.’
I had plenty of information. Although this side quest had requirements that you couldn’t meet without leveling up a lot, I should be able to beat the quest right now.
Opening the secret room was something that was impossible without gaining clues from the previous quests of the quest line, and was something that required a relatively hardcore password.
The ‘code’ itself used quite an old-fashioned method. It was to place the books in the designated areas while pulling some of them out. It worked with a few clicks in the game but it used to be quite difficult to clear this in the previous iteration.
Even though I didn’t even touch the bookshelves, they slid open and revealed the door to the secret room.
“Let’s go in.”
“Huh? O, okay!”
Lark and I quickly dashed into the room before anyone could see us.
“Uhh, it’s cold in here…”
The inside was empty and barren with not a single breeze, and unlike Lark, I did not feel cold in the slightest. That in turn meant that the chill Lark was feeling was because of the demonic spirit in this place.
“It’s time for you to fulfill your promise.”
“Huh? Umm… it’s about defeating that demonic spirit right? How— Kuhk?!”
I threw a wonderful fist towards his jaws. His eyes rolled around in circles as he soon collapsed on the ground.
After making him faint, I dragged him deeper into the secret room.
As I had seen in the previous iteration, this secret room had a bookshelf with two books inside, and those books were the rewards of this side quest.
In truth, you needed a well-trained party member and a sufficiently high level to complete this quest. Otherwise, it would be impossible to even hold off against the initial attacks of the Unique Grade demonic spirit sealed in this place.
Even though it had been over 2 minutes since we came into this secret room, Lark and I did not suffer from any attacks.
Astral bodies could only interrupt upon mutual cognition. Lark was unconscious so his cognitive ability was naturally at 0, and I couldn’t perceive astral bodies because of the Restriction of my Precept.
In other words, all I had to do now was have a one-sided conversation.
“Violence is no good!”
The demonic spirit must have paused its action.
I mean, what else can he even do?
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