24 Chapter 22: Interlude Report 2
Report no. 2:
You know that feeling you get when you know something bad is about to happen, but you don't yet know what? While she was a mere a sweet young girl who was at that budding age, I got that feeling the second Howard's granddaughter, Diana, stepped into my home. At first, things had seemed fine. She had spent the first night well enough, but then that girl beat up a group of aspiring Adventurers. That was when I had started actually seriously considering that sinking suspicion. While Diana has a sort of elegance about her, it serves as a veneer over her more brash personality hidden underneath. Then again, as a wise person from centuries past once suggested, "It's the mad ones who dare to act who can cause change." While she's on the rash side, Diana does have an admirable sense of justice that seeks to protect the innocent…"
Nevertheless, it seems that because of this harebrained Adventure, the years of training and restraint Kira exhibited in order to conceal the true lethality of her fighting prowess all went to waste. Still, at least, she can now try to slowly transition into some type of [Warrior Maid] Class as she begins to accept fighting as part of her roles. Still, I dislike thinking even of this silver lining as a stroke of good fortune. After all, I'd honestly prefer if no one I cared about had to actually fight: the poor Hershan girl was almost killed by Adventurers the very first time she |Berserk|ed in order to save my life.
I don't even know how Diana managed to convince Kira to participate in a Quest. While Kira might not be able to do complex engineering problems, she's usually extremely street smart and follows my rules to the letter. I suppose that's a bit of my fault though because I was distracted and didn't pay enough attention to her. Still, I'm a bit surprised. Even though I'm glad she took one of my sealed creations because it saved their lives, normally, Kira absolutely refuses to even bend the rules despite my telling her multiple times that I'd rather she be safe than keep the inventories stocked. Still, I guess I got some valuable field testing that so impressed the Queen's agents that I received more orders from the royal crown. What ends well is well, I guess.
Oh, that's right. I haven't even explained how this mess was even made in the first place. It truly is a whole sequence of unfortunate coincidences. Somehow, Kira forgot all the training I'd paid for her to better integrate into society as a free Hersha and got into a conflict with a shop while looking for Diana who had wandered off looking for dresses… Then, Diana was a dunce and ignored the etiquette training that had been drilled into her from childhood, landing her in a conflict with a well-connected lesser noble. I still can't believe that Kira couldn't just calmly ignore the harassment she received. Victim blaming is bad, but she really needs to consider the circumstances! Had she just talked to me about the problem, I would have easily deal with it. It's a bit frustrating, but I know that Kira has my best interests at heart. I couldn't even scold her because she had looked like she would cry. She probably hadn't told me because she had wanted to take care of it herself and not distract me. Sometimes, when she's not getting convinced by Diana to do stupid things, she's just too good of a [Maid] to consider the larger implications of her decisions. As a trades-master under direct service to the Queen, I have much closer ties to the throne than Diana's aunt, a foreign [Baroness] living under the grace of the Alliance's hospitality laws for ambassadors.
Speaking of the Queen though, I'm going to have to write up a report detailing my discoveries to her pretty soon. Sometimes, I hate this world because there's always more to do… However, first, I'll be seeing to the festival. At this point, I'm feeling quite clocked out: killing forgotten evils, saving girls, and discovering clandestine plots really makes for a full month's work. Even if that old dragon comes by, I'll ignore it if it's one my announced off-days. Actually, considering that the only reason he'd come around is to collect my research notes, I think I'll ignore him either way. Thank god that the festival is soon, and then I'll be mostly free of my commitments to the city. I think a nice countryside escapade sounds perfect for evading a curious Queen's inquisition.
Anyway, beyond the recent and soon-to-be celebrations, there's something stirring within the Kingdom of Natusha, and even someone as asocial as I am noticing it: taxes are rising, more refugees are appearing in the slums, the guards have become more aggressive. It turned out that most of my recent troubles were just parts of some plots enacted by the Dark Lord's minions. Apparently, this [Dark Lord] was a major figure at the turn of the last half-century, forcing the Kingdoms to unite into the Alliance in order to cope with his waves of minions. Largely thought to have been vanquished, if he's been biding his time and amassing his forces over the past thirty years, I shudder to think what he's capable of now. Luckily, since the Alliance has been carefully watching for any signs of his movements, his minions were rather restricted, preventing them from causing too much havoc.
After getting Diana and Kira out of that mess, I let those espionage bastards take care of the cleanup and public relations. At least, the Hands don't know anything about my newer weapons besides for the fact that they work as extremely strong hallucinogens, disrupting one's concentration, which was effectively what held the Immortal Death Wraiths together. Seriously, out of all the forbidden concoctions, Kira had had to grab the aphrodisiac, the one that the Queen would probably love to have the most. There have been several rumors floating about the Castle that the Queen is rather desensitized down there, and based on how harshly these rumors are oppressed (the last nobleman to mention it found his head on a pike the next morning), I rather strongly suspect they're true. I'm personally terrified just imagining what she'd do if she could feel sexual pleasure again. How many of my cubes would she use for her own personal use in order to finally get off again?
Also, I've also recently noticed something strange going on with the master receiver. Before my home switched places with the tower of that old [Wizard] who used to live on this little hill by the city, it was primarily a maintenance shop that even met the basic requirements and certifications to repair simple military hardware. It had naturally retained some basic communications equipment even if they had become a bit obsolete in my native dimension by the point I landed in Interst. Fortunately, the soldiers left most of the technology around here untouched when they first captured me, so I've been able to set up anti-teleportation arrays around here. With a bit of luck, no one else will be teleporting to here from my home planet… I shudder to think of what a galactic warship could do to this innocent, virgin world. Surprisingly, I've found that teleporting technology works pretty well in this world, which might explain how are dimensions were able to connect and switch our homes if both places shared important dimensional laws regarding teleportation.
Since there is no military from my home here, I assume the ping is just something resonating with it, maybe some type of amplification crystal? I should look into that; it could be useful for setting up a massive communication infrastructure. Wait, now that I think about it, Jeffry was looking a bit red the other day… Could he be sick? I really don't want to have to consult the stable master because that'll require approaching the Castle to which the Queen might already have returned. If she saw me, she might suddenly decide that That woman's terrifying, especially when you have information that she wants. If I told her how to extract that… Well, I believe I've already found an alternate method to produce something quite interesting that doesn't require dragon vitality that I feel will sate the Queen. Hopefully, she won't test my results too carefully; after all, even she would find it troublesome to request more dragon blood essence from the royal dragon or Marximus since they've already paid their tithe.
As for Diana herself, she's a cute girl. Overall, after some logic training to counter the 'standard' education of this world, I feel we can get along fine. Honestly, I have no clue how people perform complex spells, yet can't even do mathematics beyond basic arithmetic. Perhaps the System aids them? On that note, I've been reading a really interesting book on that subject, Philosophy of the System: An Anecdotal Analysis of the [Repair] Spell. I've jotted down some of the better passages in this journal entry in case I decide to come back and re-read them later. Hopefully, now that all this hubbub is over, I can soon go back to my days of making lights and radios, but I fear that will not be the case with the current rate at which excitement pops up in my life.
Most intriguing, I think I'll try to work on finishing my motor prototype powered by an electric mana crystal and some copper spools to try to form an electromagnet of sorts. Now, complex robotics are actually possible due to the oil that I synthesized for my forbidden tank weapon that happens to work well with all kinds of moving parts. Honestly, I can already imagine the vast profits I'm going to receive when summer hits next year, and I introduce the fan as a cooling machine.
An Introduction to the System
While in living memory, the System seems like it has been a permanent fixture of our world, that is very much not the case. Several of the older cathedrals from before the Grand Unification of the Gods contain records of pre-System times. In addition, some of the most ancient beings that still roam Interst such as the Ancestral Dragons have directly confirmed that there was a time before the System. Fascinatingly, there are no records of the System's arrival, and no God or ancient being wishes to speak to the younger generations of those times. Over the past centuries, there have been countless explanations for their silence. The two main factions are the Oligarchs who strongly argue that it's due to some type of Pact signed between all the great beings and the Hostile-Threat who argue that behind the System is a being of extreme power who can threaten even the Gods. Obviously, the Church, and thus, the general population, supports the second far more strongly. While this remains a fascinating topic for discussion, ultimately, the lack of relevant references prevents this author from divining any of the fundamental secrets of the System, so he shall withhold his judgment.
Sir Rhodovis Yiplot the Third, [Archmage] of the Eastern Islands
Chapter 1: How the Research was Obtained
Much of the research referenced in this book was performed by the [Archmage] Ulinx Zifler almost three centuries ago around the Year 840. The [Archmage] founded a whole school into studying the System and how to best make use of Mage Skills. While much of his research was hidden by several [Archmages] during the Enchanting Wars back in the Year 1029 who, to this day, still refuse to share the valuable research because they're a$$es like the barely credible, idiotic [Archmage] Polinick, even they have admitted to the world that [Archmage] Zifler was one of the greatest magical researchers of his time.
Anyway, after trading with some more generous [Archmage]s, I have successfully obtained a portion of Zifler's notes on his endeavors into researching the [Repair] Spell as well as its related Skills. Obviously, since I am writing a book on it, it is both fascinating and most enlightening. I have taken it upon myself to continue my research, which I will detail in the fourth chapter. (*Notes by James: By the third chapter, [Archmage] Yiplot goes into super esoteric mage terms and long rants every few pages about different [Archmage]s, especially Polinick. I found the first three chapters the most useful and interesting*)
Chapter 2: On Repair-Focused Classes
The brilliant observation [Archmage] Zifler noted was that while [Repairman] existed as a Class, they would never gain a [Repair] Skill as a spell. Instead, they gained [Repair], which gave them the ability to know of exactly how to fix objects and incredible skill at doing so.
Moreover, someone who had learned the Repair Spell and had not been gifted it by the System would gain the option to gain the [Mage] Class, not the [Repairman] Class. This was actually first mentioned in [Archmagess] Yvlenna the Beautiful's Thesis on System Classes, another highly suggested read.
To complete his research, Zifler needed to compare the magical and mundane forms of the [Repair] Skill. Fortunately, Zifler successfully found a Level 70 [Repairman] and wrote down his observations on how his [Repair] worked. With a few simple covers with a brush, a tattered book could be immediately fixed. At the time, the [Archmage] had been astounded because the [Repairman]'s Skill seemed to rival the [Repair] Spell without costing any mana to the user. Thus, [Archmage] Zilfer had quickly recognized that the System might be able to turn regular commoners into beings rivaling true [Mage]s. While this was no new observation, I must point out that the [Repair] Skill Series, of both the mundane and magical kind, hold much potential because they are easily comparable. After all, there is no mundane version of a [Mage]'s |Explosion|, at least according to this author's understanding. Nevertheless, commoner Skills can do amazing things: an [Archer]'s |Perfect Shot| requires instantaneous calculations and predictions that even the most powerful [Archmage]s are incapable of prophesying…
(*Note by James: The rest of this chapter mostly focuses on the superiority of [Mage]s over the other mundane Classes because all Mana-related Classes have some synonym of Mage in their names and the only way to gain Mana-based Skills is a Mage Class.*)
Chapter 3: On the [Repair] Spell
The [Repair] Spell has fascinated true [Mage]s for ages. How does the System know when to stop repairing a book? In fact, what does it mean to repair a book? Does it require wiping the information held within blank?
Zifler began a series of rigorously controlled tests to determine the answers to these profound questions. For the sake of not coming off as a plagiarizer, I shall attempt to summarize his discoveries to the best of my ability:
Effectively, he discovered that learning the Repair Spell without the System resulted in far greater control than learning it with the System because it was possible to control the extent of Repair as a learned spell. While those who used the [Repair] Spell from a Skill found they were largely unable to modify the Skill, [Mage]s who had learned the Repair Spell could do strange things like half-repair books. However, these half-repaired books would always have one half by completely clean and the other left tattered, implying the learned version of the spell does not act uniformly on an object, yet the [Repair] Skill in spell form works uniformly on objects. Close examination of the [Repair] Skill at work reveals that mid-way through the procedure, the object reverts to how it looked at a previous time. This has led Zifler as well as myself to believe that the Skill as a spell has a time component: an extremely difficult section of magic that no low-leveled [Mage] ought to be able to grasp.
Most terrifyingly, an Ancient Dragon had been intrigued by this research and demonstrated that by casting the Repair Spell without a Skill, he could convert a book into a pile of sludge and then nothingness. The idea that taking the Repair Spell to its extremes could result in disintegration is startling and ought to garner more research, but the level of [Archmage] required for this kind of spell is exceedingly rare, making research a near impossibility.
The rigidity and incredibly complex time component of the [Repair] Spell as a Skill provides support for the faction of scholars who believe there is some sentience behind the System aiding in the usage of Skills, explaining why Skills are significantly easier to acquire as compared to learning things on one's own.
Next, [Archmage] Zifler examined how perception affected Skills. If a [Mage] cast a [Repair] Spell on a book in which he believed there was no information of any sort such as random scribbles lacking any form of language (even trashy romance novels counted as information), the book was [Repair]ed without any marks within its pages. However, if the [Mage] believed the scribbles encoded a secret message, the scribbles would be reproduced exactly in the [Repair]ed form of the book!
Zifler thus concluded that the System and the Mage unconsciously communicated and worked together to determine how a Skill would behave! This simple idea would form his school of mages who believed that their perceptions affected the power of their Skills. While this famously caused several of his students to turn mad, it has also produced some of the most powerful mages in history such as the [Grand Archmagess of Death] Vivian the Lethal who remains one of the dominant figures in magic to this day. While the question of how the System communicates with our subconscious and how the System determines what a Skill should do remains relatively unresearched, I shall detail some of my forays into this subject in the fifteenth chapter. (*Note by James: the novel only has fourteen chapters. I've also never seen any other books written by this [Archmage] Yiplot. In fact, he's only mentioned once in history for anything other than this short research he performed, which was when he led a protest against some of the practices of the local Church on the Eastern Islands. *)