24 Loophole 1
The next day, Drake woke up in a confused state, but a joyful piece of news cheered him up:
[Beep! Grand-knight Level Breathing technique has been fully optimized to meet the host's body and genetics. Please insert a name.]
Drake thought for a while and looked at the technique's description. Every step of the breathing technique was detailed, and Drake could see that his biochip had fully transformed the originals. It seemed like his biochip had mixed his Moonlight family and the Helmholtz family's breathing techniques, yet it was deviating a lot from any of the two. It was a new grand knight-level breathing technique altogether, one that was suited to Drake solely, adapted to maximize the benefits of practicing it with Drake's genetics, frame and own limits.
Breathing for 20 second straight, condensing internal energy in the belly, then exhaling for 10 seconds straight…Breathing in…Breathing out…After a few minutes, Drake's face was flushed, his whole-body sweating buckets. In his training room, the whole environment was being warmed by Drake's actions.
Practicing a breathing technique was more exhausting than it seemed. Not only did the breathing technique spent a huge amount of internal energy, utmost focus was required whenever you practiced it. The slightest mistake would result in backlashes that were awfully painful and detrimental to the practitioner's body. Hence, mental fatigue was often a secondary effect of practicing such techniques.
With this technique, Drake felt completely exhausted, not just mentally, but physically as well. Unable to understand what was happening to his body, he checked his body temperature, which had somehow rose to 40 °C upon using the technique. The biochip found out that the gains were maximized when the temperature of the body rose to such heights. If it were anyone else than Drake practicing it, they would most likely die from a fever or sheer exhaustion.
But Drake was no longer a normal human.
He clearly remembered talking to the illustrious Magus Kayle before he suddenly fainted. On his night table, there was a magical tome and a pouch filled with a hundred magical crystals. He had yet grasp the value of these 'gifts', but since it was from one of these legendary Magi, it was bound to be extremely valuable.
The Magical Tome was called [Wind Bindings], but after reading the first pages, Drake realized that he was truly an ignorant. He didn't understand anything!
Hence, Drake decided to have breakfast with his subordinates. Upon descending, he found out that Felicia, the scarred acolyte, was smiling and thus engaged conversation: "Have a good night in there, heh? You should have seen Evangeline's face! She was in awe. As a grade 5 talent, don't forget your friendship with me when you become an illustrious man, aye?"
Drake smirked and started to eat.
Lewis suddenly asked him: "I have been gathering information when you were away. There are several crucial areas you should visit during your time at Helios, my lord."
"What are they?"
"First, the magical library is the most popular place for acolytes. However, since it cost knowledge points to merely stay in the library, it is ironically very difficult to access. Next is the market place we crossed with Lady Evangeline. Although there is always a risk of being swindled, some have very good reputation and are thus quite trustworthy. Furthermore, the prices are usually below what is proposed by the magi who take advantage of acolytes. Finally, there is an organization of guards, mostly composed of knights, who call themselves the sentinels. Although the acolytes and sentinels sometimes work together, they rarely interact with them in a close relationship. However, doing so would provide you access to amazing training rooms. I've seen these men spar among each other…they are very talented and stronger than average knights", Lewis said in a low voice.
However, Felicia barged in the conversation and instantly corrected Lewis: "I've been living in Helios my entire life and there were indeed a few men and women who frequented the sentinels. However, most of these people walked the path of body refinement, using magic to strengthen themselves and improve their defence to match spiritual beasts. However, most of these people end up stuck in the first…or sometimes the second acolyte rank. It is very difficult to find the time to strengthen the mind AND the body at the same time, while still spending sufficient amount of time on learning spells and expanding your knowledge on magical theories. Well, I wouldn't recommend you to walk down that path."
Drake, however, was very interested in becoming a body refinement acolyte. After all, he had always been considered as a genius after breaking through at a young age and mastering the sword art of lunar elves. Furthermore, he had mastered a knight killing technique that dealt an absurd amount of damage, which probably matched the might of a rank one acolyte's spell. If he used other spells to further increase his attributes or improved his defence, then he would definitely have a distinct advantage over other acolytes.
As for not having enough time to invest in both paths, Drake was confident because the biochip could do most of the work for him. Although it could not learn the theories in his stead, it could still filter the useless or inaccurate pieces of information and even synthesize it to make it faster and easier to learn. Adding to that his grade 5 talent which seemed to be a great deal, he was confident in excelling in this path.
"Can you tell me more about that, please?", Drake said upon showing the sigil that Grandmaster Kayle had gifted him as a form of acknowledgement.
"…", Felicia had mixed feelings upon seeing this treasure.
After some time, she began to speak while trembling: "This is the sigil representing Magus Kayle's acknowledgement. With it, you can access the first floor of the Magical Library for extended period of times without paying any knowledge point, and you won't have to pay for meditation rooms in the tower. Meditation rooms cost one magic crystal per session of three hours, and although they enable you to progress twice faster, few can afford them…Don't show this sigil to anyone, unless you want them to feel extremely envious."
"Oh…Thank you, Felicia", Drake said while feeling a bit apologetic.
Just because he had been tested with high talent, he was given everything on a silver plate. It was no secret: he was bound to progress much faster than others with all of these benefits.
"Don't worry about it. You should be more arrogant with your talent. Otherwise, people will use you", she gave an advice. "If you ever run low on magic crystals or knowledge points, there is a floor in Helios' Hall, the huge building in the centre of the city, called the Mission Floor. There are literally tens of thousands of missions issued by noblemen, merchants or even neighbouring kingdoms. Most of them pay very generously for tasks that are sometimes fairly easy to complete, just like some pay you measly for utterly dangerous missions."
Drake nodded and exchanged pleasantries on his way out to Helios. Drake was truly thankful to have made an acquaintance like Felicia. She lacked manners and was physically repulsing, but she was truly kind-hearted, giving him all kinds of advices. Of course, it might be her looking at their relationship on the long term, making Drake owe her one, but even then, Drake could feel her good intentions.
After listening to Lewis' reports and lists of rumours while strolling in the streets, Drake considered purchasing artefacts or enchanted armours in the market. However, since he had no accurate knowledge of the prices and effectiveness of the said items, he decided to head towards the library first, not to mention that magic crystals seemed incredibly valuable, based on Evangeline's grimace upon handing the 10 magic crystals the previous day. With a sigil with such privileges in hand, Drake was actually thinking about abusing the system.
When the Magus Kayle gifted Drake with his sigil, he expected the latter to go and search for a few books here and there amongst the thousands of magical tomes sorted in the giant library. It must be said that the library had 4 floors. Each floor had a surface of over a square kilometre, accounting for dozens of thousands of books each, if not even more.
Drake suddenly had an idea. Instead of searching for bits of information here and there, every few days, Drake was about to do something crazy…His idea was simple-minded, yet quite daring and probably never done before: scanning every single book found in the first floor of the library. By doing so, he would not only expand the database of his biochip, he would also get access to a real-time appraiser:
Upon encountering a beast, he would immediately know of this or that feature. Upon encountering a rare magical resource, he will not fail to pick it up because of ignorance.
Drake made up his mind: he wanted to become a walking library! This was going to be the greatest heist of the Magical Court History. Dozens of thousands of books, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of books would be Drake's eventually. Even if they were merely the lowest quality books with most of them being basics rather than proper theories, they were still the results of hundreds of years of accumulations, with books who were sometimes written on research which lasted for decades!