25 Loophole 2
Between two shelves, a man was crazily turning the pages of a magical tome which had the name of [Sage Ephir Research – The Theory of Mana Nodes]. Although the book itself was about something which was already done by over a dozen so-called sages, Drake scanned the book with utmost excitement.
After finishing the task, Drake looked at himself in his reflection the metallic bar. He was smiling, yet fatigue was beginning to wear him down. However, he couldn't be any more joyous.
Two months passed already. He had finally finished scanning the 113 842 books and scrolls within the library. It was…mind-opening. His biochip's database expanded so much that Drake felt like he had once again access to the futuristic empire internet network. Anything he wished to know, he would ask the biochip and it would provide a synthesized yet extremely precise answer.
Even if Drake only comprehended a fraction of what he had scanned with the help of his biochip, the percentage never ceased to rise with the biochip feeding him summaries and interesting theories whenever he had the courage to do so. Furthermore, the 'fraction' he understood was a fraction of 113 842 books and scrolls, meaning that it was more than an average rank 1 acolyte would ever grasp in a lifetime.
Unfortunately, the first floor of the magical library was filled with…useless information. Hence, most of what Drake had scanned proved to be utterly garbage with no use whatsoever. It was especially the case when authors spoke about their lives and travels. Though the experience and encounters were interesting, the authors somehow emphasized on their luck, their courage or their personal skills instead of describing in detail the monsters and such. Compared to these biographies, the Encycloepedia and bestiaries were much more valuable in Drake's eyes.
This 'knowledge trip' had only begun for Drake, yet his mind had improved a lot. What differentiated acolytes was not the number of spells they could cast, of the damage of their spells, but rather their 'spirit'. Spirit was an attribute which represented the power of the mind, and it was related to mana, the resource consumed to cast spells, a resource that was omnipresent in the air and replenished itself during meditation.
4 points of spirit was the beginning of the road. By reaching 4 points in the spirit attribute, something that could be measured thanks spirit measuring stones, one would be acknowledged as a rank 1 acolyte. Rank 2 acolytes possessed 8 to 14 points of spirit, while rank 3 acolytes possessed 14 to 20 points of spirit. As for magi, they possessed over 21 points of spirit. They truly were extraordinary.
In just two months, Drake's spirit value reached 5.9 points, thus qualifying as a rank 1 acolyte. It truly was a huge amount for someone who spent very little amount of time meditating compared to fellow acolytes. Instead, Drake focused on researching magic, and it considerably improved his efficiency upon meditating.
Most of people didn't meditate properly, and thus tried to absorb the magic particles of their choice into their body, stressing their mana pool similarly to a knight who would work out to stress their muscles in order to strengthen it. However, most of acolytes did it the wrong way, since this method was way too slow. It was akin to work out, but instead of stressing your muscles as hard as you could, you stressed your muscles by doing the workout program meant for elderly persons.
Drake put into practice theories that were repeatedly evoked in scrolls. The most common method to increase the efficiency of meditation was to go into regions with higher density of mana. With more magic particles to absorb, your growth rate was bound to increase. This is why Felicia had been in awe upon seeing that Drake obtained the sigil granting him free access to the meditation room.
However, even this method was insufficient to maximize the gains. Instead of breathing the magic particles like people usually did, Drake controlled his pores and opened them to the wild environment of the tower. Instead of just breathing the magical particles to absorb them, he was absorbing them all over his body. In a word, he was 'Breathing' with his whole body, thus earning the same gains as other acolytes who spent over ten hours in the meditation room, except that Drake only spent slightly over an hour.
The main setback of this technique is that it required utmost concentration, thus making it difficult to concentrate after such a session of meditation. Hence, Drake usually meditated in the early evening, and spent the rest of the evening practicing the Grand-knight level breathing technique to increase his physical attributes as well.
[Name: Drake Moonlight. Age – 15 years. Rank: Knight, Rank 1 Acolyte
Status: Peak Condition.
Strength – 4.8 | Dexterity – 3.4 | Constitution – 3.0 | Internal Energy – 15.2
Spirit – 5.9 | Mana – 5.9/5.9
Perk: Mutated Heart (+200% base recovery rate)
Skills: Lunar Elven Sword Art (Knight level, proficiency: advanced), Moonlight Shield Mastery (knight-level, proficiency: Advanced), Moonlight Breathing Technique (Grand-Knight level, proficiency: Peak), horsemanship (proficiency: Advanced), Original Meditation Technique (Proficiency: Peak)
Knight Killing Technique: Arclight Chop (Sword speed: 200%, Damage: [Strength*3] degrees)
Enchanted Heavy Armour Set – Absorb up to 12 degrees of damage.]
The gains were evident, yet Drake felt like he had wasted a lot of time over the past two months. If he couldn't cast a spell, then it didn't matter if he had a lot of magical knowledge. Furthermore, it wasn't as if he didn't have any spell at his disposition: the Magus Kayle had gifted him a magical tome containing a high-quality spell.
Unlike commonly spread spells which could be found on markets, the spell contained in Kayle's tome had been researched by a Magus and enhanced. Spells were of extreme complexity, to the point that even his biochip, with all the computing power and data at its disposition, would take years to simulate a stable yet inferior spell matrix.
Finding a spell required trials and errors, and unfortunately, there was no messing up when it came to magic. For instance, Felicia burned herself from head to toe after failing to mentally construct the spell matrix in her mind, after a rogue acolyte attacked her mind with a mental spell.
[Beep! Analysing [Great Air Breath]…55%...100%! Analysis complete]
[Beep! Simulating learning method to hasten host's mastery of the spell…Based on the rich database concerning wind-related spells, host's comprehension of magic theories and host's spirit, the task will take 25 days, 22 minutes, and 33 seconds. Current Progress: 0%. Estimated timeframe for host to master the spell: 14 to 21 days.]
'I can definitely wait for 25 days!', Drake thought in excitement.
It must be said that most of acolytes spent over two years meditating and practicing before learning to cast their first spell. Of course, once an acolyte learns a spell, the timeframe usually drastically decreases to six months.
When Drake came back to the Bear Tavern, Felicia reminded him that he would soon have to pay for the food he ate and his rent. After all, he had been relying on her kindness for two months despite having a huge fortune. However, in fear of being stolen or news spreading, Drake concealed his wealth, and only spent a little here and there.
Out of the original 100 magic crystals scholarship handed out by Magus Kayle, 64 remained in Drake's pouch untouched. As for the rest, Drake had spent 25 magic crystals on an enchanted heavy armour set which could absorb up to twelve degrees of damage, either physical or magical. To get an enchanted item for merely 25 magic crystals, Drake was truly lucky, as they were usually sold for twice this amount.
Fortunately, it was an auction mostly attended by acolytes, and apart from body refinement acolytes, very few sought such an extravagant and impractical piece of armour. It must be said that unless one had over four points of strength, moving around with this enchanted armour would be challenge. Although it provided an impressive defence, qualifying as a half-artefact, it was too impractical to be called a real magical artefact.
As for the other 9 magic crystals, Drake bought magical herbs and used his status as a grade 5 talent to coerce an alchemist into doing him a favour and concoct over a dozen vials of toxins. Although these toxins were detrimental to his body and decreased his constitution, they improved his strength by a huge amount.
He used a toxin vial every two weeks, giving enough time for his body to recover.
[Beep! Toxin injected in host's system! Expected effects: +0.3 point of strength, -0.15 point of constitution.]
However, he had recently discovered a way to minimize the detriments of the toxin: twilight flower.
[Beep! Twilight Flower powder has been ingested…Neutralizing the damage done by the toxin…Expected effects: Backlash of the toxin decreased by 55%.]
Knowledge is power indeed.