Chapter 12: Poking one’s nose into other people’s business
“I…” Han Shuo opened his mouth, but didn’t have the time to get a word out before Lisa landed a pilipala wave of hits with her girly fists. She cursed as she hit him, “Damn you Bryan, how dare you kiss me. My first kiss was taken from me by a crazy person! Oh my gosh, this is too scary. I’m going to kill you!”
Han Shuo’s mind was also in a jumble in the heat of the moment, since he’d just kissed Lisa. It was Lisa’s first time, who’s to say it wasn’t also Han Shuo’s first time as well?
Fear showed on Lisa’s face, and her butt was injured, so there was no strength at all behind her girly fists. Han Shuo did not feel any pain, and wasn’t even tickled by her hits. He didn’t resist, and furiously racked his brain for a way to prevent Lisa from further pursuing this matter.
Lisa seemed to grow tired from hitting him after a while. Her eyes were a bit red and puffy, and she glared viciously at Han Shuo. After she’d stared at him for a moment, Lisa frowned and said coldly, “Bryan, I will let you go if you tell me just one thing.”
Momentarily stunned, Han Shuo asked dumbly, “Tell you what?”
“Why has your strength grown during this period? You couldn’t avoid even skeletal warriors before, but now, even zombie warriors can’t catch up to you. Even that idiot Bach suffered a beating at your hands last time. Claude’s fighting aura obviously entered your body this morning, but why didn’t you die immediately? Why is all this?” Lisa stared at Han Shuo closely during her interrogation.
Han Shuo inwardly thought, “uh oh” as his heart lurched. His body had indeed become stronger thanks to training his magical yuan, but who would’ve thought that Lisa would pick up on it so quickly.
He hurriedly considered a few options and then dumbly replied with a silly smile, “I, I don’t know… Just that I’ve eaten a few things recently that have made me feel stronger.”
Lisa’s eyes flashed noticeably after Han Shuo had finished speaking, and she put her face next to his with every bit of interest. She focused her eyes on him and said, “What did you eat? I won’t pursue the matters of today as long as you tell me.”
“Use magical reagents to mix lizard tail and aardwolf teeth… submerse it in warm water for a day and then drink both of them down. That will improve your strength.” Han Shuo contracted his eyebrows and thought deeply for a moment, then delivered those lines with a naive smile.
Lisa’s face wore a serious expression and concentrated wholly on Han Shuo’s words. She repeated his words and then murmured to herself. “Eh? These disgusting things have this effect when mixed together?”
Han Shuo did not respond and only looked at Lisa with a dumb smile.
“Hmph. I’ll let you go today, and will come grab you for magic practice next time.” Lisa thought for a moment, and picked herself up from the ground to leave, but then went “aiyo!” and cursed angrily, “Damned Bryan, your kick was too strong. Why am I always so unlucky around you?!”
Lisa left the training room madly cursing, with one hand rubbing her butt. Han Shuo swiftly followed as soon as she’d left, quickly making his getaway as well, before anyone noticed.
Later that evening, Han Shuo stealthily crept over to the trash dump in the middle of the night. He first tried to use mental strength to command the small skeleton to show itself, but couldn’t reach the skeleton again. He unwillingly bore the stench of trash and rifled through the entire trash dump, finally finding the skeleton at the bottom of all the trash.
The little skeleton had crumpled underneath the trash as if it was asleep, with no outward sign of life. Several bones were scattered from his rib cage, and he appeared to be heavily injured. Due to his connection with the skeleton, Han Shuo knew that the little skeleton had not been junked. Han Shuo felt a wave of pity and guilt looking at the skeleton’s condition, knowing that it had ended up this way because it had received his command to get revenge on Lisa.
“Claude, oh Claude, just you wait. I’ll get my revenge on you some day!”
He grabbed the skeleton and cradled it, once more sneaking back to the warehouse under the cover of night. The skeleton’s loose rib cage bones clattered against each other as he ran, making his heart wring in pity again.
Han Shuo carefully closed the door when they were back in the warehouse, and thought for a moment. He placed the little skeleton in the wooden bucket again and found seven pieces of broken bone after some scavenging. He stuck them in the bucket, and channeled his magical yuan into them, reforming the “Magical Yin Concentration Matrix”. He was attempting to fix the small skeleton’s body with the method used to repair demonic treasures.
In contrast to last time’s severe weakness, Han Shuo felt much better off this time after he had injected his magical yuan into the bucket. It would seem that the magical yuan had increased in amount after digesting Claude’s fighting aura that morning. This set off another line of reasoning in Han Shuo’s mind.
He securely put aside the skeleton and brought out “The Foundations of Magic” from beneath his bed for further study. He had maintained his nightly studies these days, and not even thunder or lightning could sway him from his reading.
Even though this was just a foundations book, and had no record of any major necromancy magics within its pages, for a complete magical rookie like Han Shuo, this book was still much too complex for him.
Tonight, he cross referenced “The Foundations of Magic” alongside the “A Magical Dictionary”, and gradually lost himself in the books. However, despite the aid of “A Magical Dictionary” in this process, he was still unable to understand some of the technical terms within their covers.
He gave a long sigh and put down the two books in his hand, thinking to himself that he’d only started building his understanding of magic over the past ten days. If he could fully comprehend all the material in the books, then there was no point in the continued existence of the Babylon Academy of Magic and Force. After some thought, he decided to take full advantage of the convenience of his position and eavesdrop on the necromancy classrooms that were currently in session.
Han Shuo settled back into meditation after he had calmed and cleared his mind. He wanted to make the best use of any scrap of spare time to meditate and increase his mental strength. Before he knew it, he had meditated well into the night and then went to sleep peacefully.
Han Shuo was full of vitality when he got up the next day at daybreak, as if his body was full of boundless energy. The little skeleton in the wooden tub next to his bed was still and showed no signs of life. There were seven small swirls next to the seven broken pieces of bone, with subtle hints of black light flowing in the water.
Upon closer inspection, he saw that unbeknownst to anyone, the scattered rib cage bones had reordered themselves. The skeleton’s two empty eye hollows also seemed to have black light sparkling in them and appeared quite eerie.
Han Shuo contacted the skeleton with his magical yuan and immediately sensed that the skeleton seemed to be delighting in its newfound life. Also feeling the same, Han Shuo gave a slight smile and said to himself, “Oh little skeleton, you’re extremely lucky to be following me. I can keep refining you as long as I have enough magical yuan, and you’ll become stronger as a result. One of these days, that Claude will get what’s coming to him.”
Because the little skeleton was still being refined in the wooden bucket, Han Shuo had to get up himself and dispose of yesterday’s trash. Once he had washed his face with briskly cold water, Han Shuo vigorously dusted off all the statues. He completed his duties afterwards, received a piece of black bread, and ran off towards the necromancy classrooms in high spirits, a broom in hand.
“In order to perfectly release magic, both incantations and hand seals are key. If the chant is incorrect, or the gesture incorrect, then you will be unable to perform magic. Magic is a mysterious power, the art of borrowing strength from the elements found on earth and in the heavens by employing mental strength, along with mysterious incantations. Magic then finds its target through hand seals…”
The necromancy students were either attentively or lackadaisically listening to Master Gene. A few windows down, Han Shuo listened with all his concentration and unconsciously waved the broom in his hand.
Gene was the same as Fanny, a necromancy adept mage, as well as a teacher for the major. Gene mainly instructed the basics and foundations of magic, and was in charge of helping students through the more difficult parts of the material. Fanny on the other hand, taught students how to supplement attacks with necromancy magics and led the students in experimenting with necromancy magic.
For all the other majors at the academy, not only did they have adept mages for teachers, but they also had even more knowledgeable, more powerful magi (plural of magus) holding down the fort. But due to the lack of students in the necromancy major, Gene and Fanny were the only two teachers, and only adept class at that. On one hand, it was true that there was no need to dedicate too many resources to the tiny necromancy major; but on the other, it was also due to the fact that necromancy had become unpopular, resulting in a corresponding decrease in the number of necromancy magi.
At the Babylon Academy of Magic and Force, students could graduate as long as they passed through a gauntlet of exams. Of course, if students wanted to continue their journey with the academy, they were free to stay and study within the school grounds. Many majors would separate students according to apprentice, novice, and journeyman classes, but because there were too few necromancy students, all the students were lumped into one class.
At this moment, Han Shuo was concentrating with all his might, and a trace of joyous glee could be seen in the smile on his lowered head. It had been just a few moments, but Han Shuo had already thought through some of the theories that had perplexed him endlessly, thanks to Gene’s explanations. His tepid, old-fashioned tone was the soothing music of angels to Han Shuo’s ears, and he lost himself in it.
Bam sounded out as a student, wearing magician’s robes, suddenly fell down in front of Han Shuo. His butt stuck up in the air as his face became intimately acquainted with the white marble floors. He grimaced in pain as he picked himself up, turned to glare at Han Shuo, and said angrily, “Bryan, how dare you trip me with the broom handle.”
“Ah… I was only sweeping!” Han Shuo immediately responded with a panicked, upraised voice when he saw that the person was Fitch.
Fitch was 176 cm tall and had light blue hair. His thin frame combined with a billowy magician’s robe, made him look like a wrapped up wooden stick. He was a journeyman mage in the necromancy major, and had long wanted to pass the tests to be promoted to adept mage. Unfortunately, he had failed multiple times, and rumor had it that he’d made another attempt. It would seem that he’d just returned.
Han Shuo had been enthralled by Gene’s lecture on foundational magic and had paid no heed to the broom in his hand. No wonder Fitch had been tripped.
“Eh? Fitch has come back. Heh heh, did you fail again? Looks like you need to try much harder if you want to become an adept mage. I welcome your return. Bryan must not have done it on purpose just now, don’t mind him!” Gene have a light laugh in the classroom, and spoke with concealed banter.
Han Shuo was not in the least grateful for Gene speaking up for him, but rather cursed him for poking his nose in other people’s business.
Fitch had a bad temper to begin with, but wasn’t really a bad sort. Even though he had failed on countless occasions to pass the adept mage exams, he still experimented tirelessly due to his great love for necromancy. Fitch was the leader of Bach and a few others, but normally wouldn’t pick on Bryan and other errand boys.
However, both Fitch and Gene had a crush on Fanny. Fitch tried so hard to advance to adept class in large part due to something Fanny had said before,“I will only consider you if you become an adept mage.”
Because of this, this teacher and student pair disliked each other intensely. If it wasn’t for Gene’s words, Han Shuo might have escaped further retribution, but now that Gene had spoken, it was bound to have the opposite effect.