Chapter 7:

Chapter 7 - All About Magic

Of Heroes and Royals

The green-haired man that stood in front of the four companions was a lot different than Alice had expected. She expected the leader of the resistance to be a towering, somewhat terrifying man who had a presence that dominated the room. Someone who screamed power, was not to be messed with, and someone who would demand your respect with just a glance.Bookmark here

This man was none of those things, none but one. He had a warm, friendly face, one that reminded Alice of her father - he wore the same look she'd oft see upon returning from school each day. He was certainly muscular and undoubtedly strong, but the way he presented himself gave him a laidback, welcoming appearance. Even despite all of this, he still seemed like someone deserving of respect. No one could quite place why - perhaps it was the look in his eye. Or, perhaps, his voice, that while soft and soothing, made Alice feel both safe and determined at the same time.Bookmark here

"That's right, new recruits! These four say they're here to join us." Mirri answered the Captain in a sweet tone.Bookmark here

He looked Alice and her friends up and down, somehow in a way that didn't make them feel uncomfortable.Bookmark here

"Wait a second... a party of four, one with silver hair... you wouldn't happen to be the ones who took down a checkpoint a few days ago, would you?" asked the Captain, who noticed the shock appear on each of the new recruits' faces and concluded he'd hit the nail on the head.Bookmark here

Apollo was the first to respond. "Yeah, we are. How'd you know about that?"Bookmark here

"Oh, I know just about everything that's going on when it comes to Stratus." the Captain responded rather nonchalantly. "Besides that mountain, obviously. As Mirri likely explained, you've caught us at a bad time."Bookmark here

"Yeah, no kidding." Ciela scoffed.Bookmark here

"Listen, normally I'd probably ask a few more questions, but considering you've already fought against Stratus, I've no reason not to trust you. And I'm sort of running short of time right now." As he spoke, he glanced back toward the monitor displaying a map of Fiorir, as well as the colleagues he was talking to earlier. "It was great to meet you, and I'm happy to have you all here. Welcome to the resistance. The name's Everett, by the way, but everyone here just calls me Captain."Bookmark here

As he finished talking, he flashed the group a friendly smile, and hurried back to whatever he had been working on.Bookmark here

"Well, there you have it." said Mirri, turning toward the group.Bookmark here

Alice was a little shocked at just how brief their exchange was. "I didn't even get to say anything..."Bookmark here

"He's usually more talkative. The Captain's not the kind of leader who only concerns himself with big picture things. He does countless things for us... he's even helped me organise my books before!" Mirri explained, the happiness in her voice apparent as she recalled her memory of the Captain.Bookmark here

Before anyone else was able to respond, Ciela chimed in. "So, can we return to my earlier question now? Why exactly does the resistance need a librarian?"Bookmark here

"Oh! It's quite simple, really. A lot of what gets taught in schools is Stratus history, right? And libraries are filled with Stratusian literature. A lot of old Lumièrian literature was lost after Stratus took over. So, since then, the resistance has looked after what's left." As she spoke, she picked up one of the books she had been carrying and showed it to the group - not even Apollo had had ever seen it before, and Mirri explained that it was written by a Lumèrian philosopher around 200 years ago. "Additionally, sometimes they recover more old texts on missions, and then it's my job to restore them if need be."Bookmark here

As the group's resident bookworm, Apollo was visibly excited by this explanation. Eager to get his hands on some rare literature, and to begin research into a perplexing mystery, he wasted no time in asking Mirri a follow-up question. "Say, you wouldn't happen to have any old books on magic, would you?"Bookmark here

The girl found this question almost comical, and it was only a little while later that the group was sat around a small table, accompanied by a pile of around a dozen books about magic. Mirri had taken them into a small room that was filled with boxes piled high, with a few tables and chairs near the entrance. She explained that it was impractical to move bookshelves between each of their bases, meaning the books had to be stored in boxes - but they were still expertly organised, just like a real library, she proudly proclaimed.Bookmark here

Once they were settled, Mirri returned to a desk situated by the entrance (akin to a receptionist's desk) to read a book by herself, leaving the four companions to their own devices.Bookmark here

"So, uh, Apollo, what are you trying to do here, exactly?" questioned a puzzled Ciela.Bookmark here

"I'm going to see if the Wild Card is mentioned in any of the resistance's books, and try to figure out exactly what it is. For Alice's sake." as he answered, he found himself resisting the urge to stop talking and just begin reading. "But first, I think we'd best review everything we already know about magic. Maybe, just maybe, there are some clues in there already."Bookmark here

And so, Apollo began to go through everything about magic that was commonly taught within schools, as well as what he had learned from books at the library back in Lucciola.Bookmark here

[...]Bookmark here

The first thing that school children are taught about magic...Bookmark here that it is everywhere.Bookmark here

In the water we drink, the air we breathe, the ground we tread, in the flames we spark.Bookmark here

It exists within every molecule of space.Bookmark here

There is even magic in the very passage of time.Bookmark here

Thus, naturally, it exists within living beings, too.Bookmark here

Humans are... special, when it comes to their interactions with magic. They're able to store magic power within and harness it in a number of ways. They store this magic power in a "container" that grows inside them, in the centre of the body just beneath the lungs. One could call this another internal organ, but in some ways, it could also be considered akin to a muscle.Bookmark here

The more a human continues to drain their magic power, repeating the process again and again, the more they will be able to hold. The slower the container shall drain. Attempting to use more magic than is available in the container can result in health complications, a shorter lifespan, or death. Do not attempt this.Bookmark here

This "container" takes time to develop. Most people reach magical maturity at the age of eighteen. There are, of course, exceptions - but children that can wield magic often have lower life expectancies.Bookmark here

Usually, upon reaching magical maturity, a human will manifest their "Signature Spell". This is a spell entirely unique to them, and usually named by them. Not every spell is entirely different, and similarities often arise - for every "Flameblade" there could be a "Waterblade". However, there will usually be at least one or more differences, of varying importance, depending on the person. It often takes much trial and error to figure out the exact technicalities of a person's Signature Spell.Bookmark here

A person can learn spells other than their Signature Spell, but the difficulty of this varies greatly depending on the spell. Most people will find it easy to learn another spell of the same Affinity as their Signature Spell, or a Support spell. Learned spells will not function differently per person as Signature Spells do.Bookmark here

Every person has an Affinity for a certain kind of magic. As far as we are aware, there are four types.Bookmark here

Elemancy - The manipulation of the world's natural elements: water, fire, earth, air, and lightning.Bookmark here

Time and Spatial - The manipulation of time or space in some manner.Bookmark here

Superhuman - The amplification of abilities or traits that humans already have.Bookmark here

Support - A catch-all type used to refer to any spell used for support, such as healing or enhancements.Bookmark here

Symptoms often appear before a child reaches magical maturity that eludes to what their Affinity will be.Bookmark here

When someone is gifted with an Elemancy Affinity, it is usually for one specific element - which has led some scholars to argue that each element should be considered its own type, but this is currently disputed. This is due to the fact that there seems to be some overlap between each element when one has an Elemancy Affinity - for example, someone with a Fire Affinity would have an easier time learning a Water spell than someone who only has an Affinity for Superhuman Magic.Bookmark here

The same logic also applies to Time and Spatial Magic. Typically, a person only has an Affinity for one - but if you have an Affinity for Time Magic, it becomes easier to learn a Spatial spell.Bookmark here

Humans are usually not born with an Affinity for Support Magic. This type of magic is often learned after someone has already mastered their Signature Spell.Bookmark here

The Origin of Magic, and through what means humans came to have these containers existing within them, has been long forgotten.Bookmark here

[Excerpt from a Stratusian Biology textbook.]Bookmark here

As Apollo finished talking, Ciela collapsed onto the table in front of her. "You just wanted to finish giving us that lecture on magic, didn't you?"Bookmark here

"Seriously?! What the heck, it's been literal days, Apollo!" exclaimed Alice.Bookmark here

"What? I... no, no. S-Stop getting me distracted. The point is... Alice's Momentum Burst Magic doesn't fit into any of the types. She didn't show any symptoms before reaching magical maturity, either. For example, Alice told me Naois had a naturally high body temperature, even before turning eighteen. Not sure how she knew that, but..." As Apollo spoke, Alice kept her mouth tightly shut, but everyone could see her face turn red. Naois had apparently stopped listening at some point during Apollo's lecture and simply seemed confused. "I'm not sure about Ciela, but as for me, I had a few incidents during my teenage years where my hand would phase through stuff."Bookmark here

"I'm still waiting for the point." Ciela sharply reminded him.Bookmark here

Apollo shot her a frustrated look. "I'm getting there, alright? The point is... we know what kind of effect each of the other magic types has on the human body. Fire affinity? High body temperature. Spatial magic? Glitches in the system. And so on. What we don't know is how this so-called Wild Card type affects Alice's body. And I think that might be what Capri was referring to."Bookmark here

Everyone paused for a moment. It amazed both Alice and Ciela that their friend had been able to draw such a conclusion from elementary school knowledge.Bookmark here

"You really are smart, Apollo." Alice smiled.Bookmark here

"Well, I try my best." the young man chuckled in response.Bookmark here

Upon hearing this, a displeased looking Naois scoffed and left the table, heading over to where Mirri was sitting. Alice followed after him, with Ciela and Apollo simply watching.Bookmark here

"Yo, library lady. Where can I find that hero guy? You know, number ten." he asked. Ciela noticed that Apollo looked just about ready to run over and slam the red-haired boy into a wall.Bookmark here

Mirri was sat facing away from her desk, and seemed to quickly put something in her pocket before closing her book and turning around. "Oh, he's probably somewhere in the main room, where we were earlier. You're looking for a boy similar in age to you, with blue hair. You can't really miss him. But... why?"Bookmark here

"Why? Because I'm going to fight him, obviously."Bookmark here

Silence descended upon the room.Bookmark here

The group waited a few moments, expecting Naois to say he was joking around, or being sarcastic.Bookmark here

An excited grin grew on his face.Bookmark here

He was deadly serious.Bookmark here

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