The large gates make a creaking sound as they open. The gold figure, who is the self-proclaimed Second General Sword Ace, leads me onto a cobblestone path winding up the mountain. Surprisingly, the way there is not steep but rather a gentle climb.
“Don’t call me that.” Tina interrupts as she waves her hand dismissively.
I bow slightly to her. “What then should I address you?”
She places her hand on her chest. “Sword Ace General Kori-sama.”
“Isn’t that a bit long?” I scratch my head.
“If you rudely run your mouth, I will have your face planted into the ground.” She points at me.
“Understand, errr… Sword Ace General.”
“Why did you leave out my name?” She asks indignantly.
“It’s way too long,” I complain.
She holds out her hands against me. “Then, I shall have your face—”
I hurriedly bow. “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again, Sword Ace General Kori-sama.”
“Good,” Tina nods and faces me with her arms crossed, “now that you understand respect, understand that there are some rules.”
“What are those then?” I ask.
Tina lifts a finger. “Once you enter the library, you mustn’t leave to some other place without my consent. If you leave the library, you leave the castle.”
I shake my head in understanding. “Okay, what’s next?”
She lifts two fingers. “You cannot take the books with you. That’s all to it.”
“I understand.” I shake my head again.
We continue with our travel while I looked around the widening view. There are no trees in sight inside the walls, no rivers, nothing, but short grass. I squinted my eyes to see any openings in the walls from afar but couldn’t make out any. I look up ahead again to see the second set of walls which is taller than the first. It’s probably fifty meters high, but I am not certain. We arrive at the moat before the gate and waited for the drawbridge to come down, and the gate opens. Once inside, I see all kinds of flowers, plants, and trees. I am not an expert in gardening, but I can tell these are well-trimmed. I saw some other plants I haven’t seen before, and I am not quite sure if this existed back from my world. I looked ahead to see a concrete path. Yes, a concrete or cement path, those found in the roads in my world. Compared to the dirt roads of the kingdom and towns, this is futuristic. I kneel on the ground and examine it.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Tina crouches to me.
“Oh, it just caught my attention.” I sweep my fingers across the cement.
Tina points up to the castle. “Look up, this would interest you more.”
I follow the instruction to see the castle made with— concrete!?
“Eh!?” I react in surprise.
“This castle is one of a kind, isn’t it?” she says with a grin on her face.
From afar, this looks like any ordinary castle I would imagine, but it to be made out of concrete is not what I would imagine. I approach the castle to scrutinize the details practically hugging the walls. It was ordinary concrete. I bang on it and discovered that it was not hollow. I began to wonder how it was made before I was interrupted by Tina.
Tina chuckles. “Hey, you didn’t come for the concrete, did you?”
I detach myself from the castle walls and approached the large wooden door decorated with patterns of gold. Its door handle and the knock-ring are gold as well. “Library, yes?”
“Library, yes.” she echoes.
The door opens to reveal a grand reception. The floor, being made out of marble, reflects like glass. A gold-like chandelier has candles burning divine fire. Large windows with various colors on each pane. A grand staircase branching out to two as it approaches the ground. Seats adorned with gold surrounding a gold table. Too much gold in here perhaps. Then the last eye candy, a maid.
“Hey, your jaw is open.” Tina angrily interrupts.
“H—huh? Do I now?” I dryly laugh.
“Welcome back!” greets a purple-haired maid and bows gracefully.
“Thank you,” replies Tina and points at me, “Would you please kindly lead this gentleman-,” she clears her throat, “to the library, please.
I flinch at her clearing her throat. “Is she judging me?” I mutter.
“Yes, I shall at your request, Kori-sama” the maid humbly bows, “Please, sir, come this way.” She leads me toward a hallway.
My mind is blank space. It’s neither black nor white nor with any color. It’s just blank. I follow the maid unconsciously when-
“Sir, sir! Are you alright sir?” asks a sweet voice.
“Yes, yes…” I take a moment to gather my thoughts, “I—I’m sorry if I spaced out.”
“It is no problem, sir,” the maid places her hand on her chest, “What should I address you, sir? I take a deep breath and speak, “My name is Bari Deliruu, nice to meet you.” I nervously bow. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Deliruu-sama” the maid gracefully bows, “you can call me Sina.”
Sina shows her palms. “You could drop the honorifics, Deliruu-sama.”
I copy Sina. “If you drop mine I suppose.”
Sina shakes her head. “I can’t do that, Deliruu-sama.”
“Why?” I ask in confusion.
“It’s the Maid's code of conduct.” She mimics holding a book.
“Maid of what not?” I mumble.
Sina tilts her head. “Deliruu-sama, were you saying something?”
I hurriedly shake my head. “Not of any importance at all.”
“Deliruu-sama, would you like some tea?” Sina smiles with open arms.
“Tea?” I am not a fan of tea. I suppose I can try something. “Would you please bring me some milk with it too?”
“At your request, Deliruu-sama.” she promptly leaves.
I cringe at the thought of being served like this. I am feeling very uncomfortable that I rub myself.
“Here is your milk and tea, Deliruu-sama.” she hands me a tray containing a glass of milk and a cut of tea.“
“That was fast,” I take the tray into my hands, “thank you very much.”
“You are most welcome, Deliruu-sama. Now, please, this way to the library.” She points me to the door I have been standing in front of.
“Oh, very well then. Thank you.” I tried pushing the door with the tray, but couldn’t
Sina pushes the door open for me. “Please enjoy your reading, Deliruu-sama.” She ends with a warm smile.
After the door closes, I head to the table and place the tray there, and had a look around. Bookshelves line the walls from the floor to the ceiling and endless aisles of bookshelves made me feel dizzy. Fortunately, there are convenient labels for the books above them. I look around for a topic on magic and spells and the such, and having found them, I stack them beside the table I placed the tray on.
“Water Magic Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert 1, Expert 2, Master 1, 2, 3,4, 5, Ace, God!?” I bawl my eyes out at the stack I brought. And those books are only for water too! This thought made me dizzy. This will take me years to learn all of this. I scanned my eyes to see books for Fire, Earth, Air, and a book named, “Ace of Four.” I check the books again having cleared my thoughts and realize that all the books are only a quarter the thickness of those with Ace and God. Those books only have two hundred pages each, but the Ace has a thousand while the God book had ten thousand.
“I wonder how many people had time to read this.” I thought.
I begin reading from Beginner until Advanced when I decide to stop for my tea. I take the cup of tea and pour it into the glass of milk. “Milktea, I suppose,” I laugh and drink my creation. I stretch and yawn my jaws out. I study a lot to feel confident in myself, but I am yet to put it into practice.
Based on the books I have read, I have a mana pool that I can use to cast magic. And to cast magic, I have to write spells. And to cast magic with nothing but my hands, I have to do these awkward and elegant motions with my hands together to spell the words onto the air. I learn several rules of when to use them and how to use them.
I take a deep breath and look around for a window, but couldn’t find any. If I were to count the hours I spent in this library, it would be half a day. I can effortlessly read through books because could read fast. This is why I was hoping for this library.
I return the books and speak through the door. “I’m leaving now.”
The door opens, and the morning sun and Sina greet me. “Good morning, Deliruu-sama. Breakfast is ready for you.”
“Breakfast?” My stomach growls.
“Please follow me this way,” Sina makes a hospitable gesture.
I think of breakfast when it hit me. “Breakfast?” I voice my thoughts.
“Yes, breakfast, Deliruu-sama,” Sina confirms.
My eyes squint in confusion. “But I was in there for a long time.”
Sina nods. “Yes, but the library does not observe the time outside.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“The library slows down the time inside it, Deliruu-sama.” Sina points to the sun.
“What?” Contradictory to my reaction, I understand what she meant. That library is a time machine.
I seat down at the softest chair I have ever sat on, and in front of the most extravagant dining table, I lay my eyes on. Everything is gold and marble in this place. The plates and the utensils too. Fortunately, I know how to navigate numerous utensils. First, I was served warm soup equivalent to chicken soup and various fruits. The main dish was some kind of steak with basils and sliced carrots. I eat with the etiquette I learned from my world. I was a businessman after all.
“Excuse me, Deliruu-sama.” Sina takes the last plates and heads for where the kitchen might be.
She returns briefly later. “I am very surprised at how you ate, Deliruu-sama.”
“I learned them,” I reply.
“We would love to have you as a guest again.” Sina bows.
An orange-haired figure appears from the direction of the hallway, and Sina promptly bows to the figure. “My Queen, breakfast is ready for you.”