Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 62

Claude had to admit that while the diary of Landes contained lots of trivial details, he did find them rather interesting and gained some basic knowledge about magic from them, such as the talent-evaluation crystal ball, elemental affinity, and so on. Those were the things that he wasn't aware of. He only went to sleep when it was really late in the night.

So there's also an elemental affinity component to magic... I wonder which element I am most attuned to, thought Claude before he slept. Regrettably, he didn't have his own crystal ball to evaluate his talent with.

As he slept rather late during the night, he wasn't too energetic on the next day. He yawned through the day and was lectured by his father during dinner for using too much oil for his lamp during the night. However, Claude excused himself by saying that he was studying ancient Hez too late into the night.

After dinner, he played around with his siblings and the snowhound. Soon, the clock struck nine and his siblings had to go to sleep. Claude brought his lit oil lamp up to his attic. He had only read around 40 pages of the diary and he wanted to see what else Landes wrote in his diary. Perhaps there would be something about his life as an apprentice at the tower.

He flipped the diary open to where he left off and continued his read. As expected, Landes described in great detail the helplessness, unwillingness and disappointment he felt when he left home with the grim-looking magus to his unknown future. But he didn't expect the place he was heading to to be so near to his home. After crossing Lake Balinga, they arrived at their destination: the magic tower on Egret.

After that, Landes wrote three whole pages on the sensation he felt when he first saw that tower. The shock, awe and amazement at the sheer size of the tower were expounded on nonstop within the diary. The youth who felt depressed not too long ago instantly felt adoration for the master of the tower. He even felt proud that he was going to live in such a majestic building.

The youth had not seen anything more awe-striking than the gigantic tower before him. He was like a country bumpkin that had wandered into Shanghai for the first time; nothing was familiar and every new thing was a wonder to be explored. Landes even went so far as to say that he would even be willing to serve as a slave just to be allowed to live within that tower.

That was how young Landes's life as an apprentice began. However, he soon encountered a huge problem. While he was the most talented among the chosen, he was completely illiterate.

Among the other chosen apprentices, six of them were also illiterate. The magic tower naturally accounted for such occurrences and they arranged for a two-ring rune magus to teach them ancient Hez script as quickly as possible.

Magic was taught in ancient Hez, which was said to be a variant of the magical dragon tongue that accommodated for human pronunciation. The script was necessary knowledge and the runes used for magical arrays were crucial. During spell casting, the incantation written in ancient Hez had to be pronounced perfectly for the spell to work.

The person who taught Landes and the others was a low-ranked female magus. She looked so pretty that Landes was completely taken aback. He even began to hail her as his own personal goddess and wasted two pages to sing praises to her beauty.

Unfortunately, the female magus didn't care much about the seven illiterate students she was assigned to teach. The classes she conducted were nothing but rote memorization routines. Coupled with the magical arrays that helped improve their memorization, the seven illiterate children were able to master the basics of the ancient Hez language and script.

After finishing her assignment, the female magus vanished somewhere into the tower. It was only when the young Landes became a one-ring rune magus that he heard that the female magus had been gifted to another seven-ring archmagus as a concubine by Loenk. It was said that the seven-ring archmagus was quite lustful and couldn't forget the female magus after seeing her once during one of his visits. He had asked Loenk many times for her and only managed to succeed after trading some precious magical resources for her.

The disappearance of the female magus disappointed Landes greatly, perhaps because she was the first person to pull at his heartstrings in his youth. However, he couldn't do anything about it. Nobody dared to cross the owner of the tower, Archmagus Loenk. His orders were inviolable. He was an existence whose very feet Landes could only look up two. The gap between the two spanned the heavens and the earth.

After he mastered ancient Hez and its script, he officially became an apprentice and could be trained in magecraft like the other apprentices there. But before that, he had to be assigned a specific class.

Class assignment? That's new. Claude had read quite a number of webnovels online which described the wide variety of magic available to students of magic. They were mainly differentiated by some kind of attribute, like darkness, shadow, wind, water, fire, and so on. The most popular branch of magic appeared to be necromancy. Those magical academies in the webnovels all picked their students based on their talents, but class assignment wasn't something he had read about before. It's not like this is Shandong Lanxiang Vocational School. Are those classes like professions or something?

Landes didn't forget to explain the class system in detail in his diary. He had learned about it from his senior, Tawari, whom he was acquainted with after he formally became a rune magus. Tawari was the grim-looking magus who had brought him out from Whitestag.

The world of Faslan had been ruled by the magi for more than three millennia. Even though many magi believed their magical civilization to be ever so advanced and developed, their definition of civilization didn't extend to include the non-magical commoners. However, they were facing a crisis of lack of magical resources. The declared that the light of magic would cease to shine in another millennium and the world would once more sink back into its barbaric, crude form.

The most influential bodies in the world of magic, namely, the council of the nine ring and the magic authority didn't just sit back and watch during the resource crisis. They made a large transference array in the holy land of magic, Symposium, in hopes that they could harvest the magical resources of the world of Kenpus to extend the life of their civilization.

The apprentice magus Landes who had just started his studies didn't understand the current state of the magical world, nor how this would affect him in the future. Tawari had told him once that he requested Loenk to allow Landes to develop into a battlemagus like him. But Loenk refused and insisted on letting Landes continue down the path of a rune magus.

The world of magic that started to decay with the passing of three millennia brought two obvious changes to the magi of Faslan. The first was, apart from the white silver magi nobles who held power and authority, the remaining magi were only allowed to advance to the fifth ring.

The reason for that was: not only did advancing from the fifth to sixth ring require large amounts of precious magical resource, it also required top-notch meditation techniques and magical knowledge which only the nobles had access to. They had completely sealed off all avenues of advancement for magi of common birth.

The second change was that common magi were divided into two categories. Some would be specifically trained to be battlemagi who ensured supremacy of the council of the nine ring and the magic authority on the world of Faslan. Tawari, for instance, was tasked by Loenk to maintain order in the southwestern area and suppress any revolts against the authority of the magic tower.

Even more low-ranked magi were trained to be rune magi. They learned magical theory and alchemy to become the perfect research assistants for the archmagi. Some more talented rune magi would be given more important roles, such as leading a whole alchemy research lab by themselves, or engage in repetitive magical item refining.

Tawari later told Landes that he wanted him to become a battlemagus because of his talent. Back then, Tawari himself scored six in mental power and eight in fire element affinity and became a battlemagus that Loenk often counted on. Given that Landes had scored nine in fire element affinity and eight in mental power, there wouldn't be a better choice than him for a battlemagus profession. It was unfortunate that Loenk didn't agree to Tawari's suggestion.

Landes himself didn't really see the difference in those two professions. Instead, he was rather satisfied that he was allowed to stay in his lab and explore new knowledge in magic on a daily basis. There was nothing more alluring to him than that.

But Tawari said that only battlemagi had the freedom to go out as they pleased. If they ran into certain opportunities outside, they could even make quick buck and gather more magical resources for their own use. Though the hope for being able to advance beyond the fifth ring was still slight, it was better than having none at all. A rune magus on the other hand could only stay within the tower to do the bidding of its master. Not only didn't have the chance to find other opportunities, they didn't even have personal freedoms.

Landes wrote that when he successfully became a first-ranked rune magus and got the position of an assistant of a five-ring rune magus, he studied alchemy like there was no tomorrow. He was completely disinterested in the fighting and commotion that went on outside the tower. To him, the world of magic was ever so elusive and mysterious and he couldn't spare any time to waste on travels. He'd rather stay in his lab to crack open the mysteries of magic.

When he officially became an apprentice magus, the young Landes only found out that there were more than 130 other low-ranked apprentices who were going to become rune magi like he was. There were also more than 200 slaves that waited on their magi masters. However, the apprentice magi lived within the tower while the slaves lived in a stone building not far away from the tower. Without receiving explicit permission, the slaves weren't allowed to enter the tower.

Given Landes's status as an apprentice magus, he was only allowed to stay at the basement of the tower. The entrance of the basement was the stairwell at the center of the tower's lowest floor. There were six apprentices in one room. Apart from a bed and a wooden chest beneath it for storing personal items, the apprentice magi had nothing.

Landes wrote that his relationship with his five roommates wasn't that good. The main reason for that was envy; they weren't happy that Landes tested the highest in magical aptitude. Not only that, Landes wasn't quite the smooth talker in his youth and would inadvertently hurt his roommates and classmates' feelings during his speech. Even though he didn't mean most of the hurtful stuff he said and even apologized to them about it, he still ended up becoming their target for bullying and ostracization.

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