Omniscient First-Person's Viewpoint 

[Translator – aquamage]

[Proofreader – yukitokata]

Chapter 17 – Correct, Alchemist

Today’s class was also good.
I was about to head out the door after stretching when the vampire’s voice stopped me in my tracks.

[Is there nothing today?]

“What?”

[I am asking if there is something or anything interesting today.]

「The story yesterday about the needle and clothes was quite interesting.
He has quite the talent in storytelling.
Does he have any other stories, I wonder…」

It seems that the couple-hundred-year-old vampire, who had shut herself from the world in her coffin, was very touched by my story yesterday.
She was holding on to me like a lonely grandma.

No, even if you were looking forward to my stories, it’s not like they’re all that interesting.
I don’t even have good stories in the first place.

I scratched my head as I spoke.

“Something interesting.
Well then, you want to learn some magic?”

[Magic?]

It was just a thoughtless idea, but the vampire and regressor both seemed interested.

Huh, I’m feeling the pressure all of a sudden.

“Don’t expect too much.
The only magic I know are the standard spells taught when I was in military school.”

「Tsk.
I thought it was some high-level magic.」

The regressor lost interest straight away.
Her head was so high up that any of my normal skills weren’t of interest to her.

‘Hey, if you were around them, you’d be sentenced for “the crime of abusing your talents”.
Hmph.
No-skill-all-items regressor, I would like to see you try.’

On the other hand, there was the vampire’s exemplary response.

[Y-You can use magic?!]

Humans would look at those above themselves and gain inspiration.
Conversely, they would look at those below and gain a sense of security.

And the one below me was the curious old vampire.

‘Ahhh, my self-esteem is building up.
The modern genius theory is real.
The ancient vampire is proving it right in front of my eyes.’

I spoke as I felt the rising confidence in my heart.

“Yes.
I can indeed use magic.”

Then, the regressor scoffed at me.

「It’s just some basic State magic that even cows and dogs can use.
Thinking he’s got something going just by knowing those useless magic spells…」

‘You couldn’t even compare to cows or dogs in your first life.
Does dying under a cow’s feet make you a rat? Just go already.
Why are you still staying around and listening to me? If you’re going to stay and listen, you should at least follow the vampire’s example.
It’s better to teach people when they have that kind of reaction.’

[Magic is the fruit of the mystics that only sages with deep knowledge could reach! Someone like you can use the magic I could only dream of utilizing?]

“Someone like me? Hey, I was a hard worker even with these looks.”

‘Even if I may be a criminal in the State and only just making it through down here, I was the military middle school’s number one student.
There were none who didn’t know the back alley magician.

Although, my fame was more that of an entertainer than a great sage…

“And I’m not even that special.
There are so many others who can use magic.
You use magic all the time when you get into middle school.”

I had only told her some common knowledge, but the vampire was completely shocked as if the world had ended.

[You use magic… all the time?]

“Of course.”

[How many of them are there?]

“The one I went to had around two hundred people in one year, and there are ten schools in total… So that's at least two thousand people who can use magic.”

[Two… thousand…]

The vampire was shocked to the point where her tongue was sticking out.

[Two thousand magicians.
That is greater than the population of some cities.]

“Nowadays, two thousand isn’t even that much compared to most cities.
The human population has exploded.
Only the most remote areas have a population of two thousand.
And there seems to be a misunderstanding.”

Two thousand in one year.

Oh, wait.
The concept of schools and years didn’t exist back then.
I should clear up that misunderstanding.

“Two thousand isn’t the entire population of magic users.
It’s only the number of thirteen-year-old kids who go to military middle school.
There are just as many fourteen-year-olds in the year above and just as many in the year above them…”

[Impossible! If so, you mean to tell me that there are a hundred thousand magicians in the world?!]

“Well, they aren’t really magicians.
More like people who can use magic.
Also, there aren’t many who specialize in magic among them.”

[Even so, a hundred thousand…]

Back in the day there were many countries that didn’t have a hundred thousand people living in them, so this would definitely be a surprise to her.
I felt prideful.

“What, that’s what surprised you? There really is a big gap of knowledge in a thousand years.”

I thank you civilization.
And the precious history of man that placed me a thousand years after the vampire.

As I was feeling real good about myself, the voice of someone who couldn’t read the room came through.

“Stop with the misleading information.
The people who actually have magical aptitude are extremely rare.”

The regressor left after some petty nitpicking on my explanation.

‘Unbelievable.
Why is she even attacking me when she’s also learnt magic? She told me off as if she couldn’t stand not harassing me for even a second.’

“If you told people to use magic on the spot, most wouldn’t be able to perform it properly because magic is mostly talent.
There are many people who just learn the basics and leave it at that because they would find it a better use for their time to learn battle tactics.”

Looks like the regressor was trying to depreciate my explanation.
Unfortunately for her, the vampire seemed quite intrigued.

[To give up even at the prospect of mastering magic… Is that acceptable…?]

“Ah, that.
It’s a long story, but, hm…”

This time, I cut in.

“When knowledge becomes as common as rocks on the road, it is to be expected that people would treat knowledge the same as rocks.”

[Even if it is certain that they would gain power?]

“Power is indeed one of the rewards of educational knowledge.
If it wasn’t precious, no one would seek to gain it.”

[Huh.
These are quite strange times…]

“Well, isn’t that what a changed world is?”

[Hm.
Then, perhaps.]

As I said it like it was nothing, the vampire mumbled in her coffin.

Like a greedy man wanting something he should never wish for.
No, like a little girl who scolded herself for being greedy just at the thought of wanting something.

[If someone like me asked to learn… would you teach it to me?]

“Trainee Tyrkanzyaka, you can’t pick up magic, can you?”

[It is not that I want to use it.
I just want to try and learn.
In that place called ‘school’, as the others have…]

“Ah, you want to become a late learner.”

People who had never had an education had this lingering feeling.
Even if it didn’t look like much in the modern era, this lingering feeling was something that built up as time passed.
I scratched my head.

“If you want to attend school, you would have to solve the problem of residential registration…”

‘That’d be difficult because the State’s residential registration is quite strict.
Well, as a vampire, it should be no problem to get a standing in even the strict State.’

“If you just want to learn, school isn’t the only option.
If you have the money, you could learn at a private institution.”

[You can?]

Knowledge had become common, but it still held more value than pebbles.
The State had a tight grip on 3rd level strategy magic, but any institute could teach up to 2nd level battle magic.

As I was feeling proud of myself—

[If that’s the case, could you teach me some magic?]

“Huh? Me?”

[Yes.
As you and Shei are the only ones in contact with the outside world.]

A thousand-year-old vampire whose every move has been recorded in legend.
And I'm supposed to teach her magic? Me?

‘Nonsense.
My theory may be perfect, but my practical skills are absolute rubbish.
I had to drop out because I couldn’t even use 0 level illusionary magic even after searching page by page in the teacher's mind.

‘I’m not being humble.
My talent might not be in magic, but if I show myself being barely able to cast 0 level magic, she could doubt my abilities.
I must avoid that at any cost.’

As I was about to refuse her request—

「‘Have the money’, you say? That wouldn’t matter.
There’s gold to spare…」

Money.

It had always been like that.
The metal that blinded people—gold.

A detestable spoil of war that sat on a man’s head, spilled his blood by metal then moved onto another’s to do the same.

Money was kept close to even a righteous man who despised it.

Even for one as dignified and considerate as me.

Changing my attitude in an instant, I put my fist on my chest.

“I could teach you, Trainee Tyrkanzyaka.”

I then held my index finger and thumb into a circle and slightly shook it.

“Ah, but you see.
Even as an instructor it’s a bit much to teach it for nothing.
And as we get to a higher level, the security level starts to rise.
Maybe some kind of payment?”

[Do you want me to give you gold?]

“Well, it doesn’t have to be gold.
Just enough to give me some motivation.”

I was saying my thoughts out loud.
The regressor clicked her tongue at me.
An officer of the State would scold me for filling a different pocket.

But you know what?

A few hundred years ago, bribery was common sense.

[So gold is enough.
I understand.]

Creeaak.

The lid of the coffin slightly slid open.
From its dark interior emerged a pitch-black hand with something on it and floated towards me.

Whoa, really? You’re actually giving this to me?

There really is opportunity in danger.
The danger of living with a vampire who’s slept away for a thousand years opened an opportunity for me to get the gold of a senior who doesn’t know about today’s exchange rates!

I controlled my uproared feelings and watched the object that the black hand brought.
It was… an extremely precious-looking crown.

‘Jackpot.’

I coughed to cover my excessive joy before speaking.

“They look like tomb relics coming out of the coffin like that.
Ouch!”

[Stop with the nonsense.]

‘Yeah, but you didn’t have to throw it at me.
What if something as precious as this gets scratched?

I received it with my sleeves to try and not get any fingerprints on it.

‘Oh, damn.
This feeling… An authentic crown? If this is all real gold, even if the price drops because of alchemy, it would be worth—

‘…Wait.
Alchemy, a thousand years ago, the gap in technology and that strangely negligent attitude… There’s no way.’

I scanned the crown with a slightly doubting mind.

‘Ah, how is it that bad hunches are always right.’

“This is fake!”

[…?]

“Now that I think about it, this gold is from before the Alchemic Revolution.
It’s fake gold! Damn it, how could this be?!”

The vampire was sincerely surprised.

[Gold is gold.
How can there be fake and real gold?]

“We defined that a hundred years ago.”

[Wh-What? It can’t be…]

「Is it perhaps… Was there another change in the world that I was not aware of? Again…?」

I was thinking of letting my anger out at the feeling of being scammed, but after reading her mind, I only felt bad for her.
Sure, I lost some possible payments, but the vampire had lost everything.

This is when mind reading is not so great.
If I didn’t know anything at all, I would have lit her up to the moon and back.

Sigh.

Just my luck.

Just as I was thinking I could get some money out of this—

“You’d be arrested for counterfeit gold.
But back when Trainee Tyrkanzyaka lived, knowledge about alchemy was nonexistent, so I’ll let this one go.
Now, look at this.”

I drew a star on the gold with my finger.
If it were real gold, there wouldn’t be any residue.
However, for some reason, it rose up and turned red, as if it had been touched by fire.

“A gold crown is recognizable by its shine and weight.
It’s probably the third and fourth corners.
Hm, it’s definitely a result of old alchemy techniques as its alchemy level is very low.
Even I could undo it.”

I tapped the third and fourth corners then went around the front and back of the crown with my fingernail.

Thunk.

As I pushed some mana into the last line, the gold on the crown flowed off as if it was melting.
Soon after, the crown started to change color, revealing a dull and dark metal.

More useful than gold, frequently used, and an excellent mana conductor—mithril.
It was definitely a couple times better than gold, but… it was an unfortunately not-so-precious metal because of it.

I placed it on the lectern.

“Mithril is an amazing metal with high mana conductivity.
So much so in fact that you could have it mimic every metal in the world through alchemy.
And obviously, it was mostly made to mimic gold.
But mithril itself was just as rare at the time, so you could get away with mixing it into real gold.
So back then, the infamous fake gold—mithril—was released onto the world.

“Then one day, a money-hungry alchemist had a brilliant idea.
As making real gold was difficult, he thought of making mithril and turning it into gold then selling it.
Well, mithril is just as difficult to make, so it looked like his efforts were in vain.”

Unfortunately, it succeeded.

The alchemic pattern was revealed.

Approximately a 3rd level.
Any semi-competent alchemist sought out mithril.
Although it was at the level of a cottage industry, the steady supply dropped the prices.

Anyone with gold feared this change.
They hadn’t done anything, but their net worth started plummeting past the halfway mark.
Those who got the news early were enraged and tried to analyze the situation to the best of their abilities.

“And as soon as they realized the truth, they shut their mouths and started to sell all the gold they had.”

[Why did they do that instead of condemning the alchemists who were creating the fake gold?]

“Because they had to get rid of all the fake gold before everyone else found out.
If they condemned them, everyone else would know as well.”

[The gold they possessed is fake.
They sold it despite knowing that?]

“They sold it because they knew.”

The wealth they had been collecting was evaporating in front of their eyes.
They would be stupid to do nothing about it.
Selling it all away was an obvious thing to do.

[What about those who bought the fake gold thinking it was real? They surely wouldn’t have stayed idle about it.]

“Correct!”

‘Her ambition to learn is overflowing.
She’s worth teaching.’

I had a broad smile on my face and opened out my arms.

“It’s hard to say outright what happened after.
The buyers were enraged, the sellers tried to back out, the two sides fought and raised war.
Apparently it was no joke.
One historian says that the amount of blood spilled that day was as much as the weight of the gold that went around.”

Anyway.

I played around with the mithril crown and continued.

“In short, mithril nowadays is dirt cheap.
If you can bargain well enough, you could sell it for the same price as a pile of wood.”

Which meant that most of the vampire’s wealth was now worth jackshit.

I lamented at the unfortunate prospect, but looked at the vampire with sad eyes at the same time.

Some things like wine, pickled foods, or antiques could rise in price if enough time passed.
However, just like providence, should too much time pass, it would rot.
A thousand years was too long.

After delaying for quite a while, the vampire spoke.

[From history to alchemy… How do you know all these things? Is it…?]

“Yes.
I also learnt these at ‘school’.”

[Again!]

“Not just alchemy.
Math, biology, natural science, languages, magic, mechanical engineering, ballistics, etc.
They teach you all this in middle school.”

[What is this ‘school’ place? Is it one where all the talented children from around the world come to learn? Like a sage’s tower?]

“No? From fourteen years old to seventeen, anyone who’s graduated from primary school with good grades can choose to go.”

[Th-That is… mad.]

The shock was so big that the voice from the coffin had become slightly quieter.

Maybe the culture shock was too much.

‘I guess she lived in an era where being able to learn something was only available to the upper class.
The road of education was thin, rough, and steep.
And alongside that, it was short and closed.
Even reaching the end, most lamented at the tightly closed door.
I wonder if it’s gotten better now compared to then.’

“Anyway, do you understand now? It’s quite unfortunate.
Phew, that was tiring.
I’ll also have today as a rest day.”

[U-Ugh.
Wait.]

As if the vampire couldn’t accept the changed world, she also asked the regressor to try and get confirmation.

[Shei, is that all… real?]

“…It is all real.
But…”

「Even if they do get an education, there aren’t many who can learn as proficiently as that man.
The State seeks specialization.
They get those who have the aptitude in a field of study and dig deep in it.
It’s abnormal that he can deflect my sword and know alchemy and magic all at the same time…」

‘The over-evaluation just because I deflected her sword.
Damn.
Imagine if I hadn’t.
I would be treated like an insect.
Oh wait, no.
My arm would be gone.
I would have actually turned into a crawling insect.’

“…It’s not as great as he makes it out to be.
You would be very disappointed if you actually went there.”

The regressor made it out to be trivial.

Well, some places really aren’t that special, so I didn’t refute it.

The amazed vampire suddenly thought of something and asked.

[Shei, did you also come out of this ‘military middle school’? Are you perhaps acquaintances?]

“No, I only graduated from a local primary school.”

[Ah, is that so…]

「Hmm… There is a definite difference in the way they talk.
There does seem to be an educational gap between them…」

As if being sympathetic, the vampire dragged on the conversation.
As the regressor realized the pity behind the vampire’s words, she quickly protested.

“I only graduated from a local primary school because I was an orphan and couldn’t afford further education!”

[How unfortunate.]

“NO! I mean—I didn’t have to go to middle school! It was enough without it!”

[I understand.
Do not worry.
I will teach you bloodcraft to the best of my abilities.]

“I’m telling you that’s not what I meant!”

Sigh.

‘I wasn’t trying to show off, but it just turned out like this.’

I slid my thumb across my nose.

“Technically speaking, I, too, was an orphan.
But I had earned a scholarship.
After all, I was number one in the entire year.”

“You just shut up!”

“As grains ripen, they bend down, and full pockets stay silent even as they sway… If you really want, I’ll be quiet.”

“What part of ‘shut up’ do you not understand?!”

Sigh.

Uneducated bums.

I let out a quiet sigh and didn’t speak up like she told me to, but the regressor didn’t seem to like even that.
She huffed and puffed in anger before pulling out something from an invisible space.

—————

Reaper Scans

Translator – aquamage

Proofreader – yukitokata

———

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