Chapter 2: Cleaning
ㅡI'm leaving now.
I hope you will find a good person too.
With those words, that woman left.
I was standing there, dazed, until a man grabbed my ear and pulled me along.
Judging by his outfit, he seemed to be the janitor of this place.
I was eventually dragged all the way to the bathroom, but I didn't have time to worry about that.
Right now, sorting out the confusing situation was my top priority.
What happened to me?
I was breathing normally, so I wasn't dead.
Looking at the fact that there was no discomfort in the mind, and I was not suffering from hallucinations.
I came to the conclusion that this situation was real.
“What are you doing, student? Here, take this.”
An older janitor handed me a bucket and a mop.
The girl from earlier seemed like a student, but this person was definitely a janitor.
“Where are we?”
“I know it's the bathroom.
What I'm asking is what institution is this?”
“Ah, Merhen Academy.
Wait, why are you talking so informally?”
There was no such academy among the academies I knew about.
While I was thinking about it, suddenly, I heard a thumping sound and felt something sticky hit my head.
What surprised me wasn't the feeling of being hit, but rather the fact that I quickly stretched out my arm to block it, but couldn't.
'My arms are short.'
So, despite reaching fast, I still couldn't block it.
Not only the voice, but my whole body was different too.
My voice was thinner than the one I recognized as my own, and my body was also shorter than usual.
Even the clothes I was wearing were more like a uniform.
“You want to clean the mirror first?”
As that man pointed his chin at the mirror, I ran straight to it.
The person in the mirror was not me.
'Getting younger' was the maximum consequence I had anticipated as a side effect.
However, this body…
it was literally not mine at all.
My proud white hair had become black, and my eyes were red.
Besides, the outline of this face and body shape itself was something I had never seen before in my life.
Nobility and dignity…
and the sharp face that was full of confidence…
was nowhere to be found.
It was a boy's face that looked too young and immature, even if he tried to make a serious expression.
The jawline and nose were sharp, but something about them made him look fragile.
“Student, put down the book and start cleaning.
You need to hurry to get home quickly.”
'When was the last time I cleaned?'
It was not easy to accept being told to clean before I even understood the situation I was in.
“This side is for the student to handle.
I'll go clean the bathroom on the other side.”
The communication ended there.
He went to the other side of the bathroom, seemingly dedicated to his work.
Combining the given information: this was an academy, the woman who insulted me earlier was a student, and now I was being instructed to clean this side of the bathroom.
And the reason for this situation was…
'Because I'm also a student at this academy, and I'm not good at basic magic?'
My gaze fell on the book titled 'Basic Magic Theory', tightly gripped in my hand.
There was a great sense of incongruity.
The mana flowing through my body felt pure, lacking refinement but free from any impurities.
With such excellent conditions, why did he seek out the book on Basic Magic?
My interest was piqued.
Of course, I was not the original owner of this body, but learning, experiencing, and proving something new always brings joy to me.
Especially if it was something others hadn't experienced.
“Which part was difficult?”
I chuckle and opened the book.
'Is it a mine turn again?'
Craig's expression crumpled.
Feeling nervous, he clenched the mop tightly in his hand.
Being able to use magic in this world was a story that pointed to the blessed part.
He belonged to the less blessed side and worked as a janitor at the academy.
At the Merhen Academy, in order to shame the students, the students are often assigned cleaning tasks with Craig…
“How well do they think those precious kids can clean?”
First of all, they were the ones who had never properly cleaned before.
Secondly, they were the ones who didn't like to clean.
In the end, Craig always would have to clean everything and leave.
But at least he was grateful he was not the student and wouldn't be crying in the bathroom.
Sometimes, when he had to console crying students who could use magic, Craig wanted to bite his tongue.
Those well-bred kids were detestable.
Those jerks looked down on him because he cleaned at the academy.
But he was thinking about it, he heard it.
The sound of water flowing.
He couldn't resist his curiosity and took a step forward.
Step by step, as he approached the direction where the sound was coming from, the sound became clearer and clearer.
And what he saw was-
-A boy freely manipulating water.
With one hand holding a book and the other hand on his chin.
He didn't even look at the water, but the drops of water formed letters in the air as if they were being written on a blackboard.
Craig didn't know how to use magic.
It was something that was decided at birth.
So, even if he saw a spectacle like this, he couldn't understand it.
It was a natural order.
Just because it was beautiful, Craig simply stared at the incomprehensible spectacle he just saw.
“Who cares about the basics.”
The title 'Basic Magic Theory' was enough to catch my attention.
Even though it was definitely not at a basic level, but title brazenly said it was 'Basic'.
That alone was enough to guess the level of this academy.
It was likely that many talented individuals had gathered here.
“I don't like books that are marked up, but…”
Still, a book with heavily underlined pages was impressive in its own way.
It didn't take long for me to discover the pattern.
When classifying the types of magic, it used blue triangles.
For the mandatory ratio of mana mixture, it used red circles.
For the 'circuits', which was the path that circulates mana, it used yellow underlines.
“It must have been difficult for you.”
I didn't know the exact age, but this body was young.
Harmony magic required a great deal of sensitivity, so it was difficult to pursue at a young age.
I remembered learning this when I was young.
Vaguely, I recalled those old memories.
Judging by the creased pages, he must have wanted to prove to the world that he understood it better than anyone else.
“I will help you.”
Harmony was essentially a way to connect magic, and to connect, at least two types of magic were needed.
The way of connection could vary greatly depending on the two prepared types of magic.
It was almost safe to say that it was a completely different field.
The most representative ones were fire and water.
I drew the magic spell of flames in the air.
This was the first magic I had used with this body, but I was never worried about failure.
Because I was still the Archmage, Kaplan.
Unsurprisingly, the fire rose in the air.
The firepower was not pleasing to my mind, but it was sufficient for connecting the elements.
Next was the water.
Since the remaining amount of mana was already at stake, instead of creating it, I decided to borrow nearby water.
Once the two were ready, I substituted them into the spell written in the textbook.
It was a spell that the original owner of this body couldn't understand despite hitting ten stars.
But well that was actable for his current body potential.
Eventually, two elements that couldn't be combined were fused together.
The steam rising with a loud sound announced the beginning of full-scale harmony.
The consumption of mana was enormous.
Of course, the textbook only suggested that students should 'understand' it rather than 'try' it.
However, I was the type who needed to try it to feel at ease.
Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to sit around.
At this moment, as I moved forward toward the magic that I had performed with this poor body, I could say that I was happier than when I was looking down on the magician of Mage Tower.
The mist spread thickly like fog, instantly sweeping away the surroundings.
All that remained in front of me was the magic spell written in water droplets.
…No, to be precise, they should have remained, but they didn't.
Paradoxically, I tried to create a flame burning on the water droplets, but it failed beautifully and turned into steam.
But just one droplet…
On top of a single droplet of water, a flame flickers briefly before discordantly transforming into steam.
“I truly failed completely.”
It was literally that way.
I failed so miserably that I couldn't even lift my head in shame.
I understood, but I couldn't internalize it.
My current body was too weak to pursue overwhelming theories.
I closed the book with a loud thud.
As expected, I was still weak.
I met the gaze of the janitor who had his eyes wide open.
“Have you already finished cleaning over there?”
It didn't matter when he started watching me, or how long he had been watching.
The mist, filled with moisture, filled the bathroom and then dissipated.
With such a flow of mana, dust, and dirt could not resist.
Therefore, the bathroom now was cleaner than ever before.
Anyway, the job was done.
“Because I just finished over here too.”
I smiled lightly in response.
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