Crystal Down

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Reading and an Unexpected Find

published on 2020-02-19, last updated on 2020-10-22 written by Thai “0xReki” Chung, checked with ProWritingAid, edited by notKeoni

The next morning, Patrick leads me to Lady Aenwyn’s office again.

“Good morning! How was your night?” Lady Aenwyn greets me. She looks somewhat sleepy.

“Good morning! I had a good rest.” I answer, “By the way, I happen to have some Sky Salmon scales.”

She looks at me in disbelief.

“Really. I have some Sky Salmon in my Infinite Storage. I just hadn’t descaled them.”

She gets a plate. “Please put them here. I’ll have it analyzed.”

I put the scales from my storage onto the plate. She carries the plate somewhere. A few minutes later she storms back.

“Wha-what’s your price for those scales?!” She asks. She is visibly excited. She does seem to get excited very easily.

“Hmm, how about you let Patrick and I make Magic Yarn whenever we need?”

“That’s a deal!” she writes down something, “I’ll get this processed. Make yourself at home,” she storms out with the scales and the note.

“Are you sure about this?” Patrick asks.

“I don’t really need the money. The yarn is more valuable to me. As for your part, I’m just more comfortable with this arrangement. Spinning yarn alone is boring.”

“Thanks…”

I take the book I read yesterday and continue reading. The Encyclopedia Magicka… it could use some colour-coding for the Magic Elements used.

“I heard you are a healer.” I put the book down again and try to begin a conversation.

“Yes, I am. I’ve… always had good compatibility with Light Magic.”

He’s hesitating? Why?

“But you aren’t a cleric?”

“No, I don’t have the Oracle Skill for that. I’m… not cut out for paladin, too. I’m very bad with the sword.”

“I see,” I answer, “is something the matter?”

“I’m just a simple Light Mage. My Light Magic doesn’t have holy properties.”

“Where’s the problem?”

“I can’t do anything for the party but healing and providing light!”

“That’s the most important job in a party! I don’t see the problem.”

“But I feel so useless!”

Oh, I see…

“And you aren’t good with weapons?”

“No, I’ve tried swords, lances, clubs and even close combat… I’m just no good at it.”

I take a look at his Character Window.

Character Info

Name: Patrick Boots
Age: X
Race: Ailuranthrope

Titles & Blessings

Traits

  • Accelerated Recovery (Racial Trait: Ailuranthrope)
  • Feline Form (Hidden Racial Trait: Ailuranthrope)
  • Sure Strike (Hidden Trait)

Skills

Magic Skills

  • Light Magic Level ()

Survival Skills

  • Riding Level ()

Sure Strike, a trait that has a chance to guarantee a hit. So…

“What about archery?” I suggest.

“I haven’t tried that yet.”

“Do try it. But even if that doesn’t work, having a healer in the party is important. Besides, with the right spells, you can even attack using Light Magic.”

“I will. Maybe that’s something I can do. Thanks for the suggestion.”

“You’re welcome. I’m quite sure you can pull that off.”

“Why are you so sure?”

“I’d like to think I have good eyes for that.”

“I see…”

I continue reading the book. In. V. O. C. A. Tion. Invocation. Me. Th. O. D. Method. Invocation Method. I’m getting better at reading the characters in this script. I can already recognize recurring patterns. Sometimes the letters throw me off a little. Sometimes an S looks like a T. I still haven’t found out the reason why…

If I understand this entry correctly, there are two main invocation methods for magic: Incantations and Short Spells. I’ve only used Short Spells so far — just imagining the effect of the spell and shouting the spell name. But it only works if you have an affinity to the type of magic in question.

Incantations offset part of the imagining into words to ease casting, but it’s quite lengthy, so it’s rarely used. Incantations can also make up for a lack of affinity to the type of magic in question.

Incantations can also be used to cast greater spells in unison with other people. You need to have great trust in each other to be able to pull that off, it says. Maybe we can do that later.

“You’re improving quite fast,” Patrick says.

“Thanks,” I answer, “but it feels to me more like I’m remembering how to read.”

“I see,” Patrick leaves and comes back with another book. It’s older, but on the cover, I can see it’s written in Latin Script! But I can’t read it. The language is unlike any language I’ve seen.

“What’s that?” I ask.

“There are some legends about this book,” he answers, “would you try to look into it?”

“Sure.”

I take in and browse through the book. I find several groups of letters that keep repeating. Is this book encoded? I scan for the number of distinct two-letter and three-letter groups. This might be encoded with some substitution cipher, maybe just a Caesar Cipher.

“I might have a closer look into it sometime in the future. But for now, I only have some guesses. It’s quite an unusual script, isn’t it?”

“It’s ancient writing. But those are usually carved in stone, not written into paper books. Some people say it has been left by the previous hero — a text written in a way only the next hero can read it,” Lady Aenwyn answers instead.

“Why would he need to do that?”

“It’s said it details very powerful magic.”

I give decoding it a try. Let’s see… Counting the frequency of that letter with its position is the groups I looked for, this must be an E. So these must be T and H. This… could be an I. So that might be an N. Back to the book title: Terran… Cooking. It’s a cooking guide for Terran cooking. Is that for the cooking of my previous life?! This is an unexpected find!

“I don’t think this details any magic. But can I borrow this?”

“You can keep it if you like,” Lady Aenwyn says, “I just haven’t gotten to disposing of it, anyway. One of my predecessors spent their whole life researching on it. I’ve never heard what they found out. There’s no real incentive of decoding that tome anymore. I think it’s just a meaningless thing to make people waste time trying to decipher it so they don’t research greater magic for warfare.”

I finished decoding the title. It says: “How to Replace Terran Cooking Ingredients with Cratherion Ingredients”. It looks like the previous otherworlder was also fond of cooking. Should I tell them about it? Let’s keep it to myself for now. I should also ask the gods about other otherworlders the next time I see them.

“In that case, thanks, I’ll gladly take it off your hands,” I answer. I put the book into my Infinite Storage.

“Just don’t waste too much time decoding it,” she warns me.

I won’t waste time. It won’t be a waste of time. I’m not looking for hidden meanings. What I need is in the text.

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