Chapter 74: Unexpected Encounter
“Alright, Nisha. I hope you won’t mind if I return home early to retrieve my manual. I’ll come back real quick, in the meantime, you can pick your books. It’s not like I could have helped you with that anyway. And once we’re both done, we’ll meet up with your friend from the guild, ok” Eager to grasp his new shot at mana cultivation, Henry excused himself and left the elven girl alone, without giving her a chance to speak.
Nisha wasn’t bothered by his unusual childlike behaviour, she was busy trying to recollect herself, she couldn’t deny how much she was looking forward to start studying her own skills.
Finally, I am one step closer to grandpa. One day, I’ll cast spells as easily as he used to!
Hurrying to the counter on the first floor, she wordlessly handed the director’s note to the unfamiliar face manning the counter, and she nervously fidgeted around, waiting for the permission to start sorting out books. The attendant didn’t question the authenticity of the order handed to him, the stamp pressed next to the director’s signature had apparently been more than enough to convince him.
“Esteemed guest, please feel free to take your time looking through our collection.”
He had no idea what had warranted such preferential treatment from his chief, the clerk didn’t let his manners come short, treating Nisha with utmost respect.
“On this floor, to the left, there are all sorts of closed manuals. They are ordered by element and marked with a sword for aura techniques and a robe for mana instruction books. Each and every one of them have been tied with a ribbon, to prevent visitors from opening a book before officially picking it. When you find a book you like, please bring it to this counter, so we, the library, can record it on your adventurer’s card. And as agreed with the director, with each book, you will get one more manual with four techniques.” Bowing deeply, the man handed the note back, pointing to the endless rows of shelves on the left.
Fascinated by the vast amount of potential choices, the elven girl didn’t even protest about being addressed as lady, despite growing up as an absolute ruler back in the [Dragon’s Den] and receiving training as a young noble girl, both in the Dharnas’ estate and hunting grounds. In the end, no one ever bothered to call her lady or mistress, which resulted in a serious aversion to being labeled as such. Walking through the valley of pages towering over her, Nisha closely examined the various books on display. Marked by the respective elements, each shelf was filled to the brim with volumes of varying thickness, some not exceeding a few pages while others had enough pages to be called tomes in their own right.
For now, let’s pick a mana technique for fire and an aura manual related to the life and death element. Maybe I can integrate my [Flickering Cover] spell with the book I pick.
Heading for a section dedicated to the fire element first, the elven girl eagerly inspected the titles of the varying works displayed, the only feature she could discern with the sealing band obscuring the rest of the cover on each book.
Let’s see… I should probably pick different books with different amounts of pages. I wonder if more pages means a manual is better?
‘’Fire Lord’s Akarim’s Scroll’ – ‘A practical guide to the ultimate combat fire magic’ – ‘The Ultimate Flame Conjurer’s Book’… have none of these people ever heard of modesty?
Ah, there we go. An introduction to beginner fire magic. Maybe it’s not the book with the most techniques, but at least, it should be easy to understand.
Selecting a manual neither too thin nor too thick, with the robe signifying a mana instruction book on the band encircling the book, Nisha made her first pick.
On one side, the dragon in her wanted the most powerful skills, to be unequaled under the heavens and rule as far as her eyes could see. She didn’t say it, but the first choice she made was done out of consideration for her small flame. Due to the assistance it provided to her over and over again, she believed that as long as she got a feeling for using a skill, even a simple one, the hidden element in her core would certainly not allow her to end up with a measly low ranked skill. It was a risk she was willing to take.
Usually, her [Spirit Sight] would have been at least able to provide some small hints. Unfortunately, the restraining band surrounding the books perfectly contained all mana or aura that would leak outside, coloring all of the tomes in a similar shade of light.
On the other side, for her second book, the elven girl naturally wished for a powerful one. Wishing for something and actually achieving it were two different things. Nisha had the choice between the dark element and the life and death attribute. Either decision held advantages and disadvantages.
Wandering through another dusty alley, this one holding dark type books, she still hadn’t found any title that interested her or gave her a good feeling.
Crossing over to another row of shelves, the elven girl almost gave up and she would just randomly pick any of the books, when a title caught her eye. Nestled between two large tomes coloured in the characteristic gray of the life and death element, a very thin book roused her interest, as the title only stated ‘Seals’. Most of the works in the library had very boastful titles, as if competing for the attention of the reader or trying to outdo each other.
Acting on a whim, Nisha didn’t bother to look any longer and she freed the small booklet from its prison, taking her two discoveries to the counter, not even bothering to check which type it belonged to.
“Miss, did you find something you like? If you allow me, please let me open the tape so we can see if you can pick more volumes. Ah, I’ll also need the lady’s adventurer card, to record the titles you picked.”
Handing over her adventurer’s card, using it for the first time ever, Nisha did her best to uphold her noble front, feeling queasy inside to be addressed in such an exaggerated manner by someone she doesn’t even know. Nonetheless, there was nothing she could do about it.
“Lady Nisha, is it? Thank you for your cooperation. I will now remove the band.” Retrieving a large pair of scissors, glowing brightly in the dragon’s special sight, easily cutting the unmoving band surrounding the modest fire tome apart.
Wow, he easily cut it apart. It didn’t even budge when I tried earlier.
“Haha, are you surprised, Lady Nisha? This is a magic tool provided by the director himself, a highly enchanted one at that. Without properly securing our copies, nosy children would open each and every one of them to find high grade skills.” Her thoughts must have shown on her face, since the employee cheerfully explained his actions.
“Let’s see what you picked out… oh, a two star medium grade book. That’s pretty good.”
“Pretty good? I thought there were rank seven skills found before when picking the initial volumes?”
Questioning the man’s reasoning, Nisha didn’t speak harshly to him, rather she was interested to hear what he based his evaluation on.
“Oh yes, that did indeed happen. However, take a look at this.”
Pointing at two silver stars, which were obscured by the paper band so far, he further explained.
“Each star represents one skill that is recorded inside. It is true that there have been accounts of grade six and seven skill scrolls appearing before. However, all of them were low grade skills, who have bronze coloured stars on them.
You managed to pick a medium grade book. Around nine out of ten volume’s we have in our library are low grade skills, so finding a medium grade one is pretty rare. I’d easily say that this two star fire book is as valuable as a low grade four star, the value of the techniques recorded inside is higher due to them being superior to the common skills found in low grade skill books. Unfortunately, this wasn’t accounted in the agreement, do you wish to discuss it directly with the director regarding another pick?”
“No need, but thank you for your concern. Can you open this one as well, please?” Handing over the thin book called ‘Seals’, Nisha expectantly looked forward to seeing her luck the second time as well. The director’s speech inadvertently fired up a strange competitive sense inside her mind. She didn’t mind that the employee adopted a more familiar way of calling her, she preferred it that way actually.
Following the attendants action’s closely, her eyes were pinned on the place where the second band dropped after being cut.
“Congratulations, Lady Nisha. Although it is a low grade book, it still is a splendid four star book. According to the agreement, you are free to pick one more manual. While you can take another look at our collection, I will start to record your first two picks on your adventurer’s card. Please take your time.” Pulling out an orb similar to the one used to measure her aptitude earlier, the man bowed again, showing his admiration to her good fortune of picking a higher ranked tome.
“I see. I will return shortly with my next pick then.” The dragon had a fairly good impression of the employee currently manning the counter, especially compared to the rude one that berated her for breaking the orb before. He explained everything clearly when she had questions, further improving the already slightly good impression he made at the beginning. Lastly, Nisha sensed no envy coming from him when she managed to obtain two valuable items, only admiration and honesty in his voice when he congratulated her.
Since I already have a fire and life and death attribute book, I should probably get one for darkness as well. It might be good reference to have one more set of moves to practice to compare their effectiveness against each other.
Without much consideration, Nisha randomly grabbed one of the thicker tomes from the shelves, following the pattern of obtaining one volume of each size, disregarding the title.
Secretly, she was still hoping that she had grabbed a high grade skill book. However, the elven girl was educated enough to know that she had already gotten lucky when she was allowed to pick another manual, so she lowered her expectations somewhat mentally.
Arriving back at the counter, her step brother Henry was already waiting for her, still out of breath slightly from running to their mansion and then back again.
“Found anything good, Nisha?”
Despite his exhaustion, her step brother didn’t let it get to him and continued to act like an older sibling should.
“Yes, I was lucky and I managed to get a four star book, so I was allowed to pick another. This is the one I picked just now.”
Handing over the thick tome she selected to Henry, she instantly knew something was wrong when his brows rose in surprise.
“Uh, this is… ‘The perfect handbook to become a dark overlord and create a harem’? Should I warn my friends to be careful around you?”
With her ears burning in shame, Nisha quickly snatched the book from his hands, covering the title by pressing it against her. Roaring with laughter, Henry couldn’t help himself and he had to prop himself on the counter to avoid falling to the ground and clutching his stomach.
“Did you grab the wrong book perhaps, Lady Nisha? You can still go and pick another, I haven’t registered that one yet.”
Doing his best and failing to control his amusement, the employee tried to alleviate her embarrassment. Sadly, his attempt couldn’t remedy the situation either.
Nisha, who’s cheeks were bright red now as well, simply handed the book to him.
“No need. With a title like that, there are bound to be some good skills inside. It’s just a name!”
Desperately clinging to her excuse, yet not being one bit ashamed, the dragon decided to follow through with her selection.
“Certainly, then allow me to open up the band.”
Repeating the action of cutting the protective seal around the book, he couldn’t help but notice that the girl in front of him was trembling slightly, doing her best to hold herself with dignity even in her current predicament.
Acknowledging that conviction, the man didn’t bother with anything unnecessary, so he handed her the result while quickly finishing up the registration.
“I’ll stop teasing you now. I’ve already brought my old mana manual back and I’ll probably head straight home after picking a new one, I can’t wait to finally practice magic. Here, take this.” Handing the surprised dragon a bag of jingly coins, which she promptly hid in the folds of her navy blue dress, Henry continued.
“Dad gave us some money to enjoy the day playing in the city, so make sure to take your friend somewhere and eat something tasty. Make sure it doesn’t get pickpocketed as well! I’ll look for a good manual now, have fun.”
Hurrying towards the place the elven girl just emerged from, she was left with a chuckling employee and looked at him. A quick ‘thank you’ was all she managed to send after him.
“Lady Nisha, I have recorded this book as well. You can take them with you now, please make sure to take good care of them, return them when you have learned all the techniques inside. Your last book is a two star low grade book, which is average. So overall, you had pretty good finds this time, I look forward to see you back again in the future. Which reminds me, your adventurer card says that you are E rank, is that correct? I ask because you would eligible to pick two more skills from the first floor then. Does the lady wish to do that now?” Resuming his business like mannerism, the man handed her the three books as well as her card, which now had a small pattern added on the backside.
“No, thank you. I will try and learn these first, then I can properly look for a technique that fits them. Also, thank you for the explanations, they were very helpful. Goodbye.”
I should probably still come by in the future, the library seems very interesting. Maybe I can learn a thing or two…
Bells started to ring in the distance, for a total of twelve times, jolting the young girl out of her deliberations.
Is it already time?! I have to hurry, Aubrey is probably waiting for me already!
With that, Nisha started to walk with a brisk pace, turning around a shelf before assuring no one was around her, she stored the three books in her [Soul Space]. Afterwards, her pace accelerated to a light sprint as she headed towards the Adventurer’s Guild.