"What is happening? Why are Mich's spells disappearing?"
"Holy moly guacamole!"
"Did you see that? He used his bare hands..."
Many students commented on the battle but were unable to reach any logical conclusions on the mysterious spells disappearance. A few were still watching in reverence, completely mesmerized by the immense power disparity.
Mana edged closer to the doctor, her amber-eyes analyzed Onii in a radiating fervor. It was as if she had purposely set this duel up to investigate something. Mana took a deep breath and patted her instructor's shoulder.
"Doctor Lirin, sorry to be a bother, but can you explain what Onii did?"
After a long pause, Doctor Lirin finally broke the silence, shuddering the audience in a serious tone.
"Zeroth tier magic."
The class turned their head towards the sound of a foreign concept,
"Zero also known as null — it's a special class of magic that focuses on magic nullification."
"I've heard of such a technique," Tsuko nodded, "There's a dojo hidden in Mt. Ains that taught this technique. I believe Grandmaster Destodes is the current sensei."
"Does that mean he's Grandmaster Destodes student?" Jan's jaw dropped in reverence. "That's actually really amazing!"
"No way, the Destodes?" Ness cried out.
"Wow... to be trained under him..." Shen murmured to himself, "I wonder what the training is like."
Jan, Ness, and Shen were three boys that introduced themselves to the class earlier while Lirin was explaining the rules.
Doctor Lirin glanced at the Third Princess of Shui with an intrigued expression.
"I'm surprised you know about the dojo, it's concealed from the public and only a few are chosen to attend every decade. It is said that the acceptance rate is lower than Temple Academy."
"I've been there once with Princess Tsunami," Tsuko recalled a trip in which her eldest sister was waitlisted so she decided to request for admission in person. But she was flat out rejected.
"Sorry to interrupt, but how does this zeroth tier magic actually work?"
Mana asked with a curious expression written all over her face. The adventurer in her wanted to know what was happening while the rest of the class murmured in agreement.
Doctor Lirin stood up and turned towards her students. An air that resembled a professional lecturer enveloped her.
"In theory, magic requires two fundamentals — mana and incantation. If you are born a magician, mana flows constantly throughout the body like blood and oxygen. When you use a spell by words like Mich's「Inferno」, that would be an incantation."
She proceeded to move her hand in the air, drawing a weapon with her index finger.
"Think of a bow and arrow, the bow would be considered as 'mana'. And when one shoots an arrow, that would be 'incantation'. There's also the control variable — which is what type of arrows the person uses, which explains why we have elements like fire, water, earth, and wind."
"Is that why those without mana can't use magic?" Mana raised her hand. "I know one of my guildmates can say the words to a spell but nothing ever happens."
"Precisely. Words will only be words if you don't have mana. That's because you need the synergy of both mana and incantation to active a spell."
Mana nodded, "Then how would you describe Zeroth tier magic?"
"This is what we know — if there's a spell, you can reverse its effect by channeling the same amount of mana to counteract it. This is known as the Law of Mana Equilibrium, which you might have heard before in your physics class."
"So this is why I see in national duels that the spells cancel out when they fly towards each other!" Jan exclaimed. "And sometimes, one spell overwhelms the other. It's because they have more mana."
"Dang, you're so smart!" Ness applauded. "I know who to sit next to on my exams."
"That's right," Tsuko revealed her analysis. "Onii does have mana. And it's currently concentrated in his right hand."
She remained completely focused on the duel throughout the discussion. Her fuchsia eyes had transformed into a beautiful shade of pastel pink, lavender, and light blue. She let out a slight grin as Onii canceled another spell.
"That sounds so overpowered," Mana exclaimed as her eyes sparkled. "Why doesn't the Academy teach this to the students? I mean, this magic technique could revolutionize the entire world."
"We can do this... in theory."
Doctor Lirin chuckled as if such thing were already tested.
"It's too difficult to do in the world. For example, Onii does know what spells Mich is using until he hears the incantation. Although I am not sure how he is doing it, he will need to consider how much mana Mich used to counteract it properly."
"It already sounds unreliable," Tsuko chimed in. "Even dangerous if your opponent has a large repertoire of spells."
Doctor Lirin nodded and smiled at her for reaching that insightful conclusion on her own. Besides being the 'People's Princess', she was also widely known as the 'Brain of the Three Sisters' due to her adroit mind and extensive magic knowledge.
"Doesn't that mean Onii know all about Mich's spell?"
"That would be the most logical explanation."
Doctor Lirin then added to her lecture.
"Not only you have to consider the three primary variables, but you also have to analyze the coordinates, duration, and potency of the spell. You also only have a few seconds in which the spell is cast before it arrives. To be able to do all that under pressure is no easy task."
The three boys watched in amazement.
"That swordsman is on another level..."
Tsuko lips curled up into a crafty smile as she maintained gaze onto Onii.
The class redirected their attention back to the duel after the lesson. After all, this was a once-in-a-lifetime duel and they could always have another discussion afterward. There was no reason to miss something this interesting.
Plus, the main reason was that their instructor was observing the duel to ensure no rules were broken and it would be improper to disturb her by asking more questions.
For Lirin, however, it was the exact opposite.
She was confused.
Utterly baffled by Onii's power.
Never, in her many years of combat, has she witnessed something this extraordinary.
Back when she was a Temple Academy student, Lirin knew a girl that could also deftly use magic fragmentation and nullification like Onii. She was her best friend and rival; an undefeated woman that ranked at the apex and was considered a school legend during her prime.
Her name was Mari — currently acting as the Guild Master at the Adventurer's Guild in Libertea.
Lirin remembered the first time witnessing zeroth tier magic in Weekly Competitions. She could never forget it. It was the initial spark that kindled Lirin's quest for magical knowledge. It made her realize there was so much that was unknown; so much that needed to be discovered.
Still...that doesn't fully explain how he canceled an 「Inferno」, an ultimate spell.
With each increasing spell tier, the amount of required mana also increased.
That was what Mari told her — the basics behind zeroth tier magic. The rest was classified.
Based on what Lirin knew, it means that Onii had to channel an equivalent proportion of mana to fully nullify it. Too little meant he takes damage. Too much meant the spell will result in a fusion explosion.
It was a technique that required one to keenly grasp the mindset of one's opponents, or in this case, the flows of mana and motion within the spells. For average users, the success rate was around sixty percent and it decreases over time.
—In other words, Onii's actions were at a sort of a pinnacle.
Lirin had heard from Lead Instructor Riggio, the teacher of A1-class, that Onii's younger sister was a 'Fourth Attribute Magic' user. A complete irony that the duo had separated into ranking heaven and hell.
While the entrance exam was purposely designed to be faulty, Lirin had deduced that Onii was a capable warrior based on his rare weapon. But after examining his ability in person, the mysterious swordsman had surpassed her expectations by several notches more.
Mari... Do you know Onii?
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