Most parents recommended high-ranking jobs such as 'doctor' and 'judge' when their children dreamed of their future job.
That was because the jobs that ended with the letter 'sa' were all well-acknowledged.
Or they would at least recommend a civil servant job, which was said to be a quite good job with stable income as well.
No parent wanted their child to go through a tiring and difficult path.
However, it was very different in my case.
"My son, you should be a shaman."
That was what my mother said to me when I lost my father early and grew up with my unreliable younger sister.
Although my family was not very lean or poor, I still studied hard to become a doctor in order to earn money… Or perhaps to be a scientist or a developer.
What my mother recommended to me, who had made such meticulous plans towards a scientific route, was not a liberal arts route or even music and physical education, but it was a path of a completely different level.
How should I say it? Was it theology?
"Oh, what did you say?"
"You didn't hear me right, so I'll say it again. You have to be a shaman."
"But I don't want to."
My answer was firm.
I wasn't going to be a shaman. Why all of a sudden?
My mother's eyebrows shook once at my daring answer, then she spoke in a strong tone.
"You have the qualities of a shaman—all kinds of deities are looking after you. You have no other path than to become a shaman."
I was dumbfounded to hear that.
The qualities of a shaman, she said. I had such a talent, she said.
Other than the absurdity of it, I just didn't think of anything.
After that, my mother mainly said things that she should not have said to her son, such as saying I had unique qualities and that I was destined to suffer if I did not become a shaman and experience shaman possession.
What did I say back then?
"Never, I don't want to."
"If you don't, you'll experience a big disaster someday. I'm saying this out of concern for you."
"If it's for me, you should've supported me on the path I want to walk on!"
I remembered saying that sternly and shutting myself in my room.
To be frank, I was rightfully resentful and upset. She couldn't compliment her child, who had been planning his life since his puberty in middle school, yet she told him to give up everything and become a shaman?
Instead, those words prompted me to study harder with a sense of defiance.
My mother kept bothering me and forcing me to do religious things and even taught me strange knowledge such as myths, magic, and sorcery.
But I didn't give up. The more she did so, the more it raised my anger as I gained all kinds of rational knowledge to strengthen my brain.
After more than 10 years, when I had grown to be an adult and became a member of society, I had died.
—It was a car accident.
'It was really ridiculous.'
Was that what my mother meant about experiencing a disaster?
And what was even more surprising was something that happened afterwards…
I was alive. To be exact, I was dead once, but then I was reborn.
I couldn't believe the afterlife existed. I had thought everything my mother said was a lie, but who would have thought that it was all true?
Foolishly, human beings would not realize what they had not experienced in person, and I could feel it bitterly through the experience of death.
And what am I doing now?
"It will be included in the class. Everyone, open your textbook. Continuing on from last time, I'll teach you how to draw a magic circle."
I'm a Professor at the Academy of Magic.
…How did this happen?
A Magic Engineering locomotive that spurted out white steam arrived at the station.
Click! Choo choo!
The sound of compressed steam spewing resounded out refreshingly as irons were interlocked to each other.
The passengers who were waiting at the station got on the train one by one, and while watching the scene, I took a deep breath before boarding the train.
My body even felt refreshed due to the clear air that permeated my lungs.
The sky was clear without a single trace of clouds, and even a pleasant freshness could be felt in the cold air of the winter season that had just ended.
There was not much time left until the departure of the Magic Engineering locomotive, which was heading to the Exileon Empire.
I raised my hand and brushed my face lightly.
I felt a peculiar foreign sensation through my gloved hands.
'The face camouflage mask definitely sticks well.'
It was inevitable because I had to hide my identity.
I got on the train with a natural step in order not to arouse suspicion from other people.
"Let me check your ticket," the conductor spoke to me as I got on the train.
I took the ticket out of the frock coat's pocket that I wore and handed it over to him.
"Confirmed. Mr. Gerrard. Have a nice trip."
After receiving a formal greeting from the conductor, I replied with a slight nod.
When I checked the ticket I took back from him, room 403 was written on it.
In other words, it was the third cabin of the fourth compartment. The corridor was narrow enough for only one person to walk around, but it was long, and the doors lined up at a large gap on one side.
The Magic Engineering train I had just boarded wasn't called a luxury train for no reason, thus all the seats were divided into each room in the long hallway.
'Here it is.'
I checked the plaque before I opened the door and went inside.
The moment I opened the door, I smelled the strong scent of old trees.
The inside wasn't that fancy, but it had everything that was essential.
—A comfortable-looking seat that was divided from left to right and storage space for luggage, along with a signal bell that was installed to call the clerk if I needed anything.
'This isn't bad.'
I hadn't packed heavy luggage in my bag, so I only moved forward and sat down lightly on my seat.
The seat was soft, maybe because it was a luxurious train.
Looking out of the window, the vast scenery of the northern mountain range was engraved in my sight.
The tops of the sharply towering mountain range were covered with white snow, making them look like giants that were wearing white cone hats.
The train would soon squeeze through the cracks of that mountain range.
'Now that I've come this far, can I be relieved?'
My name is Gerrard.
I was once an ordinary person living in South Korea.
Of course, that was my past life, and I had died in a mysterious car accident.
The place where I woke up after I died like that was the world I am in right now.
—A mysterious world where magic and science coexisted, completely different from Earth.
I was enjoying my new second life here.
'I'm on the train to the Empire, so I'll rest until I get there.'
The Exileon Empire…
It was known to be the largest and most powerful nation on the continent.
It was the birthplace of Magic Engineering, where magic and machines coexisted equally, and it was the place where wizards and magic towers existed.
I was heading to that Empire on the train.
'Is the big city of Leathevelk the transit station in the middle of the trip?'
I checked the contents of the information pamphlet next to my seat after I pulled it out.
The scheduled final destination of the Magic Engineering train, which was just departing, was the capital of the Empire.
However, there was no way that there would be a train heading to the capital of a country directly from the border of another country.
It was the same even for the first-class Magic Engineering train, which only the qualified and rich people could ride.
Naturally, there were two transit stations in the middle of the trip.
Leathevelk was the first one, and it could be seen as a city that was more famous than the capital in some ways.
—Because it was the place where Magic Academy—the dream of all aspiring wizards—existed.
* * *
'Is it an Academy? What an amazing world.'
It had been decades since I had started living my second life, but there were still many things that I couldn't adapt to.
The sense of separation from my past life must have been great.
But the Academy wasn't a place that had anything to do with me anyway—I didn't have to worry about it.
While I was immersed in such thoughts, the train vibrated slightly once.
'Are they going to depart slowly?'
Woo wooo woo!!!
As I expected, the train honked to announce its departure.
Within a minute at the earliest, the train would run through the vast northern mountains.
'Am I going to be alone in this room? It'd be nice since it's comfortable.'
While I was immersed in such foolish thoughts, the door of room 403 opened with a rattle as if it had been waiting for that moment.
It wasn't the clerk. A well-dressed man in his mid-20s came inside. He was handsomely tall, and he wore a brown frock coat with a design similar to mine.
There was no way a train clerk would wear such clothes, so it meant he was the guest who would use the same room as me.
Speak of the devil…
I didn't know there was another passenger.
'I was wrong in thinking that I could have a comfortable trip without feeling some sort of constraint.'
When I was sighing inwardly like that, the other person looked at me and greeted me.
He greeted me first, so I nodded my head slightly and accepted his greeting.
I didn't want to exchange words for a long time, so I responded to him as if I had a silent personality.
He didn't care much about my behavior and sat in the seat across from me.
Woo wooo woo—-!!!
The train started to depart with a loud horn.
At first, the Magic Engineering locomotive rattled and shook, but the shaking disappeared as soon as the speed increased.
The tickets weren't pricey for no reason. Just as the high price was beyond an ordinary person's purchasing ability, the level of speed and convenience were different compared to ordinary steam locomotives.
The scenery outside the transparent window quickly flashed past me.
The snow piled high, and the needleleaf trees stood firmly in the snow. The white snow mountain that covered all of it was so beautiful that it naturally drew my attention.
However, after I kept watching it for 10 to 20 minutes, I got tired of it because it was getting boring.
I took out the newspaper that was stuck together next to the pamphlet and opened it.
There were no laptops or smartphones in this world, so the only things that I could use to kill time were books and newspapers.
[The civil war in the Kingdom of Utah is over]
[The Princess's faction won]
Such an article was showcased prominently on the front page of the newspaper.
Until recently, a civil war had been ongoing, and it was the Kingdom of Utah that had recruited a large number of mercenaries from all over the country.
And it was also the country where the train station from which the Magic Engineering train departed from was located.
A black-and-white photograph was embedded between articles printed in black-letter fonts—it was a picture of the Princess's faction that had announced their victory in the war.
"So the civil war in the Kingdom of Utah is over."
A voice was heard beyond the newspaper.
I lowered the newspaper that was covering my face slightly and stared at the man across from my seat.
If he asked me directly like that, I couldn't just ignore it, so I opened my mouth.
"Yeah. I was wondering when it would end. I'm glad it ended faster than I thought it would."
"It wasn't long ago that the Prince's faction gathered a large number of mercenaries and military strength from all over the country, yet they still lost. I'm glad it ended early."
"But it's not like there wasn't any damage at all."
"Really? Oh, I'm late to introduce myself. I'm Ludger Chelysie."
'Ludger Chelysie. Since he has a surname, is he a nobleman ?'
However, he showed no arrogance or rudeness particular to the aristocracy.
"My name is Gerrard. I do not have a surname."
I didn't have a surname.
In other words, I had revealed that I was a commoner.
"Oh. You don't have to be too uncomfortable. I'm from a fallen aristocrat family."
"Oh, I see."
Him being a fallen aristocrat made sense.
They were aristocrats but not actual aristocrats.
"Where are you going, Mr. Gerrard?"
"I'm heading to Lyne de Bruneau, the capital of the Empire. I've got business there."
"Well, if someone as good as you has business there, it would certainly be something great, right?"
I smirked and shook my head at the joke that Mr. Ludger had told me.
"It's not work-related, it's just a visit for some sightseeing."
"Sightseeing, you said. That's good, too. I've only heard it, but the Exileon Empire has developed a lot of magical technology, so there's a lot to see."
"Then where are you going, Mr. Ludger?"
"I'm going to Leathevelk."
"Leathevelk is where the Academy exists. Do you happen to have business there?"
"Yeah. Well, I'm not bragging, but I'm assigned to be a Professor at Sören Academy."
I was genuinely impressed.
The Empire's Largest Academy of Magic <Sören>.
—The place where all kinds of the wonder children that existed on the continent gathered—it was a cultivation ground of the future to carve the jades that would bear the world into jewels.
Of course, the students who gathered there only consisted of children with the best talents, and the professors who taught them were those who had been strictly selected accordingly.
It meant that the man in front of me was one of them.
"You seem to be young, but your skill must be outstanding."
"No. It's just that the public thinks highly of me. Actually, I passed the exam by the skin of my teeth at a critical moment."
"I've heard that there are enormous people who failed because they still couldn't satisfy the Academy with the skin of their teeth. I think you should be proud enough."
"Thank you for your appraisal of me. Oh, rather than that, about the civil war in the Kingdom of Utah, have you heard of the rumor?"
"They said that there was a leading figure in the civil war that led to the victory of the Princess's faction."
"Hmm, leading figure, huh."
"But to my surprise, they said that he was neither a skillful wizard nor a high-ranking knight but a wandering mercenary."
A wandering mercenary who had made great contributions to the victory of a nation's civil war…
It hadn't been revealed in the newspaper yet, but was it that word of mouth had spread among the people?
"Mercenary Machiavelli. That's his name."
"I see," I chimed in at his words in a slightly apathetic tone.
"You're not that surprised, are you?"
"Haha. I just think it's a false rumor."
I had said that I didn't know, but it was actually a lie.
I knew the name "Mercenary Machiavelli" very well.
There's no way I couldn't know.
Because Machiavelli was…
The identity I used before Gerrard.