"Why do you say that the spells we learn are all heavily neutered versions?"
Liliana asked indignantly on the way.
"Because according to what you said previously, the current magical foundation is built on Astral Laws, right? Then, as long as that's the case, learners like you are destined not to come into contact with truly complete magic."
"Why? As someone who claims to have slept for more than a thousand years, can you understand how Astral Laws work?"
"I can," William gazed at Liliana and replied.
"Because the prototype of Astral Laws—the Astral Circuit—was a concept I came up with with a few friends from the Mage Guild back then," he replied calmly.
The other party's casual answer caused upheavals in Liliana's heart.
This was the thought that came to her mind.
"The establishment of Astral Laws was a magnum opus that took nearly 50 years to complete after Terra I's Palace Mage, Great Sage Yeats, promoted it 800 years ago. It's more than 200 years away from when you were active," Liliana said in disbelief.
"The basic theory was proposed in my era, but the Vic Continent didn't have adequate conditions for this project back then," William replied.
"The original concept of the Astral Circuit was to build many Astral Lighthouses across the continent by mimicking the distribution of the astrological constellations. It guided the magical power of the Astral World into a magical network that covered the entire Vic Continent, allowing everyone on the continent to resonate with it through their own astrological constellations. Ordinary people who originally didn't have any magical affinity could also sense the magical power."
William looked at Liliana expressionlessly, causing the latter to panic.
"Do you understand? It's to allow ordinary people without magical affinity to sense magic, not for people like you who have a magical affinity to only learn the spells specified in the constellations. You even call those who don't do so heretics."
William still remembered that in the last chapter of the Mage Guild's quests, 'Magic Dawn,' he chose to publicize all information about the Astral Circuit. He hoped that future generations could complete this magnum opus, making magic no longer a privilege for the lucky few and completely breaking the continent's monopoly on magic.
Yet, this was how they fulfilled his expectations in the past thousand years?
"Even so… Astral Laws still greatly reduce the threshold for learning magic. It directly establishes a magical power pathway from the Astral World to an individual's ether through the constellations, replacing the long and cumbersome meditation process during classical magic training, allowing all mages to spend more time studying the essence of magic…"
Liliana recited the contents of Introduction to Modern Magic, but her tone was lacking in confidence.
"Your so-called study of the essence of magic…"
William sneered and raised his hand, drawing an illusory raven on his palm.
"It's to divide magic into nine levels and then when you're done, the spells you've grasped are only at the Legendary domain?"
The raven in his hand quickly changed from virtual to reality. Then, it leaped up from William's hand with a caw and flew around Liliana's head twice before landing steadily on her shoulder.
"This, this, this, this… This is an illusion?"
Liliana stammered as she felt weight over her shoulder.
"But it clearly exists."
As Liliana spoke, she reached out and stroked the glossy feathers of the raven on her shoulder. It felt exactly the same as the raven feathers she had used in alchemy class.
"Divine Realm Illusion spell, True Shadow."
As William spoke, he snapped his fingers, and the raven on her shoulder instantly disappeared without a trace as if it had never existed.
"This raven is only the simplest demonstration. With my ability, I can even conjure a dragon to fight for five minutes… So, can you understand why Illusion is the most profound spell type?"
William continued speaking to the dumbfounded Liliana.
"When Illusions reach the Divine Realm, one can replace reality with illusions. From this point of view, one can even believe that all spells in the world are variations of illusions. After all, the essence of magic is to replace reality with the illusionary ideas of the caster. Therefore, what are you studying now? Are you trapped in the 9 levels and 13 spell types defined by the Astral Laws during your exploration of the essence of magic?"
Liliana replied softly, "We have learned how to construct spell models and control the rhythm of magic chanting…"
"Do you understand now? The magic you're learning now is based on anything. You've focused all your energy on how to curry favor with that system. You haven't thought about the essence of magic at all, and…"
As William spoke, he closed his eyes.
"Moreover, your lifeline is even in the hands of the system's operators. They just need to adjust this system one day to mute all your magic. Through this method, they can completely monopolize an uncontrollable power like magic in their hands."
His words reminded Liliana of the rumor: heretical mages who betray the Astral Laws will not be able to obtain magic power from the Astral World.
William opened his eyes and asked her, "Can people without magical affinity use magic now?"
"Of course, that's impossible…"
"Then, there's no need for this system to exist," William said casually. "One day, I'll personally destroy it."
When they were about to reach Thorn City, William dispelled the two zombie horses that had brought them here.
The zombie horse, whose Soul Fire was about to burn out, turned to ashes the moment it was dispelled. William carefully gathered the ashes and buried them underground.
"After a corpse raised by an Undead spell serves its purpose, its remains have to be buried, returning it to Currere. Only then can the balance between life and death be maintained."
William explained, probably sensing Liliana's puzzled gaze.
"Otherwise, the undead that can't be naturally decomposed will become uncontrollable cadavers. That's the domain of the Lady of Starvation, Camilla, and it will potentially strengthen Her."
Liliana nodded, not fully understanding. During this period of time, she was already used to this person speaking of theories she had never heard of with a matter-of-fact expression.
The two of them walked along a gravel path. Along the way, William remained silent as if he was thinking about something. As for Liliana, she silently prayed to the Seven Holy Spirits, praying that this person wouldn't do anything as out of line as his words in Thorn City.
It wasn't until they could see the city gates of Thorn City in the distance that William finally broke the silence.