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Life in Vain: Jobless Reincarnation (Mushoku Tensei)

It was a freak accident. Someone ran the light at an intersection and before I knew it... my world turned black. But I didn't die then. Instead, I was forced to lament and regret over all of my failures. Lament about how this so-called genius was lower than dirt even at the very end. And that should have been it. After my consciousness faded, I should have disappeared. But I woke up. A different world, another life. A fresh start. This time, for sure...!

HappyVainGlory · Anime & Comics
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208 Chs

Young Child – Bidding Farewell

My room. Since everyone was caught up in the festivities and had a bit too much alcohol, they were all knocked out and already slumbering in dreamland.

The only person left awake in the house was me.

Just me, myself, and I.

"Master..."

I sat at my desk, idly twirling around the wand that Roxy made for me.

...A lot. She had given me a lot throughout this time period. My cute, beautiful, and intelligent teacher... No, Master. My magic Master taught me and gave me so much during our time together.

I... really didn't want it to end. If I could, I would love for her to be here forever.

"...Heh. Is this what puppy love feels like?"

I'd heard about it before, but it was something else feeling it in person.

But I suppose it was inevitable.

Roxy... Miss Roxy was young. Beautiful. And she was smart. Really smart.

In all honesty, a person would have to be stupid to not at least have a crush on her.

And considering how young I was too, whether I wanted to or not, I definitely had feelings for her.

...Well, I probably would anyway if I was grown up. A cute and intelligent young woman like that was definitely my type. Not to mention that it was really rare to find someone you could just bounce and test ideas off of or get sidetracked into long esoteric conversations exploring the depths of the universe...

...Man, it was going to suck after tomorrow, huh?

I shook my head and then placed my wand off to the side. After that, I picked up the healing primer my mom gave me for a present.

It was from the Holy Country of Milis, as expected. She mentioned pulling some strings to get it, so I could be assured of its quality.

Then...

I flipped through the book and stared at the pages with a discerning eyes.

Not like this. I couldn't let Roxy leave like this.

I needed to pay her back. To give something to her that would help her as much as she had helped me.

And the only thing I could think of was...

"Why are my eyes like this? Are they really my 'eyes' or is it something else?"

I mumbled and flipped through the book.

...Yes. Like I thought, the book wasn't just incantations and formations. It also showed some pictures of anatomy and talked about some theory behind why healing spells worked the way they did.

...But there wasn't a concrete answer.

There wasn't a concrete answer to my question.

If it was possible to see mana, why was that? And could the eyes be tuned to perceive mana as a wavelength? Or was it something else entirely?

But of course. It was a question no one could answer or test.

The most I saw was a reference to something called 'Demon Eye' which was apparently a special ability that could be granted by some Demon Lord. But the book called it heresy and only warned against it. It didn't describe it.

But that was a start.

I leaned back in my chair to think.

Why could I see mana?

It wasn't a fluke. I knew for a fact that I couldn't when I was first born. It was only after I started manipulating mana more that I became able to see the floating ambient mana.

Then that had something to do with it.

Manipulating mana built up familiarity with it enough for the body to register mana around it.

...Yes. That was probably it. Similar to how martial artists could 'sense' presences because of how familiar they were at moving their body. Because I was so familiar with moving my mana, I could 'sense' outside mana.

But that wasn't the end of it. 'Sensing' shouldn't have evolved into 'seeing.'

So how did that happen?

It had to be that. Since I was a baby when I was doing everything, my senses were all mixed together. So in sorting out that information, my brain jumbled it up- No.

Now that I stopped to think about it, I had been moving my mana around my body like it was blood. And a few times, I focused it around my eyes.

Could it be that simple?

...No. It couldn't be.

Think, Rudy. How and why did this happen?

How could you recreate it?

How could you test it?

...Wait.

I flipped through the book again.

Didn't I see something about barrier magic... Yes. There it was.

One of the four subsets of healing magic was Barrier Magic. Also known as Protection Magic. It was a support magic that basically acted like buffs. And one that could create a bounded field to bestow or prevent certain characteristics.

Just what I wanted.

Then, the most basic one...

I grabbed my wand. "If my hypothesis is correct..."

Every branch of magic was the same at its core. The initial process was the exact same each time, with the changes occurring only afterwards.

So then if I casted the barrier spell... and if it was possible to skip the incantation and magic circle of a spell with enough 'will' and 'imagination...'

No. One step at a time.

First, the barrier spell.

I held out my wand and started chanting. "Divine protection shields us from sorrow and misfortune. It bestows upon us powerless the means to defend against tragedy and pain. Great spirits, grant this weak vessel your protection. <Barrier>."

A surge of mana. Like always, the spell drew out my mana and changed it. But unlike the other mana I had seen, this was different.

A regal and dark violet, almost black. Like the night sky.

It spun out and then flashed around me. When it did, I felt a small shell. Thin, but fairly sturdy. As if I had some plastic covering my body.

A few pokes showed that it wasn't just my imagination either.

So test successful.

Then...

Time to experiment.

First... sealing my vision. If that worked, then I could gauge the state I was in from there and work backwards. And if it didn't...

No. It had to. It would.

Gritting my teeth, I stared at my hand with bloodshot eyes and went to work.

-LIV-

The soft *clop* of horse hooves. The warm sunlight and the gentle breeze.

I closed my eyes and leaned back against Roxy, riding on top of my dad's horse with her.

Roxy sighed and patted my head. "...Are you that upset about me leaving, Rudy? Enough that you couldn't sleep?"

"...No. I was just studying to make sure that I passed the exam."

It was true... in part. I *was* up late studying. But it wasn't to make sure I passed the exam. At least, not just that.

I wanted to show her. I wanted to show my Master all that I learned from her. Where her teaching led me... and also how much further she had left to go.

I could see it, after all. I pretended not to notice, but I saw her discouraged she was at how easy I picked things up.

But that was a lie. Unlike her, I wasn't a genius. All I had was a cheat that let me see mana.

If she had that, I was sure. She would be able to go much further than me.

So... So that she could keep shining even after she left...

I cracked my eyes open and looked to my left. There, 'something' floated just out of reach. A carefully and meticulously crafted self-perpetuating three-dimensional magic circle contained and comprising of a barrier spell.

Something created with blood, sweat, tears, and a wish. Just like the wand Roxy made for me.

But that was for later.

Right now... Right now I just wanted to enjoy the little time left with Roxy.

Roxy sighed and said, "It will be hard for you if you aren't well rested, you know?"

"Don't worry. Healing magic is OP."

"OP...?"

"...Don't worry about it."

I was fine. Despite getting literally zero sleep, I casted <Healing> throughout the night.

...It probably wasn't healthy, but it was enough for today.

Roxy sighed again and brushed my hair. "You are childish at the most surprising times, Rudy."

"And Master is mature at the most important times."

"...Hold on. Does that mean you think I'm immature all the other times?"

"Master said it, not me."

"Geez. Not even graduated yet and you're talking to me like that. What an ungrateful student of mine."

Harsh words. But considering the soft tone she said it in and how she brushed my hair, she didn't mean it.

I knew she didn't mean it.

...It still kind of hurt though.

"Sorry."

"Don't apologize. If you're going to be my student, you should hold your head high, you know? After this, you're probably going to be the youngest Saint-ranked magician around."

"...Yes, Master."

"Honestly..." Roxy sighed again. "...Do you really want me to not leave yet, Rudy? If you don't, I can stay a little longer."

I opened my eyes and sat up, turning to look at Roxy.

She gave me a soft smile and said, "I don't mind watching my cute little student grow up a bit more."

"...No." I turned around and said, "All things come to an end sometime, Master."

"...I suppose they do, Rudy."

The rest of the trip continued on in silence.

Since Roxy was going to use the spell in full this time, we headed far out past the village so that no one could be hurt.

...Unlike the last mess we caused where I tried out the Intermediate-ranked spells.

"We're here." Roxy stopped the horse by a tree grove and then got off. She turned around to reach for me, but I jumped off by myself.

"Ah." Roxy paused and then pulled her hands back. After that, she tied the horse to the tree and walked a few paces away.

I followed after her.

Roxy held out her staff and then turned to look at me. "Watch closely. Because I'm just demonstrating, I'll only hold it for a minute. But you pass if you can hold it for an hour."

"Understood."

Roxy paused and turned to look at me.

Did she sense my reservation?

She smiled and said, "There's no need to be nervous, Rudy. I believe in you."

That wasn't what I was nervous about... and that was what made me feel like this in the first place.

A cute, kind, caring young girl who patiently taught me this entire time. Someone whose smiles I had burned into my memory. Whose diligence and patience I could never forget. Whose knowledge and brilliance I not only respected by admired...

And after today, she would leave.

...Man. To think that I'd have a crush like this...

Still. I quietly locked the feelings away. Facing her soft expression, I plastered on a smile and nodded. "Thank you, Master."

Yes. The only words I had to give her.

"Then I'll begin." Roxy turned away and waved her staff. As she did, she started to chant.

"Oh great water spirit, the son of the lightning emperor who ascended to the skies! Fulfill my wishes, rain down your ferocious blessings, and show me your strength to this tiny existence! Let your godly hammer strike the anvil, and demonstrate your authority an devour the earth with water! Ah, the rain! Destroy and wash everything away! Cumulonimbus!"

A long chant that sounded like a prayer.

With it, the surroundings immediately darkened. A few seconds later, heavy rain fell from the sky. Hurricane winds whipped up and lightning crackled in the midst of the dark clouds.

It was familiar. The same spell that I saw last time. But this time, I watched closer.

How the blue threads spun into existence. How the green wove into it, along with crackling yellow. The faint streaks of red...

And then a mistake happened.

Lightning flashed, striking down on the tree where our horse was tied to.

A shrill neigh.

Roxy's panicked rush to heal the horse.

A clumsy, but hardworking appearance...

Dammit. If we only met at a similar age...

I sighed.

Roxy managed to heal the horse... and after wrangling a promise out of me to not tell my dad, it was my turn.

I slowly walked out, holding my wand in my right hand and staring at the clear skies.

Learning from her mistake, behind me Roxy encased herself and the horse in earthen walls.

So there weren't any distractions. It was time. Time to show the result of my lessons. To finally show to the one who believed in me what I could do. What I had obtained.

I waved my wand, spinning out the threads in the same way Roxy did.

...A genius. A prodigy.

In my previous life, I was held to those expectations. And I always fell short.

In the end, I picked myself up and managed to accomplish something. but just as I did, my life was cut short.

So I was afraid.

Afraid to meet those expectations and disappoint the ones I loved.

Afraid the world would cut me down again if I tried.

But...

For the one who taught me everything. For the one who let me be who I was without reservation or judging.

For the brilliant and cute Master of mine who made my days fun and let me believe in myself a little again...

"...I'll give it my all."

Roxy called out to me. "You can start anytime, Rudy."

I nodded. "Understood, Master."

...Let's do this.

-Cumulonimbus.

It was a spell that used mana to gather clouds, generate electricity and winds, and then make an artificial storm front.

A long chant to visualize that image. A power that required a prayer to visualize it.

I didn't need that.

I took a deep breath and then focused.

The hypotheses that I quietly tested. The theories I slowly built up.

Mana filled the sky. And mixed in with that, I could see the remnants of Roxy's spell.

I ignored them. Instead...

I swept out my wand. "Winds, gather."

Not a prayer. A command. At the same time, a magic circle sprang into being.

The result of my tests.

A triple-layered approach that declared your intent, crystallized it with a magic circle, and then bound it by directly channeling mana into the form envisioned.

"Flames, warm."

A formation to control the heat.

"Lightning, crackle."

Another to manage the static discharge.

"Water, vaporize."

And the last to manage the clouds and vapor.

"E-Eh?" Roxy sounded surprised. "Wait. Rudy-"

I held out my left hand and declared my spell onto the world. "Cumulonimbus."

A fifth formation erupted in the air. The control module to direct and combine all the other elements as one.

...The answer to the question we both wondered.

It was a given that it was possible to shape mana to your will and cast spells with just intent and a clear image. But how could you do that with something super complicated?

Below the Advanced-rank, it was possible to just imagine things. But beyond that, it was difficult. Possible, but difficult.

So how could that be made easier? How could it be translated so that even an idiot could use it?

There was a simple answer. And someone who was familiar with it from Earth could have figured it out.

Magic was a formula. But it was a pain to derive the result by hand each time.

Back on Earth, the same was true for complex equations.

So how did we solve that?

Programming.

Taking individual pieces, abstracting them out, making interlinked modules...

The result was in front of me.

I thought about it back in the past. That these magic circles were too simple. That I could do it better. That there was definitely a way to make it optimized for particular results.

And here it was. <Magical Arrays>.

-LIV-

It was a ridiculous sight.

Roxy knew just how talented Rudy was from teaching him, but she never expected this.

Five glittering magic arrays. But not inscribed in anything. Instead, they were floating in mid-air. Self-inscribing with mana.

A shortened chant that sounded more like an activation than a proper incantation.

And Rudy did it. He cast Cumulonimbus. But it wasn't just a simple cast.

Her mind flashed back to questions he asked in the past.

'Is it possible to draw magic arrays with mana, Teacher?'

'Can't you control a spell by adjusting it with formations?'

'A spell is just a complicated puzzle of mana, right?'

'Aren't chants just visualization helpers? We can use better ones if they make a more vivid picture, right?'

Roxy shook her head and turned to look at Rudy.

A casual gaze. Alert, but not too focused. Enough to where he could continue to respond to threats if he needed to.

It was a ridiculous feat. Even Roxy had to take care to control everything to make sure nothing went wrong.

But she could see it.

Lightning struck down, but before it did, it was dispersed. Rain flew, but it stopped before it hit the ground. And the wind howled, but it flew around them, like the eye of the storm.

An absolute control.

Rudy turned to look at Roxy, his eyes glowing a bright and enchanting green.

At that time, Roxy couldn't help but think.

-Ah. What a pity. If we had met when you were just a little older...

Still, she put that thought away and focused. "Rudy. Can you control that?"

An obvious question. But to be sure, she asked.

Rudy nodded. "Of course."

"And can you dismiss it?"

Rudy waved his hand. And with it, the clouds dispersed. As if the weather was just a lie, everything turned back to normal.

"Like this?" A casual remark. No, he was trying to play tough and arrogant like Paul.

But Rudy always had a bad poker face.

Still...

Roxy smiled. Walking over to him, she placed her hand on his shoulder and said, "Congratulations, Rudy. From know on... You can consider yourself a Water-Saint ranked magician."

Rudy tensed. At the same time, Roxy heard a small sniff. But that was all.

"...Thank you, Master."

"No, Rudy. Thank you."

-LIV-

"You don't have to leave, Roxy." My mom held Roxy's hand and said, "It's fine if you want to stay. There's still a lot I haven't cooked for you yet!"

My dad nodded and said, "Right. Even if your job as a tutor is over, you still have a place here. With all that you've done, the people from the village will definitely welcome you."

I stayed quiet.

Roxy smiled and shook her head. "Thank you. But..." She looked at me and said, "Teaching Rudy has showed my just how far I have to go." She laughed and said, "I can't hold my head up high in the future if I don't work hard now. Since Rudy calls me his Master, I have to make sure I live up to that title."

I clenched my fist.

My dad noticed then looked at me. "Well... Rudy. Are you going to say anything to Miss Roxy?"

It was a chance. An opportunity to express my feelings. To let her know how I felt.

Roxy turned to look at me as well.

Seeing her kind gaze...

I bowed my head and said, "Thank you for everything, Master! I will always, always, always remember what you taught me!"

"Rudy!" My dad let out a hushed whisper and nudged me in the ribs. "At least try to make her stay!"

But I didn't waver.

It was better like this. A clean farewell. Yes. It was better like this.

But against my will, my eyes started to tear up and I started sniffling.

Roxy sighed and then I felt a hand ruffle my hair.

I looked up to see Roxy looking at me. "Master?"

"Congratulations on your graduation, Rudy. I didn't have time to prepare... but here." She held out an amulet to me, tied on a ribbon.

I grabbed it, eyes wide.

Another gift...?

"It's Migurd's protection amulet. If you meet up with a hostile demon, you can present this and my name. Things will... probably work out if you do. But don't rely on it."

I brushed my eyes and smiled. "Thank you. Then... if we're giving parting gifts, I have something for Master too."

"Hm?"

I stepped forward and then grabbed her hand. "I've kept it a secret from Master and wanted to tell you later... but if it's going to be the last time, then..."

Tracing out the pattern of mana. Connecting it to the eyes, a self-sustaining formation written out in my own mana. The magical array that I formed just for this through a sleepless night of constant testing and debugging...

I was worried. Worried that it wouldn't work. That it would fail at this last step.

But when it connected to her mana, Roxy's eyes widened. She gasped and looked around the surroundings. "Rudy. This...?!" She turned back to look at me, and then her eyes widened even more.

I smiled and said, "Master opened up my eyes to the bright future... So with this, I hope Master can see her own way forward as well."

After that, I let go and then ran away.

I couldn't let Master see me crying.

-LIV-

Roxy sighed and took a look back at the town she left behind. The place she had been living in for over two years. As she did, she looked down at her hand and at the world around her. "What a ridiculous student I taught."

A swirl of different colors that weren't there before. No, they had always been there, but just invisible. As to what they were... Mana.

-Mana sight. It was a theory. Something possible, but that hadn't been achieved. Similar to how Demon Lord Kishirika Kishirisu was said to possess and to grant a Demon Eye that allowed people to perceive magical power, mana sight was a theoretical ability that would allow individuals to perceive mana itself.

And now Roxy possessed something similar.

Yes. 'Similar.'

Roxy could tell right away. What she had now wasn't just mere 'sight'.

Out of curiosity, Roxy reached out to a thread of dark brown mana on the ground and pulled it up. When she did, she felt a thrum of power in her hands. And when she released it, a surge of stone spires erupted.

"...How can you not call yourself a genius, Rudy?" Roxy muttered.

It was a ridiculous magical array. She couldn't even begin to fathom how it worked, but it seemed to self-perpetuate itself by drawing in ambient mana to supplement her own. And as a result, it adjusted her senses to be more sensitive to mana.

But it wasn't just a mere spell. Instead... it was a training mechanism.

Roxy could tell. While there was some help letting her see the world like this, her own mana was becoming attuned to it as well. Given time, this would be her natural vision. But even then, it would be a state she could shut off at will.

It was something that went beyond a mere Demon Eye and sight. Instead, it was a supplementary spell that allowed a magician to be leaps and bounds above any other by possessing it. Direct manipulation of mana as well as the ability to perceive it.

Roxy sighed and started walking again. "I'll have to work hard."

It was a gift with the heartfelt feelings and work of her first student. She couldn't squander it.

Smiling, Roxy adjusted her hat and walked off, the wind blowing behind her back.