Chapter 8: Sorry, Mages Are Out
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“You must be kidding with me! What I want is skeleton soldiers, so why are you giving me professional dancing skeleton pallbearers here?!”

On the training field, a deeply frustrated black-haired boy stared agape at the skeleton pallbearers, who were dancing with the coffin while making their way over to the wooden pole, and he suddenly felt that he had been scammed.

It’s 2500 Affection Points, a hulking 2500! Did I really spend so much money just to buy this? What in the world do I need this for? For my own funeral procession?

Roel clutched his chest, which was hurting so badly that he felt like he was having a heart attack. Then, he snapped out of it and attempted to make one final struggle.

“Stop right there for a moment!”

Ten minutes later.

Roel lay down on the grass field as he stared at the blue sky and white clouds above him with the eyes of a dead fish. The six skeleton pallbearers were currently kneeled by the side of the black coffin, as if waiting to carry him out.

After a series of trials and errors, Roel finally understood something… these skeleton pallbearers couldn’t be used for battle at all!

He could call these skeleton pallbearers out separately, but despite their lively movements with the coffin, as soon as they were 2 meters away from the coffin, they suddenly became as weak as a newborn chick. Even the tier F- Roel was able to fight them to a draw!

One must know that Roel was a 9-year-old kid whose proficiency in magic paled in comparison to his fellow Magician Apprentices. Since each skeleton pallbearer was equivalent to Roel in terms of strength, it would mean that the total fighting prowess of the Skeleton Pallbearer Army was a pathetic 6 Roels!

Or to put it in simpler terms, it was useless.

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While this world did operate by the adage that there was no useless occupation, there was still a significant disparity in the strengths of individuals. Based on the evaluation standards of the System, adult men without any exceptional skills were F-rank; magicians which had undergone formal militia training were E-rank; those who had managed to become knights or warriors were D-rank.

These skeleton pallbearers were F- trash when they were 2 meters away from the coffin, and F+ when they were within 2 meters. This meant that even an E-rank militia could single-handedly obliterate them all!

Roel had also taken a peek inside the coffin they were carrying, and it was empty. That being said, the coffin was made of rather good material.

The summoned beings of the Commandment Sect’s Gravediggers. Born for death, they bring joy to the living.

Recalling how these skeleton pallbearers danced along with the coffin, a look of realization appeared on Roel’s face. He finally understood what the description of the item meant.

Commandment Cult, I’ll remember you!

Just see if I’ll buy your stuff anymore! I’ll be a dog if I get anything else of yours!

Roel swore with gritted teeth before taking a few deep breaths to calm himself down. While the turn of events had frustrated him, at the very least, the experiment to purchase an item from the shops was a success, and that was the most important thing for now.

It was a pity that he had wasted 2500 Affection Points on this, but this amount was nothing much compared to how much he would earn in the future. As long as he had those two shops in the System backing him up, he was confident that a day would come where he would be able to unfurl his wings and soar to the top!

Just thinking about it made him tremble in excitement.

Having lowered his expectations, Roel no longer carried as much hostility toward the Skeleton Pallbearer Army anymore. At the very least, he had learned an important lesson from this, and that was to never judge a book by its cover, especially in those two shops of the System.

No matter how awe-inspiring the name sounded and how mysterious the description sounded, I’ll never be deceived again!

“Am I supposed to use them to earn money? But how am I supposed to go around doing so…”

Roel placed his hand beneath his chin as he looked at the skeleton pallbearers contemplatively. According to the System, the items available on the Affection Points Exchange Shop were supposed to be used to earn money, but was it really possible to put these skeleton pallbearers to good use? Their appearance was a problem by itself, but even the way they conducted funeral processions was very different from the customs of the Theocracy.

Would the people of this world be able to accept sending away the dead with joyous dancing?

On top of that, he wasn’t too sure just how the people of this world viewed the undead too. This detail wasn’t mentioned in the game. Just by the name Saint Mesit Theocracy, he had a strong feeling that the people here might not be very fond of the undead.

Roel pondered for a while, and he felt that there was a need for him to supplement his understanding of this world first. He remembered that there were a few basic books in his room that he couldn’t be bothered to flip through all this while.

Having made up his mind, Roel began thinking of a place to hide these six coffin-bearing simpletons from view first. As it turned out, anything that he had bought from the System couldn’t be conveniently kept back into some sort of mystical inventory anymore. So, he would have to find a safe place to stow them away.

So, he issued an order for the six skeleton pallbearers to move over to the resting room by the side of the training field. It took some effort, but they managed to squeeze the coffin through the doorway in the end.

Roel nodded to himself. He was the only one who used the training field, so it went without saying that this resting room was usually deserted. Furthermore, it had just been cleaned today, so he didn’t have to worry about anyone stumbling upon these skeleton pallbearers for the time being.

Having settled everything, Roel finally left with ease of heart to embark on his route to wisdom.

“Hm? It looks like there’s a difference between mages and magicians?”

In the study room, Roel was flipping through a book named Origin of Magicians, which was as thick as a brick, and he felt like his understanding of the world was being swiftly renewed.

It wouldn't have been entirely wrong to call the 9-year-old Roel a good-for-nothing. Despite having a highly respected magician as his father, the sheer extent of his ignorance was baffling. It was no wonder his own Phantom Hands would point a middle finger toward him.

That was why he was frantically brushing up his knowledge right now. Through the books, he learned of an extremely important event in history that changed the course of the world, and that was the Spirit Cataclysm of the Capital.

While Roel did know bits and pieces of this world’s history through the game, it wasn’t as complete and detailed as the historical records in the books.

First and foremost, mages were, in fact, magicians prior to the Third Epoch. Just to know, the current date was the 1003rd Year of the Third Epoch, the Year of Warhorns. The inception of the Third Epoch was marked by an event known as the Spirit Cataclysm of the Capital.

The era prior to the Third Epoch was one where the current existing countries had yet to be formed, and mankind had yet to migrate to the west. In that era, an enigmatic incident happened in the legendary ancient capital, and it was described by the historians as:

“Uncountable spirits howled ceaselessly in the dark, their existences omnipresent. It was as if the crepuscule was trying to talk to us.”

That incident eventually came to be known as the Whisperings of the Spirits. The descriptions in the book were ridiculously fantastical, and there were many reasons cited for the event too. But in any case, the world was never the same ever since the incident due to a change that swiftly followed.

And that change was the corruption of mana.

From then on, whenever magicians or knights absorbed mana from the atmosphere to use their supernatural powers, they could be inflicted with negative statuses. The luckier ones walked off with just a certain degree of physical harm, but those who were less fortunate descended into lunacy.

There was nothing that could create a pandemonium as effectively as the collapse of a way of life.

In the Ancient Austine Empire, where howling spirits roamed amidst an air of eeriness, the knights forsook their pride and turned against the people whom they had sworn their lives to protect, and the wise mages turned into barbarous beasts who gobbled down the bloodied innards of their own kind. Hundreds of people fled from the capital every single day, only to realize that the madness had spread across the entire empire.

It was in the face of such events that the final emperor of the Ancient Austine Empire declared a mass migration to the west, proclaiming that the empire had been put under a curse by ‘he-who-must-not-be-named’. Decades later, after braving through untold dangers, traversing across huge swathes of miasma and charred lands, the group of people who chose to migrate together with the empire finally arrived on this plot of land.

A thousand years had passed since then, and mankind gradually developed new theories that helped them adapt to the corrupted mana in the atmosphere and utilize its prowess. The knights chose to retain their traditional names whereas the mages of the past had chosen to call themselves magicians.

The magicians of the present day had lost the ability to cast magic unconditionally like the mages of the past, but in exchange, the prowess they could exert was far greater than before.

There was an example raised in the Origin of Magicians. The earlier version of Phantom Hands, Death Grasp, originated from the mages. A mage could crush a person’s neck with Death Grasp, but a magician could completely burst a person’s head with Phantom Hands, though the magician would have to bear the cost of his hands getting burnt or turning numb.

After gaining a rough understanding of the difference between the past mages and the current magicians, Roel moved on to look through the scriptures of Saint Mesit Theocracy and, to his relief, found that the religion itself didn’t carry any animosity toward the undead. That was because the undead was also viewed as a creation of Goddess Sia.

That being said, it didn’t necessarily mean that the populace in Saint Mesit Theocracy was accepting of the undead. At the very least, Roel didn’t think that there would have been anyone in the world who would be fond of those six simpleton skeletons.

This brought him back to the same question. He didn’t want the very first item he had bought from the System to go to waste just like that, but given their appearance, how could he use them to bring profit to himself?

Chop them up and feed them to the dogs?

The black-haired boy scratched his head and he looked out of the window musingly. A long time later, his eyes slowly widened, and a smile crept onto his lips.

Ah hah, that might work!

Translator Notes

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ℭ𝔥𝔢𝔠𝔨 𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔪𝔶 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔫𝔬𝔳𝔢𝔩𝔰:
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