I Am Become Scum
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9 Learn || Magic
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I Am Become Scum
Author :SkeptiK
© Webnovel

9 Learn || Magic

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"You're very beautiful, ya know?"

"…so I've been told."

"...Can I marry you?"

"No. You're kinda disgusting."

"Nyufufu…"

"…creep."

I don't get it; my brother's affections, that is. It just seems unreasonable.

I highly doubt it was something like 'Love at first sight.' Though I can see there is some truth to his strange attraction, his actions looked more curious and intentional than love.

Not to mention he keeps looking in my direction every once in a while. I'm not sure what he has in mind, but there is definitely a purpose.

How cute; he's scheming for the first time.

It makes me proud.

"I've never seen the eerie little shit talk so much…I liked him better before."

I wasn't the only one observing the strange interactions between the two of them. Casper had a look as if he'd stepped in dog shit as he saw my brother's failed attempts to woo the small fox-girl.

My sister was glued to my shoulder "defending" me, as she put it, while glaring in their direction. She tightened her grip around my arm, burying her chin into the crook of my neck.

"I don't like him."

"I don't like her."

Clearly, they were not happy with the current situation.

"I think it's pretty interesting." I said, ignoring their looks of dissatisfaction.

"What's so 'interesting' about her?" Said Mable, turning her fierce look to my direction.

Stop digging your nails into my skin, please.

"Ho? So you're into my little angel too, ya rascal?"

I shook my head. "Not what I meant, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't."

While troublesome, she did have a uniquely honest character. Her looks were a plus, too.

"Hmmmm…that so."

Please stop digging your nails into me, Mable.

"I was talking about Karv; it's rare he shows in an interest in anything, especially if it's another person."

"I just find it curious that he's trying so hard, and even gets happy that he's getting rejected."

"He's a natural born masochist, that brat."

I got the same vibe as well, but I could tell there was something more to it.

"Huh? A Mass-O-kiss?" Questioned Mable, tilting her head to me in confusion. "What's that, Chess?.

"Ask your mother."

"She's your mom too, ya know?"

I wasn't about to get into a full blown conversation about my brother's budding fetishes. It was a new discovery for me as well, and there were more important things to discuss.

Before she could question me further, I felt a tug at my other sleeve. Turning my head, the object of my brother's affection looked at me with upturned, blue eyes.

"Hey, Chess. You wanna play?"

It seemed Neva managed to escape the relentless approach of Karv. I turned to his direction to see what I missed, but he just seemed to stare into space with a euphoric expression.


"Heh heh~….Bro~."

…please don't say my name while looking that happy. Don't push your feelings onto me just because you got rejected.

I wanted to ask what he was imagining, but I feel I'd regret it.

"Hey, please don't ignore me. I want to play!"

I fought the urge to remind her of how she did the same thing to Karv only moments ago. Before I could say anything, however, Mable saw fit to play the part of a hero for me.

"He doesn't wanna play with you, got it?!"

She nearly pressed her face to Neva, practically spitting in her face with every word.

"Just go hide yourself in the old bastard's smelly tails again, why don't ya?!"

Ignoring said 'old bastards' indignant cry of "HEY!", Neva placed a finger onto her lips with a tilt of her head.

"…jealous?"

"Hah!" Mable snorted. "Jealous? Of YOU?!"

She crossed her arms, saying "Why should I be jealous of you?"

"…because I'm prettier?"

That wasn't the smartest thing to say.

"Haaah~?!"

"Nn." Neva nodded, grabbing her tail, as if presenting evidence of her words. "Your fur is grey and dirty. Mine's clean, white, and fluffy."

She brought her tail to her face, rubbing her cheek against it endearingly as she swayed her body in loving appreciating. "Grandpa says I'm the cutest with beautiful blue eyes"

"…"

"You're cute, but I think the result is obvious, right?"

"…kill her. I'm gonna kill her. I'll kill her. I'm gonna…"

That wasn't a good sign. I'm impressed the new girl managed to grind my sister's gears so quickly. What makes it more amazing is I didn't feel any malicious intent; she was speaking her thoughts from the heart, showing she was naturally innocent, but vicious.

I like her.

Neva then sent Mable the brightest, genuine smile she could muster and said, "So would you kindly back off?"

"Fuck you!"

I'm surprised she held back for so long.

Now it was a chase of cat and fox between the two; my sister hissing at Neva as the brutal little fox girl scurried away at quick speeds with a smile on her face.

If you didn't understand her nature, you'd think she planned for this to happen.

"Neva definitely likes the two of you," said the old man, watching the chase with a carefree smile. "I had my worries; still have 'em, actually, but…"

He paused, watching Neva backflip over Mable who was close to swiping at her in a corner of the room. His granddaughter showing a larger grin, giggled at my sister's failed attempts while said cat girl was becoming increasingly furious.

"…but I can see that there will be more pros than cons in the long run."

"Just keep your brother away from her." He added.

"Sure thing, old man. Only if you continue to help us out."

He sighed. "Sure, brat, sure. What do you want to know this time, huh?"

I smiled.

It was no exaggeration to say Casper played a huge part in helping me understand the way the world works. More notably: magic.

Someone as old as him experienced many things; the geography of the world, the many races that exist, the current affairs of the world, and magic of course.

I didn't bother to ask about anything other than magic for now, since nothing outside the Pit really mattered at this stage of my life; I was simply too young and weak to do anything about my current situation. I have no influence on others, outside of my siblings, and not many people would be willing to take a "kitten" very seriously.

What was most important was to find a way to build up my strength, or knowledge on how to obtain it at the greatest speed.

From where we left off, he mentioned to me that magic is a phenomena that can be activated through various means, but failed to identify how it was possible and how you develop the quantity and quality of your mana.

I blame my curfew.

"What are the requirements to obtain magic?"

"Ah, yes, I remember now." he laughed. "You were quite frustrated when you had to leave that time."

He pondered a bit, before saying, "Well, let's start by saying you're using the term wrong. The word you're looking for is 'Mana'."

"Hmm?"

"Think of it in terms of cause and effect; 'Mana' is the cause, while 'Magic' is the effect."

"Mana is the prerequisite to creating magic, and is the energy that surrounds, and lives within, all of us. This energy can be used to supply different methods of performing magic."

"Magic," he continued, "Can be performed through many different methods; so many, I'm sure there's some even I hadn't heard of. As far as what I've seen, I know you can perform magic through things like Chants, Spell circles, Rituals, Items, and probably some other ways I haven't seen."

"It's an obscure art with no real defined path, honestly. There are simply too many methods, and so little magicians compared to the general population out there; it requires talent, and not many people possess that kind of ability."

I see.

So mana serves as the battery, and supplies power through a certain method to create a phenomena that effects the world; and we call this phenomena 'Magic.'

It's stuff I read from fantasy novels in the past, but I didn't want to take any risks. With the hundreds of thousands of different novels out there, not all of them followed the same conventions of magic. Magic could have been this incredibly dangerous thing that required equally risky methods to obtain or control.

I didn't want to take the risk.

"How do I know if I have this 'talent?'"

"You?" he snorted. "I'm 100% positive you have the talent."

He poked my forehead, saying, "It takes brains, wisdom, and a flexible mind to become a magician; and judging by the way you carry yourself, it's pretty much guaranteed you'd be a great magician."

That's what ||ORDER|| told me, but I wasn't ready to accept it at face value.

"But," he said, lifting his index finger in my face, "you need to know how to cultivate your mana, first."

And finally, we get to the good stuff.

"Can you show me how?"

"Nope."



"Don't give me that look, brat. It's not that I don't want to help you, but I just don't have the talent for magic."

He proceeded to lift his arm and flexed his bicep, with veins jutting out in random parts of his arm.

"I was all brawn back in my hay day, you see; the brains came later with age."

"And even if I wanted to," he pulled the collar of his shirt down, to reveal a square, stone-like object merged into the center of his chest. "This blasted thing would suck the damn mana right outta me. That's why I can't break out of this damned cesspit."

On the surface of the stone was what looked to be a reverse pentagram with unfamiliar small characters inscribed in a circular fashion around it. Everyone once in a while, it would pulse a dull red light that you wouldn't notice without looking carefully.

I've seen them on a lot of the slaves; my family, being an exception. I had a feeling it served some purpose, but I never understood what it was till now.

"You said you can't do magic…but you can somehow still use mana. So there's other ways it can be used?"

"Hah! You caught that, didn't ya kid?" he said, shaking his head. "You're really something, boy."

He released his collar, once again covering the stone abomination that fed off of him like a parasite. He scratched his head in frustration, seemingly mulling over his unfortunate circumstances.

He seemed to stop feeling bad for himself after a bit, as he continued, "Yes. From what I gathered, Magi have something called 'Mana Gates' throughout the mind and body…but like I said, I can't help you much there. It requires a lot of mental control and comprehension to open those things up, from what I heard."

That was a shame, but I suppose there is still some benefit to knowing what its called. There's thousands of slaves in this place, so one is bound to know.

Perhaps an elf?

"Everyone, however, possesses something called 'Mana Veins' in the body. They mirror, in location to the regular veins that pump blood; the difference being it's used to circulate mana instead to strengthen the body to incredible levels."

That sounds pretty amazing. I wonder how common this knowledge is, and if everyone practiced it?

"Are there any other benefits?"

"I guess that'd have to depend on the individual."

"Like what?"

"Well," He stroked his beard in thought. "The most common thing people do is to develop their bones and muscles; typical things any warrior would do."

"You mean you?"

Not offended, he shrugged his shoulders. "Like I said; I was all brawn. Your typical, everyday meathead with a better talent in physical prowess than most."

"And what are the 'other' things people can do?"

"When you think of the mortal body, there's obviously more to it than just your limbs and bones, right?"

I nodded.

"I never did it, but there are some who take their focus into different directions like improving their organs; things like eyes, stomach, ears, and…well, you get the idea."

"I don't recommend it, though," he warned. "It takes some careful manipulation to improve things like the organs. You could have it fail on ya, make you blind, or die in the worst case scenario."

So it was a high-risk, high-reward kind of deal. I can see the benefit in improving your strength, but it seemed like increasing muscle and bone density were common practice. Perhaps strengthening your senses or other factors would give you an edge in some scenarios.

"Though," he said, giving me a once over before forcing a smile. "I suppose you won't have that issue. You always seem careful."

I really like this guy. He may be my favorite person, after ||ORDER||.

…if ||ORDER|| can be considered a person.

"Is there a way to tell how strong someone is?"

That's always been the case for novels in the past; there would likely be some numerical system that organized people by strength, so I assumed there must be some means of doing so here as well.

"Yes, actually." He said, giving me a suspicious look. "How'd you know?"

"Lucky guess."

"'Lucky', huh?"

"…"

"…"

We had a brief stare-down for a few moments, before he finally caved in. "...I won't pry; so long as don't do me or my granddaughter any harm, ya hear?"

I appreciated the gesture and nodded simply, hoping he would contain to explain our "level" system.

"It's more of a 'feeling' really; an instinctual knowledge of how powerful someone is, as if it is ingrained into us to understand the strength of someone at the same level, or below us. Power radiating from the body is call 'aura', and the heavier it is, the stronger the individual."

"We are separated into what's called 'Tiers'."

…this is starting to approach into familiar territory. The meaning might be different in this case, but I find it strange how this world uses "Tiers" to quantify power; similar to how ||ORDER|| used it to calculate my fate..

I'll have to look into it in the future.
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"The highest level I ever met was a [4th Tier], being one myself. But there are some crazy powerhouses out there in the world, so I'm positive there are levels beyond that. But [4th Tier] is generally considered a peak power, and rare to see."

Casper puffed out his chest in pride. "So? Impressed that you're in the presence of one of the strongest beings in the world?"

Not really. If I follow the same conventions ||ORDER|| used to measure my karma, then wouldn't that mean there's 9 Tiers in total?

It's too soon to say, but I'm starting to get the feeling there is more to this world, or even universe, than meets the eye.

"I would be, if I didn't already know you were a slave."

His shoulders sagged, and a gloomy, hateful look formed his expressions.

"Your father is an exception. Bastard…"

I hear a lot of talk about Chief Damon; my father. Always in a bad light, of course. As one of the highest authorities here, I can imagine how strong he must be to jail so many races including the man before me.

"With all your curiosity about 'Magic', I suppose there isn't much point for you to use it, is there?"

That was a curious statement.

"What do you mean by that?"

I could obviously practice magic, so long as I wasn't caught. I have a general idea of how to cultivate myself, and my family were among the few that didn't have a stone object embedded into our bodies.

He knew that, though. Which makes me a bit confused why he would bring this up at this point.

Seeing my look of confusion, he quirked a brow in disbelief.

"Your parents didn't tell you?" he asked in shock. "That's a bit hard to believe, considering who your parents are. Especially when considering your race."

"What does race have to do with it? Or mine, more specifically."

"Well, race isn't usually a factor; in fact, the number of races that this applies to can be counted on one hand." he said, shrugging his shoulders. "As far as society knows, at least."

"You, and your family, my boy, are a unique type of Magi known as 'An Order'."

…A 'what' now?

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