Chapter 2: Black Mage

“Well done, Sein. These are all the stalks of matured Starlight Grass. Just what I need for my upcoming experiment…”

A hoarse voice cackled. It was from a mage who stood before Sein.

The wide hood of his black robe concealed half of his face, leaving only a patch of withered skin akin to that of a thousand-year-old corpse and one of his jaundiced eyes exposed.

Sein was able to maintain his composure in the presence of a Giant Saltwater Crocodile, an intermediate-level magic beast.

Yet, he could not help but tremble in the presence of this black mage.

He believed that the black mage could make even a violent magic beast like the Giant Saltwater Crocodile curl up at his feet like an obedient kitten with just a lift of his finger.

This was the power of magic, the prestige of a black mage! The embodiment of true terror and despair.

“We, the mages, have always practiced the principle of equivalent exchange. Tell me, Sein, what do you desire?” Morsidor, the black mage, tapped his magic rod with his pale fingers as he inquired the youth standing before him.

Sein took a deep breath. The surge of his chest and the excitement he felt caused the wound in his chest to reopen. Blood immediately soaked through the fabric of his shirt.

Despite the pain, Sein did not falter in his response.

He bowed deeply to the black mage. With a humble and respectful tone, he began, “I wish to become your apprentice, Lord Morsidor. I would like to assist in solving your troubles and explore the true meaning of magic.”

Sein continued to maintain his bow, adamant to stay in this position until he heard a response.

The black mage remained silent to Sein’s request of becoming his apprentice.

The magic quartz clock ticked away, reminding them that time was still slowly going by.

Sein could not see the expression on the Morsidor’s face. All he could see was the black mage’s bony fingers that were slowly tapping the end of his magic rod .

The feeling that his destiny rested entirely in the hands of others was almost unbearable.

Even so, Sein understood that if Morsidor accepted him as an apprentice, he would have better control over his destiny in the future compared to most of the other magic initiates in Mystralora City!

At least that would rule out the possibility of him becoming a mere specimen on an experimental table for a black mage who happened to be in a foul mood.

The wait felt like an eternity. The blood dripping from the wound in Sein’s chest had already formed a small puddle on the ground.

Under usual circumstances, tainting the laboratory of a distinguished black mage would come with severe consequences.

It was strange that Morsidor did not reprimand him for it. Sein, too, failed to notice the puddle forming at his feet because his mind was consumed with the desire of becoming Morsidor’s apprentice.

Amidst the oppressive silence, Morsidor finally broke the tension.

“Hohoho, I heard that Old Angelia and Old Collance had once expressed their approval of your performance in their magic classes too. Have you not considered becoming their apprentices?” he casually asked.

Sein obviously had his reasons for choosing Morsidor as his mentor, but it would not be wise for him to explicitly state them. He could not reveal that he considered Morsidor to be more “normal” than the other black mages at the Black Magic Academy.

Morsidor was not like Angelia, who was known for her erratic behavior, or Collance, who loved to use his initiates for gruesome magic experiments.

He mainly taught basic alchemy and pyro knowledge at the Black Magic Academy.

Coincidentally, Sein’s constitution was more compatible with the pyro element. His limited knowledge in magic also leaned toward pyro magic spells.

It was after thorough contemplation that he decided to seek apprenticeship with Morsidor, who had always maintained a low profile at the Black Magic Academy.

To prove his sincerity, he risked his life to obtain the three stalks of Starlight Grass. These were important neutralizers in the alchemy experiments.

While Starlight Grass held modest value for ordinary black mages, they were of exceptional worth to Morsidor. These plants were challenging to cultivate artificially and thrived only in the wild.

After careful consideration, Sein softly said, “I believe that you’ve ventured further on the path of magic compared to Master Angelia and Master Collance. Only by learning from you can I grasp the true meaning of magic.”

Sein’s answer was quickly followed by Morsidor’s laughter, which sounded more like eerie cackles that echoed throughout the quiet laboratory due his perpetually hoarse voice.

He appeared to derive great satisfaction from being praised as superior to the other two black mages.

Even so, what truly swayed Morsidor was the latter half of Sein’s statement.

“You yearn to grasp the true meaning of magic instead of pursuing greater power?” Morsidor exclaimed in surprise.

He continued, “Hohoho! If you genuinely comprehend that knowledge is the wellspring of power for mages, you would have surpassed nearly the entirety of the magic initiates in the Black Magic Academy, including those full-fledged mages who were often blinded by the pursuit of power.”

“Perhaps they’ve been dwelling underground for too long and have gradually lost sight of the true meaning of magic,” he added and sneered coldly.

A beam of green light shot out from Morsidor’s magic rod.

It was “Flesh Regeneration”, an advanced healing magic spell devised by a powerful mage. When Sein saw the green beam of light, his worries were finally put to rest.

While being healed, fatigue coursed through him, accompanied by a tingling sensation in his chest where the flesh was being regenerated.

“Go back and rest up. You’ll be my fifth apprentice,” Morsidor said.

“Also, there’s a trace of paralytic toxin in your blood. Have you consumed blue moss?” he continued asking.

“Yes, Master. On my way back to Mystralora City, I briefly treated my wound with blue moss,” Sein replied respectfully, addressing Morsidor as his master.

Blue moss was a relatively basic plant with limited magical properties, but it had a numbing effect. The drawback of using it was that blue moss itself was toxic, necessitating the use of corresponding antidotes to counteract its harmful effects.

Although Morsidor exuded a chilling aura, Sein knew he had definitely made the right choice.

The black mage retrieved a large bottle of intermediate Antidote from his black robe, along with a short magic wand and a medal. Both items emitted potent magic.

This was the first time Sein had laid eyes on real magical objects.

The magic wand was a gift from Morsidor to Sein, commemorating his apprenticeship.

Although it was a seemingly ordinary “toy” crafted in Morsidor’s spare time, it was a precious treasure in Sein’s eyes.

One of the spells stored in it could release corrosive acid capable of dissolving the scales of high-level magic beasts.

On the other hand, the medal served as Sein’s key to freely access Morsidor’s laboratory and symbolized his status as the black mage’s apprentice.

After handing over the three gifts to his apprentice, Morsidor waved his hand and said, “Go home and rest. Come back to my lab in three days. I have an experiment that requires your assistance to complete it.”

It was only at this moment, Sein finally found courage to look at Morsidor.

Standing before him was a middle-aged man with a sinister appearance and a pair of jaundiced eyes beneath the shadow of his black hood.

Yameropomelo's Thoughts

I remember when this novel was going through QC, I had some comments on using the term "magic initiates" rather than "magic apprentices". In the world of STA, there's a significant difference between an initiate and an apprentice. Initiates in general refer to those who have yet to become full-fledged mages. They could be either apprenticed to a master (who is a full-fledged mage) or not. Whereas apprentice refers specifically to the person who is officially under the tutelage of a full-fledged mage.

Edit: Thanks, Wendelin99, for bringing up the classifications for magic beast. Just to clarify, the classifciations for magic beasts/creatures are:

Low-level > Intermediate-level > High-level

There will be two more classifications after high-level, but that will be explained in future chapters!

See you in Chapter 3!


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