Chapter 4: Alphabet, Magic, and Intruder I
(Are you serious…..)
Herscherik’s unexpected situation had him at a loss.
The day after Count Luzeria left this world, Herscherik decided that increasing his knowledge was necessary if he wanted to change anything. He suggested that he might want to study, and his father, without questioning his son too deeply, immediate arranged for teachers the very next day.
First was language study.
He managed to adapt to this world’s alphabet, as it resembled the English he learned back in Japan. Truthfully speaking, English wasn’t his strong point, but he had already learned it once in his past life and had experience. The teacher in charge of the language lessons praised him for picking it up so quickly despite being so young.
(Sorry, but I’m at least 10 times older than my 3 year old exterior suggests.)
Herscherik experienced a feeling of inexplicable guilt and apologized in his head.
Next came arithmetic.
This world’s arithmetic was barely any different, resembling the decimal system but with different symbols, and so he easily picked it up as well. Or rather, considering he worked as an office clerk in his previous life, simple mental calculations were a cinch.
He was praised for this just like with his language study, and Herscherik once again apologized inside his head. For some reason, he couldn’t endure it.
Here, he suddenly found something dubious. For some reason, although the letters were different, the words sounded like Japanese.
He thought it was strange, but he recalled that he had obtained an ego when he was roughly a year old. This was only a conjecture, but listening to the conversations around him might have unconsciously made him remember this language as the one he was familiar with.
(I had thought that it was Japanese, but it was actually this world’s language, huh)
It’s like when someone in Japan can speak Japanese before they’re aware that they can. Same with English in English-speaking countries and French in French-speaking countries. In other words, it can be said that these words have been ingrained in him as he has been constantly listening to them ever since he had been born into this world, but his memories made him think it was Japanese.
Anyways, while he could not remember when his previous self started speaking Japanese like that, he decided to be satisfied with such an explanation.
(Like how I wanted to be an American during my English lessons in my previous life.)
Herscherik has been doing very well up until now.
With the appearance of a 3 year-old child, and the interior of a 34 year-old member of society on the verge of being an old lady, he already had the methods and know-how for studying. This was all the result of his past life experiences, equivalent to him gaining the qualifications for employment and society in one go. After all, his lessons right now would be at the level of an elementary school curriculum in Japan.
But now, dark clouds were hanging overhead.
“It’s a shame, but…..”
The teacher apologized. By no means had he done something wrong; in fact, the fault lied with Herscherik.
“For Your Highness, magic is a foundational necessity. But it seems like you do not have any magical power.”
(………..To think I didn’t have any magical power! AAAAH!!!!)
The moment the teacher said those words, Herscherik’s mind went blank, and screams rang in his head. While this didn’t show on his face, the unrest inside of him was intense.
The power of a ruler as shown in manga and games: magic.
In his past life, a fantasy element like magic was something only a child constantly thought of and craved, but……although only his outer appearance was that of a 3 year-old, Herscherik was honestly looking forward to it.
But reality was harsh.
He tested his magic by simply making a flame to light a lamp, but nothing happened.
“This is a really rare case…..”
According to the magic teacher, all humans have some amount of magic dwelling inside their bodies.
Lighting a lamp is something anyone with any level of magical power could do, so this would make it the first time the magic teacher had seen a human without any magical power.
“His Majesty had originally intended to become a scholar, but considering he also had talent for magic….”
There’s no way that his child would not be able to use magic, is what he implied.
He had heard that the other princes and princesses also excelled in magic and were all rated first-class.
Is it possible that he isn’t his father’s son? Similar thoughts filled Herscherik’s mind, and so he visited his busy father’s private room that night, looking depressed.
“Well, your mother was also a rare case of having no magic. Hersche, we look so alike, of course you’re my child.”
His father said unconcernedly as he patted Herscherik’s head.
(Mother, I’m sorry for thinking you had an affair.)
In his head, he did a sliding dogeza 1 to the mother he had never met.
(But, in reincarnation manga and novels, the reincarnated usually gets some immense magical powers and stuff, right?)
The protagonists in the stories that he read in his past life had magical power that was levels above any normal person. And their setting would be such that they would send the villains flying with fire or such.
(Nah, even if I could do that, I wouldn’t.)
In any case, if his opponents were the type he could end with just one flying hit, he wouldn’t be suffering this much. Moreover, Herscherik felt that you couldn’t really call it a resolution if the result was simply a show of brute power. Regardless, the fact that he couldn’t use the fantastical element of magic was disheartening.
After receiving such a shocking revelation about his lack of magical power, another core component of the many fantasy stories that Herscherik….no, Ryouko…. happily read, was destroyed.
“I wouldn’t want to call Your Highness ordinary, but how shall I put it……”
Just like his magic teacher, his teacher from the Order of Knights apologized as well.
After retiring from military service, the teacher was tasked with training all the troops in the Order of Knights and the army. As such, he was proficient at assessing his trainee’s potential.
The teacher was initially hesitant to say, but after resolving himself, he looked at Herscherik and spoke frankly.
“Your Highness, I apologize for this. I will speak honestly. Your Highness has not the talent for fencing nor for horsemanship.”
Herscherik understood that this was the kindest way perceivers of talent could make someone lose their futile hope.
According to the teacher, if Herscherik worked hard enough, he may one day be able to handle the sword and horse like everyone else, but he should not hold onto the hope of becoming first-rate.
“Although His Majesty was excellent in magic, he also excelled in swordsmanship. As such…..”
Herscherik recalled having heard similar words before. But this time, he decided that he wouldn’t charge into his father’s room.
(…..I mean, that gentle father is surprisingly high-spec.)
His father and his kind smile came to mind. Frankly, Herscherik couldn’t imagine his father firing off magic or fighting with a sword.
At any rate, he couldn’t depend on using swordsmanship or horsemanship in order to protect himself, but that just spoke to how difficult his path would be.
(I know that I had pretty slow reflexes in my past life, but…..)
Herscherik sat on the sofa in his room, exhausted.
Who would’ve thought that his protagonist flag would keep breaking! He had thought this before, but it seems like he was the disappointing child among the princes. If this were an otome game, he’d be the character that the player would put off to the end and then just use a strategy guide for the sake of completing the game.
(But I don’t have the luxury to be depressed.)
There’s no helping what he cannot do. Instead, Herscherik thought of what he could do.
He took out a book he had borrowed from the inner palace library that was only accessible to the royal family. Though, it would be more fitting to call it a picture book. The letters were large and there were many illustrations. It was a book that was easy to understand.
(First I have to make sure I can actually read the words.)
Ryouko wasn’t good at English, but she did like to read books. Whenever there was a book she was interested in, she would hold back bitter tears because it wasn’t translated into Japanese.
(In the past, I didn’t have any free time since I was working, but now that I’m a child, I’ve got plenty of time.)
He would read a large amount of books and learn the words, as well as get a grasp on the numerical characters. His experiences from his past life told him that the best way to grow was to put everything to practice.
Since that day, Herscherik continued to take lessons from his teachers while spending a majority of each day by his window, reading books on the sofa. The moment he didn’t understand something, he would ask either his teachers or Meria. As such, Herscherik’s language ability gradually increased.
He would read whenever he got a chance, and doing so for half a year resulted in a level of growth where he could read even those difficult-to-understand technical books.
(And now, it looks like it’s finally time for our nightly candid news report.)
Herscherik held the pocket watch like a microphone and, in his head, spoke like one of those announcers he saw on TV in his past life.
Half a year had passed since he began studying, and Herscherik finally understood enough of this world’s language to take the next step.
(Today, we’ll be looking at a cornerstone of our nation: the 1st room of the Headquarters of the Finance Bureau!)
He certainly wasn’t talking like a variety narrator because he was scared of the castle at night.
It also wasn’t because he learned from books that evil spirits existed in this world……Definitely not for those reasons.
(But it really is very dark….)
He looked at his surroundings.
He had been desperate when he had went out to meet the count so he hadn’t noticed, but moonlight was the only thing illuminating the royal castle hallways.
In his previous world, electricity was the major source of energy, so even the night was bright.
But in this world, electricity doesn’t exist. Instead, wandering magical power exists.
Herscherik didn’t have any magical power, but he did learn the fundamental knowledge needed for magic without actually being able to use it. And among those lessons, he learned about wandering magical power.
This world’s magical power exists in two forms: magical power that people hold and magical power that drifts in the air.
Just like in a game, people’s magical power is measured in magical points. If one uses it, MP is consumed, and if one rests, it is restored. There are differences among individuals, and through training, everyone can increase their maximum amount.
(Though that would be impossible for someone with an initial value of nothing….)
Just as 0 times 100 is still 0, no amount of training could be meaningful to Herscherik with his non-existent MP.
The magical power that drifts in the air is called wandering magical power, which is the generic term for the magical power produced by the earth, seas, rivers, trees, and etc. Just as a tree produces oxygen through photosynthesis, it also produces magical power.
And this wandering magical power is the light energy that illuminates the street lights and rooms, the thermal energy that boils the water, the cooling energy that keeps refrigerators and such cold, and the mechanical energy that is used in the aqueducts.
Resembling a type of floating electricity, there are many expectations for research into finding the method to wring out the ambient energy from the air.
(It’s a very eco-friendly energy, right? Since it came from nature, it won’t pollute nature.)
In this world, there were no protestations of environmental destruction like in his previous life’s world, although it could also be said that this world’s technology wasn’t advanced enough to cause such destruction.
(Well, it looks like I’ve finally reached it. This is the Finance Bureau’s first room…..)
Herscherik looked up at the heavy wooden door. There was the door plate that said “1st Room of the Headquarter of the Finance Bureau”.
Herscherik pressed his tiny body against the door in an effort to move it. A majority of the doors in this castle were push-to-open doors, so even a young child like himself could open them. They were equipped with locks, but luckily for Herscherik, they were left open tonight. It could be due to the negligence of the Bureau’s manager, or maybe they were unlocked for the night guard to make his rounds. Either way, Herscherik was able to easily trespass into the room.
Herscherik reflexively frowned the moment he entered. In front of him was a very disorderly room.
There were probably at least 10 people who used this room, and on top of each of their desks was a mountain of jumbled documents. Further in, there was a door that said ‘Data Room’, along with a few others, each with their own door plate reading ‘Bureau Director’s Room’, ‘Conference Room’, and so on.
“With this mess, they probably can’t even work….”
Probably due to his past as an office worker, Herscherik unconsciously mumbled in an astonished tone.
When he worked in his past life, Ryouko’s desk was neatly organized from the data in her computer to the files on her desk. That was because she understood that cleanliness was tied to efficient work.
However, in this place, the workers should be more worried about the fact that they wouldn’t even know if they lost any documents, let alone their efficiency working in this state.
Even if someone stole their files, it was likely no one would notice. Was it really alright for the bureau in charge of the whole country’s finances to be in such a state?
“…. But it’s better for me this way.”
Even if he were to slightly change the placement of the documents or if any of them were to disappear, it would be difficult to pin the action on him: a small blessing for Herscherik as he snuck inside.
“And now, I shall begin the internal audit.”
Herscherik remembered his previous life.
In the past, Ryouko served in the main office and worked as somewhat of an auditor for the branch offices. Legally speaking, has the branch office done anything using their own judgement, that requires some approval from the main office? Did they properly record all income and expenditures? Did they collect all proceeds? Did they collect payments without any problems? She investigated all questionable areas with a level of persistence that a pestering mother-in-law would use for in relation to her daughter-in-law’s cleaning.
Because her thorough investigations struck fear into the hearts of the branch officers, she was nicknamed “Honorable Mother-in-Law Ryou, the Auditor from the Main Office”.
To Ryouko who didn’t even have a boyfriend, let alone a husband, this nickname of mother-in-law was very far off. Furthermore, if there were no problems then Ryouko wouldn’t have been that nickpicky about them. It’s just that she did her work seriously and even gave advice and support. Despite being a regular office worker, she earned fervent trust from the branch workers to the area leaders and the branch managers, and even from those inside the main office. Though the person receiving this trust didn’t know about that at all.
For the time being, Herscherik picked up a document from one of the less chaotic desks.
“Hum, yup. It’s dark…..”
He tried to read the letters, but it was too dark to see easily. He walked towards the window, and the moonlight shone on the paper, making the words legible.
(Uhhh….a name of a product? Is this the name of a foodstuff?)
Apparently, that document was a list of ingredients heading for the castle. Next to the name of the food, there was a list containing the production location, harvest period, and cost.
“Hmph, this is troubling. I’m not sure if these are reasonable prices or not.”
Although there were numerous values listed, he didn’t know if they were considered expensive or cheap….The fact that he didn’t know such a basic knowledge hurt him.
Of course, he had completed the lesson on currency.
This world’s currency is copper coins, silver coins, gold coins, and platinum coins. 100 copper coins are worth 1 silver coin and 100 silver coins are 1 gold coin. Finally, 100 gold coins are equivalent to 1 platinum coin.
However, when the amount of money increases, it becomes a bit too much to carry, in which case a small, check-like object called a bond can be used instead. But to use this security, one needs approval from a legal office.
But Herscherik couldn’t figure out how much each denomination of currency was worth in this world and how much could be exchanged for them, so he could only scratch his head
“……..At any rate, guess I’ll just randomly search around.”
Numbers do not lie. If they ever were to tell a lie, it was only because of a hole somewhere else. Telling the difference is what determines whether one is clever or not.
Herscherik repeatedly pulled out documents from the mountain and read them by the window in silence.
Herscherik rubbed his eyes. He wondered how much time had passed, opened the pocket watch, and saw that it was already quite late into the night.
In his past life, his body was more or less used to staying up late, but it seems that it was impossible for his current, childish, body. The fatigue in his eyes grew very quickly, possibly due to him reading by the moonlight.
“I really do want some light.”
While thinking about stealing a lamp from somewhere next time, he played around with the pocket watch.
“It would’ve been better if I could at least use enough magic to get some light.”
If he could do so, then he wouldn’t have to suffer reading under the unreliable moonbeams.
He recalled his first lesson as he hummed the incantation. It was a little different than normal words.
If Japanese was the spoken language, then the incantation would be like English.
In order to use magic, one needs to invoke the technical words known as magical words like a switch. As such, in order to use magic, knowledge and skill with magical words were more important than magical power.
High ranking magicians can easily use magic without having to use these magical words, with magician being a general term for those who can use magic.
But even after Herscherik finished reciting the magical words, nothing around him changed. As expected of someone without any magical power.
A little discouraged, Herscherik decided to return back to his room. But as he stood up, something abnormal happened to his body.
A sensation that resembled a trembling chill ran through his right hand and, all of a sudden, a white ball of light appeared right before his eyes.
Herscherik was about to scream at the sudden ball of light, but he quickly covered his mouth in a panic.
He was supposed to be moving like a ninja. If he were to make a racket, then all his hard work would go to waste.
Because he reflexively covered his mouth, he ended up dropping the pocket watch. The moment it hit the floor, the watch let out a high-pitched sound and the ball of light disappeared.
A question mark appeared in Herscherik’s head as he picked up the fallen pocket watch.
It was very faint, but he felt like the beautiful, old silver watch had given off a faint glow when the white ball of light appeared.
He once again recited the magical words. After feeling the trembling sensation again, the ball of light appeared once more.
While holding the pocket watch, he slowly moved away from the light. After which he imagined turning off the light, and the ball of light disappeared without a sound.
He let go of the pocket watch and cast the spell once again. But neither the feeling nor ball of light appeared.
There was only one hypothesis he could think of.
This pocket watch had somehow collected the wandering magical power, responded to his magical words, and invoked the spell for light.
(A surprisingly convenient item!)
Although it was a magic that lit a small light, it was still magic. And that trembling feeling must be the sensation of using magic.
(And since I’m utilizing wandering magical power, I don’t get tired!)
This elation was like when one gets their hands on a newly-released game. This is a fantasy world! Herscherik cheered inside his head.
Herscherik returned to his room, and the very next day, he tried to use a different magic with the watch. But the pocket watch was silent. Well, it’s a pocket watch, so of course it doesn’t speak.
The result of his tests was that by absorbing a tiny amount of wandering magic in his surroundings and utilizing them, Herscherik could use only trivial magic like creating that light ball or lighting up a candle.
(This is like the despair you get when that newly-released game you reserved and waited so long for turns out to be an utter failure……)
Herscherik hung his head. Well, at least he can now read documents at night, preventing the darkness from ruining his eyesight.