Translated from the original Japanese.
Note from Nias: This account is ported from an old edition.
Today was a Sunday1, and all of the public offices and schools had a day off.
As Seren was going to the university, he showed up at the basement of West Building No. 5. Nearby was Mel, carrying documents and a terminal.
The basement was a lecture hall that could accommodate 400 people. They had rented the place for today, and they were expected to give a speech there.
In order to cater to working adults who would not to be able to attend the speech on a weekday, they had a classroom rented for the day off. Although Seren was an alumnus, he had managed to borrow the classroom.
There was no particular inspection of details for renting out the room. The only thing to do was to make an appointment on the day a classroom was vacant. Therefore, the threshold for delivering an address was low. The problem was whether people would gather to listen.
They entered the venue one hour early to prepare.
As he was preparing the event with Mel, some Altian people turned up earlier than scheduled, one by one.
After that, the northern people showed up at the scheduled time. Ignoring the southern people wandering in after the scheduled time like cats, he started his speech on time.
Seren looked around the classroom. There were only a dozen or so people in the four hundred-person auditorium. That number was too few.
The theme of his address was the modern study of magic.
Even here, Seren was number one in the field. He has published books on it, and his site came on the first page when one searched about it. Under the current situation, Seren’s name was automatically known among those who were familiar with modern magic, at least barring stiffness of the head from old age.
In spite of that, the predicament was whether the thousand or so people on the net that had an interest in modern magic would come. Thus, he could only gather those devotees who were regularly friendly with him to as much as an offline meeting.
His publications sold out in both paper and electronic form.
But compared to a lowbrow pleasure book for ordinary people or a major scholarly publication, the number of books he sold was but a drop in the bucket.
The fact was that no one showed interest in useless fields such as modern magic.
Once, Arbazard was at the cutting edge of magic. Magic was researched with zeal.
But just as soon as humanity lost the power of magic, people cast away the now-useless study of magic.
In the present where magical power has vanished, the modern study of magic is nothing but an armchair theory.
There was no practicality to it, nor power or gold to be won. That’s what everyone says. To practice the modern study of magic is the height of vagary. One either derides it as such or becomes surprised, saying “huh, this discipline exists?”
But Seren had devoted himself to this field since he was around ten. Twenty-one years have already passed. His endeavors paid off, and he became its foremost figure in the world. But ordinary people still could not comprehend it.
Frankly, Seren envied fields such as chemistry or physics or medicine.
These fields were helpful for finding employment and in demand from corporations. For modern magic, on the other hand, employment was the least of its problems. It has not remained even in academic society.
Indeed, modern magic has been banished from academia. At the point mankind lost magic, scientific society has changed its policies to reject literature concerning the study of magic.
Therefore, Seren’s information campaign was his private expense. Publishing books, appearing in a public performance, constructing the site: he performed all of these as a self-supporting endeavor out of his own pocket.
In his university years, Seren received strange glances and even scornful laughter from his superiors and classmates.
On the outside, Seren majored in linguistics and integrated science.
One could study the study of magic as history, but what Seren wanted to study was modern mgic, an agglomeration of medieval magic and modern science.
Besides, the study of magic as history, of course, requires the knowledge of linguistics for the understanding of spells and integrated science for the deep understanding of modern science.
But linguistics was in the humanities, and integrated science in the sciences. Thus, Seren was in two trades at once.
As a result, he spent day and night on researching, studying, and working in part-time jobs during his student years, leaving little time to unwind.
Although integrated science should be a field full of employment prospects, in practice, it was a field dealing with a wide variety of scientific branches shallowly without acquiring deep skill in any particular branch.
For example, among physics, it is possible to find employment in heavy industry after majoring in engineering, but that is not possible after an extremely shallow dive from integrated science.
Narrow and deep is more welcome in companies than wide and shallow. Those with only wide but shallow knowledge and no skills are not needed; they are like red mages in Final Fantasy.
Indeed, even in integrated science, a widely recognized field, finding employment is difficult. Even public attention is far from easy. Even more, linguistics has no more jobs than integrated science, and its public interest is faint.
Even more startlingly, the public’s lack of understanding of the modern study of magic is hundreds of times more extreme than, say, integrated science of linguistics. What Seren was fighting alone was this sort of forum.
The shortcoming of modern magic was the impossibility of demonstration. Now that magic had vanished from the world, establishing theories and observing experiments have become impossible. Therefore, it has been criticized for being a pseudoscience. The theory advocated by Seren was a mere armchair theory.
Because it was a succession of armchair theories, there were many among those interested in modern magic that put up unscientific and unrealistic theories.
In any case, since modern magic had no practical application, there never ceased to be people with a sense of amusement who put out low-quality theories with no sense of reality.
Even the limited world of modern magic is no monolith. Seren has established theories on top of considering what would happen if it suddenly became useful as humanity regained the power of magic. But unlike Seren, the majority were not formulating serious theories. It was no more than a mere fantasy or delusion made half in fun. Indeed, to those people, the prospect of approaching seriously the modern study of magic, which by any means had no practical value, was absurd. In short, they only wanted to waste time playing around in a fanciful world. Most of the narrow-minded residents of modern magic established nothing more than theories of that quality.
But Seren was different. Knowing that it would immediately become of practical utility if the power of magic so much as returned, he exhaustively built up theory from zero. To deal in modern magic, he entered university and even graduate school. But in those days, all he earned was ridicule.
Having given up on the university, Seren became active on the Internet. At first, everyone called him a madman, but those serious and thorough theories sent off a terrific quality, it was felt that they could possibly have practical use, and supporters gradually appeared.
That is how he established his fame and reputation in the narrow world and ascended to the status of the foremost figure in modern magic. Truly a case of the old proverb, “better to be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion”.
As a result of Seren’s information campaign, the area of modern magic has changed. Before, unrealistic, low-quality theories made out of smugness were rampant, but now, the number of people, especially among young and modern people such as middle- and high-schoolers, following Seren’s ways has increased.
Nevertheless, since there was not one other person in the world who had come to grapple with the subject seriously for as long of a time as he, Seren suffered the ill fate of not having a rival.
Therefore, Seren put his heart into training the youth, however many years it might take. He explained the theories of modern magic in a way that ordinary people could easily understand to lower the threshold. In addition, he made public the formulation of theories of modern magic for the first time in Arbazard.
Until Seren emerged, web-searching about modern magic would just turn up each researcher’s own theory; moreover, those ideas were no more than meager in practicality. That is, with a small push, Seren has changed the world.
Having acquired a position on the Internet and published books, Seren has gained prominence in the narrow world. But, as one might say, he was still entirely unknown in the larger world.
That result was the number of people gathered in the auditorium before him. On the Internet, his supporters were in the thousands, but when he called them to such an offline meeting, he could get only ten or so people at best. That was his ability as of now; the broader world’s understanding was limited.
“This is so sad…” whispered Seren at the side of the stage. Mel softly reached out her hand, taking his arm and pressing it against her chest.
“It’s not…? The people gathered here are the chosen. They’re the ones who can understand your noble ideas. We two aren’t understood; the world ignores us. We don’t that trifling world as our listeners. No use for the ignorant. All we need are these elect few.”
“I… see.” As Seren gave this heavy answer, he went up to the stage.
Up to now, today’s presentation had been mainly a summary of the theory.
Before Seren came out, modern magic had been merely a joke discipline, an absurd fantasy, and a game. Never has it even been considered to be serious or scientific.
But Seren was different. From the disciplines called integrated science and linguistics, he had analyzed the study of magic scientifically, erecting the foundations of modern magic.
One of his notable theories was the “viid field”.
He insisted on the actual existence of the human realm, Yumana, and that magic did not exist there. On the other hand, he claimed that magic existed in the twin cosmos, Kaldia.
An ordinary person would have thought that magic stopped existing, but he stated that this was not the case; most of humanity had merely lost viid drastically, while magic still existed in this world.
But then, why did magic not exist in Yumana, while it did in Kaldia? To answer this question, he used the “field theory” of physics.
For instance, an object has mass because the “field” called the “Higgs field” exists. If the Higgs field did not exist, then objects would not have mass.
And likewise, for magic—strictly speaking, viid (幻晄)—to exist, the “viid field” existed in Kaldia.
Seren stated that Yumana had no magic because it had no viid field.
Similarly, Kaldia had magic because it had a viid field.
By making use of the results of physics research that those of the middle ages did not have towards magic, modern magical theories are established.
In this way, Seren established original theories in not a playful but a scholarly manner, based on integrated science and linguistics.
Although the people of broader society judged this as nothing but a fabrication that was impossible to demonstrate, these full-fledged theories that were carefully constructed from zero convinced certain people that it was truly possible to use modern magic in practice.
Having finished his speech, Seren returned home and uploaded the signs of the speech to a video site.
Having made some tea, Mel started sneering, making Seren think something had happened. “Look, an idiot’s shouting something again,” she said as she came to show him a computer screen.
It was a 2ch thread2. Modern magic was not a monolith within the cracks of the narrower world. Among them were those who envied Seren’s fame and achievements.
Without looking much at the theoretical surface, they reflexively found faults in whatever Seren did and denounced him as a madman. This time, too, when he thought of posting the URL to his video, someone had posted it to 2ch right away.
This time, too, it seemed that an adhesion troll had nitpicked on the video that Seren posted.
“Ignore him. He’s just jealous. I leave my achievements on this world every day, and he’s jealous because he can’t do anything. He’s just a small fry who pulls at other people’s feet instead of putting in work. You can just ignore him because he won’t beat me, however hard he flounders.”
“Yeah, he’s a fraud who plays his part in his own play. Showing off so you end up posting on 2ch.”
“All right. Honest people come to this community inside. They wouldn’t hear the voices of those who yell from the bottom of society, and even if they did, they wouldn’t lend their ears to them.”
“I know that too.” Mel let out a chuckle and closed the browser.
Leaning his head on Mel’s arm, Seren started speaking. “Hey, it’s always hard in this cheap apartment, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s fine. Besides, living in the orphanage is a bit, right?”
“Wouldn’t it be awkward if it leaked out to the kids there.”
“It’s near the university… Speaking of which, I think there’s a huge hotel near Kaliz Station.”
“Does it seem expensive?”
“Yeah. … With our earnings right now, it’s out of the question, but let’s stay there someday. Look at the university from that window. Someday, I’m gonna take you there.”
Upon hearing that, Mel smiled with glee. “I’m so happy!” she said as she embraced Seren’s body.
“Hey… big brother. Do you have a grudge against society?”
Seren was silent.
“There’s no way that you don’t. In the face of the hard work you did until your blood welled up, without even looking around, to the fools who pay only curiosity and money to mass entertainment, …”
“If I had the power…”
Seren clenched his fist. “If only I can change this spoiled world…”
“Sure. This world has gone bad, hasn’t it. However peaceful it’s been during the Yutia dynasty, society is going bad even faster now that Mirok is dead.”
“They say that no one can stop it. That no one can change it.” Seren reached out his hand midair. “If I had the power…”
“If you had the power?”
“To demonstrate modern magic, they’d need huge research equipment. Besides, it’d cost a huge amount of money. If only I had that money, I could verify my theories.”
“Then if you had the ability, you’d start with demonstrating modern magic?”
“Yep. Then I’ll change this rotten world like Mirok did. I’ll raise another Mirok Revolution.”
“… But no way that’d go in reality. I’ll just die quietly after making my tiny bit of fame in a tiny world. What a pitiful life.”
“But as long as the girlfriend that you are is here, that’s enough to make me happy,” said Seren as he caressed Mel’s head.
Those readers more observant than B. Gilson should realize by now that this story happens in Kaldia, where the Mel calendar is used. It is likely that “Sunday” here refers to part. (A similar translation into Western calendar parlance occurs with the dates, which are provided as Gregorian dates, not Mel dates.) This hypothesis can be corrobated by observing that 19 September 2012 is a Tuesday, not a Sunday. However, this date translates to
23 mik ser, which is a part. ↩
Likely Yumikl, the closest equivalent in Kaldia. ↩