A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 190: Enlightenment (6)
The lab in the Magic Tower.
Zod looked at Desir with a puzzled expression.
“I was going to plead for you to stop just one more time, but it doesn’t look like you’ll change your mind.”
Desir stared at Zod with a determined expression. Zod could feel his firm will from just seeing his eyes.
‘I thought he had made his decision impulsively… ’
That was why Zod gave Desir a week to think things over.
‘I never thought he’d train for a solid week for the sake of the implant.’
He couldn’t dissuade him anymore. Zod decided to respect his resolve.
“Just wait here for a second while sitting back to back with the homunculus.”
Desir went to where the homunculus was. It glared up at Desir, bound in a kneeling position.
“So you willingly chose to bring a catastrophe upon yourself.”
She didn’t look as ghastly as she did before. Long gone were the machines keeping her alive, and her body had regained its structure, not to mention her beauty. Nobody had allowed her to manipulate causality, nor was any medicine used; it was the homunculus’s natural resilience that allowed it to recover. It made them realize one more time that she was not a human but a homunculus. No human could recover this quickly.
Although her body had recovered, the homunculus was still not a threat.
Strong skills completely prevented it from manipulating mana. Her remarkable body was also tied up in specially manufactured chains, so she could not move in the slightest.
The girl completely incapable of movement bore no resemblance to the monster who had reaped so many lives during the war.
Looks were deceiving though. It was the most powerful enemy imaginable, with the godlike power of manipulating the principle of causality. This homunculus had put Desir and his colleagues, the Starling Party, in mortal danger.
Desir, without any hesitation, chose to improve himself at his enemy’s expense. He did not feel any guilt from doing so.
Desir sat down back to back with the homunculus.
As he did that, he could feel several mana circles inside the homunculus.
However, he couldn’t sense any trace of mana from within the empty circles.
Desir studied Zod. He was getting ready for the circle implantation procedure, running around the lab preparing equipment and materials. A little later Zod approached him, signaling he was ready to start.
Desir glanced at the object Zod was holding.
“What is that?”
“It is a safeguard that keeps you and the homunculus aligned during the transplantation, so that the mana circle doesn’t fall apart. I’ve also put together an ancillary device to help you harmonize with the mana circle. I made these for you.”
Zod listed off various things to consider and avoid while binding Desir and the homunculus together tightly with a huge band of some kind.
“You cannot detach from the homunculus, no matter how painful it is. If you bleed, just throw up the blood; you can’t afford to lose focus. Sadly, paralysis magic isn’t an option.”
Paralysis magic could be detrimental when it came to fast and precise mana control.
“The most important thing is that everything has to be done quickly. Even though we may succeed in implanting the mana circle, it could get damaged and break if you don’t immediately harmonize it.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
Zod strapped the two of them together, signifying his preparation was complete. He nodded at Desir.
“Let’s start at the count of three. One… Two… Three!”
Zod started circulating his mana while placing his hands on the chests of Desir and the homunculus. At the same time, the huge band-shaped device started glowing.
Desir could feel the homunculus’s mana circles more intensely than before. He could see them so clearly that he could tell exactly where each mana circle was positioned and what frequency it was currently at..
Amongst all the mana circles present within the homunculus’s body, Zod took notice of a particular circle close to its heart. It was closest in frequency to Desir’s own mana circles, so Zod began prodding it in preparation for the transplant.
However, this mana circle was a Sixth-Circle.
Zod could not implant a Sixth-Circle with his current level of skill, and Desir had no chance of handling it.
Zod began injecting mana in order to attack the homunculus’s circles directly and break it down.
From Sixth-Circle to Fifth-Circle. From Fifth-Circle to Fourth-Circle.
The homunculus was shaking in pain as its mana circle was ripped apart, but her body seemed otherwise intact.
Luckily for the homunculus, not only was Zod operating with extreme precision, but its body was well beyond that of a human’s. No regular magician would be able to withstand the pressure exerted on the homunculus’s mana network.
Finally, the Sixth-Circle was a Fourth-Circle. That was good enough to transplant and something Desir could manage.
However, Zod didn’t stop breaking it down there. Instead, he split the circle into four separate pieces. In doing so, Zod made it much easier to transplant the circle into Desir’s body, but greatly shortened the amount of time Desir had to integrate it.
Zod controlled his mana with an even higher level of precision and delicacy as he divided it into four pieces.
Disassembled mana circle pieces started shifting from the homunculus to Desir one by one.
With two pieces transferred, the operation seemed to be going smoothly. However, Desir’s body started showing an adverse reaction as the third piece arrived.
‘The limitation of his mana compatibility… ’
The repulsive force was massive. If Zod’s attention wavered for even an instant, it would be flung away within a second.
Even without an operating manual or practice doing this kind of operation before, he instinctively knew what must be done.
Zod wrapped the piece with his overwhelming Seventh-Circle mana and forcefully pressed it into Desir’s body.
He did this in a confident manner only possible for Zod Exarion, the only Seventh-Circle magician in the continent.
Soon, all of the mana circle pieces were transferred into Desir.
Desir felt a pain great enough that his heart nearly stopped.. It felt like something had grabbed his heart and was trying to smother it. The foreign mana circle was putting his body into shock. The pain ended there though, as a result of his thorough preparation over the last week. He did not, could not, allow the pain to distract him any further.
Eventually, he coughed up a mouthful of blood.
Zod, still watching over him, instinctively raised his eyebrows in concern, but continued to work in silence.
The mana circle pieces that were divided by Zod started combining into one overtop of Desir’s existing Third-Circle.
The pieces fused together, soon forming a Fourth-Circle, implanted no different from a natural addition to his set.
After finishing his part of the procedure, Zod gathered back his mana.
“The rest now depends on you.”
Zod carefully studied Desir.
Once Zod’s mana, the force that had been restraining the repulsive power, had completely faded, the implanted Fourth-Circle started rioting. The mana circle quickly became unruly and pushed and pulled mana chaotically around Desir’s body.
Although the pain right now was bearable, it would quickly grow too strong to bear if he didn’t finish his job in a hurry.
The mana circle began to absorb mana from its surroundings to fill itself, since it was no longer being quelled by the mana suppressing equipment affecting the homunculus.
Desir hurried to read its frequency, knowing it would quickly change if he took any longer.
Zod looked at him in admiration.
Zod remembered watching Desir control distinct frequencies a few times in the past.
Today’s Desir was significantly different. He was doing it far faster than Zod recalled him being able to do so.
All it took was a second for Desir to read the new frequency and force his own mana to begin resonating with the implanted circle..
A disparate noise echoed.
This part of the process was also faster than Zod assumed it would take.
The movement of the mana circle that looked like a wild horse rushing down a hill at breakneck speed seemed to die down, albeit only by a little bit.
However, it wasn’t going entirely smoothly.
‘Its frequency is changing too early.’
The color drained out of Zod’s face.
As the implanted mana circle had absorbed a little bit of Zod’s mana, the frequency had changed quicker than expected.
It was a necessary step to implant the circle and they were prepared for it, but even Zod did not expect just how much it would affect the proceedings.
They were simply unlucky.
After trying to regain control, Desir eventually gave up and restarted the process once again. Starting from zero, once again at the frequency reading stage.
“… Darn it.”
Zod’s palms were sweaty.
Unlike Zod, who was growing increasingly nervous, Desir was entirely unperturbed; even though it was on him to succeed, and even though he knew the price of failure, he remained entirely resolute.
He calmly went back to reading the frequency once again and controlling his mana.
However, the frequency of the circle changed once again.
Desir was about to read the frequency again, not giving up.
Desir coughed up a mouthful of blood. The circle that was in the process of collapsing affected his body and dealt him a severe internal injury.
‘The big change, in the beginning, was impactful.’
The mana was rampaging much more chaotically than they imagined it would. The upper portion of the Fourth-Circle, which had been difficult for Zod to re-bond, now had a crack in it. While it was a minor crack now, nobody could foretell when that little crack would grow and destroy the circle.
Zod wanted to help Desir, but he couldn’t do as he pleased here. Someone else’s interference in the process would only cause more problems for Desir.
Desir had to solve this on his own.
‘… if Desir cannot solve it, then… ’
Zod carefully gathered his mana. If the situation got any more dire, if Desir’s life was truly in danger, he resolved himself to step in and break Desir’s mana circle with his own hands.
When a circle is destroyed due to a mana deluge, that magician dies in nine cases out of ten. Before it got to that point, if he broke Desir’s mana circle under his exquisite control, he was far more likely to survive.
This was a fate better than dying, after all.
Zod was going to approach Desir for the final resort.
Desir suddenly lifted his hand towards him.
‘How is he so relaxed… ?’
He was surprised for a moment, then realized Desir’s expression had noticeably lightened.
At the same time, Zod felt that the movement of mana within Desir’s body, the mana which had been rushing so crazily just moments ago, had certainly died down. He soon found out why.
Des1r had halfway succeeded in harmonizing with the mana circle. In order to buy himself more time, he restrained the unruly circle using his mana, the same way Zod had done when he was implanting it.