“There are many kinds of curses. The curse I placed on that stone is the curse of illness. Those under this curse, or those who possess an object with this curse will feel like they’re sick. The symptoms and their severity depend on the visualization and proficiency of the caster.” [Remilie]
“I see. It’s certainly easier to understand experiencing it for myself.” [Ryouma]
“It’s your first time, so I made sure to pick a weaker curse. We’ll use that to practice Dispel.” [Remilie]
Practicing Dispel involved covering the target with light-attribute mana and thoroughly permeating it to neutralize the dark-attribute mana that made up the curse.
The dark mana in the curse was similar to miasma, transforming from natural and internal mana, so it was crucial to pay attention to that. By doing so, I was successfully able to remove the effect from the mana of the curse. From now on, even if I happen to pick up a cursed dark magic stone, as long as I’m good enough, I’ll be able to handle the influence from the mana stored within.
Dispel turned out to be a slightly more difficult spell than the ones I’ve learned so far, however, and it took me a total of about 9 attempts before I got it right. Moreover, I only just barely succeeded while thinking back to the sensation when Remilie-san used Dispel on me at the Execution Ground of Hunger and Thirst. My Dispel isn’t that good just yet, so I’ll have to practice when I have time.
“Just so you know, your spell taking shape by the 9th attempt is plenty fast. The effect will improve with more practice. You don’t strike me as the kind of kid to laze around without a teacher, so… Let’s go ahead and move on to Anti-Curse.” [Remilie]
This time it was a spell that enveloped the body in a thin layer of dark mana to protect from curses. By relying on Chantless Casting, I was able to get the spell to take shape on the first try, and by the third try, I’d gotten used to it. Personally, I found it a lot easier than Dispel.
It suddenly became easier, so unsure I was doing it correctly, I got Remilie-san to test it out.
“Yep, you’ve learned it alright. I know it’s possible to become familiar with a spell through Chantless Casting, but I think you’re also better suited toward dark magic than light magic. Even with Chantless Casting, I don’t think you would have learned it in one go otherwise… Anyway, you look like you still have strength to spare, so how about giving casting curses a go too?” [Remilie]
To solve a problem, one must know the problem. Just being on the receiving end earlier proved plenty valuable, so being on the giving end should deepen my understanding.
“In that case, let’s start with that Illness spell I showed you earlier. Though it’s best to avoid using curses, you can cause all sorts of symptoms with them, and if utilized well, they can aid you in catching bandits or combat. First, you need to decide what kind of symptoms you want to induce. Then you need to visualize how those symptoms feel. In case of Illness, you usually refer to the common symptoms when a person is sick, like fever or lethargy. Until now, it’s no different from your usual spells, but now comes the crucial part, which is also different from how the other dark spells work. When you transform your internal mana into dark mana, you have to fill it with negative emotions.” [Remilie]
“Negative emotions? That’s the same thing that causes the creation of the undead, right? Do curses operate on the same principle?” [Ryouma]
“Exactly. That’s why when a person passes away, sometimes their belongings, their home, and even the people they hate can become cursed. If the right conditions are met, even a person that has never received formal training as a mage can cast it. In a sense, curses are one of the simplest kind of spells. They go way back – to a time when even the elemental magic that we use today didn’t exist. They were already there when human history was just beginning. The ‘most ancient of magic conceived by humanity’, something that was bound to exist given the knowledge and emotions of man.” [Remilie]
“The most ancient of magic, huh. Such history is certainly fascinating.” [Ryouma]
“If you’re interested, try picking up a book on it. There is an overview of most of magic’s history in a book called, Introduction to the History of Magic, that the Magic Guild publishes annually. There are also books that focus on specific eras. But you’re broaching specialist territory if you go down that route, and the Magic Guild is rather unsociable, so there are a lot of books that aren’t available to the public. However, you should be able to purchase them if you go through the duke’s family.” [Remilie]
That’s a good idea. If they ask me what I want as a reward for the grave slimes, I should ask for books related to magic.
“Anyway, let’s get back on topic. The only thing that really stands out of casting a basic curse is the conversion of mana. Once you have the symptoms and the mana conversion down, the curse will envelop your target or permeate it like Dispel. Either way, you should use a visualization that’s convenient for you… Oh, but before you try it. there are a few points that you should be wary of.” [Remilie]
Remilie-san had been smiling until now, but suddenly, her expression tensed. As expected, there’s a risk somewhere. But then again, that’s true for all spells, tools, and technology. Use them wrong, and you’re bound to expose yourself to danger. In any case, I focused my attention so as to no miss anything she said.
“First of all, I’m sure you’ll learn curses very quickly. As long as it’s not for malicious purposes, you’re free to practice your curses, use them in combat, and even research them. There are some spells banned by the law, so you can’t use or research those, but everything else is fair game. There’s no wasted effort in studying, after all.
However! Be sure not to become over zealous when studying curses. Curses rely on negative feelings, so practitioners are susceptible to being consumed by those same feelings.” [Remilie]
Indeed. Even if it’s just training, having to continuously remember angry or unhappy things would exhaust anyone. That’s bound to be depressing and discouraging.
“Of course, pushing yourself is bad, but even if you don’t think you’re pushing yourself hard, make sure to rest and focus on cheering yourself up. There are plenty of adult curse practitioners, AKA shamans, who become consumed by their negative feelings and become mentally disturbed. Were you a normal child, I would have kept our lessons to just Anti-Curse, but you’re not. That’s not just because you’re a Child of the Gods, but also because I think you’re mature enough that you can be taught them.” [Remilie]
True. Curses certainly aren’t something you’d want to teach a child. Remilie-san brought up incidents caused by shamans, spoke about the points to be wary of when using curses, and advised me how to keep myself from straying off the right path.
It was only after all of that that we finally got to the real thing.
“…This counts as a success, right?” [Ryouma]
A sinister aura could be felt emanating from the practice stone. Not only did I not want to hold it, I didn’t want to touch it, and in fact, I didn’t even want to approach it. Uh, I think it might be a good idea to dispel it ASAP. It’s not as bad as that Magic Jewel, but it doesn’t feel good.
“Oh, you succeeded alright, but what kind of illness did you imagine? It might not be capable of causing instant death, but I think this one is more of an immediate threat than the curse that’s affecting you right now.” [Remilie]