Heart, Mind, Body
On a weekend morning, near Ian’s lodging, there was an open field.
In the lingering chill of early dawn, Ian and Danya faced each other.
“In the end, three things are important.”
Danya’s eyes widened at Ian’s three raised fingers.
“Three things? What are they?”
“Heart, mind, body.”
“… I don’t understand what that means.”
Danya’s eyes started to glaze over as difficult words were introduced.
But Ian, who had learned how to deal with this feline beast, persisted.
As he waved his fingers gently, Danya’s eyes followed their movement.
Ian began his lecture.
“First, heart. Heart means your attitude.”
“Yeah, your attitude. It signifies how dedicated you are to your growth.”
“Look around. Do you see anyone else waking up early like us for training? No? So, attitude is crucial.”
The theory Ian was currently conveying to Danya wasn’t the “Mind, Body, Spirit” doctrine that had spread in 21st-century South Korea.
It was more appropriate to call it the “Mind, Body, Spirit Growth Theory.”
A weekend without classes.
On weekends without classes, there was no day off from training, no matter how much it felt like a weekend.
Without fail, he woke up early in the morning near their lodging to train, and Danya joined in.
—I just happened to pass by and thought I’d check it out!
That’s what I say.
At least, that’s what she claimed. Well, whether training alone or together, the benefits were similar, so Danya decided to participate.
“Next is ‘mind’ in ‘Mind, Body, Spirit.’ This one represents mana.”
“Mana… Mana is difficult.”
Danya’s ears and tail drooped.
It was understandable.
Being a beastmen, she found it challenging to filter out only the mana of her elemental affinity due to her overly developed senses.
On the other hand, Ian had no difficulty handling mana.
Thanks to Pongpong, who had worked diligently at the top of Emilia’s hierarchy, Ian had deeply ingrained mana sensitivity.
“Hmm, give me a moment.”
Ian looked at the perplexed Danya and had an idea.
‘Among the various elements present in mana, could I extract only the grass element?’
Danya was a Grass Elemental Mage.
If she could feel only the mana of the grass element, her growth might explode exponentially.
Anyway, Danya was Ian’s first comrade in the academy. She was someone he could trust enough to throw himself into the dark hole for her sake.
I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to help Danya grow.
The thought of assisting Danya’s growth didn’t seem bad at all. Ian also believed that refining his mana perception might be beneficial for his own growth.
Ian lightly closed his eyes and began expanding his senses.
Being a modern person, feeling mana wasn’t too difficult for Ian.
Exclude one familiar sensation at a time, and what remains is the unfamiliar feeling— Mana.
‘Normally, I only felt the earth element.’
This time, he concentrated harder.
The faint scent of soil flowing from the earth element. Beyond that, he imagined seeds. From those seeds, small sprouts emerged.
The scent of grass swaying in the wind and the play of light filtering through the leaves.
The moment he grasped something, Ian immediately used extraction and transformation magic in succession.
Ian quietly opened his eyes.
On his outstretched index finger, small green droplet-shaped crystals were scattered.
Danya approached as if spellbound.
“Is this… for real?”
Like a cat with its favorite toy, Danya toyed with the green grass elemental crystals here and there.
Watching her with satisfaction, Danya, who cherished the elemental crystals, looked at Ian and her eyes sparkled.
“Ian! You’re a genius, nya!”
Lately, it wasn’t well-known, but Danya sometimes added “nya” to her sentences when she got excited. Maybe it was a habit from when she was young?
Anyway, you could tell she was quite excited at a glance.
“I’ve never heard of a mage who can crystallize other elements!”
“Is that so?”
“Isn’t that because you’re only in the Holy Land?”
“Uuuuu!… Now that I think about it, maybe that’s true.”
Ian teased the sulking Danya for a moment, lost in thought.
‘Is this really that difficult?’
Certainly, even in the setting of “Fantasy X Academy”, there were no characters who dealt with multiple elements.
‘Well, it’s not like I was handling different elements.’
In fact, he had only used the most basic <Extraction> and <Transformation> spells for the earth element.
He still felt that he lacked an understanding of this world.
Standing up from his spot, Ian extended his last finger, the final piece of the Mind, Body, Spirit Growth Theory.
“Lastly, ‘body’ refers to your physical form, your body.”
Danya narrowed her pupils as if she were skeptical.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Even skinny one like you…”
“Hitting where it hurts, huh?”
“Heh, I have to be.”
Danya leaped onto a nearby tree stump and raised her arm.
Ian carefully examined Danya’s small yet seemingly resilient body. As he observed her body, which was quite different due to her being a beastperson, when he was about to check her chest muscles, Danya suddenly hugged her own body.
“What are you looking at?”
“It doesn’t seem like there’s anything special…”
He received several punches.
It was unfair.
He swore it was about the chest muscles.
Getting hit like this made him realize once again.
‘Pongpong’s body is definitely lacking in muscles.’
It was only natural.
Pongpong had never exercised. At most, he had walked around stalking heroines.
His body was practically no different from a skeleton.
Of course, Ian was paying attention to this aspect as well.
Push-ups, planks, lunges, and more.
After building a basic core, he planned to start serious strength training.
“Anyway, balance is crucial in the Mind, Body, Spirit Growth Theory. That’s what I meant.”
“I understand now.”
Now, it seemed like Danya finally got it as she nodded her head.
However, Ian was different.
Even after saying it himself, he still felt something was lacking.
‘What am I missing?’
His contemplation didn’t last long.
There was one element that was subtly missing from the Mind, Body, Spirit Growth Theory.
More precisely, knowledge and experience about this world. Of course, he had played “Fantasy X Academy” all night to the point where he had mastered even the minor settings.
But that was learning and experiencing the world from behind a screen.
That was the reason Ian had left Danya and headed to the academy on the weekend.
As always, he got lost on the way.
The Academy was just too vast. It would have been nice if there were mini-maps or something.
— Hey! I’m Ian! Sorry, I have a boyfriend right now!
When he asked people for directions, no one responded normally. He couldn’t have a proper conversation with anyone.
After wandering around, he finally reached the library.
The smell of paper and books definitely warmed his heart.
However, the library was quite vast.
At a glance, it seemed to stretch endlessly.
Fortunately, there was a librarian near the entrance. She seemed to be engrossed in her book, not paying any attention to who was coming.
Still, he felt bad for interrupting her.
“Excuse me. I’d like to ask a question.”
“Ian Blackangers. Do I need a library card or something to read here?”
The librarian raised her head.
No, did she raise it?
Her movements were so subtle that only her sky-blue hair briefly came to mind before sinking down again.
“Verification for reading eligibility. Just read the books.”
“Can I borrow books as well?”
“Your grades are low.”
“Why are you suddenly poking at my weak spots?”
“You can borrow one book. Reading is unlimited. You can borrow more if your grades improve.”
… But something feels off?
“Wait a moment.”
In response to Ian’s question, the librarian glanced at him indifferently.
“Why shouldn’t those who can’t study be allowed to borrow more books, while those who do well can?”
He didn’t expect an answer.
Nevertheless, the librarian’s gaze remained indifferent.
Silently, she lowered her head.
… Was there no point in responding?
People get hurt.
Then, she opened her mouth slightly.
“You must read quietly, and don’t damage the books. Return them to their original places after reading.”
‘Well, I didn’t plan to borrow any anyway. I’ll be spending all my time studying magic and exercising at my accommodation. I’ll only read books here.’
Even if she goes to the dorm anyway, time flies because she has to learn magic and exercise. I only read books at the library.
“Ah, if possible, could you recommend some books?”
The librarian’s head tilted ever so slightly.
It seemed like a positive response.
Come to think of it, it was difficult to express the type of books he wanted to borrow. A beginner’s guide to the “Fantasy X Academy” world… what should he call it?
After a brief moment of contemplation, Ian spoke.
“If there were a first-time traveler to this world, what books would you recommend to help them understand this world?”
For a moment, the librarian’s gaze seemed to change.
Did her lips curl up slightly?
Perhaps she found the question unusual?
She jotted something down on a small piece of paper and handed it to him.
A rather peculiar librarian.
Ian nodded his head and turned to leave.
But then, her voice reached his ears once more.
Silently, she raised her index finger to adjust her glasses and looked at him.
Her voice was hushed, like a whisper.
“No dating, confessions, etc., are allowed.”
That b*stard Pongpong.
Was he going around confessing to people even here?
Ian rubbed his slightly dizzy forehead and continued walking.
But he couldn’t help but think that… the library was just too vast.
The width of one floor of the building was about the size of a soccer field.
At first, it was impressive, but as he walked, it became daunting.
How could he find books in a place like this?
Ian checked the note the librarian had given him in frustration.
“The writing seems like it was printed by a computer.”
[History of Lichten]
[A Tour Around the Continent]
How on earth was he supposed to find these in such a vast place?
Frustrated and overwhelmed, Ian’s inner “Modern Man Kim Ian” began to surface.
These uncivilized fantasy b*stards.
They don’t even have book search machines, and they just lay books out like this in such a disorganized manner? Wasn’t this extremely inefficient?
‘Do I have to teach them the <Dewey Decimal Classification System> from my world or something?’
Once again, Ian found himself immersed in a scenario that felt like it belonged in a story of his own. A surge of unfounded confidence welled up within him.
The note handed to him by the librarian suddenly illuminated, and it then pointed him in the direction where the books he sought could be found.
She was remarkably intuitive and helpful.
Ian nodded in understanding.
Indeed, magic was superior to science in situations like this.
Ian systematically went through the list of books, focusing on the essentials.
[History of Lichten]
A book detailing the history of Lichten Academy and the city-state of Lichten.
[A Tour Around the Continent]
Sacred Constantine in the south, the Kingdom of Galia in the west, and the Prussian Empire in the north.
This book described important countries and key geographical features of the continent.
The content about the Earth Element could not be omitted.
Of course, there were no secrets related to mana magic found in publicly available books, but stories about each element were even more detailed.
‘… Is this more specific than I thought?’
Above all, there was a detailed description of the Goddess of Earth, Gaia.
It would be quite helpful when seeking her blessings in the future.
For now, he pushed it as much as possible into his memory.
As he concentrated and skimmed through only the essentials, he suddenly found himself at the end of the list.
[Hero Dave’s Chronicles]
[A quiet, wicked girl prefers a rough but caring butler.]
Dave the Hero’s Chronicles seemed like a fairy tale book, maybe.
Wait a minute.
What’s this last book?
“Did she write it poorly?”
Ian recalled the librarian’s face.
An endlessly rational and composed face.
Would she read a book like that?
“No, she probably wouldn’t.”
Actually, she was either tired or half-closed his eyes.
She must have been mistaken.
Let’s pretend he didn’t see it.
‘Then let’s assume there’s no last book.’
Hero Dave’s Chronicles.
Following the guidance of the note, Ian naturally walked toward the bookshelf filled with fairy tale books.
‘Why did she recommend fairy tales?’
As he scanned the titles of the fairy tale books on the bookshelf, Ian became lost in thought.
Maybe the librarian wanted to talk about ‘common sense’.
Even though it was just a book, maybe she wanted to say that if people in this world could share their childhoods, they could create empathy with each other.
As he searched through the titles of the books…
[Dragon Hunter James]
[Hero Dave’s Chronicles]
He reached out towards the book.
At the same time, someone else’s hand reached out towards the book and collided with his.
Ian quickly lowered his head.
But the other person’s reaction was strange.
Why were they stumbling over their words like that?
When Ian raised his head, he finally understood the reason.
Messy black bangs that covered her eyes.
A chest large enough to contain her holy power.
Her unstable mental state matched her gloomy personality.
And, a Saintess Candidate.
Aria Lumines Bell.
Standing there was another heroine and Pongpong’s childhood friend.
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