".... I'm going to be the king of pirates," was heard from the holographic screen
[Next episode?] a robotic voice asked.
"I'm out of snacks," Lys announced, stretching her limbs in a leisurely fashion.
"Franky, could you bring some more?" she added, and a satisfied "puuur" accompanied Franky's departure from the chair.
Watching Elian's concentrated work, Lys couldn't help but wonder aloud, "What is he doing now?"
[He has just finished studying the runic structure of the bracelet.]
[He is now identifying the key runes that can harness Quantaflux's properties to create the memory and processing framework].
"Oh, and he does this with his bare eyes?" Lys inquired.
Though Lys had assisted Elian in his work before, this was the first time she had seen him perform such intricate tasks without the aid of runic magnifying glasses.
As Elian's childhood friend, Lys was the only one privy to his unconventional methods that set him apart from other runesmiths.
Despite her status as a maid, Lys had always been treated as a member of the Thorne family. This special treatment stemmed from the fact that Elian had opened his heart to her and made her an integral part of their lives.
lightsΝοvelUnlike other maids, Lys had been exposed to various educational lessons, including those on professions such as alchemy, blacksmithing, runesmithing, and technocrafting.
After the lesson on the professions, her admiration for Elian deepened. His approach to runesmithing was a world away from the norm. Anyone familiar with the subject could recognize the uniqueness of his methods.
At its core, the role of the runesmith was to manipulate the inherent runic structures of materials. These runic structures could be likened to the DNA of the material, and the runesmith's job was to modify them, either by altering existing runes or inscribing new ones to achieve specific goals.
On the surface, this may seem deceptively simple. However, runesmiths faced many challenges, and two were particularly daunting: rune reading and rune interaction.
The ability to read runes was the very first skill required in the art of runesmithing. Without this skill, one might as well find another line of work. Traditionally, runesmiths guarded secret techniques for deciphering runes that were passed down through their families or masters. Various forms of reading techniques existed, but none came close to the method Elian used. While Lys lacked a precise understanding of his technique, she was aware that Elian could read runes on a pet like Franky in less than ten minutes. While she didn't know the exact times of other runesmiths, she suspected that it would take them hours at the very least.
Similarly, the issue of rune interactions presented a formidable challenge. As new runes were added to a material, they interacted with existing runes, often leading to unpredictable results. Existing runesmithing methods couldn't guarantee mastery over the myriad potential interactions. As a result, inscribing runes could require numerous attempts, as unexpected and destructive interactions were all too common.
Lys, however, knew better. She was privy to Elian's remarkable ability to anticipate these interactions. She had never seen him make more than three inscription attempts as if he could easily guess what interaction has gone wrong, a skill that seemed almost supernatural. She had once believed that
he could inscribe anything flawlessly, but he had humbly reminded her that even he had his limits, as some runes were too complicated for him to fully understand or master.
[Yes] Zero One interrupted her thoughts.
"Why? Why doesn't he just use the glasses?" She was well aware that the glasses were essential for most reading runes techniques.
"You can tell her," Elian replied without taking his attention away from the intricate work on the bracelet.
[Are you sure?] Zero One inquired, sensing the gravity of the information being shared.
"She's under a soul oath, don't worry," Elian reassured. [Understood, Master.]
Meanwhile, Lys sat wide-eyed, realizing that her innocent question had revealed one of Elian's most closely guarded secrets. She almost wished she could take it back, feeling a pang of regret.
"Don't worry, Lys. I trust you," he said, his tone conveying his understanding of her thoughts.
"..." Lys was taken aback by this answer. She knew about the incident and the fact that Elian hadn't fully confided in her yet. He might have cited the soul oath, but it was a known fact that soul oaths were not foolproof. Wealthy individuals might be able to find loopholes to circumvent such oaths, although it would always result in the death of the oath-taker.
It was in this context that Lys understood the seriousness of Elian's words. The sincerity in his voice was unmistakable. Her heart swelled with happiness, and she felt a surge of emotion that almost brought tears to her eyes.
"Thank you, Ely."
Elian, still absorbed in his work on the bracelet, simply smiled.
[The Master can now read runes with his naked eyes due to the improvement of his gift.] Zero One announced
Gift? Lys' mind reeled with shock. Gifts were rare these days. By definition, a gift was an ability or power that didn't come from manipulating mana.
In an age where almost anything could be achieved through mana manipulation, gifts stood apart. They allowed their owners to use their abilities independently of mana, even when their mana reserves were depleted. Gifts were not always hereditary, but many were.
Lys was certain that the Thorne family did not possess such a gift. She wondered if it might have come from Julia. Concluding her thoughts, she nodded inwardly and thought,
'Yes, that's probably it.' For her that was the most plausible explanation. Curious, Lys rose from her seat and approached Elian to inquire further. "How does it work?"
[Basically, the Master can see into the runic world and subtly influence it,] Zero One explained succinctly, knowing that Elian was too engrossed to engage in a lengthy conversation.
Lys' astonishment deepened upon hearing this. The concept was almost too surreal. She remembered that despite all the existing runes reading techniques, none of them truly 'read' runes; they used different methods to 'deduce' their meaning.
Drawn by her curiosity, she positioned herself in front of Elian to witness his process. She was surprised to see his eyes.
In stark contrast to his natural black irises, they turned an ethereal white and network of small veins became visible around his eyes. The sight reminded her of a particular eye technique she had seen in one of her anime shows.
"Does he have a name for his gift?" she wondered aloud.
[Not really. It's a closely guarded secret, so he hasn't felt the need,] Zero One replied.
"Ah, how about we call it 'Byakugan'?"
Elian burst into laughter, exclaiming, "HAHHAHHAHAA," before adding with a chuckle, "I get the reference, but I'll have to decline; after all, Japanese is a dead language."
"Luckily, I finished just before your joke."
"Now I have to start inscriving. Please, no more jokes. This time it's a hit or miss," Elian explained with a smile.