A cabin, located in the depths of the mountains, was surrounded by strange trees, bizarre rocks, howling beasts, and chirping birds.
Fernando paced back and forth in the cabin gloomily, considering what he should say to the leaders of "Hysterical Dance", and how he could prevent himself from mocking them. If possible, he should also visit the Eye of Curse. Although the guy was not in the leadership of the organization, everybody knew that he was the boss behind the curtain.
Suddenly, Fernando sensed that dozens of sorcerers were flying over with his spiritual power.
He was quite shocked. A transparent wall of force field immediately appeared next to him, and the spells to break space barriers were ready.
What are they doing? So many people are attacking me? But why are they doing it so obviously, so that I would have a chance to escape?
Questions popped up in Fernando's heart. His concerns were not gone until he saw quite a few acquaintances in the crowd who were earnest but not hostile, but he was still quite puzzled.
"Fernando, I'm told that you are very good at calculus?"
"Can you tell me the solution to this problem?"
"What's your opinion on gravity?"
The questions from the sorcerers gathered into noises that were even more unbelievable than the howling and chirping. Fernando's ears were humming, and he couldn't be more agitated.
"Enough!" A thunderous roar burst out, dwarfing all the noises.
Fernando was not nearly as kind and considerate as Erica. Roaring was his major specialty.
Everybody fell quiet. Fernando said gloomily, "How can I teach you calculus if you keep talking? And how can I know your progress right now?"
Not considering that he was in their territory, or that they had many senior-rank sorcerers and even archmages who were stronger than him, he behaved as a tough teacher.
For him, there was only the extent of knowledge in arcana. Identities and strength mattered little!
After silencing the sorcerers, Fernando said seriously, "I'm here to discuss certain things with the president of 'Hysterical Dance'. After it's over, I'll stay here for a couple of days and teach the basics of calculus from the start if you want. As for gravity, you should wait until you understand the previous parts."
As an experienced sorcerer, he knew how precious Mathematical Principles of Magical Philosophy was and what a major shock it would be for the sorcerers. Therefore, he had foreseen such a reaction.
However, what he did not expect was the degree of their shock!
It seemed that he was not bold enough in his prediction!
His words made the sorcerers of "Hysterical Dance" back to themselves. They couldn't be more surprised. It was one thing that they were asking questions bravely, but it was a whole other thing that he was ready to teach them so frankly. Shouldn't knowledge like calculus and gravity be their greatest secrets?
Are they going to teach us just like that without asking for anything in return?
Not entirely convinced, one of the sorcerers reminded Fernando, "His Excellency the Eye of Curse has reorganized 'Hysterical Dance' into 'Family of Sorcerers'. It's supposed to be a partnership of all organizations."
"And the leader is…?" Fernando asked directly.
Another sorcerer flew over from far away. He shouted, "Mr. Fernando, the Eye of Curse invites you to meet him."
After being briefly stunned, Fernando nodded. "Alright."
That's not bad. He would have to meet Atlant again even if he had to convince the president first.
Their meeting was not held in Atlant's demiplane but in a garden that was overgrown with all kinds of flowers.
"To be honest, I was thinking to capture you and elicit complete knowledge on calculus and the detailed interpretation of gravity from you." With his eyes closed, Atlant said comfortingly.
Fernando sniffed, not nervous at all before a legend. "They do deserve your effort. However, the knowledge will be shared with all sorcerers."
"All sorcerers?" Atlant asked with a smile, as if everything were under his control.
Fernando chuckled. "Yes, Douglas believes that more people and more communications are required to better recognize the world, grasp the natural laws, and analyze mechanisms behind things. So, he has defined this part of knowledge as arcana, which is to be shared with other sorcerers. As for the detailed, applied magic knowledge like magic models, they are personal secrets that one can keep to oneself."
"Arcana?" For the first time, Atlant thought deeply without a smile. "It sounds like Douglas is trying to establish an organization that is purely about the communication of arcana? Is it his definition and categorization?"
"We haven't settled the details yet, but it is indeed our wish. Also, we hope to establish a steady 'magic building' on the foundation of this organization. Together, they will be called 'Congress of Magic' so that we can resist the Church together." Fernando did not hide his purpose or raise the issue with tricks. He mentioned everything straightforwardly.
Atlant nodded. "I'm very interested in the organization that is purely about arcana communication. As for your 'magic building', let's wait and see."
With "Mathematical Principles of Magical Philosophy", one of the most important books in the history of magic, no sorcerers wouldn't be attracted by an organization with arcana communication. Of course, they would certainly decide which part of their knowledge they would share according to the actual circumstances.
"I'm not surprised by your answer. Really," Fernando said in slight mockery. One of the important reasons for the collapse of the Magic Empire was people's selfishness and irresponsibility. "My purpose is to pull 'Hysterical Dance', well, 'Family of Sorcerers', into the group. As for the future, I believe you will make the right choice."
Besides, as people became used to arcana communication, the academic organization would be more stable, and people would be willing to maintain it. It would be easier to unite them later. Atlant knew Douglas and Fernando's plan very well, and he could not resist it.
Atlant suddenly opened his eyes that were as deep as the cosmos. "I'll wait for you."
"Douglas must've already become a legend, right?"
"Yes, 'Elect of Magic'." Fernando tried to resist Atlant's eyes.
Their communication was simple and fast, and they reached an agreement very soon. When Fernando left the garden, he was suddenly at a loss. In the beginning, Old Fox went through all troubles just to talk legends into cooperation, but his persuasion was so easy. Besides the influence of Mathematical Principles of Magical Philosophy, it was also because he had a legendary sorcerer on his back, and Old Fox did not.
A year later, having visited this side of the Storm Strait for a long time, Fernando returned to the Hull Manor provided by Hathaway and saw Douglas again.
"What's the attitude on the hell's side?" Fernando asked his concerns without any small talk.
Perhaps because he was too exhausted, Douglas' hair was partly gray. He said solemnly, "I spent half a year in Burning Metropolis before I was asked to leave hell. I did not meet Maltimus, the Lord of Hell. I didn't even get to visit the dukes of hell."
"Is Maltimus showing that he is unwilling to meddle in the main material world?" Fernando frowned. "Considering his scheme-loving personality, how could he let go of such a great change and leave the things of the main material world aside? Has he been taught a lesson by the pope? Or is he covering something?"
"If Maltimus is covering something, with his smartness, he would've given me a random promise to get rid of me, but he didn't do anything, which makes people wonder if he's covering something up. That's certainly not his style. So, perhaps his attitude contains the information that he really wants to tell us. For example, through such an attitude, he's telling me that he is planning a major scheme that must not be leaked or described, and that he is not far away from success. He's asking us to be prepared and cooperate with him."
After a brief consideration, Douglas told Fernando his analysis.
Thinking carefully, Fernando said, "This possibility matches Maltimus' style best."
"So, we must not be sluggish. In a decade, if it's short, or a century, if it's long, something big may happen," Douglas reminded Fernando.
Twenty years later, in year 398 of the Saint Calendar, inside the greatest swamp of the Duchy of Calais…
A man in a black magic robe was roaming on the mud. He did not wear any hood, revealing his face that was nothing more than a bag of bones. He was so terribly slim and pale that it was impossible to tell his real age.
His left hand had lost all the colors of vitality. Pale and dim, it was covered in the vague of death. The moment it pressed a seven-headed swamp earthworm, the insect decayed with pus flowing out, turning into an undead creature.
Raising his head that was only slightly better than that of a skeleton, the man looked at the sky and said to himself coarsely, "Shirley, I'm here to pick you up."
"Sorry, I'm late."
As he spoke, he stepped forward. The deep black mud in the swamp suddenly bubbled as if it were boiled water.
Then, the mud was lifted and thrown to the sky, splashing everywhere, and monsters that had been rotten to the bones stood up!
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