Study Magic in My Free Time - Chapter 1: Suddenly I’m The Fifth Son Of A Nobleman
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Author: Miki Nazuna
Translator: Mr. Steak
“Young Master? Is something the matter, Young Master?”
Someone was tugging on my sleeve.
After getting this dizzy feeling for a second like right before you doze off, the scene around me came into view.
This “Eh?” was a different “Eh?” than the previous one.
It meant… Why am I here?
I looked around.
It seemed like some kind of a banquet hall in a mansion somewhere.
There were a bunch of people around, apparently having a party.
Somehow, I’m here even though just a second ago, I was getting drunk at home after work… That’s what it meant.
This third “Eh” was spoken in a much louder tone of voice.
That was because I’d looked down at my body, and then held my hands up in front of my face.
I’m…… a child?
I felt all over my face.
There were no wrinkles at all, but let alone that, there was absolutely no facial hair!
Not even a hint of that scratchy feeling you can never get rid of no matter how much you shave.
But more than that, the skin was so youthful! So silky smooth.
Even though just a second ago, I was getting drunk at home after work. Before I knew it, I’d become a child.
Even spelling it out like that, I couldn’t understand, and I felt like I was going crazy.
“What’s wrong, Liam?”
I heard a refined male voice call out from a short distance away.
For a moment, the chatter of the party guests quieted down a little.
Just as I was wondering if something was going on, the woman next to me (some sort of maid) whispered into my ear.
“Young master, His Excellency is talking to you.”
Following the line of the maid’s nervous glance, my gaze reached the most important-looking seat in the banquet hall, upon which sat a single nobleman.
The nobleman’s face was red—probably from alcohol, as he looked at me with eyes that hadn’t yet lost their youthful good cheer.
“Oh, um……. Congratulations?”
I didn’t understand much, but I could at least figure out that he was the focus of this celebration, so I tried that response to start.
At that, the nobleman seemed satisfied, and said, “Yes, and you should enjoy yourself today too.”
I had survived my first several moments.
I breathed a sigh of relief, then tried to blend in with the crowd.
Once eyes were off of me, I checked my surroundings and listened carefully to scrape together any information I could.
After about thirty minutes of doing that, I learned several things.
First, my name, or rather, the name of this child I’ve come to possess, was Liam Hamilton.
Fifth son of Count Hamilton.
Furthermore, this event was being held because the family head (the nobleman I’d talked to before) had, after five consecutive sons, finally borne a daughter.
The party’s focus was on the Count and his official wife, plus the concubine who’d given birth to the daughter, as well as the Count’s five sons.
That was as much as I learned.
What I still didn’t know was… Why in the world had I become Liam Hamilton?
Even as the sun rose on the next day, I was still Liam.
I’d thought maybe I was dreaming or hallucinating, so right after the party ended last night, I’d gone straight to sleep. But even after waking up, I was still this twelve-year-old boy Liam.
Sitting up on my bed, I once again felt all over my face.
It made me a little bit anxious.
Facial hair is the proof of one’s manhood.
As a (former) baby face, I’d seen firsthand the difference in jobs offered to those with versus without facial hair.
Well-paying jobs… Fun jobs.
The jobs that you really want to do will usually go to someone with facial hair.
Since I’d lived so long in that world, having no facial hair again made me really uneasy.
“Good morning, Master Liam.”
The door opened, and a maid came in.
She was young, around twenty.
“Which will it be today?”
She gestured toward the cart she’d been pushing.
On the cart were three different outfits.
“Which…? You mean I get to choose?”
The maid made a face as if thinking, “Why would you ask that?”
Being able to choose the outfit I wear each day… This really is the life of a noble.
Seeing as I wouldn’t be returning to my original body anytime soon, I’d need a better grasp on my current situation, so I asked the maid a bunch of indirect questions to figure stuff out.
First, about yesterday’s party.
The status of nobility is inherited for up to three generations.
After the third generation’s succession, if you’ve accomplished something of merit to the country, you can have the inheritance extended for another three generations. However, if you don’t, then starting from the fourth generation, the family will be commoners.
The current family head, Liam’s father, Charles Hamilton was the third generation.
If he doesn’t achieve anything important during his own reign, then they’d be commoners from the next generation on.
And among all the meritorious achievements one could accomplish, the simplest one was to have the emperor choose your daughter to be his empress.
Apparently, Charles had been gunning for that. So when his concubine finally bore a daughter yesterday after five sons, he was so excited that he threw a grand party.
Therefore, the only things on Charles’ mind were his eldest son, and his daughter.
“Eh, I don’t care. We’re nobles, after all.”
Liam’s brother, the fourth son Bruno, smiled cynically.
Taking into account his age—thirteen years old, that sort of nihilistic cheer was actually kind of charming.
It’s not rare for boys his age to try and seem cool and aloof like that.
I was currently with Bruno in the town’s private school.
I’d gotten dressed that morning, ate breakfast, then came to this school with Bruno.
Using the tidbits of info I’d gotten from the maid, I’d asked him, “What do you think about our new sister?” and Bruno had responded with the earlier line.
“We already get to take these private lessons, so we’re gonna be able to do whatever we want with our lives after this.”
“Whatever we want?”
“Hah, I’m so grateful I just want to cry. Coming to this school, and our worry-free lives, it’s all to maintain our dignity as nobles. And that’s because the Hamiltons have the title of Oldest Nobles.”
“Just because the number of generations is big or whatever, we have to look especially good.”
I’d learned a little bit more about my situation.
Oldest nobles, huh…? That was probably related to the rules of inheritance extension. That would also explain the extent of yesterday’s celebration.
The emperor or imperial prince falls for a lower-class woman at first sight, and as a result, her family is elevated to the status of empress. That plot was standard in myths and plays. Even I, a former commoner, knew them well.
I’d learned a lot today.
But what I hadn’t learned…
Seriously… Why was this happening to me?
What was happening to my original body, and when can I return?
And if I actually can’t, then……?
“Ho ho ho.”
Accompanied by a tired-sounding laugh, an elderly man walked into the room.
He had the vibe of a cheerful old guy, like the kind who’d respond to rude people with lighthearted jokes.
He seemed like that breed of old guy.
“Welcome to class, you two. Now then, let’s begin today’s lesson.”
“Don’t bother, old man. It won’t make a difference no matter how hard you try.”
Bruno once again went at it with his nihilistic, all-knowing attitude.
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, I was born as the fourth son of a noble, so I’ll get to enjoy life without a care after this.”
Enjoy life without a care.
Maybe I should do that too.
After class, Bruno responded to my question with a dubious expression.
“Yeah, I want to learn magic.”
“You’re acting weird.”
Bruno was surprised, but I naturally had a reason for asking that.
Magic was information they don’t teach you in school.
And that information was a weapon. A weapon that was all but monopolized by royals and nobles.
As an ex-commoner, I knew about the existence of magic, and had even witnessed nobles using it. But how to use it, or even how to learn it in the first place, I had no idea.
When I heard Bruno say “enjoy life without a care”, the very first thing I’d thought was that I wanted to learn magic.
“Is that not allowed?”
“Nah, it’s allowed. There’s the archive in the mansion, ain’t there?”
I actually had no idea, but I nodded anyway.
It’d be perfectly natural for Liam to know about the archive, so I figured I’d just get the location later from a maid or someone.
“Well there are grimoires in there, so you can read ’em all you want. I mean, only one in a hundred people have magical talent, so I think you’re wasting your time, but whatever.”
Up until we left the school, Bruno kept playing the part of nihilistic philosopher.
Having learned of the archive, I made a beeline for the mansion.
This was an unfamiliar town, and lots of stuff caught my attention, but magic comes first.
With that resolve, I forged straight ahead back to the mansion.
When I got back, a maid greeted me.
“Welcome back, Master Liam.”
“Where’s the archive?”
Her face seemed confused as to why I didn’t know.
“Nevermind, just take me there.”
I had probably gotten a bit too excited hearing Bruno say I could read the books freely.
I wasn’t able to play it cool, and accidentally went straight to the point.
The maid was curious, but I was still her “young master”. Even if I was young, I was still the son of a nobleman.
She timidly lead the way.
We arrived at a room with a majestic door.
She opened it and went inside.
As soon as the door opened, a bizarre smell hit me.
“What’s that smell…?”
“That’s the smell of books. When a lot of books are stored together, the room smells like this.”
For my old self, a “room of books” was completely irrelevant, so the smell was new to me. After having it identified, I went inside.
I looked around at all the spines lining the bookshelves.
Then I started looking for the particular books I was after.
After a short time, I found a book with the title “Elementary Flame Magic”.
I took it off the shelf and opened it.
I started reading from the first page.
It started with an overly-wordy introduction.
First, it explained what fire magic is. Then said that since using magic to raise the temperature is relatively simple, as many as one in a hundred people can master it.
On the other hand, ice magic (though this book was only about fire magic), in other words, lowering temperature, was more difficult. So apparently, only one in a thousand people can master it.
At that point, I started skimming until I found a page I could actually put into practice.
The first one was how to light a flame on your outstretched finger like a candle.
The specific ways to concentrate on it, the breathing techniques, how to move your body…… et cetera, et cetera.
All of that was written.
One by one, I put them into practice.
I closed my eyes and concentrated according to the instructions, and breathed in a way I never had before.
And then just like it said…… I loaded my energy into my fingertip!
“……Ah! I did it! It’s magic!”
The maid who’d led me here applauded me.
Flickering at the tip of my outstretched finger was a small candle-like flame.
Then I looked at the bookshelves with all of their various magical tomes… their grimoires.
I still don’t know what’s going on at all, but……
I’ve learned magic, and I would learn more in the future.
My life as a noble started off really inexplicably, but now, I am extremely excited for what lies in store.
Translator and Editor Notes:
Hey y’all! Steak here.
So, this webnovel is the latest in a loooong string of shitty isekais by this author. So, like, don’t expect anything mindblowing lol. But I have a feeling, or maybe just a naive hope, that this has the potential to be entertaining shit. Also, there’s no bullshit “cheat” mechanic, stupidly unbalanced videogame stats, or creepy sex stuff, which sets it apart from like 90% of webnovels. I ain’t even wrong though lol.
Despite that, I am a staunch believer that even shitty things deserve good translations. Because that allows the reader to make an informed decision about how shitty it is, but more importantly, it lets us watch the trainwreck unfold without having to blame translation errors. So if you want to come along for this ride with me, I’d love to have you. And who knows, maybe it’ll actually be good??
Anyway, notes on the chapter itself:
-You may notice there’s already an existing “translation” of this chapter on NovelUpdates. You only need to read like 5 words of it to realize why I’ve translated it “again”.
-It’s really interesting that he’s decided to go for the cookie-cutter “reincarnated into a child” plot, except…. the reincarnation was within the same fantasy world…? Does anybody know another novel that’s done that? It’s kind of an interesting twist. (I’m gonna be really embarrassed when I translate the next 50 chapters, and this nuance literally has no effect on the story. lol)
-I have no frickin’ idea how these politics are supposed to work at all. I literally just translated what the words said, but I’m like…. I don’t understand. It seems like the maid’s information and Bruno’s dialogue directly contradict each other? Right? Because based on the words I read, it sounds like Bruno, Liam and all the sons would also become commoners after the 3rd generation (aka Charles) is done. Right?? But Bruno seems to think he’ll be a noble no matter what happens. Okay you know what, I’ve devoted way too much thought to this already. I’ll just accept it.
-One small bit of praise: the detail about the smell of books being foreign to “Liam” was honestly a nice touch. It really drives home the fact that he used to be a commoner.
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