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Gekka no Utahime to Magi no Ou Vol 1 Prologue

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PROLOGUE 

 – The Last Hexe
She introduced herself as «The Last Hexe»1
 to me.
She was clad in black clothes like those worn at a funeral and had dull grey
hair that looked as though it were covered by ashes. Within her eyes dwelled
mystery, and she certainly looked the part of a 'witch'. However, she was a
surprisingly sociable and friendly person.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Lyle Waldstein."
Upon my grasping of her outstretched hand, the «Hexe» was all smiles, and
my anxiety all but vanished.
And to Erl—of course, the «Hexe» had a real name and also a pet name—
"Are you really a witch?"
I asked.
Erl did not live in a dwelling deep in the forest but rather in a mansion out in
the open, widely exposed to the sun. The people that worked there had
never seen any fiels2
 or automata3
 like those from the fairy-tales of the past.
At that time, I did not know the reason why «The Last Hexe» was known as
a rare prodigal scientist . To the childishly innocent me, Erl had said,
"Well, well, what should I say? The 'answer' is not something that is given,
but earned, don't you know?"
while smiling in delight.
I had immediately went about exploring the mansion. I could find nothing, to
which Erl smiled, and I doubled my efforts in my search for the answer.
It ought to have taken about a month. I discovered a hidden door and a
staircase to the basement.

1
 Hexe means 'witch', in German. To be exact the author used 'Hex' (not in furigana, it's
written right at the end of the book), but I took the liberty of correcting it.
2
 Faeries, basically.
3
 Moving puppets, similar kinds of existences. 
 
2
Carrying a lamp, I entered the basement, and promptly shouted for joy.
There was the 'witch's room', the existence of which I had both been
skeptical of and was eagerly anticipating, where glass specimen containers
and old books were piled up.
And, on top of the table was, that which was considered to be the origin of
magic, the mysterious magical stone—[Amber].
Taking one of the amber stones, I raised it over my head... but, nothing
happened. No flames, not even a faint light, was given off.
Avoiding detection, I stayed inside the hidden room. Parchment scrolls,
handwritten ancient documents, Erl's research notes, I read everything
systemically and analytically, deciphering their codes.
One month later, I succeeded in drawing out the magical power of the
amber.
Up until now, I still clearly remember the dusk-coloured light that the amber
had given off during its magical excitation.
"Lyle..... you..."
Turning my head towards the source of the sound, I saw Erl's face covered in
surprise and shock.
"Even though he's just a six or seven year old kid, to have even cracked the
code about the magical power of amber... Is he what they call a genius?"
From that day onwards, Erl had made me call her 'Master'. She may have
been a strict one, but when I did a good job in learning what she taught, she
would gently stroke my head and smile.
Her smile made me happy, and I grew more and more absorbed into studying
magic.
"But, you know."
To the me who had openly become a 'witch's disciple', Erl, while making what
others would see as a sarcastic smile, had said, 
 
3
"This sort of magic has already been outdated for a very long time. Now, it is
simply waiting to disappear."
Having said that, she brought me to her 'workplace'.
Her workplace was a large workshop, filled with pipes everywhere, and
steam was leaking from the openings of said pipes.
"Look. Those are the mechanisms that changed the world."
Inside the workshop was a gigantic furnace constructed with heavy steel. A
strong yellowish, dusk coloured flame was burning brightly inside the furnace
with a rumbling sound.
Strong, sturdy men were shovelling low purity amber that had been piled up
in a mountain into the mouth of the furnace. The fires burned with greater
intensity, and the pipes connected to the furnace leaked steam while
vibrating.
"This is the [Amber Reactor]. In order to power the steam engine, it produces
large amounts of indispensable thermal energy, and is the driving force
behind the current . I thought of this idea half a
century ago. —Now, do you understand the advantage of adding a steam
engine to the Amber Reactor?"
"... Having nothing to do with an individual's disposition, and being able to
freely make practical use of large amounts of energy..."
Different from magic which was subject to the user's individual nature and
preferences and then altered to fit, the steam engine was purely a machine
to the bitter end—the same kind as wagons and water wheels. Anyone could
operate it as long as they studied the correct operating method.
"I see.... the energy of the amber which can only be tapped upon by only a
few humans, the 'magi', is used as 'fuel' in a method available to everyone—a
reproducible technology. To be precise, 'science'."
And just like that, Erl started teaching me about science.
Science was a systematic enterprise, and that meant it was something like
the factorisation of the world. 
Prologue
4
Under the tutelage of the prodigal scientist with the fearsome title of a
«Hexe», I was thrown into the world of scientific knowledge; of physics,
chemistry, biology and others. With wonder and delight, I studied.
... And at the same time, Erl revealed her hidden fears.
"To think that I'm actually changing the world, the idea of that is pretty
frightening. Why did I invent something so strange, I wonder?"
«The Last Hexe», who had ended the age of magic through science, had
spoke of her true feelings in that manner.
"You too are a part of this, Lyle."
Turning over the pages of the report written by the me who had turned
thirteen, Erl had said that as though she were making a prediction.
"—Should you ever want to, you will leave the name of Lyle Waldstein in
history. You possess 'power'. Depending on the circumstances, you have a
'power' greater than either military might or magical strength. That is why,
Lyle, I ask you this—Do you have it? The determination to change the
world?The determination to prevent change to the world?"
.... A year after asking that question, Erl—Erllua Azoth, leaving me with
nothing but a ton of difficult questions and a single pocket watch, vanished.


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