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After a moment trying to decide between the encyclopedia and research notes, Mira settled with the latter. She was keenly interested in both of them, but there was something pushing Mira onto one of them.

She had already read through half of the Skill Encyclopedia, while the research notes were brand new, so the novelty of them won her over. On top of that, the research notes also mentioned various concepts that were directly applicable to summons. The Ashen Knights she used to fight Machina Guardian had been a product of the knowledge she gained from those notes too after all, showing the merit of studying them.

Thinking of gaining more power, more fame, and proving to the world that summoners were the strongest, a maddening smile took over Mira’s lips and she continued studying the research notes.

「Ohh, this here…」

An hour and a little more passed since she started reading the research notes. During that time she had gained a wealth of knowledge, but then she found one topic that interested her in great measure, and was something that applied to all spellcasters that controlled familiars.

Familiars were entities different from the caster under their control, like the summons of summoners, golems of necromancers, or shikigamis of onmyoji masters.

After forming a contract with spirits, summoners could call on their help whenever they wanted. Things were slightly different for Man-Made Spirits, which were spirits born into objects used by humans. When forming a contract with those, the object they lived in could be recreated by the summoner in exchange for mana, so it was more like making a copy of that object instead of bringing forth the spirit itself. That was also why it was possible to summon multiple Dark Knights or Holy Knights at the same time.

Necromancers would create transient souls to inhabit dead bodies, which they could then control at their will, quite literally puppeteering the bodies. At first glance that could be considered a horrifying and heretic act, but the actual practitioners thought differently. It was actually considered a noble and almost sacred art in the Silver Linked Towers.

Souls borne from necromancy were filled with righteous power, so the dead bodies they inhabited were quite different from undead monsters. They would not be wiped out by holy magic, and they had no weakness to sunlight. In some cases, depending on the body used, they could even wield divine power themselves.

Because of those properties of necromancy souls, regardless of their transient nature, necromancy was not considered despicable, but pure and sacred.

Then again, that did not apply to Soul Howl, who did not hold such beliefs and had chosen that class purely because it sounded dark and edgy.

Onmyoji shikigamis were a materialization of the caster’s imagination. The casters would envision a shikigami they wanted, then gather the suitable materials, and bring it into being. It was a class that required a strong imagination and creativity.

Constructing a shikigami was not too complicated either, creating a vessel and then imbuing it with power from the five agents of onmyoji. It was those five agents that were the most important and tricky part though.

The vessel itself could be built however the caster wanted, and usually everyone developed their own style through experience. Almost anything could be used as a vessel, and the shape was up to the caster’s imagination. It could be shaped like a common animal or a mythological creature, all that mattered was having a clear picture of it in one’s imagination. The next step was harder.

Each of the five agents one could choose from imparted different traits, so most onmyoji masters thought of it as creating a character in a game, selecting advantages and disadvantages, all of which would factor into the shikigami’s functions and abilities.

The five agents were Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, and Earth, each of which would impart a different power to a shikigami, and the casters could pick and choose however they wanted. The stats, abilities, affinities, and even behavior of a shikigami would vary greatly depending on what was chosen. But it was also a rather volatile system, so one had to be careful, as it was easy to end with a shikigami with a strong affinity for fire, weakness to water, and a rowdy temperament, and other similar situations. There was an intricate system with how the five agents reacted to each other.

Because of that, creating a new shikigami from scratch was quite a difficult and time consuming task. But there was no need for a new onmyoji master to feel like they had to figure it all out on their own. There was plenty of literature left from previous onmyoji masters detailing everything they had found out through trial and error, laying a foundation for newer generations, including shikigamis that were proven to work.

Out of those, the shikigamis heralded as the best were Kagura’s Four Holy Beasts. Kagura had spent many years refining the vessels, shape, and five agents of them, bringing out everything they had to offer. Actually creating those shikigamis required a lot of expertise to pull out successfully though, so only seasoned onmyoji masters would be able to create and control them.

Because of that, the shikigamis of the world were divided into two main categories, shikigamis built and tested by previous onmyoji masters, and those someone came up with on their own.

Kagura was also developing new shikigamis to rival the Four Holy Beasts, and was having some success. One example being a munchkin nekomata that was twice the size of a tiger. It was the condensation of Kagura’s secret dream and desire to hug a cat bigger than her.

Those were the three different types of familiars, though as they belonged to different classes, there was little overlap in their abilities. But Mira was finding various common features from Soul Howl’s research that could be applied to summoners as well.

「This is truly intriguing…」

One of those common traits were Compound Skills, but they were still being researched, and there was a lot left to learn about them. But as far as Mira had seen, there were many skills unique to each class that actually had a shared foundation.

All three classes had various skills to heal or power up a familiar, which had different names to fit their respective class, but shared the same principles.

The realization of that sent a shudder down Mira’s spine, instantly knowing what that meant. Maybe there were a lot more skills like that, previously thought to have nothing in common as they belonged to different classes, but were the same.

So Mira began to think back to the various skills of necromancers and onmyoji masters, trying to figure out which ones could have a similar foundation.

(Reading a corpse’s memories… Preserving a corpse for longer… Increasing the effect of the five agents… Increasing the interactions between agents… Hmm, this type of knowledge is too specific for me, I can’t figure it out alone. Other than that…)

At that point Mira recalled something that happened not too long ago in Sentopolly. There she had talked with Kagura, even though she was in the Fifty Bells’ headquarters, by using Piisuke as intermediary.

That spell was called Sense Sync, and was limited to familiars created with the caster’s mana, and allowed one to control a familiar with their mind, having all their senses transmitted. Kagura had mentioned that necromancers could also use it.

If that spell existed for both onmyoji masters and necromancers, who had familiars, then Mira had a strong premonition that there had to be a way to make it work with summons as well. At least that was the conclusion she arrived at thanks to Soul Howl’s research.

Mira quickly took out her notepad, where as luck would have it, she had all the details about Sense Sync from Kagura.

Mira had been studying that whenever she took a break from reading the Encyclopedia of Skills, but so far there had been no breakthrough. Or rather, no matter how much she followed the indications Kagura gave to use the Sense Sync, it would never work.

Just when she was about to give up on it, thinking that summoners could not use it, Soul Howl’s notes came in clutch, giving her new hope.

(This is certainly worth looking into.)

Some of the other spells with similar effects amongst classes with familiars were not necessarily learned the same way. Maybe Sense Sync simply happened to be able to be learned the same way between necromancers and onmyoji masters, but was different for summoners.

If that was the case, then Mira could see a path forward now that she had both Soul Howl’s research notes and Kagura’s information about Sense Sync.

Looking through both, she began to work out the particulars of the spell, trying to figure out exactly what was stopping her from using it as well.