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Backstory

        This night inside a circus tent, a feminine-type Machina in male magician uniform was whispering to herself backstage.

        “I’ll become Saxton the greatest magician as long as I follow all the instructions. My magic is the coolest…”

        With her eyes closed, Eileen the Machina gripped a worn magic hat tight nervously.

        “Put this hat on and I’ll be Saxton the great magician.”

        The moment when Eileen put on the magician hat, her gaze became determined and her confidence was boosted. Next second, she lifted the curtain and got on the stage.

        “Alright. First, take out the hat and display it for three seconds,” Eileen followed the instructions from the illusion notes left by Saxton.

        “Next, trigger the switch inside the hat. Then count ten seconds.”

        Dozens of pigeons flew out of the hat immediately. The performance of Eileen was smooth and flawless.

        “At the last part, trigger the four machines sequentially at four-second intervals.”

        Smiling confidently at the audience, Eileen waved her magic wand to trigger the machines. Even more pigeons were unleashed out of nowhere, taking the show to the climax.

        “As long as I get all the steps done, I’m Saxton the great magician!”

        When Eileen spread her arms at the end of the show, all she got was a little applause.

        “Huh? Why the cold response?”

        The surprised Eileen looked at the crowd, who were obviously feeling bored, leaving Eileen in perplexion.

        At backstage, Eileen overheard a conversation between the technicians.

        “I watched a lot of Saxton’s shows when he was alive. Although his apprentice is not bad, this show just feels like a replica…”

        The criticism from the audience and the technicians hit Eileen like a wrecking ball. Unable to deal with it, she ran to the locker room.

        Bam! Bam! Bam! She kept hitting the wall with her mechanical hand.

        “How dare they criticize Mr. Saxton!” Eileen then murmured in distress, “what should I do? What should I do to create a trick that won’t disgrace Mr. Saxton?”

        “Huh?” A flyer dropped onto the ground because of Eileen’s punches. She bent to pick it up.

        “This is...a flyer from Ablaze Circus...The greatest magic performance?”

        That flyer inspired Eileen of a solution.

❉❉❉

        At night, Eileen sneaked into the backstage of Ablaze Circus, peeking around carefully.

        “Where is it...Found it!”

        Eileen found an illusionist notebook on a desk, which contained the details of magic tricks. As soon as she made sure that she had got the right notebook, she took it away and fled the scene immediately.

        “Eileen! What are you doing?”

        Turning around in panic, Eileen saw the ringmaster of her own circus.

        “What are you holding?” The ringmaster took the stolen notebook and opened it.

        “No! This is…” Eileen panicked.

        “If I hadn’t been invited tonight and run into you, you would be stealing this notebook. Am I right?”

        The ringmaster said coldly, “you’re fired. My circus doesn’t need a thefting magician who is unconfident about her magic.”

        After watching the diminishing figure of the ringmaster, Eileen walked out of the circus with her broken heart.

        “As the apprentice of Mr. Saxton, I stole someone else’s magic. I don’t deserve to be his apprentice, and I got fired…”

        “Are you the magician of Savior Circus? I know what you did.”

        The voice came from a masked man in a magician outfit, who stood in front of her.

        “I never expected a great magician would have such a despicable apprentice. I guess his name was built on thefting too,” said the man in disdain.

        “What just happened was my fault, but you can’t insult Mr. Saxton!” Eileen was provoked, for Saxton was the one she always adored.

        “Let’s solve this with magic!” The masked man took out a magic wand.

        “Crow Magic!” With a wave of the wand, the masked man released a couple of crows, targeting Eileen.

        “Did you just start a fight?” Reacting in time, Eileen fought back with Saxton’s trick. On the other hand, her opponent managed to predict and dodge all her attacks, as if he knew all the tricks she had.

        “Is this all you’ve got? Saxton’s apprentice,” the masked man questioned in disdain.

        “I...What should I do? He knows Mr. Saxton’s tricks very well. I can’t win the fight without new magic, but I don’t have any…” Eileen gritted her teeth.

        “Mr. Saxton, what would you do if you were me?” Eileen decided to do a trick that she had never performed before.

        In the nick of time, Eileen recalled something Saxton had said to her.

        “Eileen...You’re the gist of a trick itself…”


        “You can never win unless you discover your own magic trick,” said the man. In the meantime, the masked man dodged her attack swiftly, and blasted her onto a wall with a counterattack.

        “How can I blend my Machina features with illusion tricks...I got it!” The inspired Eileen had no choice but to take a leap of faith.

        “Go! Mechanic Shadow Magic!”

        Standing on her feet, Eileen detached her fist from the arm, shooting the fist towards the man.

        “Giving up your hand, is that a surrender?”

        The man didn’t treat the fist as a threat, but the fist suddenly attacked on the crows as if it had its own will. All the crows fled in panic.

        “This isn’t Saxton’s magic,” said the shocked masked man.

        “That was my original trick, Mechanic Shadow Magic! You lose!” Eileen declared her victory.

        “Mr. Saxton, I get it now. The gist of magic tricks is the magician herself. As long as I dive into magic, I can create my own tricks,” Eileen paid her silent respect to her deceased teacher.

        “Looks like you’ve figured out the essence of magic,” said the masked man who was leaving.

        “I won’t be lost anymore. I’ll prove myself to the ringmaster with my trick that I’m an outstanding magician even without Mr. Saxton!” Eileen swore to herself of not putting Saxton’s name to shame.

        At this moment, the man took off the mask and revealed his disguise. Turned out he was the ringmaster!

        As he stopped acting the hostile magicial, he mumbled, “Saxton, you would be proud if you could witness her change.”

        Few months later, a feminine-type Machina in female magician suit came to a circus tent, with an old magic hat in her hand.

        “Mr. Ringmaster, I’ll blow your mind with my own tricks!”

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