「Land of Wizards」 —Potentials of Magic— (「魔法使いの国」 ("Mahōtsukai no Kuni") —Potentials of Magic—) is the third chapter of the second volume of Kino's Journey —the Beautiful World—.
Kino arrives in a country with a wide road that was well paved with many splendid bronze statues in the center.
While in the country the chief invites Kino to tea at his residence. They are interrupted by a woman requesting an audience with the chief for a specific request but is immediately denied. When asked by Kino, the chief explains that the woman wished to request the re-positioning of the bronze statues.
Outside, Kino meets the woman who introduces herself as Nimya. When questioned about why she would like to move the statues, Nimya brings them to her home near the outskirts of town. She reveals to them a large machine with a wingspan and declares that the machine, built by her own hands can fly.
Hermes, a fellow machine, explains that it has the potential to fly but would need a long and steady well paved road to ramp up for take off. Nimya confirms this, which was why she had made repeated requests to the chief to remove the statues. Building a device that could fly was her entire life's work.
The chief then appears with an entourage declaring to Nimya that she would not longer be permitted to make repeated appeals to move statues and is ordered to remove the machine completely. After a long stream of insults hurled towards her efforts as a waste, the chief and entourage depart stating that they will return to disassemble and remove the contraption on the next day and purchase the engine and usable parts from her.
Nimya's fiancee who was also present begs with her to yield out of concern as he is aware that her obsession with the contraption's flight has whittled away all her savings and she has not been taking care of her health. However Nimya dismisses him away, and declares to Kino that she would absolutely make her device fly the next day and proceeds to work immediately.
Hermes makes a number of suggestions but it would not be enough. Kino mentions the possibility of placing a ramp in front of the statues to glide above them instead. It's possible but greater launch speed would be required to work with a ramp otherwise she'd crash immediately. Kino suggests using power from gunpowder explosions and mimics firing her persuader with her arm. Upon seeing the mimic, Nimya realizes that she can make use of the energy from an explosive recoil to give her the starting speed required for takeoff and immediately sets to work.
The next morning the chief and country's citizens awaken to find the main road blocked off by caution tape as Nimya prepares for flight. Kino and Hermes are assisting Nimya with her launch which to the great shock of all the country's residents, takes place before anyone can stop her and reaches the skies. To her delight, her device operates flawlessly as she calculated. The country's residents only stare in shock as she pilots the device through the air.
As Nimya begins to descend Kino quickly signals to the residents that if they wish for her to return safely they must remove at least 3 of the bronze statues from the road.
Upon returning to the ground safely, Nimya finds that the citizens and chief have prostated themselves in front of her and shower her with apologies for their behavior and revering her as a great mage. Nimya is confused, but Kino wishes her well as she and Hermes makes way to leave. Nimya expresses her deep and sincere gratitude to the pair before they depart.
Kino remarks about what a surprise the events had been. Although she understood Nimya's theory, she didn't believe the device could actually fly. Hermes is in shock after hearing this and asks why Kino helped Nimya. Kino then responds that if it worked she'd have an interesting sight, and if not Nimya would be cured of her obsession, and above all, she was bored. Hermes is even more shocked, and asks Kino if she would have helped Nimya if she wasn't bored. To this Kino replies probably not, because under normal circumstances she would not believe it if someone told her a device like that could fly--it'd be just like magic.
In the Land of Wizards, worth and power are measured by a person's ability to increase crop production. In this agriculturally orientated land, however, dwells a girl named Nimya who dares to dream of something completely different. Nimya desperately wants to build a successful flying machine, and despite the lack of support from her peers, she has dedicated her life to fulfilling her dream. It may take the help of a certain traveler and her motorrad to help bring it to fruition.
Differences in Media
In the anime adaptation of this chapter, Nimya's history is expanded, as it was not written in the novel. It tells of her coming from a wealthy family and being shunned by her aunt looking to steal her inheritance after her parents' passing. During her period of isolation, Nimya found shelter in the abandoned home of a deceased(and also shunned) inventor who's belongings and notes revealed to her a magnificent world beyond that of her country's(who only revered anything that would improve crop harvest). At some point, her aunt is caught by authorities and her inheritance is justly returned to her, which we now assume was mostly spent building her flying machine.