Episode 54 – Spell Control Exam Start!
When everyone settled down inside the classroom, Rau Eryey motioned his white, slim hand towards a large glass apparatus in the middle of the room. “Today’s first exam will test your spell control.”
The testing apparatus consisted of a large vertical tube the size of a grown adult man. As if the tube was the night sky, the glass was littered with countless small silver stars, welded into the glass itself.
The tube stood raised on a short metal stand. One could see a square shaped opening on the bottom of the cylinder.
“I will now explain how the test will be conducted.” Rau pointed towards the glass cylinder and cast a trigger spell to activate the artifact. As soon as his trigger spell landed on it, the countless silver stars came to life. Each one of them started glowing a bright neon light.
The vivid rainbow-colored stars extended their tentacles until they stretched into countless thin threads creating a spider web – The previously empty insides of the glass cylinder suddenly became a labyrinth of threads. The stars continued to wiggle periodically moving their tentacles and shifting the layout of the web.
“The goal of the test is to exercise your control over a cube-shaped magical artifact, bringing it from the bottom of the cylinder up to the top, inserting it in the cube-shaped indentation on the top of the cylinder.”
Everyone’s eyes followed Rau’s pointed finger to see a cube-shaped indentation on the very top of the glass tube.
“The artifact will need to pass through the web as fast as your ability allows, touching as few threads as possible. You can think of it as an obstacle race. Avoid obstacles in the shape of threads, reach the goal as fast as you can.”
Rau pointed towards the metal stand of the glass tube, on which, one could see a strange hourglass filled with a blue liquid.
“You will be able to read the score from the markings on the hourglass.”
What was strange about the hourglass was its bottleneck. A small metal spike was inserted into the bottleneck of the hourglass blocking the flow of the blue liquid. It looked like someone impaled the hourglass on a needle protruding from the metal stand.
While the examinees were inspecting the glass tube and the hourglass, Kady Ailert, who was sitting at the teacher’s desk, stood up and approached Rau. In her hands, she held two fist-sized cubes – one white, one black.
She passed the black cube to Rau, keeping the white one to herself. Kady turned towards the examinees, smiling softly. The wrinkles at the corners of her eyes giving her a gentle appearance.
With a flick of her hand, a flock of black and white cubes came flying from the teacher’s desk towards the examinees.
Each examinee received one cube, including Kiel, who gracefully caught a white cube. The shiny stone surface of the cube was smooth and cold to the touch.
Glancing around himself, Kiel realized that all elibu received a black cube, while all argel got a white cube.
Kady patiently explained: “As you might already know, the only way to test someone’s spell control is to have them perform a spell and monitor their control over the spell’s effects. That implies that the spell is required to create direct reality altering effects – it can’t be a trigger spell.
The fairest method to test your spell control would be to have everyone cast the exact same spell. However, this is impossible because argel can only cast augmentation magic while elibu can only cast transmutation magic.
Technically speaking, the only way that would allow everyone to cast the same spell would be if they used a mana purifying artifact. However, there are several thousand examinees while we possess only a several dozen mana purifying artifacts in total. Therefore, this solution isn’t feasible.”
Kady extended her hands which were holding a white cube so that everyone could see it more clearly. “This is an artifact prepared for augmentation magic users that responds to heat. To make it move, you will need to heat it up and cool it down appropriately. And to do so, you are required to use the Temperature augmentation spell.”
When the words left Kady’s mouth, several gasps could be heard.
Temperature is a perfect spell a.k.a. a complete spell. A complete spell is a spell that is an incarnation of an aspect, allowing the spell to exercise complete control over it.
It is said that the gods were flawless entities, the embodiments of the perfect balance of opposing elements. The magic formed through their will was just like them – complete.
When the gods wished to heat up their meal, they wouldn’t use a Heating spell. No, the temperature itself bent to their will. Whether they wanted to heat it up or cool it down – it was all the same.
The perfect spells mortals picked up from the gods became the basis of their magic.
Through research, mortals discovered that those perfect spells were made out of two opposing spell fragments. Those two opposing elements when brought together canceled each other out. And yet, if one could achieve a perfect unity of the opposing elements, if one could fuse them into one, they would form a complete entity. A complete spell.
Because achieving that perfect balance was extremely difficult for mortals, they instead started using those two spell fragments as standalone spells.
And thus, from Temperature, Heating and Cooling were created. From Velocity, Accelerate and Deaccelerate were created.
Those standalone fragments were many times easier to cast and had become the building blocks of magic, leaving the complete spells in the back of everyone’s mind.
Why would anyone bother using a difficult spell when one could achieve their goal easier with a simpler spell? Complicating things would be simply inefficient, even stupid.
The only time mages would use complete spells would be when they needed to cast both incomplete variants to reach their goal. Such as in this spell control exam, where they would be required to both heat up and cool down the object at any time.
In such a scenario, while the complete spell would be harder to cast initially, it became much more efficient than if the mage had to continuously switch between casting a Heating and a Cooling spell.
The reason why some of the people gasped when they heard they would be using a Temperature spell was exactly because they rarely used it in the past. Therefore, they weren’t confident in their ability to control it properly.
While argel were sweating and frowning, the elibu in the room looked at them with a self-satisfied smirk. Seeing the dark mood of argel in the room, Kady chuckled and added: “Don’t worry everyone. Muni exams don’t discriminate based on race. Elibu will also be using a complete spell – the Light.”
That statement only made the elibu smile even wider while the faces of argel turned unsightly. You call that a fair treatment?!
Naturally, the reason for their dissatisfaction was that elibu almost always used the Light spell instead of its incomplete variants. Elibu often used the Light to control the color of objects. Because of the elusive nature of color perception, they often weren’t sure which of the two incomplete variants they should use. They would just cast the Light spell and tinker the color until they were satisfied.
Seeing the agitated argel in the room, Rau frowned and spoke out icily: “What’s the matter? The Temperature and the Light are both complete spells of the same rank. Our spell control exam always requires you to use complete spells because they allow us to more thoroughly examine your spell control. Since that is always the case, you should have expected it and prepared for it.
Also, if your affinity for incomplete variants is good, the same should be the case for the complete variant.”
No one could say a word of complaint, for he was right.
Since the Temperature used spell fragments of Heating and Cooling, when one used it to increase the temperature, it would feel the same as if they were controlling a Heating spell. For they would be using the Heating spell fragment of the Temperature spell at that moment.
While the argel will not be as proficient in weaving their complete spells as elibu, this test didn’t test weaving but spell control.
The slightly cold voice of Rau continued. “Pay attention. We will now demonstrate the usage of these artifacts.”
Rau slowly weaved the Light spell, pushing his mana under the surface of his black cube. From the Light spell, he spread the spell roots to cover the surface of the cube entirely, like a web of mana strings.
Everyone felt a mana pulse when his spell activated.
“The sides of the cube will absorb light, the more light they absorb, the faster the cube will move. You will need to control the intensity of the light produced by the Light spell to control the speed of the cube. The achievable speed of the artifact is limited. After you reach the maximal allowed speed, the increase in light intensity will stop increasing the speed of your cube.”
Rau placed his finger on one side of the cube and said: “The target of my Light spell is the space slightly above the surface of the cube. The light will be generated above the cube so that the rays of light can enter the cube and be absorbed. When you start using the cube, you can choose to project the light towards the cube only, but for the sake of my demonstration, I will project light both towards the cube and away from it.
This way, you will be able to see what intensity of light I am using and how it affects the movement of the cube.”
Just as he said that, the side of the cube where he had placed his finger previously started glowing, spreading soft rays of white light to the surroundings. The light made the previously black side of the cube look gray.
As soon as the surface turned grayish, the cube suddenly moved in the direction that side of the cube was facing, which in this current case, was upwards. The cube started slowly flying up.
“The direction of movement depends on which side of the cube you are lighting up. If the side you are lighting up is the upper side, it will move upwards. If you light up the front side, it will move towards the front.
You are allowed to light up several different sides at once.”
Suddenly the left side of the cube turned gray too. Immediately, the cube started flying diagonally, towards the upper-left side.
“If you light up opposite sides of the cube, they will cancel out each other, and the cube won’t move in that axis.”
Rau lit up the right part of the cube too, and the cube suddenly stopped moving diagonally, moving straight up like before.
After that Rau started lighting up different sides of the cube, making it dance in the air, sometimes going in circles, sometimes zigzagging. Slowly, he increased the intensity of the light, making three sides of the cube turn completely white. The movement of the cube accelerated considerably.
Kady watched Rau’s demonstration patiently for a while before adding: “The same principle applies to the white cube too. The only difference being that the black cube of elibu absorbs light, while the white cube of argel absorbs heat. Which is why argel are required to control the temperature of the sides of the cube.”
Kady then cast the Temperature spell on her white cube, covering the surface of the cube with mana roots just as Rau did before her. As she heated up the front side of the cube, the white surface turned orange, looking like molten metal.
Immediately, the cube vaulted forwards. Kady proceeded to heat up and cool down different sides of the cube, making the cube dance in the air similarly to Rau’s cube.
After several seconds of demonstration, Kady’s cube floated down on her hand. Her gaze passed from face to face, her soft smile never leaving her face. “Alright. Let’s move on.”