Episode 55 – Mana Control Exam Demonstration
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.”
She controlled the cube, heating up its sides, making it fly out of her hand and slide into the opening on the bottom of the cylinder.
As soon as the cube entered, a click could be heard and suddenly, the needle piercing the hourglass pinned on the metal stand of the glass tube, moved back, letting the blue liquid pass through the bottleneck.
The liquid slowly seeped into the bottom half of the hourglass, drop by drop.
Kady controlled the cube, making it fly upwards, expertly avoiding the brightly colored strings. After a while, for the sake of the demonstration, she stopped her cube and intentionally made her cube come in contact with the strings.
As soon as the cube touched a string, as if it was made out of the most fragile substance imaginable, the string instantly snapped. When it snapped, the needle piercing the hourglass moved back. In that short moment, the dripping speed of the liquid increased considerably. The number of drops that would usually need several seconds of time to slide down passed through the bottleneck in an instant.
After the cube had passed through the web of threads, Kady made it enter the indentation on the top of the glass tube. When it slid inside the indentation, a soft click was heard, and the needle in the hourglass moved to block the flow of the liquid.
After the demonstration, Kady looked around the room and inquired: “Are there any questions? If not, you may begin with your practice.”
After waiting several seconds without anyone speaking up, Kady snapped her fingers. The sand hourglass on the teacher’s desk flipped upside down.
“You have 5 minutes. Begin.”
Before starting to weave, Kiel inspected the cube thoroughly. He could sense a complicated spell, rotating slowly in the center of the cube – the enchantment that turned this cube from an ordinary cube into a magic artifact.
Kiel started weaving the Temperature spell carefully. After getting down the basic shape of the spell, he pushed his mana through the surface of the cube. This action was easier than he expected it to be – the material of the cube didn’t put up much resistance.
He continued weaving the Temperature under the surface of the cube, surrounding the spell in the center. He was careful to keep his spell from coming too close to the enchantment spell.
If his spell touched the enchantment spell before he managed to fully form it, the enchantment spell would cut through his non-solidified mana like a hot knife through butter.
Even if his spell didn’t come into direct contact with the other spell, if it came too close, the two spells could experience destructive interference. If the nature of the reality altering phenomena caused by the spells conflicted, it would cause a battle for supremacy between the two.
Keeping his distance was the optimal course of action.
After positioning the spell inside the cube, he spread the spell roots outwards. His mana created a web of threads on the surface of the cube. Unlike elibu who had to target the area above the surface of the cube as their source of light, Kiel had to directly heat up the surface of the cube, so his spell target was naturally the surface itself.
After everything was weaved flawlessly, his mana congealed, and a soft pulse of magic power verified his success.
Carefully he heated up one side of his cube, slowly getting used to the controlling the velocity through temperature.
Kiel too had not cast Temperature much in his 18-year old life. But unlike the rest of the examinees, he was confident in his control. As a non-mage, he wasn’t able to cast many spells, but Heating and Cooling were among the spells he could cast.
He used it to dry his hair after showering or dry his sweat drenched clothes. He used it to heat up or cool down his meals, adjust the temperature of water in his bath and even used it to heat up his weapons to have a stronger penetrative power.
Since he was proficient in both of them, Temperature, which was made out of the two, should pose no problem. Even so, he wasn’t overconfident. Instead, he was diligently trying his best to familiarize himself with moving the cube.
Controlling mana and controlling the finished spell greatly differed. Mana was the extension of a mage by default, even babies could move their mana. It came as naturally as using one’s own limbs or breathing.
One needed to practice his mana control to polish it, just like children needed to constantly practice drawing to one day be able to become great painters. Once polished, regardless of what they needed to paint in the future – whichever spell they needed to weave, it would become much easier to accomplish.
However, spell control was like suddenly gaining a new limb. It wasn’t inherent or inborn. One would need to get used to the new limb – when the spell activated, the mage needed to find a way to connect deeply with the spell. To “feel” the spell. To sync with it, to integrate with it, to unify with it, until it became a part of themselves.
Because every spell was different, the process of “feeling” the spell depended greatly on the spell itself. It was as if mages switched between having an extra arm, an extra leg and then later, gained a tail or a wing. Someone might quickly get used to having a tail, while others might keep stumbling for a while.
It wasn’t uncommon for mages to have a certain affinity towards some spells while being unable to integrate well with other spells.
“Feeling” the spell was very similar to the concept of empathy. Some people could relate well with certain emotions and situations, other couldn’t.
Some mages hypothesized that mage’s ability to synchronize with a spell is related to their inborn affinity for magic. Some claimed that it depended on the sensitivity of mage’s Mind or even their intelligence. And some insisted that both spell control and mana control were influenced by mages state of mind – the emotions and even personality.
Perhaps it was the combination of all those different factors.
The only thing that Kiel was sure of was that at the beginning, his spell control could only be called average. However, through his hard work it had gradually improved over the years. His understanding towards it naturally increased so that surely had an impact on his spell control. Yet, to him, it felt as if the more he loved magic, the more magic loved him back.
As if magic was an intelligent being who initially disliked him so it wasn’t easy to control. But when he opened his heart to it, it accepted him.
Kiel caught himself smiling gently as the cube floated around him gracefully, completely under his control.
This smile couldn’t be compared to his usual smiles. It was like comparing the brilliance of the sun to that of fireflies.
This one…was a genuine smile.
This radiant smile caused the hearts of everyone who looked at it to skip. Both males and females were equally mesmerized by its beauty.
There were quite a few people who suddenly lost control of their cubes at that moment.
Several girls felt their faces heat up, the warmth spreading inside of them, making them feel as if they would melt on the spot.
The scene in front of their eyes was strangely harmonious.
The blue hair and eyes of an enchantingly handsome boy, covered by the orange light of the molten cube, dancing around him like a fawning fairy.
A loud yet gentle voice of Kady cut through the air like a knife, bringing people out of their stupor back to reality. “5 minutes are up. Stop practicing.”
What the heck is this??
This is supposed to be a serious occasion! An exam! What’s with you guys…?!
The eyes of the examinees were wide, their mouths gaping.
Elaru and Arion stood among the crowd of examinees staring at the scene in front of them in a stupor. Arion’s face looked stuck between laughing and disbelief, while Elaru stood there with an incredulous expression on her face.
The scene in front of them left everyone speechless.
Deora Thayn was supposed to demonstrate the process of their testing. Initially, he wanted to show off his incredible spell control and avoid all the threads inside the glass tube.
After all, Deora Thayn excelled in controlling flames. Controling temperature was also considered his domain. If he couldn’t score perfect points, no one could score perfect points.
However, everything changed with only a few words from Zerel Reysic: “Little Dei, you know what would be even more awe-inspiring? Hitting all the threads instead of avoiding them!”
At the time, everyone looked at Zerel and Deora blankly.
Don’t tell me that vulpy of a professor intends to coax Firecracker into doing something stupid?
Who would fall for something so obvious?
After a slight pause, Zerel sighed apologetically. “No. Wait, forget I said anything. That is too difficult, even for you.”
And thus…they were currently watching out a peculiar scene.
Deora was moving the cube frantically, left and right, with the speed of an arrow and the might of a hammer. His cube zigzagged around the glass cylinder like a bouncing rubber ball, hitting everything in sight.
Sweat dripped down Deora’s forehead as he controlled the cube to “kill” as many strings with one move as possible. With a heated almost bloodshot gaze, he concentrated on the task at hand as if it was a life or death battle.
Zerel stood to the side of the glass tube, smiling coyly, his yellow eyes squinted into a crescent shape that looked too charmingly sly. He cheered and clapped, spurring Deora on.
“Nice moves little Dei!” “Kill them all!” “Uuuu! Combo attack!” “As expected of little Dei! Your skills are amazing!” “You can do it!” Cool, little Dei! Too cool!”
The cheers got more outrageous the longer it persisted.
“Put more power into it!”
“Harder! Slam it harder!”
The faces of the examinees turned from white to black to red. Arion was already clutching his stomach, tears were spilling from the corner of his eyes, yet besides whimpering, he didn’t dare make a sound.
Elaru’s mouth twitched, and after a while, a strange gleam entered her eyes.
These two…they are too amusing!
She was the first among the examinees to let out a sound. She started clapping too, grinning from ear to ear. “Awesome! As expected from the king of flames! You are definitely the best!”
If you can’t beat them, join them.
Deora’s chest puffed up with pride, the golden lock of hair in the middle of his head standing up proudly like the tail of a peacowl. That’s right! You know it!
For a moment, Deora even forgot that he was supposed to hate Elaru. His confidence and satisfaction radiated out of his every pore.
Zerel’s eyes glittered mischievously when he looked over to Elaru. Their eyes locked, neither said anything but the exchange was obvious.
Birds of a feather, flock together.
Meanwhile, in another classroom, examinees were already taking the test.
However, Kiel showed no intention of stepping up to take the test yet.
Other examinees decided to take their test before Kiel. If he went before them, it would only serve to land a heavy blow on their confidence. If Kiel went first, then no matter how proud they would have been with their result, it would look crappy in comparison.
It was better to leave the best score for last.
Naturally, there were those who thought that Kiel’s result wouldn’t be as high as yesterday. Weaving was a matter of practice. His yesterday’s results didn’t sound too outrageous if one thought about the amount of work behind it.
But spell control was different – hard work alone couldn’t let one reach the pinnacle.
Even among nobles, it would be rare to find a well-rounded person who was proficient in controlling all spells.
However, the reason why Kiel decided to wait until everyone else was done had nothing to do with being considerate.