Episode 28 – Transmutation Magic

In the previous Episode:

Elaru causes Kiel to faint using her acupuncture needles while he was in the process of mana tempering. She then visits Ixos Eryey who gives her 3 tempering pills. After returning to Hot Pot, she takes one of the pills and decides to take one later, while the last one would be given to Kiel.

Episode 28 – Transmutation Magic

◈ Sunday, 26th of August 1449 A.W. 

Days until the Muni exam: 1

When Kiel opened his eyes, what greeted him was a familiar room bathed in the bright morning light. He blinked the sleep out of his eyes, his brows furrowing in confusion.

How did I get here?

He wracked his brain trying to remember what happened. The last thing he remembered was tempering his body with mana in the forest clearing. He frowned and looked down at himself.

Nothing seemed out of place, he was wearing the same clothes. He was also the only one in the bed. Thank the Gods! The last thing he needed was to wake up wearing Elaru instead of his clothes. He shivered involuntarily. Why am I even thinking about the worst possible scenario?

The first thing his eyes landed on as he sat up was Elaru. She was sitting beside the desk with her workbook open in front of her.

“Good morning matey. Did you sleep well?” She greeted him with a bright, beautiful smile. Seeing her heartwarming smile, for a moment Kiel lost his train of thought.

But only for a moment.

“Matey? What are you; a pirate? Surely you can come up with a better endearing term?”

Elaru stroked her chin. “Hmmm. It was supposed to be a cuter way of saying mate…but now that you mention it…that does sound like something a pirate would stay. It won’t do…won’t do.”

Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. “No. Stop. You and I aren’t close enough to warrant anything endearing. Just call me like everyone else, by my…”

Elaru interrupted him, completely disregarding his opinion. “Iceblock it is!”

Kiel’s eyebrow started twitching more violently. She wouldn’t care for his objections at all. He was wasting time arguing.

Elaru smiled at him widely. “Let’s try this again: Good morning iceblock. Did you sleep well?”

Kiel closed his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose and then exhaled. “Yesterday. What. Happened?”

Elaru rolled her eyes at him. “You fainted. Duh.” He narrowed his eyes and glared. “How did I faint?”

She shrugged her shoulders innocently. “Why are you asking me? Shouldn’t you be clearer on what happened? Did you go overboard with your mana tempering?”

He stared at her warily. No smirks, no chuckles, no mischievous gleam in her eyes. She looked so innocent it was suspicious. “What happened after I fainted?”

“What do you think happened? I carried you back to Ashar. You slept the entire night away.”

Kiel sighed an internal breath of relief. So he only slept through the night. He was worried that he had been unconscious for a longer period of time, missing the exams.

Maybe he did go overboard with mana tempering? He couldn’t come up with a better explanation.

Kiel shrugged the matter off and jumped up from the bed energetically. He stretched his limbs. He felt great, his muscles didn’t even feel sore. Elaru was right. Their body did have an enhanced regeneration. The damage he caused to himself yesterday was completely gone.

He felt his stomach quiver silently. He was extremely glad that it didn’t choose this moment to let out a grumble.

“I’m going down to eat.” He declared. Elaru smiled. “Go ahead. I ate already.”

Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. “I wasn’t inviting you to join me. Just stating my future whereabouts.”

She shrugged, a soft smile still plastered on her face. “Enjoy your breakfast.” She turned her back on him and continued her work.

Kiel’s mouth twitched. Oy. Oy. Why does your personality shift all the time? He shook his head and left for breakfast.

Kiel didn’t remember the last time he ate so much for a single meal. Was it because my body expanded energy to heal? It made sense to have a larger appetite after recovering from an injury.

No one bothered him this time. He was initially worried that the waitress would come to chat with him. Yesterday morning, she kept giving him puppy looks. She was practically wagging her tail whenever he smiled at her.

However, to his surprise, she kept her distance. In fact, she seemed to be avoiding his gaze entirely. Whenever she accidentally met his eyes, her face would flush, and she would scurry away like a startled pechuh.

Kiel felt a foreboding feeling when it happened. Is this…a second stage of a crush?

After a while, he shrugged the feeling off. It didn’t really matter. Whatever the reason, it granted him peace and quiet. And he wouldn’t be staying here for much longer.

In a few days, after the exams finish, he would be moving into the Muni dorms. At that point, whether she developed some puppy crush on him or not wouldn’t matter.

After the satisfying meal, Kiel returned back to the room. Yesterday he went over all his basic mage specs. Today, he should learn some transmutation spells. There were many incredibly useful transmutation spells he should learn asap – such as cleansing. While Elaru’s execution of the spell was very pleasant, he didn’t want to depend on her.

After a day of practice, he would again mana temper himself and sleep for the remainder of the night.

At least, that was his plan. However, ever since he met Elaru, things stopped going according to his plan.

Elaru and Kiel set off for their secluded clearing. Kiel wanted to stop by a bookshop to buy himself a spellbook, but no bookshops were open on Sunday.

The only thing he could do was to temporarily rely on Elaru and have her teach him some Transmutation magic spell patterns.

Kiel already knew the principles of casting magic, and they were the same regardless whether he was casting Augmentation or Transmutation magic. The difference between the two types of magic, besides the mana type required to cast them, was in their domain.

To Augment meant to improve the existing. To transmute was to change completely.

Where augmentation altered, transmutation transformed.

Where augmentation magic changed properties, transmutation magic changed the state.

Augmentation magic had control over the basic properties of an object, such as velocity, temperature, mass, density and hardness.

The theory of magic stated that augmentation magic could be used to derive all the spells used by transmutation magic. For if you control the basic properties of matter, you can do anything you wish with it, you only need to know how.

This was something argel often quoted, trying to gloat about the superiority of their magic over the transmutation magic of elibu.

How did elibu respond? Very simple: “Can you heal? Can you turn iron into copper? Can you make me a lifelike dragon figurine?”

Most of the time, that would make the other party shut up.

Could they truly control the movement of sub-particles of iron in such a precise way to change its internal structure, turning it into copper? Could they really control the velocity of every particle of jade to such a fine level allowing them to create a pretty jade figurine?

No. The large majority of augmentation mages couldn’t do that. Yet for transmutation mages, it wasn’t a difficult matter at all.

Transmutation magic could do complex things easily, such as change shape of objects, transmute one material into another, heal, condense water or even turn energy into matter (or vice versa).

However, while transmutation magic could do “complex” things easily, it couldn’t do the “easy” things at all. While in theory, augmentation magic could be used to achieve the same result as transmutation magic, it didn’t work both ways. Transmutation magic couldn’t be used to achieve the effects of augmentation magic.

When they reached the same clearing as yesterday, Kiel couldn’t wait and immediately turned towards Elaru. “Teach me how to Morph.” He demanded.

She didn’t seem to be bothered by his lack of “please” or the impolite tone. Her usually mischievous personality and even her aura turned completely solemn. It was uncanny how she could switch gears from a daredevil to an authoritative figure in but an instant.

“The Morph spell is made out of a single spell fragment. Here is how it looks like…” Elaru directed the mana in her aura to congeal a curly pattern in front of her. It was the partial definition of “shape” or “form”. She controlled her mana to not be dense enough for this spell pattern to turn into a spell.

“Now, do you feel these parts of the pattern?” Elaru started moving the outer layer of the pattern up and down. “These are the end points of the Morph spell fragment.”

The end points of the spell fragment were the points where the fragment ended.

They were the places from which other fragments could be drawn. If you wanted to link multiple spell fragments, you would need to create a bridge between them. These end points were the places where one needed to build the bridge.

However, Kiel was learning the Morph spell which had a single spell fragment, so he didn’t need to build a bridge. In this scenario, he needed to use the end points for another purpose.

After making sure Kiel remembered where the end points of the Morph spell fragment were located, Elaru continued with her spell weaving. She moved the almost congealed spell pattern into the ground under her feet.

Then she proceeded to channel mana into the ground. The mana resistance of dirt was higher than the air so it was more difficult to channel mana into it. However, Elaru did it with ease. It felt like a flood of mana had entered the ground and spread in a hemisphere under her feet.

The mana started slowly congealing into strands or tendrils, that connected to her Morph spell fragment.

It looked like her spell fragment sprouted roots, like a seed, with many vines growing out of it. The vines spread everywhere creating a web.

If one looked closely at Elaru’s spell, one could see that these “roots” or “branches” connected to the spell fragment through the end points, or one could say that they grew out of the end points.

This was the second purpose of the end points. To build spell roots which were used to define the target of the spell.

To control this patch of dirt, Elaru needed to deeply root the spell inside of it. The more roots she created the finer her degree of control became. Closer the dirt was to the root, easier it was to control. Thicker roots were more powerful and could control a larger area of dirt.

Her Morph spell was like a tree that could move its roots to displace the ground.

And it wasn’t just this particular spell that was like this. All spells, augmentation or transmutation, needed to root out to be able to control reality. These roots defined the spell’s area of control.

These roots were like nerves inside the body. To be able to control the arm, the brain needed to be connected to the arm by the web of nerves. The dirt became the arm, the spell fragment was the brain, and the roots were the nerves.

After Elaru had finished growing out the roots, she increased the density of the roots and the pattern so that it could reach the required mana density to be able to turn into a spell.

After the density reached the required threshold, a pulse of magical power spread from the spell, signaling that its cast was successful.

Elaru smiled affirmatively. “That’s all there is to it.”

Just as she said that, the dirt beneath her feet rose up, bringing her towards the sky. She stood on the newly created earth pillar and grinned down to Kiel, like an empress looking down from her throne.

Kiel’s eyes glittered. “So basically, it is the same as casting augmentation magic? The only difference being the actual spell pattern?” Elaru nodded as a response to his question.

No wonder you could accelerate and fly a few hours after gaining the ability to cast augmentation magic. The process is exactly the same! If you know how to cast one type of magic, you only need to learn a new spell pattern to be able to cast the other types.

Coming up in the next episode:

Kiel’s face fell. I don’t like the sound of that…

Kiel felt a sense of déjà vu. I think I’ve seen this before…

Suddenly a memory flashed before his eyes.

She covered her eyes with her palm and swiped it down as if wiping her face. As she removed her palm, Kiel’s breath caught in his throat.

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