Chapter 794 - Mind Your Step
Chapter 794 – Mind Your Step
After so many years and so much study, you’d think that there would be widespread agreement over the advanced aspects of the System, cooperation across kingdoms providing a deep reservoir of shared knowledge to draw from. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. From the famed Tower to the Academy in Los, these august institutions of learning hoard their secrets like squirrels storing nuts for winter. The deeper initiates are forced to swear binding life oaths to ensure secrecy.
I like to amuse myself by imagining that each of these bodies is protecting the exact same information from each other, never realising that they have nothing unique, but alas that is sadly unlikely. It is for this reason that classification of even the most basic Skills and magical structures within the System are different almost everywhere you go. When combining this with the System itself being inconsistent from individual to individual in terms of what becomes unlocked and when, teaching someone exactly how Skills will progress throughout their life is a difficult task indeed.
Take magic for example. Essentially all can agree on the basic elements, though they aren’t always known by the same name: earth, wind, water, fire. Fantastic, simple, we all get that. Each of these elements has an advanced form, we all agree on that: stone, gas, ice, blue fire. Excellent. The basic elements can also be fused, either by combining the Skills or manually melding the two mana types together during casting. This produces the fused elements: fire and stone form lava, fire and water form steam, fire and wind produce ember, water and earth creates mud, water and wind makes sleet, earth and wind makes dust. All-together, these are considered the ‘basic elements’ of magic on Pangera. The entry level. The baby stuff. Generally speaking, all mages will advance from working extensively with these elements as soon as they can, falling back on them only for the sake of efficiency or necessity.
So. What comes next?
Come on? Surely someone has an answer that everyone can agree on?! Not a single person? Is it advanced elements? Metal, wood, lightning? Or applications of advanced elements, like explosion magic? Is it Darkness and Light, the two are often considered the entry level to the second tier of mana. Is it Mind magic? Is that even on a tier? Or is it in a totally separate category of its own? This isn’t even considering the more in-depth forms, like death or life. It’s a fascinating thing to consider, and I personally don’t believe that a single correct answer exists. For each individual, the boundaries become fluid. They may not shift much, but they do. Just enough that we can never be sure if we are right in our assumptions. Which is why your homework for today is to devise a mana tier system of your own, justifying your decisions in a two-page essay. Don’t w.h.i.n.e at me, brats!
o Transcribed from a lecture provided by teacher Tony Sooka at the college of Helmhelm.
A brand-new construct, a brand-new aspect of power! Gweheheheh! I’m eager to test this and see how far it can go. Creating the constructs is an interesting process in and of itself. Each construct, despite being essentially a ‘fake brain’ made from mana, has to be linked to an actual, functioning, organic brain. It only takes a little bit of thinking for me to work out why. Despite being intricate and fiendishly complex, though not on the same level as the omni-elemental construct, there’s no chance that a magical construct could ever hope to match the processing ability of literally trillions of neurons linked together. If it were possible to create a mana construct that complex and powerful, what need would anyone have for organic brains at all? I should look into that actually… I wonder if it’s possible to reset a brain into being completely constructed of energy…
Anyway. So instead of performing all the functionality of a brain, the mind constructs are in fact formed to work in concert with one, taking on some of the functions and processes in order to alleviate the strain and enable the mind to perform better than it otherwise could. Naturally this is a bit of a trade-off, since the brain also has to maintain the construct, it doesn’t get all of the benefits with no drawbacks.
In the end, what I learn is that for my two smaller sub-brains, two mind constructs each is the limit. I can push them to three, but the strain means that the third mana brain isn’t really being efficiently used. The larger sub-brain can handle three quite well, which is handy. So in effect, I’ve gone from being able to handle three separate threads at once, to being able to handle seven! A huge leap! Although I can’t say that my ability to process mana and spells has more than doubled, I’d say the performance of my sub-brains has increased by roughly fifty percent! I’m incredibly impressed.
It’s going to take a heap of practice before I can properly utilise all this, and even more before I can spin the mind constructs up at a moment’s notice, but I’m more than happy to put in the time and effort if the payoff is going to be this juicy!
[Alright, Invidia! Let’s try again, I want to see how well I can match up to you now!]
A gleam of happiness flashes through the little demon’s eye at my announcement and he quickly resumes his attack. The barrage of expertly woven mana packets that I’ve grown so familiar with floods across the mind bridge that he snapped into place in less than a second and I immediately fall into the defensive. But something is different this time! This time I’m having much more luck tracking the many avenues of attack that he’s using against me, enough that I can counter most of them.
With a smug clack of my mandibles, I push back against the demon, far better than I ever have before, causing a gleam to flash through that eye and he increases the pressure. Damn demon! He’s been holding back on me this whole time?! Despite my foe increasing his own efforts, I walk away from that practice session feeling invigorated and pleased with my improvement. The constructs are working a treat already! I can’t wait to experiment with other forms of spell casting with them!
Although it’s mega tempting to immediately check the Skill list and see what new mana forms have unlocked for me, I need to be a little disciplined with myself. No matter what I see there, I know for a fact that I’ll buy it straight away. Once I’ve bought it, I’ll need to practice it, and the grinding will start straight away. Whilst that may not be a bad thing overall, I know it will be leaving me with a weakness. Having only just learned how to use these mind constructs, I need to practice and get comfortable with them before I move onto anything else! Until I’ve tested my limits and understand what I can and can’t do, I don’t want to go rushing off into battle or trying to take on new forms of magic. Slow and steady wins the race! You can’t win if you’re dead!
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