Chapter 2: The Encyclopedia of Mana Manipulation
I was a King. I could have my country’s army assemble at my front feet kneeling down with a snap of a finger. I’ve out-dueled my competitors from different countries as well as my own to settle disputes and maintain my position. In terms of swordsmanship and controlling Ki, I was second to none, for having personal strength was essential to becoming a ruler in my past world on Earth. Kings weren’t born but were raised. Yet, I can’t think of a prouder moment than now.
I can crawl baby!
‘Till now, I had to make do with the stories mother would tell me while trying to make me fall asleep. I grumbled out noises of complaints when she stopped too soon. My father would sometimes sit me on his lap while idly talking to me about his old days, which gave me some hints as to what kind of world this was and what it was filled with.
Reynolds Leywin, former adventurer, (apparently that’s an occupation in this world) had quite a lot of experience in this field. He was in several parties that went on expeditions to search for treasure and fulfill missions they acquired from the Adventurer Guild. He eventually settled down when he met my mother on the borders of the Kingdom in a city called Valden. He proudly told me how my mother was head over heels for him at first sight when he visited the town’s Adventurer Guild hall she worked at, but I suspect it was the opposite from how my mother slapped him across the back of the head and told him to stop telling Art lies.
My name is Arthur Leywin now, by the way. Art for short, which, as a former King, sounds a little too cute, but hey, after getting a glimpse of myself in the metal sheet they use as a mirror in the washroom, I looked freaking adorable. I got my mother’s glowing auburn hair while my eyes are a bright azure color, inherited from my father. I don’t know how my facial features are going to turn out as I mature but as long as I don’t turn out fat, it’ll be okay.
Watch out future ladies! Prepare to be heartbroken!
Weeks of attempting to crawl, yet only succeeding in barely scuffling in place, I succeeded in crawling, managing to sneak into the family’s library/study room while my mother was hanging the laundry out to dry. Mother rued the day I started to become mobile, sighing, “I swear, you’re going to become as hard to manage as your father.”
I closed the encyclopedia down and situated myself more comfortably on the ground, which meant I just laid back on my tummy because crawling and sitting upright is damn tiring.
Pondering what I just read, this world seemed pretty underdeveloped. From what I can infer, there doesn’t seem to be much technology. The only source of transportation seems to be horse driven carriages, varying in size for land, and ships with sails for rivers.
Weapons were freely allowed and not really regulated unless you were visiting the royal family or people of that much authority. For God’s sake, it continues to baffle me every time I see people carrying weapons while shopping for groceries.
Sure, in my previous world, Earth, there were soldiers and guards who carried concealed weapons, but they weren’t for the purpose of killing but to deter crimes from happening.
But here, I witnessed a thief who stole a couple of items from the armory store the other day get chopped in half across the waist by a large, bald mercenary carrying a polearm. Seeing that, the citizens even went as far as to applaud that oversized monk!
A similarity that both this world and my previous world shared is the system of monarchy. This continent of Dicathen has Kingdoms where each Kingdom consists of King and royal family that rules. Unlike Earth though, the King is chosen based on lineage, going from the son of the King, to his son and so on.
After scanning through the encyclopedia, there doesn’t seem to be much information on other continents besides the one we’re currently in. That’s strange, there are ships that carry goods and passengers across the continent through rivers, but maybe the technology on ships haven’t been developed enough to sail across oceans.
One thing that was going to be hard getting used to is the whole premise of magic in this world. If we’re talking about superhuman powers, sure, the countries on Earth relied on people with them.
On Earth, practitioners learned how to condense and utilize the innate ki that they had in their body. Think of it as a muscle if you will. Breaking the ki center down through overuse and resting it caused the ki center to become stronger, allowing for a bigger pool of ki to access from. Then the ki is channeled through the body at will and utilized for strengthening of the body.
In this world, instead of ki, it seems to be called mana and the more surprising thing is that it exists in the atmosphere of this world. Thus, Practitioners, or Mages, would use the surrounding mana and draw it into their body and condense it in their mana core. In my old world, Earth, ki only existed and was formed inside the body. Whether ki never existed on Earth in the first place or ceased to exist because of the pollution caused by humans, we didn’t know.
On Earth, while practice was incredibly important, your innate ki center size was extremely important because of the limited amount of ki you have in your body is all that you can work with, does that mean one’s innate mana core size doesn’t matter as much because of the available mana in the atmosphere?
The bigger the cup, the more you can hold right?
While in my old world, even though my ki center wasn’t that large, I was considered a prodigy at channeling and utilizing my ki effectively to make up for my not so big ki center. With the way I utilized every bit of my ki, I was able to become the strongest of the elite division of Duelists, earning the right to become King.
Now, if I can still practice the ways ki practitioners use their ki, but do it with mana that is both innate inside the mana core and in the surrounding atmosphere, can’t I essentially double? No triple the strength that I had before?
The book that I next managed to pull from the bottom shelf, explained a couple of questions for me.
“Beginner’s Guide for the Privileged Mages”
“While the power to control mana is largely genetic, there are many cases where children of Magi come out as unable to sense the mana around them. A recent census shows that roughly 1 in a 100 children are able to sense mana but can only be tested to show the extent when the mana core first completely develops, which can be anywhere from early adolescence to late teen years. It is apparent when Magi first awaken by the initial repellence of the surrounding mana around them when the mana core first forms. This results in a translucent barrier formed around the awakened that lasts a couple of minutes.”
Flipping through the pages, I find something that catches my attention.
“…Mana can be used in a couple of ways. The two most common methods of utilizing mana comes through enhancing of the body through mana use (Augmenter), and emission of mana to the outside world (Conjurer)…”
“…. Augmenters are most commonly seen among warriors, utilizing mana and channeling it around their body to strengthen their body and attacks.”
“… The practice of Conjuring is seen in Mages, who, after utilizing their mana, can cast spells to give it a certain effect on the surrounding area or directly on the target.”
Weaknesses and Limitation
“While Augmenters can possess incredible strength, defense and agility, their weakness lies in their limited range…”
“Conjurers possess unfathomable powers, being able to bend their surroundings at will. However, such powers come with limits. Unlike Enhancers who utilize most of the mana used from their own mana core, Conjurers need to borrow mana from the outside world in addition to their own mana core to exert mana into the surrounding in a form of a spell.”
“While both types of Mages, or Mana Manipulators for the more scientifically accurate term, depend on and is categorized by their mana core, Augmenters and Conjurers also have different ways of measuring their aptitude.”
“An Augmenter’s prowess or talent is measured by the power of mana channels in their body, which measures the speed and efficiency in exerting their mana from their mana core into various parts of the body…”
“…A Conjurer’s power and talent, comparatively, is measured by the power of their mana veins, which indicates the speed and effectiveness of absorbing mana from the outside world to cast a spell.”
“…Mages (Mana Manipulators) are typically categorized into one of these two divisions since attempting to be proficient in both is incredibly time consuming and inefficient. Most are born with a skewed difference in their mana channels and mana veins…”
“…Augmenters do not need very strong mana veins because they mostly utilize the mana from their core, while Conjurers do not need very powerful mana channels because they do not spread their mana into their own body.”
Hmm… So my idiot father seems to be a competent Augmenter and a less than average Conjurer.
That healing light though… What was my mother?
“flip, flip, flip”
“There are a few, rare deviants. While there are still some undiscovered, ones that are highly sought after are the Emitters, more commonly known as healers. Healers possess the rare ability to cast their unique restorative mana unto others, directly, recovering injuries and impairments.”
Wow… mother is the best.
Fundamentals of Conjuring
“The proper steps for utilizing the mana for Conjurers is to gather the surrounding mana in the area, drawing it into your body, then, after circulating it into your mana core to stabilize and purify the atmosphere’s diluted mana, you channel it into an appropriate conductor (a staff, wand, ring, of some sort) with the incantations as a mental controller for your will into shaping the mana to whatever spell you want…”
“…The more powerful the spell, the longer it takes to draw in from the surrounding mana, store it in your mana core where it condenses and purifies it, and finally channel and release…”
“Because Conjuring involves exerting focused mana into a particular spell, Conjurers will notice that they have a special aptitude of certain elements (Air, Water, Fire, Earth). But with proper training, can become adequate in the basics of all elements.
Fundamentals of Augmenting
“Unlike Conjuring, much less time can be spent gathering the surrounding mana. Efficient use of Augmenting requires speed and precision in the use of the mana from your core and less from the mana in the atmosphere..”
This is where it clicked…. Augmenting was very close to using your ki except you can also draw mana in from your surroundings. The reason why there weren’t any kinds of conjurers in my old world of Earth was because there was no mana in the atmosphere to draw in and create a phenomenon.
My gaze tensed as I read on.
“…Augmenting requires proper distribution of mana into different parts of the body depending on how the user sees fit. While it seems simple at first glance, Augmenting requires much insight into the individual’s own body. Being able to utilize the mana channels efficiently requires years of both mental and physical practice.”
“Because Augmenting involves extracting the user’s mana core, the purest form of mana, there are no highly notable distinctions in an elemental sense. However, Augmenters are able to control their mana more freely, resulting in vastly different forms of fighting through Augmentation.”
“The phenomenon called ‘Backlash’ occurs in both types of practitioners. For Augmenters, it occurs from depletion of the mana core, causing extreme bodily pains depending on how strenuous the damage to the mana core is. For Conjurers, backlash occurs from overfilling of the mana core. This is caused by overuse of spells beyond the practitioner’s capacity or using a spell too powerful for his or her mana core to handle.”
Closing the book, I propped myself up to my butt, digesting the overload of information that I just read.
Because of the uncanny similarities between the ki center from my old world and the mana core in this world, I found it hard to believe that you needed to be a young adolescent to manipulate mana. In my old world, children started meditating and sensing their own ki scattered inside their body. Once the ki migrates into a single place, the ki center forms.
Testing my hypothesis, I began meditating, trying to sense the mana in my 7 month old body when…
“There you are! Art honey, are you having trouble taking a poopy?”
Mother! I’m about to begin my journey to become the greatest Mage in this world! Do not make me out to be a constipated infant!
Picking me up and gently placing me in her arms, I was forcibly taken away to have my diapers changed, which, surprisingly, were full by the time I noticed.