Thomas stopped channeling his mana and let the ice sphere vanish from existence so he could pay attention to Fulin. Fulin looked over his students before speaking, "As I am sure you are all aware there are two ways to learn magic. The most basic way is to just have any spellcaster teach you a spell. As long as your Magic attribute is high enough you can learn an individual spell. However, this is the lazy man's way of learning magic. Instead of learning how to use the element itself you only learn a single use of the element. This isn't inherently bad and is the best some people can do. Here in the academy though, you will be learning how to use the element itself. This gives more flexibility and the ability to not only create your own spells but the ability to cast any spell from the element, as long as you have the required Magic attribute."
Fulin took a breath before he continued, "Learning a single spell teaches you how to emit your mana, convert it to the right element, envision the proper form of the spell, and launch the spell in an extremely short time. Learning it properly will take longer and be harder. Now that you can emit your mana and convert it to the proper element the next step is envisioning the proper form of the spell. Most elements have a bolt spell as their starting spell."
Fuling lifted his hand again and immediately there was a small flame hovering over his palm. He pointed his hand at the wall and without saying anything the flame leaped from his palm and flew out to strike the wall. The spell was clearly weak as all it did was leave a small scorch mark on the wall. Fulin lowered his hand and addressed the students again, "The most basic form of a bolt spell is forming a small sphere or spear shape then launching it at the target. It's simple but effective. At least in the beginning. For now, we're going to step outside to the practice field where you will all spend the morning practicing to cast a bolt spell from one of your primary elements."
Fulin left the room right after he finished speaking. Everyone scrambled after him, including Thomas, as he led them to the practice field. It wasn't very far at all and only took them a moment to arrive. At the practice field, there was a line of scarecrows for the students to use as targets for their practice. Fulin gestured to a line on the ground, "You can attempt to launch your spells from here to strike the targets."
After everyone lined up Fulin spoke again, "After converting your mana into the proper element use more mana to contort the element into a proper shape and launch the spell. At first, the process will take some time, but as you grow more and more proficient at it you will be able to launch the spell faster. You will all practice here until lunchtime or you all master the bolt spell for an element."
Thomas and the other students lined up and looked at the target dummies that were about twenty meters away from them. Thomas glanced at the other students and watched as they all summoned different elements and tried to launch bolt spells. Even Selena didn't seem to be getting it right away as the ball of ice continued to just hover over her hand while she frowned down at it. Thomas stopped looking at the other students and focused on his own practice. He held up his right hand and summoned his mana to form it into a sphere and convert it to fire. The process was smooth and didn't take much effort thankfully.
After making the flames he started to try working out how to shape and launch the little ball of flame. He couldn't actually feel the flames so he took Fulin's words at face value, he needed to use a separate stream of mana to reshape the fire. Thomas started by focusing on the stream of mana coming out of his hand to fuel the fire and attempted to split it into two streams. The mana split with a little effort and caused Thomas to smile at the progress, little as it might be. Taking control of the second mana stream he pulled it away from the flames, causing the fire floating over his palm to decrease in size by half. He manipulated the stream of mana to try and wrap it around the flames.
Unfortunately, the flames immediately started to consume the second stream of mana and increased in size once again. Thomas frowned at that. If the flames were going to consume his mana how was he supposed to use it to reshape the flames? Thomas pulled the second stream of mana away from the flames causing them to dim once more. He thought for a moment and came up with another idea. He spread the stream out and used it to create a sphere around the flickering flames without letting the mana come in contact with the flames. Once the sphere was completely formed around the flames he started to compress it down.
To his surprise, and delight, the flames didn't begin to consume his mana this time. He slowly compressed the sphere down until the flames had been wrapped completely in the mana and became a perfect sphere of fire. Now... how was he going to launch it? He contemplated that for a few moments. He still had control of the mana surrounding the flames so perhaps he could use that? With that thought in mind, he attempted to sharply shove the sphere out of his hand. It worked, sort of. The sphere of flames leaped off of his hand and flew about a meter before it crashed into the ground and popped with a soft 'puff' sound.
Thomas frowned, clearly that didn't work quite right. Checking his mana, Thomas felt like he'd just used up about ten percent of it on the failed attempt. He could try a few more times before he would need to recover his mana, so with that in mind, he repeated the previous steps to create a mana wrapped sphere of fire again. Thomas decided to try something different this time. He broke off a small section of the mana stream feeding the sphere around the fire and directed it to the rear of the sphere. He compressed it for a moment before letting go of his control on it. The compressed mana burst out and propelled the firebolt forward a good ten meters before it lost momentum and fell to the ground again.
Feeling like he was on the right track this time, he repeated the same steps once again. This time though, he compressed twice as much mana behind the firebolt before letting it rupture to propel the firebolt. With an audible crack, the firebolt was propelled forward the full twenty meters before crashing into the ground and popping. Thomas let out a small laugh at his success. Now he just needed to work on his aim! He glanced at the others and noticed a few of them were also launching bolts of various elements through the air. Like Thomas, none of them were hitting the target yet.
Thomas took a moment to review what he'd done so far, even going so far as to open his character sheet to see if he'd made any progress. Thomas grinned when he noticed that he'd gained the 'Fire Magic' ability, though judging from the five experience he currently had on it he wasn't doing so well yet. Thomas thought over what he'd done so far and how he could improve on it to make the spell work better. He thought maybe he should add something to help him aim the spell so that he could hit the target accurately. Thomas grinned as he got a sudden idea.
Thomas recreated the steps he'd worked out so far for the spell. Once he was done he took it a step further. He formed a tube of mana in front of the sphere of fire and grinned almost manically. That's right, he got this idea from Hekrin! He made a barrel out of mana! Thomas honestly felt like what he was doing was not how the spell was supposed to work at all. But as long as it worked, so what? Thomas compressed mana behind the flaming sphere and aimed downrange at one of the target dummies with the mana barrel. He released his control over the compressed mana and let it burst.
The flaming sphere was propelled down the mana barrel and flew true to hit one of the target dummies. The sphere burst with a soft popping sound and scorched the dummy. Thomas laughed at his success. Fulin walked over to Thomas and looked at his results, "Show me how you did that."
Thomas nodded and raised his hand to repeat the process he'd used previously. This time, however, he did it significantly faster. He didn't need to take a long time to do it now that he had a feel for it. It took him only a few seconds to create the flames, wrap and compress them with mana, create the barrel, and compress mana behind it. He took aim at the same dummy he'd shot before and fired the firebolt. It flew through the air and struck the target once again leaving another scorch mark.
Fulin looked over the entire process and shook his head, "Well, it works but it's not the proper way to do it. What you're doing is using at least five times as much mana as doing it the normal way." Fulin sighed and rubbed between his eyebrows, "Here, take a look at it again. Watch closely."
Thomas turned to look at Fulin and watch closely, so closely that he activated his 'All Seeing Eyes' to see the spell as close as possible. As Fulin lifted his hand he glanced at Thomas to make sure he was paying attention but stopped and stared at Thomas, "Why are your eyes glowing blue?"
Thomas blinked and looked at Fulin, thanks to his 'All seeing Eyes' being active his vision zoomed in closely on Fulin's face, close enough to see his pores, "What do you mean?"
Thomas wasn't aware but at the moment the thin blue ring that had appeared on his eyes after receiving the 'All Seeing Eyes' ability was glowing brightly as a sign of his ability being active. Fulin gestured towards Thomas's eyes, "Your eyes are glowing a bright blue right now."
Thomas realized what was going on and replied, "It's an ability I got when I was first summoned. It allows me to magnify things within my vision so I can see them better."
Fulin nodded and dropped the subject. He lifted his hand again and summoned mana into it. Thomas watched the process closely and Fulin did it slowly so he could see the whole process. As Thomas watched, Fulin converted the mana to fire as he'd taught them. After that, Thomas watched as a second stream of mana swirled behind the flames before snapping out almost like a compressed spring. The spring of mana hit the fire and launched it through the air to hit one of the target dummies and scorch it.
Thomas watched closely and saw the entire process and at the end of it felt a bit like an idiot. The way Fulin cast the spell was extremely simple and effective, using way less mana than Thomas's much more complex way of casting the spell. Thomas sighed and deactivated his 'All Seeing Eyes', "I see it now."
Thomas turned to face the line of targets and lifted his hand. He summoned his mana, converted it to fire, and mimicked the swirling spring-like mana of Fulin. He shoved the spring forward and used it to launch the firebolt through the air and strike the target. His firebolt hit the target and scorched it further. With the spell cast, he checked his mana and knew for certain now that he'd used significantly less mana this time. He even checked his character sheet and noticed that his Fire Magic had even ranked up after using the spell properly.
Fulin nodded in approval, "Not bad. Now do it with the ice element I saw you playing with inside the classroom."
Thomas nodded and followed Fulin's instructions. He lifted his hand again, channeled his mana, converted it to the ice element, created the mana spring, and fired it. The sphere of ice flew through the air and collided with the target with a fair amount of force. Fulin sighed and shook his head, "You missed a step. You need to shape ice mana into a point to give it piercing power."
Thomas felt the urge to facepalm. Ice magic was usually used for piercing or freezing, bludgeoning was usually reserved for large chunks of ice, not little snowballs. Thomas repeated the previous process, though this time he used his mana to reshape the sphere of ice into a sharp spike. Unlike the fire element, the ice element didn't consume his mana when he tried to reshape it. Taking it a step further he used his mana to start the spike rotating while he built the mana spring behind it. Once the ice spike was spinning at a decent speed he used the mana spring to launch it at the same target.
The sharp spike flew true and pierced completely through the target and into the ground behind it to shatter. Fulin watched and nodded in approval, "Not bad. You're getting the hang of it. Now practice it until you can do it in less than a second."
Done speaking with Thomas, Fulin walked over to Selena and started to give her advice as well. Thomas smiled and opened his character sheet to take a look at it. Seeing that he now had 'Ice Magic' he grinned. He was making real progress with magic now!