Thomas and Selena separated and made their way to their chosen seats to wait for the class to resume. Over the course of the next few minutes, the other students arrived and took their seats. The class was silent until Fulin came in last and looked around. He noted everyone was there and sighed in disappointment, "Alright. Same as yesterday we'll do a little question and answer session. We'll start with the three of you without the affinity for the earth element."
Fulin gestured to Essa, "We'll start with you. Any questions about this morning's practice?"
Essa thought for a moment and nodded, "Why is it so much harder and more mana intensive to use an element we don't have an affinity with?"
Fulin thought for a moment then replied, "No one knows for certain really. Though the pervading thought on it is that when we are born our bodies fuse with elements around us and those elements we manage to absorb as infants determine our affinities. This had never been proven of course, but it is what a lot of people believe. As for why it's so much harder to use an element you don't have an affinity with. It's believed that because of gaining affinities those affinities are a part of us making them easier to control. It's not that controlling other elements is harder, but that controlling our affinities is simply much easier. I know that seems a little convoluted but maybe it would sound better to put it this way. If you had no affinities at all then all elements would take the same amount of effort to use."
Essa had a contemplative look on her face and then nodded, "Thank you."
Fulin smiled, "Is there anything else?"
Essa shook her head, so Fulin turned to address Selena, "Do you have any questions, Selena?"
Selena thought for a moment before she too shook her head. Fulin turned to Fuller, "What about you?"
Fuller also shook his head in response. Fulin looked over at the three other students, "Do any of you have questions?"
Thomas raised his hand out of habit, then realized how stupid that was and instead just spoke, "I did. I read the book you gave me last night and it warned me, the same as you did, about not experimenting without proper knowledge. The book even hinted at dire consequences. I wanted to know what those consequences were."
As soon as he asked the question the atmosphere in the classroom became extremely serious. A heavy silence pervaded the room. Apparently, whatever the consequences were they were rather bad. Fulin took a deep breath and let it out, "This is well known, even among children, but as an otherworlder I suppose you not knowing is understandable." Fulin's face turned serious as did his tone, "In our world magic pervades everything, it is a part of everything. When we use magic, we are using a part of ourselves. When we modify a spell we are modifying that part of ourselves. If we do not fully comprehend what we are doing things can go wrong, the magic can go out of control and that part of ourselves we use can go out of control with it."
Fulin took a deep breath again and sighed, "When that part of us goes out of control it has dire consequences. It warps a person's personality, makes them lose their minds and sends their magic spiraling out of control. They become bloodthirsty killing machines that slaughter anything on sight. When this happens anywhere in the world, all countries will band together to fight and destroy the person who has gone out of control. When this happens, we call the people who have lost control Devils."
A shudder runs down the classrooms collective spines at the mention of Devils. Fulin looks around the class and then back to Thomas, "The absolute worst though, are the Devils who maintain their rational minds. Sometimes when someone's magic goes out of control it only has a minor effect on their mind, robbing them of their humanity but leaving their rational mind in place. These particular Devils are the most insidious as they will plot and plan ways to gain power and kill as many people as possible. Some people will even willingly let their power go out of control on the off chance that they may be able to maintain their minds. They do so in an attempt to gain power as becoming a devil greatly amplifies their magic. They hope to make themselves stronger, but it almost always ends in failure and tragedy for the world."
Fulin looks seriously at Thomas, "This is why you must never experiment without knowing what you are doing. You could potentially lose your mind and the world would come together and kill you." Fulin let that hang in the air for a moment before he continued, "However, there are no records of anyone with a Magic attribute below Lord class becoming a Devil. This means that there is no real danger of anything happening to you if you make a mistake before then. We encourage people not to experiment, even forbid it, before then because we do not want people to get into the habit of just doing what they want with their magic. Having such a habit could lead to your own destruction."
Thomas listened closely and nodded seriously to Fulin's words. Though, he took them with a grain of salt. From the sounds of it, he'd just been told one way to change his race. After all, there was absolutely no chance he would lose his mind if he was to become a Devil. However, even if he could make himself into a Devil on purpose and change his race, he wouldn't. Not because he didn't want to be a Devil, but because of the consequences that becoming one would entail. Being hunted down by the rest of the world would make it difficult for him to effectively run any sort of business.
Still, he figured some players would have no issue with being an enemy of humanity for the thrills of it. He hoped he'd get to meet one someday and see what it was like. Fulin looked seriously at Thomas to make sure he understood the implications of what he'd just said, "Is there anything else you wanted to know?"
Thomas nodded, "You mentioned having a 'Lord Class' Magic attribute?"
Fuling blinked and lets out a frustrated sigh, "You don't even know that much? Do they not tell you otherworlders anything?" He stopped for a second and answered his own question, "No, they wouldn't would they? They only wanted to summon ten of you and ended up with hundreds of thousands. As your attributes increase there are certain thresholds. When you surpass ten in an attribute you become superhuman. The tier above that is known as 'Lord' and you achieve that when at least one of your attributes surpasses one hundred."
Fulin looked over at Thomas and seeing him paying attention he nodded, "Anything else?"
Thomas thought for a moment then shook his head. There were, of course, things he wanted to ask about. Such as Space magic but such things could wait for the time being. He needed to learn at least the basics before he tried to dive into the deep end. This was always the problem with starting a new game. You never knew what the rules were and past experience didn't always mean anything. There were also his skill and ability ranks to take into account. Even if he had the knowledge to do something that didn't mean that the system would let him.
Fulin looked over the students for a bit to see if there were any more questions. When he saw there were none he nodded and let out a breath, "Alright. For the rest of the afternoon, I want you all to continue to practice with the earth element. Tomorrow we will move on to water. So get outside and practice for at least the next three hours."
As the class collectively left the classroom, Thomas made his way up to walk next to Selena so he could ask, "I never did ask you, but what are your elemental affinities?"
Selena looked at Thomas with a bit of a twinkle in her eyes, "Hmmmmm should I tell you or not?"
As the two of them were chatting Brao was glaring at the back of Thomas's head. Thomas smirked at Selena, "Come on. It's not fair that you know mine but I don't know yours."
Selena laughed and squinted her eyes at him, "But everyone knows your affinities."
Thomas sighed and rolled his eyes, "Just unfair."
Selena laughed again. They made the rest of the trip back to the practice grounds in silence with the rest of the class. The class members spread out and once again began practicing their earth spells. Thomas stepped off to an area alone to get his practice in. As he practiced summoning his miniature walls, he couldn't help but think about what he had learned about Devils. If he was correct then it was possible for players to become Devils by getting their Magic attribute to above one hundred and then letting a spell go out of control.
He speculated that it would only be possible for people who had learned 'proper' magic to become Devils since it required the ability to modify spells. Spells learned from trainers couldn't be modified so they couldn't go out of control. He also speculated that the benefits of becoming a Devil would have something to do with increased spell damage or something similar, based on Fulin's description of how strong they were. He took the threat that Devils possessed with a grain of salt, after all, game lore tended to blow things out of proportion.
Thomas put thoughts about Devils out of his mind and focused on his practice. No matter how tempting stronger magic was, being a race reviled by the majority of the populace would just be entirely counter-productive to him. Over the course of the next few hours, he summoned a small wall every few minutes to practice forming the spell as quickly as possible. By the time he got it down to just under a second, he was thouroughly bored of the spell and decided to switch to practicing the bolt spell. He just wanted to rank up his Earth element as much as he could today since he would be focusing on the water element tomorrow.
After several hours passed, he realized he was the only person left at the practice field. Everyone else had taken their leave at some point and left him to practice alone. He sighed and opened his character sheet to check his progress. He was happy to see that his Earth magic had grown to rank thirteen already, he only needed twelve more ranks in it and he would have his first element completed for Hekrin's quest. He closed his character sheet and made his way to the cafeteria. He wanted to get some dinner before heading to his dorm for the night. He'd practiced too late to head to the library and do some searching.
The following day Fulin stood before the class and began his small lecture on the water element, "Water is a cleansing element. Whether it's used to clean dirt or disease it's all cleansing. Unfortunately, cleansing disease and poison is fairly high rank with even the most basic cleansing spell being at least rank fifty. However, that doesn't mean it's offensive abilities should be underestimated. Today we will be practicing two offensive spells for the Water element."
He looked over the class to make sure everyone was paying attention the continued, "The first spell is the most basic offensive spell for the water element, Water Spray. Don't let the name fool you. The spell fires an extremely high-pressure stream of water in a straight line for a moderate distance that can deal significant damage. The second spell we practice will be 'Water Bomb'. This spell is more complex but can be extremely devastating. You start by creating a simple sphere of water above your hand. Once it's formed you create a second sphere of mana inside of it and compress that mana as much as you possibly can. Once it's ready you launch the water bomb at your target, just before it hits you need to instantly turn the compressed mana into the water element. Because water is very hard to compress on its own, the compressed mana turning into water will make the water erupt outwards with extreme force."
As Thomas listened to Fulin explain the water bomb spell his eyes grew progressively wider. Whoever came up with the spell was a genius in his opinion. If you thought of mana as a gas like air then compressing it really wasn't a big deal. Gas could easily be compressed, but liquid was much much harder to compress. So much so that it was generally considered to be impossible. So if you compressed a gas and instantly converted that gas into a liquid the results would be instant and powerful. The compressed liquid would immediately erupt outward like an explosion with a huge amount of force behind it.
Fulin looked at his students and smiled, "Alright. We'll go out to the practice field and I will demonstrate the two spells first for you. After that, I will take Fuller off to the side to teach him alone since he's the only one of you without an affinity for the water element."
Everyone climbed to their feet and made their way to the practice field. Thomas was still lost in thought thinking about the implications of being able to compress mana and turn it into a solid or liquid for a devastating explosion. Compression of mana might be the secret to creating or learning some truly powerful spells in the future.