Before the training session, Orisa went to send another letter to Rita. This one was way shorter, less than one page, she cut it as much as possible.
At the Mana training class, both Youko Sato and Captain Pain were present.
"We will start with an announcement." Youko began. "After carefully reading all your answers and taking into consideration your personal traits we decided on the squad leader position."
"From now on your squad leader is Iten Yada." Finished Captain Pain.
'Nice! Iten is reliable that's for sure.' Orisa was glad, so she started clapping her hands. The squad followed her. Iten adjusted his non-existent glasses, stood up and bowed to the teachers, and then to the squad.
"I will do my best. Thank you for your trust."
"After taking into consideration a lot of things we decided to appoint a deputy squad leader, in case Iten is unavailable." Youko continued suddenly. "We decided to choose a deputy from the female's part of the squad."
"So, the deputy squad leader will be-" the Captain started
'Oh crap, please, no, not me!' Orisa felt a setup. 'No-no-no, not like this, don't want!'
"-will be Mira Rahna."
'Huh... what? Mira? Really? Well, it's not me, so it's okay.'
The squad started clapping again, but less enthusiastically. Mira stood up and bowed slightly, eyeing the Captain for some reason. He showed a wide grin and clapped twice.
"I hope you are using your free time wisely." Youko reminded in a stern voice. "If you screw up, there won't be a second chance. Now, let's start our practice."
When Orisa arrived at the library, the boys were already there, reading.
"Hey, guys, sorry for the wait. First of all, Iten, I'm so glad for you, congratulations! I think you'll be a great squad leader!"
"Thank you. I hope to meet your expectations." His voice was calm and even, as always. "I planned to go to the closed part of the library since I now have access. Would you like me to look for something there?"
"Awesome idea! Let me think..." Orisa thought for a moment. "Some in-depth information about training and development of abilities?"
"Understood. Well, see you later."
When Iten left, Orisa looked at Kanai, who was less depressed than usual but still a bit sulky.
"Don't worry. We'll find something. In fact, I have news for you." She saw Kanai brighten up a bit. "I've already sent a letter to my friend, so we'll probably hear from her tomorrow." He nodded, cheered by her words, so she continued. "Also, I've compiled information about stats. Write it down for future references."
The muscular power; damage with melee weapons and bows; provides toughness. Toughness is an overall resistance to all kinds of damage but is better against physical attacks.
The speed of various actions, including attacks and spellcasting; reaction time and reflexes.
The power of durational effects, their length, effectiveness. Luck also helps overcome the enemy defense.
Spell damage and effectiveness of supporting spells like healing.
Helps to concentrate on current action without interruption. Mana flow control which speeds up Mana infusion when working with the Seals or complex spells, and allows more actions to be performed at the same time, like Youko's fire and lightning knives.
The amount of Mana and its recovery speed. Mana control - ability to transform Mana into different elements and shapes. Observance. Resistance to elemental damage.
"Got it." Kanai finished writing it down. "So, looks like I have an affinity towards durational magic..?" He said uncertainly.
"More or less so. But I have yet to find any suitable school or path to choose with your lack of Agility and Dexterity. But don't worry I'm sure we'll find something."
"This game sucks, I want a refund..." Kanai muttered under his breath.
"I know, right! It's so stupid and lame!" Orisa instantly became agitated. "Like, if this was a game, I'm sure there would have been a huge cash shop!"
Kanai vigorously nodded:
"Absolutely! Though, I would pay my month' salary to grab a stat reset..."
Orisa made a move to throw imaginary packs of money into an imaginary display, and they both laughed cheerfully.
"Silence!" Maria hissed at them, making them feel like mischievous kids, so they giggled again.
A few hours passed before a peculiar incident occurred.
"Hey, sweetie, can I have a moment with you?" Orisa was startled by a voice coming over her shoulder. Kanai looked surprised, too. When she turned around, she saw Nene.
"Oh, Nene, it's you... You scared me, gosh. Don't sneak like that next time, please."
"Don't worry. I won't sneak on you next time." She said in a voice that made Orisa shiver.
They went behind the library door, and Nene turned around, looking at Orisa intently.
"I thought we understood each other last time?" She said, getting closer to Orisa.
"What do you mean..?" Despite being lower than Orisa, Nene's presence was intimidating. She emanated a bloodthirsty aura that made Orisa's knees tremble.
"You are spending too much time with Iten. I don't like it."
"Ah... that's what it is." Orisa calmed down a bit, though Nene's aura was still pushing her heavily. "Look, Nene. There are lots of reasons I can state, and they are all true and should be enough. But I'll say just one thing, okay?"
Nene looked like she didn't believe a single word Orisa said. She was like a lion about to jump on his prey who won't be swayed by words. Orisa shivered but finally said it:
"I'm not interested in men."
Nene was shocked by this revelation. At the same time, oppressive aura disappeared.
"Huh..? Like, really, totally not interested?"
"Yep." Orisa simply nodded.
"Okay... I say, wanna get closer with my sister, then?" Nene suddenly asked. Now was Orisa's turn to be shocked.
"Amm... Ahem... Well, not right now. All this other world reincarnation business is too much for me. I don't think I need any relationships right now."
"Okay... So, I say, you are a good girl, Orisa, I like you," Nene slapped her shoulder, "call me if you need help."
And so she strolled away. Orisa spent a few minutes to calm down, then wiped sweat from her forehead and went back to Kanai and books.
"What was that?" Kanai asked when she sat back to her chair.
"Phantom menace." She said and started reading.
Iten returned a few hours later. Orisa smiled and greeted him:
"Iten! Was your journey a fruitful one?"
"Not in a way I wanted it to be." Orisa found a subtle irritation in his tone. "The book I wanted to read, Fantastic Waves and Where to Fight Them, was missing. I asked the keeper of the closed section, but he refused to tell me where or when I can get it."
"Huh, that's strange." Orisa and Kanai said at the same time. After looking at each other, they giggled. Iten was not amused.
"Anyway, I also looked into matters you asked me." As he said that, Orisa and Kanai moved in sync. They put aside their books and took out blank papers to make notes. They looked like fresh students ready to write down their first lecture. Iten furrowed his brow and began:
"I will divide the information into two parts and will start with the characteristics..."
Iten found that there was one more characteristic, Stamina. Its existence has never been mentioned because it was special. Stamina progressed independently from other stats and only during exercises. In a way, it wasn't even a characteristic, like other six stats. Strength affected Stamina a bit, and that's it.
There was another special characteristic, Spirit, that was similar to both Stamina and all other stats at the same time. Spirit developed like other characteristics - by fighting. The more Spirit one has, the more Mana one can use. But at the same time, it was possible to increase Mana pool by exercising. The more a person practice in Mana infusions and uses their Mana, the bigger their Mana pool will be.
Orisa looked astonished:
"Iten, I can't express in words how grateful I am to you. What you found out is priceless to me."
"I knew, you would appreciate it, so I researched it more extensively." He nodded and continued the lecture.
The only way to progress and become stronger was to fight and defeat real opponents. It was possible to practice basic things like cadets were doing now, but practice alone won't bring anyone beyond the basics. By constant training, one can hone their skills and perfect them, but not empower. The characteristics, being the source of power, also grew only in combat. It was not enough to fight. It is mandatory to kill an opponent, that was the only way to progress.
"For this purpose, every training camp has special facilities where cadets can fight foes summoned by a special military unit, the Summoners. With their help, recruits gain real combat experience and a basic level of power that they can later utilize fighting Waves." He concluded the lecture.
"Iten, you are awesome, yay!" Kanai was beaming.
"Indeed, the fact that you found it and the way you presented all the information is spectacular." Orisa nodded in approval.
"This is nothing, but thank you for your kind words. How is your progress?"
"Not that great, sadly. We've discussed the characteristics, here," Orisa passed Iten her notes, "and found that Kanai should focus on durational magic."
"But that's it. We didn't find any suitable style, yet." Kanai said bitterly.
"Understood. Well, do not give up, Kanai. We will think of something. I suggest asking for help from our superiors."
Orisa told him about her letter to Rita, and Iten nodded in approval.
"What about you, Orisa?"
"Well..." She scratched her head. "Setting aside two specializations that rely on the innate talent, I found only one thing. Moreover, it is not a class or school, per se, it is called a General Direction of Personal Development."
She paused, thinking about everything she found out. Kanai and Iten exchanged looks and quietly waited for her to continue.
"The one I found out, though there are a lot of them for different types of losers, is called Spirit Trapper."
"Geez, it has such a cool name! Sounds super special." Kanai interjected in a cheerful tone.
"Well yes, but actually no." Orisa's reply made Kanai chuckle. "There are no specifics, only vague descriptions, and general ways of development."
Orisa took out her notes and began to quote the books she read, supplying them with her comments:
"Skilled Spirit Trappers utilize different methods of Mana manipulation to assist them in combat." - "Very helpful, right?"
"Among various styles a Spirit Trapper can choose from, is a style of Mana overload." - "By the way, there is no description about that Mana overload thing."
"A suitable addition to Spirit Trapper's arsenal is a set of Seal-crafted gear that can utilize the owner's excessive Mana." - "Sounds nice, but what gear? How to craft it? Where to find it?"
"I feel like the book was written to insult the reader, not help him." Kanai interjected, shaking his silver hair.
"I know, right? But there is one at least somewhat helpful thing there." Orisa quoted another passage:
"There are many ways to start a Spirit Trapper path. One of them is to find any suitable for personal tastes weaponless specialization and rethink it in terms of Spirit Trapper ways."
"I have an idea regarding the last quote." Kanai said thoughtfully. "If those Spirit Trapper ways are all about pouring Mana instead of Strength or Magic, then you should pick up a melee class and sort of invent skills that do the same but use Mana."
"That's what I thought about, yes. Like, instead of punching people's faces with fists, hit them with Hadouken." Orisa shared her thoughts, and Kanai vigorously nodded with a huge grin on his face.
"I don't understand you, but I'm glad you found out something." Iten said blandly.
They sat in the library until it was closed, reading more books about crafting and stats. Orisa said goodbye to the guys and went for another training. Today she took six bottles.
When Orisa arrived at the gym, she found there yesterday's noble girl already practicing.
"Leave at once." She said after looking at Orisa.
"This is my spot." Orisa said mockingly.
"How dare you speak such nonsense!?" She was outraged, but Orisa giggled and tried to go inside. "I can kill you right here and now."
"Okay, do it, then." Orisa calmly stood in the doorframe, waiting for the girl to come closer to her. A big fireball formed at the tip of her staff. The girl pointed it at Orisa, and she felt a strong heat radiating from there. They stood like that for sometime before the girl turned around and went back to her training.
'Empire strikes back.' Orisa shivered and went into the corner of the gym to unpack her bottles.
The trickiest part of six bottles was how to place them so they won't fall off. Moving Mana between six bottles was not harder than between four, so she decided to move on to the next part.
The second step of this training was to move Mana from two different bottles simultaneously. This part was way harder because Orisa needed to make two separate flows of Mana inside her and accurately control them.
Without the potion her progress was slow. 'I can't waste it on every little thing I do. There is enough for two, maybe three more sips.'
After spending an hour, she felt like she was close to something, but it was time to wrap things up. She stood up, gathered her belongings and went to the exit. In the doorframe, Orisa turned around to the girl who was still training:
"Bye-bye, the girl with a staff. See you next time."
"Don't speak to me, fiendfood." She said plainly.
When Orisa got back to the dorm, she found a letter on her bed. Onuki and Mira were already sleeping, but Toatre waited for her return.
"Toatre, thank you so much!" Orisa hugged her tenderly.
"Don't worry, my friend. Now, you have some more important deeds to perform."
Orisa went and opened the letter. She read it twice and went to the door.
"Toatre, I'm sorry, I need to go for a moment. Don't wait for me, please, get some rest." Toatre nodded and went to bed, while Orisa slowly closed the door.
Paulo Cardelio was reading when somebody knocked on the door. He grumbled taking off the glasses. "Yes?"
The door opened, and Orisa went inside. Before she had a chance to speak, he said angrily:
"If you are here to offer me yourself to get something out of me, then fuck off right away, I'm not interested."
"That's not why I'm here," Orisa said after gathering her blown mind, "but now I'm really curious."
"State your business and get out, cadet. Quickly. Am I clear?"
"Crystal clear, Captain Pain!" She said but then made a long pause. The Captain furrowed his brow and was about the throw her out.
"I know how it would sound after your interesting statement," she finally said, "but for my training, I need a way to earn money."
The Captain put away his papers and looked at Orisa curiously.