Alex concentrated deep inside himself and imagined the ocean of mana he had sensed in his earlier meditation. A deep dark blue ocean the depths of which he was having trouble fully sensing with his current skill. He imagined a trickle of water draining from the ocean into his outstretched left hand, attempting to coat it in mana like the basic Ki covering.
As he concentrated on a small section of the mana sea he attempted to pull what seemed a decent amount out and channel it into his good left arm.
As he concentrated on a section of the mana sea it began to churn and roil as if water boiling on a stove which made him think of heat and flames. The second he thought of the image of a flame in his mind however his hand caught fire! “Ouch!” He yelped in pain and the fire vanished as his concentration broke, severing the flow of mana.
Alex inspected his injured hand and thankfully only had minor burns as the fire existed only long enough for his mind to register the pain. ‘Is it really that easy to create fire with this power?’ He thought in wonder. ‘Although it wasn’t exactly without cost. I need to figure out how to push the mana away from me before I try something like fire again.’
‘Although… I wonder if I can just as easily create some cool water to ease the pain a bit?’ His eyes lit up in excitement as he pondered the uses of mana he could imagine already. ‘Let’s try this again!’
Resolved to his path, Alex resumed his meditation position and repeated the process to create the flow of mana but this time imagined cool water encasing his hand. Suddenly he felt cool water covering his burns! “YES!” He yelled in happiness and immediately lost the flow of mana once again.
‘This is amazing! I know the class said it is capable of manipulating raw mana but you really gotta see it to get the full meaning.’ He thought happily before trying to think of something else to try. ‘My mother’s shield saved me from that minotaurs ax and I seem to have an enormous amount of mana so maybe I can give myself another shield in case I run into more trouble on the other side of that door?'
‘How to go about it though… Hmm…’ He sat in thought for a while trying to figure out how that might work. ‘Visibly the shield looks like mana is coating your entire body perfectly. So maybe if I try to circulate it like Ki and then push it to the surface?’ He came to an obvious-seeming conclusion given what he knew about the other power known in this world.
So Alex sat back down in meditation and prepared to attempt to circulate the mana throughout his body. ‘Let's do this!’ He thought and mentally pulled a small stream of mana from the ocean and began to send it along the Ki pathways in his body. “ARGH!” He cried out in pain as his insides suddenly felt like they were on fire and he immediately stopped channeling mana. ‘Shit! The pathways did NOT like something besides Ki flowing through them. Ok, not a good idea.’
Alex was panting and bent over in pain but slowly recovering. He went from his cross-legged meditation position to laying down on the bedroll after taking a swig of water from the canteen and he soon fell into a deep slumber. All of the pain and excitement of the day had worn his body down and he desperately needed a bit of recoup time.
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Alex groggily woke up from his sleep and slowly looked around the unfamiliar room in confusion. As he scanned the room though suddenly all the memories and experiences during his awakening came rushing back to him and he sat straight up in bed and looked around more seriously for any danger or changes.
‘Good, I managed to not get murdered in my sleep and nothing seems to have changed in here. Although maybe good isn’t the right word, more like acceptable. It would have been nice if the doorway that got me in here had opened back up and provided another escape route if I can’t figure out how to get this door open.’
Alex took his time packing up camp as he was still a bit sore but thankfully he had use of his arm again, albeit with pain, and his body didn’t seem to be showing any signs of permanent damage. In fact, his body felt perfectly fine, just the arm pain at this point but as long as it was usable he could work with that.
‘I was being impulsive before, I shouldn’t be experimenting with unknown forces down here. I’ve gotta just do my best to get out of here alive and figure out the rest later.’ Alex silently berated himself for the bad decision to try and make his own shield spell before even knowing how mana functioned or being in a safe place.
‘Instead, I just need to use the obvious way to escape now that I know how to generate mana on my hand.’ He thought to himself as he slung his pack and sword belt back on before standing in front of the engraved door once more.
Alex took a deep breath and closed his eyes to steady himself before placing his hand on the imprint and willing mana into his palm as he had done with the fire and water. He felt the wall heat up under his hand and opened his eyes. “Click!” He quickly jumped back in case of a trap.
The stone door lit up with green light along the edges and slowy slid into the ceiling with a loud rumbling grinding sound that set his teeth on edge and shook the floor slightly. As it withdrew fully into the ceiling Alex peered into the new room beyond and was slightly disappointed to see yet another tunnel but this one dark and unlit. He could see a light but by the size, it must be quite a distance away.
He stood there for a moment conflicted on what to do. He couldn’t seem to make out any shapes in the tunnel but the light from his room and the far room left a lot to desire. Alex glanced at the smooth wall behind him where the door he came through used to exist and sighed as he turned back to the new opening into the darkness. ‘It’s not like I have any choice here I guess. As the door said, any unworthy will perish here so I’d best keep moving and not waste time.’
Alex took two steps towards the doorway before realizing something and stopping. ‘Prove your worthiness… What if it means more than just being able to channel mana into the door? Why would this hallway be so long and dark without reason? This must be another test of some sort!’ He realized with a jolt.
With this new realization in mind, Alex turned around and laid back out his bedroll and prepared to do something a tad dangerous, but seemingly unavoidable in the current situation. He needed to figure out how to safely use the fire mana.