"Alright everyone, as you all know in today's class, we will be having a mock exam about the principles of mana and its contemporary use in society. You will also need to briefly mention about the foundation of mana in general. This is of vital importance to prepare yourselves for the final examination. After all you will soon be in the future, our brightest stars, as vanquishers, fending off the demonic beasts at the southern border of the continent."
The sound of an impatient tapping could be heard around the otherwise silent room.
"Alright, you may begin!"
At his signal, all of the students flipped their pages in haste. The concentration in the room escalated to a peak. Dalis scanned the first page. Eyes brimmed with calm confidence.
The first question on the page read: "What is Mana? Explain how it can be used." With a click of his charcoal pencil, he began to write.
"Mana is the energy of all things. An organ to control this mana is born within every living creature—it is called a “mana seed”. This mana seed dictates how a creature controls their mana, and there are five conventional methods to develop your mana seed. Mana seeds are needed in living beings because they can't naturally control and contain mana."
Swiftly and unceasingly, Dalis eyed over the next question as his right hand kept writing.
"What is mana strengthening, and what can result of it?" He answered:
"Each living being starts their life having a dormant mana seed. Having a dormant mana seed means that your mana seed has not transformed into the five other conventional mana seeds. These are Movement, Body, Free, Reinforced and Blessed. By process of mana strengthening, the mana seed is able to go through a transformation that will only ever happen once, and this transformation changes the way mana can be controlled."
Dalis's first page was now filled with writing emanating intelligence and grace. Each character placed as if it were a soldier in a grand formation of a steel-tempered battalion. And as the page was flipped, the army only continued to grow.
The third question read: "Describe each of the results mentioned in your previous answer."
To any other student, this question might be a cause of stress and lament. For the more you answered previously, the more you had to answer now. But Dalis did not waver. He continued to write with unwavering finesse.
"Movement Mana seed:
Grants the ability to move mana freely outside of their own body, including natural mana found in the environment, creating spell formations through formulas to conjure [much like a circuit that runs off of mana instead of electricity]. People who have this mana seed tend to be recognised as mages, and their techniques may be sometimes referred to as spells."
Like the fall of a dynasty, one of the results were fully fleshed out. The conquering movement had only just begun.
"Body Mana seed:
Individuals are able to strengthen their own bodies through the use of mana, but they cannot control mana outside of it. They take in the natural mana in the environment and consolidate their bodies. Users who have chosen this mana pathway are known as body consolidators."
Bodied beyond belief, the next result was decisively written such that Dalis was already onto the next before the charcoal even had time to settle.
"Free Mana seed:
They can control mana they are in contact with, changing their state to make the mana fundamentally different. Their fundamental training is to shift and play with the states of their body. For instance, becoming solid, liquid, or gas. They even have control over conductivity, adherence, malleability, and others of the like. Free mana is very versatile and is known to be adept at the vast majority of jobs."
The pencil seemed to weave in and out with an ebb and flow that bordered on illusion and transformation to elusively write the conclusion of the third result. Its fourth target was already in sight.
"Reinforced Mana seed:
They can infuse their mana into separate objects enabling users to control and strengthen them at a distance. Through the consumption of magical stones, plants, and other sorts, they can imbue special effects into the given object. However, this process is very arbitrary in results and very often fails. It is extremely difficult to successfully create special functional enchantments. Only the most talented enchanters are able to do this. Those who have this mana type tend to be considered as enchanters."
Like a never-ending supply of troops, reinforcements of the previous page of soldiers continued to align in formation, defining the fourth result; resolute soldiers were threatening to burst from their paper confines.
"Blessed Mana seed:
Their mana energy is different from the rest of the other seeds. The seed is said to hold Caleyar's power blessed unto a mana seed. It will make the mana seed carry some of Caleyar's power but be unable to develop into any of the others. Its elemental properties are a mixture of light and divinity. The primary use of power is through genuine artefacts and lessor artefacts. However, for genuine artefacts, there is a restriction of not being able to unleash the full power. Often times when an artefact was referred, people would consider it as a lessor artefact because of how rare genuine artefacts are.
By having a dormant mana seed whilst living around the Head Church over a long period of time, if one does not seek other transformations, then it will naturally be transformed to this. Otherwise, they can be directly baptised. Blessed Mana is unique as you are unable to transform a dormant mana seed into it. Unless, one is baptised or living around the Head Church, located northeast of Cresuilge Kingdom."
And at last, the full battalion was assembled as the largest group of soldiers descended upon the field to conquer its next territory—the third question was vanquished.
Silently, a girl raised her hand.
Scholar Somal walked over to the girl's desk and asked silently: "Yes Sharron. What do you need?"
"Would we be required to write about mana involving heroes and demonic beasts?"
"Excellent question!" Scholar Somal said in a cheerful voice. He raised his arm with one index finger pointed to the ceiling and began his announcement to the class.
"Sharron just asked a very important question, and this may come in handy in the actual exam regarding heroes and demonic beasts. She asked if you all will be required to write about mana involving heroes and demonic beasts. While it isn't necessary to write about them, by appending that knowledge to your writing it will indicate to me that you have considered other mana aspects which are not conventionally taught. Critical thinking is a must, everyone. I would like to know everybody's individual theories and understandings of mana whether it is mentioned or not! Fret not! You will gain more marks if you do so."
"However teacher, you said before that nobody has an actual clear understanding with regards to mana of heroes and demonic beasts. How would you be able to allocate marks if even teacher Somal is unable to be certain?" one of the students asked.
"Hmph, have you ever been listening to Scholar Somal? That question has already been answered!" irritated, Melvin interjected with a look of disdain.
The atmosphere of the class became livelier. (Why had the mock exam turned into a class discussion?) Dalis pondered meaninglessly.
"Ah, Melvin could you tell us about it?" Stilla asked spontaneously. It seemed she wanted to avoid a possible conflict.
"Of course Stilla. I will make sure to fully educate everybody about Scholar Somal's teaching intentions to make a few of our . . . not so bright students understand well."
He stood up with beaming confidence with much elegance as he began his speech.
"While marks indeed determine our grade, they're obviously not a complete measure of one's correctness. Unlike multiple-choice, in the upcoming writing exam, as he said, we are marked based upon our understandings of mana. There is no complete right or wrong answer. After all everything is just a theory of what our seniors and ancestors have recorded. While our conventional laws have been recognised and established as common knowledge, there is much to learn and discover about. Revisiting your silly question, our teacher would like to know our own thoughts, ideas, and judgements in order to provide a response that details your outlook on the fundamental laws. As long as you provide evidence, whether it could perhaps support your theory, or contradict known laws . . . then appropriate marks would be given, especially if they're unconventional."
The class awed in admiration and respect.
"Melvin although your attitude is a little . . . disrespectful. That was a magnificent answer as to the objectives of the test. While the content and knowledge is vital, it is more important to view your individual argument, and understanding of laws, and principles. There is a great difference in grades between a B student with detailed textbook answers compared to an A student who are able to come up with their own theories and conclusions," Scholar Somal said as he expressed his impressed attitude.
"I will make my utmost effort to "fix" my attitude to be a role model for my fellow peers," Melvin replied, giving a light bow.
Melvin then inconspicuously looked towards Stilla. Stilla was seen to be seriously taking notes on her scrap sheet, which brought forth a surge of satisfaction. It boosted his self-centred ego to higher levels than before.
Melvin, feeling very conceited, then shot a glance towards Dalis. Dalis appeared to be simply staring into space. His attitude seemed to suggest that he wasn't paying attention at all to the discussion, nor did he hear his "magnificent answer".
Dalis's aloof attitude ticked off Melvin. This would usually result in Melvin pestering Dalis in a roundabout way. However, as his mood was very good, he decided to let the matter slide. After all, it was his fault for failing to listen to the discussion. If he were to fail or fall beneath Melvin, he would be able to boast and undermine him for his lack of attention, especially since he missed the "magnificent answer" of his.
Yes, this all happened during a mock exam.
After the mock exam with Scholar Somal, Dalis's group was required to meet at the Training Facility of the Caleyar Orphanage. This was where students would individually workout in order to strengthen themselves in their respective mana pathways besides the battlegrounds.
The Training Facility was said to have undergone many expansions and refinements over the years with each modification reflecting the wishes and training philosophy of the Church, Kingdom, and other nations to a minor extent.
The interior walls were indestructible as it had been reinforced with powerful magical inscriptions from Feeria and enchantments from Cresuilge Kingdom. Superimposed on top was another separated layer wall with blessed mana from Caleyar. Therefore, there is no worry as to how wild one could be in their training.
Inside the Training Facility, the accessories and clothing one can find include countless weapons of combat stored in the weapon racks and wardrobes.
Notable mentions include battle armour used by the Vanquish Soldiers, blessed robes, and uniforms that are imbued with Caleyar's mana. They may offer various types of resistances, such as a reduction in fire elemental power.
Although one is unable to utilise the superior quality equipment such as the Vanquish Soldier's armour, they're able to view it with admiration. If children gained permission, they could, in fact, use it for a period of time.
In regards to training that is offered, there are mechanisms that are placed to help simulate actual live combat. For instance, there are summoning circles which can summon common low-level demonic creatures or beasts. The devices could also conjure up entities that are similar to particular known beasts and emulate them.
There are also soldiers-in-training or teachers that are assigned at particular times to be in the training facility. Their role is to guide students and to be on duty, making sure that everything is going smoothly.
Furthermore, there are particular specialists who enter the Training Facility periodically. They're assigned to scout talents, measure strength, and even give specific lecturing or demonstrations. Although there are numerous specialists, a large majority of them are involved with guidance in the blessed mana pathway.