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“Isn’t this supposed to be our day to spend time together?” Mother looks up from stitching my armor and pouts. “It feels like you spend all your days off fiddling with your magic.”

 

“Fiddling?” I raise an eyebrow at Mom.

 

“You heard me,” Mom holds up my vest that still has most of the metal plates exposed. “And why did it take you so long to ask me to fix this?!”

 

“Because I didn’t want to bother you,” I playfully reply.

 

Mom narrows her eyes at me. "We'll don't. If you need me to stitch up your armor, I want you to tell me immediately. And don’t try patching it yourself like you did that mess,” Mom motions to a pile of torn-up leather sitting next to her workstation. That pile is the last remnants of my breastplate. After my last sparring session with Tabitha, I could no longer patch my armor up and was forced to make a new one.

 

“Are these different?” Mom holds up one of the plates she’s securing to my new vest.

 

I’m surprised she noticed. “Yeah, I reforged them one too many times and was forced to add more steel into the mixture.”

 

“There heavier; will they defend you better?” Mom gives me a concerned look.

 

"They're about the same," I inform Mom with a smile. And once again, I tell my Mom a white lie to make her feel better.

 

Truthfully, those new plates are weaker than the old ones. Regular steel can't match up to kaglese, and after testing the new mixture, I found it's actually 8% weaker, and that's only adding a bit more steel to the alloy.

 

Oh well, I can't worry about it now. We've already begun prepping the materials to start making the dellinium arrows, and I can't waste any more time on my armor. Especially if my armor is just going to get shredded again the next time I face Tabitha. She made it quite clear that if I can hit her, she can increase the difficulty of my training.

 

I reach up and massage my left shoulder; it's still stiff from the beating Tabitha gave me a couple of days ago. At least I now have two days off to finish my recovery, and I don’t feel nearly as bad as I did yesterday. Yesterday was the second time I had to craft sore, and I’d forgotten how much more difficult it made working.

 

At my level, it’s hard to feel tired with my physical stats as high as they are. If I have a rough day and go home sore, my stats almost all but guarantee that I’ll start feeling better by the time my head hits my pillow. Even during my previous sparring sessions with Tabitha, I was good by the next day. The fact that I still feel some slight pain around my body is a good indicator of how thoroughly Tabitha kicked my ass two days ago.

 

I'm happy I'm closer to making her take me seriously, but I'd be lying to myself if I said I wasn't worried about my next sparring session.

 

I wonder if I should warn Mother that she might be helping me fix my armor a lot more than she thinks she will be? Looking over at her, I watch as Mom sews my armor with her strongest thread. Mother always has this profound look on her face when she works, like her eyes are concentrating solely on what she’s doing, all while having a distant look on her face.

 

After Mother finishes the seam she's working on, she holds up my vest and inspects her work before she continues. I think I know where my desire for perfection came from. "As long as it protects you," Mom sends a quick glance at me.

 

What? Oh yeah, my armor. I got lost in my head for a moment there. "It should be fine," I reassure her with a smile, but that seems only to make Mom more suspicious.

 

"It will protect you, won't it?" Mother's eyes drill into me.

 

“As much as it can,” I answer in a slightly somber voice.

 

“What does that mean? What’s the point of wearing armor if it doesn’t protect you?”

 

“It protects me a little bit,” I awkwardly try to explain to Mom. “It’s another barrier protecting me from Tabitha.”

 

“Some barrier,” Mother scoffs. She reaches over and picks up a strip of leather from the remains of my previous armor. “I know you used your magic to wash away the blood before you brought this to me.”

 

I choose to remain silent, not feeling the need to dig my own grave.

 

"You looked nearly dead when you stumbled home two days ago. I'm just worried that lady is pushing you too hard," Mom's face softens into a look of concern.

 

And this is precisely why I tried so hard not to ask her for her help with my armor.

 

Taking a deep breath, I sit up straight to convey confidence. "I won't lie; sparring with Tabitha is tough. I get my butt handed to me more than anything else," I tell Mom, looking her in the eye. "But it's because she's so tough on me that I'm improving as fast as I am. My shredded armor and a few cuts are just the price of my training."

 

"She doesn't need to cut you to train you!" Mom admonishes me. I know Mom is concerned for my safety, but I can't help but smile. "Do you think this is funny?" She scowls at me.

 

“Not at all,” I shake my head while still smiling. “I was just thinking about how lucky I am to have such a caring mother.”

 

“Flattery won’t work, Missy.”

 

“I was just telling you the truth, Mom,” I smile wryly. “Even though Tabitha’s methods might be extreme, I’ve never felt like my life was in danger. Tabitha may be a battle crazy monster… on second thought, let me rephrase that. Though Tabitha may be weird… Uhm.”

 

Mom stares at me while I try to think of a better way to describe Tabitha. The awkward moment lasts until I finally decide to be blunt about it. "Tabitha is weird and crazy; anyone can see that, but she's utterly devoted to Pacore, and by extension, me. Plus, it's hard to argue with her results."

 

“So, you’re saying you need to get hurt to become stronger?” Mom gives me a look that says she isn’t buying it.

 

“Yeah, kind of,” I shrug. “You have to push yourself if you want to improve, and I’m at the point in my training I need to be tossed around if I want to see any significant growth.”

 

“Child, you’re killing me,” Mom lets out a long sigh. “I’m starting to think the gods sent you to challenge your Father and me.”

 

“The gods could care less about us,” I snort, immediately regretting my remark.

 

“Aaliyah!” Mom shouts. “Don’t test the gods like that.”

 

“Yes, Mom,” I hang my head so she can’t see me roll my eyes. The gods don’t care about people, certainly not the two I met. And that's probably a good thing. If all-powerful beings like them started to interfere with mortal life, I shudder to think what could happen.

 

“What am I going to do with you?” Mom shakes her head, “How did you end up like this?”

 

“You’re asking me,” I point at myself. “I wanted to be a blacksmith.”

 

“Funny,” Mom rolls her eyes before focusing back on my vest. If we had this conversation half a year ago, Mom would probably be demanding I stop practicing with Tabitha. Though she's worried about me, Mom knows I have to do this and wouldn't put me in a position where I have to choose between her and my training. Once again, I'm reminded of how supportive my family is.

 

Smiling, I turn back to my own project and the reason that started this whole conversation. Sitting in front of me on the kitchen table is a small stack of wooden boards, the largest only 2' by 4''. When I was doing all my prepping yesterday, I cut and planed these small planks for today.

 

Off to my right is the bottle of engraving ink, and next to it is my engraving pen. Mom wasn't wrong to call what I'm doing magic practice, but I’d like to think of it more as furthering my crafting skills. After all, if I can start enchanting my gear, then maybe the armor mom is working on will last longer this time. Though, my armor will probably be the last thing I enchant.

 

If Kervin makes it back to the village in a few weeks with more kaglese, I'll be able to make a brand-new chest piece rather than reforge the one I have now. But of course, I can't just start experimenting on my weapons and armor. If I screw up the enchantments, what then?

 

But I don’t want that happen, that’s why I’m starting off simple.

 

I already have most of the runes I've discovered memorized, but that's only when it comes to carving them into the wood. I've never had engraving ink to work with before, and It's impossible to know how my carving will work now that I have it. That's why I'm going to do a series of tests to determine how my skills work now that I'll be enchanting for real.

 

First, I grab my engraving pen and the bottle of ink. I remove the small threaded cap on the end of my pen and uncork the ink. As carefully as possible, I slowly dip the engraving ink bottle until a bead of ink starts to pour into my pen. The engraving ink has the consistency of syrup, and it takes me four minutes to fill it up.

 

Setting the ink bottle back off to the side, I examine my engraving pen now that it's full. The pen feels different in my hands now that it's heavier, but fiddling with it for a little bit is all it takes for it to start to feel natural again. But as I twirl the pen in my hands, I notice there isn't any ink on its tip. I know there's a small hole for the ink to dip through, but Sense Mana lets me see that the ink appears to be clogged at the small threshold.

 

Did Master not make the hole big enough; do I need to see him to get it fixed? Let's try pouring my mana into the pen first before I go running to Master Del.

 

Using Inject Mana, I transfer a small amount of mana into my engraving pen, and I’m surprised by the results.

 

When I practiced without engraving ink inside my pen, my mana would naturally condense in the tip of the pen. The same thing is happening now, but as my mana flows through the pen, it's reacting with the ink inside it. As my mana is pulled to the tip of the pen, it drags a small bead of engraving ink along with it.

 

"That's so cool!" I can't help but exclaim. I can already guess how an engraving pen is supposed to be enchanted just by watching how my mana moves through the pen.

 

“Having success already?” Mom asks from her sewing corner, reminding me I’m not alone. I’m starting to think I might get sucked into my work too easily.

 

“I think so,” I happily tell her.

 

Knowing how the pen functions, I reach over and grab a piece of wood with my left hand. I hold the board steady and move to engrave a basic mana absorbing rune. Mana absorbing runes are the basis of all enchantments, so it only fits I start with them. I focus on the image in my head.

 

With Steady Hands activated, I carve out the whirlpool-looking rune, and I quickly realize the difference with using engraving ink.

 

Even with me channeling my magic into the engraving pen, the ink doesn't come out that fast. What would've taken me half a minute to carve out normally, the tier 1 mana absorbing rune takes me a full four minutes of slow carving to get just right. I'm all for slow and steady, but the longer it takes me to engrave the rune, the more mana I waste applying it. Plus, there’s the ink I need to worry about.

 

If I go too fast, the ink doesn't fill the channel properly. But on the other hand, if I focus on one spot too long, the ink bunches up and overflows. The former problem is more common than the latter, but both are issues I need to be aware of.

 

When I do finish my first rune, I’ll be the first to admit it’s a little rough around the edges, but the overall shape is there.

 

I pause, expecting to gain my long-awaited Engraving skill, but I never feel the tell-tail sign of my soul expanding. Which probably means…

 

I take my finger and carefully touch a part of the rune. The ink is still runny; it needs to dry… or harden. I actually don't know what it's supposed to do.

 

Oh, fuck me, there better not be something else complicated to get the engraving ink to dry!

 

Wait, Aaliyah, don’t panic, I tell myself. Work with what you have.

 

Today is all about testing, meaning there are no wrong answers. I should try channeling magic through the rune, as I did with my engraving pen, and see what that does.

 

I need to be creative with how I inject my mana. If I touch the ink, I might ruin it, and I don't want to mess up on my first test subject. Luckily, I have the skills to channel my magic through the air; I just need to keep my hand an inch away from the rune. I don't use much mana because not only is the rune engraved on regular wood, but it's also just a single rune, not a complete enchantment.

 

I have no problem directing my mana into the rune, and I can use my Mana Manipulation skill to make sure very little of it is wasted on the transfer.

 

The plank gobbles up my mana and quickly reaches its mana threshold, getting it close to disintegrating, but it's worth it. The rune is doing its job by absorbing my mana, and that's all that matters. What's really interesting, though, is what my mana is doing to the rune.

 

As the mana absorbing rune continues to eat my mana, the ink is fusing with the wood and taking on its properties. I always wondered how scratching a rune into something doesn't compromise it structurally, but here is my answer.

 

I don’t take my eyes off the rune for a single second as it slowly fuses entirely with the cheap wood. I'm surprised regular wood can support a rune.

 

And like that, I jinxed myself again.

 

The two triangles on either side of the rune accumulate too much magic, and without an accompanying rune to utilize said magic, the wooden plank disintegrates with the two triangles as the epicenter.

 

I stare down at the pile of dust that was my first attempt at enchanting. I know I told myself there were no wrong answers, but watching your work disintegrate in your hands isn’t the easiest thing to watch.

 

I give myself a minute to feel frustrated before I get back to work.

 

I go over everything that just happened to see if I missed anything during my excitement. Even though my rune wasn't drawn as pristinely as I would've liked, it still worked; that's something to remember.

 

I try to remember the moments the engraving ink was fusing with the wood, filling in the previous material's surface. I can't be sure, I was distracted by the material disintegrating, but I think the rune wasn't able to mimic the wood's density fully. It makes sense; engraving ink would be way more valuable if it could perfectly take on the principles of whatever it was used on. That, or my engraving ink, isn't that good. I'm sure it's like the weapons I make; you would need the best materials to make something truly remarkable.

 

I’ll need to keep an eye on my next test to see if I’m right. I reach over and grab the next board.

 

This time I’ll try carving two runes, a mana gathering rune along with a one port mana regulating rune.

 

My previous test didn't necessarily disintegrate because of the rune I carved. The board disintegrated because the rune was absorbing my mana, and it didn't have anything to do with it; the same thing would've happened if I were to pour too much mana into anything.

 

If I can successfully carve two runes into an ordinary piece of wood, that would be great. But if the wood can't handle it, I'll just have to find something else to practice on. Blacksmithing logs have a lot of mana; I bet they could withstand a handful of runes.

 

I’m getting ahead of myself again; first, let’s see how much I can do with regular wood.

 

Channeling my mana, I start work on the two runes.

 

Again, it takes me a few minutes to engrave the mana absorbing rune, then it takes me almost seven minutes to carve out the more complicated mana regulator rune. Lastly, I connect the two runes much as I've seen in the various magic items I've learned them from.

 

My second attempt at a mana absorbing rune has cleaner lines than my first and is a lot closer to the examples I wrote down during my practicing. Sadly, the mana regulating rune is a failure. Examining the rune with Sense Mana shows that there were multiple points where the lines were overdrawn, and I can even spot an area where the lines look like they meet but have a small gap in between them.

 

Getting the ink to move like I want it is more complicated than I thought.

 

I let out a small sigh. Well, now is the best time to see what happens when a rune is drawn wrong.

 

I start pouring my mana into the second test board.

 

Almost instantly, the mana absorbing rune starts to work the same as last time, but now it has a place to send the mana it's drawing in. The mana absorbing rune funnels my mana into the regulating rune, and suddenly a noise pierces our quiet house. The board splinters in my hands, and it sounds like someone is crinkling aluminum foil into a microphone. After that, the split board pieces start to disintegrate like my last test subject.

 

So, that’s what happens when a rune is drawn wrong. I only caught sight of it for a second, but Sense Mana picked up a lot of violent mana around the spots I noticed earlier, especially the area where there was a break in the rune.

 

If I was practicing on a sword, would the same thing happen? I now see why enchanting is taken so seriously; one wrong move and you could lose whatever it is that you're working on. That’s a lot of risk considering I failed on the second rune. Each magic item I’ve seen has at least four runes, at least four chances to make a single mistake.

 

It’s no wonder a metal box enchanted to heat up goes from being worth a single silver coin to a few gold when enchanted correctly.

 

“Aaliyah! Are you ok?” Mom leaps up from her chair, dropping my half-sewn vest on the floor.

 

“I’m fine, Mom,” I quickly wave her back down.

 

"You sure?" Mom asks, not taking my advice and moving next to me. When she reaches me, she looks me over with a critical eye.

 

"All fingers accounted for," I jokingly hold up my hands, earning me a glare from Mother.

 

“What was that awful noise?” Seeing that I’m ok, Mom turns her focus to the table and the pile of ash on top of it.

 

“I think that’s what happens when you mess up a rune,” I tell her.

 

“Scared the crap out of me,” Mom frowns.

 

It must have because for the life of me; I can't remember the last time I've heard Mom swear. "Sorry," I apologize to my flustered mother.

 

“It’s ok, as long as you’re alight,” Mom lets out a relieved sigh. “But is it safe for you to continue?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

"I mean, is it always going to make that noise when you mess up, or will something worse happen?" Mom questions me.

 

I never thought of that. I purposely activated the rune, knowing it would fail, but I never considered what might have happened when I did. It only takes a few mana points to activate a basic spell, and I easily channeled five times that amount into the plank. For all I knew, the rune could've exploded.

 

I didn't even activate Mana Skin because I haven't left the house today. I was careless, and I could've hurt Mom or myself because of my stupidity. “I don’t know,” I honestly answer Mom. “I’m sorry.”

 

“You don’t need to keep apologizing,” she tells me.

 

I hang my head in shame. "That second apology was because I was reckless. I knew that rune was bad, and I still activated it to see what would happen."

 

Mom will probably tell me to take my work outside. I need a place to work, so I guess I’ll have to impose on Master. I hope he isn’t too mad to see me on his day off.

 

“So, you knew it was bad,” Mom repeats in her parenting voice.

 

“Yes,” I groan.

 

“Ok, then you should draw your runes at the table and test them outside,” Mom suggests to me.

 

I raise my head and stare at Mom wide-eyed; even though she’s scolding me, she's oddly calm about this whole thing. I was sure she would tell me to take my work outside. Well, she did technically tell me to take it outside, but only the testing part. Which, I admit, is an excellent idea. “Uh, yeah,” I find myself agreeing.

 

“And make sure you clean up your mess when you’re done,” Mom gives me a friendly reminder before walking back to her sewing chair, picking my vest off the ground before she sits down.

 

After I watch Mom take her seat, I turn back to my work. Walking in and out of the house would be annoying, so I should engrave a handful of boards, test them, then come back and examine my results before deciding how to continue.

 

Let’s get working.

 

*********

 

Carrying a handful of wood and balancing my hammer on my shoulder, I close the front door to my house behind me.

 

"Now, where do I want to test these?" I mumble to myself. When my earlier test failed, the noise wasn't exactly quiet, and I don't want to draw a crowd.

 

Going to Master's house would be the best bet, but I feel bad about bothering him on his day off. Each of my tests will push the runes and planks they're carved on to their limits, and I have no way of knowing how loud they might be. And knowing Master, he's probably relaxing on his bench at this very moment.

 

I could go to the quarry, but that still requires I pass through Del's clearing. Master pretends not to care about what I'm doing, but if he sees me going to the quarry to test out my enchantments, I’m sure he’ll feel obligated to go with me. Then there's the fact the quarry isn't exactly close by. Walking all the way to the quarry just to walk back ten minutes later isn't a good use of my time.

 

Plan B then, walk into the forest. That way, even if nearby villagers hear me working, I won't have to worry about any of them bothering me. The chameleon spiders may be gone, but most villagers still keep a healthy distance from the tree line. Someone might grab a nearby hunter to check on the noise, but asking one person to leave me alone is a lot easier than dispersing a curious crowd.

 

A quick five-minute stroll later, and I’m far enough away that no prying eyes will find me. I pick a spot with a fallen log for me to sit on and get comfortable. I set my hammer down next to me within arm’s reach, keeping it close by just in case a passing goblin decides to do something stupid.

 

Sense Mana tells me nothing is in the area, and I don't see any markings that a farkas pack or karhu has been through here recently. The giant monster bears are waking up from their hibernation, and those who survived the chameleon spiders and winter are definitely starving. I'm actually a little curious to see how I might stack up to a karhu, maybe put Tabitha's training to some use.

 

Gods, she’s rubbing off on me!

 

I chuckle to myself and turn my attention to the engraved planks I brought with me. Each plank is labeled in the order I made them. Fishing through the engravings, I grab the one labeled three.

 

Test three is just my second attempt at test two, a simple mana absorbing rune along with a regulating rune, only this time, I didn't mess up the regulating part. Now let's see how everything reacts when the two runes are carved right.

 

Pouring my mana into the runes, I watch as they start to solidify. Test number three was carved first and should've had the longest time to dry, but it appears the runes need to be activated for the ink to harden and merge with the wood. That at least answers one crucial question.

 

As the runes merge with the plank of wood, I note their structure with Sense Mana. I was right, the engraving ink is hardening and taking on the wood’s properties, but the structure isn’t as solid as the real thing, meaning my runes will be the weak point of my gear. When I get around to enchanting my armor, I’ll have to make sure I enchant the inside that way it will take more to damage it. I don’t know what I’ll do about my weapons, though. If I enchant a blade, it’s almost certainly going to get destroyed in a fight.

 

This is only my third test, and yet I've already learned so much. I know I’m only progressing this quickly because I’ve practice carving runes for months now, but it’s nice not stumbling over this after how long it took us to decipher the engraving ink.

 

While I’m enjoying my success and learning about enchanting, I continue to gently push my mana into test number three with exciting results. The mana absorbing rune takes in my mana and sends it to the mana regulator. The regulating rune converts my mana into what I can only call neutral magic. As my mana is altered, I lose my control over it.

 

This isn't like when I injected my mana into my old katana. When I pushed my mana into my old sword, it would fuel the fire mana already in the metal; that's why I could pull it out even though it was slightly altered. If I tried to absorb the mana coming out of the regulating rune, it would be the same as drawing in mana from my surroundings. My body would need to reconvert the mana back into what it was before I expelled it.

 

This is interesting, but like my first test, the regulated mana has nowhere to go. Part of the mana is lost to the surroundings, but most of it simply flows back into the wood, overflows into the absorbing rune, and repeats the cycle. Only this new mana isn’t reacting well with the wood.

 

With each passing second, the natural mana inside the wood is slowly replaced with the new mana, and the wood appears to wither and fade in color. Not decompose like wood is supposed to; instead, the wood becomes sickly white and starts to crumble in my hands. I don't even need to feed it any more of my magic; I only need to wait for it to destroy itself.

 

Within a few minutes, nothing remains of test number three.

 

Mana can be pretty damaging. If you add too much, it destroys. If you replace an object's natural mana with a different kind, it destroys the item. I've been practicing magic for over fifteen years now, and I'm still figuring out its subtilties.

 

Time for test number four; let's see how this one goes.

 

Picking up the next wooden plank, I grab the test I expect to fail immediately. Test number four is a continuation of tests one and three. It has a mana absorbing rune, a regulating rune, and this time, a water rune.

 

The water rune is one of the simpler runes to draw, which is a big bonus, but I picked it for this test because out of all of the runes I know, I’m pretty sure the water one is the least likely to explode if something goes wrong. Which I fully expect it to.

 

I'm only using three runes, and from what I have seen, this configuration shouldn't properly power the water rune, and that's the point. Test four is to determine how many runes a regular chunk of wood can support and what happens if an enchantment isn't sufficiently powered.

 

Three, two, one, I count down in my head and start applying my magic.

 

The fourth test doesn't even last two seconds. My magic is absorbed and converted just fine, but the board disintegrates on me as soon as the mana hits the water rune. At least there wasn't that annoying metal screeching sound.

 

It was hard to tell, but I think the wood disintegrated because the third rune activated, not because the water rune wasn't adequately powered.

 

If that's true, I might need to stop by Master's clearing and grab some blacksmithing logs sooner than I expected. Damn, and I was hoping to wait until tomorrow too.

 

I move on to test five and six to confirm my suspicions, and I'm quickly proven correct.

 

Test five was the same configuration, only with a light rune instead of a water rune.

 

I drew this in case the water rune didn't do anything, but I get the same results as test number four.

 

The sixth test has a complete four rune enchantment on it and was only expected to work if either test four or five was a success. But test six does have at least some benefit. The board disintegrates in the same way as the last two, but it happens as soon as the mana hits the third rune, confirming it's the wood that's failing, not the enchantment.

 

Now, for test number seven, the second to last test, before I go home and write down my findings.

 

The seventh test is a simple one, with only one rune carved into the wood, a tier 2 mana absorbing rune.

 

This test will tell me if higher-tier runes stress the material they're engraved on more or less than their weaker counterparts.

 

I actually feel a little sad to destroy this one; it took me forever to engrave it correctly.

 

Activating the rune, I eagerly watch what happens. The tier 2 rune absorbs my mana just like its tier 1 variant but at a much quicker speed. At the rate the rune is working, the board should disintegrate in a few moments. But while I'm waiting for the board to reach its mana limit, I feel it start to vibrate in my hands. That's new.

 

I quickly stop supplying magic to the rune to see what will happen, but the board doesn’t stop vibrating. Scanning the wood, I find the cause of the issue.

 

The rune isn't bonding correctly with the wood, and the engraving ink is acting as an acid; it's eating away at the board, all while absorbing the mana I've been channeling. I think the board isn't strong enough to support the power of the rune, so it's eating through it instead.

 

Soon the engraving ink cannibalizes the wood holding the rune’s shape. And once the engraving ink is free to move about, the engraving ink goes in every direction, and the board explodes in my hands.

 

Wooden shrapnel harmlessly bounces off Mana Skin as I stare blankly at my now empty hands. So, runes can explode.

 

That was a much more violent reaction than when I conducted my second test. When I tried activating my poorly drawn rune, the mana in the rune escaped through its flaws, disintegrating the board, but this time the rune couldn't hold its shape and collapsed all at once. I guess this means the more significant the flaw, the more violent the reaction. This test demonstrates that you can't just enchant anything with a higher-tier rune. I'll need to be careful with what enchantments I try to place on stuff in the future. I'm not worried about a tier 2 rune messing up my kaglese gear, but who knows if it could hold a tier 3 or higher rune.

 

But those are problems for a future me. Heck, I don't even know any tier 3 runes at the moment, so no need to worry about what I can't do.

 

"One more test to go," I tell myself as I grab my final board.

 

My eighth and final test is to see if my wooden boards can store mana. I engraved a basic tier 1 mana absorbing rune on the board and connected it to a mana storage rune.

 

I copied this rune from the charging base of my mom’s magic kitchen knife. The rune is meant to store the mana absorbed from the magicite placed within the container, but since I charge it most of the time to avoid wasting materials, I know it can also store my mana just fine.

 

If I can figure out a way to store my mana in a portable container, it would change how I use magic. I could store up my excess mana each day and save it for the days I practice magic or use it during my sparring sessions with Tabitha. And the best way to make this dream a reality is to see how well everyday items hold mana.

 

I don’t necessarily want this test to fail as soon as possible, so this time I inject my mana into the runes in small bursts and watch what happens.

 

The enchantment absorbs and stores my mana just fine. In fact, the storage rune holds in my mana much more efficiently than all my previous tests. When an enchantment is activated, a small amount of mana is lost every second it's running, not much, but more than this storage rune is losing. Why doesn't every enchantment have one of these? There has to be a drawback of some kind; that's the only reason enchanters wouldn't include a storage rune in every enchantment. I'll have to do further testing to find out the reason.

 

I channel my fourth burst of mana into the enchantment, and the board starts to disintegrate on me. It appears the wood couldn't contain the mana being held within the rune, which means the amount of mana a storage rune can hold is directly correlated to the material the rune is inscribed on.

 

Everything leads back to the materials you’re working with.

 

With my tests complete, I can't help but smile; this is what I needed. Whether I want to admit it or not, my crafting had started to feel stale. Sure, I have the arrows to make, but the last couple of weeks have been nothing but steel weapons for the village. I make sure to put my all into it when I’m making weapons for the village, but there’s a point where it becomes monotonous. Each spear I make is designed to channel mana as efficiently as possible, and yet I doubt all but a few people in the village would be able to tell the difference between my work and any old spear Kervin might be selling.

 

But now, my extra effort matters. If I want to work on my enchanting, I'll need to produce the best weapons and armor that I can. I feel excited just thinking about it!

 

Standing up, I brush the ash off my clothes. “What should I try next?” I ponder out loud with a smile on my face. Grabbing my hammer and swinging it onto my shoulder, I start walking back towards the village, excited for my next round of testing.

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A note from kosnik4

6,150 words.

 

Hurray, I figured out how to post images inside my story! If anyone else is writing on RoyalRoad and is similarly having trouble I recommend the site PostImage. All they needed was an email address.

 

Now I just need to go back and add all my pictures into my old work, wish me luck.


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kosnik4

Bio: Just love a good story.

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