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A note from dotturndot

Happy New Year everyone! Welcoming 2021, the year I'll have to take my big high school exam... ugh.. it has been delayed one year..

Sid's forge. Closed.

It was part of this store's tradition. In an attempt to boost efficiency, the small window of time where people can come place orders was from 100 degrees day till 140 degrees day. The afternoon, basically. That meant the customers would need to properly understand their own needs prior to entering rather than meddling around with questions as to what they should do with their equipment. In Sid's forge, the focus was quality, not quantity. The rest of the day and evening would be all about undivided attention towards forging. It could be said that Sid Raymond was an aficionado of forging, wanting to keep all that time sacred and devoted to the cause.

Ignoring the obvious sign at the entrance, Curtis pushed open the door and—

Tia was somehow already waiting on the other side of the door.

"Morning."

"Morning Curtis, Morning Ruth," her eyes darting around, "Where's Ellis?"

"Remember the princess I told you about yesterday."

"Yes?"

"She's taking Ellis around for sightseeing."

Tia nodded as if understanding. Her gaze landed at Ruth. Ruth's expression was lax, no sign of tension whatsoever. Just a beautiful face with black gleaming hair.

"This isn't a lie?" Tia's expression tensed, noticing that there wasn't any off reaction coming from Ruth. Her body language supported the fact that Curtis wasn't lying.

"No, it's the princess after all," Curtis made a hard to describe smile.

"Ellis wanted to skip training that bad huh," It was a joke.

After that, Tia listened as Curtis went into the details—Ellis bringing Louise around town, Louise likes cotton candy, Ellis and Louise getting themselves into trouble.

"Thugs?"

At this moment did Curtis realize he had said something he probably should have omitted from the story. He respected Louise's secret, and after personally experiencing a brief encounter with Will, he thought it was best he kept it under the covers.

"Yeah, though that might be an exaggeration. If it were that many thugs, I don't think the two would have come back in one piece," taking a verbal detour, Curtis lied.

Tia narrowed her eyes at Curtis.

He felt a frog stuck in his throat, knowing that Tia had a keen eye to weed out lies. It was one of her many mysteries. Curtis thought it may be because of her job as a receptionist, to filter clients that come to Sid's forge.

As expected, she could tell Curtis' story was off, but she didn't question any further.

"I just remembered. Ellis' sword is done. I'll go get it," Tia swiftly moved over to the counter and from underneath one of the cabinet, pulled out Wisteria in its sheath. This time, with gryostones obviously crowned at the guard.

Curtis had asked for one red crystal, one fusion crystal. But there was an additional mana crystal on the third slot. All three gryostones being held by odd contraptions.

"You know, you should have done your math properly the other day. 20 gold was overkill, you could use that amount to make 4 sets of the same commission."

That evening, Curtis didn't notice that Sid had stated an impossible price. 20 gold was something you could live on for 3 months. If done frugally, even half a year would be possible.

"Huh. Looks like I misjudged the pricing. I thought inserting a red crystal would cost a lot, on top of the fact that the equipment being upgraded was of a higher grade."

Tia walked over with the sword in its sheath. She also returned 15 gold coins to Curtis, telling him that Sid had previously accepted a generous commission, which had most probably messed up the math circuit in his head.

Gonk*

"That's.."

"Ruth having some trouble in the kitchen," Tia finished Curtis' sentence, hearing a slight rumbling and incident vibrations caused by flying objects from the pantry.

Curtis could hear it, but faintly. Those who have physically enhanced talent had a boost to everything in relation to the physical aspect, which meant that they also had better eyesight and hearing. Again, that was why they had god-like reflexes and foresight-like instincts.

"I'll get some tea on the way."

"I think it's fine without it, we should go to the training room soon."

"You're right," They had been talking for quite a while now. Because of this, Ruth had entered and done something in the pantry.

While Tia made her way over to Ruth who disappeared half-way during their conversation, Curtis unsheathed Wisteria. Taking out notes from inside his bag, he started transcribing new spells into the fusion crystals. {Sharpness}, {Wind Compression Burst} and {Wind Blades}, these three were the limits to the jade sword Ellis had before.

'I'll ask Sid what the mana crystal is for later.'

In the library before, it was said that transcription could only be done using transcription stands. Curtis had only used the transcription precision tools for the sake of learning its more meticulous functions, hoping that someday, it could help him engrave transcriptions faster and with more accuracy. But, it was decided that he would give up. It was way easier transcribing straight from the hand. Now he knew, after months of trying, the preconception where transcription stands could make transcribing easier was— a fallacy.

Then again, nobody could transcribe straight from the hand.

Removing {Wind Compression Burst} and {Wind Blades} and swapping it out for more versatile wind magic, {Sub-wind Magic}. Basically, rather than having only the ability to carry out fixed commands, Curtis had managed to figure out a way to alter and executed magic based on the user's preference. So, Wisteria would have the mechanics to control the density of wind, thin or thickness of the wind, the position and release of the wind and a finely tuned strength adjustment. Not to mention having a better mana efficiency.

Not only did Curtis reduce 2 magic skills into one, he also made it so the single {Sub-wind Magic} magic skill could carry out multiple variations of wind element magic. There were limits to what it could achieve of course.

With the 40% purity fusion crystals having ten 'slots' more space compared to the jade sword before, there was ample room left to apply variable spells for other elements in the future.

Transcribing the notes into the fusion crystal, Curtis knew that rather than one slot, {Sub-wind Magic} took up two slots. 'Slot' was really just a term to conceptualize the amount of available space available inside a crystal. Since most transcriptions written in books were arranged to fit within a 'slot', there were rarely any transcriptions that went outside this rule. If not for the rule of slots, one could use up an entire fusion crystal on only one spell.

{Sharpness} and {Sub-Wind magic}. Now, with so many 'slots' left to go, Curtis wondered what he should do with it all.

'Ah, right, the bluntness spell.'

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"Tea," Ruth took a sip from a white glazed teacup decorated with beautiful blue ornaments down to the handle.

Curtis and Tia were warming up at the centre of the training room. {The open windows allowed light in and air to circulate properly.}

"It'll be a normal chase right?"

"You could say so."

"I'll slowly remove the restrictions I impose on myself the further into the match we go."

"Same as always."

"You better use all you've got."

At an agreement, Tia charged forward first. Although, withholding her speed to at least half her normal ability, the dagger in her hand seemed to flicker in distortion.

Curtis' role was to dodge and defend the attacks, not focusing on retaliation. Though, he could return an attack if he found the opportunity to. Either way, Curtis was limited to the magic that wouldn't destroy the room. Since he couldn't put up a barrier to cover the whole place like previously, he had to restrain himself. Magic can be destructive so— wind, water, light and ice magic would be the better choices. Fire and earth magic would most probably tear the room to shreds.

Remembering the concealment spell used by Louise and Will, Curtis evoked it's ability together with {Coat O' Arms}. Out of curiosity, Curtis wanted to know if the spell would have an effect on Tia.

With wind magic, Curtis made the air inside the room churn in odd unpredictable directions, like waves crashing into one another. With water magic, water droplets were condensed and flowed following the pattern in the wind. From Ruth's perspective, It created a wonderful sight of numerous tiny diamond beads dancing in the air. From Tia's perspective, it was an utter annoyance.

Tia was restraining herself, if she didn't, Curtis would have been blown away even before he could set up the field. The glint of a dagger came forward, thrusting up towards Curtis' throat. It slashed nothing.

Curtis used {Gale steps} to jump away. From Tia's reaction earlier, the concealment spell seemed to have an effect. This should help Curtis, even if a little. The wind altered directions again, the water disturbing Tia's eyesight, and the humid air weighing her down.

A cat and mouse chase. The mouse came out victorious during their first exchange.

Ruth was sitting on the bench. Calmly, she bent forward to reach under, pulling out a fairly large glass jar. The glass lid from the metal strapping came open with a satisfying pop. Reaching her hand into the almost empty jar, she pulled out— a potato chip. The jar was the size of her head at least, and it once contained potato chips filled to the brim. Those snacks were made by the three, Ruth, Ellis and Tia a months ago. With the jar already this empty, it was most probably Tia's doing. It wouldn't be fair if Tia was the one to eat it all right?

Crunch. The first potato chip entered her mouth. Ruth thought maybe she should try to use wind magic to bring the chips into her mouth, partly for the sake of practice. Splendid idea!

Actually, since the chips have been left for so long now, it tasted a little stale and had a softer texture.

Tia was bombarded with all sorts of spells. Being pelted by wind, water and light. Light to cause disarray to her sight, wind to slow her down and hinder movement, water to weigh her down and sometimes, force her to close her eye.

Asides the three elements, there was one more element he had yet to use.

"This is so annoying," Tia halted her momentum in the centre of the field. "Why do I feel like your always disappearing."

"I think you can raise the difficulty?" Curtis stopped a small distance away to reply. The room was only so big after all.

"If you say so."

Two-thirds of her restriction lifted, Tia blew water and dust off the ground.

{Field of Slabs of Ice}

With the naming sense failure, the one element Curtis had yet to use was— ice. Ice tablets the size of bricks formed out of thin air. Using water magic before, Curtis had slowly increased the humidity of the air inside the room by bringing in water vapour from the outside. It took some time to set up, but with this, Curtis could execute his next phase, saving mana in the process. Tia was coming in with more strength and speed, as the monster she was, Curtis knew it wouldn't be so easy.

Ice itself could not float (obviously), but, coupled with wind magic, Curtis could make it appear so. This was a technique that required precision control and total command over wind magic, proving that wind magic was the most important element out of all 7 elemental magic. Most other elements would become less effective if it were not compounded with wind magic.

If Tia wasn't careful, she could very easily hurt herself. Slamming her face or other body parts directly into pieces of rock hard ice.

Tia was a few feet away from Curtis when a group of recently formed ice slabs came hurling towards her direction.

With multiple blinding slashes of the short dagger, the ice was cleaved into two, some were blown into pieces. However, the ice that was separated into two did not move apart as it continued to hover in the air. Tia accidentally misjudged the situation and flung herself into the blocks. The ice was sent flying from the momentum while Tia had to cancel her pursuit. Her left shoulder felt slightly sore from the impact, but it wasn't too bad.

Pinning down Curtis' new location, she made another dash.

Ice slabs came together to form a shield in front of Curtis.

{Single strike: Resonate}

Learning from her previous mistake, a blurring of the blade could be seen for an instant before Tia rammed into the ice that had formed a small wall. The entire thing crumbled apart from the shockwave, finely tuned to fracture ice, all in a single strike. Since the frequency resonated with the ice, the other parts in contact with it were pulverized. This sort of instinct was inhuman. Who the hell had knowledge about the natural frequency of ice?

Curtis didn't think Tia learnt this from physics class.

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A note from dotturndot

I'm 17 (18), BTW. And I'm an artist! Go check out my Instagram! ! ! @dotturndot . Well, up to you though. It's kinda tough being a writer, artist and student. Also, I'm studying Japanese and updating social media and stuff. It's just plain.. tiring.. but I enjoy it. I think I'm a workaholic. Yup.


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