A note from wazzap

First attempt at writing exposition, hope it's not too boring and can actually be followed.

Also, time skip warning.

Hope you enjoy!

As much as I feared the size of the task before me, my fears proved to be unfounded. Barely a month into my search and I already found it. Well, I found a part of what I was looking for. More of a step in the right direction than the whole picture, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

Truth be told, at about the one week mark I began to lose hope of ever finding what I needed. Near the end, if you’d asked me I would have told you it was hopeless. My perseverance was, however, rewarded.

The book about wasn’t anything like “how to fix your inability to advance” or “the causes of magical ineptitude” or even “a comprehensive guide to advancement and the forces behind it. Eh, technically it was a bit of the last one, but on a much, much lower level.

The book I managed to actually find covered only a small topic, and that was the basic principles behind edification. Which is basically just the absorption of mana hidden behind a needlessly fancy name.

Anyway, that’s what I found. And as much as it rekindled my hope, the disappointment that followed upon figuring out it only covered the basics was immense.

Still, at least I got something out of it. Turns out, it’s another ridiculously simple process that I still can’t help but beat myself over. Like, seriously! You could’ve just told me that, under normal circumstances, the repeated absorption of mana slowly expands your pool of available mana.

Which leads me to the question, why doesn’t it work for me?

I spent a long time pondering over this great mystery, trying to observe the process in greater and greater detail, but no matter what I tried, the results were always the same. Somehow, it just doesn’t want to stick to me! Which left me once again wondering the age-old question, why?

Of course, as it turns out, I knew the answer from pretty much day one. The thing that makes me unique as a spirit. I haven’t thought about it that much until now, it just didn’t seem relevant and I also didn’t know what it really meant.

But now I know, oh how I know. The stupid, useless first part of my supposed awesome ability quite literally doesn’t allow me to advance. Or more precisely, it forbids me from accepting outside help except for one time. And since getting that soul apparently counted and since absorbing mana is for some unknowable reason outside help, I’m stuck.

Which left me frustrated for a while. How could I advance and get a real (as much as a spirit imitating something can be considered real) physical form, if the vary act of doing so is judged to be help? It just didn’t make any sense!

Then, one day, when I was glumly reading in the library, my search for a cure almost forgotten, I reached an epiphany. Two pieces of the puzzle merged to create a more complete image.

Since outside mana is considered help that must mean that something happened to it for it be judged so, right? I swear I’m not going crazy! And also, since, according to Grintoa, spirits can’t be blocked of from growing, then there must be a way for me to do so. And the last piece fell into place. It was a simple realization, yet a profound one. My mana pool, from where I draw power to cast spells, refills automatically.

Which has to, just simply has to mean that I produce my own mana somewhere and it can be used to advance instead! It must be true, or else I’m well and truly doomed!

So started another deep search of the library, this time focused on mana. Specifically, its production and or origin.

This time it took me even longer. I had to head deeper into the library than ever before, upon which I also discovered that it had a similar effect to the book Aiden received before enrolment. But I digress. The point is that, either this subject is very advanced, unsought, or, for whatever reason, someone doesn’t want people to find it.

One of reason why is probably because the book was actually a treatise on souls. Yes, as it turns out, mana can find its origins in souls. Sadly that is pretty much all I could glean from it at this time, for a treatise on a subject such as this is apparently shrouded even further in professional jargon.

So even though I had what I was confident is the end point of my search, I couldn’t actually do anything with it. But now, my hope and determination were fully rekindled and blazing, and I wouldn’t let anyone get in my way.

I spent the next couple of months searching for the required knowledge to comprehend my target subject. I studied and pored over books on almost every type of magic (or at least the basics and theory behind each one) until, when I opened my prize tome again…

I still couldn’t understand it. What? How is that even possible? Fortunately, my months of research weren’t for waste, as I now recognized the source of the issue. It wasn’t a problem of laymanship, but rather of an enchantment on the book itself which caused the words to become unreadable.

I didn’t let my cool slip. Ok, maybe I did get a bit frustrated, but who doesn’t when a task just gets longer and longer. Still, this was a library, so I managed to stay quiet and eventually calm down.

This is fine. Completely fine. I’ll just have to learn enchanting, actually learn this time, and disenchant it. Easy.

At this point, the long hours of wandering the library became something I’d long become used to, so I slipped right back into my routine with a new target in mind.

This time though, I was lucky. Turns out that enchanting is a great way to make money, which meant that book on it were popular and easy to access. It still took me half a month to read enough for me to consider it enough and that’s not factoring in the time it took me to actually train this skill.

As such, it was approaching the end of the school year, when judged myself to be ready and headed for the soul treatise once more.

The enchantment, this time, was finally fully legible (at least after I finished decoding it). I understood it so much, that I even managed to stop myself from removing it, since I noticed that it actually had an inbuilt mechanism for people to register and read the true contents.

I did so, my name appearing among a list of many others, and the letter slowly rearranged to finally make sense.

And oh boy, were the contents interesting. I was finally able to understand why the disproportional amount of protection placed upon it.

Passage after passage filled the book with the secrets of souls. What they are, where they come from, what’s their purpose, and most important for me, what’s their effect. One of which was the answer to my problem.

Souls, apparently, generate mana. How or why, I couldn’t quite understand, something about dissolution and the outer layer, but I didn’t need to. I now had all I needed.

I just needed to produce enough mana on my own to qualify for the long unreachable goal of advancement. If only it were that easy.

I tried to push my mana as it regenerated into going to the same place where absorbed mana usually went. That didn’t work. Turns out that my mana has to be full for that pathway to open up.

The next logical step was to just not cast any spells for some time, yet that was a bust too. After a couple of day of no magic I checked my progress. It had barely moved. The second problem turned out to be that mana generation slows down upon reaching full mana. It would take me ages to complete just one cycle, let alone the dozens more accomplished in the usual first month.

Yes, I had all the time in the world, but Aiden did not. So, waiting for eons for a single step of growth isn’t viable.

After that I figured there had to be a way to increase mana generation. My first step was the soul book again (technically the second, but I doubt a couple minutes of experimentation count). It did indeed contain a basic method to boost my generation by stimulating key parts of it, though it was less than twice the amount. Half an eon is still a long time.

During all this, I spent very little time with Aiden. Over time we talked less and less until the only words exchanged between us were when he was writing a test. I began to feel lonely after a while. It was, after all, the first time I was alone for longer periods of time. But the search must carry on, so I endured.

I took the technique described in the treatise and modified it whichever way I could. I still only managed to attain at maximum a tripling of my mana generation. This path was clearly not the way forward.

But what if I took a step sideways? One soul could only produce so much mana, and the size of a soul (which I’m pretty sure also correlates to the amount of mana it generates) grew mostly with advancement and age, so that was another no-no. But what if, instead on trying to increase the effectiveness of my soul, or enlarging it, I instead had two souls?

For indeed, that is already what I had for a long time. I even gained it on my very first day, my first summon. It’s almost like I was destined for this. All I needed to do was to take control of the soul spark and incorporate it into my being (instead of just lugging it around).

Looking inwards, I gazed upon the long-forgotten soul spark near my centre. Is it just me or has it gown a bit? Even if it has, that’s only a good thing and means my idea can work.

It takes me a little while, but with my instincts guiding me (for the first time in a while) I figured it out. A combination of flooding it with mana, forcing some of the ‘mist’ I was made from into it and willing it to become me, it slowly became just that.

Sometime later, could be minutes, could be hours, I looked for my own soul. It’s one of the tricks you pick up when learning about souls and soul magic.

And there, where until now a single silver ball existed, now two of them rested. One, significantly larger, the other small and orbiting around the first.

Ha. Haha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! I did it!

After month and months of work I finally did it! No longer will I be constrained to be a weak unformed spirit! I can finally join the ranks of my fellows out in the open! Yes!

Waiting for my mana pool to fill, I pondered about what form I should take once I advance. Over the months I’ve seen many more Familiars than just the big snake and Grintoa. Many were just copies of existing creatures with maybe a small alteration, others were a hybrid like Grintoa, and some were creatures I couldn’t even begin to identify. An especially weird one was something apparently called an ooze. Or was it slime?

Anyway, the point is, what should I become? There are just so many options!

My mana reached full and I focused back. Upon concentrating, I could now sense two distinct pathways that my excess mana could travel down. At the end of one, a behemoth of a sphere, and at the end of the other a swift marble. It was obvious which one was which.

I pushed all of my excess mana towards my new soul. Hopefully, with the generation of a bigger one, this one’ll take less time to advance. Then, with two souls, I could hopefully manage to actually advance in a reasonable amount of time.

If it’s linear then, combined with my boosting technique, it should reach six times increase in mana generation. This isn’t that much shorter, but I’m hoping that it’ll scale in a more drastic way and reduce the time needed to at most a year.

One can only hope.

A note from wazzap

Thanks for reading!

This chap flowed onto the paper the easiest so far, so I really hopw it's not just a bunch of gibberish (and I also wrote this at like 5am ,so that doesn't help).

Let me know what you thought about the exposition and time-skip, because in my experience those are often the things that make or break a story.

Also, i'm thinking about  writing another chapter this weekend, but I would feel more inclined to if I were to receive a review (not an advanced though please, this is much too short for that for now)

Thank, you.


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