16 Chapter 16 - Single Minded
Joseph bounced out of bed the next morning. He had slept later than he had wanted, because of how late he had stayed up with Miss Selena. He needed to check his progress with the system.
(TIME REMAINING TO COMPLETE EXTERNALIZATION OF MANA – 23 HOURS)
Joseph grinned. He could do that in two days! If he did thirteen hours today, he could finish with ten tomorrow. Then it would only be four days after that of study to cast his first spell!
Stu focused more on cooking and food then he did on magic, and Selena devoted herself entirely to the one rune. Joseph knew he couldn't do that. There had been a definite devotion to magic from Selena that Stu did not have, so he knew he would be better then nothing.
Running the facts through his head, he would have to spend 200 hours learning to inscribe runes into the world before he should be able to cast a spell at all, but thanks to the paper from Stu, he could go ahead and do it before learning to inscribe the rune. After the 200 hours for inscribing the runes, there would need to be 250 hours learning each of the manipulation techniques for mana: gaze, breath, area, missile and jet. After the 50 hours for each of those, his foundation for learning magic would be complete.
Sitting back in his chair, he was overwhelmed for a moment by the sheer amount of work there still was before him, but then realized with a soft laugh that he was only able to do this as fast as he was, because he had the system. Turning his thoughts back to the magic, he tried to decide if he wanted to learn DECAY and PURIFY FOOD, or start on FIRE. He was leaning towards finishing up PURIFY FOOD so he could be done with it for now. It wouldn't be quite as efficient, but the sense of accomplishment would be nice.
Several days later…
(EXTERNALIZATION OF MANA – COMPLETE)
Heaving a sigh of relief, he leaned back in his chair. Stella looked up from the slate where she was practicing her letters.
"Watch this," he said with a grin, and held up his hand. A beautiful blue glow began to appear. It slowly extended from his fingertips and he watched as Stella stared at it in wonder. He was sure his face probably looked just like his dad's when he was bragging about an accomplishment. With slight movements of his will, the glow bent first one way, then the other.
He had thought it would work in fits and starts but it didn't. It wasn't until the last couple of hours that he felt things start to click into place, like all the work he had done up to that point was setting itself up. Thinking of Stu, he wondered if it was like all the hours put into a grand meal, that was then consumed in ten minutes.
"What spell is that?" asked Stella softly, as if it were alive and she might scare it.
He chuckled. "This isn't a spell, it's just a manifestation of my mana. It'll be another four days before I can cast my first spell."
"That's the day we're supposed to leave. Are you planning to do something dramatic?" she asked, unable to look away from the blue glow.
Allowing it to fade, he thought about that. The spell he planned to do was TEST FOOD. "I could cast the spell at the evening meal with father. That would be fun, to show him that I can finally do magic."
(DUE TO EXTENDED PERIODS OF INTENSE CONCENTRATION YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ADVANTAGE – SINGLE MINDED)
(ACCEPT NEW ADVANTAGE?)
Joseph was blown away. It never occurred to him that he could gain things from the system without buying them. He excitedly accepted.
(NEW ADVANTAGE GAINED – SINGLE MINDED)
SINGLE MINDED - +1 bonus to a single task when devoting yourself. -1 penalty to notice outside disturbances.
Joseph grinned and Stella looked down. She obviously thought he was thinking about the dinner in a couple days, and that made him want to laugh even more. In his opinion, he already had this. Hadn't he spent a week traveling with Stella without noticing? It was nice of the system to at least reward him with something.
"Do you want me to inform your father?"
"Oh, that would be great! I can start preparing for it now, that way. Thanks, Stella!"
He saw the faintest blush as she stood and put her chalk and slate away. Turning back to his study, he needed to be able to get the mana to do what it needed to do in order for him to cast regular spells. Two days of thirteen hours and two days of twelve hours would complete that. Then he would be able to cast a regular spell, assuming he knew how.
Stella was gone for almost an hour, but he didn't notice. She returned with some food, and again he barely noticed. Each bite he took was slow and mechanical. He only thought he had been single minded before. The added bonus and penalty from the advantage made it even more exaggerated.
Shaking her head in amusement, she got out her slate and went back to her own study. At least working for him wasn't as difficult as she had feared. As she focused on writing each letter as perfectly as possible, her mind wandered. Memories of her youth, when she was too young to understand what was happening around her, surfaced, and she had to stop herself several times. Glancing at him, each time, she wondered if a time would come when she would have to leave him. He was still young at the moment, but he would grow until one day…
No! She wouldn't think about that. If a time came, she would deal with it then. Not now. She couldn't deal with it now…