30 Chapter 30 Area Mana Control
The next morning, Joseph started learning area mana control. It went poorly. First, he exuded mana particles from his entire body correctly, but he didn't control the flow rate, strength, or stability of the particles. He quickly became exhausted.
"It's very magical looking," Stella said, hesitantly.
Ugh! No wonder the area spells take so much more magic!
During their dance instruction, he was having a terrible time. He was only able to pull through with Stella's support. She could tell just how tired he was after practicing the new sub-skill that day.
That evening, his sword practice almost killed him. It's a good thing Stella is strong for a girl. She had to almost carry him back. He didn't even get a bath. He just went straight to bed.
"Thank you, Stella," he said, as he drifted off.
"Just try not to pass out tomorrow," she said softly. "You're heavy."
When he woke after three hours of sleep, she was gone, but a steaming plate of food awaited him on his desk. She had obviously just been there. Shaking his head in amusement, he sat and wolfed the food down.
He made it 12 hours that day, after figuring out how to do a combination of focusing on making the mana particles stable, controlling the output, and adding circulation. When Stella came back to get him for supper that night, she paused after shutting the door behind her.
"It's beautiful," she whispered.
He had been sitting there with his eyes closed as a field of shimmery particles slowly rotated around him.
He survived dancing and made it most of the way through sword fighting again. That night, he decided he needed a bath. Stella had him sit while she prepared the tub, being sure the water was the right temperature, before hesitating.
"You promise not to drown?" she asked, uncertainly.
"Are you going to help me bathe, if I say no?" he asked with a chuckle.
She turned bright red, and left with a huff, that caused him to laugh out loud.
"I'll be waiting at the door. If you're not done in ten minutes, I'm coming back in!" she almost growled.
With a huge grin on his face, he shook his head and started undressing. It was amazing how much energy it took to undress when you were this tired. By the time he was finally in the tub, he couldn't help but to settle down and enjoy the warmth as it seeped into his sore muscles.
"Master?" she called tentatively.
Joseph jerked awake. Shavist! He crawled out of the tub and started to dress hurriedly.
"I'm sorry, I guess I was more tired than I thought!" he apologized.
She refused to look at him as she came to empty the tub and remove it from the carriage. He could still see the relief in her eyes as he crawled into his bed.
The third day he made it through 15 hours of training. The mana particles were starting to take their own orbit some closer and some farther away as they needed to.
His instructor was happy. He had been worried he was getting sick, or something, because he had been feeling so poorly the last two nights. The 4th day he again studied 15 hours. He had wanted to go another 2 to finish it off but Stella told him she was old enough to not need a nightlight. Apparently, his mana particles gave off quite a bright glow as he trained.
Joseph woke up early and practiced with the curtain between their sides of the carriage drawn. When she woke, Stella went out to grab breakfast and bring it back. He had lowered the curtain when she returned and just stopped and stared. Joseph smiled. He knew he looked cool at the moment. He had just finished.
The mana particles continued to flow in and out of him and around him. Half was his control and half were the mana particles moving as were natural to them. He couldn't wait for intermediate level. The entire cabin of the carriage was filled with his glittery mana particles moving around almost like a swarm with a school of fish inside as he focused his will. Each particle would emerge, shine, circulate, and come back to him before it destabilized. It was the most complex movement he had ever done with his mana and he knew how gorgeous it looked.
Joseph finally paid attention to what he was eating when she set his breakfast down. Thinking back after the last couple of days, Stella had been bringing a ton of food. She knew it helped him restore his mana faster. He was actually surprised he didn't notice sooner. It must be because of how much more difficult this area training had been. But the affect was worth it.
Stella was very busy over those days, making sure there was plenty of nutrient rich foods for him to eat while he practiced the heavy mana training. Her memories helped her to know which foods would work out the best. Whenever she was confused about something, Sylva would explain it to her, and she would learn a little more of her past.
The system was giving her lots of missions that were very labor intensive, causing the other slaves to wonder at her crazy antics. Sylva wanted to make sure that if she needed to be able to do something, she could, and Stella wanted to make sure that if she needed to do something to keep Joseph safe, she could, so they were both in agreement that she needed to improve.
Thankfully Joseph was too preoccupied with his study to question why she wasn't present within the carriage as much. The slaves knew to not question why she did some of the things she did. However, when she practiced standing on the back of one of the horses, while it was pulling the carriage, the driver did as if she had to use his horse to practice with. He really didn't want to see her get hurt if she happened to fall.
She told him that of course she did. His horse was the closest to her master's door, so that if he needed her, she could respond quicker. The driver just nodded unhappily and continued driving the carriage in silence.