89 Chapter 89 Training the Novices
"Derek you're rushing it. Stephan remember the mana moves as you breathe. The mana is all around you focus on it. Your foundations are awful. It's like replacing a basement without removing the house from on top of it but we have no choice and I know you both have the potential. There Derek I saw a rotation. Keep at it."
Stephan has to stop first from exhaustion.
"How can you stay focused in order to do this, master?", asks Stephan as he tries to catch his breath.
"Willpower and determination."
Derek looks at him.
"How long can you keep this up, once you start?"
"Two and a half days, but I prefer to not go past 20 hours. Also, with distractions, I only get about 10 hours of training in on bad days. I cut my own training time down to 5 hours in order to help the two of you, but I promised both of you."
Derek and Stephan look at Joseph like he was the weird one.
"I don't know how grown men can handle an hour of this," muttered Derek.
Joseph sighed. Stella gave him a small smile and he smiled back.
"Alright, let's try this differently for a minute. You are both struggling with achieving an internal mana rotation. Now review. Derek what makes internal mana rotation important?"
"All creatures are made of something called cells. Mana is produced as long as anything living continues to live by each of these cells but in normal people it never collects. In magical creatures the mana naturally circulates which makes it more stable and increases the amount of mana," Derek repeated dutifully.
Stephan pipes in, "You also said that mana that is rotating is harder to be disrupted by others, but I don't know of any way to do that."
"Correct. Magical creatures do this instinctively, like birds flying, or like you and I breathing. We are humans and mages. We are not blessed with a natural rotation. We have to train our minds and our mana to flow and circulate.
"Here, Stephen you're closest to getting rotation set-up. Derek is only a half-step behind, but you have a slight lead at the moment. Once the circulation is established the next step is to establish your mana heart. Some magical creatures have an actual organ for this but we have to construct our own.
"Stephan, give me your hands. I am going to send your mana into rotation forcefully. Memorize the feel and flow of your mana as it circulates, and then try and keep it going. It's like your dad giving you a push when learning to ride a… never mind bad analogy. Just focus and pay attention."
Joseph took Stephan's hands and gently pushed mana into him. He controlled his mana so that it wouldn't disperse, but allowed it to gently begin to follow along his own mana. It took a few minutes to map out the correct path, but as they were both human, it's mostly similar.
Then he started using his mana to gather Stephan's mana around it like a meteor through a dust cloud. A gentle pull was all he was going for. Slowly his mana started to circulate along the route Joseph defined inside him. The quality of Joseph's mana was superior to Stephan's, so his own mana followed along like little kids marching after the tallest kid on the playground.
A rotation was accomplished, then two, then more.
(YOU HAVE ACQUIRED THE SKILL: MANA CIRCUIT CONSTRUCTION.)
(YOU HAVE AQUIRED THE SKILL: MANA CIRCUIT DESIGN.)
(YOU HAVE ACQUIRED THE ABILITY: LEND MANA.)
(ABOVE SKILLS ARE CONSUMED BY GRAND SKILL MANA CONTROL.)
(9 HOURS OF PROFICIENCY HAVE BEEN ADDED TOWARDS MANA CONTROL.)
(YOU CAN NOW REPAIR, CONSTRUCT, AND DESIGN MANA CIRCUITS IN OTHER INDIVIDUALS. RACIAL FAMILIARITY APPLIES.)
(YOU CAN NOW LEND AND DRAIN MANA FROM OTHER MAGES IN YOUR ZONE OF CONTROL. WILLING SUBJECTS ARE AT 100% EFFICIENCY. UNWILLING SUBJECTS RESIST WITH THEIR WILL VERSUS YOURS MODIFIED BY YOUR SKILL WITH MANA CONTROL.)
Joseph opened his eyes and stared at the mana slowly circulating inside Stephan. It took weeks for him to get to this point. His circuit was still weak, but would grow stronger with every practice. Having basic mana breath provided a nearly constant strengthening effect even if he didn't practice, but it would be stupid to rely on that alone. Stephan breathed out and opend his eyes.
"Wow. I can feel the difference in the mana inside."
"Welcome to the true benefits of being a mage. Normal humans can learn runes and even some simple spells but will never advance to mana circulation or generate a mana heart without possessing magery."
Turning to Derek, he said, "You're next. I have the hang of this now."
"Wait, you mean you never did that before?"
Joseph looked at him with large round eyes. "Of course not. I've been hiding that I'm a mage. I'm only 7 after all."
"Then, how did you know how to do it?"
"Oh, I figured it out just now. That's why it took so long. I bet I can figure out Derek's in half the time."
Stephan whispered to himself, "Of course, Master Joseph could do that. He's a genius."
Hmm. It's not the normal, 'As expected of William's son,' but whatever.
Derek had a mana circuit just slightly different from Stephan's. As Joseph started working on it, he was thrilled it took less then half the time. Surely, that was worth cookies. Stella agreed and disappeared to get some. Derek and Stephan both agreed they needed some time to adjust to their new circuits, and skipped out on sharing the cookies with them. Neither Stella nor Joseph minded one bit.
Chug and Tekaun were sending reports every day. It took half a day on a fast horse, a full day on a carriage, or a little over a day on a loaded wagon. Now that Derek had more magical staying power, the roads were being built so much more quickly. It took hundreds of trained men to replace what he could do now. They were making forms and filling them with mud, sand or the dirt from the sewer excavation, and having Derek cast EARTH TO STONE. It's not the best solution but without being able to get the quarry set up before winter it was a solution.
Joseph was spending an hour or so every night focusing on the pure EARTH rune. It appeared that training the base rune, slowly pulled up every spell in the family that you know, to the level below the base rune. It made Selena's existence more understandable. She only focused on FIRE, but it was at master, or grand master level, so all of her fire spells were naturally pulled up to at least advanced levels. The other mages that swore to him, were able to see a demonstration by Stephan on breath. His mana came out faintly green, but you have to look for it.
It reminded Joseph of lightly tinted glass, honestly. Now that things were truly running smoothly again, he had less need to oversee the city construction. It was time to science-up both of his main apprentices.