Training — Part 2
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Before I start flinging around wild theories, you mind listing off the things you’ve already thought of?”
“There are two concepts I have yet to put into practice,” she said. “The first concerns the use of a staff. I have always regarded magic as my primary means of offense. An item that empowers my spells is sure to be of service.”
“Hmmm… now that you mention it, the Spirit Lord uses a staff too, doesn’t he?”
“Indeed. I suspect that the deductions that led him to seek such a weapon are similar to my own, and that there are limits to the extent he is capable of drawing out his power in a form akin to that of the races’.”
“I’m not exactly sure I’d describe him as being similar to any of the races…” said Yuki, with a scrunched up face.
“He is… of a similar size to its members. I believe it is not entirely incorrect to describe him as such, even if he is perhaps lacking key features that others possess.”
“Uhh… yeah, I’m not sold, but whatever, that’s besides the point,” he said, as he reached into his pocket dimension and began retrieving an oddly familiar, pink prop. “The real issue is that I only have one staff on hand. And that it’s the Magical Girl Staff Mk. II. I hi—”
“If you are to attempt to equip me with a weapon so ridiculous, I will incinerate it immediately.”
She produced a ball of fire to push her point, which led her husband to immediately stop where he was, blink a few times, and put the silly-looking weapon away, a process throughout which his face featured an awkward cramp.
“I was just kidding. Totally. Yeah. Anyway, luckily for you, I actually have a pretty decent staff on hand,” he said. “I was bored one day, so I randomly decided to try to make the best staff ever. I grabbed one of the better-looking staves we grabbed from your old nest and combined it with some of your scales. I had Leila check it out, and she said it was so valuable that it was national treasure tier stuff. So yeah, it should be pretty goddamn decent.”
“That is very promising indeed. But if it is so powerful, do you not require it?”
“Well, the thing is, I’m not really good at making use of a staff. I’m not sure why, but I can’t actually get it to feel like they’re really doing much. Like, I get the vague impression that they kinda make it easier for me to channel my mana, but the effect is so hard to notice that it’s basically not worth using one.”
“Our spells are primordial in nature. It is only a given that they do not benefit so greatly from the properties of a wand or staff.”
Generally speaking, staves had two functions. The first was to either shorten or outright replace a chant, and the second was to improve the efficiency of a spell such that less mana was required to activate it.
Neither of these two properties greatly benefitted the supreme dragon or her husband. Both used chantless magic, and both had mana pools that far exceeded the norm. Any decrease in the rate at which they ate through their reserves was effectively inconsequential.
“You sure you want to bother even trying then?”
“I am. It is said that a staff eases the use of magic for those who are accustomed to their use. But as you wield Enne, I do not believe such a fact to be one that you need note.”
She took the staff from him as she spoke and used it to cast her usual fireball spell. While it looked simple, it was by no means the sort of projectile a novice could produce. The condensed sphere was crammed full of so much mana that it burned a bright blue.
Launching at the cliff face caused the only result to be expected, an explosion, one that blew apart so much of the rocky surface it formed a massive cloud of dust that obscured all from view.
“Yeah uh, looks overpowered as fuck as usual to me,” he said. “How’d it feel to you? Any different?”
“…If there is a difference, then it is at best subtle.”
“Guessing that means no dice?”
“It was I who made the claim, but I am now beginning to doubt that it will aid me regardless of whether I grow accustomed to its use,” she muttered. “Perhaps I am not wielding it in the manner in which it is intended…”
The process she used to put the spell together was the one she typically employed. She gathered mana from all over her body and concentrated it into a single entity given physical form. The only notable difference was that it had manifested in front of the staff as opposed to in the palm of her hand. Neither her cast time nor overall output had changed in the slightest.
Theoretically, it should have cost her less mana than usual, but the difference was so small she couldn’t tell if it actually existed.
“I believe not that it is entirely meaningless. The Spirit Lord makes use of his staff for both his spiritual and primordial spells.” She frowned. “I must consult him upon his next visit.”
“I don’t know enough to comment,” said Yuki. “What’s your other idea?”
“It is to cover my body in scales. I know not if it will have a significant effect, but I am inclined to believe that it is better to do so than not.”
After returning the staff to her husband, the dragon focused on covering her body with silvery plates. She wasn’t used to fully enveloping herself in them whilst in her more human-like form, so it took a significant bit of focus. After a brief transformation sequence, she succeeded. Her skin was covered with draconic scales, and her nails had transformed into sharp, jagged claws. Her wings had come too, even though she hadn’t intended on deploying them.
“It appears that I was successful.” After taking a moment to look over herself, she realized that her husband was gawking at her.
“That. Was. Bad. Ass.”
“Yeah, that was super power rangers tier shit right there. I bet the kids would love to watch you do that. And probably horse around right after.”
Lefi smiled. She could very easily imagine that exact scenario playing out.
“I cannot. It is far too dangerous for them to engage myself in play whilst I remain in this form. I am sure to accidentally injure them,” she said. “They will have to settle for watching as you and I pretend to clash.”
“Please at least try not to hurt me.”
“Worry not. I shall be sure to restore you to health.”
“How about we don’t proceed under the assumption that I’m going to get hurt?”
They exchanged a laugh.
“Sooooo, whaddya think? Are your spells going to be any better, seeing as how you’re closer to your original form now?”
“It is likely, but there is only one way for us to know for certain.”
She once again created a fireball.
But this time, it wasn’t anything like the one she’d made before.
“What the fuck!? That thing’s hot as shit!”
It was not only twice as large as she had expected to be, but also burned with such an intensity that it threatened to wear down the coat of magic she’d applied to herself to stop her from suffering from any burns.
“Don’t just stand there! Put it out! Or like, throw it at something if you have to!”
“I-I suppose that would be for the best.”
Lefi wasn’t inclined to go with option number B. Launching the projectile would have done quite the number on the environment, so she cut off the flow of mana feeding the fireball and squeezed her hand shut to put it out, sighing only once the heat began to disperse.
Her clothes were burned all over, but there weren’t any issues with regards to her decency as she was far too covered in scales for anything to be seen. She was going to need a new dress though.
Likewise, her husband had also caught fire, and had to pat himself off to put it out before finally relaxing.
“I apologize,” she said. “Its power was beyond my expectations. Are you unharmed?”
“I’m fine. Surprised and down a shirt, but fine,” he said. “You know, this is actually kinda nostalgic. It reminds me of when you taught me how to use magic, though I was the one setting things on fire back then.”
“A fond memory indeed.” She chuckled. “I remember yet the manner in which you lit some of your hair aflame.”
It felt like something that had happened decades ago. The dragon could hardly believe that not even two years had passed since they first met. And that was, in and of itself, really quite interesting.
“Yeah, it was.” He smiled. “So, how was that anyway? I’m guessing good, given how hot it was.”
“Indeed. Retaining my scales was of great aid. They prevented my magical energies from wastefully leaking from my skin and allowed for better control and compression. The ease with which my mana flowed led me to pour an excess of it into the spell.”
“I see. Welp, I didn’t actually end up helping, but it looks like you’re on the right track anyway. Looks like you’re pretty much good to go so long as you’re all suited up.”
“I concur. The form I currently possess is likely precisely what it is to be a humanoid dragon. I am capable of drawing out as much of my power as I am at full size. Or perhaps even more. I am confident that I need not be concerned any longer.”
All she had to do now was practice and get used to fighting with her scales deployed.
“Your dragon form is super cool, but I honestly think I like this one better. It’s fucking amazing.”
His praise caused her to momentarily look away in embarrassment, but she soon overcame it and replied to him in a joking tone.
“Naturally. It is how I am. To have wed such a wonderful woman should be a source of pride.”
“And it totally super mega is!” He replied to her as would an overzealous teenager. “You’re the bestest wife ever. You’re super cute, super strong, and even super super super awesome!”
“Why is it that your words feel more akin to an insult than praise?”
“Like, oh my gawsh. She’s so mean. I’m here, complimenting her from the bottom of my heart. And she doesn’t even believe me! Can you believe her!?”
He then pretended to cry. And very poorly, at that.
“I must admit, you excel at rubbing others the wrong way. The manner in which you are conducting yourself is disturbing at best.”
“I know, right?”
The two of them joked around a bit more before being suddenly interrupted by an incredibly loud set of footsteps.
“Master! There’s somethin’ I gotta tell you!” Lyuu shouted as she dashed out of the cave and spotted the pair. “Oh, hey Lefi! Wait, what were you two doin’? You’re both covered in soot from head to toe!”
“Oh, hey Lyuu. We were just doing a bit of research. What’s up?”
“Nell was just callin’, ‘n she said she needs your help!”