Let’s Use Magic! – Part 2
“If you wish to cast magic, then you must first learn to feel the flow of mana,” said Lefi. She swept the cookie crumbs off her dress and disposed of the plastic bag by handing to Shii, who happily consumed it without any complaint. The encyclopedia in my head claimed that the dungeon’s monsters didn’t actually need sustenance, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t eat. Clearly, the slime thought of the plastic bag as a sort of delicious treat. I had been worried about the effect of modern trash on the local ecosystem, but Shii’s willingness to consume it put an immediate end to my concerns.
“Hold out both your hands.” Lefi stuck out her hands while instructing me to do the same.
“Uhh… alright.” I didn’t really know what she was trying to do, but I shrugged off my doubts and did as she said.
“Woaaaah! The hell’s going on!?”
A sort of powerful energy began flowing through me the moment she grasped my hands. It continued to flow from her right hand and through my body before cycling back into her through her left.
Its identity was evident.
The strange power I felt coursing through my veins was magical energy, mana.
The intense stream of power flowing through our bodies was clearly of a different nature than the mana that filled the dungeon. It felt like it was raging about within me, like it would crush me if I let my guard down, even for just a moment.
Lefi kept the magical torrent at full blast for a few minutes, then slowly began reducing the amount she cycled through me bit by bit before finally cutting it off altogether. I collapsed the moment she did. My breath was ragged and my heart totally out of control. Barely any time had passed, but I felt as exhausted as I would had I run a marathon at full sprint.
“It appears that you are fortunate. The process went well.” Lefi flashed me an amused smile as she spoke.
“For..tun…ate…?” I was so out of breath that it took me three breaths to speak a single word.
“The process I just completed was to forcibly incite your magical energy to action by invigorating it with my own.” She shrugged as she spoke in an indifferent tone. “The process would have failed had you been unable to endure my essence, and your head would have burst in a violent explosion of blood and gore.”
“T-The heck did you just do to me!? That’s hella terrifying!”
Lefi responded to my outburst with yet another nonchalant shrug. “Fret not. I only chose to conduct the act because I had judged that you were powerful enough a demon to endure my essence, and I was proven correct.”
“That is enough. Save your complaints. Begin to cycle your magical energies throughout your body before you forget the sensation. I would wager that it has become a rather simple task.”
I wasn’t exactly satisfied with the reason she’d put my life at risk without so much as even telling me, but I shelved the thought for the time being and did as she said. That is, I stood up, closed my eyes, and began to focus.
Lefi was right. I could feel it. I could feel my mana. Most of it was centered in the area around my solar plexus. Though I hadn’t been able to feel even the slightest bit before Lefi had acted, I was now able to actively pick up on it.
I began to move it around by emulating what Lefi had used hers to do just a few moments earlier.
I had a bit of difficulty getting my mana to start moving. It was kind of like stirring a viscous liquid with a spoon. It resisted quite heavily at first, but it started smoothing out and speeding up as I continued to push on it. The glob of magical energy soon began to spread and circulate throughout my body. It didn’t take too long for it to feel as if it reached every single last capillary. And since I wasn’t dealing with any sort of external energy this time around, moving my mana didn’t disorient me or make me feel sick. It was kind of like how some people had the tendency to get carsick if they weren’t at the wheel. Everything felt fine since I was the one in control. I hadn’t ever driven a car myself so I couldn’t confirm that this and that were exactly the same, but it was at least something along that vein.
“Splendid. You have succeeded in bringing your mana to an active state. It is precisely that state that serves as the basis of all magic.” I could hear Lefi. I knew that she was talking to me, and I understood what she was saying, but I couldn’t respond. I was too focused on moving my magical energy through my body to actually squeeze out any sort of reply. “It has come time for us to move on to the next step. First, you must envision what I describe to you, and then you must recite the chant I speak.”
Lefi paused to wait for me to reply, so I squeezed out a bit of a nod.
“Imagine a wide open field, a grassy plain.” Her words caused the area surrounding the dungeon to appear in my head. “Focus on but a single one of the flowers therein. Pick it, stem and all, and place it within your palm.”
The scale of the image in my mind suddenly shrank; I imagined myself plucking one of the flowers right by my feet.
“Are you done?” She awaited another nod before continuing. “Good. Hold out your hand and repeat after me: ‘Create Bloom.'”
A portion of the magical energy circulating throughout my body suddenly focused itself in my left hand as I repeated Lefi’s words. I waited for the outwards flow of mana to stop before finally opening my eyes.
“Woah, that’s a pretty flowe—wait, what the hell!?” I tossed the flower aside as I complained. Though I’d chucked it without a care, it ended up gently making its way to the ground.
“What?” Lefi cocked her head. “Are you dissatisfied?”
“Yes and no. Using magic for the first time was pretty awesome and all that, but like… why a flower? Couldn’t we have done something, you know, a little more impressive?” I couldn’t help but point out the fact that creating flowers wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I thought of magic.
“That is merely because the spell was only meant to serve as your introduction to magic. We shall immediately move on to grander things. I would like you to cast another spell, and this time, envision a flame. You need not chant. All you need is to imagine yourself forming a flame with your mana. The clearer the image, the better.”
“Alright…” I directed my mind back towards my magical energies and urged them to move. As it was my second time, my mana felt less weighty and more susceptible to manipulation.
Honing myself in on the concept of fire, I envisioned a lighter, specifically one of the Z*ppo types I had back home. The image came to me with surprising ease. Both the metallic object and the flickering, bright flame it produced were crystal clear.
The flint within the lighter could create a spark, which in turn would ignite the oil it released to create a steady flame.
A small groan escaped my lips as I focused my mana and guided it through my arm. The slightest bit of my magical energy drained from the tip of my index finger and blossomed into a flame.
“Woah…” I couldn’t help but gasp in wonder. Holy shit. That’s fuckin’ awesome.
My skills were the very definition of shabby, but, I paid it no mind. I was too preoccupied by the fact that my finger was emitting fire to care. Casting one’s first spell was an epic act that would drive any man to a state of excitement. And though they might have seemed it, my actions were not even the slightest bit childish. Creating a flame at one’s fingertip was too great a fascination to be bound by the concepts of age and maturity.
“Very good. I see that there is reason they say demons make for splendid mages after all.”
“Oh, that’s a thing?” I gave Lefi an idle reply as I turned the flame on and off over and over.
A couple sparks would fly through the air every single time the flame ignited, likely because the image I had in mind was that of a Zipp* lighter. I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the excessive realism, but I didn’t mind it too much because the sparks were aesthetically appealing in their own right.
“Indeed. Most would be unable to manipulate their mana to such an extent the moment after their magical circuits are forcibly wrenched open. That is a trait that you can thank your race for.”
Huh. Neat. I picked up magecraft much more easily than I really had the right to. Even I was expecting it to take a lot more effort and time.
“It is because demons are creatures originally born of magical particles,” explained Lefi. “It only makes sense for your body to have been constructed such that you have a strong affinity for the manipulation of mana.”
Her explanation made total sense. There couldn’t have been any other reason for someone like me to be able to pick up on magic so easily given that my old world had been completely devoid of it.
Though I was interested in Lefi’s justifications, my attention was still too heavily focused on the flame floating right above my fingertip for me to provide much of a response.
I wonder if I can adjust its strength…
According to the dragon girl, the most important thing was the image I had in my mind, so I promptly began imagining a flamethrower. I played a lot of FPS games prior to reincarnating and most of them had flamethrowers. They tended to be rather finicky and only really worked under certain scenarios, but I liked and used them quite often nonetheless. I wanted to make my fire magic work in much the same way, so I closed my eyes and carved out a mental image of the heat-based weapon.
“W-Woah! The heck!?” Violent roaring flames began spouting from the tip of my finger the moment I pictured them in my head. I immediately reacted and pulled my finger away from my face, but I wasn’t quick enough to stop myself from getting blasted by a sudden heat wave. The flames flew so close to my face that I was sure they singed my bangs.
Shii, who’d been idling around nearby, began bouncing around in panic. Its body language was clearly saying “What the heck!?”
“W-What are you doing!? Stop pouring magical energy into the flame immediately!” Even Lefi was startled.
“H-How the hell am I supposed to do that!?”
“Cut off the flow of your mana! Do not allow it to cycle any further!”
The dragon breath began dying down as I suddenly began cycling my magical energy in the opposite direction to force it to a stop. It sputtered a few times like an engine that’d run out of gas, before finally coming to a stop a second or two after my mana finally stagnated.
Lefi, who’d backed off upon seeing the flame, heaved a sigh of relief as she returned to my side.
“That… was quite the shocking experience,” she remarked.
“I-I know, right? Holy shit, my heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to burst out my chest.”
“You must remember to take care in adjusting the output of your magical creations. As one that is naturally gifted with the magical arts, you will find that it is easy for you to accidentally produce an effect much grander than what you anticipated. You will only bring harm to yourself if you carelessly infuse your spells with as much magical energy as you can muster.”
“Y-Yeah, my bad.” I took her lesson to heart; I’d only just almost charred my own face black, after all.
Yeah uh… I think I’mma hold back on casting any more fire magic for now. I probably shouldn’t play around with it until I at least kinda know my shit.
“I digress, as I believe I have taught you all you need to know for the time being. To reiterate, magic is, in essence, the power of your imagination. It is none other than your very own imagination that serves as the basis for casting spells, and thus, it is also your imagination that allows you to create your very own magical techniques. Many humans and demons misunderstand the nature of magic. They believe it to be centered around the aria, the chant. And they are incorrect.” Lefi paused for a moment to take a breath. “Both a spell’s chant and name exist only to reinforce one’s image of it. They are but auxiliaries, unnecessary extras. You are a demon, a creature with the innate talent for magic. You need not ever chant lest you plan to cast a powerful spell that requires an absurd quantity of mana to activate. And even then, it may prove unnecessary. Never forget, the secret to magic is to have a vivid imagination. And that is all.”
“A vivid imagination…? Alright, got it. My imagination’s the whole reason I almost burned my face off, so I’ll make sure I’m careful.”
“That would be for the best.” It seemed that Lefi was pretty much done with her lecture, so I asked her one of the questions that’d been on my mind throughout.
“So uh… do you think I can do anything other than just making flowers and lighting fires?”
“Though I now understand that you have an affinity for both earth magic and fire magic, I cannot say as to whether or not you will be able to use any of the other elements. You’ve little choice but to test them out for yourself.”
“What other elements are there?”
“The four basic elements are earth, fire, water, and wind. These four classifications are, unfortunately, incomplete. They do not encompass all that there is to magic, and they are only described in the manner they are such that they are easy to comprehend. There are, of course, other elements as well. Some have been known to manipulate facets such as time, light, and darkness. There are many more out there, and that is why I cannot provide you a true answer. You must experiment to determine your capabilities.”
I tried out several other elements under Lefi’s supervision and concluded that I was proficient in both water and wind. I proved my affinity for the former by creating water at just the right temperature for a hot bath, and the latter by generating a warm breeze with just enough power to dry stuff out. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any other elements to work. I assumed that meant I simply didn’t have the affinity for them, but Lefi told me I was mistaken. It was possible that I had simply yet to awaken to them.
I wasn’t able to do much with wind magic other than just change up the intensity. I could function as a pretty decent hair dryer, but that was pretty much it. It was more like I had an affinity for hair dryer magic than I did true wind magic. Water, on other hand, proved much more promising.
“Could you perhaps manipulate your spells such that they are less bizarre…?”
“I can’t really help it. This is just how it all ends up coming out. I really can’t imagine any of this working any other way.”
Trying out a bunch of random stuff allowed me to learn that magic was indeed about one’s imagination, but you couldn’t just picture anything and have it work. You had to have a really strong image of what you were trying to do or it would just end up as a flop.
I found it easiest to actually get stuff to work when I used magic to make things I was used to and could easily picture. That was why all my spells ended up creating things I was exposed to in my everyday life.
My imagination was rather lackluster, and my memory apparently wasn’t that great either, as I couldn’t get my wind magic to do anything gamey. It was a shame, but neither my wind nor earth magics proved too useful. Fortunately, water was different. I could actually get it to kind of do what I wanted it to, likely because my affinity with it was just that much higher. I had a pretty good starting point, so I doubled down on water magic and began practicing it.
A minor bit of training ended up being enough for me to get good enough at it to create a dragon made out of water. To be specific, it was a dragon made out of warm cozy bathwater, but still, it was a dragon nonetheless.
“What are you doing now?” Lefi narrowed her gaze as she watched me grab the bathing set I just purchased with DP. I filled the wooden bucket with warm water before moving my fingers up above my head. I cast another spell and turned my finger into what was effectively a showerhead.
“Nothing special. I just thought it might be nice to wash my hair.” I wet my hair and began shampooing myself as I replied.
Shii began absorbing the soapy water as I rinsed it off my head. The slime was gulping it down, bubbles and all, as if it were enjoying a sort of snack. I was glad that my newfound pet was making everything so convenient for me, but I was starting to worry for its health. Though I knew very little about slime biology, I somehow doubted that downing shampoo would be good for the tiny blue critter.
I mean, Shii looked pretty happy eating garbage and whatnot, so I guess it’ll probably be fine… Probably.
I wasn’t too sure everything would go well, but I decided to use magic to blowdry my hair after finishing a first pass with a towel.
Awwww yeeeah. That feels hella good. The fact that I didn’t actually get to bathe yesterday was bothering me, so this is great.
“I would like for you to do that to my hair as well. Would you mind?”
“Well, I guess I might as well. You teaching me magic is pretty much the only reason I can pull this off, after all.”
“My intention was not for you to learn magic so that you would be able to bathe yourself…”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Enough sass. Get your head over here.”
Lefi was clearly exasperated, but she complied, so I ending giving her hair a thorough wash.
Hey, guys! Joker here. Another day, another chapter, am I right? Haha. This one serves as the start of our ‘hero’s’ ability to use magic. Can’t wait to see where this takes him, am I right? Speaking of magic, I’ve been immersed in Persona 5 lately. God, that game is so good. Well, enough of my babbling. Catch y’all in the next chapter!