Chapter 14 — The form of a less wasteful lightbulb

We went for a little holiday. It is been a while since I had the time to breath some fresh air and just relax. So many things happend. Yet today I am going out with ab enemy.

We went for a walk in a place at Sentosa Island. It’s very calming. There is a show going — a musical of some sort but the stage is on the water. The audience watching it faces towards to sea where the stage is built on.

It was a story about a man that hesitated to follow his dream to become a singer — but finally is forced to take on the role for only his voice can stop a catastrophe.

“Kinda funny hahaha”

“His power’s similiar to that of Caster’s” she continued.

“Yeah. It was a really good show.”

“Say, Balaputra. What will you do once we open the Gate to Eden?”

“First thing in the morning tomorrow at the courtyard,” Rin said yesterday. I wonder how is it going to be as I walked down the stairs and out the big door of the mansion. It is not really a courtyard and more like, a hilly grass fields. When asked where we are exactly, Rin said “Everywhere and nowhere.” She said she can’t trust me until I at least master a spell to encrypt my mind. Now I wonder how did we get here though. Is she able to do teleportation like Ji An?

“Morning.”

“Oh morning!”

Rin is wearing something different than her white blouse and red skirt. It looks like a trekking pants, and a sport jacket which is not fully zipped up the jacket, revealing a dark grey t-shirt.

I wanted to ask her how’s her sleep but she might take it the wrong ways so we just walked together towards the courtyard in silence. There the same maid that woke me up yesterday is already there. Unlike Rin, she did not change her costume.

“Cool. So let’s get started,” Rin said. “First thing first, I want to get a baseline of your capability. Attack me with your magic.”

“I… I can’t do any.”

“押す!”

Suddenly my body got pushed a way five metres behind, I squatted a little and move my hands so that I didn’t turn a somersault.

“Hey!”

“Huh, so you really can’t.”

“I thought you can read your mind!”

“You can also lie in your mind!”

“Is that — so?”

“Is not like we have access to your entire memory — we can only read something you are actively thinking about and I don’t think you can tell whether people lies just based on that. Now — speaking of which — try to read mine.”

“Huh?”

“How would you try to guess what’s in the mind of other people?”

“I guess I can try their body language.”

“Cool. Do it. I am not gonna encrypt my thoughts.”

“Hmmm… from your eyes I can see that you are very serious about his training. You speak loudly and your choice of intonation is very commanding. But you can’t help let out an excited smile every now and then — “

“You don’t need to tell me everything you observed!” Rin objected — she looked a bit embarassed.

“Oh sorry! So you are — thinking of drilling me but you are very happy that you get to teach people stuff.”

“Not bad!” she said, seems to be pass her embarrassment. “So, this is a bit different though. You are explaining to me what my general emotion is, but not exactly what I am thinking — in order to that, you need to read deeper — not my form or sensation, but my perception.”

“Hu… how?”

“To make it easy for you. I am gonna project my perception outward with mana so that even your senses can observe it. Now!”

I don’t really know how to explain this but somehow, I can see what Rin is seeing right now — no, that’s wrong. It’s more like, I somehow understand what she is seeing. I understand that perceive me as a non-hostile individual, she perceives Violin as a familiar and then I see that Rin perceived the house as something — full of pain. I wonder why — I can see trauma, hatred, disappointment.

“That’s enough. Do you understand what I am saying now?”

“Yeah… but I still can’t exactly know what you are thinking.”

“Probably because I am not exactly thinking about anything… you can clearly read how I perceived you. But you can easily also read how I perceived the situation, and that will actually give you something closer to the reading mind that magic user actually do.”

“Right, so it is not that the words are printed to my head or I somehow can listen to what your mind is saying?”

“Well, you can do that too — but there is just another step of reading the right thing. Do it again.”

I am looking at myself through her eyes. I never thought that my eyes are such a focus when someone talking to me — I am slouching again damn! can perceive them, what she perceives of me — excitement, pity, but also annoyance? Go deeper! What is her mind forming out of this sensory experiences… I can hear her. “Can he do it?”

“Good work!” I heard her said that both in my mind and with my own ear.

“Now, at least you understand the basic of everything,” she continued.

“Wait, how is this the basic of everything?”

“発火!”

Suddenly I feel like my arms burning — and then I see it with my eyes, that my arm is engulfed in fire. I looked at Rin, she is still calm but she commanded this fearful aura around her.

“Make it stop!”

“You make it stop.”

“ARRGHH… how!?”

“Be creative! Your senses is the gate to your perception, which is a gate to your mental formation — but it can also be the other way around.”

“STOP IT! I WANT TO FEEL THE COOLNESS OF WATER! I WANT TO SENSE THE TEXTURE AND COOLNESS OF WATER ON MY SKIN. I WANT TO CREATE WATER — ”

Suddenly a floating body of water appear from behind me, consuming the fire around my hand.

“See? You got it.”

“What the hell…”

“There are still things to improve though. But good job overall, shouting out what you want to feel is a good way to focus and therefore a good way to cast a spell. But you can make it shorter over time — shouting a whole paragraph will be quite problematic when you are actually dying. Violin, tend to his wound.”

The wound — it is real. Violin walked closer to me and whispered. “Heal”

My burnt mark started to fade, as if the cells repairing itself really fast.

“Don’t expect to be able to do things like that though. It gets complicated pretty fast. But summoning common elements are quite straight forward I guess.”

“Teach me more!”

“Okay — That was a brief top down view. But let’s start again from the top,” she said. Rin suddenly dashed towards us, she almost looked like she teleported, but I can sort of see the afterimage behind her. So she did move!

“There are multiple forms you need to pay attention to when casting a spell. Some are more finicky than others,” she explains.

“Forms?” I asked, not sure what that word means in this context.

“Forms are like stances in martial arts, but additional to making our body sturdy, we do it to make our mind sturdy too — ” she elaborates while moving her legs in a particular way, and sticking her hands out with open palms.

“I am not sure I am following.”

“If you can imagine it, sometimes your mind needs to be nimble, but sometimes it needs to be fierce. Depending of which, you might want to put your body in different forms to help casting the spell.”

“切る!”

Suddenly the grasses around us, the overgrown ones, are cut. They are leveled now.

“Damn! I don’t get it but that is cool!”

“Now, your turn!”

I moved my hands and feet, trying to replicate what Rin did, then I realised I had no idea how to pronounced what she pronounced.

“Um, what did you say again?”

“Oh? Kiru? That’s Japanese for cut. But it does not matter though, I said it cause it helps me focus. I guess that in itself is part of the Form. But the way one mage uses Form is different with another’s.”

“Okay, so I guess I will say something that most represents what I want to happen.”

“Sure!”

I took a deep breath and visualise cutting the rest of the grass, sense the feeling of the kind wind that can do such thing, I perceive how the people around me and me will perceive such action to be, and then I let it all out with a will to make it happen.

“CUT!”

The grasses infront of me are cut to pieces and dragged out of the soil. The messes flew around and created rain of grasses. I smiled happily, I did it!

“Yes!” Rin shouted her feelings before I did.

“Congratulation, Master Putra,” Violin smiled.

“Thank you!”

“Well then, don’t get too ahead of yourself. You haven’t learned what I am training you for in the first place,” Rin proclaimed to me as she tap me on the shoulder.

“Oh yeah!”

“I will now try to read your mind and try to see if you notice it.”

“O…ok,”

This is actually way more nervous wrecking — what if I suddenly feel something inappropriate towards her.

“Begin.”

She is looking at me — very intently. I didn’t notice it before, but her skin looks so flawless. She seems… quite fit too. Oh shit, relaxed think about something else.

“That’s kinda too late.”

“Ah… my bad, I got quite nervous knowing you are trying to read my mind, and remind myself not to think about anything weird. But that in itself is the thing that makes me think about it — I didn’t see you that way before at all. I swear!”

“Oh, so you didn’t notice I am hot before?”

“Huh?”

“Jokes. Anyway, you don’t seem to even notice that I am in your mind. Sigh, okay. So you know sometimes, when you are watching a well-acted film — you sometimes catch on to what the actor is feeling, right? You will feel something like that out of nowhere when someon’s trying to read you.”

“Huh? Like getting butterflies in your stomach.”

“Um… yes? I have never heard it explained that way. But sure. Now, I want you to think about something that is really only you can think about. Something unique, okay? I will try to read your mind again.”

“Okay,” I closed my eyes and think. What to think about I wonder? I guess to make it easier, I will think about something that is very curious for me. Like — all the other Masters and what they want to get from the gate. Like Amadeus Eichenwalde — why is he doing this? Is there something his billions of dollars can’t make happen? Is it greed? His usual decisions regarding his company are not ones that reflect it though, he is always trying to make the best decision for the planet and people. As my mind wonders about this, the big tree over the hill behind us starts to emmit mist.

“Is it normal if what I feel is that a mist is suddenly appearing around us?” I asked Rin. Rin looked around and is suddenly on guard.

“You can’t just shrug of every unnatural occurrence as magic. Though this is one — but not which I made. Violin!”

Violin jumped in front of me and Rin, heads on towards where the mist are coming.

“Divine protection!”

Around us a golden sem-transparent sphere is raised. And suddenly within the mist, hundres of arrows were fired towards us. The sphere blocks it all, but started to crack.

“On my command, open the barrier and take Putra within the mansion. I am going to summon Lu Bu.”

“Got it, m’am.”

Rin took a deep breath. “Now!”