Lith came down the ring with a dumbstruck expression, trying to understand what had just happened.
- Maybe Professor Trasque wanted to teach you respect for the opponent.
By beating them like that, you abused your power, and that\'s exactly what the Headmaster criticised earlier. Solus pondered.
Trasque caring for respect After how he threatened everyone and how he laughed in the face of that girl Unlikely. –
Lith stood there, watching the other students performing their training.
As Trasque predicted, every exchange was fast, but not as fast as Lith\'s.
The performances he saw were mediocre at best, no points were assigned, but none were deducted either.
He was about to ask Solus to replay for him the exact wording Trasque had used, when he finally understood.
In the following two hours, whenever it was his turn, Lith would let his opponent perform his/her attack before neutralizing it when he played the victim, while as the assailant he would give them the time to react.
Doing so costed him several defeats.
Despite all his battle experience against savage and magical beasts, letting the opponent set his/her own rhythm would sometimes put him at a disadvantage that was unsurmountable in such a limited space, with only first magic.
Lith spent most of the time spectating the others, often clicking his tongue at a bad move or to his own stupidity.
At the end of the lesson, most of the students were mentally exhausted.
The uniforms protected them from any harm first magic could do, but in such a competitive environment, even a simulated life and death situation was faced as real.
Playing in both roles, had made them realize how easy it was to take their lives, how big was the advantage that having a weapon granted during an ambush.
Only very few of them were actually capable of using first magic properly, the others were forced to improvise on the spot, desperately trying to score at least a win.
Lith was still fuming when Trasque came to him.
Have you figured out your problem Trasque asked.
This is an academy, not a battlefield.
Hence my problem is an impulse control issue.
During the warm up rounds, I took my opponents down so fast that neither of us could learn anything from the training.
In a real-life situation that would be good, but this is just an exercise, where I lost control on my pride and bloodlust.
I risked to lead the others by example, making them so focused on winning to not learn neither from their fights or those of the others.
Trasque had a pleased expression.
Not bad, kid.
You avoided ranting about my allegedly unfair judgement and actually self-doubted yourself.
Usually kids your age are incapable of introspection.
For that, I\'ll give you ten points for having learned your lesson, but the total still remains minus ten points, because I want you to remember it.
A mage incapable of controlling his actions, is a danger to himself and others.
Lith bowed to him in sign of respect before leaving for the next class.
Ten points were worth the Professor\'s respect, yet he realized that his reactions were out of proportions.
He was used to always be calm and collected, while now he was acting like a caged tiger trying to forcefully escape.
- This is so unnatural for me.
Why didn\'t I pretend to accept Yurial\'s peace offering yesterday I had all to gain and nothing to lose.
And today I wasn\'t able to grasp the meaning of the exercise until it was too late.
Could this be another effect of the hormones, or is it my body somehow rejecting my mind –
The thought was quite frightening, so Lith used Invigoration while walking, checking every nook and cranny of his being, searching for a clue.
At a first look, everything was fine, everything was as he remembered from over a year ago.
But then he noticed that the impurities in his body had moved a little toward his mana core, yet that made no sense.
It would only happen when he refined his internal energy, and he had long been stuck by the bottleneck.
So, Lith focused on his mana core and discovered the source of all his troubles.
It was pulsing, like a heart, at every beat it would turn to a lighter shade of cyan, while turning back at its normal colour when at rest.
- Oh F*ck! My refining of the mana core has overlapped with its natural evolution.
My core gets stronger over time, like everyone else\'s, but I have pushed mine so far that my body can\'t tolerate any further strengthening.
My body and core will be at war, until the latter isn\'t allowed to expand properly.
That\'s why my first crush hit me so hard, the imbalance is also affecting my mind.
From now on, I better count up to one hundred before taking any decision. –
The fear of ending like the Wither, sent chills down his spine.
It was a fate far worse than death, and he could do nothing about it but hope for the growth spurt to finally arrive.
He was so depressed, that when he reached the Principles of Advanced Magic training hall, he barely noticed Professor Nalear.
The room was almost identical to the one they had just left, but instead of rings, strange contraptions occupied most of the space.
They consisted of a small pedestal, from which came out a reversed test tube, 1.8 meters (5\'11) high, containing a black sphere made of metal.
Every 30 centimetres (less than 1 foot) there was a mark on the glass, for a total of six marks.
I hope you have studied and understood the first spell of your book, as I recommended last time, because that\'s what we are going to do today.
Contrary to all others tier four spells, Lift works almost like an inferior spell.
She recited the spell, Brezza Reale, and the weight inside the contraption in front of her rose completely above the first mark.
The problem is, it has no use outside practicing higher magic.
What you did just see, is the effect obtained by casting it as it was tier three.
She recited the spell once again, and this time the weight arose above the second and then the third mark before falling down.
…you can freely add as much buckets of mana as you want.
Your goal for this lesson, is to manage to rise the weight to the top of the bell jar.
You have two hours.
To barely pass, doing it just once is enough.
Ten times out of ten means passing with flying colours.
Choose your station and start whenever you want.
For those who don\'t remember the spell, you can study it now, but the time limit is always two hours, starting five minutes ago.
Professor Nalear ignored all the swearing that followed the students taking their position.
Is she crazy This is insane! How can they demand for us to become hexacasters in two hours If this is her way to get even with us for yesterday, I\'ll report that b*tch to the Headmaster!
Those were the politest remarks addressed to her.
Lith chose a bell jar in line of sight with Yurial, intending to use him as a beginner standard.
According to the school records he had in Soluspedia, an A rank magician was able to complete the exercise within half an hour, a B rank in more than one hour, C rank and below could fail.
That gave him an idea of how much time before succeeding, but not how to begin.
Since Yurial managed to start from the third mark, he did the same just a minute later.
The exercise was incredibly boring for Lith.
For a true mage, Lift was an oversimplified spell, that made getting the weight up to the last mark easy as cake.
Compared to achieving the same feat with spirit magic, it was ten times easier.
Lith could have done it at the first try, but that would make him too outstanding.
The worst part was that the only way he had to measure time was for Solus to count the seconds.
After fifteen minutes, he allowed the weight to reach the fourth mark.
After a little over twenty it reached the fifth, and less than five minutes later it reached the top.
The bell jar turned red, emitting a Ding! sound.
Lith was so startled that made a little jump back.
Seems someone finally made it. Professor Nalear came to his side, her hair smelled like roses, making Lith\'s pressure spike.
Twenty points for getting the first spot without any help. She said in her communicator amulet.
But are you capable of doing it again She asked, coming dangerously close.
Solus did go straight for protocol omega, generating cold spots under his armpits and at the back of his neck, to avoid Lith sweating bullets.
Yes, of course. He tried focusing on the spell again, despite having troubles swallowing down, like he had a tennis ball stuck in his throat.
The weight rose once again to the top, producing another ding.
Interesting, I can see the weight has a fluid motion.
Yes, once you get the gist of it, is quite easy. He said looking at her nose instead of her eyes.
Since no one seems to be brave enough to ask for a hint, humour me.
Try going slower, put half a second between every step.
Lith did as instructed, discovering that the spell was actually really versatile, allowing to add mana freely, without fixed intervals, as long as the amount was always the same.
Bravo! Now try faster, like you want to break the bell jar.
Soon the situation degenerated in a series of Faster, Slower and Not so rough, be gentler.
Despite she was clearly referring to the handling of the weight, carrying no double entendre whatsoever, those words conjured in Lith\'s feverish mind images that were completely unrelated to magic.
Despite doing his best to focus on the task at hand, while Solus was cooling him off as fast as she could, only Lith\'s paranoid nature ended up saving him from embarrassment.
That morning he had bandaged his nether regions, so that in the worst-case scenario, the rise of the spear hero would cause no bulge in his pants, keeping it sticking to his abdomen.