Book 1, Chapter 22 – Spring Ends, Autumn Comes (part 1)
Actually, all of the elemental styles, including earth-style, had their own particular strengths. But as a Saint-level Grand Magus of the earth-style, it was only natural that Doehring Cowart would strongly praise the earth-style. The eight year old Linley, upon hearing Doehring’s words, was filled with eagerness.
“Grandpa Doehring, hurry up and test me and see if I have any aptitude for becoming an earth-style magus.” Linley was feeling extremely anxious.
Doehring Cowart began to laugh. “Fine, I’ll test you right away.”
“First, let me tell you that the test for magical aptitude is a two-part test, so the test I am administering will also have two parts.” Doehring Cowart was behaving in an unusually generous manner. After having been trapped along in the Coiling Dragon Ring for five thousand years, of course he was now in a wonderful mood when faced with such a cute little child.
“Magical aptitude is divided into two parts – the strength of one’s magical affinity for certain elements, and the strength of one’s mental energy.” Doehring Cowart began to explain the basics of the test.
“What are these two parts good for?” Linley asked curiously.
Doehring Cowart said in a kindly voice, “Linley, before answering this, let me ask you, if a magus is about to cast a spell, what does he rely upon?”
“Magical incantations!” Linley immediately said.
Linley had seen how the magus who rode the Velocidragon first mumbled many magical words before casting his spell.
“I’ve seen magi cast spells. All of them recited magical incantations first.” Linley immediately argued.
Doehring Cowart stroked his white beard, and contentedly said, “When casting spells, the most important thing for a magus is his ‘mageforce’ and his ‘mental energy’. If his mental energy is sufficiently powerful, he can even instacast spells, without need for any incantations. Magical incantations only serve a supplemental function.”
“Oh? Instacast?” Linley looked questioningly at Doehring Cowart. Linley felt as though suddenly, the huge world of sorcery was slowly opening up before his very eyes, but still remained hazy and indistinct. Doehring Cowart, however, was dissipating the mysterious façade behind this world of magic.
Smiling, Doehring Cowart nodded. “Right. To cast a spell, your body must be able to provide a sufficient amount of mageforce, and then use mental energy to control that mageforce to summon sufficient elemental essence to form it into a spell!”
“Elemental essence?” Linley was surprised. “Grandpa Doehring, are you saying that in order to cast magical spells, we need to draw upon external elemental essences?”
“Haha. Of course. Linley, did you think that a powerful magus could simply rely on the elemental essence already in his body? Impossible! Let’s look at forbidden-level magical spells. The mageforce in the body of a Saint-level magus can only provide 1% of the amount of essence needed. The other 99% can only be provided by natural, elemental essence.”
“Let me put it to you like this…a magus’ so-called ‘mageforce’ is really just pure, highly-refined elemental essence. Mageforce can be described as a ‘general’, whereas nature’s elemental essence is the soldiers. A magus summons his mageforce and uses it to direct nature’s elemental essence to form amazing spells. Understood?” Doehring Cowart smiled as he looked at Linley.
Linley couldn’t help but frown.
“Oh…I understand.” Linley laughed and nodded. “The ‘mageforce’ inside a magus is kinda like Uncle Hillman, while elemental essence is like our group of kids. Uncle Hillman, all by himself, directs our entire group in training, or in attacking, or engaging in battle!”
Doehring Cowart smiled and nodded. “Right. Therefore, the ‘mageforce’ of a magus is extremely important. If he doesn’t have enough mageforce, he will not be able to cast a spell.”
“Compared to mageforce, however, mental energy is even more important!” Doehring Cowart smiled as he spoke. “By now, you should have realized that so-called mental energy is really spiritual energy, a form of controlling energy!”
“Linley, a large amount of mageforce draws out an even larger amount of elemental essence. If such a huge amount of force is not controlled by spiritual energy…what do you think the end result would be?” Doehring Cowart stroked his white beard as he quietly watched Linley.
Linley frowned, pondering.
“Grandpa Doehring.” Linley said in a low voice as he frowned. “In some books, I read about some military tactics. In it, one of the things it said was…to subdue an enemy, first subdue their king. For example, bandits. If you first kill the bandit leader, the bandit army will naturally crumble to pieces and fall apart. So spiritual energy should serve a similar purpose as the ‘controlling energy’ which the bandit leader exerts on his subordinates. Without spiritual energy to control a large amount of mageforce and elemental essence, this power would run wild.”
Doehring Cowart laughed.
“Haha, Linley, you are very smart.” Doehring Cowart was laughing happily.
“Right, a large amount of mageforce and elemental essence, when controlled by spiritual energy, can be formed into a spell! Sometimes, in order to execute a particularly powerful spell, too high of a demand is placed upon one’s spiritual energy. Thus, the assistance of magical incantations is needed.” Doehring Cowart smiled as he spoke.
Linley felt as though a huge, important principle of magic had suddenly become crystal clear to him.
Smiling at Linley, Doehring Cowart continued, “Of course, that’s just the basic theory. The world of magic is far more complicated than you can imagine! The question of exactly how one uses mageforce and elemental essence to form ‘magic’, now that’s the real issue!”
“What’s the point of having mageforce, if you don’t know exactly how to shape it into a magical spell?” Doehring Cowart let out a long sigh. “The world of magic is an extremely complicated one. Magical research is very difficult and dangerous. But due to intra-empire struggles, countless magi engage in the research of new types of spells.”
“Actually, every single empire researches new ways of using different matrices of mageforce and elemental essence to produce different spells! But magical research is extremely dangerous. The more destructive a spell potentially is, the harder it is to research. Sometimes, it can even catastrophically backlash upon the researchers.”
Doehring Cowart laughed as he spoke. “In most magus academies, you can only study spells up to the sixth rank. Spells of the seventh, eighth, and ninth ranks, as well as Saint-level spells, are considered secrets. Only if you join a kingdom will you gain access to those special spells.”
Linley had read many books and therefore understood this principle.
“If you have no instructor? No matter how much mageforce you have or how high your spiritual energy is, you won’t be able to execute a single spell!” Doehring Cowart smiled faintly. “The profound secrets of every magical spell lies in how to control mageforce and elemental essence to form the spell.”
“After countless years of magical experimentation, the magical system has essentially been perfected.” Stroking his white beard, Doehring Cowart laughed loudly. “Linley, don’t worry. In the future, there’s no need for you to bend the knee to any kingdom or any lord, because…I can teach you seventh, eighth, ninth, and even Saint-level spells!”
Linley took a deep breath.
He could feel himself embarking on a new path.
Under the guidance of Grandpa Doehring, he had no need to continue to follow the path of the warrior. He would now embark on the more mysterious, more powerful way of the magus.
“Come, let’s begin the test of the strength of your elemental affinities. Sit down with legs crossed, close your eyes, and enter a meditative state.” Doehring Cowart said gently.
“Meditative state?” Linley felt his heartbeat quicken.
How would his affinity rate?
“Don’t worry. Just carefully try and see what you can sense, and whenever you sense something, just tell me.” Doehring Cowart smiled encouragingly towards Linley. Linley immediately closed his eyes and tried to force himself to calm down.
“Don’t worry. Just do as I instruct.” Doehring Cowart said in a gentle voice.
Meditation was one of the basic underpinnings of all magus’. It was needed for both absorbing elemental essence to transform it into mageforce, and for improving one’s spiritual energy. The first time entering a meditative state was the most difficult and dangerous one, but of course, under the guidance of a Saint-level Grand Magus, Linley wouldn’t find it too difficult.
After half an hour of instruction, Linley finally entered the meditative state for the first time.
Seeing Linley in a meditative state, Doehring Cowart let out a faint smile, then waved his hand.
A large amount of earth essence began to swirl around Linley. Normally, most places only had an ordinary density of earth essence, but right now, Doehring Cowart was using his powerful spiritual energy to increase the density of earth essence near Linley by a hundredfold.
“If he still can’t sense any earth essence around him even under these conditions, then there’s no hope for him at all.” Doehring Cowart said to himself.
Even a totally ordinary person should sense something, given that the density of earth essence was a hundred times greater than normal.
Right now, Linley, still in a meditative state, felt extremely happy and excited. He had never realized…that around him, there were so many amazing things. Countless earth-colored specks of light were floating around him, in such a high density as to be shocking.