Dragon 7, year 8690 of The Grand Wulin Era, Alexander Grandstar
It was a pretty ordinary day, about half a month into my stay in the outer sect. I was cultivating, which in the Body Forging Stage is pretty simple. You reach out with your Spirit Energy, which is a form of energy generated by the souls of living beings and does important things like keeping the nervous system running, being the basis for the Divine Sense, which is a form of sensory perception able to perceive aspects of things other senses struggle to or are unable to, and numerous other functions. It’s essentially the blood, flesh, and hormones of the soul, in a sense. Spiritual Energy can travel through your nervous system,the circulatory system, the organs, out into the world, and even into the meridian system that transfers mana through the body.
Once you reach out with your Divine Sense through your spiritual energy, you feel Mana, the lifeblood energy of the universe itself. It’s kinda hard to describe what it feels like, as the elemental nature or other aspects of the mana can change the feeling, but pure, raw mana feels like a warm, gentle current of energy, but it takes the form of a strange misty substance. Once you feel the mana in the air, you grab onto it with your spiritual energy and drag it over to your body,where your own mana sucks it into your pores. It travels through the meridian system into the lower dantian, which is right above the waist and back a couple inches. It’s a sea of energy that contains a cultivator’s mana. You might think that could mess with some organs, but the dantian is interesting in that while it technically physically exists and can be damaged by physical things, it takes up very little actual physical space, merging seamlessly into the flesh surrounding it.
When it enters the dantian, any unwanted impurities in the mana (mana of elements you don’t want, bits of other people’s spiritual energy, strange bits of random filth, and so on) are sent out through the meridians, escaping through the pores. The purified mana is imprinted with your spiritual energy signature, making it yours until you use it up. It goes on a trip through the meridian system, into the flesh and blood, nourishing them and clearing out toxins and other unwanted substances of physical, spiritual, and energetic natures. The mana then goes to the soul, where it nourishes the spiritual energy and cleanses and strengthens the soul somewhat. It then heads back to the dantian, where it again has the impurities purged and settles into the sea of mist in the dantian. When the dantian is full and the cultivator tries to absorb more mana, the cultivator must force the mana mist to condense, which refines it further, making it purer and of higher quality.
This ,over time, creates a dense mist of mana which will be useful for far more than just strengthening body and soul. It can be infused into physical attacks, projectile attacks, the muscles, used for defensive purposes,shaped into various forms, or combined with the spirit energy in different patterns to essentially force the world to produce a specific effect, called a spell. The first path is the path of the Warrior, and the second the path of the Mage.These uses are very important to later cultivation, and all users of mana have their own specialties.
But yeah, I had just finished cultivating after a day working in the fields, and felt decently full of energy. I was experimenting with spells I knew:the classic fireball, forcing plants to grow rapidly and act under my control, trying (and failing) to gather small arcs of electricity into a larger one, making a jet of water shoot towards my bed with such force that it cut a deep gash in the headboard (oops), healing small injuries i’d taken from clumsy handling of tools, stuff like that. The patterns of energy required were basic, but they interested me and didn’t cost too much mana to produce.
After a while, holding a somewhat old carrot i’d been considering eating, i tried to combine the patterns for Plant Control and Healing. I flubbed up the pattern a bit(I was trying to make it fresher and tastier, and had somehow accidentally infused my Spirit Energy directly into the carrot instead of just the spirit energy-infused mana pattern), and this lead to an excess of wood elemental mana, and some of my Spirit Energy entering the carrot in my hand, and the carrot began to grow with a bright green light. This had...not happened last time i’d messed around with vegetables.
The carrot started to vibrate, jerking itself free of my hand and floating in front of me. I could feel my mana rapidly draining, and started to pull mana from the environment to sustain me. The carrot continued to glow, and started growing bigger, until it was about as thick as an adults arm and two and a half feet long.When I was about to pass out from sheer exhaustion, it stopped drawing on my mana and Spirit Energy, and started to slowly absorb it from the atmosphere, as the green light seemed to take on the shape of a cocoon.
I started cultivating to regain my energy,and by the time I had, i’d made some improvements in the quality and quantity of mana, partially due to having almost my entire reserve drained. When I opened my eyes, the cocoon of light had taken on a solid form that looked kinda like giant carrot greens woven together, and still emanated a gentle green glow. I had no idea what any of this meant, but I had a strange feeling that the carrot was somehow alive, and not just in the way a normal plant is.
It emitted an aura of mana that seemed to fluctuate between that of a magical plant and a cultivator, to the point I had no idea what it had become or would become. I figured I should go ask one of my parents, though I wasn’t really sure which of the three to ask.
My mother, Hilde, had pretty good affinity with the wood element, but she was more of a Warrior than a Mage. My father, Marcus, followed the same path I did, trying to combine the two paths of Mage and Warrior into the path of the Warmage, but while he was strong and and had various affinities to the elements, he mostly connected to the wind-lightning side of wood rather than the living being side, and probably wouldn’t understand this. There was also my other father, Alim, who was primarily focused on the path of a Mage, and knew a lot about almost every type of magic.
He’d probably have the best idea of what this was, what would happen to it, and what I should do, and if he didn’t he’d know people who would, but he was probably busy. I decided to go to him anyways, because I knew the problem would interest him, and he was the most indulgent of me out of my three parents.