William had a method to teach people to sense mana. In theory, it worked. In practice, it also seemed to work, since those he had taught had succeeded. It wasn’t a method William had invented, but rather something standard. However, William didn’t exactly understand how it worked… since it wouldn’t work for him. He had tried other methods as well, to similar results. All of them had success at some point for those who could use even a small bit of magic. “I don’t know where to get a proper magic testing stone, so it isn’t possible to know how long this will take. There’s also a small chance it will never work, since some people have absolutely no aptitude for magic.”
Big Sister didn’t look entirely convinced in William’s reincarnated status yet, but she was willing to play along on the off chance that it was true. In addition, although he was an odd child, he was honest, and didn’t act mischievously. “Alright, what do I need to do?”
The two of them moved to a quiet room. There were plenty of those, both because of the lack of people in the area they lived in, and the fact that ki training used meditation. “Can you enter a meditative state?” Big Sister nodded. “Excellent. To sense mana, you must do so, then extend your senses outward. It must be gentle, as if holding out your hand to catch a snowflake. It won’t necessarily be a quick process.” William had seen many students first learn to sense mana. There was a large variation in times. Apparently Lila had managed to sense mana the same way as experienced wizards from almost her first attempt, completely bypassing the meditative training. William was willing to bet it would have taken her a long time to learn to properly meditate, just like many of the students. Since Big Sister already knew how to meditate, depending on her magical aptitude, it could take anywhere from a negligible amount of time to several days of effort. Most who went on to have any success as a wizard succeeded before 8 hours of proper meditation, but it was hard to say for sure. Different visualization methods worked better for different people. However, all of them could work for anyone who had any magical talent. That, William was certain of.
William also decided to meditate. It was nice and relaxing, even if it never gave him any benefits on the magical side. He hadn’t kept the habit up as much as he had in his previous life, but he still occasionally did so. William cleared his mind. Though, it wasn’t as if he was thinking of nothing. Instead, he cleared it of distraction. This varied in difficulty, depending on his mental state, but it was this clearing that helped with the relaxation. Besides the feelings of missing his former family and friends still, William had very few negative thoughts to deal with. Finally, William was in a state as if he was staring into a black void. If he could sense mana, he would apparently see something similar to the area around him being filled with stars, a mental representation of the mana in the air. As usual, though, William saw nothing.
After some time, probably an hour, though William was unsure, Big Sister woke him up in excitement. “I did it! I saw sparkling stars!” William looked up at her and smiled. “Are you really…”
William smiled, then stood up and performed a formal greeting. “It is nice to meet you. I am Yu Hui’Lam, formerly known as William Stevenson, Archmage.” William paused for a moment. “What you just sensed is mana. Once you can become aware of it without entering a meditative state, you can start to learn how to use magic.”
She looked down on him somewhat awkwardly. “I guess according to our deal I have to teach you how to use ki. Though, I’m not very good at it…”
“I can’t use magic.” William said as he folded his arms in front of him. “Yet I still can teach it. As long as you can explain the basics, and answer some questions, it will be up to me whether I can succeed.” William’s figure may even have been somewhat imposing as he stated this, if he weren’t currently in a two year old body. But, he was.
Big Sister nodded. “Well, it actually starts with a very similar process. Except, you look inward instead of outward, sinking deep into yourself and your soul.” She began to explain the technical details, as much as she could recall from the method she had seen, but no longer had access to.
William sat down, hopeful, but not particularly expecting anything. It wouldn’t be good for him to get his hopes up for nothing. He was certainly excited at the prospect of success, but he knew that not everybody was suited for everything. This was even more true with the subject of magic, where mere effort and understanding weren’t as important as some mysterious thing that let you do magic. William didn’t think it should be any different for ki.
William once again found himself staring off into a black void. This time, using the technique he had just been told, he tried to sink down inside his “self”. He indeed got a sensation of falling, but it was easy to trick your own mind into feeling something you wanted in this sort of state. William felt himself falling continuously, into himself. There was very little way to determine that he was falling, however, since there wasn’t a sensation of wind rushing past, just the feeling of a kind of gravity and a lack of support. Then, William felt as if he passed through a ring. He even felt as if he saw a wall, but it could only be felt. It was as if he were in an area that was perfectly dark, looking at a black plane against a black background, but yet he felt there was a gigantic black wall, and that he passed through it. After that point, the falling sensation increased, and William was pretty sure he wasn’t making the sensation up. Now, there was just the slightest feeling of something rush past him as he accelerated faster. He wasn’t sure how much time passed, but it felt as if he were traveling a very long distance, and at an ever increasing rate.
Then, William saw something. It was a tiny, bright dot. Like a small white planet far away. William expected to continue falling, and land on the bright dot, but then he abruptly stopped. All his momentum ceased, but peacefully, without the jerking momentum he expected. The bright dot was still tiny, and William reached his hand out for it. His “hand” passed through it without really touching it, but it went through instead of in front of it. It really was just a tiny white sphere, the size of a marble perhaps. Yet, it was something, and it was definitely real.