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Ting! Manipulate Mana has obtained levels 489-497!
After a week, I've made a lot of progress, and the beginning of the ritual site is set up. Piles have been driven into the seafloor to provide a sturdy foundation, and a temporary material storage was built to house the building materials.
All the elders had a meeting about the spread of the news of the ritual. Specifics weren't told to the general populace, only that Myrou will bless their Kyhosa on the day when the moons and the sun become one, but only if they are in the ritual site.
I've been set the task of making the blend of liquid beauty mana and bathing oil for everybody. Of course, if it was only me doing it, it would take too long to make that much liquid beauty mana, so several dozen people are donating their mana to me to help expedite the process.
Everybody has to make a Dedication to Myrou, and I am no exception. I only took a day to get that out of the way, but it's not like I just made something without any thought, care or feelings. I am still grateful to Myrou for reincarnating me among these peaceful people, even if it hasn’t always been easy.
My Dedication is a hairbrush made of beauty essence that came from my [Beauty Blessing] Bond skill. It is decorated with a form of beauty essence oriented towards cleanliness and self-care.
Unfortunately, with everything that is happening, I've had little time to make significant progress in the study of inscriptions and mana for my breakthroughs. I did find some time to practice my [Manipulate Mana], but not enough to sit down and work on the hard breakthroughs, like the super-solid mana state.
However, that's about to change. With the completion of my Dedication and now the bathing oil, I finally have time to do some of the more important things for myself. I have to master six breakthroughs and finish the mana collecting inscription.
I have to obtain the mastery level of two breakthroughs a week, when just one might take me a month or two; this is starting to look impossible to do in time.
I need to take this one step at a time; even if I don't cap [Mana Manipulation], it's not the end of the world, and the ritual should be powerful enough to improve my Kyhosa. I already have a backup plan to reinforce the mana manipulative ability of my Kyhosa: etching the inscriptions of my and Kayafes’ [Manipulate Mana] and [Manipulate Magic] onto it.
But that's for later; right now, I'll do my best to accomplish my goals.
I sit at my desk and make another sample of super-solid mana while two clones groom me with their base A.I. I watch as the mana particles separate into crystalline patterns, and start making notes on the shapes they form.
Each element seems to form different shapes, but these mana crystals aren't stable. They'll turn back into liquid if I release the pressure, but what happens if I increase the pressure even more? I am already straining, but my recent levels and state of focus are making it less difficult.
As I continue to compress my sample, the crystalline structure seems to 'lock' in place, and a quick examination reveals that the MM particles are stuck in the 'valleys' in the MM fields they project.
With the super-solid mana now stabilized, I release the pressure and relax, feeling a little woozy. I still need to figure out why that is happening, but I don't have time right now.
I continue to study the behavior of the stabilized super-solid mana while I rest. It no longer separates the elements, so the degree to which it is crystalized is determined by how fast I 'lock' the mana in place. Seeing the MM forces, there should still be four more sets of positions I can 'lock' the mana into, each one more compressed than the next.
Ting! Manipulate Mana has obtained levels 498-500!
Ting! Sense Magic has obtained levels 776-778!
Checking the time, I realize it's almost time for the Lojyo, and quickly make myself presentable with the help of my clones. Once at the Lojyo, I move to join Chofel on the music stage, but I am interrupted by someone.
She appears to be about sixteen years old, with long hair and a well-groomed tail. She towers over me, just like most herms. Admittedly she's not bad-looking by Runalymo standards, but…
"Umm," she says, awkwardly, not knowing how to proceed. "W-Would you like to spend this Lojyo with me?"
Her attempts at courting me will end the same way they always do for everyone else.
"I am not interested at this time," I politely turn her down, and move onto the stage.
Ever since my adulthood ceremony, the floodgates of suitors looking to court me have opened wide, and I get at least three courtship invitations every Lojyo; one person even tries every night… and that’s her right there.
"No," I quickly shut her down, but she continues as if I hadn't said anything.
"Would you like to spend this Lojyo with me tonight?" She hasn't stopped her efforts, buying more jewelry to try to look more valuable to me.
She wears her hair in a single long braid and even styles her tail. She wears lots of emeralds and amethysts, which leads me to think that her hair and eyes are of that color, but what color her hair is I can't see.
Unlike the Humans from my past life, the Runalymo don't court with gifts, but rather adorn themselves to try and woo potential partners; kind of like how birds choose based on how colorful a potential mate is, but more complicated.
"No matter how many times you ask, the answer will always be the same, Hanao," I answer, with a hint of annoyance in my tone.
"Alysara, I am serious about this. Give me a chance; what do I need to do to earn your approval?"
"Give me space; when I'm ready to court, I will do so."
I leave her and finally make my way to the music stage, where there are several new faces. The amount of people learning a musical instrument has increased a lot due to people wanting to court me. It was sort of an ego boost at the start, but it has quickly lost its novelty, and now it's kind of annoying.
The rest of the Lojyo is fairly uneventful this time, thankfully.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Feyan watches Yafel and Yafe, a smile on her face as they brag about their recent accomplishment with their tailoring lessons. They hold up a decently made blanket that is well decorated with an image of the sea, with islands in the distance and little boats with nets full of Domr.
The twins look expectantly at Feyan with their bright blue eyes, practically begging to be praised.
"Those are amazing!" Feyan encourages them and pats their heads. "To celebrate, why don't we go get some ice cream?" The twins bob their blue-haired heads up and down in excitement for the sweet treat.
"Ice cream!" they cheer happily.
"This is really good!" Alysara says, examining the blankets. "I may have to teach you [Mana Weaving] soon."
"Finally!" The twins parade around their older sister, who smiles elegantly and lovingly at her younger sisters.
Feyan knows that while the twins have learned much in their trade and are quite talented, their work is far from perfect, but they are going to be turning ten years old in a couple of years and will be unlocking their Class. Aly probably wants them to have a good Class when the time comes. She's such a caring daughter and sister, a small part of Feyan wishes that Aly would never grow up.
Feyan calls for her spouse and closes the shop an hour early for a family outing. They visit Efula's ice cream shop, and the twins bury their faces in their treat.
"I'm thinking of getting my own shop," Aly says eventually, her long graceful tails gently swaying behind her.
Feyan's heart sinks a little. Get her own shop? Does she want to move out already?
Feyan has to remind herself that Aly is fifteen now, she's no longer a child, but for some reason she never thought that Aly would leave the house. Aly is her child, her precious little genius; she can't leave yet!
"You don't have to move out yet, Aly," Feyan tries to convince her to stay, if only for a little while longer. "I didn't move out until I met Kanato. At least wait until you find someone special to you."
Aly looks a little surprised at Feyan’s protest.
"Momara... I'm not moving to another village; I'll probably just be a few minutes away. We can always visit each other," Alysara says, to which Kanato chuckles lightly.
"If Aly gets a new home, then we get two homes!" Yafe grins, her bowl half empty already.
"What kind of house are you going to get?" Yafel asks.
"Well, I don't need a big house, but if anything happens, having a bigger house won't hurt," Alysara says thoughtfully.
"'If anything happens?'" Feyan repeats. "Are you planning on children of your own?"
The idea of grandkids makes Feyan feel warm inside, watching her child grow up and start their own family. Is this how her momara felt when she had Aly?
However, Aly shoots that fantasy down. "I was talking about if the house burns down, or if Yafel and Yafe destroy it."
"Hey!" The twins protest at Aly's teasing.
Aly gives them a mischievous smile and pats them on the head.
Kanato side-hugs Feyan with a proud smile, her white hair blowing in the wind.
"Our little Aly is all grown up; it's only natural that she wants to strike out on her own."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Vanu Runa Lysha examines the map set on the table, which has several figures on it to represent armies, both on their side and the enemy's.
"Ten thousand soldiers are marching to Guraya Fort," Borala says, moving a red piece. "I do not think they are planning to attack yet, but rather responding to our movements."
"We can take the fort now and save ourselves the trouble of dealing with it when it has reinforcements," Lysha suggests.
"No time," Kolona shakes her head. "Sieges take a long time, and we'd be attacked on two fronts by the reinforcing army."
"It's better to disrupt supply lines," Borala nods. "They have many kilometers of forest to travel through, which will make it easy to ambush the caravans and make it more expensive for them. After their rebellion, they should already be hurting financially."
"The Fort has a well," Scrying Master Jio says. "It leads to a small underground cavern that we may be able to dig into and poison."
"Won't work," Shalar mutters, "Most well water is filtered through a purifying enchantment. We're better off sabotaging their food supplies if we want to poison them."
"If poisoning won't work, then maybe we drain the well?" Lysha suggests. "Since they have a source of water, they likely aren't being supplied with it; if we drain it, then they will have to bring water in from outside, which will make it more expensive for them."
"That's a good idea!" Jio exclaims.
The meeting continues long into the night, and, when Lysha finally leaves, she is exhausted. Simply reading books is not equivalent to real experience, and she is completely out of her element. But, if she can help win this war, then she may have a strong chance at being elected governor over her brothers.
There's also the issue that the next shipment of power-armor is late; she hopes nothing bad has happened to Alysara.