If you want to read up to 14 chapters ahead check out my Patreon
Credit to SalvationKing0 for editing this chapter.
Before I have much time to fully take in the changes to my Kyhosa, I hear Mom and Dad thundering up to my room. They burst through the door and Mum sweeps me up in a bone-crushing hug.
"You are such a genius!" Mom says while Dad tries to save me.
"Momara, need air!" I gasp as the air in my lungs is being squeezed out. Technically I can live without air for a long time, but it's unpleasant.
If, after the last world message, anyone didn’t know about me, they do now; a high-grade skill like [Manipulate Mana] being mastered in addition to [Sense Mana] should get plenty of people interested. Hell, the Lunaleyans were able to pretty much figure out who I am just from the little bit of information given from the first world message.
That assassin, too, I am fairly certain who he is just because of a record of his world message from hundreds of years ago. Perhaps I should adopt an alias if I ever go beyond the Lunaleyan lands. How am I going to keep myself secret and safe when the whole world now knows about two things I can do? Will people look for me in this giant world? Am I putting my people in danger?
Things to consider, but first… I have to survive being crushed by my mom!
"We have to celebrate!" Mom says.
"Perhaps we can make Aly a celebratory gift?" Dad suggests.
"Oooh! That's a good idea!" Mom says enthusiastically. "Unfortunately, that will have to wait until after the Kyhosa Ritual tomorrow."
We end up going to a restaurant for today, and enjoying some family time after picking up the twins from their tailoring instructor. Mom, and Dad even more so, keep asking me all kinds of questions about the skill and mana, which I am happy to answer.
The Lojyo, however, is much more unpleasant: I get many more courting attempts than usual. I am, of course, asked once more to show off my abilities, which I oblige by weaving a simple super-solid dress with a flare of vitality as decoration. It's an instant hit; I even get three children asking to apprentice under me, who I tell to learn tailoring first, since [Manipulate Mana] is dangerous to go for without a Class.
On the day of the ritual, I engrave a special Inscription on my Kyhosa amulet, a copy of Kayafe's [Manipulate Magic] to ensure that the ritual upgrade will be guided in that direction. After making the small adjustment, I follow my family to the airships, where many of our villagers are already boarding.
Everybody travels to the newly-made ritual site; all of the villages have been advertising this event, so the sheer number of people makes quite a scene for Yafe and Yafel, who are looking over the rails, their hair whipping in the wind.
"There are so many boats!"
Below us are thousands of boats drawn from every village, all rowing their way to the ritual site. Soon enough, we arrive at the ritual site docks and walk off the airship.
A massive bathing area stands just under the water level, with a raised perimeter above the water to keep clothes and other things dry. Beyond the bathing area lay the inscription pipes that draw in vast amounts of mana. This outer part of the inscription is three kilometers in diameter, the middle of the inscription being the bathing area, and the inner inscription is where everyone's Kyhosa will be placed.
Dozens of Myrou's statues have been placed, each a fountain that cycles water and spouts it through a jug. Above are decorations, vaguely Asian wind chimes and ornaments strung on ropes that are tied to ornate pillars. There are many covered areas in case of rain, all strategically placed to not interrupt the inscription.
Since we are one of the first families to arrive, we have to wait for everyone else to start, so we relax in the hot waters and talk amongst ourselves.
Even now, Hanao is trying to court me?
"I'm not going to give up, Alysara; I am serious about this. You are like—"
"Please don't try to woo me; it hasn't worked all the other times," I say as firmly as I can, stopping Hanao before she starts the flowery compliments.
Seeing that I am adamant, she sulks off.
"Courting isn't a commitment," Dad says quietly. "Why not at least give her a chance? Who knows, you might find that you like her, and if not you can always break up with her"
"I'm too busy," I reply. "Maybe if I had more time, but right now, I have too much to do and not enough minds and clones to do them all. Besides, her refusal to take no for an answer irritates me."
Between the Lunaley stuff, my own hobbies, current non-romantic relationships, my studies and experiments, the Dungeon, leveling my Bond, leveling my skills, Lotis and Kyhana, starting to show the twins some mana weaving, and more, I really don't have time to fit courting into all of that. And what happened with Tana is still hanging over my head somewhat.
As more and more people arrive, the place becomes more lively, until the elders decide enough people are present and the ritual can begin. To start, the special bathing oil I made is passed around. I receive an extra-large jug, since I need more because of my extra tails.
Once everyone has washed themselves, every group congregates around the Likeness of Myrou. One by one, people step forward and present their Dedications to Myrou. Nothing happens, of course; they don't vanish, glow, or anything. When it is my turn, I step forward and kneel in front of the Likeness, holding up the hairbrush I made.
"I present this to you, Myrou, for all that you have done for me," I say, then move aside and let the next person step forward. This takes a few hours, even with multiple people presenting their Dedications at the same time.
By the time everyone has offered their Dedications to Myrou, I can feel the sun's light beginning to dim, and we head over to the inner section of the ritual site. There are hundreds of altars there, and the mana is stiflingly thick, enough to cause a moderate amount of mana toxicity for the average Runalymo if they stay for too long. I walk to the centermost altar, the most ornate one and the place where the mana is thickest, and carefully place my Kyhosa on the stone.
While some are apprehensive about leaving their Kyhosa unattended, crime is generally really low among the Runalymo, and the vast majority of people can be trusted to, at least, not steal a precious possession.
Everybody knows how important a Kyhosa is to someone… and, in a more general sense, I suspect that almost everyone being at least a hobby-level craftsman and artist means that most respect the time and effort that goes into making something, and the resulting empathy greatly discourages theft.
Plenty of people place their Kyhosa on the outer altars, where they can keep watch over their Kyhosa, but many venture deeper, to find an altar closer to the center. Perhaps they think that this will allow the ritual to have a greater effect, or perhaps they aren't worried about theft.
Once everyone has placed their Kyhosa upon the altars, we wait. Many make light conversation, commenting on the celestial event taking place as the light of the sun dims, being covered by the moons; others watch silently.
A slight pang of jealousy simmers in me, watching everyone else look to the heavens in awe and wonder yet unable to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event myself. I am curious; how does the sky look, with the moon, stars, and mana leylines?
However, while others enjoy something I cannot see, I witness a majestic show of my own that only I can see. Magic dances around the inner section of the ritual site, swirling in waves and pulses energetically, almost as if to a beat… and that's when I hear it. An unworldly song slowly grows louder as the entire site is bathed in an unknown unique mana. All the mana gathered is rapidly transforming into this new unique mana, which I can now hear with my mana hearing.
It is a pleasant, yet entirely alien song, unlike anything I have heard before, and it is the source to which the magic of the ritual seems to dance. I sway to the sound of the music, but I don't let this opportunity go to waste either. This unique mana will only come once every three and a half centuries, so I should gather as much as I can. So as not to distract anyone, I make sure to only weave the mana under the ritual site, which stands on piles, so it has the room to spare.
I push my [Manipulate Mana] as much as I can, weaving huge amounts of mana silk, taking care to not take too much for the transformations of our Kyhosas. I'll gather the silk and compress it into a more compact and transportable form later, for now I just need to get as much as I can, and weaving is low effort enough that I can weave massive amounts of mana at my high skill level.
Once the song reaches its crescendo, the mana vanishes, torrents of it being sucked into the Kyhosas to fuel their magical transformation; in just a split second, all of the mana in the center of the ritual site is depleted. I help feed mana to my Kyhosa with [Manipulate Mana], bringing in as much as I can. Minutes go by, then a quarter-hour… everyone waits, not knowing when the ritual is over. The moons are still covering the sun; will it be over once the sun shines again? Not even I know, but maybe Safyr and Kayafe might have an idea.
Half an hour, and the Kyhosa transformations are complete. The magic quickly dies down, and soon the first light of the sun reaches us.
"It is done," I say, walking to my Kyhosa through the now mana-sparse ritual center.
Alysara's Celestial Storm Kyhosa: (Exalted) (Relic) (Set)
(Exalted) (Relic) (Set)
This Relic set (amulet, left bracelet, right bracelet), made from Nexus gems and Myrou gold, blessed by Myrou herself and filled to the brim with beauty and creativity essence, was given as a Kyhosa to Alysara during her Kyholo. She has since learned from an ancient ancestor and even survived storms conjured by a dragon to train her resistance to them. Alysara has proven herself a master of mana, able to conjure the storms that once threatened her village. Her knowledge and mastery of mana have grown so great, no secrets are beyond her reach. This set has followed Alysara through a multitude of trials and tribulations, always helping her when she needs it most. Now blessed under the union of the moons and sun, this Relic can channel all of its stored mana to unleash a single devastating attack, form a protective barrier, or conjure a whirling storm of the heavens.
Exalted. The only other item of mine to have reached that height is the First Inscription, yet I can't help but feel... disappointed? For some reason, I thought that for sure it'd get [Manipulate Magic]; I even took the risk of etching the inscription on it, yet it didn't even gain the enhanced Skill. I needed it to have that, or even an ability that will give my manipulation something to help me simulate [Manipulate Magic].
What's more is that this is on the lower end of the Exalted and Relic tiers. Exalted bonuses should be, on average, two thousand five hundred, which makes the bonus below average for Exalted items. I don't know if it's because Exalted is just so hard to get, or because the upgrade had to be applied to two tiers and the new abilities, that it got spread too thin.
I wonder where I went wrong, what I could have done to reinforce [Manipulate Magic] more. I am happy with the improvements, don't get me wrong, it's just... I really needed something that would give me enough of a boost to make the Likeness of the gods, even if for a limited time.
Without this being what I wanted, I have to resort to something else to try and cure my Skill… maybe I should consult Safyr. The only saving grace is that I still have a few years to try and cure my Skill.