Year 5009 after the system day 60 of the decaying season outside the dojo, sitting on the ground next to Ray.
"The leaves seem to be falling rather aggressively."
"Really? It looks normal during this time of the year."
"You've been a good student this far, someone so young. I didn't expect you to actually go through all that practice without complaining."
"We're far from over, so hit me with your best or worst training!" I smile eagerly while shifting my gaze at him.
"Yes, it'll become a lot harder from here onwards, you shall sense this world as blind people do," he starts taking something out of the pocket while making me scared of such words.
Eventually, I notice what it is reminding myself of when my parents surprised me during a certain birthday giving me some comfort.
"Get up kid, from today onwards you shall do everything you've done till now blindfolded till I deem it right for you to remove it."
"All of this to learn the skill sense?"
"Yes, if you manage to learn it, your base will become better, you'll start to feel things you never know existed."
"I understand teacher Ray," I get up and face the front of the dojo entrance, gazing one last time at the tree with orange leaves.
"Are you ready Iris?"
I take a long deep breath and then nod.
He places the blindfold around my eyes making me meet familiar darkness.
"Now walk towards that tree you were seeing just now."
Remembering the distance somewhat I walk slowly, and after a few steps, I almost trip.
'This is harder than I expected, being blind makes the distance feel a lot differently.'
"Feel the things around you, feel the tree, it'll show you the way if you do."
'What am I supposed to feel from a tree? It's not like it breathes or as if it makes any sound.'
The rustling of leaves near it approaches my ears with the help of the wind.
'I can hear that,' I take braver steps this time around towards the tree while extending my arms in front of me with my hands open.
As I get closer I hear what feels like the smaller branches shake causing me to pause as they are extensive causing me some space distortion.
'If I keep walking forward I'll be sure to hit the tree, wasn't it sound what I was supposed to feel?' I focus further on the tree in front of me, on my most recent memory of it.
In the darkness of my mind, I remind myself of the first time I practiced mana with my father.
'To fill oneself with mana and allow an inner image to be dyed.'
Mana starts slowly painting me a tree inside my mind, from the bottom to the top, eventually reaching with some difficulty the branches, and with even more effort the different leaves.
From the side or even behind me perhaps I hear a soft whisper.
"Sit down and meditate, focus on whatever you are doing now and sense everything. Feel the world and your mind will develop a lot more."
I do as Ray tells me to do, and then start all over again grasping towards that familiar feeling while telling myself a couple of things in my mind.
'Status close the notifications of mana, new titles, and skills.'
Once I hear the status voice I allow my mind to drown in the world, and in a way allowing everything around to sink in me.
Slowly I start to paint the darkness of my mind into a tone of blue, the tree, the branches, and the leaves.
Behind it is a stone wall that surrounds the back section of it that I'm not unable to see.
Feeling like the wall is incomplete, I try to see things from above, and as I do slowly I see the hole in the middle of the stone wall, filling it, and then the back of the tree, the branches, and the leaves I couldn't see before.
Once I'm done I sense a leaf touching my leg.
'It just dropped... but from where? I didn't sense it falling.'
I focus on every leaf on the tree picture I just made, and slowly aim at every single one covering the spots with mana searching for it, for the flaw that the picture became.
'It must remain the same, perfectly as it is, otherwise, I'm not sensing it well enough.'
Many hours pass with me battling against the art I drew, always fixing it whenever I feel it necessary.
Eventually dyeing the leaves on the floor around me instead, removing them from the branches while at it.
'This is fun, despite being hard, incredibly difficult truly.'
After a few more hours goes by I hear a voice whispering in my ear, this time I realize that it's coming from the side, and not behind.
"Come eat Iris, it's already night. You shall continue tomorrow."
I place my hand on the floor smashing a leaf and then get up walking slowly towards the source of the voice, as I don't have the energy to draw a completely different image.
The next day I sit in front of the tree crossing my legs and leaving my arms on top of them with my hands closed in a fist shape.
I draw the entire tree and notice how different the detail is from the day before. Not knowing the exact number of leaves that were lost.
'Perhaps with enough time, I'll be able to compare the before and the after, realizing the differences instantly. Possibly training like this is the goal of teacher Ray? He doesn't really go into much explanation, but knows when I'm doing something wrong and corrects me, so should be fine.'
'Despite spending his days loitering around here and there, there are times, in some days, and few moments where I do see him slashing the air.'
'Almost like cutting the air itself. Neither knows the origin of what we breathe or what's around us, but we feel it in our faces. We know it exists, as such, we respect its guidance and allow it to serve our sword in its path.'
'Teacher often says that to produce the wind blades that are propelled with his sword, is not something he managed to do alone, but a blessing of the air itself, an invisible something that allows it.'
'There is no god of wind, we both know the four gods that exist, so perhaps it is something else. Maybe a higher being, but not one that lives up there... above the sky.'
'To own the power to strive over anything and anyone, that's been one of my goals, and the witches approved of it. I am eagerly looking towards the day that becomes true, the one time where the survivability of the human race persists.'
'In the end, I'm only alive thanks to the goddess Aria, along with my sister, for that reason if I can, I'll give her a hand. If I and my sister manage to save humans then that is nice, if not we'll grab our family and friends and live in my own world.'
'Being born or reborn doesn't equal that my life can just be given away in the name of a higher being. I've never prayed and I most likely never will. The gods didn't save me in my past life, I accept they exist, but that's it.'
'If I had been born as a different species, the same result would be given. Monsters, beasts, humans, demons, and whatever else is out there. Everyone has a soul and is part of this world and system.'
'That is enough to see everyone as equal, and I shall give everyone a fair chance to surrender, and even befriend me if they so desire. My dear mother always told me, be nice to those who treat me good, and beat those who mistreat me.'
'My parents values and teachings are sacred to me, if it wasn't for them I may have ended up having a terrible second life instead. I miss them very much and am eager to meet them again, but mother told me to not waste this opportunity, both for her and myself.'
'I'll become stronger and surpass Sylvia in swordsmanship, my teacher even. I shall show my mother her efforts weren't a waste, and then I'll master magic, and show my father the time he spent teaching me was priceless.'
'Might not become the strongest being of Artana, or any world really, but that's fine, in the end, a goal is something to strive for. My life attempting both shall be like a quest... an adventure even.'
I nod gently while beaming brightly like the sunlight outside which I can't see.
'I shall become the villainess of this world if that's what takes to keep my entire family safe and use the grimoire powers if it comes to it... I miss my silly outstanding sister, silly Aurora, you should've stayed with me...'
I make a sad face turning the picture in my mind darker, closer to a tree with no leaves in a cold night sky.
'I mustn't be selfish, she's very talented after all, sister is needed elsewhere. My dear sister must be having a hard time on her side too, after all, the enemies are strong, and we the humans are weak.'
'I need to overcome myself and catch up, join the army if she needs my assistance. The prince said there weren't many ice mages, so I'm sure I could be of help to her, surely! For that, I need to continue my training and finish it as early as possible.'
I take a deep breath and regain tranquility inside my mind, dyeing the picture in front of me as it's meant to be.
'In my mind, there's no place for darkness, in here it is I who commands it, and I shall dig out the corruption in it erasing it completely!'
For a brief moment inside my mind, the colors being used are neither blue nor black, but a sinister white that makes it look rather pure.