First of all, Wanemyre said that the size of the circle matters, and you made it too big for a pebble.
A smaller one would have been better to save ink and better focus the mana.
Also, you formed the mana sphere too fast, not giving it enough time to get properly imbued with magic.
Then there is the matter of how you arranged the runes…
Solus started nit-picking every single mistake he had done.
According to his own earlier analogy, more like someone playing a symphony, Solus was making Lith feel like a button masher had attempted to go pro at fighting games.
Everything she said sounded right, and that made her even more irritating.
Well, why didn\'t you tell me all of this earlier He grunted.
How could I spot mistakes you had yet to do It isn\'t my fault if being the wise one I am capable of learning from others\' mistakes, while normies like you must stumble and fall before walking properly.
Oh yeah, miss wisea*s If you are that good, why don\'t you come here and show me how is done
The room started pulsing with a white light, the crack in the floor disappeared.
Then, another pebble flew on the ground, while several drops of ink hit the floor, forming the runes again in a perfect circular pattern.
You have forgotten the circles, Solus.
So much for being a wise one. Lith playfully mocked her.
Do you mean this Suddenly the space around the pebble was filled with mana, perfectly contained in a circular shape, just encompassing the runes.
How did you…
I learned Invigoration from you, and we are actually sitting on a geyser of world energy.
Is not that hard to keep it stable, for someone capable of space displacement. She proudly explained, cutting him short.
Do you mean in this form you are capable of keeping the mana stable without a limit Lith stopped their cheerful quarrel, shocked by the revelation.
Well, duh! Why
Because that means that time is no matter an issue, at least while I practice in here.
This is a perfect magical furnace for a complete beginner like me!
Lith weaved the thirteen spells again, following Solus\' instructions and earlier advices.
No more worried by the mana dispersal, he bid his time, making sure that the mana sphere was strong and stable, letting the energy seep in the pebble before the final step.
And so, the pebble melted before he could even attempt the fusion between matter and energy.
Another failure! What did I do wrong this time Lith asked in frustration.
Honestly, I don\'t know. Solus mind-shrugged.
There were some things you could have done better, but in theory it should have worked.
Just to be sure they weren\'t missing anything, this time Lith put on the ground one of the spare rings, and with Solus\' assistance, they repeated the whole process, but this time using fake magic.
The forgemastering went without a hitch.
What the heck Lith could not understand why true magic was failing him.
We did the same thing, step by step.
Why did it work this time
Third time is a charm Solus said without actually believing it.
They kept crushing, melting and vaporizing many pebbles, but at the end of the day their only success was the low-grade ring made with fake magic.
It\'s almost noon, better stop, or your mother will worry.
Yeah. Lith left the lab, heading back at the ground floor.
His eyes wandered inside the bedroom, whose door he had left open.
Solus, do you remember my comment about the dirty mind of those who designed the academy\'s rooms He asked while rising an eyebrow in suspicion.
Why does my room have such a big bed And why the hot tub is clearly designed to comfortably accommodate two persons
Well, I thought that maybe, sometime in the future, you would like to have some company. If he didn\'t know her any better, Lith would have swore there was a hint of mischievousness in her voice.
Thanks for your concern, but I\'ll give a hard pass on that.
I\'ll never reveal to anyone your existence, it\'s too dangerous.
With a sigh on her side, both the bed and the tub shrank.
On second thought, keep the bed big.
It\'s more comfortable that way.
Ignoring Solus\' grumblings, Lith was about to exit, but stopped at the last moment.
Is the coast clear
Yes, in this form all my capabilities are enhanced by the world energy.
I can even spot the three kings, despite how far away they are from us.
I can\'t imagine someone escaping my detection.
Even in my weakened state, I\'m always a legendary mage tower!
You have yet to tell me what defence measures you can use.
Uhm, not much, actually.
I can turn invisible, and when you are within the premises, I can sink underground without leaving any trace.
At the moment my options are quite limited.
I couldn\'t even sustain this form without borrowing such abundant external mana.
Lith was impressed nonetheless.
Her cloaking, spatial displacement and mana manipulation were already at that level despite the yellow mana core.
What would Solus be capable of once she reached the cyan level too
Lith returned home fast as he had gone, to make it harder spot their new special place.
- Don\'t you think you are wearing your paranoia cap too much
No. Lith replied.
If I was the one supervising the village, keeping an eye on someone like me would be wise.
In their eyes, I\'m still a kid, our family isn\'t poor anymore but it\'s not rich either.
I have no real ties with the Kingdom, on paper I am the perfect example of a talented youth that could be easily swayed with promises of riches, power and money. –
Once again, neither of them spotted a tail, but that wasn\'t enough for Lith.
His pursuers could just really be good at hiding or waiting for him to lower his guard.
Back at home, for the first time in a month, the whole family was reunited for lunch.
Lith arrived just in time to hear Rena complaining that her fiancé couldn\'t join them because of his work.
Lith was secretly happy with that.
After three days of pretending, he just wanted to be himself.
He did not like Sentar, but since he never liked any of his sister\'s suitors it didn\'t mean much.
Dad, I think this is partly your fault.
You should stop glaring at him every time you think I am not looking.
Since when do I glare Raaz put the right hand on his heart, feigning sincerity.
You know that I like that boy, otherwise I would have never consented to the marriage.
Since I was twelve, you glared at everyone who got anywhere near me, no matter if kid, man or elder.
You seem to have passed that skill to Lith.
Senton said to me multiple times that whenever he is alone with you, he feels like facing a firing squad.
That\'s sign of a guilty conscience. Raaz rebutted.
Mine instead is clear. Lith chimed in.
I have always been frank with him. In fact, it was the barrage of not-so veiled threats that scared his future brother-in-law the most.
You too, sis Lil bro doesn\'t glare, he is only protective!
No one in the family had the courage to tell Tista that her brother that she considered a hero in her heart, wasn\'t as perfect as she pictured him, so they happily changed topic.
Lith really enjoyed the meal with his family.
Despite she did not have access to the high-quality ingredients like the academy\'s cooks, his mother\'s dishes were always the one tasting the best.
Raaz shared with him his plans for expanding the farm.
The days when they had barely the money to keep the house standing were long gone.
As soon his father finished, the family started with a barrage of questions he was unprepared for.
They wanted to know everything about the academy.
How were the Professors, how his schoolmates were behaving, if he was eating well and so on.
Clearly, they had only half believed to Lith\'s daily reports, and wanted to have clear answers while looking at him in the eyes.
It took quite a while to convince them that no one was harassing him and that both the Headmaster and the Professors were good people.
He even had to exaggerate his relationship with the exam\'s group, making it sound like they were already good friends.
Contrary to his expectations, none of his parents seemed happy with such news.
Lith, I don\'t think you should be so trusting.
You barely know them from three days. Elina said.
You see, not always people are like they appear.
For every good and sincere person you meet, there is always another ready to say everything, just to get what he wants.
I\'m sorry dear, but it\'s the truth.
I wanted to hide this as long as I could, but your safety is more important than preserving your innocence.
Even in our small village, since Nana took you under her wing, your rise in status has made many of our community proud, but many more envious of your success.
My friends kept me posted about all the gossip, how so many thought you were an arrogant brat at first.
Then, once you started your apprenticeship, they started to wish for you to fail, just to feel better about themselves.
Raaz took Elina\'s hand, holding it tight.
What your mother is trying to say, is that if even people that we know from years and almost consider as family can be so mean, the more the reason to be wary of strangers.
Don\'t believe blindly in pretty words and kind smiles.
You don\'t know a person true worth until you really need their help.
Always remember what happened to the poor Nana.
So, don\'t try to change or force yourself to be someone else just to please a bunch of snotty kids.
If they really are your friends, they\'ll accept you for who you are.
If not, know that is not your fault.
It\'s just that the world is harsh, true friendship isn\'t as easy to find like in the bedtime stories I told you when you were little.
A real friend is like a treasure, hard to find, even harder to keep.
Life will keep pushing you away, but you must never let go of a real friend.
Lith unconsciously rubbed his thumb on Solus\' ring, making her giggle like a little girl.
- I never expected my father to be so direct. Lith thought, without realizing what it meant to him thinking of the word \'father\' without making it sound like an insult.
I always took him for a simple and honest man, trying his best at a simple and honest job while taking care of his family.
Who would have guessed that one day he would make me a speech about being cynic and distrustful –
While pondering about life\'s twisted irony, Lith realized the key element he and Solus had been missing to make true forgemastering work.