Chapter 25 – The Beginning – Leaving (Part 1)
Once Daichi realized that mana didn’t just naturally recover on its own over time. He began to wonder how Hannah and Ava recovered their mana. After all their skills were based on the usage of their own mana and not once had he thought to ask them how they recovered their mana in order to continue fighting. He’d been so absorbed in the things important to him, that their techniques and how they worked were irrelevant as they were not directly useful to him.
Now Daichi realized that he needed to either consult with them or figure it out on his own. Thinking about it left him feeling uneasy. Trust is important and he didn’t trust them quite yet. Daichi still felt like they would eventually make poor decisions or that helping them might slow them down so he was hesitant to give them too much assistance. Especially now that he was learning more about mana. It made him wonder how much Hannah and Ava really knew.
It had gotten late now. Very late. “I need to find a place to hide.” Heading towards what used to be a guard house. Where the guards used to rest up at the edge of the town, Daichi noticed the structure was completely ruined, but there was a small opening… Deciding to crawl inside he made it a few feet before getting up on his knees and lifting his upper body. There was enough space to sit up.
More than enough as a place to rest for a while. Daichi considered whether he should head back to the group now, but then dismissed the idea. They were safe and he still hadn’t accomplished his goal of finding out what was happening in the other areas outside of the town.
“I can’t even do that now either until I get my mana back. Without my mana I’ll be a sitting duck for any half-assed monster out there.” Suddenly realizing how weak humans were without the use of mana, Daichi started wondering how they had lived so long. How humanity had subjugated all of the creatures in their world and defeated even the dungeons in the world. The world was so large and he had barely seen a scrap of it, but from what he had seen… Humans were weak. Extremely weak to the point that it seemed inconceivable to Daichi how they had managed to turn their world into a utopia for humans.
Humans had managed to become strong through magic and techniques that strengthened the body far past the limits of what humans originally thought possible. Except so much of that knowledge was now forbidden. What was left of it could only be found by those old enough to remember first hand or in the books on the shelves of libraries that Daichi was infinitely far from being qualified to enter.
Daichi reminded himself not to bother over thinking things he couldn’t verify. “If I can’t get a definite answer then there’s no point in forming a theory unless I need too.”
Instead he began to think about his current mana situation. Letting his mind wander he began to try and sense the mana in the air. After a few minutes, he sensed it surrounding him, washing over him wave after wave. So unobtrusive and calming.
Focusing on the mana in the air Daichi began to lose his sense of time. His perception of his surroundings and his sense of self. All he felt was mana flowing around him. As if he was adrift at sea looking up at the sky and seeing nothing but clouds.
Feeling all this mana surge over him, he felt as if he was one with the mana. It felt so relaxing that he forgot his original purpose and just became part of the sensation.
Enjoying the feeling he felt as if he was naturally becoming more attuned to the flow and ebb of the mana. The more natural it felt the more minute details became more noticeable and obvious.
At some point the mana flow around him felt like it was pushing at him gently. Not physically but like a push that his soul felt. The sensation jarred him from his senseless yet focused wandering thoughts as his eyes sprung open.
Skill Created: Meditative State
Created through reaching a profound level of a mana perceptive state.
Noticing the window Daichi suddenly felt like that was too easy. “If it’s so easy to learn a method of meditation then wouldn’t becoming a magic user be easy? Plus skills aren’t that easy to come by, I wonder if this is because of the world being different or something else? I definitely have to ask Hannah and Ava about their methods of meditation.”
Although even as he thought it… Daichi knew something was off. There was no way it should have been that easy. Even if he didn’t actually find it ‘easy’, he’d still managed to do it in one night and with limited effort. He hadn’t been stumped and had managed to do so quite quickly (even if he couldn’t tell how much time had passed). This made Daichi wonder if it was somehow connected to his earlier state of enlightenment. Perhaps he had more mana than someone who had never meditated and the amount of mana he could had and feel was therefore affected. Although the last thought he had on the subject was that perhaps he was just naturally gifted in regards to mana… That would be a blessing if that were the case.
Finally noticing the light at the end of the path before him, he finally realized the slight change. My body felt replenished, less sore, more vigorous, as if I’d slept an entire night.
Crawling through the hole back outside he didn’t have to get very far or even outside to tell, that this light shining in was sunlight. “Sunlight? Have I meditated through the entire night?”
After crawling out of the hole Daichi realized it was definitely morning. Around mid-morning probably. Thinking about his earlier state he became a little less confused. Although it felt like an instant while he was in that state, if he thought about how many observations he’d made and how much he’d gained from it. It stood to reason that he was in that state for a prolonged period of time.
Perhaps that feeling of time disappearing could only be felt in that state but the subconscious mind continued to process information at a normal speed making it more productive, not being weighed down by needless analyzing or wandering thoughts.
Opening his status screen. Daichi looked at my stats and immediately noticed that his mana was back to 100%.
“I don’t even realize how this happened… I never tried to draw mana in… That must mean that while I meditate I become so familiar with the surrounding mana that I draw some of it into me to replenish what I’ve lost. In which case if I actively tried to draw mana into myself, it would either replenish my mana faster or it might instead increase my over all mana pool.”
Daichi felt lost as he considered the endless possibilities before him. There is so much he didn’t know and even more that he realized now he still didn’t know.
An excitement and thirst for knowledge began to grow inside of him without him realizing.
The more he learned, the more he understood… The more Daichi realized how little he knew, and how vast the universe was and it’s intricate mysteries. More knowledge only led to the general understanding of how little he knew… And it was a feeling that made him thirst for more.
He let that desire for knowledge, for understanding the world around him and the universe itself fill him up as he felt yearning. That yearning allowed Daichi to realize that his wish had always been for something to happen but that this was the first time he’d ever felt a strong desire for anything. This was finally what he wanted to focus on. A path he wanted to walk, a path towards knowledge.
A resolute look appeared on Daichi’s face as his expression momentarily embodied his newly acquired burning desire for knowledge and determination to succeed.
Looking over at Kaden pacing back and forth inside of the room from one end to the other and Ava unceasingly twirling her hair in her finger, Hannah tried to stay calm. Surprisingly enough she thought it would be harder but instead found that in in the wake of Ava and Kaden’s anxiousness she found herself eerily calm without effort. Normally she would be worried but instead just thinking about what Kaden needed, forced her in a state of calm.
Looking at Kaden’s growing annoyance, Hannah finally spoke up “We don’t know what happened. So there’s no need to jump to conclusions.”
Without even looking at her Kaden continued to pace, “Yeah we know what happened. He left, either that or he got himself killed by being reckless and trying to kill monsters without us there. I bet he didn’t even go out for surveillance like he said, he just wanted to get stronger.” Kaden’s tone contained disdain and the pent up feelings he’d been holding back for days now.
Staring at the stairs, “I don’t think he would have left… He needs us. He doesn’t seem like the type to abandon us if we still have any use to him.” Ava pointed out, thinking only as much because in his shoes, that’s what she would do.
Ava had spent years growing up with a family that cared for her but that taught her the value of nobles. While peace reigned throughout their land, greed was still prevalent in the hearts of humans. Being one of the few families who for generations had been passing down a heavily useful skill for smithing, the Kajiya family had been weary of outsiders and taught everyone of it’s descendants discretion and to be good to others, but always be weary of them. To put themselves into the best position, to be a leader among groups of people in order to be control of any situations, only though control could one assure the prosperity of oneself and safety of others.
Thinking about Ava’s words, Hannah couldn’t help but agree to some extent “I agree he wouldn’t abandon us, I also believe that we hold value to him but I don’t think that’s the only reason he wouldn’t have left us. He helped us on the first day this all happened without needing too… He could have stepped in later or not at all before he even knew that monsters would invade the town in the wake of everything… I think regardless of how he makes his decisions, he’s a good person. At least a trustworthy one.” Hannah agreed with what Ava had said. Part of the reason she found Daichi so interesting was because of how he made his decisions.
In fact before the world changed, Hannah had already noticed Daichi on numerous occasions.
Hannah had felt disconnected from the world after her parents died. Her only connection was Kaden and even then she couldn’t relate to him since he was different. Hannah had noticed that although Kaden generally stayed away and separate from others he was “close” with, he did it by choice. In fact, she suspected he did it so that he could stay closer with her which she made her feel even more love for him.
She was different though. She felt separate from others and just couldn’t relate to them. Making real connections with others became foreign to her and she receded into herself. She was polite and helpful, and a model student and person. That was as far as things went though, she no longer let others in, she didn’t know how.
Her mother was a Mage. Not a strong one, but when Hannah was young she had been captivated by the wonderful things her mother could do. Her mother was the sun in her eyes and the distant star she aimed for in her heart. Her mother’s death didn’t change that, it only amplified her desire to be more like her, to be closer to her now that they were separated and even further apart.
Therefore Hannah spent her free time in three activities. Reading in the library, working on developing her own spells and helping Kaden when they were younger. As Kaden got older and needed less and wanted to do more for himself, Ava found herself with more time on her hands. Hannah began to spend more and more time in the library. Learning and trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible involving spell work. Unfortunately the resources regarding magic were scarce in her town, and without a proper teacher she could only do so much. It wasn’t in class but rather in the library when she’d first seen Daichi. Daichi near lived in the library, he spent less time in class than he did at the library. She found him strange but familiar.
For a long time she began to think that he was similar to herself in some ways, which only increased her curiosity towards him. Once she’d actually made the effort to try and talk to him first which was a rarity for her. Instead she’d been all but ignored. She’d walked away stunned at his reaction only to realize soon after he hadn’t even noticed her, or known that she’d spoken to him. He’d been that absorbed in what he was reading. She’d been stunned by this for many reasons, mainly because despite not meaning too, she had a lot of male admirers in her school. Her helpful but shy disposition only added to the unique flaming red hair and blue eyes. She was beauty through and through, with a petite but athletic figure. She’d gotten used to the constant gazes of everyone around her, but the males in particular looked at her like starving wolves who’d finally found Little Red Riding hood. The memory of being ignored by Daichi so thoroughly had forever been engraved in her mind. It caused her interest in him grow but it never became more than interest.
Even after the apocalypse, that interest and curiosity only increased bit by bit with danger being around every corner, her only thoughts had been on surviving with Kaden and what she would have to do in order to live one more day every single day.
Thinking about Daichi leaving them at this point had become a turning point in Hannah’s view of Daichi. She realized that she knew little to nothing about him. Could he in fact have left? Possibly… Even so… She didn’t believe it. In the last few days her opinion on Daichi had turned into one of interest because he was an enigma. Her interest had changed from mild curiosity to a poignant interest caused by her inability to gauge whether Daichi was a good or bad person. Despite this, there was something she felt confident in even if she couldn’t put her finger on why. She was confident that Daichi was trustworthy.
Thinking about Hannah’s words Ava couldn’t help but think about how naive Hannah must be to think that way. Trust only exists between loved ones and even then, in the face of a calamity any trust has to be questioned. Not bothering to respond they continued staring up at the stairs.
Kaden on the other hand was torn. He wanted to say rebuke Hannah. Tell her that’ she’s wrong to think so highly of Daichi. The guy is going to get them all killed. He’s bloodthirsty and from his perspective there’s no way he can ever trust someone who could kill so easily. Even if the guy saved them a hundred times, it only takes one stab in the back to make all of that go away. Finally stopping and staring at Hannah’s resolute expression, he just couldn’t find it in him to say it out loud though… “Even if he didn’t betray us… What if he got hurt? Or worse…?” Posing the alternative scenario instead, he pointed out the one thought that was definitely on everybody’s mind.
Even if he didn’t betray them. The world had suddenly become very very dangerous. They had been lucky thus far, but that luck was limited and even then they had narrowing avoided death every day so far. At some point that luck will run out. Daichi’s luck may have run out last night.
Thinking about that comment, everyone stopped fidgeting for a second as silence enveloped them…