Chapter 15. To Lea Marquisate (2)
“Come here, Kurotan.”
Kurotan approached Luke and the campfire, glancing at the scroll and mana potions curiously.
“What are those?”
“The gift I mentioned earlier.”
“Can I eat them?”
“You simple bastard.”
Luke smiled and grabbed the scroll, holding it up.
“Back up a bit.”
Luke ripped the scroll, releasing a blinding light.
The ripped remnants of the scroll burst into blue flames, disappearing without a trace. The light squirmed around, gradually taking shape before sinking into the ground.
A geometric shape of around one meter in diameter was drawn into the floor. Kurotan looked at it stupidly.
“What the hell is this?”
“Listen carefully. I am going to teach you an Aura cultivation method.”
“Aura cultivation method? Are you talking about Maal’s blessing?”
“Yes. I don’t know what the outcome is going to be, but let’s try it. Step into the magic formation.”
Kurotan gingerly stepped inside of the formation with expectant eyes. He frowned the second he did.
“Keuu, the pressure is almost overwhelming. Mother Nature’s mana is extremely concentrated.”
“Yes, it’s a formation meant to do exactly that…”
Luke opened up one of the mana potions.
Kurotan chugged the whole bottle without question.
“It tastes really strange. Keuu, what is this?”
Kurotan’s face scrunched up in pain.
Mana potions were made by solidifying mana, then melting it into a liquid prepared by using many ingredients. When the mana potion entered the body, the concentrated mana spread throughout the body at fast speeds. The pain caused by the circulating mana was not easy to handle.
“You have to bear with it, until your body is fully saturated with mana.”
Sweat poured out of Kurotan’s brow as he answered through clenched teeth.
“It’s not going to be easy, but if it’s you, it’s possible.”
Luke completely understood the pain that Kurotan was going through. He had been taught Aura cultivation method in the same way.
If one could not bear the pain and passed out or left the formation, everything was for naught.
Luke had only succeeded in awakening his Aura his fifth time, failing the first four times.
“I only had that one scroll, so you must succeed. There won’t be any second chances.”
The mana in the air around Kurotan was extremely compressed and concentrated, due to the mana concentrating formation. Due to that, the mana released from the mana potion was unable to leave Kurotan’s body and continued to build up inside of him.
“The heart is the organ that receives and holds mana the best. The mana will begin to concentrate in your heart, so be prepared.”
Kurotan nodded with visible effort, as though it was hard for him to even speak.
As Luke had said, mana began to concentrate in Kurotan’s heart after some time. Since the mana inside Kurotan’s body could not escape to the atmosphere, it was an obvious result.
A groan escaped Kurotan’s lips.
“Bear with it! If you lose consciousness, everything was useless.”
Luke made an anxious expression. He had already acknowledged Kurotan’s mental strength and endurance, but he could not help being worried.
Thankfully, Kurotan had not yet lost consciousness and was gritting his teeth through the pain. The mana that had been concentrating in the heart eventually reached full saturation, and began to squirm in an effort to find a path to leak through.
“When the mana reaches full saturation in your heart, it’ll start to move. Concentrate, and guide the mana. Here…”
Luke pointed at the place where Kurotan’s neck and chest met to form a dip. It was the beginning of the circulation pathway that made up the Aura cultivation method.
“Guiding mana isn’t easy. But try to concentrate.”
Kurotan’s lips parted in a smile.
“I’m already guiding the mana to that location, do not worry.”
Luke’s mouth shut in surprise, and he remembered that unlike himself, Kurotan had already experienced the level of an Aura Expert.
“I see. It’s a path that you’ve already treaded once.”
It wasn’t easy for humans to sense mana. It was usually only barely possible with the help of a mana concentrating formation and a mana potion, at a highly concentrated level of ambient and internal mana.
It was simply impossible to suppress and guide the mana produced by such methods with a mediocre level of concentration. This was why, first time trainees of Aura cultivation methods usually failed a countless number of times before succeeding.
Kurotan, however, had already experienced the level of an Aura Expert. He was able to suppress his mana and send it through the circulation path that Luke pointed out relatively easily.
“It’s done. Where to next?”
Luke pointed to the next spot in astonishment. Kurotan immediately guided his mana to the exact location.
The mana from Kurotan’s heart flowed endlessly through the path that had been recorded in the Aura cultivation method. However, something unexpected happened during the process.
“Over here next.”
Kurotan scrunched up his face when Luke pointed to the next circulation path.
“That’s not the right path.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Listen, it’s difficult to turn back once you guide your mana through the wrong path.”
“Still, it’s not the right path.”
It was now Luke’s turn to scrunch up his face. Should mana flow through the wrong pathway, the mana could go on a rampage and disable the practitioner for life.
“What do you know about the human body? It’s an Aura cultivation method proven to be effective, so be quiet and guide the mana.”
Kurotan looked at Luke.
“I might not know a lot about the human body, but one thing is for certain.”
“What is that?”
“The flow of the mana must be natural. There cannot be any irregular flow patterns.”
“The pathway you pointed out just now is not natural. In other words, it’s the wrong path.”
Kurotan turned serious.
“Orcs might not have had a formal way of passing down knowledge such as Aura cultivation methods, but the older warriors would all tell us one thing.”
“What one thing.”
“That the flow of the mana must be natural, no matter what.”
Luke bit his lips. There was nothing he could do, now that Kurotan was being stubborn at the most important part.
“All right. Do as you wish, it’s your body anyways.”
“Where is the path after this?”
Luke pointed towards a path further down than the ‘wrong’ path, and Kurotan’s eyes shone with excitement.
“I will leave it to the mana’s choices up to that path. The mana will find the most natural path.”
Kurotan ceased speaking and closed his eyes. Luke looked on anxiously.
‘It’s a pity, but there is no way I can beat his stubbornness at this point.’
Kurotan’s eyes only opened after a long time.
“It’s done. I have guided the mana up to that path.”
Luke shook his head and flipped through the pages of the Aura cultivation method book. He did not know what the result would be.
‘It’s an unstable Aura cultivation method anyways. I suppose it’s a gamble worth taking, as the stability won’t be too affected.’
Kurotan continued to follow Luke’s guidance in circulating the rest of his mana. Whenever he felt that something was off with the flow of the mana, however, he stopped immediately.
“The flow of the mana is not natural over here either.”
“All right. The path after that is over here. You can guide the mana as you wish up to this path.”
After guiding the mana through his body for a while, the effect from the mana potion began to fade. Luke opened up a second mana potion without hesitation and handed it to Kurotan.
“Drink this, and it’ll revive the flow of the mana.”
Luke grimaced slightly as he watched Kurotan chug the potion like it was a common beer.
“You bastard, do you know how much a mana potion costs?”
“Kurotan does not know. I don’t care, either.”
“Dammit, I’d hate you less if you didn’t speak sometimes. I can’t even complain.”
Kurotan began to concentrate again after finishing the mana potion. Luke picked up the now empty bottle and continued to point out the following paths that Kurotan should guide the mana to.
“It’s not natural over there either.”
“All right. The path after that is here. You’re on your own until you guide the mana to this point.”
Kurotan pointed out a total of seven points on the path that seemed irregular to him. Luke marked down the rearranged pathways on the book, and glanced at Kurotan with curiosity.
“How does he know that the flow of the mana is not natural? I can’t tell at all…”
Kurotan’s first training of Aura cultivation continued for a long time. After drinking a total of three mana potions, Kurotan was able to circulate his mana around his body once before guiding it back to the heart in a complete circle.
Luke’s face brightened.
“It’s done. You’ve just succeeded in Half Rotation. Thank the gods that your mana didn’t go on a rampage during the process.”
“Half Rotation? Don’t use complicated words.”
“It means that you’ve built a foundation in your body for producing Aura.”
Luke pointed towards Kurotan’s heart with a finger.
“You’ve completed a circulation once, so mana will be circulating throughout your body on its own, even without the help of a mana potion. After a while, the mana will transform into Aura.”
“All right. I will call Maal’s blessing Aura as well, from now on.”
“If you are able to sense the Aura being produced in your body, it’ll mean that you’ve entered the level of an Aura User. The more Aura you possess, the sharper your senses will become.”
Luke finished his explanation, and frowned. Unlike himself, Kurotan had succeeded in completing his Half Rotation in a single try.
‘I suppose it’s to be expected from Kurotan, as he was able to become an Aura Expert without any help.’
Luke was also an Aura User. He was able to sense the Aura in his body. It was impossible for him, however, to control the Aura at his level. It was common knowledge that Aura was even harder to control than mana, which was also known as being extremely hard to control.
He had tried countless times to control his Aura, but his Aura had undoubtedly escaped his grasp every single time, like a fish slipping through the nets.
‘It took me a long time to even sense Aura. It was a completely novel sensation that I had never even imagined, after all.’
Kurotan’s sudden laughter broke Luke out of his musings.
“Keuhahahahaht! I have finally earned Maal’s blessing!”
Luke’s face twisted in horror as he looked at Kurotan.
“What the hell do you mean? You’ve already produced Aura?”
Kurotan smiled and nodded.
“Yes. Ah, that’s right. Aura, not Maal’s blessing. I can feel the Aura.”
Ecstasy spread along Kurotan’s sweaty face.
“I am currently circulating the Aura through the pathway that you have taught me. If I continue to circulate the Aura, its amount will increase. I have experienced this as an Orc.”
Luke coughed in disbelief. It was already amazing that Kurotan could sense the meager amount of Aura being produced right after its awakening, but he was horrified by Kurotan’s ability to control the small amount of Aura and circulate it throughout his body.
“I can’t believe it.”
Luke also knew that by circulating Aura through his body, he would be able to increase the amount of Aura. Unfortunately, it was not yet possible for Luke. How was he supposed to circulate Aura throughout his body when the Aura inside of his body avoided his every effort to control it?
Luke looked sadly towards Kurotan, who was concentrating wholeheartedly on circulating Aura throughout his body.
“I have less talent than an Orc… This is insane.”
The morning sun had risen. They had spent the entire night while Kurotan trained in the Aura cultivation method. Kurotan finally finished circulating his Aura and opened his eyes.
A blinding light shone through Kurotan’s eyes the second he opened them. A groan of ecstasy escaped his lips.
“Finally, I have recovered Maal’s blessing. No, Aura.”
An aura of domineering oppression poured out endlessly from Kurotan as he stood up.
Kurotan stepped towards the horse and gripped the battle axe hanging from its saddle. It was the weapon that he could not use previously because of Hal’s untrained body and lacking strength.
“Shall we dance one more time?”
“As you wish.”
Luke bit his lips lightly and unsheathed the sword from his waist.