It’s Training! (3)
By the time Romantica’s efforts began to bear fruit, a full week had passed . ‘This time, I’ll do it!’ Romantica focused on the can in front of her eyes . Atmospheric pressure wasn’t easy to control with magic, let alone using it to compress a can into a smooth sphere .
‘I think I know why Desir told me to do this . ’
Romantica had been training for an entire week, and she had failed countless times because she was lacking in fundamentals— controlling her mana intensity and minute manipulation . As she became more familiar with the process of making the sphere, she gained a clearer understanding of how important it was to master these skills .
With a crunch, the can in her hand crumpled and started to condense into a single point . ‘This is enough . I just have to keep this up!’ Romantica focused with renewed vigor, and the can continued its rate of compression . There was a bit of variance in its speed— sometimes a hint faster or slower, but it was largely steady .
After about 10 seconds, the can went from its original cylindrical shape into a perfect sphere . Romantica broke out into a smile . “Look! I did it!”
Desir applauded at Romantica’s achievements . “Amazing . ”
“Hmph . Something like this is just the basics for somebody like me . ” Romantica crossed her arms and sneered at Desir . Her overconfidence was justified— the mana manipulation that she displayed was incredible progress . “So… training is over, right?” Her eyes shined in anticipation as she waited for permission to leave from Desir .
“Nope . The goal of training is for you to build the third circle . We’ll take a short break and then go for it . ” Desir turned around and motioned towards the exit .
“Isn’t that too sudden? It’s not so easy to get to the third circle . ” Romantica looked unconvinced .
Desir smiled . “I can help you with the finer details . There won’t be any issues . ”
“How is that even possible?”
“I have confidence in mana manipulation . So long as you’re okay with it, I can use your mana to build the third circle—with your permission, of course . ”
“Well, I suppose there is no reason for me to refuse . ” Romantica nodded in approval at Desir .
“…Ah . We may not be on the same page . Reaching the third circle requires very fine tuning, and in order to accomplish that level of precision, we’ll need direct contact . For that to happen, I’ll need to touch—“
“Touch where?!” She flinched back, covering her chest . She immediately recalled that the circle was located at the centre of the body’s cardiovascular system—the heart . Romantica’s face immedately grew hot as she pointed her finger accusatorily at Desir . “S-shameless!”
“That’s why I’m asking for consent beforehand! It’s something that has to be done in order to build the third circle . ”
“Wha—you think this is the sort of thing you can fix with consent? That’s just an excuse, you creep!” Romantica bore her teeth at Desir’s approaching hand . He pulled his hand back to show that he had no intention of doing what she was insinuating .
“It won’t be easy, but in order to build the third circle…” Desir gestured towards a certain part of Romantica’s body .
Romantica stared dumbly at him . “The back?” The other end of a person’s heart and stomach . Whilst unpleasant to show a bare back to others, the alternative was far worse . “W-well, if that’s the case… The back, huh… I guess that wouldn’t really be an issue . ” Her face was downcast, with her face still blushing .
“Weren’t you adamantly against it just a second ago? Why the sudden change of heart? Did you misunderstand that I was talking about, and you thought I was referring to th—“
“Shut up! I don’t know! Stupid!”
He paused for a moment before giving her a nod . “It sounds like you did, but that’s perfectly understandable . ” Desir snidely chuckled . “Well… it’s not completely impossible to go from the front . If you really want to—should we do it from the front?
“Don’t make such a perverted request! You did it on purpose, didn’t you?” Her eyes glared reproachfully at Desir .
In any case, they eventually reached an agreement on the construction of Romantica’s third circle . Once Romantica had a moment to recover, they would begin preparations to start .
All of the entrances were locked, curtains were closed, and all of the lights were extinguished . Romantica slowly loosened her dress and uncovered her torso, before covering her front and putting her back toward Desir . She could feel the warmth from Desir as he laid her hands on her back .
“Then I’ll get started, Romantica . ”
Romantica trembled at his touch, and frowned before looking back at Desir . “Do you think I can do it?”
“You have plenty of mana to reach the third circle . You just don’t know how to do it yet . Just close your eyes and focus . Take a deep breath—good . Now start circulating your mana . ” Romantica was calm, and as she let all of her tension fall away, her mana began to circulate through her circles one by one .
“Good . Now slowly draw out your mana . ” Romantica obediently followed his orders, and pure mana began to exude from her second circle .
“It feels like it’s going to dissipate!” Romantica’s face was fraught with worry at the thought .
“Don’t worry—I’ll keep it steady . Don’t be scared, and bring out all of the mana that you need . ” Desir caught a hold of her mana and held it together . In the meantime, Romantica brought out all of the mana needed for Desir to form the third circle . “Now slowly circulate it into the form of a circle . ”
A soft sound emanated from the mana as it rotated and formed the circle . “Just like making the can into a sphere,” said Desir as he coaxed the mana out of Romantica .
“I know,” said Romantica . As evidence that her training didn’t go to waste, Romantica brilliantly morphed her mana to wrap around the circle in a sphere . Romantica grit her teeth—the mana control she was exhibiting was taking its toll on her, and she was sweating profusely . “Now what?”
“Now, we’re going to start on the smaller details . Maintain the sphere and I will focus on the task . ” Desir began to move the mana from within her body . He refined the mana condensed into the sphere by separating them into section and carving them, then rotating the sculpted mana . As the thousands of small spheres of mana began to rotate, the circle overheated .
“Argh! It hurts!” yelped Romantica .
“You have to endure!” responded Desir . It was a very fine process— mana had to be sculpted a precise form and then rotated one-by-one . As the rotating mana began to gain momentum, it would pull the surrounding mana towards itself .
‘The source mana . ’
This resource, so long as it wasn’t consumed past a certain point, would recover by itself . This mana needed to reach an optimum size . If it was too small, the magic produced would be weaker . If it was too large, the source mana needed to maintain the container of mana would crumble . ‘I can’t get this wrong— there is no margin for error . ’ Desir had to calculate the outer limits of her source mana, and use that to create the foundation of her third circle .
As the engine was formed, the pain would drastically increase . Romantica did her best to endure, but cries of pain leaked from her lips . Despite all of this, Romantica did not falter . She endured purely with her force of will . Desir, however, became hurried as he continued work amidst her screams . As they worked, Romantica’s breathing became labored . Desir bit his lip and he endeavored to work faster . He had to stack each ring of mana perfectly .
“Any more is too much…” Romantica practically coughed out the words to Desir . Her focus was hazy, and the binding force of the mana became weaker . She was on the cusp of blackout .
“Endure . ” Desir knew there was nothing else he could tell her . As time passed on, Desir’s responsibility grew weightier as he had to maintain the mana’s form, but had to pick up speed once more . He materialized the entirety of her mana and began to form the circle . With out any other options in front of him, he had to to complete the task before Romantica reached her limits .
The third circle expanded at a furious pace, and—
Romantica collapsed like a rock, and her limbs quivered in time with her ragged breath . She wanted to cover herself up, as her back was in full view of Desir, but she couldn’t muster the energy . All Romantica could do was close her eyes, as she focused on her breathing . Desir, likewise, fell back onto the floor .
“We did it . ”