The Reincarnation of Alysara - Chapter 166:
I never knew Safyr had children, let alone grandchildren. I follow Yrania to a hill overlooking the temple as she begins her lesson.
“First, you should know that Bonds, with a few exceptions, do not like being suppressed.” Yrania lectures. “But you should also know the risks of not doing so. First, do you know about Bond resonance?”
“No,” I shake my head.
“She could have at least told you that much!” Yrania grumbles. “Well, anyone can feel another’s Bond presence, but identical or even similar Bonds can feel each others’ presence at much greater range; this is Bond resonance. It is benign on its own, other than letting others know where you are… but that’s the problem: others know where you are, and this resonance can be felt from thousands of kilometers away if you are strong. This is particularly problematic with some Bonds, as monsters and other powerful beings may want to seek you out, usually to kill you.”
So, it’s dangerous because it can act as a lure, which may also suggest that it can be used to lure in prey.
“Monsters seeking out territory of their own may move in close to you and feel threatened by you,” Yrania continues, “or they may be seeking out an easy legendary kill for a point… There are many possibilities, and that’s just from monsters; people can be more manipulative.” Yrania pauses as she sits next to a small creek.
“However, you are far too weak to worry about that; even if there’s Bond resonance, most will dismiss your presence, and beauty Bond users are generally peaceful and open to communication. It’s in the essence of your Bond, that will make others want to share their visions of beauty, if only to learn and gain different perspectives with which to view beauty. Which leads us to another thing Safyr neglected to tell you.” Yrania half-mutters the last bit, shaking her head a little.
“Yes, it is important to know how to suppress your Bond in the event you need to,” Yrania continues. “But you need to also learn how to properly control your presence rather than just sitting on it. Don’t think of it as a beast to let loose, instead think of it as your own body, another limb like your arm and hand. You can outstretch your arm and grab things, but only grab things you want to rather than slapping at everything nearby. For example, you don’t feel my presence because I am simply excluding you.”
I suddenly feel a pleasant warmth brush against my… Mind? That’s not quite it; it’s as if I’ve wandered into the thought space of some grand being.
“By including or excluding you, I can achieve the same local effect as suppressing and releasing my Bond, without actually suppressing my Bond.”
The presence of Yrania’s Bond fades as she excludes me from it again.
“So I should practice doing the same too,” I say, and release my Bond presence. I start trying to create a null zone around Yrania, but she stops me.
“It’s not about suppressing an area, Alysara. It’s about not grasping others with the Bond. Imagine it as an extension of yourself, an arm; right now, it’s as if you are grabbing me, focus on letting go.”
I’m not sure if I understand right, but I know I am doing it wrong, so I instead focus on trying to make the Bond simply ignore her. However, my Bond is running rampant like a child in a candy store. It wants to get her attention, to show off and be noticed.
“Keep practicing.” Yrania says, “It will take time. Allocate one of your minds to this practice so we can continue with the main reason why I am here. First, tell me what breakthrough you need.”
I tell her, and she nods thoughtfully. “Let’s start with the easy stuff; this is for your knowledge levels, so pay attention. There are several states that mind mages can afflict upon you; the most benign of which is allure. Alluring someone is much like seduction; it afflicts your target with emotions and desires. This is mostly used by ambush predators, like mimics, that instill a desire to approach.”
I nod, having experienced exactly that before.
“It can be resisted if you can recognize what is happening, it is one of the least invasive mind magics, but in skilled hands its potency is precisely because of its subtleties. Greedy people are more likely to fall prey to a treasure mimic since they are already predisposed to seek potential treasures, while cautious people are more resistant to alluring attempts of that specific type. The same argument can be made with lustful people and succubi.”
I nod again, telegraphing that I understand clearly without interrupting. Basically, allure can capitalize on the instincts and behaviors of people without direct mind meddling.
“Beauty Bond users can use allure; it’s a part of beauty to admire, seduce, and put others at ease. This can be used for good or bad, like all things. It can be used to calm an angry crowd, to incite a sense of wonder, or cloud one’s mind with lust so you can take advantage of them.”
In other words, I can use alluring Bond Skills. I should probably try that; after all, it can have utility uses and can even be used for good. I am already getting ideas on how I can get and use the Skill, or Skills.
“That’s enough for an introduction, I will explain in greater detail in a future lesson.” Yrania moves on to the next subject. “A potent mind magic category is ‘entrancing’. This alters one’s perception of reality, sense of self, and more. It’s basically a catch-all phrase for several behavioral mind alterations. Exactly how it’s used is based on the skill and Skill of the mind mage, but this can range from inflicting a simple daze or intoxicated behavior to complete personality changes, and even changing if one sees another as a foe or friend.”
I think back on the encounter with the Mind Slime; this fits almost exactly what it did.
“This level of mind spells is not something that beauty alone is capable of,” Yrania says, but I expected as much. “Entrancing requires mental effort, a lot of it, but not more than some of the more effective and advanced spells and abilities. It is the deliberate mental act of altering someone’s mind without directly controlling them. In some ways, entrancing is more insidious than dominating minds, since the target believes they are acting normally, and when applied in subtle ways it can be hard to detect if you are being entranced or if others are.”
In other words, the Mind Slime was using its abilities like a club rather than a knife, which makes sense, since it was a Dungeon monster that didn’t train its Skills much.
“Mind domination is the last of the mind meddling categories; it is the complete control of one’s metaphysical mind. Mind domination does not grant knowledge of the target’s memories or behavior to the controller, they’ll have to use other means for that; rather, you become a puppet under complete control, your actions won’t be your own and you’ll be trapped in your own body.”
“Are there other categories of this?” I ask. “Can the mind be controlled via the mind component in the soul?”
“It is good that you know of that; it will speed things up.” Yrania says, pleased. “No, the mind component just houses the metaphysical mind, which in turn houses you, your personality and consciousness. Allure affects the outermost layer of one’s mind, it targets the base desires, while entrancement targets the consciousness and domination targets the metaphysical mind, bypassing the consciousness altogether but not doing anything to the mind component itself.”
In other words, allure attacks the Id, entrancement attacks the Ego, and domination goes straight for the operating system that those run on. The hardware, the mind component, does not need to be controlled since it’s only providing the means, not the actual thinking power.
This explains how I can use my minds to fight off mental attacks: I am basically running five Aly Operating Systems simultaneously. Domination can be thought of as a computer virus that I can try to expunge or use a firewall to defend myself against.
“One of my breakthroughs allows me to break off a false mind while in a battle of minds; how does that work?” I ask.
“That’s a rare ability,” Yrania compliments. “Pretty much what it says, it creates a false mind that you use as a decoy, which can be devastating for a would-be attacker since most won’t expect it and will waste time and effort, which can give you time to attack their mind and put them on the defensive.”
Basically, it’s a virtual OS that looks and acts like a metaphysical mind, but in a way it’s also like a lizard breaking off its tail to get away.
“So what do I do when something wants to destroy my metaphysical minds?” I ask, thinking back on the Mind Eater; it only wanted the mind component, not the metaphysical mind.
“Hmm,” Yrania ponders the question. “I can’t think of many cases where someone would want to do that; without the metaphysical mind, the rest can’t be controlled, so it’s mostly useless after that. However, in the case that it does happen, it’s going to take a lot of effort to do so, especially with a resistance Skill, so your best bet would be to resist their efforts, use a decoy, and attack their mind in retaliation.”
The Mind Eater had no trouble tearing my mind apart, but my resistance Skill was also not high level.
“Are there any other breakthroughs I should get for my [Twin Minds]?” I ask after a moment of thought, and then tell her which ones I already have.
“At your level, there’s not much,” Yrania says after thinking for a few moments, dampening my hopes. “But the ones you can work on are giving your other mind a consciousness and instincts.”
Hmm, does giving my other minds an Id and Ego count as separate breakthroughs? The way Yrania phrased her reply suggests so.
“I am hesitant on that; there’s a lot of morally questionable things that stem from creating what can be considered another ‘me’, and considering I’ll have to do it multiple times for levels that will mean destroying the current one.”
How would I react if I knew someone was going to destroy what makes me ‘me’? That’s not something I want to even try.
“It will only be a copy of your consciousness,” Yrania tries to reassure me. “It won’t have its own soul, stats, Classes, etc. It is not alive, nor will it be. It shares the essence of you, and without that it can’t be considered a true separate being, so there is nothing to worry about. Besides, if you are worried about your mind being destroyed, your consciousness is a much more likely target; it is a staple of mind mages to make another consciousness in the event of one being destroyed.”
Now, that might be a reason to gain the breakthrough.
“But the longer it’s around, the more it can develop in its own way, eventually becoming its own version of me, right?”
“No,” Yrania shakes her head. “Everything it experiences, you experience. It’s not a different ‘you’ – that’s a different breakthrough – think of it as your consciousness existing in two places at the same time. Plus, it will help you process information faster, and reduce strain on your consciousness.”
“I’m not sure I follow,” I say with a frown. “How is it any better than just using multiple minds?”
“Your minds gather information and act out responses, but there’s a limit on your consciousness; your personality bottlenecks your responses. You don’t have any issue now since you have a relatively low number of minds, but progress much further and you’ll notice the issue.”
“So what is the breakthrough that will make different ‘versions’ of me?” I ask.
I think I know what Yrania is trying to get at. The extra Ids and Egos are still part of what makes ‘me’. Think of it like neurons; just because they are individual cells doesn’t mean adding more will make another personality in my mind.
Still, this leads to the question: what does she mean by ‘essence of me’?
“It’s a different and poorly understood part of the mind,” Yrania says. “Think of it like mana elements and essences. The mind component, metaphysical mind, and consciousness are all elements; they are objective things and ideas we can point to and study rigorously. They are deterministic, and all operate the same way no matter who’s looking at them or where they come from. Your essence, however, is subjective to only you; make another essence of ‘you’ and you make another ‘you’.”
Well, Yrania is an expert in the mind, so maybe I should listen to her.
“I think I understand now, thank you.”
“We’ll start with the action level next, and we will work on your current breakthroughs before working on new ones.”
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