The Reincarnation of Alysara - Chapter 82:
I start formulating a dress design in my head. Then revise it… and revise it again, and again, and again, going around in circles. Naturally, it should be made out of beauty and creativity mana silk, and it should be in equal parts, but how do I put it all together? What kind of design should I focus on?
I start pacing in my room, the movement helping to drive my thoughts as my clones and other minds go about their own work. The Domr that I have been training with has gotten too frustrated by its inability to harm or restrain me and walked off an hour ago, and now I am training with Esofy and Chyzu to help improve my skills and theirs.
I spend the next few hours thinking about the perfect dress for my dedication to Myrou; I weave several dresses for concept designs… then dozens. Eventually, discarded options are laying all around my room where there is more cloth than room showing; each of them pleases my [Inquisitive Perfection] but none of them make it proud as my Diadem had.
I sit on my bed, thinking. I think back to when I first encountered Myrou; she had a warm, inviting voice like a hug, that was both beautiful and creative in the sense that it was meant to calm me, give me something to focus on, during that confusing time. If the dedication is to be from me, then I need to capture that, it needs to be a deeper form of beauty and creativity.
I order my core to start producing more beauty mana, but not the normal flat kind. A different form of beauty, a warm, inviting kind, the kind you feel when you are close to someone you love, a more emotional form of beauty. This is it; this is what I need; there isn’t just one flat form of beauty – the mere concept – there are many different kinds. The vastness of the stars, the mysterious veil of the Aurora Borealis, the cold serenity of a wintery landscape, the entrancing dancing fire, they’re all forms of beauty.
Ting! Your Bond skill, Shape Beauty, has evolved into Evolve Beauty!
Ting! Your Bond has obtained levels 380-384!
Evolve Beauty: This allows you to change the shape and type of beauty essence.
How? I didn’t use my Bond, or is it because I understand beauty more? If my Bond represents my affinity for beauty essence, then my better understanding of the essence itself may help me grow my Bond even more.
As I feel the embracing warmth of the beauty essence, the same feeling I felt from Myrou’s words so long ago, a sudden epiphany comes to me. Can I perceive the differences between two essences of the same type? Can I perceive the different forms of beauty?
I have to try. This could mean getting my thirtieth breakthrough in [Sense Mana] without getting the breakthrough for sensing mana-starved areas. Of course, reaching this far doesn’t necessarily mean that everything was learned, just most of what there is, like ninety-five percent or whatever.
I take a few minutes to enter my state of focus and start comparing the conceptual flat beauty essence to the new form of essence. There is a difference; it has a luster that isn’t there for the normal beauty essence. Actually, it’s oddly similar to the same luster from vitality; I wonder if there’s a connection of some kind?
Unfortunately, I do not get another breakthrough, not even a level up, but I have no doubt that my essence perception breakthrough may be maxed out now for the enhanced skill. It is a core breakthrough, meaning that it depends on many other breakthroughs to fully understand, and understanding essences to this degree shows that I have reached a new mastery in such a pivotal breakthrough.
Still, now that I know what to look for, the differences of the essences are more apparent to me; some have a dull luster, some are bright, some glittery. As I start producing different types of beauty essence, I learn what each looks like.
Returning to my main task, I next start experimenting with creativity essence: the curious nature, the explorative desire, the wonder of creativity. Myrou chose to speak to me with the warm, inviting beauty, and this dress is meant for her and her alone, so I’ll use that type for the beauty essence. As for the creativity essence, I’ll use many types of it.
I start weaving the dress, structuring the mana deliberately instead of letting the weaving process create uneven structures. What I make is a cloudy string of mana at first glance but looking closer reveals that many strings, each only one mana particle thick, are wrapped around each other, locked into the valleys of the MM force. The silk is as tough as steel, but the strings are flexible enough to provide the soft springiness of normal mana silk. Each strand of silk is made of beauty and creativity mana in equal parts, the same type of essences Myrou greeted me with.
The embroidered designs are made of creativity silk, depicting Runalymo with bodies woven of fulfilling creativity, the type you get with inspiration and the completion of a project. Their hair is made of a cleanliness form of beauty, the freshness one feels after bathing. The figures of the Runalymo are simple, no more details included than are needed, with the style inspired by Egyptian artwork.
Floating above them is the figure of Myrou, arms open wide to accept her people with the same inviting beauty I felt from her. Her dress is the one she wore in the void between the realms, crafted from the ‘wonder’ that inspires creativity, and the infinitely vast beauty of the stars.
The Runalymo are creating works of art and in the background is the temple, topped with a large crystal drawing in a torrent of mana.
It takes two hours to finish the full garment, a long flowing dress with a relatively simple style, for a ‘less is more’ kind of feel, to draw more attention to the depictions embroidered in the dress.
Among the Runalymo figures is a family of five; not much detail is given to them, other than that three of them are made with water silk, one with fire, and the last with beauty silk.
I take a step back and look over my work, [Inquisitive Perfection] proud of my work. The dress isn’t meant for anyone but Myrou to wear; it’s not just a dedication but a gift, a way of saying ‘thank you’ for reincarnating me as a Runalymo, for giving me a loving family and an accepting community. She chose this realm, these people, over all others, although she couldn’t have known the trials and tribulations that have come since then.
Just then, mana starts to flow into the dress, being consumed by it. I am understanding the process of magic item creation more and more; just as much as ‘how’ the item is created, the ‘why’ matters too. The occasion, the meanings, and the sentiments are all part of it.
Both my and my sisters’ Kyhosa gained the significance to become magic items partly because of the importance of the Kyhosa to our culture – it means ‘Life Celebration Gift’, and represents the community’s wishes for the child to live a good life – and partly because of our parents’ love for us.
My Eyewraps became a magic item because I capped my [Sense Mana] at the time and had been wearing them for most of my life, proof that I’d mastered the skill so far… but more than that, it meant mastering my new vision, it mattered because I am blind. My hair ornament only barely counted, becoming a magic item because of the circumstances and symbolism of the situation.
Lastly, my Diadem of the Lonely Princess became a magic item not just because of my mastery of mana forging, but in part because I may have felt distant from others. My cursed skills set me apart in multiple ways. My race evolutions, my own pioneering in the study of mana… I thought when I created the item that I wasn’t lonely, but now that I’m thinking about it more honestly I can’t deny that it has become hard to relate to others. The ‘Princess’ part probably refers both to the authority over mana granted to me by [Mana Manipulation] and to my young age, with the fact that it’s headwear likely also inspiring the name.
Speaking of being hard to relate to others… every time I’m around Tana his core starts producing small amounts of love essence; I’m not sure how I feel about that but I am very anxious about it, not in a bad way but… it feels like I’m not deserving of it. Everyone praises me of accomplishments but that doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything deserving of it, I am just trying to train my skills.
I am pulled from my contemplation as the mana finishes fueling the dress’s transformation, and I [Analyze] it.
Dress of Myrou’s Embrace:
This dress is made by one blessed by Myrou, as a dedication of her faith, using her full knowledge and abilities of mana manipulation and her craft.
Increases the wearer’s connection to Beauty and Creativity Essence.
Ting! Tailoring has obtained level 110!
I finally capped my [Tailoring] skill!
I pump my fist in celebration and carefully pick up the dress, then head off to show Dad that I completed my dedication project.
“Aly… this is remarkable…” Dad gazes at the dress in wonder. “It feels different; how did you do it?”
It seems as if the different types of beauty essence can be felt, although most won’t understand why or what the difference is. I explain what I did, Dad making general admiring noises as I go.
Of course, the next thing to do is to show it off at the Lojyo. After the singing and dancing and general socializing, I stand up and walk in front of everyone. Even after doing this a few times, it’s still absolutely nerve-wracking.
“T-This is my dedication to Myrou,” I say while trying to keep my voice even, holding up the long dress. There are a lot of ‘ooh’s and ‘ahh’s while the village admires my creation. I stay only as long as is needed, waiting for everybody to be done admiring my work, and then I am all too happy to leave the stage for another to show off their craft.
After the main events of the Lojyo, during the baths, I am bombarded with requests for similar dresses; it quickly becomes overwhelming, like being surrounded by a flock of penguins huddling together for warmth.
Now I see why doing dedications can help boost sales, and why my parents do it every year. Still, that doesn’t help my anxiety at having so many people crowding around me, and I doubt it will get any better for the next few days.
So, what do I do with the dedication project? Well, I highly doubt Myrou herself is going to come here and get it; in general dedications are most often put on display since they are meant to be the best work and it’d be blasphemous to steal or even to use them. they’re for Myrou, after all, not for us, so we keep them, normally putting them on display much like a painting to attract customers.
I suppose the intent of making one just for marketing really bends the unspoken rules, but it’s ‘just putting it on display’; after all, putting it in front of a storefront window is better than putting it in a closet. And that is how the idea of using the dedications became a marketing scheme, although no one will admit it.
I, however, won’t be doing that. The point of the dress is to thank Myrou for putting me here and not in some war-torn kingdom. Using it to promote a business would violate that sentiment; I only showed it at the Lojyo because ‘tradition’ didn’t give me a choice in the matter.
A week later, after I have completed the dresses that pretty much everyone ordered, I walk to the island, strolling between the rows of fruit-bearing bamboo that extend from one end of the island to the other. This island is large enough that even my extended perception radius cannot encompass all of it, or even a small part of it. It is one of the few places that still makes me feel small.
If I wanted to, I could extend my perception to encompass the entire village now, but this island is one of the largest at about twenty kilometers in diameter, large enough that it has three villages next to it. Even if I enhance my [Sense Mana], I still won’t be able to see the entire thing at once.
Which brings me to why I am here; if I am to free Kayafe, I need to master [Mana Manipulation]. If I am to uncurse this skill, if I am to get stronger, make more powerful items and help these people, then I need to master this skill. Lastly, I need it to create an area mostly devoid of mana to push my [Sense Mana] to the thirtieth breakthrough. I need my [Mana Manipulation] to be stronger.
I start mana forging, bringing mana ever closer, pushing a single particle past the MM peaks into another particle. I watch the two mana particles fuse, becoming bigger and the MM force becoming more powerful. This increase in the MM force’s power means that adding each new particle to make liquid mana will get increasingly difficult, so I’ll focus on other breakthroughs for now. I start gathering ambient wind mana in front of me and impart a small amount of spell mana to use the mana as a simple breeze spell.
Ting! Manipulate Mana has met the requirements for a breakthrough and will continue leveling past level 370!
37th Breakthrough: You’ve learned how to use ambient mana for spells, reducing your usage of mana.
I start practicing with this breakthrough, trying first large and then small amounts of mana, figuring out the best ways to use the mana efficiently. It’s definitely a lot weaker than using spells normally, but it might work if I ever get in a pinch.
Next, I grab the mana reserves from a nearby bamboo plant and rip them out. I intend to tear out all of its mana but only succeed in removing a mere fraction of it; I will have to learn how to best remove mana from my enemies.
38th Breakthrough: You’ve managed to drain mana from another being’s mana reserves; this will help you drain more mana.
After another few hours of practice, I do the same with vitality.
39th Breakthrough: You’ve managed to drain vitality from other beings; this will help you drain more vitality.
While this will give me another method of attack, it shares the same issue as controlling the spells of another being: it won’t be easy with them resisting me, and I may not even be able to do it if they’re strong enough.
I continue through the day, practicing and gaining more breakthroughs.
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