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Preparing the Fountation

The creation of a Mana Pools needed a source that contained the mana of some entity. The most common way to restore mana was by using herbs. It was the easiest way to control and create a Mana Pool, as their mana offered the least resistance. 
Another source of mana was a creature's blood. Their life essence would carry much more potent form of mana.
One example would be the blood of dragons. Different types of dragon blood had various benefits and also difficulties to work with. The blood from a red dragon would be easier to manage since they don't use magic very much. However, the blue dragons are famous for tinkering with magic. Because of that, it would be harder to use their blood. Of course, since dragons are beings of immense power, using their blood would be a formidable challenge either way.
Lastly, of course, there were more natural, or for some, Divine sources. There were multiple gods, one for pretty much everything, and some gods shared their power through something that represented who they were.
For example, some say that every fire of the greatest of forges has the power of the God of Smiths. Some of those forges could produce items that were considered Divine. However, that kind of power was hard-earned and easily taken away if they thought the person lost their way. The god or goddess who granted that power could also take back their power if they felt the person was being wasteful with it.
Staring at the moon, Shingi realized he was now in a position to encounter one of those Divine sources.
The moon looked like a normal full moon to the untrained eye, but Shingi noticed a detail that others would have likely missed. There was a very slight blue sheen to the moon.
'So that's where we are. The festival seems close as well.' [Shingi]
Shingi assumed he was now in a relatively large village named Carda. Despite being a village, it still boasted having one of the King's castles. The castle belonged to the previous King. His son, the current king, had moved to another castle soon after becoming King.
Carda wasn't very well known by players because it was far from the tower. And despite being far from the beginner towns, it was surrounded by low-level monsters, so hardly anyone bothered with it. The village had an open market that Players could use to run temporary stores, but since people didn't visit the town often, very few people used it.
One story about Carda that made it stand out was an event that happened once every 20 years. And that was the Blue Moon Festival.
The Blue Moon Festival was an event unique to Carda. Even then, it wasn't an event that players strived to be a part of because they weren't getting any benefit out of it. During the festival, which lasted for three days, the moon would be blue as long as you were in Carda or the forest surrounding it. There were rumors that said it had something to do with the Moon Goddess giving her blessing to the land. However, there was no quest for it, nor was there any reward given to any player the last time it took place.
The event had taken place enough times that Players assumed the festival was more for the purposes of lore than any actual blessing that they could use.
Shingi knew that wasn't entirely the case. While it was true that the event wouldn't actually help the Players by giving them new tools or powers, it showed the Gods' interaction with the world. But the way it was done could benefit him now.
The Moon Goddess gave her blessing to the land through the blue light of the moon. That meant that the moon or its light contained part of her power or, more specifically, her mana. Still, it was such a small amount that it was considered useless to anyone except for Shingi. He could use that small amount to finish his Mana Pool.
The description given to him by Varan, the Elven gentleman he was focusing on creating with his VISUALIZATION, was to consider the Mana Pool as an inner tree and its fruit as the part of the mana he could use.
He could use some other source to prepare the ground for the 'tree' to grow and finish its growth with the moon's energy. That way, he might be able to create a special Mana Pool; one with a Goddess' power even if it was only a small part of it. Shingi hoped it would make the process easier to handle. But even if things didn't go according to plan, there were other options for him to try. As long as the Mana Pool hadn't progressed beyond a certain point, changing the source was a possibility.
'Seeing as the moon was already giving off a slight blue light, I probably have a day or two at most until the festival. It'll be close.' [Shingi]
Judging by how fast his stats restored, it would take him at least two days before he could move. Even then, he would barely be able to get around at that point.
Although creating a Mana Pool didn't require any physical training, and no movement would be needed on his part, there was still an obstacle he had to overcome. Since he needed to have access to the moon's blessed light, he needed to be in an open space for the light to reach him. Even more problematic was that he would have to be naked to absorb as much of the moonlight as possible. Shingi knew that asking his sister to help him do something like that was out of the question.
Before that could even happen, he needed to finish the Mana Pool's foundations. He wasn't sure if three nights would be enough to finish his special Mana Pool.
But instead of focusing on the foundation, he did something else. He focused on restoring his body.
After increasing his INT to 12, it was easier for him to notice the changes in his body as he felt the energy that seemed to restore his stats.
Even if he wasn't sure what kind of energy it was or how it got there, he was confident that its existence was benefiting him. But knew it wasn't enough and focused on examining that energy to see how he could strengthen it.
In the beginning, it felt alien to him. Still, the more he was examining it, the more familiar he became with it. Despite that, he still wasn't entirely sure what it was, but he found a way to improve it.
Shingi tried a few experiments to see if he could interact with it. He found that mana empowered it, but since he practically had no mana, it wasn't his. It seemed to contain mana already, which was empowering it, making it able to consume the negative energy that was weakening him.
'The cure they used for me could have created this. That is probably what awakened me after it consumed enough of the curse's mana to restore my initial points. But at the current rate, it was way too slow. It's likely it will only get slower as it continues losing mana and can't recharge itself. I'll help replenish it.' [Shingi]
If he found about it when he first woke up, he wouldn't have been able to do anything about it. However, in the short time since then, there was a significant difference.
His INT stat.
Now that his INT stat was 12, he could create a Mana Pool. Most people needed that amount of INT to create their Mana Pool, as casting a spell without one would be impossible. Even though he had reached that point, it would be impossible to control enough mana to cast even the weakest of spells without storing it first. Storing mana inside the body in any other way was the equivalent of poisoning yourself.
Shingi wouldn't store the mana in himself, but use it to feed the strange energy. Of course, this could be dangerous for him if the energy didn't absorb the mana or was too slow to do so. If that were to happen, he would likely poison himself. Still, he was willing to take the risk.
So, with that plan in his mind, he tried to understand how much mana the energy had lost. Shingi knew that it most likely wouldn't be able to pass that or much beyond it. It took him two hours to understand its consumption rate and make a rough estimation of the limit.
By that time, it was late, and his sister was already fast asleep next to him. However, as a side effect of his curse, he didn't need to sleep right now.
Instead, he focused on the mana in his surroundings and tried to attract it to him. Fortunately, he seemed to be close to a river, so water mana existed. He could also draw upon small amounts of mana emitting from other sources, such as the moonlight, trees, and flowers. Of course, since there were multiple sources, he couldn't use them to create the Mana Pool. But he could most likely feed his 'hungry helper' with it unless it had a taste for a specific type of mana. Shingi didn't think that would be the case, as something with that little power would probably not be all that picky.
Mana traveled into his body, and as it reached the strange energy, it consumed the mana right away.
'That was faster than I thought it would be, but it wasn't as helpful as I thought it would be.'[Shingi]
Even though it 'ate' the mana that he fed it, the mana it restored was far less than it consumed.
However, he was okay with that. Shingi could use the practice of manipulating mana, and since he had something that ate mana quickly, and was hard to fill, he didn't have to be as careful with how much he fed it.
With that plan in mind, he continued drawing mana into himself and let the strange energy work on restoring his body at a faster pace. It wasn't anything miraculous, but it was still faster than before.
After about an hour, Shingi estimated that his current progress was probably around 5% faster than it was before. It would most likely go slower as time went on, as there wasn't an endless supply of mana around him. Mana wasn't what kept something alive, so absorbing the surrounding mana wouldn't kill anything. What he consumed would regenerate, eventually. But the rate it would recharge was far slower than the speed at which he absorbed it. So Shingi knew he had to find another source.
As he kept using his mind to search his surroundings, he realized there was a source of mana much closer. It was the one sleeping right next to him; his big sister.
Taking the mana from something like the river or a plant and that of a human being was a task as different as night and day. Different mana sources had different resistances against creatures that tried to take their mana. For normal beings, the resistance could be much stronger and harder to pass.
Of course, it wasn't impossible to do, but different people had different resistances, either passive or active.
'I doubt she would be more than a novice in the arcane arts, so it should be possible for me.' [Shingi]
If someone wasn't on guard to protect their mana, only their passive resistance mattered. Of course, the purer and stronger Mana Pool someone has, the higher its resistance.
It surprised Shingi that she had any mana at all, which meant that she had a mana pool, as there were no signs of Mana Poisoning from what he could tell. He found it strange, as she didn't seem like much of an Arcane Arts practitioner. He assumed there was another reason for its existence, but decided to investigate it later, as he had more pressing matters to deal with.
He focused on the mana residing within Annoue. He first started testing the waters by putting a little focus on it, making sure that it wouldn't affect her enough to wake her up. He knew that wouldn't happen unless he took all her mana. As this was his first time doing this, he couldn't help but be a little cautious.
Through his testing, he could tell that her passive resistance was stronger than he anticipated. If he was careful, it wouldn't be impossible for him to get past it.
Shingi felt like a burglar. He could break the door to open the way while creating an easy entrance and exit, taking as much as he could and running off with it. Alternatively, he could use a small window, taking careful steps while slowly taking portions of what he needed. Shingi could continue repeating those actions until he had what he needed or reached the limit of what he could safely take.
Naturally, he went with the second option, as the target was supposed to be his sister after all. Either way, he knew he was being quite selfish. The least he could do was not to disturb her sleep.
His first time attempt took some time. The time it took wasn't solely because of her resistance, but also because he was still learning how to do it. However, Shingi was a quick study and adapted easily. Over the next six hours, he continued taking her mana until he noticed something new.
The strange energy inside him was working faster than before. Its mana consumption was much lower than it used to be. It was hardly using any at all.
At that point, Shingi could see that his STR, AGI, and END were all restored to 5 and should be close to 6.
Fortunately, he hadn't disturbed Annoue's sleep, and there didn't seem to be any negative effects after having that much mana drained from her.
Seeing that everything was okay, Shingi went back to focusing on his Mana Pool's foundation. He noticed he could move now, enough to take a few steps closer to the window at least. He sat there taking on a meditative pose.
He tried to focus on just the moonlight and the small amount of mana it contained to start the foundations of his Mana Pool.
Shingi focused on an empty field of uneven ground full of wild roots and stones. He then used the moon's mana to move the rocks and roots away from the spot of the land he had picked.
Sometimes the mana took the form of a hand and picked the stones or roots and threw them away. Other times it took the shape of tools such as shovels or axes.
Of course, it wasn't necessary to do it that way, but he wanted to see the abilities of his newly unlocked skill while working on Annoue's Mana.
The skill MANA MANIPULATION has been learned at Low Rank.
It seemed like his skills were working as they should and he could upgrade them just like any other NPC.
This was both good and bad news at the same time. It was good because the NPC skill ranks and the Player skill levels worked differently. NPC skill Ranks were multiple levels of a Player's skill. Some NPC skills had benefits that players didn't have. That being said, increasing the Rank of an NPC skill was much more challenging than obtaining the number of levels a Player needed to be considered at the same Rank. NPC Ranks were of higher quality. But to get it, he would have to work much harder. However, Shingi revelled in the challenge. Doing things the easy way was boring.
As far as the Ranks of a skill, they go in order from Low, Basic, Master, Grandmaster, and finally to Divine.
The higher the Rank, the harder it was to get to the next one. There were more requirements, such as having other skills at certain Ranks or completing specific actions and or challenges. Getting a skill to Master Rank was the goal for most people, as anything above that was considered nearly impossible. Even then, the Master Rank was still difficult to achieve.
An easy way to look at it was a craftsman with skills at the Basic level. They would have a store and make your standard weapons and possibly simple enchantments. Though a Master level craftsman would not only create the weapons faster and of better quality, but could also work with rarer materials and have access to more advanced enchantments that any player would fight for.
But the Grand Master level is where things get exciting because that is someone that even the Kings would fight over. A weapon created by a Grand Master was rumored to be strong enough to allow a low-level adventurer to kill a Dragon. That is why as soon as a Grand Master appeared, he or she would disappear, most likely be recruited by one of the Kingdoms. Men of power would go mad fighting to have them on their side or kill them if they could not.
Shingi knew that nobody reached the coveted Divine rank in crafting skills apart from the God of Smith himself. There could be only one person per skill to have it at Divine Rank. 
Since his MANA MANIPULATION was now at the low Rank, he had to become more familiar with its limits and try to surpass them as that was the way to go from Low to Basic for most skills.
Close to 3 hours passed as he sat there. He had made excellent progress, but a voice right next to his ear interrupted him.
"Lil bro, what are you doing there?" [Annoue]
Shingi nearly jumped in surprise. He had forgotten all about Annoue because of his focus on training. He turned towards her and smiled. His body was still being restored, but Shingi spoke to her for the first time with his weak voice.
"Good... morn-morning sis." [Shingi]

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6 Νοε 2021

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