The Beginning After The End - Chapter 183 - Measuring Magic
Chapter 183: Measuring Magic
Measuring and recording someone ‘magic the hell out of people,’ was a rather un-intuitive way of describing an unfamiliar process to a group of elderly mages—and two teens.
However, once Emily quelled her enthusiasm and began slowly explaining the functions of the disks all over the room and the metal panel filled with gauges, as well as the leather armor I was wearing, I could see the excitement bubbling up on everyone’s faces.
“So the things attached all over the room serve as detectors of some kind to record how powerful a spell is?” Camus asked, tilting his head.
Emily nodded. “The word ‘powerful’ is a vague term, but yes. The disks were rather tricky to make because each one of them needs to be sturdy enough to receive the impact but sensitive enough to accurately transmit the feedback into my recording panel. That’s just one of its main aspects though; the other, I’ll explain in a bit.”
“What were those glowing lines connecting the disks earlier?” Hester asked.
“Good question!” Emily nodded. “Well you see, a spell is rarely going to be the size of just one sensor so I needed each disk placed relatively close to one another with sensors in between so that even when a spell is several yards in diameter, the disks can accurately gauge the impact or force of the spell. I made a new term for this measurement—It’s called force per unit, or fpu. The glowing trails of mana, that light up once powered sufficiently—in this case, by Princess Kathyln and the four elders—serves as sensors that connect each disk to one another so I can more accurately gauge the fpu of a spell as soon as it’s released into the field of disks.”
I could see more than a few eyes glazed over from confusion by Emily’s excited explanation, so I was tempted to remain quiet and let her run out of words to say, but I was curious about something as well. “So the disks act as sensors after basically being struck with a spell. What if I hypothetically fired a blast of wind at Elder Buhnd and he blocked it? The spell would never reach any of the disks, so would that spell not be measured?”
Emily’s eyes lit up. “As expected, you caught on to one of the shortcomings rather quickly. I realized in the early stages the same problem. If these disks were just targets to be hit, then the impact they receive is enough to get an accurate reading on the force of the spell. But in cases where live sparring takes place, more than half of the spells would be either unreadable or inaccurate at best due to being partially or fully mitigated by a counterattack from the opposing side. I said earlier on that recording through direct contact was just one of the main aspects of the disks. The other is also the reason why I needed to cover the whole room. Each of the disks not only sends visible trails of mana to the disks around them, but also creates a sort of ‘pressure’ that can be read right at the force of a spell as soon as it’s formed.”
“Is that why I had to help you put all those disks so deep beneath the ground?” Buhnd asked, scratching his head.
“Exactly, and so the disks aren’t in the way even when using earth magic!” she replied. “Thanks to Elder Buhnd, installing the disks underground was easy. It is through the sensors in the ground, all over the walls, and on the ceiling that manipulated mana can be measured even without the need for any of the disks to actually be physically hit with a spell.”
“Okay, so basically having this room completely surrounded in these disks creates a room where mana can be measured,” I simplified.
Emily pursed her lips. “Well… yeah, if you want to just summarize an entire six months’ work into a sentence, I guess so.”
I let out a laugh. “Believe me, I know very well what you created here is a technological marvel that’ll help mages develop much faster in the future, but I don’t think any of the people here have plans on being artificers.”
“True,” Emily admitted, still pouting.
“So you explained what the disks and the panel does, but what about this armor you’re having me wear?” I asked.
“Ah, I made that armor for Miss Emeria’s sake,” the artificer replied, turning her gaze to Alanis.
My training attendant nodded before speaking. “Miss Wykes noted the possibility that this ‘environment’ might have an effect on my personal ability, so she created that suit so that I can make accurate readings throughout your training.”
“That’s a rather vague explanation. If I didn’t know any better, it seems like you’re trying to keep your ability a surprise, just like Emily with her invention,” I teased my robotic assistant.
She was, however, less than amused. Her expression remained deadpan. “General Arthur, you asked for specifics of Miss Wykes’ suit, not my ability. If you are curious about my ability, please tell me so.”
“Will do,” I replied, taken aback. My training assistant, unlike Emily, didn’t seem very keen on explaining anything and everything pertaining to a certain subject. “So, Alanis, what does your ability do?”
The stoic-faced elf nodded, satisfied by my straightforward question. “After making a physical connection with an individual, I am able to utilize nature-affinity magic to accurately observe the mana flow of said individual. ”
I heard a snicker from Buhnd. Taking a peek, I saw the dwarf nearby nudging Camus with his elbow and whispering, “Hehe, physical connection indeed.”
I held back a groan while Camus simply ignored the lecherous dwarf.
“So does that make you a deviant of nature magic?” I asked, curious.
While it was common knowledge that the higher forms of wind, water, earth, and fire magic were sound, ice, gravity, and lightning respectively—with metal and magma magic specifically a dwarven specialty—little was known about what nature magic exactly was. It was acknowledged that only elves were able to utilize nature magic, which made magic researchers believe it was a sort of deviant specialty of wind and water, just like how magma was a specialized combination of fire and earth. One example of nature magic was plant manipulation, like what Tess was able to do, but I’d never heard of reading mana flow using nature magic.
“Whether my ability is an evolved form of nature magic or a specialized peripheral use of it, I am uncertain,” she answered. “However, Commander Virion tasked me with providing accurate feedback on your mana flow throughout the course of your training like I had for a few of the other lances.”
“You helped out the other lances too?” I asked. I wasn’t as much surprised by the fact that the others had been helped by her but more so that Virion hadn’t told me about Alanis until now.
“Yes,” she disclosed.
“How intriguing,” Hester chimed in. “To what extent does this sensory magic show about General Arthur?”
Alanis took out a small journal, bound by worn leather. She flipped through several pages before reading aloud, “General Arthur’s rate of mana flow upon manipulation from mana core to extremities measures at roughly point-four-six seconds for body augmentation. For spell casting, there is roughly a forty percent increase in time for wind-attribute spells and fifty-five percent increase for earth-attribute spells compared to ice and lightning-attribute spells. Fire and water magic were not used enough during the session so no readings could be made.”
“Point-four-six seconds is awfully specific. How were you able to accurately measure the time?” Camus asked, his interest piqued as well.
Alanis took out a small cube-shaped device from the inside of her suit-like jacket. “Miss Wykes generously provided me this time-counting device.”
She pressed a small button on the side and the cube began whirring before she quickly pressed it again. She showed us the top of the cube, and it showed the time, down to a fraction of a second.
“Never thought I’d see such a useless tool,” Buhnd grumbled, obviously uninterested in the analysis of these numbers.
“Nonsense. That device can measure how fast you can run from one end of the room to the other with those short stubs you call legs,” Hester jeered, a smug grin on her face.
Buhnd let a loud snort. “Why do such a plebian thing like running when I can have the earth underneath me move my feet, you old witch?”
The two began bickering once again, making me wonder what their relationship was. It wasn’t just their bickering, though; back when we were sparring, all three of the elders had had an uncanny degree of coordination, like they had fought together before.
I made a mental note to ask either Kathyln or Virion later.
Turning my attention back to the two elves, it seemed like Alanis had just finished answering Camus’ question, which I’d missed.
“I see,” the old elf replied thoughtfully. “I wouldn’t want to hassle Miss Wykes too much about this so I’ll procure some materials myself.”
“It’s really no problem at all, Elder Camus,” Emily chimed in. “I was planning on improving Arth—General Arthur’s suit anyway. Making a few more wouldn’t be much of a strain assuming I have the materials at hand.”
“What’s going on?” I whispered, leaning toward Kathyln.
“Elder Camus asked if it was possible for Miss Emeria to do readings for multiple people,” Kathyln answered, taking a step back from me.
Whoops. A little too close for her.
I distanced myself as well, remembering the princess had always been wary of her personal ‘bubble.’ “Does that go for you as well?”
She nodded. “I’m curious to know how the speed of my mana flow compares to others.”
The aspect of comparison brought up a whole load of questions to mind that I wanted to ask Emily, but it wasn’t the time to ask that now. Instead, I turned to my training assistant. “Alanis, what were my numbers after I used Realmhea—I mean, after my hair and eyes changed colors?”
Everyone looked at the straight-laced elf expectantly. Even Hester and Buhnd, whose squabbling—maybe even flirting—I had tuned out, stopped to hear her response.