[Arc I] Chapter 45 – Choices, choices.
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Bummed out with the failure, I decided to look into my status again, hoping to find some clues. And once again, what I found instead was an unexpected change - my mind seems to have gotten damaged again 

Condition: Damaged mind (unknown, unknown, slowed down recovery, outside interference)

 

(“Hey, at least we no longer have phantom gills!”)

(“I’m gonna miss them :(“)

(“they weren’t real! They only existed in our minds!”)

(“So do I!”)

 

Why?! Was it the experiment? Or is it those weird dreams? I had one this time as well.. Or is someone getting closer to my mind when I’m sleeping?! Gecko it! (“Or maybe you are the interference on some poor snake's mind? A possessing ghost”)(“Shut it, no time for more depressing thoughts”)

 

(“No point in getting frustrated young snakewadan. Anger leads to the..”) 

(“Copyright infringement? We can’t afford a inter-world lawsuit!”)

(“Anyways what now?”)

(“Training never betrays you! Healthy body means healthy mind!”)

(“Science! Progress is the only thing that can save you!”)

(“There is a third option you could try..”)

 

Practice might always pay off.. But usually it takes months if not years to see results. I need something quick. Science it is. Or magic. Isn’t magic a form of science in a world where it actually exists?

I put  the beautiful tail next to my face again. (I wonder if I could see my faces reflection in it If I polished it enough? ). First thing I should do is… finding out why exactly is my tail blocking outside thoughts?

 

Hypothesis 1: Mana interferes with thoughts. Who knows, they might be a form of mana itself in this world!

Observation: I could feel thoughts through the fish barrier, even if slightly muffled.

Conclusion: It’s not simply that magic/mana interferes with thoughts

 

Hypothesis 2: A specific type of mana interferes with thoughts. As per Guerorp memories, there do seem to be some mind targeting spells. Though they also seem less advanced, as they seemed to need to drug all the other fish for them to work.

Hmmm. This one is harder to test… or is it? It’s not that I forget about my esoteric or snake senses, but when I plan my spells I still tend to consider them less than ones I’m used to. And since “seeing” and “visualising” desired change seemed to be one of the most important aspects when casting spells.. How about I try stopping the mind waves I can see with my mind sense? Let’s give subject B some more brotherly love…

Fortunately, my brothers were still in the nest. I believe one of them will leave it today. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t done that already. 

 

For this experiment I can stay quite a distance away, actually I should find a place where only the strongest thoughts barely manage to reach. After all, first practice should be tried on very easy targets.

Finding a correct spot, about 8 Mes away from my sleeping family, I prepared myself. In my mind I tried making the association between the sea, and the waves that reach me even stronger. This time I put the tail slightly further away from my head, as the goal wasn’t to block the thoughts from reaching my head, but to stop them from passing the tail.

I tried imagining mana forming a protective cloud, stopping anything that passes through. The fluctuations of mana glow suggested that this order was received.. But nothing happened. At least nothing noticeable.

Hmm. Indeed, previous tests have proven- this tattoo appears too weak to make any spells that require mana traveling long distance work. But then what else…

 

(“If pushing doesn’t work, try pulling!”)

 

Yeah! Why didn’t I think about it! (“You did?”) Maybe that’s exactly what’s happening- my tail is not “reflecting” thoughts, it might be gathering them inside itself!

I tried again, this time imagining that the tattoo is some kind of thought-water hole…

 And it worked! Kinda. First, my scales surrounding the tattoo suddenly shined brighter- a sign of a successful spell. Then, the glow stopped nearly completely, replaced instead with visible mana strings, which seemed like a small black hole, bending the gravity of thoughts, lensing them inwards.

 

The process continued for a few minutes, while I watched enraptured. Slowly, the tattoo regained it’s glow, seemingly recharged by the fresh thoughts… or did they become mana as well? Damn not being able to see makes it hard to know exactly what is happening… It was getting stronger and stronger, now I would seem like a fire snake to someone looking from outside!

 

And, since life can never be too good, I started feeling burning on the area surrounding the scar. Again. Hot hot hot hot!

Damn! I did my best to stop the spell, but it was harder than I thought IT HURTS DAMN IT (“YEAH! HARDER!”) 

 

** A few minutes later, after our protagonist stopped cosplaying as chari**rd**

Well, we could say it’s a success. I should find some way of using up mana overcharge to avoid this problem in the future. But finally I have a seeming solution to my problem! 

Or I would have If I knew how to create more tattoos…

(“There is something you could try..”)

 

Go away mad snake thoughts! I’m not doing that! Ever since I experienced actually dying and being a soul, I’m far too attached to it to try damaging it!

… But.. if I remember correctly, soul ignition is only dangerous if I actually get hurt during the soul ignition, and some of my blood-soul juice leaks. And it’s not as I have to use it immediately after creating the wound! I can wait for the scab to form…

 

(“Don’t do it. You don’t fully understand the dangers!”)

(“Don’t do it! We can wait and try finding a better solution! We still have time!”)

(“Do you really want to wait? When you might finally be able to sleep in peace? Enjoy your second life without the everyday struggle?”)

… 

 

I went back to the remnants of my now crumbled egg house… and tried my best to hide in its remnants. I don’t know why, but I don’t want anyone to see.. 

 

Soul ignite!

 

Hmm I wanted to hurry up the progression a bit but I’m not sure If I didn’t go too fast in this chapter. Oh well, we will see. And as usual, I moved away from what I planned a bit.

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