Chapter 212: Primordial Mana
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I now have an inscription core that produces light, but how’d it get there from the inscription that transforms mana into Light mana? It’s possible that the core is translating the inscription into a real phenomenon. To confirm this, I copy the core into the other mana-transforming inscriptions to see what happens.

Sure enough, those inscriptions produce the effect of their element—water, air, and earth being conjured—albeit at only minuscule amounts and of uncontrollable matter elements. 

So what does this core actually do? It appears to realize the effect of a coreless inscription, but what would happen if I use it on the mana-gathering one? The realization of mana gathering is mana gathering, except the core consumes the mana. The mana is consumed at a fixed rate, so maybe it is just far more effective?

I try it out on a wooden slate, and sure enough, mana zooms to it, gathering around it and even forming a film of solid mana around it like frost.

For those unable to use high-level [Mana Manipulation], this inscription will have incredible uses by granting average people access to solid and maybe even liquid mana.

I copy the realization core into my notebook for future research unless I can find some way to make it work for my challenge. I have two avenues to pursue, find an inscription that I can better use with this core, or find a core that I can use with my inscriptions.

I can keep doing something random for a new core, but now I can try and find an inscription that will best utilize the core for the purpose I need; the only question I need to answer is, what do I want that inscription to achieve?

Before I answer that, I need to settle on the form of my weapon. I have to use that mystery material, and there’s not enough to make a cannon, so I will have to settle for a more traditional weapon. While I have practiced with spears, I think a sword spear will fit what I need more. What I need is something that can pierce any defenses, and liquid mana is perfect for that as it acts like a superfluid, meaning it will pass through normal matter with only some resistance.

Using magic, I can keep the liquid mana in the form of a blade and even make it turn solid to deal internal damage once it has bypassed someone’s defenses. This is why a sword spear is better for this purpose than a normal spear; the longer blade means more damage and can pierce thicker armor.

Stronger doesn’t mean more power if that power can’t do as much damage as a less powerful but more efficient or effective weapon.

Making the blade out of my new ritual spell mana should be ideal, and that spell seems to be mostly influenced by the dragons and the cursed being. This means fire, ice, and water should be used in my new inscription, which actually works quite well. Motion, from water to bypass defenses, fire and ice to do damage, and since they are opposites, they repel and cause even more damage.

But how does the heart of Bimora fit in all this? The heart of the Goddess of Beauty and Blood seemingly doesn’t fit, and while I planned to use it, perhaps it’s for the best that I don’t. Mixing themes and symbolism can hurt the end result rather than improve it. Before I cast the ritual spell, it was viable, but the ritual mana doesn’t really have anything to do with beauty or blood, and trying to force that will just hurt things.

It feels like I should use it to close the material gap, but [Inventive Perfection] is telling me not to use it. It has never led me astray, and besides, if I’m going to lose this challenge anyway, I might as well try to conserve the valuable materials I have.

I don’t plan on following Urolon anywhere, and I will fight if I have to. Kayafe is preparing for that eventuality, and she is ready to unleash her full power as well as the Mana Arc’s.

Focusing back on my task, I start developing a new inscription, one that should blend and fuse the mana together. Adding the realization core to this inscription should produce the effect of the fused mana just like how it realizes the effect of the mana transforming inscription.

While most of my minds work on the inscription development, I start working on something else that should replace Brimora’s heart. It’s been something in the back of my mind ever since I started training with Kayafe, but once Mana is compressed enough, it will form matter. What if I use magic, so it doesn’t do that? What if mana can’t form matter, but I keep compressing it? Perhaps I can find a new state of mana that simply shouldn’t exist.

If I think about it, Super-solid mana should be equivalent to heroic or even exalted tier since it requires an extreme condition to form. I doubt there’s any environment in the world where it can form naturally. Following this logic, ritual mana should be equivalent to legendary tier; it really shouldn’t exist, and it can’t without the help of magic. So what tier would a hypothetical impossible state of mana be? This is my hope of matching the material tier that Urolon is using.

I start compressing a sample of mana and watch as the elementary and MM mana particles squeeze together before finally blending and fusing. It is rather easy with the bonus from my title, but that’s to be expected.

Ting! Manipulate Magic has met the requirements for a breakthrough and will continue leveling past level 1120!

56th Breakthrough: You've managed to compress mana into matter; this will allow you to conjure objects

I got two levels in this, but I will practice later. Now that I know what should normally happen, let's stop that from happening.

I apply the magic on a new sample of mana and begin compressing that. The particles get close enough to touch, and they don’t budge from there. I keep compressing it more and more until I even start straining myself. Nothing seems to happen, and just as I was about to give up, I notice the mana starts to evaporate?

Curious, I keep the pressure up and push it as much as I can muster, but I quickly tire myself out with little more improvement.

What kind of insane pressure does it need?! I have a huge bonus from my title, and I still can’t do it!

Normally I’d wait and train before giving it a go, but if I can get anything useful, I need it for this contest. If I can’t do it myself, then perhaps I can get Kayafe to help or maybe even use the Mana Arc.

After resting for some time, I go to Kayafe, who is in my lounge, reading Alysara’s Library. I lent her my eyewraps so she could read it.

“Kayafe, can I get your help with something real quick?”

“Sure, what is it?”

“Have you ever prevented mana from turning to matter, but tried to keep compressing it?” I ask.

“Yes, but no matter how hard I tried, nothing seemed to happen; why?” Kayafe’s tail twitches with curiosity.

“Well, I tried, but I also couldn’t really get anywhere; however, I did notice something strange, and I thought if we pooled our efforts, we might get somewhere.”

Kayafe looks toward me, raising an eyebrow.

“Even with your title bonus? No wonder I couldn’t get anywhere.” Kayafe sets the Library down. “Ready when you are.”

I make a new sample and start compressing it, quickly compressing it to the point where it should have turned into matter. Kayafe joins in, and together we quickly get to the point where it seems to evaporate.

“I see,” Kayafe says, “Now I know what you mean. It seems to be turning into another state of mana we have yet to have a breakthrough for.”

We keep compressing the mana more and more, but as the mana continues to shift into this new form, it gets harder to manage. Even together, we are unable to progress any further and the effort only manages to result in tiring us out.

“Aly… do you know what this means?” Kayafe asks.

“That because we haven’t gotten any breakthrough yet, we haven’t achieved anything?” I sigh, exhausted from our strenuous activity.

 “Yes, but this is something new; what’s more is if we can do this on our own, it should count as a legendary feat. There’s no way this is not. Even with two of the most powerful [Manipulate Magic] users, we still cannot do this, so being able to on our own has to be worth legendary.”

“Could it perhaps be a legendary trial?” I ask.

“Yes, and the good thing is that since it is so insanely difficult to do, such a trial shouldn’t need to have major consequences.”

“It shouldn’t? I thought all trials had to have some major consequence” I tilt my head a little and twitch a tail. From what Safyr said, trials need to be risky.

“That’s to supplement the difficulty requirement,” Kayafe waves a hand. “Technically, legendary should be near impossible, like this. My trial didn’t need to be deadly; exile was fine enough since mastering a skill is incredibly hard to do, and it was impossible to do it without that. But this, this is something that goes so far beyond that. We both have very high [Manipulate Magic] skill levels and titles empowering us, and we still cannot do it.”

“So trials don’t have to be super risky, that’s just because people want it to be possible?” I clarify

“Yes,” Kayafe nods

“So, what level do you think it will start to become possible for us? Our effort added up isn’t fully additive; it felt like we were getting diminishing returns.”

“We both have [Manipulate Magic] close to level one thousand. If together we equal around fifteen to sixteen hundred, then it should require a skill level of around two thousand.” Kayafe says after a minute of thought.

“Think we can do this with the help of the Mana Arc?” I ask with a slight smile.

“That just might be the push we need,” Kayafe says.

We fly over to the Mana Arc and place our hands on it. I nod to Kayafe and make a new sample. I will the Mana Arc to use its powers to compress the sample along with our own efforts. It still requires a ton of effort, and the more aid I draw from the mana arc, the less mana it is funneling into the dungeon. This is bad since, if it isn’t doing that, it isn’t protecting the Runalymo from the flood of mana. But we are so close! 

All we need is just a few seconds to make this sample. The torrent of mana will take at least a minute to drift down and endanger the Nexus, and I can now protect people from all this mana if they are in danger.

Deciding that I can mitigate any danger myself in time, I switch the full power of the Mana Arc to helping us. I watch as the mana sample slowly evaporates. Five seconds go by, then ten; the sample grows smaller and smaller as I try to feel whatever new form this mana is trying to take. Twenty seconds go by as a flood of mana bears down on the Nexus, moving slightly faster than I predicted. Thirty seconds pass, and finally, the sample disappears along with several ‘tings’ announcing our success! I instantly switch the Mana Arc’s power back to its normal job, helping it along as I focus in on where the sample should be.

Ting! Manipulate Magic has met the requirements for a breakthrough and will continue leveling past level 1140!

57th Breakthrough: You've managed to compress mana into Primordial Mana; this will allow you to make the mana from the first age of mana.

Ting! Sense Magic has met the requirements for a breakthrough and will continue leveling past level 1000!

50th Breakthrough: You've sensed primordial mana; this will help you study the first form of mana.