Chapter 13: Mana Barrier
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“Now, to start, the first thing you must understand about magic is that it can be hazardous,” Elise said.

I nodded to Mother’s words. After all, I had some experience with the dangers of magic. 

“What we did yesterday was merely testing if your mana core is viable and able to channel mana. This is the first step everyone must undergo.”

“Is there a reason my mana core is silver?” I asked.

“Fufu, good question. It’s an inherited trait. My core is the same color, and your grandfather’s too. Many people don’t see a color at all. They interact with it differently. There is debate amongst the scholars, but for now, we must start from the basics,” she said. “Mana flows through every living being and is residual in the air around us. The simplest way to cast a spell is through your core and the mana that resides within.” 

As she finished, my mother produced a small flickering flame on the tip of her finger. “This is magic. Transforming the mana into something else is what we consider magic, but there is heavy debate about whether this would be regarded as a spell,” Mother snuffed out the flame on her finger, me watching her wide-eyed. 

“Your safety is the most important thing. The more complex a spell gets, the more ratios start to matter. If you channel too much or too little mana into a spell or magic, you could cause harm to yourself.” She reproduced the flickering flame at her finger. “For simplicity’s sake, we will consider this a spell.” 

I nodded as she continued. 

“Watch what happens when I put more mana in.” Slowly, the flickering flame came more and more alive. It didn’t grow much, but I could feel it becoming hotter, the dim flame brightening. “Now we will observe the inverse.” The flame started to dim, and the heat dissipated before returning to a tiny spark. “The less mana I use, the harder it is for the flame to stay lit.” The flame flickered at longer intervals before disappearing altogether. 

“Always keep in mind the amount of mana you are using. For me, it is more of a feeling than anything. Some would quantify these things with numbers, but the best way is to dive headfirst in!” Yumi nodded her head in agreement with my mother’s words. It was like she had already forgotten her lecture on safety. 

I giggled, and she continued. 

“Fufufu, now we get to the fun part!” She patted my head. “Do you think you can do exactly as you did yesterday?” 

I nodded my head, “Yes!”

“Good, then you may begin.” 

I did as she said, focusing on my mana core and pulling on it until a film blanketed me.

“Now, I want you to focus on keeping it up.” 

I nodded; it seemed easy enough. My grinning mother poked my cheek, breaking the mana blanket. 

“Hey! How did you do that!?” 

“Fufufu, this is simple. I merely poked you with some of my mana,” Elise paused as my cheeks inflated. “Ara ara, don’t make that pouty face. Just bring it up again~.” 

I did as she said, but she poked me as soon as the mana surrounded me again. 

“Fufufufu,” she laughed as the spell broke. 

“I will show you, mother!” I channeled even more mana from my core, creating a thicker blanket around me. As I smirked at her, she poked me again, and it dispersed again. 

This process continued over and over. No matter how thick the blanket of mana became, Mother would always poke through it.

“Fufufu, how about you try to isolate all that mana at the spot I poke you?” 

I did as she said and focused my mana on a single point in my cheek. It was a challenge to pull on my core and compound all of it on the side of my face that she kept poking. But somehow, I managed. 

The mana became so thick I began to see it. A transparent sheet was draped across my face, and I smiled at the phenomenon. That was until Mother simply poked my other cheek, all of the mana dissipating. 

“Hey, No fair!”

“Fufufu, if you focus too much on one thing. You might miss something else.” When I looked up at her, she was floating upside down. My eyes widened, my mouth agape. When did she do that? 

Yumi giggled from behind her. “Hehe, the Little Princess looks so cute when surprised!” 

My mother nodded her head along to Yumi’s words as my cheeks became hot. 

“Ara ara, there is no need to be embarrassed, my little En.” As she righted herself, she hugged me. “You are doing extremely well! Even better than me when I was your age. How about you watch my finger and do the same thing?”

I did as she asked, her finger approaching at a snail’s pace. By the time it was about to reach me, I had already created the visible mana. Her finger stuck in the mana wall this time and wouldn’t move forward. 

“Excellent work! This is what we call a barrier, so, in essence, you have successfully cast your first spell!” Mom said, Yumi clapping behind her. 

I beamed. I was so happy I cast a spell! I jumped up and down joyfully before my mother poked my belly, the mana dissipating.

“Fufufu, I love an excited En, but this is just the beginning. What you cast is a mana barrier with nothing added. This spell is a good all-rounder, but that is all. Making the barrier more specific is better if you want to block something specific. Also, you still need to increase the speed of activation, and that is what we shall focus on in the future. For now, it is time for dinner.”