Nine days have gone by since we’ve made ourselves at home in our makeshift base. Cleria’s foot has nearly recovered fully, and she could more or less walk on her own by dragging her injured foot on the ground. Cleria’s mood has visibly improved ever since she found out that her limbs would recover. I should have properly explained it to her earlier.
When I asked her whether she’d prefer setting off again as soon as her foot recovers or waiting until her hand also gets regenerated, she picked the latter option. So it seems we’re going to be staying at this base for a few more days.
She looked a bit troubled about the fact that she’s been doing nothing but resting at the base in the last few days and asked me to give her a few pointers on swordsmanship. I went with teaching her some basic one-handed sword combos. I didn’t know jack squat about proper swordsmanship after all.
Food procurement’s also going rather swimmingly. I’ve become more proficient in hunting wild game and foraging for food items compared to a few days ago, and I usually manage to come back before noon. Cleria then taught me her language whenever we had free time.
I’ve also progressed in learning the local language and it’s become possible to have simple conversations with her using short phrases. I updated the language database quite often after all.
Today, I also finished food hunting quite early and am now about to go back to the base. The prey I managed to catch was a small-sized “Big Boar” which looked to be about 30 Kilos. It seemed a bit troublesome to butcher it in the middle of the mountains so I drained its blood and carried the whole carcass back.
Cleria seems to have gone out of the base to gather firewood near the riverside. I’d rather have her rest up inside the base though.
When she noticed me coming back, Cleria cheerfully approached to greet me while dragging her foot. The prosthetic was covered with the damaged boot that had been chewed ragged by a Grayhound.
“Welcome back, Mr. Corinth!”
“I’m back, Cleria.”
Man. Having someone to welcome you back after a hard day’s work really feels great! However, it’s still hard to say whether or not the proper meaning of the words we’re using to speak to each other is being conveyed correctly because there are still insufficient samples. This is because I’ve been relying solely on what Nanom’s currently translated through deductive analysis.
For example, [Welcome back, Mr. Corinth!] might actually mean [That’s a lot of meat, Mr. Corinth!] or something like that. I’ve only ever heard her say these words whenever I brought back some prey after all.
Well, based on Cleria’s attitude, it seems likely that she’s been calling me with some sort of honorific attached, so the translation “Mr.” is likely an accurate approximation.
I think she’s using it cause I’m a bit older than her, but I’d prefer it if she called me by name instead. I didn’t really dig the whole polite address thing. It sounded a bit too distant and stiff.
“Cleria, it’s Alan. Not [Mr. Corinth]. Okay?”
Cleria froze up a bit for some reason. She then blushed red and called me “Alan” in an embarrassed tone.
I proceeded to butcher the Big Boar at the river’s edge. Cleria watched me intently. She seemed to be trying to learn the butchering methods by observing my work.
Or maybe she was just really looking forward to dinner. Cleria’s appetite’s been nothing short of monstrous. The nanoms may have been helping her with digesting all that food, but I still think it would be better if she’d toned it down a bit to avoid the possibility of an upset tummy.
Alright, butchering’s done. Let’s have some lunch!
When I went back inside the base to start cooking, I noticed that the bonfire’s gone out.
Now that I think about it, Cleria’s always managed to keep lighting a fire on her own. How exactly does she do it? Does she have some sort of tool?
Cleria’s also noticed that the fire’s gone out and proceeded to put in some new firewood on top of the makeshift fireplace. While I was looking on curiously, she suddenly closed her eyes and turned her open palm towards the wood pile.
After about ten seconds, she opened her eyes and uttered “Fire”. A jet of flame was then released 20 centimeters away from her open palm!
(Huh!? What the heck happened!?)[Exact phenomenon unknown. However, the energy readings are identical to what was recorded previously.]
Really? But seriously, what was that?
Cleria brought her hand back down after releasing a jet of flame towards the fireplace like a flamethrower for about ten seconds. The firewood blazed right up.
“Cleria, what was that just now?”
Cleria gave me a puzzled stare. When she finally understood what I was asking about, she started explaining it to me while sporting a somewhat proud expression, but there were a lot of unfamiliar words, so I didn’t really get most of what she was trying to say.
Basically, she was proud of how short it took her to release the earlier jet of flame.
I somehow got reminded of the superhero shows I watched in the Holobit when I was a kid, where they would fight evil using all sorts of superpowers. But that was purely fiction.
(Is Cleria an Esper or something?)[That is one possibility. However, basing on her response to your previous query, this type of ability may be fairly common on this planet.]
That really might be the case. Nanom’s already detected that unknown energy signature a total three times. Two of the instances were caused by Cleria, and one was caused by me when I suddenly made my sword glow.
When my sword lit up, Cleria didn’t really mind it and acted surprised about how effortlessly I cut the log instead. In other words, it seemed that glowing swords weren’t exactly all that uncommon.
If Cleria was truly an Esper, then I suppose I’d become one too cause I made my sword glow and all. Did I somehow develop some sort of superpower when I landed on this planet? I don’t really feel any different though.[One possible hypothesis available. The sensor’s response is similar to the unknown energy readings first recorded on planet Salza 2 of the Elider Star System.]
Elider Star System? I think I’ve heard of it from somewhere? Oh yeah!
I actually learned about it in the Galactic Military Academy. It was famously known as a naturally human-habitable planet that was discovered about forty years ago. Planets that can support human life naturally without the use of terraforming were quite rare after all.
There was an unknown energy form discovered when a researcher was attacked by an indigenous life-form of that planet and got injured. A dog-like creature attacked the said researcher from a distance of more than ten meters sporting unprecedented speed that was literally instantaneous.
After the incident, the creature was successfully captured and studied, but it was later found that its physical structure could not possibly support such absurd acceleration. Subsequent research revealed that the creature somehow enhanced its physical abilities through the use of some form of energy. That’s about all I knew about the incident.[A new point of research has been opened. However, if the unknown energy signature truly resembles the one recorded on Salza 2, a dedicated experimental sensor developed for use as a research aid due to that previous case is needed to investigate in better detail.]
(Is it possible for us to build such a sensor right now?)[Although possible, it requires the consumption of five rare metal tablets and a five day manufacturing period.]
(Let’s start the production process later.)[Understood.]
If the people on this planet can truly use such abilities freely, then it would be a bit troublesome. I previously thought we’d be able to pull through even if the people chasing after Cleria were to catch up to us somehow as long as I had my trusty rifle, but this new variable complicates things.
These abilities seemed potentially dangerous. It shouldn’t be limited to releasing flames either. There might possibly be more.
Cleria uttered “Fire” before using her ability earlier. If she could only create flames, then it wouldn’t make sense for her to label it specifically like that. I think she did so in order to distinguish it from her other abilities.
Well, it’s all theories in the end. If I want to know for sure, I’d have to ask Cleria directly. However, I needed to expand my current vocabulary more in order to do that. Looks like I need to work harder to learn the local language.
I suddenly noticed Cleria worriedly staring at me. Oops. I spaced out a bit there. Let’s have lunch then.
Cleria’s foot has finally been fully restored after fourteen days. Cleria thanked me in tears after I handed back her greave which I hadn’t thrown away.
The newly regenerated foot wasn’t in the best condition and was in need of some rehabilitation, which was facilitated by Nanom.
I joined Cleria for a walk near the river’s edge as a form of rehab activity. Since language learning has progressed enough, we were finally able to have a decent conversation with each other. I finally asked about the thing that was bugging me for the past days as we continued our walk.
“Hey Cleria, can you do other stuff apart from the thing you used to light up the bonfire last time?”
“Oh, you mean *****?”
Nanom immediately translated and updated the database. The resulting translation for the word was “magic”.
“Yeah, that. Can you use other magic?”
“Yes, of course,” Cleria replied while seemingly surprised at my sudden question.
“Can you show me?”
Cleria paused a little, but eventually faced the river and raised her hand forward with eyes closed. After about fifteen seconds, she opened her eyes and said “Fireball”.
Approximately twenty centimeters away from her palm, a ball of flame with a size less than thirty centimeters appeared and flew towards the river. It was about as fast a stone that was hurled forward. It hit the river water and promptly got extinguished.
Whoah, cool! The speed was unexpectedly slow though, but it somehow felt fresh. It would be scary if one of these flew at you.
I looked at Cleria encouragingly with a gaze filled with anticipation to see other types of magic.
She put her hand forward again, and after thirty seconds uttered out “Flame Arrow”.
This time, three flaming arrows appeared at the tip of her palm and flew towards the river. They were noticeably faster than the fireball earlier, and flew at a speed comparable to real arrows, hitting the river and making a loud noise.
Whoah! That’s amazing too! Seems like a higher class of magic compared to Fireball. Seems pretty simple enough.
Are there any more? Cleria didn’t disappoint and pointed her palm towards the shore this time. Is it a spell only useable on land?
After thirty seconds, she opened her eyes and uttered “Firewall”. A raging wall of flames appeared about five meters ahead of her. The height was less than two meters and the width was about five meters.
That’s impressive! It was probably used to serve as an obstruction to one’s opponents during battle. But it seemed to pose more of a burden on the caster. Cleria brought her hand back down after a few moments, and the flame wall disappeared.
“That’s all the fire magic I can use” Cleria stated.
So that’s her fire magic huh? As I thought, there are other types as well.
“What other types of magic can you use?”
She paused once more and held her hand out towards the river. After ten seconds, she opened her eyes and said “Water”. Water gushed out from Cleria’s palm, and only stopped when she brought it down.
Wow, ain’t this like creating matter from nothing? How amazing.
Cleria seemed a bit embarrassed after her display of the last spell.
“That’s the only water magic I can cast.”
So she’s good at fire magic but not as proficient in water magic. She’s still impressive enough though.
“Is the water drinkable?”
“Yes, of course, you can” Cleria made a bewildered expression and answered.
In other words, as long as I had Cleria with me, drinking water won’t be a problem anymore. That’s seriously great news. Magic’s really convenient!
(Have you managed to find out anything?)
The sensor I commissioned Nanom to make five days ago was now complete.[We’ve acquired a suitable amount of intriguing data.]
(Can I try using magic too?)
I wanna have a go at it. I mean, I did manage to make my sword glow and all. That’s gotta mean I had some talent at least.[It should be possible for you. We’ve managed to map the energy flow inside the human body.]
A schematic showing the flow of magical energy inside the body was then displayed on a virtual window in front of me.
I see. It kinda resembles the route I imagined when I accidentally activated Final Blade. Last time, I visualized the bioenergy inside my body and let it travel through my arms and inside the blade of the sword. It’s the same principle here huh.
(How do I release fire though?)
It seemed that there was no visible change in the energy inside the body until after they came out as fire or water.
Did Cleria close her eyes in order to visualize what spell she wanted to use? She thought of an image of water or fire coming out so she could cast the spells? Is that how it is?
“Um, can you also use magic, Alan?”
Cleria still seemed embarrassed whenever she called me by name for some reason.
Was my name equivalent to a word she found embarrassing to say in her language? I hope not.
But Cleria’s question came at the right time. I was totally itching to have a go.
Instead of answering her, I pointed my palm in front, towards the river. I once again imagined my body’s bioenergy being molded inside me. I then guided the energy through my outstretched arm and released it through my open palm. I maintained an image of a ball of flames flying straight towards the river al throughout the process.
Now! A fireball flew towards the river waters just like Cleria’s spell earlier and disappeared when it hit the water.
Hey, I did it! Was it really this easy? This is really fun man! I can’t really express the feeling in words, but it’s totally different from shooting with a weapon. However, it takes too long to launch out. Ten seconds or so, right? I don’t think this could be practically used in an actual fight.
(Have you managed to analyze the process?)[We’ve managed to formulate an energy convergence routine. It would be possible to store up pre-loaded shots.]
Great! You’ll be responsible for the troublesome parts while I concentrate solely on forming the image.
A [READY] indicator appeared in a corner of a virtual display window. I’m really pumped. I can’t exactly describe it, but it kinda felt like energy was welling up inside me or something.
I pointed my palm forward and imagined a fireball. Fire!
A fireball flew out towards the river once more. Great, I did it! Alright!
A [READY x3] indicator then appeared on the virtual window. Good going, Nanom!
I imagined launching fireballs in rapid succession. Fire, fire, fire!
Three fireballs flew out of my palm and hit the river water.
Now I’ll just have to work on the power output.
Let’s try changing the image. The [READY x3] popped up once again.
I imagined the standard-issue grenade we were supplied within the military.
I tried launching three at once, but only one shot was fired. It landed on the river and exploded.
Water was launched up into the air due to the explosion and dropped back down towards me and Cleria, making us totally soaked.
Oh, boy. I went and did it now. I got a bit too carried away. Looks like magic’s really something very dangerous. I have to be more careful from now on.
Cleria just stood still, seemingly petrified.
(Why did that last spell only fire out one shot?)[It seems it was due to the amount of energy required to launch a shot.]
The [READY x3] indicator was gone. So one Fire Grenade needed three fireballs worth of energy huh?
Looks like I have to experiment a bit and collect more data. There would be a danger of an unforeseen accident occurring otherwise. Let’s research carefully then.
Anyway, the experiment was a success. What great results.
Afterward, Cleria finally snapped out of her trance but walked back to the base with me with noticeably heavier steps while displaying a somewhat dejected expression.