He stood in a desolate wasteland. There was almost nothing to distinguish it from other pieces of land, merely two slight hills. However, he still recognized it. This was the place. Here, the final battle had happened. As he thought that, he found himself swept up in the conflict, a recreation of the battle. He was soon in the center of the battle, with everyone one both sides falling around him. Then, the final scene played out. It was many versus one, but the one was not at a disadvantage, at least initially. Finally, people started to wear down the one, but it did not matter. They couldn’t really kill him.
Except, someone stepped out. He wasn’t an impressive, tall figure. Nor was he an old and wizened figure. Instead, he seemed plain… yet somehow dangerous. More than that, he carried a staff that didn’t belong to him. The one knew he had to kill the other… no, he had to destroy him. The mighty warrior wasn’t afraid of the newcomer, and he caught him. Then, he used a power that was all his own- he had made sure of it. He tossed the body away, as he now had to deal with others. The reclaimed staff wouldn’t listen to him, but given time he knew he could tame it. Just then, though, he felt something. He turned around to see the figure- the one who was surely deader than dead, yet was still standing. Fine, he would smash his head in… that wasn’t a problem to do to someone barely standing. Except, he felt something. He wasn’t sure what it was, until the stolen staff came in contact… and then he knew no more as he perished.
William awoke with a start. It was that dream again. His memories of the final battle had been fuzzy or missing on all but the most important points, like knowing he had destroyed the Demon King. Now, they seemed to be coming back, but were somehow more confusing than when they were incomplete or entirely missing. They felt somewhat contradictory. He was here in the battle- and he was over there. The dream had provided a moment of clarity, but as all dreams it quickly faded. William failed to grasp whatever it was before he could no longer remember any of the details. All he was left with was a great sense of unease. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. Perhaps it would be more clear if he could visit the site of the battle again… but that was almost a month’s journey through unsafe territory, even if his parents would let him go. Still, he knew at some point he would have to go.
William frowned at the lump of stone in his hand. He had practiced with shaping dirt, with some success. It was relatively simple to create a wall- it didn’t have to be precise, and crumbled apart as soon as it was no longer held together by the power of mana. That was really just moving dirt, though William was amazed at how efficient it could be in terms of energy. Then he weighed the dirt from a wall he had made, and realized that it was mostly hollow. It was only a slightly better defense than one made of pure mana, and only in certain circumstances. Well, having something to attach a structure of mana to did make it easier to hold together.
William’s point was that it was fairly easy to make a superficial shape, but harder to create a real one. He had managed to make a few human shaped dolls of earth, but only after much trial and error. He had to continue chanting if the process was going to be more than a few moments, which limited what he could do. If he got the product into a stable form, he could stop and take a break, but otherwise it would crumble apart when he stopped. That was merely annoying in the case of dirt, but in the case of a crystal, it might become unsalvageable. At the most optimistic it would be much, much more difficult to fix.
Now that he was working on rocks, he began to see some of the issues that could arise. Dirt was naturally made of tiny particles, and thus not terribly difficult to shift around. A rock was different. A rock had a crystalline structure… or usually several, depending on the minerals composing it. That meant it was harder to change the structure. At first, William just created a fracture in the pebbles he was trying to reform. Eventually he realized he had to take it more slowly, and gently coax it into the form he wanted. That involved a lot of chanting, concentrating, and then resting. Even so, he only slightly elongated the rocks he was working on… and if he got impatient he still created fractures.
He thought about what he knew. Since he hadn’t deeply studied it in his first life, he was nearing the limits of his knowledge on mineralogy. However, he still thought of a way to make it easier to reshape. Solids were extremely hard to reform, but liquids moved more easily. That was common knowledge, but there was an important point. Rocks could become liquid, though not at any temperature William thought he could achieve, at least not for most compositions. However, the idea of heat remained. Adding energy in the form of heat into the system beforehand would make it easier to reform, even if he didn’t reach the melting point.
William created a nice little fire pit, mostly to keep the heat focused on the particular rock he wanted. If he had something like a crucible, that would be the best… but that was outside of the scope of his funds at the moment. Even though there was the extra step of heating the rock he wanted to change with fire, he found it was still easier to achieve the results he wanted. The results were a rock shaped somewhat like a stick-figure human. He wasn’t really happy with the level of control… especially if he wanted to try to purify and reshape the light crystal, but it was progress that he could be satisfied with.