William and Gerald were sparring, as they often did. After he got the book on staff techniques, William had improved significantly. His staff was almost a blur as it danced around, attacking Gerald from every side. Gerald, however, was parrying or blocking every blow, and starting to add in attacks of his own. Eventually, the momentum of the battle shifted in his favor, and William started to get pushed back. Then, the staff was knocked out of William’s hand, and Gerald’s sword swung up to his neck, where it stopped.
William was breathing hard. “I guess… I’ll probably never beat you.”
Gerald was also breathing harder than normal, but obviously hadn’t been pressed too hard. “That’s true, however… You don’t spend all day training staff techniques, while I train most of the time. If you spent all your time training your body and gave up being a wizard, I wouldn’t necessarily agree. Or, if you use that fancy staff of yours.”
“I don’t think winning because I have a magic weapon is much to be proud of though.”
“Tch. It’s so unfair, a magic weapon and a cute girlfriend.”
“…Lila? She’s not my girlfriend, you know.”
“What? Why not?!”
“It’s just… Besides the fact that I think of her more like a sister, it wouldn’t go well. For reasons that I can’t really put into words.” More specifically, reasons he wasn’t going to put into words. What was he, like a century old now?
“Wait then… is she single?”
“…As far as I know. Why, you interested?”
Gerald looked somewhat embarrassed. “…Yeah. Do you think she might be able to like a guy like me?”
William shrugged. “I can’t claim to know how any woman thinks… but I doubt you’ll get anywhere with Lila unless you’re straightforward about it. Worst case scenario, she knocks you through a wall and you wake up in the hospital a week later.”
“She… she could do that?”
“With magic? Yeah.” William didn’t mention that she wouldn’t unless he was a huge jerk, which Gerald wasn’t. He just thought it was funny.
“Hmm… okay.” Gerald got a determined look on his face.
“Of course, you’ll have to wait until she comes back from her next excursion, which could be… pretty much any time.” William once again thought about his own future in that department. Finding someone could be… nice, he guessed, but William tried not to think about it too much. That was becoming easier now that his hormones had settled down somewhat. William wasn’t planning to avoid marriage, specifically, but he wasn’t going to actively seek it out. Perhaps, some day he would find someone who was his type. Not that he knew what his type was, but he was pretty sure he’d know when he met them. Probably.
Chris indicated to William he had something to say, so he was brought somewhere to write. “I figured out how to do the swoosh thing you do! It’s like, you pull out the energy, and then bam!” He accentuated this point by slamming into the ground, hard. Though, hard wasn’t the best way to describe it. Chris could only move so fast on his own, and while he could hit relatively hard, his main selling point was endurance. When he’d been locked up in a room with made of iron, it had apparently taken him months, if not years, to get out. It was just that the iron gave out before him. In this case, however, Chris hit the ground hard. William could feel it, and see that Chris sunk in. Though dirt wasn’t particularly tough, it was hard to bury a blunt object very deep in it. Chris was pretty far in. And… he seemed to be stuck.
After William helped him out, he had many questions. “I could definitely tell that you did something. Can you explain?”
“I just take the energy from inside, and go swoosh or fwoosh, yeah?” The swoosh and fwoosh were actually just him spinning around.
“Do you mean mana?”
“I certainly have mana, but I think… it’s not mana?”
That wasn’t very helpful. It was a good thing Chris wasn’t the one who was the teacher. “How do you use this… energy?”
“You just take the energy from inside, and move it around. Like…” Chris spun vertically for a few flips. “You do that too, I think.”
“I do that?” William thought about it. Chris obviously had some idea of what was going on. William had experienced occasional bursts of speed, and sometimes hit harder than he otherwise thought was possible. Apparently, he had even expelled poison from his body. His first reaction to these things was “that’s impossible”. Of course, he was in a world with magic. He wasn’t completely sure what was possible. If there was magic… why not other things. Inner energy?
William concentrated, and looked inside himself. He didn’t feel anything for a long time. Maybe there were too many distractions out here. William returned to his room, where he usually meditated, trying to sense mana. This time, he was looking inside instead of outside. Nothing happened, for almost an hour. Then, he thought he felt some kind of energy. On the other hand, it was a rather vague feeling, and he could easily be tricking himself into feeling something because he wanted it. The best test was if he could do something with it.
Presumably, when he had his bursts of speed, he was using that energy. William returned to outside, and tried to get back that feeling. This time, it came more easily, though it was still faint. He tried to gather energy to his legs. Right away, he could tell it was working. William dashed across the field for about forty yards, and then he almost collapsed. His legs weren’t tired, but he ran out of that energy. It had been used up in only a few seconds. That said, he had been fast. More importantly, it had been on purpose.
After this, William couldn’t sense even a trace of energy for the entire day. In the morning of the next day… he felt he was about ten percent recovered. Well, it seemed he couldn’t do too much with this energy, but it was something. He could also think of better ways to use it than just running in a straight line. Of course, it wasn’t something that was much use in an academic setting. It still made William feel special though.