"Well, you need to swallow it," Zirani said.
"I guessed that much," I replied. "But is there anything else I need to do? Or will it just do everything on its own?"
"Just swallow it and I"ll do the rest," She said. "There"s a reason I didn"t manifest when we arrived at your home. I will direct the energy from the seed into our core, and then the mutation will happen."
She hesitated. "I"m not sure how it will feel. I knew some people who absorbed mutation relics and they all described it differently, some experiencing pain while some have experiences which they can"t rightly explain. Just make sure you don"t pull any aether from your core. If you do, you will disturb the mutation process and at best you"ll break our core, and I will most likely die."
Her last words were somber and quiet, and I promised myself I wouldn"t move a muscle. There was no way in hell I was losing Zirani. We"d only just begun our journey together and even though I"d only known her for about a week, I couldn"t imagine life without her. It sounded stupid and off, but I suspected it was because of our bond, our link. Our souls were quite literally linked to one another. Something like that led to a deeper relationship.
I took a deep breath and reached down, picking up the seed.
"Here goes nothing," I muttered. I hoped it worked.
I swallowed the seed, noting the earthy taste and the slightly numb feeling I got when it touched my tongue. A few minutes passed and nothing seemed to happen and I grew worried that this really wasn"t a warp seed, but then like a ton of bricks, I felt something burst within me, and an odd almost cold sensation rose from my stomach. I closed my eyes and focused, gritting my teeth at the feeling. It wasn"t pain, more like a brain freeze but in my heart and stomach rather than my head. In fact, I wasn"t even sure if it was cold, that"s just the closest thing I could describe it to.
"I"m gonna go quiet for a while now," Zirani said, her voice sounding faint and distant. "Don"t move or pull, ah, aether from your core."
I sent a mental nod to her, and focused, even as the feeling seemed to grow and condense. The feeling was no longer in my stomach but now in my heart, twice as strong as it had been. It felt so odd, in that no matter how hard I tried to think of the feeling, the only thing I could describe it as was cold, and even when I knew it wasn"t. It was like a feeling that a person didn"t normally feel.
Vertigo hit me, and I almost staggered back, my hands shaking. I couldn"t help but want to open my eyes, and I tried not to, but I took a quick peek, and almost instantly shut them again. The world didn"t make sense, that"s the only way I could describe it. It didn"t make any sense. I"d only caught a glimpse but I knew that my hand wasn"t fifteen feet long, and the kitchen table and wall weren"t meant to be in the same place.
Time passed and the feeling grew stronger and stronger, eventually after an unknown amount of time it stopped and instead started to lessen, and the feeling of energy filling me replaced it. I could feel something moving into my core, mixing with the aether there. Once the feeling had completely gone and my core was full, I felt an odd tugging and pressure in my chest and focusing on my core, I could see in my mind"s eyes that transparent energy that had entered my core was mixing into nature aether, no not mixing, more like being absorbed. The process lasted for what I guessed was around fifteen minutes, and when it was done, I couldn"t help but gasp in shock.
I was a fairly new arcanist, only having formed my first core a week ago, and so I hadn"t expected to condense it into the next stage until I reached Orton and started mediation and tracking down compatible aether to absorb into it, but whatever had happened, Zirani"s core was no longer at the smoke stage, but at the hydro stage.
"It"s done," Zirani said, her voice even fainter than before. "I"m going to rest for a bit, that took a lot out of me."
With that, she went quiet and I let out a ragged breath, staggering over to a nearby chair.
I felt full of energy and like I could run a marathon, but I needed a quick break. That had been a lot weirder than I"d anticipated, but then again it"s not like I"d known anything about it and at least there hadn"t been any pain. The fact that her core was now at the hydro stage still baffled me. I know she said that the seed would grant other benefits besides the mutation, but I hadn"t expected this. Lucas and Sandra who had been arcanists for longer than I weren"t even at the hydro stage with their cores.
Was this normal below the great scar?
I jumped in surprise and turned to see my aunt looking at me with a worried expression. "Why do you…"
Her words trailed off and she focused on me, moving closer to place a hand on my neck. I felt a pulse of energy run through me. She was using a technique to examine me.
Her eyes widened at whatever she saw and she turned to stare intently at me.
"What did you do?"
"Warp seed," I answered.
Realization dawned in her eyes. "Oh, that explains why your core is at the hydro stage and feels odd. I can"t quite explain it. It feels like nature but there"s something else to it. I guess that"s what the mutation does. What did you say it was a spatial mutation?"
I nodded. "Yeah. I"m eager to try things out, but I want to wait for Zirani. She"s resting."
"Oh, well are you ok?"
"Yes," I replied. "Actually I"m better than ok. I"m full of so much energy I feel like I could fly if I jumped."
She chuckled. "I wouldn"t try that if I were you. Well since you"re not doing anything, you can help me with dinner. Since it"s your last day here and I won"t see you for a while, I"m making you your favorite."
It was then that I noticed the bags in her hands and my stomach let out a rumble at the thought of food. Spicy fried chicken with a special dipping sauce and hand-cut fries. It sounded like heaven.
She moved to start unpacking the bags and I helped her, eager to get the cooking started. While I wasn"t an amazing cook I knew how to do basic tasks and if helping meant getting my food quicker then so be it.
It took about an hour to make the food, and I must have eaten two entire chickens by the time I was done, and I probably could have had more. It wasn"t exactly healthy but stuff like that didn"t really matter as much anymore that I"d hit the first level of infusion. Yes, I could grow far if I ate too much, but it would have to be a lot and I"d actually have to try to be able to get overweight. A lot of the food I ate would be turned into aether and I"d heard at later stages all food was turned into aether and that you couldn"t get fat anymore and didn"t need to use the toilet.
"That was amazing," I said, earning a smile from my aunt.
"Unfortunate that Zirani couldn"t try some," She said sadly.
"Try what?" Zirani"s voice sounded in my head a moment before she manifested in real life.
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