Nova stiffened at Mortimer’s question. Tinle elbowed the man. “She’s human, of course. What kind of question is that?”
Mortimer looked at Nova and then hurried over. “Yes, yes, I didn’t mean it in such a way. It’s just that, to have this many…” He trailed off and stared at the screen. “I think…actually…wait here.”
Then before he could say anything else, Mortimer dashed from the room. Nova frowned and looked at Tinle in concern. “He’s not about to gather a bunch of people here to examine me, is he?”
Tinle shook his head. “Doubtful. Mortimer will want to keep the discovery to himself. He has been itching to make his mark with the Academy. This is an opportunity.”
Nova relaxed a little at that before glancing at the screen. “You seemed just as surprised.”
“I am,” Tinle said. “I knew you had several mana attunements but the ones the scrying ball revealed were only five. You have much more than that.”
Nova arched her eyebrow. “Perhaps, I should renegotiate my contract.”
Tinle chuckled. “Not likely.” Even though he was smiling, Mr. Tinle looked worried.
At first, Nova wasn’t sure what it was but then she remembered what she said earlier. “You’re thinking about Guildmaster Oren.”
“The Sanitation Guild is powerful. I was hoping to keep you hidden from them,” Tinle said.
Nova chewed on her lip. “Sorry. I didn’t want to get involved with them at all.”
Tinle narrowed his eyes. “So, you are involved with them.”
Nova mentally groaned. “Yes,” she answered reluctantly. “But it won’t affect you.”
Tinle’s brow furrowed. “Miss Davis, I know merchants have a reputation for bending the rules but I have no intention of being involved in anything illegal.”
Nova’s eyes widened. “Oh. Oh! No, it isn’t like that. My involvement with Oren is approved by the guard. There’s nothing illegal happening.”
At least with the Sanitation Guild.
Tinle studied her for a while and then nodded. “Let’s keep it that way.”
She felt guilty and silently hoped that being a Soul Traveler wouldn’t come back to affect the man. The two waited in silence, both lost in their thoughts. When Mortimer came back, he was waving a book in his hand.
“I had to double-check. I mean, I’m an expert on the field so I know these things by heart, but I had to be sure,” Mortimer said excitedly.
“Sure about what?” Nova asked.
Mortimer held out the book to her while Tinle moved to her other side to get a look at it. Mortimer pointed to a page. “This is a list of the mana attunements in all of Galius. Some attunements are extremely rare even before the Hayeln enclosure. You,” he pointed to the list, “have all of them.”
Nova’s eyes widened as she looked down at the list of mana attunements in surprise. Sure enough, she had all the mana types listed, but she noticed something. “Weaving isn’t listed in here.”
“Exactly!” Mortimer said with glee.
Tinle looked stunned. “Are you saying she has an undiscovered mana attunement?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Mortimer said. “A person with all the mana attunements is astonishing by itself but to actually have a mana attunement never even heard of. This will make my career!”
Nova felt overwhelmed by the information and a little nervous. If it was never heard of before, then did that mean the Weaving mana was tied to her being a Soul Traveler? If that was the case, she would have to avoid the study that Mortimer was suggesting or be extremely careful. She wondered if it was worth the risk.
“Do you think this all might tie into why Nova has such a hard time doing natural magic?” Tinle asked.
Nova’s attention focused back on Mortimer at Tinle’s question. Her heart raced at the possibility she might find out how to do natural magic.
“Maybe,” Mortimer said as he looked at the screen. “Your attributes are interesting. Mana Sight and Mana Manipulation are normal attributes but the Mana Transfer is new. I suppose that explains why you can transfer mana from one crystal to another. Besides that, you are missing one attribute most people who have strong mana have.”
Tinle’s eyes widened with realization. “Ah, Mana Manifestation.”
“Mana Manifestation?” Nova asked, curious.
Mortimer nodded. “It is how mana appears in its raw form and you don’t have it. Often it’s a sign of someone not having a big enough mana pool but the mana types wouldn’t appear if you didn’t have the mana pool to sustain them.”
Nova felt a growing dread in her stomach. “What does that mean?”
Mortimer frowned at the screen. “It means you are unable to do natural magic.”
Nova was crushed. She wouldn’t be able to do magic? She had been so excited, wanting desperately to be able to do something special but so far, she had all the problems of a Soul Traveler without any of the benefits. She was weak, her system was broken, and now she couldn’t even do magic. Would she even be able to continue her crystal crafting apprenticeship?
She glanced at Tinle who looked concerned. “Do you know why she can’t do it?”
Mortimer shook his head. “Not at all. I would have to study it.”
Nova turned over the possibilities of why she didn’t have the skill. The biggest possibility was that her system’s damage was preventing her from accessing it. Mortimer and Tinle were lost in conversation, talking about the possible reasons she didn’t have mana manifestation. Nova stared at the screen, glaring at the attributes. As she did, another possibility crept into her mind. She felt it was a long shot but once the idea got stuck in her mind, she couldn’t shake it.
It would at least be a good idea to rule it out.
She turned to the two men. “I have a theory.”
They both turned to her. Tinle looked unsure while Mortimer’s expression was cautiously curious.
“A theory in regards to why you don’t have mana manifestation?” Mortimer asked.
She nodded and hoped she wasn’t making a mistake. “Is it possible being an Artifactor can affect mana manifestation?”
Tinle started to laugh. “Are you claiming to be an Artificer? At your age? You can’t even do crystal crafting.”
Nova looked at him confused and a little offended. “What does that have to do with being an Artifactor?”
“Plenty, if you are claiming to be a master craftsman,” Tinle said with a shake of his head.
“I don’t think that’s what she is claiming,” Mortimer said slowly, his voice much more serious. “You do mean Artifactor and not Artificer, correct?”
“Yes,” Nova said. She hadn’t realized there was much of a difference though she definitely wasn’t a master craftsman.
Mortimer frowned, looking doubtful. “That would be even more extraordinary than you being an Artificer but would definitely explain things.”
This time Tinle looked confused. “What do you mean? It’s not the same thing?”
Mortimer shook his head. “Not at all.” Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin. “I hope you don’t mind giving a demonstration.”
Nova frowned and looked at the coin. “I’m not very good and most of the time everything sort of explodes.”
“Then we’ll need to move to the workshop. Come with me,” Mortimer said, his voice much more serious than before.
The next moment, Mortimer was hurrying them out of the building and towards one of the floating towers.
“Would you mind explaining what’s going on?” Tinle asked, confused and annoyed.
Nova felt the same.
“Not here,” Mortimer said and refused to go into detail.
It took twenty minutes for the tower Mortimer wanted to enter to come down and then he was leading through the tower. The entire tower looked like it was created for experimentation. Several people seemed to be working on things in the rooms. Some had windows while most were curtained off. Mortimer led them to a door with an orange stone. He tapped it and the door opened into an elaborate workshop.
She barely looked around when Mortimer shoved the coin at her and pointed her towards one of the warding pots. “That should cover any explosions.”
Nova nodded. She walked over to the jar. She switched to mana sight. She looked around and saw several white crystals, similar to the warding ones she had seen before. Unfortunately, she didn’t think it was the best idea to disable one of the wards. She didn’t want to be responsible for some unlucky student getting injured because she took down protective wards. Instead, she closed her eyes and focused on feeling for the mana strands. This time was much smoother and she quickly took a brown strand and poured it into the coin before the warning message popped up. She opened her eyes. A new blue screen was in front of her.
[Evolution completed! Mana Sight has evolved to Mana Sense.]
A soft gasp came from the left. She looked over to see Tinle gaping like a fish. Nova looked down to see the coin was glowing. She quickly threw it into the warding pot. Not even two seconds later the coin exploded and Nova jumped back. That was close.
Nova blinked. She was surprised to receive the message. She hadn’t gotten it any time she had done the same with the shards.
“That is impossible,” Tinle said, shaking his head as he slumped down in a nearby chair.
“And yet we just saw it.” Mortimer clapped his hands. “An actual Artifactor.”
Nova looked at the two in confusion. “I feel like I’m missing something.”
Mortimer gave her a bemused smile. “Miss Davis, it seems you do not realize a very basic fact about mana.”
Nova raised her eyebrows, feeling slightly annoyed. “What is that?”
Mortimer shook his head. “You really don’t understand. Strange, so strange.”
“What you did is impossible,” Tinle said. “Mana can only be inserted into mana crystals. Yet, here you are, pouring it into a coin of all things!”
Belated, Nova remembered she had suspicions about that before but hadn’t really dug into it. Now she was having those same suspicions confirmed.
Mortimer grinned. “Truly amazing. Miss Davis, it looks like we have our answer about why you don’t have Mana Manifestation. You don’t need it. What’s the point when the entire world is yours to mold?”
I hope you’re enjoying my fantasy LitRPG webnovel. Check out my patreon to read ahead.