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The Kraej Company’s top scientists are raging misogynists. All of the subjects chosen for the EL Project were male. Officially, the reason for this was that female hormone fluctuations render women difficult to study. Unofficially, Dr. Viktor Greve has been heard to say on many occasions that females make for poor soldiers.
—Lasser Wolff, “The Wolff Report,” KCN Television
Lieceni was a lovely place with clear, blue skies, pollution-free air, and charming, old-fashioned stone houses with tiled roofs. The village looked quaint, but they did have modern amenities like electricity and running water in all the houses.
A woman named Signe had lived here with her husband and child, but ten years ago they had all died when they had been caught outside by an unseasonal snowstorm. Signe’s recently departed spirit had agreed to help the goddess and me.
Well, Signe was a zombie. Her body was revived in such a way that she could do basic tasks, but Signe’s soul was missing so all of the body’s higher functions such as intelligence were gone.
The villagers had noticed that Signe hasn’t been herself since the storm, but they didn’t fuss about it since she could still take care of me, her child. Signe’s deceased husband had left her with some money which she used to buy the necessities for us. She supplemented that with food from the small garden that she kept.
As for my own situation, it’s complicated.
I’ve reincarnated as Signe’s child, in a way, but not as her child’s reanimated corpse. The child’s body wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to bear all of the goddess’ gifts.
What I am using now is my own body, made for me by the goddess using Signe’s DNA. While I appear to be fully human and resemble Signe, the goddess is my true mother. To imbue me with the power to cure the Iah virus, she had to give me the tiniest sliver of her power.
I’m a demigod. Or maybe an angel, if I want to use Seraphiel’s term for me.
I’m stronger, faster, and much more powerful than any human or EL could ever be. In theory, that is.
I mean, I have the potential to be overpowered… but the sad truth is that I’m no warrior. I’m just an ordinary person. On Earth, I had died at the age of nineteen. I was only in my first year of university and my first and only job had been as a part-time math tutor. I had no combat skills, obviously.
When I first woke up in my seven-year-old body, the goddess warned me that I wouldn’t be fully reincarnated until I had mastered my abilities. For ten years, I have been in a half-physical, half-spiritual state of being.
Eight hours at night, this body sleeps and I rest both my body and soul. For six hours during the day, I am awake and do everything human children do. I eat, I play, I take walks, I read, I watch television, etc. I was even able to rescue Magnus Kraej. The remaining hours of the day and the early evening are spent training in the spiritual plane. Due to my half-physical, half-spiritual state, I can train in the spiritual plane and it results in me being able to use those skills in my physical body.
The goddess can talk to recently departed spirits. They can stay in the spiritual realm for some time before moving on to wherever dead souls eventually go. Thanks to them, I have been able to train in magic and useful life skills, such as reading, writing, table manners, etiquette, life magic, combat magic, and so forth. All work and no play makes Asteria a dull girl, so I’ve also picked up a few hobbies that I was interested in such as musical instruments, singing, and dancing. Of course, the bulk of my time has been spent training magic.
Magic is basically anima manipulation. Anima is the vital force that is all around us and in the spiritual plane. Regular humans in this world can use anima to strengthen their bodies. That’s why they’re taller, healthier, and live longer than humans on Earth.
Casting a spell normally involves using an artifact. They are crystal or metal objects created by the ancient Vinleafs to aid people in manipulating anima. The technique of making new artifacts had been lost, but the Vinleafs made so many artifacts that anyone can easily buy an artifact containing one of the basic elemental spells.
I can create spells and special skills. Unlike regular people, I don’t need to use artifacts to cast a spell. I can even make new artifacts.
The spiritual realm is where I can access the spells that I and the goddess have made. The goddess’ spells appear here as colossal, immensely complicated thought structures built to channel anima to achieve the desired outcome.
These past ten years have been spent creating and refining spells in the spiritual realm. It’s not an easy thing to do.
Anima is formless and people can choose to visualize it any way they want to. Me, I like to imagine anima as chibis. Cute, friendly little super-deformed characters flying around doing what I ask them to do. Spells are basically a set of instructions I give to the chibis.
When I conceptualized Spirit Incarnate, I imagined the chibis (anima) inside me taking every cell of my body and flying all the cells to my intended destination then putting every cell back the way they had found it.
In this way, I have created many special skills. Creating spells in the spiritual plane is one thing, but using them is another. I should test out the simplest spell in battle conditions first.
- There’s a little more action in the next chapter. I’m working on it right now and it should be up in an hour or two.
- I don’t have a lot of confidence in myself as an author. Is this chapter too boring? I have to admit that it’s a bit of an infodump.
- To be honest, I did consider skipping this bit entirely, but then Asteria would be using magic without any explanation.
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