Chapter 29

A couple of hours pass. Carlo was shivering from the cold as we did our best to stay warm. The winter was only getting worse, and soon, we would have to worry about it affecting our training.

“If I figured it would take him this long to come back and tell us what we should do, I would have just sat in my dorm,” Carlo complains.

“With the other knights?” A soft gasp of cold air sticks to my lungs, making breathing hard.

“I am in a small little cottage right now to the barracks. I don’t know if being alone by myself is fun or not. It certainly is boring when I am not doing anything.”

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“Why not try to read something to pass the time?”

“Ughh, I’d rather not. I need my sword and point it in the right direction. “

“Spoken like a man who walks down a warrior’s path. Simple yet determined. Nothing wrong with that.”

“I am bored still.”

“Maybe we should get some wood together and start a fire. I’d rather do that than stound around to become big icicles.”

“Y…Yeah, sounds good.” Carlo is starting to shake violently.

“We don’t have any axes to cut properly. If we can at least gather enough, we can make a small fire to keep ourselves comfortable.”

“Our swords can’t cut jack; how do you propose we gather any firewood? Just us two young boys.”

“The bark of these trees is thick; we can use as much brute force to crack it and rip it away.”

“Worth a shot, I guess; give me a hand with this tree, then Caleb.”

“Let’s be quick.”

After what seemed like an hour, we bashed against a tree and split the bark with our blades. However, our efforts stagnated when the tree bark had gotten colder than anticipated. It was even sturdier and more challenging to crack open.

“Damn…! If I didn’t know better, this tree could have been my mother…” Carlo breathes heavily and leans over, trying to recover.

“Why are the winters how to be so cold… Let me try something…”

“Caleb? What do you have in mind?”

“Did Eckhart make you read any of our Divine Arts and Swordcraft books?”

“I skimmed through it.”

“You fool, to understand how Divine Arts and Swordcraft work, you must understand the basics!”

“Alright, alright! No need to shout; I may be a little over my head when it comes to reading diligently, but what do you have in mind?”

“There is a Divine Art which lets you channel the sun’s heat to cause the metal to get hotter. Of course, the sun isn’t the reason, but that is what they want you to believe. The atmosphere heats the blade by taking energy from the planet. I never used it before but got the fundamentals to envision it.”

With a deep breath, I hold my sword still and remember the texts discussing the idea of the Art.

“Whoa.” Carlo watches in awe as I intensely focus on the sword and nearly fall over from the pressure emanating from my aura.

A steamy mist trails off the blade, melting some of the snow around my feet. It becomes a struggle to grasp the blade as I begin to lose focus quickly.

“Got to make this quick!” I shout.

I turned to the tree, swinging with all my might. The sword connects against the bark but only reverberates the sword, sending chills down my spine and arms. The tree’s wood blackens from the increasing heat but doesn’t catch fire.

“Is that supposed to happen?” Carlo looks confused. Scratching his head, he seems a little perplexed.

“I knew hoping to use it on the first try was more than I could ask for.”

“It was still impressive; how did you do that?”

“Well, it isn’t too hard if you read the texts, maybe a bit harder to put into practice. To use a Divine Art, you must use the magical essence in your blood and concentrate into a single point. If you can do that, then you should be able to recreate what I did.”

“What if you have a lot of magical essence? Could you make them stronger?”

“The texts said that any more than the minimal requirement is a waste… But didn’t say anything if you produce via output. If I shift gears, maybe I can..-“

Whoosh!

Unable to realize my mistake, I had let go of all my control over my magical ability and siphoned it through the blade all at once. The moment I did so, I was propelled back with intense force; the ends of my air and eyebrows were warm from the fierce heat. I raised my head to see the tree was on fire—a consequence of combusting the blade in my hands from an overload.

“Carlo! Are you okay?” I frantically tried to search for him.

“I’m over here! Ugh! What was that?”

“I might have done something bad! The tree is on fire!”

“Can you put it out?”

“Do you think I would have done it already?”

“Fair point! Uhhhhh, grab snow and start tossing it on the flames!”

“Worth a shot!”

Listening to his idea, we had begun to throw snow on the spreading fire. Thankfully, the fire wasn’t spreading too fast, and we were able to save most of the trees. With a heavy sigh, I laid back in the snow and closed my eyes. Magical overload and fatigue were enough to take down a grown man.

“You must have some wild energy if you could have done that.” Carlo pokes at my face.

“Honestly, you could potentially have that amount and more. Physical and mental training do wonders in increasing your pool for using Divine Arts since they drain your stamina quickly. Physical is the stamina and how much you can do before your body gives up. Mentally, it would be best to expand your limits by pushing past them, constantly using up your energy storage, and going beyond that. After some time, you should have more potency and stronger Divine Arts.”

“That is a lot of information; I might need a slower lesson if I want to use that stuff.”

“Read the books; you’ll learn much better if you do.”

“Ughhh, fine.”

It slowly darkened, and the sun had fallen away, giving rise to the cold, bright moon. Using a combination of my failed attempt at using a Divine Art, we stayed close to a small fire we had built with bark and long branches of the tree we were cutting.

Footsteps approached us as we sat near each other. Eckhart had approached us with his arms crossed and a stern look. Carlo stood at attention, and so did I.

“There is much to teach both of you. I will assign you both what you must do tomorrow morning; don’t be late.” Eckhart turns away and smiles.

Leaving us there to ponder why he had left us alone for so long. I looked at my broken blade before looking at Eckhart—a sudden revelation before I nodded to myself.

“Goodnight, Eckhart.”

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