Why am I Karin? – Chapter 7

(Prior to the Karin Mana Osmosis Disaster) Karin’s POV

 

After Cale left to go to visit Queen Litana with On, Ron, Beacrox, and Choi Han, we all settled down in Eruhaben’s lair. Rosalyn had headed off as well to be on standby in Hoik Village in case of them needing someone to send messages. Of course, she will be busy once Cale discovers the Sun God twins, sending messages to everyone, but I’m not supposed to know that… Cale sure will get some great information from Hannah while he’s at that cave. I’ll be sure to help him put it to use as effectively as possible. While I was lost in thought, Eruhaben came over and sat down across from me. It seemed like he had finished teaching Raon for the day and was now wanting to sit down and enjoy some tea time. I greeted him politely and poured him some tea and we sat there in pleasant silence while I was screaming internally about how handsome he is.

“Your name was Karin, correct?”

“Yes, that’s right Eruhaben-nim. Can I help you with something?”

“That human named Cale is very interesting, but you are interesting as well. Your presence is incredibly strange. I sense mana on you but it is not mana from the world around us, it is unlike anything I have seen in this long life of mine.”

“Um… Thank you?”

“Your magic is similar to a Dragon’s attribute, and yet you are human. You possess mana unconnected to the world around us, yet it still follows the laws of nature. I have not received any revelation from the gods about you, so you must not be an external force… However, I have never seen a power so thoroughly ingrained within the gray area of the world’s rules.”

(…What now? Am I that strange? Hey, that’s pretty cool actually.)

“I am very curious about how your power works. Go make me something, I want to see how your mana works.”

I took out my chisel and a blank bracelet immediately. Oh my goodness, this is an opportunity to make something for Eruhaben! I want to try it! I’m so excited!

“Ah, yes sir. Do you have anything you want in mind? Oh right! I’ve never been able to test it before, but maybe I can make something that can strengthen your attribute! It’ll be fun to see if I can buff something as strong as a Dragon’s attribute even further… Hehe, if I do that, and tinker with it here, engrave that word over there… Yeah, yeah, next…”

I froze up, realizing I started rambling about my work. Ah, I hate this bad habit of mine. Iris always got so upset when she listened to me ramble on and on… What if I annoyed him? Please let me make you something, Goldie gramps! 

“Human, do not craft in here and get those annoying metal shavings all over my tea room. Go downstairs into the laboratory. Tsk tsk, why are you so eager.”

Eruhaben lifted my body into the air with magic and shooed me away to the stairwell leading to my designated workspace.

After setting up my tools into my preferred arrangement configuration and tying up my hair into a messy bun, it was time to start! Right as I went to grab my pen to mark where things would be, Eruhaben came down the steps and sat down in a comfy looking chair, and proceeded to stare at me. Well, I appreciate the attention, but this feels really awkward dude…

“…Um, can I help you with something?”

“Just start.”

“…Yes, sir.”

(Why though??? At least be discreet about watching! I’m so self-conscious now!!)

Trying my best to ignore this unnecessarily handsome polymorphed Dragon staring at me, I started my usual routine. Imbuing my mana into a ring on each of my hands, I activated the first thing I ever made- mana gloves to protect my hands. These hands are too pretty to get scarred, after all. 

[Protect these pretty hands of Karin, Evelyn]

Once the opaque magical film surrounded my arms up to my elbows, I turned on my pen (which I modified to have a flashlight because light sources suck in this world) and marked where I wanted things to be on a simple silver bracelet I took from my magic bag. 

[Shine a small point of light]

After I finished marking, I imbued mana into my chisel, as well and reinforcing my gloves, because I would always cut myself in this step… The chisel started to glow and a little pointed dot appeared on the tip of the blade. This chisel is just a normal, non-magical tool. I use it to guide my mana into the right shape, like how you put water into a glass and the water takes the shape of the glass, that kind of thing. Anyway, now that I’m ready~ 

Chhhhhhh…

After several hours of grinding, engraving, and imbuing, it’s all done! I put some drawings of lilies and vines on the outside, while hiding the engraving on the inside like usual. I think this will suit him well. Now hopefully I can see if it does what I want it to do… I dispelled my gloves and chisel and stretched my back and yawned, enjoying the feeling of my lower back relaxing.

(Is Eruhaben even here still? It’s gotta be boring watching some human girl work on a bracelet for who knows how long…)

I turned my head, and just kinda froze… Eruhaben was still there, now staring at me with a contemplative gaze. 

“How interesting.”

“Uh, yeah, I guess so? Your bracelet is done, sir.” I made it so it will enhance your attribute, it’ll probably improve it by about five to eight percent or so? I hope you like i- oof

Standing up to give him the item I made, I suddenly felt woozy and sort of tipsy. I reached out to grab for the table as I started to wobble on my feet. I saw Eruhaben coming over to support me, and I saw what may be concern on his face. However, I can’t be sure because I’m seeing double and feeling drunk. Not that I’ve ever been drunk before.

“Human, are you alright?”

“Hehehe I’m fiiiiineeee~ Oh my goodnesh, it’s Eru dear! Let me hug youuuu~”

“Let go. Get off of me. What is wrong with you humans?” 

“Don’t wanna~”

“Hey! Human, I said get off of me!”

“Noooooo you’re warm and Cale hasn’t gotten you the jar yetttt I godda protecc yous cause you goldie grampss!”

“What the hell does that even mean? Hey, your mana is even weirder than before-”

“I gotta protect you! Stay here while I recharge a bid, okaysss. Snuggles are gud for da soul y’know?”

“…What the hell is even going on, I’m too old for this. Hey, stop it you’re drooling on me!”

“Iss all good! Nighty night Eru dearrrr~”

“No, it’s not! …She fell asleep??”

(Just before The Karin Mana Osmosis Disaster) Eruhaben’s POV:

 

I took a seat in one of the chairs in my laboratory before settling down and getting ready to observe this strange human’s abilities. I didn’t think it was possible there would be a human stranger than that Cale Henituse, but apparently that was wrong. This human girl seems normal on the outside, but on the inside… I’ve never seen anything like it even though I’ve lived for a thousand years now.  What is up with her mana? It’s completely independent from the mana everyone else uses in this world, and yet it follows the same laws. Is she producing it from her soul somehow? Is that even possible? I have no idea, but this Dragon brain of mine cannot think of another solution. How very interesting. Let’s see how this anomalous human uses her power, perhaps it will provide some answers. I will watch quietly and carefully.

The girl, I believe her name was Karin, looked up and seemed to startle for a moment after noticing me. She greeted me with a slight nod and began to talk to me.

“…Um, can I help you with something?”

(Hurry up and show me your powers already!)

“Just start.”

“…Yes, sir.”

At that, this strange human moved her mana towards the rings on her middle fingers, which seemed to activate something in them, as a strange mass of mana manifested and started to spread, covering her arms up to her elbows starting from her fingertips. It was like some sort of a viscous, gelatinous version of a normal mana shield specialized to only cover her arms. This was odd in and of itself, but that was just the beginning. 

Karin grabbed a normal looking pen and she moved another portion of her mana into it, activating a small engraving inside the core, which started to glow. Some small objects started to shift within the pen, causing a small indent to open above the tip where the ink comes out. Once the shifting ended, the glow shone through the indent, illuminating the only one section of the bracelet she was going to be marking at a time. How curious, does she use the mana as fuel to power mechanical parts rather than using it for magic like normal mages? Once she was done marking the bracelet, she dispelled the mana in the pen, causing the internal parts to shift again back into the normal places and returning to a dormant state.

Next, I watched her pick up a completely normal chisel. The blade was very small and narrow, it was designed solely for carving small details. However, based on my memory is this not a tool used for woodworking, not for working with metal? It is not even modified like that pen! How does she intend to use it…

Karin channeled her clear, somewhat silvery mana into the chisel, forcing it into the tool. The mana completely disregarded the fact that the chisel has no function to handle it, and pooled at the very tip. The mana continued to compress over and over on top of the chisel’s blade, causing it to faintly glow a silvery sheen on the very edge. She then took to the bracelet with her mana blade, carefully and delicately shaving away small fragments of the silver, drawing lines and all sorts of shapes onto the band. Eruhaben hated to admit it because it sounded like he was praising this human, but it was as if her mana was dancing on top of the metal. 

She continued on her task single-mindedly, occasionally extending her manifested mana to the other tools on the table and moving them so she could use them without needing to place the chisel down. He thought absentmindedly that they seemed like silvery-white vine tendrils that worked as extra hands. Eruhaben closely observed the flow of mana in Karin’s body, noting how it did indeed seem to come directly from her soul, and that when she dispelled the mana on an item, it dissipated into the air, immediately transforming into the usual natural mana all around them. He also took note of how her mana resided in the spaces of the words and images she carved into the metal, and not the metal itself. It was as though she was forcing the item to embody the effect she desired by branding it with her mana. Her magic spell was the mana-filled words she engraved on it rather than in her mind like an ordinary mage, and therefore the bracelet would embody her intentions far more thoroughly than if she cast a spell normally. Of course, this process makes it take much much longer than a normal magic spell cast by a mage, as she must physically manifest the effect within an item and have it continue its intended function for an extended period of time. Thinking objectively, this kind of magic is something Dragons would have difficulty completing, let alone a human.  

(This is very fascinating, but is it truly possible for a human to not just use or store mana, but to produce it? I haven’t heard of any existence that can produce mana other than the World Tree… I must keep an eye on this girl to make sure she doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and that she continues to follow the laws of nature.)

Eruhaben silently watched as Karin finally set down her tools and leaned back in the chair, stretching her arms and letting out a yawn of exhaustion. Her exhaustion is not normal either. Really, nothing about this human girl is normal…

“How interesting.”

“Uh, yeah, I guess so? Your bracelet is done, sir. I made it so it will enhance your attribute, it’ll probably improve it by about five to eight percent or so? I hope you like i- oof

Karin stood up while holding her completed work as though she was going to bring it to me, and then she started to wobble and tilt to the side. She tried to grab for the table to stop her fall, but her eyes seemed hazy. She was going to fall. I got up and caught her. The human immediately grabbed my arm and shirt for stability, her whole body shaking. The mana surrounding her was also fluctuating erratically, seemingly pulsating around her, while occasionally a small quantity was absorbed through her skin. What in the world is going on??

“Human, are you alright?”

“Hehehe I’m fiiiiineeee~ Oh my goodnesh, it’s Eru dear! Let me hug youuuu~”

(What the hell, first she worked on a single bracelet for the entire afternoon and now she’s spouting bullshit? Is she… drunk? How? She hasn’t eaten or drank anything for almost four hours now. It must be an act.)

“Let go. Get off of me. What is wrong with you humans?” 

“Don’t wanna~”

It wasn’t acting. The more I tried to get some space from her, the more the mana surrounding her fluctuated and just absorbed into her skin faster. Damn, she’s so strong… She’s strong? Why is this human currently stronger than me, an ancient Dragon!? More importantly, would this girl please stop pulling on my shirt? It’s horribly unpleasant.

“Hey! Human, I said get off of me!”

“Noooooo wayyyy~ you’re warm and Cale hasn’t gotten you the jar yetttt I godda protecc yous cause you goldie grampss!”

“What the hell does that even mean? Hey, your mana is even weirder than before-”

“I gotta protect you! Stay here while I recharge a bid, okaysss. Snuggles are gud for da soul y’know?”

(What does she mean by jar? She mentioned souls too- Wait stop it! This human is drooling on me now?! Get it off, get it off!) 

“…What the hell is even going on, I’m too old for this. Hey, stop it you’re drooling on me!”

“Iss all good! Nighty night Eru dearrrr~”

“No it’s not! …She fell asleep??”

After snuggling slightly closer to my chest, this weird human immediately fell into a deep sleep. The only signs she was even alive was her rhythmic breaths against my unpleasantly moist clothing… 

“Ugh… You’re going to need to give me some answers when you wake up, human. Having to carry this weird creature that drooled on me to a bed on top of teaching that spunky little kid and taking care of Cale Henituse… Aigoo, my poor life.”

 

AUTHOR: [This is a record of the First Karin Mana Osmosis Disaster. LOL]

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