According to Malcolm, ‘mana circuit’ was a term used to broadly define the pathways and methods people used to wield their mana. Since everyone’s body was different and everyone had different specializations, there were many different iterations of mana circuits created through the years.
Many important clans and powers within the world have their own methods for structuring mana circuits that have been passed down through the generations, highlighting their strengths.
However, there were also generalized methods for their creation as well. Even the common populace could easily get their hands on these, which was why Malcolm was surprised at Damien’s terrible usage of mana.
The purpose of mana circuits was to act as both a pathway for mana, similar to meridians in cultivation novels, as well as to optimize and amplify its power. The structure of the mana circuit of someone who specialized in defense would mirror that, while the same went for offense and support.
Malcolm continued to talk about the history of mana circuits, which dated back thousands of years. By the end of the spontaneous lecture he was given, Damien truly felt enlightened.
To think there were so many different ways to utilize mana. Damien felt like an idiot for never trying to learn about this. There weren’t books on it within Kurt’s subspace in the dungeon either, making him believe that this specific knowledge was kept elsewhere.
“Now that you have all the general information, your job is to create your own mana circuit. After seeing your talent the other day, I’m sure you can do it. My mana circuits were built using the volatile nature of lightning as its base, but yours needs to be different.”
Malcolm hadn’t been idly standing by when Damien was climbing the mountain. He had been carefully watching to see how Damien dealt with every situation.
“It’s clear to me that lightning isn’t something that you particularly focus on, only using its destructive power occasionally. So, you need to either structure your mana circuits based on your spatial affinity or do something new. The choice is up to you.”
Damien fell into thought. ‘Although my spatial affinity is definitely my strongest power and will most likely remain that way in the future, it’s not all I have.’
Although it was faint, Damien still remembered the feeling he had that he touched upon something greater. While he didn’t know exactly what it was, he knew that he couldn’t close off the doors that led to that possible future.
“Naturally, as your teacher, I won’t force you to start and continue the process without any guidance. While most of the work will be done by you, I’ll give you a starting point and help you if you ever come across roadblocks in your path.”
Listening to Malcolm, Damien smiled. A teacher that didn’t restrict him and instead chose to subtly guide his path was exactly what he needed.
Seeing the fire that was growing in Damien’s eyes, Malcolm continued. “I suggest you start by feeling the structure of your internal body. This can be a great basis to create your circuit.
And finally, he decided to end his speech.
“The body itself is a huge interconnected system that keeps you functioning, and mana circuits are very similar to veins and arteries. That’s it from me. Inject some mana into that token if you ever need to contact me.”
With that, Malcolm vanished. Damien didn’t even realize this, though, as he continued ruminating over the new information he had gained.
Although the concept of mana circuits was extremely different, Damien knew that his own method would be vastly different from the denizens of this world. After all, he wasn’t a native here. He had earth’s specialty from before mana erupted, science.
Mana technology and previously modern science were leagues apart in both functionality and methodology. Since mana was a mysterious energy that could break the laws of physics, it made many new things possible.
However, precisely because it was constrained and limited by the laws of physics, modern science was full of great ideas and the ingeniousness of mankind. Many things were already theorized using science that became easily applicable due to mana.
Like this, Damien decided to make his mana circuits function more algorithmically. He would create an intricate system within his body that boosted his efficiency and output manifold.
He only had 5 months to design and implement this system. He decided that he would put any development into his abilities on hold and focus wholeheartedly on this task. Other than his daily practice to make sure his skills don’t rust, he wouldn’t do anything else.
He spent the next week on the mountain peak, sitting unmoving as he studied the structure of his internal body. He had done this once before, but only for a single arm.
This time, he focused on everything. The rate at which his heart pumped blood and the movements of that blood through his veins and arteries to create a sort of feedback loop, the flexing of his muscles that caused various tendons and ligaments to move as his bones followed suit, even the response of neurons sent to and from his brain down his spinal cord that facilitated his control over his body.
Damien put his whole focus onto these processes to the point that he no longer felt the flow of time around him. He also pondered on various examples of mana circuits he had read about to see if they had any use in real-life scenarios.
He wasn’t a big science fanatic back on earth, so he wasn’t familiar with too many theories that could help him, but he had the basic knowledge to use as a basis.
His ambition for his mana circuits was as grand as can be. Maybe not within these 5 months, but sometime in the future, he wanted his mana circuits to act as a perpetual motion system. If his idea succeeded, he’d, in theory, gain access to a nigh-infinite supply of magic power.
However, whether through mana or science, perpetual motion has never been achieved. Nothing could continue moving indefinitely when it was drawing from a finite power source.
Even celestial bodies, which seem to rotate and move infinitely, do not truly achieve perpetual motion. Many forces disrupt their flow of kinetic energy, such as solar winds, gravitational and thermal radiation, etc.
To even gain a possibility of achieving the wild dream of infinite mana, Damien needed to create a mana circuit that could constantly evolve.
The word brought back memories of his first evolution after killing that 1st class wolf. ‘What was it that allowed me to evolve at that time? Although I believe in my will and tenacity, it wouldn’t be enough to grant me a perfect evolution. No, it was my Void Physique that allowed that.’
His Void Physique had always been a mystery to him. It devoured energy like a black hole but also fed him energy whenever he evolved. He had even begun to muse that his devour skill might be a product of his physique.
He had never truly studied his physique in-depth, and the reason was that its actual location was unknown to him. This problem might sound stupid, as physiques were essentially one’s body, but Damien’s was different.
He could always feel a faint connection to what he assumed to be his void physique, and it was always superimposed on his body, yet not existing within it. It was confusing even for him as if its true existence was in a separate dimension or something.
Still, he determined that his physique was the beginning of the path he needed to take to reach his insane goal. So, he put his all into attempting to study it.
Another week passed without any progress. Damien was starting to get frustrated. He had never experienced failure in his training, only slight setbacks that he could overcome with time. This time, he hadn’t even been able to find an inkling of a path forward.
But he wasn’t going to quit now. He had seen a vision of the insane power he could grant himself in the far future if he succeeded here, and he wasn’t going to let it go easily. If he couldn’t reach his Void Physique directly, he’d simply need to study his devour skill first, since he suspected that they were linked.
The devour skill was the method his physique utilized to help him evolve. This was his conjecture. And as he spent his time studying it, he knew he was correct.
The devour skill was mysterious in just how greatly it could optimize the usage of energy he devoured, and this was specifically the concept he was focusing on. Optimizing the energy, amplifying its effect, and evolving when a better option was presented.
Damien had finally found a clue. He had to build a true physical construct within his body that could be evolved, enhanced, and tweaked as he pleased. Rather than an ethereal path to carry his mana, he decided to change his body structure.
For the first step, he took an idea he had seen used countless times, a mana core. Although it wouldn’t be cultivated the same way, the concept was similar. However, he had no interest in wantonly experimenting with his body and accidentally injuring himself.
He first drew his magic power out of his body and began compressing it. He used his spatial affinity to aid this compression as he gushed out mana into a ball on his palm.
The sphere shrunk as its power grew, but it looked more like an attack than something that would become corporeal. He then decided to revolve the ball of mana as it was compressed, hoping that this would also aid the process.
And aid it did. The ball became smaller and smaller, as the mana that composed it started liquifying. And, by the time he had used up half of his mana capacity, all that was left on his palm was a small amethyst marble that he could pick up and move as he pleased.
It was pure solidified mana.
After half a month, he had taken the first step forward towards his grand ambition.