Chapter Twenty-Five – Steady Progress

After their visit to Milinia proper, the group had gone back to Oda’s clearing with Dionil to continue their training. Four days passed when Dionil collected everyone on a rainy day and asked them to each show their progress to the rest, as a way to make everyone see what the others were working on. It was supposed to motivate everyone. Mana had jokingly referred to it as show and tell, which she explained as something children did in school. Monday after the weekend they would go in a circle and talk about something they brought with them or something they did. Dionil approved of the concept and thought it was very smart they made children do such a thing in Mana’s world. Cobal was the first.
“Well, let me start this off then, since I probably made the least progress out of all of us.” He looked at everyone before continuing. “I’ve continued my sword training and improved. I’ve started working with lighter weapons as per Dionil’s suggestion and things have been going well so far. I’ve also joined Mana in her magic training but my success in that has been limited.” He smiled. “And that was really all of it for me.”
Dionil laughed. “Your training was arguably the most complete already, so to get to the next step in a short time would have been borderline impossible.” He crossed his arms. “I think you’ve done well, and if you keep up this path you’re going to go far.” He looked at Mana. “Moving on.”
“I think in my case instead of show and tell, “show, don’t tell” is more apt.” She took out her book, the same one that Cobal had on his person as well. She tossed it up in the air and a little ways up it just stopped. It flipped open to a page and then turned to face them all, floating towards Mana. Then it snapped shut and she grabbed it from the air. “That’s what I’ve managed to accomplish.”
Dionil smiled. “Excellent. You’re progressing rapidly.”
Mana smiled but her smile quickly faded. “Something’s been bothering me about that though, but let’s see what the rest has done first.”
“Very well.” Dionil looked at Kimi. “What about you?”
“I’ve not learned much if I’m honest. I’ve talked to a lot of the people in town and I’ve gotten to know them, but I haven’t really learned much. I’m working on a song though, but it’s slow progress.”
Dionil nodded. “Not all progress is at the same pace. Some people start slow and end strong, or the other way around. I can see that you’ve been working hard though and that is all I ask.” He looked at Cassandra. “Last but not least?” He asked.
Cassandra nodded. “Just like Mana, let me show you instead of telling you.”

They all followed Cassandra out back, to an even smaller clearing maybe a couple minutes away from the house. There she’d put up a workbench and some other things, with a large piece of woven leaves fashioned as a roof. Below it stood something alien to Cobal, but Mana seemed to have immediate recognition in her eyes. “I see, with wind magic that could certainly work.”
Cassandra had a wide smile. “That’s what I thought.”
“What is this?” Dionil asked. “It looks sensible enough, but I’ve never seen a boat quite this small.”
“It’s a,” Mana paused. “No, you tell me what it is, you invented it.”
Cassandra gave Mana a curious look. “Is it not something from your world?”
Mana nodded. “It is, but it doesn’t make sense for me to keep giving you names of things you’ve created out of scratch. It’s unfair to the effort you’ve put in.”
Cobal thought about this for a moment. That made a lot of sense.
“Hmm, what should I name it,” Cassandra thought out loud. “How about airship?”
Mana shook her head. “Although I’d love to see you make an airship one day, this isn’t it.”
“What’s an airship, is that something you have?”
“Not quite, we have something called airplanes. Don’t know why they’re called that, but they’re big metal tubes that fly through the sky at crazy high speeds. An airship is something from stories. It’s similar to our airplanes in a sense, but it’s basically just a flying ship held up by magic.”
“Do you really think I can make something like that?” Cassandra’s eyes widened with excitement.
Mana shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never seen one work because without magic their design can’t fly. They weren’t a thing in my world. But in some of the stories I’ve read and watched they had them and magic kept them in the air. That doesn’t mean something is possible, but if I can make a book float, there has to be a way to make an entire ship float, right?”
Cassandra nodded. “I think I want to make an airship.”
Everyone laughed. “Let’s start smaller. Let’s start by making this windsurfer work, shall we?” Mana said.
“You said you weren’t going to tell her what it’s named,” Kimi interrupted.
“Oops, slip of the tongue.”
“So it’s called a waverider in your world then?”
Mana nodded. “It’s a board with a sail on it, kind of like this. Of course, it’s not used for travel in our world because we have no real way of predictably guiding the wind, but it’s used for leisure on some beaches. If there’s a bit of wind, a skilled person can sail quite a bit with them. But there’s more convenient ways of travel in our world. I bet this will be great at seaside towns though, either with or without magic to guide the wind.”
“So I made something useful then?” Cassandra asked.
Mana nodded.
“Why did you make something like this, how did you think of it?” Cobal asked.
“Well, I made those air jugs for Mana a while back, remember?”
Cobal nodded.
“I was thinking about what else I could make and I really didn’t have any good ideas. So I just thought about something that would be nice to have in Ravadier. And then I thought a way to journey to and from boats so some of them could anchor off the coast or something would be nice. So that’s how I ended up getting this idea.”
“Makes sense,” Dionil said. “It’s best to think about something you can use when making something new as opposed to making something for the sake of making something new.” He smiled. “I think you’ve all done well in your progress. Now it’s time to refine what you need and have a bit of a break leading up to the harvest festival. I’m sure there’ll be ways you can help out the townsfolk as well if you’d like.” He turned around. “Shall we head back?” They followed the old sage back to the house in the clearing.

During their trip to Cassandra’s workplace the rain had slowly lessened in intensity and by the time the sun went under and they had all comfortably eaten dinner the rain had all but vanished. All that was left was a soft autumn wind and the smell of wet leaves. Mana and Cobal were sitting outside with some freshly brewed tea.
“How long do you think we’ll stay here?” Mana asked.
“I don’t know, but I think we can stay until after winter at the very least. There’s not much going on in the kingdom that requires haste, and I think even my father agrees that your training can be very valuable. He told me that Might spent quite some time on the road traveling and training. I reckon we should do the same.”
“That sounds nice, I like it here.”
Cobal smiled. “You know what, so do I. It’s peaceful in a way the capital never was. I understand why the elves don’t really visit our cities now. I wouldn’t either if I could spend my days in a place like this.”
“But unfortunately that’s not what we’ll do, we have to go back eventually, don’t we?” Mana asked.
“We do, but after we spend some time strengthening our borders with the Wildlands I see no reason why we couldn’t go back here. Especially not if Cassandra makes one of those flying ships, we could travel back and forth in no time with one of those.”
Mana laughed. “That would be nice, wouldn’t it.”
They both stared off for a while, Cobal considered the idea of living here forever longer than he liked to admit. As much as he felt a duty to protect his kingdom, even though he’d never be in charge, being the third son, he felt a sense of pride regardless. He would be lying if his pride hadn’t wavered after traveling though. The kingdom wasn’t as unified as he thought and now he learned his family was up to some shady things. But on the other hand, with this new knowledge he could go back to the capital and try to fix some of those problems. Perhaps his father and his older brother would be happy to get his input. Neither of them knew about these things, and now that he strengthened their relationship with the elves, that meant there was a buffer between them and their neighbors to the north-east. Things were looking pretty good right now. All that was left now was to head into town the next couple days and help out people with their preparations for the harvest festival. The soft rain had now completely vanished and it was getting a little bit chilly. Summer is definitely over now. “Let’s go inside before we catch a cold,” he said to Mana.
Mana nodded. “Sounds like a good idea.”
When they headed inside they found Dionil in the common room, writing something down.
“What are you doing?” Mana asked. He looked up from his writing. “Oh, just writing about magic, I have some thoughts I wanted to put down before I forget about them.” He laughed. “My memory isn’t as bright as it once was, and sometimes it’s easiest to forget the little things.” He put his utensil down and rolled up the piece of parchment. “This way if I forget about it I can always check it later.” He tied a small ribbon around it and put it on a shelf, next to some other rolled up pieces of parchment. “Tea?” He asked the two. They both nodded.

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