Rise Of The Infinite Sovereign -
Chapter 7 Mana, Mages And Knights
"You see, master mages and master Knights are like two sides of a coin"
"They both essentially utilize mana, but their way of utilization is what makes them different" the Emperor said before pausing, as he saw his other sons listening with rapt attention but with weird faces, before it suddenly clicked.
'They're essentially kids at the core, so I'll have to make the example simple, but…how exactly?' the Emperor found himself stumped as something that should be theoretically easy became very hard.
'Hmm, this should work'
He paused to check his idea and it seemed simple enough, and like so, the Emperor began lecture 101.
"Do you know what mana is?" he probed, wanting to know how much he would have to explain, as well as check on how knowledgeable they each were.
"It is a basic form of energy that exists in all things living" a sharp answer came shortly after and surprisingly it wasn't Ezra, but Triton, who was currently glaring at Ezra feeling competitive.
"It's what mages use to cast all kinds of spells and a bunch of other stuff" Connor answered before beaming a proud smile.
"It's what makes people stronger" Jordan said, as the Emperor's first three wives eyes darted towards the silver-haired boy who had now sat down, waiting for which answer would this so-called genius come forth with, and thankfully, they didn't have to wait long.
"It's a tool for all uses"
Surprisingly, they didn't hear an entire paragraph of words from the library books he used to read, but a sentence with concise words that left even the Emperor baffled yet again.
"Ezra, can you repeat that statement and explain it?" the Emperor asked out of curiosity.
"Yes, father, I can" he paused after saying so before moving on.
"I said that mana is a tool for all intents and purposes"
"As I said, it is a tool with theoretically infinite uses, it can make a Knight powerful enough to slay a demon king, and make a mage powerful to defeat that already powerful knight"
"It can be used to smoothen houses, make better food and to a point, extend your life-span"
"It can be used to accelerate the human healing process, saving uncountable lives"
"It can be attached to a piece of weaponry, taking many lives in the process"
"But at the end of it all, it is but a tool without a mind of its own, and anyone can use it. Talent, wealth and effort are what determine how much a person can use, and how well he can use it"
"How did I do, father?"
He looked to see his father blankly staring at him slowly opening his mouth.
"Hoooo…" he slowly exhaled before answering.
"You did well, very well" he said while monitoring Ezra's response.
"It is an honor, father" Ezra answered while lightly nodding.
"Hmm, seeing as how you understand mana so well, it seems I won't need to make unnecessary examples"
"Now, what is a Knight?" he asked.
'He seems a bit flustered, I guess it would be normal considering that I answered his questions beyond his expectations. I'll have to limit myself so I don't scare him too much. This should be enough to show my worth and potential" Ezra thought while making a gesture as if he was remembering something.
"Well…they are people who use swords, shields and other types of hand-held weapons, who are appointed by nobles to guard their territories" he said, answering it half-way, and lo and behold, the Emperor smiled, thinking that his monstrous son was still a child after all.
He then proceeded to explain.
"Son, you are half-right and half-wrong" he paused before continuing.
"They are what you say they are, but that's not what makes them Knights, like you said, mana is a tool, a means to an end, but you need some qualifications to use it. Those who meet those qualifications and advance their mastery over mana using hand-held weapons are then termed knights" he paused to allow his son to digest the information, at this point, he had forgotten about his other sons since it was easier to explain it to Ezra.
"But don't forget that even within Knights, some are strong enough to split mountains in half while some can only cut a tree in half, do you know the cause of this?"
Ezra nodded but before he could talk, someone else answered.
"Father, is it because the mana they have isn't the same?"
Ezra looked to the side only to see Triton glaring at him with his chest puffed out.
A ridiculous expression appeared on Ezra's face after which he laughed, before going back to his normal demeanor. But what he did only served to enrage Triton further. Before he could do anything stupid, the voice of the Emperor was heard.
"Triton" was the only word he said, and Triton's anger immediately deflated as if it was never there.
Seeing that the situation had settled, the Emperor picked up where he left off.
"Triton, your answer is correct, and because of that, the list of stages was made for both Knights and Mages, starting from the Novice stage, all the way to Grandmaster stage, or ranks as some call it."
"Hmm, what stage is father at?" Ezra asked, trying to get some information, alas he was bound to be disappointed.
"Oh, you'll get to know in due time, just know that your father is VERY strong" the Emperor said, particularly stressing the "very" part.
Ezra knew asking twice might ruin the mood, so he changed the question.
"So father, would I be able to become a Mage and a Knight?"
"You can, but it's not advisable. A Knight's ultimate path is to become one with his weapon, while a mage's path is the study of magic and seeking of the ultimate truth"
"It has been said that there was once a man who had succeeded in combining the two, but that was centuries ago and no one knows what technique he used. All those who tried after him ended up with a wide range of attacks but very low mastery, so they ended up being mediocre, which is why such a thing is strongly discouraged"
"Do you now understand?"
"Yes, father" both Ezra and Triton answered simultaneously.
"Now that you have understood, which path do you wish to take, a Mage or a Knight?"
"Can I think about it some more, father?" Triton asked.
"Of course, but you have at maximum a year to decide" the Emperor said, before turning towards his most intriguing son, waiting for a response.
"Father" Ezra called out slowly, to which the Emperor quickly answered.
"I have made my choice"
When Ezra said those words, the Emperor couldn't help but frown, as he thought…
'Hmm, it seems at his core, he's still a child. I can't let him make such an important decision on Impulse. I'll test and then correct him, yes, that should make him understand how important a decision he his making'
"Ezra" the Emperor called.
"Do you understand what you're saying?"
"I think I do, but maybe I don't, would father care to explain it to me" Ezra said his carefully crafted words to avoid ruining the mood.
All this time, the Emperor's wives hadn't said a word, only watching the duo of father and son converse while their minds were calculating possible consequences of things.
But a thin smile could be seen on the face of Gwendolyn, the second and Valencia, the third wife, whose sons were not old enough to understand such topics, while Ezra's mother, Kiara, and the first wife, Beatrice, sat with blank expressions, their thoughts unknown.
"Ok, this is a decision that once made, you would most likely stay on throughout your life till the day you die"
"It affects everything about you, your reputation, your public image, your way of life to be exact. Do you now understand?"
"I think I do, father, but can I ask a question?"
"Of course you can"
"Ok father, is a Mage stronger than a Knight?" this question only deepened the Emperor's frown even more, which in turn deepened his wives' smiles.
Yet, nevertheless, the Emperor still provided an answer.
"Such a thing is only applicable at the lower stages of power, because once you reach a certain level, there is no determiner of who is stronger except through a demonstration of ability and talent"
"Do you understand?" Ezra noticed the Emperor didn't say son at the end, which meant he was displeased or disappointed or both, but that wouldn't stop him.
"So I just have to be powerful enough, is that it?"
"Excuse me?" the Emperor couldn't understand.
"Reputation, public image, money and all that stuff, I just have to be powerful enough to have it all? Is that what you're saying?"
The Emperor became completely silent for a whole minute before…
"Hahaha…Hahaha, you are definitely my son!" another booming laughter echoed out, this one louder than the last, causing multiple deaths by heart-attacks, which in turn caused chaos in the streets of the capital.
"Haaa" the Emperor finally stopped laughing as he flicked away a tear drop on his left-eye.
Honestly, this youngest son of his was too interesting, there was only one person he knew to answer such a question in an unexplainable manner, and that was…
'Me' the Emperor himself, at the time of his youth.
He laughed because Ezra reminded him of himself at a young age.
'I thought he chose on impulse, but it seems that he has matured beyond his age' as he thought this, he looked at his three other sons who were all staring at him before looking at his youngest.
'Things are going to get interesting soon' he thought.
Yet, what he saw was not the look of a five year old boy, but that of a man with utmost conviction, and that broke the camel's back.
The Emperor was now sure, yet baffled at the same time, that…
'He has chosen his path, and is ready to follow through with it'
His son had taken his first step to becoming a man.
"Hooo" the Emperor couldn't help but sigh deeply. His youngest had surprised him one too many times today, and he couldn't remember the last time he laughed.
He didn't know at the moment, but his mouth had formed a wicked grin, exposing his white teeth with the look of a predator.
He was about to continue when the royal advisor stepped to his side and whispered in his ear.
As he did so, the Emperor's grin slowly vanished till his face formed into a deep frown.
"Can't you postpone it?" he asked out loud.
"But sir, you had done so four times already, it wouldn't do the Empire's image any good to do so again" the royal advisor whispered, before taking a step back and standing behind him.
The atmosphere slowly froze as the Emperor wondered if he should just break the table, fortunately, patience pulled through as he decided against it, before issuing an order to the royal advisor.
"Tell him I'll be there in ten, no, fifteen minutes"
"Yes, your majesty" the advisor said as he went to deliver the message.
'I only called for a family meeting to check their progress, but to think I'd find something this interesting, well, I guess it's time to wrap this up'
"Son, it seems my time is up, but before I go, I want to hear your answer?"
Ezra took a deep breath before answering confidently.
"I choose the path of a Knight"
"Very well then, you'll have to stick to it till you die"
"I know and I accept"
The Emperor nodded at his youngest as a sign of approval.
He figured that words were no more needed at this point as the father and son duo stared at each other.
"Well then, I guess I'll have to go, make sure not to disappoint me" the Emperor said, standing up from his seat as he moved out of the dining hall, before abruptly turning to face Ezra.
'Did I have too much fun? Oh well, I think I should give him a gift for making me laugh so well' he thought.
"Ezra, since you have chosen your path, you are allowed into the treasury to pick anything of your choice"
The hall became as silent as a graveyard at this moment.
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