"A prodigy?" Aldrich raised a brow, surprised.
In the distance, he heard the Chrysalis marveling at the many large tomes, remarking to herself, "Blue book! Red book! Spiky book! Big book!"
"Magic isn't something I've ever had to consciously learn," said Aldrich. "The knowledge just funnels into me, so I don't know how to tell whether someone is 'good' at using magic or not."
It was an odd phenomenon. According to lore, mages had to dedicate years to actually know how to cast magic. They had to spend large amounts of time meditating to figure out how to control the flow of their mana, and then they had to spend even more time understanding how to temper that flow and shape it into a reliable spell.
For Aldrich, all of that knowledge was just downloaded into his head. Though, he did note, what he got was a base amount of knowledge that let him use the spell, but using it to its peak capability was something he might be able to train for.
The Outer Trait," explained Medula.
Aldrich was surprised. He did not know this was something that beings from the game would know about. Or at the very least, it was not something he had read about in the lore. He just assumed this was convenient game mechanics so that he could cast spells immediately without having to study them for months.
"It is not a widely known phenomenon," continued Medula. "Precious few knew of it in our realm of yore. Only those that studied beyond the Starry Veil, gazing upon the infinite dark of the Outer itself, knew of this.
And a pithy few studied beyond the stars. Mortals are too absorbed with magic that could change the present around them while many immortals did not have the patience or capability to study the Outer.
Demons such as myself, however, are not bound to any single realm. We have crossed through the stars before, long ago, and we are long lived. Velen, demon god of knowledge and my former teacher, was particularly interested in the Outer.
That interest passed down to me, hence my penchant for warp magics that can bend the fabric of space"
"And what exactly does this phenomenon entail?" Aldrich noted that Medula's guard slightly dropped when she got into talking about her knowledge. There was a genuine passion within her not just for obtaining knowledge, but sharing it.
Hence, why she made a good teacher as well.
"There are certain existences that are touched with cosmic power from the Outer that grant them tremendous power. One such power being this quaint ability of yours to assimilate the knowledge of spells and skills with little to no training at all."
"There were more people with this ability?" Aldrich perked up, interested. He reasonably assumed that he could auto-learn spells because of video game mechanics granted by his system.
Medula's words, however, indicated one of two things.
One, that this ability was in fact something that naturally occurred.
Or, second, that there were other beings in Elduin that had held a system.
Medula nodded curtly. "I suppose the lack of knowledge is largely due to how rare this phenomenon is. In the entire history of Elduin, there were precious few existences touched by the Outer.
The primordial dragon who was said to have seeded the origins of many species upon the world, and in death, became the first Old Spirit.
The Arcane Emperor and the Enlightened One who were said to have spread all of the magic and skills known among Elduin, becoming the first two gods to ever exist.
And, of course-," Medula narrowed her eyes at Aldrich. "You. The hero."
"Do you have an idea of what this 'Outer' entails? Where the power comes from?" said Aldrich.
"Prying into my research, are we?" Medula shook her head. "But no. I have studied the Outer for the better part of a thousand years, but it is a deep mystery.
My teacher could not parse its secrets either. All we knew was that the Outer was a fundamental force that predated the existence of the Elduin realm. An embodiment of the vast, cosmic unknown.
In scope, too, it truly is tremendous.
We demons are a nomadic body that travel across realms, across planets, and among the myriad of worlds our history descended upon and devoured, we encountered specimen touched by the Outer, indicating that the influence of the Outer reaches far and wide."
"I see," said Aldrich. "And my powers come from there, this 'Outer?'"
"Some part of it, most likely. To what extent? I do not know."
"In your expert opinion, do you find it possible that a specific entity has granted me this power? An entity with their own reasons and goals?"
"Ah, thinking of whether you are being controlled? Practical." Medula just shrugged. "I know little. The Outer is difficult to study. All I know from studying past observations recorded by my teacher is that those touched by the Outer do not seem to lose any autonomy.
Granted, the sample size is low, and the observations rather unreliable when we cannot understand the Outer at a fundamental level to begin with.
But my teacher theorized the Outer was an 'element' that only a few chosen could harness. It is not something with a form or will, an entity as you fear, it is simply something that is. Woven into the fabric of all existence at the dawn of creation.
Those touched by the Outer could draw upon it in the same way a mage with an affinity for flame could call upon fire. A mundane fire mage does not treat flame as an entity, but rather a resource.
The Outer is the same.
At least, according to my teacher. I myself have had differing opinions, but nothing certain."
"And what were your opinions?"
"I would like to keep that research to myself. It is yet unformed and unfinished." Medula became curt again. "Let us return to the matter of the Chrysalis.
There is both good and bad."
"Tell me both."
"I was going to regardless of your desire. A guardian should know both the strengths and weaknesses of the one they care for.
The good. As I have said before, she is a prodigy. Specifically in controlling the flow of mana. In the same way that some beasts know how to hunt and fend for themselves through sheer instinct bred into their being, she can control mana with natural ease.
It may not seem like it now with how much she struggled, but I assure you, that is leagues beyond what an ordinary mage could accomplish even in months of training.
I predict in a few days, she will have near absolute control of her mana flow.
In addition, her mana is colorless. The color of one's mana indicates the elemental affinity one has, and a colorless one is mythical in its rarity, for it means she is naturally attuned to the control of space."
"And the bad?" Aldrich noted a pause from Medula.
"She has not inherited your Outer strength," said Medula.
"Well, that only means she has to learn how to cast spells from scratch, no?"
"Beyond simply lacking your Outer trait, it seems she has inverted it. She cannot learn any spell. You are familiar with the concept of magic tomes, are you not?"
"Yes." Aldrich knew that in the lore, magic tomes had the stored knowledge of spells. By reading the tome and linking one's magic with it, it was possible to gain access to using spells within it, though actually being able to cast them involved a long process of training.
It was that training that Aldrich could completely ignore that separated him the most from ordinary mages.
"I tried attempting to instill upon her a few spells from a tome, one suited to her colorless mana, but none worked," said Medula. "She is incapable of shaping her mana into a spell."
"Do you potentially know why this is the case?"
"I have theories, but nothing set in stone."
Aldrich raised a brow at her, wanting more, and she relented this time, giving more information.
"My current theory is that it is because she is an existence native to this new realm of yours. Though she has learned to manipulate mana, there is likely some 'gate' that prevents her from accessing the formed spells that originate from Elduin," explained Medula.
"Hm. If that's all she can do, then that's concerning. For her own safety." Aldrich put a thinking hand to his chin.
"I would not worry too greatly were I you. She simply cannot access the magic established by the Arcane Emperor," said Medula. "But that does not mean she is helpless. She can still approximate ancient arts that predate the magic system established by the emperor."
"Do you know of any? If I'm to have her with me out there, I want her to be able to fend for herself."
"A few, and these I will teach her. However, none of these arts are particularly useful in combat, if this is your concern." Medula sighed. She looked at Aldrich's concerned expression and shrugged. "Soothe those concerns, usurper.
There is another art you are familiar with. One that predates the Arcane Emperor. One suited purely for combat. One that involves the shaping of mana that your daughter is a prodigy at."
"Volantis," realized Aldrich.