The Training Hall the students walked into reminded them of the one they used for practicing dimensional magic.
The room was 30 meters (98 feet) long and 20 meters (66 feet) wide. It was big enough to easily accommodate double their numbers. However, while the dimensional magic Training Hall was completely empty, the Magic Creation one was filled with what looked like an old telephone box made of transparent crystal.
Right in front of each telephone box, there was a holographic horizontal bar that reminded Lith the combo counter of games like "Dance Dancer Uprising". All in all, the place looked more like an arcade rather than an academy's facility.
"First things first, you should take out your own Codex." Professor Nalear showed them the book she had distributed during the first lesson.
"As a warm up exercise, each one of you will pick two magical words of their own choice from their Codex and input them in the Sensor Booth." She pointed at the crystal phone box.
"All the possible combinations are known. They generate a mana flow that has been thoroughly researched and the Booths are capable of sensing. Let me give you an example." She walked inside an empty Booth, leaving the door open.
Nalear placed her hand on the crystal wall in front of the holographic counter.
"First, you need to imprint your station with your mana. Then say out loud the spell you have decided to create. In my case is Infiro Gata." According to the Codex, it was supposed to create a ring of fire. The Booth emitted a red glow while powering up and so did the holographic counter.
"Now the device knows what kind of energies are going to be employed and how to protect me from them. I suppose you all remember the dangers of casting a spell incorrectly."
The class nodded in unison. Lith too had almost died multiple times while learning his first tier one fake magic spell when he was still six years old. A mistake in the magic words' pronunciation or in the hand seals could have unpredictable consequences.
"Well, creating a new spell is even more dangerous, that's why it's a subject explored only during the fifth year. A complete spell is safe for the caster. Even if you mess up with it the worst it can happen is for its effect to go haywire.
"The magic signs for low tier spells determine the amount of mana which will be employed and how it interacts with the elemental energies. Using the wrong signs can directly harm your bodies. The bigger the mistake, the bigger the damage you may sustain. This is especially troublesome for attack spells.
"That's why we'll start with spells that are barely tier one to give you solid foundations. I'd like to tell you that the Sensor Booths can block anything, but it would be a lie. They can only shield you up to tier two spells and some of the weaker tier three ones.
"The purpose of this exercise is to let you safely experience the flow of your mana while you are creating low tier spells. Only then we will move to more powerful spells against which there is no protection but skill and experience.
"It's important you become familiar with identifying the correct signs and finding the right words. The Codex only contains the most common and safe magical words. Truly powerful spells require you to make adjustments."
"I have always thought that spells made from our own mana couldn't harm us." Quylla asked. "Why is this different?"
"Because a correctly performed spell is part of you, like your hair or your skin. A messed up spell is composed of discordant energies which make no distinction between friend and foe."
"Did I risk my life while creating my personal spells back at my village?" Quylla shivered at the thought of how dangerous ignorance was.
"Not really." Nalear patted her shoulder, trying to reassure Quylla.
"Light magic is the magic of life, it's mostly harmless. It requires a monster failure to inflict damages with a low tier light spell, otherwise a failed chant simply has no effect. You and Lith are lucky.
"Being healers, you followed the safest path. It made it possible for you to later create even offensive spells with ease thanks to your prior experience." Quylla thought back when she created her first offensive ice spell.
She had suffered from pain and discomfort from time to time, but she had always managed to stop before things got out of hand. She never reported injuries during her experiments, only minor frostbites.
"Creating personal spells before even enrolling in an academy it's what means being talented." Nalear said to the rest of the class.
"Let me finish my demonstration please." Her hands drew an S in the air, filling the holographic combo bar by a third. "This means the signs are correct."
She then repeated the magical words while drawing and S followed by a circle. The combo bar flashed red and emptied.
"This happens when the signs are wrong."
The third time she drew a doodle after the S. Everything flashed red a few times, a warning sign filled the counter.
"Guess what? That was a major blunder. Without the Booth I would have got injured. If there aren't any more questions, get in the booths and start practicing. Choosing two words that form a universally known spell will not count as a success.
To get a passing grade you need to complete at least two new spells. Begin!"
The moment Nalear walked out of the Booth, it glowed with white light. The following text appeared inside the holographic display:
Attempted spells: Infiro Gata. Completed spells: None. Final Grade: F. Imprint successfully reset, ready for a new student.
Several students swallowed a lump of saliva, Lith included. Cheating wasn't an option, the system registered everything.
Lith inwardly cursed at his bad luck.
'I'm not Quylla, I never created fake spells besides those I taught Tista. Let's hope it's enough.'
He took a deep breath to calm himself down, then Lith imprinted the terminal with his mana.
"Jorun Ka." According to the Codex, the spell would create an ice cube the size of a table. Lith started to form all the signs he knew, discovering that such a brute force method was unpractical.
Every failed attempt consumed part of his mana. Taken individually, a failure was nothing to him. Hundreds of failures in a row were quite tiring though. After an hour Lith had wasted a quarter of his mana reserve and completed a single spell.
'Calm down, you idiot.' Lith scolded himself. 'Don't panic like a drowning man. This is just the first lesson. Worst case scenario you'll get a failing grade, but there's always next time. Focus on the task at hand.'
Lith recalled Vastor's words about the difference between being slow and being meticulous. Then about the purpose of the exercise. They weren't practicing for a guessing game. They were there to learn to perceive the mana flow inside their own bodies.
The fourth year classes required to sense the mana once they projected it outside, Magic Creation was the opposite.