Lith spent the next hour explaining Tista about fake magic, true magic, and the Awakening process. She trusted her brother with her life, yet even after meeting Solus, Tista found hard to believe such a massive info dump.
Lith then cast perfectly silent spells of all tiers, from one to five in front of her eyes. Tista gasped for air, the whole Mogar was turning upside down. She kept hyperventilating due to stress until everything turned black.
"Has she fainted?" Lith asked.
"Yes. Too bad we can't waste time being nice." Solus conjured ice cold water and splashed Tista's face with it.
"Oh, gods! I had the weirdest dream…" When Tista saw Lith and Solus again, she realized it wasn't a dream. Lith sat on the ground beside her, putting his arm around her shoulders to keep her calm.
"Is everything I learned so far a lie, then?" She asked after a while.
"No, it's just part of a much more complex truth. Think about it. We and magical beasts having two different kinds of magic doesn't make sense. We breathe the same air, we eat the same things. Why magic should be any different?" Lith replied.
"What's wrong with me? Am I going to die?" She embraced Lith in search of warmth. Tista was so shocked that she had yet to dry herself from the water.
"There is nothing wrong with you and you are going to be just fine." Lith made the water disappear and had Solus turn the heat up in the tower.
"Yet to succeed I need your help. There are some unknown factors that I had no opportunity to study, so I need you to be completely honest with me. Don't try to be a hero, if anything feels weird or painful you have to tell me."
"Weird how?" Tista blushed.
"To keep you alive and healthy I have removed impurities from your body since a tender age. I stopped as soon as I noticed your Awakening process started because I have no idea if it made things easier or harder for you. Also, you have a bright green core. So far my only successful experiments involve cyan cores." Lith sighed.
"Wait. Didn't you tell me you had a green one too? What's the difference between you and me?"
"The difference is me Awakening early. My body developed like that of a magical beast. I grew slowly in strength, so my body had all the time it needed to adapt. Yours is going straight from a dormant green core to an active cyan one. It could either kill you or turn you into an Abomination."
Lith hugged her tightly, kissing her forehead. The thought of losing her was unbearable.
'I'll never be able to live with myself if she dies because of me.' Lith thought.
'She'd be dead without you.' Solus rebuked. 'Now bring her to the basement, we have no time to lose.'
Lith helped Tista to get up and did as instructed. He explained to her how Awakening usually involved the impurities reaching the mana core, triggering some kind of reaction that made both the core and the body stronger.
"I still have no clue about the details, but I think that expelling the impurities is only part of the process. During the refinement, the body undergoes a transformation that corrects any flaw humans normally develop during their lives.
"If I'm right, the stronger the core the greater the number of flaws the body needs to fix. It's an incredibly delicate process, like using Body Sculpting on a healthy subject. Hence the body undergoes a lot of stress and if it's unable to cope, the final result is death.
"In theory, you grew with very few imperfections. It should make things easier."
"What if you are wrong?" Tista asked.
"Then by removing your impurities, I've doomed you." The sibling shivered in fear, but Tista only held Lith's hand tighter.
"What do I have to do?"
Lith brought her in the tower's basement, in the nearest point to the mana geyser. Then, he explained to her both Invigoration and Accumulation while Solus filled the air to the brim with world energy.
"If you learn Accumulation before your Awakening, we can have an idea if your body is ready. If you feel no discomfort it would be a great sign. If you learn Invigoration, instead, it can help you survive in case anything goes wrong."
Tista sat cross legged on the warm stone floor, taking deep breathes and following Lith's instructions. She was scared but at the same time excited. She had started studying magic to feel closer to her brother, but now it was an important part in her life.
She loved being a mage and the idea of becoming part of something bigger filled her with joy. The high mana density in the room tickled her skin. She could almost feel the energy moving around her, seeping into her body.
'A living tower, true magic, and secrets no one but the beasts know. Mom is right. Since Lith's birth life really turned into a fairy tale. Now I understand why all the secrecy about his abilities and how he managed to cure what even Nana was helpless against.
'Even if I die today, I have no regrets. Without him, I would have spent the few years I had left agonizing in my bed.' Tista thought, yet tears streamed down her eyes thinking back to her past life.
"Is anything wrong?" Lith asked as soon as he noticed.
"I lied to myself." Tista said. "I have lots of regrets. I'm scared and I don't want to die."
The first phrase baffled Lith, the others not so much.
"We are on the same page. Now keep breathing and tell me how do you feel."
Tista took in a couple of deep breaths from the nose before answering.
"I feel hot and ticklish. Is it normal?"
"Yes." Lith lied.
'How the heck I'm supposed to know what's normal? It's my first time Awakening a human too! As long as she doesn't feel pain it's a good sign.' He thought.
The hours passed. Lith could only check on Tista and Solus from time to time. Neither of them could afford losing focus or to get tired. Until Tista's Awakening started, Lith preferred to have them rest, if needed.
"I think I learned Invigoration!" Tista suddenly said. "I can feel a warm flow of mana entering my body. It's this the world energy? It's so different from casting a spell with fake mag…"
"Don't lose the breathing rhythm!" Lith scolded her. "When the process starts, it will be painful. If you lose the rhythm, Invigoration stops working!"
Tista wanted to rebuke, but realizing Lith was just worried about her, she moved to Accumulation instead. Now she could visualize the impurities nearing her core, giving her a pricking sensation whenever they touched.
Tista was about to report it to Lith when a big impurity struck her core merging with it. Pain invaded her body, almost breaking her concentration. Tista had never felt such agony since she was a kid when even breathing was a miracle to her.
Pain was an old friend, so she welcomed it back gritting her teeth and without losing her breathing rhythm.
"It has begun." Solus said.