Fate favors the bold, so they say. I may not have been quite first, but luckily our professor was feeling generous enough for two— and luckily, her eyes were sharp enough to tell that I'd just eked out second place from the cavalcade of would-be demonstrators that had also leapt at the chance."Yeah, sure."
Unfortunately, that might have been the easy part.
Shimmying out of the row, I took a second to give Beryl a quick nudge before fully extracting myself from the seats and descending the steps towards the lectern. I did promise to try and keep her awake, after all. It wouldn't do to get distracted and just let her nod off during the important stuff.
Important stuff that I was about to be part of, to boot. By my deeds, I'm riding to Valhalla. Witness me.If I'm gonna die, Bianca, I'm gonna die historic on Fury Road!
...I don't think I gave her the best sell on that movie. I'd be surprised if she even remembered its name.
Hey, considering my semblance, am I a War Boy or the Organic Mechanic? I can heal others, but I'm also familiar with the interpretation that regenerative abilities are akin to cancer...
If the expression of my inner energies manifested as two lumps on my clavicle named Barry and Larry, the only Dust I'm applying is that of fire, directly to them.
Er, I had better get back on track.
I accepted the vial presented to me, carefully eyeing its contents. Those familiar powered crystals, colored a deep, deep blue that made you think of the ocean. Hmm.
Working with water? That made sense. Hard for us to hurt ourselves with unless we were dumb enough to breathe it."Diamond, Luke, take these vials and try focusing your aura without wanting to catalyse them, could you?""Focus, but don't catalyze, got it."
I nodded, murmuring that a few more times under my breath. In theory, that ought to be perfectly simple given how she explained it. Just make sure not to ask the dust to do its thing and it should be a cinch. Like we established earlier, the system's more like a computer than a chemical reaction— Dust needs both the power source and the information of a command to start working.
In theory, I should have no more trouble with this than I would turning my laptop on and then just not touching it.
I felt my brow furrow as the outside world faded and I looked inward.Aura is the self—
an expression of the soul and will. Introspection in its most literal form is necessary to harness it once it's been unlocked to you. After all, this is who we are. We are projecting ourselves onto the world to alter it physically whenever we utilize this stuff, so it's no accident that specifically handling it has more steps than "use aura and do thing".
Settling into my nerves, I took stock of the conduit of energy that courses through them. I am the vessel, and the vessel decides the flow. If I wish to focus the flow upon something outside of me, I must provide that impetus. You cannot touch something without first extending a hand to reach it.
My mother was a wonderful teacher to have brought me up from not knowing my left from my right to being able to do this so easily in such as short timespan, really. Being able to turn the senses inwards to find a well of energy that you were previously blind to is easier said than done. We focus so much on the world around us in our normal lives that the stuff lying within goes untapped, then unnoticed, the unrecognized.
Alright. Ready to work with it now. I focused on the vial, and the Dust within, and began reach out to it with that energy of will and soul. I wanted to leave my mark upon it, and I wanted it to do something for me. You cannot move that something, impart power onto it, without pushing.
It's not as if you don't notice the changes an unlocked aura brings— every sense clears, every movement feels weightless and free, and you understand intrinsically that you are more you than you were before. You feel new and improved, and the energy that's supercharging you is at the cusp of your perception, a tingling in the back of your mind. Basically put, you know it's there, but without either training or pure dumb luck, you don't know how to grab a hold of it and make it do what you want.
You don't get to tell your Aura to do things with just an inclination without either a semblance or lots of practice.
As for little ol' me, what I wanted to do was pass that energy through the the Dust. To get the electrons in all ready to go in the circuit, but not flip the switch that would set them flowing until I wanted to. Filling up the car with gas but don't start the engine might be another way to look at this.
This was the tricky part, for the reasons that only could be brought up as the doubled edge to my truncated training.
That is, the task of simply charging it with power and not immediately folding that into, "okay, activate". Dust is a natural Aura conduit, and as such, has a now-familiar sensation that I'd liken to a sort of pull
when encountering projected aura. When training to enter Beacon Academy, I'd quickly associated that pull with "activation"— after all, utilizing Dust is an overwhelmingly important skill for a Huntsman, so priority one was making sure I could catalyze it in the blink of an eye. Now, I was having to rein in that instinct I'd so dutifully beaten into my own head.
If I had been trained the normal way, without such a rush, this would just be as simple as removing the final step of "Project, Energize, Catalyze.", but for me it was unfortunately closer to "wind up and swing, but don't follow through when you hit the ball".
I carefully let my Aura flow into the powdered ultramarine. I was so used to the expected outcome of "elemental power unleashes" that at first, my only indication that I was even doing anything was the sensation of my Aura reaching outward and being pulled into the vial.
Focus upon transferring power.
Not transferring command.
I released a small breath, one I hadn't realized I was holding, when I heard and saw the telltale shimmer of charged Dust within the vial.
Whew."That's harder than it sounds."
What was that about doing a lot of reading and intensive coursework?
Oh yeah, that study group was going to be the minimum