Mia grabbed a small handful of flour from the cloth sack and released the flour onto the wind, allowing her basic [Breeze] magic to carry it towards the fire.
While doing so, Mia noted that the outside of the cloth sack was slightly covered in Whimsy's green goo and oil. Fortunately, the flour inside remained dry, but Mia wondered what she should do if she wanted to carry more items on her.
Why was it that she couldn't magically carry ninety-nine of every single item type on her? Mia felt that it would be difficult for her to keep ten Paralysis Potion bottles on her body, much less ninety-nine. Where was a magic infinite inventory when she needed it? If she ever came across someone who possessed dimensional storage magic, she would definitely instantly recruit that person.
Meanwhile, Mia tentatively backed away as the flour slowly drifted towards the fire. Just in case, she even decided to get down flat on the ground.
Noticing her caution, Colson couldn't help but wonder what was going on. Although he was currently ten meters behind her, he started heading over. "What's the matter, Milady?"
"Get down!" Mia hissed at him in a low voice. "The fire might explode!"
Explode? Why would it randomly just explode? Colson raised his eyebrows, but did as requested and crouched down on the ground.
Mia was trying to reproduce a scientific phenomenon that she had only heard about but never tried out before: dust explosions. This concept was something she learned about from watching a certain detective boy anime.
If what she learned was true, this wheat flour she just spread into the air was capable of causing a dust explosion. It was supposed to be much easier to cause in enclosed locations, but Mia didn't want to try that quite yet as it would be quite difficult to control. Why not just start out small?
Mia held her breath as she carefully guided the wind to deposit the handful of flour right on top of the fire. However… nothing appeared to happen at all.
"Nothing is happening at all, Milady." Colson was wondering if he could stand up again yet.
"Yes, thank you very much for stating the obvious. Now get down, and stay down, until I tell you that it's safe to stand up."
After ensuring that Colson obediently remained on the ground, Mia thought about what it was that she was missing. Was the dust density still insufficient to cause a combustible explosion? However, the more flour she used, the larger the resulting explosion would be. Would it really be fine to use more flour?
"Whimsy!" The silver-haired girl covered herself with wind mana, attracting the Wind Slime over as always. She then had Whimsy take the Slime Armor form on herself before she tried again.
This time, Mia grabbed two handfuls of flour and released it on her breeze, backing up immediately as she did so. She backed up all the way until she reached Colson, approximately fifteen meters away from the fire and at the very outskirts of how far her breeze control extended.
Just in case, she remained in front of Colson, figuring that Whimsy's Slime Armor form would probably be better able to defend against any potential heat wave from the explosion than Colson's physical body and light leather clothing would.
Mia counted down for several seconds until her breeze carrying the flour reached the crackling fire again… then she got down as flat as she could and covered her head. Some more seconds later though, nothing had occurred once more than she could see with her naked eye.
All Colson saw was that the silver-haired girl kept releasing some white powder into the air before behaving strangely. Was this some sort of strange ritual or prayer of hers? This action didn't possibly seem like it had any danger at all as she kept stating. Did it really have anything to do with her supposed anti-fire research?
"Milady… If you would like to pray, I can teach you the Elemental Church's most basic form for praying to the Elemental Lords…"
"I'm not trying to pray here." Mia was quite mystified. Just what part of her actions just now had seemed like an attempt at prayer to him? What exactly did praying in this world even look like? Perhaps she should look into learning more about the local religion later, simply to fit in better with this world.
The God of Adventurers clearly existed, with his magical torches and treasure chests in the bat cave being the best evidence of all. That meant the Elemental Lords that Colson spoke of were likely quite real as well. Mia decided it would be best to keep an open mind and tread carefully so as to not offend any gods.
"This is a defensive magic spell that I'm testing out against fire," Mia told him. She didn't know how to properly explain the science of rapid combustion to him, considering that she was no expert on the topic herself. Nor would it be a good idea to actually explain it, with her young age. Luckily, there was always the convenient excuse of "magic" in this world.
"…Really? Milady, I may not be an expert on magic, but it doesn't appear to me that you're spreading any magical ingredients into the air there. Remember, Milady, drugs are bad for your body, especially at your age! You should make sure never to touch illegal drugs!" Colson adopted a rather serious expression.
"…I'm not doing drugs, don't worry. This is only ordinary wheat flour. Have a look for yourself." Mia beckoned for Colson to come take a look.
After Colson confirmed that the white powder was indeed just flour and not some suspicious drug, he actually became more confused. "If this is just flour, why are you throwing handfuls of it in the air?"
"That? I'm simply doing so as a concentration aid." Mia made up the first excuse that came to her mind. "Throwing it makes me feel happy and relaxed, so that it's easier for me to cast spells. Would you like to try it for yourself?"
"Uh… no thank you." Colson gestured that he wasn't interested with a hand wave. Maybe she was just a young child after all who was easily satisfied with something so simple? Or was she secretly a druggie after all? He glanced directly over at the slime-clad Mia, unsure what to make of her.
"You're not interested in trying it out? It's your loss. But for real, this could be quite dangerous, so get back down again." Mia ignored Colson's evident confusion. He would soon see anyways that dust explosions were a powerful force to be reckoned with. …That is, if she could succeed in igniting one in the first place.
Mia made up her mind and emptied the entire sack of flour into the wind. Maybe her hands were still too tiny and the amount of flour she used was still too insufficient? She might as well just use all the flour on her, consequences be damned. It wasn't like there was that much flour in the sack to begin with, Mia consoled herself.
This time, the amount of flour that flew towards the fire was of a sufficient amount that a white cloud was visible to the naked eye. Mia wondered if she should keep her eyes open or closed, but in the end decided to keep them open out of curiosity for what would happen.
When the white cloud reached the fire, it suddenly rapidly expanded in size and turned orange-red! In less than a second, the fiery cloud exploded, sending a shockwave through the ground and residual heat through the air!
The fireball spread rapidly in area before disappearing almost as fast as it arrived, leaving behind only some smaller burning fires in the grass along with a small amount of flour still visible on the ground. Mia quickly cast [Still Air] on the area in an attempt to control the fires, but found to her surprise that the fires soon burned themselves out. Was it because the explosion had consumed most of the oxygen in the nearby area?
Mia had only felt a sensation of warmth wash over her due to the fact that she was covered with the cool Wind Slime. She peeled Whimsy off of herself and petted the Wind Slime to find that Whimsy's skin was also slightly warm to the touch. So, Whimsy wasn't too bothered by the heat conduction, was it?
In that case, how was Colson doing? Mia turned around to check on his condition.
Colson… appeared to be mostly fine, except for the fact that his mouth was wide agape and that he remained absolutely still, prostrate on the ground. Mia poked at him.
There was no reaction, so Mia poked him again, this time in the stomach.
"Hey, that tickles!" Finally, she got a reaction out of him.
"What… what, just happened?" Colson inquired in a shaky voice.
"What happened? It's my wind magic anti-fire spell," Mia informed him.
"That's… that's amazing! Milady, you must be a magical genius! The fire element is supposed to counter wind, so how did you even do it?"
"…It's nothing, really. I'm just glad that I was able to make it work." Rather than feeling proud, Mia was actually more relieved that she finally managed to succeed on the third try. All she really did was copy an idea that she saw in an anime. It wasn't like she invented the concept of a dust explosion from scratch.
"But, Milady, judging from the power of that explosion just now, it would surely be fatal for anyone who stood closer to the center of the radius…" The red-haired boy now had a worried expression.
"Don't worry. I'll only use this spell as a last resort," Mia promised. "It's just an ace card to protect myself. Please make sure not to tell anyone about it. …Besides, it will only be useful against fire mages, who typically have some fire resistance against their own magic at the very least," she added after a short pause.
"Ah! Alright then." Colson appeared to believe her words, although truth be told, Mia didn't know for sure what would happen if she used this on a real person like Barnaby, even if he was a fire mage. Nor was there any feasible way for her to experiment on a live fire mage, but it was definitely certain that an ordinary human would die. At least, she had been telling the truth that she would use this only as a last resort.
"Okay, that's enough for today." It was time to end this conversation here. If he kept asking about the nature of the spell she just used, Mia was unsure if she would still be able to come up with some suitable excuse. "Remember to go into town tomorrow and purchase some new equipment and armor for yourself. I'll be preparing my own things for the tax collection two days from now as well."
"Yes, Milady. …But what should we do about this place?" Colson was looking at the patch of grassland that was now nothing more than a burnt black crisp.
"…Just leave it, I suppose. There's nothing we can do about it now." Mia closed her eyes for a moment and offered a small prayer. "My apologies for damaging the land here. Next time, I'll make sure to choose a barren location for any fire experiments."
In the end, Mia and Colson did some minor cleaning up in the area before they finally left and returned to the Hart mansion.
As Mia rested back in her room, she dreamed about Whimsy's skills for an entire night. Upon waking up the next morning, she felt almost as if she could visualize already how to continually help the Wind Slime grow stronger than she was. Perhaps she should ask Dega about the topic of skill books for monsters when they met up later today to finalize the plans for the tax collection tomorrow?
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