After cheering the red-haired boy back up again using a heroic protagonist speech, Mia had to rest once more to allow her mana to recover.
Last time, casting the [Drain Air] spell which constantly cost mana while maintaining the effects had sent her into mana fatigue. This time, she cast [Drain Air] twice, but rested in between each usage. She also stopped the spell each time before things could become any worse for Colson, and with Whimsy's support, she actually felt like she could still keep casting spells for a while longer.
Mia took a look at her own status and found to her pleasant surprise that she still had approximately twenty-five percent mana remaining. This was the difference of Whimsy's [Wind Support] passive along with resting for ten minutes?
The rat in the corner was perfectly still and unmoving. Mia had almost forgotten about it, with Colson somehow taking over the focus of the experiment that should have originally been on the rat.
"Is it… dead?" No matter what Mia was doing to the rats involved in the experiment, she was still a girl. She definitely had a preference to avoid touching a rat if she could help it.
Colson walked over and prodded it with his foot. The rat didn't respond at all. Flipping it over with his foot, Colson saw that the rat was bleeding from its orifices.
"Milady… it happened again." Colson kneeled down and checked the rat closer for any signs of life. "I think it's still alive, right on the verge of death… Is your spell really that effective?"
Mia shook her head. "No, it has limitations, remember? If it was that easy to use, I wouldn't need to perform all these experiments or take roundabout methods to come up with my own attack spells. Why do you think that I picked this storeroom? It's not only because this room is rather disused. More important to me is the environment here."
They cleaned up after themselves before the silver-haired girl then led Colson outside the mansion, continuing to make sure that nobody saw them by avoiding servants with the [Detection] spell. Mia stopped a few meters away from the mansion, indicating to Colson that he should set down the cage of rats in a patch of grass.
"Okay, would you please watch over me as I try my spell here? I want to see how the environment affects the spell that I came up with."
"Sure." Colson prepared himself to watch and learn what he could as well. He had already found himself on the losing end of this spell of hers twice in a row, even if she used some slightly cheap tactics. It was his duty for both their sakes to discover if he could find any additional weaknesses of her spell.
Mia took a deep breath and once again started casting [Drain Air] for the third time today on the vicinity of the rat cage.
Casting [Drain Air] in the stuffy storeroom that lacked ventilation was akin to scooping water out of a cup, a process that was slow but doable.
However, using [Drain Air] in a wide-open field was more analogous to scooping water out of an ocean! Whenever Mia moved a pocket of air away from the rat cage, another pocket of fresh air would instantly swoop in to replace it. Mia soon sensed that she was accomplishing nothing, and changed her spell.
Could she somehow create a type of mini-vacuum and block off all fresh air from entering a certain area, even if it was out in the open? Mia tried combining her [Still Air] spell with [Drain Air] to see if she could somehow asphyxiate the rats. That was her penultimate goal, to defeat her opponents through scientific trickery rather than outright magical or physical brute force since she didn't have the means to do the latter.
Unfortunately, maintaining these two spells constantly ended up draining her mana far too quickly. Not only that, Mia could still sense that some air was still breaking through – her control was imperfect and unable to block off the area entirely.
Mia could only cancel her spells and force herself to stop there as she sensed she was on the verge of entering the state of mana fatigue. Clenching her fists tightly, the little girl also grit her teeth and bit her lips in disappointment at not being able to succeed. Even though she had already expected it to be much harder in an open environment and that this might possibly fail, she still couldn't contain her feelings of letdown.
Whimsy seemed to sense her disappointment and gently patted Mia on the back, reminding her that she wasn't by herself. The silver-haired girl shook herself, stomped her foot once in order to vent, then regained her composure.
Meanwhile, Colson simply waited while staring at the rat cage, clueless as to what Mia was doing. However, he noticed a small commotion and turned to look at what was going on.
While the red-haired boy had zero talent for sensing external mana outside his body and remained unaware of Mia's attempts to control the air, he could still tell that Mia was obviously frustrated.
Was she… throwing a small temper tantrum? Colson even witnessed her slime coming out to give her a small hug while she stomped on the ground. He put two and two together and figured that something must have failed.
"It's okay, Milady. There's always next time, even if you fail, right? We can do this together!" For once, Colson felt like Lady Mia Hart was acting her age. She always seemed so mature and calm, but she was prone to temper tantrums just like other young children as well? Colson was struck with the sudden urge to console her. He even reached out to pat Mia on the head, returning the favor from earlier.
The moment he patted her on the head, *Smack!* A green tendril slapped his hand away. Whimsy jumped up onto Mia's head and appeared to be glaring at Colson in an angry manner!
Mia giggled when she realized what was going on. She felt much better already simply from seeing all this.
"Haha, thanks for the thought, Colson. I'll be alright, really." She did consider herself to mentally be a mature person who could at least regulate her own emotions. Unfortunately, it was far too early to be telling him something like that yet.
"I think that Whimsy considers my head as her own personal territory that only she gets to claim. I apologize, but I think you'll have to refrain from patting me on the head in the future." The silver-haired girl chuckled once again.
Was that really what happened to him just now? Colson was too surprised to even formulate a response. He had never realized before that slimes were capable of being so territorial!
"I appreciate your concern," Mia continued. "As you probably figured out already, my spell didn't work like I was hoping for, but I already expected as much, so it's okay. Rome wasn't built in a day."
"Rome? What's that? Is that some type of building?" Colson had never heard of such an object by the name of "Rome."
"Er… what I meant is that while this is important to me, it's not something so critical that it needs to be rushed. Yep, that's all!" Mia wiped some sweat off her forehead. That was bad of her! She was really going to have to pay closer attention to not use phrases from her previous world that people wouldn't understand here.
"Why was it that your spell failed?" Colson asked out of genuine curiosity. "Didn't it succeed back in the storeroom? Normally, elemental spells are amplified by the environment they're in. Wind spells will usually receive a bonus, albeit small, from being cast while outdoors. Meanwhile, your wind magic should have been slightly weaker in that storeroom that was so dusty and poorly ventilated. What happened?"
"Well, you could say that my spell works oppositely from the norm. This particular spell works much better in an enclosed environment than in an open one, precisely because there's less air that I need to worry about. It's a matter of quantity." Mia decided to go with such an explanation.
Now that she thought about it after Colson reminded her, she wasn't much like a typical wind mage at all, was it? Wind magic was regarded as a magic type which excelled in area of effect damage, long range, and support spells related to one's speed, with terrain bonuses anywhere that was outdoors. Meanwhile, she excelled in defense with her self-created [Slime Armor] skill with Whimsy, and her greatest terrain bonus came from being in enclosed areas where she could more easily deplete the air. Was she secretly supposed to have been an earth mage instead?
Who decided such things like the primary job class one automatically received, anyways? The God of Adventurers? Or was there some God of Job Classes or another God?
Mia shook her head and decided to put such thoughts out of her mind. Even if there were Gods somewhere out there capriciously deciding upon such things, she doubted it was anything that a human like her would be able to interfere with. For now, she wanted more to focus on the present.
"For now, I'd like to ask you to continue teaching me while I rest and recover my mana," Mia requested to Colson. Upon seeing how he took two steps backwards from her, she added another sentence to reassure him. "I'm not going to attack you this time, I promise! My mana is almost exhausted, and I have no more reason to fool you, because I already showed you what I wanted you to realize, that you shouldn't trust others so easily. Could you teach me more about job classes?"
Mia even tried to adopt an innocent-looking expression by widening her eyes. "Please, won't you forgive me for tricking you earlier?"
In the end, Colson found himself unable to resist the little girl's pleading and puppy eyes, causing him to sigh. "What would you like to specifically know?"
"Specifically? Could you tell me in more detail about the benefits and downsides of having a physical and magical job class together?" This was a topic Mia was quite concerned about, since it had already happened to her.
"Mixed job classes? Alright." Colson took a moment to gather his thoughts.
"First of all, people can only choose secondary job classes that they have the talent for. For instance, a person won't be able to become a wind mage like Milady without having the ability to control wind mana. Or, for physical job classes, you won't be able to enter a job class like swordsman without first having enough talent or been taught enough to understand the job class."
The red-haired boy took out a flask of water and took a sip to rinse his throat before he continued speaking. "Physical and magical job classes tend to have different stat growth patterns. While each job class has slightly different variations, the overall trend is that physical job classes will have better stat growths in HP, Attack, and Defense as you level up, while magic job classes are oriented towards Mana, Magic, and Resistance stats. If you level up in two different job classes with very different stat specializations, you're going to end up having lower stat points all around than someone who focused on only physical or magic job classes. That will usually make you weaker in direct combat."
Colson paused at this point in his lecture. "Are you following me on all this?"
"Yeah," Mia nodded. "Basically, a person that mixes job classes will become a generalist, and will probably never be as good at a particular role as a specialist can be. Is it really that bad, though? Aren't generalists usually more versatile and team-oriented?"
"That's just a nice way of putting it. When adventurers or mercenaries recruit for a team, everyone has a specific role to play on the team. Just think about it, would you really want someone who's only half decent at everything to perform a critical role like vanguard? Every major team out there would prefer to recruit a specialist. That's just how it is. Well, that's what my grandfather taught me," Colson added at the end.
Generalists weren't very popular with adventurer and mercenary teams? Mia had never thought of it in such a fashion before.
Yet, Colson's logic made sense to her when she thought about it. She supposed that if she was recruiting and organizing her own team, she would probably want specialists on her team as well. And now that she thought about it, whenever she played video games with large casts of characters to choose from, she indeed picked specialist characters rather than the "jack of all trades" type of characters.
Even if generalists that mixed their job classes like Mia weren't considered a popular choice, Mia felt that there were still things that only she could accomplish. After all, she was quite familiar with the job class system of this video game world. While she couldn't claim to be intimately familiar with every single job class available, she had more than enough knowledge about what job classes were considered simply higher tier than others in overall power level and efficiency.
Mia had a sudden flash of inspiration. Could she possibly try having people work under her command in the future, with herself customizing everyone's equipment and job classes? That would be quite similar to how some RPG games had the option where players could hire NPC characters and customize every little detail down to the party members' abilities. Mia wanted to try that out as well in the future, if she was able to.
Still, that would require both reputation and money. Otherwise, who would even want to work for her? Mia also had doubts regarding whether it would be so easy to pull off in real life. Would other people really be willing to allow her to advise them on choosing sub-classes to complement their main job classes? Mia felt that if someone suddenly came up to her and told her to join whatever sub-class, she'd feel like it was nothing more than a scam.
"Colson, have you ever thought about what you want for your own sub-class? As I recall, you haven't entered one yet, correct? And, would you be willing to let me pick one for you?"
In case you like the adventures of Mia, I made a discord channel for this novel! Please join if you're interested! https://discord.gg/A9UKpww
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