10 [Energy]

On the walk home, I think I finally recognized why I only seem to be familiar with the most minuscule of things in this world. If my memory serves me right, it'd mean I've never actually interacted with this anime.

At least, I've never interacted with the source material.

I read about this world in a certain fan-fiction. This fact I only realized after thinking thoroughly about what Rias told me; the implication that this world harbored almost every known pantheon and faction in human mythology.

A small, but significant detail that made me remember it clearly.

The only issue is that the setting of the fan-fiction was set hundreds of years before canon. Plus the main character was focused on the Greek pantheon and he was human. In other words, it was so far away from canon it might as well have been its own original story.

All my information about this world is so outdated it doesn't even matter. The only thing I know from reading that fan-fiction is that vampires will kick my ass and that there was apparently a... boob dragon in Kuoh Town?

Oh, and that Touki is way stronger than I give it credit for.

The main character was cutting up the Nemean lion and basilisks with it. Then again he had a legendary sword, years of training, and a full adventurer party.

...This world is much scarier than the Demonata. I don't regret my choice because getting stronger in the Demonata is near impossible but still, I may have miscalculated.

Another thing I think I miscalculated is my choice of magic.

The biggest part of transmutation is the ability to well... transmute things. To turn one substance into another substance. As it stands, I can't really do that. Yes, I can disassemble and reassemble things on a molecular level, sure.

But to change a base metal into gold like the 'pinnacle of alchemy' suggests, would require a level of control that I just don't have. On an atomic scale, in fact. Plus there are a ton of other factors that I think I know of, but then I'll somehow forget about some super obscure law of physics and blow up Japan.

So until my skills upgrade, I can't get into any of the more ambitious projects I had in mind.

Don't get me wrong, just being able to transform most things is a very powerful ability on its own, but I was hoping for more.

For now, though, I should probably start to push all my skills and abilities in one direction. Versatility and utility are good but with the looming threat of stronger beings, I need to get stronger quickly. And I can't do that if I'm trying to learn everything at once.

Therefore, I need a build.

Finally getting home, I step inside and make sure there are no surprises in my home. The first few days of my new life have been a bit hectic. Not too bad, but it undoubtedly put me on edge.

Thankfully, there's nothing around that I can see. That isn't too reassuring when magical creatures of any type could exist, watching me for whatever reason, but there's nothing I can currently do about that.

Either way, there are a few things I want to try when it comes to my Ki.

Closing my eyes, it takes a few seconds for me to get a hold of my Ki. This is something I thought about when I first played around with my life force.

I tried comparing it to other anime energy sources, but it was a little different in every scenario.

Unlike Naruto's chakra, it didn't originate from any one organ. From the moment I used Burst, my Ki has been in a certain perpetual state. The ball of light was still there, but I couldn't tell where it was exactly. I'm assuming my soul, but that's an assumption just based on anime stereotypes.

Different from the excitable ball of energy it was before, it seemed to be content now. Strands and branches of light originate from it now and connect to each and every pore in my body, seemingly just ignoring any of my fleshy parts and flowing through me.

I realize now that it was always doing that, but the light was dimmer before, to the point of being damn near invisible. It's what separates me from the average person. If I had to use a word to describe it, I'd say that normal people have dormant Ki, and mine is awakened.

The only thing similar it had to Naruto's chakra was that it could affect my perception.

But that's only if I made it do so. I could technically put myself under an illusion. But I wasn't skilled enough to do anything crazy like affect my perception of time so it really isn't useful. If I could control someone else's ki, then it could be useful. But that seemed impossible

And unlike in DBZ's Ki, it had nothing to do with my emotions or mental state. From what I could tell, I think it was less potent as well. Otherwise, I'd be able to blow up a neighborhood by now according to DBZ standards. And I... can't do that. Not with just my pure Ki.

It does carry some similarities, but not enough to say they're the same.

The closest energy in anime I could think of was Nen from Hunter x Hunter.

Although Nen isn't as abundant as the Ki of this universe, nor does it allow for the user to make self illusions, it functions the same as a substance. If I had to guess the difference? It'd be that Nen is more spiritual in nature while the Ki here is more physical.

I can't have a Hatsu, believe me, I tried the Water Divination test and nothing happened, but I can still similarly manipulate my Ki as one would with Nen.

I tried to guide my Ki towards my eyes before, but it was like trying to gather water with your hands and transfer it. Nearly impossible and would've taken forever. When I tried to force the Ki there instead, it felt like I was trying to push a mountain with my eyeballs with how much strain there was.

But there's one technique I hadn't considered until now.

If my Ki functions like Nen, for the most part, that means the reason people die by old age is that their Ki slowly leaks out of their body. Even if it's dormant and unusable.

By awakening my Ki, my lifespan should've increased quite a bit. Most likely it increases my lifespan the more Ki that I have. Eventually, it'll catch up to me and I'll die by old age but if I get much stronger it'll be a long time until that happens.

Basically, the stronger I am, the longer I'll live.

And what if I add on to that even further?

I can't force my Ki to completely stop flowing, that'd be a technique even harder than focusing Ki into my eyes. But I can try something else.

Focusing inwards, I see that familiar ball of light again. Mentally zooming out, I can see that it's slowly letting out waves of Ki and dispersing that Ki into the air once it reaches too far from my body. Keeping calm, I slightly alter the direction of the Ki to a cyclone.

The cyclone spins and whirls around my body, picking up any Ki that strays too far and pushing it back into that same rotating motion, layering my skin in energy and not allowing it to go any further.

[Technique Discovered: Touki – Shroud]

<By allowing your Ki to flow outward but stay within and through the body, you keep it from wandering away. While active this reduces aging, slightly boosts healing, and offers limited protection against normal attacks. The smoothness of one's Shroud determines their internal Ki control.>

[Touki Manipulation (Novice) has been upgraded to Touki Manipulation (Apprentice) by learning the most basic Touki techniques.]

That's what you like to see.

I should probably try and keep this active at all times. Even when I'm sleeping. No one besides other Ki users should even be able to see it. After all, I've technically been leaking huge amounts of Ki all day and no one has really said anything or looked at me funny.

Immediately, the sudden increase in Ki Control becomes noticeable. If before I could only flex my Ki like a muscle to make it do things, now I could control it as if it were a limb.

The focus of my Ki on parts of my body still seems impossible, but only because it would take a huge amount of Ki to do so. Further training would be needed for something like that.

I wonder if I can ask the Devils for help when it comes to training. They should know more than me about supernatural things and their leader thinks she can persuade me to join so she'll probably just give me whatever information I need.

They even gave me this Devil summoning thing. The magic circle makes no sense to me, but I guess that's the point of it being tailored to her clan. It's like an encrypted spell so I can't just read the circle and summon her without the paper.

I probably would've accepted, albeit reluctantly, if she wasn't a 'devil'. Not to be racist, but I barely trust random humans, much less a species known for making deals that seem good but are actually shit in the end.

Without the insurance that I can back out at any point, I don't think I'll ever make a deal with a devil.

My musing is interrupted when a sudden feeling of isolation passes over me. I have no idea what just happened, but it feels like I was just cut off from the rest of the world.

Instinctively, I check my body for anything even slightly off. Physically I look and feel fine, and even my magic and ki feel pretty normal, so what the hell just happened?

Then I heard someone ring the doorbell. Did just holding this paper summon the devils outside my house or something?

...No, I don't recall feeling like this when they were near me before.

Slowly, I get off the couch and walk over to the front door. Now that I'm standing here, something just jumped out to me.

It's quiet. Too quiet. Soundless, even. As if reality itself was holding its breath in anticipation.

As I stand there confused, whoever is at the door starts to get impatient. Ringing and ringing the bell over and over again aggressively. Normally I'd just open it but that earlier feeling has my blood pumping. Whoever this is definitely isn't friendly.

Going to the kitchen, I pick up a chef's knife and twist it around in my hand. Using a bit of transmutation magic, the knife now has the same effect as if it was just recently sharpened.

There are no real weapons besides the knife in this house so this is as good as it's gonna get.

By now, aggressive ringing at the door has turned into them banging on it. If they're saying anything, I can't hear it. I might be overreacting a little but I don't want to take any chances.

Putting the knife behind my back, I'm about to open the door when I remember I haven't checked out something.

There a certain skill that was unlocked a while ago that I haven't looked into.

[Sacred Gear: Revelation Shatter]

<Your eyes glow with a scarlet light. While active, you can see the weak points of an enemy. They become clearer the longer the user fights. Costs stamina while active.>

There's a weird tingling in my eyes, but that's about it. If the stamina cost is this slim, I should be able to use this for a very long time while fighting.

Honestly, I'm a bit surprised. When I heard the word 'Sacred Gear' I thought it would summon an item or something. A crash course on how this world works would be really nice right about now.

Finally, I opened the door.

...And there was no one there.

"...Who the hell rung my doorbell?" I wondered out loud, not really expecting an immediate answer.

But a manic voice decided to answer behind me anyway, "Ooh, ooh! I know, I know, it was me!"

I spun around at the sound of the voice to see a man with white hair and red eyes. He was clearly not Japanese, and very clearly not right in the head. I don't know how he got in without me noticing, but he was acting like a toddler, raising his hand as if he was being called on in class.

<Freed Sellzen – Battle Power: 0>

<Unique Ability: None>

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