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A Mage's Cultivation by Bruce Sentar Book

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Overview: Compilation of Mana Master, Mana Beast and Mana Immortal in a massive 1000+ page volume.

In a world where mages and monster grow from cultivating mana. Isaac joins the class of humans known as mages who absorb mana to grow more powerful. To become a mage he must bind a mana beast to himself to access and control mana.

But when his mana beast is far more human than he expected; Isaac struggles with the budding relationship between the two of them as he prepares to enter his first dungeon.

Unfortunately for Isaac, he doesn’t have time to ponder the questions of his relationship with Aurora. Because his sleepy town of Locksprings is in for a rude awakening, and he has to decide which side of the war he is going to stand on. Disclaimer: There are adult situations and harem relationships.

A Mage's Cultivation by Bruce Sentar Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
A Mage's Cultivation by Bruce Sentar Book

A Mage's Cultivation by Bruce Sentar Book Read Online Chapter One

I rolled out of bed. I’d awoken from another dream about the imaginary friend I had as a child. I wasn’t sure why the image of her stuck with me through the years or why I’d imagined myself eating what I now know was a mana beast core. I must have seen it in one of my dad’s books when I was little or something. 

Humans are unable to generate mana. Mana beast cores allow those that eat them to bind the mana beast and use its mana to step into the world of mages.

Actually, eating one as a kid would have killed me. Even now, I’m still working to prepare my body for my first mana beast.

It was light enough outside that I didn’t need to find a candle to get around the house, though that meant I had less time to get to the academy.

I’d deal with being late if it came to that. First, I needed to wake up. 

Yawning, I made my way downstairs to find the kitchen empty and the house quiet. A note sat by the coffee pot, my father's scrawled letters apparent. 

I knew what it would say but read it anyway.

Isaac, I was called off to deal with a threat just outside the city. I’ll be back in time for your evaluation.

Short and brief, that was my father’s style. It didn’t bother me; he’d been closed off since mom had passed.

My father spent more and more time protecting the city with each passing year, like he was trying to make up for her death.

I rinsed out a small mesh bag and filled it with dark, ground beans. Filling a black kettle with some water, I put it over the fireplace.

The beans had a bitter smell as they cooked. Harvested from the dungeons and cultivated for its caffeine, I’d read that the plant was like the coffee beans used back when goods were traded far and wide across the world. 

But all I needed was the quick caffeine hit, however that came.

The fireplace burned as it always had and always would. My father had come home once with an ever-burning fire, a look of pride on his face as he installed it. It was a magical item from dungeons; it would burn for hundreds of years before going out.

While the coffee was brewing, I couldn’t help but check my chest in the hall mirror. They said you felt it when your first ring formed, but I still checked religiously.

It would be the sign that I’d formally stepped into the world of cultivation that I’d been eagerly anticipating my entire life.

Forming the first ring wasn’t easy. It required a normal person, as we are all born, to slowly incorporate mana into their body through medicine and meditation. Breaking down the body through exercise, mana would slowly become a part of you until you had enough mana to form that first ring. Then, everything changed.

While still human, that first ring was like a metamorphosis, changing the person into a mage with endless potential and abilities, capable of soaring to the heavens.

I had high hopes mine would come before the final evaluation of the year. It had to; others had formed their first ring and gained their first mana beast the last few weeks. I refused to be left behind.

Running my hand across the unmarked skin of my chest, I couldn’t help but feel a determination to succeed. Hands out in front, I started stepping through my sword forms.

I’d already planned out what kind of monster I would seal within my first ring. I would specialize in the neutral element metal, like my father. 

It was a solid, stable way to use rings. I was just building my foundation for now.

The world would step to my beat one day.

My heart beat faster and the surge in my blood started to build up to a crescendo as I danced through footwork in the kitchen. Hitting my peak speed, the pressure in my blood feeling like it was about to burst, the kettle started squealing, breaking me from my fond dreams of the future.

Whatever was building inside of me dispersed. I shook my head and got back to my morning. It wasn’t the first time I’d felt that rush.

I often felt the need to explode into motion and embrace the building tension that came with it, but I never quite hit the moment of complete satisfaction. I was always left wanting more, like an orgasm you just couldn’t reach.

I sighed. I’d been dealing with that problem on a couple fronts. Hopefully, Kat and I would deepen our relationship and get there soon. 

Scooping up the kettle from the fire, the warm wooden handle dispersed gentle warmth to my waking body. I slowly drank the liquid, enjoying the feel of the caffeine hitting my body as I prepared for more boring lessons. 

I continued my daydreams as I got ready for school; I was so close. Soon, I could leave Locksprings for the first time in my life.

After graduating from the academy and receiving that first ring and mana beast, the world of cultivation opened up to you.

The Sun and Moon Hall was the only sect that had a presence in town. But they took so few, and it was usually just girls.

But that didn’t matter. I'd likely end up among the many that just set off into the world to grow as a mage and explore all there is to see.

Locksprings was a small town. We got almost no visitors. The world had forgotten us since the dungeons opened up and flooded the world with mana.

I poured myself some coffee and started on my oatmeal. It was a simple breakfast, but what was important was my daily mana. It was more important than hurrying to class; I’d be late but getting mana into my system was more important.

In the cupboard, I pulled out a small wooden box and opened the lid. Inside, there was a fist-sized mana crystal and a file, one made of material from a dungeon.

My oats warming on the fire, I carefully held the crystal as I started filing off dust from the crystallized pure mana.

It was part of my daily ritual. I broke down my body through exercise and ingested a small quantity of pure mana. Eventually, my body would form its first ring.

Mana was a mutagen. It altered the human body.

Since the dungeon portals had appeared and started pouring mana into our world, everything had been changed by mana. Animals that strengthened with mana were called mana beasts, and humans could harness the change in a controlled process called cultivation.

Tempering my body with shavings of this mana crystal was how I would start on the path of cultivation.

They didn’t teach why we all formed a circular seal on us called a ring, but they had taught us that pushing ourselves too hard too fast could end up just like the mana beasts, a feral creature obsessed with consuming mana.

Eyeing the now bubbling oatmeal, I figured a few more shavings wouldn’t hurt and made a bit more dust before putting it back in the velvet-lined case.

It was one of the more precious things I owned; it literally held my future.

Scraping my bowl clean, I set the dishes to soak as I hurried out the door.

I was on my way to class when I saw Kat leaning against a stone wall. Her petite silhouette against the wall made a fantastic sight for any man. We’d been in class together for a long time and dating for about the past six months.

Kat’s red locks fanned out behind her as she turned to see me. But the soberness on her face made my heart drop into the pit of my stomach.

I wanted to wrap her up in a hug and fix whatever was wrong. It sounded stupid, but Kat and I had felt like two halves of a whole since the beginning.

“Waiting for me, Kat?” It wouldn’t be the first time, but something told me it might be the last. I felt my heart clench.

She shifted away from the wall and I got a better look at her. She was beautiful. Her curly crimson locks framed her heart-shaped face. She wore a fitted black V-neck with a flowing blue skirt. I reached her, brushing her cheek as I tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. She’d always been so soft and sweet.

“Hi, Isaac.” Just that had made her frown vanish for a second before whatever was on her mind weighed her back down.

“Let’s head to school.” I held out my arm for her to hook onto. 

I left it dangling in the air as the world seemed to grow cold.

“I can’t. Isaac, I’m leaving town. The Sun and Moon Hall has accepted me and will help my mother…” She trailed off, unable to meet my gaze.

Feeling like I was at the edge of a cliff, I wanted to scream and tell her that she should stay with me. This however, was the opportunity of a lifetime for Kat.

I took a deep breath and smiled warmly at her. “That’s amazing, Kat! I’m so proud of you.” I reached out and pulled her into a tight hug. She snuggled in, resting her head on my shoulder. I held myself together, the last thing I wanted was an ugly memory of us being her last.

“I asked if you could come too. I really did, Isaac.” She leaned back, looking up at me with uncertainty dancing in her eyes, wanting to make sure I knew she had tried.

I believed her. Not for a second did I think she’d want to leave me behind. I smiled down at her and shrugged. “The Sun and Moon Hall just doesn’t take many men. We both knew it was unlikely for me to ever make it there. Don’t worry, I’ll make a name in the world of mages in some other sect.” I winked and gave her my best award-winning smile.

Her eyes warmed a bit and I could tell her spirits were up. “Good. I’ll… wait for you. We always said we’d become top-tier mages and change the world for the better. I will always hold onto that.”

The warmth in her eyes had kindled into a bonfire that I hoped would keep burning. Kat had ambition, and I knew the Sun and Moon Hall had always been a real path for her.

“Don’t worry about me, Kat. This is a great opportunity for you, and we will be just fine. This doesn’t change our plans at all.”

She smiled so wide her eyes squinted and tilted her head back for a kiss.

I leaned down, claiming those soft lips. I deepened the kiss, reminding her of what we had together.

“I have to go, Isaac. But, one day, it’ll be me and you against the world.” Kat looked down, her hands lingering despite her words. She finally took a deep breath like she was about to plunge into icy water before turning and walking off.

I could see a tension in her shoulders as she walked away, each footstep heavy and forced.

Every few steps, she’d touch the vermilion bird hair clip I’d gotten her on our first date, ensuring she still had it.

After she left, I turned to head towards school, but I paused, knowing exactly where Kat was heading. The Sun and Moon Hall was well known, being the only sect that visited, but it was still incredibly secretive. I had yet to figure out where the Sun and Moon Hall held their presence in our town. I knew the Sect must have some place to recruit from and gather mages before taking them back to the Sect on the floating mountain.

They rarely took male disciples, but I figured, if I could be near their base, I could always casually meet and connect with those in the Sect.

I was making up reasons to follow her. I needed to turn around and let her go.

But… I had to make sure Kat was safe. There was still a lot of mystery around the Sect and who it took as a new recruit.

Decision made, I started walking in the direction Kat had gone.

She was walking through the city slowly when I spotted her again.

It was the early morning, and everyone was getting ready for the day. Her bright red hair stood out amidst the chaos of the morning bustle.

I took in all the pedestrians winding around the carts being pulled by horses or mana beasts. Buildings were patched up with whatever materials could be found around, but they still held a lot of their shape and old-world charm. The trimmings and decorative designs had been kept and replaced dozens of times to keep a bit of the old world alive. Locksprings had fared well since the dungeons appeared, but nobody had much extra wealth to throw around, making new buildings when they could patch up old ones in an endless cycle that made the buildings look a bit patchwork.

I followed Kat as she wound through the city towards the bustling bazaar, a different way than I’d gone before. She suddenly stopped on the street, pausing to stare at a dark black building with shaded windows.

After a moment’s hesitation, she squared her shoulders and walked into the building.

A buxom lady, showing generous amounts of skin that would make any mother scowl, greeted Kat like an old friend. Even from a distance, I could smell the cheap perfume wafting out.

It didn’t make sense. Why would Kat be here? Did the Sun and Moon Hall own the local brothel?

I leaned against the cool brick and watched as the lady welcomed a few men into her parlor. Eventually, I had no other explanation. I couldn’t help wondering what kind of sect ran a brothel in town.

Turning, I bumped into someone. I went to apologize but stopped short when I saw who was standing in front of me. Aiden Hill stood there in the silver and gold robes of the Sun and Moon Hall.

I was surprised to see him here. Aiden had left Locksprings two years ago as one of the rare men to get accepted into the Sun and Moon Hall.

Aiden was a grade A asshole—one whom I’d butted heads with more than once over the past few years.

He had always acted like a spoiled rich kid in a town where everyone else worked hard and supported each other.

I still couldn’t believe that he had been chosen for the Sect. He hadn’t been the best fighter by a longshot.

There were several rumors around his acceptance into the Sun and Moon Hall that only made me lose respect for him even more.

He hadn’t been strong enough to fight those his own age, so he had decided to come fight juniors in the academy before he left for the Sun and Moon Hall. We’d had some run-ins as a result, and Aiden hadn’t loved the outcome.

“Isaac, right?” He followed where my eyes had been. “Listen, forget about Kat. Forget about all of them that join the Sect. Honestly, they are in a different world than you now. It’s for the best.” Aiden chuckled, bumping into me as he started to walk past.

I sighed. Bullies were so boring sometimes. “Feeling big after two years, Aiden? Come back for a rematch? I handed you your ass then. Happy to help reset that ego of yours again if you’d like.” 

I could feel that pulsing sensation again, my body priming for the potential fight.

Aidan’s face started to turn red as he turned his body back towards me. 

We’d gone a few rounds in the pit before he had formed his first ring. The fight was far from even then, and I knew he was replaying it in his head now.

I tilted my head, waiting for his response and assessed his strength. 

By now, he probably was well on his way to his second ring. If he used his full force, I doubted my sword skill would matter for long.

But I wasn’t one to stand down to a bully, and I certainly could get in some solid hits before he overpowered me. Maybe I could give that stiff face of his a few bruises to remember me by.

Aiden let his robe slip, showing off that his second ring was far from completion.

“Watch yourself. I could crush you like an ant. You aren’t talking to a person. You are talking to a mage. Know your place before I put you in it.” He spit a little at the end of his tirade.

I stood straight and stared him down. Raising an eyebrow slightly, I just smiled. Even if he attacked me, he’d never make it through the town after. 

No one would put up with a mage attacking someone who hadn’t even popped their first ring. That was a cardinal sin in today’s world.

He huffed, seeing that he would not intimidate me. “See you later, and remember to forget about those that have left your pitiful world. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of Kat.”

I watched him walk away for a moment before turning away to clear my head. I needed to burn off some steam and push myself harder. I picked up the pace and decided to get some exercise on the way into the academy.

The academy was a washed-out old college building sporting mismatched bricks. There’d been more to the college before, but the main building and the low built natatorium were all that remained.

There were only three classrooms, each built like small amphitheaters.

After my encounter with Aiden, I shook off my worries and headed to class. I had missed the first class, but I was able to slip into the second before it started.

Tossing down my bag, I sat down next to my two friends, Jonny and Steve, taking out a bit of my steam on the chair as I plopped down.

Steve was tall and lanky, like someone had stretched him a bit too much. But he had a tanned, tough exterior from working on his father’s farm.

Jonny, on the other hand, was rounder. He blamed it on growing up in a restaurant. His coppery skin and black hair seemed to benefit him, however, as he seemed to have luck in chasing skirts.

Steve gave me his classic nod of recognition and continued to work on the pile of sticks before him. Steve had chosen to be an archer when we had decided on our specialties when we entered the academy.

As a result, he seemed to be perpetually making arrows. But I was pretty sure he was also selling them at his father’s tack shop for some spare coin. 

Jonny was more animated. “So, is today the big day?” He dropped his voice low like he was asking me for a secret. 

Of course, I knew what he was talking about, but his antics made me smile. “No. Still no ring. It better come before this year’s evaluation.”

At this rate, I’d be the last in this year’s class to get my first ring, and that would put me at a severe disadvantage.

Jonny had gotten his first ring a few weeks ago. He had already sealed a radiant peacock, a life mana beast. It wasn't really built for combat, but it was good at what it did, which was healing.

Steve had been the first of the trio to get his ring. He had absorbed the core of a gust horse. Both of them had obtained their first ring and bound a rank one mana beast to it. 

Steve looked up, frowned slightly, and shrugged.

“Yeah, I know Steve. I just need to be patient.”

I was thankful for his intervention, but I was just as anxious as Jonny. I already carried around the monster core I wanted to use, just waiting.

The Steel-Winged Swallow was a perfect fit for my swift and sharp sword style. It had tremendous boons for a mage; it was the epitome of speed and focused on sharp piercing attacks. I was looking forward to dashing past monsters only to have them split open in my wake. 

“I hear getting laid increases the chance of a ring forming the next day, something about how well you sleep after,” Jonny said with a straight face, brushing away imaginary dust from his pants. 

Steve and I had long learned Jonny’s priority in life. He’d admitted more than once that his dream in life was to have a harem of beauties.

My thoughts flitted back to the brothel, causing me to frown.

“Jonny, that’s ridiculous—there’s no data to support that claim.” Though I didn’t have much force behind the denial.

“No data disproving it either,” Steve tossed in his two cents without looking up from his pile of half-made arrows.

Jonny smiled wide. “See, Isaac? Steve agrees. I know a few ladies who’d be willing to help you out. Call it a birthday gift.” 

Before I could argue, Professor Locke entered the classroom and everyone’s conversations subsided. 

The professor was an older, well-fed man. I couldn’t imagine him fighting monsters with a sword in hand. He was, however, old enough to lead the lessons. His crown of gray hair and wrinkles suggested he had made it to an older age than most.

After complaining to my father years ago about learning from a senile old man, I’d learned the man was a veteran mage who had formed his third ring, which had earned my respect.

Locke stood silently at the front of the room. He used his obvious irritation to silence the class.

He basked in the still moment before starting class with his classic phrase. “You are the newest generation—you have the opportunity to arm yourself with more knowledge than those before you. Learn well, and you and those you love may survive.” 

There was the unsaid inverse about what would happen if you didn’t learn well.

I might not have believed it when I was younger, but now I was old enough to notice those a few years older than me heading out of the city.

Everyone tried not to make an enormous deal of it, but I noticed when some of their families suddenly became downtrodden or a mother’s eyes were strained from crying. Every year, it seemed like more and more mages left while none returned. 

“Now I know none of you can focus on my alluring tales with your evaluation around the corner. So rather than review monsters or herbs today, we’ll go back over the basics of cultivation since so many of you are now forming your first rings.” He picked up a piece of chalk and wrote as he continued his lecture.

“Humans have no source of mana generation, unlike mana beasts. However, once we form our first ring, humans are able to seal a mana beast and obtain the ability to generate mana. In reality, it’s the mana beast creating the mana that we can then use. Can anyone tell me the elements of mana?”

A blonde at the front shot up her hand. I instantly recognized Michelle’s form.

Responding before she was called on, she rattled off, “Earth, wind, water, fire, metal, life and void.” 

I rolled my eyes. Michelle and I weren’t exactly on friendly terms. It was a long story, but we enjoyed taking opportunities in combat training to prove who was better.

“Very good.” Locke continued.

Michelle glanced over her shoulder and winked at me, knowing I was annoyed with her antics.

The teacher cleared his throat, and Michelle snapped back to attention. “Mana, unfortunately, does not retain its pure form once it has passed through the dungeon portal, save for mana crystals that are mined within the dungeon. We cannot consume elemental mana safely. Thus, we must wait for our first ring to cultivate in earnest. I assume you all consumed some raw mana crystal with your breakfasts,” he said, making his point. “Once you seal your first mana beast, you may use them as the furnace for your cultivation, so to speak.”

Locke made eye contact with everyone in class. “But do beware. We all want to progress quickly, but some methods will damn you. Practicing corrupt techniques will lead to rapid growth, but also rapid loss of yourself. You will be killed for the good of the community should you be caught practicing corrupt magics.”

The world was an enormous but incredibly dangerous place. Until you became a mage, it really wasn’t smart to leave the city. Locksprings might as well have been an island.

Not far outside the city, there were mana beasts that had come from dungeons left open too long. Wild and deadly, they kept those without power confined together for survival.

Mages became corrupt because the power to be free was too tempting.

After that first ring, it was possible to go at it alone and travel outside the city if you were smart and avoided danger. But most people moved in small teams to have each other's backs and up their chance of survival.

In the end, most people joined a larger organization like a sect.

A mage needed to find dungeons suitable for their level of strength in order to progress. And, in a sect, stronger mages would take on the more challenging dungeons, doling out lower-ranked dungeons to lower-ranking members for a price.

I’d heard that a number of sects existed in the wilds past the city, but information didn’t flow back to the city very well and not many mages ever returned.

I’d only heard rumors. But I already knew that, if there were options out there, I was going to find them. Cracking my neck, I casually rechecked my chest.

Jonny caught my look and flashed me a cheeky grin. Steve continued forming the arrow shafts and nodded. Wherever things went, we were a team and would stay together. The loss of Kat wouldn’t break up this trio.

The class ticked by as Professor Locke continued describing the underlying principles of cultivation. Before long, the class was unbearable with the weight of anxiousness in the room as combat training approached. 

Locke didn’t hold us there unnecessarily. “Go, go. Practicals are next hour. Homework for today is to interview one current mage about dungeons.”

Jonny nudged me, and I realized that, while I was lost in my thoughts of sects and my run in with Kat earlier, the class had mostly cleared out. We got up to head to our practicals.

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