I sighed internally once I figured out this girl's special circumstances. It seems life really wants to make a joke out of me with all the things I've been thrown at.
"A A Witch? What do you mean?" Diao Chan asked.
It was no surprise that she did not know, they were unheard of within this Plane. Not because they were exceptionally rare but because people didn't know that they exist, even the witches themselves.
"I mean exactly that." I sighed, thinking about how troublesome it was going to be. "While Practitioners possess a Cultivation Point within their body that allows them to manipulate Elemental Quarks, Witches possess a Mana Core within their body and are incapable of manipulating Elemental Quarks directly."
She frowned at me, "Then what good would this Mana Core be? Is it Powerful?"
I gestured her towards the pavilion, "This will take a while to explain, let's talk about it over some snacks."
She followed behind me without hesitation, taking a seat opposite of me at the table while I took the side with my disciples.
Somehow this feels like a job interview
"I'm probably going to dump a lot of information now, so be prepared," I warned.
She nodded a go ahead.
"Normal Practitioners have a Cultivation Point within them that circulates Pure Elemental quarks. The amount they can contain within them is dependent on their proficiency and size of their Cultivation Point which can be enlarged the more the Practitioner cultivates. The air within our world is filled with Pure Elemental quarks so even an untrained Practitioner is able to tap into it unconsciously to refill their Cultivation Point."
Diao Chan scoffed, "Please do not insult my intelligence by telling me all these that even a twelve year old would know."
"If you do not want to listen to Master that much, the exit is right there," Lian Li growled while holding two strawberry tarts in her hands.
Diao Chan narrowed her eyes, "I only ask for my time to not be wasted here."
"Ara, ara? You're speaking as though you're wasting no one's time by being here? Are we a joke to you?" Manami asked, placing a cup of tea in front of me.
Eris nodded, "My lesson time with Master was cut short."
I picked up Cai Hong and placed her on my lap, facing away from me. She continued nibbling away at her cookie while staring at Diao Chan across from her.
"Alright, let's move on, shall we?" I tried to steer the conversation back, seeing how my disciples and her were throwing imaginary lightning at each other.
"Some people possess Mana Cores instead of a Cultivation Point, allowing them to contain what we know as mana within their bodies. The Mana Cores do not allow the user to manipulate Elemental Quarks directly, but they are able to generate and store mana that they can directly utilise in order to influence Elemental Quarks. However, for some reason yet unknown, Mana Cores are primarily found within females. Thus, these group of people are called Witches."
Diao Chan scowled again, "So basically you can't help me right? Since you can't use this so called Mana Core at all."
There was a loud crunch.
I looked down to see Cai Hong waving half of her cookie threateningly at Diao Chan, "Bad woman! Bad! Cai Hong no like!"
I patted her head to calm her down while looking back at Diao Chan, "I don't get why you're jumping to conclusions so fast. I'm the one telling you all this information aren't I? What makes you think I wouldn't know something about it?"
"Aside from the fact that everything seems too convenient and you aren't a female?" She answered with a voice full of sarcasm.
I shrugged, "You don't need to be here, as Lian Li said, the exit is right there. None of us will stop you from leaving."
There was a pause, she glanced towards the archway she came from before turning back to me. Cai Hong had went back to nibbling on her cookie.
"I'm sorry. I was too emotional, please carry on," she relented.
I nodded, "Witches rely on what we call Spells to materialise their mana into the material world. Their fundamentals are similar to Cultivation Techniques but Spells are exceedingly rare as compared to Cultivation Techniques. One reason is because they are much harder to invocate then Cultivation Techniques and only Witches could utilise a Spell's full power."
I took a sip of my tea.
Mmmm... Manami still makes the best tea.
"But the end result for both Spells and Cultivation Techniques are fundamentally similar. Both of them are making use of Elemental Quarks to influence the material world, albeit spells doing it in a roundabout way."
She looked pointedly at me, "I take it that you know a few spells then, Master Lin?"
"Indeed I do," I confirmed.
The matriarch of the Royal Spiritual Family Sect had been a very powerful Witch. Strong enough that no known Practitioners could stand a chance against her.
She was the main reason why I managed to get a position within her Sect since she took an interest in my intellect. She had posted a challenge for any Witch to decode and replicate a spell she had created but no one had succeeded until I came along.
I realised the connection between Cultivation Techniques and her Spell just from seeing it once and managed to decode it and understand the fundamentals of Spells from that challenge alone.
She thus recruited me as an archivist and allowed me free reign of the library.
The catch was that I also became the sole target for all her Spell testings.
Fun times Not.
So to say that I was an expert in Spells is an understatement.
Diao Chan narrowed her eyes, "So a Practitioner can use both Cultivation Techniques and Spells while a Witch can only use Spells?"
"Basically," I nodded.
Her skeptical look returned, "In that case, it sounds more like Witches are a downgrade of Practitioners aren't they? Since Spells and Cultivation Techniques are fundamentally similar, what use are Spells?"
"Ah, but they're actually quite different once you consider the intricate details," I answered with a knowing smile.
"A simple way to differentiate is like asking two people to get you a glass of water. One will go directly to the kitchen and pour out the water that has already been prepared beforehand and return back to you, that's Cultivation Techniques. The other will go up the mountain to search for an extremely pure water spring with a bucket, filling the bucket with said water before returning back to you. Both gives water, it's just the efficiency and quality of both will differ."
I stretched out my hand, Pure Elemental quarks gathering around my hand immediately and making it glow.
"For Practitioners, efficiency and speed is always the key. As such, if you ask the one who has always retrieved water from the kitchen to climb a mountain, it can still be done, just that the time taken is longer and the water they retrieved might not be as pure and plentiful."
I dispersed the Pure Elemental quarks before closing my eyes, "but if a Practitioner has enough practice, he might at least gain enough proficiency to utilise spells to a certain degree, though Witches will always naturally be better at it."
"Ah, but the Witch won't be able to take water from the kitchen because she's not allowed to be there?" Lian Li guessed.
I patted her head, "Hmmm, that's not wrong. Witches can only use Spells but are the best at using them while Practitioners can use both Cultivation Techniques and Spells but are not as adept at Spells as Witches."
"Could we see an example of a Spell, Master?" Eris asked.
"Umu," I stretched out a hand to point at the open area in the garden. "'Brilliance that shines upon the night, guardian of the eternal abyss. I seek thee by my name and bind thee to mine will, your service and obedience I demand from you. Shine forth by my command, strike down the blight upon the land. Heed thee, I call upon you! Light Wisp!'"
There was a gust of wind that blew through the garden before a flash of light appeared at where I had pointed my palm, merging itself slowly to form a ball of light that remained floating at where it was.
"A light ball, basically," I explained. "Used to light up dark areas and can follow its summoner around."
"That Is a Spell?" Diao Chan asked, staring at the Light Wisp floating a few meters away.
"Yes, as you can tell the difference already, a Spell requires an incantation to cast while a Cultivation Technique does not."
She furrowed her brows at me, "So what? All I need is to memorise a few lines and I can basically do anything?"
I smiled at her, "You can go ahead and try."
She reached out her hand and repeated the words I had spoken, only for nothing to happen.
"If all you had to do was to recite the words, anyone would be able to become a Witch," I laughed.
She swivelled to face me, "Then teach me!"
I raised my eyebrow at her, "I have yet to see why I should. I offered and you didn't accept, you came to me with less than honest intentions and I already have four other disciples to take care of."
She eyed all my disciples for a minute before standing up and making her way to my side.
"Fine then, you can have it. Just train me after you're done," She spat at me.
My eyes narrowed in confusion, "Have what? I do not know what you are talking about."
She gritted her teeth, "Stop pretending, you men are all the same! You want my body don't you?! Like how these girls must have tempted you! Just get it over with!"
A loud slap resounded throughout the courtyard, followed by another one soon after.
"You have guts bad mouthing our Master in front of us like that," Lian Li growled, glaring at her.
"Fufufu You behave quite arrogantly for a rabid dog who came barking for scraps," Manami smiled. "Do we need to throw you out?"
"Woman Bad," Cai Hong pouted.
"To know nothing about us and assume so much You truly don't know the definition of rude," Eris shook her head in pity.
Diao Chan furrowed her brows, both her cheeks beginning to redden from the two slaps Lian Li and Manami had given her.
"Master Lin! How dare your own--"
"Get out of my sight," I ordered, turning my eyes away from her.
"You heard me. I have no intention on taking someone as arrogant and rude as you under my wing, you might have better luck elsewhere though I doubt so."
Diao Chan spluttered at my sudden hostility, "Wha What? I Wait"
"I will not repeat myself again, you either walk out of here on your own two legs or I'm sending you out without them."
Realising I was serious, she quickly bolted out of my courtyard.
"More tea, Master?" Manami asked.
"Umu, yes please."
"And if it's not too much to ask, could I also warm your bed tonight?"
"... Why not?"