Monstroth had decided a week back that he hated the Plains. It was cold, there was no sand, and there were trees spread around like cacti. It was just... wrong. And all those ponds didn't help in the least! People actually swam in them! Not once had he seen children swimming in a passing village pond. How could their parents allow it?
"Still hate the plains, boy?"
"Yes, Master," Monstroth grumbled, "Though my largest concern is a lack of sand. I only see grass and the occasional rock or boulder. How would we defend ourselves if someone were to attack? My Plasma isn't powerful enough to heal anything major yet." Monstroth didn't mention that that was his only other Mystic. He didn't want to reveal anything substantial to the Sovereign for some reason. Maybe that Bandit background...
The Sovereign grunted. "Foolish boy, why do you need sand?" As if to demonstrate this point, he raised his hand and a trail of dark earth leaked from the grassy area around them. "The soil of the plains is made of almost fifty percent minerals. Ignore the water and air pockets in the ground, and you have nearly all the ground in your control." The man smiled his evil smile and raised both hands. The ground ripped up and clay - Monstroth knew of the stuff from the potters - was drawn from the surrounding ground. It bundled in from of the two men and formed a large humanoid shape. Incredible...
"You can make a clay figure, even," the Sovereign said. "Now, stop complaining and start practicing what I have been teaching you. Maybe once you figure that out, you can draw on the minerals unseen like this."
The Sovereign left the large clay man standing there and they continued on. Monstroth just nodded and went along. His master, despite his evil grin and shady past, was proving to be one of the best Monstroth had known. He still had doubts, but with every lesson he was seeing that more and more.
So, Monstroth practiced what he had been taught. He pulled a rock out of his bags and embraced his Mineral Mystic. The dryness of the power spread through his body, giving off the feeling of actually being sand. His master had said this feeling was the key to truly connecting with the minerals of the planet. Making a bond between the user and the mineral was the true power that Monstroth had. He had been told that he needed to make that bond strong enough to be unbreakable by anyone else.
As soon as Monstroth lifted the rock in his hand, a force pressed on it. The feeling was like someone was literally pulling on his bond. Well, they actually were. Monstroth focused, though, assuring the strongest connection he could. His master actually smiled as he tried to rip the small rock from his apprentice. Sands, it felt good to see that evil smile at times like this! It meant Monstroth was succeeding.
Ever since he had started training under a proper master, Monstroth had always been told he was a dutiful apprentice. He would always practice what was asked of him, despite knowing most of the assignments already. It was true that he did this out of respect for his masters, but it was also true that he had been beaten into being that way when his first teacher had trained him in basic use.
That first teacher had been his Uncle.
'Though we didn't get along, I truly appreciate your harsh demeanor, Uncle.' Monstroth smiled grimly as the rock nearly slipped from his grasp. His master was going to beat him this time too? Wait...
'Form a personal connection with the minerals, boy,' the Sovereign said, 'You must see them as someone close to you. Like a friend or a brother. You can't see them as simply rocks. Not to truly use them.'
How had Monstroth stopped the Sovereign when he had attacked Rhazin? It was obvious that he had overpowered the Sovereign... Wait, how HAD he overpowered the Sovereign of Mineral?! Unless...
Monstroth focused on the rock in front of him, then imagined it was Rhazin. The effect was almost immediate. The pressure that his master was applying almost vanished completely and Monstroth could even move the mineral about freely. Usually when Monstroth was fighting over the bond, he couldn't move the rock. Sands! Why hadn't the man just spelled it out!?
"Seems you have found a connection point."
Monstroth realized his master no longer fought over the bond. It had been so faint that he was surprised. This was his first victory over his master. Well, second if the situation with Rhazin was counted. But still... "What do you mean by connection point?"
The man grunted. "Don't you read?"
Monstroth shrugged. He had never seen any use in reading anything. Sure, he knew how to read the glyphs, but never had he thought to actually read. Why read when you could walk the city with your friend?
"Well, a connection point just means something that defines the connection you have with an object." He made some clay rise from the ground. It was odd, honestly, because it looked like brown water pouring through a pipe, yet upwards. "My connection point is never going to be as strong as yours, boy."
"Why is that, master?" Monstroth would have thought this man had a great one, being Sovereign.
"The life of a bandit and a Sovereign is lonely," he replied, smiling darkly, "The only 'connection' I have had was with a hound."
Monstroth didn't press further. Instead, his master instructed him on how to feel the minerals hidden in the earth around him. It was similar to stilling the sand back in the desert, only opposite somehow. Monstroth only half listened, though.
He was thinking about Rhazin.