Summary: What can the magic of blue do for you? Well, for Cocobusi it offered a chance to become a mage like he’d always wanted. Even if it wasn’t the same magic that his brothers could use, it was still worth a shot… right?
The environs of Eorzea lends itself well to a number of different beasts, many of whom have adapted to their local biome. One of the more common species you’ll find are those of the Gigantoad genius, which are, as the name implies, large amphibians typically characterized by their ability to make great strides through leaping, their propensity to secrete fluids through glands on their leathery skin, and their extremely long and unusually adhesive tongues that can be used to snatch prey from afar.
The latter ability is what you will be attempting to reproduce through a single spell: Sticky Tongue.
Blue Mages can utilize a far more sanitary aetherial “tongue” once attuned to the wavekin’s instincts, constructing an adhesive and malleable fluid that will reach out and grab the target before snapping back and bringing them to you. It may not be elegant, but utility of the spell isn’t to be understated.
However, let it be known that while it can be learned by several different species all over Eorzea, the chances of obtaining it are slim due to the nature of the spell. But if you fancy giving it a shot, you can learn it from the following species of the genius…
Cocobusi nearly stumbled on a rock cropping out of the ground as he read the passage on the Sticky Tongue spell while following behind the two nearby Yellowjackets on their way to a stream in Lower La Noscea.
He had gone to the Adventurer’s Guild to register and was scantily finished when a Yellowjacket came about requesting help to deal with an impending surge of Cane Toads, an invasive species that was imported to deal with the vilekin swarms. But their numbers grew out of control as they had no natural predators and required culling from time to time. From what he could gather it happened frequently throughout the season, due to them having eggs similar to the local Rivertoad population—which they couldn’t exactly eliminate due to them serving as a vital part of the ecosystem.
There weren’t many volunteers to help in the Adventurer’s guild. Especially when the reward was really a pittance of gil with a bonus for every of Cane Toad killed. There was nothing glamorous about it, and even the Yellowjacket didn’t seem too enthusiastic.
Their party consisted of the two Yellowjackets, himself, and another Lalafell that had strawberry blonde hair and was dressed in somewhat worn and ragged clothing, likely made of hempen. He believed that she was a novice Arcanist, judging by how she was cradling a rather weathered-looking grimoire to her chest.
When they arrived on the bank overlooking the stream, Cocobusi put away the book and stood before the Miqo’te Yellowjacket as she gave them the details of the assignment.
“Listen up,” she said. “We’re only here to deal with the Cane Toads, so don’t go attackin’ the bigger ones. I’ve seen ‘em flatten grown Roegadyn in a single leap, an’ I don’t feel like tellin’ Old Baderon a couple of whelps got themselves turned into chum chasin’ after enough coin in their daddles for a pint.”
“Does that happen often?” Cocobusi asked, brows raised.
The other Yellowjacket, a Midlander, gave a barking laugh. “The big ones are lazy as they are dumb. Ye can walk right by ‘em without so much as a glance. Just don’t go misfirin’ yer spells an’ don’t be so keen as to pick a fight with more than one of the small buggers at a time. They can still smash in yer skull but good. If ye’ve got one o’ ‘em beasites, best use it before ye start castin’.”
Cocobusi watched as the Arcanist took that as cue to flip open her grimoire and pull out her quill, beginning the process of conjuring the arcane entity that was a Carbuncle.
He had prepared grimoires before, so he understood the principles behind how it worked. The ink, laced with aether-conductive materials that allowed for easier absorption and transmittance, was drawn into specific shapes and geometries that formed blueprints that shaped their spells. The conductivity of the ink made the tome essential for casting as an Arcanist, as without it they’d have difficulty using even basic spells—even if they memorized the patterns in their minds.
But for the entities known as Carbuncles it was more complex, as explained by the acting headmistress when he delivered the requested grimoire to her. Comparing the headmistress’ demonstration to the Lalafell as she wrote into the page of the grimoire, the difference was as clear as night and day. Whereas the former had a relaxed expression, the visage of the one in front of him was strained to the point of sweat coming off her brow while visible pockets of aether being shaped by the formula on the pages circled her.
Likewise, in contrast to the headmistress who had lifted the formula and ink off the page itself through aetherial manipulation to summon her Carbuncle, the young woman simply collapsed the aether into the page before she ripped it out and tossed it away. The discarded page itself served as a medium for the collected wind-aspected aether within the gemstone to flow into it, shredding it as the summoning spell manifested an Emerald Carbuncle tied into the gemstone through an invisible aetheric tether.
“…ten this time,” he heard mutter beneath her breath before she caught him looking at her. She returned his curiosity with a glare. “Didn’t anyone teach you its improper to stare at a lady?”
“Sorry about that.” He held his hands up in an effort to placate her while the summoning looked around curiously, sniffing its surroundings. “I just found it fascinating. That’s all. It’s different from the school of magic I’m familiar with.”
“Well don’t go straining your pretty head about it. Arcanima creates higher functioning spells compared to the primitive magicks you Thaumaturges use. Making something like a Carbuncle isn’t something you’ll be capable of, so stick to lobbing fireballs and try not to get in my way.”
She wasn’t completely wrong. An Arcanist had to route their aether into the aetheric gemstone to form a foundation that could manifest in real-time, which meant they had to draft the shapes by hand and memory. In addition, the equations required taking in variable factors, like the current aether density, and interweaving more complex equations into the formulas that made up the Carbuncles allowed for more ways they could manifest their inherent properties taken from the gemstones. That naturally meant it required a higher level of skill and knowledge.
But that didn’t mean thaumaturgy wasn’t also a complex art. It was certainly more dangerous as, unlike with Arcanists, the Thaumaturges had to shift the balance of a portion of their own personal wellspring of aether and then use a suitable conductor to expel it—with certain metals, gems, and the bones of once living creatures being the best choices. But through careful manipulation of the Umbral and Astral states they could potentially keep casting with little need for rest.
He would have happily enlightened her to those facts, despite not being a Thaumaturge himself, if she’d given him the decency of allowing a rebuttal before she brushed him off with a ‘hmph’ and followed the Yellowjackets to get closer to the bank. That left Cocobusi to sigh frustratedly before noticing that Emerald Carbuncle wasn’t following her. It was instead milling about its surroundings, only to start moving once she was a certain distance away—the range of its invisible tether acting as the leash.
I wonder if she has full control over it, he thought to himself as he observed it. He wasn’t fully aware of the mechanisms of the formula that integrated whatever allowed for control over the summoning, so he couldn’t speak on it for certain. In the end, he ultimately forced it to the back of his mind as the Yellowjackets drew their axes.
As the culling of the Cane Toads began, they ended splitting into two groups. The Yellowjackets went closer to the mouth of the cavern from which the stream flowed, but the Arcanist stayed closer to the shore and path as she ordered her pet to attack one Cane Toad that was nearby, looking for vilekin to devour.
The arcane entity made as aggressive of a noise as it could before bounding forward a set number of steps. Then the ruby on its head shone and the air around the wavekin stirred into a violent whirl that caused its entire body to jostle. It fixed its gaze on the one who attacked it and, the moment Cocobusi blinked, the Carbuncle was already in front of it while covered in a thick layer of fluids.
It was the spell he had come looking for. The only thing left was to claim it for himself, so he focused on it and began the channeling process once more for the only spell that he knew. Blue crystals danced around him as he called upon the primal hunger that invoked Blood Drain and the Cane Toad’s body rocked as bundles of aether were ripped from its aetheric channels.
The Arcanist followed up with her hand over a page, aglow with aether as she used the geometry written there to format the unaspected magicks into the shape of a dense sphere. She then extended the book out towards the Cane Toad and the sphere launched at a destructive speed, slamming into its body so hard that the bindings came undone. The rupturing blast dispersed into the air as fading wisps over the Cane Toad’s corpse.
Cocobusi pulled out his Soul Crystal in the hopes that it’d had a reaction as the soul’s aether burned its brightest upon being freed from the vessel through death. But there was nothing. I suppose it was too much to hope that I’d get it the first time.
He shoved the crystal back into his pocket as the Carbuncle moved up the river and attacked a second Cane Toad. The Gust it called forth splashed the water as the cutting winds that buffered the wavekin stirred the attention of a third one as well, leaving it to lash out and snatch the Carbuncle once more. Pinned down and helpless, the second one threw its body against the entrapped arcane pet hard enough that cracks formed along its fur.
The Arcanist cast her Ruin spell towards the first one as it tensed its legs to do the same and shatter the Carbuncle entirely. The sphere flew towards it and slammed into the Cane Toad harder than the previous one had done, knocking it over to the side as it reeled from the impact of the hit. Cocobusi finished it off with a Blood Drain spell, tearing apart its aetheric channels and leaving it to collapse in the stream.
The third was swiftly dispatched as well in a similar manner and the novice Blue Mage let out a sigh, when a shrill shriek reached their ears and was followed by a strong wind that billowed their clothes. They turned to see a Cane Toad was knocked back by the Carbuncle releasing a blade of wind that slammed the wavekin, sending it right into a Rivertoad that happened to be perched away. It immediately turned hostile as its gaze locked onto them and it subsequently took a leaping bound to crush the Lalafell pair.
Cocobusi turned to run, only for the force of its landing to throw him forward and send him tumbling onto the ground. He shook his head to clear it of the dizziness before he turned to see the Arcanist flat on her back, groaning. Her Carbuncle was still attacking despite the fact that aether was leaking through the cracks in its form, its construct life slipping away even as it continued to fight.
She’s definitely struggling to control it. He supposed that was one of the downsides to having a pseudo-sapient construct. It had could misbehave at the worst time possible.
He used a Potion to numb the pain before he retreated a safe distance, while she picked up her grimoire just as the Rivertoad finished slamming into the Emerald Carbuncle, the impact dissipating its form entirely. That was when a sickly green and purple substance erupted over its body and invaded it from the inside out. It was a Bio Spell, meant to kill it via accelerated entropy.
Dying from the inside out, the Rivertoad leapt towards her as Cocobusi began to cast the only spell he knew once more. She barely managed to get out of the way as it landed and then tried to take her into its mouth, instead getting a gullet full of grass and river soil. Then the Blood Drain spell finished, leaving it to collapse and go still as Cocobusi breathed out a heavy sigh of relief before he looked over towards her—
—only for a wet and sticky substance to blanket him before he was snapped off his feet and into the shallow water, where a Cane Toad had marked him as its prey the moment his back was turned.
Helplessly mired in the viscous secretions as it prepared to crush him, Cocobusi fought to get free with all his might and barely managed to pull himself away as it leapt up and came crashing back down with enough force that it would have crushed him. But the sheer force of the displacement of aether that it lined its underbelly with for protection sent him tumbling backwards until he hit a rock on the shoreline.
“Owww…” His moan of pain echoed the ache seeping into his bones and his vision swam. Moving hurt. Breathing hurt. But considering the Cane Toad was moving in to finish him off, he found it in him to at least use his cane to get back on his feet and focus on a final Blood Drain spell.
The wavekin threw itself into a ram that would break his bones before the spell could be completed, if not for the sphere of condensed aether slamming into it before rupturing. The Ruin spell that had flown from behind him intercepted the Cane Toad, repaying the ambush in kind and buying enough time for the novice Blue Mage to cast his own spell. Its body convulsed thrice before its legs collapsed under it, the cumulative damage too much for it to withstand.
And at last he felt the Soul Crystal quiver in his pocket.
Cocobusi would have celebrated if not for the pain in his body. The cane became a crutch as he slumped down to his knees in the water, his clothes soaked and heavy. It almost felt like he was going to pass out when a soothing sensation swaddled him. It felt like his body was repairing itself, damaged tissue and bone mending courtesy of a Physick spell.
He stood up straight and gave the approaching Lalafell a bow of the head in gratitude. “Thank you.”
She only turned her head to the side and muttered, “Just don’t tell anyone about the Carbuncle and we’ll call it even.”
There was a hint of shame in her tone. The kind he had when he often had to admit that he couldn’t use magic like his brothers when asked by those who were unaware. The one exception to their family of arcane experts. The fact that she couldn’t control her pet well was clearly a sensitive topic for her, so he bobbed his head in agreement. “Sure. My lips are sealed.”
She huffed in acceptance and then pointed to the remainder of the Cane Toads. “Well then, let’s get back to it. Every toad we leave for them to kill is one less gil for us. Come on now, hop to it.”
Later that evening, Cocobusi was outside of the Zephyr gate once more. Though the experience of culling the population of Cane Toads proved more tedious and less rewarding that he expected in terms of monetary compensation, he did ultimately earn something far more valuable. Holding the Soul of a Blue Mage in his palm, his fingers wrapped around it tight as he attempted to attune to mindset needed to use Sticky Tongue.
What drove the Cane Toad to use this primitive form of aetherial manipulation? It was a primal means of obtaining prey that remained distant, meaning the desire was rooted in the need to…
The Soul Crystal began to pulsate within his grasp when that thought crossed his mind as he fixated on a Little Ladybug, the vilekin moving in erratic patterns. Attuned to the mind of the small breed of toad, such succulent prey left his mouth salivating as azure crystals began to swirl around him and draw in the ambient aether. He felt it pooling in his mouth, morphing into a viscous liquid that filled his cheeks until they were puffed out and he couldn’t keep his lips closed anymore.
“Ptooh!” His lips were forced apart and the fluid came out like a nocked arrow being loosed. All the building pressure was released at once, lancing onto the unexpectant prey and then snapping back faster than the eye could track. The vilekin plopped down in front of him, writhing in agitation and confusion as it remained pinned by the thick, slimy fluid.
“Das’ oin ta ek ome getting used to…” he muttered, tongue hanging out and saliva dripping down as it tried to wash away the taste of the so-called aetherial tongue. He doubted that it would be enough to impress his brothers, but it was still another spell in his arsenal.
Another step towards becoming a mage who could walk alongside of them.