I inspect the changes of my body standing in the middle of the lair facing the arc-shaped door with Erina on my left by the water section, a nude girl in front, and the other three wolves on my right to the north. As if electricity coursing through my body uncontrollably and wasting Mana unnecessarily wasn't irritating enough, now, yet another bothersome phenomenon hinders my vision with purple hues replacing all other colors.
"See what?" Shaila asked.
"My vision is all purple. There are weird shades moving, appearing and disappearing while visible light flashes in and out too. Ugh! It's dizzying..." I complain shaking my head while blinking.
"Can you turn it off?" She asks a quick solution.
"Yeah, but... it'll re-emerge like the brain boost," I replied looking down at the purple girl.
"Does it have a purpose other than making you look like a crazed beast?" The girl curiously asked.
"And driving me insane?" I added with sarcasm. "Maybe..." I acknowledged and brought my right fore paw close to my eye.
Hmm... These bands around electric current--! S-seriously!? It can't be that simple... All these purple shades invading my vision...are magnetic fields of various intensities and orientations...?! I tried to do this before but I couldn't find a proper method to interact with these fields at a distance, so how is this working? I examined and disclosed my findings.
"It would appear that I'm seeing Electromagnetism," I revealed.
"Really!!? Even light? How intense? Why purple?" The white-haired girl questioned in details.
"Er... Not sure. It's all a visual mess at the moment as if someone threw buckets of paint. But I can't...stand it...too much--stop it already!" I shook my head troubled and shut my eyes closed to find relief after a moment.
AH! That... did it. No...I can still see them...but less. Phew... I thought I would go crazy... I affirmed and work on finding the commands to stop the Elementals.
"Why would Lightning see Light?" Erina asked puzzled.
"Because they're aspects of the same phenomena just as I am an aspect of Nefi~" Shaila happily explained touching my snout.
"Indeed, they are a little different from the other Elementals which are spheres of influence that can overlap... Light and Darkness are electromagnetic radiation, while Lightning specializes in electricity and macro electromagnetism, but neither produce matter." I elaborated with my eyes closed.
"I see... That's why it's so difficult to solidify light..." The golden wolf concluded.
"Hey~ What about those lightning bolts jumping on your body? They are wasting Mana, and it will be uncomfortable riding you like that..." Shaila pointed out.
"Indeed. My passive recovery is nullified under the ambient Mana densities." I confirmed. "I need Mana more than ever now--ERINA!" I realized and called out loud.
"I know. The time to challenge Tribe Leader has come." The golden she-wolf declared. "Just wait for 'them' to arrive." She announced and infused Mana into my body.
"Good." I approved and concentrated a little more.
"That's your gratitude? Mother will be risking her life for YOU! And our WHOLE TRIBE could be thrown into disarray...!" Midas reproached getting closer.
"And I won't tell her not to. This is necessary, and they are prepared--...!!" I declared feeling a tug on my right flank.
Hm? What's this? Am I sensing his movements through the change in the magnetic field? I noticed and focused my attention on the earthen wolf.
Ohhh! This light-show is an upgraded version of a static field that I used to detect a darkness wolf in the past... Cool. I'll have to experiment with the range later. I deduced.
"But-... Yes Mother... Gwruoo..." The golden wolf groaned and stayed silent.
"Shaila. It seems the electrification of my body is making a Radar of sorts." I informed.
"Really!? What a convenient feature..." She reviewed.
"Mate. We're all taking risks near the Dragon. Didn't his partner almost die just now?" The wind wolf comforted.
"Wait, what?!" I questioned looking their way with my eyes closed.
"That scary incident wasn't his fault." Lightwater defended.
I recalled the event and turned back to Shaila sensing her presence.
"What happened?" I asked in a pressuring tone.
"Augh... E-Erina saved me again when I tried to approach..." Shaila shamefully revealed.
"Good job, Erina!" I praised the earthen beast with a smirk.
*Swisssh! Swisssh!* The large beast wagged her tail noisily.
"...It-it wasn't just a time dilation field...my clothes, and rocks thrown inside were disintegrated." The girl recounted.
"...Fascinating..." I admired and lowered my muzzle slowly. "...Scary?" I query.
"Un..." She affirmed with a nod.
"Next time, when suspicious, use a probe." I softly advised.
"Oki~" The girl consented.
"So, you lost your clothes huh?" I pointed out.
"Yes..." She lamented.
"I thought you didn't mind being naked." I teased.
"HEY! I'm not a little girl anymore!" Shaila protested hitting my snout.
"Your age says otherwise... Even back on Earth, you would only be around 11 years old which wasn't considered an adult." I compared.
"Okay, but 'here,' children are more concerned about survival than what their age means." She countered.
"Our children are eaten by snakes, birds, and Dragons, or killed by foxes on a daily basis," Erina added.
"Erm... Yes, in modern countries people did care greatly but ignored what half a million children did elsewhere in the world to survive..." I rethink.
"That is a large number..." The wolf said impressed.
"Okay, buuuuut I am a woman now that my bleeds arrived." Shaila divulged.
"Seriously!?" I blurted.
"Yes... I became an adult and murderer on the same day. What a coincidence, right?" Shaila revealed before asking my opinion.
"It is..." I affirmed not knowing what to say.
"But I feel neither joy nor bad about it, and there's nothing great about that womanly process either..." She said in a somber tone.
"I-I see..." I agreed and changed the subject. "In any case, you need to cover up," I said and turned to the wolf group. "Raging wind, my partner needs your coat..." I requested.
"GRRGH! Leave my fur alone, you Monster!" The she-wolf snarled.
Oh, yeah... That human who lost his mind in rage did exhibit these traits, and...was killed right away. That's why I don't see these 'monsters' around...not even beasts want them alive. I realized and asked.
"Why you guys didn't lynch me then?" I questioned the wolves.
"Because your head was physically fine, and...it'd be a shame if you died." Erina clarified.
"I'll heal her hide." The healer offered.
"NOO! Mate, don't let them skin me!" She seeks help in panic.
"He's not being serious," Midas revealed.
"Or am I? Mwa-Ha-Ha-Ha!" I laughed maniacally while Shaila giggles.
"Wha-wha-what?!" The she-wolf uttered confused and looking at the others.
"Can you stop that...?" The golden wolf admonished.
"Yes. Besides, Lightwater's coat has better quality." I compared.
"WOOF!" The praised wolf barked and wagged his tail
"...GRRR! I hate you two." The green wolf snarled and said.
"Hihihi... I'll be okay with magic." Shaila giggled and assured. "Nefi, is your vision restored yet?" She asked impatiently.
"Hold on..." I delay.
"Just retract the Magic on your eyes if you can't command the elementals." She advised.
"It's not that easy." I denied. I don't know how this magnetic vision works, so I can't control it, and Elementals are pulling my Magic to the eyes like dogs on a leash." I compared.
"That sounds like what Elementals do when they go out of control," Erina interjected. "And you sure like those Dogos...perhaps I should wear a collar..." She muttered.
"Which means...he can't lose control of Elementals anymore...Lightning won't allow it." Shaila theorized.
"Hmm... It's possible..." I confirmed.
"HUum... But losing control can be used as a temporary magic boost..." The she-wolf found a downside.
"Nah... That reckless fighting style doesn't suit me." I dismissed. "Well, this will take more time and practice, but for now, I can narrow the scope or stop the signals sent to my brain," I announced and open my eyes.
*Blink!* I stare at the girl up close with my left eye.
"Hmm... Alright, my Dragon vision is mostly restored with a purple spot near the focus point, aaaand I can see your heart beating..." I declared observing the emanating magnetic fields from the girl.
"Riiiiight... You're just looking at my breasts." She doubted covering up with an arm.
"Well... I tried that, but a beating heart caught my attention. I have turned into an MRI!" I announced.
"Uh... I don't...know how to respond to that..." Shaila retorted raising an eyebrow.
"Now, be a dear and make a large mirror for me." I requested.
"...It feels like my charm as a woman is being neglected here." Shaila muttered and reflected my whole body in front of Erina with a little extra illumination.
Woahhh!! I look like an anime Dragon now! I admired the electricity jumping on my body and brought my head closer to the mirror. And these eyes...hmm...mmm... I'm totally fabulous! I appreciated the purple glow effect blinking in front of my image. Still... The Water and Light affinity markings decreased so much that I look low talent in both now, though they feel the same as before. What's concerning, however, are the Lightning Elementals hijacking my Magic to do these things like a stubborn worker who just wants to work and never go home...to my core. Well, Lightning did show this behavior ever since my affinity awakening, but it'll be harder to keep magic gathered in one place now...as if this was meant for humans rather than beasts with a core. I noticed feeling troubled.
"Um... Fell in love with your reflection?" Shaila retorted after watching me stare for so long.
"Hmph! I am a handsome Dragon." I scoffed in contempt.
"Pfft!" The girl mocked and dismissed the light effects. "Mana's out. Gimme~" She said reaching for my core with her spirit.
Er... I'm low on Mana as well, and you won't find much Magic on my Core anymore. The darn thing is becoming obsolete! I no longer need it to mold Magic or re-adapt my Spirit, and I should be able to use the Celestial Fragment at Divine to protect my Soul. I affirmed and reached for Erina's core with my spirit. Woah... Such a heavy mass of energy... This density is a barrier tougher than steel for my Magic and could harm my brain, or affect my mental state through spirit... I mused.
The she-wolf noticed my intrusion and relinquished mana for me to absorb while Shaila did the same with me.
Hmm... But is the Core really unnecessary? Magical beasts use it to keep Magic under control or quickly produce powerful magic arts, then at Divine Rank to protect their Souls, but it couldn't save Erina's Father's from a Rank 6 Divine, much less a Demigod... Although the Fragment doesn't have a 'Gate' to close either and can get invaded as the Elemental system probably did just now, so its Game Over if Rayan gets inside. Notably, Armors, Scales, and a tough Hide can defend the body well, but a Core would be more efficient at protecting something as small as a Soul...it just needs to be tougher! Certainly, nature isn't wrong about nuclei, and a Core made of a material like MIP could contain more Mana than Spirit can hold or even disrupt Spiritual attacks, and this method can apply in higher Realms. I examined and addressed the beasts present.
"Alright. I was doubtful before, but I have decided what to do about the future now." I declared.
"Really!? A goal?" Shaila brightened.
"You finally used your head..." The golden wolf affirmed with relief.
"Yes... I won't be afraid to reach Divine anymore. A player needs to lev up, and gear up before going after the boss, so I'll enhance my Scales and Bones first, then build a special Core around the Fragment in my head..." I revealed.
Alkalis seem to have used MIP for communication and probably even made a mana-based computer in some secret lair, but I shall use it for a different purpose. Maybe becoming a slave was meant to realize this... I conjectured.
"Ah! A fortress to keep Rayan out." The girl theorized.
"...Fragment in your head?" The she-wolf questioned as if recalling the early talk.
"It's a tiny Core where the rest of my Soul resides, but getting inside is...difficult... Rayan wants it, so I'll add layers of protection..." I explained.
"No! A Core inside your brain will kill you!" Erina opposed.
"Oh, that's right...rocking can turn the brain to mush. "I realized. "However, I don't have a choice...I'll install it at Divine Rank then." I compromised.
"In that case, I'll help." She offered.
"You can help with the scales and bones, but the core will require a Divine Earth user just to start the experiments..." I denied and the she-wolf lowered her ears.
"Goldias..." The white-haired girl muttered.
"Oh... But I'm close to Rank 10 already, I can do it!" The wolf insisted.
"Sorry girl, but I'm gonna need that Core sooner than you think." I reaffirmed.
"You seem confident to surpass me," Erina spoke baring her teeth upset.
"Haha. Sorry, but with enough resources...I CAN" I declared adamantly.
"GRR! WHAP!" The beast lashed at my neck and held me in place.
"Really!? These new abilities are THAT good?" Shaila asked surprised.
"Absolutely. But it's not multiple abilities...it's just a single function of Elementals." I corrected.
"Huh...!?" The girl uttered confused.
"HM?" Erina sounded letting go and separated. "That was tingly..." She reviewed.
"Alright, so, it would appear that Elementals are automatically replicating three of the lightning processes which I did or tried to do in the past, and they are doing it rather well... I don't have to focus as much as before to correct the sound frequencies of my speech because of muscle boost..." I described.
"Impressive. I've never heard elementals could do that, yet you acquired it so easily, but...it sounds difficult to master as well..." Erina reviewed.
"Uhmm... That will ease multitask..." The girl pondered.
"Just...impressive? Do you girls not see the real implications of this function?" I questioned disappointed.
"...Ah! The continuous effects train magic! How nice~" Shaila deduced.
"That would only be a temporary boost since producing the same phenomenon repeatedly increases its efficiency, but decreases Spiritual refinement." The she-wolf countered.
"...Difficult to master?--Yes. But I have yet to explore the limits of this function. Besides, I can't command the ability in my eyes yet, but I do understand the other two, and I can stop them and change them in time." I elaborated.
""AHH! WUOH!"" They realized.
"Surely, multitasking is a problem in magic arts, but having other processes running without intervention will increase magic training by that many folds. So, even if I don't do any magic training and just sleep in a cave, I'll eventually become Divine." I announced.
"Woooow! I have to overwork my neurons, and you got such a cheat! CHEATER!!" Shaila accused with hands on her waist.
"That's-...that's the most RIDICULOUS magical advantage I've ever heard!" The golden she-wolf snapped.
"But very good... I won't have to wait long... Fufufu~" The girl muttered and laughed to herself.
...Are you thinking of me as a toy!? I retorted when a commotion started.
""What!? What is it? Sounds interesting!"" The wolves demanded to know.
"He can become a Divine without doing a n y thiiiing!" The earthen beast translated.
"WUO--?! U-unbelievable..." Midas commented.
"...That's too unfair! He'll be hated for sure..." The green wolf remarked.
"...That's too amazing! He'll be revered..." The blue wolf commended.
"No, she's correct. Not many would accept that...especially Tribe Leader who is stuck on Rank 10." Erina warned.
"Indeed. Father wasn't happy about my progress and took it on the beasts around, but I also think he taunted me..." I revealed in wolf growls.
"HM... We have a warning howl for your Father, but the next time he appears, tell him we won't tolerate losing our talented anymore." Erina declared.
"Sounds good." I approved.
"Um... Nefi..." Shaila called with a serious face that foreshadowed a heavy topic. "Y-you do deserve this cheat, of course, and I'm delighted... but I'm worried about the price because you accepted this while having self-destructing thoughts, and the last shady deal ended up in a thousand-year-tragedy." She expressed her concern.
"Yes... It bothered me not recalling everything... So, I monitored the Lightning Elemental activity ever since the re-awakening happened, and noticed feelings similar to having partial memories when I was little..." I said with a smirk.
"You discovered something!" The girl opened her eyes wide realizing.
"Yep. Doesn't the brain boost seem familiar?" I presented.
"AH! It works the same..." She made the connection.
"Yep. I think I got chosen when I awoke Lightning affinity back in your house. It turns out, that recovering Elementals faster than normal users was an intrinsic perk while the brain boost was merely a taste of higher functions." I explained.
"Chosen...!? By who? Some Lightning Ruler? And for what?" The light user questioned narrowing her eyes.
"Nope. It feels like I made a deal with the Lightning Elemental itself! Or my Soul did since I can't remember... but I do feel to have the information within me." I announced.
"That's absurd! Elementals are just a thing that follows commands in exchange for the Mana weaved in our Magic." Erina opposed.
"Nope. Elementals are a Cosmic-level System that governs evolution... It most definitely isn't a simple 'thing.'" I rebuked.
"HMM..." The beast ponders.
"But that makes less sense than a Ruler. And what would a System want from a puny mortal?" The girl countered.
"First off... I wouldn't trust just any High Being for obvious reasons." I pointed out.
I don't know who's after my Soul, and I wouldn't trust others outside the Fragment network so easily... I affirmed.
"And secondly... I deduced a purpose to fulfill after leaving this world... Nothing to worry about yet...but a job is a job." I surmised.
"Soo... You were a candidate after awakening, and now accepted the 'Job'? That's a lot of assumptions." The girl concluded and doubted.
"Welp, I'm interpreting feelings here, and that's the explanation with the least assumptions of a deal that I would gladly accept." I shrugged. "In any case, I'm not sure what the mission is, but I should be able to recall everything when my Soul materializes at Divine Rank." I theorized.
"...You always did say your Lightning affinity wasn't just 'High,' but we couldn't find any information...much less about the process in your head." Shaila said convinced.
"Indeed. Lightning users are scarce, so there wasn't anyone to compare my magic abnormalities." I shrugged.
"WAAAIIIIT!!" Erina barked next to my head loudly. "There's an Affinity Talent beyond 'High'?!" She asked astounded.
"What?! Are you sure, Dragon?" Midas questioned.
"No way... The weirdness won't stop!" Raging wind protested.
"An affinity beyond High is a serious matter..." Lightware reviewed.
"Actually...there are two more. The 'Candidates' until they qualify for an interview with the Elementals, and the 'Recruits' after they accept a directive..." I explained to the wolves.
""..."" The three wolves on my right keep quiet not knowing how to respond.
"By the Gods... Why are so many important things unknown to me? What have I been doing all these years? This old Beast still has much to learn..." Erina shook her head gloomily saying.
"Don't let it get you down. They are rare, and you wolves, have no information exchange with the outside world." I comforted in growls.
"T-then... which one are you?" Midas asked timidly.
"The Recruit--Er... that sounds bad, isn't it?" I growled.
The wolves nodded.
"'Candidate too.'" Shaila added.
"Alright, then, I'm gonna call the 'Candidates' Grand Affinity, and the Recruits, Heralds," I spoke in Stilus and repeated for the wolves.
"So... Nefi's a Lightning Herald huh? Sounds nice~" The girl appraised.
"WAAIIIT!!" The she-wolf barked again. "If High-Affinity pairs have high chances of giving birth to other High Talents, then what about Grand Affinities or Heralds?" She demanded wide-eyed.
"You finally realized, huh?" I affirmed. "...The chances only go up, so a Herald may have mostly Highly talented offsprings." I conjectured.
Though I'm still unsure of the relationship between individuals with high Affinities and the vessel they create which calls upon older Souls as well... I wondered and Erina's mouth finally closed to speak.
"...WHYYYY?? Why aren't you a wolf!?" Erina demanded with vicious eyes that made me shiver and back away.
"S-scary... I'm so glad you aren't a male..." I retorted.
"Amazing! If that's the case, then females will form a line to mate with you." Lightwater fantasized.
"And a line of enemies next to that." Raging Wind remarked.
"No... It's worse than that." Midas denied. "Even immortal rankers would come after him... He could spend most of his life being forced to mate." He theorized.
"Hmm... I concur...these features could give me away... Imagine if the Dragon Demigod finds out and forces me to mate with the whole race--YIKES! This can't spread...EVER!" I ordered.
The wolves nodded acknowledging.
"We'll just say it's because you lost control of Elementals which is true, but they'll assume you are monsterfied." Erina proposed.
"Oooh! That's excellent!" I complimented. "...You wolves really hate to lie huh?" I called their honesty out.
"HUNF! We aren't foxes." The golden she-wolf snorted. "I know. I know. We are predictable. You'll see soon enough what we did about it in our fight with Dark 10." She announced with a smirk.
"Heeh~ I'll look forward to it." I acknowledged.
"Ah! Hey, Nefi..." Shaila realized something and called me. "Do you think I'm a Grand Light talent?" She inquired.
"Oh... Hmm... Indeed. That's a good deduction. It would explain your abnormalities with Light, and the absence of other affinities." I concluded.
"...Because I'm supposed to have multiple affinities with my Soul age?" She asked confirmation.
"Yes... Look at how my scales are mostly purple now." I affirmed and brought my head closer to her face instructing. "The Lightning re-awakening feels to have claimed my Soul so strongly that I will still be a Herald as long as a piece of my Soul remains, yet it couldn't erase the binds of Water and Light affinity. However, IF I DIE, Lightning won't let me awaken any other affinity in the future." I elaborated the possible price.
Hmm... But I didn't awaken the previous affinities even though they have a higher chance... Could Rayan have taken them from my Soul? How many affinities does that asshole have now? Did he find the Rat piece, the Stud human, and the Hunter too? I wondered.
"Un... I see... I did have a weird attraction to Light since little, and awoke very young." She related.
"I know. You were such a silly girl playing with the sun rays entering the window every day. Haha." I mocked.
"Geh! You stalker!" The girl retaliated and turned serious. "So, Light branded my Soul in the past, and blocked other Affinities?" She deduced.
"Hm-hmm. Your body merely changed when your Spirit qualified to reawaken." I reaffirmed the most likely explanation.
"Uh... Don't I need to be a Herald for that?" She questioned tilting her face with a closed eye.
"...Nah. In my case, it didn't happen at Rank 1 because I contracted the three Elementals at once, and it was my first time getting Lightning, but you have been a Light user all your lives... Who knows when it happened?" I compared.
"Then it's true... Shimmer is a Grand talent too!" Erina announced.
"Mother, somehow, that makes perfect sense," Midas remarked.
"I agree with Mate." The green wolf said leaning on him.
"Me too. She must be abnormal even among humans." Lightwater asserted.
Hmm... Yes, she does stand out... I concur.
"But...after all this time and terrible experiences...I have yet to meet the conditions to become a Herald. Whyyy?" The wolf girl lamented.
"How can it be easy!?" The golden she-wolf admonished.
Maybe Beasts don't know unless it happens in the same Tribe, but beings who share and store information should have knowledge...perhaps at the Capital-... I conjecture and realized.
"Oh no... This is... very bad..." I muttered.