Without the [Arch-Lich]’s support, Theodore had only scant amounts of mana. The small amount he could take from Luna went almost entirely to maintaining his self. She was not a trained necromancer, and the tether between them lacked power.
Using this minuscule amount of mana, he wrote down two spell formulae on the paper Luna had always made for Rainer. One being the spell Theodore used to attack them, [Spear of Holy Judgement]. And the second was his [Shield of Holy Light]. Rainer believed he could alter this spell with Arcane and create his first ordinary shield spell.
“How come you never taught me any shield spells, Gunthar?”
“Other than the spear spell, a few healing ones, and a buff for the sword, I never learned anything beyond that. The shield spell is quite taxing on mana reserves, with my abilities in Aura I had little need for such a waste. And you hardly need the sword one.”
“Archon, I’m finished. These two you’ve seen me use already, I imagine with your talents and sleeping skill it is only a matter of a good night’s rest,” He gave two formulae over, “But the spear spell I used, wasn’t the true version. I am incapable of it. The spear itself is designed to be launched straight into the sky and be guided downwards with great force upon your intended target.”
“Thanks. Hopefully, we have enough time. If not we can always hide in that dungeon you mentioned was in Nalmar, Gunthar.”
“Are you mad? We have but you and I in their second class!” Theodore yelled in confusion.
“Yes, but,” Rainer said recalling their success in the under level 25 dungeon. Rainer thought they could make it through stage 1 and in the worst case use a [Return Stone].
“What is the level of your [Archon] and [Chronomancer] classes?” Theodore asked plainly.
“6 and 4.”
“None,” He soon understood why Theodore believed it a poor idea.
“You are not as powerful as you believe [Archon]. The attributes of your class are likely truly unreasonable but how do you compare to but a level 10 [Grand Warrior] with a level 10 [Sword Saint] second primary class, and 4 subclasses? Even if your sleep learning and powerful magic can defeat such a person in a fight, is it worth the 10 we lack for a full Dungeon party?” What Theodore left out was that such a figure with two 2nd Classes was incredibly rare. There was no increase in slots nor an increase in Lifespan, only an increased chance of death. Few attempted, among the few that even reached the 2nd Tier, the trial once more.
Rainer paused. When compared to others below the 2nd class he believed himself truly incomparable as a level 25 [Arcanist]. Perhaps only Kara, when she reached higher levels with her dual Primary classes could surpass that. But now, he understood the disadvantage of having such a rare 2nd Tier class.
He couldn’t take the trial to advance a 2nd primary class without huge risk. He had a Fruit to solve that issue, but there were others he’d rather use it for. His short time in this world had also left him lacking any subclasses and only a level 4 second primary class.
“Then…what about the [Arch-Lich]?”
“I do not know, but I doubt he doesn’t at the very least have his second primary class at around level 20. In any case, the Dungeon within our city has a level limit of level 20 for 2nd Tier Class individuals. I do not think such a thing is viable.”
Rainer stared down at the two formulae as the group continued forward in the cave.
“Gunthar, once we reach the city, you should go alone to retrieve what the Archon needs from the library,” Theodore spoke.
“Will I be unnoticed?”
“Unless the [Arch-Lich] is directly controlling an undead, you should be able to blend in with little issue. You can also take a trip back to our home. Within a chest, in the basement, I had a gift for your 2nd Class advancement. Archon, from the general library of magic what is it you desire?”
“I have Arcane, Fire, Light, Spatial, Wind, Lightning and Death manipulation. Any tier spells from other schools of magic would be ideal. We can save enchanting books for later,” Rainer wished to gather enchanting books, but he did not prioritize it, given the nature of Gunthar’s trip.
“It is easy to forget, Sorcerer, the lunacy of your class. To collect skills that made mages masters of their crafts as if they were but shiny rocks,” Gunthar quietly added before Theodore answered.
“The general library carries only up to tier 2 spells. Everything else only passed between student and master amongst the various towers. Perhaps you will have time to properly search them, following the death of the [Arch-Lich].”
“Mage Guilds,” Gunthar added in the explanation on what towers were as Rainer was about to ask a question.
Rainer sighed at that. It made sense. Spreading knowledge so widely was a modern concept of Earth. If he cared about exclusivity, Rainer too, saw the benefit of Mage Guilds.
Yet he believed knowledge could only truly move forward when properly shared. It was not uncommon for those that laid the foundation for future discoveries to believe said discoveries as impossible.
“But the hidden library contained various experimental spells and dark arts we confiscated. Yalin’s research is of particular note in combating them on a grand scale. It’s a shame he never finished his masterpiece…”
“He did,” Rainer said while gently taking out Yalin’s journal from his spatial ring like his greatest treasure.
Theodore too carefully took the journal from Rainer’s hand and slowly read over it. With the protection magic used up on testing Rainer, it was safe for Theodore. Even still, being the variant he was, he lacked the same affliction toward light magic.
“When you’re done with that I need some help. For some reason, I can’t seem to add the Holy modifier to any of my spells.”
“Yes, yes, Archon,” Theodore responded absentmindedly reading the journal in his hand. He did not read the spell itself but instead seemed to treasure each word written by Yalin.
Theodore handed back the journal, hesitantly, and gave Rainer the explanation he desired.
“The undead are naturally averse to Light Magic and sunlight itself. To make a spell holy is to channel this aversion to its limit. To focus upon it. But in this, the spell weakens or costs more mana, though that difference is greatly made up when facing undead. Look at these two Runes. The slight alterations in their forms and meanings.”
Rainer looked on and now understood. That part of the spell he had filled in his lapse of knowledge with [Light Manipulation] was exactly the part dealing with the holy modification.
The group continued forward as Rainer brought up the issue of the fruit to Kara.
“Kara, have you considered what you’re going to do for your second-class advancement?”
“I…have not. I do not know how my two classes will work or even if they will affect one another. But I have no interest in taking that Fruit and limiting myself; rather I am unsure there will not be adverse effects from it, with me as a Demon.”
“And you Luna?”
“Luna will do as Rainer suggests,” She answered disinterestedly playing with Rainer’s black hair.
“Then we’ll just wait and see,” Rainer responded. Following the Fort quests, Luna had reached level 24. She was, but one more level away before her future progress became an issue. He, however, had not the faintest interest in putting her in harm’s way.
“Can Gunthar join you as your servant?”
“No, she’d need to have a necromancy related class,” Gunthar spoke from in front.
Looks like the Fruit will go to her. Though, I guess we’ll see after what comes out of this [Incubation Ring], and if my little friend ever decides to pay another visit.
He thought while gripping his shoulder where the Rune had once burned in. He also deemed Luna could always change her class was she to hit the limit.
“And what about you Gunthar? Can you even advance as you are?”
“I’m…not sure. Undead of my kind normally lack their own selves. They are but hollow husks guided by their past abilities and their masters. I can only wait and see what quest I am given upon reaching level 25, if I receive one at all.”
Rainer looked over at Theodore, who shook his head not knowing the answer either. Rainer now recalled, given their discussion, that he had yet to speak of the importance of titles and prerequisites of 2nd Tier Classes. Regarding what he remembered, he only recollected having a choice of 2nd Tier Classes and receiving the two enchanted items as rewards.
He brought up the importance of titles in enchantment as well as prerequisites for the 2nd Tier Class given their current topic. The group stopped in silence after he had finished explaining how he had brought the knowledge of this. Luna gave it no thought as she continued to play with his hair.
“Rainer, are you sure about this?”
“As sure as I can be. I can’t see any reason I’d leave such a message in my [Sleep Learning] space unless it was true. Though I understand why those memories are erased.”
They awaited his why.
“Think of what you could create if you had more than 15 minutes to think about it and the knowledge that even the most common title is important. In my rush, I created this hilt…but what I could have created had I the time…”
“This…is interesting information [Archon]. But not of the quest. It is your [Sleep Learning] ability. If what you say is true, does it not escape the reach over of whatever force guides the trial you took, or even the system itself?”
Rainer became lost in thought at just how strange and powerful what he learned from his grandfather was. Whether it was the supposed infertility of Mages or now this skill, he had no idea what his grandfather may have hidden from him further.
The group walked forward as Rainer trailed slightly behind.
Distracting himself for a moment, he used [Arcane Sight]. He recalled the strange feeling he had felt, of another force, before he had gained both [Mana Detection] and [Magic Detection] for the first time.
He stared deeply, alternating between Kara and Gunthar. They had but one similarity in energy. A strange hazy white wisp. A wisp he could not see unless he truly focused on it. A wisp he couldn’t see until he compared the two.
A wisp which granted him a new understanding.
[Skill Gained: Soul Detection lvl 1/10]
The wisp changed from something intangible, and barely noticeable, to something he could sense four of around him. What surprised him most, was Luna’s. She had mentioned her experimental nature, and Rainer couldn’t help but wonder after learning about the existence of souls whether she would have one, not that he cared either way.
And among them, Rainer’s soul had a difference. A difference he couldn’t quite understand and just left at it being an oddity that occurred when detecting one’s own soul.
[Arcane Sight has reached level 2]
[Experience Gained: 17%]
The gain told him that [Arcane Sight] was a skill that surpassed at least his Shield Mode of [Arcane Awakening] given the difference in experience.
Theodore upon feeling his Soul detected spun around in utter surprise. While he understood the [Archon]’s ability to learn most subjects easier than others, he had no idea just how far that extended.
“Archon, can you detect souls?” Theodore spoke, bringing the party to a halt.
“Yeah, you noticed? I just gained the skill for it.”
Theodore shook his head confusing Rainer, though, that was soon answered.
“The potential…The potential he disregarded. Had he but a tenth of your acceptance of darker arts this quest may not even exist,” Theodore paused for a moment before continuing, “Within the hidden library, there are truly dark arts, that may provide you with much help against the [Arch-Lich], but…”
“Magic is a tool. Its user makes its morality," Rainer interrupted.
Theodore laughed, “Yes, Rainer, I too do not think it evil, even if most would. There is much for you to learn then. Perhaps, we may even steal an undead or two for ourselves…”
Theodore spoke as the party moved ever forward before resting one last time. When the living members next awoke, they’d make their final trek toward the City Hall, and see if the hidden entrance to Nalmar had remained as such.
Within the World Tree’s Palace, in the City of Fae, the emerald haired Yulia sat across another. She had long, almost glowing hair of white. Contrary to Yulia appearing nearly 20 years of age she instead appeared in her 30s, though it did not affect her beauty.
Yulia appraised the woman sitting across from her, staring into her blue eyes.
Maiden Elru…she’s improved since last I saw her, level 19 [Justicar], and level 9 [Grand Rune Knight] as well.
“Make this quick…Yulia,” Maiden Elru spoke with derision. While the Fae court did monopolize the Fruit from the tree over the years, they were not what one could call tyrannical rulers. In fact, apart from court politics, who was Queen had mattered little to most, until now. To Elru, Yulia was nothing more than a murderous upstart, seeking power.
It was an unspoken rule that the trial for the throne would not be a fight to the death. One Yulia broke many times over.
“Why so hasty, is it perhaps because your sister has little time before she has to take the trial, lest she becomes nothing more than faded mana? And because you know she’ll fail…”
The teacup in Elru’s hand shattered and she leaped forward only to be blown back by a fierce wind coming out of the still seated Yulia. In truth, it was a hollow attack, for if Yulia remained within the palace the World Tree’s protection was upon her.
“Calm yourself Elru; that is why I called you. Besides, I do not believe you would reject my request even without a proper payment,” Yulia said, though, clearly understanding no one outside of her newly formed court would do anything without proper payment, “A human captured one of my servants.”
“I’m listening,” Elru could not hide the anger under her voice as she sat back down. Yet this anger was not solely directed to Yulia. Compared to other races, the sheer lack of birthrate meant Fae were far closer to each other than others. They were not altruistic, by any means, but they were more likely to assist those in their community, especially if they were captured for dust.
Elru, however, took it to a different degree. Where most were willing to trade depending on who captured the Fae, or did not care about a member of their race they did not know, Elru would have none of that.
After a minor noble, had captured a young Fae, Elru went on a warpath. She slaughtered the whole minor noble’s family. She went on a chain of vengeance toward the noble he was under and then everyone in their grouping of nobility. The only thing that saved the royal family was the intervention of the local Mage Guild forcing Elru to retreat. Such an ancient event had since been forgotten, given the Kingdom’s lack of continued existence.
“He has already killed 7 of the Fae I sent after him, four were recently advanced to their 2nd class and could form a Sword’s Ascension Formation. An [Archon]…I was told…he keeps the one he stole from me in a cage. Using her as some kind of token for trade and then betraying us even when we met his demand. He took a Fruit from me…” Yulia could not hide the rage in her voice. The emotion of her hate for the [Archon] was not fake.
“I offer you 1 Fruit as well as the one on him. If he lacks it, I will offer a second. He was only level 4, with a low-level subclass, even if he truly is the class of legends, he is but a fledgling.”
“Done. Bring me to speak with the one who saw him so they may tell me of your captured Fae’s appearance and of his. I will handle it myself,” Elru automatically assumed this was second-hand information, given Yulia’s inability to leave the palace.
Yulia smiled viciously while leading Elru to Maya. Elru would be one of the Fae to assist her competition. Whether Elru succeeded or failed, Yulia would come out on top. But if she failed…Yulia would have no choice, but to seek out her possession on her own. If she was meant to die, she would do so after exhausting every possibility.
In the white void of [Sleep Learning], a swirling vortex of Death Energy surrounded Rainer as looked over a copy of the spells Theodore had given him. Just creating this Death Energy out of him in this amount had caused him to age noticeably from the after effects.
Until tomorrow when they reached the city and Gunthar would head out to try and gather some useful tomes and items, Rainer’s focus was twofold; adding Arcane to the Holy Shield spell and progressing his control over Death. The end goal and his only believed method for safely controlling the Death Energy as a member of the living was to merge it with the Arcane.
He spread the vortex further away from him as he stared at the spell formula in front of him. If he couldn’t adjust his body to the Death Energy, then he’d create a proper defense against it. Creating a shield to block it would be to place force against force, and would be no more than a last resort, but guiding it away from him, could allow him to resist a far stronger power.
Neither spells took Rainer much time, but he found himself unable to mix Arcane with the [Shield of Holy Light]. Even as he raised his manipulation skills.
[Light Manipulation has reached level 2]
[Arcane-Light Manipulation has reached level 4]
He could do nothing about it. It would always explode, taking him painfully with it.
The [Spear of Holy Judgement], however, became quite mighty as the [Arcane Spear of Holy Judgement]. Given the original spell was at the fourth tier, he had gained a title, one that managed to raise his second class.
The new spell was at the peak of the fourth tier. Rainer judged it as only below [Spatial Domain].
[Spell Gained: Shield of Holy Light lvl 1/10]
[Spell Gained: Spear of Holy Judgement lvl 1/10]
[Title Gained: Wielder of Light]
[Experience Gained: 0.01%, 72%]
[Chronomancer has leveled up to lvl 5/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed.]
[Spell Gained: Arcane Spear of Holy Judgement lvl 1/10]
[Arcane Spear of Holy Judgement: Forms a concentrated spear of Arcane-Light. Launches it upwards and descends Judgement on the directed target.]
Given the possibility of meeting an ambush at their destination, He deemed it prudent, to level up a spell as he slept automatically to save his mental faculties. The tier 3 version of his [Arcane Blade] while swirling Death Energy around him in [Arcane Awakening].
Rainer’s eyes opened to see Kara in meditation next to him. While there were more specific techniques, [General Aura Meditation] could be used over a period of time to improve one’s Aura pool. But to those lacking talent and time, they were better off with different methods.
[Arcane Blade has reached level 10]
[Death Manipulation has reached level 4]
He was no closer in understanding how to combine Death Energy with the Arcane nor how to have it within his body safely, but every level gave him just that much more control. And a further chance in fighting the [Arch-Lich]’s power.
As Rainer and Kara ate, Gunthar showed off his Aura blade he had created from Rainer’s [Arcane Blade] to his father.
“You say this is based on Rainer’s magic?” Theodore asked while staring at the Aura Blade around Gunthar’s sword.
“Based yes, but compared to the original I am still far,” Gunthar spoke as the blade easily sliced through the cave wall. Hardly an ounce of force was placed upon the blade.
“I cannot even spar against such a thing! I fear for my sword. How did you create this in just the month or so you’ve been traveling with Rainer?”
“It took only a few days,” Rainer answered in between bites.
Theodore placed his hand on his son’s shoulder, “Impressive as always son; I cannot imagine where you can take this skill to in the future.”
The word future had only reminded Gunthar of his father’s intention to die with the [Arch-Lich].
“Theodore, Kara had overheard your conversation on Unicorns the night before. Perhaps you can tell us what kind of place we can find them?” Rainer asked seeing the frozen stance of Gunthar.
“Ah, a good idea,” Theodore said walking over and sitting beside him, “The Unicorn itself is a powerful creature of magic. But, that is not the biggest problem. They are oft found only in places where the land itself rejects others.”
Rainer nearly choked on his food, “You mean like a land that weakens Aura and Magic?”
“Precisely…” Theodore responded. This was not common knowledge.
“Outside of the very Dungeon we gained this quest from, there is a place far north of it just like that.”
“Even if there is, there is no guarantee it has such creatures, and how would you even manage…”
“How else? I’m willing to bet my [Archon] class can learn a skill to resist the effect. And then with [Sleep Learning] I can gain the skill points to raise it.”
Theodore stood up and headed down the tunnel. He said nothing further on the subject. “We should head forward. We know not the [Arch-Lich]’s methods. You should focus on gaining from the hidden library as quickly as possible. “
Rainer stopped eating and put away the remaining food in his spatial ring, much to Kara’s dismay who nearly bit his hand.
“You can eat on the way.”
The party moved forward, reaching the end of the caverns and entering a constructed tunnel. As they reached the end of the tunnel, Theodore explained to Gunthar where he needed to go and how to access the secret pathways. He gave some advice too, on how to blend in with the undead horde.
“Gunthar, first remove the magical construction the Fae had made for you. You shall blend in far better than with just the sword.”
Gunthar’s skeletal face looked over to Kara and Rainer.
Rainer couldn’t help but giggle as he turned around. Kara needed to be spun around by Rainer and explained the situation, eliciting her to join him in laughter.
“Even as an Undead, I have more proper modesty than you, Little Wolf. I imagine our neighbors are kept up quite late by your howls,” Kara’s entire face turned red as she stopped giggling and Rainer’s only went further.
Rainer soon finished and spoke to Gunthar before he left, “Good Luck, Gunthar. No matter what, prioritize coming back to us. Even if you must bring back the whole city chasing you. Understand? No bullshit where you sacrifice yourself to the horde. Hell, lead them back to this thin tunnel and let’s see them get through.”
Theodore grew surprised at Rainer’s words. Even in his undead form Gunthar was treated as a companion, not a useful tool. Even still, he was only happy to see that his son may have a future.
Gunthar went up the stairs, off to go and gather what they needed. He took Rainer’s spatial ring with him. Theodore was unable to go, given the variance of his undead form he was far more likely to stand out amidst the horde.
Rainer and Kara sat side by side against the tunnel wall. Theodore stood at the entrance before sitting across from them.
“So, tell me, how do a human and a demon get to love one another?”
“S-so the perverted side comes out once Gunthar has left!” Kara, still a bit embarrassed from Gunthar’s earlier words, blurted out suddenly.
“He meant…in a relationship Kara,” Rainer barely managed to speak out.
Kara just hid her face as the other two talked after managing to stifle their laughter.
“Half-Demon would be more accurate,” He responded.
“Half-Demon….Half-Demon and an Archon…What kind of fable am I in? A ruler of magic and a ruler of demons. Fitting. Truly Fitting.”
“Ruler of demons?” Rainer responded confused.
“Ah? Perhaps the Demon race of your world varies greatly. My studies into the darker parts of the world extended beyond necromancy. The Demon Race, I’ve found, has a legend that the one to unite their scattered Lord and Princes would be a half-demon. Unbound by the rules, able to take on quests and enter dungeons,” He said moving his hands in a manner as to indicate the current situation Kara is in.
She, peeked out from her hands, listening, “Born of Two-Classes. Unprecedented talent in Demonic Aura despite his….half nature.” Theodore paused on this, “Pardon, Sir Wolf, I had taken thee for a lady.”
“I am a lady…” Kara retorted back completely surprised about the story. She had never heard of a legend of that kind, “and I’ve never heard of any story like that.”
“It fits,” Rainer answered a bit grimly. Were it but one prince after a wife, Rainer had full confidence in dealing with it. Also was it with Luna, who he now knew only had a single faction of Fae after her, given what he had learned from his investigation. But if any part of this legend was true in his new world, then Kara meant a claim to the throne, rather than a new king.
He too remembered her story where men in her tribe were treated as superior.
And the Legend…it’s so clear about it being a man that Theodore even assumed that Kara had to be a man despite quite clear evidence to the contrary.
He thought as he glanced at her chest earning him an annoyed glare given the recent statement.
“What are you checking for? I’d assume you know I am, in fact, a woman by now?” She then asked with a grin knowing he referred to something else, “And what do you mean by it fits?”
“Your tribe…how strong exactly are you?” Rainer ignored her attempts given his worry.
“My mother, my grandmother, and two others are in their 2nd Class.”
“And is that something a Demon Prince would be willing to wantonly make an enemy of just for the small chance his heirs might also be half-demons? I won’t deny it could be a matter of pride. Hell, it may very well be that. The powerful are not free from flights of lunacy.”
“Then...why wouldn’t my mother tell me anything…”
“She may not have known. And that’s, even more, evidence it may not be true in our world,” He said in part trying to convince himself, “Why didn’t anyone run away with you?”
“My mother said it was because my Half-Demon nature makes it hard to track me with the usual means. That any of my tribe going with me would only lead me to be found.”
“Apologies, I did not wish to bring such a conversation,” Theodore responded with his skeletal hand rubbing his head, “And many apologies too you most lovely Lady Wolf for such an assumption, it was but a quick reaction.”
“It's alright…I mistook your words earlier too.”
“What was Gunthar like as a child?” Rainer then curiously asked, hoping he didn’t step into the wrong direction.
Theodore paused for a moment before speaking, the tone of his voice alone let one believe he was smiling, “He was a hardworking child, far more than any other. Often the issue with those of talent is they surpass their peers with little effort and therefore never work any harder, but not Gunthar. Competition did not exist for him. His peers were the legendary paladins who rose before him. His focus was indomitable. And even with his father later becoming a pariah,” He said a bit sadly before continuing in the previous mood, “it did not affect his romantic prospects in the slightest.”
“Gunthar got around?”
“Not in the slightest!” Theodore roared out laughing, “He had not a date nor a lady friend as far as I’d ever known. Whether he didn’t realize their intentions or didn’t care, I’d bet on the latter; he singularly focused on improving himself. I had even tried to set him up with a man, as I thought he was too shy to admit it himself, but no luck.”
Rainer listened on as Theodore talked about Gunthar’s childhood. Most were simply stories, no different than most children, but he listened intently nonetheless. After a few hours, he got to a particularly interesting one.
“One time when Gunthar was 13, already stronger than many paladins twice his age, He had gotten locked in the basement of our mansion. I came home to find him hiding in a corner. A little rat faced him. It was not even a monster, but a common rat. He could slay it with his arms and legs tied behind his back as he was blindfolded! But the panic at which he ran to me, I was certain there was a true monster hiding somewhere in the basement!”
Rainer and Theodore shared a laugh as they heard another voice in the tunnel.
“I’m glad I could be of entertainment, Sorcerer. Luna can you assist me?” Gunthar replied having just returned, but the joy in his voice in seeing Theodore in such a mood couldn’t be hidden.
Luna flew over to remake his clothes at his behest.
“Gunthar!” Kara jumped up, “You’re alright?”
“I am Little Wolf; I am glad at least one person is more concerned with my safety, then laughing at tales of my youth.”
Kara, of course, had no intention of telling him that she likely only wasn’t laughing because she was half-asleep.
“How was it?” Rainer now asked in serious concern. He took a brief glance at a new sword by Gunthar’s side.
[Sword of Piercing Aura: A sword enchanted to increase the power of one’s Aura to the utmost. +9 Aura Control, +9 Aura Attunement.]
He too took a moment to look now at Theodore’s own sword. One he had likely received from his 2nd Class Advancement.
[Sword of Heavenly Descent: A sword enchanted to increase the power of Aura attacks and the power of Light Magic. Offensive Aura Skills increased by 20%, Light Magic improved by 15%.]
“There was little issue. I saw one [Lich] from a distance, but he did not see me. I took the risk to suppress my Aura on spotting him, and it at the very least did not fail. The undead, in general, paid me little mind, and I stayed quite a distance from them,” He said while tossing the spatial ring to Rainer.
“I’m glad you're back safely.”
“I too, Sorcerer. After seeing the streets of my once majestic city in such a state, I can only hope what I have gathered will be of true use to you. I chose to head back after visiting the hidden library my father guided me to. I wanted to bring this back at least. I will head out again.”
“How was the library itself, is there a safe path for us to take?”
“No…I passed by some undead dangerously close. Had I not the same presence of undeath there is no doubt they would have attacked me and thereby alerted all. I could only take a third of what was at the hidden library; I focused on the Necromancy related subjects as much as I understood them.”
Rainer nodded his head as he took out tomes and journals to read them, only long enough, and accurately enough, so that he could retrieve them in [Sleep Learning]. The tomes varied widely, whether it was blood rituals to summon powerful wraiths, or basic necromancy arts to raise skeletal and ghoulish servants. He ignored the several that didn’t seem to deal with Necromancy to save time, just in case.
“Rainer. Most of the Necromancy will be of little use without an undead of the [Arch-Lich]s to practice it on, but it will not hurt to read them over and be prepared for when such a situation occurs.”
Rainer agreed as he handed the spatial ring back to Gunthar.
“Luna put me to sleep,” He said as he laid down, prepared to learn any magic that he could without the presence of another living thing or soul. He knew the effect of leveling related magics had on manipulation skills, and he hoped any of the spells he learned could help him get one step closer to truly understanding Death Energy. Beyond all else, however, he wished to merge it with the Arcane.
Opening his eyes into the familiar void, Rainer first took out several tomes and journals collected on necromancy. The other tomes while drawing his interest greatly, were not his current focus. He quickly began paging through them ignoring anything that required a soul or a body. He too found some magic based on using one’s own soul as a power source, but Rainer had no idea exactly how he was in this space.
His original thought, before knowledge of the soul existing from the very presence of Gunthar as an undead, was that only his mind was within here. But now, he wasn’t sure. Was the soul he detected his own or a copy? He pondered as he focused in on himself and used [Soul Detection].
That left him with spells dealing directly with Death Energy as his focus for now. He did, however, spend his time reading through everything regarding necromancy. No spell here, dealing with necromancy, in any case, reached the fifth tier. Rainer understood too that a forbidden art would be far more difficult to research and grow properly. He did not discard the possibility that Gunthar left behind something of a stronger power in the hidden library.
He couldn’t help but wonder whether the [Arch-Lich]'s ability in necromancy extended beyond the 4th Tier. It was true his undead were far more powerful than anything described in these tomes, but Rainer didn't know how much of that was because of the Mana-Well.
He did not, however, find anything like the magic he had been hit by.
He began with the simplest, [Deathbolt]. His own attempts at creating a similar bolt of Death were all but pointless. Even the most basic Death spell not involving the raising of undead was tier 3. A distinct difference between his other bolt spells.
After nearly an hour of attempts, Rainer stared at the ground. He had gone through stages of anger, depression and was now back in contemplation over what he could do differently. Every time the spell would backfire, using his mana as additional fuel, and he’d be left a corpse, only to refresh himself. He started to believe that perhaps the spell itself was a trap for any foolish enough to use it without the creator’s permission.
He carefully combed through the spell. Trying to find any part of it that could cause such a phenomenon. It was then he saw one of the runes for forming the bolt partially resembled the very runes he had already incorporated for Mana input and output. He recalled Theodore teaching him of how the Holy modifier was created.
The spell was not flawed; it was a trap. If one didn’t know to alter this rune, the spell would continually draw more mana and insert the Deathly Aura into oneself, as a sort of beam. Normally, harmless for a member of the undead, other than draining painstakingly gathered mana before they canceled the spell, but fatal, or close to, for any other who tried to learn it.
It was a simple alteration, given his knowledge of Mana Input and Output of a far more complicated nature.
A concentrated mass of death formed above Rainer’s palm, even holding it away from him caused himself harm. The spell itself took nearly 8 seconds to cast.
[Spell Gained: Deathbolt lvl 1/10]
[Deathbolt: Forms a compressed mass of the very essence of Death and Decay itself. The spell travels slowly yet erodes and corrupts powerfully.]
The spell shot forward. In its speed, it was less than that of a throw. Rainer’s [Arcane Awakening] at 100%, and increased Mana and Death Energy poured in only altered its power, not its forward momentum.
Rainer knew that if such a thing hit him, he would not survive. His shield mode may not even protect him fully, given the lasting nature of the bolt. Though, of course, the spell had been greatly enhanced by him.
The spell began dissipating roughly 30 feet from him. He recalled the beam of death he fought against in the past. It had not even taken a noticeable amount of life from him even when it had affected him. And this was precisely the reason. It was not of Death Energy, but mostly of mana, he reasoned. To increase its speed and range, its very essence was sacrificed in return.
The [Lich], however, did not count on Rainer blocking the beam of Death Energy with his own magic so well.
He opened his [Arcane Sight] as he cast [Deathbolt]s repeatedly. He looked for anything that could give him a hint on mixing in the Arcane and making the magic his own. More importantly to make his grasp over death far surpass that of his foe.
He had found exactly what he searched for as he was jostled awake.
He shot up in a state of readiness, wondering if they had been found.
Instead, he was met with the returned Gunthar, who already had Luna remake his clothes, and a nervous Luna and Kara looking over him. He understood the situation right away from seeing his messages.
[Deathbolt has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 3 spell: Rewarding 3 skill points.]
[Death Manipulation has reached level 6]
[Arcane Sight has reached level 3]
He had been in a trance once more.
“How long was I out?”
“14 hours. We were worried about it happening again, so we tried to wake you up, and it only worked now.”
Rainer rubbed his tired eyes but still couldn’t stop his own grin.
“You figured something out?” Theodore asked not understanding why sleeping a few extra hours was such an issue. He, of course, did not know Rainer had in the past been in a similar state for far longer than that.
“I did. Gunthar, how was your second trip.”
“Far more fruitful. I believe I found a safe path toward one of the Mage Towers along with the tomes you asked for. This one, in particular, was a guild specializing in both Water and Light Magic. Rather all Towers dabbled in Light Magic to a degree. We may find something of use hidden there. It is a rare moment,” Gunthar said a bit sadly, “for a Mage Tower to be without Mages as its guards,” He recollected himself as he spoke on, “It seems most of the undead are focused on defense. The patrols throughout the city are not too frequent. This entrance is truly not known. The hidden library my father told me of, however, goes through several patrol paths. It is not a risk we should take until we are prepared to face being caught.”
“Then I’ll look at what you brought, and we’ll head out in a bit. Thankfully I didn’t stay under too long; I don’t feel too bad.”
He, however, desperately wished to enter [Sleep Learning] again to try out what he had learned. He could only hold himself back from trying in reality, knowing all too well how easily Death Energy could steal his life.