With Kara in her wolfkin form, and Luna now taking a rest in her favorite bed Rainer headed down to one of the floors he found earlier likely designed for Mages to attack from. The clashing of steel and breaking of bone echoed lightly in the background as their new ally cleansed those who remained in the tower.
Rainer figured that the completion of the quest depended on cleaning out the whole fort of undead. With Kara by his side in case any more undead came out Rainer took a break to recover his mana. He looked out toward the fort. The walls themselves were littered with countless undead [Archers] though he doubted they had many arrows remaining. Nor could they likely shoot this high up. Groups of undead seemed to be hoarding the entrance of the tower likely trying to get in. Using all the mana that he had since recovered he fired an empowered [Arcane-Fire Bolt] killing nearly 15 of the clumped up undead. Their levels were high but lacking any real defense against such magic nor the intelligence to spread out,without the direct leadership of a master, there wasn’t much they could do.
[Total Experience Gained: 14%]
Rainer needed about 5% more experience before he hit the massive barrier that was likely level 9. Level 3 versus level 2 had increased the experience needed by a degree of 5. Level 9 likely has the same effect or even greater. This made the completion of the quest the perfect opportunity.
His hope then was that the attributes and skills he could get at level 10 would allow him the strength to continue leveling at the pace he’s maintained so far.
“As always your magic transcends reason to cause such undead to crumble so simply.” Kara remarked from the side.
“What about you?” Rainer asked remembering her strength.
“I have rigorously trained my whole life, have done things...I’d rather not have...yet every day you seem to greatly increase in strength as you wake up.”
But contrary to jealously she instead moved closer to him as they looked out over a view that would otherwise be a fantastic sight. If it lacked the undead of course.
For now, he’d let Gunthar worry about the rest of those. Turning around and deciding to use his recovery time wisely Rainer headed back to the [Lich]’s corpse. He woke up the sleeping Luna though she had just begun her nap.
“Luna I need you to apprise the [Lich]’s equipment. I’d rather not be cursed.”
“Rainer...just do it yourself...curses can’t hide from even basic [Appraisal].”
“What is [Appraisal]?” Kara asked confused.
“Let’s you see the level and classes of people, the enchantments and description of equipment, and apparently lets you see all curses, but Luna might just be lazy.” Rainer answered.
Kara just leans on Rainer as they walked back to the room while wondering how many more unreasonable abilities he has. His fairy wasn’t much different Kara thought. When was there such a magic that could increase the total speed of someone by 30%? For a close combat class, that’s almost as if they themselves became 30% higher leveled. Or for that matter block all arrows as if they were but loafs of bread? Her demonic form helped a bit in that regard but it's hardly a replacement for armor at her low level.
“Luna” Rainer said while taking her out of his pocket.
“Alright Rainer, Luna will check, Luna will check.” She responded a bit annoyed and after a dozen or so seconds of looking over the [Lich]’s headless body she gives her answer.
“The robe is no good but all his rings, necklace, and the bracer around his right arm is fine.”
Rainer apprised the robe immediately and to his great annoyance saw nothing wrong with it.
[Robe of Eternal Darkness: Prevents one from being negatively affected by sunlight]
He picked Luna up and brought her in front of his face.
“Luna, what happened to being able to see curses regardless of my [Appraisal] level.”
Luna gave a nervous laugh then suddenly slumped as if she was sleeping. Rainer of course not buying it shook her a few times.
“Ok, ok, Luna is sorry. Luna would have noticed curse if Rainer really tried to put it on. Luna would have told Rainer for sure. Luna will appraise everything for Rainer, everything! Robe does nothing good for Rainer, why would Rainer wear icky dead clothes?”
Rainer just put her back into his overcoat pocket understanding he needed to be a little careful when Luna gave him information while still being sleepy.
Kara herself is over by a window likely assuming the two were doing some strange play as usual.
Rainer looked down towards the [Lich]’s hand. The skeleton itself didn't give a particularly gross feeling being very clean and looking no different than a model in an anatomy class.
The [Lich] wore a total of 3 rings, one being oddly the same ring Rainer was rewarded by the dungeon.
[Ring of Channeling: Decreases cast time by 5%]
[Ring of Focus: Intelligence +2]
Rainer put both simple looking silver rings on. They automatically adjusted to his size. But not before pulling Luna out and making sure she checked them once more, much to her dismay. And as she said only the Robe seemed to be affected. He put on the second [Signet Ring of the Nalmar Knighthood] but as he expected the enchantment didn’t stack.
He wasn’t sure how enchantments worked with one another, as Gunthar’s whole set seemed to work even though the bonuses were similar. He’d have to ask him when he got the chance.
The bracelet was entirely silver with strange black inscriptions.
[Armband of Shielding: Improves effectiveness of Magical Barriers by 25%]
He wasn’t sure what constituted a magical barrier but it made more and more sense with why the [Lich] was so trusting in his mana barriers. He put it on as he saw no reason not to. Finally, Rainer reached towards the necklace around the [Lich]’s neck.
[Amulet of Communication: Allows mental communication with connected amulets]
He immediately stopped his hand after seeing the description. Communication was one thing but by definition wouldn’t a connection directly into his mind be opened? He could guess what was on the other side. Rainer left it alone, for now, deciding to destroy it once it was confirmed others knew of their presence here or otherwise. There was no reason to directly hasten such a thing.
Rainer with Kara headed back to the floor of the tower he had guessed was used for mages to attack. For the purpose of recovering his mana he rested a bit sitting at one of the tables.
He looked at Kara sitting across from him seemingly in thought.
“What’s on your mind?”
“Food….” She answered while wistfully staring up at the ceiling. Likely imagining food that only made her more hungry.
Rainer felt the emptiness of his own stomach. They left their supplies outside as carrying them wasn’t exactly the best battle plan. They had Luna to make them water but, of course, that wasn’t enough given how much they’ve been fighting.
And the damn stairs of this place…
He stood and grabbed the distracted Kara.
“Where are we going?”
“Let’s go explore, we aren’t going to get less hungry thinking about it.”
Rainer led Kara by the hand. In truth, he already knew where he was heading. They may as well have some fun given the time they’ve been having. After heading a bit down the stairs they entered a floor Rainer had noticed earlier to contain many doors. He guessed it was similar to a barracks. Kara as well realized the purpose of such a room and while she heated up a bit she didn’t seem to mind as she followed along.
Going into a room and still holding her hand Rainer spun her so that her back was against a wall. He moved forward, pausing for a moment, yet seeing Kara looking intently prior to closing her eyes, moved further. Their lips joined together, no hesitation from either.
This time, Kara went on the offensive. With their lips still locked she pushed him towards the bed falling straight on top of him. He reached his hand around her, gently rubbing the base of her ears causing her to pause and let out a breath of air. With his hand still by her ears, he brought her back towards him, not letting her take a moment of rest. They both lost themselves in the moment. The troubles of the past and future gently escaped the room.
As they continued to interlock he went to unbutton her blouse. They went on intertwined for several minutes until Kara finally noticed what he was doing.
She leaned back still sitting on top of him and after laughing a bit embarrassingly tried to undo the button herself. Yet partially to Rainer’s relief she couldn’t either. It took them but a moment to realize Luna didn’t actually create functioning buttons on her blouse and they both couldn’t help but burst out in laughter.
She fell back near him on the bed, both of them still laughing at the laziness of the little fairy.
He wasn’t in any rush Rainer thought as he looked at Kara laughing next to him. She herself lacked experience and rather than a last hoorah before they rushed into death Rainer planned on living quite the long life with her by his side. He’d forgive the fairy for this little trip up.
They laid there for a few minutes, her in his arms, before they left, this time for some actual exploration much to the dismay of Rainer having to climb more stairs.
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 9/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
He had managed to get a level after a few [Arcane-Fire Bolts] towards the [Archer]s but it seemed whoever was the master of most of the undead has moved them beyond his range. Many began pouring into buildings and he couldn’t do much about that. There was a chance one of them held non-perishable food and burning it wouldn’t be the greatest idea. Besides, most of the buildings were made of stone anyhow. He had no idea how many years had past but enchanted storage units didn’t seem to be out of the question for a city that gave out enchanted items to even common soldiers.
Rainer also decided he needed to go back and destroy that amulet as they clearly already knew of his existence. No reason to leave open such a channel.
“Perhaps we should go join Gunthar down the tower?” Kara asked seeing the situation outside and herself aching for battle.
"Let's go then." Rainer responded himself now wishing to complete this quest.
Just before they headed downwards they saw Gunthar heading up the stairs.
“The tower should be free of the dead. Besides this one.” Gunthar pointed to himself while talking. He paused for a moment seemingly waiting for a laugh. Rainer just assumed it was a translation error and instead went straight to business.
“So how exactly do I give you mana?” Rainer asked.
Before a disappointed Gunthar could answer Luna spoke up her head popping out over Rainer’s coat.
“Luna thinks we can just add Gunthar to the party. And then with Party options, Luna can give Gunthar mana. Rainer’s mana isn’t very much…”
“Gunthar, Luna will add you to our party then.”
Gunthar who hadn’t really noticed the fairy prior to now was surprised at her presence. Though it wasn’t visible on his skeletal face.
Luna flew over and began drawing the party symbol onto Gunthar while Rainer himself stood at the ready to summon her at any second. He trusted Gunthar decently enough on the simple premise that if he wished for their end his enchantments and level made it possible. At the very least he could take them with him even if Rainer’s magic could slay him. Add in his Aura and Rainer hasn’t a clue how truly strong this [Death Knight] in front of him was. But that didn’t mean Rainer would completely lower his guard.
[Gunthar Lothfane has joined [Rainer’s Party]]
[Gunthar Lothfane has become a servant of Fae Princess Luna Emralira-Igna]
“It truly opened a connection between me and this Lady of the Fae, how marvelous.”
Luna took on a haughty pose after hearing the word lady.
“See Rainer, Luna is a proper Lady.”
“So Gunthar you mentioned earlier about leading me to the magic tomes of this tower?” Rainer asked completely ignoring his fairy.
“I shall guide you to several places. There is also a storage room that should have still been preserved by magic. Once we have reached the bottom we should begin cleansing the fort.”
Gunthar showed them several places and had actually forgotten some causing them to travel up and down once more to the dismay of Rainer. Though seeing all the magical tomes within the small library of this tower gave him a renewed vigor.
They finally reached the bottom of the tower now intending to head out. Kara held back a moment changing into werewolf form before heading towards the bottom as well. Luna began casting [Gfit of Lightning] for Kara, though Rainer mentioned he didn’t need it. Himself having already armed [Arcane Bolts] after his rest.
They moved out with Gunthar in the lead. The undead had all moved away from the tower to avoid Rainer’s assault.
Moving out through the fort they followed a simple pattern. Gunthar would be first through the door, Kara would follow in if needed and in the end all would retreat when Gunthar gave Rainer the go ahead to launch an [Arcane-Fire Bolt] into the building.
Rainer and Kara continued their assistance until they ran out of both mana and stamina respectively. Gunthar stated he would be fine on his own. With his tireless nature, his enchanted gear, his [Death Knight] class, and his aura that was likely true. He could also contact Luna through his servant bond with her but he doubted he would need aid. Seeing as much of the remaining undead were [Archer]s.
After a long day, Rainer and Kara both headed back to the barracks though in separate rooms this time. Rainer rubbed the lack the stubble on his face wondering why he wasn’t growing anything before he realized Luna likely added that on whenever she assisted him in cleaning with her Faerie Fire. Luna herself had leveled and he wondered when her fire, if ever, would go beyond simply burning small ropes or hair.
He laid down and hoped he’d get to sleep fast given how tired he was even without Luna’s assistance. This time choosing to use [Sleep Learning] on the [Arcane-Fire Bolt].
Rainer had shot up, unable to sleep what so ever. He looked towards his overcoat wondering if he would need to once more rely on Luna’s sleeping spell. It was not guilt alone. In fact seeing the effect of Luna’s fairy dust had assuaged most of his guilt. At the very least he didn’t think in any way he made the wrong decision.
Instead, the crushing weight of his entire situation started to hit him. It wouldn’t just be scattered nobles interested in his fairy if Leaf spread the information. A dying 2nd Class individual would be just as interested in living longer. It isn’t as if advancing to the 2nd Class made them immortal, just gave them more time. Functionally, they were the same as any human.
Then there was the issue with Kara...was she not any different than the most prized wife any demon could ask for? The advantages to being a Half-Demon were huge, and according to Luna it isn’t something that should be possible. And Rainer agreed.
If both her [Blade Dancer] class and [Demonic Werewolf] class reached their 2nd Tier Class would she then have access to 4 primary classes?
Whereas Rainer as an example would only gain a single extra slot after advancing [Arcanist] to the 2nd Tier. And even if he reached the 2nd Tier on another class he wouldn't gain another slot.
Even more so, Rainer only had 6 months to reach the strength to fight against an [Arch-Lich]. Or very likely said [Arch-Lich] would then have completed his goal and would be free to crush Rainer as if he were nothing.
He looked down at his shaking hand...He had been able to gloss over his troubles but when it was just him alone with his thoughts it was difficult to suppress such worries. Just as he was about to call out Luna he noticed his door opening. He was on guard for just a moment before he noticed the light glow of Kara’s gold and red eyes.
She laid beside him, perhaps aware of the troubles Rainer was facing. Rainer too laid back down, her presence calming his nerves. Her head on his chest and her arm around him they laid in the dark.
“I had sensed you still awake, you have two troublesome women as your companions I imagine it's not easy getting sleep.” Kara said recalling hearing Luna’s story that night, as well as Rainer’s use of Luna’s sleeping spell."
Kara paused for a moment before she continued.
“I saw the way your face changed when Luna told you about me being a half-demon. I had in part thought you’d grown so serious and sure of your actions towards me. But in truth it was for me and Luna.”
Rainer reached his hand over lightly scratching behind her ears. Kara only giving a gentle and satisfied sound as she continued.
“When it was first revealed that I held two classes as a Half-Demon I was elated. Yet even before news came of the Demon Prince seeking me every man and boy in the tribe viewed me differently. At first, I only saw it as positive being a young girl. And it was in the case of my own family but to the rest, it was as if I was nothing more than a prize to be sought. It did not take long for me to understand such a thing. A woman who could produce excellent heirs...I avoided all men like a plague. You are the first I have ever...” She spoke before continuing on.
Rainer became curious for a moment who her father was then. If her mother was of her tribe then what occurred? But he did not interrupt.
“When you asked me to earnestly train you I had become truly elated. In fact when I saw your magic blade I had even imagined how perfect it would be to take on such a disciple. Even if in the 1 week we trained you surpassed years of my own progress I still did not mind teaching and even ignored that fact completely.”
“And then when I saw you nearly die that first time from the [Lesser Death Knight] I had nearly lost it...realizing how much I valued you. I knew when you were at such a point once more from the true boss of the dungeon I could not hold back, even if it meant an end to our friendship.”
“Though I suppose it did end our friendship ” She said a bit jokingly. She leaned her head into Rainer’s hand still stroking her ears before finding a comfortable position to sleep in.
“I will stay by your side so long as you’ll have me…” She finally spoke before closing her eyes and drifting off to sleep. She was left with some wondering thoughts on what they were exactly but left such a discussion for another time. She was content as they are now, herself now being able to easily sleep.
Feeling her warmth beside him, from one of the very persons he had accepted such a situation for, he gradually became relaxed enough to try to sleep. They had not known each other long yet they already had grown bonds through blood. Whether it was Kara who rushed headlong into danger to save him or Rainer who chose her over her past and what she was.
Before finally falling asleep he gave her a light kiss and let the night take him.
8 hours later Rainer awoke to a stream of messages that gave him hope in facing his future enemies.
[Arcane-Fire bolt has reached lvl 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 2 spell: Rewarding 2 skill points. ]
[Quest Completed: Capture First Fort.]
[Description: Capture the closest fort of Sunlight’s Keeper.]
[Recommended level: 5-15]
[Time Limit: None]
[Reward: Ring of Party Transference: Nalmar,]
[All members under level 10 rewarded: 100% Static Experience Gained]
[All members over level 10 rewarded: 50% Static Experience Gained]
[All members rewarded: Small Party Bonus: 50% Static Experience Gained]
[Party Leader Granted Reward: Ring of Party Transference: Nalmar.]
[Accept Reward: Ring of Party Transference: Nalmar? Y/N]
Rainer pressed yes while he put on the black ring with the same golden symbol of a sun and spears as his previous ring. He used [Appraisal] before he continued on to the rest of his messages.
[Ring of Party Transference: Nalmar: Transfers all party members within 10 yards between Nalmar and the Dungeon Entrance of the Fall City of Nalmar. Can be used twice a day. 10 minute cast time.]
If they truly needed to run from here they would but for now with the numerous supplies in this tower they had no reason to leave until the end of the Main Quest.
[Quest Granted: Capture Any Fort.]
[Description: Capture any remaining Fort. Cannot be repeated in case of recapture.]
[Recommended level: 5-25]
[Time Limit: None]
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 10/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
[Having reached level 10 in your primary class related Skill Store and Hidden Attributes have been unlocked]
[Hidden Attribute Unlocked: Arcane Attunement: 8]
[Arcane Attunement: Allows one to use the Arcane Power stored within their mana to cast Arcane spells. Mana can be converted into Arcane Power. Current Ratio: 1 - 2.5]
[Arcanist Class Description Changed, Previous Hidden Attribute increase Revealed]
[Arcanist lvl 10/25]: As a seeker of the arcane, the true origin of magic, all secrets of the universe await thee. 100% general improvement and growth to Arcane spells and skills. 25% Improvement and growth to all skills. Allows the initial learning of any skill far easier. +2 Intelligence, +2 Affinity, +.5 Willpower, +.5 Arcane Attunement, +.10 All Attributes per Level past 1]
Rainer could feel the Arcane Power within him surging, responding freely to his control and will. Standing up he produced an [Arcane Bolt] directly with the Arcane power noting a quicker and easier cast time. He dissipated the bolt and looked back at Kara. Her face too showing surprise at the experience she gained.
He then took a look at this so-called Skill Store.
[Arcanist Class Skills Currently Available]
[Spatial Manipulation: Cost 10 Skill Points. The very nature of Arcane energy is to be drawn from beyond one’s current world. The Energy is closely intertwined with the nature of space and time.]
[Arcane Rage: Cost 10 Skill Points: The Arcane is an energy that contains within it unspeakable power. To ignite that power within one’s self and unleash a strength beyond compare.]
[Arcane Weaving: Cost 10 Skill Points: Arcane energy is often turbulent in its purpose yet its powerful force can be repurposed in the building and creation of Arcane objects.]
3 were available and without pause he chose [Spatial Manipulation] and [Arcane Weaving]. He lacked both movement and defense. Any option to improve those would be taken. His secret hope being he gains a title for spatial spells or combining it somehow with Arcane. Though he hasn’t a clue where to even begin on that note, still a bit weary of doing anything similar to wall-walking, although he’s mostly convinced it wasn’t his spell alone that brought him here.
“Kara I’m going to head back to the library and begin studying Light Magic. You should go find Gunthar and get started with your Aura training, who knows what someone from a completely different world can offer in that regard.”
“I, as well, need to discuss with him the matter of defending our position.” Kara spoke and stood up from her mediating position.
Rainer blanched a bit recalling the bookcase she used to block the door in the past.
“Just be a bit careful what you use in your efforts…”
Kara tilted her head having no clue what he meant and left to go find Gunthar before stopping. She understood she was forgetting a major point. They couldn’t understand each other.
“How are Gunthar and I going to speak?”
Rainer looked confused for a moment before he grabbed Luna out of his pocket and handed her to Kara.
“She can translate.”
Kara who now gently held the fairy could not help but be surprised at the fairy still being asleep. Though Luna did mumble a bit.
“Ah...Rainer is handling Luna so roughly...Luna can’t take it…"
Both of them gave a little laugh towards the strange fairy and went their separate ways.
Rainer himself walked to the room Gunthar had shown him containing various tomes on light magic. Even time hadn’t decayed them. Rainer could read the text itself with his shared skill and thankfully the Rune Language was the same. It would, however, require significant experimentation before he was even able to cast a basic light spell. Himself not understanding how the concept of light magic even works. His only guess would be that mana alters how the light functions in terms of physics similar to other magics to varying degrees. But even then!
Why does light heal...
Rainer sighed at such a thing, he didn’t have any particular plans to focus on the healing spells in any case. He was most interested in a spell that could be combined with his Arcane.
“Spear of Holy Light.” He read aloud as he looked down at the tome. To his left, he had a tome that contained various tier 1 spells whereas this one focused solely on the aforementioned tier 2 spell. He decided it would be best to gain [Light Manipulation] before attempting to learn the tier 2 spell, but he wanted to at least go over it beforehand.
[Sleep Learning] was only an advantage when he had something that could greatly benefit from its use. And so he needed to constantly increase his spell amount, as the leveling of skills relating to manipulation got slower and slower.
Before he began his study in earnest Rainer looked over his status screen and spent his attribute points. Most certainly putting it all in [Arcane Attunement]. At a now 1-5 ratio, his mana pool had effectively been increased by a factor of 5 for Arcane Magic. Though it did take some time to convert the mana, it wasn't a long enough time that it was too big of an issue. It certainly wasn't even comparable to his slow mana regeneration rate. He, however, needed to try and create new Arcane spells. As [Arcane-Fire Bolt] as an example was only partially covered by Arcane Power as he found out from a simple test. It still covered a significant amount but [Arcane Bolt] would be the go to for single combat until he created a better spell. He doubted anything he made though would compare to the wide area destructive power of [Arcane-Fire].
Whenever he’d get stuck on studying light magic he decided to mess around with both [Spatial Manipulation] and [Arcane Weaving]. He had an idea for how to use [Arcane Weaving] and [Spatial Manipulation] together in forming a powerful attack but it would take some work as he hadn’t even a single spell as of yet from using [Spatial Manipulation].
[Primary Classes: Arcanist Lvl 10/25]
[Titles: Arcane Scholar, Fae Contractor, Arcane Elementalist, Dungeon Pioneer]
[Talents: Excellent Arcane Affinity, Human Growth, Gift of the Fae(Luna)]
[Stamina Regen: .1% per second]
[Mana Regen: .0032 per second]
[Arcane Power: 16/17]
[Conversion Ratio: 1-5.5]
[Skills: Sleep Learning lvl 9/10, Appraisal lvl 2/10, Goblin Anatomy lvl 1/10, Fae Anatomy lvl 4/10, Long Jumping lvl 2/10, Sprinting lvl 1/10, Bare-Fist Fighting lvl 1/10, Weightless Blade Mastery lvl 2/10, General Blade Mastery lvl 2/10, Muknar Language 3/10, Faaran Runic Language lvl 3/10, Fae Language lvl 1/10, Magic Detection lvl 1/10, Mana Detection lvl 1/10, Arcane Weaving lvl 1/10, Mana Manipulation lvl 2/10, Arcane Energy Manipulation lvl 5/10, Fire Manipulation lvl 3/10, Spatial Manipulation lvl 1/10, Arcane-Fire Manipulation lvl 1/10]
[Toggled On Skills: Pain Resistance lvl 1/10, Physical Resistance lvl 1/10, Burn Resistance lvl 1/10, Fire Resistance lvl 1/10, Mental Resistance lvl 1/10, Death Resistance lvl 1/10]
[Toggled Off Skills: None]
[Skill Points: 2]
[Tier One: Arcane Bolt lvl 10/10, Arcane Bolt Armament lvl 10/10, Arcane Candle Flame lvl 10/10]
[Tier Two: Arcane Blade lvl 2/15, Cone of Arcane-Fire lvl 10/10, Arcane-Fire Bolt lvl 10/10]
[Tier One: Candle Flame lvl 10/10, Cone of Fire Lvl 1/10]
[Arcane Attunement: 17]
[Attribute points: 0].
So begun the day with an Undead, former paladin, arguing with a little fairy about the merits of the Holy One versus the World Tree to a confused Kara wondering why her training on Aura involved so much argument. She, of course, couldn’t understand what they were talking about.
And with Rainer, who sat alone, mumbling at how light could do any of this.