The Fae stared down at Leaf with a pensive look on her face. She had used mind magic and with Leaf being at such a low-level everything she desired was revealed. Though it only made her question if his memories were tampered with.
Not only was her target supposedly only a level 6 mage, but he had also entered a dungeon that initially stopped at level 10, proving such a fact. There was simply too much wrong with this in her mind. A level 6 mage was capable of blocking their tracking spell? More importantly, from Leaf's description of the fairy, it seemed the mage had overwritten the Queen's mana.
A dragon in human form maybe...but why would he waste so much time fixing this one’s mind when he could just kill him...And then there’s the problem of them still being in the dungeon. And the existence of the half-demon just seemed like something thrown in for fun.
She distracted herself with making sure this man’s inheritance was in order. She also changed the content of several of the letters. Stealing out right from something that was equally the Hunters Guild property would be asking for death.
The Hunters Guild would take it personally, hiring mages to track down the thief even for the smallest offense. Of course, they’d first make sure it wasn’t an inside job. And if it was? It would not be a pleasant end.
The leader, who was known to be extremely vengeful and hot-tempered, was rumored to be at the peak of the 2nd class or by some rumors the legendary 3rd class. Stealing anything from the Guild was an insult he'd take all too personally as if you stole a king’s ransom. Killing someone within a Guild as well wasn’t taken kindly. Add on to having more second class experts than most countries the Hunters Guild was a dominant force.
Fira, as the red redheaded crystal-eyed Fae was called, had already taken a huge risk sneaking in here. Were this not still a young branch of the Guild she’d have never done it in the first place.
She put everything back in its proper place. The Fae reached down and wiped Leaf’s memory of both her and the content of the letters. As far as he was concerned, he only met Rainer and then was betrayed by him for unknown reasons.
Her form had shimmered for a moment before she left the guild undetected by anyone. She went back to the room she rented at the inn, looking no different than any human, and sat in meditation. While they couldn’t track down this mage directly, it wouldn’t be hard to notice his unique mana so up close when he finally left the dungeon. If it weren't for Leaf leaving the Dungeon and separating from Rainer so soon after being nearly hit by his [Arcane Bolt] the tracking spell wouldn’t have worked at all. Fira, from pure luck, happened to be casting it at that time.
She didn’t even consider contacting anyone else either. Whoever completed this task would receive a fruit of the World Tree. While it couldn’t grow another one, it could allow someone not to take the fatally dangerous 2nd class trial and instead immediately advance. Perfect for a level 25 Fae who focused on various mind and control magic. With the high fatality rate of the 2nd Class advancement, long-lived races were often far more reluctant to risk themselves than humans.
This also depended on this mage being as the human had told her. Were he truly what Fira thought he might be they’d have to switch to a route of diplomacy.
But if Luna dies in there…
I might as well not come back.
Rainer looked over at the rising sun. Along with a clear lack of trolls whatever alterations affected the day and night cycle had disappeared with them once they left the rest area. As the party headed up the path toward Wyvern’s Roost Rainer thought over his current problem with his Arcane weaved hexes. He couldn’t think of a spell to take them out of the ring automatically. Creating an armament spell with them would require taking the time to arm numerous hexes every time before battle. It was simply too long for a defensive spell except in rare circumstances when he knew he needed them ahead of time.
He couldn’t always keep it activated either as even if the drain is small, it's still enough that he can’t keep it up for more than 15-20 minutes.
He stared at his spatial ring admiring the magic within before he finally figured out what he needed to do. But this wasn’t something he was yet capable of. Either way, he couldn’t rely on mana shields for even if he knew how to make one his mana capacity was simply too small for it to be worth it. Each point of mana wasted was 7 arcane power or 8 [Arcane Bolt]s.
The path began to thin out as it winded around the base of the mountain, ever so slightly sloping upwards. He looked up towards the top and wondered if it would be better for Kara to try and climb before he realized that any Wyverns at this roost could easily target them.
“Hey, Gunthar...and well Kara and Luna. I’ve been meaning to ask, is there any way to hide myself from [Mana Detection] or any other detection skill?” Rainer asked as the group walked forward along the winding path.
“Do you have [Aura Detection]?” Kara questioned in a manner as if she already knew the answer.
“Then use it.” She replied. Rainer activated the skill and soon noticed that he couldn’t feel Kara’s aura at all. After a few more seconds it returned though it seemed to be slightly lesser.
“Not only is it expensive, but you are also blocked from using Aura for a while. It's the same with mana. I am unaware of any other methods…” She said as she looked towards Gunthar and then Luna on Rainer’s shoulder. None refuted it.
Rainer gave up on this idea for now. His mana was already an issue; hiding it could just put him in a worse position when he’s eventually found and depleted of mana. And not only that he thinks he just found a disadvantage to his plus 1 to all attributes. Who knows what other detectable resources he has hidden within him?
The sound of a stone dropping echoed in the air as the group returned to their silence. Soon a boulder rolled down the mountain straight towards them. Gunthar jumped straight towards it and with his aura infused sword slashed straight down the middle of the large stone before returning to the ground. The force sent both halves away from them.
The Wyvern responsible for such a thing looked down at the group.
[Avian, Male, Adult Wyvern lvl 24]
The Wyvern gave a screech before turning away just as an [Arcane Bolt] slammed into his previous position.
“Stupid fucking birds…” Rainer cursed out still annoyed at how the past Wyverns had circled them like vultures even if it made their journey technically safer.
Rainer began work on his next project with the single goal of bringing down these birds.
They dealt with the occasional rock and boulder coming towards them, but the Wyverns themselves kept their distance. Perhaps different from the [Young Wyvern]s the adult ones understood the strength of the group in front of them. In comparison, the [Adult Wyvern]s were twice the size with a darker beige skin. Their wingspan is at 16 feet, of the same size as the [Ghoul Wyvern]s Rainer saw previously. Even with the size difference to their younger versions, their speed seemed to be even slightly faster.
“So what’s the deal with young, old, adult and so forth?” Rainer asked to no one in particular while he played with an Arcane Weaved chain in his hands.
“Consider it like a stronger or rarer class. It's nowhere near a second class, but basic improvements to the bonus are made. Monsters gain them with age. They can evolve beyond that as well, but it may take several evolutions before they may reach what you would consider equal to a second class.” Gunthar responded.
“How can you tell in any case, Sorcerer?”
“With Appraisal.” He answered with his focus back onto the small chain in his hand.
“Why should the skills of the Heroes be any obstacle for you...” Gunthar responded before turning his attention back on the narrow path in front of them. Seeing Rainer's abilities extend to what should only be able to be granted by the Holy One gave a shock to Gunthar who had thought he was used to it by now.
“What do you mean skills of heroes?” Kara asked still not fully believing, even after their discussion, that Rainer is unrelated to their existence.
This time Luna responded.
“Rainer is special. Usually only heroes and chosen of the World Tree like Luna can use [Appraisal].”
Seeing as they all already understood that he could learn skills quickly, he shared why he thought he could use [Appraisal].
“My guess is that the barrier to learning [Appraisal] is so high it's impossible to gain without the World Tree’s help.”
“Holy One’s” Gunthar said with a slight cough that somehow came from his undead figure.
“Anyways...my class lets me overcome that barrier and the barrier to any skill up to the first level.” Rainer said while giving a confused look to Gunthar.
Is it a situation where both the Holy One and the World Tree can't exist? But Luna always talked about the World Tree as a very real physical thing...
Kara seemed to be in thought for a moment before she returned to the situation at hand.
“Rainer walk in the middle of Gunthar and me in the case of any more surprise attacks.” She said as she pushed he who was still distracted by his new toy in front of her.
As they walked, he had finally gotten the small chain he created with Arcane weaving at an adequate strength. He extended the chain pouring the remainder into his spatial ring whenever it became too long to support. He had already thrown away all but one of his hexes as they weren't actually usable in combat without rendering himself useless as of yet. For now, he’d depend on Gunthar and Kara to protect him. If they failed, he still had Luna to heal him.
Rainer looked up at the circling Wyvern holding a large rock in its claws. Several others were higher up on the pathway looking down at them. He had already tried to cast a spear at them earlier, but they flew away long before he could hit them with it. They were taunting them.
Slowly at first Rainer began pulling his long Arcane Weaved chain from his spatial ring. None of the Wyverns seemed to react. In the first place, the Arcane Weave was a subdued form of Arcane Energy. It felt about as threatening as a mana shield regardless of the truth.
Soon an extremely long chain swirled around him. Its point was slightly sharp, but that wasn’t its purpose. Maneuvering Spells after firing them is tough. He could alter the path a few degrees, but an actual turn simply wasn’t possible.
Different from the spear a single [Arcane Bolt] doesn’t cause too much of a reaction to the Wyverns apart from a slightly higher level of alertness, that is until he fires it. Rainer, in particular, focused on a Wyvern he thought he recognized. That he also thought grinned at him mockingly.
Attaching the bolt to the end of the chain quite easily due to the similar composition he fires the bolt taking the chain with it. The Wyvern casually dodges the bolt before a flick of Rainer’s wrist, while controlling the chain primarily, sends the bolt with the chain towards the Wyvern’s direction. The bolt was not aiming for the Wyvern itself, however, as it sailed past a confused beast.
Rushing past the Wyvern, the bolt was brought toward Rainer this time as the chain gripped around the Wyvern. Not even able to try and break the chain Rainer controlled it to wrap further around the Wyvern. With the aid of the world’s gravity and the power of the [Arcane Bolt] the beast plummeted a long way down to his death at the bottom of the mountain. The rest of the Wyverns scatter in fright as he mockingly prepares another [Arcane Bolt].
“Damn fucking bird dropping a rock on me…now I dropped you.” Rainer spoke with a sound of glee as he retracted the chain back into his ring. He had played around with making a smaller chain and then just a needle as an attack but the smaller he made the weave not only did it become weaker it became harder to control.
His joy was quickly brought to an end as while the Wyverns were well out of range their loud and slightly damaging screeches roared out.
[Skill Gained: Sound Resistance lvl 1/10]
He had immediately gripped around Kara’s ears worried at her sensitive hearing when the Wyvern screeched out.
“Rainer invent some more silly things to get rid of all of them. Luna is annoyed too…” She spoke as she retreated into her favorite pocket.
Kara held both of Rainer’s hands holding her ears.
“I sincerely appreciate the sentiment, but we learn to block out certain noises as children.” She said with her face slightly tinted red. She had thought she had made some progress over not getting embarrassed by his actions, but she could still be surprised.
“That’s good.” He said as he slightly scratched behind her ear before moving his hand away.
“Maybe we should share stuff like that more often…”He grumbled as he rubbed his ears. The resistance skill had prevented further damage, but the initial shock wasn’t pleasant by any means.
“Luna can you…”
“Yes yes, Luna whose ears aren’t good enough to be covered will heal.” She said while slightly pouting and started to use her flame.
“Don’t worry Luna; it's time for mana tonight anyways.”
Her mood improved as she flew back into his pocket having finished her healing.
Kara moved up closer to Rainer and started whispering.
“When we have a moment perhaps you can use mana on me as well? That one brief time in the bath was quite nice.”
“Actually I have…”
Rainer continued while Gunthar spoke aloud.
“Those who hold out their hands in prayer cannot choose the miracle that comes to them…”
Both Rainer and Kara looked over at him surprised he could hear them.
“Do you think I am deaf because I am undead? I should have never gotten that translation skill from the Lady of the Fae…”
Kara grew far redder than before while Rainer just grinned.
They continued to move up the path that occasionally changed directions. Every so often a distant Wyvern would screech once more as well as drop rocks down from a great height, but they all stayed a safe distance away.
Not even a tenth of the way up the mountain they reached the end of the path after several hours.
What a monstrous height…
Rainer thought as he stared upwards. They were likely a good distance from anywhere near where the Wyverns lived.
Cautiously the group walked into the cave opening knowing that trying to climb the mountain away from the given path would only lead to death.
Rainer lit up his armed [Arcane Bolt]s as they made their way forward. Kara’s red and gold eyes shined in the darkness as she adjusted to it. Gunthar’s aura slightly flowed around the two pale blue flames that could be considered his eyes. Rainer’s light only traveled so far down the deep tunnel.
There was an apparent increasing sloping to the tunnel convincing the party this was the correct way.
“Ladies first.” Rainer said with an elegant bow.
Kara merely scoffed at him and moved forward.
“What? Mages are supposed to be in the back.”
“True. But you could pretend and offer to guard my path.” She said as he caught up to her and walked by her side.
“I didn’t realize you were such a romantic.”
“Oh, and the candlelit dinner in the middle of an undead wasteland didn’t tip you off?”
“I can’t read such small hidden signs.”
The couple smiled as they moved forward Gunthar taking the lead instead seeing the lack of tension.
Strange high-pitched cries could be heard amongst the flapping of wings. The sounds grew closer and closer as the party prepared for battle.
“Must everything in this place be so damn loud...I even have a [Sound Resistance] skill and this is too much.” Rainer spoke as he cast an [Arcane-Fire Bolt].
He appraised one of the 3-foot flying creatures before unleashing the bolt.
[Mammalia, Female, Adult Monstrous Bat]
The bolt combusted on the bat and lit aflame several of the nearby ones before dying out along with its targets. Seeing how many were indeed flying towards them, Rainer called out.
Having an idea of the magic he was about to use both Kara and Gunthar rushed back just as the spell went off.
A [Cone of Arcane-Fire] erupted burning the swarming group of bats. Immediately panicked cries rang out as the flock flew in the other direction leaving behind dozens of charred corpses.
They stepped over the bodies as they headed forward. Rainer noticed that not only is the tunnel gradually sloping up but also to the right. He figured they would eventually reach an exit rather than heading all the way to the top of the mountain through this cave. After several more uneventful hours, apart from a few scattered bats, they passed by a massive cavern. It contained a high tunnel that was likely where the bats retreated.
Rainer looked up at the tunnel for a moment before he felt an incoming attack.
[Skill Gained: Crisis Perception lvl 1/10]
Without pause, he activated [Arcane Rage] and hit the floor just as a clawed hand seemed to reach out from the shadows and swipe where his head had been. He fired 4 of his armed bolts immediately at the figure, yet it simply seemed to vanish.
“Teleportation!” Rainer yelled out as he felt the all too familiar spatial fluctuations from his [Magic Detection] skill.
Kara began shifting; Luna started casting [Gift of Lightning], and Gunthar's blade became clad in Aura as he stood in front of Kara, Rainer on the other side.
Under the light of his [Arcane Bolt]s the party could see a figure form at the high tunnel in this vast Cavern.
[Demon, Male, Lesser Vampyr lvl 19]
His skin was a smooth pale gray. His ears were long and pointed with two fangs jutting from his mouth. His eyes were blood red as he stared down at the party before disappearing once more.
Using [Spatial Manipulation] in concert with [Magic Detection] Rainer extended his senses to the utmost trying to feel for the slightest fluctuation of magic. He felt it, and immediately an [Arcane Blade] formed in his hand as he slashed down the mighty blade where the fluctuation was appearing.
A gray arm went flying before once more the figure disappeared. The party watched on as the arm turned wrinkled and began to disintegrate in steam.
Several seconds passed as Rainer’s mana further depleted; he kept his [Arcane Rage] at 3 points of Arcane Power for a bonus of 19%. The feeling was uncomfortable, but it was a far cry from the pain he felt when facing the [Lich].
Kara finished shifting before jumping out towards the darkness. With her heightened senses, she lashed out towards the darkness uncovering a hiding and healing [Lesser Vampyr]. There was a clash of Aura as her claws met his. Though in the end even with the slight total level difference the Vampyr couldn’t compare to her strength and was sent flying back before vanishing once more.
Under the effects of [Gift of Lightning], Kara continuously pursued the [Lesser Vampyr] clashing multiple times as his aura depleted far faster than hers. Gunthar stayed on alert while guarding Rainer who only used [Magic Detection] given his lessening mana and a distracted [Lesser Vampyr].
An angry howl blasted through the cave stunning friend and foe alike. The [Lesser Vampyr] was left completely defenseless for a brief moment. And with a vicious stab an aura clad claw went straight into him before throwing him against a wall. Kara rushed forward slashing viciously at the figure before nothing but scattered pieces remained.
[Mini-Boss: Victor the [Lesser Vampyr] has been defeated. 5% Static Experience Gained for the first time defeated him.]
[First to defeat Mini-Boss: Victor the [Lesser Vampyr]. 10% Static Experience Gained]
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 16/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
A silent Kara shifted back before the group silently left behind their fallen foe.
They pressed forward and saw the setting sun on the other side of the cavern while discovering another outside path. Deciding it’d be best not to travel the road at night, they tucked away early and set up camp.
Gunthar already sat in a meditative pose ready to take watch for the whole night while Luna made a magically constructed bedroll for Rainer and Kara.
Rainer sat down with Kara though she was still silent after the fight.
“I should have noticed…”Kara whispered to Rainer.
“You shouldn’t have been able to dodge that...you should have died, and I could do nothing about that.”
She was right. He lacked far too much when it came to defensive spells. And [Crisis Perception] seemed to be a skill relating to luck. And while he technically increased that attribute by 1 it isn’t as if it was a major increase.
[Crisis Perception lvl 1/10: The ability to be able to perceive a fatal attack. Perception based primarily on the Luck Attribute.]
"It wasn’t your fault, but I’m depending on you and Gunthar to protect me. I lack spells for such a thing. It was pure luck I survived. In the end, it was my fault for letting down my guard and taking this place too easy." He ended knowing that once again he let down his guard with how easy it had been up until now. He should have been using his detection skills that only took up his attention rather than mana. Gunthar nodded his head in agreeance. Gunthar himself had been on guard but the Vampyr had been too fast for his lowered senses as an Undead.
“Then I will surely protect you.” She declared right after.
The two sat silently holding hands before they laid down and tried to sleep. Rainer took a moment to feed a sleeping Luna. Gunthar looked away from the strange lady of the Fae while mumbling.
As Luna grew and leveled up, she could absorb more Mana and Arcane Power as well. She moaned out as she hugged one of his fingers before giving a relaxed sigh and heading into his pocket.
“Next time we’re alone you need to do that.” Kara whispered with seriousness to Rainer. He poured a bit of mana into Kara before turning over on his side away from her.
“That’s unfair how am I going to sleep now thinking about that?” She said with slightly rough breathing between her words.
“One last thing...I may wake up with a massive pain in my head. So don’t be concerned, it's magic related.” He said teasingly ignoring Kara who was hugging him from behind.
He set up [Sleep Learning] before closing his eyes.
It was in the middle of the night as all but Gunthar slept, all not including a screeching Wyvern right outside the cave.
Fidgeting in his sleep next to a still Kara, Rainer in a half awake state shot up. Eyes slightly bloodshot [Arcane Rage] and [Arcane Sound Infusion] activated subconsciously as he yelled out.
The Wyvern gave a weak screech before flying off. The low powered [Arcane Rage] faded immediately as well causing no damage through his [Arcane Resistance] skill only serving to help him fall back to sleep.
“Stupid fucking birds. Always fucking making noise in the morning.” He mumbled groggily and half awake as he laid back down. Whether it be sunlight or birds he was not a fan of early mornings.
Kara who had been awake from the noise hugged Rainer tightly quite appreciative of his outburst. Even with training so that loud noises didn’t bother her sensitive ears it wasn’t as if she couldn’t hear. Though the excitement of feeling his power kept her up a bit longer and was it not for Gunthar in the cave, she would make sure that Rainer wouldn’t be able to sleep.
Rainer awoke to the most pain he had ever felt in his entire life. As if his head was splitting he ended up nearly ripping out several hairs as he groaned in pain.
Luna rushed over to use her flame on him before anyone could even speak but it did little to ease the pain.
Kara held onto to him tightly worried at what was happening despite his warnings.
He had already told them this would be a consequence of what magic he was using, but neither side expected it to be this bad.
A massive migraine went on for a few more minutes before Rainer collapsed onto his back. Contrary to all expectations instead of a look of pain he had a sincere smile with a few tears in his eyes from the pain. He finally found and figured out the runes needed for a basic gravity spell by reading the journal in his sleep. It was close enough to the Wall-Walking spell he devised that he could know which runes were the spatial portion of the spell. But even then finding the gravity one took time, a time he didn’t have except when sleeping.
Most important of all, he had been under the full effects of [Arcane Rage] increasing his intelligence and Rainer guessed other hidden attributes related to his mind.
[Arcane Rage has reached level 3]
Without pause Rainer pulled out a piece of Fae made paper and began to use mana to write on it. Kara watched as he wrote though odd to her Gunthar looked away. Having no experience in magic and not even understanding the simplest of runes there was no backlash in trying to comprehend what Rainer was writing, just an honest confusion at how it worked.
Rainer titled the spell before putting it into his Spatial ring having already memorized it before he even began writing.
It was designed to replicate the effects of increasing or decreasing the gravity around him. From there he would use spatial manipulation to remove the gravity portion and create a spell that only sensed.
Activating the spell he mildly increased the gravity around him before a welcome and surprising message appeared.
[Spellbook Gained: Space-Time Magic]
[Tier 2 Spell Gained: Gravity Domain lvl 1/10]
[Title Gained: Wielder of Space and Time]
[Experience Gained: 74%]
[Wielder of Space and Time: One who has learned magic which affects the very fabric of the universe around them. 5% Experience Bonus]
Immediately he began to alter the spell with [Spatial Manipulation] removing the gravity portion and focusing on sensing the area around him. Soon information of a new rune and spell formula entered his mind.
[Tier 4 Spell Gained: Spatial Domain lvl 1/10]
The result had truly been unexpected. Though soon he realized he hadn’t sensed anything when he used his spell version of the [Gravity Domain].
He could not help but become filled with anticipation at all the skill points he would gain for mastering [Spatial Domain]. He could finally advance [Faaran Runic Language] that hadn’t even advanced with all the new runes he’s learned thus far.
Though as he thought about it, he realized that [Spatial Domain] deserved such recognition. It was an ultimate sensing ability even if the range was a bit limited.
He closed his eyes and activated the spell. The mana drain was smaller than when just using [Spatial Manipulation]. He could feel Luna sitting on his shoulder. From the tips of her wings to the base of her hair. He could feel the magical weaving that created her clothes.
He extended the domain slightly further at an increased mana cost. He felt the fur on Kara’s ears and moving down he could even sense beneath…
He felt a shove on his shoulder before he could continue.
“I don’t know what you were doing, but it was quite strange.” Kara said. She had felt a presence with her trained senses entering her clothing and while not understanding it she was sure it came from him.
“He did the same to Luna.”
“Oh, he did?” Kara asked raising an eyebrow.
“I did no such thing. At least not with the same goal.” he said unabashedly
Kara just shook her head at the shameless mage before she started to tidy up the camp. Apart from a few food items the blankets themselves were constructions of Luna and disappeared soon after.
A clear sound of Gunthar praying could be heard once more. This time he’s not even sure what happened, but he felt it was necessary nonetheless.
“Those who hold out their hands in prayer cannot choose the miracle that comes to them…” He spoke as he headed out onto a new path amidst the rising sun.