Rainer sat at the table enjoying a last warm meal before they headed on to the second stage. Gunthar’s position had been almost unchanged for the past two hours holding his blade upright and focusing on his new technique.
Rainer’s gaze moved over to Kara who was now practicing with her blades. Contrary to before it was an entirely different scene to when she was merely a level 5 [Blade Dancer]
[Half-Demon/Wolfkin, Female, Blade Dancer lvl 12, Demonic Werewolf lvl 10]
Whether it was her speed, her aura, or the rushing of the wind that came as her blades cut through the air, the image caused Rainer to pause for a moment as he stared in admiration. Her aura which was previously significantly lesser than Gunthar’s almost equaled his.
Level 10….skill store?
He realized he hadn’t even thought to ask her about what she could purchase.
“Kara,” He called out finishing his last bite of food. Normally, if you didn’t count his outburst when he thought Nalmar wrote their spells in code, he was a bit more careful about interrupting any training. But in this case, time was literally counting down.
She stopped on a dime with her hair blowing forward.
“Sorry to interrupt, but we've got a couple of things to talk about before we head to stage 2. You too Gunthar.” Rainer looked down now recalling the ring on his hand knowing that Gunthar would be the best to ask on the subject.
Both seemed to agree as they approached the table. Kara lightly wiped the sweat off her forehead before Luna flew over and assisted with her flame.
“Thank you as always Luna.”
Luna after finishing sat behind one of Kara’s ears and lightly scratched it with her small hands. Rainer hadn’t noticed when the two had gotten closer. He thought about that when he was studying magic back at the forts the two were always together out of necessity. A necessity Luna had created, but that nonetheless existed.
He stared at the Fae and Wolfkin pair for a moment. He realized he wasn’t in the best situation with these two. Kara showed no jealousy, beyond wanting to be given mana herself, but at the same time, Luna was only just shy of 9 inches. There wasn’t anything yet to be jealous of due to the difference in size. But according to Luna’s words, she would eventually reach a human size.
He still hadn’t gotten a clear answer what feeding mana to a Fae meant, but it certainly didn’t seem like a thing friends would do to one another. Luna had been with him for close to 3 weeks and saved him as he saved her. They spent hours talking at night. Yet at the same time she was both small, and her personality apart from rare moments of seriousness denoted her as quite young. He had never really questioned their relationship till now. He could only hope he still had plenty of time before she reached a size where these questions needed answers.
“So?” Kara looked at Rainer who appeared to have a blank look on his face.
“Yeah?” He asked waiting to see what she wanted.
“Rainer...you were the one who called us…”
He scratched his cheek a bit awkwardly, recalling what he was thinking about, and went back to the topic at hand.
“Kara we never actually talked about it, but have you gotten any of your skill-store skills?”
“I have. It's a skill I think is unique to my nature...It cost most of the skill points I gained from mastering the Demon Language.”
Then what about English? Have I not gotten a skill because I have Luna’s on? But I spoke before then...does the system not recognize the language?
“And what’d you get?”
“[Phantom Self], I can create a phantom version of my transformed demon half, but I lose the use of Demonic Aura and can only use my smaller and weaker aura pool from my Wolfkin half. My Demon half as well has a decreased total aura size. “
“But both are still as strong as you disregarding the decreased Aura pool?”
She proudly nodded her head. Everytime Rainer thought he was far stronger than Kara an event would set that thought back. He, however, couldn’t be more happy about such a thing. He wished for her to be his partner.
“It does put a constant drain on Aura, though, so I can’t use it for too long.”
So she says, but will that constant drain even matter when she has a total level of 50 and isn’t even in her 2nd class yet? It's a slight disadvantage splitting experience, but that’s only true if there weren't level barriers. Experience loses value the higher you level; she can still enter a dungeon for below level 15 even though she's actually level 22. Class makes the second part of the trial harder, but at level 50, would it even be a challenge? Unless it compounded both classes…
And so just as Rainer stopped being nervous about her safety for when she would have to take the 2nd class quest, he once more had a deeper fear.
He could only think of seeing if the Fae’s method of advancing could be stolen for Kara too. Though, even after their warning, his worry about his own advancement wasn’t to the point where he even considered he could fail. No matter how much harder it was he, in the end, had maxed out spells with [Sleep Learning] others couldn’t even dream of doing without years of dedication to a single spell.
Such was the advantage of an environment with a simulated infinite mana pool and now with constant [Arcane Rage].
He as well had another advantage he hadn’t thought of too strongly about being so accustomed to it. He could alter spells with his runes related to mana flow and didn’t have to learn how to cast them without a chant as other mages needed to. His class was nowhere near his only massive advantage in this world.
This world has, however, proven to him time and time again it couldn’t be underestimated. Even if he were confident in his victory, he wouldn’t lower his guard nor slow down his training.
“Luna, what about you?” Rainer asked after appraising her and being reminded she received the same experience from quests.
[Fairy, Female, Fae Enchantress lvl 16]
“Luna used skill points from Fae Language to gain skill which lets Luna’s fire heal fatigue and help recover stamina. Cause Rainer always so weak after using that magic and Luna could never do anything.” She said the ending a bit bashfully.
“Did you only call me over so that I may once again dull my senses to shock?” Gunthar, who had been sitting there the whole time, finally spoke out. He wasn’t sure what he should be more surprised with and simply lumped them together.
“No, it's about this,” Rainer said while taking off and holding out the incubation ring towards Gunthar. At the same time, he reminded himself to take extra long feeding Luna mana the next time.
“This...it's a Wyvern Incubation Ring! Was this your reward for the dungeon? To think you got a Wyvern’s Egg and can even input your mana safely. “
“Ah, not exactly. It's a Scaled-Wyvern Egg. “
Gunthar’s skeletal jaw dropped, and Kara made a face as if she knew it was a result of her choice that it became a Scaled-Wyvern. She didn’t understand it the same way that Gunthar, who grew up amongst a city employing Wyvern Riders, would.
Gunthar gently took the ring from Rainer as if holding the world’s most precious treasure and mumbled to himself.
“The Scaled-Wyvern’s blood we collected must be prepped so that we may properly raise this little one. Oh and then there’s timing it to hatch in a safe place. And building its nest, and make sure it's Scales stay perfectly clean... “
“Little Wolf!” The volume of Gunthar’s voice had surprised Kara as he jumped up in front of her.
“Whenever the Sorcerer pours in his strange mana you must as well pour in your Demonic Aura right after. Come on now!” He held out the ring to Kara as she looked over to Rainer. They could all see the clock and that they would be heading to the second stage soon.
“Gunthar we are leaving soon...” Rainer responded before seeing what was likely an angry skeletal face roar out.
“That has no bearing! This precious little child must have the proper care!”
Gunthar caught himself standing with his arms raised after his outburst and quietly sat back down.
“Everyday you must bring the ring to saturation with mana and aura; unfortunately I cannot add my undead aura to the mix. It's best that the feeding happens as close as possible to one another, at the same time would be best.”
“Gunthar is this egg that rare?” Rainer asked though in reality he already knew given the boss they faced it was at least a powerful thing. He wasn’t sure it warranted such a reaction, however.
“For a Wyvern to already be Scaled before it is even born. This is unprecedented! Who knows what could be the result of the combination of both your mana and aura.”
“What do you mean unprecedented? Didn’t we just fight a Scaled-Wyvern?”
“But to reach such an evolution, it's just below achieving the 2nd Class. Can you imagine a child being born at level 20? And a rare class at that?”
Now even Kara who simply had a content look on her face from giving up her reward looked intently at the ring before taking it and after shifting began pouring her Demonic Aura into it.
Just as she finished, Gunthar had taken the ring back and returned to admiring it. Rainer only chuckled at the scene and finished his meal.
The timer ticked down and the group walked through the portal to the second stage. The [Incubation Ring] was adequately fed and back on Rainer’s hand, though, Gunthar had been quite reluctant when returning it.
The next moment Rainer found himself on the other side faceed with an icy gale. He could barely see 5 feet in front of him as the snow poured down. But one fact remained clear; he was on top of a far different mountain.
Shivering and gripping his coat Rainer turned to look behind him but only saw an empty pointed peak, covered entirely in snow and ice, portraying a far different appearance to the prairie mountain of before. Rainer saw Kara and Gunthar already heading down the steep slope. With careful steps he made to follow yet on his very first, he found himself losing footing and sliding down the path.
But before he realized what had happened he was already being supported by Kara.
Her mouth wordlessly moved, the sound blocked by the wind and snow, But her taking his hand in his cleared up any confusion.
Frost began forming on his eyebrows and hair, Luna herself stayed tucked in his pocket finding the wind and snow irritating even if the cold didn’t bother her too much as a magical being.
As they walked down the narrow and treacherous circling path, Rainer finally found some relief from the cold.
[Skill Gained: Cold Resistance lvl 1/10]
He had spent some time trekking the snow in the past but back then the clothes Luna made for him had been more than enough to stifle the cold.
It did not take him long to gain another resistance skill.
[Skill Gained: Frost Resistance lvl 1/10]
The dull burning pain from the frost on his eyebrows dimmed. Now remembering his other resistances Rainer turned off fire and burn. When they finally got inside, he’d fully take advantage of the higher body temperature of a Wolfkin.
After a few near slips of Rainer’s where Kara had instantly saved him the party reached a small crevice inside of the mountain peak. Even without the ice and snow, this mountain was clearly a far different one, the lack of a flat peak alone determined that.
They entered the crevice, and the terrible sound of the wind died down allowing voices to be heard once more.
“Cold, Cold, Cold, Kara come here p-p-lease,” Rainer said as he shivered and walked deeper into the cave.
He sat down and widely opened his arms making his intentions clear. Kara sat sideways in his lap and wrapped her arms around him as he did to her. He took off his overcoat so that it covered both of them and Luna began forming a blanket to cover both of them as well before joining them inside.
“I’ll scout ahead; you warm up Sorcerer,” Gunthar said.
Rainer noticed that Gunthar’s steel boots made no sound onto the rock. He activated [Aura Detection] and saw a slight amount of aura. As he stared closely, he got a sharp flash of light and pain in his eyes before he shook himself out of it. No one else noticed the strangeness. He only thought that similar to pulling a muscle he must have pulled the metaphorical muscle dealing with [Aura Detection].
His attention turned back to the incredibly comforting and warm Wolf on his lap.
Kara soon felt a cold hand reaching down her blouse and wrapping around her chest.
“I didn’t realize that was the most effective way to warm up.”
She nuzzled her head closer to him as she then felt mana coming from that very hand. All previous complaints about taking advantage of the situation, joking or not, no longer of any concern to her.
Hugging Kara close to him he slowly used just small amounts of mana. His goal was just to help her warm up as well. Despite her act, he could tell she didn’t resist the cold much better than he did. She had her race’s natural ability but he had resistances. They both relaxed as they shared their heat waiting for Gunthar’s return.
Just as Gunthar was returning, quite loudly hitting his boots against the ground, Kara’s voice could be heard slightly moaning out. Hearing the noises Rainer had stopped infusing any mana and Kara’s face reddened further hearing Gunthar's approach.
Moments later Gunthar came around the corner still making sure to make loud steps.
Seeing the still flushed face of Kara Gunthar mumbled out a prayer. He had become glad in his choice to create a ruckus before approaching though from the looks of it the action didn’t seem to help much.
“Those who hold out their hands in prayer cannot choose the miracle that comes to them…”
Kara’s face flushed further as she buried herself in the blanket leaving only Rainer above.
“What’d you find?”
“Frost Giants…” Gunthar said, worry evident in his voice.
“Are they such a big problem?”
Gunthar fully understood how strong Rainer was after the fight with the Scaled-Wyvern. For him to believe Frost Giants posed a challenge caused Rainer to tense up.
“Their magic resistance...I fear it is strong enough even to repel most of your magic Sorcerer. Though with you, it is difficult to be sure…”
“It’s best not to test that out if we don’t have to, yeah?” Rainer immediately replied back.
“Correct. I believe the next portion of the dungeon is designed to be snuck past. Even if we had a full party, there are simply too many Frost Giants…”
Rainer looked down at his feet for a moment and just as he was about to try and move mana to them similar to how Gunthar moved his aura he felt a steel covered hand on his shoulder.
“Do not. It is not something that even you sorcerer can simply do without training. I assume you value your feet?”
Rainer’s face blanched a bit as Gunthar continued to talk.
“It should be fine to walk normally but quietly. Frost Giants are not known for their hearing, or their intelligence for that matter and our group is small. In the worst case, the little wolf still hiding in the blanket may carry you. You seem oddly unashamed at such a thing; it should be perfect.”
At that, Kara shot out from under the blanket.
“Gunthar you understand right. He should be embarrassed when I carry him as a man does to a wife. But he’s not. It's not fair.”
“I know little wolf. I know…” Recalling only Kara seemed to mind when he entered the room.
Following a cough from Rainer breaking up their...moment...The party stood up and followed Gunthar deeper into the cave.
Hearing that Gunthar had yet to muffle the sound of his steps both Rainer and Kara walked normally as they followed him. As they continued down the widening cave just as they were about to round a corner, Gunthar lifted his hand up towards them.
Rainer activated [Aura Detection] to confirm Gunthar’s actions but to avoid whatever had happened before hand he didn’t look too closely. He took a quick glance at Kara and noticed she had performed a similar action, though she used far less aura for it. She already moved quietly with or without aura.
As Gunthar carefully maneuvered around the corner, Rainer made sure to step on the ball of his foot and adjust the weight properly before moving forward. Most teenagers snuck past their parents, some simply researched the act further than others.
Following closely behind Gunthar they soon arrived in a far larger cave the ceiling stretching out. Far in the distance, Rainer could see one of the sleeping Frost Giants Gunthar had mentioned.
[Jotin, Male, Frost Giant Warrior lvl 23]
Even across the massive room, his breath could be heard. His arm alone was taller than Rainer. His skin was a frosty white and his hair like snow.
Rainer was about to whisper a question before Kara’s hand was already over his mouth. She fiercely moved her head side to side. The fear of the Frost Giant wasn’t exclusive to Gunthar.
Seeing that Kara, a fearsome individual in her own right, felt the same way Rainer stowed away any questions for now as he carefully followed Gunthar. They moved from naturally formed pillar to pillar. Gunthar always checked to make sure the Frost Giant was completely asleep before they moved forward once more.
Gunthar continued leading the group before he suddenly paused behind a pillar. Rainer kept moving forward before Kara’s hand pulled him back. Soon loud footsteps could be heard as a giant passing right by them could be seen.
Rainer felt a bead of sweat run down his forehead despite the cold. The giant continued walking on before disappearing in a large entrance.
Gunthar nodded his head for them to move on yet before Rainer could react Kara was already squatting down in front of him pointing to her back. Now getting a ride from her, the party moved forward going in the same direction as the Frost giant that had just passed.
Rainer held on tightly and dared not act his usual self after seeing how close he came to being caught. Instead, he began cycling his detection skills far faster than before no longer needing to worry about his movement.
Gunthar seemed to have already scouted farther ahead than Rainer thought as he carefully led the group through several more patrols, knowing the timing perfectly. He had been gone for quite some time Rainer now recalled.
Rainer couldn’t help but become impressed at Gunthar’s ability. While Gunthar’s dungeon experience was limited to only 2 dungeons before this one he had the vast training and experience of all his teachers. It was a specialized experience making it all the more useful when a situation demanded it.
The timing of Gunthar was within seconds as they slipped between patrols, Kara easily keeping up.
For once what should have been a challenging endeavor for an average sized group ended quite simply with two individuals skilled in aura leading the way.
They entered a vast square room and were soon met with a series of messages.
[Sneak past the Frost Giants of Devil’s Seal 10% Static Experience Gained for the first time having accomplished this.]
[First to sneak past the Frost Giants of Devil’s Seal. 20% Static Experience Gained]
It was a nice bonus, especially given how easy Gunthar had made it for the group, though the name of the mountain now given didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the party. The temperature was already returning to normal as they entered this room, so Rainer turned back on his fire and burn resistances.
At the end of the square room was a huge gate with a slight glowing red light behind it. To its left and right were two massive statues. Both looked like giant humans covered entirely in armor. Rainer slipped off Kara as soon as they entered the room.
At such an obvious trap Rainer already began casting a [Spear of Holy Arcane-Light] before even saying a word. Kara started glowing in a strange aura, activating [Phantom Self] in the preparation of fighting two enemies at once. Gunthar recalling the strange ape-like creature Rainer had predicted prepared his aura.
Just as a black phantom werewolf began forming Rainer launched his spear, charged with a few points of Arcane Power, straight towards the statue on the left.
The stone shattered and collapsed. The figure on the right remained completely unmoving, and the left had shown no resistance to the magic.
Rainer looked on nervously for a moment but still sure in himself he fired another spear to the statue on the right and following a similar scene there was nothing but silence. Still, on guard, the party inched forward, and once they got close enough to the gate, it opened on its own.
Still, there was no sign of combat. They moved forward crossing the room and entered the next. Different from the caves of before there was a forked path with three separate stone halls for their choosing.
Kara’s phantom faded as they finally understood there was no trap of any sort.
“Hey, no matter how you looked at it why would a dungeon have such things just for decoration?”
Both Kara and Gunthar had completely agreed with Rainer’s intuition this time, though Gunthar had figured out why the statues could simply be decoration.
“Is not the dungeon that tested you built based on the architecture of Nalmar?" Gunthar asked having been told in the past how they were selected to come to Nalmar.
“I guess…but isn't Nalmar itself based on Dungeon architecture?”
"Now that we have found out the answer let us move on," Gunthar spoke as if Rainer hadn't asked a question at all.
With the mystery solved Rainer looked at the scene now in front of them. Torches lit the walls, and each of the three different hallways forked once more at their ends. It was a simple reddish-brown stone that covered the entirety of the wide tunnels.
“So a labyrinth then?”
“It seems so Sorcerer.”
Kara just gave a confused tilt of her head followed by Luna who only mimicked her.
“It's a maze.”
The tilted head did not cease.
“A walking puzzle where you don’t know which way to go.”
“Oh? That sounds horrid.” Kara looked at each of the three possible tunnels and saw even further forking paths at the end of them. Rainer however, had a grin on his face.
All looked towards Rainer expectantly, but he just stood there waiting for someone to ask how can they possibly complete this. Seeing their annoyed gazes Rainer disappointedly just gave a solution.
“Well, there are two surefire ways to solve this assuming there aren’t hidden doors. We either keep our right or left hand onto the respective wall and never let go while moving forward. Eventually, we will either return here after exploring the entirety of the labyrinth or we’ll find the exit. Most importantly, though, we’ll never get lost so long as we follow this rule from the very start. If we break it even once, we could end up going in a circle.”
Curiously Kara put her right hand and stepped into the rightmost tunnel and began following it before a call from Rainer stopped her.
“But. Who knows how big this place is. People have a natural tendency to walk to the right, hence why it's difficult to stay on a straight path in a forest, and you will often find yourself going in circles if you get lost.”
“Lost in a forest...how is that possible?” Kara asked confused by such a concept.
“Anyway,” Rainer said while ignoring Kara’s comment that just glossed over his childhood trauma, “We’ll use our left hands since it's the way the dungeon would least expect us to go and therefore have the most likely exit.”
“Sorcerer, would a dungeon even suspect such a strange thing.”
Rainer scratched his head for a moment before he simply started following the left wall of the leftmost tunnel.
“How would I know? But either way, this is our best shot without any clues to guide us.”
No one showed any disagreement as they followed behind Rainer, though Gunthar quickly took over as the one in the lead with his hand on the left wall. Rainer wanted to say he didn’t have to place his hand on the wall but left it alone. All the walls and floors here looked so similar they might go the wrong way with a moment of concentration lost.
It did not take long till they found opponents within this otherwise dull place, goblins. Though within a moment, Gunthar had severed the head of the single foe that came for them. More, however, and in greater number, soon assaulted them.
Rainer looked on as Kara had but a single exchange with yet another goblin before her blade found its heart.
[Goblin, Male, Warrior lvl 22]
He appraised it just before life left its eyes.
“Hey Kara,” Rainer called out as a small bit of her aura was used to remove the blood from her blade, “What kind of things are in a Demonic Dungeon?”
After seeing goblins and previously that Vampyr, which was considered a demon, he couldn’t help but wonder if these foes were created or otherwise. This led to his curiosity if there were created humans within Demonic Dungeons.
“We use them for advancing to our 2nd Class. I do not particularly know what is in there beyond the usual for a 2nd class advancement. “
She rushed forward afterward joining Gunthar who just beheaded one goblin and sliced another in a single swing of his new technique. Whether it was their shields, their armor, or their iron swords the blade cut effortlessly through the goblins.
Rainer himself conserved his mana waiting for an enemy that required his attention. As Gunthar avoided using his aura, most of the time they were killing goblins that barred their way, there was little need for Kara and Rainer to assist allowing resources to be conserved.
An Orc [Warrior] had just rounded the corner only to be met instantly with a partially charged [Arcane Bolt]. With Rainer’s increased level and the Orc’s lack of aura, there was simply no way to survive such magic. The Orc’s head caved in as he was smashed against a wall and left lifeless.
Rainer bent down looking curiously at one of the goblin’s corpses, far more used to such a sight along with the comfort that they were most likely not real, and saw a tiny horn protruding from his head.
This is a place called Devil’s Seal...I imagine at the end of this stage can only be such a thing.
The group continued forward. At first, every dead end they met wouldn’t be an issue but as the hours passed and Kara began growing tired from assisting Gunthar every single dead end would be denoted with a sigh or a groan.
Once more the party reached a dead end as Rainer sat down on the ground.
“I can’t...who builds such a thing. It's just the same fucking walls, over and over and over and over….”
His complaint was interrupted by an arriving group of goblins led by a well armored Orc.
[Orc, Male, Swordsman lvl 25]
Yet a rage filled [Arcane-Fire Bolt] landed on the Orc before he could even react, consuming several goblins around him.
Using his Arcane Power Rainer rapidly fired [Arcane Bolt]s eliminating the dozen remaining goblins. Using his armed bolts as well they were defenseless. Affinity not only increased his maximum mana but improved casting ability as well.
The goblins were far faster and stronger than the one’s he met when he first came here. But compared to the increase per level of the [Arcanist] class they were no more than fodder.
“Well...let’s go.” Rainer reluctantly spoke as he moved away from the dead end leaning against the left wall.
Both Gunthar and Kara were surprised at the display. More often than not Rainer took his time to cast a spell at a single target or a group. Seeing him individually dispatch these goblins at such speed showed just how versatile and powerful his magic was.
The party continued meeting various groups mixed with goblins and the occasional Orc. Gradually the groups that attacked them grew larger and larger forcing both Kara and Rainer to participate every time. Rainer had to stick to strictly using his Arcane Power else he’d run out of mana and Luna began using her flame to help Kara recover stamina. Though that soon ended as Rainer told her to save some in case any of them needed healing.
In the end, Rainer’s strategy of going left seemed to pay off for without even returning to the room they started they finally reached an exit.
The familiar messages of an ended journey filled their view as they approached a descending staircase.
[Completed the Labyrinth of Devil’s Seal. 20% Static Experience Gained for the first time having accomplished this.]
[First to complete the Labyrinth of Devil’s Seal. 30% Static Experience Gained]
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 21/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
“Let’s rest at the entrance to wherever these stairs lead,” Rainer said low of mana and exhausted. He wanted to use [Sleep Learning] in any case. He would check the effects of gaining +1 to all attributes once more after he awoke, too tired after hours of constant fighting.
This was where having such a small group showed as well. Were it not for Gunthar being a tireless undead they would have simply ran out of resources before they reached the end. More importantly, and frighteningly to Rainer, had they not chosen to go left they may not have made it to the end at all.
Kara whose aura was depleted nodded before laying down just as Luna made a bedroll beneath her. She took a quick glance at Rainer’s face as he laid down away from her. The heat was becoming significant as they went further in the Labyrinth and finally reached its end.
She suspected he reached another point where Charisma had increased as she looked at his sleeping face. Rather than suspected it would be fair to say she was sure of it.
She fell asleep wondering when they would finally have a real opportunity to relax.
Just as Rainer himself fell asleep, his eyes shot open. The scene before him was not one of a dungeon but an endless white void. His eyebrows slightly knitted together as he steeled his decision in coming to this void. This was where [Sleep Learning] took place.
To master a song that was already written could be done with Rainer none the wiser but to create his own could not be done in the same manner. When Rainer had used [Sleep Learning] on Yalin’s journal he was only searching for the specific runes related to Gravity, he already had the rest of the spell decided.
While he was still technically sleeping prolonged usage of maintaining consciousness during [Sleep Learning], as Rainer found out in the past, gradually wore him down. Frankly, he hated this method more than anything. He loved his sleep; he needed his sleep, which is what he loved about [Sleep Learning] in the first place.
Nonetheless, he needed to prepare for his 2nd class advancement. He had to train in something that even in hundreds of years a traditional [Arcanist] couldn’t train to its limit.
Before Luna’s newest skill she could still heal all the damage [Arcane Rage] caused but she simply couldn’t do anything about the soreness or fatigue. This already took an ability that likely could only be used once every 2 weeks if not longer and gave it a daily capacity.
Within his previous [Sleep Learning] session Rainer had [Arcane Rage] set to be used for the entire 8 hours when it often lasted no longer than 5 to 10 seconds otherwise. He felt, however, that he had reached the limit of what brute force and familiarity with [Arcane Rage] could reach.
Rainer sat cross-legged within this void and activated [Arcane Rage] with a single point of Arcane power. Even at such a level, the unleashed Arcane Power gave a prickling feeling all over his body. Wielding [Arcane Energy Manipulation] he tried to guide this unleashed energy so that it wouldn’t damage him as much and flow smoother.
Sometimes he would make the damage worse, other times he would cancel only the benefits of [Arcane Rage] altogether. Yet slowly, but surely, he progressed toward wielding the energy within him rather than only letting it run rampant. This coupled with the fact that as he increased [Arcane Rage] his magic related attributes all increased. It compounded into helping him progress.
The pain, however, did not feel fake, though he could immediately refresh his body whenever it took too much damage or the pain became unbearable. The constant progress he made fueled him like an addiction.
Rested and renewed the party headed down the long staircase. Rainer, even with his head slightly foggy, looked at the Arcane Energy in his hands with admiration. The higher the level of a skill the higher the barrier to increase it, and yet it seemed, so was the reward. The difference in control of Arcane Energy had been substantial after he awoke.
[Arcane Energy Manipulation has reached level 6]
[Arcane Rage has reached level 6]
He was just as excited for when he’d finally need to use [Arcane Rage] once more. The joy of becoming stronger outweighed the dangerous situation that would be necessary to require its use.
The staircase began spiraling as they went further down but an end didn't seem to be coming anytime soon. The temperature around them increased the deeper they descended. Luna's flame occasionally flashed as she kept them in top form but even after hours of walking down the stairs there was still more ahead of them.
"The final part of the stage..." Rainer spoke to himself as he tensed his body prepared for what came next. The increase in strength had become truly noticeable following the second point he gained. His steps felt lighter and his body more robust, and judging from the looks he received from Kara even in such a situation his charisma too had a noticeable improvement.
"Hey, Kara?" Rainer asked his voice a bit hoarse.
"Do you think +1 to all attributes increases Demonic Aura as well, or is it something I wouldn't have?"
"I'm not sure. At the next rest area, you should try and learn some basic aura meditation."
"Why would you be discussing the effects of a legendary elixir at a...time...like...this..." Gunthar froze as he finished his words.
"I gain .1 to all attributes per level. And I just reached level 21, so I got my second +1 to all attributes." Rainer said with a grin that brightened up his previously haggard face.
Different from any reaction before Gunthar collapsed to the ground and sat on a step.
"Hey! Gunthar are you okay?" Rainer became legitimately worried and ran over in front of Gunthar.
Yet before Rainer could ask Gunthar once more he jumped up and put both hands on Rainer's shoulders.
"Excellent, Excellent. I shall train you in such a manner until we can pull out Every. Single. Possible. Attribute."
Rainer was sure he saw an evil smile on Gunthar's skeletal face and couldn't help but laugh. Though a part of him was a bit worried what kind of training was in store for him.
The party's spirit had been temporarily revitalized before they continued down what seemed to be an endless descent.
A figure with pale white skin and blue eyes reminiscent of ice stared down at the object before him. He lacked any emotion in his face as he continued his work. Though soon a wave of mana sending him flying had changed his emotionless face as he lashed out with an edge of death towards a stone wall.
He gritted his teeth as he stared at the simple black cube floating within the room. At its top and bottom were circular enchanted rings keeping it floating in place. A fact that had kept even this [Arch-Lich] from moving the Mana well beyond this point. He was forced to remain here in order to continue his merging. It could be considered the most powerful enchantment within the whole city of Nalmar that was built to keep the Mana-Well from being stolen.
He did gain a connection, eventually. But it was so weak that if he left, he would need to begin from the very start. He would merge with this Mana-Well, he was determined as such.
Calming himself down and, regretting every day he had chosen to retake a semi-human form so that he could experience the pleasures of flesh once more, he turned his attention to an orb that allowed him to see through the eyes of his servants.
Why can they still not find any but those four...and even those four have vanished, yet I have not felt a spatial transformation. Even if my servants were too far away so that I could not stop it, I should have still felt it. Were there only so few in the beginning…
The [Arch-Lich] had been fearful ever since the city of Nalmar was separated from the world. He feared he had been chosen as part of a quest. But what came was not a raid of invaders but, as far as he could find, a group of young lovers and their fairy pet. It infuriated him to no end that he could not locate the rest as he held back his 2nd class undead within the city. Added on to the strange magic of the mage and the fact that somehow a demon had accepted a quest he couldn't understand the unreasonable situation that came upon him.
They were such an obvious bait he couldn’t convince himself to send his 2nd class undead but more and more he ventured that it wasn't baiting, that Origin had sent the wrong servants to do its bidding.
He looked over at one of the 2nd Class guards directly by his side before he chose one uniquely capable.
[Name: Theodore LothFane]
[Primary Classes: Holy Guardian(2nd) Lvl 1/25, Magic Scholar lvl 11/25]
[Race: Undead Sun Elf]
The [Arch-Lich] was capable of viewing the status of his undead. He smiled as he thought this person would be the perfect gift for the second pet that group had taken on... It was not easy for the [Arch-Lich] to fully control this man. But once he did he knew from his memories that the only undead capable of freeing himself would be Theodore’s son.