"First, Sorcerer,” Gunthar said as the party continued walking down the stairs, “You’ll need to adequately describe how it is you gain skills in such a manner. Everything. The method, the feeling, the result.”
Just before Rainer was about to answer, he paused for a moment. He never truly explored what he felt as he had just gotten so accustomed to it. And even then he focused more on what he had achieved from it rather than the process. It was beyond what could be called a strange phenomenon.
“It's as if for an instant I can see everything. How to swing a blade, how to adjust my stance, how to achieve a truly perfect level, and then it's brought back down, and I’m left with the knowledge that comes with the level 1 skill.”
“This...is a product of your class?”
“It is. My Arcanist class assists me in learning the first level of any skill.”
Kara now couldn’t help but chime in.
“But how did you learn the second level of my blade skill so quickly as well.”
“Ah...well, I can level skills in my sleep.”
Contrary to expectations Gunthar continued without skipping a beat.
“Good, then I will tailor my explanation on Aura on the premise you need not understand everything about it,” Gunthar responded before he began his explanation.
“Different from mana, we draw in our Aura from the world around us. All life is capable of using aura but whether or not they can learn it within their lifetime is a question of talent and resources available. No different from the Lady of the Fae’s dust there are similar objects for Aura. Though...your attribute gain makes that unnecessary.”
“So I already have Aura?”
“Yes, but different from your idea I don’t imagine you have more than a single kind. Most will have an Aura similar to Little Wolf’s in her Wolfkin form. A colorless aura that is nonetheless capable of much. For you, it may very well be just as strange as your mana. It is merely now a task of learning to meditate and draw in this energy.”
“If that’s all it takes then...?” Rainer asked wondering why some couldn’t learn it.
“It is only merely for you, Sorcerer. To feel and grasp Aura is not something generally learned after an afternoon nap...or during one. It is a practice that even when you have high attributes relating to aura you may still take many years to learn how to meditate and use your aura. Though even then that’s assuming one has a proper teacher.”
“Well then it's good I have the best teacher,” After Rainer had said that he was sure he saw the bones of Gunthar’s face slightly blush. True or not he’d think that’s what he saw.
“Your meditation must first focus on finding the Aura that is already inside of you. Here you have an advantage already having increased the attributes related to Aura. Even without your effort, your body had naturally drawn in energy from the world, and your own unique Aura is already within you. Though, wielding it beyond a pure energy will take more training, even for you. “
Gunthar took a moment to continue explaining how to look within oneself as they headed further down and into further heat.
They finally reached the bottom of the stairs. There was a device only Rainer was familiar with, an elevator. Though of course, it was different from the standard affair. It was a metal cage with a strange magical square in the middle of it.
Rainer was the first to walk in and could now see where exactly the heat they felt originated. Rivers of fire poured down the gaping chasm. The walls were an obsidian black, a realm fitting for a Devil.
Whether it was Kara, Luna or Gunthar, all were startled as Rainer pressed the magical device in the center and the Elevator doors slammed shut before descending.
"Oh!! It moves on its own. Luna is very impressed. Luna has never seen such a thing!"
Kara, while not as vocal with her amazement, couldn't hide the smile on her face.
"This is actually a pretty common thing in my world. Though magic does not operate it."
"You have such amazing devices as commonplace?" It was Kara, not Luna, who grew excited at Rainer's statement. Her face reddened a bit at her realization at how excited she was acting but she still intently stared at Rainer awaiting further explanation.
"Well, my world is pretty crowded, so people learned to build very tall buildings. But these same individuals were lazy and didn't want to have to climb stairs, so they invented devices like this. "
"But..how tall must your dwellings be to require such a device?"
"Surpassing a thousand feet."
"Such an amazing world...does this one not feel dull in comparison?" She asked noting that Rainer often looked a bit sad whenever he talked about his old world.
"How can they even be compared?"
But contrary to Kara's expectations he was referring to this world as the better.
"You have magic everywhere; you have status screens and monsters, dungeons and enchanted items. Incomparable. My world has none of those things. I was one of the few who had magic. And even if I wanted to leave I would never leave behind the best part of this world."
"The two best parts," Luna said while landing on Rainer's head.
"Yes, yes, the two best parts."
"Rainer...what do you mean by status screens are a benefit of this world? Is your world harder to level up in?" Kara asked not even considering the possibility of a world without status screens.
"There are none. No status screens, no leveling, no classes, no skills."
"What? But then how do you know when you make progress when you become stronger or more knowledgeable in a subject?" Gunthar asked in surprise.
"You just do?" Rainer said a bit confused. He never really considered how people who grew up under a status screen would think about such a matter. They would likely find his world that lacked status screens even stranger than he finds their world with status screens.
Kara, Luna, and even Gunthar looked at him in pity. As if contemplating what a difficult life that would be.
"Alright, go back to marveling at this device. " Rainer said now annoyed with the looks he was receiving.
As the rest of the party looked at the fiery scenery around them, Rainer sat down and tried to gain the skill for [General Aura Meditation]. He thought back to his practice in wielding the Arcane energies from [Arcane Rage] inside of him and tried to utilize his manipulation skill in assisting in sensing his own Aura. He assumed his Aura would as well be mixed in with the strange Arcane Energy that is intermixed in his mana. If it weren't, It wouldn’t be worth diverting any of his time from training magic.
After a few minutes of quick descent, the elevator began gradually slowing down before it finally touched bottom. A vast arena of black rock and a surrounding fiery lake displayed itself before them. In the very center, what this place was sealing stood unmoving. Immediately Rainer appraised the massive devil before them.
[Devil, Male, Devil King lvl 1]
Four large horns arced out from its enormous head and jutted straight up. Its skin was an obsidian even darker than the rock around it. Faint red lines glowed that began increasing in intensity. Chains wrapped its body and tied it to the ground. Two huge but heavily damaged wings were present on it's back; their leathery skin punctured with numerous holes.
Rainer cycled his detection skills while Kara shifted into her Werewolf form given that there was only a single enemy. Gunthar already began moving towards the Devil mobilizing his own Aura.
As if a rhythmic drum the red lines glowed and glowed before a shattering of chain and rock resounded out. Red skin and pitch black eyes revealed themselves as the massive Devil roared out in a fury.
The fires around him resounded as if echoing his call as the surface of the burning lake turned turbulent. The whole mountain seemed to shake.
Rainer already activated a single point of [Arcane Rage] after he felt the Devil’s aura in front of him. The remaining enchanted chains on the Devil still seemed to have some sealing effect, for if they didn’t, Rainer could tell not even 15 of him could win.
Different from before he controlled the [Arcane Rage] and at its current 7% it didn’t cause any harm. He increased it once more to 14% and 21% before finding a level he could maintain for a longer time without significant damage. When the need came, he’d burst out with the full force of Arcane.
For a brief moment, the Devil’s eyes met with Rainer’s before it charged forward. Kara, fully shifted, moved to intercept with Gunthar. Neither held anything back as they mobilized their auras. Luna just finished casting [Gift of Lightning] on both before she zoomed back toward Rainer.
Gunthar was first to rush forward, completely dwarfed by the 20-foot tall devil. A seemingly slow aura filled claw came from the devil as he swung his arm down at Gunthar. Gunthar moved to dodge yet suddenly the speed increased beyond anything he’d ever seen as he rushed to defend himself before the claw slammed into him.
He was sent flying and nearly tumbled into the fiery lake surrounding them.
Just as the Devil’s attention switched next to Kara a [Spear of Holy Arcane-Light] soared from behind her. The Devil covered his hand in Aura and blocked the spell. To the Devil’s surprise, he was pushed back ever so slightly, and black blood slightly bled from his hand. More to the shock of Rainer that his spell had so little effect.
Saving his mana, Rainer began charging [Arcane Bolt]s and increased [Arcane Rage] to 70%, just below his new limit, the energy inside him went out of control, but his training allowed it so he could maintain such an increase longer than before.
The Devil hurried and used Aura to block every single charged [Arcane Bolt] yet while the damage was weaker than the Spear the amount of them and the increased power of [Arcane Rage] prevented him from stopping Kara who landed right in front of him.
With a massive amount of Demonic Aura charged in her right claw she slashed upwards nearly gutting the distracted Devil. Gunthar returned just in time to use his Aura Blade to stab into the side of the Devil. The damage caused the Devil to roar out in pain as blood gushed out from the deadly wound.
Rainer took a step back to convert more mana into Arcane Power while focusing on reducing the damage done by [Arcane Rage] before the situation took a drastic change.
Both Kara and Gunthar were pushed back by an outburst of Aura. Rainer's assault had inadvertently partially damaged the chains sealing a portion of the Devil's power. A foul miasma began pouring out of the Devil and within seconds covered the room. Even in her Werewolf form Kara struggled to move and started coughing.
Gunthar rushed forward to stop the Devil yet this time the Devil spun with a vengeance. It's tail cleaved Gunthar’s legs and armor bisecting him in two.
Rainer could only watch in stunned anger as the miasma stifled his movements. Even the gain of a resistance skill had only provided temporary relief.
[Skill Gained: Miasma Resistance lvl 1/10]
The Devil turned its attention toward a disabled Kara, completely ignoring the blood that flooded out of its wounds.
Rainer pushed his [Arcane Rage] further reaching a bonus of 77%, and it was at this moment his Affinity and Intelligence pushed beyond 100. He did not stop as he felt a powerful surge of his magic and advanced [Arcane Rage] to his limit at 84%.
A [Spear of Holy Arcane-Light] formed in his hand, and he poured more mana and Arcane Power into it. The radiant violet and golden light pushed away the crippling miasma.
Whether it was his control, his power, or his affinity towards the magic, Rainer felt as if he was unstoppable. Just before the Devil could reach out toward Kara the spear erupted from his hand, cleaving the miasma in two.
The Devil reacted instantly blocking the spell and covering himself with a massive amount of Aura. The spear broke through and stabbed into his chest. The Devil staggered, the Arcane energy tearing him apart from the inside. Just as Rainer controlled the spear to unleash its power the Devil had instead wrapped his Aura around it stopping Rainer’s connection to the spell.
Ignoring all else the Devil rushed toward Rainer who had once more been beset upon by miasma.
Rainer kneeled helplessly as the Devil came closer and his [Arcane Rage] began weakening. With his remaining mana Rainer activated [Gravity Domain] just as the Devil reached him and jumped straight into the air.
The Devil’s fist slammed into the place Rainer had just been.
Reaching the peak of his height Rainer formed a mighty [Arcane Blade] and poured all the Arcane Power he could muster before he multiplied the power of Gravity unto himself and plunged straight into the Devil.
The injured Devil still managed to block himself with Aura yet as if cutting through space itself the blade stabbed into the Devil’s horned head.
Rainer felt the bones in his legs snap. Even with the improved constitution from [Arcane Rage] it couldn’t save him from the fall.
The Devil staggered forward into the fiery lake, and Rainer fell back managing to brace his fall, but it was his still improved attributes and [Physical Resistance] that saved him.
His [Arcane Rage] ended leaving his body still covered in faint violet lines that pulsed with pain. But the fight was not over.
Horror filled him as the Devil covered in wounds lifted itself from the flames. One eye was closed, and its head was damaged. It's clawed hand gripped into the ground as it pulled itself forward.
Kara expending the entirety of her Demonic Aura rushed over and slashed at the Devil’s already damaged head. It slid slowly back into the fiery lake, never to return once more.
The messages rushed by Rainer as he lost consciousness. The only way he had been able to stay awake through the Miasma being his increased attributes combined with his gained resistance. Luna struggled to heal Rainer before she too fell to the miasma that still hadn’t completely dissipated.
Luna, Kara, and Rainer all lay unconscious.
Gunthar’s broken legs began reforming with his Aura as he stood up. As fast as he could, he checked on everyone and tried to shake Luna awake given the weakness of Rainer’s pulse.
Luna’s eyes were bloodshot as she jumped up after being woken by Gunthar. Without pause she immediately caused a Faerie Fire to cover Rainer completely once more. She could feel through the familiar bond just how close to death Rainer was, with the damage from his fall compounding it. Ignoring the pain that the miasma caused her as a Fae, she continued focusing only on Rainer until she collapsed once more.
Kara groaned before getting up and immediately rushing over to check on Rainer. Still affected from the miasma she only made it halfway before losing consciousness.
Gunthar did his all to help the group to their next destination.
He struggled through the portal. Only the cracking of Gunthar’s still healing legs could be heard as he carried them through the void, dragging Kara, still transformed, behind him.
Rainer awoke to a body surging in pain. No Faerie Fire was healing him as he got up this time. He struggled to turn his head to the side and saw a concerned Kara and Gunthar tending to Luna. Her veins had a visibly blackened appearance, and she coughed painfully in her sleep.
“Quickly…” Rainer’s hoarse voice rang out. “Bring her to me; I’ll heal her.”
Not even having time to rejoice in Rainer’s awakening Kara rushed over the dying Luna to Rainer. Without pause, he tried to channel his mana into her, yet a massive surge of pain in his fingers blocked the mana.
Slightly getting up he could see faint violet lines at the tips of his fingers, which had not gone away as before. Contrary to the improving effect of [Arcane Rage] these were signs of damage, damage that prevented him from channeling any mana.
Seeing the Fairy not getting any better Kara called out worriedly.
“Rainer what’s wrong? Why isn’t it working?”
“I...can’t use magic…”
Barely sitting up with his back against the wall Rainer could only stare at the still dying Fairy in his hands.
But immediately he closed his eyes, and all his thoughts left the situation in front of him. Before Kara could interrupt Gunthar pulled her back.
He pulled harder towards the Arcane energy within him than he ever had before. His goal, however, was not his mana.
As minutes passed and Luna’s condition worsened he found what he had been searching for.
[Skill Gained: General Aura Meditation lvl 1/10]
[Hidden Attribute Unlocked: Aura Control]
[Hidden Attribute Unlocked: Aura Attunement]
He unhesitatingly dumped 3 of his attribute points into Aura Control and the other 2 into Aura Attunement.
As if just another limb he manipulated this aura inside him and used [Arcane Energy Manipulation] as a tremendous assistance to gain the next skill far quicker.
[Skill Gained: General Aura Manipulation lvl 1/10]
He wielded the Aura and brought it outside of himself through his hands. It was a faint violet aura, and while different, it still gave the powerful feeling of the Arcane. Seeing success he lauded in his accomplishment for not even a moment as he placed his hands covering Luna and channeled the Arcane Aura into her.
A violet light glowed as Luna’s harsh coughs turned to a quiet breathing. Rainer moved the hand covering her away, and all that was left was a Luna that looked no different than before, if not slightly taller.
Luna stirred and looked at the people around her. Fluttering over and wiping a tear from Kara’s eye she spoke.
“Why is everyone looking at Luna so funny. There is no need to be amazed by Luna to tears. Everyone should already know Luna is the best.”
“You bragging fairy, get over here,” Rainer said while happy to see Luna back to normal.
“Ah! Rainer what happened to your hands they are so hurt.” She exclaimed while using her fire on them.
She ended up in such a state making sure he survived; he thought as he felt his ribs and legs that were no longer broken. And likely fatal organ damage that clearly no longer existed. He closed his own misty eyes as he thought how he almost lost the little fairy in front of him.
“Luna has a lot of work to do Rainer go to sleep.” She said as she cast a sleeping spell on him.
Not resisting he let sleep take him and entered the white void of [Sleep Learning].
Gunthar let out a deep sigh before speaking.
“I am glad you are alright Fairy. You took too much of a risk protecting Rainer and not even caring about yourself. Such Miasma is truly dangerous to a Lady of the Fae."
“Rainer is first.” She only responded as she continued to heal him.
Kara moved the sleeping Rainer in the bed so that his head was laying in her lap as she tried to make him more comfortable. She, herself exhausted, fell asleep sitting up as Luna continued to heal Rainer.
Gunthar thought to himself as he recalled the scene of Rainer learning Aura so quickly. He was beyond glad that the Lady of the Fae had survived, but now he truly wondered what kind of existence the class of Rainer’s was. Not even heroes would have such a class. He carefully began planning out how he would train Rainer to unlock everything hidden within him. He couldn’t even fathom the monstrous trial Rainer would face advancing his class and Gunthar would make sure he prepared Rainer as much as possible.
He then looked down at his now lack of leggings that made the whole set of his armor lose its enchantment. He was far more displeased at having to be naked, even as a skeleton, and hoped the Fairy would be willing to solve that.
Rainer stared at the fake healed body in front of him, sitting within the white void of [Sleep Learning], but despite the messages he read, there was no happiness in his eyes.
[Devil’s Seal has been completed. 30% Static Experience Gained for the first time having cleared it]
[First to complete Devil’s Seal. 90% Static Experience Gained]
[First to complete Stage 2 of the Mountains of Talyorn. 60% Static Experience Gained, Title already held: Dungeon Pioneer. 5% bonus experience gained added to title.]
[Small Party Bonus added: Devil’s Seal has been completed. 30% Static Experience Gained]
[Small Party Bonus added: First to complete Devil’s Seal. 90% Static Experience Gained]
[Small Party Bonus added: First to complete Stage 2 of the Mountains of Talyorn. 60% Static Experience Gained]
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 22/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 23/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 24/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 25/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
[Main Quest Received: Arcanist 2nd Class Advancement.]
[Calculating Boss rewards.]
[Bonus Added for being the first to defeat the boss.]
[Party Leader Item Awarded: Bracelet of Miasma Resistance]
[First Completion Bonus: 7 Attribute Points]
[Items Available: None]
[Contribution Reward: Return Stone x 3, Accept Y/N]
He had nearly lost Luna because of the backlash from [Arcane Rage]. Every time, every difficult fight, he would be put out of commission at the end of it.
What if next time it isn’t a dungeon...if it's a real fight where I am left useless as everyone around me dies…
But he needed [Arcane Rage]. He would not have survived without it.
He focused once more on training his [Arcane Rage] yet now he had another tool. He began moving his Aura within him and tried to protect himself from the backlash of [Arcane Rage] using this new skill. He would have to explore the possibilities of this [Sleep Learning] space for in his surprise he could use his attribute points in here. He put one into Aura Attunement to equal Aura Control and saved the remaining 6 for anything else he may unlock under Gunthar’s tutelage.
Even just a fraction of protection from the Aura now spreading around inside him and he would take advantage of it. The Aura, however, soaked in the unleashed Arcane Energy decreasing the total effect. Rainer repeatedly tried to change it into only a protective force and was eventually met with an affirmation that even new skills could be learned in this place.
He grinned remembering Gunthar’s remark of the difficulty of using Aura beyond simple means and couldn’t wait to show him his progress. In reality, Rainer had used more Aura in learning this skill than dozens of Gunthars possessed. Once more the infinite resources of [Sleep Learning] showed its prowess.
[Skill Gained: Arcane Aura Cladding lvl 1/10]
[Arcane Aura Cladding: Clad oneself in an Aura that is Arcane in nature.]
Rainer was curious if his Arcane bonuses applied to this as well, but in comparing such a skill, he would need another person.
A cycle of trying to control [Arcane Rage] and remaking his fake body repeated during his sleep. Now with the added efforts of Manipulating his Arcane Aura alongside it.
Rainer opened his eyes and found both Kara and Luna sleeping next to him.
[General Aura Manipulation has reached level 2]
[Arcane Aura Cladding has reached level 3]
[Arcane Rage has reached level 7]
He made no progress in [Arcane Energy Manipulation]. He got a general feeling that the next stage was truly far away, though his thoughts leaned towards his Arcane Aura somehow being the answer to that.
He looked around and noticed that the exhausted Fairy did not even have the energy to go to her usual spot and just fell asleep on his chest. As he got up and carefully maneuvered the Fairy into his hand, he saw he had been sleeping on Kara. She sat up against a wall, drool slightly leaking off her face.
He smiled before wiping it off with his sleeve and noticed his body was almost completely recovered. He gave silent thanks toward the sleeping Luna, making a promise to himself once more that no one would take her from him.
The rest area was the same style as before. Picking up Kara, he laid her down normally on the bed and covered her with a blanket before leaving, Luna now in her usual pocket.
Gunthar was out in the hall in his usual practice, but the lack of a bottom half of his armor caused uncontrollable laughter to come from Rainer.
“Yes, Sorcerer, my appearance is quite humorous.”
“Gunthar, showing such a sight in front of ladies, have you no shame?”
“I am the shameless one?” But Gunthar stopped himself before he played into the laughing Rainer’s hand.
“When the Lady of the Fae has recovered can you ask her to make me a set of clothes,” He said while walking towards Rainer, “Now quiet down before you wake the one who worked so hard for your sake.”
At this Rainer coughed into his hand before muffling his laughter. And after a few more giggles and a realization that he couldn’t even look at Gunthar he managed to stop.
“We have a few hours left in here, what level have you reached Sorcerer?”
“Was the bonus so large?” Gunthar asked surprised. He had not expected such a thing in the slightest.
“Having a small party makes the bonuses all double.”
“There was such a bonus? We have an impossible existence known as a Half-Demon and Sorcerer who has the power of many and far beyond what a 1st class should have. We should be penalized, not rewarded for such a thing.” Gunthar said exasperated though his real thoughts were of course in favor of these bonuses.
“I Imagine it is then time for us to leave this dungeon and Nalmar. Have you any thoughts on how to avoid interference when using your ring?”
Rainer thought for a moment. His only hope would be to use [Spatial Domain]. He, however, had no assurance he could do anything about it.
But with the addition of [Arcane Rage] to his level 25 attributes he did not hold too much fear towards any 2nd class undead that would be sent after them. Rather it was numbers that would be the problem.
"Gunthar, how are your magic detection abilities?"
"Good, tell me if you can feel this," Rainer said while backing away and casting [Spatial Domain].
"I cannot feel anything."
Rainer extended the domain to cover Gunthar.
"I noticed that Sorcerer," Gunthar said while almost instinctively covering himself.
Rainer retracted the domain to only cover himself and a foot around him. Right in front of him he used [Gravity Domain]. While using [Spatial Domain], he could focus it at a single point in front of him instead of having to spread it uniformly away from him.
"I can feel that spell."
Rainer had nodded his head before he focused on manipulating his [Spatial Domain]. As if with a thin film he covered the gravity alteration with his [Spatial Domain] and tried to suppress the spatial fluctuations coming off it.
"What about now Gunthar?"
"I can still feel the magic, but something is missing from before. I cannot put it into words other than as such."
Rainer canceled the magic. He understood right away there was no way for him to hide it for 10 minutes. But if he could prevent the [Arch-Lich] from interfering he would be set.
They walked through the portal this time leaving the dungeon behind them. Rainer had tried to activate the ring from within the Dungeon but to no avail. Immediately upon exiting Rainer covered himself as strong as he could similar to how he did the gravity with [Spatial Domain] and activated the ring. He appraised the ring as the magic activated.
[Ring of Party Transference: Nalmar: Transfers all party members within 10 yards between Nalmar and the Dungeon Entrance of the Fallen City of Nalmar. Can be used twice a day either way. 10 minute cast time.]
He dropped the [Spatial Domain] a few seconds later and sat down while Gunthar scouted outside. Rainer prepared himself to pour as much mana as possible into a [Spatial Domain] when the ring was about to go off. If he could block the possible interference that may come they'd be set.
Gunthar returned a few minutes later.
"I do not see any undead. Perhaps the [Arch-Lich] needs his undead to be within range to interrupt the ring. We may be set to go." Different from his old appearance Gunthar was covered entirely in a leather armor and wore a hooded cloak all made by Luna. Both Kara and Rainer had their faces covered in hoods as well. If someone was waiting for them, there was no reason to make it easy. Gunthar as well had a mask that hid his face disguising the fact he was undead.
Rainer nodded his head toward Gunthar, but did not lose focus as he prepared to cast [Spatial Domain] at the end of the Ring's timer.
The time ticked down as the party waited. Luna perhaps not as recovered as she made seem, still slept within Rainer's coat. She awoke only to assist them in changing their clothing and immediately went back to sleep.
Rainer looked to his left and saw the nervous look on Kara's face. He gripped her hand in his before speaking.
"No matter who's waiting out there, they can't stop us. We'll be okay. We are not the same as when we first entered here."
Kara nodded her head but did not let go of his hand as they waited.
And I won't be the same when we come back...
Rainer cast [Spatial Domain] around the party.
He activated [Arcane Rage] up to 21%.
He poured mana into his [Spatial Domain] as he carefully sensed for any interference.
The mana increased and still, Rainer felt nothing. A surge of magic came from the ring.
And so, they returned.
Cautiously the party looked around the exit of the dungeon. Rainer immediately canceled [Arcane Rage] upon seeing no clear enemies. The scene for Kara and Rainer was a far different one from when they first came here. The original wooden wall had been completely rebuilt to a stone one, the guards far better armed. The temple housing the dungeon itself seemed to extend to twice its previous height. Were they capable of seeing the emotion on Gunthar's face they would see his eyes light up at the prospect of visiting civilization after so many long years.
And now, a group of 15 walked towards them wearing a variety of armor and weapons, some few even enchanted.
[Human, Female, Spearwoman lvl 21]
[Half-Elf/Human, Male, Enchanted Archer lvl 20]
[Human, Female, Shadow Stalker lvl 20]
Rainer nodded his head, and his party walked forward without paying too much attention to this group. As they passed, Rainer heard some whispers.
“They lost nearly all their group…did they risk the third stage?”
“When did they even go in, I don’t remember seeing any of them?”
Seeing the passing group’s conversation hadn’t been anything strange Rainer continued forward walking toward the open gate in front of them. Apart from some looks of pity none of the guards reacted to the apparent trio. The guards were used to such a sight of a smaller party coming out of the dungeon. The hoods hiding their faces only added to the conclusion that they were ashamed of their failure and their lost comrades.
Rainer didn’t understand the purpose of this wall. He could only assume that dungeons could somehow release monsters into the world.
The formerly unbuilt town now had a different look showing just how quick the classed laborers of this world could work. The Guild Inn and hall itself was completed. Various shops lined the pathway to the dungeon. Several higher level Hunter's were around. All, seeking the prospect of an unbeaten dungeon that could grant them the challenging levels from 20-25.
Not only that but the first stage of this dungeon was a rare one that still offered decent experience beyond its first completion. Add on the possibility of gaining enchanted items, and it was seen as a gold mine to the hunters. As well as to the Lord who would gain tax on anything sold to the Guild in this area.
Rainer and party walked further from the wall and headed away from the small town after ducking around a building. Heading straight into the nearby forest that had been depleted for the town Rainer finally breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn’t felt a single mana pool beside a few in the guild and two small ones in the party he passed earlier. Certainly not powerful enough to be considered a task force searching for something as valuable as a fairy.
“I don’t know what Leaf did, but at least for now we can assume he either believed us dead or kept it to himself,” Rainer said before breathing a sigh of relief. His biggest worry was Kara’s safety when he was taking his 2nd Class Advancement Quest.
The group walked deeper into the forest, choosing not to take the road, as they followed Luna’s direction toward the nearest World Tree Dungeon. This happened to be next to what was considered the largest town in the province. They needed to avoid using Kara's werewolf form, in case they were seen, meaning the indirect trip would take them a few days, lacking horses. Gunthar would be spending this time making sure Rainer was preparing as much as possible for the challenge that awaited him.
Rainer had some concerns as to why there was already a couple strong parties close by enough to take advantage of the changed dungeon, but any reason they were originally here for he believed his party could handle.
Fira had been brought out of meditation the moment she had sensed the strange mana of her target. Immediately she hid her mana with a technique far surpassing what Rainer’s party thought possible.
Shimmering slightly her form changed to that of an ordinary man of brown hair, she even enacted a defense against Luna’s [Appraisal] ability just in case. So long as Fira’s [Appraisal] was of a higher level, she could defend against Luna’s and show false information.
She walked out of the Inn just as Rainer’s party left the gated wall surrounding the new and improved dungeon.
Fira immediately hid her presence and secretly used her [Appraisal] on the party of four before she hurried back into the inn, panic visible on her face.
She had prepared for multiple cases, but this was far different than anything she expected. Leaf’s story being proven right was exactly what made the level of Rainer so fearsome. And then there was Luna who went from level 2 to level 21 within just a few weeks. Such a rate of leveling for a Fae was astounding.
Luna leveling from a main quest didn't even cross her mind. Not only that but a small party completing a dungeon was such a rare occurrence most didn't even know a small party bonus existed. The lack of this information made Luna's level a fearsome thing.
She stared down at the wooden floor beneath her in thought before deciding to tail the party at a distance and determine her next action.
Though reality for her proved cruel as Fira understood immediately, as a Fae herself, the direction Rainer was heading.
No, no, no...If he takes the quest and dies, Luna is gone, and I die. If he takes the quest and succeeds, I shall likely still be put to death…
Her eyes showed a steeled resolve as her form shimmered back to her original appearance before large crystalline blue wings formed on her back. She shimmered and in a flurry of snow flew straight into the sky, her presence undetectable as she bent the light around her, and sought to overtake the group.
She would separate them. And then she would, at any cost, end the Arcanist.