“Is it the family secret thing?” Rainer asked while sitting across from Kara in their private room at a local high-end restaurant.
“No, that hardly applies now,” Kara responded and then lowered her voice to a whisper,”I have no idea how to teach it. I just learned it from watching my mother using it to make her Blade weightless with Aura.”
Rainer paused for a moment. Hadn’t she taught him her [Weightless Blade Mastery] moderately well? Though, if he thinks back it had taken him hours to learn it, when often, it takes him far less time to learn the first level of a skill. With some exception, even Aura skills had been quite quick. She, Rainer realized, is what one could call a natural.
Rainer wished to learn the Aura technique for lightening her blades because he was interested in how it allowed the weight of the blade to affect the attack but not the wielder. He thought it’d be possible to use it to transfer inertia and stop himself from breaking his legs when casting [Gravity Domain] on himself in an aerial attack.
“Why are you whispering?” Rainer asked, now joining her in lowering his voice.
“Ah...well...Gunthar quite enjoys his explanations and lectures on Aura; it would crush him if he knew I never really understood anything and just learned from watching him doing the technique.”
Though their whispers were heard as a loud squeal came out behind them. Gunthar had entered the room to bring food in place of the waitress.
“Wait, Gunthar, it was a lie, I just really didn’t want to teach Rainer!” Kara said while her voice slightly increased in pitch.
But Gunthar seemed to ignore everything and just took Rainer’s hand in his.
“Do me, but one favor, Sorcerer.”
“Yeah, Gunthar, Anything.”
“Find me the most willing and yet ordinary student you can when you create your Academy.”
“There will be no one more average than your personal disciple,” Rainer answered.
“Good. It is all I ask,” Gunthar said quite joyously, ”Enjoy your meal. I can likely assist in teaching you Little Wolf’s skill as well, even if I cannot use it.”
He headed back outside the room seemingly unaffected.
“Well, at least you don’t have to pretend anymore.”
“I expect you to fully answer questions during our next session, Little Wolf!” Gunthar called out.
Kara and Rainer shared a laugh.
“It is a shame we aren’t better students; I cannot even imagine how strong Gunthar was as a level 25 paladin. Even if I am able to learn his techniques merely from watching, his skill level in Aura is beyond anything I have ever seen. For him to make a skill based on your [Arcane Blade] so quickly is proof enough.”
“Well, your confession just got a future kid with no hope for being stronger the best teacher he could ask for.”
Just as Kara and Rainer were finishing their meal, they found themselves beset by a visitor.
Gunthar called out to Rainer while opening the door, ”Lord Magus, a visitor claiming to carry an important message.”
Gunthar seemed relaxed, but his Aura was tensed, and his hand prepared to strike.
Rainer used his Aura on his eyes and, to the surprise of the visitor, saw what was truly there.
Rainer had as well received an Aura related skill beyond just simple enhancement.
[Skill Gained: Arcane Sight lvl 1/10]
Even as an Aura skill, Rainer soon realized from the burst of information he achieved when learning a skill that it could be fueled now with Arcane Power.
“Gunthar, grab him!”
Before the Fae could even react Gunthar slammed him into the ground and had his knee into his back.
Some of the guests in the restaurant reacted, but quickly looked away as Gunthar slammed the door.
“Wait, I apologize for Fira’s actions, I am merely here to speak.”
Rainer used [Appraisal] and noticing this, the Fae immediately lowered his guard against it, though not before surprise was clearly visible on his face as he secretly Appraised in return.
[Fairy, Male, Fae Enchanter lvl 18]
Different from a more talented Fira or Liandra, Rainer’s strange arcane filled mana hid Luna from him. He could only assume Rainer kept the Experiment locked up somewhere. For being in so close proximity of this Arcanist he knew this was the Mana that interfered with their tracking spells.
“Put him against the wall,” Rainer said as Gunthar slammed him into the wooden wall and kept his eyesight away.
“Luna,” Rainer whispered into his coat,”Do you recognize him?”
Luna looked for a length of time and after tilting her head a few times responded, “Luna hasn’t seen him before.”
His Fae form had been self-revealed. Though his wings were still hidden, he had long yellow hair and orange crystal eyes. Different from Fira the crystal didn’t cover the white part of his eyes.
Seeing no wavering in her expression, Rainer saw no issue in at least hearing out what this man had to say, though, whether he’d leave this room was another question.
“Speak,” Rainer said while opening his [Spatial Domain]. Illusionist or not he also wanted to prepare for any allies this Fae undoubtedly had, coming here so confidently after the so-called Fira was killed.
“We wish to trade for the Fairy in your possession. In my pocket is Fairy Dust worth a Lifespan increase by 3, or 30 years of your human life. Far more than you can squeeze out of your Fairy before you die a natural death.”
Rainer did his best to keep himself under control hearing how much they thought of Luna as merely a thing to be traded. But different from the earlier Fae, his anger was far less.
“I want 3 times that. I’m not so stupid to believe the Fairy in my possession is a common one.”
The Fae ground his teeth at this ridiculous request. While they had called for reinforcements, it isn’t as if they wouldn’t prefer to end this peacefully. Someone who could kill Fira wasn’t worth entangling with. It also wasn’t the best idea given the level 15 [Blade Dancer] and level 18 [Death Knight]. Those without magic often were powerless against Fae, but with someone here who could see through glamour and likely illusions, fighting them wasn’t the best option, so this Fae thought.
The Fae could not see the Demon part Kara was hiding.
“A Fruit of the World Tree instead. Something I’d imagine you’d desire dearly at level 25, A-arcanist.” The Fae stuttered a bit on the last word. Even with all their knowledge through [Appraisal] he had never seen nor heard of the class by the name [Arcanist].
Beyond the dust a Fairy produced the first 50 years of their life, any more would require hundreds of years or a sacrifice of Lifespan. Fae had a minuscule birthrate, and Fairy Dust was already rare. Were the Experiment not so valuable to them, 3 doses would already be too much.
Just like 3 doses of Dust, Fruit, that was even more valuable and was not so easy to give, but if their 2nd class reinforcements determined it wasn't worth the fight, it would be traded.
Rainer hadn’t heard of a Fruit of the World Tree, but he instantly assumed this was the advancement method of the Fae that was mentioned by Luna.
“I accept, Gunthar, let him go.” Is what Rainer said, but of course, his thoughts were different.
“Good, then in five days time I shall have the Fruit brought.”
And you’ll be dead in four, the Fae thought to himself. He’d send another of his group to tell them of the situation. Regardless of this man’s strength, he didn’t believe he could fight against several 2nd class Fae. He hoped they would choose, in the end, to kill this man. Were he, however, to see how Luna had been changed, such confidence would be hard to find.
Just as the Fae was about to leave Rainer called.
“Where do you think you’re going? You expect me just to wait around for 5 days with no assurances? Leave the dust.”
“Of course.” The Fae responded doing his best to keep a smile on his face and left a small bag in Gunthar’s outstretched palm. Seeing this mage's ability to see through his glamour, the Fae understood he had no choice, but to comply, his original plan of escape would be useless.
Rainer used [Arcane Sight] immediately, but saw nothing strange other than the glowing dust itself from within the bag.
“You can leave.” He said while the Fae looked into his eyes strangely mesmerized by whatever technique was being used. He snapped out of it and quickly departed.
“Gunthar,” Rainer said while waving him over.
He gently opened the bag and had Luna check it’s validity and seeing no issue, Rainer leaned back in his chair and understood his timetable for advancing had just moved up. If the Fae could find them here, Rainer believed there was nowhere they could run, at least safely. He needed to advance and had little time left.
3 Days… he thought to himself while understanding that he shouldn’t trust exactly what the Fae said. He had no doubt with something like a Fruit of the World Tree they could offer to trade that 2nd Class Fae may very well be the ones to arrive after the supposed 5 days, if not the Queen herself.
For now, he put the Fairy Dust into his Spatial Ring. He'd ask Gunthar's and Kara's opinion on whether it'd be useful for her to have mana when they had time to explore their options. And when he was sure he wouldn't need it for himself.
“Let’s head back.”
“Luna, I need you to keep me asleep as long as you can. Though wake me up if I sleep longer than 24 hours from now.” Rainer spoke to Luna as he laid in his bed, with the day still young.
If he could stay in for more than the usual hours, he would also need time to rest that off, given he'd be aware in [Sleep Learning] for longer than ever before. He had no idea what effect this could have on him, but he needed to accomplish one thing that he thought would grant him full assurance in his passing of the quest.
“Rainer is that safe?” Kara asked over to his side. She was nervous once more at his advancement given his now forced rush.
“Luna you can tell if I’m hurt right? Then bring me out of it if something feels off to you. And thanks in advance, for the other issues you’ll have to deal with.” He said a bit embarrassingly.
Luna just nodded before she began casting the sleeping spell. Her face lacked her usual smile, and her eyes were filled with intensity. She was not naive to the reason Rainer was in such a rush.
Kara left the room to go work off some of her stress with her blades.
Hearing the soothing chant of the sleeping spell, now aided with Luna’s level 21 attributes, Rainer entered the white void of [Sleep Learning]. In the worst case, he could force himself awake.
Just as his eyes closed and sleep took him they flew open to a new scene.
Rainer stood with his hands extended. He used [Arcane Rage] in every [Sleep Learning] session since he first gained the skill. Yet ever since it had reached level 7 he knew it stagnated, If he could surpass that he felt it would grant him certainty in his trial.
He brought [Arcane Rage] to 21%, the highest he could bring before the damage became distracting.
Rainer felt inwards as he grasped this chaotic energy with [Arcane Energy Manipulation]. He at the same time stared at his own arm with [Arcane Sight] activated.
The energy flowed like blood through his body, invigorating it. And with this very thought, he understood the problem. If the flow of blood was this chaotic or was blocked, is that not the equivalent of death?
Instead of trying to slow it or bring down its natural chaos Rainer went a different way.
He accelerated it.
He used his Arcane power to let the energy flow faster and faster throughout his body. The pain became nearly unbearable, but the pressure on him pushed him through.
And then something marvelous happened.
The energy stopped rebounding off of him and instead propelled itself forward. The supplied Arcane Power burned itself as it redirected the formerly chaotic power into a mighty river, flowing toward a single direction.
In this place, there was no worry of lacking energy.
Rainer fell into a state of relaxation, where time flowed outside of his knowledge, as the pain faded and instead the flowing Arcane Energy invigorated him. Almost subconsciously he added more and more Arcane Power upping the percentage. Not even a full one at a time the percentage climbed, and with it his skill level.
His Arcane Power burned and burned and yet it did not run out.
No pain awoke him from his state.
[Arcane Rage has reached level 8]
[Arcane Rage has reached level 9]
The energy blazed through each time circling into his mana pool filled with Arcane Power before unstoppably moving on. To reach such a process and flow how much Arcane Power would one need? Rainer had truly found something that no matter how much time another Arcanist had they simply couldn’t replicate it within their first class. It required true knowledge from another or countless years of experimentation.
Every cycle brought him closer to his goal. His Intelligence and Affinity had long since surpassed 100 in this state bringing him an inexplicable clarity.
The increase became nearly imperceptible, but it did not stop. Rainer was partially aware in this moment. That if he simply added another point of Arcane Power to [Arcane Rage] in an attempt to gain 8%, he’d lose this state and perhaps his virtual body would die. He felt that if he failed now, it could take who knows how long to find this state once more.
Time moved on, and the increase reached its peak.
[Arcane Rage has reached level 10]
[Arcane Rage has reached its maximum level. First time a skill of this difficulty has reached level 10, 60 skill points have been rewarded.]
[Arcane Rage has unlocked Arcane Awakening lvl 1/10]
[Arcane Energy Manipulation has reached level 7]
Rainer fully regained himself as he felt the torrent of Arcane Energy surge through him. There was no longer the crippling pain and instead [Arcane Awakening] consumed more Arcane power to move and cycle through him at such speed. The previously vein like lines straightened out and became angled, forming a strange pattern across his body.
It wasn’t anywhere near permanently sustainable, but no longer would he fall to a crippled state after its use. What was 100% in this world? It was as if he too was like Kara, born with the ability to have two Primary classes without the fallback of split experience.
And then his eyes opened to reality.
Rainer awoke feeling weak and groggy; his eyes were bloodshot and his head completely cloudy.
He looked over a worried Luna to his side before speaking.
“How long was I asleep?”
“2 and a half days...Luna couldn’t wake you up no matter how hard she tried…”She spoke as Rainer felt her flame on him. The pain in his head cleared up, but the fog in his mind remained.
“Rainer, how are you feeling?” Kara asked. Both she and Gunthar were in the room as well, contacted by Luna when no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t wake him up.
Rainer instead answered by activating his new skill, [Arcane Awakening].
The lines on his skin no longer pulsed, but instead radiated with a steady flow of Arcane as they formed the new pattern on his skin.
Luna hurried to try and stop him, but before words even left her mouth, she could feel from the familiar bond that there was no damage inflicted.
Kara, of course, did not know this.
“Rainer! What the hell are you doing?” She said while pushing him back down onto the bed, “You were unmoving Rainer, we thought something went wrong, and here you are causing more damage.”
Rainer was about to respond when he looked up at Kara’s golden and crimson eyes and saw tears forming.
He didn’t dissipate his [Arcane Awakening] and moved his hand to wipe her tears.
“I’m sorry for worrying you. But this is exactly what I achieved.” He said while putting in a bit more Arcane Power into his [Arcane Awakening].
He brought his lips to hers and shared the skill.
[Arcane Awakening lvl 1/10: Ignite and Cycle the Arcane Power within one's self in order to significantly increase one's power. Receives improvements from [Arcane Attunement] and [Arcane Energy Manipulation]. Current Ratio = 1 Arcane Power = +16.16% Total Attribute Increase]
He knew from the first level of the skill the more Arcane Power he ignited, the more Arcane Power it took to keep it cycling. He could still use the [Arcane Rage] damaging version if he were low on Arcane Power and actually needed it, but it wasn’t worth it to use [Arcane Rage] except for emergencies. The amount of Arcane Power needed to maintain [Arcane Awakening] was small enough that having to use twice the Arcane Power to activate [Arcane Rage] to the same level wasn’t worth it. Meaning [Arcane Rage] only showed its advantage during it's highest activation point requiring less Arcane Power, but giving out crippling damage.
“I can bring it up to 100% with no damage to myself.”
Kara moved from on top of him and fell to his side.
She wiped her face with a smile before speaking, ”As always I worry for nothing. Here we are concerned you might be dying when you actually reached the next stage of a skill…”
Gunthar wasn't sure how to react. To reach the next stage of a skill in the short time Rainer had been here, it was beyond his knowledge. Moreover, one could not max out a skill with points, meaning Rainer had truly leveled it, Gunthar thought in surprise as he looked at the change in the Arcane lines on Rainer. He felt it seemed almost reminiscent of a rune, though lacking any meaning.
Seeing his now 72 skill points, Rainer decided against increasing [Faaran Runic Language] until he had some time to recover, remembering how he apparently collapsed. The stress on his mind may not be the best thing. And he was going to auto-pilot on his last night before the advancement in any case. He also had a thought of saving skill points for anything related to his second class, though he’d need to see if anyone knew anything about that.
“Have our Fae visitors been nearby?”
“Not that we know of, though it may be best if you check.”
Everyone headed out to the backyard of the mansion upon which Rainer immediately activated [Arcane Sight].
He would see if he could get a skill related to sensing the other forms of energy out there, but for now, he looked around for any people containing mana. On a roof several buildings away, Rainer gazed toward a presence of Mana overlooking him. Far too large to be Martin the presence seemed to notice Rainer was looking at him before quickly fleeing.
“One was watching quite a distance away. Tomorrow morning...we need to hunt them down and then after you drop me off at the tree run back to the dungeon and then…”
“Sorcerer, time flows differently during the advancement. We should be fine simply waiting for you and then taking care of the Fae.”
“Then can I use the easiness of the first trial to sleep learn and prepare for my second?”
“Even with the Lady of the Fae there I doubt the Magic Beast you will be hunting will allow such rest.”
“Doesn’t matter. I can say with almost certainty no other Arcanist, at the least a 1st class one has advanced past Arcane Rage or maybe even has more than a few levels in it. Such an advantage can’t compare. I won’t need the extra time.” Rainer didn’t fully believe he couldn’t use the extra time, but he saw no reason to stress out Kara.
“Hey Gunthar, are there skills to purchase for the 2nd class as well?”
“There are, though they are 100 points. Not too large a concern for you I’d imagine, Sorcerer.”
“No, not a concern,” Rainer answered.
Gunthar’s last line, however, had been a joke. He now fully looked forward to his normal student as if it was some shining beacon. Most would prefer a talented student they could mold and have fully absorbed their teachings. Gunthar had been exposed to a little too much talent.
Rainer sighed as they walked toward the Baron’s mansion. Mentally he was utterly exhausted. While he had been in a sort of trance the feeling of being awake for so long still hit him. He had already been staying aware in [Sleep Learning] far more than he ever had in his life during these past weeks.
He really didn’t want to chase after these Fae, especially after Luna didn’t recognize the one they met. They were just pawns he held no real anger toward beyond their calling of Luna as, but a thing to be traded. And hearing that time passed differently meant he no longer had to deal with them immediately. By the time the Fae realized where they had gone and found them, given Kara and Gunthar’s speed, Rainer may already have finished the advancement. Moreover, even if Rainer was confident they didn’t plan to honor the trade he would very happily take the Fruit of the World tree off their cold dead hands.
In the worst case, Kara would be forced to reveal her Demonic form to sense through the illusions. Either way, when Rainer described the magic used by the Fae they now knew as Fira, both Gunthar and Kara showed no concern. While they couldn’t see through it at a distance, any mage skilled enough to make themselves invisible and undetectable right in front of their faces wouldn’t need to be invisible in the first place. Likewise casting a powerful spell under such concealment would break it.
He looked a bit surprised at the [Appraisal] information in front of him.
[Human, Male, Knight lvl 4]
And not only that, but Rainer could feel a minuscule wisp of Aura coming from the nervous Carver in front of him. It seems his time in seclusion wasn’t a waste. Rainer had already wondered why Carver didn't have Aura like his father, but it seems he had been close to gaining it. He must have also increased some skill to have leveled up, as well as already been close to level 4.
Rainer had asked Charles to see Carver and much to Charles’ pleasant surprise he merely wished to know where to go for entertainment in the town, beyond just food. Rainer figured Carver would be the perfect source and it would be some excellent stress relief to mess with him a bit in the process.
“So...boy,” Rainer said slowly while staring at the increasingly nervous Carver. After Martin’s reaction Carver had abandoned all schemes and thoughts of revenge.
Rainer let the silence hang for a bit causing a bead of sweat to form on Carver’s head before he let him off the hook. Given that Kara herself couldn’t care less, Rainer didn’t particularly hold too much anger toward this now former Baron.
“I’m looking for some place for entertainment in this town,” Rainer said and then clarified given how that sounded,”the non-brothel kind.”
Carver seemed to blow his stress out with his breath as he answered, “With the amount of traveling merchants in this town there are often many a musician scouring for tips. The place that is most exclusive in choosing these musicians…”
Carver continued to describe the location and Rainer soon left. He wanted to relax and recover a bit, but he wasn’t in a position to just go to sleep, given his recent coma like state. And he particularly didn’t want to look at a bed for at least a few hours.
Relaxing to some music seemed perfect. Perhaps he’d find something close enough to a piano or a guitar? Such was his hope.
Walking up to the Inn known as Sparrow’s Song, Rainer grew excited. The Sun was nearly setting in the distance giving the three storied Inn’s golden trimmings an enticing look. The Guard at the door didn’t even ask to verify the Baron’s token Rainer flashed at the door. Rather, he wouldn’t have even asked to see it in the first place. The Lord Magus was a well-known figure given how often he went out to eat. More importantly, he was quite the extravagant spender. Though, Rainer never spent his own money on anything other than tips.
Given how the Baron had treated him Rainer had lowered his spending quite a bit from the first time he used the Baron’s token, but he wasn’t going to look a Gift Horse in the mouth.
Rainer felt little guilt given a decision he made already. He had decided to help the Baron with his 2nd Class advancement, no matter what. If the Baron didn’t want to travel with them afterward, then Rainer would just ask for the enchanted equipment back. Given the strength Rainer expected to have by then, it's not like the Baron could say no to giving it back. nor did he seem the type. The enchanted equipment being the ones Rainer planned on gathering as much as he could of on his second trip to Nalmar.
A waitress led Rainer to a second-floor balcony. Rainer’s party had a wide, comfortable chair to sit on, likely a favorite spot for anyone of wealth or status to bring a lady to. On a lavish stage, a group of musicians set up their instruments for the next performance.
A blonde middle-aged woman seemed to be standing in front doing some vocal warm-ups. With an instrument similar to a cello was a scruffy brown haired man and with the instrument that brought the most interest to Rainer was another brown haired man.
Rainer didn’t pay much attention to the person himself as he [Appraised] the instrument.
[Guitar: Produces sound through 5 vibrating strings]
If it had a different name, it would make sense to Rainer, who read in English, to only see Guitar. This once more brought up thoughts of why he never gained a skill for English, but there was little he could do about it. The instrument itself seemed slightly different than the standard one he knew as he looked at it.
Rainer wondered if the musician would let him play it for an extra nice tip. But, as one himself, he would never use his status to force the guy to let him use it.
You don’t just touch someone else's instrument.
He couldn’t even ask to buy it, though, as no matter what he said the man would feel forced to sell it.
Rainer let such thoughts go and leaned back with his arm around Kara to enjoy the music. He looked over to her sitting next to him and saw she seemed even more interested than he was. It would make sense that she hadn’t seen anything like this.
Rainer used [Arcane Sight] to make sure no Fae followed them inside and after a quick look outside realized that they were at least trying to keep out of range of his ability. Perfect, for Rainer to make a quick get-away to the World Tree.
Rainer’s focus returned to the music as it began. A waitress brought wine on a small table in front of them.
Rainer relaxed to the sound of music he hadn’t heard for so long as the Woman’s falsetto voice filled the air.
Kara, however, had other thoughts.
“Why is this so...average...”She whispered to Rainer.
“What do you mean?” He asked confused. He who had access to Earth’s music still enjoyed this performance, but Kara didn’t?
“Compared to just your humming, it feels lackluster.”
“I can’t imagine any music could compare to one infused with Magic, Little Wolf. I too have heard great musicians, but against the feeling of your Magic, Sorcerer, when you were only humming, it is uncomparable.”
Rainer smiled as he leaned back into the chair. Flattery and good music, what a good way to relieve stress.
As the performance ended, the waitress had returned to refill their drinks when Rainer asked her a question.
“Would you know where I can find an instrument like the one that man is using,” Rainer said while pointing to the man holding the guitar look alike.
“Lord Magus, the Inn has several you may choose. We would be happy to gift you with one.”
“Bring it here, I want to have a look at it.”
“I shall inform the owner immediately and bring it to you, Lord Magus.”
She stood there in a stunned silence staring at the 5 High-silver he just handed to her before she regained herself and headed to speak with the owner.
The waitress from earlier rushed over with the Guitar-like instrument. Rainer took a moment to tune the Guitar as his skill was recognized.
[Skill Gained: General Acoustic Instrument Mastery lvl 3/10]
[Skill Gained: Guitar Mastery lvl 8/10]
Though, Rainer lacked a reference point to the Guitarist who just played. He didn’t, however, feel the desire to play now. He returned the Guitar to the confused waitress.
“I won’t be needing the gift, keep it for the musicians who may need to borrow it.”
Rainer had planned on training his [Arcane Weaving] by making a guitar from it in any case.
Surprised the waitress returned to work soon after. She was surprised precisely because she assumed the 5 high-silver from earlier was to purchase the Guitar, an already overpaid price. But now, she knew, the rumors of the large tips the mage gave were not false.
Rainer leaned back and enjoyed the rest of the performances, with the wine. He was a bit surprised at not yet receiving some kind of resistance to poison, but he imagined it would require a larger or stronger amount of a poison.
Martin too was on the upper balcony, tonight being a special time for performances. Rainer had noticed the presence of his mana yet he gave him no thought. Martin thought it was due to him not answering the last question, but in reality, Rainer was just too out of it to care about Martin.
Martin had later misconstrued the last question he was asked as a test and one that he failed. He had even sent a message to his father, who shared his interest in the far north, about the man he knew as Francis. More importantly, he was getting permission to speak about the Arachne on the premise Francis likely already knew and it was just a test for gaining trust.
Martin’s obsession had overtaken his thoughts.
He desperately wished to know more about the North and not answering that last question ate away at him. But, until his Father either sent word or came himself, Martin did not have the courage to approach Francis and could only hope he stayed in town long enough.
With the performances over a slightly inebriated Rainer leaned on Kara as they made their way back. He could use [Arcane Awakening] and the improved attributes would instantly clear him up, so he wasn’t in any particular danger.
Making it back to the mansion and to their room, Luna sensing the mood flew downstairs to talk with Gunthar while Kara laid on Rainer’s chest.
“Tomorrow's the day…”Kara said quietly.
“And I will be fine.” He said a bit annoyed.
“Rainer, I merely think it is…”
“What do you want from me, Kara? To bemoan and complain? Do you know what it's like seeing how little faith you have in me succeeding over and over again?” He said while sitting up.
“I am only saying that there may be other options, that we can run, that we can....”
“What options?! The option that I can’t even take a fucking piss or eat a fucking meal without one of those fucking Fae interrupting me?”
He paused a bit before speaking softly,”Every morning I wake up and when you or Luna aren't there what do you think goes through my mind? That you’ve been taken. Even in the dungeon. I thought this way, even if it's impossible. Of course, It's a momentary thought, a flight of lunacy. But that moment is enough…And hell, the fuck do I even know if it's possible? I ended up here with no explanation. And who the fuck decided that I have to take an advancement quest? Why do I need that in the first place to reach 2nd Class? It's all insane!”
Kara just sat quietly by his side as he continued.
“And what are my options? Leave you and Luna? That’s not even on the list. And I refuse,” he said ramping back up again,” I refuse to live like some rat. What if next time we’re found there isn’t a World Tree or whatever the fuck else nearby? I refuse all of it. I refuse all of them deciding they can do as they please.”
He stood up and had a look of anger not in Kara's direction, but seemingly at the wall to his left. “So I’m going to advance. And that’s the only option I’ll accept.”
Before Kara could say anything Rainer already rushed out of the room with [Arcane Awakening] approaching its maximum. He rushed past a confused Luna and Gunthar toward the backyard. Even the clearing up of the alcohol affecting him didn’t calm his anger.
“You!” He roared toward the Fae he was staring at with [Arcane Sight], ”Back the fuck off or you're dead!” His Arcane infused voice shook the air around him. Any people nearby could only cower at the magic in the air.
The Fae stuttered his step slightly before he covered himself in a stronger illusion spell. Clearly, a different Fae from before who hadn't seen Rainer's technique up close. This was pointless in front of [Arcane Sight] and only served to anger Rainer.
“Then go to hell!” A packet of Mana and Arcane power invisibly flew out from Rainer’s outstretched hand, far faster than any bolt.
A fury of Arcane power exploded against the night sky. The violet flame erupted out as a manifestation of his anger. The Fae shot back, the smell of his own burnt skin filled his senses.
But he was largely unharmed apart from the ringing in his ears and the slight burn.
He had been out of Rainer’s [Arcane-Fire Combustion]’s range in the first place, nor did Rainer intend to kill him. To him, it was the perfect way to let out some frustration and get the Fae to monitor them at a farther distance.
“Next time, I won’t miss!” He walked back as [Arcane Awakening] slowly dissipated.
Kara caught him before he entered and then shut the door to the courtyard behind her.
The power of the Arcane still vibrated as she grabbed him. She had always used Rainer to ease her worries, for once, she wished to ease his.
"If I believed you were incapable, that if I did not trust you, I would have left long ago. To keep whoever after me from coming toward you as well," She declared while putting her hands on his chest,"But I do believe in you, even amongst my worries. Even when we were trapped in that tower in Nalmar, my panic toward death eased the moment I saw you talking with Luna as if it was, but a casual day. Anytime we face difficulties I feel as if I need to worry for the both of us. But do not doubt my faith."
"Then do not doubt whoever is coming after you, will regret every choice they had made."
Power coursed through his hand as he moved it to her face. Just a touch brought upon a reaction as Kara jumped up and wrapped both her legs around him. He pressed her back to the door as they intertwined. Mana weaved up his tongue and onto her hers, wrapping her in its pleasure. Even as she wished to moan out she could not pull back.
It did not matter how much her strength surpassed his, for, in this moment, she felt captured by him.
He did not dissipate her clothes as before. His hand moved up her thighs, the tension on them apparent as they gripped around his waist, and found its way underneath her shirt. As she felt his fingers pinch the tip of her breasts the surge of pleasure caused her to escape his lips and moan out.
Remembering her purpose she moved her lower body to rub against him. Even through the clothes Kara could feel the hardness just as he could feel she was more than ready.
She shuddered as she felt him, who still flowed with Arcane, enter inside her. Her whole body convulsed from just a single move. The tightness of which she gripped him prevented any movement as a loud gasp escaped her. She pushed with her hand against the wall and held him down against the ground.
He could feel her breath on his ear as she struggled to gain control of herself.
She adjusted herself and this time placed herself on him. Even fueled with Arcane he found himself immobile under her. In a single motion she removed her blouse, the gentle moonlight shined in her crimson and gold eyes, unable to hold in her demon half. Even amidst the scene before him, he found himself instead drawn toward her eyes. And then she moved.
Her arms released him as he sat up and grabbed onto her breasts. The Mana above and the wetness beneath flowed as they both joined together. Kara took over, her endurance beyond anything, as she moved vigorously up and down. Even as he found himself in ecstasy Kara showed no sign of stopping.
Whether it was the second time nor the fourth she did not slow down. Every time he found himself at the peak he would surge and then deplete. Only to be brought back by her again.
It was not long before he found himself utterly spent. Yet even as Kara got off him she brought her mouth down on him. His prowess as a mage allowed him to extend himself yet even now he found himself spent. Yet as he felt Kara's lips wrap around beneath him, he found his vitality once more. Her tongue moved deftly bringing life back to him, and all the same, she sucked it away. He would soon be left with nothing.
As Kara laid in his arms, he had never felt so spent, in mind and now in body, and so at peace.
They enjoyed a rest underneath the moonlight, with no thoughts on what he would face in the morning.
With the assistance of Luna's flame Rainer and Kara cleaned up and headed upstairs. Rainer laid down to sleep, but soon found Kara replacing his pillow.
“Sleep”, She said while sitting up and holding Rainer’s head on her lap,”I’ll watch over you until it's time to leave. And when you return, you can watch over me.”
He spent the night using auto-piloted [Sleep Learning] on [Mana Shield]. Now he instead used [Arcane Awakening] in concert. No longer did his virtual body ever need to be refreshed as the damage no longer happened.
[Mana Shield has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 2 spell: Rewarding 2 skill points.]
Before the sun had even risen this group of 4 had snuck out of their home. They understood they’d soon be found so Kara and Gunthar fully mobilized their Aura with Rainer on her back.
They did not head directly for the Tree, but instead straight out of town, planning to double back around.
Rainer gave a quick look with his [Arcane Sight] before signaling Kara and Gunthar to take the long way around toward the World Tree Branch.
The party was silent as they blazed a path forward, the World Tree Branch towered over them as it entered their vision. Even amidst the snowy landscape, the Tree was untouched by the chill. Not a drop of snow lay on its figure.
Walking to it Rainer gave a final glance toward Kara, before placing his hand on the trunk. Gunthar wore the [Incubation Ring] that they fed beforehand.
All that needed to be said was said. All that was left was the task in front of him.
A message appeared in Rainer’s vision as he felt the coarse yet strangely enticing bark beneath his hand.
[Access Class Change? Y/N]
[Take 2nd Class Advancement for: Arcanist? Y/N]
[Survival is not likely. Take the 2nd Class Advancement for: Arcanist? Y/N]
There was no hesitation as he once more answered and vanished. Not in a flash of light, nor a tearing of space, but as if he was simply plucked from existence.
And so...he sought to ascend.
A fierce and hot gale brushed by him, bringing sand with it. Luna had already begun creating a cloak for Rainer.
“Luna..give me something to cover my face,” He yelled out amidst the roaring sound of wind. His call no louder than a whisper.
As a covering formed around the bottom of his face he activated [Arcane Sight].
He had no idea when or where he’d be attacked, but it was not an if. He spun around, focusing his vision throughout the sandstorm, and yet he saw nothing. Knowing walking forward aimlessly could lead to him being eternally lost Rainer activated [Arcane Awakening] and used more Arcane power toward his sight.
He sought anything within this storm of sand and a vision akin to an enchanted item entered his view. Yet an item it was not, giving off a distinct form of a massive tower. Rainer plotted his course forward slowly decreasing the Arcane Power unleashed within him as he got closer.
He constantly used his various detection skills to look around him. It did not matter to him that the first half of the trial was at the same level of difficulty to all mages, there was no lowering of his guard.
He pushed his way through the sandstorm and grew ever closer to the strange tower. The moment he was within 100 feet he passed through a thin film and soon the majesty before him revealed itself.
Extending into the now clear sky far beyond his view the massive tower showed no end. Surrounding that tower a temple extended past it. All built of a white marble with strange runes etched along its stone. They are what gave off the all-consuming glow of enchantment. Yet these Runes were most assuredly not of his [Faraan Runic Language].
Luna popped out his coat and spit out bits of sand from her mouth.
"Puh, Luna doesn't understand. Why can't dungeons ever lead to nice beach or pretty enchanted forest?"
"You don't understand? Then how would I? I agree...can't we end up in a relaxing open meadow just once?"
Walking up to the temple stairs, a single serious glance brought pain to his head that far exceeded Yalin’s journal and left him with not a memory of what he saw. He shook his head and moved inside, not even his curiosity distracted him from the true goal. He knew death could at any moment be upon him. He'd see if he was given time to inspect these runes at the end of it all.
Looking out past the thin film of magic Rainer saw the sandstorm that still roared in its natural fury. Had he not found this place, would he be forever stuck in that raging storm, doomed to death? It was not a trial all feared for no reason.
The only similarity between any first half of the trial, Rainer thought, is that its completion depended on him hunting a magic beast, and killing it before it killed him. Yet, Rainer already suspected in the very first dungeon he went to that, there was more than one way to complete something.
His thoughts went back to cycling his detection skills as he avoided staring too strongly at the marble walls of the hall he entered. His footsteps echoed. His eyes once more filled with [Arcane Sight]. The glimmer of enchantment encompassed everything. Rainer soon understood; it was a mask. Entering a circular room he found himself surrounded by bookcases. Upon which were thousands and thousands of books. A variety of sizes, colors, and ages. They too let off the same enchanted light.
Yet such a smoke screen could not prevent his [Arcane Sight] from seeing the devil within. A shadow-like presence seemed to move around in this enchanted glow, discernable only slightly, yet in its moving Rainer could see it clearly. His armed [Arcane Bolt]s were at the ready. Without even a movement a bolt flew from his side and soared into the presence. The books were entirely unharmed and the presence simply vanished.
He headed up the stairs at the end of the room. He was glad that was not the end for the beast. His memory of making Luna his familiar surfaced as he wondered just how real this beast waiting for him was, it being called a magic beast rather than monster specifically had made him curious. For this first half of the trial, it would be no different in difficulty then it was for other mages.
And among mages and magic, Arcane ruled over all.