Rainer rushed deeper into the mountain. Hours passed by as he alternated between flight and foot, reminding him just how truly massive this network within the mountain truly was. The vastness became apparent as he waited for Jor to fully recover once more.
Recalling his last [Sleep Learning] session, he wished to bang his head against the wall, assuming he’d remain conscious after such a thing. Preparing for the Trial was hardly a priority when his life was at risk. And barring circumstances that would force him to try and rush back to Luna, subclasses were currently an issue. An issue more than solvable with an Abyssal Dungeon and the numerous Devils of this world.
Even in this situation, the prospect of the classes his titles have unlocked fills him with anticipation.
As much as he wished to ignore his frustrations with Arcane-Ice and peer into the endless Void, such a thing did not solve the problem at hand. And with the size and strength of the Devil horde he can’t imagine any alternative other than a powerful and proper Arcane version of [Frozen Sun]. Even if he learned the tier 6 [Inferno], he’s all but certain that the stronger Devils could avoid or survive it.
The only thing such a spell could accomplish is leaving him Manaless in the face of his true enemy within the horde.
Stuck on the advancement of Arcane-Ice and yet stubbornly not wishing to linger on his abilities of the Void, Rainer thought to the future. A future that couldn’t exist without seeing the horde of Devils entombed in in this mountain.
Healing both Quera’s mother and Maya’s wife lingered on his mind, whether by his own hand or by the supposed means the Courts had. From there he’d raid the Blood Soul Guild, now lacking its leader, and head as far South as the Fairy Rings existed in the Northern Continent.
All that was left would then be a boat ride to the Dragon Isles. With the Horde around him Rainer was reminded of his pursuit of the Mana-Well and what would have likely been a similar situation had he not pursued the [Arch-Lich] directly, rather than try and flee.
He couldn’t help but sigh wistfully as he planned on purchasing a ship with Fae gold and then enchanting it to the brim with the Mana-Well. To him, that sounded like a vacation and a practice of Magic in one.
But the scratching of claws brought Rainer’s attention to the present. There was not a single entrance nor a single path that led to the fortress, and he was about to deal with yet another group of Devils coming from a different entrance.
Seeing only moving shadows, Rainer opened [Arcane Sight] for his eyes to nearly bulge at the sight. A single presence of shadow seemed to contain dozens of Souls. The shadow approached and then erupted in a fervour, [Deviling]s pouring out and the transporter hiding long before any [Arcane Bolt]s tore through the new arrivals.
He took flight almost immediately, intent on escaping the assault. Yet, he found the moment he did, a dark Aura hit him in an instant. He had only enough time to land properly, let alone actually find the source.
Rainer gritted his teeth in annoyance. His flight spell had a decently high initial cost of Mana and Arcane Power, even if the upkeep with Arcane Power was quite small. This was either a trait of flight spells that the Devils seem to be commanded to understand and interrupt, or they simply didn’t like him flying.
Either way, a simple flight wouldn’t give him the relief he sought.
Seeing more shadows on the horizon, and still feeling the presence of the first transporter, Rainer knew it would not be as simple as before.
Rainer gasped for breath as he leaned against the tunnel wall. A Mana potion he had stolen from Yulia’s spatial ring entered his lips. Letting out a deep breath, he straightened himself and moved forward once more.
Looking down at the map of the mountain, he realized just how much he still underestimated its size. Traveling for countless miles, he was quite a distance away from the so-called fortress.
Rainer froze for a moment. He had experienced near death several times. At the hands of the [Death Knight] boss in his first dungeon, ambushed by the Vampire capable of teleportation and the Miasma of the bound and sealed [Devil King] in his second. As the [Arch Lich] stole his life and Mana, he came to precipice of death.
As Yulia tried to take what he held most dear, along with destroying his heart.
But it was all an instant thing. He was close to death, and then he wasn’t. Never once did he truly believe he’d die. Even as he painted a Rune for Necromancy in his own blood across his forehead, he knew he’d rescue Luna.
But now, over the course of many hours, death was constantly on his mind. Every time his Mana dipped too low, or he felt himself nearly lose consciousness in a fight. There was no huge injury to heal, nor a clear-cut foe to slay, there was only exhaustion and a depletion of Mana.
With a hand still on the wall, he moved forward, waiting for his Mana to fully recover. Suddenly he pushed against the wall as an Aura manifested claw slashed past him and into the stone.
An Armed [Arcane Bolt] attacked the would-be capturer at the same time. Once more the creature fell back into the darkness, leaving only a frustrated Mage.
Rainer thought and grimaced as he recalled the leg he nearly lost, both the mark and blood still marring the magically created pants. All the Devils coming after him so far, he realized wanted him alive, for whatever consumption [Devil King] Agmar had likely mentioned in the past. Though, for different masters this time.
Along with the usual flying Devils bringing others forward, another group seemed to crawl along the very shadows, coming from likely the other entrances to the mountain and meeting him on his path to the fortress.
Their darkened form that ran on feet and hands, with a tongue matching their limbs in length, scurried across the wall, often too fast or too hidden to be thought of as anything other than a trick of the eye.
But Rainer’s [Arcane Sight] knew better. At least, when he could spare the cost to use it alongside his already draining [Arcane Awakening].
Just as Rainer thought over how to capture the slippery Devil, the small tell-tale burning of Jor awakening answered his query. His sigh of relief seemed to echo as he felt the serpent leave his arm. His violet form a comforting presence for the tired Mage, and a harbinger of death to the Devils after him.
Rainer looked back in awe as the elusive Devils within the Shadow were consumed normally, drawn by the serpent, as if they always existed so clearly visible.
Taking out the map of the mountain, he noted that there wouldn’t be a branching path for quite some time, making his current location applicable for taking a rest while Jor harvested any who would interrupt him. His armed [Arcane Bolt]s provided another layer of protection as well.
He all but slammed against the ground as he sat on the dark gray stone. He felt Jor’s presence was close enough, a calm reassurance that even as the serpent hunted, Rainer’s protection was at the forefront of the Violet creature’s mind.
It took only a moment for his vision to change to that of a White Void.
Rainer calmed himself as best he could to try and focus on the task ahead of him. Immediately his mind filled with nothing else but how to properly use [Arcane Frozen Sun] as a truly powerful spell of mass destruction.
The first weakness, and likely the greatest, was his pools of both Mana and Arcane Power being too small. While he could convert over 1200 total Arcane Power, there was no way for him to sustain the cast long enough or stable enough to use more than 200 before he’d either must release or let it fail.
And then there was the problem of the Arcane-Ice itself that he didn’t fully understand, weakening the otherwise mighty spell. And not only weakening it but no longer freezing Magic or Aura as the original. For it to be weaker in the first place, under Rainer’s massive Arcane bonuses, was a testament to how poor the spell currently was.
[Frozen Sun] alone was not an option, for even freezing just a single, though quite large, target of the [Devil King], had drained him quite a bit.
He let out a breath of frigid air as the ground around him started to freeze with a violet hue. Arcane-Ice began forming around him as he manipulated it directly. He formed spikes in the floor, swirled the frost around him, or simply unleashed the element with all the power he could muster.
And while he did this, his eyes looked over the spell formula for [Arcane Frozen Sun] in front of him, written on a created paper.
[Arcane-Ice Manipulation has reached level 2]
He ignored the message as while he certainly gained a better and more efficient control, he still didn’t understand much more.
His eyes suddenly opened wide as he took out a far different formula. Scanning across it, he found that his practice with [Void Call] had an unintended bonus: dealing with the pain from reading runes far above his ability. What was before a crippling weakness that took time to recover from, was now merely an annoyance.
Though in the end, he still succumbed to the pain. Even forced to look away, his grin did not fade as he isolated what he was looking for. While the spell itself still escaped his understanding, he was practiced enough with Mana packets and channels to understand that portion of it.
[Deliverance] was based upon a single, heavily compressed Mana packet. Most importantly, released at the command of its caster after allowing the gravity to draw in as much Light as possible. The design heralded a true wide scale destruction.
He grinned; for now, he had a way to alter [Frozen Sun]. Instead of a focused Mana Channel, it would be a spell that unleashed a wide area of frost.
With a fervour, he began altering the formula. He knew such a task could take years if not longer of testing and careful planning and studying. To create an entirely new spell based upon [Frozen Sun], that not only exceeded the original but would allow Rainer the time to fill it with the full force of his Arcane Power.
And it was the White Void that provided a solution to that dilemma. There was no need to study patiently, to take care that the formula worked perfectly, that it didn’t draw too much Mana or turn inwards on the caster.
Every single change, every single step he could test with abandon, over and over again, slowly refining his work to his goal.
A powerful surge of Mana escaped Rainer as he tested his newly written spell. And at almost that very same time the powerful surge backfired, held in a Mana packet for not even a second, before rebounding at Rainer.
Refreshing his body, he went back work. Failure after failure of the he floated a brief thought at how lucky he was to be alive. His spell for wall-walking truly contained the potential for catastrophic failure. He frowned for a moment as he thought of his coming to a new world those months ago. After temporarily concluding it must have some sort of strange Void or Spatial weakness, or perhaps even a solar flare he returned to the task at hand.
Just as he was about to test the next rendition of the patchwork monstrosity that was a spell formula combining parts of [Arcane Frozen Sun] and [Deliverance], he heard a horrid scream that brought him out of [Sleep Learning].
Rainer shot straight up as he immediately knew where the horrid cry of pain came from. It sounded just as the tortured cries that would be released when Rainer attacked the fallen Souls he tried to capture with the [Devil’s Soul Language].
The cry reverberated within him.
Rainer yelled in his mind as used his bond to the Serpent to Void-walk to Jor instantly.
The serpent lay pinned to the ground, numerous teeth of pitch-black [Deviling]s biting into the serpent. Holding a staff right above Jor’s head was a Devil chanting in the [Devil’s Soul Language].
In a white hot rage, Rainer countered with his own language as his [Arcane Blade] tore across the Devils pinning Jor down, and his eight armed [Arcane Bolt]s simultaneously attacked the caster.
The Devil Mage vanished in a flurry of shadow to avoid the bolts as Jor escaped the last remaining Devil pinning him down and consuming him.
Tendrils of shadow shot out to attack Rainer but were destroyed in only a moment with his [Arcane Blade].
The cloaked Devil did not even have a chance to act before Rainer was in front of him, the mage’s hand gripped across the cloaked figure's throat and slammed him against the wall.
[Arcane Sight] lit Rainer’s eyes as he took in the figure. The sound that seemed to come from Jor’s very soul still fresh in the [Archon]’s mind.
A skill was gained.
[Skill Gained: Devil Anatomy lvl 1/10]
And Mana was used.
The Devil thrashed and screamed in a pain far stronger than anything Rainer had ever heard. But he ignored it entirely, the pain and guilt he felt for Jor filling his mind.
He realized now he never once considered how dangerous it was sending the serpent alone. How he never even considered the Devils would be a true threat to Jor. How the serpent’s constant presence and help against Devils and Divinity itself was something Rainer had begun to take for granted. That he never once thought of the dangers and only selfishly enjoyed the rest. Just as this caster of Devil’s angered him, so too did his own failings.
He dropped the figure onto the ground as it twitched in pain.
Rainer looked back at Jor to find the serpent rushing to his side.
Jor only twisted in response, wrapping around Rainer, before gently reentering the Rune on his shoulder. Rainer did not even register the pain of the rune as he contemplated what had happened.
He let a smile touch his face and then he turned back on his captured target. Picking him up and slamming him against the wall once more, Rainer spoke.
“You’ll tell me everything I need to know, and I’ll let you die quietly,”
The Devil laughed in his face, his pitch black eyes staring in mock.
“You think you can break me before they come for me, you fledging Void Lord,”
Rainer paused for a moment as he stared at the figure. His eyes narrow, as he thought it over.
“I don’t care,” He spoke quietly before the Devil’s screams filled the tunnel once more.
Sometime after, Rainer felt the spatial fluctuations of more presences of Mana. He crushed the Devil’s throat without hesitation, after finding out the Devil’s boasts of holding out were lacking and he already gained all the information he wanted.
The other dozen figures turned to cast at Rainer, cloaked in the same black robes but one holding a far stronger power.
The [Archon] cast his recently rearmed [Arcane Bolt]s toward the group as the [Devil’s Soul Langauge] erupted from all of then. Rainer grimaced as he returned the favor and then threw bolts one after the other.
Three fell before a strange connection set him on edge.
Rainer immediately Void-walked away as a wave of [Devil’s Soul Language], far more powerful than he ever experienced, slammed into him.
Rainer grimaced in pain as he cast his flight spell and soared away as fast as he could. There was no question such a group of Devil Mages with such a powerful feeling were dangerous, especially for his tired self.
He went deeper and deeper into the tunnel, pushing the flight spell to his max before he suddenly found himself falling
[Skill Gained: Curse Resistance lvl 1/10]
Rainer collapsed to the ground, only his high constitution and overcoat keeping him from fatal injury, as the last of his Stamina and Mana left him. His body covered in crooked black lines, searing him with unimaginable pain. Were it not for his [Pain Resistance] and his countless experiences of death and worse within [Sleep Learning], consciousness would have long since left him.
He stared inwards with [Soul Detection], noting the black presence amongst his Soul corrupting him. With it already spreading to his body, only [Arcane Invigoration] with what little Arcane Power he had left supported him.
Using [Sleep Learning] to try to heal his Soul was only a last-ditch option, as Rainer feared his body would fail if he lowered his defenses for even an instant.
Rainer’s thoughts cycled as he ingested Fairy Dust, converting the Mana to Arcane Power as quick as he could before the Curse consumed it first. He took a potion as well but found it didn’t even seem to effect him.
[Fairy Dust has been absorbed. Affinity +4, Lifespan + 1]
It granted him 4 Mana, along with the increased maximum from Affinity.
The entirety of his mind focused on a single task. He cycled through anything he knew that might save him before he would flare his [Arcane Rage] and then [Arcane Invigoration] before then trying to cleanse the curse through sheer force in [Sleep Learning].
He collapsed the ground, the ever present Jor patrolling around him, a worry hidden deep within. Rainer, finding no option prepared to flush his body before he noticed Tiamat escaping his jacket.
She stared at up him with worry in her eyes. He felt for a brief moment an infusion of Magic against his Soul, but far too weak to save him. Rainer did his best to smile amidst the pain before his expression froze. Her mana plummeted to zero in just a few seconds.
She took a deep breath of Miasma and recovered her entire pool of Mana.
[Arcane Sight] covered his eyes and he watched the dragon far closer than he ever had before. With every breath of Miasma, the little dragon seemed to flare with the a bit of Magic. Her very blood lit with power and absorbing the Miasma around her.
He watched, as if entranced, at how she did such a thing, with no mind for time passing. He only interrupted himself to take the occasional dose of dust.
[Fairy Dust has been absorbed. Affinity +4, Lifespan + 1]
Tiamat stared at him worryingly as Rainer ingested more dust and cried out in pain as the curse tried to rip the Mana from him.
[Curse Resistance has reached level 2]
Just as he took his third dose of dust, his [Archon] class presented a different way forward. With [Arcane Sight] he carefully memorized the flow of power within Tiamat as she breathed and converted the Miasma with Mana. His thoughts ventured on the power he noticed whenever he extracted [Draconic Essence] and his own theories on the nature of a Dragon’s Magic.
[Fairy Dust has been absorbed. Affinity +4, Lifespan + 1]
[Draconic Runic Language has reached level 2]
So, It was about blood!
He exclaimed to himself finding a second wind even amongst the terrible pain.
While not anywhere near as magical as the dragon in front of him, his blood too was filled with the power of Mana that naturally radiated from his body. And now, with [Arcane Invigoration] running through his body, he tried to mimic the little dragon.
He breathed in and out, matching the quick breaths of Tiamat. His blood flared with the slightest power, responding to his command and his knowledge of a skill that would have cost 1000 points to reach level 2.
A large breath entered his mouth as the presence of Miasma flooded him, and changed into Mana, just as it did with Tiamat.
[Spell Gained: Miasmic Conversion lvl 1/10]
Rainer wasted no time greedily absorbing the power around him. [Arcane Invigoration] flared to full power, with him now having the resources for [Arcane Awakening] as well. His [Miasmic Conversion] started outpacing the curse as he allocated and infused [Arcane Invigoration] with more power, now aimed not only at containment but true healing.
Slowly but surely the curse was no more, as Rainer looked at the title he gained.
[Title Gained: Draconic Magus]
[Draconic Magus: A Mage who has transcended the bounds of their race and wielded the Magic of Dragons. One who wields the power of Dragons with their blood and surpass the normalcy of Magic. 25% Experience Bonus. 20% to all Blood related Magic]
Thinking of his upcoming Trial, Rainer knew already one class he’d be looking to change to and level for a future subclass. He could only hope that a class existed to match the title that did deferred experience even for the 2nd Tier.
[Experience Gained: Deferred, Deferred]
[Tier 1: XX]
[Tier 2: Miasmic Conversion lvl 1/10]
He hugged Tiamat close to him, the small dragon nuzzling against not minding the strong hold.
“It seems I owe my life to yet another of Familiars…Family,” He said glancing at Tiamat before looking toward Jor who happily twisted in the air around its master.
Several minutes passed before a strange numbing feeling brought Rainer out of his reverie. Activating [Arcane Invigoration], he found the skill incompatible with [Miasmic Conversion], any Miasma taken in would simply be removed.
Yet that strange numbing was a leftover of the Draconic spell, clearly not meant for humans or perhaps even normal dragons, as Rainer discerned. Deeply merged with his blood and flesh were traces of Miasma, that took quite some time for Invigoration to clear up.
Rainer continued his run down the tunnel, unbothered. Even just a few minutes of Miasmic Conversion would put him at maximum Mana. A small side effect was the least of his worries.
He not only survived but now had a source of power rivaling what the [Devil King]s had in this forsaken plane.
He need only to complete the spell he already knew he could create. As his thoughts turned to a world of Ice, the very air around him chilled.
With Miasma flowing into his body, Rainer was no longer afraid lacking Mana, leaving him to use his flight spell without pause. Even the occasional ambush that canceled it no longer bothered him. He still held a bit of caution for after effects of the [Miasmic Conversion], but otherwise, he saw nothing that wasn’t cleared with [Arcane Invigoration].
The few times he met with the patrols of shadow transported Devils, they seemed to almost run at Jor, who would pop out occasionally when the serpent had recovered, opting for a more defensive approach in protecting Rainer.
He blazed a path forward to the fortress, yet even at this speed, it took half a day before he reached the midway point between the city he came from and the Fortress. He was met with another set of enchanted doors, these with another large circular hole in the center, perfectly carved out.
Jor appeared soon after but before he could leave Rainer stopped the serpent.
“Just hang out around me, alright?”
The serpent shrunk from its otherwise larger form and wrapped itself around Rainer’s arm.
With Jor on guard and his armed [Arcane Bolt]s around him, it wasn’t long before he entered [Sleep Learning] once more.
In the white void, Rainer recreated the haphazard spell formula. Recalling his previous failure, he thought it over, before deciding to attempt it several more times.
In front of him, a compressed packet of Mana started to form before Rainer quickly lost control. And with a blast of frost and raw Mana he was sent tumbling back.
Sitting back up, he thought over the many issues.
While it was quite possible it was his own lack of ability in casting, seeing the spell fail in such a way after only 60 points of Mana left him thinking it was his formula at fault.
First was the unstable Mana Packet, and the second was the fact he had no idea how he was going to aim the spell.
[Deliverance] was a beam spell, and [Frozen Sun] used a Mana channel to spread its Ice Magic at a further distance, relying purely on the caster’s ability not to freeze one’s self.
“But to truly damage the horde…”
Rainer spoke to himself. Using hundreds if not at least 1000 points of Arcane Power was no longer something he could simply will not to affect him. While he hadn’t given up on the idea of using a compressed Mana Packet, more so for lack of anything else, he thought there needed to be a step afterward, to deliver the spell around him rather than around the Mana Packet.
But for now, Rainer would settle for adjusting the spell.
With even the smallest changes and tweaks he’d practice it numerous times. Attempts that often resulted in either the Mana going out of control or suddenly finding himself completely frozen.
He repeated it over and over again honing the spell as he was able to put more and more mana into it before it collapsed. Even the slightest change could alter that completely, but with no limit in what he could test he slowly brought the spell to a higher and higher level.
Any time he adjusted the spell he would practice with Arcane-Ice as he gradually came to an understanding. After accidently freezing his own fingers he watched the flow of Magic with [Arcane Sight] and saw as the Ice seemed to feed off the Mana that was naturally present in a Mage’s body.
Such a discovery saw him look over the [Frozen Sun] and [Arcane Frozen Sun] and continue to make further adjustments.
Every cast brought him closer to his goal, even if he lacked the final step.
Soon, he found himself waking.
He shot up, preparing for the worst, but instead, he found himself well rested. Wasting no time, Rainer continued to fly toward the fortress. A day passed in his travel, and he entered [Sleep Learning] once more.
The spell became closer and closer to causing an attack of Arcane-Ice, rather than a failure of Mana compression.
But he was still left with the same problem, how to attack with it. Rainer found his thoughts drifting towards chants, but not only that but the spell the Devil Mage seemingly cast on him with the [Devil’s Soul Language].
Rainer cast his mixed spell once more, compressing the Mana in front of him. He found using his hands to aid in the compression, while blowing off his hand a few times, improved the spell in every way.
Yet, no matter how much he compressed or used the spell, it lacked a means of activation, leading him to the thought of a chant in the first place. In the end, chants assisted with guiding Mana input and output, so Rainer wondered why they couldn’t do so after the fact and help guide the Mana Packet.
Rainer sat in thought and pursued over his knowledge of chants, and while he had a disdain for them, he was still filled with the countless knowledge of numerous spell tomes and their chants.
But, no matter what, his thoughts kept returning to how a curse was cast on him with a Magic Language.
Rainer stood once more, [Arcane Awakening] flaring to the maximum as he brought his hands together. The air around him grew heavy as more and more Mana was compressed.
Slowly, he spread open his hands and brought Arcane Power to his voice with the strength of his Soul, mimicking how he spoke the [Devil’s Soul Language].
Words flowed through his head as he searched his native tongue for what he’d use to alter this spell. He needed the Mana packet to somehow expand outward away from him. Even putting it above his head still gave him the backlash from undeath.
“Surround me,” A magical voice intoned. And yet, Rainer felt it lacked the sort of power a Magical Language would have. His only hope in this was to bridge the gap to a Magic Language that could also serve as a chant with the [Archon] class bonus.
As he spoke the words, he imagined a ring of Mana surrounding him, and he tried to will the compressed Mana to that shape. It started spreading out in a crescent before it abruptly exploded backward.
Rainer suddenly awoke by the firing of one of his armed [Arcane Bolt]s and the slight burning from Jor’s Rune.
In his sleep, the Devils caught up with him, with a small nudge from Jor waking him. Rainer once more fought off the living bombardment of the Flying Devils as they dropped off their allies to attack him. He hurried as best he could before he finally found the place he was looking for.
Two massive gates and a hum of a dying but the still powerful enchantment filled the air.
Without pause, he tried to Void-walk past it.
Rainer grit his teeth as the enchantment seemingly surrounding the whole cavern behind the door resisted his entry. His [Arcane Awakening] flared to its maximum, and with [Miasmic Conversion] he felt safe burning more Mana than he would otherwise.
He pushed through the dying barrier and found himself standing in front of a true fortress.
Black metal walls rose hundreds of feet in the massive cavern. Twisting towers had strange objects on top of them pointed towards the entry. Rainer temporarily squashed his curiosity as he rushed into the city. Massive pillars supported the Cavern and had strange Runic carvings Rainer ventured served a purpose long ago.
I need to finish the spell
Rainer thought in a panic as he soon heard the scratching on the other side of the wall. He hoped the enchantment that tried to block his [Void-walking] was enough to keep the Devil Mages out for now.
He found a spot on one of the tallest towers. He flew up the top and gave into the urge to simply collapse and lay down.
He grimaced as he felt his numbed body from the constant use of [Miasmic Conversion]. The calming power of [Arcane Invigoration] healed him as he gently fell asleep, Jor’s ever watchful eye guarding alongside his armed [Arcane Bolt]s.
He wasted no time casting the spell as he entered the White Void of [Sleep Learning]. Violet Runic lines glowed across Rainer’s body as Arcane Power and Mana alike compressed into a single Mana Packet.
He tried different shapes, some forming a shield or even a spear in front of him but nothing stopped the spell from still blowing back on him.
Hours flew by as he altered the formula and altered the words he spoke. But suddenly he rethought his words. Chants and even the Magic languages were not just direct translations. And so he thought over just what his new spell would be called.
As he came with up with the words, he spoke aloud, commanding the compressed Mana Packet. His Magic shifted, and the Arcane Power in his voice altered as his [Archon] class assisted him in reaching the first level of the skill he seemed to be attempting.
A ring of Mana surrounded the [Archon]. Rainer grinned as a flash of Mana and a stream of messages appeared.
Leaving [Sleep Learning] after a few more tests, a lingering fear in the back of his mind faded.
For the first-time Rainer did not awake abruptly in this forsaken place. He did not awake to the presence of Jor nor Devil. But he awoke with conviction.
Only the violet of the Arcane lit up the dark fortress. It was time to wait. And bring about death.
Rainer stood on the tallest twisting tower of the fortress. Tiamat, not her playful self, was awake but patiently waiting within his overcoat. His hands were pressed together and his eyes glowing with Mana as he stared out. A faint numbing spread across his body, but he ignored it for now.
Loud sounds reverberated in the background as the massive enchanted doors resisted entry, but he could feel it weakening. He would be prepared.
The metal buckled and the doors swung open as Rainer compressed more and more Mana. A horde of [Deviling]s, [Devil Worms], and an assortment of others rushed into the massive cavern in front of the wall fortress.
Only Jor’s presence kept the endless horde that now filled the cavern back. It seemed that even the mindless horde could eventually know fear, many recoiling as Jor hissed.
Behind the Horde, at the very entrance to the fortress cavern, stood a motley crew of Devils.
Rainer thought grimly. Each far different than what he came to expect. One was no different than Agmar, nor the Devil he fought long ago within a dungeon, larger than Kara in her wolven form.
Though he had three twisting horns around his head as if a crown upon his dark gray skin. Aura practically oozed from the powerful Devil, leaving Rainer to understand he was a step above Agmar. His sharp teeth shined in a grin.
Another looked like a demented form of an elf. Spikes grew out from his spine and joints, and he had a third eye on his forehead.
Rainer spared them no more attention, as they watched Jor fly around him. He could tell, even the Devil Mages, one of which had caused Jor harm, seemed to fear the serpent. At least, for the moment. Until their greed for whatever they desired from Rainer overcame an aversion to magical beast.
It took everything Rainer had to keep the grin off his face and focus equal parts on the spell he was casting and the Arcane Energy he drew in the air around him to mask it. The Miasma flowed too, empowering the spell heavily, and leaving his body numb.
Rainer drew on the Miasma quicker and quicker, have long since lost count of the amount of Mana and Arcane Power he powered into his spell.
He saw the group of Mages from earlier suddenly appear. He tensed for a brief moment but didn’t lose control his spell.
They whispered something before he watched one of them turn wide-eyed. Spatial fluctuations rippled as their supposed leader vanished.
Rainer stood unbothered as his armed [Arcane Bolt]s assaulted the teleporter, forcing him to dodge.
The [Archon]’s pressed together hands opened with a methodical slowness. The otherwise invisible Mana packet was concentrated with so much power it appeared liquid as the spell followed Rainer’s command and formed a circle around him.
The Devil Mage began to yell in the [Devil’s Soul Language] attacking Rainer, only to be met with a tail whip from Jor during his distraction. Rainer buckled for a brief moment under the assault, but months of death and pain in [Sleep Learning] left him more than prepared to endure the discomfort and pain of the spell.
Mana laced with Arcane Power and made material shined around him. The Arcane Energy in the air flowed to Rainer’s voice as he hummed with power. A ring of power surrounded him. A violet and white light shined amongst the cavern, the power of the spell distorted the very space around it.
Even as the Devil Mage called for support his followers found their teleports failing and could not reach him.
And in a language, that transcended all boundaries, fueled by the power of an [Archon], Rainer ordered the mountain itself and Devils within to an everlasting Ice age.
The ring exploded outwards with Magic, the sheer pressure of the Mana distorted air and space alike. The Devil Mage who tried to stop Rainer was forced out of his teleport and crashed into the ground. The [Deviling]s dotting the fortress and the walls beneath collapsed.
[Devil King]s that varied in size and strength alike tried to turn and flee, but it was too late.
A violet and white frost followed the expulsion of Mana and all was frozen in an instant. Those who resisted with Aura found their very power turned into their own prison, freezing along with them and fueling the Arcane-Ice of the Spell.
Tens of thousands of souls cried out in their icy death.
A landscape painted entirely of Magic.
The Frost did not stop in the Fortress Cavern but seeped into the very stone of the mountain and the tunnels around, consuming even those behind. Ice shattered as flying Devils broke against their own companions and fell from the air as if their strings were cut.
Rainer looked out across. The entire cavern was painted with a white and violet Frost, only the top of the tower surrounding him free from the effect. Even just the residual cold sent him shivering as he tucked Tiamat closer to his body. Messages flew by him, and even with the experience brought to a combined number, there was still much to look at.
He cast his flight spell and soared from the tower. He spared neither a smile nor any expression on his face as he saw the frozen horde. He blew past the frozen leaders, causing them to shatter as he flew down the cavern. He knew not how much of the horde he truly removed, but he had feeling it was enough.
He marveled at the strength of the spell, even if he understood he couldn’t wield even a fraction of its power without Miasma present in the air or having the source of Arcane Energy so close to draw from. But it did not detract from the slowly building feeling of calm, of success, and judgment.
Recalling his interrogation of the Devil Mage who hurt Jor, he set a new course for outside the mountain and towards the Abyssal Dungeon. He even held a silent hope there was still more after him.
After all, he had much to prepare. And Devils without their Kings could serve many purposes.