Staring at the [Return Stone] in his hand, Rainer realized they may not be as lucky as he assumed.
[Return Stone: Returns one to the entrance outside of the Dungeon. 5-second cast-time.]
A dungeon it required and a dungeon this was not. In fact, Rainer was quite sure they were no longer within the same world. Wherever the World Tree or otherwise sent them without that ring from the first quest they could not leave. There was an advantage to being outside a dungeon, however, the experience was no longer stunted.
Rainer looked forward at Kara walking in front of him. He was entranced for what seemed like a moment at the swing of her tail until her abruptly spinning around to face him nearly knocked him flat.
“Do you agree or not?”
Agree? Agree to what?
“Good, Luna go scout ahead and look for a decent place to camp, preferably inside a cave or in a defensible position. Even with the overcast, the undead will not be too active, but once the sun falls we may be set upon.”
“Aye aye!” Luna, still in a great mood for receiving a Main Quest, happily fluttered over the forest.
Well, I can just summon her if there’s trouble. And it looks like I didn’t agree to anything bothersome, how long was I out of it?
“Let’s rest for a moment.” Kara said before sitting down on the stone path. They had walked quite a distance since they’ve gotten here but the Tower they saw, likely the fort they needed to capture, was still a long ways away. Likely far larger than they had initially believed.
Rainer sat next to Kara and wrapped his arm around her. He sneakily used the chance to feel her ears with his face, while Kara simply leaned into him.
“Does it bother you?”
“Does what bother me?”
“If my eye stays transformed..?”
Rainer looked over and wondered if her “demonic” eye may even be more beautiful than her other. He thought for a moment if he should reveal his true origins and perhaps ease any concerns she may have, but decided it was best left for another time. He didn’t fully understand what being a traveler meant, if anything. While he had no interest in taking up the mantle of a “hero” he couldn’t be sure it wouldn’t be forced upon him. And then he may very well be her race’s greatest foe.
“Not in the slightest, rather it's as if someone extracted the very essence of a ruby and deemed your eye fit to hold its color.”
At this, she chuckled a bit.
“I suppose I should have expected such an answer...Then what of my tail?” She asked amused.
“So entrancing that when you had asked me if I agreed earlier I hadn’t a clue what I was agreeing to.”
There was no laugh this time as she gave him a serious glare. Rainer had thought he messed up admitting such a thing, but it seems for once Kara had gotten one over on him as he heard her unable to hold in her laughter any longer.Luna had flown back just in time to catch the tail end of their laughter.
“Humph, Luna is doing all the hard work while Rainer relaxes with She-Wolf. Luna doesn’t wanna share great spot she found.”
“Oh no, my mana, it's useless, it's all gone, what will Luna do…” Rainer said in mock sadness.
“Rainer is playing unfair…”
“Don’t make such a face. We don’t have anything in particular to do now the sun’s setting. So come on, the quicker we make camp the quicker you’ll have yours truly as entertainment.”
He said after standing and giving an overzealous pose. To his surprise, Kara stood up behind him and patted on the butt before heading towards Luna.
“Come on yours truly let's get going.” She said doing her best to hide the slight reddening of her face.
Giving a grin Rainer followed Luna and Kara into the forest.
It did not take too long before they found their destination...which was straight up a sheer cliff face.
“Luna...you know I can’t fly.”
“Rainer is silly, just mount the She-Wolf.”
“Luna, that's only for tonight, yet you want us to do that in the open?” Rainer asked with as much serious intonation as he could manage.
“What-t..Rainer...I think she..means for me to carry you…” Kara spoke a bit flustered.
“Oh, in that case whenever you’re ready Kara.” He said staring directly at her.
“I’m going to shift could you turn away Rainer?”
“I’ve seen it all already, there’s…”
This time, her glare was honestly of the serious nature prompting him to turn around.
At a far slower pace than she did during the boss fight, Kara began shifting causing Rainer to gain some understanding why she tired out so quickly. It must have cost something to instantly shift like that. After 15 or so seconds of bone cracking sounds, Kara called for Rainer to turn around, though, her voice has an odd vibration to it now.
“Come, I’ll carry you. I promise I won’t drop you…” Kara gave a toothy grin showing her fangs. She was a little worried Rainer would have an adverse reaction to seeing her form so up close and without the distraction of battle, but contrary to expectations he seemed extremely interested.
Walking up closer, Rainer reached out his hand to touch her ears, seeing it as his best chance. He was able to scratch and enjoy them for a few seconds before Kara realized what he was doing and hastily turned away. Though, he swore he heard a breath of contentment as he did it.
He picked up her scabbards, though he didn’t grab her share of the supplies, already at his limit, before Kara bent down and allowed him on her back.
“Hold on tightly, it won’t hurt.” Kara said before jumping towards the cliff, which in reality was more of a small plateau, though its sides were quite jagged.
Gripping the smooth fur tightly Rainer gave a look of amazement as he saw how high up they already were in but a few moments. They reached the top soon after, and Rainer looked it over. A decently wide space with a few trees they could use for cover in case of an archer actually capable of shooting up this high.
Luna really found a great spot, though the image of undead scaling the sides all around us is not exactly pleasant…
He looked straight up into the clouds noting it was already getting darker and colder. Whether or not they’d be beset by undead at night only the setting of the sun would tell.
“Kara it’ll get cold tonight let’s huddle together for warmth.”
Rainer was a bit surprised how readily she agreed until he saw her still in her werewolf form curl up and lay down waiting for him.
Though, that good enough became too good as he felt how perfect her fur was and laid down on her.
“How long can you stay like this anyways?”
“So long as I don’t overextend my Demonic Aura or Stamina, a day or two with little issue.”
He relaxed in the comfortable fur for a moment before calling out to Luna. “Luna come over and explain the gifts you have besides wind.”
She flew over while muttering to herself, though as usual at a volume that everyone could hear. “All pleasure with She-wolf but it's all business with Luna. Luna feels underappreciated.”
“Kara you should get some rest, if we are attacked at night I only have so much mana,” He said not yet acknowledging Luna.
“It will be fine you may rest as well, I will sense anyone long before they see us. Though I will take up your offer,” She said as she yawned and nestled closer around Rainer.
Rainer extended out his hand so Luna could have her favorite spot as she still seemed to be muttering complaints. Landing and sitting on his hand, she appeared content. He gave her a moment before asking again.
“What does Gift of Lightning do?”
“Luna says it's like Gift of the Wind, but it's half as strong, though it makes everything fast.”
“So, you always have that on when you’re talking?”
“Luna says Gift of Stoneskin makes you tough like stone, but not metal, only stone. Gift of Translucence makes you like little snake with legs, but the kind you can’t see very well, it doesn’t last long though.” She said ignoring Rainer’s comment while fully embodying it.
“From now on, Gift of Lightning of both me and Kara should be best when needed,” He said, hoping the Arcane bonus he received from Gift of the Wind would also be in effect.
“Luna will do,” She affirmed before she laid down in his hand seemingly thinking about something. Her new size being a bit too large for his hand Rainer laid her gently on top of his head instead.
With Kara resting and Luna contemplating, close to half an hour passed before Luna spoke up once more. “Rainer...are you still awake.”
“I am now.” He said jokingly when in truth every time he’d close his eyes he’d have to open them.
He thought several times to ask Luna to cast the sleep spell on him again but every time he couldn’t help but compare himself to a sad old man drowning his sorrows with alcohol just to sleep at night. He refused to be such an existence, yet the reality was seeing all their faces every time he closed his eyes. He didn't understand it, he wasn't even that close to them. The only one who he held in any regard was Erik, who had inadvertently given his life for Rainer and wasn't even a part of those he killed.
He didn’t regret his choice, though he was regretful over Leaf getting away. It was undebatable that one of them would with greed come after him and Luna or sell the information to another. Such a declaration, however, didn’t make it any easier. Rainer could only hope time truly healed all wounds…
“Can Luna tell Rainer a story?”
“She can,” Rainer responded while the supposedly sleeping Kara twitched her ears.
“Well…” She started hile cutely clearing her throat.
“There was a very special fairy. The prettiest smartest fairy that ever was. But this fairy didn’t come from a mother she was instead made by many mothers and fathers in order to...serve a purpose.”
“But this fairy grew up not knowing this. And this fairy believed the prettiest and loveliest Queen in the land to be her mother, and that this fairy was her daughter, the Fae Princess.”
“This fairy grew up nicely but ever so often she would dream of horrible things. Of fire and screams, of being forced to burn the flames within her at the whims of others. Though this fairy would wake up and no longer remember any of it.”
“But one day...this fairy remembered everything. That Lu-the Fairy wasn’t a real fairy but magically created to revive the ancient and true Fae Fire. To be used as a sacrifice to give to her mother...the Fae Queen.”
“And then Lu-The Fairy’s caretaker helped Lu-na but only Luna got away…” she ended and Rainer could hear her crying a bit. He took her off his head and did his best to hug the small fairy despite the size difference.
“And then Luna found a wonderful hero who saved her and protected her but Luna never told this hero the truth.”
“That’s when Luna felt the hero’s strange mana Luna knew she could hide from those after her. That by being his familiar Luna could hide. They still would eventually find Luna though. But now Luna really likes hero but it's too late for Luna to make up for it. Luna will leave if Hero wants it, Luna will make sure they don’t come after Rainer…”
Rainer looked at the crying fairy in his hands and thought it over. He couldn’t deny the situation wasn’t ideal. That he was a bit annoyed being used in such a manner but it wasn’t as if he didn’t gain a great deal of benefit as well. In the end…
What’s one more entire race of people coming after me going to matter?
Depending on to whom and what Leaf spread, there could be an army of fae, demons and or humans waiting for them at the dungeon entrance. If they believed them still alive. It may even be better for all of them to be there. Maybe they’d just wipe each other out. Either way, Rainer decided he wouldn’t be leaving this place as long as he could manage.
At the end of it all, I'd like to see who's capable of standing in my way…
“I’m sorry Rainer…” Luna spoke lacking the usual tone of her voice.
Just before Rainer could say anything Luna suddenly blew out a silver dust with a violet shine onto Rainer’s hand.
“Luna! What are you doing?”
“I’m happy Rainer is so worried.” She said wiping away her tears.
“But Faires naturally produce a very small amount of dust, this was all the dust I made over my entire life. Whether Rainer accepts me or doesn’t once this is over, I wish for you to have it…”
“You're my familiar...” he spoke his head feeling a little strange from the dust, “You don’t get to leave whether you want to or not…” He said before his vision turned black and he felt a feeling beyond anything he’d ever known. It was as if for but the briefest moment he could sense the entire universe. The flow of mana throughout all existence, the depths of magic...and then...it ended.
His eyes watered a bit and he then looked down at Luna.
“It's good you finally told-” Rainer said before he clutched his chest in pain. Violet lines like veins flowed up and down his arms shining through even his clothes.
He could feel that small amount of strange arcane energy within his mana expand and change in nature before reverting back to what it was, though slightly more.
“Rainer!” Kara called out. Both Kara and Luna looked at Rainer with concern. Luna especially as her dust was most certainly not supposed to have this effect.
Looking at his messages Rainer just waved his arm and spoke.
“I’m alright. No rather, I’m better than alright…”
[Fairy Dust has been absorbed. Affinity +4, Lifespan + 1]
[Arcane elements within the Fairy Dust compatible with user.]
[Arcane Attunement + 3]
My choice was not wrong...this could quite literally make someone a mage, or a stronger one, and in a society that treats strong mages as lords could you even put a price on that? Not only that but how much would a dying king pay to extend his life even just a bit, what or who would he be willing to sacrifice? Besides...this was just her natural dust...what lengths would people go to in forcing her to produce more?
Hastily, Rainer tried to find the [Arcane Attunement] attribute but it seemed even if it increased he likely wouldn’t unlock it until level 10. Whatever it was, it dealt with that strange Arcane Energy within his mana.
“Rainer, what happened, did Luna screw up?” Luna, back to her old self, asked.
“The opposite. It seemed to increase the hidden attribute that I might get at level 10, though, perhaps because I don’t have it unlocked yet I haven’t a clue what it really did.”
Rainer now understood that there may be more to a hidden attribute than just being hidden. He wondered if the +1 he’d gain to all attributes at level 10 would give him the ability to use Aura or just increase the attribute should he ever unlock it. Meaning that beyond hidden attributes like Lifespan, which was clearly working or he’d be dead, versus Aura, which may require other conditions other than simply raising it, there were major differences.
“What else did Rainer gain?!” Luna asked with shining eyes.
“4 to Affinity and 1 to Lifespan,” Rainer answered.
“Hehe isn’t Luna impressive!” She said proudly.
“How long did it take for you to naturally produce that anyways?”
“Rainer shouldn’t ask a lady’s age.”
At this point, Kara had already returned to resting leaving the two to their play.
“Luna is a lady?”
“Of course Luna is a lady! To think Rainer would question the beauty in front of him. Luna hurt!”
“Ah, to think I’ve offended Lady Luna, now she won’t take my mana anymore even if I forced it on her.”
“Rainer always plays the same card…”
Both laughed for a moment as a clear weight had lifted off Luna's shoulders.
“Alright well come on, hit me with a sleeping spell, I need all the sleep I can get before tomorrow,” He said, deciding to deal with whatever problems he had once they left here. Seeing the effects of Fairy Dust, he felt slightly better with his actions and even more regretful Leaf had gotten away.
”Humph using Luna so shamelessly. When Luna is like a giant to puny Rainer, Luna will use her hands to play with Rainer like he does to Luna!”
Once again Luna’s threat was in no way seen as a negative by Rainer, and, following the sleeping spell and his setting of [Sleep Learning], he let sleep take him.
Just hours after the sun had set, Rainer was awakened by Kara’s whisper. Only the currently gentle light of Rainer’s 8 armed [Arcane Bolts] lit the night. Though, having slept surrounded by Kara's Werewolf form, little light actually escaped.
Rainer slowly got up off of Kara with much regret, wondering if there existed a bed as comfortable as her, before he took a look at his messages.
[Arcane Candle Flame has reached lvl 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 1 spell: Rewarding 1 skill point.]
[Skill Gained: Arcane-Fire Manipulation lvl 1/10]
In but a moment an Arcane-Flame appeared in Rainer’s palm. Different from before, there was no effort in combining the two elements required. He was excited by this sure but, at the same time, all his earlier work on creating an Arcane-Fire Bolt with an explosive ending became for naught. Now all he had to do was replace the Arcane with Arcane-Fire when casting an [Arcane Bolt], and he would create the spell he tried so hard to research on his own.
The Arcane-Fire was naturally explosive, but mixing the fire with the [Arcane Bolt] directly wouldn’t work as the Arcane energy was enclosed. Simply adding fire to it without comprising the bolt itself wasn't an option, hence his earlier experiments.
“Rainer, we may have an issue…” Kara spoke while looking over the edge of the small but tall plateau, still within her werewolf form.
Canceling the flame, Rainer looked over as well and within the forest was a different type of flame. Minuscule dots of pale blue littered the place. Rainer used [Appraisal] on a few and his concerns were answered.
[Undead, male, Skeleton Soldier lvl 8]
[Undead, male, Skeleton Warrior lvl 12]
[Undead, male, Skeleton Spearman lvl 7]
All of them were quite high leveled, likely a remnant of Nalmar’s army. How such a city fell and the fact he had to fight such an opponent instead of scaring him excited him.
They were clearly marching towards them. Rainer looked out over the forest and realized the situation was the opposite of dangerous, rather, it could not be better for a little experiment.
Slowly, he formed a bolt of Arcane-Fire using the spell formula from [Arcane Bolt] while simultaneously trying to replace the Arcane part using the [Arcane-Fire Manipulation]. Like Rainer had predicted, the difficulty was not high. Rainer couldn’t imagine how high the actual barrier to learning these skills would be without his [Arcanist] class given their powerful use.
He wouldn't even know where to begin with manipulating fire. Does he have to manipulate the oxygen as well? Does the mana take care of that? Isn't he just manipulating mana then? His skill made it intuitive but didn't answer his questions completely. Learning the first level of any skill had always been strange with the assistance he got from his class, not that he complained.
Ever-more, he sought to meet another mage, though the concept of guilds irritated him greatly. Who were they to horde magic amongst themselves? To restrict its progress. How many simple issues could be solved with just two guilds among them sharing their research?
[Spell gained: Arcane-Fire Bolt lvl 1/10]
[Arcane-Fire Bolt: Fires a bolt of concentrated Arcane-Flame.]
Now the only question left was how volatile it was.
It cost roughly twice the mana of an [Arcane Bolt], which, after recent increases in his manipulation, just went below a single point of mana. The [Arcane-Fire Bolt] formed in Rainer’s palm at his will.
Small violet sparks fluttered off the spell, Rainer now thought his earlier idea of also mixing Arcane-Fire to improve his [Arcane Blade] would result in an explosive death. He shuddered a bit glad creating his [Cone of Arcane-Flame] hadn't backfired. Without the containment field or the directional explosion of a cone, he wasn’t sure what would happen to him.
Kara as well stared deeply at the strange spell in Rainer’s hand. She had seen more powerful magic before but none ever felt as dangerous as any of Rainer’s strange spells. Her demon form could resist magic to a degree, but she, looking at his magic, would not bet against it. What was more surprising to her was Luna. She gave off a similar feeling and Kara had guessed Rainer’s mana did that to her. Kara did not know much about fairies beyond the effects of their dust, but she knew at the very least this was not an ordinary thing.
Choosing against empowering the dangerous existence within his palm, Rainer aimed it at the approaching horde and with but a quiet whistle the [Arcane-Fire Bolt] flew.
The bolt soared forward, a white and violet mass of destruction, before slamming into the head of the undead horde. A wave of violet flame erupted out from the unfortunate undead granting a true death to six of the closely grouped undead. The flame violently combusted on the surrounding trees but quickly died out not expanding far from its initial spread of ten or so feet.
In terms of single target damage, [Arcane Bolt] may still be superior when taking into account its mana cost, but now the bolt of Arcane and Fire stood superior. Rainer, without abandon, began creating more bolts. This time, he empowered it with about one mana’s worth of Arcane-Fire, seeing this was about his limit. With a power increase of over 300% from his various bonuses it was a fearsome spell.
Once more, with a quiet whistle, the deadly bolt struck out in an even larger eruption of power. Killing even more undead.Seeing that the mindless horde had no intention of spreading out Rainer continued firing non-stop, eliminating over 50 undead before his mana depleted. From the looks of it, nearly half the horde had been eliminated. All of them at a nearly higher level than Rainer, giving quite the addition to his experience.
[Total Experience Gained: 71%]
[Arcanist has leveled up to lvl 8/25. Standard Attributes have been distributed. 1 Attribute and skill point have been rewarded]
He was almost there, Rainer thought. His plan was to use the completion of the first quest to pass the level 9 experience barrier. Which meant prior to capturing the fort he needed to reach said barrier. He opened up his status and attributes next to look at all he’s gained.
[Primary Classes: Arcanist Lvl 8/25]
[Titles: Arcane Scholar, Fae Contractor, Arcane Elementalist, Dungeon Pioneer]
[Skills: Sleep Learning lvl 9/10, Appraisal lvl 2/10, Goblin Anatomy lvl 1/10, Fae Anatomy lvl 4/10, Long Jumping lvl 2/10, Sprinting lvl 1/10, Bare-Fist Fighting lvl 1/10, Weightless Blade Mastery lvl 2/10, General Blade Mastery lvl 2/10, Muknar Language 3/10, Faaran Runic Language lvl 3/10, Fae Language lvl 1/10, Mana Manipulation lvl 2/10, Arcane Energy Manipulation lvl 5/10, Fire Manipulation lvl 3/10, Arcane-Fire Manipulation lvl 1/10]
[Toggled On Skills: Pain Resistance lvl 1/10, Physical Resistance lvl 1/10, Burn Resistance lvl 1/10, Fire Resistance lvl 1/10, Mental Resistance lvl 1/10]
[Toggled Off Skills: None]
[Skill Points: 19]
[Talents: Excellent Arcane Affinity, Human Growth, Gift of the Fae(Luna)]
[Stamina Regen: .1% per second]
[Mana Regen: .0028 per second]
[Attribute points: 7]
He also took this moment to finally look at his newest title.
[Dungeon Pioneer: Completed a stage of a dungeon before anyone else. 10% Experience Bonus]
A bonus that was even larger than his previous titles, but he felt it lacking for the risk taken. Though of course, Rainer saw the world through a different lens than nearly all its inhabitants. He had gained 8 levels in less than 2 weeks through a combination of rare titles and overwhelming magic.
It had been hard to notice the effect of his intelligence increase at first but slowly Rainer felt the changes. As of now, he felt as he did during his use of Adderall for the final stages of his wall-walking spell. Without the side-effects nor the one-track mind. Everything felt clearer and his thoughts felt faster.
He opened up his overcoat and brought Luna out who was resting peacefully. Unceremoniously, Rainer began poking her so that she could buff Kara before she went out to take care of the rest. He hoped Kara too would reach level 9, though, before the first quest it may be impossible. She did receive less experience as a Wolfkin. Even less when it came to being a Half-demon. Each respectively affected the related primary class. According to her, the experience was split in half regardless of her current form and then the experience penalties were applied afterward.
“Ah...No...Rainer...We’re too young…”
“Who’s too young? Get up already.”
“Rainer? Why are you waking Luna up in the middle of the night. Quite improper.”
“Is it not you who is sleeping in the comfort of an unmarried man improper?”
“That is that and this is this. Do not make Luna’s perfect bed into something unladylike.”
“As always you two lack the tension for the situation we are facing, Luna please grant me the Gift of Lightning then you may continue your flirting,” Kara interrupted.
“Who’s flirting, Luna isn’t such an easy lady,” Luna retorted before she began chanting [Gift of Lightning] onto Kara.
This time, Rainer listened carefully to what Luna was saying, but immediately he figured it was a magic language as his translation skill wasn’t working. He still listened carefully though hoping his [Arcanist] class would help out but as the chant finished there was no skill gained message. He'd have to get Luna to explain her magic to him.
With the chant finished, Kara erupted from the top of the plateau, leaving behind a gale that nearly blew Luna away.
Luna smoothed out her dress while remarking at Kara’s exit. “Luna gave such nice gift to She-Wolf yet she almost blows Luna away.”
Rainer looked out at the maelstrom that was Kara. Several of the undead surpassed her in level yet it was highly unlikely any even compared to her in terms of attributes. With a combination of her level 6 rare class, level 3 demonic class, current transformed form, and a 30% total speed increase from the [Gift of Lightning], they weren't even an opponent for her. Her only limiting factor would be her stamina.
But the total 50 or so remaining undead were defeated by Kara before she tired. As she made her way back to Rainer he appraised her hoping she had increased in level.
[Half-Demon, Half-Wolfkin, female, Blade Dancer lvl 6, Demonic Werewolf lvl 4]
It seems she had already been close to lvl 4 for her demon class.
Seeing Kara climbing back up the cliff, Rainer shouted out.
This, however, caused Kara to pause.
How did he know…
It was not a common fact that Heroes and Fae had the [Appraisal] ability. Kara could only assume he somehow inferred it from her expression. Though, how he read the subtle expression of a wolf she didn’t have a clue.
“We should head towards the fort in the distance. If we can reach there by sunrise it would be the perfect time to attack,” Kara said upon reaching Rainer.
“Are you up for such a trip?” he couldn’t help but wonder.
“We shouldn’t attack immediately before checking on the situation, in any case. I should have plenty of time to shift out and recover,” She responded.
Kara bent down giving Rainer the ability to climb up. With Luna in her favorite pocket, Rainer laid as flat as he could and held on tight. While he trusted Kara’s abilities to avoid any enemy patrols he wasn’t going to risk a stray arrow.
Rainer had to hold on a lot tighter on the way down, though Kara descended as carefully as she could. Kara ran back on all fours towards the stone road and upon reaching headed into the forest, directly towards the walled tower in the far distance.
As she ran through the forest, Rainer could only see as far as the light of armed bolts shined. The overcast clouds from the day were still in full effect making it a night almost devoid of light.
After nearly an hour of running, they finally came close to what they assumed to be Sunlight’s Keeper. Just the distance alone caused Rainer to vastly underestimate its size. The tower itself did not resemble a thin turret of castles of old but was more akin to a grand tower fit for giants. The walls surrounding it reached nearly 60 feet in height. Rainer could not see over them and did not know what else Sunlight’s Keeper contained within.
The stone path they had previously followed lead directly towards a shut gate. Rainer wondered for a moment what purpose such a fort could hold when others could simply venture into the surrounding forest, using the trees as cover. Yet looking at the majestic tower he couldn’t shake the feeling of magic. Now the imagery of powerful mages standing on its balconies raining hell down upon their foes filled his mind.
From his vantage point on the branch at the top of a tree, he could see the pale blue flame of the undead patrolling the walls. Behind him, Kara had just finished shifting back to her wolfkin form and, with the assistance of Luna, was quickly clothed.
Kara climbed up to where Rainer was quite easily. Rainer himself could only get up there with her help. She had managed to find a place far enough away from patrols before they decided to rest here for a while so she could recover. Kara leaned her back against him as Rainer sat forward on a thick branch looking towards the tower.
This wasn’t a dungeon, that much was clear to Rainer when the [Return Stone] wouldn’t work. That meant the explanation for these undead couldn’t simply be that they appeared from thin air. They were alive at one point. More importantly, someone, or something, created them. Whether or not one of those someones was within this tower, Rainer couldn’t know. But what gave him pause was that even after destroying that large patrol no one else came after them. What reason have their masters to sit back and watch them attack? Did they not know?
His thoughts then led him to the 6-month time limit. It was quite possible that after these 6 months, it would no longer be possible to complete this Main Quest with just a lone party rather than simply giving the opportunity to others. On the simple basis that the masters of these undead may complete some sort of task within those 6 months. Whatever task that was, it perhaps prevented them from going out and simply attacking Rainer. Or that they were themselves weak and were too cautious to send out their strongest guards.
Rainer sat there still contemplating their attack plan on the fort with the sun soon rising in the distance still covered by clouds. It was then that he felt a surge of the most vile magic he’d ever felt. Reacting without pause, Rainer spun around and grabbed the sleeping Kara, throwing them both off the tree and landing hard on the ground with Kara on top of him. He felt a surging pain in his shoulder but he struggled up.
He grunted out just as a black fog, even contrasting the night around it, encompassed the spot they were just at. In an instant, the tree began decaying. Black veins spread across it, draining the life from it.
The black fog spread towards Rainer and Kara but with her assistance the injured Rainer had long since escaped its range. They ran into the forest several hundred yards before stopping and huddling behind a tree.
“Rainer are you alright? I could not even sense that attack...” Kara spoke.
“I’ll..be...fine. Luna...get out here.” Rainer replied.
"What magic was that?" Kara asked now with some worry in her voice.
As he felt the comforting flames he tried to make sense of that attack. He had no way to describe what he felt in that magic but a single word.