Charles looked expectantly at Liandra, the Elf who had joined in on the hunt, sitting across from him. He had saved her life 50 odd years ago, and against his morals, he had finally called in a favor from her; to tell him what she sensed about the Lord Magus and his group.
He had just finished guarding Tom’s team for every Yeti they carried back. He could tell from their mood this wasn't something they previously agreed on. But rather than the Lord Magus punishing them for however they had offended him, this was a far more satisfying conclusion.
Unbeknownst to him, Liandra was beyond nervous. She absolutely didn’t want to say a word and could only hope what she planned to tell him would be enough. Her family was from a long line of Elves that specialized in sensory skills and magic. She had left her home decades ago, but not before learning her family's secrets.
“So what level would you estimate the mage to be in?”
“It's...hard to say. His mana puts him at level 11 or 12, but clearly his ability approaches if not reaches a second class mage given the casual nature of his actions.”
Charles had asked this favor because of the Yeti attack being coordinated. It made the Lord Magus’ sudden appearance far too suspicious. He wanted to know everything he could about the Lord Magus.
“Is there any way he is hiding his capacity from you?”
“I do not know of a method to only hide part of a mana pool and still use that mana.”
Not that he was using it anyways… She thought. Already telling Charles this much was only because of him saving her life in the past. She in no way wanted to get on the wrong side of whatever existence this Lord Magus was.
Having an ancient undead and a demon, who appeared otherwise, as guards was already more than enough to cause worry. Add in his odd energy that lets him cast magic, and you have a bigger problem.
But a fairy who had been changed by this existence’s strange mana, something only a few in the whole world can do, makes the problem, a calamity. A calamity Liandra had no interest in having anything to do with.
“Then how could this mage be so powerful? And he has a spatial ring so there is no way he can be simple!”
A spatial ring, a spatial ring..and here I am giving information about him away, have I lost interest in life?
Though compared to what she initially knew Liandra wasn’t able to panic any more than she already was.
“It's possible his magic talent was high enough that his lack of mana talent was overlooked. Though I’ve never seen such a case.” She responded fully playing into him just being the son of some High Ranked mage. Something she didn’t believe, rather she didn’t believe he was human in the first place.
Charles sat in thought for a moment before speaking again.
“Is there anything else of note?”
“Absolutely not,” Liandra answered hastily before she realized how suspicious she looked.
Charles was not oblivious to this.
Sighing, she spoke before getting up to leave,”Look, Charles, he doesn’t seem to have any malicious intentions, or you and this city would already be gone. Just let this go and take his word for whatever he claims. I doubt he has anything to do with the attack.”
“Liandra if you…” But the fear visible on her face stopped his question, and she continued leaving the room.
“I was never here.” She said before making her exit.
Walking out of the mansion her face froze as she saw the Lord Magus making his way towards her. He paid her little mind besides looking at her ears for a bit too long much to Liandra’s confusion. But either way, she hurried past him and decided she’d leave this town as fast as possible.
“Are elves that interesting to you?” Kara asked not because she was bothered by his glance, but whether or not he liked herself, even just partially, for such a reason.
Rainer caught on quite quickly. He was more surprised she didn't have this problem until recently given he explained to her that there were only humans where he used to live.
“Of course your ears and tail are a plus. Just as my increasing charisma and magic abilities seem to be a plus for you as well. As well as certain, skills. But if my only interest were in sleeping with a new and different race I’d pay for it. So don’t make such a face.”
“Oh? You’d go pay for it, you say.” Kara said staring at him, though the tension in her body had lessened.
“Ah, no, I mean it was hypothetical, only hypothetical.” But seeing the smile on Kara’s face he figured out she was only playing with him.
They were not even questioned as they walked straight into the mansion. Rainer guessed that even if the Baron ordered it the guards might be too afraid to block his path. Especially given the fact such a Baron had previously unleashed his son unto them loyalty likely wasn’t very high.
A guard went to notify the Baron as they waited in the foyer. Charles had already retaken his position in an official capacity, but it wasn’t as if he didn’t have attendants to handle much of the work.
In just a moment the Baron had already arrived to face the group. Sweat was slightly visible on his brows as he recalled how oddly frightened Liandra was.
“Greetings Lord Magus.” He said bowing,”The money for the Yeti Hunt should be sent once we affirm the value of all the Yeti killed. I shall make sure it arrives timely.”
“So Charles,” Rainer said and then paused causing the Baron to panic a little thinking his conversation with Liandra was found out. Just before he confessed and apologized, Rainer spoke once more.
“We require two of your fastest mounts for borrow. One should be able to hold two people.”
Relieved, Charles responded.
“I have two Nightmares I personally raised with my Aura in the stables. Feel free to use them at your pleasure.” Though, he genuinely hoped he would see them again. They were quite dear to him.
“Good, have a servant bring them to my dwellings now. And I need you to arrange jobs, food, and housing for a few dozen refugees, most likely male,” Rainer said recalling the people he saw in the mine. He didn’t even bother explaining and stood to leave. He couldn’t think of an explanation that would fit his character, so he just let the Baron figure it out.
And that, the Baron did not. It wasn’t even on his mind as he thought what he could do with all these people. Hoping he had enough room to hire them as militia or servants.
Rainer's party left the Baron’s mansion and returned to their own before a question that had been nagging Rainer since he fought the Yeti came up.
“How do monsters level?”
Gunthar gave him an incredulous look as if he was the stupidest person in the world until he remembered he wasn’t from this world. And as a skeleton, such a look was of course not noticed.
Kara was first to answer.
“The same way as us, but with the exception that they naturally gain experience from absorbing the World’s energy. It is a long and slow process, but monsters live quite long. They may not have Aura, but they are still capable of absorbing it. It is not uncommon to raise your own monsters through giving them additional Aura as the Baron mentioned, assuming in the rare case you have Aura,” She said before stopping for a moment and asking Rainer a question, “How do monsters get stronger in your world?”
“There isn’t any…”
A culture shock once more flowed through the group as Gunthar and Kara contemplated how different Rainer’s world truly was.
It wasn’t long until a servant not only delivered two [Adult Nightmare]s, but also the money for the Yeti Hunt. Due to some crushed bones and damage, each Yeti averaged to 30 High Silver each, 45 as their total participation fee, and 50 for the Horned Yeti. Tom’s group rejected their 1% bonus.
[Mammalia, Female, Adult Nightmare lvl 9]
[Mammalia, Male, Adult Nightmare lvl 9]
They were entirely black horses with red hair reminiscent of fire. The servant handed over two strange tokens that both Nightmares seemed to react to, becoming docile before Rainer’s party. It was a simple round coin with the Baron’s seal on it, simple, except for the faint traces of Aura.
“What’s this?” Rainer asked holding the coin up to Gunthar.
“An Aura inscription. The Baron is more skilled than I gave him credit for. They can do various tasks, nothing compared to enchantments. There is little reason for you to learn to use them, Sorcerer. This one is quite basic, merely holding a trace of the Baron’s presence of which the Nightmares are trained to respond to. It will only last for a month.”
Before they left the town, Rainer bought additional food to put in his spatial ring for the slaves' return journey.
The party rode fast on their two mounts. The nightmares were truly the peak of horses. For hours they neither slowed nor tired as they continued forward. Rainer sat behind Kara intending to fall asleep while they rode through the night.
But before then he needed to confirm his thoughts on his Aura.
“Gunthar,” Rainer called out during a small break where their Nightmares only walked.
“You said there are different kinds of Aura. Are there types of Aura where enhancement isn’t such a straightforward thing?”
“I will disregard that you consider any part of learning Aura as straightforward, as I cannot even acknowledge such a thing, to tell you that yes there are few cases of unique aura serving a different purpose than is common.”
“Have you been struggling with Enhancement?” Gunthar then asked with a bit of glee in his voice hoping he’d finally get a chance to teach him properly.
“Rather than struggling, I don’t think my Aura works in the same way. In any case [Arcane Rage] is already a superior skill to any form of Aura enhancement. What I need to know is what happens if you use Aura enhancement on your eyes.”
“I would not train such a thing so simply outside of your [Sleep Learning], but with proper usage, it increases your eyesight.”
“Good, last thing, can you overextend your Aura Detection and get a backlash?”
“No…” Gunthar responded confused, but before he could say otherwise, Luna had already finished casting a sleeping spell on Rainer.
Given Rainer’s headaches whenever he tried to detect too strongly he started to have another thought. That perhaps he was subconsciously trying to do something he was not yet capable of doing. His [Arcane Rage] has in the past activated without his conscious action so he could only assume that perhaps this was the case here as well.
And so he entered [Sleep Learning] aware of his actions.
While Rainer had an idea for how to gain and use [Arcane Aura Enhancement], he would then switch himself off and try and gain the last 7 skill points to level [Faraan Runic Language].
He activated [Aura Detection] while staring at his own cladded hand. He tried to use his Aura to enhance his eyes as he focused [Aura Detection] to its limit. Once more he was met with a headache and a failed attempt at Enhancement. But he suffered through, increasing the Aura he used before finally, he saw beyond what he had ever seen.
Upon awakening from Kara’s gentle prodding and seeing his messages, Rainer noted that after a day and a night of riding they had reached the tunnel.
[Skill Gained: Arcane Aura Enhancement lvl 1/10]
[Arcane-Fire Bolt Armament has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 2 spell: Rewarding 2 skill points.]
[Arcane-Light Bolt Armament has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 2 spell: Rewarding 2 skill points.]
[Spear of Arcane-Fire has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 3 spell: Rewarding 3 skill points.]
He found out he could level the Armament spells at the same time as another spell, leaving him with plenty of time to level [Spear of Arcane-Fire].
He looked excitedly at his skills as he prepared to level [Faraan Runic Language].
[General Skills: Magic Detection lvl 1/10, Mana Detection lvl 1/10, Aura Detection lvl 1/10, Crisis Perception lvl 1/10]
[Physical Skills: 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, Spear Throwing lvl 1/10, General Throwing lvl 1/10, Kissing Technique lvl 1/10, Dextral Pleasuring Technique lvl 1/10, Copulation Technique lvl 1/10, Dancing lvl 3/10, Pitch Control lvl 1/10, Humming lvl 1/10]
[Information Skills: Appraisal lvl 2/10, Human Anatomy lvl 7/10, Goblin Anatomy lvl 1/10, Fae Anatomy lvl 4/10, Demon Anatomy lvl 6/10, Muknar Language 3/10, Fae Language lvl 1/10]
[Magic Skills: Sleep Learning lvl 9/10, Faaran Runic Language lvl 3/10, Arcane Rage lvl 7/10, Arcane Weaving lvl 4/10, Arcane Sound Infusion lvl 1/10, Mana Manipulation lvl 2/10, Arcane Energy Manipulation lvl 6/10, Fire Manipulation lvl 3/10, Spatial Manipulation lvl 4/10, Light Manipulation lvl 1/10, Arcane-Light Manipulation lvl 3/10, Arcane-Fire Manipulation lvl 2/10]
[Aura Skills: General Aura Meditation lvl 1/10, General Aura Manipulation lvl 1/10, Arcane Aura Cladding lvl 1/10, Arcane Aura Enhancement 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, Cold Resistance lvl 1/10, Frost Resistance lvl 1/10, Mental Resistance lvl 1/10, Sound Resistance lvl 1/10, Death Resistance lvl 1/10, Arcane Resistance lvl 1/10, Miasma Resistance lvl 1/10]
[Toggled Off Skills: None]
[Faaran Runic Language has reached level 4]
And so 30 skill points were lost, and the world went dark as Rainer fell from his mount.
Kara reacted and caught Rainer long before he hit the ground and readjusted him. The whites of his eyes displayed themselves as they rolled back into his head.
He awoke a few minutes later as if no time had passed for him. Kara and Luna stared at him worriedly.
“What?” He asked confused.
“What do you mean, what?! Your eyes rolled up into your head, and you started shaking.” Kara yelled at the oblivious Rainer before calming down.
“Luna used her fire, but Luna could tell it wasn’t doing anything.” The Fairy spoke right after.
“I guess I took it a bit too lightly given what I was learning.”
“What do you mean?” Kara asked.
“I used skill points to level up [Faaran Runic Language] and then...”
“You what, Sorcerer!” Gunthar yelled out from the side.
“As I said I leveled [Faaran Runic Language] from level 3 to level 4,” Rainer said as if asking what the problem was.
“But...that’s 30 skill points! How is that possible when you’ve learned 3 of your class skills.”
“I get skill points every time I raise a spell to level 10, which is easy enough with [Sleep Learning].”
“Ah...that’s right...that’s completely right. I hadn’t even thought of such a ridiculous notion.”
Kara gave off a relaxing sigh realizing once more just how prepared he’d be for his class advancement and Luna returned to her spot not surprised by anything he ever does ever since she saw his status screen so long ago.
Rainer tried to get a feel for what had changed, but he didn’t actually learn anything more. Rather, as he thought over all the spell formulae he already knew, it was as if he was looking at them with a new clarity.
A spell could be compared to a gun. You can know how to assemble and disassemble it, how to reload it, and how to fire it, but that in no way means you have any idea how to build its parts or design your own. Gunthar was such an individual as a Paladin. He may have known a few spells, but regarding actually understanding magic, he was lacking.
Yet with this increase, Rainer improved exactly in that category amongst improving his comprehension for when he’d read Yalin’s journal once more.
Having entered the tunnel, Rainer looked around as if it was a whole new world before him. His eyes were under the effect of [Arcane Aura Enhancement]. The entire cave was covered with a light screen of energy, the very one used to generate Aura. Whether it was a mold growing on the cave wall or Kara beside him, he saw different lights unknown to him. Within the Nightmares as well even through the wall and to the outside where they left them. Before he could truly inspect any of it...
His Aura ran out.
“Fuck...that’s expensive. Hey Gunthar can you meditate while moving?”
“Battle meditation is possible but…”
“No further explanation necessary, I’ll handle it, thanks.”
[Skill Gained: Active Meditation lvl 1/10]
Contrary to expectations their journey went unhindered as they reached the end of the cavern and the entrance to the mine. They had not, however, noticed the Arachne Overseer who upon sensing the Aura of Rainer’s two guards rushed back in fear to report her findings.
Dimming his armed [Arcane Bolt]s he carefully peered over the edge. The sound of chipping rock and the occasional guttural yell of a goblin filled the air.
Without any ceremony Rainer was about to rush out there, using [Gravity Domain] to soften the fall before he was pulled back by Gunthar.
“Sorcerer if you only run out there shooting, innocents shall die in the carnage. You and the Little Wolf find what it is you came here for. I shall gather the people here and cleanse this world from the vile filth imprisoning them.”
If Gunthar had at times not seemed as if he was Undead the tone of his voice had given him now such a feeling.
Gunthar, timing his descent carefully and deftly climbed down the cavern wall. Rainer with his arm around Kara and hers around him prepared to jump up and reach the scaffolding directly across from this cave. The very scaffolding he had been chased down.
Gunthar killed the only goblin who had a chance of noticing the jumping pair before he began gathering the ragged miners. They only looked at him in stunned silence and followed as if lost lamb while he slaughtered their masters.
Kara and Rainer jumped and made it to the scaffolding before moving forward.
It wasn’t long before Rainer reached the room, but he quickly stopped, hearing voices from the other side of a shoddily made door. A door that had been previously broken.
“You are not fit for such a thing!”
“How can the pitiful be fit for following in the footsteps of the great sage!”
“You are the pitful…”
Their arguing continued, but hearing their words Rainer grew excited that the notes were still here and likely intact. But he could only guess they were all fire mages and fighting them recklessly could end in the tragic conclusion of the notes being burned.
Rainer explained his plan to Kara as she braced herself against a wall directly across from the door. He prepared to open it the moment he’d activate his [Gravity Domain] for Kara.
Kara’s enhanced hand gripped into the stone wall. Her feet tensed as she prepared for the feeling of near weightlessness. And then the spell was cast.
Truly like the demon she was she barreled in through the open door and in, but a moment, beheaded two of the goblin mages. Her Aura enhanced blade slicing through the goblins as if thin air.
The third mage hastily prepared to cast a fire spell, but before he could even begin a [Spear of Arcane] stabbed through him launching him away. His coughing of blood would be the last action he ever took as Kara’s blade ended his life.
Rainer ran in ignoring the bloodshed around him and hastily began picking up the dropped notes. As if holding a precious treasure he put them into his spatial ring the first chance he got.
“Let’s go and see if Gunthar needs any help,” Rainer said after he made sure to gather all of the notes. His mood was beyond improved as he headed outside toward the scaffolding, looking down there was a huddled group of people covered in rags and strewn out goblin and orc corpses that littered the mine floor.
“Sorcerer! I shall continue down here. They said directly following the tunnel behind you there may be more people. Head in that direction.”
Rainer nodded with no complaint. Having found the spells he desired completely intact he didn’t consider it a bother helping as many people as he could. His mood had been that good.
But as he ventured in the other direction of the tunnel it wasn’t long before he came upon the destined room. The smell alone had told Rainer all he needed to know.
“Kara...stay back here.” Her enhanced senses had long since came to the same conclusion, and she listened to his order.
He took a quick look around using [Arcane Aura Enhancement] and found any sign of life lacking. Any joy over finding the spells had been written over as they headed back toward Gunthar.
A few dozen had been gathered, covered in hastily put together rags. All were in an emaciated state, and all fearful over whether the new people who had come were friend or foe. Gunthar was elsewhere likely clearing out the rest of the tunnel. A storm of undead aura throttling through its depths.
Rainer addressed the group,”Take any clothing you can find off of the dead. We’ll be heading through the cold. The closest thing you have to a leader, come forward.”
Slowly an older man came forward, around 50 years of age. His appearance denoted him far older. What hair he had left was completely gray and white. He had a long beard that went down his chest.
“My name is Gram, Lord Magus, how might-t I be of service.” He said nervously.
“Where can I take all of you? Is your home still around?”
“I deeply apologize our savior, but our village is no more…”
Rainer waved them to follow as he headed up the scaffolding.
There was another exit to the mine and likely lead to whatever country these people came from, but now that he had the responsibility he would use his plan of bringing them to the Baron. But for such a mine to exist within the Baron’s territory, there was only one conclusion to be made.
Arachne... He thought with venom confusing the people behind him into thinking he was aiming his anger at them.
Up the scaffolding and under the effects of [Gravity Domain], not that he needed it, the returned Gunthar jumped across to the tunnel entrance. Kara and Rainer helped the rest, much to their surprise, as they soared over the expanse and were assisted by Gunthar in landing. Rainer looked on in sadness as the younger ones did not enjoy such an experience.
Not even whispers came from the recently freed people as they headed through the tunnel behind Rainer’s party. If a noble had to bow to a powerful mage, to the common people they were as if gods.
The trip back through the tunnel was supposed to be an end to their journey in the mine, yet those waiting for them had other plans.
Rainer looked on in surprise as a row of [Lancer]s stood before him. Yet they were not anything he’d ever seen before.
Their lower body was that of a spider and their upper body human, but with pointed ears. They wore twisted black plate armor with a long lance in hand.
[Arachne, Male, Lancer lvl 12]
Suddenly the line of Lancers split into two crossing spears with the one facing them and opening up a path for their leader.
[Arachne, Female, Warlock lvl 21]
She was slightly taller than the males standing at 9 feet in height, though her upper body would make her 5’7’’ in height were she a human. Her eyes entirely blood red with a black Iris in the center. She had pale skin and long white hair that twisted and was tied underneath a simple black tiara, denoted by only a single red gem. Her eight spider legs and lower body was smooth and dark, lacking the rough and hairy texture that would be found on a spider’s carapace.
A black silk cloth twisted around her body covering only parts of importance and a light see through fabric was around the rest.
Behind her was exactly the overseer who had been watching Rainer when he first traveled to this place. When she saw Rainer once more entering the tunnel earlier, she had sent a message back to her colony. Princess Serena personally responded.
“Welcome to our home, Lord Magus.” A smooth and steady voice filled the cavern as she stood tall facing Rainer. Contrary to all humans she met there wasn’t even a bit of disgust on his face. Only interest. Rather she struggled not to laugh as the woman who seemed to be his mate poked him and stopped him from staring.
“Rainer she is royalty, at least look at the one behind her if you’re going to stare,” Kara whispered, but Serena heard it.
“You may call this one Princess Serena Latro,” She said ignoring the entertaining circumstance.
But Rainer’s next word ruined her mood.
“And?” Rainer responded thoroughly annoyed and no longer interested in the group blocking his way.
What he saw in the mine put him in a terrible mood. He didn’t want to go save the world; circumstances like that happened all over his previous world, and he didn’t care because it never affected him personally. He felt it was sad, but beyond that, it was a distant thought, a dirty side of society he’d never look at. But seeing it right in front of him...
Any hint of a threat and he’d just kill the spider in front of him; her people had already attacked him in the past. And given what he was told about the Arachne Tunnels they were hardly what you could call good people. Not only that, but as far as he could tell they had no potential as allies for his goal, regardless of how appealing their princess looked to him.
“I merely wished to personally apologize for the attack on yourself earlier, Lord Magus,” Serena spoke calmly, but internally she couldn’t be more furious. Given the overseer’s report on the strength of his guards, she knew she and her guards weren't in any position to threaten him. Anyone strong enough was at their capital or out traveling. She was, however, confident in her escape lest she would never have come.
“I accept, now move.”
“Rainer what are you…”Kara started to protest, but was immediately interrupted by an angry voice no longer a whisper of a private conversation.
“Look I don’t care princess or whatever. Who’s fault do you think it is such actions could go unanswered,” He said while pointing to the people he had saved, “It's not like they are going to chase us out of here. They wouldn’t even be apologizing if they didn’t understand our strength. They are worthless, and I couldn’t care less about not offending her fucking delicate sensibilities.“
Kara disagreed further, but she kept it to herself while they were in front of another. The only reason she had protested at all was due to how much his words surprised her. She had no intention of undermining him before this Princess.
Rainer could imagine that if it weren't for the Arachne Tunnels, the Baron would never let such a tragedy exist in his territory. The Baron would take care of it himself if he had to. And clearly, the Arachne had no issue with the existence of this slave mine.
If his earlier words angered Serena, his disregard for her while he had a conversation elsewhere utterly infuriated her. The overseer behind her slightly backed up seeing the face of her Princess.
Serena moved out of his path her guards following.
“If the Lord Magus ever wishes to visit our city, merely come to this location or soon to any tunnel entrance and an overseer would be happy to guide you. We always are welcoming to Mages in our land. Might we ask the Lord Magus his name?” She spoke while a vein pulsed in her forehead from anger.
“Francis,” Rainer said walking forward, but he paused slightly.
They are so friendly only to mages? Did I make a mistake...No...they are likely friendly to Mage Guilds. That is only worse.
And so he continued, a scared company in tow, out of the tunnel. Gunthar’s laugh slightly echoed behind Rainer as they went beyond the Arachne.
“Well done as always, Sorcerer.”
“I’m surprised you agree, Gunthar…”Kara said, but after giving it some real thought could Rainer accept someone like her, with Demon royalty as her enemy, if he wasn’t like this? She immediately felt bad for not supporting him in his actions.
“Do you not remember the History of Nalmar. We are a City who told the rest of the empire to fuck off!” He said jubilantly reminiscing.
Both Kara and Rainer looked awkwardly at Gunthar.
“Do not make such faces. The Holy Empire was in no position to help us. If anything their enemies considering Nalmar to be a separate entity had given us a greater chance even if in the end...we failed.”
The [Arch-Lich] had timed his assault well. Even if Nalmar had separated partially, the Holy Empire would never let such a resource go to waste had they the choice. They’d gladly conquer the city for themselves.
The group continued quietly, most of the former slaves too scared to speak and perhaps anger their savior.
“I am sorry Rainer, you are right in not wanting to deal with such a person. Nor should I have questioned you in front of her.” Kara said her arm around him and walking by his side.
“It’s fine...at the very least I shouldn’t have antagonized her.” He said joining her in the same action.
He thought for a moment on Kara’s own past and her guilt. She was, but a little girl pressured by her peers and elders into such a tragic action, he didn’t consider what she had done to be her fault. But then what of the mother or grandmother he’d eventually meet? Could he look at them with anything but revulsion? Rainer wasn’t sure.
He could hear the teeth chattering of the little boy and girl he had let ride on his Nightmare. They'd be walking back, taking nearly a week. While it wasn’t ideal he didn’t exactly need to be in the mansion to train his magic, most of it occurring in his sleep.
Rainer had considered them being cold which was why he had them scavenge all the clothes they could find, but it seemed to have gotten colder since when he first came to this world.
He couldn’t help, but think how lucky she was looking like a boy with short hair causing his stomach to turn a little.
Rainer put it out of his thoughts. Even if he was 10 times as strong as he was now it's not like he’d go around the world helping every single downtrodden person. And even if he did then what? This clearly wasn’t the only world out there; he already knew of three. If certain theories were proven correct, he thought, there was an infinite number of them, an infinite amount of suffering. If it was in front of him and he could stop it with little issue then he would, if not, then it wasn’t his problem.
Even now saving them was a byproduct. Were the spells not there he would have never returned to the mine, at most he would just inform the Baron of the situation.
His focus returned to magic he had found. He carefully read over all the notes. The highest spell in there was a tier 6 fire spell, so he focused on the rest. They weren't clearly labeled or described and were more akin to the scattered thoughts of a great mind. His increase in [Faraan Runic Language] hadn’t directly granted him much information, but his understanding of magic formulae had improved by leaps and bounds.
He would gain and test all the spells when sleep came, with the exception of the Tier 6 spell that he had about as much of a handle on as he did Deliverance. As in, almost none. The only reason he deemed it a tier 6 spell was for it was the one spell that was labeled within the notes.
[Tier 6 Fire Magic: Inferno]
Making camp for the night, Rainer went around lighting every fire and handing out food from thin air. Oddly there was no surprise from this as if they expected such a thing from a mage, before sitting by his own with Kara wrapped up next to him and Gunthar out on guard. He took out his notes, one by one, and studied them carefully. He finally reached the tier 6 spell and stopped before his head felt as if it were to explode.
An older man who had helped organize the people earlier walked cautiously to Rainer’s campfire. Princess Serena had spoken in the language of this country, and its neighbors, for Rainer, meaning everyone understood their conversation. If they were hesitant about the mage before, seeing him disregard some sort of royalty they were in awe now.
Steeling himself the grey-haired Gram asked, “Lord Magus, might we ask where we are headed?”
“There is a town a week's travel from here. I’ve already talked to the Baron about finding a decent place and work for all of you.”
The last of the Lord Magus’s words that were heard clearly by all surprised them deeply. Not that the Lord Magus was capable of such a thing, but that he would do such a thing for them.
“Than..k you Lord Magus. And thank you once more for saving us from that place. We will forever be in your debt, however, little value that may be to you.” Gram said while bowing deeply and tears flowing down his face. The eyes of the rest, who, while lacking the courage to speak to the Lord Magus, had been filled with gratitude.
Rainer just nodded, but in truth, he wasn’t untouched by the man’s words in front of him. He also felt a bit bad accepting such a display of gratitude considering how little effort it took from him to help these people.
He looked out around at the cold people. Many were young men, boys and a few young girls who had passed for boys. They had been saved, but it didn’t erase what had happened. The long years they worked in the mine, the close ones they must have had to watch die and suffer, had taken a toll on them. The cold chilled their thin flesh even beneath the clothes.
He walked up and stood in the middle of the camp. It wouldn’t provide much relief; rather it would likely provide more comfort in thought than real heat, but he would do it in any case.
He lifted his hand in the air. A small Arcane-Fire formed on it. And in an instant, it exploded with a torrent of energy lighting the sky for miles. Heat radiated off it, though Rainer lowered the power before it became too much.
All watching the slowly receded flame, feeling the warmth within their hearts and bodies, and understanding now, entirely, that they were free of the nightmare they suffered.
The scars remained, but they would be given a place, a home, to heal.
Rainer opened his eyes to the white void of [Sleep Learning].
A mental copy of the notes was summoned before him. To use something in [Sleep Learning] he didn’t need to memorize, but only take a careful look. However, for spells, his previous time with the notes had merely been far too short. Unlike when he Automatically scoured through Yalin’s journal for the runes relating to gravity this time he’d be learning new spells.
Rainer rearranged the notes as he activated [Arcane Rage]. He ordered them from what he felt was their difficulty. And so with the assistance of level 3 [Fire Manipulation], he began his work.
The first few spells hadn’t taken all that much time when there was an infinite amount of mana at his disposal and with Rainer’s improved ability to alter the spells with Mana output and input runes before he even cast them for the first time.
A single tier 1 spell.
[Spell Gained: Firebolt lvl 1/10]
A small bolt of fire reminiscent of Rainer’s arcane bolt.
And three tier 2 spells.
[Spell Gained: Fire Whip lvl 1/10]
A combination of mana and fire manifested together into a whip that could entangle and burn its captives. Rainer could manipulate it similar to how he used his chain. But it lacked the same physical strength, intended more for damage than control.
[Spell Gained: Fire Breath lvl 1/10]
An easy to learn spell given its similarities to [Cone of Fire] though it's method of moving mana through the lungs and neck had garnered great interest in Rainer.
[Spell Gained: Fireball lvl 1/10]
A larger version of the bolt spell designed to explode on impact rather than cause focused damage.
As of now, Rainer worked on his first tier three fire spell, one that had already blown him up.
The point was to use a signal and packet of mana to ignite and combust the air a distance away from you. The problem was getting that pocket away before it destabilized and activated early. Rainer now understood the danger of creating any magic outside of [Sleep Learning]. And was even more glad he had gotten to the notes in time before a failed combustion spell cast by a goblin destroyed them.
But, in the end, after several hours, and not fearing for his life, practice had made perfect. He was able to cast the spell accurate enough to the formula.
[Spell Gained: Combustion lvl 1/10]
[Fire Manipulation has reached level 4]
[Mana Manipulation has reached level 3]
Out of everything thus far [Mana Manipulation] had been stuck in its level even though he used it every time he increased the power of magic. It was , along with his other manipulation skills, what allowed him to transcend the limits of a spell and make a tier 1 spell a genuinely dangerous weapon. His bonuses didn’t hurt too.
Having to carefully stabilize and use that packet of mana to activate combustion had pushed him over the boundary. That and using an untold amount of mana in this practice.
He guessed he had about 4 hours left until he woke up. He went on to the next hardest, though by the look of it, it may be a tier above [Combustion].
[Pillar of Fire]
Similar to [Combustion] a mana packet needed to be sent, two in this case. But the amount contained in these pockets was a world apart. Rainer would never cast this spell in reality, as it would be too wasteful, at least not before converting it to work with Arcane Power.
Here he had no choice, but to use the chant. But with the increase in Mana and Fire Manipulation, the task proved a far quicker one. Were it not for [Arcane Rage], however, he could have never managed to use two mana packets simultaneously.
And with his uncountable attempt came the call of fire.
“A fire burns within our hearts, within our souls, and it is this fire, that we must unleash upon our foes.”
“To rise from the earth and descend from the heavens.”
“Their ashes shall cry my name.”
“Pillar of Fire!”
A burning torrent of flame erupted from the ground and descended from above. The radiating fire even at a long distance away heated considerably the resistant skin of Rainer.
He watched on in amazement at the sheer destruction of such a spell, almost missing the message that came to him.
[Spell Gained: Pillar of Fire lvl 1/10]
[Title Gained: Wielder of Fire and Brimstone]
[Wielder of Fire and Brimstone: One who has taken the flame and made from it a true expression of its might. 5% Experience Bonus]
[Experience Gained: XX]
Rainer paused seeing that the experience wasn’t deferred. Rather he had no idea why [Immortal Slayer]’s experience was deferred. Whatever that meant he’d have to wait for the future.
He wanted to spend the rest of his sleep learning time using [Arcane-Fire Manipulation] and creating new magics, but he was awoken by the sun.
It had taken another whole night before he succeeded.
[Spell Gained: Arcane-Fire Whip lvl 1/10]
[Spell Gained: Arcane-Fireball lvl 1/10]
[Spell Gained: Arcane-Fire Breath lvl 1/10]
[Spell Gained: Arcane Combustion lvl 1/10]
[Arcane-Fire Manipulation has reached level 3]
[Spell Gained: Pillar of Arcane-Fire lvl 1/10]
[Arcane-Fire Manipulation has reached level 4]
[Title Gained: Wielder of the Arcane]
[Wielder of the Arcane: One who wields the origin of magic, controls it's fury, and unleashes its true power. 10% Experience Bonus]
[Experience Gained: Deferred]
Rainer now had a real idea about the nature of experience being deferred.
The group continued in their pace toward the town. Whether it was finally tasting normal food again, or the hope of a new future the energy within the newly freed people was beyond their conditions.
Rainer glanced over his new and widely added to spellbook, noting that the usual increase in tier hadn’t applied to [Arcane Combustion] nor [Pillar of Arcane-Fire]. Though, based on their Magical Formulae they could not be considered in the same league as their previous renditions.
[Tier One: Arcane Bolt lvl 10/10, Arcane Bolt Armament lvl 10/10, Arcane Candle Flame lvl 10/10, Arcane-Light Orb lvl 10/10, Beam of Arcane-Light lvl 10/10]
[Tier Two: Arcane Blade lvl 4/15, Cone of Arcane-Fire lvl 10/10, Arcane-Fire Bolt lvl 10/10, Arcane-Fire Bolt Armament lvl 10/10, Arcane-Light Bolt lvl 10/10, Arcane-Light Bolt Armament lvl 10/10, Spear of Arcane lvl 10/10]
[Tier Three: Spear of Holy Arcane-Light lvl 10/10, Spear of Arcane-Fire lvl 10/10, Arcane Combustion lvl 1/10, Arcane-Fireball lvl 1/10, Arcane-Fire Whip lvl 1/10, Arcane-Fire Breath lvl 1/10]
[Tier Four: Pillar of Arcane-Fire lvl 1/10]
[Tier One: Candle Flame lvl 10/10, Cone of Fire Lvl 1/10, Fire Bolt lvl 1/10]
[Tier Two: Spear of Fire lvl 1/10, Fire Breath lvl 1/10, Fire Whip lvl 1/10, Fireball lvl 1/10]
[Tier Three: Combustion lvl 1/10]
[Tier Four: Pillar of Fire lvl 1/10]
[Tier One: Light Orb lvl 1/10, Beam of Light lvl 1/10]
[Tier Two: Spear of Holy Light lvl 1/10]
[Tier One: XX]
[Tier Two: Gravity Domain lvl 10/10]
[Tier Three: XX]
[Tier Four: Spatial Domain lvl 1/10]
Kara was in the lead and Gunthar patrolled around the sides and rear, tireless in his efforts of protecting these people. Content in his efforts that resulted in saving people rather than only seeking vengeance for the dead.
Walking ahead of the group, just behind Kara, Rainer whispered to Luna.
“Luna, I’ve been meaning to ask but can you teach me your magic? I’ve been listening to your chants and watching you, but I can’t figure out what so ever what you are doing. The mana flow is odd and the words too.”
Luna lightly poked her head out of his shirt before speaking.
“Eh….Luna can’t do. If Rainer can’t talk to spirits, there is nothing Luna can do about it.”
“Spirits.” She said nodding.
“Informative as usual Luna.”
“What can Luna say, Spirits are Spirits, Red is Red, Green is Green.”
Laughing at their exchange Kara moved to his side.
“I think I might be of more help here. I do not know much, but spirits are beings of magic that live in between planes of existence. There are rare few who can trade their mana for their power. I believe it is a talent.” She said the last part while looking at Luna.
“Yes, Talent, Luna forgot this part. Luna isn’t too good at asking spirits for help like other Fae.” She spoke a bit sadly.
“Why do you need spirits when you have me?” Rainer said right after.
“Rainer is right; I don’t need anyone else,” Luna said, a smile on her face, before slipping back into her pocket.
Rainer spent the rest of the travel time [Sleep Learning] his new Arcane based spells. It wasn’t that he couldn’t level his fire ones, but rather, they wouldn’t be affected by his 300% bonus to Arcane Magic. Compared to his Arcane spells plain fire ones had little value to him beyond possible future skills points and the creation of Arcane-Fire spells.
[Arcane-Fireball has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 3 spell: Rewarding 3 skill points.]
[Arcane-Fire Breath has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 3 spell: Rewarding 3 skill points.]
[Arcane-Fire Whip has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 3 spell: Rewarding 3 skill points.]
[Arcane Combustion has reached level 10]
[Reached the maximum proficiency of a Tier 3 spell: Rewarding 3 skill points.]
[Pillar of Arcane-Fire has reached level 2]
[Mana Manipulation has reached level 4]
Gaining that second level on [Pillar of Arcane-Fire] had consumed two nights of experimentation. Rather than Rainer choosing the best path, it was more akin to an obsession. He finally was able to increase the speed and effectiveness of the mana signal and packet and with it once more increasing his [Mana Manipulation].
They approached the town that, after the Yeti Hunt concluded, had even more people waiting in line. They, of course, had no knowledge that it wasn’t a random attack.
Rainer flared his armed [Arcane Bolt]s causing none even to look his way beyond a nervous glance as his entire group skipped ahead.
The guards had rushed out to stop the group of raggedly dressed people jumping ahead in line until they saw the Lord Magus at the forefront.
Thaddeus ran over and after bowing began speaking to the Lord Magus.
“The Baron has already prepared for your request. We will handle these people from here if Lord Magus would like.”
Rainer gave the group behind him one final look before nodding and moving into town. He had already explained where they could find him if they were treated improperly.
The guards rushed the refugees into the barracks seeing how cold and frozen some of them looked. While undoubtedly some of the guards cared most simply were putting on a show for the Lord Magus who, for some reason unknown to them, valued these people.
Rainer’s party headed to the Baron’s mansion to confirm that all the arrangements had been made while returning the Nightmares they were now riding on.
Entering the Baron’s mansion Rainer was met with Carver Lodran having a grin on his face and a new arrival to the town of Grimlar’s pass.
The first human mage Rainer would ever meet.
[Human, Male, Wind Mage lvl 12]
The mage as well had a cocky look on his face sensing Rainer’s mana. He believed Rainer the same level as him, more importantly, he thought himself at a much higher rank given his parentage.
But the moment he felt the Aura of the two Guards his face dropped into a frown and then into an awkward smile filled with the nervousness of 10 men. Before finally, he could only curse Carver in his head to the point where if words could kill he’d be dead many times over.
All nobles valued detection skills to a certain degree. Those without mana would likely never learn the relevant detection skill, but Aura touched every life. To use [Aura Detection] was almost to gain the utilization of an already existing muscle. Hard to the point where Carver had yet to learn it, but easy enough that it was considered a necessity for Nobles.
Particularly in a world where a seemingly standard drifter could be the doom of your noble house.
So what if he lied! Who the fuck is going to accuse him when his Guards could take off your head before you could even understand what happened!
Martin rubbed his sweaty palms on his gray silk robe that had the mark of the Skyborne Mage Guild. A winged horse embroidered in white denoting their Guild. A pegasus was a legendary creature even in this world. He had a hooked nose, and green eyes tinged with a bit of power along with long black hair tied in a pony tail.
Martin was a childhood friend of Carver’s, but now he regretted every moment of it. Carver had asked him here through a messenger to prove the Mage’s identity in front of him as false, but, even if he could do that, then what? Put on a smile while this Mage’s guards killed all witnesses?
“So Lord Magus I’d li…” But before Carver could finish speaking he was knocked off his feet by Martin’s wind spell. He was about to speak again when he could swear he saw death from Martin’s gaze.
“Carver, don’t be rude after this Lord’s long journey. Please fellow Magus, No honorable Lord Magus, let me take you to the Baron, I’m sure he is happily awaiting your coming. In fact, he was so distracted and excited; he didn’t notice that Carver had disobeyed his house arrest. Much apologies.”
Rainer raised an eyebrow at the scene before him. It wasn’t hard to tell what Carver had originally planned to do. And in the end, the only thing that saved Carver was that it would be more annoying to deal with the fallout. And, of course, his partner in crime had turned over a new leaf.
Rainer looked forward to being owed a favor from the first friendly mage he met in this world.
Carver watched the group departing with confused eyes. He had been sure that the mage was just a drifter fronting a fake identity. Martin...he was like the Devil of Pride himself.
But before this mage, he had lowered himself. Carver thought of the implications before paling and this time truly thankful for and accepting of the punishment his father had given.
They were silent as they followed Martin to the Baron until Rainer broke the silence.
"So what's your name?"
"Martin La Tal. Might I have the honor of yours Lord Magus?"
Martin was disappointed at just a first name but didn't question further. He had taken a glance at the various enchanted rings and items on the Lord Magus before he caught his eye on one in particular.
A spatial ring! My god Carver, if I don't get revenge for this, I'd not be Martin La Tal! Were you trying to send me to my death or were you truly so ignorant!?
"So Martin, I could use a favor."
"Of course, anything you desire," Martin said while actually glad the Mage in front of him had decided to forgive his transgression.
"I am new to this land and could use all the information you can gather about the surrounding countries. Of course, the information I couldn't easily find from some common merchant, information only one of your particular station could provide." Rainer said assuming the mage in front of him was a part of a guild, whatever that symbol on his chest meant.
"Right away Lord Magus. After your meeting with the Lord Baron, I can answer any questions." Martin was quite excited at being let off so easily.
Rainer walked into the Baron's office. He wanted to try extorting some basic spells, especially of the wind variety, but he had no idea what kind of restrictions magic had on it and if asking he was pushing far beyond what he could. He all, but knew higher magic would be restricted, but he had no clue on lower varieties. Would sharing a spell like [Candle Flame] be a major crime or a normal occurrence? Kara, Gunthar, and Luna had little knowledge on this matter.
The Baron was writing something as the group entered. He stood immediately and bowed.
"Welcome back Lord Magus, I have prepared more than enough positions for any you brought back."
"Good. There were a few young boys and girls among the number be sure to take care of them properly."
"We'll be in town for a few months if you need any more assistance regarding your Yeti problem," Rainer said returning the two coins that helped in controlling the mounts.
"I would be most honored by your assistance, Lord Magus," Charles said while bowing.
Rainer simply nodded and left the room.
Charles stared intensely at the two coins left behind. Gunthar was right in that he had underestimated the Baron's talents. But he was far wrong in how much he had underestimated them. Where Charles lacked in the size, strength, and control of his Aura compared to Gunthar, his skill in inscriptions...
Was a far different matter.