Chapter 23- The struggle for power (1)
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“Buying an artificial elemental seed for just fifty thousand Nazlock Coins. Do you know how cheap that is?” After we left the merchant tower under the stone-cold gaze of the woman, Levi returned to his confident and proud self.

“You have said it three times already in the span of two minutes...”

“Hmmp! You don’t know just how valuable an artificial elemental seed is.”

I remained silent as I walked in the direction of my house. I had no intention of revealing what I knew about artificial elemental seeds to Levi. These taboo items could allow their users to develop spells outside of the regulated ones.

In the first room of the zeroth floor, I was given a choice between twenty different elements. However, many more elements existed but these were taboo in the tower. People using these elements were hunted down. The spells they obtained from the taboo elements were far more powerful than regular spells.

In my past life, I only witnessed one person using a taboo element. He was a human from Earth who entered the tower as the same time as me. He somehow acquired the taboo element: Chaos. The Chaos element granted him overwhelming power. His strength was equivalent to ten other people combined. When he revealed his taboo element, a bounty was immediately placed on his head. Sadly, that person perished after being hunted down for months by the other races.

The second-floor shop sold many useful items, but these items were mostly used by people on the frontlines. As I had no intention of clearing the upper floors, I had no use for more powerful elements. But the artefacts and the eggs of the elemental beasts were very interesting.

When I unlocked my door, I heard my neighbour’s door open.

“Alex. Did you just come back from your hunt?”

I glanced at Eric who just came out of the next house. ‘Right. He did say he became my neighbour.’

“Yes. What’s up?” I asked disinterestedly.

“I just wanted to apologise for what happened earlier. Everybody was just excited over the building blueprints.” Eric said apologetically.

“That’s fine. I won’t take it to heart but keep them in check. If they want something, tell them to earn it themselves.”

“Of course… I know you just came back and are probably very tired, but may I asked how you managed to hunt at night?” Eric asked hesitantly.

“So it was your team that went out last night?”

Eric scratched his head in embarrassment. “We were not the only one. Team 3 also went out and we also met a few individuals who entered the canyon alone.”

“Did any of you die?”

“No but we were all injured. Since my team does not have a healer, I had to alert one of the healers here when we returned. As for the others, I don’t think anyone died.”

I shook my head. “What else were you expecting by going out in a place full of monsters with a torch. All the monsters will naturally come to attack you. You are lucky to have come out alive.”

“I know which is why I want to ask about how you do it. You saw how crowded the canyon is during the day. If some of us can hunt during the night, it will greatly benefit everyone and this time, it won’t harm you. It is impossible for a single person to efficiently hunt in the whole canyon.”

“Don’t go to the canyon at night. It is not worth it. Even I don’t earn much from it now since the monsters are on alert at night. If you don’t believe me, just see by how much my points increased this afternoon.”

“Right. In that case, what would you say if our two teams joined hands to hunt the ogres?” Eric asked tentatively.

‘Is that guy just trying to get me to join his team?’ I smacked my lips lightly. “No. It is a waste of time. Right now, you lack the necessary equipment to deal with ogres efficiently. Just do what you are already doing and save points. Buy yourself an enchanted weapon before you start aiming for ogres. Don’t rush things.”

Eric nodded and bit his lips. He could see my discomfort and how I did not want to continue the conversation. “Anyway. I hope that we can work together to maybe reach the end of the canyon. I will let you rest for now but also…” He looked around him suspiciously before saying in a low voice, “Be careful around the others. I am not sure but there has been a rumour going around that if someone kills you, that person will obtain all the points you have.”

“What?” I instantly froze as my expression darkened. “Who was it?”

“I don’t know. My teammates only overheard a few people.”

“I see. Don’t think too much of it. This rumour is false. You will get one point and the person’s mana stone if you kill someone. You can just ask your fairy if you don’t believe me. Thanks for the tip.” I replied casually and pushed open my door.

Seeing how unconcerned I looked, Eric asked hesitantly. “Are you not worried that you might get attacked by the people who believes this rumour? Not everyone will be willing to add fifty points to their debts just to confirm that a rumour is false.”

“Let them try. I may not be able to defeat a whole group of people, but I am confident in being able to escape.” I smiled faintly and closed the door behind me. Once left alone, I sighed and prepared myself a bath.

I purchased a wooden bathtub earlier from the merchant tower and had already brought home several buckets of water from the water well at the centre of the village. I tossed a few pieces of wood in the chimney and started a fire to heat up my bath water. Doing these mundane tasks helped me forget about the stressful environment I was in.

When I felt that the bath water was now warm enough, I took off my clothes and sat in the tub. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the serene moment.

When I finally felt the temperature dropping, I opened my eyes and grabbed the nearby bar of soap. My eyes fell on my left arm. The entire length of my arm was covered with scars. They were small but the presence of scabs clearly showed that these wounds were recent.

‘Right. Practice what you preach. My mana is completely full right now.’ I grabbed my storage belt and took out a small dagger I purchased two days ago for a couple of points together with the cleaning supplies. It was just a regular dagger with no enchantment; I bought this dagger for one purpose only.

I brought the dagger to my arm and made the smallest and shallowest cut possible. It was just deep enough to allow a small drop of blood to flow.

Heal!

Without hesitation, I quickly used my spell, closing the wound.

‘I don’t like this method, but it is the fastest way to improve my Healing spell.’

For the last two days, except for when I was sleeping or hunting in the canyon, I would harm myself and use the Heal spell every thirty minutes or so. Thirty minutes was the time I needed for my body to restore the amount of mana used by a Heal spell. I did my best to never leave my mana pool completely full.

My control and mastery of the Heal spell increased tremendously over the past two days. The spell we were taught was like a universal template. It generally did the job it was meant to do but there were tons of ways to improve it. By using the spell continuously, I was slowly understanding its inner working and adapting it.

For instance, the heal spell was not designed solely for the human race. On a technical level, the spell used part of the mana cost to activate certain healing enzymes. These enzymes were not present in the human body but could be found in many other races. Using the universal template itself was just wasteful.

‘It took less than a minute to close the wound this time when at first, it took me three minutes to heal such a small wound. This barbaric self-harming method is working.’

I fell into deep thoughts as I grabbed a bar of soap and started cleaning myself.

‘I increased my mana pool 17.1 times the cost of Heal and with the improvement in the Heal spell, I should be able to survive an attack as long as no vital organs are hit.’

‘I wonder who is the idiot who started spreading such a stupid rumour. Do they really think I will just let them do something like that?’

‘I have 164 points right now. I did not plan on upgrading my armour but since there are idiots who are aiming for my life and with the giant rats guarding the tombs, maybe I should reconsider my plan.’

‘How troublesome…’

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