Chapter 10 – Unlocking Essence
June 18, 2019 1:32 PM
The quartet of 3 males and 1 sole female had traversed through the dirt road-path that had consisted of multiple twists and turns along the way. Along the horizon, stood pillars with engraved aboriginal stone columns with a peculiar glow to them. The winds had blown from the north, sweeping along with the fragrant sweet scents of the seamless green-lands that stretched across the horizon as they made their way to the World Mage’s Associate headquarters or particularly the wizard tower centered in the middle of the city. It had sat on top of an elevated peak of land. The city had laid north west on the compass that Adam had toted with him. Of course, the realm they had traversed in gave them the impression that the horizontal landscape was seemingly endless. Shousuke was enthralled by the sight as she strolled with a skip in her gait, wanting to explore and venture this fantasy-esque setting to her heart’s content. Adam on the other hand was not so pleased.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to teleport to town rather than having to walk all this distance?” He had pointed out, concluding that it would have saved them the trouble to utilize Geoffroy’s magical prowess to their advantage. Geoffroy, on the other had shook his head in rebuttal.
“Unless if you have been at those projected locations for yourself, then it would be impossible to teleport to them.” Adam had narrowed his eyes at the jester’s illogical pseudo-argument.
“How does that explain how we got here?” He had argued, as he noticed various anomalies floating through the faux sky. Shousuke on the other hand was absorbed by her surroundings, nonchalantly humming to herself while catching an earful of their conversation. Puck’s attention had shifted over to them as well.
“I haven’t finished what I was saying yet. The reason why we were able to teleport through the vacuum of space and time is because the artifacts at my office and the Waypoint Shrine are interconnected through an enchanted magical channel. It was unintentionally yet intricately crafted and pioneered by a distinguished conjurer nearly 200 years ago by the name of Caedmon Morelli. With the help of many other powerful mages, their original ambition was to seal a great eight limbed beast at the Waypoint Shrine. However, things did not turn out the way they had expected it. The beast had managed to escape their seal and amidst the chaos, it had managed to create a spatial gate that linked to the surface. Astonished by the outcome, Caedmon from that point on, had devoted his whole life to studying this revolutionary realm of magic. He had made complex calculations, and numerous theories pertaining to his research, in hopes that one day he would transcend the mortal realm and challenge the Goddess herself. However, that had never came into fruition. Sadly, our biggest handicap when it comes to spatial magic research from his findings is not being able to manifest yourself at any location of your choosing except through the Waypoint shrines located across various planes that the Divine Tree inhabits. We have only utilized the field but we haven’t had any other dedicated mages researching spatial field of magic since then.” Geoffroy had explained, much to the inconvenience of the trio at this particular moment. Shousuke, on the other hand had shifted their focus over to her as she clapped her hands together in resignation.
“While we’re here, we should probably try to enjoy ourselves a little more. You know how many people would kill to live in a world like this?” She noted as she scanned her surroundings, taking precedent of the presence of a beginner monster-like creature that was approaching them. It appeared to be an [Armored Etra Slime], with an occult engraving dawning the rear of its chitinous shell. It was emitting a rather dark aura from its being, signaling that it might have be wise not to underestimate it.
“I don’t know if people would like it here or not, but I don’t plan on ruining a good pair of shoes. I’m staying out of this.” Adam had prudently abstained from getting involved as Puck and Shousuke flared up their mana. They had both wanted to use the slime as target practice. The slime had sensed their enmity and had shot out long lances of gelatinous fluid at them. Shousuke had braced for a sidestep to avoid the attack but before she could initiate it, the lances had bashed against a spectral shield of holy nature. Geoffroy had laughed at his client’s shenanigans as the slime had been evaporated into a fiery mist of ethereal particles. A small core had laid before the aftermath of it. Geoffroy had eventually composed himself, reassuring them that threat is gone. Leaving them to gaped at the shallow remains of the slime.
“Goodness gracious, the slimes themselves are relatively harmless unless provoked. They do not openly attack anyone unless if they can sense belligerency towards themselves or the Divine tree. Wretched as they may seem, they serve as one of the many guardians that protect the first level of [The Realms of Plaeveathra] and are Qenja’s children.” Geoffroy had added, Shousuke raising an eyebrow at the statement. There were many questions that she still had wanted to ask, including the magic he had used but it would be best to let them be addressed as they made their way to the Mage’s headquarters.
They had continued to traverse the terrain as they studied their surroundings. Shousuke had been completely immersed by the beauty of the intricate carvings and other assortment of runes that had decorated the fortified walls and chiseled golden archways of the city as it came upon closer view. Suddenly an explosion had rocketed from the North, drawing their attention as a shockwave filled with dust had whipped against them. They had set their sights on a smoke column that had risen from origin point, confusion evident on Shousuke, Adam, and Puck’s faces.
“… The hell was that?” Adam had croaked out first, offset by the clockwork that was this realm’s stochasticity. Both Puck and Shousuke had sensed a low ripple of mana from the shockwave but only watched in the sight in bewilderment. Geoffroy on the other-hand, had smirked at the display of sheer firepower.
“Looks like Roland and his little group had nearly knocked on death’s door again, but the pillars had saved them.”Geoffroy had determined, briefly pausing to formulate his thoughts. Shousuke had nearly sprang over to try to help them but had held herself from doing so.
‘Seems like Emilia’s instinct to try to help people in need has once again flared up. Sometimes its wise not to meddle in other people’s affairs. This might be one of those cases since I still don’t have my own magic unlocked.’ She had concluded, unknowingly biting her lip in ruefulness.
“The [Pillars of Gaia] are enchanted autonomous magical artifacts that were structured by the Ozualians cunning craftsmanship. They shoot at and incinerate hostiles or those that threaten to destroy the Divine tree by a complex emotional sensory mechanism just like how the guardians do. It’s what keeps the non mages out, especially those who seek to destroy us. The reason they don’t attack our mages when they’re assailing the creatures on this level is because the Association’s Pact with one of the last surviving Ozualians nearly 150 years ago. That person might have moved on from life but the pact still remains. Some of our decorated scholars had managed to manipulated the enchantment to engage the guardians on this level to a certain degree of emotional cruciality. The system has saved many novice mages countless times.” Geoffroy had flamboyantly waved throughout the exposition, much to Shousuke’s amusement. ‘Sounds a like a double edged sword if it hits one of the mages accidentally, and a major contrivance as well.’ She had mused to herself as she surveyed the magical turrets set along strategic positions within the landscape.
“I was wondering why I was feeling a great deal of mana emitting from the pillars. Sounds like you guys have your work handed to you on a silver platter.” Puck had added flatly, Geoffroy’s grin still evident on his face. “Speaking of which, is that little group going to be fine?”
“No need to worry about them, the guards should be making their way over to them at any moment.” Geoffroy had assured them, Puck in turn had sighed a breath of relief seeing how he didn’t have to get wrapped up in problematic affairs. His gaze had turned towards Emilia. ‘She really looks like she’s having a moral dilemma.’ Puck had noted, slightly worried about his daughter’s tendencies that had result in her death a few times throughout the Re:Zero series.
They had eventually made their way to the chiseled archway with golden tinted steel gate, only to be stopped by a heavy armed guard donning a mana-fused weapon alluding to a Star Citizen plasma rifle and exoskeleton armor, to verify ID. Shousuke was nearly thrown off her rocker by having her fantasy immersion shattered before her very eyes. ‘Fuck you modern innovation!’ She had decried in her mind, before eventually being brought back to reality by Geoffroy’s voice mid conversation with the guard.
“I take it that you’ll allow my clients to accompany me to the WMA headquarters then?” Shousuke was surprised by the demeanor Geoffroy had used to convey to the guard. Like a sinister megalomaniac bent on global domination. The fear on the guard’s face had been made apparent that the jester’s word was law on these streets, by sole recognition at face value.
“Errr, yes sir. You can go right on in.” The guard had obliged, as he signaled for the gate to be open. Contrary to Shousuke, Puck, and Adam’s expectations. The gate had been made ethereal in nature as Geoffroy had taken the initiative to stroll through the gate, gesturing the rest of his party to follow. They had followed suit as Shousuke had taken a glance at the guard, who seemed ragged of breath from the interaction. ‘Note to self, never fuck with Geoffroy unless if you want to have a bad day. The guy goes from Mephisto to Alucard real quick at the push of a button.’ She had contemplated in her head as she slightly gave the guard a sign of condolences through a bow.
The settlement itself was stunning, as the architecture designs had been reminiscent of Medieval Europe, while mostly consisting of Lugnician designs. Most of the housing had been shrunk down to at least 2 floors maximum but had donned marvelous exterior paint, decorated lofts with medieval designs/embroidery, accented orange tinted roofs and brimming décor with a slight hint of modernization. Many of the windows had been draped in a fine weave of cotton, while other had adorn candle lighting. The stone pathway up the elevated slope had been relatively well maintained, with no signs of weathering, wear, or cracks in sight. Accompanying it were various and delicately crafted stone pillars and archways, all dawning a golden trim. The market stalls in the commerce area had also brandished their goods to wayfarers and traders, many of the goods pleasing Shousuke’s eye from a glance. However there were a couple of abhorrent anachronistic infrastructure that ruined the aesthetic of a medieval fantasy settlement.
First was what appeared to be pylons of uncanny electrical main cables that had routed throughout the city, seemingly biological in nature. The way they were divided up, albeit routed properly to every house and shop along the vicinity, made them unpalatable to the eye. The second was the attire the local residents had worn. While a few had worn an intricately crafted set of robes, armor, fantasy dress attire, or capes. Most had embraced the modern concept of cloth articles, weapons, and commodities. The residents had even wore the newest brands from the ‘real world.’ And lastly, was the various apparatuses and devices that people wore, pocketed, or rode on to traverse the city, albeit at an incredible speed. The concept of everyone carrying a phone with them, with signal and all, had been the final stretch for Shousuke as she couldn’t escape the influence of social media here. Although it was most likely obvious that they would be suppressing any information getting out into the real world.
“Damnit, this sucks...” Shousuke had grumbled, as her presence had enticed the attention of onlookers as they were entranced by her glorious silver hair that had beamed under the essence of the artificial sun. She had heeded the attention no mind though. Adam had slightly chortled under his breath. “What’s so funny?!” Shousuke had snapped at him, causing him to burst out laughing.
“… Sorry, it’s just that you should have seen your own face when you realized that you just stumbled into a Final Fantasy game instead of Dungeons and Dragons.” He had insinuated, drawing a pout from Shousuke’s face as she groveled in the broken fragments of her immersion.
“Walking through this town is like going to McDonalds and expecting the ice cream machine to be working. Silver lining, there are things in like that are incompatible with each other, like apples and oranges. Seeing an RPG like setting with modernization like this ruins the whole aesthetic of it.” She had refuted, as she had glanced over to the lightposts lighting the street. An orb of light had shone from each of the structures, despite it being the middle of the day.
“Can’t be that bad, just think of it as a modded Skyrim experience just for the laughs. Besides, we aren’t here to sight-see anyways.” Adam had interjected, garnering a hesitant nod from Shousuke in agreement as they made their way through the paved stone walkway and bridges up the city. The settlement had also seemed to be separated into sectors of financial influence. With the poorer residents inhabiting the lower parts of the district, and vice-versa the higher you ventured up. They had eventually reached the Wizard Tower at the top.
It had exhibited multiple spires and elegant columns of marble and structured steel with brick exteriors. A vast garden of luscious alchemy flower and trees had dotted the trident pathways that spanned out from the entrance of gate at the front. But the most cardinal component of the hold was the massive mana fused barrier that had engulf the surrounding areas as both Shousuke and Puck had noted. To the upmost right of the complex was what seemed to the golden wooden root of the divine tree protruding through the crack in the sky. Many of the scholars that had come into view seemed wary of the leader of the group. Particularly due to the necromantic allegations that had smeared Geoffroy’s reputation. However, Geoffroy had heeded no mind to the gazes as he gestured his clients through a large gateway at the top of the staircase.
Pushing though the colossal doors had revealed a large chamber filled with intricate carvings along the walls. Many doors had adjoined the chamber which separated into hallways, galleries, and study rooms. Many window panes and other various stained glass designs had graced the walls, siphoning light through their majestic beauty. In the center of the chamber had stood a large feminine statue of sacred significance. The quartet’s eyes had fixated on a commemorative plaque that had showcased Qenja, the Goddess of Creation.
“Say, who exactly is this Goddess Qenja?” Shousuke had inquired as she had cast a curious upon Geoffroy, who’s face has beamed in radiant energy in response. However, a gray robed and bearded elderly man had interjected into the matter before Geoffroy could explain.
“If you’re looking for inquires regarding the Goddess of Creation, then you’ve come to the right place... Back long ago, before the conception of Midgard, stood a desolate landscape. At the time, the gods of Creation and Destruction had clashed in great strives. They had unleashed enough power to conceive [Gates of The Divine Rapture] capable of destroy the very fabric of reality an infinite number of times. However, one Goddess had stood from the fray, Her Grace Qenja of course. Beaten and battered, she had prevailed from the Battle on Elysium and with her benevolence had conceived our world, which had been appropriately named Midgard. In less than a day, she had weaved an intricate embroidery known as life and has gifted us with the concept of knowledge. However, many had rejected her existence. The surface dwellers had ravaged our prolific ancestors with false ideologies, those ancestors being known as the Ozua nearly 4000 years ago. They were the first ones who discovered that the aspect of mana and magic should have been used in practice to worship her divinity through the [Shard of Exteria]. However, the apostates did not come to terms with it. Many of the Ozualians had been persecuted for their beliefs and ultimately were hunted down like rabid dogs. It had ultimately had gotten to the point where the practice had been outlawed by the four horsemen of theological community and their leaders, resulting in the practice being diminished to near extinction. The practice did make a comeback during The Age of Enlightenment however, but was stagnated by orthodox ideologies and rather troublesome entities. In time, under constant heavy clashes with these organizations, we have ultimately prevailed. And under a covenant with the Goddess herself, we had sought the sanctuary that is The Divine Tree and know we have reached an agreement under her condition of sanctity. These were known as the [Passage of Rites], or commandments if you so wish to call them that. These [Passage of Rites] must be sought for in the upper levels of [ The Realms of Plaeveathra] and must not be conceived by worshipers. However, all the commandments have yet to be discovered.” The robed figure had articulated, scratching at his beard to relieve an itch. Geoffroy’s clients had narrowed their eyes at this revelation. ‘Sounds like religious hogwash if you ask me, not to mention that she doesn't allow her followers to make a set of rules for her religion.' They had all impassively thought.
“Ahhh, Master Otterman… Nice of you to join us. These are my clients that consist of Adam Malanowski and Emilia Sakamura. They wish to have their [Corpus of Sorcery] unlocked for them.” Geoffroy had introduced them on their behalf, Puck’s eyes had furrowed in disbelief as the man had the audacity to completely disregard him.
“Are you planning on enrolling them into the Mage’s Association Academy this semester?” Master Otterman had inquired, eyeing the trio’s proficiency at [Mana Manipulation].
“Unfortunately, their answer is still on the fence at this time. I did offer them to enroll with us but they were highly skeptical of our association. So for the time being, they wish to undergo a trial period with us to see how we operate on a day to day basis
“I see, then perhaps unlocking the elf’s mana aptitude would be much more promising, given her racial attributes. It would be more advisable to start with Lady Emilia first, given that the process for unlocking it strains the body’s life force if they have a low mana pool.” He had concluded, singling out Shousuke as the first contender to have her mana unlocked. Shousuke had shifted around uncomfortably at the revelation. Puck on the other hand had scowled at the mention of his daughter’s race. ‘It’s half elf, you dunce!’'
“… Will my daughter be hurt from the process?” Puck had interjected, expressing concern with Emilia’s well-being. Master Otterman had grunted at the notion.
“I assure you, O Great Spirit, that I will do everything within my power to assure that your contract is not harmed during the process. All the process requires is for the crystal to be absorbed through a centrifuge hosted here in the alchemy’s branch located in the Mage’s Spire just to the east of here. From the centrifuge, the mage will absorb the crystalline substance by ingestion. From that point on, she will have to follow everything that I instruct her to do.” The robed man had assured them, much to Puck’s dubiety. He had eventually let out a collected sigh, as the Mage’s Association hadn’t done anything to harm his daughter yet.
The robed man had lead the quartet through a door on the eastern part of the chamber, up a marble stairwell and through a small corridor. They were then lead into a room filled with alchemy flasks, cauldrons, preserved containers full of ingredients, and an array of books and other utilities lining against a bookshelf and tables. A small window had emitted light into the room, making it visibly clearer. Despite the fact that most of the Wizard Tower’s lighting was powered through those bio-electric cables routed throughout the compound. The trio had glanced around in complete awe of their surroundings. ‘This setup probably surpasses the one built at the Roswaal E-state.’ Puck had contemplated as he surveyed his surroundings. The robed man had approached a small crevice into the wall, and had put his hand against it. Suddenly mana all around had flared up, reacting to the deed. Runes of various colors had emitted as Master Otterman had chanted something inaudible in a low grumble, the wall opening up to an alchemy device etched on the interior wall. Satisfied with the result, he had conveniently pulled out a large luminescent shard, reminiscent of a Grand Soul Gem from Skyrim.
He had then conjured a small flame and had lit a candle within the compartment. Strolling over to one of the main alchemy tables in the center of the room, he had gathered a few flasks and toted them towards the compartment. Under the small flame and an unseen variable, he had started to melt the shard into a couple of the flasks at a rapid rate. Once the process had been completed, he had chanted something under his breath before placing them into the centrifuge, sealing them from the outside elements. The trio had studied the procedure, noting that it a little more complicated than what they had made it out to be. Geoffroy on the other hand, was dully watching the process with a flat expression on his face as both Shousuke and Adam idly chit chattered. A small alarm had rang after a while, signaling that the process had been completed. Their attention had turned towards it, as they hovered over towards the centrifuge. The threshold on it had automatically opened once they were in the vicinity of it, and out came a large vial with a crystalline substance contained within it.
“So, is that it? You guys made it seem like you need to be a medical student to work this thing.” Shousuke had studied the flask that Master Otterman had handed to her.
“Tell me about it… I think it might have been cooler if you would had been able to absorb it though.” Adam had briefly added, noticing how it kind of looked like cotton candy.
“’Tis no arduous procedure once you have experience with it like I have.” Master Otterman had boasted, a brief interval before focusing on the rest of the process. “The substance needs to be ingested orally as your [Corpus] lies within the center of your body. From that point on, a small chant needs to be added in order for the substance to be absorbed by it. Once you have ingested the shard, all you simply need to do is repeat a certain chant.” Shosuke had proceeded to eat the ‘cotton candy’ like substance, as a sudden burning sensation had overcome her body.
‘What is happening?! It feels like my whole body is about to burn up!’' She mulled over as she in turn had started breathing raggedly, clutching her body while cowering over in pain. Puck was about intervene before a swift hand had intercepted him, Otterman shaking his head at entry.
“Lady Emilia, if you can hear me. I need you to repeat these sayings as that will help ease the pain.” Shousuke’s head had turned towards the robed man, nodding pleadfully.
“From the eras that beckoned the gales of decree.” He had chanted, gestured for Shousuke to do the same.
“From… the eras that beckoned… the gales of decree.” She had breathed out, repeating the verse. The had continued reciting segments of the enchantation, the pain flaring up in Shousuke’s body had eventually resided signaling that the ‘ritual’ had been a success. Something lively could be felt swimming through her essence. Shousuke had then proceeded on picking up where she last left off on [Spiritual Telepathy]. A couple of the spirit’s voices had started bombarding her consciousness as she decided to ward off the rest of her mana from the active spell. ‘Looks like I might need to work on the versatility of this spell some more. I don’t plan on turning out like Mao from Code Geass who can’t shut his power off.’
“Congratulations Lady Emilia on unlocking the full potential of your [Corpus of Sorcery]. As of this moment, our Athenaeum is now open to you.” Master Otterman had declared, consequentially another figure donning a caped like uniform had burst through the door.
“Master Otterman, it’s urgent…” The ‘courier’ had paused as he recognized the other figure in the room. “… And master Matthieu as well. The council has summoned you to the Board of Directors commitee. There has seemed to have been a dimensional rift of unknown origin within Tokyo Prefecture in Japan. They think it might be another summon.” The courier had announced, drawing everyone’s attention. Otterman had eyed his proteges, sighing in resignation.
“Didn’t we just have a dimensional rift last week as well near San Francisco in The United States? Where are all of these people coming from?” Otterman had added, turning towards Geoffroy. “Master Matthieu, if you could complete the rest of the request in my steed, that would be spectacular.” He had finished, filing out the door along with the courier. Leaving Geoffroy and his clients remaining in the room. Both Puck and Shousuke had turned simultaneously towards Geoffroy, much to his chagrin.
“You guys knew of our existence?!” Shousuke had sputtered, Geoffroy had waved in surrender.
“Not quite, we did set up spies along the preliminary area to scout you out since we did not know who the direct source of the summon was.” Geoffroy had revealed, Adam and Puck’s eyebrows had raised at the notion.
“Why didn’t your colleague know who we were then?” Shousuke had added, confused as to why Geoffroy hadn’t told Otterman about Shousuke literally being the summon along with Puck.
“Oh, he knew alright… You see, the way we operate is through subtle undertones that allow us to communicate important messages. Frankly, no one should ever have to sought about by me and mentioned as a client due to my distinguished, now sullied reputation here. Only the leaders of the Association know the cryptic messages we send out to each other.” Geoffroy had reaffirmed, the trio had seemed perplexed by the statement.
“So, does that mean someone had just recently been summoned alongside me and Puck then?” Shousuke had inquired, worried that she might have an encounter with a potential enemy someday.
“The probability is at least a 95% chance that it might have been a potential summon.” Geoffroy had confirmed, recalling his previous experiences with summons from various planes of existence.
“I see...” Shousuke had briefly paused, as she took a glance at the remains of [Shard of Exteria] that was left in the vial. “So are we using the rest of that on Adam?”
“It should pose no problem. In fact, it should be sufficient enough to unlock the Corpus of at least 10 more people that take it. Overdose is not a concern when it comes to unlocking their Corpus, as some people need more than one Shard to unlock it for themselves.” He had examined, the weaves of crystalline material floating freely throughout the vial as he shook it lightly.
“Well then Adam, step up to the plate when you’re ready.” Adam had hesitantly beckoned the notion as he took the vial in his hands. The sight of Shousuke’s suffering from the content had lingered in his mind, sending chills up his spine. Decided to toughen it out, he had poured the content down his throat in resignation. ‘This feels like a really bad idea.’ Adam had mused to himself as the similar symptoms of pain had coursed through his body as well.
Eventually, they both had completed the ceremonial process, as Geoffroy had offered them a temporary lodge to stay over the night at a local inn that he was lodging in as well. He had needed to run a few errands within the city before they headed back to the surface. The trio had adamantly accepted since there was no way to return back to the surface without him, albeit worried that he might abandon them here. Geoffroy had assured them that he wasn’t going to do something as petty as that, so he had offered them a generous amount of money and keys to his Estate within the city. In due process, Geoffroy had guided them out the Wizard Tower and had departed for his destination but not before giving them a brief tour of the Wizard Tower, including the Athenaeum. Shousuke and Adam had been conflicted and slightly tired from the events that had unfolded within the last three hours.
“I know that we’re both skeptical of the whole ordeal, but isn’t giving us the keys to his house an open invitation to loot the place?” Adam had suggested, Shousuke had contemplated on the notion.
“He’s testing us for sure. Besides, trying to rob someone who could probably bitch-slap us to moon seems like a really bad idea.” Shousuke had sighed in affirmation. “I do want to check out some of the shops around town though. They might have something interesting in them.”
“Are you for real?” Adam stated, slightly dreading having to do window shopping like the times he had done that with his sister when he was younger.
“We don’t have anything else to do, since we had initially rejected all their proposals unless if we tried them out first. Although the aspect of going to a Mage’s Academy like in Harry Potter does have some appeal to it. I’d rather live a quite life and go to my dream school I worked so hard to get into.” Shousuke recollected herself, drawing motivation from seemingly nowhere. “Alright, let’s get going.”
Basically what I visualizing but smaller in scale, wizard tower instead of castle, and modernized. (Humans only except Emilia of course. I will get into why there aren't as many fantasy races later.) The Divine tree's root is to the right the wizard tower.