The two must have hurt his pride as a once-legendary figure because Igris Neihime, for once, did not feel like retorting Claire's words. Only his sigh drifted as he realized, something he continued to do so, that none of his trials were possing even a hint of a challenge to the person who was bond to inherit all he left behind.
Claire on the other hand was utterly confused as to why her mentor-whom-had-never-taught-her-anything would find it sad that his 'student' broke through any and all challenges. 'Strange,' She thought, 'must just be how all ghost sages of old are. Maybe we somewhat broke him?'
A cough resounded.
[Well. . .the sad ease of that trial aside. . .] Igris began. [The reward for completing the seventh stage is unique as it is more knowledge than item.]
"Oh?" Claire raised a brow as she sat upon a chair of ice, Asta on her lap trembling slightly in happiness and Alicia to her right, looking somewhat glaringly at the ball of snow. "What is it?"
At this, the ghostly mentor of hers chuckled.
[My masterpiece, years of research, skill, and craftsmanship, the art of ice spirits!] He proclaimed, voice oozing with ancient pride. [Technically, they are ice golems, but, with the addition of Asta, you'll be able to turn any creation of yours into an elemental spirit.]
"E-eh?" A certain ball of snow perked up.
Claire was reminded of the numerous ice creations she had fought in the previous volume. First had been Couldren the Frozen Knight, and the next had been the human-like beast that appeared on the second trial. As her memory rolled over them, she thought that was what her mentor was alluding towards.
[They may not have all the functionality an elemental spirit should, as I could never replicate that, but you can think of them as akin to that.]
As he spoke those words, a black book, looking more ominous than legendary, birthed into the air and floated until Claire grasped it and read the white title etched upon its leather cover. Indeed, it said 'Ice Golems to Spirits by Igris Neihime.'
"Alright." She flipped it open. "I'll read it now."
Not only was Claire a fast reader, but she also had the added advantage of having a perfect memory. Within three hours, she finished the entirety of the 243-page book and tossed it into her perpetually snowy realm.
The book mainly covered the act of building a body, human or beastly, that ran with mana lines using the pure energy mixed with ice magic. The true reason for its name wouldn't actually occur until she placed Asta within that creation, him combining with it, and birthed it to life. Essentially, she thought, she was making what was akin to a robot and its circuitry.
"And now, you've officially graduated from being called 'mentor-who-has-taught-me-nothing', now you're just my mentor," Claire said with a hint of displeasure, rubbing her eyes as Alicia massaged her shoulders with a light smile.
[. . .why do you sound so disappointed?] Igris Neihime questioned.
The ice queen chuckled, yawned, then stood and stretched.
"Alright, I'll start," She muttered as the curious ball of snow floated around her.
[What. . .now?! Already?!]
"Yes," Claire replied as if it was the most stupid question she had ever heard, "I'll begin."
She stepped forward and tapped the floor as mana rolled around and gathered before her. Soon, a being slowly etched from the floor up. Claire being a rather smart individual with hyperthymesia, memories perfect and never lost, only stamped down, had no troubles imagining a human figure, understanding the diagrams her mentor had written within the book, and forming it from ice.
First came feet of ice. Next came the legs. Then the thighs and hips. The torso followed, a chest birthed, arms and hands with fingers formed, and then there was a faceless head. The creation stood, slender and without features, as tall as Claire and Alicia themselves, constructed from all of her mana. It looked simple, but within all of that were lines of mana etched there.
[. . .to think what made me legendary was so easily learned and used within 3 hours.] Igris Neihime sighed. [I suppose the next generation of Guardians have already surpassed us old-timers.] He muttered when the creation came to fruition.
The ball of snow danced around the thing.
"Wha-whoa, that looks like brother's second form!" Asta yelled.
"Indeed it does," Claire said, nodding, "Now get inside."
"Just float into its head and meld with it. The book said you could do that, I believe?"
"I can do that??" The boy was confused. "Oh, yes, I can do that!"
". . ."
[. . .]
To the utter speechlessness of them all, Asta finally realized and floated to the face of the ice golem. A moment later, he touched it with his form, and slowly etched within until there was no blemish upon the creation.
Claire watched as the golem moved a moment later. It took a step backward, it blurred, appearing a distance away, then took a step forward and stood before her.
"OOOH!" Asta's voice leaked out of its feature-less face as its arms raised and swung about.
The air broke apart and whistled, ruffling Claire's black hair and sending it flying. Alicia held her golden hair down and looked at the happy boy with displeasure.
"Calm down," The vampire said.
Claire smiled as <Loki> appeared in her grasp. The katana's silver blade gleaming and its bandaged handle fluttering.
"Here." She handed it to the new Asta as her crimson eyes glazed azure. "Use it well."
"Oooh!" Asta's palm squirmed under his control and took the weapon within, disappearing into him.
Race: Elemental Spirit
Overall: S- -]
She grinned at the realization that all of its ranks were based upon her mana's. Of course, it would be entirely weak to any fire spells, lacked in any actual skills, could not use any magic, required her mana to be improved, and would likely lose to any decently skilled intelligent humanoid of the same ranks until Asta mastered swordsmanship, but, this was a weapon of war. If she pointed it at a beast, there was little thought that the poor creature at the end of her finger would be slaughtered.
'Why thank you for another overpowered addition, mentor of mine,' Claire thought.
Just like that, there was herself, an ice fairy who could lay devastation from a distance, Alicia, an untiring ancient vampire who slaughtered at close range, and Asta, an elemental spirit that could be reshaped to fit a battle and handed any fitting weapon of destruction like <Loki>.
Indeed, the group of three was complete and only 3 trials remained.