After the battle, the group swiftly collected the only things the slimes had dropped; their nucleus.
❮ ◈ ❯
Designation: Loot Material/Red Slime Nucleus
Description: The nucleus of a slime is the very cause of the monster’s existence. It is commonly identified as a mineral that is capable of absorbing ambient mana and store it around itself as a physical substance.
❮ ◈ ❯
Rakna casually read the description as they continued to follow the arrow on their map.
“These things are considered loot?” Allan said as he held one of the nuclei between his fingers. “I expected something more… flashy.”
“Like what?” Rakna asked
“I don’t know, man. Like, actual ‘loot’. Armors, weapons, skills, money; stuff like that.”
Gray heard him from behind and chuckled. “I’m afraid you won’t get those from mere slimes.”
“Eh?” Allan turned around. “So, that means other monsters will drop them?”
“Well, the stronger the monster, the better loot. But, for instance, monsters like the hobgoblins you fought in the Tutorial would give much better loot if you fought them now.”
“Seriously? Then why couldn’t we just have this unlocked during the Tutorial?!”
Gray shrugged. “Don’t ask me. The System likes to do things progressively. Heck, even I think that there are still features I don’t have access to, much less you.”
“I call bullshit,” Allan grumbled and handed back the nucleus to Rakna who stored it for him. The latter was the only one who had a spatial ring and other than him and his companions, every other Host was forced to carry them in bags or small pouches.
“Hey, Clown,” Rakna raised his voice and Gray looked at him. “How much does a spatial ring go for?”
“Like the one you have?”
“No, the lowest tier.”
“Well, the fixed price for a T.10 Spatial Ring is 7 000 Talys,” he said and the other Hosts who had been listening in winced a bit. “Granted, it is a bit costly for you at the moment. But, later on, you’ll get that amount very easily. You just have to make do with what you have now. Well, other than a certain someone who got gifted a high tier item by his beautiful shopkeeper.”
A few people glared at Rakna who nonchalantly shrugged them off. He waved his hand slightly and focused as a cold mist swirled around it. He waved his finger and started forming something that resembled a small cube of ice in his hand without even looking.
“What are you doing with that ice?” Flavia asked curiously when she noticed.
“It’s not ice,” Rakna retorted and made the cube float up from his palm. Flavia took a closer look and understood what he meant pretty fast.
The cube truly didn’t look like ice. It did release cold air, the color was also matching, but it didn’t have a smooth surface and it reflected nothing. Some small parts would sometimes arise and then disappear at random times. It was almost as if it was a very compact mass of strange icy flames.
“It is essentially pure cold energy given form… I think,” Rakna said hesitatingly. “With my magic, it’s not really possible to make ice. I can solidly liquids and humidity in the air but making ice out of nothing would need me to be able to gather humidity into one place. However, the only thing I can do is release cold. That’s it.”
“Cold?” Nyx frowned. “Your magic just lowers temperature?”
“Sort of. What’s special about it is precisely this,” he said while pointing at the cube. A second later, it turned into a pyramid, then into a thin plate, then back into a cube. “It’s something completely contradicting. It’s a form of energy that releases cold. In other words, it’s an energy that lowers energy inside objects.”
“I don’t get it…” Allan muttered.
Flavia mused. “Cold is the result of a lack of heat. Heat is a form of energy; mainly created through friction, pressure, combustion, light… When Rakna says that it’s a contradiction, he means that his magic creates some sort of energy that releases cold, something that is impossible. If we stick to science at least.”
“Well… what’s the difference between that and simple ice magic?”
“It’s like comparing fire to heated metal,” Rakna said. “The fire can increase the heat of the metal which will then release energy on its own but only until it’s exhausted,” he explained and his eyes glowed a bit before he suddenly increased his mana output.
The small cube in his hand quickly turned into a full-sized glaive made out of pure blue energy. It was releasing the small flame-like particles that the cube had been.
❮ ◈ ❯
You have learned a new spell!
Star Make (T.10 – 1): The ability to create forms and objects based on the user’s imagination. By condensing Star Energy, all sorts of constructs can be made. From the smallest of blades to the most complex and biggest of objects.
Cost: Variable. An unremitting flow of mana is required to keep a construct active. This may or may not apply to sub-spells derived from it.
Note: The more mana is used in the creation of a construct, the stronger the result is. The power of the spell has thus a rating varying from Tier 10 to Tier 1.
❮ ◈ ❯
Rakna wasn’t too surprised at this notification while his friends and the people around were staring at the energy weapon he had made with wide eyes.
Gray grinned to himself while Vera and Quill were watching confoundedly as they attempted to recognize the magic. ‘Of course, they wouldn’t recognize it. They probably have never seen anything similar to this,’ the clown thought, once again relishing the fact that he had recruited an awesome talent.
“That is very similar to my shadow constructs,” Nyx commented.
Rakna nodded then looked at Allan. “A question for you; what’s the difference between this glaive I just made and one made of ice?”
“Uuh… I don’t know?”
Even Pronos sweatdropped at his ignorance. Rakna shook his head helplessly. “Let’s say I stabbed you with a weapon made of ice, what would happen?”
“Well, it’d feel super cold, I guess. And maybe damage my internal organs or something?”
“Good enough. But,” Rakna paused and emphasized as he whirled the Star Construct. “This would do way more. It technically would do with cold as fire does with heat; continuous conduction. Just that this glaive would conduct cold. It wouldn’t just cool down your insides; it would start to freeze them as long as the source isn’t pulled out. Just like how your body would take fire if you somehow had one burning inside of you.”
“Oh…OH!” The blond had a moment of realization before it struck him. “Holy shit… please don’t point that thing at me.”
Rakna snorted and mentally discarded the energy glaive, making it disappear and stopping the drain that was making his mana pool suffer. ‘With my soul core, the cost was about 2.6 MP to make, and 2.6 more to keep it active for about a minute,’ he thought while gazing at his empty hand still releasing some cold air.
“Raaar!” The booming cry of an animal made Rakna and the others look at one of the large dinosaurs in the distance, hollering at another who responded in kind.
Soon after, a transparent aura started appearing around them; something that Rakna immediately compared to his Intimidation skill.
“Looks like they’re going to fight for territory,” Gray commented.
“Indeed,” Quill nodded. “These beasts are generally not hostile toward humans but some of them are very territorial. I recommend you to be careful in the future. Now, move on. At your level, you don’t want to be anywhere near them as they fight.”
The recruits nodded and started distancing themselves. As they got away from the area, they felt a brief trembling coming from the ground and a fading noise.
“Damn, how strong are they to do that?” Allan uttered while looking over his shoulder.
“More than us. That’s all we need to know for now. More importantly,” Rakna trailed as he looked at the lake in front of them with a small island in it. The arrow was pointing right at it.
“Hmm,” Gray observed the island and the stone structure on it resembling an arena along with a big humanoid statue sitting in the center. “That’s… the Combat Trial for sure. Can’t tell the specific challenge though.”
“You don’t know?” Flavia tilted her head. “Are the Trials also reset by the System?”
“Yes,” Vera answered her question. “Though, the types are always the same. For example, the First Plateau will always have one Combat Trial, one Race Trial, and one Mental Trial. The one you see over there must be the Combat Trial; requiring you to fight a foe of some kind. But the challenge itself can have specific rules.”
Rakna made sure to note that information for future reference and then observed the entirety of the lake, noticing that there wasn’t any sort of platform to get to the isle.
“Do we… have to swim there?” One of the girls from Wiccan Guild asked nervously.
“Well, not necessarily…” Gray smiled as Rakna silently approached the edge of the lake. He put his hand in the water and closed his eyes. Pronos promptly jumped off when he felt his master’s body growing colder and colder.
Rakna concentrated his mana inside his body, building it up as his Soul Core pulsed. After almost twenty seconds, he opened his eyes and released all of it at once. The water made a fizzing sound and froze incredibly fast in a straight line toward the isle.
❮◈❯ Mana Control has leveled up! ❮◈❯
When Rakna stood up, a one-meter-wide ice bridge had been made. He grunted and shook his hand to get rid of the frost on it.
“That took half of my mana…” He complained and that didn’t do anything to reduce the shock of the onlookers. Even Quill and Vera were surprised. The latter even more so as she knew that there was no known ice element capable of doing such a thing at a beginner level.
Gray however insouciantly walked up and curiously tapped on the ice with his foot. “Nice. It’s thick enough to last. Good job.”
Rakna shrugged and stepped on the ice while pulling out one cigarette from Obsidian’s Smoke and lighting it. Pronos followed him but instead of using the bridge, jumped in the water.
Soon enough, the others snapped out of their shock and carefully used the ice bridge, making sure that not too many people would be on one spot at the same time. After about five minutes, they had all reached the isle; the overseers lagging behind a bit.
Then, a System window popped up in everyone’s vision.
❮ ◈ ❯
You have reached a Trial Zone. Trials can only be taken alone. You will temporarily leave your party for the duration of the Trial.
Trial of the First Plateau
Enter the Arena to initiate the Trial. Once inside, a barrier will be erected to prevent external interventions. It will be taken down when the Trial is over.
Conditions to Pass: Defeat the Golem in under five minutes.
❮ ◈ ❯