In the blink of an eye, Rakna was standing on one of the many airborne steel platforms of Black Steel. He ran his hand through his hair because of the invasive thoughts he had and checked his map. He happened to see two new things on it.
The first one was an actual path for him to take to get to the location of his Quest. It seemed to work like a GPS and even included things like public transport. The second thing was a small green icon on the right upper corner.
He focused on it a bit and a prompt asked him if he wanted to buy the basic mapping of the First Plateau for 100 Talys. “So, you can get it directly from here, huh?” He muttered and accepted.
A small download bar appeared for a few seconds before the map was updated with a complete image and information. He hummed when he saw that and began to walk down from the platform, which he still had no idea how it stayed in the air like that.
“Now that I think about it,” he spoke up as he walked down the stairs. “Why does one need to pass by the Pavilion to travel between Plateaus? Isn’t it a Local/Host made organization? Why do they have control over that?”
[That is a complicated matter,] Alexa responded. [But I can summarize it for you. Originally, the System only allowed Locals to have control over the transfer. There were several Locals on every Plateau that would have that privilege and only their direct descendants could do it as well.]
[However, things changed when the population increased and rendered this method flagrantly ineffective. There was a limited number of Locals able to grant access and too many Hosts to deal with. So, after reaching a consensus, Hosts and Locals joined forces to try and change the code of the System.]
“I heard that from Lana but how does it work?” Rakna inquired. “Do you just open up a computer and connect to a hotspot or what?”
[I’m afraid not,] she retorted while ignoring her Host’s jest. [There is something called Terminals. There is one on every Plateau and Pavilions are incidentally built around them.]
“And what can you do with that Terminal exactly?”
[Many things. But ‘administrative work’ would be an accurate way to put it. You can appeal to the System itself when something requires its help or you can use it to extract the core infrastructure to program something on top of it. That is how the Pavilion was made; the shop, the bank, the filter dimensions, the portal room, and also your Badge of Honor’s functions.]
‘I see. Can you tell me why the distribution of these badges is so limited?’ Rakna asked as he switched to mental dialogue since he had reached the streets.
[It is the rightful authority that Locals demanded when they agreed to build the Pavilion. To fully explain it, I would have to expound on the political state of the System.]
‘Never mind then. I don’t want to want to hear it. Politics are bullshit,’ he replied and leaned against a bus station that his GPS was telling him to wait at. He yawned after checking the time and felt something tugging at his pants.
He scowled and looked down to see a small husky-like dog grating his legs. It had black and white fur and a few features that made it resemble a wolf, notably its muzzle and fangs.
“Do you want something?” Rakna uttered and the dog barked whilst wagging its tail back and forth. “…I don’t have food for you, you know?”
The dog continued to rub its head against his leg and he raised an eyebrow before crouching. He patted the animal's head and felt as if there was a connection between the two of them. ‘Is this… the effect of Wolf King?’ Rakna wondered. ‘Maybe this guy has more than just a wolfish appearance.’
“Locky!” One voice sounded from his right and looked up to see a young boy, around fifteen years old, panting with his palms on his knees as he held a leash with a snapped collar attached to it.
“Come on! How many times are you going to do this?” He said exasperatingly and lifted his dog to keep him in his arms. “If you continue, I’ll seriously buy a steel collar. Do you want that around your neck?” The pet made a sheepish expression at that and looked away.
At the same time, Rakna slowly stood up again, carefully making sure he didn’t strain his muscles more than he needed. It was then that the boy finally noticed him.
“Ah! I’m so sorry. I hope Locky didn’t bother you too much.”
Rakna grunted and lit a cigarette as he answered, “No trouble. It’s not like he could do much harm.”
“Haha… well, he sort of has a mixed bloodline. He’s still young but he should get stronger in the future,” the boy said while scratching his cheek.
“Is that so. Is he part lupine by any chance?”
“Eh? Yes… how did you know?”
Rakna shrugged as he spotted a flying bus descending in their direction. “A random guess. He looks a bit like a wolf,” he answered as the vehicle parked in front of them. He entered without saying anything when the doors opened and received a notification that his Talys would be deducted from his balance once he leaves the transport.
He silently noted that and went to sit on an empty seat. The young boy followed him inside as well and the unmanned bus closed doors before taking off. Rakna exhaled, opening the window to his right a bit so that the smoke would get out, and crossed his arms while leaning against the seat.
He looked at the few people in the bus from the corner of his eyes before closing them. From what the GPS was telling him, it would take about twenty minutes for this bus to reach his stop.
‘In the meantime, Alexa, can you update me on how many elements Absolute Cover can hide?’
[Certainly. Ever since you learned the skill, the number of elements you can hide has increased to 16. I believe it is mainly due to your recent breakthrough with your soul power.]
Rakna nodded. ‘Retract the cover I put on my Flight proficiency then use the rest of the slots to hide my Cold Star Magic, Ascent of the Titan, Soul Sense, Soul Scourge, and Soul Core.’
[Understood. Absolute Cover’s hidden elements have been changed.]
‘Also, bring out the title I got for discovering Verias’ tomb.’
❮ ◈ ❯
A designation granted to the lucky and adventurous travelers who have discovered riches in the most special and secluded of places.
- Grants you the skill ‘Fortune Search’ that will reveal to you nearby gatherings of wealth.
- Your maximum balance is permanently increased by 500 000.
- Defeated foes will drop 5% more money.
❮ ◈ ❯
‘Not bad,’ Rakna remarked inwardly and that coincidentally made him remember all the gold and precious objects he had stolen from Verias’ tomb. He opened his Item Box with a thought and navigated through his belongings until he found what he was looking for.
‘Let’s see… diamonds, pure gold, rubies, ornamental weapons,’ he listed silently. As he expected, all of it had no value that could be directly converted into Talys. Maybe he would have to sell them.
When Rakna was about to give up on finding something useful in all of this, a certain case of his Item Box caught his eyes. He raised an eyebrow and pressed on it to pull it out of the storage. The flash of light that came with it grabbed the attention of the passengers around him and that quickly turned into amazement when they saw the gold casket in his hands.
Before that could turn into greed though, Rakna triggered his Despair Aura for a second without even looking. He made sure to keep it low enough to not scare them too much but they all still paled and lowered their heads to avoid looking at him.
Meanwhile, the young boy from earlier was a bit intimidated but he seemed to be impressed rather than scared. As for Locky on his lap, the dog didn’t even seem to have felt it.
Rakna ignored whatever reactions he caused and nonchalantly opened the casket in his hands. He expected to see some sort of jewelry collection, but what he got instead was a single black and red ring. However, when he saw its description revealed by Appraisal, there was no way he could be disappointed.
❮ ◈ ❯
Designation: Hex Item/Ring
Name: Necromancer’s Rule
An accessory forged through cursed rituals and black magic. It holds within itself the power to control the dead to the user’s whim.
It is an item created by the King of the Puppet Legion for his personal use and is one of the very few objects he brought with him after fleeing from the Abyss’ pursuit.
- Grants the spontaneous skill ‘Raise Undead’.
- Grants the spontaneous skill ‘Dead Men Tell’.
- Grants a +10% Magic Attack and +0.1 MP Regen Factor.
- 100 m³ sub-space storage => Capable of storing undead controlled by the user.
Note: This is a Hex Item. It does not require an available slot to be equipped and will forever be bound to the Host who equips until their timely death.
Its previous owner was Asziquol Naberum Verias. It was unbounded after the latter’s ‘death’ and arbitrarily thrown in the tomb; in wait for its creator to resurrect.
❮ ◈ ❯
‘Well, I guess this is my second red item,’ Rakna commented in amusement and stared at the ring held between his fingers. He used Fabled Sight and his soul power to tatter the waters. He didn’t want to risk anything equipping an object that came from THAT guy.
He confirmed one last time by concentrating on his raw instinct and sighed. In the end, he slid the ring around his right middle finger and felt a short-lived stream of energy enter his body before dying down and leaving place for three System windows.
❮ ◈ ❯
The Necromancer’s Rule has been bound to you!
Item Box has detected a new spatial storage; establishment of a new link successful.
You have learned a new skill; Raise Undead!
Raise Undead (Lv.1): This is normally a spell only usable with magic elements aligned with necromancy but the item it is derived from erases that restriction. You can turn a corpse into an undead by spending an amount of mana equal to the level of the target while it was still alive.
Raise Undead has lower chances to succeed on targets that were too disparate from the user in strength. If the process fails, the corpse will disintegrate in consequence.
Current Number of Undead Raised: 0/10
Note: There is a limit to how many undead you can control. If it is crossed, the undead you raised will turn against you. This limit will increase along with the skill level.
You have learned a new skill; Dead Men Tell!
DMT (Lv.1): This can only be used on corpses that haven’t been dead for more than twenty-four hours. It allows the user to integrate memories from the target. As you grow more proficient with the skill, the clearer and bigger the results will be. You will also be able to steal more than just memories.
Note: There is no cost or constraint but caution is advised; repeated use of this skill may cause irreparable damages to the user’s mind. Memories of beings stronger than the user might also be capable to fight back during the assimilation and take over.
❮ ◈ ❯