“So, what you’re saying is that you’re level 39?” Allan asked in disbelief with a cup of alcohol in his hand as they were sitting around one of the Pavilion’s commune section’s table. Evelyn had set up a soundproof zone around them with her barrier magic so that the noise made by the other people wouldn’t bother them.
“And you belonged to the most recent batch,” the succubus muttered impressed. “The ease with which you defeated me while in crippled state genuinely fooled me. I thought you were from at least the 50th Plateau. But you were just that talented…”
Rakna shrugged at them and sipped his water. “Frankly speaking, my biggest advantage was how fast I had access to my Nirvana Skill and the luck I had when that happened. All in all, I had a very good start.”
“You still haven’t told us what that Nirvana Skill is by the way,” Allan retorted. “Are you really keeping it from us to keep a maximum of secrecy or do you just enjoy us trying to guess it?”
“A bit of both. Don’t worry though, anything that can be critical to either our survival or victory, I will reveal it to you. I’m not reticent enough to risk that,” he said and glanced at Evelyn. “Speaking of Nirvana Skills, it reminds me that you too have one, though still dormant.”
The sound of Allan banging his head against the table was heard right after. Nyx and Flavia looked at him with wry smiles while Evelyn blinked in confusion.
“What about you three? How much did you level up during your exploration of the Tenth Plateau and what did you learn since I last saw you?”
“Well, in order,” Flavia mused and pointed at herself. “Level 24.” Then Allan. “24 as well.” Then Nyx. “25. Other than that, I guess we found out a little more about our magics and then completed some small Quests that gave us a few free points to spare.”
“Pretty much, yeah,” Allan confirmed. “Personally, I learned how to use the void element in two different ways; Elemental Reinforcement and the spell Wormhole. You already saw what the latter does but the former is a bit more complicated. Hm, I’m sure you noticed that the force of your attacks would disperse, right?”
Rakna nodded at that. “Yes. I assume you took the impact and ‘voided’ it? Made it null?”
“Not exactly,” Allan grinned. “When I use Elemental Reinforcement with Void, my body becomes wrapped in a sort of empty ‘dimensional suit’. When something touches it, the momentum will be transferred inside the dimension and hoarded.”
“Wait, so that means you can use that momentum for yourself?” Evelyn asked with widened eyes.
“Well…” Allan scratched his cheek sheepishly. “I think I can… but not yet. I probably have to train with it and raise its level before I can do that. It also has limited room. I can’t just take hits or it will become saturated at some point and explode on my face.”
“Interesting… what about you, Flavia? The incantation and attack you used when I was trapped inside Nyx’s birdcage, that was Chaos Magic, right?”
“Yes,” she nodded. “Vera taught me the basics and I barely managed to make a two-fold spell with my gravity and wood elements. The effects were as you experienced. It’s very powerful but for now, it takes a decent amount of time to cast as well as a sizeable chunk of mana.”
“But totally worth it,” Allan quipped and everyone agreed.
“Am I next?” Nyx asked with a tilt of her head and Rakna shrugged.
“As you want. Just like me, you can choose to hide it if you want. Though, I’m curious to know how you freed yourself from the Dreorin Rage’s stun so quickly.”
The former goddess faintly smiled. “I can tell you that much, don’t worry. The reason why it didn’t work as well on me is because of one of my Traits; Divine Blood to be exact. It’s just like it sounds. I have blood that channels divine energy through my body and this gives me several bonuses such as all sorts of resistances, a longer lifespan, increased healing, and the ability to use holy mana.”
“Other than that, I haven’t learned a lot of new skills. I did reproduce spells that I used to cast like the Bird Cage but nothing worthy of notice. And concerning Eternal Night… it’s still a work in progress but I can at least conjure basic attacks with it.”
“What about Lunar Magic?”
Nyx shook her head. “Several conditions must be met to use that magic. Contrary to what you may think, it’s a very powerful magic but I simply haven’t had the right opportunity to use it yet.”
“I see,” Rakna nodded then turned toward the last person. “Evelyn, other than the flames you used, can you tell me what you used to sneak up on me? Was it a skill?”
“Ah, that. No, it was a spell. One made with Barrier Magic. Since it is an element I had from before I sealed myself, I already knew how to use it. What you saw was an application of both a sound-isolating barrier, just like the one around us, and a light-reflective barrier around my body. With that, I was invisible and I made no sound whatsoever.”
“That makes sense… I suppose that also applies to your scent and aura, right?”
“Then what about the Hell Blaze? What can it do?” Flavia asked curiously.
“Well, I haven’t had much time to experiment with it but, aside from the obvious properties such as the burning power, once it touches someone, it will feed on their mana to sustain itself for as long as possible. Then, from what Vera told me, I should be able to use it as a notional gate to Hell to summon powerful creatures. That’s all I know for now and I haven’t tried it yet.”
“Well, I guess it’s a good thing that I kept contact with that fire to a minimum,” Rakna commented.
“All right, Rak. Your turn now. Maybe not your Nirvana Skill, but you can tell us a bit more about your magic, no?” Allan suggested and he didn’t see any problem with it.
“Sure. As you already know, my element is Cold Star. I can manipulate what is called Star Energy and that’s how I made the bow and arrow during the Trial for instance. That gave birth to a spell called Star Make. While we were separated, I discovered a new spell; Star Monarch.”
“Sounds powerful. What does it do?”
“Long story short, I can mimic constellations in a miniature form and then use the legend of their origins as a unique spell. The latest I used is Lyra. It’s a constellation connected to the legend of Orpheus. With it, it’s possible to force people into a state of absolute peace, if I understood it correctly. It can even affect nature itself.”
“…why do you always get the cool stuff?”
“By curiosity, how many constellations have you used until now?” Nyx inquired.
“Only two. Lyra and Gemini. The latter allows me to appropriate myself the ‘presence’ and ‘signature’ of someone or something for five minutes. I’m not sure about its limitations though.”
“Truly… it seems you could perform all kinds of useful effects,” Nyx mused. “There are so many possibilities. Phoenix, Hercules, Draco, Hydra, Horologium… tell me, how good is your knowledge of constellations?”
“Decent. Bordering expertise, to be fair. It helps when you have an uncle that loves mythology to such a degree that he actively learned both Greek and Latin.”
“Then, I can only say that if you steadily increase your repertoire of spells, you might be able to practically have a solution to every problem you encounter. That almost makes me jealous,” the former goddess admitted.
“Yeah, right, there’s no ‘almost’ for me here,” Allan grumbled as he devoured the pretzels served on the table. “I’m thoroughly jealous of you all. You can be sure of that.”
The girls chuckled and Rakna snorted before taking a look at the time. He thought about what he should do during his recovery and stood up. “Well, I will retire for the day. I have a few things to do and then I’ll go to sleep. While I did get a nap earlier today, habits really die hard.”
“There you go again, Ò Lone Wolf,” Allan jested. “At least assure us you’re not going to prematurely go to the Fifth Plateau, finish the Trial, and get beaten up in the Tenth without us knowing.”
Rakna sent him a straight stare. “No. For the next week, I will rest, read books, work on my soul power, and perhaps do some very easy Quests… probably.”
“See? Even you are not sure. You’re a junkie… in a sort of weird way.”
“Don’t call me that,” he deadpanned. “Rather, I should be asking you what your plans are. Are you going to continue climbing Plateaus?”
“Nah, we’ll wait for you,” Allan waved his hand. “We’ll all feel much better if you’re with us. We also found a Dungeon that only accepts parties of five, so with Evelyn in the fray, I say it’s perfect.”
“I see. Then, if that’s the case, can you also help her get to our standards? While her intelligence attribute is high for her level, the rest is a bit low and she needs to practice her magic.”
“Of course, we can do that,” Flavia immediately agreed and the succubus nodded gratefully.
“Then it’s decided. Here, take it,” Rakna said and dropped his scarf on the Cambion’s lap. “I most likely won’t need it in the near future so you can take it to train with them. Feel free to use it as well. You’re the only one other than me who can wield Sonata. So, go wild with it.”
“Thank you,” the succubus smiled as she felt the warmth of the scarf again. “I’ll take care of it.”
“On this note, I’ll go to the shop. See you,” he said and waved his hand as he walked away.
* * *
A short moment later, Rakna made his way to the shop’s doors in the private section of the Pavilion and opened the doors half-expecting to see Kaelith doing whatever but surprisingly, there was no one inside. He entered and walked to the counter. He found a gold reception bell on it along with a note from his shopkeeper.
| Hi, wolfy! This is your favorite foxy! Since I’m a bit busy right now, I can’t just wait for you until you come to visit me so if you want to access the shop, just ring the bell and I’ll appear. |
“Uh… that’s new,” he muttered and blinked at the bell before ringing it a few times. When the last echo died down, a swirl of blue flames appeared behind the counter and Kaelith walked out of it with an unusually tired expression.
“Wolfy… you have no idea how much I want to hug you right now,” she uttered and slumped her upper body on the counter. “Those rubbish elders… Your calling me gave me an excuse to run away from their meeting. I swear one day I’ll be the death of them.”
Rakna quirked an eyebrow. “You sure you didn’t mix up that saying?”
Kaelith straightened herself. “I’m completely aware of what I said, wolfy,” she declared with a very impish smirk. “But, hey, I don’t want to talk about those boring old men. Why don’t you tell me why you’re here today?”
Rakna wordlessly activated his spatial ring and a pile of gold and other precious objects poured in behind him like a waterfall. Kaelith’s smile froze at the sight and she tilted her head with a twitch to her eyebrow.
“Never mind. I will be the death of you one day.”
“…please say it right.”