113. Taste of Success
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“You’re too big.” That’s the first thing Rakna said when he regrouped with his ‘pets’. Tyran lowered his head with a sad growl and Pronos patted his head to comfort him. “I can’t put you in my main storage and Necromancer’s Rule doesn’t have enough space for you.”


“{Poor thing,}” Higure said as they watched the T. Rex whimper gloomily. “{Then again, you are right. It would be ill-advised to bring him back to Black Steel. Well, not like he would fit in the train, to begin with.}”


“Hm,” Rakna put a hand on his chin and looked at Tyran with one eye closed. “Hey, do you think he’s compatible with Gigantism?”


“{I don’t know. What about you, Alexa?}”


[Based on preliminary scans, I would say there’s an 80% chance he is,] the AI answered. [The fact that he possesses Death Energy instead of stamina might increase those odds. As an undead, his body is more ‘malleable’, for the lack of a better word.]


“So, you’re positive of his chances?”




Rakna sighed. “In that case, I’ll have to make a round trip to Black Steel,” he said unexcitedly. “You two; wait for me around the area. I should be back in… around forty minutes. An hour at worst.”


Tyran and Pronos looked at each other before nodding at him. He sighed again and unfurled his wings. He pumped mana into them and passively noticed how easier it was compared to before he made his circuits.


Artzpul,” he muttered and the skill was conjured faster than he was used to. The difference was minimal, for sure, but for him, even something like 0.1 second was god-sent. He shot up in the sky, finally free of the infuriating physical blocks, and headed for the station at maximum speed.


* * *


Twenty-five minutes later, a door was slammed open. “Foxy, one Gigantism Pill.”


Kaelith blankly stared at her lone customer and friend, “Seriously?”




“…Sylvie,” she called and the small pet fox came in half a minute later with the sealed box grasped in her tail. The vixen did the usual unlocking and handed the pill to Rakna who promptly stored it.


“Thanks. See you.”


Just like that, he left and Kaelith was left staring at the door with Sylvie standing on the counter in front of her. “…what just happened? And, is it just me, or his tails and ears were different?”


* * *


“Big guy, use scan on this. Are you compatible?” Rakna asked as he held the pill in his hand. Tyran looked at it for a few seconds before nodding. “Then eat it.”


Rakna tossed the pill with his thumb and the Dreorin caught it midair. He readily swallowed it and felt it go down his throat, being incorporated into his body.


Then, in the blink of an eye, Tyran’s internal energies spiked and caused his aura to suddenly turn into a glaring source of light. Rakna blocked it with his arm and when it died down, his eyes opened wide as he took in the dinosaur’s appearance.


“Gar!” The King of Dreorins cried out… cutely. His tone of voice was higher and there was nothing left of his previous mighty roar.


Rakna blinked, looking down at the creature in front of him. Yes, down. What stood in front of him was nothing close to a six-meter-tall T. Rex. It was a small adorable animal with tiny legs and quite a disproportionate, but not uncanny, head.


“Gargar!” He opened his mouth again and leaped toward Rakna who mindlessly caught him before he started rubbing his head against his cheek. Pronos was watching from the side with a stunned look and apparently, Rakna wasn’t faring better since he was rooted in place while Tyran excitedly trashed around in his arms.


“{Hoho? A hyper compatibility?}” Higure commented. “{He has managed to change his body size by more than 100%. Rather, I’d say he’s more than 1000% smaller.}”


The lioness’ voice snapped Rakna out of it and Tyran coincidentally crossed eyes with Pronos and jumped off. He ran to his snake friend and the two of them stared at each other, this time with a matching line of sight. Then, the two of them hissed/roared before seemingly laughing together.


“Well, that’s unexpected,” Rakna muttered. “Tyran,” he called and the tiny T. Rex turned toward him with a tilt of his head. “You shrunk to that point; how big can you get?”


Tyran seemed pensive for a second. He closed his eyes then activated the skill again. This time, there was no show of light and Rakna witnessed the transformation happen in real-time until it stopped once he was around ten meters tall.


“Is that your maximum?” He asked and the big guy responded with a nod before returning to his small size. “I see. It would have indeed been terrific if you could become 1000% bigger.”


“{Nothing surprising. It is common knowledge that increasing one’s physical size is considerably harder than the opposite,}” Higure informed.


“Hm, now that I think about it, I haven’t tried to decrease my size yet,” Rakna remarked to himself and looked at the time. “Tyran, Pronos, let’s leave. The only reason I came here was that I had to find targets for Soul Drain. There’s no point now that I’m partially healed,” he said and walked up to them.


Pronos latched around his neck while he picked up Tyran. “Since you’re small enough, I’ll let you stay outside for now. The storage of this ring is probably not the most comfortable of places,” he uttered and the T. Rex let out a happy cry. “All right. Hold tight,” he said and took off into the sky with a burst of mana.


* * *


When they arrived in Black Steel, Pronos kept his spot around Rakna’s neck while Tyran ran in all directions, enthusiastically viewing the surroundings. When they arrived at the Pavilion, they quickly went to one of the training rooms.


“This place will become my home at this rate,” Rakna snorted and let Tyran run free. “Pronos, it’s time to work on your magic.” The little snake nodded at that and climbed down from his master’s neck. “Alexa told me you used your magic in a sort of trance-like state. Do you think you can do it again?”


Pronos looked hesitant at the question and he ultimately shook his head. “I see. I guess you mean that you don’t know rather than can’t,” Rakna corrected and he nodded. “In that case, let’s make some tests. Let’s see… using star energy may be detrimental more than anything. Trii, can you give me a bow and a full quiver?”


|| Any particular features? ||


“No, just give me a regular wooden bow.”


|| Acknowledged. ||


Without delay, in a flash of light, what Rakna requested materialized floating right in front of his eyes. He grabbed the bow first, feeling its weight and balance, then placed the quiver with around twenty arrows in it at his feet.


“Here’s what you will do. I’m going to shoot these arrows and you will try to use your magic on them. Arrows are straightforward projectiles. It’s easy to picture what it does; fly and hit. I want you to focus on just one aspect; acceleration, or to be exact, velocity. The former is literally how fast an object accelerates.”


“The arrows I’m going to shoot have naturally a negative acceleration for the most part so it would be unwise to focus on that. Velocity, on the other hand, is simply how fast an object moves so it’ll be far easier to manipulate in all logic. Maintaining your concentration might also be crucial to manifest your magic. Do you get it until now?”


Pronos nodded again.


“Good. From what I heard, when you used your magic, a circle with an infinity sign in it was used to apply the effects on the rock,” Rakna said and nocked an arrow on the bow. “The first thing I’ll have you do is to imagine the circle appearing in the arrow’s trajectory. In the end, this is the process you need to remember: Step one, judge the speed of the arrow. Step two, theorize a change in velocity. Step three, create the magic circle. Step four, let the arrow fly through.”


“Ready to go?” Rakna asked and the little snake bobbed his head up and down. “Then, here’s the first one,” he announced and aimed at the opposite wall of the room. He let go of the string and observed Pronos who promptly released his mana with a fixated gaze.


Rakna had purposefully shot the arrow with a weak pull, thus it stayed airborne for around three seconds. During that time frame, his Fabled Sight was constantly active but nothing was spotted before it landed.


Pronos looked sad for a moment but Rakna’s voice quickly jolted him. “Never be disappointed by a first failure,” he said as he prepared another shot. “Before feeling disappointment, feel the pain of working yourself to the bone. Second shot,” he uttered and let the second arrow loose without waiting for the little snake.


“Trii, whenever I run out of arrows, fill the quiver,” Rakna instructed as he nocked a third arrow.


|| Acknowledged. ||


“Third,” he continued to shoot the arrows, never letting time for Pronos to even think or try to wallow in pessimism. This had been one of his uncle’s most important lessons.


Expectations have no place in practice. Whether you are talented or not, it is wrong in itself to be expecting specific outcomes. Never expect success. Never expect failure. There is no time to waste on thinking about either. You just try and try again.


If after a thousand tries, nothing changes, then you accept the failure and try something else. If not, you persist. Never relenting, never hesitating, never compromising.


‘Amazing…’ Higure thought. ‘The sheer intensity of his conviction is enough to make ripples in his soul realm… This is the mentality of someone that never gives up. Truly frightening.’


After fifty arrows had been shot, the first results began to show. Rakna’s slit eyes squinted as he spotted a brief golden glow at the arrow’s tip. He glanced at Pronos who was panting with his tongue out and nocked the next arrow.


He would not tell him anything. Hope is one more misleading feeling. People find consolation in the most minor achievements and more often than not, they get complacent. Pronos was on the right track and as long as he continued firing, the tension would not disappear unless he succeeded completely. This was something his uncle had used more than once on him.


Though, it was more violent than this. In the case of his training in the spear, Arimane would attack him with the intent to kill. He had no time to think, to breathe, or to rest. The only thing he could do was try to parry the attacks over and over again. Stopping meant death.


In this case, his continuous firing at a constant pace and pattern forced Pronos into a mentality of never-ending activity. In other words, it was conditioning. When one arrow touched the ground, he already knew that there was another one coming.


At the 185th shot, Rakna saw a near-complete magic circle appear. The arrow passed through and indiscernibly accelerated. But he didn’t stop. He continued to shoot the arrows and, finally, at the 228th shot, a complete magic circle was formed and the arrow accelerated to such a degree that it became a blur and broke apart on impact.


When that happened, Rakna lowered his bow and Pronos froze on the spot. It was as if he had lost the ability to move. The next arrow wasn’t coming; the routine that had been ingrained in his body and mind had abruptly been interrupted. And that’s when he caught up. He blinked in shock at the broken arrow and turned toward Rakna who had an invisible smile on his face.


“Congratulations, little guy. You did it.”


Then, the little snake’s expression went from a shocked one to one full of joy. He hissed loudly and sprawled the length of his body on the floor. Tyran who had been watching everything since the beginning ran to him and began to celebrate with him in their own way.


“{Haha, the sweet taste of success,}” Higure said cheerily. “{Isn’t it wonderful?}”


Rakna snorted as he tapped his shoulder, stiff from the shooting session. He looked at the two pets interacting with each other and opened his mouth, “Certainly is.”