[Arc I] Chapter 46 – Kindling
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Soul ignition: 0.9 -> 0.99

 

The moment I decided to burn my soul, I entered a meditation-like state. Well, not really, but it was some kind of mind-clearing effect, and I don’t have many things to compare it to! Playing tetris for too big part of a night and everything suddenly seeming to be like a brick perhaps? 

 

Whatever the state was, It made me realise I still lacked something. What I remembered from the borrowed memories was not enough to make me pass the threshold, necessary to begin. Yet it felt as if the skill was guiding me towards the breakthrough, as if it itself wanted to go through. (Are even skills alive as well in this world?). And it whispered to me that I need a kindling… and a target.

 

A strong emotion within me had to start the reaction. It has to be strong.. But something told me not all emotions are gonna work. I saw pride and anger of a hunter refusing to accept being defeated, tricked, by an insignificant reptile. And I saw a want to protect what you hold dear from being defiled by an alien invasion. Not fear however. It wouldn’t work. No, it might work, but I could feel that there would be consequences to using it. 

 

And while I was searching for emotions that I had inside me that could fulfill the role, there was a surprising one that came to the front, and suddenly it seemed the only possible candidate- curiosity. Curiosity about magic! About this world! And what will happen after this skill completes!

 

But that wasn’t enough. This energy had to be targeted somewhere! Or rather through something, and I wasn’t really sure what that something was. I mean it had to be a skill, that much was obvious. Soul ignition itself? No reaction. Amplified regeneration? I could feel my soul burning, filling the skill with energy like a steam boiler, slowly starting… 

 

My body felt better. I could feel the experiment's “side effects” healing… and I knew I had to stop. That was not the correct skill! The end result will be me just going back to the previous state of a healthy, but non magical body! The inertia of the process was nearly too big to stop, my thoughtless mistake nearly sentencing the whole project for a failure. Nearly. The flow stopped, regeneration back to normal… or slightly less, soul still ablaze.

 

There was only one other possible choice - prime suspect of mysterious dreams, Will of the snakes! Once again, like an engine of an old locomotive, I could feel the skill creaking under the pressure, which was slowly building up.

 

Finally critical mass was reached, but unlike train which would just move forward, I could feel myself being pulled inward!

 

And suddenly I exploded! Figuratively. Hundred of links appearing from within me, connecting me with thousands, if not millions other beings inside the jungle. All my snake brethren. An invisible link. But why were there so few outside the jungle? I could feel some, so it couldn’t be just about the distance, something else must have had an effect as well.

 

And suddenly my perception moved forward, towards the centre of the forest. In front of me was a giant tree… no. It was a giant bird made of wood and vines. It’s body apparently unmoving for hundreds of years, started overgrowing with moss and other plants.. But it was still alive. Just sleeping. And I realised that it was the same being whose soul I could see radiating over the whole jungle during my night lake gazing sessions. The soul so powerful it was like a black hole, bending all around it.

 

And yet, instead of fear and awe, I felt anger. And contempt. I sneered at this pitiful existence.

 

And then I was back. A new mana source glowing from the area of experimental surgery.

 

Soul ignition: 0.99 -> 1

 

Finally! Is what I should be feeling… but instead I felt this.. Emptiness? As if something inside me was no longer the same. As if something that was full was no longer there…

 

*Growl* [stomach rumbling noise]

… What? I’m hungry? Why it shouldn’t be the time yet! Is it because of the boosted regeneration.. And all the other stuff I was doing recently, making me use more energy than expected? I do also seem to remember snakes digestion boosting regeneration, so I suspect as I get more hurt, the faster my digestion might be. Well, fine. I guess it’s the next thing I should deal with.

 

***

And so, distracted, our hero did not notice a small drop of blood flowing down. A spark of soul energy glowing for the last time with his color,  before falling down, and soaking into the earth, joining the ever flow slightly earlier then the rest. A small death, a piece of memory of another world, forgotten forever, neither noticed nor mourned by anyone. 

 

***

 

There was one more snake awake in the nest looking at their status. Mother, unlike our educated snake, “felt” the information rather than read it. And she felt.. That she was starting the molting process. And it wasn’t supposed to happen for a long time yet. The weird dream seems to have not only been a dream. She could feel her body healthier than before.. But also heavier. Something was growing within her. And this tingling.. It had been a long time since she last experienced it. Something was going to be different about this time.. But unlike most surprises one encountered in this jungle, this one made her slither in excitement!


One more thing was not letting her sleep- the undercones. She couldn’t sense any signs of their activity. Whether it was due to them waiting for her to die due to poison (not happening) or just not finding the nest yet, was another question. But if they are not going to come here, it might be time for her to come to them.

 

I wanted to put this part of Hellfire lyrics (from Hunchback of notre dame) but didn’t find a good place:

 

Like fire

Hellfire

This fire in my skin

This burning

Desire

Is turning me to sin

 

The version of this song on spotify seems different and much worse than the one in the movie. No idea why they didn’t use the same recording.

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