I sit back in the airship, flying toward the healer nation Helikan; the First ship will only be making its rounds in Vocana, but I need to talk to Lanya and Klaman, which this ship is traveling towards. Meanwhile, I have a Clone at the Vocana feast, and I use my upgraded teleportation to teleport my plate of food to me and use [Personal Reality] to make a copy, so no one’s any the wiser.
That is when Kayafe telepathically connects to me.
“Can you help me out? I can’t eat with this body.”
Oh yeah, Kayafe’s made of vitality now…
“Sure,” I reply and teleport her plate to me, leaving an illusion behind.
I get raised eyebrows from the governors who know my tendency to use clones, but now they seem real, even partaking in the feast – at least it looks like it. They probably tried to [Analyze] me and got nothing which must leave them even more confused. Do I have a magic item hiding my stats, or is it a clone?
Anyway, they use this chance to try and schmooze up to Kayafe, talking first about what they can offer her as friends.
Kayafe is having none of it. Using her relatively little knowledge of their language to get out of their scheming.
While Kayafe has her political troubles, I have my own. Governor Van and Ryn sit next to me
“Good to see you again, Alysara!” Van says.
“Likewise,” I respond, clearly showing disinterest in him.
“I see that you’ve improved your Bond again. Would you be interested in teaching my younger brother?”
Between Lotis, Kyhana, and my sisters, I already have too many people I am mentoring, but even if that weren’t the case, I still wouldn’t. At the end of the day, they are still foreign political entities, and I can’t support someone like that. Doubly so if I become Empress. Their relations with the Luna Empire are likely quite complicated, and having the brother of a ruler of their nation trained by the Empress of the Luna Empire is likely to bring about all kinds of messy political situations.
“Sorry, but I can’t,” I reply. I don’t elaborate on the reason and focus on my food instead.
Ryn leans over and whispers in Van’s ear, to which he nods.
“Then we would like to again commission you to make a weapon from the Fire Elemental Heart, and if you do, we promise to defend your home whenever you ask. Furthermore, the Ora house and those we govern will never engage in offensive hostilities against you and your people.”
“...I’ll think about it,” I say after a moment of thought.
The item I make from the heart would have to be very powerful, even among legendary items, in order for it to make a significant difference. If anything can overpower Kayafe and the Mana Arc, then I highly doubt this weapon would tip the tides if it’s too weak.
Then there’s the issue that the Ora House may not keep their word, or if they do, their descendants may not. What if the weapon is stolen? There are so many factors, and a simple promise not to use it against us does not give me much confidence.
That said, any allies, be they legendary themselves or have a Legendary tier item, are worthy allies that we really need when Safyr leaves.
It’d be best if all of the Lunaley lands and the Nexus were united, either as a federation or under one banner.
“Kayafe?” I send a telepathic message.
“Yes?” She responds.
“What do you think about forming something like a federation with these people, not just this nation but every nation on this island?”
“Still thinking about that whole empress thing? I won’t stop you, but you should do what you want to do, not what you think you have to do.”
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
“Depends. How will it be governed? What assurances will the current rulers have that they will still have authority over their people? What if they don’t want to join? What benefits do they get if they do join? There are many things you will need to figure out first, and even then, many may not want to. What then? Will you conquer them?”
“All that can be worked out in time; I just wanted to know what you thought about it.”
“You should focus on getting as strong as you can so you don’t need the strength of a nation to protect the people you love. All this does is distract you from your true goal, Alysara.”
“Uniting these people could be worth a legendary point; that will grant me a lot of power,” I argue.
“Many thought so too, and it rarely is the case. But even if that is the case, you can get one by crafting, which should be where your focus lies anyway. Making a legendary item not only grants you the point, but you also get the item making you far stronger than if you united a bunch of nations.”
That does make sense…
“You should be making full use of Safyr’s presence to get as strong as you can, and normally I’d say you can’t be everywhere at once, but you kind of can be.”
Perhaps Kayafe is right, I should be focused on improving myself. My growth has slowed down with all this trading and politicking, but…
“We still need allies, not just for safety either, but for a place to retreat to in case of the worst-case scenario.”
“Let the Elders take care of that. Learn to delegate and trust the abilities of others, Alysara.”
If I accept Klaman’s offer, I can’t easily take it back… perhaps I am being too hasty and should wait and focus on what I can do before making a long-term decision. Then again, If I can be everywhere as Kayafe suggests, then having one mind be empress wouldn’t delay me too much; the only downside is the sheer distance I’d have to operate a clone, so that will have to be for after my class evolutions. In either case, I need to wait at least until I evolve my Classes before making my choice.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jetlin knocks on the interviewing room, a stack of papers in his hand.
He pushes the door open, seeing two instructors and the principal himself.
On his right is the potion teacher, Osala. She has long violet hair and vibrant green eyes with a cute soft round face. She is rather short and often mistaken for a child.
In the middle is the herbalist teacher, Klemon. He is a tall old man with grey hair and grey-blue eyes. He has sickly green stripes in places on his skin due to a side effect of life-extension elixirs.
Lastly, on the left is the Principal, Korathan. He is a bald man who lacks any hair, even eyebrows, eyelashes, ear, and tail fur, a side effect of Elixirs.
Jetlin takes the seat in front of them and hands them his papers.
“I have proof that Miasma will work in this elixir formula!” Jet begins.
The three in front of him sigh and shake their heads.
“We’ve been over this already, young Jetlin,” Klemon says. “This is forbidden by the Grand Healer herself.”
“Miasma is just a catalyst! It’s safe in small doses!” Jetlin pleads his case.
This formula will elevate Helikan into becoming the most powerful nation in the world! Surely the instructors see this too!
“It doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong; this research is forbidden!” Korathan raises his voice
“As long as the elixir isn’t powerful enough to force any transformation, it’s safe! I tested it on a few Rathins; it’s safe! The Grand Healer will surely see this as proof that it can work!”
“You tested it?!” Korathan goes from disappointed to enraged. “Do you have any idea just how dangerous miasma is?! There is a reason why it’s forbidden! A theory is not reality, A theory is only as good as our knowledge, and there are always things we haven’t taken into account! I’d still have hair if that were the case! Your thesis is rejected, and if I ever hear of you dabbling in miasma again, you’ll be expelled!”
“You are dismissed,” Osala says.
Jetlin grit his teeth in fury and walks out and back to his dormitory room.
“Why is everyone such a fool!” Jetlin shouts, slamming his fist into a wall.
Searing pain shoots up his arm as he breaks his fist.
“Fuck!” he screams, nursing his hand before reaching into his belt for a healing potion. He chugs the disgusting liquid before pouring the last bit over his hand for immediate soothing. The potion will take time to work its way through his system and fully heal him.
“Why can’t they see what this can do!”
They left him with no choice; if he wants to prove that miasma-infused potions and elixirs are not only better but safe as well, then he must show them with undeniable evidence!
He walks to his desk, where he has an elixir brewing station, and begins working. He starts by grabbing a pinch of enchanted iron dust and weighing it out. After a certain amount, there are diminishing returns in effectiveness, so he must be careful not to waste by adding too much.
The metal dust carries the primary enchantment responsible for elixirs and potions, and for some reason, iron is best to use. Other metals can be used, but iron is the most effective and lasts the longest.
He crushes the herbs into a paste and mixes it with water before adding the iron. He then heats the mix up to a boil before adding a catalyzer.
The mutagenic herbs are rare and expensive since they need certain magical properties that are rarely found in the world, and while there have been some productive attempts at cultivating them, it’s not that easy.
Sometimes generations of herbs can produce the desired effect, then all of a sudden, one generation just doesn’t have it. It’s called herb regression, and it can happen at the worst of times. For this reason, most herbalists have two or three gardens, so if one regresses, there’s another that they can use to replace the failed one.
Jetlin waits for the water to mostly boil out before taking two of his Lab Rathins and tying them up. Next, he force-feeds them a pain-inducing potion and stabs them with a hot needle. The hand size creatures squirm and squeak for several minutes, then he cuts off their heads and drains the blood into the brewing elixir.
This is a necessary step for adding miasma, the suffering of the Rathins creates it, which can then be drawn out through its blood. This must be done quickly, as the miasma will dissipate after some time. The catalyst he added earlier not only helps make the elixir, but it produces a slimy byproduct that can actually absorb the miasma for a few days.
This is just the first half, and there are several more steps afterwards such that when Jetlin is finally done, the sun has fallen and risen again.
He looks at the vial of cloudy yellow liquid, the finished elixir. There is enough for two mouthfuls, and if he did everything right, it should enhance him, make him stronger and smarter.
“I’ll show them all just how wrong they are!”
He chugs the liquid used to the strange and oftentimes awful taste of potions. He hasn’t taken a lot of elixirs, but the ones he had taken, tried and true ones with only temporary effects, usually tasted sour or sweet. This tastes bland and bitter, not disgustingly so, but it is definitely unpleasant.
It will take about a day for the elixir to mostly manifest and a week or two to take full effect. Especially potent elixirs can force change over the course of a day, and they are generally dangerous. Repeated doses can also force changes but have stronger effects; of course, potent or repeated uses also have greater chances of developing side effects.
Jetlin doesn’t feel any different after drinking the elixir, but that’s normal. He attends classes, and throughout the day, it feels like a fog has been lifted from his mind. His thoughts come more rapidly and clearer than ever before! However, he has a sudden craving for something, and his hand is starting to shake a little. He could really go for something bitter right now, perhaps something bland?