Chapter 91
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And that was exactly what Damien did. He made a beeline for their shower and spent several relaxing minutes in the healing water. His muscles weren’t particularly sore, but just the warmth and steam felt fantastic.

Once he finished, Damien quickly dried himself off. He glanced at his dirty clothes, then cleared his throat.

Ah… Henry?

“You need to learn how to do your own laundry already,” Henry grumbled. Despite his complaints, a small sphere of darkness formed in the air above the clothes, sucking the dirt to the side before vanishing.

Thank you.

Damien pulled his clothes back on and pushed his hair out of his eyes before heading back into the main room.

Sylph was sitting on her bed, scanning through the book Delph had given her. She’d left the cave entrance open to allow some of the sunlight through, but Mark and the Gray siblings had left.

Damien hopped onto his own bed, grabbing the book from beneath it and flipping it open. Henry stirred as he scanned through its contents.

“There are some useful spells there, but they aren’t what you’re looking for right now,” Henry said. “You need a defensive spell with more versatility than what light can offer you.”

I presume you’ve got something in mind?

“Indeed. It’s actually half of a spell. Or, more accurately, there are two parts to this spell. The first is defensive, while the second is offensive. This half is called Devour.”

That’s not ominous at all. It sounds more like void magic than dark or space.

“There’s only one void spell. You know that already. Devour essentially absorbs a spell and allows you to redirect it as long as you’ve put more Ether into it than the incoming spell has.”

That seems really strong. What’s the drawback?

“It only works on spells that are ranged,” Henry replied. “Spells that are still physically connected to the mage’s body are much harder to dissipate, since the wielder has a stronger control over that Ether. Devour is a useful spell, but it won’t do any good against someone that fights close range.”

Close range also happens to be my weakness. Shouldn’t I try to learn something that can protect me close range?

“You’ve got mage armor. It should help against a lot of the physical magic. You’re welcome to correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you plan on becoming a close range fighter. You should focus on complimenting your strengths, not making up for all your weaknesses.”

I – huh. I suppose that makes sense, actually. Alright, can you show me how to cast Devour?

“Go to one of the training rooms. No reason to give your roommate more hints to wonder about my identity with, even if she seems to be on our side for now.”

Damien set his book down and hopped back out of bed. Sylph’s gaze flicked up at him as he walked into the training room, but she looked back at her own book a moment later. Just to be safe, Damien walked into the second training room.

“Watch closely,” Henry instructed. “I’ll walk you through the spell. Give me control.”

Damien did as the eldritch creature requested, allowing Henry to take the reins as he slipped back to watch from within his own mind.

Henry gathered four of the motes of Ether than Damien had stored within his core. He directed them through the boy’s hand, pressing them together like a ball of play dough. When they reached Damien’s hand, Henry paused.

“Devour is a Level One spell. At your current level of understanding, you won’t be able to cast it in the same way that you can cast Gravity Sphere. For that reason, you’ll need to use a rune to help channel your desires. Luckily, you’ve had a good amount of practice with runes,” Henry said. A dot of Ether formed at Damien’s fingertip. Henry traced it through the air, drawing the rune for ‘Eat’ in the air. It left a trail of dark energy in its wake. “Once you’ve done this, channel your Ether into the rune that you drew while visualizing the spell.”

Henry had Damien lift his hand and press his palm against the Ether. It felt warm and staticky. “For reference, Devour works by stitching two locations in space together for an instant. It causes Ether that enters it to re-emerge from another location of your choosing, but you need to have cast Devour at that location as well. If you don’t have another Devour spell cast, your enemy's spell will just come back out of the original Devour in the opposite direction. It sounds complicated, but it’s quite simple.”

Damien wasn’t sure about that, but he just grunted and mentally gestured for Henry to continue. The Ether at his hand heated up as Damien felt Henry channel energy into it.

The air in a small circle before him tore apart, forming a disk of darkness in front of his palm. Henry held it there for a few moments, then allowed it to fade as the spell ran out of Ether. Once it had completely vanished, Henry returned control of Damien’s body to its rightful owner.

“Practice drawing the rune in the air before you channel anything into it,” Henry warned. “I don’t think I need to lecture you about the drawbacks of a badly drawn rune.”

Damien let out a small chuckle. He cast out his mental net to draw more Ether into himself, then drew several motes into his hand. It took a few moments of trying, but he eventually managed to coax them out of his finger, lighting it up the same way that Henry had done a few moments ago.

He traced the rune into the air, then stepped back and allowed Henry to examine it. Before Henry could even say anything, Damien frowned and waved it away before drawing a new one. The lines hadn’t been straight enough. He was so used to drawing with a piece of chalk that his finger felt shaky and unsteady.

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