Waking up I did my morning exercises and stretches while thinking about my new situation.
If I continued to only use low grade potions it was likely the damage to my body would continue to accumulate until it became permanent.
I could still afford two medium potions a day with what I got from the dungeon but it would mean I couldn't take days off and would have to keep spending just on the most basic necessities.
Leveling up would probably help a lot but I was still far from achieving rank D in any stats and I wouldn't want to level up with only the bare minimum.
Damn it I want to be powerful, if I evolved with only a single stat at D rank I'd permanently handicap myself.
What I really needed was a healing spell of my own or, barring that, a healer.
Unfortunately I didn't have the kind of money necessary to buy a spell book and I'd probably need to level up to have even a chance of receiving a healing spell.
Did adventurers even get spells at level up? I wasn’t certain, I only remember Bell learning firebolt from a book and I really doubt I'd be so lucky as to find an unused one just laying around.
So finding a healer it is.
Ideally I'd join a familia with a powerful healer or convince one to join mine but, once again, not having a god was going to fuck me over.
And what god would I even join? Of the Greek gods the only ones I'd trust were Hestia and, maybe, Hephaestus, the others were all terrible people in mythology.
Hell, even in danmachi the Greeks were assholes as far as I knew.
Norse gods were only a slight improvement and I don't think the other pantheons would be any better.
Speaking of Greek gods, didn't Apollo have a powerful healer he forced into his familia? Maybe I could help her escape him in exchange for healing?
The only problem was, how?
I sighed, every solution I found was impossible to implement.
In the end I had only three options if I wanted to continue being an adventurer.
One, rush level two and handicap myself with low stats for the rest of my life.
Two, try and make do with medium grade potions, it would probably keep me from buying good equipment and food but I could probably do it and, after some time and growth, I’d be able to face stronger monsters for a bigger payout.
It was kinda counterproductive to waster my only remaining use of the skill but I was leaning more and more towards this option.
I had a single use of the skill what was I going to do with it, save it for an emergency while my body deteriorated or I starved?
No, it was better to use it now and acquire a significant advantage right from the beginning.
From what Airmid had said the cooldown for its use would decrease with every healing spell cast at me anyway and increasing my level would also help.
Could I find myself in a situation where the skill was needed the very next day I used it? Yes, but I could also die from a freak accident I had no way of avoiding, it had happened once already after all.
The only question was who should I use it on?
Airmid would be the obvious answer, not only was she only a single level over me but she also had the spells and influence to benefit me greatly only… I was not an asshole.
I really didn't want to just brainwash people who didn’t deserve it damn it.
I could just make a small change, nothing that would damage her or change her life too much. Just have her have the urge to cast her healing spell every time she saw me, I could even justify it as the best healer in the world wanting to beat my curse.
However, once again, that felt like I'd be wasting the skill for something so minor, Kotoamatsukami was just too useful to not try and get as big an advantage as I could from it.
Finishing my workout I put my sword at my waist and considered my other weapons, no I didn't need to bring everything, I wasn’t going to the dungeon in the morning.
Starting to make my way to the wall for my morning training with Tiona I continued to think, would the skill work on a god?
I guess that depends on how the gods kept a hold of their powers, were they as powerful here and they were in heaven and just didn't use the power or had they actually sealed themselves and came down here in mortal bodies with mortal limitations?
I remember Hestia leaking her divinity to stop Bell from getting hurt and causing the Black Goliath to spawn so they clearly could use their powers if they wanted to but most gods in the show seemed weak and fragile.
Could I catch a god with his guard down and ensnare him with kotoamatsukami? I had no doubt they could break the brainwash if they used their true power but, what if I made it so they didn't want to?
Once again I ran into the problem of who I would brainwash and not feel like an absolute asshole for doing so?
Heh who knew I'd one day have to give serious thought to the ethics of mind control?
"Hey newbie-kun, over here!" Tiona called me from the top of the wall.
One hand waving furiously she used the other to lift a cup with ice coffee and suck on it with a straw.
I really shouldn’t have introduced the beverage to her, she was already filled with energy there was no need to increase it with caffeine.
"Morning" I looked around but didn't see a certain goddess anywhere near. "You're alone today?"
"Yeah, Finn managed to catch Loki when she was trying to sneak out" the amazon said with a laugh "She’s going to be filling forms for a while”
Good to know the Loki was weak to paperwork.
Lifting her toes up Tiona touched them with a hand and started stretching her body before our spare “Hey, wanna use weapons today” she asked eagerly looking at my sword.
“Not with you using that monstrosity” I eyed urga and said.
“Alright! But I’m bringing a normal weapon next time so you can’t escape it”
“A wooden weapon” I countered.
“Fiiine” she stomped her feet “how are you going to become a hero if you don’t take any risks?”
“Taking risks is fine, being stupid isn’t” I laid my gear beside the wall and turned to my partner, she already almost killed me with her bare hands no way was I going to let her use that thing.
“Alright, let’s go!”
Kicking the floor Tiona pounced on me, without activating the mangekyou her movements were a blur and I barely had enough time to register the shadows predicting her movements before she caught up with them.
Leaning back from her punch I dodged it by an inch and retreated as she delivered a series of blows towards my head, she was still too strong to block completely so I had to either dodge her attacks or parry them away leaving my arms stinging.
I managed to trade blow with her for almost a minute, always retreating at her aggressive attack and barely managing to attack five times while losing count of how many blows she delivered.
The back of my foot hit the wall and I knew I couldn’t retreat anymore, I ducked letting a kick pass right where my head was supposed to be, Tiona’s miss exposed her back and I attempted to punch her away in order to gain some space but she just continued the rotation and threw a backhand.
I lifted both arms and blocked the blow, it lifted me off my feet and sent me tumbling sideways.
I recovered fast turning my fall into a roll and springing to my feet as soon as I could.
Tiona was already there, a giant smile on her face as she laughed, jumping up she dropped with the hell of her leg aiming right for my head “Come on newbie-kun, faster!”
I moved faster, stepping aside with movements copied from hundreds of adventurers I saw her strike hit the floor and break a few bricks, but I didn’t have time to think about it.
Despite the danger I couldn’t help but smile, fighting with such strong adventurer was much more fun than slaughtering weak monsters, probably more dangerous too and I wasn’t completely certain the first wasn’t just a result of the later.
Before she could continue attacking I threw my own kick, a perfect copy of her earlier one, it caught her as she was recovering and almost hit her in the face but she managed to block with an arm at the very last second and I wasn’t strong enough to blow through it.
“Tsk!” I cursed, I swear I had her.
Before I could recover Tiona’s block became a grab as she locked my feet between her arm and body, out of position I couldn’t block as she stepped inside my guard and punched me in chest.
“Off” I coughed and folded as the blow drove the air out of me, then she grabbed my calf with her punching hand and swung me around throwing me in against the wall, hard. “ugh”
I laid there trying to recover my breath as Tiona slowly made her way towards me, looking at my fallen form she crouched over me and patted me in the forehead.
“Good job newbie-kun almost had me there” turning her head sideways she wondered “So, do you know what you did wrong there?”
“Tried to… hit back against, ugh… a first class adventurer?”
“Nope, you stopped, when hitting you can’t just stay in place like that, either pull back and regroup or follow through with another attack as fast as you can” lifting both arms in front of her face Tiona punched out, her hand snapping forwards in a flash and retreating to its guard in one fluid motion almost faster than I could register “like a whip, you don’t punch or kick out and stay with your limb extended for longer than necessary”
“Got… it” I managed to breathe out.
“Heh, you really learn fast, I swear even Ais-chan didn’t improve so fast, if only you were a few levels higher you could really stand a chance” letting herself fall back Tiona sat beside me “Tomorrow we’re definitely using weapons”
My training partner let me rest for a whole 5 minutes before we were back to trying to hit each other.
Despite not using the improved vision of the mangekyou I managed to last a few extra hits every time and even had enough room to strike back a few times making sure I didn’t let myself overextend.
Most spars ended the same way, Tiona overcoming my guard and laying me out cold but every time it was because of another mistake I had made.
She’d help me up and try to correct me before letting me rest a little and we’d start again, only once did I make the same mistake twice and she was far more brutal, her speed increasing so much I couldn’t even see what had hit me.
Two hours later I was panting on the ground, my shirt absolutely soaked with sweat and my muscles trembling like jelly, I hadn’t needed to take any potions since none of my bones were broken since Tiona hadn’t really hurt me all that much. It had left me both exhausted and filled with pain from the many smaller wounds.
Circling around my fallen form Tiona poked me with a toe sending a wave of pain; my bruises had bruises “Ugh”
She poked me again. “Want a healing potion?”
She poured the red liquid right down my throat only spilling a little and I felt the pain start to fade from my body as my skin healed from being dozens of shades of purple and yellow into a normal human color.
Without the pain exhaustion settled inn and I could barely drag myself into a sitting position while leaning against the wall.
Thank god we were done for the day.