Chapter 158 – The issue with ritual tattoos
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Sofia was waiting for Zerei’s answer. She seemed to be pondering on the question. Can I have every significant bone get the physical resistance enchantment this time and not just the arms and skull? I still haven’t told her about the [Sun’s generosity] ritual we must include in either. I shouldn’t divulge it to anyone, but I can’t not use it on the strongest skeleton I’ve found yet. Valeure showed it to me first, anyway. She gets the blame.

“Theoretically, we can fit as much as we want, yes. But in fact, not much more than there was already, no. From how the whole thing is built, I can tell that the God’s rune will only accept so much. So what we can do is redirect the mana from trashed modules but not add much more. We can get Pareth some twenty or thirty thousand bonus health or stamina if you want. Or strength, or about half of that directly as mana. But the best bet, in my opinion as a runecrafter, is to treat this like a specialized piece of equipment. And by that, I mean add as many enhancement enchantments as possible.”

“That’s great, but last time, when I tried that, the enchantments only applied to one bone each for every module I drew…”

“We cannot avoid that, no. That is why I have two propositions!” Zerei proclaimed, enthusiastically brandishing her piece of charcoal.

“I’m listening.”

“Yes! So either we pack a big aura effect on each plate of the pelvic bone, which is the place with the most practicable area to draw fine rituals. Or, we choose one of the femurs since they are the sturdiest. And we enchant it with as much protection as possible to make it very hard for him to die completely, so that you can always heal him back from his last bone.”

“The second idea is interesting, but the facial part of the skull is the bone that takes priority to be his main body if pieces are detached. So if we do that, if, for example, his lower body gets blown off, the femur might survive, but it won’t be part of his body anymore since it will be whatever is still attached to the head.”

“Then we enchant that instead, it can still work. But it might be hard to redo it on a skeleton with a smaller skull, yes. We can only inscribe so precisely at these sizes…”

I like the idea. I don’t want to lose this giant skeleton to an explosion like the last one. I have plenty of smaller ones from the sons to use as spares now, but it’s not the same as the Alpha’s. Sofia couldn’t decide, “What about the aura effects you spoke about?”

Zerei counted on her fingers, “I have, uh… three… four rituals that could work for this, but we can only fit two, one on each side of the pelvis. There isn’t enough mana for more anyway.”

“Can we make a single one twice as strong with double the mana?”

“That is not how it works, sadly, no. But these are very special rituals anyway; no need to worry about it.”

“What about the modifying or fusion of bones?”

“Cannot work, no. There are very high chances that it would cause problems with the soul, and I presume you do not want that?”

So my tests back then really were dangerous for him… I ought to research these topics better before I harm someone attempting something dumb.

“Can I see the aura rituals then?”

“Of course; where do I draw them?”

“I can extend the table.”

Sofia watched as Zerei drew four very complex ritual circles. She pointed at each of them, explaining what they did. These were all old Avian crafts, meticulously optimized for the best cost-to-effect ratio. Their structure was self-adjusting to grow along with the wearer’s mana regeneration, as these were originally meant to be used as body modifications.

I never saw anyone use anything like this… But it makes sense. We are objects which can be enchanted. Hmm. I wonder how that works with your body getting destroyed and healed back. I’ll ask her later.

The first and simplest aura ritual was a mana-fueled fighting sense. All it did was continuously fire some of the wearer’s mana in orbit around them and return the information when it hit something. The actual range was relatively short, only a few meters, but that more than performed its function of giving ‘vision’ of enemies and projectiles behind you.

Interesting, but not very impressive, Pareth has good spatial awareness, and I’m usually there to give additional information. I’ll still consider it, though.

‘[Fast reading] reached level 53’


The second was akin to the Apostle’s auras, but the effect was [Intimidation]. Unlike the others, it could be turned on and off at will, but it also affected allies.

The third ritual was one to 'lessen elemental resistance', which helped move, fly, and swim much faster. ‘Something all adult Avians used despite the high mana cost’, Zerei had added to her explanation. It didn't make one weaker against the elements, as the name might suggest. It only helped move through them with ease.

And the fourth and final ritual Zerei had was one to help young Avians learn to fly, which allowed them to take a few soft steps mid-air, useful to stop a fall or gain some altitude. “This one works by storing the mana for when you need it, it takes a while to recharge and cannot be made faster, but it could be useful considering how heavy the Ogre is.”

“That’s an effect copied from some furred animal, isn’t it? A merchant tried to sell me boots with exactly this effect before.”

“Soguvas are still around? They’re big-furred flying animals, yes. Do they make boots out of them now? That’s kind of sad; Soguvas are cute and cuddly. We never hunted them, no…”

“Interesting. I’d like to see them too!”

“Eheh… And yes, this ritual was designed by studying their natural magic. Anyway, this ritual would be able to let a big Ogre do that, too, yes, which I doubt any enchanted boots could do. Not if they’re weaker than the primed staff, at least.”

“Hmm… How high is the mana cost for each of them?”

“The combat sense uses about five percent of your regeneration. The intimidation is one percent when inactive and ten when active. The air resistance is around thirty percent, but it’s very worth the cost, yes, especially when your mana regeneration is high enough, it can also shield you from harmful fumes and things like those. And, uh, the flight steps are about twenty percent until they’re charged, then one percent while charged.”

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but these are a bit underwhelming. There are only four… Though I suppose these are like extra passive skills, which is impressive. Are they hard to design?”

Zerei sounded deflated that Sofia’s opinion of her rituals was so low, “There used to be a few more, but I hadn’t learned them yet… The combat sense is my design, by the way…”

“Sorry, I didn-”

“Don’t worry, Sofia, I know. If I’m going to be honest, this was an abandoned research path, and for good reasons. Externally applying enchantments on someone with a soul and their own mana signature is much more complex than slapping them on an item and being done with it… Not only are these extremely hard to design, but they also hinder your mana regeneration. If the one to lessen air resistance hadn’t been such a huge breakout success for our race, no one would have even bothered to try making more.”

“It’s not that bad! I’m considering them over the other option too.”

“And you should, for all their problems, these are still like additional passive skills, yes. But in the end, they were a mostly failed project.”

Sofia pondered over each combination and their costs. “Is mana regeneration a big issue in the second trial?”

“It can be a limiting factor, yes…”

Do you want to choose yourself, Pareth?

Of course, the Skeleton didn’t answer. Sofia was a bit annoyed, but contrary to her expectations, he moved. He pointed at Sofia.

I should be the one to choose? They’re for you, though…

“Let’s go with the combat sense and the air steps, then. This should be the most lightweight but still a good combination; only six percent most of the time is not too bad. And Pareth has had trouble with projectiles coming from behind before. Flying enemies are a problem too, so hopefully, the air steps can help with that.”

Zerei’s face lit up when she heard Sofia’s choices, “Let’s do it, yes! We only have one Alpha Ogre, so we can’t mess it up. I’ll engrave them for you. Let me do all the work, yes!”