chapter 54: a guided path

After thinking for a little while, I turned back to the computer screen. Looking at the levels gained over the last fifty years, it seemed like people were struggling to reach the level cap now. This was a good thing, since it meant that I had finally found some kind of balance that would let them grow without being too restricted.
However, now I was not left with much to personally do, except for watching them grow. The world was still not advanced to a degree where it would greatly benefit from me going down myself to interfere beyond what I had already done. Aside from that, there also weren’t many systems left for me to buy.
In some ways, it might be better to just buy the second planet when it’s done with the time acceleration, assuming that a species manages to evolve enough to keep it. But, at the same time, I really was still new to this whole Keeper ordeal. Getting a second planet already may be a bit too much for me to deal with. Hell, I was already having some trouble managing all of the different races on Earth.
My next thought was whether I should just fast forward more, letting the world develop on its own while I trained myself. Aside from my training as a Spirit Tamer and Spirit Hunter, I was not very familiar with the rest of the abilities at my disposal. Even the classes that had originally been my favorite, the Mage and Ninja, I was sorely lacking in training.
As such, I decided to go through with that plan for now. Raising my level wasn’t so much of an issue as my actual ability. Since my level could very easily surpass my ability with my Keeper powers, I needed to find the proper balance. And, for training magic, there was obviously only one person I could really go to.
First, though, I set several alarms on the world. This way, if any natural events were going to happen that would cause a large number of deaths, the world could be immediately frozen in time. Then, when I was done training, it would only be a matter of reviewing the alert and figuring out how to deal with it.
After I was done with that, I found myself heading to the basement, wanting to see if Ryone had made any progress on her research. Of course, I was also going to ask her for help training. Hopefully, she’d be able to offer more help than Terra, since she wasn’t restricted by any of the system’s rules that would prevent the sharing of information.
As expected, I found her diligently working in the basement, carving out new formations one after another. When she heard me walk in, her head snapped up to look at me, a wide grin forming on her face. “There you are, Dale! I was hoping you’d come down and visit before too long.”
“Uhm.. okay?”
“I need you to help me with something real quick. It’s about that enchantment concealing formula you bought before.” Her voice were eager, eyes wide as if she was talking about her favorite toy.
“Okay… what can I do to help?”
“I need you to gather a couple of things for me. This enchantment doesn’t actually have any new spell components, just material components that are used to mask the enchantments.” Before I even had time to ask what she needed me to get, she was already listing the ingredients. “I need the bones of a creature at least level fifty, which has been dead for a hundred years. I also need water from the depths of the ocean, at least ten thousand meters down. Oh, you can’t let the water touch any air when you gather it.”
“Aside from that, I need a fist sized gem from each of the seven colors of the rainbow, and a similar sized chunk of obsidian and diamond. The closer in size the gems and obsidian are to each other, the better. Oh, and do we have fairies yet? Wait, no… hmm. Since we can’t use ground fairy wings, powdered slime residue was a recommended alternative.”
I could only stare blankly at Ryone as she listed off one ingredient after the other. “And… I’m guessing that simply making the items wouldn’t work, right?” She nodded her head quickly, agreeing with that statement. “Do you need them right now, or..?”
“Oh… well, I guess not?” She answered, somewhat sheepishly. “But it’d be really cool to try it out. Maybe when we actually have an artifact worth making?”
I nodded my head at her compromise. Honestly, most of what she asked for wouldn’t be that hard to pull out of the world. The only things that might be troublesome would be the powdered residue and the bones. “Did you make any new progress with your research?”
“Oh, right! Actually, I did, kind of. Well, maybe?” She was back to being excited again. “I found out that we only just touched the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to enchanting. What we’re doing now has a limit of eight options, all of them being passive abilities. But, according to the book about how to make the inventory bag, there should be ways of adding several times that, as well as triggering mechanisms for each option.”
“I don’t suppose you happened to figure out how to do any of that?” I asked with a curious expression, not wanting to get my hopes up.
“Well, no, but just knowing it is possible is sure to help. I was just getting back to trying out new formula combinations again when you came down. By the way, was there something you needed?” She finally seemed to notice that I had come down of my own will, rather than being summoned by her.
“That’s right. I want you to help train me. I haven’t learned much magic beyond the basic few spells, and I figured it would be helpful to fix that. Given that you are the Goddess of Magic and all, I figured you would be the best person to ask.”
Hearing what I wanted, Ryone let a grin emerge on her face. Not her usual coy smile, as if she was wanting to tease someone, but a true grin. “Okay… but if I help you, can you help me with my shopping list?”
I thought about it for a moment, before nodding. “It shouldn’t be too hard. But, you don’t have to get fresh ingredients each time, right? If we go through a fist-sized chunk of diamond every time we do this, eventually that would cause a problem.”
“I… don’t think so? The gems are listed as foci, rather than ingredients. But, we will need to get new water, slime, and bones each time. I won’t know for sure until we actually test it out. And, we won’t have anything worthy of ‘holy artifact’ levels of enchantment until I figure out how to attach conditions to enchantments, and some higher level spells.”
I nodded my head again. As long as we weren’t constantly going through that many ores, it wouldn’t be a problem. Speaking of which, “Just had a thought, but I should go ahead and buy some of the more magical ores from the market, right? Forgot to do that before, but it will probably make things easier to do it now than in the future.”
Ryone chuckled lightly at that. “Probably best. You want me to look through the market for some suggestions, or you want to take care of this one?”
I furrowed my brows for a few moments before answering. “I’ll handle this one. I think that I’ll get a hundred points worth of new minerals after we’re done training. That should be enough for now. If anything else is needed, I can always buy it later, and have it placed on the undiscovered continents.”
Finally, Ryone seemed to regain a bit of her original flirtatiousness. Is that even a word? “All work huh? No time for any fun?” She brought her hands behind her back, leaning forward slightly as she looked at me.
I let out a low cough, turning my head to the side to avoid any distracting sights. “We can have some fun later. But, this training is pretty important, wouldn’t you say?”
I heard a giggle from in front of me, and when I turned to look Ryone was already leaning back in her original position. “Almost got you~. Alright then, Dale, let’s see what you-” Ryone suddenly stopped talking mid sentence, her eyes widening slightly in surprise. I turned around to see if there was anyone that snuck in behind me, but the basement was empty, save for the two of us.
“Uhm, anything wrong, Ryone?” I asked, waving a hand in front of her face. It was only when I started snapping my fingers that she seemed to come out of whatever trance she was in.
“Sorry. Someone just unlocked a very interesting spell. Mind giving me a moment to try it out before we begin training?”
I nodded my head slightly, slightly confused what was going on. With a happy smile, Ryone leaned in to give me a quick kiss on the lips, before turning around and walking a few steps away from me. “Thanks, Dale!”
In the direction that she was facing, the basement suddenly shifted, forming a dozen wooden targets. Each one was vaguely humanoid, carrying a wooden shield in one hand and a sword in the other. They were not packed closely together, with each dummy being roughly three meters from either of its neighbors.
Ryone confidently walked forwards, until she stood fifty meters from the line of targets. Then, Ryone lifted up both of her hands, palms facing forward. The two hands were aligned vertically, one with the fingers pointed up while the other had them pointed down. Blue light radiated off her fingers, and I could feel a dense mana gathering in her hands.
When she rotated her hands, blue light trailed behind in a line, forming a complete circle. Then, that circle began to fill in with various patterns, turning into what was obviously a spell diagram. However, it didn’t stop there. After the initial diagram was done, three more diagrams appeared surrounding it, hovering in place.
This was the first time I’d seen a spell use more than one diagram, and also the first time that I had seen the diagram itself appear as a result of casting the spell. But, even taking that into consideration, the effects of the spell left me rather disappointed. A red flame shot out from the original diagram in front of her palms, flying towards the targets.
As it flew, the fireball split into three. Then, each of the three split into two, and those six again split to form twelve fireballs. Each fireball accurately struck one of the dozen wooden targets, catching them on fire. Although there did not seem to be any explosive force behind this spell, it appeared to be a multi-target spell. Sadly, every time the fire split, it became weaker, dividing its power evenly among its parts.
Nodding to herself with a serious expression, she then turned back to face me. As she did, a smile appeared once again. “It worked a little better than what I had planned. The system called that spell ‘Guided Flame’. It uses a few new components that we haven’t seen yet, so we should be able to create some interesting spells out of it.”
Seeing that I was interested, Ryone went on to explain the uniqueness of the spell. Compared to the basic Flame spell, this one had a slightly stronger fire element to it. More importantly, it also had three new patterns. Those were the diagrams that appeared alongside it when it was cast, diagrams that would allow for guided control, splitting, and combining. However, there was another point that I was interested about.
“Why did the diagram appear in front of you when you cast it? That wasn’t just to show me, was it?” I couldn’t help but ask after she finished explaining.
“Ah, that. Actually, from my understanding, once spells hit the second tier of their element, the diagrams become visible during casting. If I had cast that spell with only the basic fire element, you probably wouldn’t have seen it. But, at the same time, it wouldn’t have had hardly any strength after dividing so many times unless I poured a lot of extra mana into it.”
I could only nod at that explanation, though I wasn’t sure what the cause of that phenomena was. It was likely that even Ryone herself didn’t know. After all, just because she’s the Goddess of Magic does not mean she knows everything about magic. It just means that she knows everything that is known about magic. I think. This whole god business gets confusing at times.
Either way, it was time for some rather extensive magical training. I wonder how many of these spells I’ll actually be able to memorize.
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