The fight continued on as Sera dodged the relentless assault of the fire elemental and obsidian golem, however those too did evade her attacks or prevented her from attacking with flame projectiles. The golem alone wouldn’t have been much of an issue and the same was true for the elemental. Yet now they had the first strike, were a bit stronger and, compared to before, even their teamwork was good.
Each of those factors on its own would have made the fight a bit harder, but together and paired with the warriors reckless and overconfident fighting style they easily managed to stall her in a fight, where one mistake could easily mean the end.
She wanted to focus on her underleveled classes, however if nothing changed, she would just deplete her own stamina. Maybe her enemies would run out of their own resources first, though Sera wasn’t keen on risking her life for that chance.
If she put her life on the line she wanted rewards and not just survive a fight!
Reluctantly the warrior started to use her own fire affinity to counteract her opponents attacks. It didn’t help much, her own skills were, even with the help of her intuition, too weak to truly affect the projectiles of the magic focused elemental, but she could slightly alter their direction and create openings. Furthermore she also used her aura to shroud herself in flames. It might not help against her inorganic opponent, though maybe it could assimilate the projectiles to some extent. Without any experiences her intuition couldn’t help her, but the fight wouldn’t last long enough that the mana used on the aura would become an issue.
Also she was sure that using the aura would look cool.
From there on it did only take a few seconds to dispatch the golem.
She had to remove its limbs first, as the wolf had become too wary of attacks targeting its head during their fight. Yes, they would regenerate soon, though before that happened Sera managed to damage the core.
[You killed a Obsidian Golem Lv 26.]
[Your Fire affinity has reached Lv 14.]
[Your Warrior class has reached Lv 14.]
[Your Blade Dancer class has reached Lv 5.]
[You have reached Lv 14.]
The fire elemental had also sensed that the advantage of the fight had changed. Even shortly before its ally had been destroyed, it had switched from the crossfire of flames to a bigger spell circle, to which it had started to channel mana since then.
Ready to also finish off her last opponent, the girl was about to launch herself towards the magical being, when it suddenly exploded.
“So that is what happens when you kill someone during a longer cast… Or was it because i removed or destroyed its soul?” The mage muttered from behind the warrior.
Stopping her humming Sera had kept up during the fight – [Your Idol class has reached Lv 2.] – she turned to her sister. “Hey! That was my kill!” Though at least the humming hadn’t turned out to be useless.
“Sorry, but i wasn’t interested in getting burned to ashes by a giant fireball or wall or… hm… could have been a giant lance… That seems to be about right… Maybe i should try it later…” Shaking her head, the mage refocused. “Anyway, the elemental was about to attack us. If it had succeeded we would have most likely died, based on the strength of the creatures in this dungeon. And if you had killed it before that, its spell would have exploded like now and you would have been wounded? Burned? Half dead? More things to test… Though you would have been out of commission for some time, used up more potions and i’m not that keen on using souls to kill off enemies to keep myself safe during that time. That is uneconomically.”
“Grrr… Fine.” Being more or less appeased by the explanation, Sera was about to let her sister off the hook. “Wait! Don’t just declare me as a guinea pig!”
“Don’t worry. Don’t worry. As long as there are others who can test it out or you wish for it yourself, you won’t become a test subject. Especially not something which could easily cause damage. Anyway we were on the search for a lizard before your dance with the wolf.” The scientist tried to persuade the warrior.
Keeping her vigilance up a few more moments, she finally relaxed. “Right… Let’s go.” She couldn’t shake off the feeling that Sarah was trying to forcefully change the topic, but gave in anyway. They both could be very stubborn at times.
Though before Sera could even take her first step she was interrupted by her sister again. “By the way, you were using your flame aura during the fight… Do you think you can create one without fire?”
“Hm…” Thinking back, the flames hadn’t been part of the skill initially.
[A skill gained through your intuition, as you tried to imitate heroes from fictional works in a mana rich environment. Allows its user to radiate mana, optionally imbued with an affinity and/or intent.]
After quickly checking the description, which she had obviously skipped when they were summoned to get to the affinity and class selection sooner, she tried the skill once again, though this time without the flames.
At first not much seemed to change, until suddenly her mana started to plummet again. It was a weird feeling, like slowly losing oneself or bleeding out, so she stopped it soon after.
[Your Aura skill has reached Lv 3.]
Though it did improve her skill. “Something like this?” She finally answered her sister who had observed her.
A short moment of silence passed before she answered. “I guess… Though just blasting mana away from you would only deplete your reserves… Can you try to focus it on a target… No… On yourself? Though i guess that won’t work…” Again Sarah started to mutter some things, a few times she was a bit louder though most wasn’t audible. “Well, it’s worth a try. Try targeting the aura on yourself, or get it through some other way to fold in on yourself.”
“Please what?” Sera wasn’t quite able to follow what the mage wanted from her.
“Hm… Okay, let’s go step by step. Currently you are somehow discharging your mana from your body.”
“This mana will affect the area around you. Its size should probably be dependent on the mana discharged.”
“So now try to return the mana back to yourself. Maybe imagine it as a loop.” Sarah finished her explanations.
“Okay… But i don’t think that would work…”
Sera obviously wasn’t sure, however the idea behind her aura was just too different from that to have much confidence.
Killing intent which could make the opponent flinch or freeze.
A flaming cover which prevented others from approaching you.
Admittedly all those ideas were currently just dreams, but, if she got more mana as well as more levels in her aura skill, she could see those dreams become reality.
… Well, maybe not the last one.
Anyway, her ideas focused on sending out her aura, not taking the aura in, looping it or committing any other shenanigans, but she tried it anyway.
As she had expected, her results were meager. Regaining the mana used in her aura? She didn’t even manage to focus it. Naturally, focusing it wasn’t looping, however she had to somehow find a way to influence it, before she could think of anything more complicated. And concentrating her aura should at least be possible, according to her ideas. Not that the skill had mentioned anything in that regard.
Working on her skill a bit longer for fortunately enemy free minutes, she finally decided that she had enough. Would she give up? No. But currently getting a lizard steak had priority for her and she doubted that she would get control over her aura that fast, if it was even possible in the first place. “Sis, i don’t think this will work; at least for now…”
“Are you sure? Hm… well, at least try it one more time.” Her sister, who had only shown marginal interest in Sera’s attempts of controlling her aura till now, was suddenly looking at her with an expression like that of a predator. A look the scientist had usually only shown when she had found a new “toy”, which had the possibility of granting her a breakthrough.
“I don’t-” Sera tried to get away from her sister, however she was quickly interrupted.
“Shhh, i don’t want to hear that from you. You have caused me already enough headaches with your extra class and later when you wandered off on your own in the town. So i’m sure you don’t mind following my simple request?” Sarah waited for an answer, though as non came, she added the same “Right?” Sera had used to coerce her into the weird class.
“Fine…” The warrior finally gave in. Her intuition was still screaming, however even it didn’t know any outs. Sure, she could run away, but she also knew what could happen then. What had happened in the past.
A certain interesting looking meteorite was in possession of a noble family and unfortunately they didn’t want to part with it, regardless of the sum of money or other advantages offered. A family heirloom, if Sera remembered correctly. A couple of weeks later the same family was arrested under suspicion of high treason and a meteorite appeared in her sister’s laboratory.
So she used her aura again. Mana left her body. Fortunately in a few seconds she wouldn’t have to worry about her sister insisting on her using the skill, as she would be out of the resource.
Though before that could happen, three glowing parts separated from Sarah’s mana construct and entered her aura. Sera at first didn’t quite understand what was going on, but then something started to enter her.
“Ehh, what is this?” Surprised by the sudden action of her sister, she screamed out.
The mana consumption of her aura was slowly getting reduced. Where at first the remaining duration was a couple of seconds, it became tens.
More of the glowing parts thrown into her aura by the mage.
“Don’t worry about it. It should help you with your mana issue. Just try not to explode.”
With the additional party Sera’s mana level had even started to recover a bit.
To escape the weird feeling of something leaving her while at the same time something else was entering her, she tried to reduce the mana supplied to her aura. Turning it off at once? Her instinct told her that it was a bad idea.
However instead of her aura slowly vanishing, the new side effect of supplying her with mana broke nearly completely off. That in turn meant that, although her barely active aura used less mana, the net usage of mana was greater than before. Her only slightly recovered mana reserves start to plummet again and to prevent it from abruptly drying out completely, she had to trust in whatever her sister had done to her aura. So she channeled more of the ever dwindling resource to her skill which in turn actually restored it.
Using the moment to relax she noticed that her sister had increased the distance between the two.
“Why are you backing off?”
Over charging her aura similar to the first time she used it in the realms, the warrior had to realize that more aura unfortunately didn’t mean more mana recovered. At some point she had again started to lose mana, maybe even faster than before, after recovering some. Trying to get back in the area where it would recover was however harder than it at first seemed, as the new stuff in her skill responded with a delay. Like when you wanted to play the newest FPS but you were also on a camping trip and had a ping of over 9000. Well, maybe not as extreme, but probably with much more real consequences than only a mouse in a nearby lake.
“Don’t worry about it. Just get your aura under control and don’t try to explode.” The reply from Sarah also wasn’t very reassuring.
“The explode part wasn’t a joke?!” Sera had already half assumed it thanks to her intuition, but hearing it from her sister made the risk even more real.
“Well, you have seen the elemental… so please don’t explode.”
“You don’t need to repeat it three times, i’ve heard it the first time! I also don’t want to explode!!”
“Good. Then i’ll wait over here.”
The warrior would have liked to verbally counter with anything, however she needed all her concentration and intuition to get the aura back to a stable level before her mana ran out. Nothing she had much experience with, as she had only used the skill in short bursts of flames until now.
[Your Aura skill has reached Lv 4.]
At least it seemed she was on the right track…
A few more grueling minutes passed until Sera had her skill more or less back under control.
“What was that? Hadn’t you just told me that you wouldn’t experiment on me? At least warn me!”
Though letting her anger over the recent event out nearly caused her to lose control again.
Sarah waited for a few moments to let her sister catch herself again or maybe just to find a good answer before replying. “If i had alternatives, sure. But neither do i know anyone with an aura-like skill nor is anyone else around. Besides, it was basically safe. If it went wrong, i could have tried to regain the spells. If that had failed, i could have removed the souls from a distance. If that had no effect, you would have most likely survived whatever had followed. And if not, i would have taken care of your soul until i could revive you. You will have a special place in my soul orrery!”
“Why do i have the feeling that my soul had been at risk? Are you sure you don’t have the insanity skill like me?”
“Don’t think too much about it. Just let me worry about the consequences as usual.” The mage tried to persuade her sister.
Though suddenly another girl entered their conversation. “What was that about insanity?”