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It was over for the magus. Ajivak had thousands upon thousands of years of magical expertise. A mere swipe of its scaly tail could have opened up the sky itself, and brought down winds sharp enough to level a mountain. That entity was a catastrophe given life—and there was no spell a mortal like him could have conjured to outmatch it. Not even a Lord of Elements backed up by the strongest human kingdom would have been enough to rout the transcendent menace.
‘And there laid I, bone-weary and mana drained. And as death invited me for one last dance, I realized something… talent doesn’t matter, and neither does hard-work, or sacrifice… humans were never meant to be divine.‘
The magus looked up at the towering existence, its soft breathing uprooting trees and boulders. He ceased resistance, his eyes fluttering to a close. ‘As headstrong as some humans might be, your determination stands unequaled. I shall lend you one opportunity, sorcerer.‘ its rumbling voice quaked the earth, ‘Come back when you yield the power to learn the truth.‘
A bright, blue orb departed from Ajivak’s claw and crashed into his torso, successfully bouncing him back up to consciousness. And when his coherent thought was finally restored, nothing more than a massive crater lay where Ajivak once stood. The magus later found out that his magical abilities had grown tremendously, ferrying him among the very top of magicians that overlooked humankind. It was the end of a chapter, and the start of a new one.
He accomplished groundbreaking discoveries, feats, and even rallied two conflicting kingdoms under the same banner. His name was carved in gold, his statues hailed even in the most remote village, and his reputation dethroned kings and queens. He was at the peak of what a human could ever achieve—but he was only a human. And humans were never meant to be divine.
That’s why Ajivak never stepped forth to meet him again. The magus camped in the same spot he had once met the Guardian at. Years came and went; seasons swirled in and out, and his body slowly resumed its aging process. Ajivak was nowhere to be found, and even Heavenscraper’s trails faded. He wished to seek the other Guardians, for they surely knew Heavenscraper’s whereabouts. That lasted until his body anchored him down with a wife and an incoming child.
He was a lone man, armed with a dream—that was traded for power. And now that he had power, he couldn’t trade it back for his dream. He had everything but what he truly wanted. The magus settled down, and right before death waltzed in for their unfinished dance, he clutched a feather, dipped it in ink, and began writing. He may have not found Heavenscraper, however, his legacy ensured that someone else eventually would have.[Your magical abilities have been enhanced by 25%][You have gained insight into unlocking your second vein.][Due to your arcane knowledge, your second vein has been vastly stimulated.]
Jered’s heart throbbed; it was painful drumming that echoed off in his ears with each pump. His breath came out in short bursts. He knew he was stuck in a critical juncture. His second vein was finally giving away, and he had brute force his way through. “Absorb.” the tome melted into swabs of light that charged into his head.[You have absorbed the tome ‘Kendra’s A Spell to Rule the World’.][Your magical abilities have been enhanced by 30%][You have gained a lot of insight into unlocking your second vein.]
The throbbing reached a distressing crescendo, until…[Congratulations. You have unlocked your second vein.]
A rush of mana burst out of his heart, and began acquainting itself with the layout of his newly-unlocked second vein. It was a mild cold feeling, refreshing, like water dampening a parched throat. It filled him up for an instant, and then the euphoria slowly died down. Jered clambered back to his feet, his breathing still fatigued but clearly excited.[The mana consumption for spells below the Adept-Tier have been reduced by 25%][The magic power for spells below the Adept-Tier have been enhanced by 25%] [You can now use the Adept-Tier spell ‘Vizier’s Light’ without side effects.]
He raked a hand through his hair, “Status.”[Name: Jered von Jacobs]
[Affiliation: Akashka Society][Race: Human/? ][Class: – | Type: – ][Title: – ][Rank: Adept | Unlocked Veins: 2]
[Magic Density: 2]
[Mana Pool: 150][Soul: Mortal | Average][Sin: – ][Mandatory Quests: 2/4][Pending Quests: 1]
The smile on his face got wider and wider, “Library.”
[Mana Orb, Lv.31][Mana Beam, Lv.17][Everyday Charms, Lv.MAX]
[Vizier’s Light, Lv.1]
[Pharaoh’s Flame, Lv.1]
Jered stretched his hand, whereupon a ghostly blue flame lit upon his palm. Its heat hazed the air above it. He concentrated, visualizing a sub-spell in his mind, and from there he let a second burst of mana flow into his second vein. Dual casting; the number of spells increased with each vein unlocked. Following Jerry’s reminder to a tee, he managed to release a short wave of ‘Low Telekinesis’. A random book whizzed from his desk into his hand. He watched as the wispy fire danced atop the book’s surface, its limbs licking and devouring it.
Eventually, he cut off the mana supply, and the blackened remains of the book fell down. It seemed like ‘Vizier’s Light’ was going to be a bitch to his mana reserves until he leveled it up. At that moment, Jered’s phone chirped, and with a lazy wave of his hand, he summoned it. “Yes?” he answered.
—”Jered? It’s me… Kirby…”
—”Oh hey Kirby, how are you?”
—”Ah yes, I’m fine, thank you… umh… look dude, I… I talked it out with the others and they’re all cool with it.”
—”Really?” the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, —”It makes me happy that you guys are finally taking action against those jocks. Don’t worry, no one will know that we are behind it.”
A sigh of relief was heard through Kirby’s line. —”Thank you, really. Umh, we might need a couple of days to give you the money…”
—”It’s no big deal. Send me a text when you have it.”
—”Yes, thank you man… really… I… I just want this to end…”
Jered chuckled, —”And so do I,” he hung up. The end of the third quest was fast approaching.
It had been a few days since then, and it was finally time—well, almost. “Anyway, my parents want you to have dinner with us,” Kenny had said in a conflicted tone. Jered was on fairly good terms with Mr. and Mrs. Pennison; Liam was a successful businessman, while Isabella quit her job as a nurse to become a full-time housewife. They lived in an affluent neighborhood, with expensive houses and cars lining up every area his eyes laid on. Even a moderately well-off man would feel piss-poor sauntering around there.
He stopped in front of a huge, unnecessarily opulent house, and knocked.
The door opened, and Liam welcomed him with a resounding laugh, “Jered, my boy! Come in!”
“Good evening, Mr. Pennison.”
“Mr. Pennison? I told you multiple times to just call me Liam. Don’t make me feel like an outsider,”
Jered broke into a cheerful smile, “My bad, Liam. How have you and your wife been?”
“Oh we’ve been great,” Liam patted his shoulder as he led him further inside the house, “There have been a few… disagreements here and there, but our 17-year marriage is still holding strong.”
“Glad to hear that! Your relationship with Isabella is what I inspire to have someday,”
The compliment made Liam’s smile brighten up, “Hahaha, I’m sure you’ll fare even better than me. God knows the mistakes I did, huh. Although we haven’t had the pleasure to talk more, I heard a great deal about you from Kenny.” he said with an approving nod, “I’m really happy Kenny has someone like you as his friend,”
“Trust me, Liam, the feeling is mutual. I can trust Kenny, we’ve been friends for a long time,”
They took their chit-chat to the dining room, where Isabella and Kenny were laying out plates and cutlery on the table. Jered accommodated himself first on Liam’s behest. “Hey Jered!” Kenny beamed at him, sitting down right next to him.
“Hi Kenny,” Jered smiled back, not forgetting to tip his head in greeting at Isabella, “Good evening, Isabella. Thank you for hosting me,”
The auburn-haired woman shook her head with an exasperated chuckle, “Ah Jered, always so well-spoken…”
Liam sat down at the other end of the table, full of smiles. “Heh, the kiddo has a future in the business world. A glib tongue can get you all of these luxuries you’re seeing right now,”
“He’s always been a smart boy,” Isabella agreed sweetly, setting down trays of food. “Come on, dig in guys.”
Dinner went on without much preamble. Liam was a chatterbox as he entertained the tableful with stories and experiences, courtesy of Jered’s questions that were always dead-centered towards his line of work. Kenny and Isabella ate quietly, pleasantly listening in.
“That was really delicious, Isabella. I might make it a habit of mine to come here and mooch dinner.” Jered wiped his mouth with a napkin as the Pennison matriarch busied around clearing up the table.
“Aw thank you. You’re always welcome here,” she cooed.
Liam nodded in agreement as well, a glass of wine swirling in his hand. “So, you and Kenny are about to go out, right? What do you have planned?”
“Yes dad, we’ll hang around, go to the cinema maybe, I don’t know…” Kenny explained, bundling his hair into a ponytail. “I’ll go get changed, be right back!”
“Fine… but please! Don’t dress up as a girl!”
“Liam!” Isabella signaled with her eyes, but the damage was done.
“I’ll do whatever the f*** I want!” Kenny stood undeterred to his father’s words, but it still hurt enough to make his eyes prickle with tears. He sped up and disappeared upstairs.
Everyone lapsed into a dignified silence.
“Sorry about that,” Liam floundered for a fancier excuse, “He… he’s going through a weird phase where he likes women’s clothes… I tried talking him out of it but… nothing.”
Isabella gave her husband a pointed look, and retreated back into the kitchen.
“It’s okay, Liam. I’ve always known about that,” Jered waved him off, “Should I go and talk to him? To make sure he’s okay,” he offered.
“I would really appreciate that, maybe you’ll get through him…” Liam slouched back in his chair, downing whatever was left of the wine in his glass. “… ah yes, before you go. Here… I’d like you to do me a favor,” the seriousness in his tone threw Jered off, even more so when the man reached for his wallet and drew out a stack of cash, plus his car’s keys—his expensive car’s keys. Liam leaned closer to him, his voice lowering down considerably. “Look… take this and… please, get Kenny to unwind a bit, you know… with some girls. You get me, right?”
“You want me to pay a prostitute to—”
“Shhh…” the man craned his head back to make sure his wife was out of earshot. “Yes, I… I don’t want my son like that, Jered. Please, understand me. I have nothing against… gays, but he… have you seen his clothes? God… he also started doing that thing, what was it called? Ah yes, cosplay. Kenny’s been cosplaying as… women! He’s been dressing like a slut! I don’t want that! It’s… it’s… not normal!”
Jered didn’t comment, not that Liam gave him the opportunity to.
“I’ve never done anything to deserve this!” one drink followed the other, “I don’t know how to connect with him, his tastes are different; feminine. I’ve always wanted a son, and now that I have one, he’s trying to become a girl… that’s why, take the money and the car and… and see if it fixes the problem…”
Synopsis: The online game <