The trio proceeded along like that for several hours. They had encountered several groups of Minotaurs and Breena was gradually getting more and more used to them. Lone had gotten fed up of fighting them since no matter how hard he tried, his lightning wave was still persisting and not becoming a fully fledged skill so Lone was killing all of the Minotaurs when they met a group of them quickly except one who he was leaving to Sophie.
Sophie on the other hand, she was feeling like her swordsmanship was maybe only ten or eleven kills from becoming a skill, either that or a few hours of meditation. She struggled a lot killing even one Minotaur which made sense since they were vastly stronger than her, but Lone was assisting her a lot by shocking the creatures with basic lightning magic to slow their movements and by putting a barrier on Sophie to help her avoid getting any damage if she did get hit by the crude creatures.
Breena was also feeling like she was close to learning a skill. Lone was very proud and surprised about this. Proud because he considered Breena to be something akin to a disciple and surprised because her talent was absurdly high if she was telling the truth. Almost as high as Lone's in fact. Lone could only hope that her talent extended beyond darkness related skills so he could make full use of her.
"Let's take a break. I'm getting bored. Very bored," Lone said with a fed-up expression plastered across his face. Sophie and Breena happily agreed since their feet were getting sore, and they also wanted to think about the skills they were trying to obtain.
The group of three decided to set up shop in what could only be described as a store room. Everything inside had been burnt to a crisp so Lone just used creation magic to build a small room inside of the chamber. It was far cleaner and held a few torches on the walls which he lit with his flames of mana. Lone then created three seats made entirely out of leather and wood which didn't cost him much mana due to his experience with leatherworking and woodworking.
"Do what you guys want. I'm gonna play with Kyuubi and think about why my lightning wave isn't becoming a skill," Lone said with the stress he was experiencing over this matter clear in his voice. He then summoned the still sleeping Kyuubi and gently cuddled her before he sat down on one of the chairs and closed his eyes with a thinking expression plastered across his face.
Kyuubi was awoken by Lone's actions and wearily looked at him before realising who had disturbed her. "Kyuuu... ." she moaned before the small Golden Fox fell asleep once more.
Sophie smiled when she saw the happy grin on Lone's face. She could tell that he was proud of the fact that the noises Kyuubi made were identical to half of her name. Sophie moved to sit on the seat next to Lone before she too closed her eyes while she laid out her swords, Slesh and Chakoo out on her lap. Sophie hoped that being in contact with the weapons would assist her in gaining enlightenment regarding a swordsmanship skill.
Breena also took a seat. However, she did so in the corner of the room as it was the darkest place in the chamber. She was scared of the darkness, but oddly enough, it left her feeling comfortable. She immediately began attempting to merge with the shadows once more.
'Just why is it not working? I believe it will work and I've obviously succeeded in creating the foundation of the skill, so why is it not forming entirely?' Lone had thought in frustration regarding his lightning wave. To be completely honest, Lone didn't care about this magic's power, but he desperately wanted it purely because he thought it was cool. Lone was indeed a man honest to his desires. 'Maybe I just need to supercharge it for it to become a skill? Yeah, I'll do that,' Lone had concluded before he began lightly stroking the soft fur of Kyuubi's.
Meanwhile, Sophie wasn't thinking at all. She had actually entered a state of enlightenment and was received several benefits regarding her knowledge of swords. Such a state would be exceedingly difficult for a person to reach, even for Lone. This proved just how naturally talented Sophie herself was. Indeed, Sophie was a genius in regards to several things, but in her youth, she had never had the chance to show such talents, and in her state of immortality, she never bothered to even try anything beyond playing games hence her late-bloomer status. However, now was her time to shine.
Roughly two hours later, Sophie opened her eyes, and Lone could immediately feel a hint of intent. This intent wasn't malicious or good in nature, and it wasn't the killing intent he was ever familiar with. It just existed. It merely was. Lone turned to look at Sophie before a thought occurred to him.
"Sword intent?" he mumbled. Zeek had mentioned such things. Anyone who was talented enough could create an intent focused on that one talent. Regardless of what it was, be it music, art, a weapon, or even killing. The killing intent was the only intent Lone was currently able to display.
Sophie closed her eyes, and the feeling immediately disappeared when she reopened them. She then shot up to her feet and placed her swords on her seat before she jumped on Lone after scooping up Kyuubi into her arms.
"I did it! I got the skill!" Sophie exclaimed with a cry. Her tears couldn't stop flowing. She was elated that now she could potentially be far more helpful to Lone and his future goals. Lone couldn't have been happier. He knew that even if it didn't bother him, it apparently bothered Sophie that her only useful ability was sensing things in their surroundings. But now Sophie had some attack power which she could use to assist Lone in battle.
According to Sophie, her skill was identical to Lone's sword spear one. However, it obviously focused on swords and was only beginner level one. After showering his partner with praise, Lone then went on to explain how sword intent worked to her. It could be used to intimidate others and was actually used as an aid to dealing damage with swords. Oddly enough, the world of Altros didn't recognise any form of intent as a skill despite how absurdly powerful they could become.
"AHHHH AHHHHH AHHHHHH AHHHHH HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME AHHHHH! PLEASE, HELP ME!" a very rushed and frantic voice screamed at the top of its owner's lungs. Lone and Sophie were immediately alarmed by this yell and Lone unsummoned Kyuubi before he jumped to the origin of the scream.
It was Breena. Half of her body had sunken into the shadows of the floor while her top half was flailing about so much that Lone was almost struggling to keep up with her movements. The poor girl was so panicked that she didn't even notice that Lone was standing right in front of her.
[It's okay. I'm here. Calm down] Lone claimed after he had activated his Aura of Dominance to calm the girl forcefully. He then grabbed her by both her wrists before he yanked her out of the shadows forcefully. Breena then collapsed onto Lone and began sobbing violently.
"Help me please... help... help me... please... help me..." Breena continued whispering her pleas for help.
"Well fuck. She succeeded, but she's less useful than a fucking carrot in this state. How can I fix this?" Lone rhetorically asked with a sigh. Sophie had a clear look of worry on her face. Not regarding Breena leaning on Lone, but at her mental state. Sophie herself had nearly gone insane before during her torture at the hands of Earth's previous God so she could sympathise with the thirteen-year-old girl.
Lone tried for several minutes to snap Breena out of her current state, but nothing was working so Lone assumed that the girl must have been afflicted with some sort of backlash for entering the shadows which had left her in a permanent state of fear.
"I guess it's time for me to discover some darkness skills myself," Lone said. Indeed, Lone had also gained an affinity for darkness along with his void affinity after his third awakening, and he had an idea of how to help Breena with this shared affinity of theirs. However, his idea would require testing.
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
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