After seeing the looks of shock and fear in the eyes of Alfonse and Greyfus, Lone decided to increase the scale of his display. He flicked his fingers which caused the kindling of mana to float towards the wall and upon touching it gently, it was absorbed into it. While the two residents of Hope were looking at this scene in confusion, the building began rumbling and shaking before the entire left portion of the mansion was consumed in a brilliantly blue flame. Mere seconds later, the flame disappeared along with the left side of the building.
"Don't worry about anyone dying; I had told the flame not to kill anyone. As you can see, I'm very powerful. That particular flame, I was casting it while you spoke, but it's not my only trump card. Trust me when I say I can look after myself and my group. I'd be happy to stay here for a while, but no longer than a few weeks at most. I want to finish clearing this dungeon in a year. I'm a busy Fox, after all," Lone said with a mischievous grin plastered across his face.
"Hahahaha, I like you. Sorry for underestimating you, but I'm sure you can understand if I say that I have to duel you now, right? I'm sure there were other ways you could have proven your strength besides burning half of my home to the ground. By the way, that flame is off limits for our duel, I don't know how, but it burnt pure marble and stone to a crisp, I'm afraid to think what it would do to me, hahahaha!" Greyfus said heartily. It would seem that his pride demanded that he fought with Lone now, but otherwise, he was quite pleased with Lone's strength since that would do nothing but help him with his own personal goals.
Lone was quite happy at this response. He was worried that his destruction of part of the mansion would be met with hostility, which is why he had specifically made sure that the flame didn't harm any living beings, wich was something he could do to the flame purely because it was made out of nothing but mana. Were it up to Lone, he would have preferred to have just extinguished the flame, but unfortunately, or fortunately, once it had been created, it had to be used.
Lone theorised that he might have been able to store it in his dimension, which was something he had meant to do but hadn't found the time for it. An arsenal of Kindling's of Mana would certainly be a terrifying thing to not only face but to control as well.
"I'm fine with that, but can I be so bold as to ask for a prize upon your defeat?" Lone asked with certainty in his voice. The certainty of his victory against Greyfus.
"Hahahahaha! You, an E-Ranker, defeat me, and S-Ranker, in combat? Hahahahaha, even with a trump card or two, there's no way you'll beat me," Greyfus claimed in a matter-of-factly way. Alfonse nodded at this. Greyfus wasn't the strongest individual in Hope despite being an S-Ranker, but he was certainly powerful. His Golden heritage ensured that.
"We'll see," was Lone's simple response. Greyfus could only stop his laughter upon seeing the smile that hung on Lone's lips. There was something off-putting about it if you could disregard Lone's charm. Even Greyfus himself felt like might lose upon looking at Lone's expression for too long.
"In that case, sure, you can have a prize. What would you like, and what can you offer in exchange?" the Lionkin asked while his mane was flowing with the breeze that now been let inside the room thanks to the 'window' Lone had created.
"Hmm, I dunno? I've got a lot of stuff. Knowledge on how to awaken your bloodline? A method on how to cure the side effects of awakening if you already know how to. Lots of gold. Miniature communication orbs. Information about Clicker. Information about the outside world. Mana orbs. Oh, I've also got roughly twenty thousand monster bodies, although I have plans for them. I won't be losing our duel, but just in case, I'd rather you never chose them," Lone listed. Greyfus and Alfonse's shock only continued to grow upon the mention of each item. How did Lone get a hold of each of these items? The information was more believable, but each one was still precious. Greyfus could only take a gulp of his saliva in preparation for what Lone might ask of him in return for one of these things.
"As for what I want, give me all of the books in this city. Copies are fine. Also, get your best blacksmith to teach me his or her craft. I've already learnt some things about blacksmithing, but not nearly enough to satisfy myself," Lone's requests made Greyfus very happy. As far as the books were concerned, the library already had several copies of each book available due to a clan of Angels managing it.
Angels may sound holy, but in truth, they were just the creation of a powerful God who had soon left Altros for further exploration only to leave her creations behind. They looked as you would imagine, beautiful and pure with white wings of varying sizes. However, they held absolutely no battle capabilities and were actually designed to keep information. They were most likely one of the most intelligent species on the planet.
Lone's second request would be slightly more troublesome since the best blacksmith of Hope was rather eccentric, but Greyfus was sure he could figure something out if he put his head to it. This was assuming he lost, which he was sure he wouldn't.
"Those are doable, now, I can choose two things, right?" Greyfus asked Lone with greed clearly present in his voice. Lone liked the honesty of the Lionkin and chuckled a little bit before nodding.
"I want the method to cure the side effects of awakening and miniature communication orbs," Greyfus requested. Lone expected the first but was a bit surprised by the last, so he voiced a question.
"Why do you want those two things? Oh, you don't have to answer, by the way, I'm just curious," lone asked lazily before he gently stroked Sophie's head. Both her and Breena were being completely silent. Upon being stroked by Lone, Sophie jolted a bit. It would seem that she had fallen asleep at some point, so she sheepishly grabbed a few of Lone's fluffy friends to hide herself from her embarrassment.
Everyone looked at this scene warmly. Lone was quite thankful that no one chose to make fun of Sophie nor his relationship with her, so his favorability with Greyfus and Alfonse was rapidly rising. Lone was a simple man to get along with. All you had to do was be honest and not work against him; it really was that simple. Unfortunately, most people lacked that first aspect.
"I don't mind telling you. My grandfather and father died from the side effects of their awakenings, so I've been suppressing mine with the help of my elven blood, my mother is an Elf you see, but I'm losing control, and I'll be experiencing a breakthrough soon. I don't know about you, but I'd like to keep my near infinite lifespan," Greyfus said with a laugh despite the seriousness of his tone. From this Lone could deduce that Greyfus was the grandson of Lucius which helped solidify the fact to Lone that beastkin did indeed have very long lifespans.
"Well there's no worries there, as you can see, I've experienced my sixth awakening, and I'm only twenty-five years old, while Breena here has gone through her third and she's only thirteen. Truly, a talent if ever I've seen one," Lone praised the Foxkin sitting at his left.
A blush quickly surfaced on her pale cheeks before she began rapidly shaking her head. "No Master! It was you that made sure I survived..." Breena had claimed before she stopped herself. She was embarrassed, but she didn't want to reveal any more information regarding the method to negate the lifespan reduction of awakening. In face, Breena's entire body had been remade at this point by Lone. It had been a slow process, but a few times Lone had recreated entire limbs due to her having lost them in battle, making the whole process far faster than initially planned.
"Well, regarding the communication orbs, we want them so we can keep in contact with advance parties that decide to leave Hope and go to floor forty-one. It would be very beneficial for us as a whole if we could get information regarding the following floors for those of us that still have time left to clear this place. Not many, but a few of our citizens still wish to return to the outside world," Greyfus explained with an unsettling amount of hostility to his voice. Lone wagered that something must have happened with people leaving the city. Something that wasn't very pleasant. But regardless, Lone had a fight to attend to, so stray thoughts could be left unattended to for now.
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