"W-Why are you in my class?" the dwarven professor who had handled Swind's incident just yesterday asked the nine-tailed foxkin that had strolled right into the arena that hosted her lesson on earth magic.
Lone smiled politely at her and replied, "Professor Alroy tried to bully me out of his class by demanding I duelled him and use only Earth Magic, so when I almost killed him with a barrage of Rock Bullets and Boulders, he begged for his life and arranged for me to be moved to another teacher's class immediately. Erion agreed to everything. I promise I'll behave and take your teaching seriously though. I just don't want to be bullied by supposed professors."
A handful of the students here were also in Lone's metal magic class, so they weren't nearly as surprised to hear his shocking words as the other students or the professor was.
Holding her forehead and frowning deeply, the dwarven woman tried her best to not speak in her native dialect as she replied, "Okay. I'll hold you to that. I'm Professor Dana Mudsbane."
"Lone Immortus," Lone replied politely. "I'm sorry to interrupt your lesson. Please, continue."
Dana shook her head. "No, it's fine. I had just finished determining everyone new student's specific earth magic affinity as well as what earth magic skill or skills they can use."
"Ah, in that case, I have an affinity of 100%, and like I said, I can use Boulder and Advanced Rock Bullet. Uh, do I need to demonstrate them?" Lone asked.
Professor Dana nodded. First, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a small orb that seemed to be made entirely out of hardened soil. "I know you supposedly have a maxed affinity with earth magic, but I wasn't present when you were tested, so could you please touch this just to confirm for me?"
Lone smiled. "Sure."
|Freshman Lone Immortus' Affinity For Earth Magic|
"I wonder if he has an affinity for sand magic too..."
"I hope not. I don't know about you, but I don't want him to be the next Advent of Minerals."
"Yeah. He's too arrogant. Every Advent of Minerals to date has been very stoic and humble in nature..."
"Still, there goes my hopes of being the top student this year for beginner earth magic..."
"Well, he hasn't shown how skilled he is yet. Remember, affinity isn't everything. Just like with the halfling over there."
Dana smiled. "While I have some reservation about getting involved with The Wanderers, I'd be pretty happy to make you my personal disciple since you have so much potential for earth magic. What do you say?"
Lone laughed. "I admire your honesty, but I'm sorry. I don't plan to be anyone's disciple currently. Maybe Archon Milos' and maybe Headmaster Erion's. He arbitrarily decided that I and my lover were his pupils all on his own, which put me off big-time, but he's been good to me a few times now, so I'm warming up to him a bit."
Dana's smile waned a little. "You don't need to lie to make me feel better. I understand. I had to try regardless. It's rare to get someone with over 80% affinity for earth magic, let alone 100%. Anyway, could you please display your earth magic skills for me?"
Lone shrugged in response to that. He wasn't going to waste his time to explain that he never lied. At best, he told false-truths.
As soon as Dana had asked him her question, however, she also snapped her fingers and said, "Minor Earth Golem."
The ground rumbled slightly as the floor of the arena shook. Very quickly, a human-sized and human-shaped structure was formed from the soil and stood there motionlessly. Etched into its forehead was the word 'soldier'.
"You don't need to destroy it, but it's a lowest level golem, so it shouldn't take much to make it crumble. Please just show me what earth magic you can do. You said you knew Boulder and Advanced Rock Bullet, right?" Professor Dana asked.
Lone nodded as he stepped forward and cracked his neck. "Yup, and I almost ranked them up in my fight with Professor Alroy. This should be good enough to push them over the edge. Maybe, I dunno how good opponents that don't fight back are for exp. Bad, I'm assuming."
Glancing down at the lexicon in his hand, Lone inquired, "Is it okay for me to use my channelling tool to help me cast my spells? As a bit of forewarning, it triples the power of the spells it helps me cast, which is how I beat an XX-ranker with only Boulder and Advanced Rock Bullet."
"Really? I've never seen such an artefact before... I'd love it if you used it, in fact. I can repair this arena and simply recreate the golem if need be." Professor Dana's dwarven blood was boiling and her curiosity was ignited upon seeing such a clearly unique object.
'She's kinda cute, but in a geeky way,' Lone though offhandedly as he held out his lexicon and wore a serious expression. "Rock Bullet."
A bullet made out of stone formed in front of Lone's open palm, however, unlike the regular rock bullets, this one was easily the size of a child's fist.
Like a bolt of lightning, it whizzed through the air and completed decimated the golem's head like it was made of tofu. In fact, the bullet didn't stop there. It penetrated the arena's walls and was only stopped by the enchantments that protected the room.
|Congratulations! the host's active earth magic skill [Advanced Rock Bullet] has levelled up! It is now Advanced Level 1.|
'Oh, look at that. It did level up. Maybe from trying to pierce the enchantments? Those are insanely tough...' Instantly, Lone checked the skill's newly updated information.
|Active Earth Magic Skill: Advanced Rock Bullet|
An advanced application of the uncommon [Rock Bullet] Earth Magic skill.
[New!] Fires 2 [Rock Bullets] instead of the usual 1.
|Cost:||5,000 MP [-2,500 MP]|
|Mastery:||Advanced Level 1|
'Wow. That's a genuinely good new effect. Twice the combat potential with no extra cost... Awesome,' Lone commented internally as he watched the golem crumble and turn into a pile of dust.
Professor Dana's eyes were practically sparkling. "That was definitely an Advanced Rock Bullet, not just a normal Rock Bullet. The hardness alone proved that but the bullet was also 3-times larger, 3-times faster, and 3-times more destructive! That cube is amazing! Where on Altros did you get it?!"
Her inner crafter and scholar were screaming for answers, answers which Lone was more than willing to give.
Grinning, the foxkin replied, "This baby? It's called a lexicon, and I made it."
"You made it?!" Professor Dana didn't doubt Lone for a moment. Not only was he a Golden Foxkin as far as she knew, but he was also Headmaster Erion's disciple. Besides, if he was claiming to be its creator, then he could help teach her to make one too... for the right price.
Lone smiled in a way that a true teacher should as he said, "Professor Dana, can we discuss this later? I can see that you're excited, but we are still in the middle of your lesson. Should I perform Boulder now?"
"R-Right." Calming herself down via some deep breaths, the dwarf scratched her head in embarrassment before she recreated the golem, but this time, it was 3-times larger and was made from stone, not dirt. "Go wild. This big guy should be able to take a Boulder at thrice-fold the normal power."
Lone nodded. Noting the 'captain' on the golem's forehead, Lone channelled power into his lexicon and chanted, "Boulder," while aiming his empty palm at the construct.
Magic Power flowed out of Lone's hand and formed into a giant ball of stone that was easily the same size as a van. What was particularly frightening about the Boulder was that it moved as fast as a rubber band would if a normal adult has pinged one at full strength.
A thunderous sound filled the arena as dust flew everywhere upon the Boulder making contact with the captain golem, but amazingly enough, despite the tremendous amount of force contained behind the skill of Lone's, the construct was able to catch the Boulder and drop it to one side after having slid back 10-feet.
Its body was slightly cracked but it still looked like it could catch at least four more Boulders with minimal difficulty.
Not a second later, Lone's Boulder slowly faded away from existence and turned into a barely visible wisp of blue energy that quickly dissipated.
|Congratulations! the host's active earth magic skill [Boulder] has levelled up! It is now Advanced Level 1.|
'She wasn't lying. It really could withstand it... Well, Professor Alroy could too, but he had to dodge tonnes of them and a bunch of bullets at the same time, so it's not exactly a fair comparison.' Again, Lone checked the skill's info as he did with Advanced Rock Bullet.
|Active Earth Magic Skill: Boulder|
A standard application of the earth magic school where the caster focuses the element of earth into a condensed lump of pure rock.
[New!] Any Boulder created shall have 1-10 spikes on its surface (how many is dependant on the host's luck).
|Cost:||1,500 MP [-500 MP]|
|Mastery:||Advanced Level 1|
'Meh. It's more deadly now, but it's also less practical for training with other people. Oh well. You win some you lose some. It's certainly more helpful in a serious situation, at least,' Lone thought dismissively.
"Excellent. To be able to use both Advanced Rock Bullet and Boulder without the help of any assistance chants and still maintain perfect form... Your 100% affinity clearly isn't just for show, Student Lone," Professor Dana stated with a smile on her face as he eyes remained glued to the lexicon in Lone's hands.
Noticing her stare, Lone grinned. "This lexicon can store spells too, you know?"
"What?" Professor Dana's mind spun at the possibility. "Well, yes, it's possible in theory to store spells, but only in theory! Not only that but for it to be able to amplify spells directly and by so much on top of that... I need to know what it's made of and how it was made!"
Practically every single student watching this exchange wore exceedingly jealous expressions on their faces.
Not only did Lone have Headmaster Erion as his teacher, but he also possessed a powerful artefact that enhanced his ability as a mage as well as easily allowed him to get in the good graces of like-minded professors and teachers to Professor Dana.
Lone's grin grew. "I'll tell you everything I know about it after my classes during lecture time if you'd like? In exchange, store your Minor Earth Golem spell in here for me, would you?"
Professor Dana wanted to ask if that was enough, but her scholarly nature refused to let her pass up this chance by questioning what the man wanted and risking him changing his mind. "I'll do it right now!"
She quickly ran up to Lone, grabbed his lexicon, and somehow instantly knew how to store spells into it. "Store Minor Earth Golem."
Some of her MP was consumed, but she had, indeed, successfully left her skill inside of the lexicon. Looking at it lovingly, the dwarf reluctantly passed it back to Lone.
"Now that I've done what you asked, no taking back your promise! I swear on the Primals, if you do, I'll complain directly to Erion! He owes me a favour, so I'll force him to punish you if I have to!" the tiny woman threatened as she pointed at Lone's face with one hand and held her hip with the other.
"Hahaha, I'm a man with few principles, but keeping promises is certainly one of them," Lone replied with a laugh.
Nodding vigorously, Professor Dana said, "Good. All beings should live by that principle. Anyway, as much as I'd love to talk about your 'lexicon' - as you called it - even more, I do have a lesson to teach."
Lone inclined his head respectfully. "Please, don't let me stop you."
"Great." Dana walked back to the front of the arena and brushed back her hair to collect herself before saying, "Well, sorry for the delay, everyone. Now that I'm aware of everyone's capabilities, I'll have you all begin training in Crude Earth Wall. Student Lone and Student Frippo, as you two have over 80% affinity for earth magic, I'll have you both learn Crude Pitfall as well."
In his peripheral vision, Lone saw a Native Halfling bow his head shyly in response. 'So Native Halflings are dark-skinned, huh? I've never seen one before. How rare. He looks pretty cool. I wonder if he'll see me as a rival for this class?'
Unaware of Lone's thoughts, Frippo still noticed his glance and returned it with a shy smile. Lone just nodded and smiled back.
Lone stretched his back after he had left the arena. Professor Dana's class had certainly been interesting and it was a refreshing way to learn about magic as opposed to simply reading books and experimenting on his own, Lone thought.
Of course, he'd arranged a place to meet with his dwarven teacher after his next class was over so that they could discuss his lexicon.
'Frodley, Gilbert and Shana all have zero interest in steamforging, so it's nice to finally meet a dwarf that actually seems to be into it, and for once, I've finally met an adult dwarf who doesn't fuckin' use Scottish slang. The accent's perfectly fine, but the slang drives me crazy sometimes,' Lone complained internally despite being a Scotsman himself.
"We challenge you to a duel under Headmaster Erion's rules!" a young human woman announced.
Lone raised his head and looked up only to see over 30 humans clogging up the hallway. He raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure you lot don't wanna wait until after the next class is over? I don't particularly mind either way."
"You'll just try to run away and get the headmaster's help now that you know we want to fight! You have no right to refuse! Again, we challenge you!" the woman confidently announced.
Lone shrugged and cracked his neck. "Sure. I guess the water magic skills Seeker Liza 'gifted' me could use a few level-ups, as could my healing magic. Well, I'm gonna stand perfectly still for exactly 5-minutes. Use all of that time to try to hurt me as much as you want to," he confidently said with a smug smirk strewn across his face.
The 30-plus human students seemed offended by Lone's overconfident attitude. "We need not your pity, Ninetails!" The leader practically spat out the word 'Ninetails' as she avoided using a demi-related slur. They were here to beat up Lone since the rules permitted them to, not to get in trouble for being discriminatory.
Lone slowly shook his head. "Pity? Nah. I just want free resistances and level-ups."
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