For the rest of the night, I slowly waited for my magic to recharge, before practicing again. This time, when I called out my brand, it had a dull grey coloring. I couldn’t tell if there was some meaning behind the color of the brands, or what the brands themselves meant for that matter. Anyways, the most I could do at this stage was ‘stress training’ my magic, using just half of it at a time and then waiting for it to eventually recover before doing so again.
By the time that it was Lilith’s turn to keep watch, I had made… no noticeable progress. Though I say that, I could not find any numbers to back it up. Unlike the skills window, there was no window that I could access for the proficiencies. Aside from my status window, and item identification, there did not seem to be any of the game windows available.
In the morning, Lilith and I decided to pack up our small camp, using my personal inventory to store the items. To my surprise, I didn’t find myself drawing blood to store items like I did with the sword. Instead, my brand appeared in a golden flash, attaching itself to one item at a time. When it did so, the item would be absorbed into the golden light and vanish. Does this mean that the blood method was only to be used before I was able to use magic? I frowned slightly, recalling that the sword I had absorbed with my blood still had the ‘bloody’ appearance method. If that was going to be the only item that appeared from my inventory like that from now on, things would get a bit weird.
Thankfully, there did not seem to be a limit to the amount I could store in my inventory, it simply took five percent of my mana for each object. For the record, a large bag of coins still counts as one item, rather than the hundreds of little coins inside it. Lilith and I both let out a sigh of relief when we discovered that, because otherwise we would have spent days trying to place it all in.
On our way back to the town, I glanced over to Lilith, who was now carrying an empty backpack and her twin daggers. “So… question.”
“Hmm?” She asked as she looked to me, keeping an eye out for any approaching monsters.
“With magic… how do you normally do stuff? I mean, you used a healing spell on me, so you should know how it works, and we’ve already established that the magic system is different from what I was used to.”
“Ah!” Lilith exclaimed with a smile, nodding her head. “From what I was taught, anyone has the ability to use any kind of magic. Casting it simply requires a clear image, and the proper energy. For instance, when I healed you I imagined your wounds closing up. Different people are naturally able to imagine different scenes more easily, so that is what decides each person’s ‘path’ of magic. If someone constantly thinks about fire, then naturally they will be able to imagine fire more clearly, right?”
I could only nod at that. “I see… That’s somewhat easier than I thought. So, just imagine the spell while the brand is out, and the magic does the rest?” I asked, somewhat doubtfully.
“Well, after you imagine it, you have to superimpose the image of your brand over the spell, in order to feed the image through it. But yeah, that’s basically it.”
I nodded my head again, calling up my brand on my right hand. Once again, it lit up with a black light. Just imagine the spell, huh? I thought to myself, flipping my hand so that my palm was facing up. I closed my eyes to picture an orb of blue light hovering above my hand, and then did as Lilith instructed, placing the image of my brand over it.
With my eyes closed, I could barely notice a blue light shining in front of me, and when I opened them, there really was the orb, exactly as I had imagined it. I could feel the energy from my right hand slowly being pulled out into the orb of light, and as soon as I focused on stopping that energy, the orb disappeared. “Huh…”
I let myself smile slightly, and began wondering about what kind of image I would be able to create most easily for my own type of magic. Before I came to Hell, I was an avid gamer. My job had not required any real thought, as I was a simple cashier at a large store. At the same time, I did not imagine that I had any real special talent for my visualization skills for being from a modern world.
While it may not look like it, Hell was actually fairly modern itself. Down on the tenth floor, the cities looked like what one may find on Earth. The only reason that most of the other layers didn’t have similar looks was because of the levels of the monsters that inhabited them. I mean, it would be hard to build a large metropolis if you had to worry about a dragon coming in and shattering it every other day during construction. On those dangerous floors, the cities would be kept to small villages, positioned mostly in the safer areas where monsters don’t frequent as often.
Given all of that, and the fact that all of the great scientists from Earth likely died and came here, sharing the knowledge they had come up with in their lifetimes, there was almost no chance that they would be behind in their imagination compared to Earth. If anything, I might be at a disadvantage in that regard. So, I had to consider myself as just an average person, in that regard.
I could try to focus on my weapon skills, create magic to use through that. However, there wasn’t really a need in modern Earth for people to carry around weapons like swords and axes. As for guns, I wasn’t that familiar in their construction, so it was unlikely I’d be able to make anything usable with my magic. The most I had to work with in that field was what I had seen in games.
My only real specialization in my previous life had truly been games. I considered for a moment about making that my path of magic, but quickly shook my head to get rid of that thought. Summoning pac-man to do my bidding is not likely to have any kind of a good effect in battle. Am I really just going to be keeping my magic limited to my class ability? I also refused to believe that, if for no other reason than I would not be able to survive that way.
While my class abilities seem overpowered on these floors, once we start moving down, they will become weak compared to the local monsters. No matter how many swords I can wield without my hands, or how masterfully, I won’t be able to slay a dragon, let alone a lesser god. Even if I tried to rely purely on my Equipment Mastery, I would need to acquire powerful weapons on the various floors to make up the difference.
“You okay, Grim?” I heard Lilith asking from next to me, snapping out of my random train of thought. I looked over, and she was watching me with a trace of concern.
I nodded my head lightly, offering up a small smile. “I’m fine, just trying to figure out how I want to use my magic.”
“Ahh, well if it’s about that, why not just wait and see what comes naturally to you? From what you said your mission was, we’re going to be moving through all the different layers of Hell, so at the very least, we’ll be able to get lessons on magic once it becomes more common, right? If the floors get more dangerous the further down we go, that means that the people living there have to get stronger too.”
I could only nod again at that. “Once we get to the triple digits, more than half of the population should be able to use magic, going by what I know. After two hundred, virtually everyone is able to do it.”
Lilith’s smile grew a bit wider at that. “See? No problem, then! Once we get down that far, if you haven’t figured out what path you want to take in magic, we can just casually ask someone in one of the cities for advice. They, uh, do still have cities that far down, right?”
I chuckled slightly when she asked that. “Yeah, though they are small ones, and scattered around. A lot are hidden away in mountain caves or forests to avoid the monsters. Hopefully their locations are the same as the ones in my memory.”
She let out a sigh of relief after that, and soon we found ourselves back in the city. It didn’t take us long to find our way back to the blacksmith’s shop we had visited the day before. Once inside, we were able to hear the sounds of metal striking against metal echoing throughout the store. No doubt, the blacksmith was back working on something.
Lilith and I looked at each other, and decided to simply wait for him to be done. Even if we wanted to shoplift the items that were already prepared for us, they were no longer on display. No doubt, he had them set aside somewhere since we had already asked for them yesterday.
“Hah, sorry about that.” We heard the yellow-skinned demon speak as the door to the back of the shop opened up. “Was working on an order-- Oh, it’s you two?” He asked in mild surprise, before nodding his head once. “Welcome. Take it you’re here for the order you placed yesterday?”
Lilith nodded, smiling to the man. “That’s right. Do you happen to have it ready for us?”
“Just finished the chisel now, waiting for it to cool off. I can go ahead and get the other items out for you.” He chuckled gruffly, reaching under the counter to pull out a large bag. “One hammer, one woodcutting axe, and one chisel, all of the highest quality I could manage. The total will be twenty-three hundred sin.”
Lilith whistled slightly as the price was listed, and then glanced in my direction. With a nod, I pulled the bag of coins that was still left inside my backpack out, and handed it to her. After that, Lilith pulled out three green coins, handing them over to the blacksmith. “Sorry, can you make change for us.”
The man seemed surprised that Lilith had taken out those coins as she did, but soon recovered. “Alright.” He reached under the counter to pull out his own bag, and retrieved one blue coin, and two pink ones, before passing them to Lilith. “Give me just a minute to fetch the chisel, and I’ll be right back.”
After the man disappeared into the back of the store, I smiled to Lilith. “When we get out of here, I’ll need you to teach me how the money works here…” Seeing the surprised look on her face, I quickly explained. “I know the name of the currency, but I don’t know what the different colors are for.”
She nodded her head, accepting that with a small grin of her own. “Alright. I’ll be more than happy to help you handle your money~.” She teased playfully, after which the blacksmith came back, holding a small chisel in his hands.
“You didn’t specify what size you wanted, so I went with a two inch thick blade.” As he said that, he showed the item to us before putting it in the bag. Before he did so, I managed to focus on it enough to identify it.
I looked over to Lilith, nodding my head slightly to indicate that the chisel was good. If it was made of silversteel, then we were actually getting a pretty good deal, by my understanding. That was a metal not normally found until the twentieth floor, and was roughly twice as strong as steel, without losing any flexibility. I guess he took our order seriously, and really did make this as high quality as he could.
Lilith smiled when she saw my nod. “Thanks a lot. This is going to help us quite a bit, believe me.” She gave a polite bow towards the blacksmith, which showed off an ample amount of cleavage. The blacksmith, showing that he was at least somewhat of a gentleman, coughed and averted his eyes after only a few seconds of staring.
“Pleasure doing business with you.” He said with an awkward voice, causing Lilith and I to laugh as we took the bag and left the store. Now it was time to find our way to Fenrir, and march towards our death.