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The following morning, Thomas made his way to the academy gates after a 'bland' breakfast. Like every other morning, Selena was waiting for him at the gate, only this time she had on a dark brown cloak with a hood. When she spotted Thomas in his regular clothing she frowned and asked, "Do you have a cloak?"

When Thomas shook his head, she let out a sigh and nodded, "That's our first stop then."

Without saying anything else she turned and led him into the city toward a clothing shop. She didn't lead him to a particular shop, just the nearest one where he could purchase a cloak. Once he had they started weaving their way through the streets heading towards the western district. After walking for a bit, Thomas looked at Selena as he asked, "Where are we going?"

After glancing at him, Selena replied, "Before I can teach you anything about you-know-what you need some supplies. Stop asking questions, put up your hood, and follow me."

Thomas sighed but had no reason to argue. He flipped up his hood and silently followed Selena. The further they walked, the classier the place became. Thomas had half expected a place that dealt in artifacts or items related to Unholy magic to be located in a place like the slums. Instead, they were in an area that was lined with shops that only the affluent could afford to spend money within. Even with his available funds, Thomas was relatively certain he would go broke quickly just buying a single outfit in one of the shops here. Honestly, Thomas felt they looked more out of place with the cloak than he would have without it.

Selena led him to a small but well-designed shop that showed off a variety of items in its windows. All kinds of knick-knacks that Thomas couldn't actually identify. Selena led him directly into the store while ignoring everything lining the various shelves, counters, and glass display cases. Together they arrived at the counter where an old man with white hair and deep wrinkles was sitting in a chair looking bored.

He completely ignored the two of them until Selena leaned close and whispered something that Thomas couldn't quite hear. Once Selena leaned back he turned his suddenly much sharper eyes to the two of them and gave them a long once over before asking in a hoarse voice, "Him too?"

After Selena nodded a confirmation he gave Thomas a long look before he climbed to his feet and said, "Follow me."

The old man slowly hobbled as he led them into the back of his shop. They walked through a storage room until they came to a wall. The old man slid his hand over the wall until a secret door cracked open. Thomas hadn't noticed him pushing any buttons or channeling any magic so there was some secret to opening the door that wasn't obvious. The old man pulled the door open and led them inside. There was a short passage before they came into another room.

The new room contained various artifacts and items like the storefront had, however, this time Thomas could feel the Unholy energy emanating from the items surrounding him. Except for one area, a box that contained a large number of white candles. The area around the candles was devoid of any Unholy energy. The old man walked over to the crate of candles while Selena and Thomas followed. When they got near the old man gestured to them, "This is what you came for. How many?"

Selena seemed to think for a bit before she said, "Forty. That will be enough for ten hours."

The old man started collecting the candles while Selena turned to Thomas to explain, "Each candle will last only an hour and it takes four candles to ward a room completely."

Thomas nodded in realization. Before he could practice he would need these wards to keep others from feeling the unholy energy he would be putting out while practicing. It seemed like holy and unholy magic were special in that they could be felt, he'd never felt other elements like he could currently feel the unholy element permeating the room. Once the old man had placed the candles in the small box he set it down in front of Selena and said, "Four thousand gold."

Selena turned to Thomas and held out her hand palm up in expectation. Thomas felt himself breaking out into a sweat. Awkwardly he cleared his throat, "Ah... uh... I don't have that much on me."

Selena frowned, "Did you expect me to pay for it?"

Thomas shook his head, "Of course not. But you didn't tell me to bring a pile of gold." He quickly checked his inventory and said, "I've only got 3,400 gold on me right this moment."

Selena squinted her eyes at him for a few moments then sighed, "Give it over. I'll cover the rest but you better pay me back or I swear..."

Thomas nodded and pulled out all but seventeen of his gold to hand to Selena. She supplemented it with six hundred of her own before passing it to the old man. He'd just silently watched the two of them while waiting to be paid so the moment the gold was handed over it vanished. Selena collected the box of candles and stored it in her own inventory. It seemed she was going to keep the candles hostage until he paid what he owed her.

With their shopping done they were guided out of the shop. Without saying anything Selena walked directly to the bank. Apparently, she wanted to be completely certain that he would pay her back immediately. He understood that she had no reason to trust him when it came to money, but that didn't make it any less frustrating that she had to take him directly to the bank to be paid back.

When they arrived at the bank, Thomas stripped off his cloak and stored it away. It felt completely pointless to have spent money on it and worn it when walking to the shop. After waiting in line for a while they got to the front and Thomas presented his bank card to the well-dressed goblin at the counter, "I'd like to withdraw 5,000 gold, please."

The goblin grunted but accepted the card and did its job. It didn't take very long for the gold to be retrieved and his card balance to be updated. When he got it back he saw that his balance was just over 60,000. It would be a couple more days before Rock would make another deposit to his account. With the gold in hand, the two of them left the bank. Thomas had contemplated retrieving his Portable Alchemy Kit while he was here, but there wasn't really any need for it. He wasn't doing anything alchemy related and had no plans to perform alchemy anytime soon.

After they stepped outside, Thomas handed the last 600 gold over to Selena to pay her back. Selena accepted the gold and said, "When we get back to your dorm room I will give you the candles. It's best to not risk anyone outside seeing them. Though the odds are that most people would only think they were candles, anyone with the proper knowledge could recognize them."

Once again they moved together to make their way back to the academy. The whole trip had been arduous and nearly pointless. All that walking around just to get forty candles. Forty very expensive candles at that. Together the two of them made their way toward his dorm building. Selena pulled her hood up higher to conceal her face. If anyone walking around were to notice her heading to his dorm it would cause unsavory rumors about their relationship to spread.

It was still before mid-day so most students were either in their classrooms or at one of the practice fields casting spells. Still, there were a few people that they avoided catching the attention of. When they arrived inside his room he locked the door to make sure no one uninvited would enter. Not that anyone had ever come to his room before. After looking around a bit and seeing that nothing had changed, Selena pulled out the box of candles and set it on the living room floor.

Selena pulled her hood down as she turned to look at Thomas, "Today I'll be teaching you about using Unholy magic. Before I can you need to set up a ward. To do so you need to place a candle in each corner of the room and light them. Once lit they will form a barrier that will stop the spread of Unholy magic and absorb any leftover unholy energy. Without them, people would easily be able to detect you using it. Never use unholy magic near people or cities without having the candles lit. Set them up and we'll get started."

Thomas went to the box of candles and picked up four of them. He went around the room and set a candle in each corner. Once they were all set it only took a wave of his hand to generate a little fire magic to ignite their wicks. As soon as he did a curtain of energy formed between the candles and encased the room from floor to ceiling completely encasing the two of them within it.

Curious, Thomas walked over to where he could see the barrier shimmering in the doorway leading to his bedroom. He gently reached out to touch the barrier and was surprised when his fingers easily went through the barrier with no resistance at all. Selena watched him and smiled, "The ward only affects Unholy magic and prevents spells from being able to see within the room. Other than that it does nothing else. Anyone and anything can move through it so even with it you need to be careful and make sure you're in a secure area."

Thomas pulled his hand back and turned to face Selena, "So where do we start?"

Selena let out a deep breath and then smiled, "Unholy magic is not like the other elements at all. With the elements we've been learning from Fulin you summon your mana and convert it to the element to cast a spell. Unholy magic is not an element, it's a part of your very soul. While it feeds off of and is powered by mana it is not created by mana. Additionally, the majority of spells from the Unholy element are not about projecting power to deal damage but to absorb power and weaken the target. A simple example would be a life-draining spell to drain the life of your target and take it for yourself. Such a spell is both offensive and defensive allowing you to weaken your target while healing your own wounds."

Thomas listened closely and quickly related Unholy magic with classic Necromancy. Life draining spells were a main staple of Necromancy so he easily understood the concept. Seeing that Thomas was following along, Selena continued, "We'll start with you trying to summon Unholy magic into your hand. Just do what you would with mana, except don't summon mana but search for a different power source in your body. Look for your Unholy magic."

Thomas closed his eyes and focused on himself. He could easily feel his mana and realized that it felt a lot stronger than it had way back when he first learned to summon his mana. He'd never really looked at it again since so it was pretty easy to feel the difference. For now, though, that wasn't important. Instead, he ignored his mana and started to search for a different source of power. It took a few minutes but deep inside of himself he saw something new. Deep inside of his body, there was a core of Holy and Unholy energy swirling around. The two energies were like oil and water and refused to mix.

He smiled as he felt the power emanating from this area inside of him. He could feel the unholy energy within and knew he couldn't force it the same way he couldn't force his mana. Instead, he gently urged it like he did his mana and slowly guided it from within to his hand. When he opened his eyes he saw black energy surrounding his hand. It looked like thick pitch black fog that wanted to do nothing but drink in all light. It reminded him a lot of the Kobold Chieftains darkness magic, only it felt much more sinister.

Selena showed a subtle frown as she looked at the Unholy energy radiating from Thomas's hand, "You did that far faster than I expected."

Thomas slowly moved his hand in front of his face and watched as the black fog-like energy trailed behind his hand. He spoke up absentmindedly, "It's either easy because of my Nephilim race or my innate ability. Either way, it wasn't very hard."

Selena let out a slightly frustrated sigh before complaining, "It took me a week to do that. Well, it's better this way. We can get to practicing a simple enervation spell. One of the few direct offensive spells available in Unholy magic."

Thomas grinned broadly, "Then let's get started."

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thomasdarkrose

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Bio: Just your average self-employed American with some spare time that enjoys reading, and now writing.

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