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Thomas watched Lexiana walk away and shook his head. He said he accepted her apology, and he did, but that didn't mean he would lower his guard against her by one iota. He still planned to ditch her at the first possible opportunity. When she was out of sight he went back to his job and continued to send out pings using his Mana Field ability. The more he used it the easier it was to use. His mana control had also been growing rather rapidly so his mana consumption per ping was continuously dropping making it easier to use. If it took him fifty mana to use Mana Field when he first learned it, now it only took ten mana to use.

His shift passed without incident, going completely against the cliche. Then again, the most common time for a raid was early in the morning a few hours before dawn. The midnight shift was the 'worst' because it meant having to wake up in the middle of sleeping. Instead of a good nights sleep, it was more like getting two naps. After changing with the next group of guards, Thomas returned to his tent and went back to sleep. The night passed quietly with no incident. Not that one was expected, they were still pretty close to the city.

When the day dawned everyone got up and went about their preparations for another day of traveling. For Thomas, it was just packing up his tent and waiting for the driver to prep the horses for their wagon. Lexiana stood not too far away from him while she waited as well. Their next destination was a river town called Botshofn. From there, the wagons would be loaded onto several ferries and take the river south to another town. The boat trip shouldn't have any monster attacks, according to their driver Tom, water monsters were pretty rare in rivers though the sea was filled with them.

Everyone got onto their respective wagons and their journey started once again. It was rather boring to Thomas so he spent all the idle time working on plans for his upgrades using the blueprint system. He avoided metal for the armor that would cover his torso and legs. He hated the feeling of walking around as a tin can. Greaves and arm guards could be made of metal though. As for weapons, he decided to go with a large variety for most conceivable situations. As he was working on the design for a large hammer he had a sudden thought. His lips slowly spread into a large grin.

He reached into his inventory and brought out the battered iron ball he'd used back in the dungeon and to practice his magnetic magic. This time he wanted to practice something different. He balanced the ball on his palm and began to gather his mana. Ever since his upgrade into a Lord his mana had been stronger and flowed more smoothly. This made it easier for him to manipulate the mana and passed it into the iron ball. The mana slowly converted to a new element it's color shifting from white to a dark purple that bordered on black. Even though it was practice for a small spell his mana started to drain at an alarming rate as the iron ball slowly started to float upward to hover over his palm.

Lexiana glanced over at Thomas while he was practicing. She only meant to glance but the moment she saw what he was doing she froze. Her golden eyes widened in shock as her jaw dropped. She watched, mesmerized, as the iron ball in his hand floated in the air. When she returned to her senses she couldn't help screaming, "GRAVITY MAGIC?!"

Thomas glanced over at the shocked Lexiana and nodded, "Is it really something to be so surprised about?"

Lexiana swallowed as she nodded, "Yes. Very very few people can learn or use gravity magic. It's one of the highest forms of magic. It's just a step below space and time magic."

Thomas disabled the spell and caught the falling iron ball. Just keeping it floating a few inches above his hand for less than thirty seconds cost him almost ninety percent of his mana. Considering the amount of mana he had as well as his mana control, it meant that gravity magic was now his most demanding magical element. The iron ball weighed less than a kilogram. Trying to decrease the weight of something larger would take a larger amount of magic. If he tried to decrease his own weight to fly longer he would probably run out of magic instantly.

Thomas looked down at the iron ball and smiled. None of that mattered though. A journey of a thousand miles began with a single step. This was his first step. He could continue to work on increasing the rank of his gravity magic until he had enough mana to really use it to full effect. All of this though was to make sure he could do what he wanted with the hammer he was designing. If he enchanted it with gravity magic it would make it possible to vary the weight of the hammer. Lighten its weight on the upswing, and vastly increase it on the downswing. The sheer force would end up being monstrous.

He stored the iron ball away and closed his eyes to use 'Serenity' to recover his expended mana at a quickened pace. He was ignoring Lexiana again. If she thought that gravity magic was rare she would be in for a rude awakening. All of the 'summoned people' would be able to use it if they wanted. The users of the 'rarest' forms of magic would greatly increase in the future to the point that is was common. He kind of wished he could see the look of shock on her face when she realized he wasn't special at all in that regard.

While he was recovering his mana there was a sharp whistle followed by a shout, "Wolves ahead! Vanguard take care of them! Rearguard watch for a possible ambush!"

Thomas opened his eyes while letting out a deep sigh. Why the hell would wolves attack such a large caravan? That was just suicidal. He followed after Lexiana and hopped out of the back of the wagon to watch the rear. Several of the other adventurers joined them to keep an eye out. Snowlily just peeked her head out of the back of the wagon and watched quietly. With so many people around she didn't need to lift a paw. Thomas glanced to the front of the caravan and could see a large group of about thirty wolves fighting against the vanguard. It was a one-sided massacre of the wolves.

He turned away and looked at the road they'd just traveled down while activating his Mana Field to full strength. Thanks to its upgraded rank and his increased Mana Control he was able to feel everything within five hundred meters. It drained his mana at a fair rate but he could maintain it for a couple of minutes with his remaining mana. Once his Mana Field stretched out he pointed to the trees to his left, "Hey guys, got a group of wolves slinking towards us from that direction."

The other guards didn't question him and instead readied their weapons while facing the approaching wolves. The wolves noticed the change and stopped trying to sneak up on them. With a loud howl, the wolves charged at full speed from the trees and bushes. Seeing the wolves for the first time, Thomas was rather surprised. Though he could sense them through his Mana Field it wasn't perfect vision. They were at least two to three times the size of normal wolves with a single horn sticking out from their foreheads. One of the guards clicked his tongue, "Damn, they're elemental wolves. Keep your eyes open for their elemental claw attacks!"

Thomas canceled his Mana Field to stop using his mana and reserve it for the fight. The wolves let out roars, howls, and yips as they charged right at the guards. The two sides met and a battle ensued. The elemental wolves seemed to have some tricks up their sleeves but they still fell after a few blows from the guards. The guards suffered some minor damage from the wolves claws. Those are what Thomas found the most interesting as he fought with his shortsword. When the wolves slashed with their claws streaks of magic would follow them. Each wolf could channel a different element into their attack but they all seemed to come from the elements of life. Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water slashes came from various wolves.

A week or two ago the wolves would have given Thomas a rather hard time in a fight. Now, they were rather slow and clumsy in his opinion. With his attributes and Lord class strength, he easily dodged their elemental claw attacks while countering with his enchanted shortsword. With mana channeled into the weapon, it became exceedingly sharp and easily lopped the heads off of the wolves. Within minutes the wolves were wiped out with Thomas having killed half a dozen of them himself.

During the battle, Lexiana kept stealing glances at Thomas while he fought. She hadn't really watched him fight before and she was surprised that he didn't use magic or that weird weapon of his to kill the monsters. He'd simply used his sword to fight and had defeated them with minimal movement and devastating counter-attacks. She couldn't help wondering just how strong he was. She'd seen a few lord class immortals not too long ago but she was pretty certain that Thomas hadn't been one of them when they met. Had he become one recently? Growing into the lord class represented a large increase in strength. She wondered which attribute he'd increased to that point.

Still, watching him she felt that he was significantly slower and weaker than she was. The only thing she felt was off was that weapon he had. She felt a real sense of danger from it since the projectile moved even faster than she could. Even with her Agility at two hundred, it was still at least twice as fast as her. His sword was slow and easy to avoid if she fought him but that weapon... she'd never be able to dodge it. Because she'd focused so heavily on her speed her Endurance had suffered a bit. Seeing the damage done to the dungeon wall had shown her just how deadly that weapon of his was.

The guards all waited for a while for any signs of further attacks but nothing happened. With the fight over they began to gather the bodies of the wolves and dissect them into various materials. Thomas watched for a bit to learn what he needed to do. Once he was certain he conjured a steel skinning knife with his Metal Magic and started to imitate the guards. Skinning the wolves he killed then removing their claws and teeth. Several of the guards also started to carve the carcasses into portions that would be used for cooking. Thomas thought about doing that for a moment but decided against it. For some reason, he felt that feeding Snowlily wolf meat deliberately was wrong.

When he was done collecting the materials and putting them in one of his storage rings he climbed back into the wagon and relaxed with Snowlily. She'd just quietly watched the fight with no need for her to interfere. Lexiana joined them shortly after she finished collecting her spoils from the fight. She'd killed eight of the wolves herself but for her they were just little minions barely worth the effort. She didn't even get enough experience from the encounter to make it worth the little effort she'd put into it.

Thomas closed his eyes and went back to using 'Serenity' to recover his mana. After a few minutes, all the guards finished collecting the materials they needed and the caravan began to move once more. The journey was quiet and peaceful for the remainder of the day and by the time the sun was starting to go down they arrived at the gates of Botshofn. Tonight they would get to sleep in an inn if they wanted and tomorrow they would be on the ferries. He was looking forward to that.

He looked down at Snowlily and smiled. Tomorrow would be the first time she got to enjoy riding on a ship. Hopefully, she wouldn't have an issue like seasickness or something. They would need to take a trip across the ocean before too much longer after all!

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thomasdarkrose

  • Georgia, USA

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

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