Finding a Mentor
I was wrong. The level 75 opponents turned out to be something called Furious Arouchs. Basically large mean cows that could not climb. So I spent the next half an hour just climbing around above them and peppering them with spells until they died. After that was level 100 orcs. They were more challenging, but in the forests were no match for me. They did take a little longer to defeat. It took me near an hour to clean those guys up. Level 125 was where it started to get interesting. My opponent looked to be myself. Inspect.
Illusionary Thri-Keen Level 125 Magic: Unknown
The teachers watching my performance must either be getting bored, or this is some sort of special test. It really doesn’t matter to me. An opponent is an opponent no matter what they look like. The first single Illusionary Thri-Keen was easy enough to dispose of from ambush. Things only got harder though from there. The next pair managed to inflict some damage when I focused too long on one opponent and its partner tagged me with a blow from its club. The group of four I only managed to beat by dropping into the middle of them after stunning them with a lightning splash. Even then I took several slashes to the body. The group of eight was too much.
I did not have enough time to hide myself properly for another ambush with my current injuries. I was taken down after killing two of the group of eight. As soon as a killing blow was delivered the entire arena shimmered and I noticed that there seemed to be a lot more people in the arena now then when I started. I made my way over to the headmaster and inquired, “How did I do sir? Did anyone want to mentor me?”
The headmaster laughed and replied, “Every single one of them wanted the credit of mentoring you Mark. After that performance I decided to be your personal mentor in magic, while Helen has graciously agreed to mentor you in melee combat and survival.”
“Do you mean Miss Helen from your office sir?”
“Yes Mark, after you defeated all sixteen of the level 75 Aurochs we invited her to have a look. You may not know this, but Miss Helen is a very famous retired adventurer. You will be the first person she has personally mentored. We as a group did not feel that any of us could teach you better than she could given your talents.”
“I really like Miss Helen it will be an honor to be mentored by you, headmaster and Miss Helen.”
“Yes well, most of the time I will be giving you independent tasks to carry out and then evaluating your performance. If you have questions or concerns, then you can direct them to me at any time. Miss Helen says you have potential in melee combat and that she will meet you at the practice hall at 4 p.m. sharp tomorrow to go over your training plan. She had to leave to take care of some administrative tasks which is why she did not stay and talk to you personally.”
“I understand headmaster, Miss Helen is an important and busy woman. On another note, why are there so many spectators here now?”
I really was curious. When I went into the illusion fighting arena it was just six or seven teachers gathered to watch. Now there seemed to be at least a hundred students and five to ten more teachers than before.
“Well your evaluation was taking longer than expected so the combat class decided to use you and your tactics as a teachable moment. What you are seeing are the upper level students who would have been practicing at this time.”
“I am sorry. I did not know I had people following me or I would have started at a higher level to cut down on the time sir.”
“No worries, Mark. We all learned a lot from watching your performance. You have the rest of the day off and should report to my office at 9 a.m. sharp tomorrow for your first independent study assignment.”
“Yes sir I will see you tomorrow.”
With that I left the arena as quick as I could. This many people staring at me was starting to creep me out. I left the academy grounds and ate a quick lunch at the street vendors and picked up some more items that I felt I might need. My last stop was at the auction house. The auction house was more of a general store for random magical items. They would occasionally host an auction whenever the inventory reached a certain point or when some rarer items arrived and they wanted to increase the selling price.
What I wanted was magic seeds. Last night I realized that if I could not teleport for some reason I needed to make sure that my new home was defendable. I did not have the skills to build defenses, but I had the magic and interest to grow some. I did not mean “Jack-in-the-bean-stalk” magic seeds, but rather those that might have elemental attributes or some special function that I could use to defend my area. I really did not have any idea what was possible.
I explained to the clerk at the desk what I was looking for and he led me over to the side and gave me a catalog to look through. After several minutes of perusal, I had narrowed my choices down to just a few.
Fire Thorn: Large thorny bush that has fire elemental magic. If enough damage is done to a fire elemental bush it will burst into flame for around 5 minutes. The bush can only do this once an hour. 2 gold each.
Poison bamboo: Deadly if ingested. Can be used to create several different antidotes. Notes do not light on fire as it will spread a poisonous smoke over a large area. 5 gold each.
Strangle Vine: Simple vine that grows in a cluster on other large plants. Whenever stimulated it wraps and constricts around the closest moving or warm target and then draws it back to the center of the vine cluster. 1 gold each.
Tree of Life: This tree feeds on all types of mana and grows best when infused with it or placed in areas of high mana concentration. No limit to its size is known. Larger specimens have been documented at hundreds of meters high. The larger it gets the tougher it becomes. After reaching 100 meters in size the Tree of Life exudes excess mana and increases the growth rate of nearby plants. 250 gold each.
I had just under a thousand gold left. With Miss Helen arranging a scholarship I no longer needed to worry about paying fees for school. That means I can get on tree of life and plant it in the center of my new grove of trees and feed it every day to become huge. The perimeter will be lined with fire thorn then a layer of poison bamboo, followed by another layer of fire thorn. This should deter any land attacks. If the thorns and fire don’t stop them than the poison smoke created when the fire thorn goes up in flame and burns the poison bamboo should.
The strangle vines I will randomly scatter throughout the grove. I will leave specific trails that are safe through them that only I know. All of this should slow any invaders down if not stop them completely. My final defense will be the tree of life itself. I hope to grow it large enough that it will resist most if not all attacks and then shape it into my final hideout. If the absolute worsts happens and I have to teleport out, then that is fine. Anything to save my life, but this defense should keep me protected enough that I hopefully will not have to resort to fleeing.
I made my purchases and as soon as I was out of sight of other people I teleported back to the embassy. I spent the rest of the day setting up my outer wall and strangle vines using plant shaping and my grow spells. Soon enough I had a 5 foot high wall of thorns surrounding my property. I am shooting for 15 feet high, but I had to compromise today in order to get it finished. Finally, it was time to plant my new tree of life seed. I went to where I estimated the center of the embassy property was and cleared out the plants and several trees that were already there. I created a 25 meter in diameter clearing for the tree to start with. As it grew I could always expand its area if it was needed.
I planted the little seed and used my grow spell on it. It sprouted but stubbornly refused to grow any larger. Is it defective? Wait the description said it needed mana. My spell does not feed it mana, but rather just causes it to grow at an abnormally fast rate. It probably cannot get any larger without mana to absorb. How in the heck do I give it mana though? I sat there trying different things for almost an hour before I received a notice.
You have unlocked the ability Mana Transfer.
Inspect Mana Transfer.
Mana Transfer: The ability to transfer your mana to others in need. Mana Transfer also allows you to drain any willing organism of mana. You may forcefully drain another organism if your intelligence is twice their level. Requirements to forcefully drain mana will go down as the Mana Transfer skill levels up.
This should come in handy in the future. It does kind of force me more down the caster route though. It should be fine. The only time I won’t be able to use it higher leveled thinking creatures. I use my new Mana Transfer ability to infuse 1,000 mana into the waiting tree of life seedling. I can visibly see it grow to about the height of about 20 centimeters. This is going to take more than I thought. I try transferring 5,000 mana next and watch as the tree of life becomes a 1 meter high sapling. So every 5,000 is about 1 meter in height gained, I wonder if this rate will stay the same as the tree gets larger?
I am already down to 4000 mana out of my large pool of 10,000 I decide to always keep 2000 mana in reserve just in case. I transfer another 2000 mana and watch my tree grow just a little more. I sit down to meditate and wait for my mana to recharge. At my current 900% per hour regeneration rate that should take only about six minutes of quiet time since I did not use all of my mana. I decide that I will wait for ten just to be safe. For the next two hours all I did was transfer mana, meditate, then transfer more mana, then meditate.
At the end of the two hours I had transferred over 100,000 mana and the tree of life had reached a height of just over 10 meters. It was now a respectable tree, but I knew I needed it to be much larger. I had notice a drop in mana to growth efficiency after it had reached ten meters. I was expecting this. After a certain height trees need to expand their base to stay solid as well as growing taller. I would probably see around a 25% drop in efficiency around every ten meters of height of the tree. I think growing this tree would be part of my nightly exercise and practice from now on. I better get some sleep, I have to meet with the headmaster at 9 a.m. in the morning after all.
The next morning I finish all of my personal business, clean up and teleport to the academy. I am 15 minutes early for my meeting with the headmaster for a couple of reasons. First I hate to be late, and second I can see and talk to Miss Helen if I am early to reinforce my positive position in her mind. As I walk into the headmaster’s tower I can see Miss Helen behind her desk. I walk up to her with a smile on my face.
“Good morning Miss Helen.”
“Good morning Mark.”
“I would like to thank you for personally deciding to help me in my combat abilities.”
She smiled and chuckled a little. “Well I want you to be sure to remember that at some point you were thankful, because I will not go easy on you. I have discussed your schedule with the headmaster. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons from 1- 5 p.m. you will train with me. In the morning on those days you will have independent study. This means you can work on your own, or attend any open lecture on the campus. Tuesday’s and Thursdays will be dedicated to the headmaster’s tasks he assigns you as your mentor. The weekends are your own.”
“Thank you for explaining it to me Miss Helen. I will see you tomorrow afternoon then for our first session.”
“Very well Mark, you may head up and see the headmaster now.”