The next five months flew by. I would fill one jewel in the morning and then run through a five-star dungeon in the afternoon. I wanted to be at the peak level of hero before I upgraded. Miss Helen was the first to finally power up to demi-god level in the fourth month. She immediately started joining me on my dungeon diving trips. With Miss Helen’s help I upped the dungeon level diving to six-star dungeons. Just the two of us were enough to clear them in about 6-8 hours.
Since I can teleport to various areas the speed at which we finish dungeons and sell the items is astounding. Miss Helen reports that we have earned enough to purchase two or three low level jewels in the one month we worked together. Normally it took her and the headmaster 3 years to save up that kind of money due to travel time and other responsibilities. With the funds we have made and the one full 150,000 mana jewel that was auctioned off we have managed to get 5 more empty 250,000 mana jewels for my use. This brings me to a total of 7. Now I need to get 3 more, but I have run into a problem.
No one in this kingdom will sell us anymore 250,000 mana jewels. It seems that the number of jewels possessed by a person is regulated and we have reached the limit. We cannot tell them that I need 3 more as that would either not be believed, and would also out me to people that would try and force me to do things I do not want. It would just cause too many problems to overcome. However, Miss Helen had a fantastic idea. In a little over a year there would be a tournament held in another country. This tournament was held every ten years as a ranking tournament for demi-god and hero level people. It was quite popular and well attended. Since Miss Helen had recently broken into the demi-god ranks it would be natural for her to attend. I would go along as her protégé.
When I inquired why I could just not go to a new country myself and purchase these jewels I was told about how each country regulates the amount available. If you were not a citizen of that country they would not sell you are allow you to buy mana jewels. This restriction was only lifted in the Maximal, the country hosting the tournament for the year before the tournament. This was so countries could trade jewels and try to get more people up to the demi-god level before the tournament. Jewel trade during this time however was restricted to official representatives, which Miss Helen and the Headmaster happened to be.
Normal travel time to Maximal was three months on the ground. I figured I could be there in a week flying. After I reached the country I would teleport back and pick up the headmaster and Miss Helen and would teleport back with them. Together we would travel through the country on the ground to not arouse any suspicion and then attend some of the auctions held until we got the jewels I needed. Since I could teleport we would continue the training and dungeon diving schedule to keep our funds high for the auctions. We would also sell a few lower level filled gems to generate some revenue or just directly trade for empty ones.
It actually took me 9 days to reach the border of the country of Maximal. I may have made a wrong turn or two, but nothing I was unable to fix quickly. I had missed my dungeon diving routine with Miss Helen more than I thought I would. I was excited to go pick up Miss Helen and the Headmaster. I quickly picked my new teleport position and returned to the academy. I hurried over to the office of the headmaster and when I entered the building gave Miss Helen a big smile.
“It is done Miss Helen. I am ready to go whenever you and the Headmaster are.”
“Very good Mark. We have arranged everything on this end so we can leave this evening after the Headmaster finishes up in his office. Why don’t you go and restock your supplies?”
With that quick interaction done I traveled throughout the town for the rest of the afternoon and restocked on food and other consumables. I was really looking forward to this trip. I couldn’t wait until I was able to reach the next power level. The evening came soon enough and I headed back to the academy, picked up my two passengers and teleported us all to the border of Maximal. I started off towards the border when Miss Helen stopped me.
“Mark, we have to make an effort to appear normal. We need to head to the nearest town and purchase a traveling carriage and everything that goes with it.”
“Yes Miss Helen.”
I was a little embarrassed that I had overlooked such an easy thing. We were supposed to be normal travelers attending the tournament. Well maybe not normal, but not people who could fly or teleport for sure. I headed in the direction of the nearest town which we were able to reach in about two hours of jogging. It is good that my companions are also high level so none of us slow the others down. Once there I let Miss Helen do the negotiating and we soon had a carriage, pulled by four blue lizard/horse things. Identify.
Reptilian Horse Level 75 Magic: Earth/Endurance
Well that makes sense. Miss Helen had also negotiated for a supply cart, three drivers, and two scouts. Basically a fast travelling group. We obviously did not need protection, we could handle that on our own. The scouts were for finding campsites and were also useful as an early warning system. As we left the town and headed towards the border I talked with my two travelling companions.
“Headmaster, I think you should start using the 150,000 mana jewel to try for a breakthrough. I can fill it each night when we stop. Speaking of which, Miss Helen if you are up for it we can continue our dungeon diving and hit two dungeons a day and then teleport back into the carriage each night and set up camp with the others so it does not look too suspicious.”
“I think that sounds like a good idea Mark. The Headmaster can use the time were gone to try and breakthrough and if anything happens he can take care of it. Everyone else will just assume we are in the carriage. We can start tomorrow. Today we should stay in the carriage to pass the border and take care of any first time problems.”
“Yes, Miss Helen that sounds great.”
We came up on the border close to sundown and I let the Headmaster and Miss Helen take care of the paperwork. I did not even have any paperwork, so this was obviously thought of and worked around by the two. Eventually the border guards let us through and we continued on for another half an hour before stopping at a roadside in. Once we had dinner and had all split up for our individual rooms I teleported back to my tree and went through my nightly routine of feeding it mana. When I was done I teleported back to the inn, just in case something happened and they needed me in the night.
The next morning after setting off Miss Helen and I teleported out of the carriage and conquered two dungeons that day. We made it back around sundown. The carriage had already stopped for the night to make camp. We came out of the carriage and proceeded to help with the chores and make our presence known. This pattern continued for another eight days with occasional inns instead of camping when the Headmaster finally had his demi-god level breakthrough. When Miss Helen and I teleported back in to the carriage that evening the grin on his face said it all.
“Congratulations Headmaster on your power up.”
“Thank you Mark. I hope that over the next five days that Miss Helen and I can split the dungeon diving with you. I would be glad to take mornings if Miss Helen will take the afternoon.”
“That is fine headmaster. I take it we are five days out from the capital of Maximal?”
“Yes that is the best guess of the guides.”
“Very well then for the next five days I will be splitting the dungeons between the two of you. After that I hope we can procure the needed empty jewels quickly so I can also power up and join both of you in the tournament.”
“I will check on the auctions and trading houses the first day we arrive Mark.”
The next five days we implemented the new routine and I even had to empty some of my emergency supplies out into the supply cart so I could carry the sheer number of cores that we had been gaining. Or at least I started to unload my inventory when Miss Helen so conveniently suggested she teleport with me to a town tomorrow afternoon so we could sell some off. I had been doing this for months, but I had gotten so wrapped up in the differences and changes of working with new people that I had forgotten to teleport and sell off my spoils in the various towns I knew of. I thanked her for the suggestion and she just winked back. It is hard to pull one over on that lady.
We finally arrived at the capital of Maximal just after lunch time on the fifth day and were escorted by the guards to what I guessed was a very high class inn. I didn’t really care. The amount of money I had was easily replaced and all I wanted was to find and use the new jewels so I could power up myself. I guess that the others could sense my eagerness and Miss Helen took me with her to go and visit the few large trade houses and auction houses of the city to find out if there were any of the large mana gems for sale or trade. We had no luck at the first two but the third stop was an auction house that said they had two going up for auction in a week. The fourth place had one for sale and three for trade.
This was just what I needed. I wouldn’t even have to wait a week. I let Miss Helen negotiate. I would have paid full price, which probably would have set off some alarms in some minds, I was that impatient. Eventually Miss Helen traded three full 100,000 mana jewels and 1 million gold coins for all four of the empty high capacity jewels. I could barely contain my excitement. We headed back towards the inn and Miss Helen followed me into my room.
“Here you go Mark. If you would fill up all of the jewels before you try to break through that way the Headmaster and I have something to trade with that would be great.”
“Yes ma’am I will fill all the extras tonight and give them to you in the morning. Then I will teleport to a quiet protected area to make my breakthrough.”
“Very well Mark I will see you bright and early then.”
I spent the rest of the night filling every jewel I could. I managed to get through two of my own before breakfast time. It is time to hand over everything to the others and go power up myself.