Sky Dungeon

by

The Void

Chapter 3: Learning how to wield more magics

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A note from The Void

I have decided that my schedule is: 1 chapter posted each day on Monday through Friday, 2 chapters on Saturday, and 3 chapters on Sunday, for now. This schedule is apt to change based on my quantity of free time and chapter ideas. Most chapters will be posted at around 2:00 am Eastern Timezone (UTC-05:00) and will be no less than 2,000 words and no more than 3,000 words. This chapter is longer than I plan to usually write, at 3,252 words. 

Chapters Currently Owed: 2

Please feel free to point out any errors or parts that you think should be redone. Any and all constructive commentry is welcomed! 

The next day quickly arrived as Hebe the dungeon swiftly digested the lessons that she had received the day prior and observed the fluctuations of her mana closely. Of the 10,000 spheres of mana that she currently possessed, only 10% or 1,000 mana were reliably 'free' for Hebe to spend. Of course, the mana fluctuated quite often as she observed throughout the rest of last night, sometimes freeing up the mana that she could use by as much as 500 spheres! Unfortunately, during the night Hebe finally noticed as she kept track of the various mana 'costs' that she was paying that a large portion of her mana, as much as 60% or 6,000 spheres of her mana was currently being used to propel the cloud part of her body through the air. One mustn't forget that Hebe was a unique dungeon whose body did not consist solely of a grand temple of white quartz and a winding green staircase of jade but of the cloud that the grand temple rested on and the stairs wound around as well. Thus Hebe resembled a gorgeous fluffy white mountain moving through the skies that had a long winding staircase climbing up its surface to a grand temple of several hundred meters on its peak.

 

In any case, despite Hebe's best efforts to run her body more efficiently, even the 500 spheres of mana was just a temporary fluctuation at best. A fluctuation gained by taking advantage of the magic saturated location in the sky that Hebe happened to fly through at the time. In actual fact, as Hebe flew further along the sky through the cloud part of her body, she noticed an alarming increase in the rate of her mana consumption that indicated that even the 1,000 spheres of mana that she currently had 'open' would soon be closed off to her. As far as Hebe could tell, the cause of the new mana that was being siphoned away as part of her upkeep or maintenance 'costs', was a drop in the surroundings' ambient magic as she continued to fly forward. Was this level of variance in ambient magic normal?! Hebe frantically wondered as the amount of 'free' mana that she had steadily dropped. Just as Hebe was about to halt her flight forward and reverse her direction the booming sound of flapping wings reverberated in her audience chamber as her elder sister in her raven form flew in.

 

"Ready for your next lesson?" Morrigan asked with twinkling eyes, as she jarringly let loose her croaking laughter at the moment she shifted into her human form. As always, the sound of Morrigan's laughter deeply contrasted her beautiful and seductive appearance. A shining blue ring was conspicuously placed on her right hand's ring finger, but the impatient Hebe completely ignored it after very briefly noting its existence.

 

"Yes!" Hebe practically screamed, as she eagerly responded. Morrigan crossed the remaining distance between herself and Hebe's pale-white pearl core with a single step, sliding past the doors of the hidden chamber that contained it and the huge silvery fountain that was attached to one of the said doors without batting an eye. As Morrigan passed the fountain, her hand stroked it tenderly in an imperceptible motion given the speed of her movements.

 

"First I will teach you two of my favorite magics! They are very useful things to have in any situation, eh? You will love them, little sis. I guarantee it," Morrgian said, hyping up her magics a bit to Hebe with a proud expression. Hebe's excitement skyrocketed and tainted the air around her pale-white core with happiness. Even the gaseous haze within he core flashed with brighter colors.

 

"The first is the one that I use the most often, magical 'marking'," Morrigan said with a somewhat sinister expression on her delicate features. She raised a hand and gathered her mana, manifesting a magical apparition of a mischievous raven. The raven cawed once, loudly, and dived into Hebe's pale-white pearl core, dissipating on contact. It left behind the distinct glyph of a raven, with spread wings and an ominous presence, next to the runes of Hebe's name. Hebe could feel a strong connection had formed between herself and her elder sister, intangible and with seemingly infinite variations. The glyph could be gentle or fierce, it could harm or aid, it could track or shroud- all based on the whims of the caster, Hebe had no control over it at all. Hebe could feel that if Morrigan desired it, the glyph could even hide itself from her perception and seemingly fade away into oblivion, its connection faint and light as a feather.

 

"To use this magic you have to fill your magic with the essence of your being. Let the magic be a shadow of your own nature and cast it away onto another," Morrigan explained somewhat vaguely to Hebe's utter confusion.

 

"I understand you must be confused, little sister, but just try it. You will see,"Morrigan gently urged with a confident voice. Hebe's enthusiasm undaunted, she flung her confusion aside and focused on following her elder sister's instructions, having faith in Morrigan's judgement.

 

Hebe reached inwards and sought the essence of her being. Who was she really, aside from a dungeon? Too young to have acrued many other facets to her persoality she found it easier than most to find her essence. Riding free and unrestrained on the winds of the world, chained down by only a singular object that was the target of her emotions- her elder sister. A cold adventurer, only inexperienced and as of yet too naive, Hebe's essence was unlikely to change within her lifetime. Hebe took that essence and envisioned a shadow of its nature into existence. A cloud, cold and distant but free and unrestrained, formed in the air and with but a thought, it flew onto the unresisting Morrigan, dissipating into a cloud glyph which tattooed her left wrist.

 

Now Hebe could feel a bond, many magnitudes weaker than the raven glyph, that came from herself and bound itself to Morrigan. It could similarly be used in an infinite variety of ways, though it felt oddly stifled on Morrigan's body, like a tiny mouse posturing before a mighty dragon. In any case, Hebe understood that if her elder sister wished to cast off the glyph, she could do so effortlessly. If the young dungeon wished to forcefully use the 'marking' magic on others, they would have to be within an acceptable range of her own abilities.

 

"Excellent!" Morrigan smilingly said.

 

"Now for my second favorite magic, magical 'pressure'," Morrigan exclaimed, demonstrating the said magic a moment later, with bravado. Her magic burst out of her body like a gale and rushed into the surroundings, covering the entirety of the hidden chamber, before dissipating, seemingly vanished or spent. The next moment proved that conception to be false as the air swiftly became denser at a huge rate per minute. It soon became so dense that the marble floors and quartz walls of the hidden chamber, that could withstand the terrifying impact of up to 10^6 kg (1 million kilograms), began to show webs of cracks on their pristine surface. The air itself was so dense that it had quickly gone to a liquid phase as it had compressed in the hidden chamber, trapping everything within- other than Morrigan and Hebe's core- in a cage of liquefied gaseous substances. Hebe was aghast as the liquid gases, which consisted primarily of nitrogen, released a freezing temperature of more than -200 degrees Celsius. Just the cold alone was more than enough to kill Hebe many times over if it touched her core, let alone the crushing grip of the condensed gases. Luckily, Morrigan made sure to protect Hebe's core with a shield of magic during this process.

 

Hebe was about to speak to Morrigan telepathically once more, thinking the display of the 'pressure' magic over, when to her horror, she saw the show was still in progression. Next, the condensed gases were gently lowered back down to their original pressures and gaseous states, as if the liquid gases were to be released they would have exploded with titanic force the moment that they came in contact with the warmer air and lower pressure of the atmosphere in the adjacent audience chamber. But that is not all that occurred, as the 'pressure' magic than pushed the air molecules out of the hidden chamber, lessening the density of the gases, until the whole chamber became a vacuum in moments.

 

Hebe's floating pale-white pearl core remained unaffected, due to its hovering being caused by gravity magic but her mana seemed to want to burst out of her core and fill up the empty space. Like a balloon with many minuscule holes ripped into it, Hebe's core began leaking despite her best efforts. Hebe was stunned. 'The 'pressure' magic is sucking away my magic!?' she thought. And indeed it was, since as time passed the vacuum's vortex seemed to grow stronger and pulled away greater portions of her magic. The leaks became streams and the pale-white pearl's gaseous haze started shrinking. Fortunately, Morrigan noticed and slowly reversed the 'pressure' magic. Releasing the 'pressure' magic abruptly in this instance was as similarly dangerous as with the previous demonstration of it. Had Morrigan abruptly released the 'pressure' magic, the adjacent's room's atmosphere and magic would have rushed into the hidden chamber like an unstoppable tsunami and completely destroyed the space.

 

"How do I use it! Big sister, please teach me how!" Hebe immediately asked with great excitement. Her language skills at this point could be considered to be quite good, her foreign memories boosting her progress by a great deal.

 

"Ok, ok. Calm down," Morrigan said with a raucous giggle.

 

"The atmosphere here consists heavily of various gases and ambient magic, with a minimal amount of small solid or liquid particles being scattered about as well. To use 'pressure' magic you simply need to disperse your magic into the surroundings and bind them to the atmosphere. At that point attracting more of the atmosphere to gather using the bit you have in our control will increase the pressure of atmospheric particles in the vicinity and can be used to bind a target, repressing their movements and mana flow. Repelling the atmosphere is even easier as you only need to banish the atmosphere in your control to the periphery of an area. This will make the target lighter and faster but it will also drain their stamina and mana at a much faster rate than usual as their oxygen and magic drains out of their body. Alternatively, the vacuum created by repelling the atmosphere can also be used to deprive the target of ambient magic, useful for beings such as monsters that rely on it to thrive," Morrigan explained, making Hebe a bit uncomfortable at the thought of being denied ambient magic.

 

"But how do you liquify the air like that? Can I do that too!?" Hebe stubbornly asked.

 

"Yes, little sis. You can. With practice," Morrigan wryly responded to the slightly disappointed Hebe.

 

"Go on then. Let's see what you can do, eh?" Morrigan immediately urged Hebe, wanting her to strike while the iron was hot.

 

Hebe attempted to do as Morrigan had instructed and sent a burst of magic from her core to the surroundings, filling the hidden chamber. However, binding the magic to the atmosphere the first time failed. Hebe felt frustrated, thus far everything she had done had easily succeeded.

 

"Well, I will leave you to it," Morrigan said, bored as soon as she saw that it would take Hebe a while to figure the magic out. Morrigan returned to her true form and took flight, shooting out of the hidden chamber and then out of the dungeon entirely in one flap of her wings. The disconcerting sight of a raven emitting a sultry female voice occurred, Morrigan's voice trailing behind it: "I'll see you tomorrow for your last lesson!"

 

Another attempt was made by Hebe as she released her magic, and once more she failed to accomplish the task. Again and again Hebe stubbornly tried, and time after time she failed to properly enact the 'pressure' magic. Eventually, Hebe was forced to admit defeat as she carefully considered the problem.

 

"What am I doing wrong?" Hebe muttered.

 

"I did exactly what big sis did! Yet...!" Hebe said, with frustration lacing her voice.

 

That is when Hebe remembered an important facet of magic, its 'feeling'! Every time Hebe has ever used magic she guided it with two things: intent, which determined the form that the magic would take and had to be backed by a certain knowledge or instinct, and 'feeling', as she used emotions, thoughts, or memories to help the magic manifest. Without having the appropriate 'feeling', of course Hebe would continue to fail to evoke the 'pressure' magic. For Morrigan, casting the spell obviously had a dominating 'feeling' of binding the atmosphere to her will. She ruled the area like a queen and commanded it to do her bidding as though it were natural for it to do so and the magic responded likewise.

 

"That's it! 'Feeling'! How could I forget!? But what do I 'feel'? How do I bind the atmosphere with my magic? Clearly just releasing a burst of my magic alone is not enough for me to claim the vicinity? But if not that then how!?" Hebe absentmindedly said.

 

Then Hebe's experiments began. She recalled every thought, emotion, or memory that she had that had to do with binding. Unfortunately, with Hebe's limited experience, her 'feelings' were basically limited to what Morrigan told her and her dungeon instincts...

 

"Wait! The foreign memories. They are the key!" Hebe exclaimed after a long but fruitless brainstorming session. If she could not properly 'feel' the 'pressure' magic due to her lac of experience, then she could just plunder from the convenient bounty of experience that was right in her own mind, the foreign memories.

 

With that idea in mind, Hebe dove into her foreign memories for what had to be the fiftieth time. The foreign memories simply encapsulated far too great a period of time for Hebe to properly make heads or tails out of it. Other than the memory with the fountain and certain key memories of important that had greater emotional weight attached to them, the foreign memories were but a blur. However, this time was different. Rather than aimlessly perusing the seemingly endless sea of foreign memories, Hebe only called out to it to show her its strongest memory bound to the idea of binding.

 

Hebe was transported to a vivid memory of being caught by a vicious trap that a brave and powerful group of adventurers had set up. Despite her power being so much greater than the human 'ants' and in spite of the huge numbers of her fearsome legion of monsters, the human adventures had trapped her. And in her sea domain no less. As the monster queen raged futilely against her bonds, she was forced to watch, powerless, as the adventurers pilfered her castle and made away with some of her treasure. That day the traps bound not just her body or her magic but bound too her complacence, replacing it with the resolve to become even stronger. To reach the true apex such that she could not be helpless even if she begged for it...

 

"A trap?...A trap!" Hebe exclaimed as she set about adding one of the few essential things that her dungeon lacked.

 

With a brief exertion of her will, some of the tiles in the audience chamber began to change. The first trap that she made was also her most powerful, 'spending' 100 spheres of mana to create a tile that would use her newly learned magical 'marking' to attach a tracking glyph onto the body of whoever stepped on it then would summon a streaking comet from the realistic 'living' mural on the ceiling of the audience chamber to smash the 'marked' individual with said comet. At the first rank of the tile trap, a spherical comet of 20 meters in diameter (a volume 1.7 times bigger than an Olympic swimming pool) and 10^7 kg (10 million kilograms) would crush the 'marked' individual into oblivion. Even the marble floor would be destroyed by the comet when it hit, as it could only handle strength up to 10^6 kg (1 million kilograms) and the impact would exceed it tolerance by ten times. In spite of the trap only being effective for a few uses, it was definitely sufficiently powerful.

 

Inspired by her trap's power, Hebe then confidently went on to use the 'pressure' magic to form traps of similar power. Dozens of other tiles began to change in the several hundred meters of the audience chamber haphazardly. The weaker traps collectively cost 100 spheres of mana and could be used repeatedly dozens of times. These traps bound the target that stepped on them in place with increased pressure magic while summoning destructive beams of magic from the 'living' mural on the ceiling above. During the daytime, the mural depicting a starry night sky would use the closest cluster of stars to send down the beams of destructive magic. During the nighttime, the mural depicting a sunny blue sky would use the drifting clouds to send down beams of destructive magic. The stronger traps of the other hand were two tiles, one that only worked in the day and one that only worked in the night. These two tiles only worked a few times and each cost 50 spheres of mana to maintain. They would send down gargantuan beams of destructive magic from the 'living' mural's moon during its depiction of the night and its sun during its depiction of the day. These solar and lunar beams had enough destructive power to melt the sturdy marble floor in a radius of 10 meters around one of the two tiles, when activated.

 

Lastly, Hebe gathered her remaining energy and 'spent' 100 spheres of mana on a group of unique tiles. When someone stepped on any one of the group of unique tiles, that collectively covered 30 meters of space, a pitfall trap would be activated and a 30 meter wide hole would open up that led all the way through the hundred meter thick grand temple and its mountain of a cloud to the sky below. Presumably that hapless individual or group of individuals would then fall to their deaths. Of course, 'pressure' magic was also cleverly utilized here by Hebe to form a vacuum throughout the long tunnel, leading downwards. This vacuum would inevitably suck in any nearby individuals that triggered the trap to their early demise. The vacuum was also cleverly made weak enough that an individual with a mass equal to or greater than her prodigiously heavy 10^6 kg (1 million kilogram) statue golems would be safe from its suction.

 

Observing her creations and her surprisingly flawless use of 'pressure' magic, Hebe smiled and looked forward eagerly to the morrow. In the meantime, Hebe used her remaining time to dive back into her foreign memories in another search for knowledge. This time, Hebe attempted to direct her search through the massive sea of foreign memories to important moments depicting various 'feelings' and to instances where magics of note were cast. Next time Hebe had to learn a new magic or cast an unfamiliar spell, she would be ready!

 

 



 

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A note from The Void

Thanks for reading! 

Two helpful sites that I frequently use to visualize the strength and distance/length of things: 1) http://www.bountyheadbebop.com/forum/index.php?topic=24.0 

2) http://www.bluebulbprojects.com/MeasureOfThings/  

I hope these sites help, for those of you that do not know how heavy the measurements in kilos are or are not sure of how long the meters mentioned are.


About the author

The Void

Bio: Aspiring Writer and Chemical Engineer.
Student for life, you can never learn enough!

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