With the two bowls of blood in front of me, I focused on the one from the five smaller wolves, trying to concentrate the power in less volume, to make it similar to the blood of the big, black wolf. Feeling the blood was easy, but I wanted a fundamental transformation, a change of its base properties. I felt my own Astral Power flow out, and realised something, not only should I concentrate the blood to match the power in the big, black wolfs blood, I also should add the properties currently found in Ylva’s blood, or she might lose her Ice Magic, or it might change her on a fundamental level.

Without a great deal of thought, I went to the closest source of Ice-type Astral Power, namely myself, cutting into my hand to gain access to my own blood and focused to push Ice-type Astral Power into the blood that was welling up in my hand. It was painful, but not as painful as some of the other experiences, I knew that I would only harm myself if I overdid it and within moments, I saw my blood undergo a qualitative change, it was brimming with the coldness inherent to Ice-type Astral Power, reminding me of the Liquid Moonlight I had created previously.

Mixing my own blood with the wolf’s blood went smoothly, the Astral Power I had donated allowed me to smooth out the difference in base-power, concentrating the power in a lesser volume and dropping the now drained and useless blood back into the bowl, discarding it.

The next step was to take out the divine blood from the big, black wolf’s blood, so it was not in the mix when Ylva absorbed the blood, just in case it made trouble. Focusing on the bowl holding its blood, I again used my blood magic, feeling the blood and searching for the parts that did not beat in tune with the heartbeat I was feeling. After a moment, I turned the idea around, slowly drawing the parts that were in tune into one orb, leaving the rest behind, which was far easier.

Soon, I had an orb of empowered blood, easily the same amount as the blood I had drained and enriched from the other wolves and just as powerful and a second, incredibly small orb, not much more than a large drop, of divine blood, vibrating with concentrated power. Part of me wanted to understand the divine blood more, to experiment with it, but that would not quite work, I was feeling it slowly slip my grasp, evaporating into the Astral River or wherever it went.

Ylva had watched me the whole time, standing next to the pentagram, and now she was walking forward, totally focused on the divine blood, as if entranced by it. Luckily, the draining ritual was completed and she could not disturb it, even if she broke up the lines I had drawn.

Once she was next to me, she threw her head back, letting out a deep, carrying howl and around her, a huge, ghostly silhouette manifested, a gigantic, silver wolf, radiating incredible pressure, freezing my in my tracks. The howl ended and both Ylva and the ghostly phantom opened their eyes and I felt a strange suction-force and the divine blood was drawn into their combined maw I saw Ylva swallow, the huge phantom-wolf vanished and an invisible pressure-wave projected out from her, rattling my mind and shattering the wards around us. I barely kept my mental hold on the blood I had siphoned off, not dropping it.

The ice I had used to create the ritual implements fared worse, the altars shattered and there were deep cracks in the bowls, causing me to scramble to get a mental hold on the enriched blood, so it would not spill.

Ylva stood next to me, slightly vibrating with energy, while I combined the two blood orbs into one, carefully mixing it into a single, powerful whole. When I saw that Ylva focused back onto me, I got ready to divide the blood into easily digested swallows, so she could take it bit by bit into herself, while I used my magic to make sure that no Astral Power was lost. I believed it was that loss that made it hard for spirits to cross the divides, they needed to take in the blood while the power was lost due to the death of its owner. Blood Magic allowed to reduce that loss, at least that was my theory. In addition, there might be a problem with the absorption of miasma, something I could prevent as it was expunged before Ylva took in the blood, polluting the surrounding area.

After a short time, Ylva stopped vibrating and asked me for the first mouth of blood. I moved it over to her and she took it in with a single gulp, reminding me of the fairytale question, “Oh grandmother, what a terrible, big mouth you’ve got.” I managed to keep my grip on the Blood as it went into Ylva and once it was in her stomach, I slowly let the power seep out, allowing her to absorb it at her own pace, making sure that nothing was lost. The process of holding the power within the blood and releasing it at a constant, easy to absorb pace was quite difficult and required my complete attention and I slipped into a semi-trance state, focused on the process of feeding Ylva power.

Most of the night had passed when Ylva had digested the siphoned off-power and once she had the last shred taken in, she let herself go, using the power she had taken in to attack the first divide, breaking through the barrier holding her down and reaching for the sky. I felt an immense power radiate outwards for a second before it cut off and her body started changing, growing in size and power. It was as if the world itself had small tears all around her, not the tears that led to the realm of Nethersprites, but to other places, the different spirit-realms themselves, as Ylva broke through and power rushed into her, allowing her to complete her transformation.

It was breathtaking to watch, truly awe-inspiring and I felt Lenroe filled with a sense of envy and longing. I sent her a feeling of reassurance, promising that we would find something to drain for her as well, now that I had an idea of the workings and was no longer flying by the seat of my pants, I had confidence to help her as well.

Gathering my wits, I looked at the notifications I had gotten,there was the EXP gain for the wolves, and a few skill-gains.

Black Wolf died
You gain 1500 EXP.
For killing an opponent without a Traveller in your party, you gain Bonus EXP
Black Alpha Wolf died
You gain 4500 EXP.
For killing an opponent 6 levels above you you gain Bonus EXP
For killing an opponent without a Traveller in your party, you gain Bonus EXP

Skill increased
You increased your skill: Blood Rune-Mastery [51/100]

Skill increased
You increased your skill: Blood Magic [42/100]

Skill increased
You increased your skill: Astral Meditation [46/100]

Sadly, there was no new trait for ritual magic, or for messing with divine blood, but maybe the second was for the better. I already had a few traits that would make me a suspicious being if anyone ever knew I had them, no need to add every single priest or cleric to the list of my enemies, I had no doubt that no deity would see a mortal mucking around with their power favourably, even if they opposed the deity I was experimenting with, I strongly suspected that they would reject anyone that experimented with their power. It was only rational, Knowledge on the fundamental truth and power about deities was something they would not want in mortal hands.

It was intriguing and something I wanted to research further, either during the beta or later, once the game went live. It was undoubtedly the deepest, hopefully most interesting truth of this world, the deepest and final secret to be uncovered. I would have to search for it.

I fully returned to reality, no longer focused on my musings and took in the change Ylva had undergone. Previously, she had stood maybe three-quarters of a meters at the shoulder, now it was just about double that, allowing her to look me squarely in the eyes. Seeing her like that, I, once again, had the idea that she might be a suitable mount, but the look in her eyes made me reconsider that quickly. Spoilsport.

Her fur had changed a bit in hue, it was a little darker, but had acquired an almost metallic gleam, reminding me of the colour known as gunmetal.

“Are you done?!” Sigmir asked in a tired voice, making me look around.

“Yes, why?” I responded.

“A few Nethersprites wanted to take a bite out of you, after your wards broke. We had to guard the whole time.” Adra responded, sounding slightly annoyed. “And in addition, the advancement made quite the commotion, we might want to leave as fast as possible.” she continued.

What she said made sense, I had no doubt that the aura Ylva had given off during her breakthrough and when she had taken in the divine blood had been widely senseable, alerting powerful beings that something had happened here. It would be better to leave before they got here, to find out what had happened.


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