Chapter 28 - Night Visit
When Helina heard the boy talk about her hygiene, she looked down, saw her blood-covered dress, and puked.
She was already so socked from everything that happened her entire day, that seeing herself in such a humiliating state was too much for her.
She passed out on her own vomit.
Aaron awoke to a sound just like an alarm clock from Earth that only he could hear. Someone set his wards off, which meant someone had entered his room!
He regretted for a millisecond that he hadn't set up an attacking formation. Doing so required either too much mana or materials that were too expensive to be used every time he went to sleep.
Myriad Arts — Spellcasting — Octuple Elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth, Wind, Light, Darkness — Seventh Quasi-Absolute Barrier!
Two-fifths of his mana was spent with such speed and strength that it almost injured his mana pool. The rate with which the complex tridimensional signature of the spell formed in his soul was so fast that it was a feat of mana control. While doing so, he also rolled to the side of the bed.
Eight layers of elemental shields appeared around him. Most of them weren't just created out of nothing since doing so would require much more mana than he had.
Metal and Wood were taken from the structure of bed he had been sleeping on.
Water came from the air humidity and also some from his own sweat and blood.
Fire was created from the heat of his own body and the friction of air.
Water was taken from the air humidity and also some from his own blood.
Earth came from the ground.
Wind, Light, and Darkness were already in the air of the room and were bent to his will around him.
Each layer was thin, especially the water one since he could only give up so much blood, but they were strong, and all of them were strengthened by space mana.
Myriad Arts — Spellcasting — Single Element: Wind — Seventh Floating!
Since attacks could come from the ground, he used the Floating spell to avoid touching the ground, thus allowing his defensive layers to also cover him from that direction.
Myriad Arts — Spellcasting — Double Elements: Space, Soul — Seventh Spatial-Soul Wave!
Waves of space and soul mana left his body to all directions, disrupting any kind of stealth that might be used by the enemy, and also hopefully weakening any spell that might be coming his way.
Myriad Arts — Spellcasting — Triple Element: Darkness, Light, Fire — Seventh Heat Darkvision!
Any mage could easily see through their spells, even metal barriers because spells were an extension of their willpower. But Aaron went ahead and also cast Heat Darkvision to be absolutely sure he would be able to see his enemy.
He became able to see anything in the room, no matter how dark it might be. Even if it was invisible, his heat signature might give it up!
And as if that still wasn't enough...
Myriad Arts — Spellcasting — Dual Element: Wind, Water — Seventh Spying Drizzle!
Droplets of water appeared all around the room, allowing him to feel anything inside. It was the same spell he had used after sending the meteors on the tree people that wanted to capture him. The water also came from his blood, the last bit he was willing to give up for his defensive spells.
It wasn't that he was being paranoid about seeing his enemies, but that whoever had come for him was likely going for an assassination, and thus would most certainly be well versed in stealth spells. And if he couldn't locate his enemy, he couldn't attack them. Information was power, and in a battle, it might mean one's life.
With his defense taken care of, he prepared three different spells in his soul, one made of fire and ice, another of lighting and earth, and the third of time and space. He didn't release them, only created their signatures in his soul with a tiny part missing, thus without igniting it with mana. He would see what was in front of him before choosing which spell to use.
All of that happened in an instant. Meanwhile, he had curled himself into a ball as he floated in the air to decrease both the size of the target he created and how much mana was required to maintain his barrier. He was also floating himself to the side of the room to maybe dodge attacks that might already be incoming his way. Half his mana pool had been burned just like that.
And yet, when he detected the invader, he discovered he had just might had wasted all that effort for nothing.
Not that he would've done anything differently. That was his default way of waking up if he felt anything might be wrong — and sometimes even when everything was alright, just for practice.
Helina was standing in there with eyes wide open.
Helina woke up on a soft bed with the softest pillow she had ever used. It took a moment for her to remember where she was and what had happened, but when she did, she winced in psychological pain.
Opening her eyes and looking around, she noticed she was alone in a bunk bed. Someone had brought her there and cleaned her dress.
The room was underground, but all mages could more or less tell the time if they tried. Even those with the worst soul perception could feel the fire mana coming from the sun up in the sky unless they were thousands of legs underground or if it was night.
And it was indeed night. She thought about all that had happened and put her mind in order.
She had never experienced anything like that. Being hunted like an animal, betrayed by those who had treated her with the utmost respect, attacked without any consideration for her words.
She had never killed before today.
Helina hid her face in the pillow, crying copiously. Ever so slowly, she recovered her peace and decided what to do.
It wasn't a hard decision. She would keep doing what she had told to. She would protect the boy.
Even if the Temple of Time had betrayed her, she still mostly believed in the First Prophetess, the one who started everything. She had done a lot to make sure whoever got a special Vision like Helina's would choose to follow it. And even if the Temple had betrayed Helina, she still believed in most — if not all — of the things they had taught her.
It had been people who had betrayed her, not her ideals.
But first, she would need to talk to the boy and have him agree to have his soul investigated. He was too strange, a twelve years old kid who behaved like a merciless adult. She had to confirm that he was indeed not a demon.
And if he refused, she would have to force him, for his own good. She was a Prophetess, which made her a True Guardian of Time and a Timeless Defender of Humanity. She believed in the First Prophetess, but that didn't mean she would just blindly follow a kid who behaved like a demon without confirming his identity first.
She got up, cleaned her face, ironed her clothes with a couple of spells, then went to find the boy.
As soon as she opened the door to his room, she saw a flash of fire and a spatial-soul wave hit her hard, forcing her to step back. Thankfully, they weren't attacks, or they might've hurt her badly.
A mere instant after the waves, mist covered the bedroom and immediately extended to cover about a third of the common room, too. She could barely feel some mana in the mist that wasn't a mist, but more like hovering droplets of water.
And then, when she recovered from the flash of fire, she barely saw a ball of darkness levitating on the corner of the room.
A voice came from inside it, containing a mix of curiosity and aggressiveness. "What do you want?" She recognized the boy's voice.
She was surprised at what she had just seen. He had reacted as soon as she approached! He had probably even set some wards beforehand, which she hadn't felt. Even if he was a Champion, he was so young that he should barely be able to use a few Seventh level spells, much less with such speed. He had way too much control, too, for she couldn't feel any mana being wasted on the casting of the spells.
He had acted as fast as a seasoned warrior to protect himself, using at least four spells in an instant, the dark shield around him, the invisible wave that hit her, the spell to make him float, and the one to cover the area with the droplets of water.
He definitely wasn't a common child. In the day before, she might have immediately declared him a demon, even though Prophetesses didn't like the Crusade.
But now... Hadn't the Prophetesses unjustly declared her a traitor without listening to her words, without investigating adequately?
She had been humbled by the experience, learned from it.
Also, she had been in a kind of daze when she came to this place, but she could vaguely recall a man speaking something about incredible creatures all over the world. Indeed, in her studies, she had read all about it. There was even some theory about magic mutations to try to explain it all.
If other beings could mutate, why not humans? Why declare any different human a demon without thoroughly investigating it first? She understood the dangers involved, but wasn't it best than attacking innocents, like she had been attacked?
Anyway, it wouldn't matter as long as he allowed her to check his soul.
Recovering from her surprise, she said, "We need to talk."
"Indeed," the boy said. "I know I have irresistible beauty, but you shouldn't just come to my room in the night like this. I'm just a kid!"
Her mouth almost dropped on the floor while her cheeks flushed and a deep sense of indignation filled her. She had forgotten how insufferable the boy was!
"Shut up!" She yelled. "I have no interest in a boy like you!"
The dark barrier around the boy opened, revealing a light barrier beneath it. It also opened, revealing a wind barrier, then an earth barrier, fire barrier, water, wood and finally, metal. They didn't open completely, only enough for her to see the kid's face looking at her with eyes that shone brightly, obviously filled with mana.
She was even more surprised seeing that. What kind of spell could create that much defense with the mana pool of a Champion?! More importantly...
How many elements was the boy able to control perfectly?!
Helina herself only knew five elements, time, light, water, ice, and fire. And some of them she controlled so badly that she might as well not know them!
But the boy... He had perfect control over eight of the ten Lower Elements! Defensive spells couldn't just open like that unless the caster had perfect control over them, after all. And he had also used Spatial — a Higher element! — and Soul — another Lower Element — mana in the wave.
She gulped. Mutation or demon? Which one of the two was the boy?
For her own good and the good of humanity, she had to know.
"Well," the boy said with a smirk, "since you dared to yell in indignation that loudly, it seems you didn't come to assassinate me. I accept your request for talking. Leave the room, I'll recover my mana and meet you in the common room in a few hours."
She didn't want to do it, but she could see the boy was already on the defensive against her and she wanted to give him at least a chance to open his soul to her before forcing it on him. To create a better impression, she complied.
"I'll be waiting," she said and left.
But if her goodwill didn't work, she wouldn't mind showing her power as an Eminence.
No Champion would resist her!
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I'm Ed, a writer of GameLit. So far I have released only two books, but I'm working on increasing this number by tens! No, by hundreds! Maybe thousands! xP
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