First, I pulled in as much energy as I could and fixed my body, every bit of it, my regeneration taking the flood of energy and taking care of all my aches and pains. Then I channeled the full outflow of energy to Gungnir to make sure my best weapon was fully charged. As Gungnir’s storage potential seemed bottomless, I just linked the two and let half of the energy go to Gungnir as the other half was more than enough for my needs. So far, I had been more than enough of a threat to anything that came my way, except for the deity level crap. I need an overflow. What do streets do when gigantic storms come through? They have ditches and sewer systems to divert the excess. With this in mind, I banished all of my armor and recreated it, this time it was all bone. I took the time to carve runes of underneath each piece, and then in each rune I conjured enough silver to fill them up. On top of each bone piece, I conjured a layer of diamond, inlay gold runes, and then another layer of diamond on top of that. Each piece of armor was going to be its very own full on shield like my previous gauntlet. Layers, I need layers. The runes were all control runes with conditional enchantments for various scenarios.

  I had discovered earlier that diamond holds exponentially more energy than basic quartz-like crystal due to the dense nature and ordered structure of the diamond. The runes I placed on the diamond parts mainly dealt with anti-shearing so they wouldn’t shatter from a piercing blow, and other runes of sealing and storing energy. The bone layer held enchantments of diverting concussive forces, my main weakness right now. It also held the silver runes to handle the overflow of energy, which would be diverted to Gungnir, or if I didn’t have my weapon, to the main batteries. I then capped all of the armor in a thin layer of black cold-iron and sank enchantments of dispelling in it and made it permanent with runes. The dispelling layer’s purpose was to unravel the structure of spells coming at me, such as turning an exploding fireball into a weaker fireball that didn’t explode or a hurled icicle into bolt of water. All of my new armor had runes of reinforcement, energy intake and diversion, kinetic force intake/conversion to energy/, and growing/banishment. As they lay in front of me, I wove an enchantment of bonding over the entire set of armor and pumped as much energy each piece could take from the power generator. Now each piece would be more powerful together than they would be by themselves. When the whole set was fully charged, I took my time and put each piece on. Being armored felt great, felt safe. I used nature sorcery to put a small hole in the tree trunk so that I could see if night had fallen, almost, which is close enough for me. I closed the hole and put myself in a restful sleep.

  I woke up six hours later hyperventilating, dreams of white fire burning away everything till only my soul was left over a barren world. I shaped a hole in the trunk, needing to breathe, needing space.

  “Hey neighbor!” Rath’s fat head popped into the hole I just made, scaring the living daylights out of me! I landed on my ass scrabbling backwards before I truly remembered where I was. “What, don’t like me anymore?”

  “YOU! USELESS SCALY SHIT!” I screamed, picking up Gungnir and shaping a human sized hold in the tree, “You didn’t do shit, you don’t deserve shit, you should be strung up by your tail and eaten by ME!” I was pointing Gungnir at Rath, my sorcery making small branches grow from the tree and wrap around the lizard, encasing him in a cocoon with only his head showing. “You got a lot of fucking nerve showing up after not helping AT ALL!”

  “What do you want from me dumbass?” he said, tilting his head, “You’re the retard who brought a goddess here and held her paladins hostage.”

  He’s right, but that’s not how it happened. I can’t kill kids, even psycho religious ones. And, I was trying to show them that I wasn’t the zombie maker, and if I could have done that, then maybe I could have made an ally in this damn freaky time. Fuck me! I was so angry, mainly at myself, because the goddamn lizard was right. I was dumb, and made some epically stupid decisions. I brought all of this on myself. Fine, fuck it. I need to focus my anger towards constructive solutions.

  “All right Rath, I am too angry to be thinking many rational thoughts right now. You’re old as shit. How do I get more powerful?” I growled, “What are some of the ways that wizards and sorcerers of old became so damn powerful that they could seal off this Earth to its own dimension?”

  He was silent for a minute, that stretched into two, and then three. “I will help you become a huge dragon again?” I wheedled, “Maybe a little source of mana all for you if you answer all my questions?”

  “Fine,” he said, “Anything is worth being big again.”

  “Tell me, what did they do to get a leg up?” I asked.

  “Well, some of them put runed tattoos on their body, allowing them to activate complex battle spells in an instant, others created ways in their body or soul to store more mana than a ley line,” he answered, “Some even incorporated bloodlines of mythical beasts for strange and powerful abilities. Others crafted weapons that the gods themselves would be jealous of, and even fewer than that bargained for power at the feet of devils, sacrificing their fellow man for temporary scraps of fell power. Much more common was the self sacrifice of power to gain divine favor and leadership amongst a flock of worshippers. Some of them even learned to cultivate from the Daoists of the High East.”

  “Ok, what did sorcerers do to get more powerful?” I pressed, knowing that there was a lot in that little head of his.

  “Well, sorcerers made pacts with elementals of their particular type, each bargain different, and some sorcerers defeated and consumed the souls of other sorcerers to gain their flavor of sorcery, some tamed creatures of the void or even joined with them to explore the vastness of space.”

  “What?” I sputtered, “You’re telling me that someone can kill me and take my sorceries for themselves?!” A whole other side of evil and opportunity was just staring me in the face.


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