Turns out that nobody wants to mess with a giant reptilian gorilla armed with an axe or a beefy tank sized canine or their dragon-slaying master. It took a while to enlarge the tunnel and entrance to the cavern, but moving the body was easy for Kong and Spot. I had the storage crystals safely put in a deep pit and sealed them with preservation and life runes so that the precious ingredients wouldn’t go bad. The remainder of the body went into a new freezer I made just for this occasion. It took up a sixth of my space, but I had plenty of room. “PLEASE HELP ME!” Gungnir screamed as we finished moving everything where I wanted it, “He won’t shut up! Going on and on. Oh, my beautiful body! What have you done to me? Oh, hey, that was a dirty dirty insult. I’m glad he butchered you you backstabbing overgrown fart of a lizard!”

  All I wanted to do was sleep, but I used flesh sorcery to wash the worst of my exhaustion away. “What the hell man?” I asked, “Way too late for this. What’s going on? Is the little lizard giving you problems?”

  “Little!? His soul is huge! Takes up half the power flow to keep him under wraps, and it’s almost impossible to actually keep him quiet! I’m a piece of your soul, he’s a whole of his!”

  “Then drain him of power pansy!” I cursed, “Kong, patrol the forest but don’t go too far. I don’t know what’s out there that may find you tasty. Sleep in a tree near the hollow tree in case you’re needed. Spot! Spot! Spot?” I turned around, looking for my ever faithful companion. He was curled up in the far corner of the cavern, next to the impromptu dragon freezer. I walked over and put my hand on his leg, it was somehow petrified. His fur was matted and grey where it stuck out from between the bone armor. Powdery or ashy grey stone covered him completely, like a cocoon of sorts, and parts of it looked like it was scaly. I reached out with my flesh magic, tiny tendrils running over the new carapace of my pet. As they touched it that was it, they made no headway nor could they go inside to see what was going on.

  “This is so cool!” Gungnir said, “It’s like Medusa got in here and whacked the dog! Do you think she takes commissions?”

  I started panicking until I realized that when I gave Spot flesh sorcery he also gained the ability to devour other things and gain strength, and since I fed him the tail of an ancient dragon, there might be some changes going on. “Oh, that would make sense,” Gungnir interjected as he read my line of thinking, “Wonder how much he’s gonna change. I think you should do the same thing. A dragon sorcerer would be badass.” I hooked up a small mana feed to the cocoon from the big generator, hoping that a little extra pure mana would help this process out. “It would be badass,” I replied, “But I have too much to learn before I start down that road completely. Besides, there might be some creature out there that would complement my abilities better, although taking something from a dragon would help round me out.” I pondered the pros and cons while I took some time to get myself cleaned off from the day then headed down the tunnel to the under-tree bolthole and passed out.

  Waking up to silence was disturbing in its own way. No explosions or monster attacks to freak out and respond to was almost making me paranoid. It had been a couple days since I had made my armor, so I checked each piece carefully as I put it on. It was a great attempt at epic armor and had stood up decently well since I’d made it. Only one piece needed needed adjustment and that was the helmet. Since making my armor, I hadn’t even realized that mental combat was a thing until I took control of Kong. Sitting on my bed with the rest of my armor on, I took the helmet with both hands and felt the enchantments running through it, there was plenty of room for what I wanted to do. I conjured a small diamond the size of a silver dollar and placed a rune of will inside a rune of defense, a clenched fist within a tower shield. I then took out the World Tree disk and pushed mana into it to make it grow a casing which I broke off and used to cover the entire gem. Using flesh and earth sorcery to peel back the outer layers of the helmet, I got to the base bone layer and implanted the new diamond into it while weaving it into the enchantments that were already there. I reset the iron and diamond layers with the runes crafted in silver so that the diamond couldn’t be seen. My mental abilities were indirectly linked to my sorceries instead of directly as bonding with Norn is what brought them about. This made it my weak point and the diamond was my answer for this. It would serve as ever present shield for my mind and also hopefully be present for any mental battles that came my way. The other insurance I had was Gungnir, as the bound spear was also part of me since it had a tiny piece of my soul in it. Chances are I could probably take it into mental combat with him if I needed it.

  Gungnir bobbed over and sighed, “It must be nice to sleep. Floating around while you lay there unconscious is pretty boring.”

  “I mean, you do have things you could be doing,” I replied, “Like draining Rath’s soul of energy so he’s pliable, figuring out ways to make me over-powered, working on the viability of our long term plans, ya know, useful things?”

  “That’s already on the wall over there,” it said, “See? I carved it while practicing creating a fire laser.”

  I don’t believe it. Between caveman drawings of our battles with Rath and Kong and the Centauri humans were lists of plans with checkmarks and x’s all around. “I meant in an organized fashion,” I said, shaking my head. “Whatcha got?”

  “First, I’ve checked on the stony dog every hour, no changes that I can see. Also, draining energy from the stubborn dragon is hard. Probably going to take a month before his soul is down to a manageable strength. I’ve also been perusing the brain crystal we got, and that is not organized, which is going to take a week’s worth of nights to sort through as he’s lived for over twenty millenia.”

  “Twenty thousand years?” I freaked, “How in the fucking world did we beat him?”

  “Uhm, luck? Maybe also the fact that he was arrogant and careless as you are a baby sorcerer? AND, you DROWNED a FIRE dragon!” Gungnir said, as if I were slow. “He decided to fight you and you changed the terrain to match your strengths to his weakness. It’s also possible that he was seriously weakened by two things, one, the bomb blast from the kamikazee child deity, and two, the fact that mana has only recently come to this world and he didn’t have much to recover with.”


  I did do that whole thing rather well didn’t I? Fought a traitorous dragon and won. Beat up King Kong’s little brother and now he’s my angry forest patrol and an armored car of a dog to keep him in line. I let out a bark of laughter, giddy with success and the incredulity of my survival so far. I went to the wall under where Gungnir had carved its attempts at art and I used earth sorcery to write in the wall: dragon slayer, keeper of Yggdrasil, sorcerer, defender of Earth, builder of epic forts, crafter of weapons and enchantments, dominator of beasts. This was for me, my list of accomplishments. I needed to learn that I was actually capable of doing incredible things, feats of power and strength and will that would not have been possible before. Suddenly, the future didn’t seem so dark, as if a small light were pushing back the cloying darkness that had threatened my psyche since the First Ripple. [I could do this], I thought, holding the disk of the World Tree, rubbing the grain of the wood with my thumb, [I might actually be able to do this].


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