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  I looked over the haphazard writing on the wall and sighed. Gungnir was right, exploring the area after the Change was a priority, definitely more of a priority than what he wrote above that, {Find a woman}. Definitely not important right now. “Definitely is important!” it said as it saw me shake my head reading its notes, “Your woman is gone for at least the next couple millenia, you do get a bit of license to try out some alien chick,” Gungnir said, “Maybe some of them super tall and ripped Centauri ladies hmmm? They’re human, kinda, I mean, one of them ladies could manhandle you.”

 

  I smacked the floating orb with my armored gauntlet. “Knock it off,” I said, “We are crafting me a weapon and exploring while Spot is incubating. Kong will be the one on guard.”

 

  “Just take Norn if you can find him.”

 

  Damn orb was right, in more than one way. Norn would be a better way to scout the area, but I could feel that he was really far away and I didn’t know how the last Ripple had changed him. It might have broken down our mental bond to the point where he won’t listen to me. That’s on my list to do today as well. I went down the tunnel to the cavern and spent an hour making everything all nice again and putting it back the way it was before I flooded it. I gathered up the crafting materials from before and put them together in a stack next to the generator. Bars of gold, silver, stone and iron all sat next to each other next to the crafting plate and generator.

  Next to the crafting plate I made another plate but with a different purpose. It was a preservation plate, about the size of a dining room table, complete with runes of freshness of flesh and life and semi-stasis so that the next task would be more manageable.I banished the disk of bone and went to the freezer where Rath’s body was. Opening it gave me chills, the headless and tailless body still exuded an aura of power and death even though I was the one who chopped his head off. The brainless head was next to the body and I pulled that out of the freezer and wrangled it to the preservation plate. After closing the freezer to keep the body fresh, I used magic, muscle, and Gungnir to dismantle the head, laying out all the teeth, cutting out the tongue, removing the jawbone and eyes and gently peeling off each individual scale. The first thing I wanted to do with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was take advantage of it.

 

  I took the tongue and went to the kitchen where I used Gungnir in knife form to chop that long appendage up into small bite sized pieces, which I then seared lightly on my magical hotplate. The tongue was way too big for one sitting, so I conjured a box for the leftovers and put it in the freezer. The rest of the tongue bits were sitting on a stone plate in front of me where I sat at my table. It smelled good, a bit on the spicy side even though I hadn’t added any spices to it. This was my friend not too long ago, or acquaintance really. It really struck me how different life was now. I am eating a sentient being, a thinking creature. That thought didn’t hinder me from shoving the first bite in, which I promptly spit out. Plain gross, like rotten seaweed mixed with mashed up caterpillars. I turned off my sense of taste with flesh sorcery and tried another bite, a little chewy and weird with no flavor but it went down.

  My flesh sorcery has a component of incorporating strength to my body by eating or assimilating, but it’s also good at recognizing if what I put into my body will actually do that. My instant vomiting was more than my body recognizing that eating a fire dragon was not just horrible for me, it was my everything rejecting the essence of what I had taken in. As I was hunched over my plate with tears streaming down my face, hands gripping the stone table, my sorcery instincts were all screaming at me that fire dragon was not what my body needed to become more powerful, that it was completely wrong and at odds with every iota of my being. Fire does not mesh with water and nature and flesh, it evaporates and burns and scars on the most basic level. Great. I had gone through all the trouble of slaying a freaking dragon and I couldn’t even eat it.

 

  I conjured water and drank it while I cleaned up my mess. I gathered up what was left of the tongue, conjured water around it and froze it solid, sticking it back in the freezer. Damn that hurt. My stomach was still in knots as I made a bowl of thick vegetable soup from a can. “So, that didn’t go as planned,” Gungnir said, “Which means there’s a lot of dragon meat you can’t eat, so either Spot or Kong is gonna be real happy when they find out about this.”

 

  “Speaking of not real happy,” I said, “How’s our incorporeal lizard, and did you put the governor back on since our tussle with him?”

 

  “Yeah,” Gungnir said sheepishly, “I did and put the flow back down low. No more kaboom for me. Oh! And I crafted some soul runes that shut him up! Blessed silence and peace!” I rolled my eyes, cause I never get either of those. “And, the energy I’m draining from him is so dense that it may take even longer that I previously projected. I need a ruby crystal or something aligned with fire so that I can hold it and purify it. Did you know that your sorceries are incompatible with fire, like completely?”

 

  “That’s what the upchucking meant dude,” I said, glaring at the bobbing orb, “Pretty much the only thing I can get out of that body now is crafting material and food for my familiars. We’re also going to see what we can do with that soul of his. He said sorcerers could be eaten to add to his own power. It may work the other way around to, but I don’t think he was talking about my body specifically. What if he meant my soul, like eating me, or the vessel of my soul is what would add to his power? If that’s the case, then it Rath’s soul that I would need to eat to gain power.”

 

  “But its mine!” Gungnir said, sounding like a petulant child, “I wanna eat it!”

  “You are me dummy,” I said, “You can do everything I can and more, besides that’s if I decide to do this. Fire is great, but I don’t know if that’s what I want. I need something compatible with me, that would enhance what I can do. Look, if there’s a fire dragon, then there might be other dragons of types that I could eat, like earth or water, ooooohh, or maybe a storm dragon? That would be awesome!” I wolfed down my soup, the many possibilities racing through my head. Sitting down down after taking a quick water sorcery shower, I sat down in front of the plot of land where I had my trees growing, the rowan, cedar and oak. I used nature sorcery to check over them and heal any damage from being flooded for a while. There was a little spot in the center between the trees where I dug a little hole and buried the World Tree disk. I made a link between it and the cavern’s generator and slowly cranked up the flow while coaxing the living disk to form roots and a stem.

  A little World Tree just for me! I made a thin but tall stone pillar behind the trees and put a special lightstone facing down. It had an enchantment to exude only sunlight and a governor so that it would turn off and on every twelve hours. Then I put a growth limiter enchantment in the plot of soil itself so that the trees wouldn’t outgrow my cavern. I made the little World Tree grow another disk which I detached and took to my crafting table which was next to my preservation table with Rath’s dismantled head. I took one of his fangs and used flesh sorcery to sculpt it into a footlong rod and did the same to the disk of the World Tree. Then I grabbed a bar of each of the crafting materials I had laying next to the table, gold/silver/stone/iron and put them next to the molded tooth and tree. I summoned Gungnir mentally and relayed my plan to him. “Nice,” it chortled, “But you’re missing one piece. That river rock was a stroke of genius when you set this up last time and now it’s missing.”

 

  Absolutely correct, the symbology for the sorcery is what was needed. I ran around the cavern until I found that river rock, which now contained vibrations, leftover energy from the fight I had with Rath here. It was a symbol of victory as well as the merging of my earth and water sorceries. I placed that on the plate and linked the cavern’s generator to Rath and cupped the orb in my hands. Focusing on all of my sorceries, I pushed the magic into all of the ingredients, willing them to combine into the perfectly clear image in my head, my new weapons.

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