After we were done with breakfast, I decided to get the first course of action settled: summoning my familiars. Eugus may have said I could have any number of familiars I want as they will not be taken into the account of the number of adventurers allowed to join us in our first quest, but I figured I might as well get it done and show him what I have along with the rest of my party to make things less complicated down the line.
Of course, everyone in the group wanted to come and see what I could summon, and so once we got our stuff gathered, I used [Portal] to take us all to the church where we’ll meet Winny again to help me get started. She seemed to have anticipated our arrival as she had a wooden crate of supplies needed for summoning rituals at her side while she was tending the garden when we got there, and so once I gave her the money needed for her service, she led us all to a courtyard at the back where the summoning will take place. Either she came up with the conclusion herself or just anticipated I would since I was a Champion, but she seemed to be well aware of me being able to use both Holy and Curse Magic when she asked which of them I wanted to try summoning a familiar with first.
Lili and Kalline, completely unaware of me being able to use Holy Magic since they saw me use Curse Magic at the raid yesterday, were awestruck when I told them then.
I told Winny I wanted to try Curse Magic first, and so by using special chalk that conducts to one’s magic on contact, she begins drawing the circle required to summon magical beasts from what was dubbed the ‘Cursed Realm.’ It’s then I realized Winny’s doing something that’s completely opposite of her position as one of a class that specializes in Holy Magic, and so I asked her partway if this was all right.
“Most of us usually don’t study Curse Magic on the side for any reason, but when I first got Plume, Brother was pretty pushy on me in helping him get his own familiar even if he could only use Curse Magic. So, I tried to find whatever resources I could with Curse Magic Summoning and helped him at that point. Really, anyone could try summoning a familiar on their own once they know what to do, and if we have more chances to provide funds for the church, all the better reason for them to let me go along with this. Brother has a cat familiar with a Fencer class now to help him out when he needs it. His name is Varusso.”
There were so many things I wanted to say from those last few sentences but I’d rather not drag this on any longer, so I kept them to myself as she went back to her work.
Winny explained along the way how the summoning procedure works, such as making the circle as a visual aid to channel magic into without using too much of it. Winny demonstrated midway how I could use it differently by writing her name in Padimonian in the air in front of her and it was a cool sight to see, as expected in a world of swords and magic. Ume, of course, is also able to do it being a Magic Dragon, and so with a little hint from her as assistance, I was able to write my own name in Japanese with ease [Jinma = 仁魔; Kotori = 小鳥]. The others were fascinated by the unique image of Japanese characters.
Going back to the summoning procedure, whether it’s through Holy Magic or Cursed Magic, what would appear in the circle is anyone’s guess. It’s random most of the time as a magical beast would need to have their interest piqued at the time to respond to the call and it’s more likely if an offering was placed in the center of the circle. There are times that nothing would appear at all. Even if the summoner tries again with an offering, no magical beast would heed their call. It’s nothing personal, but it just means they don’t have what it takes to summon a magical beast. When this happens, the church is required to give half of the service fee back. This is so the church still has money to invest in more supplies for summoning, yet the summoner won’t have to leave completely empty-handed.
Once the magical beast is summoned though, the summoner must step into the circle and take a trial within the magical beast’s terms and succeed. The two would work out the contract once the trial is complete with succession, but if the summoner fails, the magical beast would go back to their realm and not return to the same summoner ever again.
When the circle was finished, I took a picture of it with my smartphone for reference, using ‘Darkness Manipulation’ to hold it from above and get a good top-view image.
Everyone other than Ume had no idea what I was doing, of course, and this may very well be an act of stealing, but I need to make the most of what I can get in this world. If I’m not hurting anybody from this, then I don’t have many qualms with it. I like to think this is more like ‘taking notes’ from a textbook for an upcoming test. Though I have a high ‘Studying’ skill along with my photographic memory to memorize materials with a few blinks, I thought it’d be good to have physical evidence for just in case.
“There, it’s all set,” Winny says as she wipes off the residue on her hands with a cloth. “If you have something to use as an offering, now would be the time to take it out. I advise you to be careful getting it to the center, and money is not allowed.”
I at one point considered if it would be a good idea to use one of the dismembered limbs of the people I killed yesterday that I still have in [Storage] as an offering, but that might be too gruesome to see on holy ground around a church, so I decided to find some other method to use the bodies that are taking up space at a later time. “I understand, but I’ll just take a shot without it,” I say.
“Then, whenever you’re ready, place your hand on the edge of the circle, focus your Curse Magic in it, and repeat the following chant I will say to you.”
I nod and take a knee before following her instructions (but not before I made a note of the chant into the phone for reference). The magic circle lights up in a purplish-white hue as I focus.
“I call to thee, Curse, I beseech to you, bring me one who resides in the realm of sin! Summon!”
At my call, purplish-black miasma fills up half of the circle’s field.
A dark red forepaw with claws reaches out from within the miasma and steps down on the ground with a large thud. More of the creature comes into view as the air around us grows heavy until a large dark-red bear reveals itself and stands on its hind legs. It stands probably about half a head taller than the Toxic Troll I killed the day before, perhaps 2.5 meters [~8 feet].
<“It’s huuuuuuuuuuge!”> Nyra cries in my head.
“Are you the one who called me?” the deep, masculine-sounding bear asks me.
“Yes … that would be me.”
“W-What in the world, this is … how?!”
“Winny, do you know who this is?” I ask her, noticing how she and the other girls are trembling in place.
“One of the strongest magical beasts that reside in the Cursed Realm,” Ume answers for her, not shaking, but certainly looking serious as she furrows her brow at the bear with arms crossed. “This one rules over the Cursed Realm with his destructive powers in both strength and magic. Of the Seven Cursed Beasts of Sin, he’s renowned as the Crimson Bear King of Wrath.”
The bear snorts. “You’re quite knowledgeable, Lizardman female. As for you, human male, what is your purpose in calling me?”
I look around to see everyone but Ume, Winny, and me as ‘stunned’ as some of my enemies were when I used ‘Glare’ on them. “Oi, do you think you can tone it down on whatever it is you’re doing, please? You’re scaring my companions.”
“… Ah, so they are.” When the bear acknowledged it, I suddenly feel the air growing lighter, and the girls affected by it move again while taking large breaths as if they couldn’t breathe moments ago. “How peculiar that you and the Lizardman female are the only ones who aren’t affected by my magical pressure. There’s the ominous magic emanating from the weapon, but could it be due to the strange power I’m sensing from you?”
“… Never mind. I was talking to myself. Now, back to my original question: what is your purpose in calling me?”
“Well, I’m seeking a familiar to form a contract with and you’re the first one that came up after performing the summoning chant, so I was wondering—”
“Me? Form a contract with a human? If this is a jest, then I’m not laughing!”
The bear stomps with his hind foot, upping the air’s pressure more powerful than before, leaving most of the girls ‘stunned’ again. Ume seems to be having a harder time keeping herself standing this time around. I could feel the weight on me being heavier than before, too, but I’m able to hold my ground.
<“Jinma … this doesn’t look good,”> Nyra says, but I’m honestly getting more pissed off than worried about the situation.
I tried to ask nicely, especially the first time when this ‘pressure’ affected the girls, and yet this bastard just blows up on me for it?! I think while clenching my fists, suddenly feeling something welling up inside me.
“You dare look down on me, the King of Wrath?!”
I stomp my own foot, making a small indent of my shoe on the stone tile, and as if by instinct, I completely turn off my ‘Hide Magic’ skill that I’ve kept on at 100% since yesterday, revealing the extent of my magical power that I’ve kept hidden from the public, now pushing away the bear’s pressure weighing on me and overwhelm it as I ‘Glare’ him down. The girls at my side seem more surprised by that sudden outburst and yelped in the process.
My vision darkens and like the night before at the raid, I can now see the bear’s strangely dark-green magical aura being pushed back by my own that’s a mix of whitish-gray and maroon.
“W-What the?! I can’t move?! Th-This power! Those eyes—!”
“Shut it, bear!” I cut him off. “I tried to be fuckin’ polite and yet you’d just cut in without letting me finish?! Moreover, talking down on it and scaring my friends?! Is this how a so-called ‘king’ behaves?! Hah?!”
“B-But, I’m the King of Wrath …”
I unsheathe Nyra and point the tip of the blade between his legs as I step in the glowing magic circle that flashes a little upon my entry.
“If you want ‘wrath,’ I’ll shove it along with this knife up your ass if you don’t fucking cut the magic pressure and stop messing with my friends in the next 3 seconds! 2! 1—!”
“O-Okay! Okay! I’ll turn it off! Just put that blade away!”
In his fluster, the bear lowers the pressure of his dark-green magical aura until nothing emanates from his body.
The girls behind me sans Ume gasp and fall to the ground before taking a breath. Winny only took a knee while the rest are lying down.
<“… Daaaaaaamn,”> Nyra drawls.
“… That’s better.” Seeing his magical aura receding and the air feeling lighter, I relax my hardened ‘Glare,’ sigh out my own breath I was holding and put ‘Hide Magic’ back on as I sheathe Nyra. The bear falls on his ass as his wobbly hind legs couldn’t hold his weight after that fright.
[You have now reached ‘Glare’ LV 8!]
Feels like it’s been a while since that skill leveled up, but I didn’t pay it too much mind.
I then look to the others behind me, my vision now at its usual brightness that I’m familiar with. “Is everyone all right?!”
“I think … we’re fine,” Ume says between breaths with a hand to her chest while the others are still lying on the ground in different fashions. They may look out, but the statuses I could see above them with my ‘Size Up’ skill tells me that they’ll be fine.
I turn my attention back to the bear. “Now, then, going back to where we left off before I was rudely interrupted, I would like to make a contract with you, but I’m aware that a trial must be done in order for you guys to see me as worthy and I’m willing to take the task, so if you would please explain to me the details—”
“Th-That won’t be necessary! I-In fact, you passed the trial before it even began! You passed! You’re definitely worthy!” the bear exclaims while looking flustered.
The whole courtyard goes quiet from the bear’s sudden declaration of my approval.
Uh … new bear familiar, get?
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