Despite the harsh introduction Ophio and I were forced to endure, we actually began to open up to each other…. Of course we were wary of each other at first, but letting someone mess with your insides typically builds trust between even the worst of enemies.
The same could be said for my fellow scourge through offering an olive branch… Forming contracts must be his secret tick, as it truly seemed to calm him from his previous hostile presence….
I’m not really sure why I felt so comfortable around alien creatures, for the majority of my life not spent in captivity, I had always been alone and detested any association….
I wouldn’t go so far to say that I enjoyed their company…. It was more of an appreciation for others who have a similar mindset to my own…. Neither of us expects anything from the other, allowing our conversations to flow freely and unabated….
Of course this was without Solomon, he was still out on the operating table…. Ophio had said something about his body not accepting the transition as fast as my own, but he should survive. That was quite the surprise considering the abysmally low survival rate that he had informed me of after finishing on my own insides…. Something about an inner desire for change will usually expedite the process and help smoothen the transition, so ultimately all the tribal man needs is time….
I could have stuffed him in my ring in a similar fashion to Astoria, but that would also mean filling it with air periodically…. Third had informed me soon after exiting the rook shaped storage that there had been a complete vacuum, luckily he was designed to persist even without the vital element, so he remained perfectly fine…. He also mentioned some girl constantly writhing on the ground, whose face had turned such a deep shade of blue that he thought she was undead….
So although that was very much an option, even if the ring would automatically fill with oxygen without my constant maintenance, Astoria suffering wasn’t something I was willing to interrupt. I still need to find what the absolute fuck happened to Aiyla before I can even begin to deal with her…. Not to mention, leaving her alone is probably for the best…. As it stands, I don’t think I can kill her, even trying my hardest and with the help of everyone currently at my disposal… Her regeneration simply outpaced any damage I could deal, unfortunately. At most, I would kill her manifested body, sending her soul god knows where…. With my luck it would return to her main body before an enormous black hole suddenly decided it wanted to eat the fuck out of my planet….
Yea nope, those chains are staying on and she's staying put….
So after deciding that Solomon should temporarily rest, I followed Ophio back to his workroom, the one we had originally met in… Third was nowhere in sight, having been missing since we began our operation so I had to settle for watching Ophio work, asking questions occasionally.
He mostly ignored me at first, choosing to work on the body currently sprawled across one of his many work tables in the area…. It was that of a child, around three to four, completely drained of blood and missing a few organs…. In their place were a few synthetic meshes similar to what had been implanted inside my own body…. Now that I’m looking at it from a different perspective…
“What is that thing?”
A fist sized ball of pink synthetic plant mesh seemed to have replaced the heart of the child, however, unlike the other inert organs, it had a pulse…. It continued to beat, and while nothing was coming out of the various veins and arteries attached to the fake heart, it may be that there was nothing to be pumped in the first place….
“Thats a special core I recently designed…. It’s a few grades higher than many of my own sentinels even. It should give a significant boost in powers to this corpse once I animate it….” Without missing a beat, Ophio quickly explained the various uses and drawbacks of this core, igniting an idea i’ve had for a while….
“You wouldn’t happen to have any extra… materials lying around here would you?” A smile blossomed on my face as he silently pointed towards a huge, sealed container in the far corner….
Popping the lid off, a wave of death and decay washes over me. Ignoring the slightly bad smell of rotting flesh, I begin to dig through the countless appendages thrown into a haphazard pile at the bottom of the container… Thick blood coats my fingers as I sift through the various organs and limbs scattered around the bottom. I couldn’t decide on anything, so I simply pick up the entire container with telekinesis before plopping it beside a workbench…. Starting with the core, I pick a few hearts from the disposal, and set them on the table… Ignoring the fact that some of the hearts were nearly black from rot, I began to cycle my psychic energy through the heart….
I didn’t know if it would work the same as Ophio’s, as he described his own as Mana- classic magic shenanigans…. I was interested at first, but hearing that magic was more or less the mana equivalent of my psychic powers, I lost interest. It would be a waste of any future pool slots I acquired if I got something similar to my main powers…. Plus, magic makes for a shitty mind to mind medium, which was why I could cut his connection to the insects still swimming inside me so easily… Apparently, its a general pool when it comes to the Arts where as Psychic powers focus on enhancement, manipulation, and a tad bit in formation. The other three arts were restoration, annihilation, and illusion though Ophio said that you shouldn’t put much stock into what arts a pool is best at as any pool can use all the arts. It may have been a bad idea to tell him how vulnerable his creations were to psychic powers, but that was a problem for another day.
I suppose he thought trading secrets was the way we were going, as we continued sharing information on how our powers worked and so on until he explained how he would cleanse organs with his mana and revitalize the cells by flooding them with energy. If I had known he was so loose lipped, I would’ve only asked for one wish instead of three…..
Anyways, for the first step you had to be careful as each cell can only take so much before bursting. So instead of injecting your energies directly into an area, you had to blanket it across every single surface in one smooth motion, or atleast do small segments at any given time, being careful not to overlap any already full cells with empty ones.
Usually he would mix the cells with plant ones making the whole thing a more durable plant mesh, but I don’t mess with plants, even if I think they're cool, so I just stuffed the fuck out of all the cells in the long dead heart before moving on.
The next step in making the heart core was to start shaping it. Apparently this was extremely important as body, size, type and all that, forced you to change the core to fit them. Trying to squeeze the fleshy organ that had begun to shine, similar to how the pink core of Ophio’s did, I use too much force with telekinesis, and end up crushing it.
All the energy stored in the cells releases at once creating a wave of force, launching me across the room into the opposite wall…..
I comically slide down as Ophio pauses to laugh at my failure…. Yea yea…. Keep laughing buddy, my cores gonna be even better than all of yours combined….
Seating myself at the same workbench as before, I try another approach. I begin to feel the aether that constructs the heart before pulling. The same familial resistance occurs as I continue to tug at the flesh. Only after a few more minutes of me staring at the stagnant organ are my efforts shown!
The user has moderate control over the anatomy and bodies of himself as well as others.
Gives the user basic information on controlling the molecular makeup of any individual.
Boosts Vitality and Constitution by 1%
I guess this works…. Once again blanketing my mind across the entire heart and forcing energy to enter the cells, I began compressing the heart into a ball about the size of a quarter….
Letting all the blood flow from the heart, I make a small cut on my right wrist before manipulating my own blood to enter the heart….
While compressing it, I use my own blood to pull the heart in on itself….
This way there's no imbalance of forces and the heart can be evenly compressed.
Before the heart settles into the inch in diameter I am shooting for, I quickly expel all the blood inside before having it coat the outside of the heart and act as a shell….. Using much more energy than even the full heart could hold, I saturate the blood before forcing it into a solid state along with the heart….
In the end, i’m left with a tiny, half inch ball that now resembles a porous marble….
Reading its stats made me swear before tossing it aside….
An incredibly inefficient core, most likely a shabby first attempt by a talentless Golemancer.....
29% Lost to the Aether
Looking to the large pile of no less than a hundred hearts, I could only sigh…..
It’s going to be a long night….