Magic was amazing.
Ever since Blue had gifted her with mana and spellcasting, it was like an entirely new part of her brain had woken up. A part that could let her push anything she imagined into the world, so long as she fed it mana. Of course, it wasn’t as easy as all that.
Despite the relatively high Skill level guiding her, she wasn’t actually that practiced with said skill, and neither of her teachers were quite proficient enough to properly push her limits. Cheya’s illusions were from [Illusionary Shadows] rather than the broad-base Skill she had, and Joce’s [Archmage] skill was so broad he’d never really pushed Illusion very far. Between them, though, she was starting to get a handle on keeping illusions going, and preventing them from being dispelled by mere interaction.
There were actually two types of illusion, broadly speaking. One was an illusion imposed upon the world, the other imposed upon a person. She could create either a false reality, or a hallucination. Really she preferred the former over the latter, despite the fact that it was often more difficult. Reaching into people’s heads was beyond what she felt she could handle, this early on. She hadn’t even advanced her Class yet!
[Combat Shapeshifting] was almost as absurd, even though she had precious little shapeshifting to add to it yet. There was nobody who had any shapeshifter type skills with them, which was little surprise. Shapeshifting wasn’t common, and it was usually to a specific form when it did exist. The apparent free-form nature of it stymied her, though she had a feeling it was a little bit like [Illusion]. The only thing she’d managed so far were longer claws.
That said, [Combat Shapeshifting] still helped her with using [Illusion] and [Ghost Step] in combat, making the multi-tasking just that little bit easier. [Legerdemain] was a little bit of an edge case. Huron’s instruction with basic unarmed combat showed she really could land hits maybe a hand’s width further away than her reach. Which was, in his words, entirely unfair. But it did make properly learning punches, kicks, and blocks more difficult for both of them.
Actually, he admitted, she’d be an annoyance even at level one by combining illusions and combat. She didn’t yet have the power to truly hurt a higher-level Classer, and she didn’t have the mana pool to outlast one, but if there were a Great Dungeon nearby she could clear a few levels and become a proper Classer herself without issue. Blue didn’t have monsters, or even proper levels, so he couldn’t provide much help himself.
Well, aside from maybe exercising [Physical Superiority] but she wasn’t sure that counted.
Her basic methodology for the moment was to start by creating two illusions of herself, then using [Ghost Step] to force Huron to lose track of which was which. [Illusion] and [Illusory Presence] meant that she could make herself almost invisible, or more disorienting, like a poorly maintained [Illusion]. Then it was a matter of distracting or flanking with her copies as she darted in for an attack.
She rarely actually landed a proper blow with Huron, once he adjusted to her extra reach, but he was a level 42 [Brawler] with [Keg-Se Style: Mastery] skill. It was only to be expected. But so long as she had sufficient stamina for [Ghost Step], it was difficult for him to do much in return. Normally [Blink] style movement took mana and spellcasting, so the variant Blue had given her was potent.
Still, the record for this particular bout was her three touches to his five, which was depressing until she reminded herself of the vast level and experience difference. She’d been training less than a week.
His advice was, in a group, that she should distract and confuse. Though [Combat Shapeshifting] wasn’t up to damaging high level Classes or monsters, her magic was still disorienting. Even if it was something she could damage, the support potential was more potent and a far better use of her efforts.
By herself, she was an ambusher. With her species enhanced perception, [Illusory Presence], and [Ghost Step], she should be able to get the drop on most, and from that point on they shouldn’t ever know where the real her was. Her illusions could be seen to take wounds, bleed, and retreat if necessary. No need for her to do any of that.
Between training sessions, Blue consulted her on the cropland rooms. Not that either of them actually knew what they were doing, and once they got some farmers in things could change, but she was entirely flattered that he wanted her input. Especially since the complexity of most of what he was doing was far beyond her. Just the little bit of input he gave her was enough to level her [Awareness] skill twice so far, his omniscient view of everything an overwhelming version of the same.
It hadn’t taken more than a few days to get used to the wind-and-water wash of his attention. His words were clear enough when he addressed them on her, but when he wandered off track or shifted his focus they quickly faded into mere noise. She found she could even, to some extent, tell how much attention he was paying to her, and how much he was laboring over other, more arcane matters. It was actually quite nice, a soothing background to her days that helped her relax and center herself.
Soon enough she’d be ready to head out and try to bring back some allies. She was the only one who could move without signaling their location to Vok Nal, since Blue’s [Warding] and her [Illusionary Presence] rendered her entirely unidentifiable to any kind of divination, even from another dungeon. With the Class that Blue had granted her, she would be ready.