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A note from Dragonkinn02

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy it and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

I've decided to go back and rework some of the spell intro blurbs. I wrote a few in haiku and decided I'd like to do them all that way. The gist will stay the same, but knowing the original flavor text might give you a few hints that the new more mysterious format would only hint at.

Also, many tables ahead.

I woke up that morning feeling as though my very skin was on fire. I wanted to move, I needed to move. I sat bolt upright and the sudden movement made my head sway from the all too quick motion. Looking around the pre-dawn light filtering into the room I’m finally able to place this feeling. It was the drunken feeling when I had first increased my mana by a lot and Akira had said I was drunk off of my mana.

 

Shifting my legs gently off the bed and trying not to wake Jessica who was sleeping in the middle of Zoe and me. She’s resting peacefully with Violet as a wooden tiara on her. Zoe is simply hugging all of Jessica as she has not a care in the world at the moment.

 

Reaching for my grimoire that is lying on top of my pants from last night I open it up to try and figure why I’ve managed to get drunk off of my mana again.

 

Cara Foregess
HP 99 / 100
Mana 1,400 / 1,400
Stamina 100 / 100
HP Regen 0.2 hp/day
Mana Regen 845 mp/hr
Stamina Regen 400 stm/day
Fortitude 10
Strength 10
Dexterity 10
Intelligence 10
Tenacity 10
Psyche 11
Recovery 10
Mana Depth 13
Mana Ripple 1
Mana Compression 6
Soul Storage (Void) 1
Mana Depth (Lv 13) (13 / 14)
Deep stretches the soul. Unearthing its potential. A burden to fill.
Increase mana by Intelligence² * Mana Depth (1,300 mana)
Mana Ripple (Lv 1) (1 / 2)
Unshackled thy soul. Breathing life into mana. In tune with nature.
Increase mana regen by Psyche (0.01 + 0.011 * Mana Ripple) per second (0.231 mana/s)
Mana Compression (Lv 6) (135 / 2,187)
The soul as the forge. Compress the intangible. Birthed within this world.
Compress 10 mana into reality from 10 / (0.1 + 0.1 * Mana Compression) (14.3 mana)
Soul Storage (Void) (Lv 1) (1 / 2)
Forge touch the heavens. Soul fragment of hope is stored. A secret hidden.
Store up to 1u of soulless hope.
(Void) Even gods cannot perceive the contents of your soul
Artificer (Lv 1)

Craft mana itself. Soul to shape reality. Bent and shaped to whims.

Reflect a portion of the soul to an object. Supplementing and possibly enhancing the foundation of the soul.

Soul Bound Artifacts
Grimoire (0 pages)
Soul Bag (480 mana embers)

 

Wow, I lost or managed to upgrade a skill upon it passing level ten. Odd that my mana depth did not do the same, there are rules at play that I don’t fully know of. As I stand here, I cannot help but wonder what my grimoire showed last night before the change. Knowing my intent, the inner cover of my bare grimoire changes to remove my newly acquired skill and instead shows me the previous version. Interesting. I relax my intent and my grimoire proceeds to show the natural state of my soul as it is right now.

 

‘Well, with so much extra mana coming in, I suppose I can look at forming a page for you, little one.’ Setting a goal for the day before we find out about what is in store for us with regards to Guars, I cannot help but want to burn off all this extra energy. Not wanting to wake the girls just yet, I instead get dressed in yesterday’s clothes. Finding the extra bags that Zoe procured the day before, I grab a full bag of salt and the seeds for the iron vine and go to the wall to sit down.

 

I cross my legs and try to get comfortable as I open my empty grimoire in front of me. Thinking back to when I forged the entirety of it from my little glutton before safely stowing the core into the cover under the golden knot. I trace my finger along the interior of the grimoire’s spine, coaxing my mana into it.

 

The reflection of my soul grasps the mana I’m pushing towards it with ease. Sowing it into the spine and follows my intent as a thin line breaks free. I see that a hundred mana disappears as soon as I begin from what is shown on the inner cover. This is followed by another hundred as the page starts to grow from the spine. I’ve got a quarter of a miniature page formed and 300 mana just evaporated.

 

Pushing most of my mana to the project. I manage to complete the page after a thousand mana and feel a worn out and sluggish. It is amazing how not a few minutes ago I was drunk and giddy off of my own mana and am now in an exhausted fuge.

 

The new page of my grimoire is in constant motion. Veins of liquid gold are chasing each other throughout the page, restless and begging for guidance.

 

“Show me something new little one,” I whisper to the grimoire. With glee, the veins start racing around in perfect circles, branching off and rejoining multiple times as they slow down and start to take form. They are forming a slow revolving magic circle. The sheer number of intricate lines swirls and shapes is making me go cross-eyed. I can feel a tug of recognition of the circle when it finally clicks. It is a representation of my magic sphere within my mana world, collapsed in on itself. Squished flat, it becomes insanely complicated and I see that there are hidden nuances that I know are present but hidden due to various layers obfuscating some of the other features.

 

I gently close my grimoire and hug it to my chest as I close my eyes to rest them a bit as looking at the magic circle was straining them and giving me a bit of a headache. After a few stabilizing breaths, I place three pouches in front of me.

 

I open the bag of seeds and extract a seed that is as tiny as a grain of rice. Transferring it to the bag of salt and pushing it to the very center, I then place the bag gently onto the floor.

 

‘Let’s give this a shot.’ I say to myself as I have a rune stone in one hand and a pouch of almost 500 mana embers in the other. I close my eyes and push mana along with an ember towards to singular seed surrounded by salt.

 

Nothing seems to happen at first and I throw a few more embers and mana into the process. I have an inkling that I heard an almost imperceptible scream resound back through my mana. Frowning, I open the salt pouch and dig through it and cannot seem to find the seed at all. This is probably an exercise in futility trying to find it, so I add another seed and try again.

 

On my fifth attempt, having gone through eighteen embers and 180 mana, I’m now positive that there is a small scream from the seed that feeds its way back through my mana as it gives up the ghost and disintegrates. For my last couple of tests, I kept the seed near the top and I now know that it is disappearing when I get that feedback.

 

I sit back and knock my head a couple of times against the wall behind me. This is a problem that cannot be solved by simply throwing mana at the problem, some finesse, or I’m missing something else entirely. I stare at the cover of my grimoire, at the golden knot that hides the final remnants of the seed of little glutton. As I trace my eyes over and under, through the knot, around and around, an idea starts to come to me.

 

I reach into my soul space from the outside by digging a tunnel through the magic, perhaps I could do that, dig my way to the seed to surround it like my soul space and try nurturing it. I focus on a few embers and the mana required to ignite them. I am running lower with only maybe 300 mana available and a plethora of embers. I try to envision stretching a mana ember, similar to what I’ve done inside my mana world.

 

After a bit of a fruitless focusing session with my eyes closed something finally clicks and I feel five embers disappear with fifty mana and with my eyes closed, I can see an orange strand of mana in front of me. Opening my eyes, there is absolutely nothing there, nevertheless, whenever I blink or close my eyes, I can see that orange strand attached to my index finger. It is floating and as I reach out with my other hand and my eyes closed, I can see the orange strand wrap my finger as it passes through and moves it to float pointing in another direction.

 

I quickly open my grimoire to see if it can help me identify what I did and I can see that it responds to my wishes and just above my spinning magic circle a new skill shows itself.

 

NEW SKILL
Mana Tether (Lv 1) (2 / 10,000)
Delicate soul strand. Probe the void beyond thyself. Connect wayward souls.
Establish a soul thread at a cumulative cost of Distance ^ (2-(Level-1)/10) mana.

 

Not quite what I was aiming for… or maybe it is. Do plants have souls? Are they just weak compared to everything and anything else? I close my eyes and stretch the mana tether to where I know the seed should be within the salt.

 

Burying it into the salt I am pleased when I can see the faintest green glow show behind my closed eyes. Opening them and blinking repeatedly, I can sort of overlay the two and am pleased with finding the tiny green spec.

 

Pushing some mana and embers to the seed. I hear a small pop and puff of salt rumbles briefly within the bag before everything goes quiet.

 

“Damn…” I curse under my breath while pulling some more seeds and putting them into the bag. Running my string of mana through them all, I’m pleased to see or sense the multiple faint green glows. I push mana as a trickle through them all with mana embers and just get a bunch of pops as I run closer and closer to having no mana left.

 

“What do you think the problem is?” I whisper to my grimoire while slowly stroking the golden knot. “The seeds just die as soon as they touch the salt. They’d die in salt, fire, boiling water, poison… I need them to survive and grow while being able to ignore the environment.”

 

“They die as soon as they reach out to try and dig their roots in probably, which means they are looking for nutrients. I just need them to maybe be more like you, able to only eat my mana…”

 

Having a small conversation with my grimoire helped me to go over what I think the problem is. This time upon burying a seed, I use a mana tether to go into the salt and wrap the seed. After wrapping it into a small cocoon, the threads just simply merge together and looks like a snake has eaten something much too large and has a bulge stuck inside. Focusing my intent for the seed to grow but to only subsist off of my mana. I push that intent with everything I have.

 

‘Use my mana. Grow. Be cautious of everything. Mana is safe. Everything else hurts.’ I throw everything I can into the intent, hoping that something would stick.

 

My bulbous mana string starts to sprout a leak until I realize that it is possibly a root digging out. Quickly enveloping it still with mana tether, I feel it stretching thin and have to push more and more into it. The seed is eating up the mana and as though the dam is breaking, I feel the roots burst forth and I go into full panic mode, throwing mana into the tether which is simply eating embers like they are nothing.

 

Deep down, within my soul, I can feel some things starting to click in rapid succession. I thud my head against the wall as I recoil in shock as a half-dozen half-foot blades of green purple grass explode out of the salt bag in under a second while a single long main shaft grows to a full four or so feet to tower above the others over the course of two seconds.

 

I watch that main blade and as I tilt my head. “Devourer, spare me,” I whisper as the blade of grass bends and tilts up at the top mimicking me. I must have sent my intent through my mana as no sooner had I thought that the damn thing was being as creepy as anything I’ve ever witnessed, it snaps straight as a spear pointed up before it slowly starts to tilt and fall.

 

The bag of salt not being enough support, it slowly begins to fall. Thinking that if I was to fall, I’d extend my hands out to catch myself and the largest blade does so to catch on the ground and stop the fall.

 

After blinking several times, I can see that the mana tether is still attached and while it is coating a jumble of restrained roots. Willing the blades to dance or bend into a few shapes, it follows through with my wishes and I am quite happy at how responsive it is.

 

Retracting the mana tether, the blades of grass go back to behaving like proper docile, non-creepy plants. Happy with having things work out, I feel exhausted, but still interested to see the contents of my grimoire.

 

Opening it up, I take a look and close it immediately. Shaking my head, I open it again and I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry. There is a second magic circle spinning away in the bottom right corner of the page. So dense and difficult to focus on that I cannot help but try to watch it spin on the page as my eyes water and twitch.

 

“What the hell is that?” I whisper to the inner cover of my grimoire and as though responding a small title and simple image appear above the monstrous circle.

 

Iron Grass Variant

“So that monster is an iron grass variant…” I mutter to myself, I keep trying to look at the circle and am forced to look away. Perhaps I’m a bit of a glutton for punishment or simply want to push the boundary. A headache has thoroughly entrenched itself as I look at the rest of my grimoire.

 

Cara Foregess
HP 99 / 100
Mana 7 / 1,400
Stamina 100 / 100
Mana Depth 13
Mana Ripple 1
Mana Compression 6
Rampant Growth 1
Mana Tether 1
Soul Storage (Void) 1
Mana Depth (Lv 13) (13 / 14)
Deep stretches the soul. Unearthing its potential. A burden to fill.
Increase mana by Intelligence² * Mana Depth (1,300 mana)
Mana Ripple (Lv 1) (1 / 2)
Unshackled thy soul. Breathing life into mana. In tune with nature.
Increase mana regen by Psyche (0.01 + 0.011 * Mana Ripple) per second (0.231 mana/s)
Mana Compression (Lv 6) (135 / 2,187)
The soul as the forge. Compress the intangible. Birthed within this world.
Compress 10 mana into reality from 10 / (0.1 + 0.1 * Mana Compression) (14.3 mana)
Rampant Growth (Lv 1) (13 / 10,000)
Push beyond the soul. Sunder the veil of the core. Shape thy masterpiece
Expend 100% - Level (99%) of target soul's mana capacity per second to effect changes.
Soul Storage (Void) (Lv 1) (1 / 2)
Forge touch the heavens. Soul fragment of hope is stored. A secret hidden.
Store up to 1u of soulless hope.
(Void) Even gods cannot perceive the contents of your soul
Mana Tether (Lv 1) (62 / 10,000)
Delicate soul strand. Probe the void beyond thyself. Connect wayward souls.
Establish a soul thread at a cumulative cost of Distance ^ (2-(Level-1)/10) mana.
Artificer (Lv 1)

Craft mana itself. Soul to shape reality. Bent and shaped to whims.

Reflect a portion of the soul to an object. Supplementing and possibly enhancing the foundation of the soul.

Soul Bound Artifacts
Grimoire (1 pages)
Soul Bag (7 mana embers)

 

I close my grimoire slowly before reaching for my mana ember soul pouch and open it up while trying to not cry. Before, I could maybe use the open pouch as a lantern with how much it glows. Now, upon opening it, I confirm there is just a small seven embers weakly glowing in the bottom of the pouch.

 

I cannot help but bare my teeth at the offending weed that ate close to 500 mana embers most likely while imprinting that monster inside my grimoire. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, count to five before blowing it out with a sigh. I go back to read my new skill for rampant growth and cannot help but feel that the amount of mana that I have is but a drop in the bucket.

 

I rest for a few minutes to let my mana regenerate a little bit, fighting off the double headache from being low on mana and looking directly at the magic circles in my grimoire. Maybe I can use that as an attack… Run in front of an Ursa, open my grimoire to a random page and the creature just might collapse, foaming at the mouth with the odd twitch or convulsion.

 

Laughing to myself, I have a fun idea and pick up the bag of salt with the super long weed. Forging a mana tether to it, I feel that it only takes a single mana to touch the weed. Then using rampant growth, I feel it takes only a single mana per second.

 

‘So plants do have souls, but they only have a single point of mana, or maybe some only have one.’ I think to myself before willing the plant to go and try to tickle Jessica’s nose.

 

As though sensing a challenger, Violet’s two ram horns unwind into two, then four, then eight vines before another five or so snake out hair, waving in the air. Jessica’s still asleep not knowing that her champion is taunting and looking down on me.

 

“Tsk, I don’t have enough mana to deal with you just yet, next time,” I say to Violet, thinking better of trying to fight her at a major disadvantage. I move onto my next victim.

 

I’ve got to be quick as I’m going to bottom my mana out again, but it will be worth it. I pass the tip of the blade of iron vine across Zoe’s lips, having her bite at them briefly before turning away. Following my victim, I try again, brushing just a bit against the underside of her nose and lip, having her wave her hand across her face, as though swatting at a fly. I go for the lips again and this time she more violently shakes her head away, waking up while blinking slowly to see me holding a bag with a fully grown iron grass sticking out of it and trying to suppress my own laughter.

 

“Begone demon, my beauty rest and an actual bed are not to be trifled with if you like being able to hear.” She says as simply turns away and hides under the sheet, trying to go back to sleep.

 

“Lucky for you I’m now out of mana,” I say before circling the bed to crawl onto the other side and maybe take an early-morning nap to get rid of the headache and hopefully wake up with more mana.

 

Just as soon as I started to drift asleep, I feel something brush my lips, tickling them immensely. Popping an eye open, I see a frozen vine hovering a few inches away.

 

“I created two monsters in a single morning,” I say before gently swatting the vine away. Another tickle a few moments later has me hide under my pillow, trying to keep away from Violet.

 


 

I’m woken with a start as a vine starts to go up my nose.

 

“GAHHH!!!” I yell out as Zoe is laughing her ass off by the door.

 

“Sorry, I don’t know what is up with Violet, since getting up she’s been desperately trying to reach you.” A confused Jessica has her hands full with a dozen vines and one had still managed to sneak through as she backs away while placating Violet.

 

“Fine! Violet, you win! You are the best plant and I’m sorry for trying to usurp your throne.” I say teasingly, not sure if Violet understands me. I get my answer a few seconds later. If a plant can seem smug, she certainly does so while weaving backwards through Jessica’s hair in an intricate pattern of hair and vine. Jessica is now sporting a set of tight braids that make her look predatory or perhaps like an elite female warrior.

 

“Yes, fine, my weed cannot do that…” I follow it up with a barely audible ‘yet’. As I get out of bed and prepare for the day as I go over what I managed to accomplish that morning. While showing them the new page with the spinning magic circles, they were definitely affected with discomfort and had to look away.

 

After discussing a bit about the two new abilities that I acquired, the two of them kicked me out of the room to go get breakfast for everyone while Jessica went to solidify her soul storage. Zoe stayed to practice with her rot weed seed and probably make sure that she did not miss Jessica’s soul storage formation if I was not back by then.

 

Exiting the room I find Akira waiting with his back on the wall within the hallway.

 

“Everything alright? I had to scare away a few disgruntled people with hangovers that wanted to… educate… you on morning noise shenanigans.” He said while smiling and giving a soft chuckle as I feel my face heat up.

 

“You… Didn’t hurt… Anyone… While scaring them away?” I ask, cringing as I try to find the right words as I move to go down the stairs. He moves beside me and follows me down the stairs.

 

“Nothing of the sort.”

 

We reach the bottom of the stairs and the innkeeper is down on the main floor giving me the most unwelcome and disgruntled look he possibly can while not approaching or saying anything.

 

“One of the hungover or disgruntled people?” I ask Akira in a soft whisper while motioning at the innkeeper.

 

“Yes. Both. I think. He probably should avoid drinking his own alcohol in excess.” He said as we exit the inn and start hunting for a street stall or bakery. During our stroll, I show Akira my grimoire.

 

“Congratulations!” He says while leaning in to examine my monster magic circle. Having him simply stare long and hard at the magic circle has me feel awkward while holding out the book for him as we walk through the streets. I pull it away and close it as he straightens up.

 

“What does that one mean?” I ask while also a little disappointed that he does not seem to be negatively impacted by looking at something that induces headaches in Jessica, Zoe, and I.

 

“You’ve planted the soul within your soul and should be able to grow it from your mana without needing a seed.” He pondered a bit before as he sniffed the air and turned down the street following something that caught his attention. I quickly follow him before he continues to explain.

 

“The memory of the soul is there, but you will have problems trying to alter it in a similar way you did with your rot weed.” He ponders a bit more before trying to clarify.

 

“It is like it will be sticky, always wanting to go back to what is known. You can change it with great effort, but it will need to reform and eat a lot of mana that you do not have at the moment.” He said which pointed to my now almost fully depleted mana ember reserve.

 

“Why would I want to change it?” I ask as we pull into a bakery full of fresh delicacies that just came out and are still steaming. He thinks a bit as I start to grab a bunch of pastries and provide it to the lady at the front counter to determine how much I owe.

 

“In case you want to make them serrated, add poison, or other things.” The lady pauses upon hearing that and looks between us unsure, while I smack Akira’s shoulder gently and apologize to the poor lady about him making poor jokes.

 

We leave the shop and I swear she charged me extra when it came up to 212 Dens and I was too embarrassed to put some pastries back.

 

We got back to find Zoe sweating profusely, her eyes bloodshot, while only having the rot weed as a single three-inch stem with a leaf fighting her tooth and nail to form. She pauses her efforts to grab a pair of pastries and won’t stop muttering an entire slew of colorful curses at the plant under her breath between bites.

 

Jessica still has her eyes closed as she works within her own void and I don’t want to disturb her. Zoe looks to me for some help and I try to explain a bit about intent and maybe all her curses are hurting its feelings and maybe having it fight her because of that.

 

“No. Her mana is more in tune with motion while you started yours along the lines of nurturing. She has to expend a lot more effort on intent just to try and force her mana into what it sees as an unnatural shape. With effort and time, it will improve.” This just earns Akira to sometimes be mentioned in her muttered curses when she resumes fighting the rot weed.

 

It is noon when Zoe finally manages to bring her rot weed back to a seed form. She appears haggard beyond what any grueling day of marching did to her. Her bubbly and energetic disposition does not even manage to break the surface when Jessica comes and forms her soul space as well.

 

Jessica’s attempt at forming her soul space was almost too easy as compared to what I had to go through. The only major difference is that her grimoire does not show any mention of “void”.

 

“It’s alright, I don’t intend to need to hide things from any gods… Just having it save me from needing to carry something heavy or some tools is more than enough.” She said with a soft smile.

 

After resting a little bit for Jessica, we gathered our things and headed downstairs. On leaving the inn, the innkeeper braved a few words.


“Best find another establishment going…” He almost bit his tongue while trying to busy himself with buffing a stein when Akira snapped his head towards him. Jessica and I became as red as can be due to being uninvited by an inn. Zoe did not pay any attention to anything said as she shambled behind us.

 

“Akira, you used zero violence?” I ask accusingly as we leave the inn.

 

“Absolutely none.”

 

After being kicked out from the guild, we three humans and an undead made our way to the guild to officially take the requisition and get some details on Guars.

 

We made our way out the east gate of Lekthar and headed towards the woods. Zoe did manage to slowly crawl onto Akira’s back and demand to be carried for a bit. Seems that she is finally returning to her normal self and recovering from her epic battle with a rot weed.

 

We made our way up the mountain to the northeast and after a few hours, Akira set a perfectly fine Zoe down and told us to hush and crouch down. I drew my segment sword free of the scabbard while slowly crouching down and looking everywhere to no avail.

 

“There is the tang of blood in the air. We are downwind of it and we might come across something soon. A Guar, an Ursa, or maybe something else entirely. Are you ready? And do you have a plan?”

 

I just blink at Akira without saying anything and bite my lower lip for a bit.

 

“I’ll just pop their ears real good and you poke them with the sharp end ya?” Zoe chimes in with a huge grin. “Or Akira runs circles around them and we poke them in the butt.” As her grin manages to get even wider.

 

‘Okay. A frustrated Zoe will perhaps do unconscionable things to wildlife.’ I think while suppressing a mental shiver.

 

We go over a few less drastic fighting tactics and scenarios. We finish up by picking a tree that we could easily climb and regroup at in case we get separated. We continue forward without a word while crouching and trying to be careful where we step.

 

A hundred meters further north, I can now smell the tang of blood in the air, and a little further, we finally can hear the sound of a carcass being torn into. Following Akira and keeping low we continue forward and we manage to sneak up on our target.

 

In front of us is the corpse of a dead farm animal whose head is stuck between two trees as a Guar is pulling and ripping at the carcass to try and take most of it away as an offering to a potential mate. The creature is pale white with many muddy streaks across its scaly body. It has two powerful back legs and a real fat triangular tail that just sticks off its butt. The front is a thing of nightmares as it is covered in rivulets of red blood. The front arms a scratching at the carcass and the head is wide with an evil looking beak that splits into four as it tries to grab the spine of the carcass and pull harder. Along each side of the head are more than a dozen black orbs running along the upper ridge of the skull for its eyes. They gain a pair of eyes for every winter, so I’d guess this one is maybe twelve to fifteen cycles in age.

 

The Guar keeps pulling at the corpse in frustration and the head will probably pop off soon. Given how long it has stretched already and I cannot fathom it lasting too much longer.

 

I look to the rest of the group and see Jessica covering her mouth and looking away. She’s a new shade of green I’ve not seen before as Akira is constantly scanning the area keeping an eye out as we decide how we are to handle this predator.

 

I run through a mental checklist of what we found out from the guild. The creatures charge in straight lines and cannot turn very well, preferring to plow through their prey. They are solitary beasts that live mostly underground except when they go into their mating season. Highly territorial and will chase things that move. Beaks are used to dig and can fuck you up, as can the hind legs. Eyes and butt are not valid weak points.

 

Akira starts to get up to move towards the creature. He seems too confident and I put my hand on his shoulder and pull him back. We cannot have him resolve everything for us.

 

Seeing as Zoe is ready to blow out all of our ears and we do not know if that would actually affect the beast I decide to see if I cannot entangle it with my new iron vine.

 

Reaching out with my mana tether towards the creature. Two mana disappears as I stretch it out a full meter towards the guar. The next meter eats up four, then eight, sixteen, and then thirty-two mana. I did not think that it would be that bad initially, however at the eighth meter, it took up a whopping 256 mana and I’ve burnt through a third of my mana. I’m starting to sweat a bit and instead creep forward instead of extending the mana tether more. I’ll just drain myself dry trying to touch the creature.

 

Slowly… Holding my breath, I inch my way forward. I’m blinking constantly to see the mana tether inching closer and closer. I don’t want to move into the open in front of my current hiding bush and instead think trying to use rampant growth while thinking about the iron vine variant.

 

I don’t want to throw a bag of seeds at the Guar and my palm is sweating profusely while holding the sword. I think back to one of the tactics. Wait for the charge, side-step behind a tree, and slice down at where you were.

 

My mind is racing and I push mana towards the iron grass seed and feel a small pop as a hundred mana disappears but I can feel and see the green glow in the ground. I feel the activation of rampant growth and following a suggestion from Jessica. I start the growth underground having it push shoots or tillers horizontally to surround the beast. I feel them spread out, each one connected to each other and they all start absorbing a single point of mana each a second. Just one is not bad, but very quickly sixty is becoming taxing.

 

I push 300 mana all at once down the tether and beckon them to spring forth and tie the creature up.

 

This is when I figured I might have wanted to practice this a bit more ahead of time. It would have delayed us a bit more, but at least I’d have a better grasp of the weaknesses of iron grass.

 

My first mistake was my intent was to wrap up the creature and restrain it for a killing blow, not scare it shitless. I’m not sure how I’d have conveyed the intent for that into my mana, but pandemonium is what I got.

 

Now you see the Guar… Now you don’t!

 

Like a hundred swords, a hundred blades rise straight up seven feet. The Guar, startled, releases the carcass and jumps straight up. Only it disappeared into a veritable forest of grass that obscured it from our view.

 

If we cannot see it, maybe it cannot see us… maybe… Explosive grass, however, probably does not obscure sound very well as all of us screamed or cursed in surprise when the grass exploded out to startle the Guar.

 

Thankfully, the grass followed through with the command, but all it did was fall over the top outline of the Guar helping to return it to the ground with a thud before starting to snake around the creature’s torso.

 

Panic is the feeling that sets in when the outline of a hidden monster turns towards you. My stomach dropped when I see tufts of roots with a little earth pull up as it snaps towards where it heard a bunch of noise. I should have dug the roots deeper, it is an underground creature after all.

 

Not digging roots deep is bad.

 

Charging is also bad.

 

Charging with grass streamers, making it appear double the size of what it just was is worst.

 

Being in front of Zoe when she releases a magic spell is not fun as all I hear now is a ringing sound.

 

The creature kind of stumbles, maybe tripping on the grass streamers, or maybe from Zoe’s spell. I try to move to the side, however, I cannot keep my balance at all and I start to stumble further to the side.

 

While I stumble to the left, I can see Akira grab Jessica and Zoe’s wrists and pull them further to the other side.

 

I think this is my second time feeling drunk today without touching alcohol. The creature is still charging us but seems like it will pass between our group. I remember belatedly to try and swipe my sword at the beast and as I go to swing I still feel drunk and realize that I am just going to swing and miss.

 

I’ve got two hands on the sword, with a mana tether running along the blade and still connected to the tufts of grass. Thinking that I am out of reach, the mana tether that is caught up in the sword blade reacts without me throwing the segment switch and the blade elongates quickly in front of the creature.

 

With some momentum, the segments start to swing around the creature and as it passes by everything goes taut. Everything pulls tight and the wrapped segments start to saw away at the neck of the creature, using its own weight and speed against it.

 

I could have let go of the sword, but I stopped thinking straight when my brain was rattled by Zoe. I was probably dragged only a few feet and into two trees before the sword went slack. I try to roll to my feet and look for the creature, but that was a mess and I just end up kneeling on the ground as I’m hit with a couple of other weird sensations from deep within.

 

Looking around for the beast, each turn of my head has my world spin more and more, though I do spot while upside down, two still mounds of grass. Slowly turning around and getting up with the aid of a tree I smell copious amounts of blood. The two grass mounds are bleeding, one is simply leaking red blood while the other is actively pumping it out onto the ground.

 

I look to where I last saw Akira and the girls and I see Akira walking towards me with a drunk girl under each arm. Zoe is giving me two thumbs up while Jessica is pale white and I see some half-chewed pastries splattered across Akira’s leg below Jessica. She probably lost her breakfast on Akira while the world was spinning.

 

I can see Akira’s mouth moving but the only thing I hear is a non-stop ringing noise. I shake my head to signify I cannot hear him, but that was a mistake as my world starts to spin again.

 

I just slump back onto my current tree as Akira provides me some company before he moves over to the beast’s corpse to start digging through it. Oh! The bladder! I hope Jessica does not watch and maybe throw anything else up onto me.

 

I close my eyes, trusting that Akira will watch over us three. I’m rewarded with a vine across the lips and a boop to the nose. I don’t bother to swat at her and instead try to tell her to not worry, she’s still the number one plant.

 

I do not dare open my grimoire with the spinning circles. I’m not that drunk to forget how they make me feel. However, I do want to know what that feeling was after killing the Guar. My inner mana world would shield me from feelings of weakness when mana starved and I hope it is the same with this current tipsy state.

 

Seeking refuge inside my mana world, it takes a little bit of time and concentration. I’m relieved to find solace in that the void does not spin and looking around is just fine. Within my mana world, I find a few uninvited guests.

 

My soul space sphere is happily spinning in the center, glowing like a mini sun. Off to the side is guest number one. A third the size of my main resident, but they are a hundred times as complex. A monstrosity spinning in over a dozen layers going at different speeds angles, and directions.

 

I then look to my other uninvited guest. A giant tangled mass the same size as my soul space sphere. It is made up of more ribbons than I would care count in maybe a hundred different colors. It looks angry as it writhes, moving, untangling some parts and tangling them again shortly thereafter.

 

“Maybe I should be charging rent…” I say onto the void as I give the grass sphere a glace.

 

“And what are you supposed to be?”

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A note from Dragonkinn02

Pixelated magic circles to save everyone from the severe headaches that would ensue.

 

I'm thinking magic spells will be in meters... One, math becomes easier with a 1,000 denominator for KM and all that. I'll probably use feet for describing people and creatures, but meters for distances. Let me know if that is taboo in the comments. Else, I'm going forward.

 

Are mana tether's cost and level requirements insane? Yes and not really. Cost is astronomical for distance early and trying to go out 1km would cost around 2.2 with 300 zeroes following it. Leveling not so much and cost scales down quite quickly. It is just an extreme early force limiter.

 

As for rampant growth, we have a similar thing. A plant may have only a single soul point of mana, thus, costing 1 mana a second. Larger or more powerful creatures, more. It is an extreme cost early and makes higher mana lifeforms quite robust or immune to mana invasion. Akira had used rampant growth or a form of it to heal Zoe. Remember she only had 100 mana back then and Akira certainly has multiple levels in it to not outright kill Cara when using it to heal back then.
In the next chapter, Akira will be healing the girls' ruptured eardrums, so we'll cover this a bit.
As for what could be done... We'll see in time.


New flavor text?
I like the haikus
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Dragonkinn02

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