70. Summoning Ritual
Daniel and I were given our own rooms to stay by the Valiant Dreamers Company, with permission from Hadrian. Rachel was going to be staying in Edithe’s room since she volunteered to take care of the girl once we left. She had to get used to not being around us. However, she was rather shy around the red haired woman, and mostly hung around my room for that day.
But it was fine since we weren’t in any rush to leave.
On the day after, Rachel was introduced to other members of the company such as Ian, the [Rogue] who had been guarding the gates, or Paige, the [Mage] that had been with him. Daniel and I left her with them to head down to the city’s sewers for the job he had taken from the Adventurers Guild.
I wanted to collect the zorth mushrooms. But because we were meeting with Edithe in the afternoon, there was apparently no time for that. Gathering jobs would take up a whole day to even be worth the effort put into it.
It was a boring task— killing these weird, big creatures. These giant rats looked kind of like Ground Cravers, except they scurried around on all fours while making these squeaking noises. They were very aggressive though, so I had no qualms with fighting them. I was pretty sure they were even less intelligent than wild Demons.
I got no levels from them, however it wasn’t a completely worthless excursion. Not only did Daniel make the money he so desperately wanted, I was able to test out and experiment with my magic during the time we spent down in the sewers. Strumming my fingers across the strands of mana that were in the air, I tried to create a kusarigama.
I knew I could create a sickle, and I knew I could create chains. But they had to be weighted properly. There was a heavy ball at the end of Jaakko’s kusarigama— I could almost remember the feeling of holding it and his sickle. But when I conjured it up myself, the feeling was all wrong.
I threw the fiery chains but the weighted ball sunk straight to the ground. It wasn’t that I didn’t toss it hard enough, it just wasn’t counterbalanced right. I frowned and experimented with it— however, I couldn’t figure it out in the end. But there was something else that came from it…
General Skill [Advanced Mana Manipulation] Level Up!
[Advanced Mana Manipulation - Lvl. 2] -> [Advanced Mana Manipulation - Lvl. 3]!
Experience is awarded for the leveling of a General Skill!
Maybe I need [Weapon Mastery] to be at a higher level to create a kusarigama. One thing I realized from raising that Passive was how it made me intrinsically understand how each weapon worked better. And while Saffron had told me my mana control was still unrefined, it didn’t feel like the whole reason why I couldn’t create more complex weapons.
It was something I lacked. And when I brought it up to Daniel, he shrugged.
“Probably education. You’re uneducated, so you don’t understand how it works, I guess.”
“Hey! Are you calling me stupid?”
“That’s not what I meant— but I do think you’re pretty dumb.”
He grinned and I scowled, crossing my arms. The two of us had just left the sewers and got paid in the Adventurers Guild. Now we were heading our way to the Sanctum of Elements.
“Well, I think you’re weak! Aren’t you supposed to be a [H—”
“Alright! Alright! I take it back. Don’t say that out loud, please.”
Daniel gave me a pleading look. I smirked and raised my chin.
“Don’t say what out loud? You mean the fact that you’re a [H—”
“Salvos! You’re being a real Demon right now, aren’t you?”
“Two can play at that game, you know?”
The two of us exchanged quips all the way until we reached the temple. The moment we arrived, we stopped a [Priest] dressed in luxurious blue robes with golden linings. The elderly Human man blinked.
“Ah, you must be Edithe’s friends. She told us that you’d be arriving here.”
“You know her?”
“Of course. Young Edithe has been coming to this temple ever since she was a little street rat running around and causing trouble.”
Daniel and I exchanged a glance. The [Priest] extended a hand.
“I’m William. It’s good to meet you.”
I snatched his hand before Daniel could take it. My Human companion sighed and shook his hand after.
“I’m Daniel. Apologies if she’s a bit rude— she wasn’t really educated on manners when she was a child.”
I glared at Daniel but he ignored it. William laughed.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ve dealt with far more bratty children in my time. Come, I’ll bring you to your friend.”
He began leading us through the gilded halls of the temple; it was unlike the Sanctuary of Fauna with its plain, white walls that reminded me of the dull Netherworld. It was decorated— there were statues and paintings lined along the walls, and the walls themselves were colorful too. White, yellow, brass. Vibrant colors that almost shone down at me like the magical lamps that illuminated an iridescent glow.
“So, you know Edithe?”
Daniel asked, turning to the [Priest] as he continued ahead of us.
“Indeed I do. I’ve known her for many years. I’ve seen her at her lowest, and I’ve seen her at her highest. She is almost like a daughter to me.”
“Almost like a daughter… what about her real parents?”
My Human companion almost hesitated, but he spoke up anyway. I cocked my head, confused at why he would ask the question.
“Yes, the girl never knew her father. And her mother had been a prostitute, working hard to provide for her. Unfortunately, because of that line of work, her mother frequently got sick and had to stay at the temple to recover.”
“Couldn’t she just use healing potions or [Rest]?”
I piped up, raising a brow.
“No. Ailments and illnesses can only be remedied by medicine or cure spells.”
“Yes, the magic which us [Priests] specialize in. We are not [Mage Healers] who can fix a broken arm, but we are able to tend to the sick and weak. Not all of us, of course— but by the nature of our Class, we are not combatants. Not even specialists in magic. Simply supporters. Helpers. Hence why we help cities relay [Short Range Messages] between cities and towns where our temples reside.”
“And you helped Edithe’s mother?”
Daniel was the one to speak. William shook his head.
“We did what we could.”
My Human companion trailed off. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant— did that mean her mother died? That was what it meant, right? But it didn’t seem appropriate to ask, so I said nothing.
We passed through various hallways until we found ourselves in a large room— one that reminded me of the summoning room I first met Sakura in back in Hazelbury. But unlike the simple layout of a circular building with a circular pool in the middle, this room was almost octagonal. It had jagged edges around its perimeters that divided its walls into eight sides, and up above hung a domed roof. One that let light leak in from the sun above.
It was made entirely of glass, but it was not the transparent ones I was used to seeing in inns and shops. The glass was… tinted. It was stained in various different colors from blue, to red, to green, to yellow. Rays of sunlight streamed down through these different lenses, coloring the summoning pool in the same hue as the glass ceiling.
Edithe stood there, just before the summoning pool. She had Mistshard hovering above her, and Druma further behind, standing in a wet mess. The [Elemental] and the [Yaksha] both turned as Daniel and I entered the room.
“Edithe! Druma! Mistshard!”
I exclaimed, running forward. I hugged Druma as the four armed Spirit glanced down at me with curious eyes. Then I tried to jump at Mistshard but she flew out of the way.
“Hello, Salvos. It has been a while. It seems you have surpassed even my level.”
I blinked and identified the Greater Spirit.
“You’re right— you’re only Level 45! And Druma is Level 41! But I was already higher leveled than him the last time we met. But wait… why do you look the same?”
“He is waiting to get better evolutions. Without any direct threats or dangerous battles to be fought, he thought it wise to get an evolution that suits him rather than settling for what appears best at the moment.”
“You can do that?”
I stared at Mistshard, aghast. Edithe patted me on the shoulder, smiling.
“Of course. It’s the same with how our Classes work. You don’t get a new Class choice with every level after you’re first given the chance to advance, however if you continue meeting requirements you will be given more and more options.”
“Then what’s stopping you from just doing that until you get the perfect Subs— I mean, Class?”
I glanced at the [Priest] standing to the side then turned back to Edithe.
“A lot of people do, but a lot of people don’t either.”
“Because if you’re a Level 45 [Warrior] who hasn’t advanced his Class yet, you’ll probably be very easily killed by a Level 40 [Warrior] who has a bad advancement. That’s just how it is.”
I nodded slowly. The red haired woman stepped back and waved at Daniel, quickly greeting him. Then she faced William and lowered her head.
“Thank you for your help.”
“Of course, Edithe. Anything for you.”
He smiled kindly at her and took a step back.
“I take it you wish to have some privacy now?”
The [Priest] receded back into the hallway we came from. His footfalls disappearing as he vanished from view. Then it was just me, Daniel, Edithe, Mistshard, and Druma. I found my lips curling up as I glanced between my familiar companions.
The red haired woman nodded.
“So, I’ve done quite a bit of research on [Cultists], Demon summonings, and the Netherworld since I’ve returned to Viechester— oh, also don’t worry about speaking your mind here. William is trustworthy, and he assured me no one will eavesdrop on us here.”
“You know how to get me back to the Netherworld?”
I piped up excitedly. She shook her head.
She turned around and walked up to the summoning pool. She ran a hand through the water, disrupting the water’s surface.
“Do you see this? The lines inscribed onto the ground beneath.”
“I can see trace outlines of a ritual circle. Why?”
“It’s a result of space magic. It’s in the same vein as dimensional magic. But dimensional simply reshapes the world around us— like creating a Bag of Holding. Meanwhile, space magic alters its very essence. It lets you do things like teleport from one place to another, send messages to far away locations, or even open a hole through the world itself.”
“Like a summoning ritual.”
Daniel spoke softly. I raised my brow at the way he said it, but Edithe didn’t even blink.
“Yes. Like a summoning ritual. And while the Spirit Plane, the Netherworld, and the Mortal Realm all exist within the same world— the Nexeus— they do not exist within the same… level. Or plane. And a summoning ritual temporarily bridges the gap between the Mortal Realm and either two.”
“What do you mean?”
I frowned, a little bit perplexed. She explained.
“I think an easy way to understand this is to think of the world as a house. In this house, there is a first floor, a second floor, and a third floor. Let’s say the Netherworld is the first floor, the Mortal Realm is the second floor, and the Spirit Plane is the third floor. And let’s say you’re on the first floor, Daniel and I are on the second floor, and Mistshard and Druma are on the third floor. However, there is no stairway that connects any of the floors. How do we meet each other?”
“You dig a hole!”
I raised a hand, grinning. Edithe paused.
“I guess you could dig a hole. Or in more practical terms, build a stairway between the floors. Unfortunately, in this scenario, none of us are good enough at earth magic to build a stairway between the floors. And let’s say only someone who is good at earth magic is able to do that. Then what do we do?”
“Uh, I don’t know.”
“You get someone who is good at earth magic.”
She replied simply. Slowly, I began nodding.
“That is, every time we try to create a stairway between floors— or in other words, carry out a summoning ritual— we are borrowing someone else’s earth magic— or space magic. In the case of the Spirits, the one who does this is the Spirit Lord, and for Demons, it’s the Demon King.
“I don’t know this arrangement came to be for Demons, but for Spirits it has been this way since ten thousand years ago, when the Immortal King Alexander made a pact with the Spirit Lord to connect our planes, permanently making Humans and Spirits allies. Of course, they weren’t able to create a permanent portal between the Mortal Realm and the Spirit Plane, not that they wanted one either.
“So whenever a summoning ritual is done, we simply tap into the Spirit Lord’s power, pouring our own magic into executing it on our side so that Spirits are able to come here. But ultimately most of the magic comes from the Spirit Lord himself, otherwise each Spirit summoning would be far more costly to us than it otherwise is.”
I crossed my arms and tapped a finger on my chin.
“More costly than it otherwise is?”
“Seems like you picked up on it.”
Edithe pulled her hand back from the summoning pool as water dripped off her fingertips and onto the marble ground.
“Yes, it becomes more costly to us than it otherwise is. Meaning, we can do it by ourselves. Just that it isn’t easy. You told me yesterday that you weren’t able to grab the summoning collars off the dead Demons, right?”
“I tried! But that stupid Devil didn’t let me.”
I paused, glancing around the room. I quickly corrected myself, just in case.
“I mean Mr Devil didn’t let me.”
“Right. You met… the Devil.”
“Do you know him?”
“I’ve never heard of him until I started researching Demons and [Cultists]. But there’s not much information on him. Not like the information there is about the Demon King.”
Edithe walked up to me and looked me over.“Thing is, Salvos, you don’t need those summoning collars to make your way back to the Netherworld— you don’t need the help of the Demon King to do it. You can do it on your own if you master space magic.”
“And how do I do that?”
She took a deep breath.
“To master space magic to the extent you can cross back and forth between the Netherworld and the Mortal Realm? I’d say it’d take you… a hundred years.”
“A hundred years?”
I sputtered. I glanced down at my hands and began counting my fingers.
“One… two… three… that’d be forever!”
“Right. But unfortunately, that’s how it is when it comes to learning a magic your Class is not specialized in. For every level of a [Mage] you want to equal without actually having the Class, you need a year of training.”
“So I have to be a Level 100 [Space Mage] to be able to do that?!”
“But I can’t even be a [Mage]... I have to… I have to… wait a hundred years to see Haec again?”
I looked up at Edithe, eyes wide. She smiled.
“You have to study for a hundred years. But that is only one way to do it.”
“What other way is there?”
I faced her desperately. Edithe spoke a single word.
I blinked and she raised a finger.
“Fairies. The only of the Spirits that never joined the pact the Spirit Lord made with Humans. They say it’s because they’re loyal only to the Fairy Queen, and she refused to partake in it. But despite not being part of this pact— despite not being able to be summoned to the Mortal Realm by Humans— Fairies still appear and roam around this plane.”
“Because of their magic.”
Mistshard spoke up, floating down next to Edithe. I looked up at the [Elemental] as she continued.
“I know very little about the nature of Fairies— anything beyond their name and existence has always eluded me. But not to my brothers and sisters. I have asked them, and they tell me of the magic that Fairies wield— the very same space magic that only powerful Human [Mages] can use. But Fairies are not inherently beings of space magic, so why can they use it?”
“I don’t know!”
“And that’s exactly what you have to ask them.”
Edithe nodded at me.
“Is it because the Fairy Queen lends them her power? Or is it a special spell or some kind of cheat Skill? You have to figure it out by asking them.”
“How do I even find them?”
I spread my arms around the room.
“I don’t even know where they are!”
“But I do.”
Mistshard spoke simply. Edithe nodded.
“And she told me. I can tell you right now too where they are, but that is only the second option for you to take.”
“Only the second option?”
“Yes, there is a third option for you to go back to the Netherworld.”
“And what is that?”
I blinked and she inhaled deeply, placing a hand on the ruby pendant hanging around her neck.
“The third option is for me to change my Class. Restart from Level 10. Lose all the progress I have ever made and train to become a Level 100 [Space Mage]. Or hit Level 100 and unlock my second Class, and then train to become a Level 100 [Space Mage]. Both will take time. A lot of time. Although the second one will take even longer. And while I’m more apprehensive about doing it the first way, if that’s what you want, I’ll do it.”
I opened my mouth, but before I could say anything, Daniel jerked and furrowed his brows.
“You can’t be serious, Edithe. If you do that, you’ll lose all the Skills, Stats, and everything you’ve ever worked for until now. You can’t just revert back to being Classless. That’s insane!”
“I’ll still keep my General Skills. And I’ll only lose the Stats I gained from leveling up. I won’t lose everything.”
“Still, why would you do that?”
“To help Salvos, of course. When I swore revenge against that [Djinn] for killing my friends, I had never expected to accomplish that task. I assumed I would die trying. Or it would at least take me a long time to do it. That’s why my contract with Mistshard and Druma had been for six months. But in only two months, she helped me grow stronger and get my revenge.”
Edithe closed her eyes and slowly bowed her head at me.
“That’s why I’m willing to do it for you, Salvos.”
I blinked, glancing between the two arguing Humans.
“You can do that?”
“Yes. I just have to get a high leveled [Priest]— a [Bishop] to do it for me. They have a Skill for that. With the consent of an individual, they can help anyone go back to when they were Level 10, before they picked out their first Class. It’s a kind of chance to restart. People who fought in wars and suffered great trauma tend to be the ones who request for this. But if you want, Salvos, I’ll do it.”
Edithe stared at me with determined eyes. The same hazel-green eyes that used to look at me with hate. She was really willing to do this for me. She was willing to lose her Class as a Level 55 [Summoner] for me.
Daniel opened his mouth— but I was the one to speak.
I shook my head and placed my hands on my hips. Edithe tried to say something, but I didn’t want to hear it.
“No, Edithe. I will not ask you to do that for me.”
“Why not? I know it sounds bad, but I just have to work hard and—”
“That’s not it.”
I spoke insistently, planting my feet on the ground. I looked at Edithe— then I looked at Mistshard and Druma.
“First of all, if you do that, you’ll be very weak. Who will protect Rachel if not you? You volunteered to keep her safe, right?”
“I did, but—”
I cut her off.
“If you lose your Class, Druma and Mistshard won’t be able to stay in the Mortal Realm. They’ll be forced to go back. Then two more of my companions will be gone again! I’ll be trading one for two! I don’t want that!”
Edithe worked her mouth. She looked over at the two Spirits but neither said a word. Then I finished.
I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes.
“I don’t want to wait that long! I’ll just find Fairies now— it’s faster!”
I opened my eyes and saw myself in the reflection of the red jewel resting just above her chest. I met Edithe’s gaze and waited. The Human woman’s eyes darkened.
Then she laughed.
“Honestly, I don’t know why I tried to take this so seriously. I should have known that would be the main reason why you’d be against it.”
“Hey! It’s only one of three reasons why!”
Edithe wiped a single tear from her eye— was that from laughing?
“Fine. I guess I’ll tell you where you can find some Fairies to speak to. But be aware, they aren’t always so… nice. And it’s a dangerous place.”
“If it’s dangerous, I’ll just have to level up and then I can go there!”
I happily opined. The red haired woman— my companion— nodded.
“Well, I do wonder about that. The place where you have to go is up in the Motharis Mountain Range. It’s just north of Viechester, actually. You can’t see it from here, but it’s not that far off. With how fast you travel, Salvos, I don’t think it’ll take more than a week for you to get there.”
“Wait, Edithe, you don’t expect us to search the entire mountain range for Fairies, right? It’s over a thousand miles long!”
Daniel protested. She shook her head.
“No. The place you’ll be going isn’t some unknown spot in the mountain. You can actually get a map to the exact location of it from the Valiant Dreamers Company. It’s called the Brilsum Ruins—”
Edithe hesitated, glancing between both the Human man and I. She sighed, rubbing at her temples.
“And it’s also a Platinum Rank Dungeon.”