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217. Back to Studying

My trip to the Rainforest of Monsters lasted less than a week; I still had the whole weekend to myself before school resumed and I had to attend classes again. Thankfully, I didn’t get lost on my way back so, finally, I returned to Mavos Academy.

Well, actually, I returned to my Lair first, making sure no one had broken into it and stolen anything from my collections. It was well hidden. It seemed to be left untouched, which was good. I had covered it up with leaves and branches, since it was a small alcove with an even smaller entrance.

I nodded to myself, pleased to see that it was untouched. Then I transformed back into my [Partial Mortality] form, disguised as a Human, and headed straight for the campus in the distance.

 

—--

 

“Oh, you’re actually back on time.”

Saffron glanced up from a book as I entered our living room. She sat on the decorated couch, sipping on a cup of tea as she faced me.

“So, did you get what you needed?”

“Yep! I got a shard from an Enigmatic Heart!”

Beaming, I gave her a thumbs up. She raised a brow as I produced it from my belt pouch.

“See?”

Even though the small gem was no longer connected to the [Lux Golmi], it was still glowing, shining with the same oscillating intensity as before. I smiled, remembering my interaction with the giant Golem. The feelings it held— it wasn’t exactly the same as mine. But what it felt towards the other Golems reminded me of what I felt towards my companions.

Was it love? It couldn’t possibly be the same thing Nolan had been talking about. However, I felt that it was something similar.

Saffron stared at the shard, impressed.

“That’s very good, Salvos. But… where’s the rest of the Enigmatic Heart?”

“What do you mean?”

I cocked my head. My confusion was evident. She furrowed her brows.

“Did you get literally only a single shard, Salvos?”

“Yep. That’s what’s stated in the ingredients list.”

“Right, but you need—”

She inhaled deeply, massing her temples.

“You need more than just a single shard. What happens if your first attempt at making the Potion of Regeneration fails? You’ll have to go back to the Rainforest of Monsters and search for another Enigmatic Heart all over again.”

“Huh.”

The realization sunk in. I looked down at the pink crystal. It was the only one I had— the only one which I could use to concoct my Potion of Regeneration. Just as Saffron said, if I somehow messed this up, it’d be gone.

She pinched the bridge of her nose.

“You didn’t even think about that, did you?”

“I, um… that’s—”

Saffron gave me a look, and I crossed my arms, speaking haughtily.

“That’s fine! That just means I’ll have to get it perfectly right the first time around! It’s easy.”

“Sure.”

She spoke flatly. I deflated. The pink-haired noble stood up, rolling her eyes.

“I thought something like this would happen.”

“You did?”

I perked up as Saffron continued past me. There was a stack of letters laid out on a marble countertop right by the front door. She grabbed a handful of the letters, sifting through it one by one, pausing at a gilded letter. I peered over her shoulder and read the words scribbled over the front.

 

To: Saffron Merryster

From: The Merryster Estates

Update on the State of the War

 

I raised a brow.

“What’s that?”

“It’s nothing. Just… something from my family.”

She had a worried look on her face, even as she pocketed it, sighing. Saffron continued looking through all her letters until finally placing them back down onto the table.

“Seems like Matthew hasn’t written back to me just yet. I’m sure he’ll send an update soon.”

“Where is he?”

I asked, blinking. Saffron turned around, giving me a sly grin.

“I fully anticipated you to somehow mess up your mission, no offense—”

“Offense taken.”

“I don’t care. Anyway, I sent him off to reach out to some contacts I know. He’ll probably send me a letter by the end of the week. It’s not assured, but I’ll try my best to acquire an additional Enigmatic Heart for you.”

The fake pout on my face disappeared, instantly replaced with sparkling eyes. I stared at her.

“You’ll do that. For me?”

“Of course. We are friends, are we not?”

My face exploded into a smile as I wrapped my arms around Saffron.

“Aw, thank you so much! We’re more than friends, Saffron. We’re companions!”

“Right, that’s what you like to say.”

She scoffed. I drew back from her, pausing. I scratched the back of my head.

“But, um, why don't you just use that thing-y you have to keep in contact with Matthew? Or even keep in contact with your family?”

I waved a hand in the air. Saffron frowned.

“My crest?”

“Yep. That thing you gave me.”

“It’s not something I can just use as I want, Salvos. It’s reserved for emergencies only. It has a limited number of uses.”

She shook her head, starting back to the couch.

“When you used it to contact me when I was in class— that wasn’t an emergency. Even if that little ploy of yours worked out in the end.”

I gave her an innocent smile, and she narrowed her eyes.

“Ploy? What ploy?”

“I struggle reading you sometimes, Salvos. I find this book on elemental theory easier to read than you. Nevertheless, I suggest you worry about your Enigmatic Heart later. For now, you still have two days of break left before classes resume. Knowing you, I’m sure you’d find something to entertain yourself with until then.”

Saffron picked up her book, flipping back to the page she last left off. I tapped a finger on my chin. Something to entertain myself with? I had an idea.

 

—--

I studied.

For the next two days, I became a recluse, indulging in books and theory. I tried inviting Nolan or Gallus over to study with me, but neither of them were available. By that, I didn’t even mean that they turned me down, I just couldn’t find them. So, I studied by myself.

I stayed in my Lair, since that was where I could make best use of my time, without the need to sleep. It was mentally taxing. And yet, I managed to get a lot done over those two days. I made some preparations for the brewing of my Potion of Regeneration. I hadn’t started the actual brewing process. I wanted to consult someone like Nolan or even Veronica before I began.

Instead, I studied space magic. There was something I couldn’t quite understand with space magic. My [Planar Navigation] Skill allowed me to see everything around me in a different sense— one that perceived the world for how it affected and interacted with each other. It was like I could see a web of tangled dimensions all put together. There were no holes in the fabric. I could perceive everything.

Except for when I called on my [Temporal Distortion] Skill. Now, when I looked with [Planar Navigation], I saw nothing where the bubble of time was located. Only when I opened my eyes, I could see the clearly obfuscated region, where everything within moved at a blur— be it faster or slower.

I tried to prod at it with my finger. However, I could still tell where my finger was even as it passed through the fringes of the bubble. The fact was that the Skill didn’t affect me until I was entirely within it. So, that made sense.

But what made it so different? Why was it that I couldn’t see into the [Temporal Distortion] field?

“It’s probably the same reason why I can’t see into the Netherworld.”

What was within the [Temporal Distortion] field wasn’t truly within this plane. It was somewhere else— perhaps just a little fold in space, still a part of this plane, but tucked away. It was like time and space itself was interconnected: intrinsically linked to be one. However, since it wasn’t exactly here, that was why time could work differently there.

It functioned similarly to how a short-ranged teleportation worked. But I read something in one of my textbooks about how teleportations required folding space and moving through them. Not exactly the same, but the logic behind the movement of space was similar. I paused for a moment.

“What happens if I try to teleport into the [Temporal Distortion] field?”

It could potentially be dangerous. But I tried it anyway. After all, the best way to learn was by doing— that was what Lily taught me.

“Here goes—”

I cast the spell as I usually did, running straight for the blurred bubble. I closed my eyes, waiting for the usual feeling of warmth to overcome me. The same feeling that would carry me through a small slit in space to the other side, a short distance ahead. It took a moment. The spell activated, and I appeared above the bubble.

“Huh?”

Something about my [Temporal Distortion] spell forced me away from teleporting into it. I could just step into it without a problem, but actually using a teleportation spell? It was like space itself snapped back, keeping me out of it.

“Interesting.”

I almost expected that to happen. I fell to the ground, having been floating in the air for a second, before picking myself back up. There was something I remembered— something quite significant I hadn’t told anyone about, but apparently was super important.

It was about the Kobolds and their theology. They believed that the world was ending because the space itself keeping the Nexeus together was degrading due to repeated summonings. While I didn’t care too much about the details, there was one thing that was pertinent to this particular situation from that whole mess.

A hole was ripped through the fabric of space whenever a [Hero] was summoned. It wasn’t just a regular hole. It was viscerally torn open, pulling in an individual from another world into the Nexeus. It apparently left a scar that would take a long time to repair itself.

My short-ranged teleportation spell was, according to Professor Isais, a spell that also bore a hole through space. But the hole it’d leave behind would be like that of a needle sewing through fabric. Meanwhile, summoning a [Hero] would be like ripping the fabric in half. It was really incomparable in scale.

It was the same reason why a short-ranged teleport, well, short-ranged. If I wanted to teleport even further, the needle used to poke a hole would have to be sharper. The same logic would apply with teleporting into my [Temporal Distortion] field.

I closed my eyes, distributing all of my Secondary Skill Points into [Temporal Distortion]. With each point added to the Skill, I felt like my control over the region grew stronger. It wasn’t an absolute manipulation over the field. But it’d help me with what I was trying to do.

I walked into the [Temporal Distortion] field. Then I sat down, closing my eyes and sensed the space around me. It was like I was trapped in a bubble in the ocean. The rest of the world felt like it was completely separated from me. It was an odd feeling, being so disconnected from everything else.

I was trapped, and I had to break free. I opened my eyes, activating my teleport to reach the other side of the field—

And I appeared right at the fringe of the bubble. I scowled, taking a few steps back and tried again. I repeated the action again and again, failing again and again. I didn’t care how it’d take me. I’d make sure that I’d succeed, with however long it takes. In fact, I’d dictate time itself.

I raised a hand, changing the speed of time around me. I sped up time within the [Temporal Distortion] field so that time outside moved slower. Then I tried breaking free from this bubble again and again and again and again. I watched the shadows of the leaves covering my Lair move with the position of the sun above. Until, finally, when the shadows were gone and night fell, I succeeded.

I teleported through the [Temporal Distortion] field, panting and grinning. It felt so satisfying. Like I had freed myself from a tiny hole. I laughed as a notification resounded in my head, flopping over on the ground.

 

Skill [Partial Phasing] learned!

Experience is awarded for the learning of a Skill!

 

Class [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus] Level Up!

[Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 46] -> [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus - Lvl. 47]!

Gained 2 Secondary Skill Points!

 

“Alright. Another step closer to crossing planes.”

 

Salvos (Liberator of the Plaguelands)

Species: [Archdemon of Pride]

Subspecies: [Daeva Cambion] - Lvl. 108

Class: [Worldly Mystic of the Nexeus] - Lvl. 47

General Skills:

[Advanced Mana Manipulation] - Lvl. 8

[Identification] - Lvl. 5

[Racial Skill: Universal Language Comprehension] - Lvl. 1

[Racial Skill: Demonic Essence] - Lvl. 2

[Racial Skill: Partial Mortality] - Lvl. 5

[Rest] - Lvl. 5

[Lesser Enhanced Wisdom] - Lvl. 6

[Title Skill: General Curse Resistance] - Lvl. 2

[Title Skill: Recall Skill] - Lvl. 1

Stats:

[Available Stat Points: 0]

[Vitality]: 135 (+25)

[Strength]: 110 (+25)

[Endurance]: 125 (+25)

[Wisdom]: 210 (+25) (+10)

[Agility]: 266 (+25)

Skills:

[Available Skill Points: 4]

[Barrage of Cinders] - Lvl. 20 (Maxed)

[Demon’s Mark] - Lvl. 5

[Haste] - Lvl. 8

[Intimidation] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)

[Faux Limbs] - Lvl. 1

[Nebular Construct] - Lvl. 6

[Radiant Slash] - Lvl. 15 (Maxed)

[The Primordial Spark] - Lvl. 15

[Wings of the Netherworld] - Lvl. 5

[Passive - A Hunter’s Sense] - Lvl. 10 (Maxed)

[Passive - Blue Flames] - Lvl. 20 (Maxed)

[Passive - Weapon Mastery] - Lvl. 20 (Maxed)

[Unused Skill Slot] x2

Secondary Skills:

[Available Secondary Skill Points: 2]

[Mystical Projection] - Lvl 7

[Object Levitation] - Lvl 1

[Planar Navigation] - Lvl. 5

[Scatter Shift] - Lvl. 5

[Temporal Distortion] - Lvl 20 (Maxed)

 

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