235. Time for the Finale
It was finished.
I stared at the Potion of Regeneration. The flask that held inside of it a treasured I sought out for the longest time. The rainbow-colored mixture swished as I shook the glass, glowing a gentle light into the room. My Lair.
A cavern that was far from Mavos Academy. Here, I could do whatever I wanted. And what I wanted to do was simple: to test my Potion of Regeneration. After all, I’d finally finished making it.
It looked completed. Saffron agreed that it looked completed. She even peered over my shoulder with an approving look.
“I think it’s good. At least, the ambient mana I sense from it seems right. And [Identification] is calling it a Potion of Regeneration, not a Sludge of Destruction like I thought it would.”
“Hey! Did you have that little faith in me?”
“Is that even a question?”
She rolled her eyes, stepping back.
“Still, I recommend you be careful with it.”
“It’s fine! The glass is enchanted, see?”
I clinked a nail onto the side of the glass. It didn’t shatter. Saffron shook her head.
“That’s not what I meant, Salvos. Even if [Identification] tells us that it’s a Potion of Regeneration, sometimes it cannot discern between what is a… slightly flawed Potion of Regeneration, and what is a perfect Potion of Regeneration.”
“What’s the difference?”
I raised a brow. She pursed her lips.
“One heals you, regenerating your body parts and removing all scars. And the other… overheals you.”
“That’s a bad thing?”
“When your skin constantly grows over itself, pretty much eating itself up, and your body produces more blood than you need— yes, it gets pretty bad. That’s not to mention the other possible side effects that’s said to have happened such as growing more limbs.”
I cocked my head and repeated myself.
“That’s a bad thing?”
“Look, I’m saying that it can kill you. So, you should maybe test it out on something else first.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine! Come on, don’t you trust my alchemy?”
Saffron gave me a flare stare, and I looked down at the Potion of Regeneration. A moment of hesitation passed, and I looked back up at her.
“Ok— maybe a quick test.”
“Good idea, genius.”
“But what can I test on?”
I cast my gaze around the room, searching for something. My eyes landed on a single cockroach crawling down a wall. I grabbed it with ease as it tried to scuttle away, before plucking out one of its legs and showing it to Saffron.
“Think it’ll work?”
“Give it a single drop, and we’ll see.”
She looked slightly nervous. And I couldn’t lie and say I wasn’t worried that all my hard work led to failure. I’d have to start from scratch— which, I didn’t want to do. With a deep breath, I uncorked the Potion of Regeneration.
The rainbow-colored droplet spilled onto the cockroach’s side. Its body vibrated faster than its wings could even beat. I bit my lower lip, hoping that that was a good sign, but I could already see the resigned look on Saffron’s face. Then suddenly, the cockroach halted. And a leg sprouted out.
I jumped up excitedly, turning to Saffron. She sighed in relief.
“You actually did it.”
I threw my arms round her in a hug.
“And I couldn’t have done it without you. You’re the best! Thank you, Saffron.”
She blinked. Then she smiled and hugged me back.
“It was my pleasure.”
I stared at my arm, fully regrown, white as ever. I was in my [Demonic Essence] form, with the face of an animal’s sku,, and six protruding wicked and clawed arms. I stood tall— heads above Saffron as she watched me flex my newly regenerated limb.
“No matter how many times I see you transformed, I still can’t believe you’re the same person.”
I turned to her, speaking in a low, guttural voice. She shrugged.
“You are simply terrifying in that form. Not at all the kind of person you truly are.”
“Aw— are you saying I’m not usually scary?”
Saffron gave me a flat stare.
“No. No you are not.”
I deflated, and she sighed.
“You’re more… unpredictable? I’m scared of you, at times. But not scared that you’d kill me— not without reason. However, you oftentimes come close— too uncomfortably close— to crossing the line. And the things you’d do outside of the line you set is not what others would usually do.”
Saffron gave me a helpless shrug.
“It is what it is. But you’re not terrifying. You only look terrifying sometimes. But inside? You’re really nice.”
She patted me on my snout. I scowled.
“It’s not what matters on the outside but inside that counts!”
“Come on, let’s bring your potion to [Alchemist] Raymond. Before you somehow drop it and break it.”
Saffron gestured for me to follow. I rolled my eyes.
“I told you, the glass is enchanted!”
We left my Lair as I transformed into a Human with [Partial Mortality]. Mavos Academy stood tall and looming as always, the school that held within it a small city. I didn’t stuff my Potion of Regeneration into a Bag of Holding, too scared that something could go wrong. Instead, I hugged it tightly as I made my way through the busy streets. Just as we turned a corner, a voice spoke out from behind us and we turned around.
Matthew stood before us, lips pursed. He bowed slightly as she raised a brow.
“Is something wrong, Matthew?”
“Your presence is needed. I have… a missive.”
Saffron narrowed her eyes. She glanced between Matthew and I. Her lips pressing together thinly. I blinked.
“It’s… nothing. Just go ahead and submit your Potion of Regeneration, Salvos. I don’t want to keep you busy.”
“Oh, um, sure.”
I nodded, continuing down the pavement as I looked over at Saffron and Matthew. They quietly nodded at each other, dark looks on their faces as they left.
“Huh, I wonder what that’s about.”
“Congratulations, you received full marks.”
[Alchemist] Raymond lowered the Potion of Regeneration after inspecting it for about ten minutes. We stood in his office— a room made of glass, surrounded by a glowing green liquid. I gave him a confused look.
“Are you sure? Don’t you have to test it out or something?”
“Nonsense, nonsense— I have an [Alchemist’s Eye]. I know that there's little flaw to the concoction you've made. I commend you, Salvos. There are a few side effects to using this Potion of Regeneration, but otherwise, nothing harmful to the user.”
“Wait, side effects?”
My eyes grew wide as Raymond nodded.
“Indeed, indeed. It has… minor side effects. Like increased drowsiness, increased hunger— a myriad of other things which a lower rate [Alchemist] wouldn’t be able to prevent. But someone at my level could very easily alter and remove.”
He shook his head, returning the Potion of Regeneration back to me.
I felt my stomach grumble as a yawn escaped my mouth.
He fixed me with a look.
I found myself dragging my feet through the gilded hallway of Beaker Building. The growling of my stomach grew louder. I was hungry, and I needed to eat something. Unfortunately, there were no bugs here since the [Alchemists] used some sort of potion to keep them all away. I had to get outside where I could scrounge them up from the dirt and the garden trees to satiate this hunger.
But just as I exited Beaker Building, I ran into two individuals. Veronica Adash and Gallus. They both carried with them notes and textbooks. I quickly slipped my way past them as they spoke.
“Hello— uh, Salvos?”
Gallus spoke, caught off guard. I replied quickly.
“Sorry! Just got graded for my Potion of Regeneration, and I need to, um, keep it safe!”
I tapped on the rainbow-colored potion.
“You’ve already submitted your final project?”
Veronica raised a dubious brow. But Gallus, however, was impressed.
“And you’ve already gotten a grade for it. Here we were, hoping to ask [Alchemist] Raymond for some last-minute advice.”
“Well, I’m pretty amazing…”
I beamed, and Gallus chuckled. Veronica bowed her head slightly, speaking softly.
“Then I must congratulate you, Salvos.”
“Aw, thank you, but I’ve gotta go now, bye!”
I waved at them as I rushed off. I found myself in one of the botanical gardens not long after, scouring the grass for ants. I was crunching away, filling myself with the delicious and scrumptious taste of insects, when a voice drew my attention.
“I didn’t expect to run into you here, Salvos. Let alone when you were… having an afternoon snack.”
“Oh, hey Lamarr.”
I spoke nonchalantly, still chewing on a mouthful of ants. I turned to face the Warrior King of Traith, giving him a smile. He was dressed in his regal robes as usual, without a bag or even a study book with him.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was taking a simple walk. Trying to clear my mind as our final examinations approach us.”
“Mm, yep, those are stressful.”
I nodded as I drew myself to my feet. Not before I took one last mouthful of ants. He tilted his head slightly.
“Now, I could be asking you the same question, Salvos. Why are you here?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m having lunch.”
I gestured at the ground, and he chuckled.
“Ah, my mistake for asking such a silly question.”
“Yep! You’re pretty silly.”
“So, I assume your studying is going well?”
Lamarr and I chatted for a bit, exchanging casual conversation until a familiar figure walked by. I waved at her, since she didn’t seem to notice me, too immersed in her textbooks as she studied for her finals. Valda paused mid-step as I called out to her.
“Oh, hello Salvos, and—”
She blinked as she turned to the red-haired man.
I introduced him, stepping aside. He bowed with a smile.
“Pleasure to meet you, Ms Valda.”
The blonde girl backed up.
“W-wait, how do you know Salvos— I mean, how do you know about me?”
“A fifteen years old genius enrolled into Mavos Academy? How can I not have heard of you?”
Lamarr smiled, and Valda’s eyes glazed over. She stared at Lamarr, trying to work her jaw.
I looked between the both of them. Lamarr and Valda. They seemed like they’d have a lot to say to each other since it was their first time meeting, but I was starting to be overcome with drowsiness. With a smile, I patted the both of them on their backs.
“Anyway, you two should hang out— maybe you can even give Valda some advice, Lamarr. She’s young and she likes learning things!”
“Hm, of course. A young mind is always a curious mind.”
He tapped a finger on his chin. Valda blinked and turned to me.
“Yep. You two chat. I’ve gotta go now!”
“Wait, Salvos, don’t leave me… alone.”
She watched me as I ran off, slowly lowering her hand.
I was sure she’d be grateful to me for introducing her to Lamarr. But I didn't need praise right now. I had my fill of food, and now I needed to… sleep.
I made a dash back to Saffron’s room, throwing the door open and glancing around. The noble Vampire wasn’t there. She had gone elsewhere with Matthew. I was curious about what the were talking about, but that was something I could figure out later. For now, I threw myself onto the inviting couch.
I closed my eyes, going to sleep. I didn’t usually like to sleep. But for the first time, I found myself relaxed and at ease. My time in Mavos Academy might’ve been hectic and different. But it wasn’t bad. I quite enjoyed my time here.
My finals were coming up, and that would mark the end of my first academic term in Mavos Academy. After that, I’d still have another year and a half here. It was a long time. Three more academic terms. But… I couldn’t say I didn’t look forward to it.
I just hoped nothing would happen to derail the time I spent here.
“Are you certain?”
Saffron clenched a fist as she confided with Matthew in the dark. Runes glowed around them— no one would be able to listen in. Not unless they were above Level 100. And at that point, she wouldn’t have been able to do anything.
Not that it mattered if they overheard. Because most people would probably be hearing of this news soon enough. After all, everyone had their eyes on Nixa. On the Primeval Demon. And it seemed that that terrible monster had achieved his greatest victory thus far.
An army had been defeated. But not just any army. It had been a coalition between Nixa, the Vaun Qieur Empire, the Sunmere Republic, and many of the smaller kingdoms. Dozens of Level 100 men and women died in that battle. Not just that, but the Elite [Sorceress] herself, Shomozil Windbane, had been slain in the hands of the Primeval Demon.
Now— now there were reports of the Primeval Demon moving. Emboldened by its victory, and this setback it must’ve inflicted on the countries opposing it. It traveled with a smaller force. Headed to a location which Saffron had been monitoring. A smaller-scaled war that happened parallel to this Primeval Demon’s invasion of the Mortal Realm.
Headed to the place where the Sword of Alexander was kept. No, headed to the person who kept the Sword of Alexander.
“Baris. Former leader of the Valiant Dreamers Company.”
“The Primeval Demon will slaughter them all.”