“Alright then,” Mary smiled at all the eager hands,” This spell I’m going to teach you is called ‘Light’, the simplest spell of the light class of the elemental school. Now, everyone hold out your hand like so . . .”
Mary held her hand out in front of her, palm facing the sky. She waited until the students had copied her before saying, “Now repeat this chant after me: lumen craci ralo.”
“Leuma craci rali,” Some of the students tried to follow her pronunciation. Mary practiced saying it with the class a few times until she was satisfied with their performance
“I have taught you the hand motion and I have taught you the magic phrase, but can anyone explain why nothing is happening?” she asked.
Milly raised her hand, “Is it because we aren’t putting anything into the words, like how drunken men yell for the sky to fall and nothing happens?”
Everyone giggled and laughed at the reference. Even Mary’s face held a hint of a smile as she answered, “The example notwithstanding, yes, that is the correct answer young one. The ability to control the mana inside you and force it out into the world is decided at birth, much like one’s capacity to hold mana. Some people find they are blessed with large reserves but with no ability to cast, and others possess sufficient control without the power they require. For this light spell, all you need is a tiny bit of talent. If you are not able to use this spell, then it is unlikely you will be able to wield magic without assistance from tools or magical surgery.”
Rowen finally ventured his hand into the air, “Master Mary, how does one feel this?”
Mary scratched her head, slightly troubled now, “Hm, well that is a subject of scholary debate. Everyone feels something different when they invoke magic: a feeling, a smell, a vision, a sound, a taste. Very few have the same invoking process, because they are adept in the same class of magic. Did your parents not take you to a Magic Guild or Temple when you were 5 to teach you your invocation process?”
Rowen cursed inwardly to the three heavens. The ceremony she was describing was one that had been around since his time. However, while during his original time, children would be tested on their 10th birthday, not their 5th. Due to the war and subsequent loss, Rowen had lost the opportunity to experience the testing ceremony for himself.”
Milly quickly came to his defense, “Master Mary, Rowen is a refugee. He was forced to flee his home before the ceremony.”
Mary’s face turned sad as she regarded Rowen. “I understand,” she sighed, “the empire’s war has hurt so many people. I’m sorry child, but I cannot help you find your talent. Try your best to invoke the spell with the others; perhaps you will have a lucky break.”
Rowen’s eyes roamed the room as he considered what to do. By happen chance, he locked eyes with the fancy boy who had given him the ugly look earlier. The boy was now smirking at his as he showed off a small light ball in his hand.
‘Think you are better than me, dream on’, his eyes seemed to be taunting Rowen from the front row. Rowen grew angry.
“I am a prince among commoners,” he muttered quietly to himself in irritation, “I refuse to let such a low level obstacle get in my way.”
“That’s the spirit Rowen, don’t give up!” Milly whispered to him as she concentrated on creating her own ball of light, “Not that you are actually royalty.”
Rowen glared at her before returning to stare at his palm. It floated in front of his face, an empty wasteland of nothingness.
“Come on, push out!” Rowen tensed his body and pushed with all his strength.
Unfortunately, all that accomplished for him was a rather loud fart that echoed across the room. Small giggles began to spread as Rowen’s face slowly turned red from embarrassment and frustration.
“Calm down Rowen,” Mary called from the front, “You won’t get anything if you just force your body like that. Focus on your spirit, not your body.”
“She’s right,” Claire echoed in Rowen’s head, “At this rate you’re going to end up with more than just an upset tummy. You’ll have to change pants. We pixies cast magic as easily as breathing, but you non-magical races have to envoke that nifty little spirit for magic. Try thinking of something that makes you relax or happy. Though, maybe you’re one of those who needs a weird thing like fear or anger to cast. At the very least, you’re doing better than Doc.”
“Quiet Claire, I almost got it! Look, I cast a light-ball!”
“Doc, you made a fire slime explode again. That’s not a spell, that’s a tragedy.”
“I refuse to give up!”
As Doc and Claire continued to quarrel in Rowen’s mind, he began to relax. Their bickering was very similar to what his parents used to do. They fought as much as they talked, but always backed each other up.
“Maybe if I think of my family . . .” Rowen brought his memories up and experienced them.
Someone else farted, breaking his concentration. Worse still, a few had obviously had silent episodes that were sneaking their way through the air. Mary wisely opened a window at the front of the room.
His meditation broken, Rowen was left with nothing but broken memories and severe irritation that bordered on rage.
“By the hells, I cast light by damnation!” Rowen finally broke and roared out a curse. Everyone recoiled at the curse, though Mary had an impressed look before she recovered and frowned. However, before she could correct him, Rowen’s area exploded.
When the light faded, Rowen was left sitting in his chair covered in minor burns with everyone else around him pushed away. Milly, who had been closest, had wisely ducked under the desk when Rowen had yelled. Her intuition was at a high level.
Rowen’s face stood bemused and awkward as he looked around him. The other students were rubbing their eyes to clear the blindness.
Mary chuckled and drew the attention of the entire class back to her.
“That,” she said amused, “is a prime example of what happens when someone with a high capacity of mana forces a spell. Three, two, one . . .”
Rowen’s eyes rolled up and he collapsed gracelessly.
“When that happens,” Mary continued as she caught Rowen before he hit the floor, “all the mana is used at once, making a powerful spell at the cost of all the mana in one’s body. Still, this one has some interesting potential.”
Mary looked down at Milly, “Milly right? I’ll have one of the adventurers carry your friend home. Tell him when he wakes up that he is welcome to come to my office; I‘d like to talk with him.”
Milly nodded and followed Mary out the door.
“Oh right,” Mary paused at the door, “practice casting the light spell for next class. Your teacher will be assisting you. Class dismissed.”
As the two ladies and one deadweight left the room, the class erupted on conversation about what they had just seen. The fancy boy at the front of the room frowned and drummed his fingers on his desk.
“Danny,” he called out to one of the boys near him, “Do you know that guy?”
Danny shook his head, “Sorry Rolf, don’t know him. If he’s a refuge then it’s unlikely anyone else knows him either.”
Rolf grimaced, “An unknown boy appears with magic talent out of nowhere claiming to be a refuge. Not only has he attracted the favor of the guild-master, but also my lovely Milly.”
“Didn’t she reject ya boss?” Danny asked bluntly.
Rolf chuckled, “I’ll change her mind. Only I can appreciate her as she is. After all, we’re childhood friends from Duren. She’s just forgotten our promise, that’s all.”
“Didn’t she also say that promise was invalid because you were both kids?” Danny asked.
Rolf’s eyes twitched, “Naturally, I know her heart and temperament better than most. Some day in the future I will prove myself . . .”
“Didn’t she say you no chance past or futur . . .” Rolf’s hand clapped over Danny’s as he turned to glare at him.
“Danny, you talk too much.”
“Errrrrrr!” Doc groaned loudly.
‘Ptussh’, a slime exploded into gooey nothingness again. When the slime finished flying through the air, Claire peeked her head out from behind the protective rock wall she had created. She shook her head and waggled her finger at Doc.
“Nope, another failure,” she reported, “That’s the 20th slime that’s died in your experiments.”
Doc snorted angrily, “Stop counting already Claire; I’m doing this until I get it!”
“No matter the number of sacrifices?” Claire asked.
“No matter the cost,” Doc confirmed.
Claire rolled her eyes and giggled, “Then let me stop you here. You’ll never be able to cast any magic besides your dungeon magic. Your body won’t allow it.”
Doc turned his annoyed attention to Claire now, “And why is that? I want to cast a fireball!”
“Silly Doc; tell me, who many colors do you see when you use your own dungeon magic?” she asked him.
“Just purple, why?”
Claire tapped her forehead, “That’s right Doc; you can only use one type of magic. If you could use other types, then you would see other colors: red for fire, blue for water, yellow for air, and green for nature to name a few. Purple refers to your particular brand of control magic, not all dungeons have the same elemental affinity of course. But, you can still cast other types of magic through your slimes.”
Doc digested this information, “So, if I want to cast a fireball I just have to rely on a flaming slime.”
Claire though about how flaming slimes didn’t shoot fireballs, but instead spewed out flame in a stream. She wisely nodded in agreement, “Right, exactly like that Doc.”
Doc settled in a feeling of self-satisfaction as the room automatically cleaned itself. Claire flew up and into her personal tunnels through the dungeon.
“I’m going to visit our daughters at work, be right back,” she mentally told Doc.
“Okay, have fun,” Doc acknowledged as his mind left his crystal body to examine the dungeon. Due to the trap room fiasco, the adventurer groups who had made it below the 10th floor had become extremely cautious. To Doc’s disappointment, very groups traveled below the magic slime boss on the 15th floor and the ones that did were too scared to fight the elemental overslime boss on the 20th level. As such, no one was anywhere near to test out the new floors he had created.
That being said, he was pleased to listen in to the complements about his dungeon. The alchemists and other craftsmen worked out a system of paying for protection and escort to certain floors and were farming many of the natural resources. The new traps were not as well received, most ended up dead from surprise, but the experienced adventurers seemed to enjoy the new challenge. While the dark and light slimes had been discovered, neither had made any stirs. The other slimes were too deep in the dungeon to be found, so Doc had not yet heard the adventurer’s reaction to them.
The most widely praised part of the new dungeon, however, was the newly added addition of the pink slimes. The pink slimes had set up their area before the boss rooms, at the beginnings of every floor, and at random rooms that would change while on instance floors. Their ability to heal humans and elves reduced the number of injuries from the adventurer crowd and bought the love of many of the female adventurers for their color and small shape. A few had tried to remove pink slimes from the dungeon, but the slimes evaporated as soon as they left the magic rich underground environment.
That being said, for the most part there was a large reduction of deaths in the dungeon. While Doc did passively siphon mana from everyone who entered, it was a poor comparison to the amount of mana he could receive of dead adventurers.
As Doc was considering what he should do, a small commotion drew his attention. He grinned happily as he realized what was going on.
“Anadine, good luck with your first battle!” he called out cheerfully through their connection.
Anadine gripped her fists as she heard Doc, “I won’t let you down my lord! My enemies will feel my devotion to you with their entire being!”
In a room on the 17th floor, a group of adventurers made their way in slowly. The group was made up by a bow-man, a swordsman, a mage, and a healer. They did not notice the gathering of blue slime on the ceiling, nor did they notice the slime take the shape of a blue woman with a fanatical grin on her face.
When they reached the middle of the room, the two exits slammed shut as stone covered them. The adventurer group jumped and took ready positions.
Anadine shifted her weight and allowed her body to fall from the ceiling onto the floor, creating a poll of slime. The adventurers turned and pointed their weapons at her. The bowman notched an arrow and let it lose, forcing the pool of slime to shift out of the way.
Before he could release another, Anadine reformed her body and grinned at them. The adventurers froze at the human-like form in front of them, but Anadine did not hesitate. Her arms hardened at the end, forming spear points. She twirled around and launched her arms like tentacles, their points cutting through the air with a whistle. The adventurer group dodged by scattering in all directions, and the sword-man began to shout orders to his fellows.
Anadine ignored his words; she couldn’t understand them that well anyway. As the leader charged her, she formed another tentacle, this one having a hardened edge along one side. She slashed the adventurer with it, forcing him to use his sword to block it. She began to wield her tentacle like a flexible sword, weaving it this way and that as she searched for an opening in the sword-man’s guard. Meanwhile, her two spear tentacles continued to launch themselves at the archer, mage, and healer. They left punctured holes in the walls and ground when they missed, making the four adventurers face’s pale.
The mage began his chant and waved his arms in the air. A wall of fire formed in front of the three. The archer, thinking he was protected now, notched another arrow to shoot.
As he drew back his arm, however, one of the spear tentacles flew through the fire wall and stabbed through his shoulder. The fire dissolved the soft slime behind the hardened part, but the damage was done as the archer screamed and dropped his bow. The hardened slime fell uselessly to the ground as he clutched his bleeding shoulder. The healer quickly began chanting as a warm life flowed from him to the archer, stopping the blood.
The mage, seeing his wall being worthless to stop the hardened parts of the slime, took out a charm and slammed into the ground, causing it to break. The ground shook as a large, sentientoid shape rose from the ground. The newly made golem rushed Anadine.
Anadine frowned and reformed her spear tentacle, launching the two at the charging golem. While they both landed and created holes, the golem ignored the attacks and kept on moving toward her. Anadine was forced to abandon her attacks as she leaped out of the way in a rush of slime. The golem smashed into the wall, creating a shower of dust and small stones.
Taking advantage of the small cloud, Anadine slithered up the wall in as thin a form as she could manage. She took stock of the situation: the swordsman and mage were looking for her while the healer was still working on the archer’s shoulder. She slithered over the healer, and dropped down. Her form smothered the healer, who didn’t even have a chance to scream before he found himself staring at his companions from within the slime. He floated inside Anadine, feeling the corrosive nature of her body start to burn him. He opened his mouth the scream and call for help, but Anadine’s slime shot down his open mouth and nose. Soon, the man’s eyes tolled into his head as he suffocated and died from slime inhalation.
Anadine, in the meantime, sent her spear arm into the archer’s chest. It pierced it, destroying the bone and removing the heart from his chest. It let out a final beat before stopping, its owner already dead.
The mage screamed at the swordsman, holding him back from charging her. Anadine could not move swiftly until she had finished devouring the body within her, and the mage took advantage of this to use the golem to force the exit door open. He shoved himself and the swordsman out right before the force of the dungeon door crushed the golem.
Anadine frowned, but she couldn’t do anything else about their escape. Sighing, she smiled as she watched the floating corpse within her slowly dissolve into bones, and then nothing.
“That was a wonder fight,” Doc complimented her.
Anadine shook as the pleasure of hearing her lord’s voice vibrated through her being. “Everything is for you my lord. I apologize for letting two escape from me.”
“It’s no matter,” Doc consoled her, “Claire said that golem was made from a one use magic paper thingy, a talisman, and it is a rare thing to come across. It’s unlikely anyone else will be able to escape from you like that again. Enjoy your meal.”
Anadine’s smile grew ecstatic as her tentacles wrapped around the archer’s body and dragged it to her; just another typical day in the slime dungeon.