I wake up, startled, with pain in my butt and I see that it is already daylight. Confused, I receive through the link the image of Mia biting Azur's tail and I remember that yesterday he stayed with her. I run to the trapdoor, rubbing my butt, and lower it to let Azur fly in. I'm not going to leave Azur with anyone again for the night, it was a horrible way to wake up. Despite that, I feel rested and my head no longer hurts.
After remembering that I got a new ability, I open the interface and see that I have the 'magic bullet' ability. Its cost is 18 mana points per spell. I hope its cost goes down when I level up as it happened with 'imbue weapon', it also seems, according to the description, that it does not consume mana unless I fire the projectile, so I could use it to practice my control over mana.
After I finished looking at the new skill, I remember that yesterday in my obsession with learning the skill, I forgot to assign the status points I got in the labyrinth. I have 13 points to assign, since the 'adventurer' class went up to level 9, while 'warrior' and 'sorcerer' went up to level 10. I decide to apply all the points in 'agility', since it is a statistic that I still need to try, but also because in three days I am going to see Sofía again, and it would surely be strange to her if she saw that my health and mana changed in a few days.
My skills also leveled up: 'Magic Sense' went up to level 2, 'sword specialization' is at level 4, and Azur's skill is at level 3, which now receives 33% of my stats.
Joseph arrives at the house at dusk. I see that he is not wearing armor and that is dressed in casual clothes. For my part, I decided to wear the sword to my belt, in addition to jeans and shirt, since it is better to be prepared for anything. I leave the house and, after greeting him, we head out in the direction wherever we go. Azur is resting on my shoulder in the form of a drake.
"Sorry for not telling you a specific time yesterday, but today I had to go ask Sabrina for the address, which would have delayed me anyways" he says, embarrassed, laughing.
"Or you could have given me a schedule and asked her for the address yesterday" I say, sighing.
"Yes, it would have been better, but there is no use thinking about what it could have been" he says as we walk. "That's why I invited you to join me today, visiting the arcane enchanter is just one of the reasons… I wanted to talk to you about something else"
"Well... we're already talking" I say laughing.
"Yes yes, that's not what I meant..." says Joseph with an unusual seriousness in the face "As you know, tomorrow is the last time we will meet Ragnar in the labyrinth and it would not be strange for us to part, but I would like you to continue exploring the labyrinth with us "
"Are you sure about that? Your cousin doesn't seem to like me very much" I say remembering the scowling looks and passive aggressive responses he gave me yesterday for no apparent reason.
"Nah, it's just that he doesn't like Sabrina hanging out with other guys. He's been in love with her for years, but she's only interested in magic and he has no aptitude for it... please don't tell anyone what I just told you" he says begging me, when he realizes that he has said more than necessary.
"No problem, I will not tell anyone" I had already decided to accompany them if they asked me, because I need to go with other people if I want to take advantage of the experience bonus, but to have fun with Joseph I pretended to think about the subject out loud "Hmm, if I keep exploring the labyrinth with you I will have to get used to Agustin's manners. I don't know if I would like to continue with him."
"he wouldn't always be like that! I'm sure he'll get used to the situation in time" he says hastily.
"Just kidding, I'd love to continue teaming up with you." I say, laughing.
"Ahh" he huffs and laughs too.
"It is true that I could start exploring the labyrinth alone, but I think it is safer to go in groups" I say when I stop laughing.
"Yes, I think so too. We alone could not have defeated the lion the first day if it weren't for you. The idea of attacking him in the eyes was great" he enthuses and continues talking, as we walk, of the various moments in which we coordinate especially well in combat.
We arrive at the establishment and upon entering I see a demon, who looks like 30 years old, behind the counter. His hair is completely white and the eyes without pupils or irises, characteristic of his breed, are the same color. This gives it a strange air, due to the pale skin of the demons. I hadn't seen someone of his race since my mother died and somehow seeing him brings me back some home memories.
"Welcome, what are you looking for, dear customers?" he raspingly says.
"Hi, I came on the recommendation of a friend. I need you to make me an enchanted necklace with these fangs" says Joseph going forward and taking from a bag the fangs of the lion that he obtained the first day in the labyrinth.
"I'm sorry to tell you that teeth and bones cannot be enchanted, however, I could make a necklace and use the fangs for decoration" he says examining them.
"Sounds good to me, what kind of enchantments could it have?"
"There are many types that I could add to it... what use do you want to give it?" he asks, thoughtfully.
"I wish it was something that would help me fight in the labyrinth, can you do something like that?" Joseph says hopeful.
"Of course, I can! How do you usually fight?"
"I use a bow, it should be something that helps me shoot faster or something like that..."
"Well, I'll see what I can do… I could have it ready in three days. My name is Alaric, hmm… what did you say your friend's name was?" he asks, rubbing his chin with one hand.
"My friend's name is Sabrina, my name is Joseph by the way"
"Ahh, you should have started with that, so… I can have it ready in two days. I owe a lot to her family, whatever they need will be my priority" he says happily.
"Speaking of necessities, my friend needs a magic enhancer. He fights with a sword for what would have to be something small" he says, pointing at me.
"I see... If you are Sabrina's companions, you must be Xelean, seeing that drake you carry on your shoulder. A few days ago, Sofía made me a special order for you, while she explained everything that happened. I suppose she will give it to you the next time you meet her." he says thoughtfully.
"What did she order from you?" I ask, puzzled, wondering what it could be.
"Bah, I'm not going to ruin your surprise." he says smiling "About the enhancer... I think the best choice would be a ring"
"Excuse me, I still don't know what a magic enhancer is supposed to do" I say looking at Joseph with an eloquent look, to which he apologizes.
"hmm... as you know, all the artifacts that allow society to be as we know work with magic, and this is thanks to enchantments, but everything has a beginning and the art of enchanting things is no different. The magic enhancer is the first enchantment that has been recorded in history. It allows, as its name implies, to improve the magic power of the user. It is what the sword is for a warrior or the bow for an archer. You can do magic without an enhancer, but it will never be as effective as if you have one. " explains Alaric.
"ohh, how much would it cost me to buy one?" I ask enthusiastically, regretting spending so much on potions yesterday, even though I wouldn't have learned to perform my new ability without them.
"There are four enhancement levels. Each level uses different materials and has different requirements. According to what the nice young lady who occupies the position of director of the magic academy told me, you have a lot of mana. I think you should use a level 2 enhancer, which is worth 20 gold coins." he says and takes out a cloth with a great variety of rings, from which he extracts one that he passes to me.
I see that the metal of the ring is covered with strange inscriptions, I would love to buy it and put it to the test, but deeply regretting it I return it "I don't have so much money now." I say ashamed "I'll be back in a week or two"
"Bah, no problem. I know about the arrangement you came up with Sofia. If you want, you can take one and I'll tell her to deduct it from your pay. What's more, I'd be grateful if you did, because it would give me another opportunity to chat with her. " he says smiling at the prospect. "When she was a child she always looked for me to read or tell stories to her, but now she only talks to me for work"
"Hmm ok, thanks." I say happy and put the ring on my index finger. Now that I have the ring in my hand, my curiosity takes another direction. "There is something I don't understand, why do you call Sofía a young girl and speak as if you were much older than her?"
"I am 150 years old, Sofia is not even half my age. I have known her since she was born, her grandfather helped me to settle in the capital when I left the empire looking for an environment in which my hair and eye color would not earn me contempt from my neighbors"explains Alaric.
"wow, I didn't know that demons lived that long" says Joseph, looking at him with wide eyes. "What did you mean by the color of hair and eyes?"
"Yes, demons live almost as long as you, elves. But it is logical that you do not know, there are almost no demons or elves in the human kingdom and it is not a topic that is talked about much. About my appearance... Let's say that in the empire albino people are not well regarded. For the demons, the color of hair and eyes is something distinctive of the family to which you belong, and a symbol of family pride." he says with a sad smile.
I am so shocked by these revelations that I stop paying attention to the conversation. I wonder how old my mother was… I know my father was 36 years old and she seemed to be younger than him, but if what Alaric says is true, she could have been many more years older. There are so many things I'd like to ask her... The thought that I'll never be able to talk to her infuriates me, and once again I curse the labyrinths.
My change in mood must have been reflected on my face, because Joseph asks me what is wrong. I answer that nothing is wrong with me, but my answer does not seem to convince him. Looking at me from time to time, he finishes talking with Alaric and after a few words we say goodbye to him.
We leave the store and he offers to walk me home with a worried face. I reject him assuring him again that nothing is wrong with me and we part, each one in the direction of our respective houses.
The gloomy thoughts persisted even when I returned home. During dinner, Julia and Ragnar did not stop giving me worried glances, but I ignored them and, when I finished eating, I went to sleep commenting that I was tired. Mia wanted to play with Azur, but I don't want to risk waking up at night from something like what happened this morning.