Sitting behind the large desk was a very much dead human looking skeleton. His clothes hadn’t survived the passage of time, and neither did whatever he was writing on when he died. It was unknown what had killed them but the skeleton was still in the position of someone writing something. The finger bones still loosely wrapped around an antique fountain pen.
Sofia's [Lead the dead] skill gave her no feedback from the remnants of the supposed mage. Definitely not an undead, yet, guess I got myself a new brave warrior!
“Since it’s bones from a mage maybe the skeleton will pick up some magic?”
She circled the desk and spotted something reflective under the chair.
The ring was carved out of some kind of soft edged ice blue crystal rather than made of metal. Must have fallen from his hand. It’s a bit large. She could probably only wear it on her thumbs. I’ll leave it in the sand pendant for now. It’s neat that it works even through the armor.
There was nothing else of interest. Sofia took out a set of carving tools from her bag and got to work preparing her ritual. The place is named the Ritual Spire. It’s quite fitting that the owner would end up like this, she thought as she carved away at the wood flooring. It was fortunate that the planks were thick enough for her carvings, the ritual circle needed to be quite wide to fit a whole skeleton.
Halfway through the carving process she stopped to take a break and went up to check the last floor. There were a few bags and crates full of dirt on this floor, and a pile of random, rusty and broken household items.
About half an hour later, the ritual circle was ready. Sofia carefully placed every bone of the skeleton in the center, and filled the grooves with summoned blood.
The rat is still waiting in Einsen. Hasn’t given any signals to indicate an obvious outing from the church. I should be safe now, I’m far away, I’ll even reach Red Winds in a few days. Sofia tried to reassure herself. The thing she was most worried about was whether the church could foster another magisterium whenever they wanted. And if they could, how long would it be until she got summoned again.
If I have a few level 200 skeletons even the oracle won’t stand a chance against me. I need to rush there before they can summon me again. Or find a way to prevent summoning. I’ll look into that when I reach Drakron City.
I knew it was coming this time.
[User cannot summon the same hero twice, please choose one]
[Holy Skeleton (Rat) / Holy Skeleton (Elf)]
[You summoned the Hero : Holy Skeleton (Elf) - lv. 24]
So it wasn't human… Explains why it looked so tall.
Besides that, can’t say I see any big difference with a human skeleton. Still kept the levels as expected. Twenty-four is a bit weak but the skill itself is level forty-three which has to count for something. Worst case I can have it act as a stool so I can jump off and cast an [Angel’s bolt], still haven’t tried it but it can’t be weak considering the cost. Even if the skill is still level one.
The skeleton rose from the ground, a halo shone behind his skull, holy light burned in his eye sockets and formed a sword in his hands.
“Wow, he's actually taller than me. In a way this is the same undead that was the rat and the human previously, if I understand how the skill works… Let’s give you a name. Holy skeleton’s a bit too long,” she spoke to the skeleton but it didn’t react. “Are there male and female skeletons? The skill as a whole seems to be catered toward making it a melee fighter. It’s an undead paladin… ”
She only paused for a second to think, nodding to herself.
“Welcome to the squad, Pareth.”
[Congratulations, you have baptized your first hero!]
[The baptized hero is currently unconscious, giving hero’s blessing draw privilege to the summoner.]
[Please draw three cards.]
“What the hell is going on!” Heaps of illusory cards appeared everywhere around Sofia, all facing away from her. She tried to peek behind them but no matter how she moved she could only see the blank back face of the cards.
Looks like I can only pick at random. Can I get something good? Would have been nice to know about this when I was in the church. I’ll have to name every summon I get as soon as I can. This must be what makes summoned heroes so strong. It’s all mine now!
Actually how the hell was this not talked about anywhere in all the books the church had me read! I swear I learned more from that one half destroyed necromancy grimoire than all of the church's books combined.
She picked three cards from different locations. After she picked the third one, every other card disappeared besides her picks. These last three flew up to align themselves in front of her.
[Please select a blessing for the hero : Pareth]
‘Blessing of horror
You know of the unspeakable horrors. Nothing can shake your sanity.’
‘Blessing of the purifier
You are fated to cleanse this realm. Damage to demons *100. Experience gains *1.5 until level 300.’
‘Blessing of bloating
You are the ever growing. Gain bonus strength and health proportional to your body weight.’
The middle card was shining brightly like a caged rainbow.
This… the S rank should logically be the best choice. Just the experience bonus is incredible, the demon thing is just a bonus. The B rank blessing is just useless for an undead… But the third one…
[Holy Skeleton] : Allows the Saintomancer to control Pareth, the Holy Skeleton wielding the Holy light of Gods. Pareth will keep experience when switching host bones. Physical and magical capabilities are influenced by the current bones.
Lv.1 : The Saintomancer always knows where their Holy Skeleton is.
Lv.10 : Pareth boasts a glorious [Halo] empowering Holy related skills.
Lv.20 : Pareth can create and wield a sword of Holy light. Proficiency depends on the host bones.
Lv.30 : Pareth’s bones are 43% (1*Skill Level) denser.
Lv.40 : Pareth’s movements are 43% (1*Skill Level) quieter.
(Next function unlocks at Skill Level 50)
Even the description was updated! Also I remembered correctly. Bones get denser with levels. So they get heavier. And nothing stops me from using a larger skeleton as a host. It all works well together… In comparison he can get an xp bonus and damage against demons?
“I don’t like passing the S rank blessing but the A rank gives me a better feeling so… I’ll trust my gut for this one.” She tapped the card on the right and the illusory cards crumbled, there was nothing left of the weird experience. Except a single line she found in the description of her [Holy skeleton] skill.
‘Blessing : Pareth gains bonus strength and health proportional to their body weight.’
That was the best choice, right? At least it’s an immediate power up, compared to the other one.
“Alright tall boy, I hope you like your blessing. Let's clear up the lower levels, you open the way, stick close to me, your main job is protecting me.” It didn’t actually matter if she voiced the commands or not as long as she sent the mana, but it felt a bit lonely if she didn’t talk.
Sofia followed Pareth down to the lightless floors. The first one was more ‘living space’ if you could call it that, not much had survived the passage of time.
A locked metal trapdoor closed the path to the lower floors. The rusty lock didn’t survive a single strike from the skeleton. Under there weren't more stairs but a ladder leading down, Sofia couldn't see the bottom, shrouded in darkness.
[Lead the dead] still didn’t react, I don’t know what’s down there, but it’s not undead? This place has been untouched for at least decades…
“Go down first.”
This dungeon is kind of unnerving, too calm, it’s ominous. There has to be a boss somewhere, or this wouldn’t be a dungeon. It was unknown what were the precise criteria for somewhere to become a dungeon, but two things were common knowledge. One : the dungeon must have a magic item inside. Sofia had an inkling that the ring she had found must be it. Two : it had to have a boss, who or whatever it may be, that would not normally go out, and would attack all that dare approach.
Sofia who stayed kneeling near the trapdoor was getting swallowed by the darkness the further down Pareth climbed. The skeleton passed many taut chains leading down sprouting from the walls. He reached the bottom some 30 meters down, revealing the very base of the spire, located underground.
A large ritual circle was carved in the floor and walls, in its center, bound in the air by a hundred rusted chains, a twisted thing was breathing softly.