“Sir?” Hiyori asked as she saw the halfling in front of her looking confused. However, before she was able to repeat hear offer to guide him to the holy pillar, she heard a voice echoing in her ears.
“Pars unt.” The tone was one that children like her had come to associate with the casting of magic, so she hurriedly took a step back, fearing that the Maxer before her had been angered. Instead, though, she was left to gasp as she saw his body lift off the ground, floating into the air.
He… he’s flying like a bird. Hiyori may have been young, but she had never heard of anyone being capable of a spell like this before. And judging by the shouts that rang out from those who saw him, the adults didn’t know what was going on better.
Come on, come on… Hiyori leaned down low to the ground, her fingers against the dirt. “Pars maj.” Her body felt light, and she darted forward, racing through the crowd. She wasn’t a particularly strong mage by any stretch, but she had learned a few basic spells as part of her education.
Looking ahead, she saw the Maxer floating up towards the pillar, and saw the crowd gathered beneath him. He held the sacred orb up to the pillar, and it was drawn in, simply passing through and vanishing. The holy pillar gave a brief pulse, before the words appeared in front of her.
Level Limit +10 Orb has been found! The new Level Limit is now 100!
Before she could fully stop herself, Hiyori found her foot catching on the ground, tumbling down in surprise. She let out a yelp as she felt herself crashing against the dirt, but received only a few scrapes. It was unt, right? Unt!
In order to cast a spell, one needed to know the incantation to summon it. However, unfortunately for her, it was not enough to simply know how to pronounce it. At the same time, one had to be able to visualize the word in their mind. Hiyori did not know how to write the rune for unt, so she would not be able to reproduce the flight spell.
That did not mean that it was wasted knowledge, though. Rather, she had a wide grin on her face, jumping to her feet and taking advantage of her still-enhanced speed to run towards the temple. Without asking for permission she rushed inside, much to the chagrin of the local priests.
“Hiyori, what are you doing this time?” One of them asked, clear irritation on their face. She was no stranger here, and often came by to lead people around after they came from other floors. The temple was positioned right next to the World Wall for that very purpose. But to just run in without warning like this was a bit much, even for her.
“The man that just came by, the one with the orb!” She spoke between panted breaths. “He knew a new word, I think! He was able to fly like a bird!”
The priest was just about to scold her again when she got her last words out. He had been inside when the message went out to everyone, so he had not witnessed the fact that someone had flown in front of the temple. At the same time, he was confident that Hiyori wouldn’t make something like this up. After all, to falsify reports of this nature was tantamount to blasphemy, and it was easy enough for him to verify.
“Are you sure?” He asked, his face betraying his growing excitement.
“I am!” She nodded her head quickly. “It was unt! He said it in front of me. Pars unt! And then he was flying!”
The man’s excitement only grew even further when she said the word outright. It would have been too much to ask for her to know how it was written, but even just the pronunciation would be a huge help in future studies.
When someone read the words of magic carved into the landscape, the pronunciation for those words would appear in their mind. When man first found the Sen rune, carved on a stone slab on the first world, they immediately knew how to say it. However, they did not know that saying the word would create a fire.
There are many cases when somebody finds a new rune, and it takes months to figure out its function and how to weave it into a spell. Everyone has to be careful, for the wrong experiment might cost them their own life. “I see, I see.” He nodded his head, slowly approaching Hiyori and patting her on the shoulder. “You have done good work.”
Now, if they ever found the unt rune, they would immediately know its purpose. More importantly, they could be sure that the rune was on one of the explored worlds. It was only a matter of time until they found it, assuming that they could not get it from the man himself.
With that thought crossing his mind, the priest hurriedly left the temple, glancing towards the holy pillar. Indeed, there was a man standing there in the air. Yet, he was only able to catch a glimpse before a portal opened up next to the man and sucked him through. “So he is also a priest?” There was surprise, but also joy in his voice when he asked that question to himself. After all, it would be a lot easier to find a priest than a random mage.
Unfortunately, it was unlikely that he’d ever be able to find this man again…
After getting Aurivy’s help to quickly escape the area, I immediately returned to the Admin Room, letting a light laugh escape my lips. “Man… if magic were that easy from the start, I don’t think I’d have ever started training as a monk.”
A moment later, a voice spoke up from behind me, making it jump slightly. “Well, that is why that system is known as ‘easy mode magic’.” Obviously, the voice belonged to Terra, grinning playfully at me from the bed.
“I take it that the ‘secret’ about rune magic is not at all a secret?” I asked, turning to face her, still sitting in my computer chair.
She gave a brief nod to the question, closing her eyes. “You can take a look at the forums, where all this information is publicly available, so there’s no harm in me saying it at this point. A lot of Keepers recommend taking rune magic in some aspect of their world. After all, being able to cast spells as easily as talking is a big advantage for any defending Keeper.”
My brows knit together for a moment as I heard that, understanding something from her words. “That probably means that any serious Keeper is also likely to be prepared to counter that system.” It took barely a couple of days for people to begin making countermeasures on the market for my inventory system, so something as big as rune magic would have god knows how many ways to stop it by now.
“Well, you’re probably not wrong.” Terra said, flicking a finger in my direction. A series of windows appeared, each one a market listing for a different method to specifically counter rune magic. In total, there were… “So far, there are a hundred and seven systems, techniques, or items designed to nullify rune magic. Wait, sorry, hundred and eight. Someone just made another one a few days ago it looks like.”
“You know, you’re really bringing the whole ‘I got a new awesome power’ mood down a bit, right?” I asked lightly, to which I received a laugh in response.
“Sorry, I’m not meaning to bring you down or anything. Just wanted to make sure that you knew what you were getting yourself into. Also… you should probably not expect them to be done getting that world ready for you so soon…” Her eyes opened slightly as she said that, her lips pursed in a small frown.
“Given that you are talking about this… There’s something wrong with their world that they haven’t noticed? But… if you’re talking about it, I should have met the conditions for you to say it, which means I either saw it myself, or experienced it.”
Her frown cracked for a moment, breaking into a brief smile. “You’re learning. But you’re right. You have met the conditions. In fact, if you took the time to think back to your trip to Fyor, you should be able to figure it out.”
I looked at her in confusion, thinking back to what had happened. “If you mean how every layer is quite a bit larger, then yeah… but I think that they already planned for that, right?”
Terra let out a small sigh, shaking her head. “No, not that. Well… sort of that. It might have been hard for you to notice because you’re already used to having such a strong body… You flew for six hours in the tenth layer. However, during that time, you had no real physical exertion. You were simply floating by with your shield up, to prevent even the wind from hitting you.”
I gave a small nod, signalling for her to continue. “Yet, those six hours had you out of breath, even though you basically did… nothing. You might as well have been lying down on the ground for those six hours. So… why were you out of breath?”
Now that she put it like that… I began to think back to that. Why was I out of breath? At the time, I had been caught up in my excitement, and just assumed that it was a natural result of the spell. But, when I used it on the first floor, I hadn’t noticed any strain at all from my brief flight.
She said that it had to do with the size of the layers, so--”The gravity?” I cut myself off in mid-thought, looking up to Terra in surprise. I saw the satisfied smile on her face, indicating that I had hit the right answer. “The gravity is increasing on the upper levels? And since my real levels didn’t include anything to fortify my body, when I cut my Keeper levels off near the town, I started to feel the full force of it… and then again while I was resting on the ninth level.”
“They really can’t be blamed for this.” Terra said, turning her head to look at the doorway. “I mean, look at your current worlds. You have two of drastically different sizes, but because they are separate worlds built with that in mind, the system set the standard of gravity to be the same on both. The current Earth has not studied gravity to such a degree that they would know to think about it when creating their world.”
As she spoke, I began to process that information. “So, with every additional layer becoming larger than the last, the gravity is constantly increasing… Why aren’t the lower layers being affected by the gravity of the higher layers then? They’re close enough that logically it should, right?”
Terra gave another nod to my question. “That’s because of the ‘dividing line’ between the layers. Take a look at the mineral map of any layer in Fyor aside from the first.”
Turning around to my computer, I did just that, opening up the map and finding the second layer’s minerals. Everything seemed normal until… “Oh…”
There was a single layer of ore going all the way across the second layer, completely sealing it off from the second. Moreso, this ore was familiar, a pitch black rock that looked just like the gates leading between the layers. Taking a closer look, I saw that that is exactly what they were, the gates burrowing all the way down to connect with the black shell protecting the previous layer.
“That’s a special ore that was just created due to the specifications that the two of them listed for this world. It doesn’t even have a name yet. However, it is completely impervious to damage on any scale your world has tried to hit it with, with the power of the world itself keeping it protected. It also works to both connect and isolate regions of space, keeping the gravity of the various levels separate from one another.”
I took a deep breath, confirming that the same mineral layer was present in every other floor as well. “So… people need to train their physical stats in order to climb the layers safely.”
When I turned around to look at Terra, she gave another nod of her head. “Right. In order to operate at their peak, they need one additional point in each physical stat for every two layers beyond the first. Otherwise, their bodies won’t be able to cope with the increase in pressure. If you hadn’t found the priest to send you to the first layer right away, I was going to have them tell you to ascend immediately.”
I had noticed that my body felt a bit heavy while I was walking, but honestly I just assumed that was normal. After all, I’m so used to being in a body that can jump hundreds of meters with ease that normal levels of physique would just seem weak by comparison. “I see… that will make things difficult.”
Terra nodded again, yawning her head and stretching her arms out across the bed. “Yup… just wanted to get you that warning. They’ve already started to notice the problem, but thanks to them not understanding gravity well enough they don’t realize the cause. So it will probably take a little while before Fyor is ready to fully integrate.”