He had sent Helial home. It would have been a gross mistake to let such a promising boy waste the opportunity to condense a good Mana Seed, only because of his eagerness to advance faster. Some things needed time.
Vidio was still shocked by that day's events.
Usually, Skills were acquired following the detailed steps of a Spell on a Scroll, which helped develop a specific Skill. This process was not infallible, since every student is different from the other. Meridians could vary greatly with each individual, so Spells could be more or less efficient according to who casted them.
Even the smallest difference could have a great influence on the efficiency of a Spell. So, a Skill could be much different if a Meridian was slightly crooked to the left or to the right.
One had to keep in mind that a Skill acquired through a Scroll was a universal mold that was used by millions of different people. Of course, the efficiency that would have been achieved if the person learned the Skill on their own was completely lost. But after all, it was not that easy to create a Skill from scratch: in order to develop a personalized one, the Mana had to flow freely through the most suitable Meridians, and not the ones indicated by the Spell.
Unfortunately it was impossible to custom-tailor Skills for every single Mana Warrior. But if it had been possible, the Congregation's army would have been even more terrifying.
Creating a Skill from scratch meant finding the most suitable Meridians, by just having a very rough idea of what the right path might look like.
Even though it would come down to very minor but substantial variations, the difference between a created Skill and a standard one was as big as the distance between heaven and earth. Saying that a created Skill could be twice as powerful and efficient was not an overstatement. The problem was that it would require at least ten times the strength of learning a pre-made Skill…
Master Vidio had explained to Helial the difference between created Skills and acquired ones. He had even offered him to become a member of the Mana Congregation but the boy had not only refused, he had even asked the Master not to talk to other people about what had just happened.
Vidio now possessed information enough to control the boy, so he accepted on the condition that Helial would become his personal apprentice.
One month later, in the woods behind Helial's village.
A terrifying blast. A frightening explosion. It sounded as if the world was coming to an end. The sky was suddenly filled with lightning of every possible color, from black to white, which were razing half of the forest to the ground. Clouds had started to gather in the sky forming thick and black thunder clouds.
In the distance, the wolves were yelping. Even the pack leader was scared by what was happening. In its long fifty years, its old grey fur had never witnessed anything like that.
No one knew what was happening in those woods. Suddenly something had appeared and was implacably devastating the forest, that and nothing else.
Those clouds, lightning and explosions could be seen from hundreds of miles away.
On top of a mountain, in the sanctuary of a Sect north-west of the village, believers were flogging their backs with belts. They were afraid of not having had enough time to repent of all their sins and they were try-ing to make up for it, begging for the gods' forgiveness.
A Guild of mercenaries was watching with curiosity, while their leader was lost in the embrace of two young ladies, submerging them with his nasty breath: "Hahaha, it seems like our number's finally up!"
The members of a Clan looked at the Patriarch, who was on the top of the Pagoda, with a frowning expression. Might it be a gift from the heavens? The Patriarch marked the position on a map to send out a recognition squad.
Mothers were crying clutching babies to their chests, while fathers looked at that incredible event, conscious of their own helplessness.
In a crooked and rundown shack, with walls covered with ivy and a roof of rough blocks, a girl stood on the door. She must have been about five years old. Her silvery hair, so dusty that it looked white, was disheveled, flying in the strong wind. Her emerald eyes were locked on the furious lightning and in them flashed the reflection of the blinding explosions that came from the woods.
"Big brother…" whispered the girl, her voice broken by sobs.
Do you trust me?, Helial's words rang in her mind.
She sniffed and bit her lip, plucking up courage.
It didn't seem like the lightning was going to end any time soon, relentlessly striking the already charred, dead ground.
In the middle of a clearing, amidst the ashes of plants and trees, sat a boy.
His body was engulfed by a wide beam of white light, that plunged in his Meridians toward his Soul. Every time a single streak of light flowed through his Meridians, it made them stronger. The Meridians' fibers kept breaking down and regenerating in what looked like a neverending cycle.
Helial had broken into a cold sweat, he was experiencing an indescribable pain. He almost wished to die, but he kept absorbing the white light, gritting his teeth and trying to bear it as long as possible. Blood started to flow from every orifice on his face: from eyes, ears, nose and mouth hot black blood was trickling down, covering every inch of Helial's face. The blood was eliminating all impurities in his blood vessels, turning into a dark sludge, putrid with all the ugliness in his organism.
Blood and sweat were constantly evaporating due to the white light that was tempering Helial's body. The boy knew how delicate that moment was. He could feel his Physical Strength surging, along with the quantity of Mana in his body. He could not let the pain make him faint or lose focus.
That baptism by fire would have made him a dragon among men. After a life of hardships, he would have turned from prey into predator.
It was his thirst of power that had started the storm. No longer than half an hour earlier, Helial had started condensing his Mana Seed, but the aftermath of the Condensation had unexpectedly burned down the entire forest. Helial knew that the stronger the Seed, the bigger the energy that was going to be released by nature, to compensate for the Condensation.
After all, the Condensation of a Seed was in all respects an act against nature. Creating a natural Mana Seed in the body was man's first step against the heavens: that generated a divine upheaval that was meant to restore the balance that men had broken.
The Condensation of a Black Mana Seed would at most lead to a small puff of air, while a Blue Seed would create a real Mana explosion, strong enough to shake the foundations of a building.
Helial was no fool. He knew perfectly well what kind of Seed he was condensing. Beside a trace of happiness on his face, his furrowed brow betrayed the pain felt and a deep concern. But at the moment he had no time to worry. He was entirely focused on channeling that great amount of Mana Energy into his Mana Seed.
After another half hour of excruciating pain and upgrading of his body, everything finally fell silent.
You developed a White Mana Seed.
This legendary Mana form is rarely witnessed on the continent.
It enables the owner to be in perfect communion with Mana.
The body benefits from the exceptional affinity with Mana and it fortifies.
You earned 100 Strength points.
You earned 100 Vigor points.
You earned 100 Dexterity points.
Your mind is more alert thanks to the Mana guidance.
You earned 100 Intelligence points.
You acquired the Passive Skill "White Mana Seed".
Helial took a look at the Skill.
White Mana Seed – Passive Skill
Experience gained: 0%
Mana absorption is 500% faster.
Mana Skills casting 100% faster.
The quantity of Mana in the body increases by 1000%.
Influences and strengthens any Skills that directly employs Mana by 50%.
"I have no experience in Passive Skills, but this one looks really unique", mumbled Helial. "I just hope that no one will trace back these events to me. After all, almost no one knows what is supposed to hap-pen during the Condensation of a White Mana Seed. I should be safe…"
Five years later
The vegetation had slowly grown back and Helial was now in front of a tree that, feeding on the Mana in the soil, had grown even 150 feet in a year.
It's not possible, something like this should not be happening. Even if this Longsword sucks, my Strength Stats are too high. I should have been able to hack at least half deep into the tree. Normally I would have passed the tree from part to part with just a punch. And I'm not even considering the momentum of the blade, given by its length… Some-thing's off here.
Helial stored Curse of the Demon in his Inventory and sighed. He took a fighting stance and punched the tree trunk with all his might.
The fist sunk an inch in the bark and went no further. Helial was so mad that blood started to trickle down the corners of his mouth.
"SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!" he screamed. "Why that bastard has to ruin my life even from thousands of miles away!? Why!?"
He pulled out the sword again and got ready to do something completely reckless. He dug his nails in the palms of his hands to calm down. Blood slowly flowed through his fingers, dripping on the thick grass be-low.
He took a deep breath, grabbed the sword and plunged it in the ground in front of him. Then he extended his arms, the palms of his hands towards the sword.
This is going to hurt, thought Helial.
He did not hesitate any further and let all the Mana he could control flow through his Meridians, then he directed it towards the sword.
Gives information on the status and skills of other objects or people.
Mana consumption increased by 300%.
Cost: 300 Mana
The Longsword began to repel fiercely all the Mana, as if it were angry, as if it wanted to destroy the person who was trying to violate it. Helial felt like a million needles were piercing his arms. He spat a lump of blood and poured more Mana on the Longsword.
"BEND, YOU BASTARD!" he screamed, already on the brink of madness. He could not allow all those five years of sacrifices to go in vain. He had worked hard and in secret to obtain everything he had. He could not all vanish in one night, like it never existed.
Curse of the Demon let out a terrifying scream and suddenly it shot out a huge wave of Demonic Mana. The Mana exploded violently right in front of Helial.
Helial was flung backwards, hundreds of feet from the Longsword. He crashed into a thick tree that stopped his fall and split in half. Cough! Just before losing consciousness, he vomited blood.
Meanwhile, this window appeared in front of him.
Name: Curse of the Demon
Effect: Strength x0.05
There is something terrifying about this boy. Who knows… This could be a good chance to…, Master Vidio was turning some thoughts over in his mind.