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7 Mana Pistol

SHIT!, thought Helial. The situation was turning from bad to worse. Right when he thought that things were looking up, he had suffered another disappointment. He checked the sword to see what effect it had had on Mana.

Name: Curse of the Demon

Type: Longsword

Consumption ???/???

Level:1

Damage:1-1

Effect: Strength x0.05

Overall Mana x0.05

???

His Mana was now twenty times less of what it used to be. The situation had turned from desperate into hopeless. Over the years, Helial had managed to create a huge pool of Mana, considering his level, but now everything was gone. His brother had left him with nothing, for the second time in his life.

He tightened his fists and ground his teeth. His eyes shone with unspeakable savagery.

Vidio had never really explained what a Branch of Skills was, so he decided to look into it later.

Due to what had just happened, now the amount of Mana available was very scant. The chance of creating a new Skill had vanished. He sighed dejectedly, then check his Meridians. The control on the Mana was the same as before, but he could not rely on the almost unlimited amount of Mana he used to have.

Before being hit by the Curse, Helial could rely on a Mana bar of around 30.000 MP, or Mana Points.

Now he barely had 1.500 MP. A decent Skill would have required at least 2.000 MP, especially considering the fact that he could never have developed an Offensive Skill with 100% Efficiency.

***

Some years earlier

"Master", Helial sighed looking at Vidio.

"What?" asked the Master annoyed.

"The waitress turned you down just because she was busy, there's no need to take it so personally, is there?"

"Boy, you don't understand, it's a matter of pride for a man. If you find an opponent stronger than you, what do you do? Do you run? Tsk."

Helial shook his head, running a hand through his hair.

"Master Vidio, what's Efficiency?"

Vidio rolled his eyes, clearly looking for the beautiful curves of the enticing waitress among the soft clouds in the sky.

"Efficiency is a Stat that calculates how much Mana is consumed when using a Skill. If a Skill costs 100, but its Efficiency is 50%, then it means that every 100 MP used, only 50 really go into the Skill. So, in order to use a Skill that costs 100, with 50% Efficiency, you will need 200 MP, twice the cost.

"The stronger the Skill, the more difficult it is to use. And the more difficult it is to use, the lower will be the initial Efficiency of that Skill."

Brief, blunt, but to the point. Vidio was no fool, and he had just proven it. That attitude of his, though…

Helial sighed, he would have to bear with him for many years to come, but at the same time, when he was in the old man's company, his life seemed somewhat lighter.

***

In the present

Helial was powerless. He couldn't create a low efficiency Skill, and a weak Skill would not have been useful against those damn monsters.

Simple solutions, he tried to calm himself. That was his motto: take everything one step at a time. He just had to make do until he could remove the Curse of the Longsword. He couldn't panic, especially now that he had t take care of his sister.

He took a deep breath. He had to find a way to get rid of the Longsword. If he had left it in the forest, the Curse would have probably stuck with him and it would likely have been even more difficult to get rid of it without the object that had set it off. Besides, he still didn't know what was going to happen if he picked up another weapon, but he wasn't very willing to make an experiment at the moment.

***

Thousands of miles from our unfortunate hero, in the Capital

"Did you give it to him?" asked a man covered in a heavy armor. The armor plate was dazzling, decorated with coiling dragons in blazing colors. Even the greaves and the other protections were inlaid in very bad taste.

Behind him, appeared a black shadow. "Yes", replied gritting his teeth. His skills as an Assassin were useless with that man, who could spot him every time. How the hell did he do that? He must have been some kind of monster.

"Good. He will probably die during the Goblin invasion. And even if he should survive, he'll be a cripple for life. We had to kill Unluk after he hold that Longsword, since he couldn't get rid of the Curse. I doubt that the brat could pull that off. Besides, it would really bother me if he could. We had to kill a good soldier to make sure that Helial will not be a problem."

"I don't understand… Why didn't we just kill him, if you're so worried?" asked the shadow, with a curious voice.

"There are things and people bigger than us. Just know that I can't kill him while he's still helpless," groaned the knight.

The shadow stayed quiet, thinking those words over. He shrugged and disappeared again.

A laughter spread through the room.

"Helial, did you really think that I wouldn't hear about your secret training? I don't know what kind of results you had achieved, but now I can rest assured that in this life you won't be more than a carpenter."

The man smiled, pleased with himself.

***

Outside in the forest, where we left Helial and Lumia

The best thing to do at the moment was to keep calm. That could have been a good opportunity to develop a new Skill with very high Efficiency. Usually people focused more on the overall power of a Skill more than on how to learn it or create it with very low Mana consumption.

In a life or death situation, a handful of MP could have tipped the scale towards victory or defeat. Plus, some people said that Efficiency had some hidden Effects that influenced some aspects of the Skill's power and characteristics.

Helial now needed to develop a powerful Skill while using very little Mana. He had to give up the idea of long-range explosions and AoE damage (long-range damage on a number of people). He had to concentrate all is Mana in the smallest place possible, and then release the energy frontally, making sure to take advantage of every single MP.

Luckily, he had a good Skill on him, Communion with Mana. While keeping Perception activated, he could regain 130 MP/Sec. The problem would be use that Skill while fighting, where every step was different from the previous one and he had to parry and counterattack within seconds.

The changing in color of the Mana Seed had not brought more Malus, only his MP had been reduced, while the other Bonus Stats remained unchanged.

Once in Floralivory City, he could ask Vidio for help. Probably the old sleazeball had an ace up his sleeve. After all, not considering his problems with the ladies, he knew a lot of things. With Vidio's help, it would have been easy to get rid of the Curse, even though the fact that his brother was the one behind all this made Helial quite uneasy.

But he still had the cloth with the Runes and that could have been a good clue.

At the moment though, creating the new Skill was his top priority. Helial already had a definite plan.

He approached the oak and raised an arm. He clenched the fingers into a fist and then reopened it. He stretched four fingers perpendicular to the tree trunk, bending the thumb. He was going to use the fingers Meridians to condense Mana and then release it in one single beam, uniting the energy released by the Meridian in each finger. The more compressed the Mana was, the more destructive the Skill. It was as simple as that.

He couldn't come up with anything simpler.

He could not disperse the shockwave, but the explosion should bund to have the same effect of a bullet. That's right, he needed to generate some kind of bullet, with the highest perforation possible.

He evoked one third of the Mana he possessed. He would have to make do with those 500 MP. Generally, a powerful Skill for the First Phase Early stage should have had a minimum cost of 3000 MP. Helial was trying to develop an equally powerful Skill, with one sixth of the Mana. It was a titanic effort, to say the least.

He still hadn't undergone the changes in Meridians of the First Phase, so he was about to face some huge challenges.

He could feel the Mana flowing from his Seed, passing through the Meridians were the Energy got more swirling and restless. Once there, Mana started to seethe violently. Helial swiftly condensed it in his hand. The process was very painful, as if his arms got pierced by a thousand needles.

He was trying to guide all that Energy through the Meridians where the impetus of the Mana seemed to increase. As soon as the Energy reached the fingertips, he condensed it and once he gathered all of it, he finally released it against the tree.

A small gust of wind appeared and crashed against the tree, leaving a small mark just a few inches deep.

Something had gone wrong, so he decided to change method. He hated people that after making a mistake would still go down that road over and over again. He had made a mistake, something had gone wrong, so it was time to change, there was no need for proof.

He stretched the hand in front of him. Probably he hadn't condensed the Energy enough.

Skill Activated:

Communion with Mana

Lv: 1

You are able to flow the power of Mana through the most suitable Meridians.

You can move while storing and regenerating your Mana.

Exp: 0.2%

Effects:

MP Regeneration: 200 Mana/Sec

Skill Amplification: 3%

Physical Abilities Amplification: 1,3%

He began to flow the Skill at the same time while making a second attempt.

Communion with Mana allowed him to amplify his senses and perceive with more clarity the Mana that flowed in the Meridians.

This time, he gather Mana much slower. He needed to make the Energy as dense as possible. And he couldn't waste not even one second while doing it.

His forehead was already covered in beads of sweat and his arm was shaking slightly. No one in their right mind would have activated such an energy-consuming Skill like Communion with Mana while at the same time trying to create a new Skill.

Mana could flow in both directions, from outside inward to regain Mana and from inside outward to activate a Skill.

You must understand that it requires a lot of effort to keep two Skills activated at the same time, not to mention the effort needed to create one. However, flowing so much Mana in every direction inside the body allowed to perceive the Energy with much more clarity that usual. Helial had noticed that from the first time.

He felt as if someone was wrenching the meat away from his arm. Letting the Mana flow slowly allowed him to condense it as much as possible, but it was extremely painful. The Meridians were experiencing a completely new feeling. Every second, new tiny wounds opened in them, but the same Mana that was flowing thanks to Communion with Mana managed to heal them. It looked as if his Meridians were transforming in a terribly slow process.

It took him thirty seconds to condense all the 500 MP on the four fingertips. He managed not to waste any of that extremely valuable energy, even though right now he could have regained it thanks to Communion with Mana.

He breathed deeply and held his breath for some seconds, then abruptly released the Mana Energy, trying to shoot it against a single spot on the tree trunk.

BOOM!

Young Oak has lost 3534 HP!

He had completely destroyed the trunk! Helial was exultant, he had managed to create a very powerful Skill. It was powerful enough to take out a weak Goblin with a Critical (aka Critical Blow).

You lost 250 HP!

Criticals were generated by hitting a weak spot on the enemy, making the blow all the more efficient. The value of the Critical started at 150%, and varied according to the spot hit and the characteristics of the enemy.

Helial looked at his hand. It was completely covered in blood. The peripheral blood vessels in the hand had mostly given in. Clearly, delivering such a blow would have had serious consequences. After all, he had compressed the Mana to a high degree of Condensation. Generally, people preferred to invest more Mana in a Skill, without having to condense it too much, to not lose control over the Energy.

For example, it was easier to control a Skill that costed 1000 MP, with loosely condensed Mana, more than an equally powerful one with 500 MP, because in the latter the Mana was denser and fiercer.

Therefore, there was a Condensation value, which in the above example was equal to two. A Skill with a Condensation value of two had Mana with double the normal density, and therefore was doubly difficult and dangerous to manage. In Helial's case, the Condensation value was six. It could be easily seen how dangerous it was to use such a Skill.

Nonetheless, high-Condensation Skills were also far more powerful than the original. Though, condensing Mana six times more than normal was easier said than done; in reality it was very painful, and especially very difficult.

Mana Reflowing

Lv: 6

The Mana power flows through your body and heals minor wounds.

The Mana power purifies the body.

Detox power 2%

Cost: 30 Mana/Sec

Helial began to heal his wounds, so as to keep developing the Skill.

***

At the first rays of light, the timid sun shone on a hundred fallen trees, all of them literally snapped in half.

You learned a new Skill:

Mana Pistol

By condensing Mana and bringing it to the highest Density that the body can endure, you can release a long-range attack of pure energy.

Lv: 1

Exp: 0%

Range: 15 yards

Damage: 2800-4000

Effects:

Damage decreases with an increase in distance.

Cost: 500 Mana

Cast Time: 30 Sec

Efficiency: 99.8%
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