"Frankenstein," said the Goblin with a strange light flashing in his eyes.
"Frankenstein… Are you a warrior? A Mana practitioner?"
Frankenstein's face betrayed a sincerely sorrowful and bitter expression. Helial had never seen those feelings on the Goblin's face; he had always just showed worried that someone would find him reading. "How could I practice? I have no right to read these books, nor someone who can teach me a Breathing Technique suitable to my Mana. For now." A golden flame flickered in Frankenstein's eyes. It seemed to devour all the darkness holding him back, making his Aura shine with madness. "These lacks are only temporary. I'm ready to learn everything step by step. To discover, create, mold my body and temper my mind. I won't let Goblin rules stand in my way. There's so much I could accomplish without these pointless rules…"
Then Frankenstein began to mumble nonsense under Helial's frown. That Goblin swung from servility to rashness. Helial ran a hand over his chin and let a question echo out inside his Soul: "What's his Mana like?"
The Devil shrugged and said: "Check it for yourself."
Helial consulted quite often that black-banged kid who lived inside his Soul and whose only occupation was a table to lay. From time to time, the Devil tried to cook something as well. Every time he wondered where the ingredients came from, or how and why his Soul had become a dining room, Helial could not help but feel a headache.
Helial had made some progress with that Skill lately, and now more than ever Perception helped him detect people's Mana. As Helial squinted repeatedly, the world began to resonate with the Mana before his gaze and painted bright colors all around him.
Every Mana had a distinctive shade depending on its Affinity. Helial's Mana was almost completely White, whereas Lumia's Mana was more brownish. Helial was indeed inclined towards Light, and Lumia towards Earth.
Helial's gaze turned to look at Frankenstein, frankly surprised by what he had just seen. He furrowed his eyebrows tightly, while pondering over that view.
He had been doing some digging on Circe and Pseudonym. Now he knew pretty well his future opponents. Circe was an Elemental, which meant that she mastered all Affinities at the same time.
Fire, Water, Earth, Wind.
These were the Affinities one must have to become an Elemental. Since the four of them were to be mastered in parallel, it was difficult to find someone who had enough talent to acquire this Class. Every Elemental could make the fullest use of the four elements. Any practitioner could use them, but without the right Affinity their efficiency would have never been the same.
Was it possible to cultivate an Affinity from scratch? Helial had already asked this to the Devil, whose answer had been yes. The price would be dearest though. One couldn't develop all the Affinities needed to become an Elemental, not before decades of training.
But now, before his eyes, four feeble lights were gleaming. A Red light, a Blue light, a Brown light and a Green light. An unusual smile spread over Helial's face as he patted on Frankenstein's shoulder and interrupted his gibberish by saying: "Come here tomorrow by lunch time. We need to talk. You have my permission. Here, carry this locket with you. The King gave it to me, so nobody will bother you. Now I have to go."
Frankenstein stared blankly at the locket in his hand, bewildered. Meanwhile, Helial had turned and was walking away.
Evening, Training Ground
"HAAAAAA!" Helial erupted in a terrifying cry which gave birth to a sea of white flames.
Flame of the Qilin
Radius: 150 yd
The damage generated by Flame of the Qilin differs according to the user's resonance with the Forces of Life. It inflicts triple damage against the creatures of Darkness.
Inflicts Burn Malus
Cast Time: 0
This is Flame of the Qilins, lords of nature and Life! It is one of the most mysterious Skills in the universe, able to dominate even the fire of the Dragons, lords of Mana.
The Devil was standing in front of him in an incorporeal form. He curled his lips disdainfully and mocked him: "Is this the best you can do? Nowhere near as enough, Shithead. What are you thinking? This sea of flames is way too weak."
Helial looked about himself. The sea of flames he had created had a 20 yards diameter. Although the maximum distance that Flame of the Qilin could reach was as much as 150, Helial wasn't able to unleash the same amount of flames in every direction. He could reach a 150 yards diameter only if spreading the flames in one single direction.
As the flames burnt wildly, the Devil waved a hand and extinguished that wintery white hell.
"Your flame descends from Kirin's, the strongest one in the whole universe. It doesn't need Mana to activate and has no Cast Time, so you can use it however you like. It's the first Grade White Skill you acquired, and Grade White Skills make legends in this continent. Actually, I wouldn't expect a disciple of mine to have other Skills than Grades White. But don't think that merely possessing a Skills will make you stronger. When you have to face the real geniuses in this world, you'll realize how mediocre your talent really is. And remember that training a Grade White Skill is way more difficult than training an ordinary one, because you have to first grasp its deepest meanings and then practice it regularly."
Helial asked, panting: "So have I to acquire a certain grade of Knowledge of the Skill before being able to level it up?"
The Devil nodded. "It won't be much of a problem to level it up to the tenth level, but once things get hard you'll definitely need to focus on Knowledge to make it. Which means you'd better meditate on his principles than just practice repeatedly. This actually makes the best way to learn all Skills, not just this one. My pupils have always went for meditation, leaving the repeated practice to lesser creatures, as it should be. No powerful entity in this universe would let young generations train like that."
Helial cupped his hands and gently bowed: "I thank you for this lesson, master."
In the past few days, he had learnt more than he could have ever hoped for. That Devil would appear to be a truly superior entity. Helial could barely believe that someone could have such deep knowledge of Mana; and this sufficed for a great respect to spring into Helial's heart.
"Master, there's something I want to ask you," said Helial staring at him in the eyes.
The Devil raised an eyebrow. "The Goblin?"
Helial nodded: "The Goblin, right. My brother built a powerful Guild, I have reasons to believe he will found a Sect one day. When the time comes, I can't be fighting alone. Wouldn't be wise. I can't fight alone and make sure that my loved ones are safe, so I might as well take someone to fight by my side. The Goblin's Mana is weak yet somehow incredibly dense. I think his talent wouldn't lose out to Circe's."
The kid with the black bangs sat cross-legged in midair and said in a calm cold voice: "Indeed. His talent is even superior. It would be a Seed worth developing even in a powerful Clan. The thing is, his status made it impossible for him to access any suitable Breathing Technique. How do you think he could grow stronger?"
Helial heaved a sigh. The Devil asked questions to which he already had the answers. "Master, your knowledge is boundless. Do you know any suitable Skills and Breathing Technique?"
The Devil smiled, a hint of wickedness gleaming in his eyes: "And why on earth should I offer a supreme Breathing Technique to some random Goblin?"
With a sinister light glowing in his eyes, Helial smiled: "Because you don't give a shit about any living being. Because you were bored and thought that I could make for a nice time killer. Let me make your stay inside my Soul a little fun until I get to meet the person you asked me to kill. Nothing more."
The Devil burst out in a wild laughter, as though a thunderbolt had suddenly hit him. A ghastly frenzy made its way to his eyes, as he stared at his disciple, Helial, who appeared to have perfectly grasped that side of him. "You have a point, Shithead, you have a damn point. Kyeheheheheh, alright then, I'll help you find some powerful allies and let them learn some of my teachings. After all, these techniques and Skills I know I've stolen them from the biggest Clans in the universe after razing them to the ground. So, since I own almost any supreme Skill in this world, I'll offer him the strongest Breathing Technique Elementals have ever used. It belongs to the Forces of Destruction though. Whether he can master it or not is up to him. I can show him a path, he's the one who'll step forward. How about that?"
Helial nodded and said: "Thank you, master. I won't let you down. The show will be spectacular, eventually."
The Devil gave a sigh and said to himself, I really hope so, boy.
Suddenly, Helial clutched Curse of the Demon from the depths of his Soul. The Longsword flashed into existence in his right hand, leaving behind a black beam and an ear-splitting thunder. The Devil looked at him with a raised eyebrow. What is he trying to do?
Helial's glare was saying: "I think I might have figured something you haven't told me yet."
Then, Helial gathered all the flames he possessed around his body. The temperature dropped frighteningly, raising a small hell in the surrounding area. Helial started sweating, as he pushed his mental faculties to the limits in order to control that flame. Suddenly, he began to make that flames resonate with Curse of the Demon, as if they were two parallel existences which had both bent to his will.
The Devil's eyes narrowed as he stared at how Helial converged the flames around the black longsword. That brat was…
Suddenly, Helial let out a cry followed by a deafening roar that made the ground quake violently. The white flames started expanding like a tsunami, covering a 50 yards diameter, twice as much as before. Plus, they were now condensed in a string of concentric rings that burnt like the circles of hell. Amidst the white flames, little shiningly black sparks were exuding death and desolation.
Panting, Helial smiled at the Devil.
"We'll have fun, you and me, so much fun, Kyeheheheheheh," the kid burst into laughter and tousled his pitch-black bangs.