"You've already absorbed the 50% of the principles contained in that essence. The worst is over."
The Devil started paying less attention to Helial, who was now off the hook. Once the principles started refining his Meridians, everything would flow smoother.
The Devil observed his hands.
The hands of a kid.
He shook his head slightly and felt a huge fury mounting his body. He thought back to every score still left to settle; they were so many that every common mortal would have already given up hope. He inhaled gently. Then he stretched out a hand, making the laws of time and space shiver around him, and tore apart every single particle of Mana in his presence.
He looked up at the sky and his eyes pierced the dark barrier of his Formation. A sinister light gleamed in his gaze, as though he wished to destroy everything. The moonbeams fell on him despite the darkness, as fierceness flashed in his eyes.
His new disciple, Helial, was in desperate search of power to gain freedom. With his will, Helial had managed to awaken the Devil's past, quiescent beneath memory. To become stronger to be free?
The kid clenched his fist so tight that his spiritual body got wounded. Space all around him collapsed and rippled until the texture of space and time cracked open in several spots. If he hadn't stopped, the whole planet would have risked shattering. However, after a moment he heaved a sigh and withdrew the force of Destruction he was exerting, intertwining space and time back together.
The kid curled his lips and grimaced with disdain as he shook his head again. You, Shithead, will find out that the minimum requirement for freedom isn't power…
While the Devil got lost in his train of thought, a deafening roar suddenly boomed. The cracks in space and time had been tied back together, so the source must have been a different one.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Abruptly, the kid turned towards Helial and noticed that the essence had started rushing at breathtaking speed through his Meridians. He slightly frowned, then surveyed his pupil's body with his Divine Sense. With a raised eyebrow, he whispered: "No need for me to step in. He fell into a deeper meditative state than I thought."
After he finished speaking, the Devil's spiritual body dissolved and sneaked back in Helial's Soul.
Helial had fallen into a semi-conscious state. Stuck between dream and reality. Hades, his brother, was on his right side. On the left side was Lumia. The inner turmoil caused by those two people was sublimating his Mana into Life and Destruction. Helial knew he had made some progress, though he was still far from being satisfied.
As his mind focused more intensely, he saw Lumia and Hades move. The latter was chasing her. Helial felt a jolt of electricity run through his body. He gazed at his brother, his eyes brimming with hatred. Meanwhile, he could not help but feel the natural instinct to protect Lumia.
The two Mana spheres containing the principles of Life and Destruction were constantly gaining depth, as the essences of the Herb of the Nine Deaths and the Root of the Sacred Phoenix kept being refined and reflowed throughout his Meridians.
Death of the Desolate Universe was helping him deal with that enormous amount of Mana. By that time, someone else would have probably lost every Meridian and ended up an unfortunate cripple.
However, Helial possessed a Demon's Meridians and Body of the Qilin. To compare him to a common person would have been an understatement. Helial had already refined half of the herbs, when he felt something blasting inside his Soul.
Instantly, he thought back to two figures, which overlapped those of his brother and sister. He remembered the black Destruction sphere that the Devil had showed him, and the woman enveloped in golden rays he had seen just after, as shining as the brightest sun. The principles of Life and Destruction in those two figures overlapped those of Hades and Lumia. The result was breathtaking.
Suddenly, the essences of the Herb of the Nine Deaths and the Root of the Sacred Phoenix rushed with great speed through his Meridians, flooding them with Mana as he had never experienced before.
Helial felt that his Meridians were about to rip up. They did, but they regenerated instantly, with a renewed resilience thanks to the principles of Life and Destruction contained in the herbs' essence.
No more than two hours had gone by when Helial finished absorbing the last drops of the herbs' essence. He pulled on his clothes and let his voice echo out inside his Soul.
"Looks like it worked."
"It did," the Devil said laconically. He was sitting at one end of the table and stared at the opposite end with a faraway look in his eyes and a lump in his throat.
Helial didn't pay much attention to the Devil's tone and stretched his hands outwards, evoking all the Mana gathered inside his body and making it flow through his Meridians.
The principles of Life and Destruction that flowed inside his Mana were now markedly thicker. He had acquired a deeper knowledge on those mysterious energies. Most likely he had achieved the best results when the figures of the Devil and the mysterious woman had overlapped those of Hades and Lumia. Despite the overlapping, though, the figures had not melted. There still was a difference.
Helial sat back down and tried to meditate calmly. He recalled that feeling and let it flow inside of him. He separated Lumia and Hades' images from the energies showed him by the Devil. "They won't blend in…"
After several hours of meditation, when the sun was about to shine its first ray, Helial stood up and pulled out a few books and scrolls.
"I studied the basic Runes, but I can't decipher this scroll. I need to know its content to acquire the Class of Rune Warrior. I grasped almost everything, except for how I should train. Even if I have to be in First Phase to pick a Class, I can already start training. I only need to know how. There's something I can't get…"
The Devil raised an eyebrow and said, sardonically: "Haven't you read all the books on Runes in the Royal Library?"
Helial slowly nodded before answering: "And I still can't see why this scroll says I have to condense Runes on my body…"
"So you're saying you didn't grasp the main principle? Kyeheheheh. Runes are Mana catalyzers. They amply some Skills' effect. Since Runes are made of Mana, Runes Warriors condense Runes on their body before fighting. Once condensed, each Rune can be used only once. On a long fighting, this Class would be in disadvantage, but in the short term it's no doubt one of the most powerful Classes. Plus, an amplified Skill is unpredictable. You have a thousand ways to take your opponent aback."
Helial's gaze grew darker. He didn't look much convinced by that fighting style. He started pondering.
The Devil smiled maliciously and said: "I know what you're thinking."
Helial's gaze became as withering as the Devil's as he asked: "Do you think it's possible?"
The Devil smiled back at him with his same evilness and burst into laughter: "Kyeheheheh, let's find out."
Nation of Fiercelake, Capital
In the middle of a hall, enveloped in a purplish drape, a young man was sitting on a throne. A dozen of people stood in front of him.
A dark shadow stepped forward.
It was the Assassin who had delivered Curse of the Demon to Helial.
"Boss, did you get why the boy isn't under the curse?"
One of the arms of the thrones exploded, scaring the crap out of the Assassin. Even though he was in the Fifth Phase as well and his talent overtopped all regular standards, the monster before him would have defeated them even if they had attacked him altogether.
"Something went wrong. To give him that sword was already risky enough. Not even an Immortal could remove that Curse…"
"What are we gonna do?" the Assassin asked with his eyebrows knitted.
"Nothing, Jack, that's what we're gonna do. If we laid a finger on him or his sister, we would cause a diplomatic incident before due time. A time will come when we won't need even to lift a finger. Orma will be their grave. It will happen so fast that they won't even know to be dead."
Orma, Throne Room
Caesar's icy glare was planted on the little girl standing before him. "Why did you condense a Brown Mana Seed?"
Lumia looked at the King of Orma in the eyes: "I have an Affinity for Earth. It's the best choice."
Caesar felt a huge headache. That girl wouldn't listen to him. Despite all his attempts to convince her that she should create the strongest Mana Seed possible, she had deliberately grown it into a Brown Mana Seed.
Caesar shook his head helplessly. "So are you sure you don't want to learn any Offensive Skills?"
Lumia shook her head vigorously: "I aim to protect people instead of killing them."
Caesar gave her a puzzled look. Suddenly, he dematerialized to reappear an inch away from Lumia's face. "Do you know you own a terribly violent Mana, little girl? You clearly show an inclination towards the forces of Destruction. Still, you insist on learning Skills that tend towards Life, at least those in the branch of Earth. Are you aware you are choosing Support Skills over a future as a valiant warrior?"
The news didn't seem to upset Lumia in the slightest. She slowly nodded. "I am. But I aim to stand by my brother forever. How could I touch him if I was busy wielding weapons? I want to be his support, not a burden."
Caesar pondered over her words solemnly. After a long silence, he gave a sigh and said: "Show me what you can do."
Knowledge Grade: Earth is Life
Forms a shield as resistant as the user's Mana.
1000 Defense/200 MP
Sometimes, sheltering is better than assault.
Lumia began to make Mana flow throughout her Meridians and evoked a huge translucent Mana shield of the same color as topsoil. Caesar nodded in satisfaction. "Let's see."
Caesar tapped his finger on the shield. It didn't move. The King wore a pleased expression.
"Strong enough to resist the attack of a First Phase Late stage practitioner."
"Second Phase Early stage. Still strong enough," said Caesar after tapping his finger once again.
"Second Phase Intermediate stage."
"Second Phase Late stage."
Crack Crack Crack
A web of cracks spread over the shield and Caesar furrowed his eyebrows.
"How much Mana did you use?"
"30% of my overall Mana," said Lumia, slightly disappointed by her shield.
Caesar pondered over her words attentively. Lumia wasn't even in the First Phase, and yet she had evoked a powerful shield whose principles of Earth seemed to go quite deeper than usual.
What Caesar didn't know was that Lumia had followed her brother's instructions, told him by the Devil. Therefore, despite Lumia's Skill wasn't that powerful, her Knowledge Grade and its inner principles were already at a very high level.
The Devil was gazing at Helial from close up. With a distressed frown, he watched him suffer while the Herb of the Nine Deaths and the Root of the Sacred Phoenix flowed their way through his Meridians.