The Reincarnation of Alysara - Chapter 215:
“What guarantee do I have that you’ll continue to be on my side?” I ask, “Won’t you get my memories anyway?”
“The deal was for your memories of your past life and the time you spent in the void, but not anything after that. And besides, Venaro would hoard that knowledge for himself. Your knowledge has the potential to be worth more than your soul.” Urolon pauses to let his words sink in.
“You are a crafter; you know that knowledge allows one to go much further in their craft and bring out the maximum potential of the materials used. I know that with your knowledge, I will be able to craft far better items. Even if you don’t have the knowledge now, you may have it in the future. You achieved all this in under twenty years, so how much will you have discovered in a thousand? That is your guarantee that I will stay on your side.”
In other words, he has far more to gain with what I can teach him in the future. Without me, he can’t forge fabled and mythic items even if he has the materials, and there’s no point in having the materials if he can’t realize their potential.
“So your loyalty buys the secret of magic items, but what are you willing to trade for my knowledge of mana, magic, or certain crafting methods I’ve developed?” I ask, adopting a trader role with [Acting].
Urolon raises an eyebrow with a slight grin. “Alright, I’ll play along. I have several legendary materials that you’ll surely find interest in. Also, what other methods of crafting have you developed?”
Is it wise to trade for legendary materials? I might be able to make a legendary item, but what if I don’t? It would be a waste in that case. So I should ask for something more permanent, something like knowledge. Knowledge is power, so trading knowledge for more knowledge is better to ensure I get the full value of this trade.
He has a Class on souls, so he most likely has [Sense Soul], if not the enhanced version. Also, he, and the other gods, live in the void, so they must have some knowledge of how to get there, so asking for knowledge of space is another possibility. However, the one thing I should ask for, if anything, is information on [Sense Divinity]. That is my one weakness, the one thing related to mana that I can’t yet see, I don’t know if it’s even possible for me to get it.
I am hyper-specialized in mana when it comes to crafting. However, Urolon clearly shows that that is not the only way to get very powerful items and that there are some things that I may be doing wrong.
“Technology.” I answer Urolon’s question. “Airship technology, mana-based technology, things like that. As for what you have, I am more interested in what you know about divinity and [Sense Divinity] as well as your methodology in crafting.”
“You should know a lot about divinity by now, right? Why ask for it in trade?” Urolon asks.
He’s fishing for information; thankfully, the Lunaley prepared me for this since they always seem to be doing that.
“What does that matter to you?” I counter.
“It matters because if you somehow have a different enhanced version, then we both would benefit from that knowledge.”
He’s saying that we both benefit, but he would clearly benefit more; I won’t fall for his tricks.
“[Sense Divinity] for information on magic, and your methodology for information on mana. Deal?” I ask, pressing the deal.
Urolon crosses his arms defiantly. “[Sense Divinity] for information on both Mana and Magic. I already know a lot about mana, so it’s worth less to me.”
I hold my poker face, but that doesn’t help. He knows I want information on [Sense Divinity], and he can probably guess that I don’t have it, so he’s leveraging that fact. Unlike my deals with the Lunaley, I don’t have all the leverage, and the thing he really wants, he’s buying with loyalty which gives him a lot more leverage over me.
Is there anything I have to even the odds? There are inscriptions, but my research on them is still in its infancy; there’s just not enough to make a big trade for. If not that, then what else? Primordial Mana? Ritual Mana?
Hold on, if [Sense Divinity] is enhanced from [Sense Mana], then why should he care for information on mana? Shouldn’t he already know? Or perhaps he thinks I know more than him?
“I think Information on the, normally, impossible forms of mana is at least equal to your crafting methodology, if not equal to [Sense Divinity],” I say, teasing his curiosity.
“Impossible forms?” Urolon asks, quirking an eyebrow but keeping his stalwart stance.
“Alien mana, Ritual Mana,” I gauge his reaction, but whether or not he knows, he’s keeping a trained expression. “and Primordial Mana all the way back from the First Age” Urolons face twitches slightly, and I can see greed in his eyes now.
“Oh? Tell me about it; why is it worth so much?”
I nod toward Kayafe. “It took our combined power and the aid of the Mana Arc to create. We estimate it requires a skill level of at least two thousand, and that’s factoring in our titles. It’s at least high legendary if not low fabled equivalent.”
“What’s your knowledge level for it?” Urolon asks.
“Two, for now, but after a few weeks of study, at least five.”
“Very well, throw in a sample the size of a two-kilogram iron ingot and the chance to study alongside you until you get five knowledge levels, and I’ll offer [Sense Divinity] for it.”
He’s asking for about twice what I used for the sword spear.
“Too much, it’s really difficult to make, plus that is asking for the use of the Mana Arc as well as Kayafe’s service in addition to mine. Eight-tenths of a Kilogram-sized iron ingot is what we can offer.”
Urolon frowns. He expected a lower counteroffer but not one below half his offer.
I shake my head. “You underestimate just how hard it is to produce; it took us most of the day to produce that much”
“Very well,” Urolon sighs with resignation. “I accept your deal of a sample of Primordial mana equal to eight-tenths of a Kilogram sized iron ingot, the opportunity to study it alongside you, and information on what you know of mana for what I know of Divinity and [Sense Divinity].”
“Just one clarification,” I say. “You do have [Sense Divinity], right?”
“Then onto the next trade. Knowledge of magic for your crafting methodology.”
“That I can agree on,” Urolon says. “So, about that mana technology you mentioned…”
“To be honest, the technology is still in its infancy, but I think it’s at least worth unenhanced [Sense Soul] knowledge.”
While Urolon could get ahead of me on Inscription research, something tells me that the immortal being would take longer, if not for the fact it takes him a decade of planning and preparation to get one item made. So I am confident I can get much further.
“We’ll have to see how much it’s worth then; how about showing me an example?”
He’s still trying to get information, but I can show him a poorly efficient inscription, so even if he would steal the technology, he wouldn’t get the best version. Also, he wouldn’t know if there is a better version, so he might not question its ability.
I make a weak inscription that gathers mana. I won’t show him an example of a core inscription.
“Hmm, it looks like a Divine Mark,” Urolon says.
Anything I say can and will be used against me, so I just keep my mouth shut and await his judgment.
“There are other forms of this technology?” Urolon asks.
“Then I will trade you one breakthrough for each form of this… what do you call it?”
“Inscriptions. That sounds fair, but three breakthroughs will be for my current knowledge on how it works.”
“Two,” Urlon counter offers. “You said it yourself; the technology is still early in development, and there are probably things you don’t yet know.”
I really only know three inscriptions. The mana gathering, the Mana transforming, and the mana fusing one. The one I made the First Inscription with is more of a prototype and thus I won’t really count it as one until I know more.
As for the fundamental knowledge, I explain the difference of core and coreless inscription as well as how the forms seem to influence the inscriptions. This is all equivalent to five breakthroughs for [Sense Soul], and after forming a journal with those breakthroughs out of mana for me, Urolon asks the question that I’ve been anticipating.
“These Inscriptions are definitely based on the Divine Mark, which I assume holds the secret to magic items?”
“Yes,” I answer.
It was better for me to sell inscriptions because they might discover it on their own anyways, since they were already buying information on how magic items are formed.
“What you call the Divine Mark is Apotheosis, the fusion of divinity and magic. They are two parts of the same coin, opposites. They form what I call a Magic Framework, since divinity acts as the framework used to control magic which powers Skills, magic items, and Classes.”
Urolon facepalms. “We were wrong all along. At least I get to rub this in Venaro’s face. So the reason why I can’t make a Fable tiered item is because there isn’t enough magic to power the item?”
“That’s the theory, anyway. I can’t confirm without [Sense Divinity], but it’s what makes sense. Speaking of, You got [Sense Divinity] from [Sense Mana], right? If that’s the case then why did you get that but I got [Sense Magic]?”
“I’ve been wondering that myself,” Kayafe suddenly interjects. “Sorry if I’m interrupting, but I wanted to weigh in since you brought up the topic. What I think determines the enhanced version of [Sense Mana] has something to do with our breakthroughs and knowledge in regards to mana. Alysara and I probably studied magic items and assumed mana is related to magic. Did you discover Bond mana before enhancing the skill, Urolon?”
Urolon adopts a thinking posture, uncrossing his arms and placing a hand on his chin.
“Yes. I was taught by Venaro so I didn’t learn it on my own. We spirits, and many legendary beings, tend to specialize in the Bond. Divine powers may influence our skill enhancement direction if that is indeed the case.”
“Then I want to learn more about divinity,” Kayafe declares. “One; I want to test if I can intentionally enhance [Sense Mana] in a direction I want, and two; if I get [Sense Magic], I’ll just be in Alysara’s shadow.”
It must be hard for Kayafe. She’s lost in time and everything she once knew is gone. The one thing she has, her expertise in [Manipulate Magic], is being overshadowed by my talent in [Sense Magic]. She probably wants to forge her own path anew.
She is still superior as a caster, and she’ll probably continue to be since I am focusing more on my bond and perception, but doesn’t this mean that I should also try to make my own path? Is being a caster, or even Bond mage, right for me? Perception is my thing, the thing I am objectively best at, so shouldn’t I be going in that direction?
Perhaps I should spend a little more time developing my gaze Skill and see what I can do with it.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Lotis and Kyhana, my two apprentices, had finally gotten their first Class. Lotis picked up a crafting Class, built around her wood sculpting art. She has recently begun infusing her arts with a Bond Skill to make a primitive golem. It’s more like she is controlling them like puppets rather than them moving on their own, but I see a lot of potential should she continue down this path.
Kyhana on the other hand is following in my footsteps in both [Sense Mana] and [Manipulate Mana]. She is at the point of weaving mana silk now and has gotten a Class called ‘Student of the Saintess of Mana and Magic.’ It’s apparently a Grand tier Class.
“You should try to evolve your [Impart Instructions] Bond Skill, Lotis,” I advise her. “Imparting minds to your creations should be the next step. Or perhaps develop a skill that turns one of your sculptures into a familiar.”
I summon my own fairy familiar and automated clones for example.
“I can take control of my clones, but they can also operate on their own if I want. The fairy will also act on its own, but it requires instructions. They are intelligent, but not alive. You can do the same thing.”
“It’s just wood though! Wood can’t be smart, that wouldn’t make any sense!” Lotus argues.
This is what’s holding her back. She’s not thinking outside the box… sculpture. Perhaps I should try a different method.
“Then why not make them a brain? Try forming a Bond crystal and attach that to your sculpture, that way they can be smart just like my fairies!”
“Hmm, I guess so?” Lotis holds her hands close together, concentrating her mana between them and using her Bond to compress beauty mana to the point where they’ll crystallize. It’ll take some time to form, but she’ll get better.
Meanwhile, Kyhana is practicing her mana weaving. Any silk she makes she can sell for her own pocket change.
I look at her work, closely examining the mana structure of the weaved silk. It’s still inconsistent and there are several weak points in each thread which means they can break easily. Her work is actually average among mana weavers, but the standard should be higher, especially considering her Class tier.
“You need to maintain a steady focus, Kyhana. Every time you get distracted you make a weak point in your work!” I lecture her.
I pick up a thread and hold each end before snapping it with a tug.
“See how the mana wasn’t fully connected?” I mend the thread and repair the weak points before demonstrating again. “This time, the thread didn’t break, do you know why?”
“W-weak points can’t handle the same amount of stress as everywhere else, so when they are removed, the whole thread distributes the stress over the whole piece.”
“Correct,” I pat Kyhana’s head. “The whole piece experiences the same amount of stress, but when there’s one part that has a lower stress tolerance level, it rips there”
I am simplifying it, of course. Different materials act differently and certain conditions will change things, but this is a basic overarching explanation of material stress. Honestly, I am surprised Kyhana can even follow that much.
They continue practicing until the end of the workday when they return home. I must say that both of my apprentices are quite talented in their own way. Lotis is discovering her own unique craft while Kyhana is smart and able to follow concepts that are quite advanced for someone her age. I know that both of them will be able to do great things if given the chance, and I intend to give them that opportunity.
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