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galaxyspark, March 24th, 2019, 12:22 pm ( Reply )

Interlude 22.2 - As Mari's spell centered over his shoulder wound, Caldwell felt that familiar sense of warmth that comes with healing magic. He'd had injuries healed in the past: by his dad when he was a kid, by Ludo when he'd gotten into bad scrapes. But Mari's healing seemed more intense, somehow. It was more than a little embarassing. So instead of just sitting as still as he could and letting the spell do its work, he spoke up.

"Your, uh, your healing's as good as your protection spells." he stammered, suppressing the nervous urge to adjust his glasses.

Mari, who up until this point had done an admirable job hiding her discomfort, shook her head and blushed just a bit. "Th-that's not true. If my protection spell was worth anything you wouldn't have been hurt like this."

"C'mon, your protection spell is the only reason I wasn't ripped in half. They did this much even with it protecting me, and those things were way stronger than anything I've faced before. So if anything, your spell holding up means your casting is really top notch."

"Oh... well, thank you. But even so, I wasn't any help during the actual battle. I was so scared that I ended up huddled against a boulder with a shield spell, and the harpies left me alone."

"Hey it turned out in the end, so don't feel bad. Sheesh, I mean, my heart is still pounding from how scared I was. We're all out of our element here." said Caldwell. Mari didn't respond, but pressed her hand a little more firmly against Caldwell's wound as it healed up. The pain receded, and was replaced by a pleasant numbness.

"All of us except for Sil. I couldn't believe that last thing he did... it felt like I blinked, and the harpies were all cut up." said Mari.

"Yeah, he's the real deal. I'd hate to be on the other side of that attack."

Caldwell had seen that technique once before, from hundreds of feet away up in the stands of the Colosseo. Even at that distance, it had seemed like a gap of time was erased between when Sil drew his sword, and when the attack landed. Bram had theorized it must be a High Magic spell, and having been so close to it this second time, Caldwell wanted to agree.

There wasn't any other way to explain it. Despite the violent winds whipping all around, he'd felt his skin prickle as the dark wave coming from Sil had enveloped him in an instant. But then, before his mind could fully process the feeling, it was over; Like the seconds inbetween had vanished. It was far more terrifying of a skill to witness from this close.

He opened his mouth to comment on it, but saw that Mari's eyes were closed as she focused on completing her spell. Still anxious, but not wanting to interrupt any further, he sat quietly and let his mind begin to wander.

'Is this really alright? Sil was able to finish that fight thanks to his special ability... but without some quick thinking, we all could've died. We came that close to it, and this is only the first set of monsters we've encountered here.'

'Monsters are usually around the same level of strength distributed throughout a dungeon, with a few exceptions. So we can reasonably assume the other battles are going to be as deadly as this one. If it's a monster Sil can't harm, or an ambusher, or a strong spellcaster...'

'No, I can't get into what-ifs. Stay focused. There's no sign of a rift around here, so we'll just have to keep fighting until we find a spot that will let us escape. And we'll have to pray to the goddess that it's a fight we can win.'

Despite himself, he let out a dejected sigh. There was a jab of pain from his shoulder as he did, and he reflexively winced.

"Hey," said Mari, her cheeks still red as she tried to put on an authoritative face. "No sighing, ok? We'll... we'll get out of this." she mumbled. "The goddess brought us all here for a reason, and she won't just lead us to our deaths. And b-besides that you should stay still, or I might heal this wrong. You wouldn't want any scars. So, no sighing."

Caldwell smiled, despite himself. "Right."

A short distance away, the other three were chatting together in excited tones. They were smiling, and relieved as the tension of battle continued to fade. The feeling amongst the group was still tense, of course, and the pressure of the dungeon was weighing on all of them, but having eked out a victory left them feeling just a bit more encouraged. Sil in particular was brimming with an energy that Caldwell hadn't seen before.

'Oh right, Dungeonkin feel more at home in dungeons, don't they? And they feel the dungeon pressure differently than us, Sophia said something along those lines I think... It's Sil's first time in one, so I guess he must be feeling the rush.'

Caldwell then glanced down at the Spellcaster, which was dormant now that the battle had ended. Smoke had stopped pouring from it just a bit ago, but the tracking spell that looked like a cat was still stuck to it.

"There, your shoulder should be all good. Now let me see your arm." She took it in her hand, and soon the healing glow enveloped it. "Hmm, this one's not as bad. It shouldn't take too long."

Caldwell was still looking at the Spellcaster pensively. "Is your weapon... broken?" asked Mari. Caldwell shook his head.

"No, I don't think so. At least, I hope it's not." he responded. "I haven't had a chance to properly test it, so I'm still figuring out how it works. It's a lot like other magic items, like wands or staves, but most of its functions are based in alchemy instead. I think I have an idea on what happened during the fight. I was the one who drafted the initial design, which included an essence limiter, but now I think my dad must have implemented a second limiter in place as well."

"Limiter...?" said Mari, her brows coming together slightly in confusion.

"It's a basic part of alchemy, y'know? The transfer of energy. When essence passes through the Spellcaster, it goes into the orihalcon core and becomes amplified in power up to a level set by the limiter, before passing through the catalyst and producing an effect. That part's simple. But if that's all it did, then the excess energy buffered against the limiter would eventually overload the magic circuit and damage the system. The whole thing might explode... like some of my earlier models."

"I think there's a maximum amount of energy that can pass through the Spellcaster in a set period of time before it automatically stops working, and vents the rest of that energy as smoke."

"If we assume that each spell type uses a certain amount of energy, then it becomes clearer." said Caldwell, now in alchemical research mode. "Type 1, rapid fire, uses 1 'block' of energy. Type 2, sphere type, uses 2 blocks. Type 3, beam type, uses 3 blocks. And Type 4, well, I guess I haven't tried it yet, so who knows."

Mari was already lost, but was still politely listening to him and nodding.

"In my first battle using it, against that chimera, I used the first three spell types once, for a total of 6 energy blocks. It didn't vent any smoke back then. In this fight, I used Type 3 twice, also for a total of 6 energy blocks, but then tried to use Type 3 a third time, which must have tripped the limiter and prevented the Spellcaster from overheating."

"It's a genius design method, honestly. It preserves all the parts of the weapon while allowing for the maximum possible damage output. I just got carried away thinking it was some invincible super weapon. Now the only question left is..." he said, flipping the weapon over and looking at the type setting dial. "What's going to happen when I use Type 4...?"

"All done." said Mari, quickly pulling her hand away. "Um, it wasn't as bad as it could've been, but you should still get it looked at when we get back, ok?"


'When we get back.' thought Caldwell, standing up. Mari was such an optimistic person that that "when" was the natural thing to say, rather than "if".

"I'm glad you're here, Mari." said Caldwell, smiling. Mari instantly became flustered, blushing scarlet and raising her staff in both hands in front of her.

"Wh- I mean, thank you, but let's just, um, focus on moving ahead, ok? And don't get hurt any more, so I won't have to heal you again, ok??" she stammered.

His shoulder was a little sore, but the healing was flawless. All told he could've made out much worse. The harpy's talons had torn straight through his favorite scarf, which was the real tragedy here. He mourned silently for a moment, then gathered himself.

"Everyone, are we good to go?" he asked to the group.

"I think so, boss!" said Lynne, saluting.


"You gave such good orders in that fight that I wanna call you boss, boss!"

"Uh... fine, whatever." said Caldwell, shifting uncomfortably. Was this adventure just going to be a series of embarassing moments? Blundering into this dungeon, failing to kill the harpy on his first attack, having a girl like Mari tend to him so closely... at this rate he'd die of embarassment before any monsters could get to him.

"This dungeon..." said Bram as he hefted his spellbook. "It's gotta be B rank. Monsters don't employ those kind of group tactics in C rank dungeons. I'm sure that after that hurricane spell finished, the other harpies would have swooped back in to mop us up. We're lucky we ended the fight when we did."

"B rank..." Caldwell felt another jolt of fear down his spine. There was a lot more to rank designations than just a single letter increment. The difference between C and B rank was the difference between a fresh faced newbie adventurer and a well trained, well equipped wizard. In theory, a group of C rank adventurers somehow ending up in a B rank dungeon should be an absolute death sentence. The concept held water; without Sil, who was unranked but extremely skilled, they would have had no way to finish off the harpies and the harpy shaman's hurricane spell.

"We've got a few tricks up our sleeves, at least. Maybe we can get by regardless." said Bram dryly. "Which by the way, I gotta ask, what in the world is that weapon, Cal? Did I hear you right back in the sewer that there's orihalcon in there?"

"That's right." said Caldwell. "It's not a prototype any more-" Lynne rushed over to him, elated, and grabbed his arm.

"Uwaaaah Orihalcon, is it true?! You gotta show me, please! Please! It's a dream for a blacksmith like me to get to work with Orihalcon and I've never seen any before-"

"Hey hey hey, calm down. Maybe uh... after we get outta here, ok? I dont want to mess with the circuit before then." said Caldwell, doing his best to shake off the taller girl. "Bram, It's a gift from my dad but the original design is mine. It's the final version of the battle alchemy concept I had with the alchemic staff. Though I'm still, uh, working out a few kinks in its operation."

"But the thing was strong enough to smoke a B rank harpy." said Bram. "That's some serious firepower. My spells didn't even make the thing flinch, I'd have to bust out something serious like my White Fire Lance to do what you did."

"Really...?" said Caldwell. He had felt that rush of adrenaline at slaying the harpy in the battle, but hadn't stopped to consider the implications until just now. He knew it had to be thanks to the pure orihalcon core. After all, a crystal of that size and purity was only something to be found from A rank, or possibly AA rank dungeons and monsters.

'Dad... where the hell did you get this from...?' he thought absently.

"If all is well then let us be off." said Sil, still showing his sharp teeth in a big smile. "We must ride the high of this victory on into the next."

"Right." said Caldwell. "Now that we know what to expect, maybe we can be a little better prepared." He didn't really believe it even as he said it, but just saying it out loud made him feel a little more confident regardless. The truth was, there was no knowing what danger lay in store. "Everyone stay alert. C'mon, lets go."

And with that, they resumed their walk up the mountain path.

Advertisement, November 13th, 2019, 2:22 pm ( Reply )


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Smol kitty please stay and become a cameo,,,,,,

posted by WiispNightmare on March 24th, 2019, 1:33 pm

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Just caught up from waiting for you to post and I have to say I love the excerpt parts. It adds a lot of detail we don't normally get, and there's a lot of inner voices we can really enjoy!

posted by ditto08 on September 15th, 2019, 3:42 am

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