Chapter 11 – Growth of the Heroes (3)
It was classified as an ancient magic. It was a great magic that was representative of spells that were very troublesome to activate and maintain.
If one wanted to activate this magic, one needed souls and bodies that had similar mana pattern, skills and special characteristics. The resonance created allowed them to easily identify each other’s intent. Moreover, if one of them died, all the power within its soul and body would be transferred to the others through the link.
In theory, if one killed the parts linked to the whole, the overall capability of the group would remain the same.
Up to this point, it sounded as if it was a technique that would allow one to create the strongest organization in this continent. However, the prerequisite of finding beings that were similar in mana pattern, techniques and special characteristics was fiendishly hard. In truth, no one was able to activate such magic throughout history.
Even if one was successful in activating it, there would be a horrific penalty if the will of one was slightly out out of sync with the others. It would cancel the magic spell, and the horrible side effects would be shared by all. This was why this spell was designated as a forbidden spell throughout this continent. It was simply labeled as being an insane magic.
[Do this fair and square!]
[I want to be of help to my comrade, but I am unable to do that!]
These mad Skeletons had been linked through the forbidden spell. He never expected to find such a secret technique being used in a Dungeon placed in the countryside. Artpe was extremely shocked.
“Maetel! They can recover from broken bones, so I want you to completely crush their arms and legs! I want you to avoid killing them at all costs!”
“Understood! Eh-eet! Eh-eeeet!”
Of course, he was taken aback by all of this, but he was able to keep his shock separate from what was going on in the battle.
The most important trait for the Demon King army’s Four was composure! The second most important trait was also composure! The best way to maintain composure was to go through all the scenarios beforehand. One had to think about what had yet to occur, and the consequences of each scenario. Composure was for those who planned ahead!
First, Artpe and Maetel made it impossible for the three Skeletons to move. After taking care of them, they confronted the five Skeletons running towards them.
“Bring it on!”
[Damn it! They aren’t doing the trial in a fair manner…]
“Huh? Five Skeletons gathered here to attack two children. I’m having a hard time taking those words seriously when it is coming from you guys.”
The Skeletons looked taken aback when they saw their comrades roll around the floor in a pitiful state. However, they couldn’t do anything for them. The Record Link’s biggest restriction was the inability to attack one’s comrades.
“If we leave them in a state where they can’t die, we can block them from strengthening themselves. If we hadn’t known Record Link was being used, we would have been screwed. However, all tactical magic is useless in front of my Read All Creation ability!”
“As expected, Artpe is amazing!”
“You guys are almost past level 50, yet you are attacking us as a group! I don’t want to hear such words from you guys!”
The Skeletons had never expected two children under level 30 to have defeated the Elite Skeleton Warrior! Still, how could they start such a test in a ruthless manner! Which country’s customs were they following!
Artpe followed two cherished rules. First, he strove for tranquility. Secondly, he strove for survival. It was already much too late to follow his first rule. This was why he wouldn’t hesitate to cheat for survival!
“You have to cancel your buff before you run out of Mana! Control your emotions!”
She boosted her emotions to activate the strengthening option provided by the gauntlet. This was why she sounded more strained than usual.
Of course, it would be impossible for her to fight straight up against the level 50 Skeletons. It was self-evident that the buff from the gauntlet was allowing her to do so…..
‘She’s really amped up. Will she able to terminate the buff when needed? If not…..’
One had to always keep in mind that Mana was being consumed to maintain the buff. If one wasn’t able to calm one’s heart, the buff would remain active until one’s Mana ran out. When one was out of Mana, it started to consume one’s stamina. This was the reason why emotion type buffs were dangerous and tricky. If one overdid it, the buff could cause the user’s death.
It wouldn’t even be funny if the heroes died in such a trivial place. Artpe checked that more Skeletons were coming towards them. He hardened his resolve as he extended his Mana Thread. The only spell he possessed was Hyper Rubbing, and he had to get out of this danger by using what he possessed.
“I’ve taken down two of them!”
“You are beating them to the inch of their lives to make them incapable of battle. Let’s coin a name for this action. Let us say we are shagging them. So you shagged two of them.”
“I shagged three! No, I shagged four!”
The struggles of the heroes had reached incredible heights! Artpe grabbed onto the leather strap as he sent the shield flying towards all directions. He inflicted the curse on the new Skeletons, who were trying to join the ongoing battle. Artpe had infused his power of Mana into the strap, so the tensile strength of the strap was high. He was also able to extend the length of the strap, so he didn’t need to worry about losing the shield!
“This isn’t magic. It feels like I’m in a circus…. Shit.”
Still, the actual number of enemies unable to recklessly attack Maetel had grown to a significant number. The most surprising fact about shield’s curse was the fact that it could be ‘stacked’. The speed of the Skeleton became noticeably slower when it was hit multiple times with the shield. Their slow speed meant they were being taken down quickly.
Artpe started to revise his opinion. Maybe the biggest treasure left behind by the Skeleton Warrior wasn’t the gauntlet or the bastard sword. It might be the shield. This was also why the Skeletons refused to acknowledge Artpe as a ‘challenger’ for their test.
[You are a coward, who hides behind a woman! We should kill such a male first!]
[He doesn’t have the right to take this test! Punish him! Punish him!]
“Noooooooobody will lay a finger on Artpe!”
Ah, they were screwed. Maetel was supposed to calm herself down, but their words made her emotions spiral out of control!
She possessed supreme talent. She possessed a superior body compared to beings of same level as her. She possessed an overwhelming amount of magical energy compared to others. Still, it would be dangerous for her to maintain her buff at this pace.
Despite this fact, she bravely leapt around as she took down the Skeletons….
‘She won’t be able to last long…. Her ability is great, but she’s committing all the common mistakes committed by beginner users.’
Her immature nature right now suited the hero’s personality, but she was with him now. Artpe wouldn’t allow were to act in such naive manner. However, there were too many Skeletons running towards them from the other side of the hallway. He didn’t have the time to lecture her.
The next best option was to make sure her Mana didn’t run out. This would prevent the buff’s side effect from manifesting within her.
So what was his options? Mana potion?
Unfortunately, this Dungeon didn’t drop expensive potions that would allow her to recover her Mana.
What about Mana recovery herb? Of course, there were rare cases where Mana herb grew in the corners of a Dungeon. However, this Dungeon hadn’t had any.
This meant that he had to consider his last option. It was Mana transfer. Artpe was overflowing with Mana.(He possessed Magical talent that would never be seen again in the human race. His body was ridiculous.) He just had to find a way to transfer it to Maetel.
This would allow Maetel to maintain her buff, and he wouldn’t have to waste Mana on a spell like Hyper Rubbing. Of course, if this was easily done, he would have done it already.
‘There are magic that allows one to transfer Mana to others, but I haven’t learned those spells yet.’
In the end, he would have to directly control his Mana to be able to inject it into Maetel. At this rate, Artpe might develop a new Mana Control Class never before seen in history. As he mulled over the new questions about his own identity, he grabbed a Mana Thread with his free hand. His other hand was holding onto the leather strap of the shield.
“Maetel! I want you to decrease your movement radius!”
“All right! I shagged two!”
Maetel shouted with great vigor. She swung her bastard sword as it impacted three Skeletons. Their bodies were severely damaged. It made one think that they would be better off dead. In a short amount of time, she had quickly gotten used to using the bastard sword. This truth was self evident.
Artpe shot out his Mana Thread towards Maetel, and it gently touched her shoulder. Artpe had never tried Mana transfer before, so he focused his mind as he tried to inject his Mana into her. Sure enough, the Mana wasn’t easily absorbed by Maetel. It dissipated in the middle of the process.
He had delivered Mana to Maetel, but it hadn’t bolstered her Mana reserve. His magical energy had basically gave her a shoulder massage!
“I shagged three again! Eh-hee hee. You are tickling me, Artpe.”
“Stop liking it so much. You are annoying me.”
Artpe continuously threw and received his shield with one hand. (He didn’t know the cause behind it, but once the shield returned, it was sent out at a higher speed and strength than the previous throw. He was coming close to taking down as many enemies as Maetel.) He used his other hand to continuously send the Mana Thread towards Maetel.
Fail, fail and fail.
If things progressed as is, he wouldn’t become more proficient at Mana transfer. He would become more proficient at giving Maetel a massage!
“Artpe is really amazing!”
“The fact that your heart is always in the right place makes this much more annoying!”
He couldn’t waste his Mana like this.
Would it be more advantageous to take down the Skeletons using Hyper Rubbing?
Artpe was having such thoughts as he turned his head. The number of broken Skeletons were rising. There were almost 50 of them. It was at this moment when he realized something. The more shocking news was that over 20 Skeletons had appeared once again at the end of the hall!
“What the heck! You guys should just come at us all at once!”
[I’m coming for you.]
[I’m also coming for you.]
[We are coming for you.]
It was as if they had been waiting for Artpe’s words. He watched as the Skeletons surged towards him. When he confirmed this sight, he politely took back his words.
“No. Don’t come here. You don’t have to come toward us.”
[We’ll take up our bows to kill the coward!]
“Koo-ooh…. I won’t lose! I’ll protect Artpe!”
Skeletons, who were able to attack from a distance, had appeared. It was a sufficiently demoralizing sight. To add insult to injury, Maetel’s Mana was starting to show signs of running out! A good amount of red light was starting to emanate in vaporous form from her body. It was evidence that the skill was consuming her stamina instead of her magical energy.
“You are going to kill yourself, Maetel! You idiot!”
“I’ll end this soon. I’ll end all of them. I won’t allow any of you to approach Artpe!”
[You cannot differentiate between bravery and foolhardiness. You aren’t qualified to be a hero either.]
[You are unqualified. An unqualified person cannot leave this test alive.]
[It has been a long time since anyone had challenged us. It makes us happy, but we have to do our work.]
“Maetel! Eeek! I told you to stop, Maetel!”
Artpe kept yelling at Maetel to cancel her buff, but Maetel wasn’t showing any signs of letting up. In truth, her actions weren’t wrong. Her level hadn’t risen, and the gauntlet’s buff was the only reason why she was able to fight head on with the Skeletons!
When the buff ended, it would be the end for the the two of them. Instead of retreating, they had chosen to go forward. They had acted with reckless bravado.
‘Shit. This won’t do. I can’t transfer my Mana to her. Moreover, it would be foolhardy to expect her to learn Mana Drain or Stamina Drain as if it was a miracle…. Fuck these inflexible Skeletons. What shall I do…. Uh?’
This was the moment when he found a clue that would help him solve this situation. He hadn’t discovered anything new, but he caught sight of the Record Link’s Mana stem connecting the Skeletons. It was the cause of their current troubles, and he suddenly saw it in new light.
‘The Record Link is a spell that synchronizes everything. Of course, this spell moves towards completion as the members of the Record Link is killed. Isn’t the activation method of this spell what I’m trying to accomplish?’
He had a moment of enlightenment. Of course, this was possible only because Artpe had a cheat-like ability called the Read All Creation. Artpe had to get out of this ridiculous situation, and his brain moved in a flexible manner to come up with a solution.
‘If I do this right, I’ll be able to do it.’
The main idea behind the Record Link was a connection established using a specific resonance frequency. There was a big commanality between Artpe and Maetel that could be used as a medium. They were the only two people in the world, who had the Hero Class. This was something they shared between the two of them.
‘The Hero Class is an intrinsic characteristic that trumps all others. It’s possible. I’ll be able to do this..’
Artpe’s eyes were shining brightly. At that moment, he realized he had learned a new magic.
He had thought acquiring skills, which was incongruent with one’s level, was something only a genius like Maetel was allowed to do. However, he had been wrong. He wasn’t sure if his prior knowledge and observations helped in the process, but Artpe was able to join Maetel’s company as being someone capable of creating new skills!
“Maetel! Your senses might expand a little bit, and your Mana will become amplified. Stay focused!”
As expected, her answer was alway cheerful. She was well aware of the fact that her stamina was being consumed right now, but she refused to end her buff. Maetel was still bravely fighting off dozens of Skeletons.
Artpe was blocking the long range attacks using his shield, but if the situation remained the same, the two of them would be wiped out. He could guarantee it. He had to use his magic before it was too late.
“We are connected by traveling the same road. Reveal the line that connects us. Our sights view the same enemies. My rage shall become her rage, and it shall descend.”
[The coward is trying to use a weird trick once again.]
[We have to stop him. We have to stop him, but….]
“Artpe…. You can’t touch him…..!”
Her anger kept rising everytime the Skeletons tried to aim for Artpe. Now it just took them mentioning Artpe’s name to set her off. Her eyes were raised sharply, and she was more scarier than an evil spirit as she swung her sword.
There was a red fog emanating from her entire body now. She wasn’t just consuming her Stamina anymore. She had learned a skill that was deadly and horrifying compared to all the Skills she had learned up until now.
[Level : 32]
‘Somehow I had a feeling she would… In the end, she learned the Berserk skill.’
It was an emblematic skill used by the Berserkers. It was the worst type of mental skill one could learn. The Berserk skill would make one kill everyone. It didn’t matter if one was an ally or a foe.
There was no level restriction in learning it, and it didn’t exist in the form of a Skill Book. The user had to fulfill requirement that were close to being diabolical to be able to learn it. This was why it was very rare to see it in action, yet Maetel had just learned it.
The Bone Gauntlet boosted the strength of the user as the user’s emotions was raised. The Berserk skill dealt with a single emotion called rage. It increased one’s attack by decreasing one’s defense. It was a very rare self-buff skill. Of course, the side effect was so much worse than the ones given by the bone gauntlet. It was so severe that it made one shudder.
“You’ll be fine even with that skill. Link the Mana!”
At that moment, Artpe finally completed his spell. This particular Mana Thread was very fine. One couldn’t even draw a comparison with the Mana Threads he had created before. This thread was letting out the five cardinal colors, and it created a direct line between Artpe’s heart and Maetel’s heart. The Skeletons couldn’t prevent the connection from forming.
In the next moment, Maetel spoke in a peculiar voice. Artpe smiled when he confirmed that his magic had worked. The Skeletons shook when they saw the change in her spirit. They held an overwhelming number advantage, yet they started to slowly retreat.
“Artpe….is the best.”
Maetel mumbled her words. Artpe’s overflowing Mana was being poured into Maetel’s body in its entirety.
The stamina that had already been consumed did not recover, but her body was granted an extreme amount of Mana that her body wasn’t allowed to possess at this stage. Her body temporarily took the next step forward.
[That person stole our secret technique.]
[No, that is…. It might be superior than our technique.]
[My god…. They are true heroes.]
[They are qualified to be heroes! They are brilliantly proving this fact!]
“Even if you acknowledge us now, you are too late.”
Maetel raised her head, and her eyes were sparkling. She hunched forward. All the muscles in her body was tense. She looked like a panther about to pounce it prey. The powerful magical energy and the overwhelming power of the Berserk Skill reconciled with each other to surround her entire body.
“I won’t let you all run away!”
It was hard to call what happened next as a battle. It would be more appropriate to say they were hunted down by her.