Sunday, December 27, 2015

In that Moment of Suffering Chapter 23 - Impending Crisis

Hi~ Chapter 23 is out. I will be taking next week off to rest and enjoy the time I have left before going back to work. I plan to do a bit of writing, but I doubt it will be enough to have a full chapter completed.



Chapter 23 – Impending Crisis

Several days after dealing with the aftermath of the dungeon incident, Senna stands in an open field far away from town. Senna helped introduce Helen to a job working at the Magic shop. Oller continues to work as an adventurer while trying to find a new permanent party for himself.

Senna sighs looking at her [Status]. She paid for the best Priest in town to help her dispel the Lich King’s ‘Blessing’. However, the magic infused in the blessing proved too strong for the Priest to break. Senna makes several attempts imitating the Priest’s Advanced level [High Purification], but is unable to break the blessing at all. She can only sigh and give up looking at the Lich’s ‘Blessing’.

Lich King’s Blessing
The blessing from a high ranking Lich. The affinity with the undead is much higher than normal. <Dark Magic> will be infused with the power of the undead. After death, there is a high chance of joining the ranks of the undead.

{It’s best I never rely on this.} Senna sighs. She focuses on training to get her mind off of the so called ‘blessing’. Senna holds an extra-large bottle filled with <High Magic Potion> in her mouth.

Senna forms a large block of earth that spans 20 meters in each direction. A barrier of wind completely surrounds the block. Senna controls the earth compressing it into its center. Her mind focuses on heating the block of soil as high as possible with her <Fire Magic>. Chanting, Senna casts <Acceleration> Time magic forcibly speeding up the process. Casting four different spells at once especially without blessings for two spells produces a high strain on Senna. However, she pushes forward aiming to test her limits.

Despite having over 3000 MP, her magic plummets quickly with the high consumption for her <Fire> and <Time> Magic. The burden makes her heavily wish she could get the <Fire Elemental Blessing> to make this endeavor easier and that <Time Magic> didn’t always cost so much magic to maintain. Senna tilts the bottle up drinking some of the potion and restoring most of her magical power.

Senna momentarily releases her <Acceleration> spell and casts <Scan> to examine the block’s core. The entire block of earth is molten red from the high heat. In the very center is the super-heated core shining a bright white speckled by black impurities. She maintains the heat and pressure while manipulating the impurities separating it from the core. Thankfully, she released the <Acceleration> spell or else her mind would overload casting over 5 highly strenuous spells at once. Sweat pours down her face from the excessive loss of magical power. She wipes her face of the excess sweat, but is forced to ignore her clinging clothes soaked in sweat. The residual heat from the block of earth heavily heats her body preventing her from catching a cold.

Taking another drink of the potion, she increases the rate of her <Acceleration> spell to 20 times faster than normal. Heating the core, compressing the block to increase the pressure exerted on the core, removing impurities, and accelerating the standard flow of time on the block are all done simultaneously.  Senna maintains her training for 4 hours changing the <High Magic Potion> in her mouth every two hours. After the 4 hours of rigorous spell casting, Senna dispels the pressure and <Acceleration> spell first. She gradually extracts and stores the heat from the molten red soil. Taking her distance, she decides to allow the heat to disperse from the block without interference.

She immediately collapses to the ground after terminating the remaining spells. Her face is pale white from recovering and using almost 80,000MP over the entire process. Every part of her body aches from the excessive use of magical power. She ignores the pain and forces herself to sleep.

Two hours later, she wakes up feeling extremely lethargic. {Ugh. I wish I could sleep more. It looks like it’s impossible to do this on a regular basis.} Senna glances at the still heated block of earth. She manipulates it again gradually cooling the soil surrounding the core. After another hour of work, Senna finally cools the core to a reasonable temperature. Taking out the condensed core, Senna smiles seeing the shine from the mass of carbon.

Examining it closer for impurities, she is unable to restrain herself from exclaiming. “Yes!! It worked!!!” She jumps around it joy. “After 10 attempts, I finally did it!” Senna slips in her excitement and tumbles to the ground.

Composing herself, she sits up and looks at it again. {I made it too big and the color is off, but I can still use it for a birthday present for Anahid and Mom. I just need to get it crafted.} Putting it away, Senna sits in place staring into the distance. {It’s about time I start thinking about traveling. I’ve put it off long enough. I’m at a level where I shouldn’t need to fear for my survival.} Senna shakes her head. {I should wait a bit longer. If I leave without spending time with Anahid, she will throw a fit. Plus, I only barely finished dealing with the cleanup for the last incident.}

Senna sighs at the thought of her near death encounters. “Hmm?” Senna stands and looks north into the distance. An ill foreboding presses on her mind. Yet, even with her [Hawk Eyes] skill, she does not spot even a single thing several kilometers away. Her [Presence Detection] has maxed out and can give rough details up to ten kilometers away confirming that nothing can be seen in the North. Her common sense tells Senna that she’s just imaging things, but her instincts scream at her to run. She rubs her arms suppressing a shiver. {*Sigh*…No choice. I don’t want to use <Time Magic> after all overworking myself, but it’s the only way to put my mind at ease.}

“<Clairvoyance>!” Senna chants and casts the spell peering into the future. She examines each hour focusing on disturbances in the north direction. Unlike when she used the spell to examine the expedition with Helen, the visions of one or two hours is less garbled compared to information a week from now. The first two hours show no information, but the third hour produces disturbing results. She forcefully cuts the spell after a rough glimpse.

She cups her hands and covers her face as tears run down her cheeks. The sight of the town burning weighs heavily on her mind. Though she cut the vision early, the scene of Anahid being pierced directly through her chest was incredibly unnerving. Wiping her tears, she stands up with determination. “I WON’T ALLOW IT!!” She yells to herself. Senna silently stares at the sight of <Timberharbor> in the distance. Taking a deep breath, she turns charges towards the north.

As she runs, Senna concentrates magic at her fingertip embedding a message onto a sheet of paper. She quickly composes a message. Before she finishes writing, a strongly flashing light appears in the corner of her vision. She looks and sees an urgent message from Ariel. Opening it, the message quickly encompasses her vision.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! DO YOU WANT TO DIE?!

RUN!!!

RUN AWAY NOW!!!

Senna sighs at the panicked message.

Sorry. I have to do this. Thank you for everything.

Senna

Senna writes a quick message to Ariel and sends it. Several more messages arrive surprising her. {Guess she's that desperate to even skip the single monthly message rule.} "Hide all incoming messages from Ariel." The mail notification disappears with her command. {Sorry.}

Senna jumps over a bush while focusing on the messages. She turns and jumps back when she catches sight of several people. Jumping back 10 meters, she lands in front of three young boys. The oldest boy with brown hair looks to be about 8 years old. The other two boys look like they are around 7 years old. One has blonde hair while the other has red hair. "Hi there. What are you boys doing?" Senna crouches down as she speaks with them.

"Wow! Cool! Are you an adventurer?!" The brown haired boy runs up to Senna. He circles around her admiring the mage’s robe that she’s wearing.

The other two boys approach Senna. They don’t circle around her like the brown haired boy, but stare at her with starry eyes. “We’re playing in our secret base.” The blonde haired boy answers. Senna glances behind them and notices some toys hidden under a nearby bush.

“I see~ But isn’t it dangerous to come out here without any adults. There are monsters running around here you know?” Senna asks in a soft tone.

“Please don’t tell! Our parents will get mad at us!” The boy with red hair starts to tear up.

“Hmph. I’m not afraid of any monsters! I’m going to be the best adventurer in the world!” The brown hair boy proclaims puffing out his chest. “Hey big sis! Are you a mage? Can you show us some magic?”

“I’m sorry. I’m a bit busy.” Senna gives a strained smile. Giving the three boys a second look, an idea pops into her mind. “Actually… since you boys are here. How about I ask you three future adventurers to do an important job for me?”

“Really?! Leave it to me!” The brown haired boy thumps his chest.

“Is it really okay?” The red haired boy asks with a worried look.

“Can we really help?” The blonde haired boy asks with an eager smile.

“Yep. Listen.” Senna pulls out paper she was writing. “Big sis and her friends were supposed to go out and fight a really strong monster. But they slept in and are really late. I need to go to the guild and ask for someone to come and help me, but I have to stay and make sure the monster doesn’t come attack the town. Can I ask you three to deliver this letter to the Adventurer’s Guild and ask for help?”

The brown haired boy deflates hearing Senna’s request. “That sounds really boring…”

“We can do that.” The blonde haired boy nods.

“Will you be okay?” The red haired boy trembles hearing about the monster.

Senna finishes the letter and hands it to the blonde haired boy. Before she lets go, she looks at the brown haired boy with a serious gaze. “Listen. This is a really important job. I can’t fight the monster by myself. I really need help or else this big sister won’t be able to go home and see her mom and dad again. Do you understand?” The brown haired boy becomes much more motivated hearing Senna’s speech.

“““Yes!!””” The three boys answer in unison.

“Good.” Senna places a simple leather bag in front of them and drops three silver coins into the bag. “This is your payment. One for each of you. You can put the letter in here too.” She pauses before dropping another three coins into the bag. “Just in case, you get tired. Ask someone to help you deliver the letter.” She hands the bag to the blonde haired boy.

“We’re the fastest boys in town. We can deliver it without asking for any grownups to help!” The brown haired boy answers with an offended tone.

“Haha. I’m sorry. I’m just worried because I need this delivered really fast. It’s just in case okay?” Senna laughs awkwardly.

“Um…Who do we give it to?” The red haired boy asks.

“Oh yes.” Senna snaps her fingers and uses some <Light Magic>. An image of the brown haired Maria floats over her hand. The boys stare in awe at the simple feat of magic. “This is my friend, Maria. She works at the guild. If you see her at the counter, give it to her. Tell her it’s urgent and that the Guildmaster needs to see this letter from Senna. If she isn’t there, then just run up to any receptionist that isn’t busy.”

“If they’re all busy?” The blonde haired boy asks.

“Then just run up to the shortest line. This is really important.” Senna replies. The blonde haired boy nods. “Good.” Senna slices a lock of her hair and ties it in a ribbon. “Here. A lot of people know me because of my weird hair. This is proof that you boys are doing a job for me.” The blonde haired boy nods stuffing the lock of hair into the bag. He wears the leather bag on his back. “That’s all. Go!”

The three boys run off immediately with an energetic smile. “Let’s go! Let’s go!” The brown haired boy yells as he runs off.

Senna waves as they run off. She turns around and gives them a long sigh. {At least they’ll be safer in town than out in the open. By the time they deliver the message, it will be too late. …But I wish I could do more to make sure they survive.} She continues heading north towards her target. At the coastline, Senna places some tools on various trees growing nearby.

Senna changes into her best leather armor and stores away anything that would make her look like a magician. She forms a simple <Magic Platform> beneath her feet jumping from platform to platform as she travels over the ocean. Eventually, she stops about 5 kilometers away from town. “Sorry Aqua. I need a place to maneuver.” As she apologizes, she freezes the surface of the ocean forming a large ice platform extending one kilometer in each direction.

She looks further north and starts trembling at the targets at the very edge of her [Detection] abilities. {It’s even worse than the Lich King… I have two hours left. …Why did things have to happen this way?} Curling up into a ball, she silently cries to herself.

20 minutes later, Senna wipes her tears. “Okay! Enough crying! I have to get to work!” Slapping her cheeks, Senna makes every possible preparation that comes to mind. “It’s a good thing I fixed my katana the other day. I can pretend to be a swordsman for the first part. I have to be careful and drag this out as long as possible. Magic-wise, I can only drink two Magic potions at best to recover my strength. I really used too much magic today. *sigh* My body will probably break down after that.”

The end of the two hour period quickly comes to an end. Senna stares into the sky watching the enemy. Wings as black as night litter the sky. Red horns gleam amidst the black background. {This is it. I can’t turn back now. This is going to be my grave.} Her throat chokes up, but she forces back her tears. {I can’t cry. I made my choice. I have to stall for time. No matter what…}

Senna unsheathes her katana facing the group. “HALT!!!”

***

An hour ago, the three boys arrived at the entrance to the city. Normally, they would stowaway in a merchant’s caravan and hope they don’t get caught. However, today they’re on a mission and directly charge up to the gate. A guard steps in front of the three boys.

“Stop. What are you kids doing?” The guard asks.

“We’re on an adventurer’s quest!” The brown haired boy yells running around the guard. Another guard appears from the side restraining him.

“It’s an emergency!” The red haired boy runs up to the guard crying.

“Hey! You three are those kids that always sneak out of town! How many times have I told you not to leave town by yourself?! There are monsters out there!” The other guard scolds them.

“Please we need to get inside! We have an urgent message to deliver to the Guild. The adventurer we met is in trouble!” The blonde haired boy pleads with the guard.

“Uhhh…” The guard hesitate seeing the urgent look on the boy.

“What seems to be the problem?” A man asks. The boys turn around and spot members of the <Pact of Ambition> approaching them. Davor stands in front of the boys dressed in full body armor.

“Wow!! It’s the <Iron Wall>!!” The brown haired boy exclaims squirming under the guard’s grip.

“Oh! Davor. These boys have been sneaking out of town to go play, without any supervision. We were scolding them.” A guard responds.

“What’s this about a message?” Anahid interjects.

“We got a message from an adventurer. She said it was really important and needs us to deliver it to the guild!” The blonde haired boy explains.

“Is that so? We should deal with that immediately then.” Davor replies.

“But…” The guard answers with some concern.

“We can scold them after they finish delivering their message.” Anahid supplements.

“…Understood.” The guard drops the brown haired boy back on the ground.

“Let’s go, you three!” Davor waves his hand.

“““Yeah!””” The three boys reply. Davor and Anahid go on ahead as the rest of the clan takes their time heading back.

“Let’s go! Let’s go!” The brown haired boy rushes Davor and Anahid.

“We have to hurry!” The blonde haired boy urges them.

“Please.” The red haired boy asks with tears in the corner of his eyes.

“Do you need to rush that much?” Anahid asks.

“““Yeah!””” The three boys answer simultaneously. At the boys urging, Davor and Anahid pick up the pace running to the guild. The boys burst into the Guild drawing everyone’s attention.

The boys look around and spot Maria. “Ah there!” The brown haired boy yells and dashes to her window. “Miss! Your name is Maria right?”

“Yes.” Maria stares in surprise as the boy lifts himself up hanging on her counter. “What can I help you with young man?” She answers the boy with a professional smile.

“Hurry, hurry!” The brown haired boy yells out to the others.

“Hey. Get down from there. You’re going to get hurt.” Anahid scolds the brown haired boy. The boy reluctantly lowers himself back onto the ground.

Maria leans over her desk, so she can keep the boys in view. “Oh! Anahid, Davor. Welcome back!”

““We’re back.”” Anahid and Davor respond.

“Are you going to report your findings?” Maria asks.

“No. Bernard can do that. These boys have a message to deliver.” Davor responds patting the red haired boy.

“I see.” Maria looks at the three boys. “What can I do for you boys then?”

“A white haired adventurer named Senna asked us to deliver a message.” The blonde haired boy replies taking the leather bag off his back. Davor, Anahid, and Maria have an awkward look hearing Senna’s name. The boy presents the letter to Maria. “She said, ‘It’s urgent and that the Guildmaster needs to see this letter from Senna.’ She gave us her hair for proof.” The boy shows Maria the lock of Senna’s white hair.

“Okay. I’ll go give it to him right away.” Maria responds seriously. She dashes off to the Guildmaster’s private office.

“Hey you boys. What’s happening with Senna?” Anahid asks with a smile, but the overbearing anger emanating from Anahid scares the boys. They retreat and hide behind Davor.

“She’s going to fight a strong monster!” The brown haired boy answers. “I wish we could watch.”

“That’s not right. She’s waiting for help.” The blonde haired boy corrects him.

Anahid and Davor’s eyes widen listening to the boys talk. “We will go now. Where is she?”

“That way.” The red haired boy points North.

Anahid starts to dash out the door, but Davor grabs her arm. “Wait a second.”

“How can I wait?!” Anahid protests.

Davor starts to argue with Anahid, but notices Maria returning. “Maria, we need to go help Senna. What subjugation request did she take?”

Maria blinks and looks through her papers. “Senna? She’s not working on any requests today. She mentioned yesterday that she would spend the day training. It looks like she completed every job she accepted, so there’s nothing active.”

“Eh…? Then what is she doing?” Anahid calms down hearing Maria’s response. The three of them can only tilt their head wondering what Senna is doing.

A loud crash is heard as the Guildmaster, Vermer, bursts out from his office. “Everyone! Gather outside! The Guild is issuing an Emergency Summons!! Everyone that fails to cooperate will have their Guild card revoked!!” Vermer shifts his attention to the three boys. “You boys go home. Only Adventurers should be here right now.”

“Hey! I’m going to be the best adventurer when I grow up. I deserve to be here too.” The brown haired boy yells.

“Do you have a Guild card?” Vermer asks expressionlessly.

“N-No…” The brown haired boy stutters.

“Then you’re not an adventurer yet. Go home. Now!” Vermer yells at the end to the boy.

The brown haired boy tears up and runs out of the guild. The two boys quickly chase after him. Coincidentally, they run into their mothers when they step out of the Guild. Their mothers heavily scold them as the boys are dragged home.

“Guildmaster, that was a bit harsh.” Maria comments.

“Now is not the time for that.” Vermer replies with an uneasy look. “Use the <Fire Magic> tools and summon everyone else.”

““U-Understood.”” The receptionists reply running off.

Vermer sighs as she glances at Senna’s letter.

Dear Guildmaster,

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I have detected demons traveling in the direction of the city. The numbers easily surpass 100 and if my information is correct, they can easily destroy us and destroy the town with a wave of their hand. Frankly, I believe we will be wiped out if we were to engage them. For that reason, I believe we should evacuate the town as soon as possible, through an underground passage if such a thing exists.

Currently, I am making various preparations to form a magical barrier to delay the demons as long as possible. I will do my utmost best to stall them, but I do not honestly know how long I can stall enemies of such a high caliber. Worst case scenario, you will have two hours to evacuate the town. Best case, I will be able to stall them an extra hour or two giving everyone more time.

Also, Please stop Anahid from trying to help me. I am focusing on tasks requiring high magical power and concentration. She will frankly be a burden if she tries to help me.

Regards,
Senna

Rough Estimate of Demons:
Around or Over Level 45: 100+
Over Level 60: ~15 Demons
Leader is over 80 I think?

I am keeping my distance, so these numbers and evaluations are very rough estimates. If I can, I will send another message with more accurate information.


Author's Note
Apologies since I won't be able to provide a chapter next week. I plan to finish some stuff I've been putting off for a while now in between my relaxation time.

With the finish of the event last chapter, Senna is quickly thrown into her latest crisis. This event is one of the two major events that I've been highly anticipating to write. So I'm very glad to finally reach this point.

On Senna's creation, I'm not sure if it's completely obvious what it is or I just have a lot of random knowledge. I delayed revealing for the time being and will mention what it is later on, probably around 15-20 chapters from now.

Next chapter, I'm planning to a PoV chapter with more emphasis on flashback rather than progression like with the Anahid PoV chapter. I'm hoping to make it enjoyable for everyone nonetheless.

Lots of people have already dived through the Glossary and Character List for the story from the views I'm getting. If you need to reference anything, please take a look. Though remember it's filled with spoilers if you haven't caught up. The information on there should be up to date, but since I focus on writing the story rather than fill in the these pages, I most likely missed a thing or two. If you catch any errors or need more information on something, just leave a comment and I'll go back to fill it in. Thanks~

*Game Talk*
I finished Legends of Heroes: Trails in the Sky last week (conveniently $9.99 for the holidays), and couldn't help but immediately jump into Trails in the Sky SC (currently $26.99 after the minor holiday discount). As a JRPG lover, I find the story to be quite immersive with colorful characters to enjoy following. I do wish they had an option to switch to the Japanese voices. I would rather hear it in the original language than the English dubbed version. The battle system is very nice since you can see monsters on the world map and preemptively strike at them when their back is turned making the battles a breeze. You can Run away without consequence too, so that makes things useful when things get dangerous. SC changes things a bit since the encounters are more randomized with the monster line up when you battle them. All in all a great game if you enjoy JRPG games. I'm sure I will be raging later once I complete this game since the Third Chapter to this trilogy has yet to be translated and reach the US.

A friend also linked me to an indie RPG game, Demon King Chronicle. It's an interesting game with nice art. He mentioned that the demo is actually the full game. But since there was no actually price tag, I gave a dollar to the creator which gave me the game and an electronic artbook for the game. If you decide to try it, the game can be quite the grind. After exiting your home base, the first monster you encounter, a Rat, can take your HP down 75% by the time you kill the rat. It forced me to grind a bit without trekking too far because I was worried about being wiped out. As far as I know, there's no option to run away in battle. Whenever I run into a new enemy type, I make sure I saved already before engaging it. Because 60% of the time, I get annihilated because it's a high level enemy compared to everything else in the area. Well if you don't mind the grinding, the game might be enjoyable to you.

*End Game Talk*

Until next time~


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