IS, V1, Chapter 8: The Inventor

I was a blacksmith, not a mage, nor a healer, just a girl who liked to make weapons. At 14 I was technically an adult, so I entered that silly competition.

It was just supposed to be an advertisement for my wares. Since that damn dragon killed all of my customers, I was barely making enough to survive.

Lachel and most of the audience didn’t seem overly impressed with my craftsmanship. Nadja usually voted for whatever Michael did, and because of him I was able to stay in the competition for 6 rounds.

I started off slow, with some basic steel chain-mail, plate, a tower shield, a broadsword… but then I decided to reveal one of my originals. The first of its kind throughout the entire world, or at least I hoped so.

It was an improvement to a device I created a few years earlier that I named the crossbow. I used to get all of my ideas for new weapons and armors from dreams. After that I would keep perfecting them, until I was satisfied or bored and then move on to the next.

Anyway, basically it was a crossbow combined with another weapon i called a rifle… although I could never figure out how to make that other one work properly. Even though I couldn’t figure out how to make the projectiles for the rifle, I did make bolts.

The rectangular container had a device I named coil spring, that pushed the bolts from the bottom of the crossbow into the tube when you used the handle on the top to pull back the string.

The whole thing including the bow and string was made out of steel. There were so many parts, but if if was simple, then what would be the point?

I love complicated devices, but until that competition it felt like I was the only one. However, there was one person amid that entire crowd who actually appreciated my repeating crossbow.

It was far too bulky and heavy for me to actually use properly, so no one understood it’s true capability. They figured that an archer could fire arrows from a normal bow much faster and far more accurately.

Seeing them ridicule my creation was truly disappointing, but then I noticed Michael raising his hand… he was still voting to keep me in the competition, even after my latest failure. He was still a child, but the look in his catlike eyes made him seem much more mature.

After the competition was finally over, my friend Lorelei helped me carry everything back to my shop. While we were walking she yelled “Gah! I definitely could have beaten that slutty elf! What the hell was so fucking funny anyway?! All she did was tell a bunch of sex jokes and wear clothes that were obviously meant for an ACTUAL dark dwarf! Damn it! I feel sorry for you Ailyn! If I had a matriarch like Hiwel Golden-Staff… her first name seriously means sticky! There’s no way that’s her real name! Arghh, I am an adult damn it!” in an angry voice while carrying the repeating crossbow against her body, it was practically touching the ground.

I’m a pretty average size for a dwarf, 110 cm, but she was actually a head shorter than me. I couldn’t really understand her anger, the whole competition was a joke… so it seemed appropriate for the comedian to win.

Then she started to tell the story of her heroic victory over the giant chicken for the 19th time. She had only been back for three days, but regardless of how annoying she was, I really didn’t have any other friends or acquaintances.

Just like me, she lost her only parent when that dragon bastard… well, you get the point. I was somehow managing the shop without my mother. She wasn’t a very pleasant woman to be around, but I still loved her, and missed her.

When we finally entered the store and put everything away, Lorelei mentioned something about her trip for the first time. She said “… a few days after my heroic victory over the mighty beast, Michael The Chicken Slayer healed my mortal wound and saved me from the brink of death!” in an over dramatic voice while placing her hands over her heart.

Obviously she embellished the story so much that even a single part of it is difficult to believe. However, after she went on for several hours about her adventures with the mysterious boy… it was clear that Lorelei must have spoken to him at least once.

It was already 11 pm by the time she left, I was exhausted and even after all that publicity, I had no customers the entire day. My creations weren’t limited to weapons, often I would have dreams of beautifully complicated mechanisms that took me months to fabricate.

One of my favorites was called a time bracer, it was a small, circular device that would actually tell you what time of day it was, without actually having to look at the sun. It was very convenient and made a pleasant ticking sound as the little lines slowly moved around and pointed at numbers.

It used a type of spring that had to be wound with a key periodically, there was a lot of room for improvement. During Michael’s speech, I remembered him mentioning that it was possible to generate lightning without using magic.

There were many devices I had attempted to fabricate over the years that never quite turned out the way I had dreamt. I was always missing a key ingredient and the moment I saw those beautiful flashes of burning air… something just clicked in my mind.

He didn’t quite say it directly, but I had a feeling that his knowledge was even beyond my own. I thought that he might have had similar dreams, but there was something else about him.

That name… Michael, sounded so familiar. It was nostalgic, yet I knew that before the speech, I had never heard a name like that in my entire life.

Like every other night, I made sure to write down all of my thoughts and ideas from the day in one of my many notebooks. That day was the 7th anniversary of my first creation, I called it a pencil.

Ink was far too expensive, so I tried using charcoal to create marks. After I realized the potential, I had a dream where there was a thin cylinder made from a black material with a wooden tube to keep it from breaking. As the charcoal becomes dull, you simply use a knife to sharpen it along with the wood.

I could never understand magic, it just felt so… wrong. Not morally, it simply didn’t make logical sense to me. According to Michael’s speech, everyone should have been able to use it, if they knew how. I had always just assumed that it was impossible for me and focused all of my efforts towards inventing new and useful devices that no one else cared about.

Well, Lorelei did buy a few of my special knives… but normal people prefer the mundane and boring swords or armor. Actually, most of my shops business went towards cooking utensils, miscellaneous tools, horseshoes, and just repairing… I hated being a blacksmith.

It was just so pointless, but I had no way to make a profit off of my inventions… so I worked. Two days after the competition, business was actually improving a bit, but no one wanted to buy my crossbow.

However, in the middle of the night, as I was writing in my notebook a red goblin man who was rather tall and wearing black clothing covering his entire body entered through my window. It should have been scary, but I somehow knew his intentions.

He handed me a scroll that had a red seal with the number 777 stamped on it. The man disappeared during the moment I spent examining it, so I couldn’t ask who it was from.

There was something extremely ominous about that seal… I was afraid to touch it. When I placed my left palm against it, I heard a voice whisper “Azriel” and immediately tried to pull my hand away.

However, the seal was already broken and I was marked. My veins glowed bright silver through my dark grey skin but a few minutes after my entire body had become luminescent, they returned to normal.

It didn’t hurt, just felt a little warm and tingly but I needed to know what was written on the scroll. When I unrolled it, there was nothing… just blank, but as I said “Azriel.” in a quiet voice, a message was revealed.

“It’s been a while, but if you’re reading this… it means the seal worked properly. The moment our eyes met, I knew it was only a matter of time before you awakened.

My name is Michael, but you already know that. If you ever meet someone named Uriel or Sariel… don’t even think of the word Azriel in their presence.

I’m sure you have been having amazing dreams of incredible technologies every night. That won’t stop, it will most likely increase from now on.

However, that is all… hopefully you will never have to see the nightmares. Some memories can never be erased or forgotten.

I apologize for all this cryptic nonsense, but you won’t remember any of this anyway. When you wake up tomorrow, you will have a schematic for a device I want you to create written on this scroll.

I’m sure you’ll like it.”

After I finished reading, I was so tired that I couldn’t even think about what was written on that mysterious scroll. Just like what was promised, the last thing I remembered was writing in my notebook and then it was all blank.

However, I woke up with an incredibly interesting blueprint for a weapon. It was an extremely detailed design for slightly different a type of rifle.

Instead of a spring loading mechanism, it had a cylindrical container with 7 chambers for ammunition that I assumed were meant to revolve after each round. It didn’t explain how to create the projectiles, but that didn’t really matter to me.

The dimensions of the barrel and shoulder rest seemed a lot smaller than the last rifle I tried to build. There were spiral grooves inside the very narrow tube which would be incredibly difficult to produce, but I already had an idea of how they could be made.

There were two grips, both on the bottom of the rifle, one that connected to the beginning of the armrest, which had a trigger mechanism directly in front of it. The other grip was along the bottom of the barrel, probably for aiming purposes.

There were only two springs required, both of which were inside the main handle. The larger one would press against the bottom of a hammer, that was probably meant to launch the projectiles.

The second, smaller spring was for the trigger. There were quite a few other parts involved, but I couldn’t wait to figure it all out.

I didn’t even eat anything before beginning because I was so enthralled with attempting to fabricate a few of the parts. I closed the shop and worked for nearly two days straight until passing out from hunger and exhaustion.

It was fortunate that I was taking a break when I lost consciousness. When I awoke, Lorelei was hovering over me and yelling “Hey! Ailyn! Wake up!” in an irritated voice, while smacking my cheeks with her hands.

I stood up and looked around to get my bearings when I noticed she wasn’t alone. There were at least 10 other rat tribe, 6 red goblins and 4 dark dwarves crammed in my relatively small shop.

Lorelei and myself were in the back, where the forge and other equipment was located. I said “What the hell are all these people doing in here? I thought I put a closed sign in front of the door…” in an irritated voice while feeling light headed.

She sighed dramatically, then yelled “No wonder you’re always broke! Listen, I brought all these people so… do you think I could get a small cut of the profits?” in a sarcastic voice, but I knew her well enough to know she wasn’t joking.

I thought for a few seconds, then said “OK, 10% but you have to actually sell the items to them yourself. I have to eat and then get back to work…” in a serious voice. I quickly fled to the kitchen before she had a chance to haggle over the commission.

My meal consisted of a purple apple from the wood elven orchard to the north of the city, a glass of water and a few strips of dried ox beef. It only took a few minutes, but that was precious time I could have spent at the forge.

A few hours after I started working again, Lorelei entered the forge and yelled “Hey! Ailyn! Stop hammering for a second! We need to talk!” in a voice that was loud enough to actually stun me for a few seconds. Since it was about time for my break anyway, I decided to join her on the second floor, in the storeroom above the shop.

She had a serious expression which worried me, then said “I’m going back there again. That’s why so many people wanted to buy weapons, I even managed to sell a few of your more exotic pieces.

I didn’t mention this before but… I almost died the last time. That giant fucking rooster completely ignored me because I was so small, but pretty much everyone else around me was either eaten, crushed or torn apart.

Michael nearly died in the process of killing it, and then the next day we were attacked again. If there was another one of those giant ones… well, what I’m trying to say is that I might not get so lucky this time.

Our caravan is going to be much larger this time and have many more capable fighters, hell, even I can kill a chicken. The problem is that, anything can happen out there. It wouldn’t even be surprising if we all just died from some curse without ever having a chance to survive.

I’m sure you know that I usually make friends pretty easily… but I always end up losing them just as quickly. You’re actually the only person I’ve known for more than 3 years, that’s still alive. Gah, I hate these kind of stupid speeches! I’m not going to die! I just wanted to apologize to you ahead of time just in-case.” in a solemn voice, until the end when she returned to her usual self.

I didn’t understand why she would have to go back out there a second time. She must have made at least 25 gold coins from the first trip, that was more that I could make in a year.

After thinking about it for a few moments, I finally asked “What do you need all that money for anyway?” in a curious voice.

Her grin was so wide, she actually looked kind of dangerous with those fangs… then she licked her whiskers and said “To make more of it, obviously.” in an obnoxious voice.

I immediately knew exactly what she was planning. It was something she always used to joke about, but it was finally possible.

Her trade was butcher and her mercantile sense was a natural gift… but she always dreamed of being a miner. Rather than actually mining, her goal was to lead an expedition deep into the sealed Black Mithril mines.

Our city owned a couple iron, coal, copper, and various other types of mines to the north, west and south of the portal on the surface. However, we had exhausted our supply of black mithril only a few years after the mine was sealed.

It wasn’t just that though, within those tunnels were hundreds of different ores, gems, and even ancient labyrinths… it was what made our city the trading capital of Alfirin. Once we lost our main source of trade, we also broke off contact with the human kingdoms and the dwarven empire.

Now that the gates were open again, it was only a matter of time before people started claiming territory. Lorelei’s target was everything, she wanted to eventually own all of it… actually, she once told me about her ultimate goal.

She wanted to construct a gigantic citadel around the portal on the surface. Her goal was to create a stronghold and palace that doubled as an indoor market.

A place where people would come from all around the world to spend their money. It all sounded pretty unrealistic and ridiculous, but I always just humored her anyway.

Before she left, there was a certain pair of devices I wanted to give her. It took a while to find under the piles of random inventions that were mostly useless.

When I handed her the light metal bracers, she had a confused expression and said “I don’t get it… do I have to pay for these?” in a worried voice while examining them thoroughly.

I smiled and said “They’re free.” in an irritated voice.

After breathing a sigh of relief, she said “Ah good… so what do they do?” in a happy voice, while strapping them onto her wrists.

Then began the long, drawn out explanation about their individual functions. She had a natural weapon that was extremely convenient, and incredibly deadly… yet she never used it.

Everyday her fangs could produce a large quantity of poison, which could be used to coat small, thin, needle-like darts. The left bracer contained a mechanism that used a spring to compress air, then a small button on the side would release the pressure, launching the dart like an arrow.

It wouldn’t be powerful enough to kill someone or something on its own, but that’s what her poison was for. The barrel was above the back of the wrist, the rest of the bracer was a spring loaded ammunition belt.

Each time she would pull back the slide to compress the spring, a new dart would be loaded into the empty chamber. There were many imperfections, so I originally considered it useless.

The accuracy was pretty terrible, the power was far too low, and it would occasionally jam. However, the main problem was in the poison… if you poison an animal, its meat would become inedible.

It was strictly a last resort as far as hunting went, but it would be quite effective on people. The part of her story I was most concerned about was when they almost had to fight the royal guards.

Michael was there that time, so they didn’t have to kill anyone… but he wouldn’t always be there to protect them. I didn’t want Lorelei to die, but there were far worse fates than death and I didn’t want her to have to experience any of them.

My mother only told me about my father once, because she didn’t even know him. He was just some random man she spoke to for a moment in a tavern.

He followed her home, but she was too drunk to fight back when he forced himself on her. From that one terrible night, I was created. Fortunately, she remembered his face… when she returned to the tavern the next night, he was there.

As he was talking to his next target at the bar, she used her favorite smithing hammer to thoroughly forge his short-sword into a thick red paste. Before the guards were able to intervene she had slowly but carefully crushed his entire body into a bloody smear in the middle of the tavern floor.

After explaining how she was raped and a few other victims rallied behind her, the matriarch ruled it as self-defense. I was probably a constant reminder to my mother of the worst night of her entire life.

Anyway, the right bracer was a bit different and a lot less complicated. I knew how reckless she was and that she would most likely drop her weapon… or throw it.

It was basically a spring powered reel that had a large amount of flexible steel wire wound around within the bracer. There was a steel ring around the end of the wire which was right below the wrist, that could be pulled out and if it was let go, it would snap back into place.

The ring was meant to attach to the hilt of a sword, knife, ax, even a shield. Although, once I actually attempted to use it, I realized how incredibly dangerous it could be.

When you threw a light weapon, it would fly back at you with a similar force. Under normal circumstances the steel wire could handle incredible amounts of strain, but once heated or cooled dramatically, it would stop functioning properly.

However, even after explaining all the problems with the bracers, Lorelei was actually drooling. Whenever I showed her any of my devices, she seemed to only see stacks of gold coins and hear a jingling sound.

Supposedly, there are people who could see mana… she could see profits. It was a strange skill, but probably not magical.

After thanking me with a few hugs, then saying her goodbyes, three more times, she finally left and I could continue my work. I was only just beginning to make the molds and it would take me at least a month to completely finish. Thanks to Lorelei, I had enough gold to close the shop for three.

The prototype was completed after two weeks, but there was no way to test it without the proper ammunition. I was at a dead end for 3 more days, but then I heard news of the caravan’s return.

Black Mithril was in an uproar because of the massive success on the hunting expedition. Out of the 3000 who left, there were no casualties and all 300 wagons were filled to the brim with various types of magical beast meat.

They were even able to capture some large herbivorous, flightless birds that lay huge eggs. Michael called them “ostriches” but I didn’t quite understand the language, maybe he just made it up?

However, when Lorelei came to my shop the next day, she had a very disappointed expression. She said “No one died.” in an irritated voice while pouting.

I was confused, so I asked “Isn’t that usually a good thing?” while playing with the useless prototype.

She yelled “Of course not! After we each split the cut, I only ended up with 20% more than last time! Plus, now that the market is flooded with so much meat… how the hell do you expect me to turn a profit?! Damn it! That bastard Michael kept all the ostriches to himself! They lay huge eggs every damn week, they’re like a living gold mine!

Sure, he did save my life a few times… and we all probably would have died if he didn’t protect us from that swarm of giant wasps. There was also a gigantic white bear… plus, he did teach some of us a bit of magic. Ok, but still! I only made 6 gold! Hah, well whatever. So what have you been up to all this time? That thing looks neat, but what the hell does it do? Oh yea… these bracers are amazing!

There was this one huge wolf creature with long thin whip like tails, I nearly got my head sliced off. It was the first time I actually got to use this needle launcher, shot one right into his eye! Before it’s whole body was tainted with the poison, I was able to throw my cleaver and swing it like a flail! Sliced its head clean off in one swipe!

Sure, I may have accidentally impaled the guy standing behind me… but Michael was right there and kept his guts from flying all over the place. That guy probably won’t be lifting any heavy objects for a while, but he should be fine… eventually?” in an overly excited voice while jumping around and using far too many hand gestures.

I smiled at her and said “I’m just glad you came back safe. I was just working on this prototype… but I don’t know how to create ammunition, or even what kind of projectiles it would fire. It’ll probably wind up in my useless pile by the end of the week…” in a dejected voice while pulling the trigger.

She looked at me with a bored expression and then said “So anyway, let me tell you my amazing and heroic tale of adventure! Long ago, in a building much like this one, but with a bit more raw meat and mushrooms, my tragic tale began! The story of a beautiful maiden, cursed with a venom so strong it killed her mother before anyone realized what was happening. Who learned to turn that horrible burden into a powerful weapon with which to vanquish all manner of beast! A story of…” and continued on from the moment she was born to the beginning of her first hunting trip.

It took her 12 hours to finish, even while we ate she just kept talking… her level of enthusiasm while telling a story was beyond my comprehension. Eventually, she fell asleep on my bed, so I had to use the one in my mother’s old room.

However, when I entered the room… there was a man, just standing there with bright golden eyes glowing through the darkness. I couldn’t see anything else, since he was wearing black clothing that covered his entire body except for the eyes.

He had no presence, he was like an illusion, it felt like he wasn’t even there. I was exhausted and far too tired to be afraid of someone who probably wasn’t real.

I sighed and said “What do you want?” in an irritated voice while holding my prototype rifle like a two-handed mace and trying to appear threatening.

He held a shiny metallic object into the light, it was exactly what I was looking for. The diameter of the projectile was exactly 5 mm, the other part was larger but would fit perfectly into the chambers.

The man only said three words “Michael… sent… me.” in a very quiet voice, then swiftly walked past me into the hallway. When he stopped and motioned for me to follow, my instincts told me it was safe.

Of course, in my mind I was thinking of all the terrible things that might happen if I went with him. I also realized how ridiculously suspicious the whole situation was, but I brought along a few weapons and tools with me… just in-case.

Before we left he took off his black cloak and covered the prototype while whispering “Secret.” so quietly that I wasn’t sure if I really did hear anything. I had only been to the surface once before, so when he pulled me through the portal with him, it was a very nerve wracking experience.

Then I followed him for at least a mile through the barely moonlit forest. In under 30 minutes we managed to reach our destination, a stony riverbank… the first one I had ever seen.

However, there was someone there, his steel plate armor was shining in the dim light with glowing red eyes peering out from his full helmet. He did seem a little bit taller than the last time I saw him, but I immediately knew who it was.

Michael walked up to me, grabbed the rifle from my hands, pushed out the cylinder, replaced 7 small shiny objects into the chambers very quickly, then said “Ethir, Ailyn, stand back… if this doesn’t work, you don’t want to be anywhere near me.” in a nervous voice while aiming the rifle across the river.

I followed the man who was apparently named Ethir behind a wide tree and peeked out towards Michael. The whole situation was incredibly strange, but when I witnessed the rifle in action… I was completely amazed.

The loud bang, the bright flash and then the quieter smack from across the river, all within what seemed like an instant. I looked over and noticed that even Ethir seemed to be shocked at what he saw, it was amazing.

Not just that, but immediately after the first, he fired the weapon six more times in quick succession. After that he yelled “Gah! I really should have made earplugs!” in an angry voice while taking his helmet off.

Realizing that it was probably safe again, I briskly walked over to him and examined the rifle thoroughly. Even under all that pressure, the barrel stayed intact. Although, it was covered in a thick residue that seemed to be harmful to the metal.

As I was thinking that, he used wind magic to instantly clean it and said “Yea, that’s the main reason smokeless powder was created. Well, I should be able to fabricate it eventually… but with magic, black powder will suffice for now. Do you wanna give it a try? It probably won’t explode in your face and kill you.” in a nonchalant voice while smirking.

I asked “That explosion was created by a powder? Wait, you… Michael, how did you know… wait, this is literally the first time we’ve met. Couldn’t you have come to my shop and just spoken to me? What’s with all this suspicious sneaking around and bringing me out into the middle of nowhere in at 1 am?” in an irritated voice.

He had a surprised expression and then grabbed my wrist and looked at my timekeeping device. Michael laughed quietly and then said “So you even created a watch… damn, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. I bet you probably have a whole room filled with random junk that you have no idea how to use.

My name is Michael, in-case you didn’t already know that. It’s nice to meet you Ailyn Ironheart.

Just like you, I’ve been quite busy lately. Chaperoning that fucking hunting trip took way too much time. There’s also another concept you don’t seem to comprehend, subtlety.

Sure, I hate all this sneaking around bullshit, but there are always people like you out there. Inventors, creators, builders, doesn’t matter what you call em. They’re dangerous.

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Knowledge is power’ before? Well, if you haven’t that’s fine… but it’s true.

I know your type, you don’t really care what your devices are used for, or if they’re used at all. You simply crave knowledge, you lust after it and can’t stop yourself from destroying everything you ever cared about in your endless search.

What you need to learn, more than anything else, is the pleasure of creating devices that have a purpose. This one is called a revolver rifle, it fires small metal projectiles called bullets a little faster than the speed of sound.” in an irritated voice.

Before I could say anything, he pulled out a small cylindrical metallic object with a sharp point at the top. Then he said “This is called a cartridge. This top part is the bullet, when the hammer strikes this little circle at the bottom, it ignites the propellant within this big part called the case.” in a seriously voice, while holding the projectile close to my face and pointing at the different parts.

I finally said “You obviously don’t know me as well as you think. Sure, I might enjoy the challenge of building an extremely complicated device, but I do care who uses it and for what purpose!

I can’t just create an incredibly dangerous weapon and then sell it to any random person! Besides, aren’t you just like me? An inventor?” in an angry voice, but he was just smirking the entire time.

He waited a few seconds, then loaded 7 bullets into the rifle and handed it to me. Without saying anything, he walked over to and picked up a medium sized stone. Then he used earth magic to stretch it very thin and tall, the same height as me.

After placing it about 10 meters away, he walked back over to me and said “I’ve never invented anything, I just happen to know a few things. Anyway, try to hit towards the top.” in a sarcastic voice while helping me aim the rifle at the poorly constructed target.

There was no way I wouldn’t be envious of his magical abilities. I knew that he could probably craft parts in a day, that would take me a week or more.

While thinking of such things, I aimed and pulled the trigger. It hurt, but not too bad, if he didn’t support my back I probably would have fallen over.

I was really weak, but even someone like me could pull a trigger and shatter a stone into tiny pieces. Then I realized what he was trying to say earlier, I had created a weapon that anyone could use and easily end the life of even a powerful mage or warrior.

It wasn’t the first time I had created such a device, there were many others. Sure, the rifle was the most effective, but I never really thought about how many people I killed by simply creating and selling tools.

However, I didn’t care… that was the part that scared me. I was happy, ecstatic over seeing what my rifle was capable of.

My shoulder did hurt a bit, but I kept shooting the rest of the bullets into trees across the river. Even though Michael was the one who created the projectile, I felt proud of my craftsmanship.

After cleaning the barrel again with his wind magic, he said “There’s far too much to do and not nearly enough time for me to do everything by myself. I need more than just an assistant, I need an inventor, I need you. What do you need?” in a sincere voice while looking into my eyes.

I immediately said “Magic.” in a serious voice while smiling. According to what he said during that speech, anyone could learn magic.

Even if it was just a tiny bit, there was just so much potential and there was no way in hell I was missing an opportunity like that.

Michael smirked, took off his gauntlets, then pressed his right thumb against my forehead. I could feel my tired body fill with energy, then it felt like my skin was on fire.

On the backs of my hands were the numbers 7, glowing bright red, in his reflective breastplate I could see another one on my forehead where his thumb was. My dark grey skin was barely visible in the darkness and my white hair, combined with my bright grey iris’ made the mark stand out far too much.

I’m not the type of person who typically cares about my own appearance, but even I didn’t want a bright red and glowing 7 with a circle around it on my forehead. However, before I could complain, the marks and the burning sensation vanished.

He said “You can feel it now, right? Some people are born with unnaturally low mana, like yourself. As far as learning how to use it goes, my mother is going to start teaching a magic class at the Rat District palace in a few weeks. After you learn the basics, I’m sure you could easily figure out the rest on your own.” in a tired voice while holding his hands against the sides of his head.

I sighed and said “I kind of expected you to teach me yourself…” in a disappointed voice.

Michael smiled slightly, then said “Don’t worry, I’ve spent the last 7 years teaching Rae. She might not know how to read or write, but my mother is practically a genius when it comes to magic.” in a reassuring voice.

While raising my right eyebrow, I asked “What exactly are you planning to do anyway?” in a curious voice.

He laughed and said “Didn’t you hear my speech? You and I have a lot of work to do.” in a sarcastic voice.

At that moment I probably saw a glimpse into the future, but maybe it was just a distant memory. There was a huge city, with thousands of buildings that were taller than the Black Mithril pyramid.

Me and a man wearing a gigantic suit of pure black armor that even covered his eyes, were gazing down at that thriving metropolis from far away. Suddenly there was a bright flash near its center and all of the buildings started being torn apart.

A huge wave of hellish destruction erupted from the center of that city, turning every beautiful structure and incredibly advanced vehicle in its path into ash. Whatever didn’t burn, was torn to pieces and blown away.

After a few moments, a huge ball of fire over a few miles in diameter started to float up into the sky from the wreckage. The smoke that followed in its wake created a gigantic cloud shaped like a mushroom.

There was a huge, deep roar and the ground below my feet rumbled much like what I felt when that damn dragon attacked. The man in the black armor turned his head to me and said “And that’s why they call you Azriel, the angel of death. Welp, you and I have a lot of work to do.” in a deep, irritated voice.

Huge black metallic wings erupted from his back as he jumped down off the cliff we were standing on. Then they began spewing flames from the strange looking feathers, sending him flying towards the waves of devastation.

Maybe it was meant as a warning, or perhaps just another interesting device for me to invent someday.


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