IS, V4, Chapter 8: Crafting

Celestial-beasts in Luna’s little garden came in two varieties. The majority were just empty vessels, which acted like regular animals for the most part. However, some of them had souls; they weren’t just more intelligent and dangerous, but could usually be reasoned with pretty easily.

Amber’s fur was obsidian, and both of us had grown a few inches taller, so compared to that golden-furred lion, she looked a lot more threatening. Arcs of violet lighting jumped off of her long, crystalline whiskers; the purple radiance from her irises was pretty impressive as well.

She flexed her muscles and took a fighting stance, which appropriately looked like a tiger about to pounce upon its prey. Her roar was deafening, as she was about to charge towards the male cat, who had arrogantly challenged her to a duel… but I immediately growled “I guess you’re too much of a pussy to fight me, huh?”

It wasn’t that I was worried that Amber wouldn’t be able to beat her opponent, I just knew her too well. That lion had such a beautiful pelt, and by the end of their fight, it would have been completely ruined; our goal was to collect materials, not destroy them.

Hearing my taunt, the golden-kitty snickered, then yelled “This has nothing to do with you, Seraphim! The Cherubim and I shall duel, and the victor will receive the loser’s vessel; such is the law of this sacred Garden of Eden!” in an incredibly deep and garbled voice, but he spoke in Lorthon surprisingly well.

After hearing that I tilted my head and played with my relatively long chin hairs for a few seconds, before asking “Hey Luna, did you make these rules, or is it just something that your little pets came up with?”

The cocky lion’s silver eyes sent out two beams of incredibly dense aura, and attempted to use illusion-magic on Amber. However, the seal on her left hand lit up, along with the triquetra on her chest: they glowed with a blindingly bright purple light. I was literally right next to her, so it was possible for me to redirect his attack towards my body.

It was a rather anticlimactic end to that majestic creature’s life, but anyone foolish enough to challenge me in telepathic combat, could have only one possible fate. While the celestial-beast’s mind was preoccupied, I simply walked over and began attempting to take him apart, very carefully; fortunately, the pelt was so durable that even if I had used all my strength, I couldn’t even damage it.

Luna’s voice suddenly resounded in my mind “Ah, I forgot to tell you about the Mana Forge; it’s the second door on the left. That’s where I keep all my tools and equipment for dismantling carcasses for use in constructing tier-two weapons and armor. Also, be careful not to piss off too many people, because they might come back to get revenge, in a much more powerful body or with a large group of friends and family.”

I sighed, then asked Amber to help me carry the golden-lion. Under such ridiculous gravity, it weighed close to three-thousand pounds, but compared to our own bodies, it was rather light. It wasn’t difficult to guess that the materials it was made out of, were a lot less dense, yet significantly stronger.

The double-doors opened automatically, as we approached them with the intent to exit the jungle. As soon as we walked through the archway, I was able to carry the celestial-beast by myself, with only my left-arm; I still used both hands though, because that would have been a little awkward.

Above the ‘Mana Forge’ room’s archway, was the number three; the moment that I entered, both of our auras immediately filled the entire chamber. The ceiling was at least ten meters high, and there was about three-hundred square meters of floor-space.

Along the walls were various machines, most of which I recognized, some not so much. The basics were all towards the back though: a black anvil, hammers of various sizes and shapes, tongs, chisels, fullers and hardys.

However, just because they were relatively low-tech, didn’t mean that they didn’t have their own merits. Some people like to do things the old-fashioned way, even if there are easier methods available. As for me, I prefer just using magic when possible, and if I can’t, then I go with the least difficult path available.

On the left side of the room was just about every type of metalworking station that I could think of, but I went to the right. There was a large silverish-blue metallic table, which I laid the almost completely intact golden-lion corpse on.

Rather than the knives, scalpels, and other similar tools, I was immediately attracted to the wands. They came in a myriad of flashy colors, and looked like crystalline pens; immediately choosing the clear one, I aimed it at the carcass and channeled my aura through it.

The result was as I expected, the amplification was unreasonably high. Piercing through the fur was so effortless, that it only took a second for me to completely flay the creature. Its head, legs and tail were were removed, because I was trying to make a cloak for Amber, and they would have just been kind of awkward. All of it was pretty small compared to her body, and only hung down to her thighs, but it still turned out pretty well.

Tanning the hide only required a bit of heat-manipulation, with the assistance of that ridiculously overpowered wand. I plucked out a few strands of my hair, and used that to connect the two sides near her neck. Then there was a beautiful, majestic, muscular tiger-woman, with short purple hair, that matched the rest of her fur, who had a golden mantle hanging behind her.

Okay, maybe my fashion-sense is terrible, but as long as she used “Obsidian-Mode” or her neutral white with orange stripes, it would have been perfect. Well, that was just the beginning anyway, we needed to gather a lot more pelts before I could continue making the rest of her outfit.

Using that wand, I was able to strip the muscle from the bone; all of the blood had been drained into a vat underneath the table, the various other liquids were placed into a separate container: urine, bile, and other unwanted materials. Amber ate most of the internal organs, including the eyes, brain and tongue. While I was busy trying to use my own hair to sew the fur from the legs and tail into wrist and shin guards for the hungry tigress.

I brought the entire silver-skeleton, along with the pile of golden-meat, over to the giant transparent-cauldron near the back of the room, and telekinetically tossed them inside. After placing a lid on-top, I began raising the temperature, using the small black dial on the side.

There were no flames, just a bright-blue aura that swirled around within the huge pot. The temperature was incredibly high, but the mana-itself was actually part of the process. It saturated the metals, as they were being melted down, and would dramatically increase the quality of the finished project: though I still had a few more steps to go.

Once they had become a liquid, it was finally time to begin one of the most crucial stages. Casting was usually done by pouring the molten materials, into a mold, and then letting it cool; during mana-forging, that step was done by using telekinesis.

Essentially, I just took out some of the golden metal and formed it into two clawed, exoskeletal-hands. Then I had to break them apart into segments, and once their temperature had dropped down to the point where they almost solidified, I connected the relatively thin and flexible pieces together.

In only a few minutes, I managed to create two Amber-sized gauntlets. Well, they were basically just gloves, but the lion-fur bracers complimented them.

She was so excited, and bored, that the moment the tigress put them on, she growled “I’ll go bring you some more ingredients.” and left to go hunt. There was still at least ten gallons of molten celestial-lion bones and muscle left, so I still had a decent amount of things to make.

If only Azriel were there; I could have just asked him to make equipment for us. Actually, I should have just looked for Luna’s armory and stole some gear, but I had a feeling that she wouldn’t have allowed me to ‘cheat’ to that extent.

Before anything fancy, I thought it was important to create a couple basic hunting-knives; mine was silver, while Amber’s was golden and slightly larger. They were both pretty similar in shape, with a cylindrical metal hilt, almost non-existent guard, smooth blade on one side, and the other is flat, with jagged serrated teeth near the handle.

By the time I finished making those, the seriously wounded tigress returned with her prey. The gauntlets and cape were fine, but her left arm was broken, a few toes were missing on her right foot, and her sternum was fractured with pieces of bone jutting out of her chest.

All she received in return for those grievous wounds, was a mangled celestial-rabbit corpse. It had black fur, and aside from the pelt, I told her to just eat the rest to regain her strength.

With the leftover lion-tail, I managed to make a crude belt, creating a buckle out of that ‘Lunar Gold’, as I started calling it. The properties were closer to enchanted titanium, but there was no way for me to know for sure at the time, exactly what it was.

After I used a grinder to sharpen the knives, I started turning the celestial rabbit hide into two pitch-black, leather sheaths. The angry tigress was forced to spend a few hours resting and healing from her injuries, so I had plenty of time to finish a pair of heavy plate-boots to protect her feet.

They were golden, so even without any engravings or fancy nonsense, they seemed pretty flashy. The lion-fur shin-guards were almost completely covered by the solid metal, and seemed to add a little extra cushion.

Amber wanted to immediately leave to go test out her brand new hunting-knife, but I didn’t let her. It was certainly a good weapon, just not one that she had much experience with.

Before I met her, for most of her life, the aggressive tiger-girl had used spears or javelins and was typically very cautious. Even though her favorite weapons were her fists, she was actually much more skilled in using polearms.

There were so many ridiculous designs to choose from, so I just asked her directly “Amber, what’s your ideal weapon? Don’t say your claws and fangs, or any other part of your body.”

It took her a few minutes of quiet contemplation before I saw a strong image in her mind, one which deeply confused me. I couldn’t help but raise my right eyebrow and inquire “Did you just come up with that on your own, or was it something that someone showed to you?”

She shrugged and nonchalantly replied “I had a dream when I was younger, and I was using that. I’ve never seen anything like it before a few weeks ago, when I saw some farmers harvesting wheat in the fields. My idea is a bit different, but I don’t know if I can actually use something like that effectively.”

I snickered, then told her “Don’t worry, I can definitely make it, and you should be able to wield it efficiently… Ah~ if only Azriel were here, he would certainly be able to create something really amazing. Well, I can’t add any crazy mechanisms to it, but I can probably craft a simplified version. You should go gather me some ingredients though, mainly mana-crystals. Actually, Luna has so many of these fancy wands, I’m sure she won’t care if I ‘borrow’ a few of them.”

The weapon that Amber showed me was a scythe. Not the kind that was used in the fields, but closer to an offshoot of a halberd. For the staff, I made it entirely out of ‘Lunar-Silver’ and it was completely straight. After that came the tricky part; on one end, I embedded a small blue crystal wand. Then I formed a double-edged, gladius-type sword. It was basically just a type of spearhead. For the other side, I used a purple wand, and created a thick, bulky, and extremely heavy curved blade, which was made out of the more-flexible, golden metal.

I was a little surprised that Amber didn’t get bored and complain, she just stared at me and that weapon I was forging the entire three hours. Whenever I became thirsty or low on mana, I took a sip of celestial-lion blood, which was surprisingly cold, regardless of the room-temperature being extremely high.

Its total length was three-meters, so even compared to the two-hundred and sixty centimeter tall tigress, it was significantly large. In fact, I ended up using nearly all of the molten golden and silver metal making it.

Technically, a war-scythe is just a polearm that has a slightly curved blade, and was generally attached to the end of a staff, making it look very similar to a spear. What Amber wanted was more like the kind that was used when harvesting wheat or other similar crops, but with a much thicker and longer blade, which was horizontal to the shaft.

It was five feet long, and could either be used to slice unarmored enemies in half, or swung like a pickaxe, to pierce through thick scales, plates or other ‘hard targets’ rather efficiently. The gladius side was relatively light and small, but still quite deadly on its own. The purpose of those two wands that I installed was obviously to boost her magical capabilities.

When I handed the enthralled tigress that extremely flashy weapon, there was a huge grin on her face. She purred “It’s amazing… Can I go play with it now?” As she started swinging it around haphazardly, almost stabbing herself by accident.

I sighed, then growled “Fine, we’re pretty much out of materials anyway. I’m going with you though.” As I had suspected, the moment we passed into that ridiculous gravity, the grip-less, smooth, metal scythe, immediately slid out of her gauntlets and the spear-end stabbed into the soil.

Common-sense was relative to the location. While Amber was struggling to pick-up her polearm, I noticed a shiny, dark-red apple laying on the ground. There were no trees or treants with similar fruit growing from them in the general vicinity.

Sensing my thoughts, Luna’s voice resounded in my mind “I might call it The Garden of Eden, but it’s just a name. Don’t worry, unless you do something ridiculous like, try to eat one of those gigaton-squirrels and create a nuclear explosion, I won’t kick you out. If you accidentally stumble across something particularly hazardous, I can easily prevent the worst from happening.”

I sighed, then asked her “Can’t you just give me an encyclopedia or something? We don’t have much time, we need to get back to Salvation before Hithu and Lum notice that we’re gone.”

She snickered and whispered “Okay, but nothing’s free Michael… You know what I desire more than anything. The reason that I went through the trouble of bringing you all the way up here. I’ve been trying to ‘fix’ the world for so long, but Terra would never allow me to do what needs to be done. I can’t kill her, even if I wanted to, so I tried a few indirect methods. Unfortunately, those bastards started appearing…”

The blue-skinned goat-woman suddenly walked out from the open double-doors and smirked at me, before continuing “In the near future, things are going to get messy. Within three months, you need to exterminate those three small-fries and take control over those world-trees. As long as you have ‘Salvation’, protecting all of Lorthon Forest should be easy. I’ll even give you a little help, hehe~ now it’s time to give you the information you wanted.”

Her serpentine tongue flickered out of her lips a few times, before Luna pressed her mouth against mine. The mithril nipple-piercings were pressing against my chest, as she wrapped her arms around my neck and penetrated deep into my throat.

That scaly azure tail was leaking a light-blue liquid from the tip, while etching some symbols onto my left leg. It wasn’t random doodling or runes, but a forgotten language, from a life I can barely remember anymore.

When she had finally finished writing the list of names, I felt a dull ache at the base of my horns and she removed her tongue from my mouth. Her sharp fangs bit down on my lip, before finally releasing me from her grasp and whispering “Is there anything else you need from me? There are plenty of things that I want from you…”

I sighed dramatically and moved a few steps away from that ridiculously seductive avatar, then told her “You’ve picked up too many bad habits from Iris. That body really is impressive though, from an aesthetic point of view at least. Anyway, you know how I am already, so there’s no point in asking. Sex is about more than just reproduction and pleasure, at least for us. Are you really willing to literally ‘become one’ with me again?”

The blue-skinned, golden-eyed and pink-haired woman snickered while turning around. Then she loudly announced “Fine~, I do have a few matters left to deal with first. You’re still new to this reality Michael, but I’ve been here for far too long already… It’s been fairly entertaining, but without you, everything is just too mundane. Have fun with your adorable tigress, I need to get back to work.” The silver double-doors closed behind her, as she entered the kilometer-long hallway; serpentine tail swaying from side to side.

Unlike Iris, Luna was a part of myself that didn’t hate me for creating her. Well, we all have aspects of ourselves that we don’t particularly appreciate… It just gets a bit complicated when they gain sentience and split off into their own personality, fragmenting the main-soul in the process.

Enough about that nonsense. Once Luna left, Amber finally managed to pick-up her scythe-spear and make it over to where I was standing. She growled “It wasn’t so bad in the other room, but this thing is really hard to carry.”

I chuckled and picked up the surprisingly lightweight, dark-red apple off the ground. It was only about the size of my hand, but that was plenty of material for what I needed.

Squeezing with my right hand, I could feel a little give, but it was incredibly firm. The information I received from Luna categorized it as a ‘Rubber Fruit’ and like the name suggested, it was an elastic polymeric substance, definitely not edible, and exactly what I needed.

After dragging Amber, with her unfinished weapon, back to the Mana Forge, I placed the apple in one of the smaller cauldrons near the right-wall. It’s heat resistance was impressive, so even if the fiery-tigress tried her hardest, it wouldn’t melt.

Once the crimson-rubber was removed, I could see the seven obsidian seeds, which were essentially mana-diamonds: Carbon crystals that were enchanted. I didn’t have anything to use them on, so I simply left them on a table near the left wall.

I placed small pads on the palms and fingers of the golden gauntlets, then I created thin grips in several parts of that silver staff. The handles of the two hunting-knives needed a bit of coating as well, though I added bumps to make them easier to grasp.

There was a little left after that, so I created insoles for Amber’s otherwise uncomfortable boots. Well, even if she could walk on broken glass, jagged rocks, and sharp pieces of metal without receiving any damage, it still felt better to stand on something soft.

Since shaving was nearly impossible for me, and I preferred to not need to tear my hair out at the roots, I used a bit of the Lunar-Silver to create a few pairs of scissors of different sizes. That material was actually strong enough to cut through Amber’s crystalline fur, but to trim all of that… Nope, it definitely wouldn’t have been worth it.

The walls, ceiling and floor were so reflective that I could easily see my head from every angle, but it was much more effective to just borrow the tigress’ sight for a moment. Being telepathically linked has all kinds of fringe benefits. I could even give her a little assistance, while she cut my hair, so that she didn’t screw it up too badly.

I settled for as short as possible, so that I could use the nearly two-foot long, black, fibers to sew with. My beard was trimmed down to the point where it looked more like I hadn’t shaved for a day or two. As far as pubic and body-hair went, I was closer to an elf than a human, so I didn’t need to worry about that kind of fur.

After all that nonsense was dealt with, we headed back out into The Garden of Eden and began to hunt. The moment we passed through those doors, I felt a sharp pain in my chest and discovered at least ten, rather large feathers embedded in my flesh.

Unsheathing my knife, I quickly carved them out of my body before any serious damage had occurred. When the last one fell to the ground, the chunks of meat that were attached to them had been completely devoured.

Amber was stunned for a second, but quickly roared “I’m going to fucking kill you!” Before slowly sprinting towards the three-meter tall hawk, that was casually standing on the ground. It was glaring at me with its three crimson eyes and didn’t even glance at the furious tigress.

In a deep voice, the giant bird asked “It’s been a while Seraphim… Did you forget about me already?” Those feathers that fell onto the ground, were still connected to the avian celestial-beast by a thin thread of aura, which allowed them to be manipulated from a distance.

That much mana-control in such an oppressive environment, meant that it was significantly more powerful than us. I smirked and told him “It appears that you’ve come to deliver me some even higher-quality materials this time.”

He didn’t seem amused and launched twenty black-feathers from his left wing, firing them towards me. At the same moment, the damn bird sent those quills that were laying on the ground, towards Amber’s back. Ironically, the lion-pelt that used to be his own hide, completely blocked the attack and he was concentrating too much on his first target to notice.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite so lucky. My chest had already been torn apart by the knife in my left hand, so my best form of defense was to turn around. There were thick obsidian scales along my spine, and my tail was able to swat some of those projectiles out of the air… But the thin, inky, shark-like skin on my shoulder-blades and sides weren’t quite enough.

My lungs were pierced, along with my kidneys, and there was no way that I could move with those things embedded in my thighs and calves. However, I was just the tank, and the scythe-wielding tiger-girl was a pretty hardcore damage-dealer.

When I turned towards them, it was just in time to watch her swinging the golden blade towards the black-feathered left wing of that arrogant celestial-bird. His silver beak opened wide, and a bright-white flame erupted towards her, but the only thing holding her back was the gravity. Then she unexpectedly turned around, spinning once, and piercing the gladius-end of her polearm into the hawk’s left-eye.

Her raging violet aura and fur swiftly turned a deep-blue, as the creature’s brain was flash-frozen. The effects of those wands were truly impressive. Much more so than the actual weapon I used them to make.

Rather than simply amplifying magic randomly, they were programmed to cast specific types of spells. Essentially, even when she was raging like an inferno, she was still forced into her ‘Frostbite’ technique: also known as ‘Icy Tigress’ mode.

Of course, just because its brain was put on ice, didn’t mean that the creature was dead. In fact, right when Amber growled “I bet he didn’t ‘see’ that coming.” she was immediately disemboweled by the hawk’s dark-red talons.

However, instead of staying to continue the battle, he quickly retreated into the sky. Even under such ridiculous gravity, that celestial-beast was amazingly fast. Once he was a hundred meters in the air, he yelled “This isn’t over you bastards!” before soaring to the north.

I sighed dramatically, and began plucking the quills out of my legs. Amber roared “Argh! Come back here you damn bird!” Before vomiting up a decent amount of violet blood.

Luckily, she managed to hold-onto that scythe, because I couldn’t have made a new one. There were plenty of wands, but only one per color, and I didn’t want to ask Luna for replacements. I immediately yelled at the angry tigress “Calm down and shove your guts back inside your body! We need to gather materials, we’re running out of time!” Her lacerated viscera were dangling out of her gaping abdomen, and she was on her hands and knees, moaning in pain.

If that guy would have made those feathers absorb my lungs, kidneys and leg-muscles, I definitely would have received a decent amount of damage. Our injuries were pretty bad, but that was one of the reasons we desperately needed proper weapons and armor.

Using nature-magic to genetically alter our bodies was far more dangerous than slowly training and adjusting to the extreme environment, so normally I wouldn’t condone such reckless behavior. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a few months to play around in The Garden of Eden.

While recovering from our injuries, I dropped the twenty-one ominous feathers off in the ‘Mana Forge’ and then began collecting random fruits or plants that could be gathered relatively safely. Even something as simple as a celestial grapevine, was sentient and extremely vicious, regardless of how harmless it appeared at first glance.

Those damn gigaton-squirrels were so panicky, that the moment we even glanced at them the wrong way, they started to self-destruct. However, they were probably one of the weakest creatures in Luna’s little garden, assuming that we could disintegrate their fragile organic bodies, before the mana-crystal in their abdomen exploded.

Their only real purpose was to grow those yellow gems inside of their bodies. To do that, they needed to constantly devour various nuts and berries, while basking in that ridiculous atmosphere. Compared to most celestial beasts, their bones and flesh weren’t very impressive. It was surprising that they could even survive with such heavy gravity pressing against them.

Well, it was convenient for Amber and I, because we were able to catch and incinerate them before they could slowly run away or self-destruct. Fortunately, in the ‘Mana Forge’ were a few… Well, they were essentially thick, transparent, plastic trash-bags.

That material was so durable that I couldn’t cut them with my full-strength, using one of Luna’s special scalpels or the scissors I made out of celestial-lion bones. The scythe-wielding tigress was doing most of the actual fighting, so I had to carry all the ‘loot’ we acquired.

Her skills were improving at a surprisingly quick pace, she accidentally impaled herself a few times, but for the most part I was impressed. After every chaotic battle, I would help heal her injuries and give her advice on how to properly use her incredibly dangerous weapon.

We never moved more than a few dozen meters away from the exit, just in-case the long list of angry celestial-assholes that we pissed off, tried to ambush us. For the most part, our prey were just the generic ones that acted like normal animals: Big cats, bears, wolves, snakes, dragons, treants, rats, giant spiders, over-sized insects, birds, and everything in between.

Just picking blueberries from a mysterious purple bush was a challenge. An angry brown dryad popped out of the ground and sent half a dozen roots through my chest. Before it was able to suck out my internal organs, Amber managed to pierce her scythe through its crystalline brain and stun it with a burst of purple-lightning.

Once I pulled the tendrils out of my body, I stabbed my hunting-knife through its face and sent a colossal static-discharge of my own, and with a twist, obliterated its central nervous-system. The ones who had souls were actually a lot easier to deal with, since they either didn’t want to attack us in the first place, or were foolish enough to use telepathic attacks and lost instantly. Leaving behind a pristine corpse, which I was able to harvest a lot more useful materials from.

Utilizing Luna’s encyclopedia of random research notes regarding the creatures that inhabited her garden, I was able to find plenty of delicious celestial fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. To be completely honest, there wasn’t a huge difference in physical taste or texture compared to the non-magical versions, but the different auras had their own special flavors.

Not only were they able to help us heal from our wounds more quickly, but the happy tigress was much more efficient in her hunting ethic. After seventy-two hours of continuously gathering materials without sleep or rest, aside from when our injuries were so severe that we lost consciousness, it was finally time for me to go on a crafting-spree.

There were plenty of tables within the ‘Mana Forge’ to set things on, but a lot of those celestial-beasts were pretty damn big. Of course, there was nothing too outrageous, and they were small compared to the wildlife in Lorthon Forest.

However, the room wasn’t large enough to fit all the randomly assorted carcasses, so I left a lot of the bigger animals in the hallway. Even with our ridiculous appetites, it was simply impossible for us to consume or use most of the materials, so Luna had come by at some point to take them away to a place that she called ‘The Kitchen’.

Not everything needed to be melted down or completely restructured. A good example was Amber’s helmet. It was basically just the golden skull of a dragon that we managed to kill. I picked that one specifically because it’s head was about the same size as the adorable tigress’. It wasn’t a coincidence.

I needed to cut away certain parts, and hollow out the horns, so that her ears weren’t uncomfortable. The snout was a lot longer than hers, but it was supposed to be that way. I also used a transparent plastic-like material to cover the eye-sockets, so that she couldn’t get blinded too easily.

Those horns were pretty wide and at least a foot long, angled upwards a bit, and pointed backwards. There weren’t that many teeth, but all of them were very large, so it definitely seemed intimidating. I added some simple springs to the jaw mechanism, though they weren’t that powerful. When she opened her mouth, her helmet would do the same. Once she closed it, there wasn’t enough force to do anything to a celestial beast, but a human or elf would have a giant chunk torn out of their body.

For pauldrons, there was the head of a large wolf on her left shoulder, and a bear on her right. Well, their fur was golden and I even left their silver eyes intact, for dramatic effect. Obviously, their brains and everything else besides the teeth and bone needed to be removed.

I would have left the dragon’s scales, skin and muscle on its head too, but they were destroyed during the fight. Fortunately, most celestial beasts apparently never rotted under normal circumstances. Anything that was powerful enough to break-down their carcasses, would easily be able to do the same to their living bodies and wouldn’t be able to survive in a mana-zone under level-7… According to Luna’s encyclopedia.

The optical-nerves were even fully functional. As long as Amber’s aura was connected to them, she could subconsciously use them to see. However, she only experienced a vague feeling of sight, so that her mind wasn’t too overtaxed by visual stimuli. The ears of the bear and wolf worked in a similar way, giving her much better spacial awareness. As for the senses of smell, they lacked the capability to breath, and her own nostrils were working perfectly fine anyway.

I sewed the pauldrons, to her golden lion-fur cape, so that it became more like a mantle. Then I was faced with the most difficult problem of all… To design clothing that the picky tigress would actually wear.

First of all, I am fundamentally awful at anything relating to fashion and aesthetic sense. Perhaps there was a lifetime or two where I wasn’t, but I definitely can’t remember them.

To solve that issue, I typically just asked Gabriel for help. Unfortunately, I had no idea where he was. Luna was one of my personalities, so her input would have been counterproductive. She legitimately believed that thin mithril chains attached to body piercings was ‘dressing-up’.

Amber refused to wear any armor that might have restricted her movements, or didn’t look intimidating enough. She was also very fond of blades. Those golden-fur wrist-guards were covered by a layer of dark-red scales, with silver edges, which had belonged to the dragon whose skull she was wearing. They protected her forearms to her shoulders and on her elbows were sharp, golden spikes.

As for the boots, she made me replace them, because they weren’t comfortable for her. The tiger-girl wanted to be able to sprint, jump and walk on the balls of her feet. What she was asking for, were basically socks with individual toes, but armored and more dangerous than her own nails: Which I had to use a grinding machine to file down to a reasonable length. Fortunately, that dragon’s forelegs were completely intact, and after removing the bones, I managed to create what she desired.

Those talons were nearly five inches long, and made out of the same golden bone-like material as the skull and elbow-spikes. The ‘boots’ ended at her metallic knee-pads, which also had sharp horns on them.

Finally, the most crucial parts… Her tail needed to be protected, but also turned into a weapon. The design I decided on, was basically a series of bladed rings, that connected to the back of her belt, and ran all the way down her tail. They were separated by few inches each, so her flexibility wasn’t impacted, and the serrated edges only jutted out a centimeter.

Amber’s chest-armor was chainmail, made out of Lunar-Gold. It definitely took the longest to make, out of everything else she was wearing. Last but not least, was the kilt. Made from a handful of silver celestial porcupine pelts, which were connected to her belt.

Aside from all that nonsense, I also created a ‘siege-bow’ made out of violet dryad-wood, and lots of different kinds of appropriately-sized arrows for her to play with. She wasn’t particularly bad at archery, but she simply hadn’t had enough experience before then.

I didn’t want her to be in a situation, where the enemy was shooting at her, and she had to charge through a hail of bullets to reach them. If I could create guns a few years after being born, then other people like me could definitely do the same. Even if they didn’t have firearms, long-ranged magic could have been extremely dangerous if the mage was powerful enough.

That compact-bow was relatively small compared to her over eight-foot tall body, but it was still just big enough to comfortably fit on her back, when she wasn’t using it. There were black, metallic gears on the ends, and a string that was made from a certain celestial-spider. It’s thread was completely transparent, elastic, and immensely durable.

As for the quiver, it was attached near the handle, and was just a fan-shaped piece of dark-red rubber, which had several grooves in it. The shafts of the arrows could be pushed in, and required a decent amount of physical strength to remove. There were only ten slots, but I made an extra, leather quiver, so that she could store up to fifty more arrows.

It was also important that I created a decent amount of pouches attached to her belt. That cape was incredibly sturdy and supported by her shoulder-strength, so I was able to attach a few hook-and-loop fasteners. Which would allow her to ‘sheath’ her polearm and bow on her back, and easily remove them in an emergency.

While I was doing all that, she was either sleeping, gorging herself, or testing out the new armor and practice her archery. It took me a whole week to manufacture just her outfit, and I only slept for a few hours every couple days, so I was pretty burned-out.

Luna told me that she sent one of her ‘Angels’ down to protect New Karaville, but who or what that particular creature was, I had no idea. If it was even just a miscellaneous Cherubim or Seraphim that inhabited her garden, then I knew that it was at least powerful enough to be a temporary guardian.

Unlike Amber, I honestly didn’t care about mobility, and preferred to wear bulky, heavy, plate mail armor. Rather than have to run around, it’s easier to simply let the enemies come to me. And if they tried to flee or stay at a distance… Well, I’ve learned how to use many weapons over my eternal existence.

Even if I hadn’t unlocked my third seal at the time, it wasn’t like I needed to be a master marksman, know a bunch of fancy martial-arts, or manually operate a giant robotic war machine. Abaddon usually wielded swords pretty well, Iris liked staves, even when she didn’t have access to magic, and Luna was a jack of all trades. Including a variety of firearms, explosives and extremely ‘advanced’ technologies. Leviathan was either a dragon of some sort, or a human who played a lot of video-games and experienced a few zombie-apocalypses. Of course, Uriel and Azriel were the ones who usually caused them.

Anyway, my color-scheme was relatively subtle. Consisting of pitch-black, non-reflective metal alloy, which I had created from half a dozen different kinds of celestial-beasts. It was one of Luna’s recipes, and managed to have incredible mana-insulation, but not completely limiting the effects of earth-manipulation. The density was extremely high and it was similar to tungsten in many ways, so it also weighed significantly more than mithril.

However, my body was already around fifteen-hundred pounds, and a few hundred more wasn’t going to be too cumbersome. The design was relatively simple. Smooth and rounded pauldrons, a bit of chainmail covering my biceps, triceps and thighs, gauntlets that were similar to my chitinous right arm in appearance, a cuirass which outlined my chest and back muscles, boots with dark-red rubber soles, and simple platemail-greaves that covered my shins and knees.

The helmet was a bit more complicated, because I had spiral horns coming out the sides of my head and fairly long, elven-ears. Essentially, I needed to create several parts that could be easily constructed and taken apart.

There was a mask, which was essentially an obsidian copy of my face without an expression. For the three eye-holes, I used an interesting type of pitch-black plastic, which was made from the melted down carcasses of tiny celestial-wasps.

They were incredibly difficult to deal with, because their bodies could become completely transparent and even radiant-auras would pass through them easily. Then they would try invade their prey’s mouth, nostrils, ears, or just bore a hole through their skin and sting their vulnerable internal organs.

Without Luna’s encyclopedic knowledge, I wouldn’t have even noticed the small amount of auditory mana-fluctuations that their wings inadvertently created. The material wasn’t quite as durable or heat-resistant as the rest of the mask, but they were at least as tough as the scales on my spine.

As for the back of the helmet, it was a loose fit, like the rest of my armor. Amber and I were still growing, so I needed to account for a decent amount of size differences. I knew that our outfits would last for at least a year, if we didn’t manage to destroy them before they became too small.

There were half-circles on the front and back of the helmet, so that when I connected it together, my horns could easily stick out of the sides. The elven ears required me to create two small cavities near the top, which only seemed like little bumps from the outside.

My belt was made out of some obsidian celestial-beast leather, and wasn’t particularly thick or wide, but had many pouches. On the left side were the pitch-black sheaths for my silver hunting-knife, and a simple katana that I made. On the right was a holster for a relatively large revolver that I created.

Instead of a cape, mantle or anything fancy like that, I created a backpack. It wasn’t overly complex, but still took quite a while to manufacture from a bunch of those elastic-apples. Mainly because they were rather difficult to find.

My idea of a staff was basically just a long metal pole, made out of the same material as my armor. Well, I did shove that crystalline wand I had been using, into one of the ends. Which made it look more like a spear… Though that didn’t really matter.

I did need to put grips in a few places, and the inside wasn’t quite as simple as the outside. Even if that obsidian-colored magical tungsten-alloy wasn’t as bad as black-mithril, it still wasn’t that easy to channel mana through it.

Within the shaft, I needed to have Lunar Silver wires, connecting from the handles, and wrapping around the bottom of the pen-shaped wand. Even if it was hollow, that didn’t mean the structural integrity was weaker than if it were completely solid. I could still bludgeon people with it fairly easily as well.

The most monotonous task was creating ammunition, because I knew that it was going to be a while before I could have access to such unreasonably overpowered materials. Those obsidian-quills were actually used as arrow-tips rather than fletching, and I made a few ‘emergency’ bullets out of those yellow gigaton-squirrel gemstones.

They were supposedly extremely stable, but knowing how much mana was stored inside of them and what their main purpose was, I really didn’t want to be the one ‘test-firing’ those disasters. The majority of bullets were created with those rubber apple-seeds as a core. Their hardness was good enough to stay intact, and the jacket was made out of Lunar-Silver.

After the second week on the Moon, I had finally reached the deadline. In all that time, I never had the chance to meet with Rae, though Amber told me that she saw Ethir in ‘The Kitchen’ more than once. He didn’t say anything to her, and she was always stuffing her face, so they never actually had a conversation.

There were a ton of things that I still wanted to make, but Luna just told us “The two of you need to leave now.” and promptly led us to the teleportation room. She allowed me to take two of the transparent trash-bags, which were each large enough to fit a full set of ‘gear’. Aside from the equipment I personally created, she removed a bunch of the miscellaneous tools from my backpack. Her reasoning was “If Terra finds out that I arbitrarily gave you tier-three items, she’ll probably send her ‘Observers’ to punish your whole faction.”

Well, the most important part of ‘cheating’ is to never get caught, and going too far always ends badly. Of course, if you have an intimate relationship with the ones who make the rules you’re breaking, they tend to be much more willing to overlook your actions.

In that teleportation room, there was a gigantic triangular rune on the floor, which glowed with a bright-blue light. Luna smiled at me and gave me a goodbye hug, while I was in the suit of obsidian armor. Her slimy purple tongue managed to squeeze through the left nostril-hole for my mask, and attacked my sinuses.

I couldn’t help but mutter “Am I really ‘that’ fucking weird?” as the blinding radiance enveloped us. Then I felt a familiar weightlessness and heard a loud whistling. I was staring up at the full-moon, when a roaring tigress suddenly blocked my view.

Amber’s mostly-golden armor had a whirlwind of incredibly hot, purple flames emanating from it. Her arms were spread wide and huge, uneven, fiery wings were hastily created from her aura. I had a feeling that she must have spent a lot of time with Iris when I was busy… Which worried me a bit.

It was a similar concept to having a hot-air balloon. Except the container for the heated gas was mana, and superheated-plasma was a lot less dense than the atmosphere. The only problem was that she weighed over a ton, with the addition of her new equipment, and she would have had to make them a hell of a lot larger.

I sighed dramatically, then yelled “You need to make them much longer and wider than that! Here, about this size!” While I was making my ‘simple’ armor, I embedded several mana-crystals of various attributes within the plates at important areas, then used tiny Lunar-Silver wires to connect them to the inside and outside of the suit.

Spreading my arms and legs wide, I created a colossal disk of swirling, white, flames. It was at least a hundred meters in diameter and roughly three times thicker than my body, while I was comfortably laying on-top of it. In under a second, the tigress slammed onto my cuirass with her chainmail-covered chest, and made me lose my balance.

The amount of force wasn’t too great, and it didn’t even scratch anything. The problem was that when she latched onto me, I was turned towards the ground. My instincts had been telling me that we were several miles above sea-level, so I expected a bit of time to free-fall, before casually landing.

Maybe if I wasn’t so mentally and physically exhausted from building weapons and armor for two-weeks with almost no rest, plus all the near-death experiences while gathering the ingredients, I probably would have remembered the ridiculous altitude of Salvation. The moment I was facing the ground, the propulsion of the giant fiery-vortex behind my back smashed both of us into the stone roof of a massive building.

Immediately stopping the spell, we began free-falling again, while separating from each-other. It only took a moment before we slammed into the beautiful, light-blue marble floor, which was quickly destroyed as we passed through it.

There wasn’t enough force to damage our bodies, much less the armors I created, but it was still disorienting. The whole structure was collapsing by the time we finally stopped on the bottom-floor of what had seemed to be a palace throne-room. Well, there wasn’t enough time for me to truly admire the architecture, because after crashing into the ground, the whole damn place fell onto us.

I could hear plenty of screaming, crying, and yelling as I calmly used earth-manipulation to remove the fifty-tons of rubble that was trying to crush us. Amber followed behind me, as we casually climbed up the giant pile of what had previously been an ancient castle of some sort. When we reached the top, I saw a colossal bright-blue willow-tree and looked up towards The Full Moon, murmuring “Thanks… I guess?”

 

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