I let out a deafening scream, but after a while, I realized I didn’t experience any falling sensation, but instead, I felt the platform slightly vibrating. I slowly opened my eyes to see that I’m slowly descending instead.
“What the…” I said in amazement and bewilderment.
Three pillars, three pillars of raging water moving like snakes were balancing the whole platform as it slowly descends. The raging pillars of water moved as if it had a life of its own. It whips, it bends, it collapses, and recollects.
On the side of the cliff, winged beasts cling. They were small winged serpents with claws on their wings and were at the size of an adult snake. They were called Phipteres. These Phipteres were unfortunate enough to be within the vicinity of the pillars.
Each time a pillar lashes in the air, a number of fleeing Phipteres are crushed. It was destructive. Even the cliff walls and the trees below are not safe.
“This much destructive power and the platform isn’t even damaged. Is this because of the water spirit’s blessing during the ritual?” I muttered as I watched the scene before me in awe.
At six meters above the water surface, the platform started shaking, and the pillars became visibly thinner.
“W-whaa,” I said as I tried to balance myself on the platform.
Then a sudden burst of water from one side of the platform destroyed the balance and threw the platform along with me to the side.
Before I was able to let out another scream, I plunged deep into the water.
“Cough! Cough!” I coughed as I expelled water from my lungs on fours at the bank soaked.
I lied down the river bank and waited until I recovered from the searing pain caused by the water entering my lungs.
“Cold…” I muttered.
Every time a wind breeze passes by, I feel a chill surging throughout my body.
“To think that my only clothes would be this soaked…” I said in sorrow.
After I have changed into the leather armor, I tucked the clothing I wore beforehand on my belt.
“Well, there’s no hope complaining…” I said as I started walking towards the corpses of the Phipteres that littered the vicinity.
I took out a knife and started removing the wing membranes of the Phipteres. Removing the membranes was an easy but tedious task. I repeated the process until I finished a total of two Phipteres amounting to four pairs of wing membranes.
“I guess this is enough.”
I moved my sight to the surroundings to find trees with broken branches and rocks that fell from the cliff.
“It’s quite peaceful despite the destruction, the animals and beasts were probably startled. I should take my leave before they start returning.”
I faced the direction of the waterfall, looked up at the sky, and checked the shadow of the trees to check which direction was east.
So I’m currently facing south. Since I traveled south with Mon from Aves, then traveling towards north would be a safe bet. But looking for the forest barrier and the river would be better.
Then I looked towards the cliff the waterfall resides.
Those Phipteres is starting to return to the side of the cliff. It’s probably a nest or something, so climbing back is not an option.
I started moving north following the river while slowly checking the things I have with me.
Ugh. I lost three shards from that fall…
I’ve brought ten unprocessed mana shards so I could embed basic magic circles depending on the situation. Usually, magic circles are embedded using mana stabilizers, a magic tool to aid mana control. In my case, who’s talented in mana control, don't need stabilizers when embedding magic circles on the basic level.
Other than that, the rapier, dagger, bow, ten arrows, and the leather sack are in place. The leather sack contains a few things: a water container, the pouch, an extra cloth, a metal cup, the wing membranes, and a potion.
I walked down south until I found a suitable boulder where I could start putting up a camp. It was large enough to reach three meters in height and 6 meters in length. There’s a small arc on one side which I used as a shelter.
Along the way, I collected resin from pine trees I’ve passed by and placed them into the cup. Then boiled it down and added crushed charcoal to make a glue stick which I could use later.
“This will do,” I said as I look at the glue stick colored black. “Now I’ll need to hunt for food.”
I looked around to check which direction I should start scouting.
“But then again, I still need to test the magic circle in the rapier. I could at least tell that it’s on the fire element so I guess testing on the river would be a good choice.”
I walked towards the rocky bank of the nearby river. I stood facing the water surface and stuck the rapier into the water cautiously.
“This is nerve-wracking,” I said anxiously. “Well, here goes nothing.”
Then I poured mana into the handle of the rapier. After mana filled in the magic circle, it activated. A spark of purple lightning covered the blade and transferred to the water.
“!” I unintentionally pulled the rapier from the water in surprise.
On the river where I tested the rapier, were two unfortunate fish that floated after one swam nearby the rapier and another one who unfortunately surfaced, were shocked dead.
I stared at the river for a few seconds before remembering that it was almost noon.
“Ah, wait! The fish!” I started scurrying towards the fish on the water in an attempt to secure it.
“Well, I guess I just invented another method on how to fish,” I said delightedly from my catch. “In any case, I didn’t know how deadly this rapier is.”
Lightning magic is the second level of the fire affinity. The difference is that fire burns its opponent from the outside while lightning burns them from the inside.
Afterward, I returned to the camp and started to cook the two fish.
“Hehe, I’m so lucky to get a fish this easy.” I grinned in delight. “Really, strolling around in the harbor of Aves is helpful.”
I grew up in Aves, a city in between the sea and the forest, where its main trading products were fishes and leather.
“But being alone…” I said frowning. “Is not that good of a feeling.”
Now that I think about it. I’ll be alone for the rest of the period of the proving…
“It’s quiet and peaceful. No one would point out that I’m unbefitting of royalty even if I casually do things in my own way. None would care if I speak informally. None would spread rumors. I am… Free.”
I shook my head.
“No. I am not free.” I took back. “I still have my responsibilities.”
Memories of my past resurfaced in my mind, but I immediately shook my head to halt it and looked up the sky.
“And besides… I’m not alone, Right? You’re there, right? Please accompany this lonely child at least.” I smiled.
Later that night…
I was running through the woods fleeing from the pack of wolves chasing me down.
I take it back! I’m so unlucky!
I held a shard on my left as I poured mana into it in every step I made. Inside the shard is basic body reinforcement magic.
I took out another shard with fireball magic embedded and activated it, and then a ball of fire manifested itself diagonally to my right. In contrary, I made it sit at the location it manifested and immediately passed beside it as I flee. Then, a cry of a wolf was heard from the back.
Next, I took an arrow from the quiver with a shard attached to its head, nocked it, and then aimed.
When I was almost adjacent to a tree, I released the arrow below my feet.
Then a rumbling sound was emitted from below. Earthen spikes sprouted from the ground and impaled a number of wolves.
Breaking a shard would increase the effectiveness of the magic embedded, but the shard would be lost in the process, therefore, creating a larger effect after the shard breaks.
I returned to the earthen spikes and waited for the wolves to pass, but nothing followed.
Did I get them all?
The three remaining wolves scurried ahead and ignored me.
What? – I thought confused.
Then a thundering roar reverberated in the surroundings that broke the silence of the night and made birds nearby flee in desperation.
Ugh! What is this?! – I thought as I covered my ears with my palms.
Then the earthen spears burst when a large jaw broke through and sent me flying followed by a sound of shattering glass. I rolled and bounced on the ground for a few meters before coming to a stop.
“Agh…” I moaned in pain as I lay on the ground, dirt covering my body.
I managed to avoid death with the help of the sacrificial crystal I wore, but my body throbbed in pain, my mind faint, and my sight hazy.
This… is bad…
Dread started creeping as my only insurance, the necklace, in avoiding immediate death is broken.
I moved my head to the side to see a large four legged beast with a height of two and a half meters: covered in scales, a large jaw, a body lowered to the ground, and a long thick tail. They were called Snapmaws. Snapmaws are species under the lesser earth drake category.
What is that even doing here… - I thought as I tried to move my limbs but failed.
I started chanting as I lay on the ground hoping it won’t notice me immediately while it ravaged its surroundings.
O’ ruler of light and darkness I beseech you,
Let dark overshadow light, in the shadows I hide,
Let light triumph over dark, Deceived their eyes become,
Manifest, cloak of concealment.
After finishing the chant, my body vanished from the surroundings.
The Snapmaw trampled over trees and smashed everything the tails hits. It was mindlessly ravaging the area as it moves. Soon, the Snapmaw stopped and fell quietly on the ground.
Huh? Is it… dead? – I thought – Wait what’s that?
A long white object was sticking out on its side. After a few seconds, a large snake appeared from the background. It was a Cerastes, a Cerastes with one fang.
The Cerastes unhesitantly opened its large mouth and started devouring the Snapmaw starting from its tail.
With my mana running low, the concealment came undone, and my body reappeared. Luckily, the Cerastes was busy devouring the Snapmaw and could not spare me its attention. Forced to watch the scene with shallow breaths, hoping it’d immediately end, I waited for it to devour the Snapmaw entirely.
After devouring it whole, the Cerastes looked around and saw me. It started hissing as it tried to slowly back away.
[Leave.] A voice commanded.
But the cautious Cerastes sprung up its horns. Then it started to glow.
[I gave you an option.] It spoke unperturbed.
It happened in an instant. Countless black spears shot out from the shadows of the trees. In the next moment, the Cerastes fell to the ground lifelessly.
I moved my head to the direction of the voice.
What I saw was a deer, no, a doe, a pure white doe with antlers. Its antlers, imitating a tree branch, bore pink petals falling and sprouting continuously while the moon shone from its back. It was a mysterious yet majestic sight.
[It has been a while O’ child] It said sweetly.
“W-who… are you?” I squeezed my voice.
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