83 Chapter 83 Ice Temple
Joseph was so relieved to survive the horrible monster, after living under tense scrutiny with the mages and before then the king and his court, that he was determined to enjoy this week.
FLAME BLADE was able to emerge form any part of his body. Though, he learned really quick that faking his death with a large jet bursting from his chest, was not necessarily a good idea when he saw Stella's face afterwards. Some of the more fun moments included twirling with jets from each hand, shooting at imaginary assassins, trying to fly like a robot with flames out of his hands and feet (which totally didn't work), and trying to cut individual snowflakes.
Setting his new piece of soul to deciphering PREPARE GAME was fun in that he could focus on different things, but at the same time, he felt at a bit of a loss. It just wasn't the same thing. In fact, it almost felt like cheating.
He had considered making it focus on PURIFY FOOD, just to see how advanced he could get it, but decided not to. The thought of going up to an enemy mage and saying, "You look edible," and then throw that at them made him giggle. No one would even think of trying to protect against a food spell!
Spying the look, he was getting from Stella, made him tone it down a bit. She had been avoiding him the entire week, throwing the 'he's lost his mind' looks at him. If he didn't stop soon, she might start praying that he get better.
(YOU HAVE COMPLETED 50 HOURS OF AN ACTIVITY WITH EACH HAND.)
(YOU HAVE GAINED AMBIDEXTERITY.)
(YOU HAVE COMPLETED 100 HOURS OF CHALLENGING MANIPULATION TASKS.)
(YOU HAVE REACHED HIGH MANUAL DEXTERITY 2)
(YOU HAVE LEARNED THE MODIFICATIONS FOR PREPARE GAME AND FIREBALL.)
Grinning he turned to Stella, "The next time you go to catch something, I want to cast my new spell PREPARE GAME."
"All right, Master Joseph," she said, doubtfully glancing around. There wasn't anything to hunt around them, so it would have to wait.
"I want to cast my other new spell FIREBALL."
She looked at him nervously. "At least there's nothing around that you can hurt or kill…"
"Watch this!" he crowed, drawing the rune for FIREBALL, with both hands while he focused the mana around him into a larger version of it. He shot the fireball then immediately shot another one through the middle of it.
It was spectacular.
The first fireball was hard to look at, but the second one shot through it like a rocket, even having a bit of a tail and a mushroom cloud after.
(YOU HAVE USED THE TECHNIQUE RUNE WITHIN A RUNE ON A MISSILE SPELL.)
(YOU HAVE CAST FIREBALL, A SPELL OF THE FIRE RUNE FOR THE FIRST TIME.)
(YOU ARE AWARDED 1 LIFE POINT.)
The ground was glowing but it was totally worth it to cast it in the high mana area. And the best part was that he would forever remember it.
"That was really bright, is that what fireworks are like?" asked Stella.
"Kinda, we should probably head on now," he said, scratching his head. The mana was still higher than normal, but not nearly as much as at the beginning of the week.
"I thought we were heading back now that the evil monster was gone?" asked Stella confused.
"I want to see where this monster came from. I don't want to have to come back if there's more than one, or if this wasn't the only evil thing."
Stella's face went blank as if that hadn't occurred to her. Licking her lips, she seemed to be at a loss for words.
They traveled north for a week, following the trail the monster had left as it traveled south. Coming up against a sheer cliff of ice, they saw a tunnel had been melted through it.
"What is this?" asked Stella in awe at the wall of ice.
"It looks like a glacier. A mountain of ice." Joseph studied the tunnel, amazed at the amount of mana it would have taken to melt the tunnel.
They traveled through it, amazed at the beauty as they walked. Stepping outside into the thin sunlight, the sight before them stole their breath. A great temple made of ice stood before them, in the direct center of the glacier. The entrance was blasted out, where the evil monster had escaped. As they drew closer, they spied the frozen corpse of someone near the door.
"Do you feel that?" asked Joseph, just above a whisper.
"It's evil." Stella remembered that feeling, but it was the smell that had her stop. The smell of brimstone permeated the area.
"What's wrong?" asked Joseph seeing the look on her face.
"The last time I smelled this, was the day the counsel of elders cursed me to the island," Stella said, turning to him.
Joseph sniffed then his eyes went wide. "Demons. Think they had infiltrated your counsel?"
"They must have…but why?"
"I was coming to warn your counsel of the demon worshippers, to protect the world tree…"
"I didn't know…that explains so much…" Stella shook her head sadly. If she had only known, she might have been able to do something.
"We can't do anything about the past. And even if we could, I might not have met you, and I'm not willing to risk that. Come on, let's see what's inside."
Stella stared at the body as they walked past it, until it was out of sight. As Joseph stepped inside, his eyes went wide in surprise and delight. He suddenly understood why the person who had freed the monster had died, even thought they had incredible powers, as was proven by the tunnel. The entire inside of the temple was covered in runes and rune phrases to keep the temple standing and the monster contained. Breaking even one of them would have caused such a backlash that would have destroyed any normal person.
"Do you see any runes you hadn't seen yet?" asked Stella, looking around carefully.
"Yes," answered Joseph, distracted. "There are nine new runes I will have to study."
"It doesn't look like there's anything here to worry about, so we can head back now, right?"
"Yes," he said, smiling.
As they left the tunnel, they heard something new. It was a dripping noise.
"This place won't last long, now that the magic is gone, it will probably melt."
"The frozen lands will be pushed back and it can be used for more hunting and farming," agreed Stella.
The route they had taken to the monster, and then to the temple, formed a triangle, so the travel time to get back to the barbarians only took them a little over a week. Stella caught a rabbit and he was able to use PREPARE GAME on it. A few days before they got back, he finished learning PURIFY AIR, and was able to cast it for the first time. Already, the temperature had risen, and green grass could be seen peeking up all over the surrounding landscape.