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Chapter 182: To Seek Relations

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Comiak

Fire Elemental Heart (Legendary):

This is the heart of a slain Fire Elemental; it still holds a fraction of this fallen being’s authority over fire.

Grants Fire Manipulation 1000/1000

[Acting] works overtime to keep my surprise hidden as I examine the contents of the box in Ryn’s arms as she steps out of the well-made and decorated carriage.

There is no way to take [Manipulate Fire] to level one thousand, and judging by its mention of authority, the strength of the granted Skill was influenced by the Fire Elemental’s Bond, which suggests that there may be an exception soft cap of skills by breakthroughs, although I highly doubt that exception can be granted to living beings.

There is no doubt that it is an item Skill like the skill my Eyewraps have, but this is the first time I’ve seen an item Skill have a seemingly impossible level; it’s way higher than even Kayafe’s [Manipulate Magic], although she had an enhanced skill and [Manipulate Fire] is definitely not enhanced so, in the end, I think her skill is stronger even if it’s half the level.

And to imagine that is only a small part of what Elementals can do…

If the level of power that the Mana Arc and this material are what I need to make a legendary item, then I am far from achieving such a feat.

Vulpun and Ruluna greet Van and Ryn and leads them inside while their servant carries a box of mana-producing items and materials. He takes it to a room where four more boxes are stored. It’s more than I thought they’d have; they must have scoured the entire country for them. 

Overall, they must have close to two hundred thousand mana per hour production between all the materials they have which will double what we currently have. Considering we need five hundred thousand mana per hour for the flagship, this will cut down on the time we need to wait for its completion.

I greet Van and Ryn as they enter. They had set up an appointment with Vulpun, asking me for my service. I don’t know what it is about, but I am certain it has something to do with that Elemental Heart they have.

“I hear you have a trade proposal for me?” I ask.

“That is right,” Van says. Ryn steps forward; she opens the ornate box in her hands to reveal a blazing uncut gem. “We would like to hire your services to make something out of this Fire Elemental Heart.”

No doubt they want me to make a weapon, it’s a good material for one, but I don’t want to arm another nation with such a powerful weapon lest it is used against us. That’s not the only reason either; what if it does become a magic item, a legendary magic item? 

Yes, I may get a point, but they will get a very powerful weapon, and what if it ends up draining all of my anima in the process? I might die. I still don’t know if making magic items are entirely safe.

Plus, if I do die, the gods will get ahold of my soul which has all the memories unlocked now, and they said it themselves; once they have what they want, I am on my own. Add that to their greed for my soul, and I’d very in a very bad place if I die, so I have to treat this life as my last.

“What do you want me to make?” I ask, already knowing what they are going to say.

“A weapon. A powerful weapon to help us win the war and save countless lives,” Van says.

“Unfortunately, I must decline,” I say. “For two reasons. The first is that I can’t help arm another nation with such a powerful weapon. Look at what your Leviathan materials are capable of, and that’s vastly weaker than what a legendary weapon is capable of. I only agreed to make the Leviathan Armor and weapons because I get a fraction of those materials too; you get armed, but we also get the means to contend with you should our relations turn sour.” 

“And the second reason?” Ryn asks curiously.

“It’s personal, an issue I hope will be solved soon, although it’s not easy,” I reply.

Van gains a gleam in his eye as if a tasty Domr has presented itself. Ryn notices it too and tries to protest.

“Van, no—”

“What if we tie our two people together?” Van asks, flexing his well-trained body, perhaps in an attempt to impress me. “By joining our two people, that will alleviate your concerns” However, before Van can continue, Ryn grabs a handful of his ear and drags him out of the room and into the waiting room.

“Ryn?! What are—” Van says as he struggles. 

“What did I tell you?!” Ryn shouts. “Are you trying to insult the Ambassador? We know nothing of her culture! You can’t just propose a political marriage just like that!”

“I can’t help but chuckle at the ridiculous situation as Ryn continues to chastise Van.

“If you don’t mind me asking,” Ruluna says shyly, “What is your personal reason?”

Vulpun gives Ruluna a warning glance but otherwise doesn’t say anything.

“I won’t go into detail, but I need to cure a cursed skill,” I answer.

This much information shouldn’t be something that they can use against me, and who knows, maybe they have the information I need, although I doubt it.

“As far as I know, It’s impossible to cure cursed skills,” Vulpun says.

“It definitely is; in fact, I am ninety percent sure I know how to cure them, but it’s the curing part that is the difficult part.” 

“You do?!” Ruluna says, astonished. 

“Yes, if you master [Sense Mana], you will have an opportunity to learn about it,” I say cryptically.

I don’t want to give too much away, but what if they can help me? What will they want in return for their help?

Unless they have more legendary materials just laying around that will help me get a material point or have some way to restore anima, I don’t think they can help me. Hold on, do they have a way to restore anima? It might be worth asking. I should also ask Kayafe and Safyr about anima as well; it’s been a while since I asked them for something serious like this that I forgot to ask them about it.

“What do you mean by that?” Ruluna asks, tilting her head slightly.

“It will become very apparent if you ever reach that point. On a side note, do you guys have any way to restore someone’s anima?” I ask

“Restore someone’s anima?” Vulpun asks, looking thoughtful. “No, nothing I heard of anyway, but we can look into our libraries if there is anything.”

I’m sure they can put two and two together and figure out what my issue is, but I need to know if they know anything that can help me, and, at the very least, they won’t do anything harmful to me in the short term. If I can restore my anima, then they won’t be able to use this information against me.

“I assume that’s all then.” I say, “Unless there is something else? I’ll be training with Ruluna in case something comes up.”

Vulpun shakes his head.”We got the armor and Lifedrop Necklaces; you have your materials. I’ll let you know if we find anything pertaining to anima.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Archmage Holuna Ruluna is completely stumped by the new mystery Alysara has learned. Just like last time, Ruluna solved Alysara’s perceptive knot, and then her perceptive trace just disappears, fading into nothing.

“How are you doing that?” Ruluna asks curiously. 

The fact that in a week she managed to come up with something new is impressive, but to just make her perceptive trail simply disappear is a whole new thing. It’s not just that she is lowering her perceptive pressure either; it just straight-up disappears.

“Hmm,” Alysara hums, adopting a thinking pose. “I can tell you, having this method beaten may lead to new and better ways to hide, a type of arms race, but not right now; I am other things I need to dedicate my minds to.”

Ruluna continues to practice, trying to puzzle out what Alysara has done to no avail. It’s as if her perception simply goes to a place that’s here but not here. How that’s even possible, Ruluna doesn’t know, but she’s metaphorically looking right at it.

By the end of the day, Ruluna is no further than when she started. Alysara leaves, flying home on mosaic-like wings with the bounty she paid for.

“She has a cursed Skill, one that probably drains her anima,” Vulpun says once she leaves. 

Van and Ryn are still here and likely have been debriefing with the Headmaster while Ruluna trained with Alysara.

“So that’s her personal reason? That doesn’t explain why it would prevent her from making something out of the Elemental Heart.” Governor Van says, his normally loud voice humbled by Ryn’s anger.

“Her first reason is enough to deny our request,” Lady Ryn says, sounding tired after yelling at Governor Van. “Think about it this: would we want one of our craftsmen making a powerful weapon for another country? No, we’d probably charge them with treason.”

“That makes sense,” Headmaster Vulpun says.

“We need to improve our relations with her and her people somehow,” Lady Ryn says. “How do you propose we go about that?”

“Perhaps sending one of our Ambassadors to them?” Governor Van suggests.

“I don’t think that’s possible right now,” Headmaster Vulpun says, shaking his head. “Alysara is secretive, and we must remember how we became aware of her. She spied on us, and although it was not malicious, it shows her cautious nature or profession. We need to build relations with her people’s leaders, not her. She won’t even tell us much about her home, culture, or people, so we are mainly operating in the dark.”

“So we just wait for them to complete their vessels then,” Lady Ryn says with an understanding nod. “And we can’t make detailed plans about how to negotiate with them until we know more about them.”

“That\'s right,” Headmaster Vulpun nods.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t make any plans,” Governor Van says. “We will have to show them our best hospitality when the time comes and ease our way into establishing an ambassador on their end. Any idea on what kind of gifts will be appropriate for them when they arrive?”

“None” Headmaster Vulpun shakes his head.

“I get the feeling Alysara is mostly acting independently,” Ruluna speaks up. "I don’t think she is an agent of her government or organization.”

“What makes you say that?” Governor Van asks.

“Think about it. Everything she has offered or traded is something she can do, even if she doesn’t directly mention that it’s her services or knowledge that she is offering. I believe that the only time she represented her people was when we were establishing trade routes. She doesn’t even mention food, spices, or monster materials… nothing; it’s all related to mana-based things, her personal knowledge, and craftsmanship.”

“That’s a brilliant observation, Ruluna!” Headmaster Vulpun praises. “Even the Leviathan Armor and weapons are more mana than the actual Leviathan materials, almost as if those are a second thought. Considering that she has mastered [Manipulate Mana] as well, this makes sense.”

“So we aren’t even trading with the Runalymo right now?” Lady Ryn asks, “Just Alysara herself?”

“Yes, we have no idea how important Alysara is, although we can safely assume she has a very large influence,” Headmaster Vulpun answers.

“Well, that’s better than nothing!” Governor Van says, his voice becoming bolder. “We need to make her impression of us as good as possible, so she lets her leaders know!” 

Lady Ryn gives her brother a dirty look. “You’re not helping in that regard!”

Ruluna stifles a laugh at the duo’s bickering, but they are right; it is through Alysara that the winds of change and opportunity will flow.

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