Book 6, Chapter 36

An Entire World

Richard plugged his ears at the sound of the old man’s mana-infused scream, taking a step back before raising his hands in defeat. He had to admit that Lawrence’s words made sense; if he finished the grade 5 Mana Armament, then he truly would be the only person in the world capable of making and repairing it. No matter how much money his customers spent on the rune itself, they would still have to come back to him for repairs; there would never be a case where such people turned into enemies.

Finding that Beye was out hunting and wouldn’t be back for a while, he decided to spend some time meditating while Lawrence made his modifications. Having been busy getting used to his new ability ever since he reached level 18, he hadn’t found the time to delve into the upgraded version of the Deepblue Fantasy, the Deepblue Dream. Sharon had once told him that this was the true basis of the entire Deepblue series of meditation techniques, while the Deepblue Fantasy was just something she had come up with as an afterthought.

Having delved into the basics of the technique long ago, Richard knew that the Deepblue Dream was a far deeper state of meditation. Just the first step of putting oneself in a state of absolute stillness until the world resonated with your existence was much easier said than done, and the following steps were no better.

Richard had assumed it would be easy with his foundation, but the moment he started trying to put theory to practice his mana turned sluggish and it became extremely difficult to concentrate. It took some effort to recover from the inexplicable feeling, but even as he managed to get his mana moving his mind suddenly wandered to something Sharon had told him about the techniques: once he was accomplished enough, they would show him an entirely different world; the true world.

Even Sharon herself hadn’t reached that level yet, so there was no need to discuss its difficulty. He gradually calmed his heart and threw away all thoughts, consciousness immersing into a sea of darkness until he couldn’t even see his soul form anymore. There was no danger within the endless dark, but if his mana grew chaotic it would take a long time to recover.

Time passed quietly as he encountered failure after failure, but Richard quickly stopped keeping track and immersed himself into the process. He didn’t know exactly how long it took, but at one point he felt himself enter a strange realm of existence as the darkness seemed to turn completely transparent before him. He could no longer feel his body or his soul, only existing as an isolated consciousness in the void.

His conscient reached out testingly, but upon finding that he could spread his will as far as he wished he immediately recoiled back into himself. He had almost lost control and zoomed out just then, and the farther he went the more his will started to tremble. It felt like he could get completely lost within this void, unable to return to one’s own body.

It was at this point that he suddenly saw a tiny hint of blue in the dark void. The small pale dot was so eye-catching in the darkness that it could not be ignored, and as he focused his attention on it the mote changed directions and started flying towards him.

Richard shook in surprise as the blue point drew closer, finding that it was actually an entire star! It was an indescribable scene, the star a flawless sphere in bluish grey with a ring of light slowly spinning around it. For some reason he felt like this star was so large that even the entirety of Norland would fit on it easily, but in front of his face it was only as big as an apple.

But wouldn’t that mean he himself was much bigger than all of Norland? It was easy to dismiss the feeling as fantasy, but Richard grew increasingly certain that this was not an illusion. Trying to wrap around it with his consciousness and draw it closer as he did in the Deepblue Fantasy, he saw the entire star shake as it shot right towards a black fog that he realised was his soul form. All of the star’s momentum came to a standstill as it stopped in space, rotating quietly in place to release pulses of astral energy.

Following these pulses, Richard’s consciousness zoomed in on a pale blue dot in his own body. It took some effort to reach it, but as he drew closer he found that this spot of light was actually an ancient well built on a floating island. The design of the ancient well couldn’t be more familiar, nor could the word inscribed on the side: Schloan. This was the well of stars that was a part of his truename, and looking down one could see clear water within that was brimming with astral energy. As pulses fell into the well, the waters grew turbulent and emitted a mist rich in mana.

Richard finally understood that the Deepblue Dream could capture these star-like motes of energy and trapped them within his body, using their constant output to fuel his growth. If he captured a sufficiently large number, his growth rate would quickly improve. However, this only brought up many more questions in his mind. Where was this dark world, how did the technique connect him to it, where were the stars coming from, how could they be captured with his might? Were they even stars at all, and if not how could they grow one’s astral energy?

He waited patiently for a long time, but a second star never showed itself. It was only when he was about to return to reality that a small crimson dot appeared in the periphery of his vision, flying in an irregular path.

As the crimson star grew closer, Richard saw that its surface was full of enormous cracks that constantly ejected columns of fire from within. One could tell at first glance that this was a star on the verge of destruction.

Just what could cause such destruction, he wondered as he reached out to capture it, but the moment his consciousness wrapped around the dead star he immediately screamed into the void in pain. It felt like a fireball had blown up within him to rip him apart, but even as he tried to move away the star rushed over and fixed itself within the dark cloud. The water in the well of stars immediately started bubbling, the mist turning to the colour of blood.

Despite the pain, however, the close-up experience did tell him just what the energy was. This star represented the source energy of the Land of Dusk!

It took a great amount of effort to pacify the unstable energy, bringing it to a point that it didn’t threaten to rip him apart. With no knowledge of how time passed in this world of meditation, he decided to wake up and check on how Lawrence was doing. When he opened his eyes and looked up at the clock, it revealed that seven days had passed.

Richard shook his head as he heard Lawrence walk into his house, putting a stack of papers on the desk, turning to the old man and asking, “I’ve been meditating for seven days?”

Lawrence didn’t even spare him a glance, “What were you thinking, entering deep meditation in a battlefield of despair? Do you want to die?!”

He stood up and shook his head, “Sorry, I didn’t expect… that. Anyway, what do you have?”

The old man snorted and spread the designs across the table, “These are what I came up with. They can all be paired with your Mana Armament, so make use of them. Your rune itself is almost perfect in terms of utility…”

Lawrence looked Richard up and down for a few seconds, as though he was staring at a monster, “Why is the energy output so high, and with four output channels to boot? I gave you an ursa penis, you dumb kid, not its entire body!”

“Heh, you know how tough my body is,” Richard chuckled as he headed over to check Lawrence’s designs. They were all simple enough to decipher at first glance, and were a minimal burden on capacity as well. Without their own energy transformation arrays they could only rely on the core of Mana Armament, but this only made him admire them more. Lawrence truly was a creative genius; if not for his near-death at the hands of a legendary sorcerer, he would have been one of the best runemasters in all of Norland right now.

“Stay for two more days,” Lawrence spoke up, “Use them to look through the designs. If you have any new ideas, come to me and we can discuss them. I can’t even make elementary runes these days, there might be some places where I haven’t thought things through.”

Richard nodded and delved into studying the designs. Each of the small rune-parts was equipped with an array that absorbed any excess energy from its host rune; the first one turned it into a small burst of mana as necessary, while another did the same for energy. Three more were purely for light effects.

The two days passed quickly, and by the end Richard had a good understanding of most of the arrays. However, there were some parts of the light-effect runes that he didn’t fully understand; he just didn’t have any prior experience in this area.

Just as he got up to head for Lawrence’s and discuss these issues, his heart suddenly skipped a beat.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo