Book III - Chapter 11

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I once read that the human body is made out of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. For the most part, it’s just those six elements.

When you really think about it, that’s not much to work with.

Sure, you’ve still got this tiny bit leftover. Another five, with potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Maybe some more, depending on the quality of their tap water. Yet, add them together in their natural state: what do you have left?

So, I suppose it’s safe to say that a few of the total number will happily float away. Gone to the wind, never to return. gases, and the like. The rest are solid things at room temperature, though. Crumbled up and mixed together, I think you would call them dirt.

Earth.

I know Earth, quite well.

With just that one Magic, completely unaided, some of the things I can make happen defy reason. I’ve bent this reality to my own, idle, curiosity. Moved pillars, carved stone, created wonders, from dust to diamonds- and after all I’ve done, I still find it fascinating how the world chooses to govern what is within an “element’s” domain.

Oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium.

What I call elements, here in this world, haven’t even discovered yet. In fact, to the people and systems which govern this reality, the long list above might simply be reduced to two words.

Gas, and dirt.

‘Air’ and ‘Earth.’

There’s ‘Water’ and ‘Fire’ too. According to Eveth, there’s a “Soul” element, and even something she called the “Faith” element. Still, I know this is all wrong.

Those aren’t elements- not really.

They’re not like carbon, or oxygen. They’re not listed on the periodic table. They have no true basis in a science, outside of whatever additional laws seem to govern the Magic in this world. Beyond the menu and system which governs it: they’re generalizations.

Concepts that people can interact with and understand at a basic level.

You breathe in Air, you stand on Earth, you drink and swim in Water, and you burn with Fire. Soul is ethereal, and Faith is belief… But, for some reason, these generalizations- these categories, matter. Matter, in ways that my understanding can’t always predict.

For example: Even with power of the ‘element’ of Water, I can’t take water out of a living thing. That life, that body, is untouchable.

It is.

Knowing what I know: the general percentage of water in the body, the elements which make out the molecules I’m strive for… still, I can’t touch them. And, just like I can’t pull the water from someone’s body, I can’t break free the basic elements with Earth Magic. I know what they are, I know what they could be- but it doesn’t matter. Almost as if it’s protected by some other force, or some other domain: I cannot pass.

Maybe, it’s the Soul element. I’ve heard that binds others together, or apart. Strengthens them, or attunes them. Possibly, it’s the strange power of blood, or an aspect of some ‘Divine’ element, or some other completely alien concept that I haven’t learned of yet. Any of these seem likely.

In the end, the result is the same, though.

I can try as hard as I want, but I can’t break the rules. Water can’t be reached, just as Earth can’t be drawn. When faced with a living thing, all I can do to interact is Heal with what Eveth referred to as ‘Faith.’ Unable to reach them by any other means, from the inside out. But, even if I can’t break the rules: I can bend them.

Fire: to burn.

Faith: to heal.

Earth and Water: to take.

To take.

For once, I’m going to play this stupid game.

On its own, Earth can’t reach.

Water can’t reach.

But Fire?

Fire can always reach.

Chapter 11

I don’t remember much about that first night.

There are broken bits and pieces. Snippets, really, of voices and screams…

I remember Eveth tried to pull me away, and I remember Alem shouting. I think that was about the time I sealed up the dungeon. Lifted sand and made it into stone, before pushing them away.

Eventually, they stopped trying to reach me. I know that. Alem dragged Eveth off, and together with the others, they took the wagon and ran.

Something like that.

I’m not sure.

All I really know, is that when the sun came back up: I was alone.

Alone in the ashes.

That other voice of mine had gotten progressively quieter. Just like the flames, his shouts began to die out, with time. By the morning, with green trails of smoke trailing off towards the bright blue sky, he was gone too.

Now it’s just me.

Even Imra’s gone.

I don’t know if that was the fire, or the healing. With so much mana, I suppose it could have been either. All of these things, happening at once. The Frog God speaking to me, the voice shouting at me, Imra fighting and dying, while my healing magic failed me over, and over, and over…

All that what do I have to show for it?

“Show me my status.”

“…”

“I said: show me.”

[SYSTEM ACCESS RESTRICTED] [!]

“Go on.”

[LESSER GOD TITLE - RECOGNIZED]

“And?”

[LIMITED PERMISSIONS - GRANTED] [!] [!] [!] [!-

————————————————————————

[Level 1]

[TITLE: INHERITOR, GREATER ENEMY OF THE WORLD, LESSER GOD]

[BRANCH: Divine Being]

.……………………………………

[UNIQUE TRAITS]

[Extremely Toxic] [Crystalline Scales] [Omnivore] [Affinity of Flame] [Legendary]

[Greater Enemy of the World - SYSTEM Access Restricted]

.……………………………………

[STATUS]

[WANTED - Humankind] - Bounty issued for capture, or proof of execution.

[HATED - World] - _______________

[INFLICTED - MADNESS] - No longer completely sane. [Resisted]

.……………………………………

[RESISTANCES]

[Poison resistance: Rank 27] [Fire resistance: Rank 22] - Affinity* [Mana resistance: Rank 47] [Chaos resistance: Rank 11] [Steel resistance: Rank I] [Iron resistance: Rank I] [Acid resistance : Rank 11 ]

……………………………………

[Skills]

[Healing]

[Greater Passive Healing: Rank 21] [Greater Heal: Rank 13] [Lesser Miracle: Rank I] - Granted by [INHERITOR] title.

[Flame element] - Affinity

[Leviathan breath: Rank 41 ] [Fireball: Rank 11]

[Earth element]

[Earth Sculpting: Rank 57] [Lesser Sentient Golem: Rank I] - Granted by [INHERITOR] title.

[Water element]

[Water Manipulation: Rank 26]

[Knowledge element]

[Voice of Gaia - Rank 16] - [RESTRICTED]

[Language Comprehension] - [Human Language - Northern Continent: Comprehension] [Human Language - Southern Continent: Comprehension] [Lukra Language - Comprehension] - Great Forest Dialect

[Spirit Attendant - Rank III] - [IN USE]

[Divine element]

[Lesser Possession: Rank I] - Granted by [INHERITOR] title. [Lesser Divine Blessing: Rank I] - Granted by [INHERITOR] title. [Lesser Holy Ground: Rank I] - Granted by [INHERITOR] title. [Lesser Future Sight: Rank I] - Granted by [INHERITOR] title.[Lesser Eyes of Familiar: Rank I] - Granted by [INHERITOR] title.

[Royal Spirit of Man] - [IN USE]

[Ancient Spirit of Depth] - [IN USE]

————————————

That’s right.

The status is back with “Limited Permissions” or whatever the hell that means.

Like they’re trying to lock me out, but can’t.

There’s still a lot of information to take in, even if [Voice of Gaia] and the “System” it’s working for doesn’t like me.

Long as it gives me what I ask for, I could care less.

Honestly, even if it didn’t, I could care less.

Imra’s gone.

Completely gone.

My mind feels like a pieces of it was cut away. That bond, familiar, brain scramble- whatever it was, is just empty space now.

So empty, it hurts.

[Voice of Gaia] tell me what a Lesser God is.

“…”

“Tell me.”

[SYSTEM ACCESS RESTRICTED] [!]

“You sure about that?”

[SYSTEM ACCESS RESTRICTED] [!][!]

Fine, then.

Passive aggressive withholding of details, or not, the status alone tells me quite a bit.

Large increases across the board from what I remember. Nice to see my Water Magic grinding paid off, at least a little, but my level is back down to where I started. So, I guess once I hit the triple digits, the counter did a rollover.

There’s a lot of other changes, too.

The Divine Element, especially. The Frog God did something to me, down in the Dungeon. Before they crumbled, they gave me something. Mana, some sort of healing, but then all of those skills…

The [Inheritor] title.

What was it they said to me, right at the end?

“I’m sorry?”

They knew… no, they intended, for this to happen. For me to be stuck down below, while Imra was fighting up here. They meant for things to play out the way that they did.

Sorry, they said.

Really, now…

Fuck.

As if that makes anything better.