Chapter 10: Some People Just Can’t Look at Something without Wanting to Take it Apart.
Old Man Harulf was delighted with my ability for magic, especially with his “feel the magic” style of teaching, and taught me a skill, (Barrier), before the little girl, Lyla, came to get him for bed.
By the way, though Lyla and Old Man Harulf are living together as grandfather and child, Lyla is human and they are not blood related. It seems as if they are traveling from another Labyrinth city and joined Kali and her group for safety.
Well, it didn’t turn out the best …
After a few hours of sleep, thanks to (Resilient Body), I’ve recovered myself well enough to get up easily for my watch. I’m watching with Jericho, the militia leader, it seems.
My MP is now just shy of 500,000 and still regenerating. I have some new skills under two new traits, [Mana Manipulator] and [Combat Magician]. They’re from training with Old Man Harulf.
It seems I get a skill when I successfully use it. Normally, you would probably get a skill the way I got one with Old Man Harulf teaching me. Practice and practice while someone is showing you how to do it.
Apparently I can make my magic just do what I want it to without any training, or even knowing what magic can or can’t do. Essentially, I can get skills randomly. Getting a skill that way is probably something only I can do.
At least, it’s something I’m not going to tell Lor about. He might have a heart attack.
After checking my MP level I shut off the (Status) screen, since leaving it open also consumes MP. Though it’s only a little amount, less than my regeneration rate, there’s something else that’s taking my entire attention.
Right now, I’m sitting next to the fire with the big crossbow propped up and one of the bolts lying out in front of me. I don’t know how to restring the crossbow, though I’ve struggled until my palms start to sting.
I did think about using (Augment Body) to force it, but there’s no way they’d make it impossible for normal people to use it.
While I’ve given up and gone to carefully inspecting the crossbow – though to be honest there are a lot of parts so I’m a bit at a loss – Jericho has gotten up and walked over. He took a little bit of effort for Kristaf, one of the previous watch guards, to wake.
It was a LONG day yesterday, after all.
Jericho freezes when he approaches the fire.
“… That …”
He points at the crossbow sitting next to the fire.
“I … uh … swiped it yesterday.”
I’m a bit ashamed of myself. Though it was on the spur of the moment, stealing is still bad, right?
Jericho stands there, a little stunned, before he shakes his head.
“Ah … sorry. I’m still sleepy. For a second I was thinking you were actually one of the bandits. That-“ he nods at the crossbow “is the bandits’, no, the mercenaries’ ballista, right?”
“Um … it’s what they were using to shoot at you guys yesterday. One of two.”
So this thing is called a ballista. Ballista … it sounds kind of familiar. It probably exists in the OTHER world.
“There’s two?! That’s not good. We’ll have to be on guard …” Jericho’s face clouds over.
“They HAD two. I smashed the other one and stole this one… Well, I’m not sure they didn’t have more …”
There’s a silence. I glance over at Jericho. I hope he still doesn’t suspect me … eh. He’s laughing silently.
“You … you really are something else. Smashing a magic weapon… amazing.”
He sighs after a bit when his shoulders stop shaking. I’m torn between paying attention to him and continuing to investigate the ballista.
“Ah… magic weapons aren’t normally that easy to break, you know. For you to say that so nonchalantly … for a while I really thought you were sent to waylay us too, but there’s a limit to playing dumb if you’re a spy.”
… I think I’m insulted.
“But for you to be able to sneak something that big … you have the [Storage] skill?”
Yeah, let’s go with that. I’m reluctant to admit to any skills I have under [Otherworlder].
Jericho reaches over and shows me how to draw the string back with the hook and winch that I had overlooked. The front support on the ballista is also adjustable for helping with the aim. It’s pretty mechanical for a magic weapon … I’m a little disappointed.
When we load the bolt it begins to glow faintly.
Jericho and I both panic suddenly and turn the armed ballista in the opposite direction from our sleeping companions.
… but the bolt isn’t really getting as bright or frightening as the ones earlier…
Jericho whistles as low as he can to avoid waking the others.
“Yeah, those definitely weren’t normal bandits if they have two of these. Magic weapons run 100,000 ecrue on the low end; these gotta be 30 times that each at least. Without counting the bolts. They had to have been fairly expensive hires, and this is the second time in as many moons that Kali’s caravan has been targeted… I’ll have to write a report.”
As he mutters to himself, I’ve triggered (Magic Sensory).
For the ballista there isn’t much magic accumulated, either in the trigger or in the string. Instead, the groove in the sling where the bolt’s end rests has a strange etching in it that seems to swirl the magic into patterns.
The bolt, on the other hand, has the etchings all throughout it, particularly at its end and at its tip.
But, really, the bolt isn’t getting any brighter and the magic doesn’t seem to be flowing. It’s simply sitting there, pulsating slowly in its dim state.
“… how does this work?”
I finally ask, admitting defeat and my lack of magic knowledge.
“The sling and the bolt have magic circuits that activate only when they touch, so you have to use the ballista to get the bolt to charge.”
“So the bolt only collects magic when it touches that part of the sling… but it’s pretty weak.”
“That’s ‘cause the bolt’s made up of metal that absorbs magic easily so it sucked up some from the sling right away. But you have to charge it full of magic yourself through that part on the back of the sling if you want its full effect.”
“Hmm… so it’s more the bolt that’s the magic weapon. But then why make it so roundabout to put magic into it?”
“It’d be bad if a bolt went off in storage by accidentally charging itself with magic, so it’s a safety.”
I’m not really getting the answers I want. My questions are more “why use a circuit” or “isn’t there a way to charge the bolt directly even if it has to be connected to the ballista” types, but Jericho’s kind of making a face like he’s trying to remember the answers … after all, he only has to use weapons, not make them.
I begin to pour magic into the sling and watch the magic surge through the circuits from the sling and into the bolt with (Magic Sensory). The bolt glows quite bright and gives that fearsome, deadly aura.
“Oi oi, if you don’t shoot it, it’ll explode right here!”
Oh, so the bolt won’t just stay charged with magic until it’s released? Jeez. Wouldn’t it be safer to add something to the trigger? Like, “don’t explode the magic out until I shoot”. I feel like the circuits on the bolt simply fill the bolt with magic until its breaking point, then discharges the magic violently after a certain amount. Of time? Or of magic put in? I’m not too sure.
I try to reabsorb the magic, but no can do.
Right, can’t absorb magic. How many times must I be reminded of that?
Ah, but what about dispersing it?
I touch the bolt and try to disperse it. The magic trembles as if it wants to go but doesn’t know how. I forcefully envision the magic leaving the bolt, and feel some of my MP leave me. My MP doesn’t enter the circuits but seems to wrap around the bolt instead. I picture it siphoning the magic from the circuits out forcefully.
It takes a lot of concentration, and I have to pour more MP onto the bolt to get it to work, but …
As Jericho makes a dive for the trigger, both the magic in the circuits and my MP suddenly … pop away from the bolt and disperse into the air.
Jericho is shocked for a second as the bolt immediately stops glowing.
“… what did you just do? Don’t tell me you … absorbed the Magic Power?”
“No, I can’t, right? I just had the magic leave the bolt. Though, I’m sorry, I didn’t know it would explode without being shot. That was too dangerous to experiment with close to the camp.”
My excitement from playing with the magic weapon and seeing how the ballista worked has worn off, and now I’m seriously reflecting on what I just did. That … was stupid, oi.
Jericho’s mouth is wide open for a second, but only a second.
“Haha, it really feels like I’m talking to a Wizard from the legends…”
He laughs a little, though it’s not the despair-filled chuckle Lor has.