“It seems that magic crystals will forever be useless to me. I absorb all their magic. There is clearly some kind of connection between magic and ‘Dark Matter Contamination’.”
It was a hot day on the Plains and I was currently riding in a wagon being pulled by a horse.
This wagon was one of many wagons the tribe possessed and was somewhat poorly made, but it did what it was made to do. It carried the tribe’s supplies, the young, the old, the sick or crippled, and the tribal leaders. Since I was the Khan, I was expected to ride in the best wagon the tribe possessed.
Once things settle down and we have a more permanent home, I am really going to have to improve their technology and culture. For now, it is enough that their military skill and organization improves. I can at least be proud of the fact that I have convinced all of the Foxkin to bathe more frequently.
“What do you think that connection is?” Allein asked me inquisitively.
“I have some theories about it, but nothing concrete. When monsters die, I absorb the power from their crystals. What exactly are magic crystals, though? Are they just solidified magic, or perhaps concentrated ‘Dark Matter’? Are they what give the monsters life? I suppose it makes sense then that I don’t absorb anything from dead humans since they don’t have magic crystals within their bodies. Also, what is the connection between dungeons and monsters? Both have magic crystals and I can absorb both the energy from a dungeon and from a monster. They also must have some kind of connection to the Void, but I am not sure exactly what the Void is just yet. Then there is the voice I sometimes hear.”
I thought about all the stories I read in manga and light novels or all the anime I had watched. It could have some relation to a deity, or an evil force or demons or something. There were a lot of possibilities. Is the Void a place? A being of some kind? Is it a god of monsters? It could be any of these or none.
All I could do was move forward for now. Even though I had agreed to becoming a chieftain and then later Khan, I had also realized that it was most likely my best opportunity to get some answers. I would need a lot of resources at my disposal to find the truth behind all of this. Uniting the Demihumans was part of this. This wasn’t the only reason I was doing this, though. I honestly wanted to help the Demihumans and there was also a part of me that wanted to be some kind of hero, as foolish as that sounds.
Allein seemed to be thinking something and I watched her curiously.
I had a feeling for some time now that Allein was keeping secrets from me. I didn’t believe them to be malicious secrets, nothing along the lines of betrayal like Tris, but something she wasn’t sure she wanted me to know. I didn’t really want to push her, she had gone through quite a lot, waking up after thousands of years and finding out her family was all gone. She only had her brother and me in this world. In some ways, she and I weren’t all that different. We were both people who had been placed into a completely different world from what we knew, well more so on my part but still…
“Allein, you know that you can always talk to me about anything. I will always be here for you…”
Those were not trivial words, I meant them.
She looked me straight in the eye, she really was a beautiful young woman, but she kept her heart well guarded. I could only hope that with time that would change. Either way, she was one of my wives now and it was my responsibility as her husband to help and support her.
“How can you be so certain?”
Her response was somewhat of a surprise. Did she think I would abandon her, or was it something else?
I glanced at her eyes and there deep within, was a quiet sadness that had nestled itself deep within her. This was another side to her that I had seen a few times before. Allein was much more complex than I had thought when i first met her and the more time I spent with her, the more I understood that.
“It’s true that I can’t see the future. If I were to die or something were to happen to me….. If it’s within my power, I would never abandon you. I promise.”
Allein shook her head, “that’s not what I mean at all…. ”
She seemed somewhat annoyed at me, but she wasn’t angry.
Reia came over to the wagon and jumped in and sat down next to me. “What are you two talking about?”
“Nothing….” Allein replied with a whisper.
“I see. We still have a long way to go before we get to the Grand Council. I made my rounds through the caravan and morale is high. There is very little grumbling like there was initially when you became Khan, Fayde.”
“That’s good then. I guess all the loot and resources they obtained from the dungeon helped with that.”
I chuckled and Reia returned my smile.
“Our people never had much to begin with, so they are grateful for the gifts I’m sure.”
“I bet they are. It is only the beginning of what is to come. I promise, I will make a place for all of them. It’s only a matter of time. By the way, how was it when you checked your status? Was the power I transferred over to the both of you through the ‘Mark of the Void’ sufficient?”
“Yes, I feel much more powerful than before!” Reia replied to me cheerfully.
She had been in a relatively good mood ever since coming back from the dungeon.
Allein nodded but said nothing.
“That reminds me, has anyone heard anything about Tris today?”
Nes had been assigned to keep an eye on her from a distance. I hadn’t heard from either of them today. Tris was quite busy these days receiving, and sending messages to whomever was following us. I was certain whoever she was communicating with was not far, but the Foxkin scouts I had sent to locate these hidden foes had found nothing. The only solution I could think of was that there was some kind of magic that allowed them to remain hidden from the Foxkin senses.
When she wasn’t scouting, she spent time with the rest of us and would occasionally ask questions about our plans from here on. We were all careful with the information we let her hear.
“Fayde, I think we should just imprison her and be done with it.”
Reia was giving me her daily advice about imprisoning Tris.
“I already told you, if we imprison her now, it isn’t going to stop whoever she is working with. We need to wait until we at least have some idea of what they might be planning. They will eventually make a move but it’s not going to happen with so many Demihumans around. It would be better to get all of them in one swipe. So we wait, okay?”
She nodded but didn’t seem convinced.
I decided to change the subject, “so did you level up with the power I gave you? I want to confirm my theory.”
“Yes, I am now level 16 and I also received two ability points again. Your power is unbelievable. My strength has increased to 17. That would put me in the upper echelons of the Adventurer’s Guild when it comes to raw strength. I can probably count on one hand how many others possess more strength than me. If you take into account all my stats, there may only be one other who could compare with my overall status. It really feels like I am cheating…”
“Ha! No need to think on it that much. Whether it is a cheat or not, what matters is how you use that power. Our cause is a good one. You have nothing to be ashamed of and I am glad to hear my theory is correct. It seems that the power I give you can both level you up and grants additional ability points. How about you Allein, how’s your status?”
“I have put most of my ability points into magic and defense but all my other stats are well rounded too.”
“Good! That reminds me, I need to check my status. Fieral!” I called out to Fieral who would undoubtedly be nearby, she always was.
She popped up almost immediately, “Yes my Khan.”
Whoa, where did she come from?
No one could say she was anything but dutiful, “uh, can you go and find Aylil, I want to check my status. With everything that has been going on, I haven’t found the time to do so yet.”
She bowed and went searching immediately.
She was gone for about ten minutes when she finally returned with Aylil in toe.
She’s as shy as ever hehe. I chuckled to myself.
“Aylil, I hope you are doing well?”
No answer eh? The way she squirms when I talk to her is cute.
She looked at me hesitantly and then whispered, “I’m….. fine….”
I rubbed her head and she looked down but didn’t avoid my hand.
“Can you help me with my status?” I asked her as sweetly as I could.
She nodded and began gathering her magic power to use her divination technique.
[Level: -1 EXP: 0/0]
[Health Regen: 0.5/min] [2/min while resting]
[VP: 1200/1200] [Void Threshold: 1700 Next level 1800]
[Void Regen: 2/min] [10/min while resting]
Strength: 16 ( Modifier +3, Representation of your attack power as well as your physical strength)
Dexterity: 15 (Modifier +3, Representation of your reflexes, movement, agility, and evasion)
Constitution: 16 (Modifier +3, Representation of your resilience and affects health/health regen)
Charisma: 13 (Modifier +2, Representation of how others perceive both your physical appearance and personality as well as your skill at social interactions)
Intelligence: 140 (Represents intellectual capacity, Affects Skill Growth)
Wisdom: 210 (Represents an accumulation of life experience and common sense)
Acquired Proficiencies: Sword (Level 7/10 Advanced), Evasion (Level 6/10 Advanced), Tactics (Level 6/10 Advanced), Leadership (Level 6/10 Advanced), Endurance (Level 6/10 Advanced), Spear (Level 2/10 Beginner)
Acquired Martial Arts: Sword Whirlwind (Sword), Poised Strike (Sword), Seven Sword Slash (Sword)
Blessings: Blessing of the Void (The ability to unite with the soul of a ‘Child of the Void’ through the ‘Mark of the Void’)
Special ability: Molecular absorption (Absorbs dark matter contamination strengthening host), Molecular transfer (Transfers dark matter contamination from host, to those bearing the ‘Mark of the Void,’ strengthening them), Molecular reconstitution (Through dark matter contamination transference, reconstitutes entirely, the body and soul of those bearing the ‘Mark of the Void’, amount of VP required is dependent on severity of the condition of the one being healed)
Inherent status: Immortality (Immortality grants agelessness, your body and soul will no longer age)
Affinities: Void (Your natural and innate magical affinity, Void Element)
Void Element: Void Flame (Maximum) (20VP – 7VP/min) (Imbue the power of the ‘Void’ across your entire body and unleash flames that devour space and time over a limited area), Void Strike (200VP) (Unleashes the power of the ‘Void’, limited dimensional strike), ‘Phantom Image’ (Lesser)(50VP – 10VP/min) (A type of magic body enhancement that circulates ‘Void’ element throughout the body which creates ‘Phantom Clones’. These clones allow for short range cross-dimensional teleportation.)
“And why have you come here Demonkin? Was it not you and your kin that abandoned the rest of us on the Plains a long time ago and now you have come running back here with your tails stuck between your legs? Did the Empire strip you of your wits and your courage?”
Booming laughter filled the tent from all those within.
The Shakari, leader of the Demon-kin, was not amused. His sister walked forward to speak but she was halted mid-step by her brother’s raised fist.
“You would dare mock me with your lies. You know damn well we did not leave willingly.” His words became a threatening growl that put all those within the tent on edge.
“You call yourself a Khan, but you are nothing more than a mewling cat suckling at his mother’s teat! Everyone one of you are cowards too afraid to fight Humans and you sit here playing your foolish games!’
A plethora of angry voices were raised by his comments and murderous eyes glared at the Shakiri from all directions. The Shakiri raised his enormous halberd and slammed it against the ground quieting those within the tent. They all knew the strength that lie within this Demonkin and were soon reminded of it.
In the silence that followed, the Wolfkin Khan stepped before the Shakiri. Khan Rhaegnar was known for his wisdom and he had been one of the few who hadn’t jeered at the Shakiri for he was no fool, but a man of honor.
“All of us here understand your plight…. And the reason why you have come here.” Khan Rhaegnar stopped for a moment and turned to face the crowd, his eyes passing over all in the tent.
“Your kin, and those others who follow you, left the Plains in the time of our fathers, so long ago that it is but a distant memory. Many of our people who agreed with your father, left with them in order to make war on the Empire. Those of us who remained knew it was folly. That will not change now.” Despite the seriousness of his words, they were said with a certain gentleness that calmed the Shakiri.
“What you speak of is true, it was my father who decided to leave the Plains because of his disgust at your fickle nature and rigid stubbornness. He made it his mission to fight the Empire and those who agreed with his way of life followed. It is also true that the reason why I am here is just as you all suspect. However, I will not ask as my father did. I am here to take, to conquer. I will make all the Demihuman tribes mine by winning in the Grand Council. I will not be refused!” His words were meant as a promise and, as a threat.
The crowd was moved to anger once more by his words but this time silenced by the Khan of the Tigerkin.
“Hahaha, do you really believe that you will win? There are none here stronger than I!”
The Khan of the Tigerkin stood up and the voices around the tent were thunderous in agreement with his words but the Shakiri seem unfazed.
As the sound of Demi-humans clamored around him, he slowly approached the Khan of the Tigerkin with a purposeful gait. Rajal Khan, the Khan of the Tigerkin, was too absorbed in the praise around him to notice until the immense form of the Shakiri stood before him.
“There is one here who is stronger than you. Me.”
The Shakiri turned before Rajal Khan could respond and he left the tent with his sister.
When they were finally outside in the cool night air, the young Demonkin woman spoke to her brother.
“They are as stubborn as father said. Can’t they see that our kind are being slowly and surely exterminated? The Humans see us as nothing more than pests to be eliminated. It doesn’t appear that they plan to let you win brother. I imagine they will do anything in their power to stop you.”
Her brother snorted violently at her remarks, “let them try. We have the strongest force out of all the tribes and….. I have you Laila. Would you allow any harm to come to me?”
“You don’t even need to ask that. No one will harm you while I live.”
Her brother showed a toothy grin and the two of them returned to their tent.