• Published 24th Nov 2020
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Level Up! - RisuUmbra



A new MLP MMO turns death game as the players are sucked into what they assume is the game... not as fun as you'd think

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Ch 2: The Devil in the Details (Edited Version)

Chapter 2: The devil in the details

“Anyone can make lights, anyone can send a message through a wire, I want to bend reality to my will” - Caleb Widowgast

Now, when most people wake up from being knocked out it's usually by the voices of their loved ones, or in extreme cases a doctor or nurse, but apparently I, Marcus, don’t get that luxury, as the first thing my burgeoning consciousness heard was somebody near me screaming a string of expletives that actually impressed me in their creativity before I heard and felt a large impact that actually threw my body away from where it was,sending me rolling what felt like a few feet through the grass and slamming me awake. A moment of blind panic struck me from having the wind knocked out of me, making me try to scramble to my feet, only to do a vague approximation of a worm when my lower torso wouldn’t support my weight. The second fall calmed my panic enough for me to realize I couldn’t feel my hands or feet. I quickly swung them up to my eyes only to whack my dark blue hooves into my new muzzle, renewing my headache.

I tried to shake some of the headache from my system as I gazed down at my wrong limbs. I felt the need to throw up as I stared down at familiar cerulean hooves and a few strands of silver and black mane that covered my vision. This… this couldn’t be happening, I slowly lifted one of the unwieldy hooves and tried to feel around my forehead. I quickly felt a dull thump on my hoof and a brief spike of pain added to my headache as I knocked my hoof into my new horn. My mind quickly flashed back to the moment my computer swallowed me as all the details came together… I had become the avatar I just created.

My panic started to rise once again, but I took a moment to take a look around me and finally tuned in to the absolute chaos of sounds around me as countless other ponies were doing the same as me; many others were inspecting themselves, though some were handling it differently than others. Taking a glance over to where the earlier impact was. I could only see a crater with a charred brown unicorn corpse collapsed in the center. The sound of more screaming nearby jerked me from my stare and pulled my attention to another erratic looking pegasus who was screaming curses and swears at a sobbing earth pony only to suddenly be struck by lightning and fall down charred and crispy, sending the sobbing earth pony further into hysterics. It was quickly dawning on me, and maybe a few others, that this large group of what I could only assume were other players was a powder keg that had already been lit. Rolling onto my new belly I tried to stand again, only for my new extremities to turn to jelly and send me to the ground once more. Sighing and pushing aside my panic for a moment, I started crawling across the large, grassy clearing to the closest forest edge while pushing down my rising panic and fear as far as I could. I resolved to fall apart in a place where I'm not liable to spontaneously combust. The feeling of grass caressing my stomach and chest changed into prickly underbrush once I cleared the forest line and entered the woods proper. After stabilizing myself against a tree I was able to get to my feet, or rather hooves, and slowly, unsteadily walked away from the disaster behind me.

Somewhere behind me I heard a heart-rending screech of fear before another tremor almost sent me back to the ground, I felt a few sticky drops of -Don’t think about it! - land on my back. My mind was so preoccupied with not turning around that I didn’t even realize I had started running. Any rational thought was consumed by my previously suppressed panic and hysteria and all I could focus on was getting away, albeit clumsily, as at the time I felt like I had the motor control of a child. The only thing that stopped me was a small cliff which I didn’t see until it was too late, which, in turn, meant that I ran straight off the edge, sending me tumbling down the side, picking up a few bruises and twigs in my hair, or rather mane, before finally rolling to a stop in a circle of bushes, out of breath.

Now that I got most of that panicked energy out of me, I could feel myself calming down and taking stock of my situation rationally. As much as I wanted to yell and scream and curse whoever trapped us here, I needed to focus on my survival. I thought back to how I fell into my computer of all things and assumed we were in the game instead of actual equestria so there must have been a way to get into the interface or menu. Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, I steadied my heart beat and was surprised to see a light blue blinking plus icon in the top right corner of my darkened vision, I opened my eyes and turned my head away from the forest floor and it was still there, blinking softly in the corner of my vision and waiting for me to ‘select’ it; or at least, that’s what I assumed. As I was staring at it wondering how to access it, it suddenly popped open in front of me like a slightly transparent blue hologram and after a few moments of looking at what I can only assume is my stats screen I blanched; hard.

[Name:Markus/Arcane Hope Lv:1]

[Title: Spoilers~]

[Health: A Bit Bruised]

[Mana: Full]

[Stamina: Almost Empty]

[SP Available: 3]

Physical Skills→

Magical Skills→

Social Skills→

My menu looked like someone took a regular rpg screen and gutted it of most of its details. where there would normally be numerical stats that would show my attributes like my strength or intelligence there were only vague descriptions of their status. At least my mana and stamina bars appeared in the top left of my vision after I opened my menu; colored blue and yellow respectively, of course. shrugging off my irritation I brought my attention back to my menu, or more specifically, the three ‘SP’ it said I had, which I assumed I could spend for skills. As much as I wanted to go right into magic, I needed to see if there was a physical skill for walking and running. I wouldn't last long if I had to outrun a manticore or something with these jelly legs.

Physical Skills:

[Tier 1: Coordination→ Power Strike→ Embolden]

While I was expecting a skill tree, what I got instead was multiple trees of different tiers going all the way down to tier twenty; and while all of them were greyed out except the first I was still impressed at the sheer amount of skills available. focusing back on the first skill, Coordination, I brought up a small description of what the skill did.

[Coordination: Grants the bearer increased stamina and makes their movements much more nimble and surehoofed]

[Skill Level 0: 7.86%]

[Cost: 1 SP]

A quick mental tap cemented my choice and left me to move on to the magic tab; the ability to shoot lasers from my head would really help with the whole surviving thing. Leaving the Physical Skills tab and going to the magic tab left me a bit stunned; when it comes to sheer number of skills, comparing the physical tab to the magic tab was like comparing an ant to an elephant. Just like the physical skills tab, the magical skills were divided into tiers according to their complexity and power, but unlike the physical tab there were multiple pages dividing the different types of magic and techniques up.Of course, all but one were greyed out and that one was obviously the beginner page with all the introduction skill trees. so, after a brief read over I took my second skill.

[Fledgling Mana Control: Gives the bearer basic control over their magic and bestows the lowest forms of magic Levitation and Beam Attack]

[Further levels in this skills will improve mana efficiency and potency]

[Skill Level 0: 0.00%]

[Cost: 1 SP]

After taking the Fledgling Mana Control skill, most of the greyed out pages opened up and one of said pages caught my interest immediately.; a few pages in was a skill tree under the name Summoning. After a brief look-over, it looked like something that would be perfect for me. I’m no pushover in a fight but at that moment I wasn’t exactly the most threatening creature, so the idea of having the ability to summon a multitude of magical creatures that would have my back was a welcome one.

[Fledgling Wisp Summon: Summons the weakest of all evoked creatures, the wisp.]

[This wisp will independently attack any targeted creature with small burst of magic and will continue to do so until destroyed or dispelled]

[Higher levels allow for more complex orders]

[Mana Draw: Medium]

[Mana draw and strength will improve with experience and supplementary skills]

[Skill Level 0: 0.00%]

[Cost: 1 SP]

The moment I closed the menu after buying those three skills made me quickly realize the folly of buying multiple different subjects that I have no experience in. I was immediately sent to the ground as what felt like the mother of all migraines ripped through my cerebral cortex and continued to burn and throb angrily as if my skull was too small for my brain. brand new subjects were injected into my mind and, strangely,I could also physically feel my mana pool and stamina increasing; which was less painful and more skin crawlingly odd as I was pretty sure my mana pool didn’t really have a physical location in my body.

I wasn’t sure how long I was laying there for but by the time the throbbing pain had dissipated I could feel a notable difference in my new body, I felt much more comfortable in my skin and, slowly, with the coordination of someone who lived as a pony their whole lives I smoothly stood up without any difficulties; well, no difficulties besides the few bruises that twinged when I moved, but I ignored those in favor of thinking about the new knowledge that had been implanted into me. It was slow going, but after a few moments of struggling I was able to ignite my horn. From what I could see it had a silver aura. I had assumed that levitation would be more like having a telekinetic hand moving things around for me, but in actuality it was more like imposing my will to move upon something; which was much more subtle yet very focus intensive apparently. Slowly levitating a stick from the ground wasn’t very easy, but it was possible; and after it was enveloped in my aura the blue mana bar in the corner of my vision started to slowly go down.when I dropped the stick back to the forest floor the blue bar started to steadily fill back up.

“Get Back!” The sound of a struggle in the distance startled me out of my inquisitive reviere. for a moment I was about to get up and run in the opposite direction, but a moment of logical clarity stopped me. I wouldn’t last long in this forest all alone and in this sort of situation someone having your back could mean life or death. Taking a deep breath, I pushed down my fight or flight instinct and ran in the direction of the fight. as I crashed through the underbrush the sounds of exertion and the crushing of wood became louder and louder, making me think that there may have been more than one pony there. Bursting through a wall of bushes I was greeted with the sight of two red-coated, violet-maned earth ponies fending off four timber wolves and, apparently, not doing very well. The noticeably taller of the two ponies had a few bleeding claw marks on his sides, and was wielding a tree branch in one hoof, fending off the wolves in front of him. The other, smaller pony was hiding behind her larger counterpart while fearfully trying to stay away from any of the wolves that tried to circle around. The fragile stalemate finally collapsed when one of the wolves launched itself at the larger pony and sent them to the ground. the wolf was snapping at the larger pony’s face, and the only thing stopping it was the already splintering tree branch.

“Get down!” My shout caught the attention of every creature in the small clearing giving me ample time to fire three quick blasts of silver mana at the wolves. Compared to the levitation spell, the mana beam spell was noticeably more unrefined in its nature which meant it was much easier to cast in rapid succession. The first, much to my surprise, nailed the wolf on top of the pony in the face, knocking it off. the next shot actually blasted off the tail of another wolf that was nearby, and the last soared past it’s target and into the woods. Seeing that backup had arrived, the previously pinned pony wasted no time and quickly swung the tree branch around to brain the stunned wolf, shattering its wooden visage and rendering it still before rolling over and standing back up. The sudden supernatural level of strength shown by the previously trapped player made me pause for a second. The fact that earth ponies have super strength seemed like an important detail so I kept it in mind. I took a few more steps into the clearing and took another shot at the tailless wolf while sparing a glance at my mana bar. It was less than half full after my latest attack. The beam struck true once again, nailing the damaged wolf right in the side and making kindling out of it. Taking a glance at the two ponies again I saw that the taller one had taken care of another wolf by breaking his club over it’s head and was facing off against the last wolf with their friend behind them. Taking a few steps to my right so I could get a clear shot, I used up the rest of my mana in two mana beams. The first shot landed on its flank, spreading cracks all over its side, and the second struck its left paw, shattering it and sending it to the ground, which left it open for a quick stomp to the head from the larger pony, rendering it into firewood. The clearing was silent for a moment. Only the sound of ragged breathing filled the air and, now that the adrenaline was leaving, my head was pounding something fierce, which I guessed was a side effect of emptying my mana pool. The two siblings took a few steps away from the wooden corpses as we all waited with baited breath to see if they would reform. After about a minute of tension it was clear that they were going to stay dead which was new. I remember on the show that Timberwolves tend to rebuild themselves pretty quickly so this was a welcome change.

[Level up! LV.2]

[+2 SP]

“Thank goodness that’s over.'

' My relieved words seemed to make the two jump as both of them were staring into space, looking at what I assumed was their respective menus. I took a few more steps in their direction and, now that I got closer, saw that the two looked almost identical besides their sizes, meaning they might be twins; albeit fraternal since one was male and the other was female. The mare shied away a bit when I approached, but the stallion seemed to take a step forward and for a moment he tried to puff himself up a bit in an effort to make himself bigger. While I had made my character slightly shorter than most stallions in mlp this guy seemed to have made himself almost mare sized in both height and build. My body was a bit more broad chested while his was made smaller to match his sister’s body type.

“Who are you?” He shouted. Taken aback at his sudden hostility, I rolled my eyes and took a step back to help make him and his sister feel more at ease.

“There’s no need to be alarmed. I'm a player just like you, my pony name is... ugh… Arcane Hope; but my real name is Marcus. Who are you two?” I ended that slightly awkward introduction with what I hoped wasn’t a weird smile, and waited for either of them to respond. Having a name like Arcane Hope was a bit… annoying, it was so cliche that it almost hurt. Magical unicorn in an unknown land with a name like Arcane Hope sounds a bit too Gary Stu for my liking. Surprisingly the first to respond wasn’t the brother, but the sister who slowly came from behind him with a small, tentative smile on her muzzle.

“U-um my real name is M-morgana and my other name, I mean my pony name, is Rose Point.” It wasn’t long before her initial shyness seemed to melt away and a bit more emotion seeped into her voice, though a bit of her timidness leaked back into her voice when speaking about her brother. “This is my twin brother Arthur who was named Sanguin Point… we know our names are the same as the fairytale but they really are our names” Sanguin Point, or Arthur, rather, seemed to not care about introductions and was more focused on looking at the few scratches he had gotten, though they had already stopped bleeding.

“Morgana, Heal me” The sudden non sequitur caught me off guard, but apparently it made sense to Morgana, who fumbled about for a few moments before trotting up to her brother’s injured side and sitting down to lay her two front hooves on him; which didn’t seem very sanitary to me. I was about to say so when Morgana’s hooves started to give off a soft glow that slowly spread over Arthur’s coat. After a moment his injuries started to heal before my very eyes. I genuinely didn’t think earth ponies had the ability to heal that way, so I was pretty amazed at the potency of it even though it was probably at a low level.

“Alright, are you planning on traveling with us?” Aurthur said abruptly. “You’ll have to pull your own weight; I can’t be expected to carry two bitches through a fight.” I wasn’t looking at Arthur’s expression when he spoke, but I could feel the vitriol in his voice and was caught completely off guard by it. Then I realized what he really said and I could feel a deep pit open up in my stomach as I remembered what happened to the other players that had cursed out loud. For a moment I could almost smell the charred corpse of that unicorn player. Not even bothering to answer, I started to search our surroundings watching for whatever was about to happen while keeping an eye on my mana bar as it steadily filled back up. I had enough mana for one shot, so I would have to make it count. I didn’t have to wait long for anything to happen as a bush across the clearing rustled and out popped another timber wolf, ready to try and maul us to death. It soon found that rather difficult, though, since I was ready for it my shot flew right down its throat, busting it open and leaving it in a sorry state which was quickly reduced to splinters by Arthur with a quick followup attack.

“Ok! First rule if we're going to travel together, No Bad Language!” I said sharply. Instead of showing remorse at his actions Arthur only rolled his eyes at me like I was the one doing something stupid. I had to stop myself and take a deep breath before refocusing on what was important, though I could tell now from how he acted that he was going to be a problem in the future.

“We need to get out of this forest, or at least this area it's probably swarming with more wolves” Morgana quickly nodded in agreement with her brother and started after him as he turned to leave the clearing, not even checking if I was following. I let out a deep sigh and wondered if this was what every interaction with Arthur would be like. I didn;t let the two get too far ahead and joined them in walking in an unknown direction, I would usually be able to tell what direction we were going in by using the sun, but irritatingly enough the equestrian sun wasn’t moving, and my guess was that it wouldn’t unless the princess or whoever tells it to; It had been stuck at high noon for the past few minutes. that could, however, change at any moment. For the first few minutes of walking I was in front, keeping a steady pace, until Arthur decided he wanted to be the one to walk in front and shouldered past me. Seriously, what is this guy’s problem? I thought. It didn’t help that he was so obviously dismissive of his own sister who, I began to realise, might have been forced to choose only healing skills as a sort of pocket healer for her brother, judging by how shaky her steps were. Letting out another irritated sigh I caught Morgana’s eye who just gave me an apologetic look before continuing on, leaving me in the back of our little formation.

I began to realize that this might become a bigger problem than I thought. If Arthur kept acting the way he had been then he might become more aggressive towards us over time; and when it came to a straight up fight, and I did mean when, I wouldn’t be able to win in a head to head fight. So, I figured I was going to need a skill to immobilize or stun him somehow. With a twitch of my mental focus my menu opened up before me, showing me the same information as before, except for the fact that I now had two SP points I could spend. Flicking my eyes up to make sure I wasn’t falling behind, I started to flick through the different spell type pages. many of them were very interesting, ranging from the obvious healing magic to much more obscure ones, such as one tree called lutum kinesis which, from what I was seeing, was some kind of dirt magic, not plant magic like I had expected but dealing more in controlling the types of nutrients and minerals in soil, which was oddly… specific.

There were other types of magic that required experience in other fields of magic before you could start it, and, sadly, lightning magic was part of that group. It required more experience in neutral magic and fire magic, so that was out when it comes to options for stunning Arthur. from what I was seeing most of the combination magics required a high skill in neutral magic, which was the beginner tree I had started on. so, knowing it would come in handy later I put one of my points into Fledgling Mana Control.

[Fledgling → Adept Mana Control: Gives the bearer basic control over their magic and bestows the lowest forms of magic Levitation and Beam Attack]

[Further levels in this skill will improve mana efficiency and potency]

[Skill Level Up! 1→ 5]

Closing out of the level up screen brought me the same uncomfortable feeling of having my mana pool expanded, though I was happy to admit that it wasn’t as painful as last time. It was more like stretching a sore muscle except… metaphysical, for lack of a better word. Taking another glance at the twins showed me that Arthur didn’t even glance back at me, but his sister, on the other hand, was glancing at me out of the corner of her eye, so I flashed her a quick smile and caught up to her. That seemed to reassure her for the moment.

The walk continued in silence for a while until a subtle sound seemed to pull away from the forest’s natural background noise. all of us seemed to notice this sound around the same time and after listening a bit closer it was obvious what it was… a river; and where there's water, there’s civilization. It took a moment to pinpoint which direction the sound was coming from, pony ears and all, but after we changed our course accordingly it wasn’t long until the aquamarine river became visible and for the first time in what felt like an hour of walking we saw the sun. for a moment I felt relief but then I saw that the sun was slowly starting to move across the sky, which changed the brief fleeting moment of relief into straight dread.

“We need to start a fire and fast” I said. The twins followed my gaze upwards and saw the reason behind my urgency, but both reacted differently. Morgana’s eyes widened when she realized what could happen if we didn’t have a proper light source and turned around to start gathering sticks. Meanwhile Arthur just let out an annoyed sigh before taking a few steps towards the river's edge and sitting down onto his haunches looking down into the water.

“Aren’t you going to help?” I asked incredulously. Arthur only glanced back at me before returning his attention to the water, irritating me further. a few moments before he responded.

“I’m hungry, so I'm looking for fish, duh.” I was honestly struck dumb by what he said. Is he aware of what he is now? I thought. There is no way he is actually this ignorant, there are some things I can chalk up to being in a tense situation right now, but this… I am almost in awe of his stupidity and this isn’t even me being biased from his prior behavior. This is a milestone in itself. I slowly trotted to his side and sat down next to him. then, in a calm and collected voice, said;

“Can you see yourself in the water? You are a pony, You. Do. Not. Eat. Meat!” I’ll admit I got a bit frustrated with him at the end there, but it seemed I got my point across because when whipped his head towards me to respond, he stopped and seemed to really think about what I said before growling angrily and slapping the water in front of him before getting up and storming away to help his sister, who had been watching our little ‘talk’ while balancing a few sticks on her back and flank. Now that I had time to look, I realized that all of us were blank flanks which, while expected, was a slight disappointment because I had wanted the bullsh- I mean the plot armor boost that comes with them.

Between the three of us we were able to quickly gather enough sticks, dry grass, and rocks to get a good fire going, but now came the hard part. We sat around the fire pit we had prepared and stared at it for a moment as we all collectively realized none of us really knew how to start a fire… especially without hands. Morgana glanced up at me for a while before perking up and speaking.

“Can’t you use your magic to start the fire?” I suddenly felt a bit stupid for not thinking of that first so I just smiled sheepishly and leaned down so my horn was close to some of the exposed dry grass and focused, I didn’t need a full powered mana beam, just a weak, constant one to act like a lazer or a magnifying glass or something. I could feel the mana building up sluggishly and, with almost the same amount of finesse and difficulty as levitation, a thin beam of mana shot from my horn and impacted the dry grass, giving off silver sparks at the point of impact. after a few seconds of nothing happening, I tried cranking up the power a smidge and slowly a trail of smoke started to trail from the grass.when more of it started to smoulder, I cut off the beam and started to gently blow on the embers until, ever so slowly, they grew, and were able to spread on their own. Much to my surprise instead of a regular orange fire rising we saw silver flames matching my magical aura slowly consuming the wood, and it was very pretty to look at. All of us gazed at the colored flames for a moment in fascination until the moment was ended by the sound of a stomach growling making us break our gazes and look back at each other.

“I said I was hungry,” Aurthur said grumpily. As much as I wanted to be annoyed by his attitude, he had a point. I was starting to get hungry as well and with a quick glance at the sky I could tell we had only a few minutes left until it well and truly became night. we would need some kind of miracle to get some food now.

Morgana spoke; “Actually… I think I saw some edible mushrooms under some trees nearby… “ Huh; ask and ye shall receive I guess. rising to her hooves, Morgana quickly scurried off into the tree line and, when I was about to follow her, she returned trotting on three legs, with the last holding a sizable bundle of brown mushrooms. When she returned to her original spot and placed the mushrooms on the ground I realized that I recognized them, they were called Shii- something uh… Shiitake mushrooms I think. but those only grow in Asia, right?

“Hurry up, I'm starving!” Aurthur shouted to his sister impatiently. Okay, that’s it I have to say something about this now, I thought. if Arthur keeps this up I might just straight up throw him in the river with levitation.

“Dude! cool it!”I said. “if it wasn’t for your sister we would be going to sleep hungry; so be a bit more grateful, alright?” Arthur seemed to take that as a personal slight, because the moment I finished speaking his face screwed up in anger and what I assumed was indignation. he was about to open his mouth and most likely yell multiple obscenities at me, which might have been hazardous to us both, but that moment never came as a stick with four cooked mushroom caps on it broke his line of sight to me and quickly brought both of our attentions back to Morgana and the food.

“It’s ready, careful it's hot;” Morgana said. Taking the stick Morgana handed to me, I let the matter drop as the tension in the air was replaced with the sound of eating. They say hunger is the best spice and until then I never really understood that; I remember a time where mushrooms would make me gag just from a single taste; but right then it was just what I needed after a horrifying day like today. Now that I was actually sitting down and resting I could feel how deeply tired I was from everything i’d been through, but as much as I wanted to sleep I couldn't just yet. We could be ambushed at any time, so one of us would have to keep watch for a while and switch off with the others from there… or maybe.... we don’t have to.

I spoke to the others. “Hey I'm going to try something, if it works, it could keep us safe during the night.” This had gained the twins’ full attention as I threw my now bare mushroom stick into the warm silver flames and straightened my posture.. Then I recalled the information on how to summon a wisp. Unlike other games, where summoning is mostly just borrowing creatures from other planes of existence, summoning in equestria is mostly creating magical constructs that slowly gain their own consciousness until they become the creature you modeled them as, bringing them into reality. The wisp summon in particular wasn’t difficult because it is, by definition, formless;. wisps are made of only mana, so, unlike other creatures, a physical catalyst isn’t required; all I needed to do was tap into my skill and magic and kind of encourage it into reality

I could feel the tingly silver aura envelop my horn and slowly start to balloon at the tip until it was the size of a large marble. Then, like a soap bubble, it broke off from my main source of mana, leaving a slowly wavering silver flame floating in the air. It was actually pretty cute to look at. It floated completely still for a moment until I remembered that I needed to give it a task first; or else I would have to control it manually; so, with another flex of my mental muscles, I commanded ‘Patrol’ and immediately it floated off and started a slow circle around our meager camp.

“There, that’ll attack anything that comes near us during the night” I said. Morgana seemed pretty impressed with my little light show while Arthur actually seemed to be asleep already; not that I could blame him; night had well and truly hit and we had gotten ourselves a warm campfire, sort of full stomachs, and protection for the night. I was starting to feel drowsy as well. I stretched while taking a glance at my mana bar to see how much magic making the wisp took. Creating the wisp took about one third of my mana up front, but maintaining it actually took less than what I was regenerating, so I could keep this spell up theoretically indefinitely, but at the cost of my mana returning at a snail's pace.

“Alright, we can talk about where to go in the morning. Goodnight you two” In return all I got were murmurs and grunts as the two were already entering dreamland. sadly, I couldn’t join them just yet as I needed to find a solution to the Arthur problem. It was only a matter of time before his temper peaked and he crossed a line somewhere.

pulling my menu back up, I started to flip through the magic tabs much more thoroughly; and just like last time I saw so many interesting types of magic but none of them fit my immediate needs. That, and the few spells I found that were exactly what I needed were too advanced or too powerful for me to even use if I could have learned them. It was when I was near the end of the list when I saw something different; down near the bottom right corner of the screen was an icon with a six-pointed star and a snake eye in the center. Of course at first I had been warded off from pressing it due to it, y’know, having a snake eye on it and everything, but after combing through the spells again and finding nothing, I just sighed and bit the metaphorical bullet by pressing the button. What happened next I didn’t expect; a whole different magic tab opened up and everything was available, though after a moment of reading the tabs I realized why this magic had its own cutoff section; it was all types of dark magic. Unlike the regular magic tabs these were organized by their chance to corrupt and their severity. The spells were further divided into subtypes, and next to every type of magic there was a different number of that star symbol from before. top of the list with only half a star was ‘Shadow Magic’ which was surprising, because lower on the list was also love magic at a whopping three stars. that waskind of concerning and made me not want to visit the crystal empire anytime soon. Now even then I knew that just looking at these spells was a bad idea, but from what I read,the corruption comes from taking in too many dark spells before the caster was ready; so I figured if I just practice with whatever spell I get until i’m almost a master then i’m way less likely to be corrupted by taking other spells; It just sounded like a case of common sense versus cliche villains, though that did make me curious… What's the worst spell here? With a flick of the mental wrist the list was sent scrolling down at a quick rate and ever so slowly the screen actually started to get darker and darker until I had to lean in close to be able to read the words. Once it finally came to a stop,what I read actually made me feel a deep dread.

[Summoning: HIM ]

I was already frantically scrolling back up before I realized it, something about that skill invoked such a deep sense of wrongness in me that my body acted before my mind did. I shook myself out of whatever stupor that had put me in and focused back on the shadow magic. The first spell was a simple prehensile shadow tendril, which was perfect.

[Fledgling Shadow Tendril: Bestows the acolyte minor power over the domain of shadows along with granting a boon of increased strength and dexterity when used within the shadows themselves]

[Mana use: Moderate]

[Level 0: 0.00%]

[Corruption Chance: 5% - 4% Lack of corruptible Cutie Mark = 1%]

[Cost: 1 SP]

After feeling that absolute dread from the bottom of the list I wasn’t afraid to choose this as long as I would Never pick that other one. After buying the skill and closing the menu I awaited the inevitable pain, but it didn’t come. I felt a slow creeping cold start to enter the camp. The silver fire dimmed slightly as I felt the cold slowly grow over my body. I might have panicked, but instead all I felt was calm and relaxed, the cold having no effect on me as the knowledge on how to summon the tendril entered my mind almost soothingly. Now I could understand what made this magic so addicting. I quickly shook myself from my emotionally muted state and checked the others to make sure they were still asleep, which they were, thankfully, though Morgana was shivering from the cold influence of shadow magic. I threw some more wood onto the fire before settling back down.

The rest of the night was filled with practice using shadow tendril. The tendril itself was cold to the touch but had no real texture; it alternated from soft to hard at my command; it was like having another arm at your command, though I could feel that it was extremely weak and brittle. Over time I would have to dispel the tendril to recover so my wisp wouldn’t run out of mana, but once I was back to nominal levels I would start again and get familiar with my new trump card. Eventually I did tire myself out mentally and had to dispel the tendril to sleep a hopefully nightmare-free sleep; Now still wasn’t the time to break.

Author's Note:

I hope you enjoyed and I'm sure some of you noticed how I borrowed the whole swearing consequence thing but I though it was a great tool to make it so I wouldn't have to use fowl language and have a reason for not doing so.
Read & Review please :scootangel:


Now New and improved by the fantastic editor Kendallonian
May their name forever be held in the highest esteem!