Paragon Of Destruction 143 The Tempering, Take Two
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The mention of danger was hardly enough to faze him. By now, he had already faced many threats, and he knew he would face many more before he even made it back to the Valley.
"You have great potential," Elder Naran said, giving Arran a studious look.
Although it didn't answer Arran's question, he remained silent, curious to hear what the Elder had to say about his possible future achievements.
"The Blood magic alone is enough to place you among the more promising novices in the Shadowflame Society," Elder Naran continued. "Once you learn to control it, it will allow you to withstand injuries that would kill others, and as you develop it further, the advantage it gives you will only grow stronger."
"What about my Destruction Realm?" Arran asked. He already had a rough idea of how the Blood magic could help him in the future, but he was anxious to hear more about what the Destruction Realm could do.
"That will benefit you even more," the giant Elder said. "After you unseal it, you will be able to draw on its power in your training and further increase your resistance to magic. With enough time, even powerful mages might find it difficult to harm you."
"But you said I would face grave danger," Arran reminded him. "So far, all you've told me is how the Destruction Realm and Blood magic benefit me."
"By themselves, each of these things would ensure that you have a bright future in the Society," Elder Naran said. "But together…" He sighed, then shook his head. "It's too much. If you successfully develop both, mages of your own level will struggle just to injure you. And if you advance to become a Master or Grandmaster, you will be a monster among mages."
Suddenly, Arran understood. "Not everyone would allow me to advance that far."
The Elder nodded. "Even within the Sixth Valley, there are some who would see you as a threat to be squashed before it could fully develop. And for all your potential, right now, you are still too weak to protect yourself."
"But won't the Destruction Realm protect me?" Arran asked.
"No," Elder Naran answered plainly. "While even Grandmasters might fear your potential, as it stands, any skilled novice can kill you. You may be able to survive one or two of their strongest attacks, but with you lacking the strength to defeat them, they can simply launch a dozen more."
Arran furrowed his brow in thought. Unhappy though he was with the idea, he realized it was probably true. In his sparring matches against Snowcloud, she had often been able to disable him before he could even reach her. In a real battle, she would be able to kill him even if he survived her first few attacks.
"So what should I do?" he asked, his earlier excitement quickly fading.
"You should tell no one of these things," Elder Naran said. "n.o.body must know about your Destruction Realm, and no others should learn of the Blood magic. Only when you're strong enough to defend yourself can you reveal your powers — and even then, hiding them would still be wise."
"Then how do I become strong enough to defend myself?"
"The same way other recruits do," Elder Naran replied. "After you return to the Sixth Valley, you will become an initiate. As you train with the other initiates, you will become stronger — and at the same time, you will grow your other powers in secret."
Arran nodded thoughtfully. It was not the answer he had hoped for — some part of him still longed to find a shortcut to power — but he understood that strength required training, and if Elder Naran told the truth, his rewards would be far greater than what other mages received for their efforts.
"There is another matter, however," Elder Naran said, a serious expression on his face.
"What is it?" Arran asked, already fearing the worst. After the giant Elder's initial enthusiastic words about his potential, it seemed that every new word made his situation worse.
"While the Blood magic will aid you in withstanding the Tempering, your Destruction Realm means that performing it will require far more power than I antic.i.p.ated."
"But you're still strong enough to do it, right?" Arran asked.
"My power isn't the issue," Elder Naran replied. "I could turn you to ash with a thought, if I so wished. But the more power I use in the Tempering, the stronger its negative effects will be."
"You mean it will be more dangerous?"
"No," Elder Naran said. "No more so than it would be otherwise. But the toll it takes on your body will be greater, and you will lose some of your strength in the process. You will be able to regain it eventually, but it will take time."
"How long will it take?" Arran asked, now feeling some worry.
"Months," the Elder answered. "Maybe years. I will do my best to find a way to help you recover faster, but even so, you cannot expect to regain your full strength immediately."
Arran remained silent for some moments. When he had heard about his supposed potential, he had been filled with excitement, anxious to discover just how strong he could grow once he unsealed his Destruction Realm and mastered the Blood magic within his body.
Yet now, it seemed like he would have to suffer through weakness first. That would be enough to dampen his spirits at the best of times, but beyond the border, he needed his strength to remain alive. All the potential in the world would not help him if he died before even returning to the Sixth Valley.
Still, his strength wouldn't help him if he wasn't alive, and without being able to control the bloodl.u.s.t, he knew he wouldn't last long.
Finally, he shrugged. "There is no other choice, is there?"
"There isn't," Elder Naran replied.
"Then let's get on with it."
There was no point in lamenting whatever strength he was about to lose. With no other options available, all he could do was bear it and hope he could regain it quickly.
Elder Naran nodded. "I suppose there's no reason to delay any further." The man raised his hands, palms pointing toward Arran.
At once, Arran could feel a painful heat was.h.i.+ng over him once again. Yet where the feeling had been gradual and mild the first time, this time it felt as if he was being lowered into a bath of molten iron.
It didn't stop at his skin, either — it was as if every fiber of his body was set on fire all at once, and briefly, the shock left him unable to even think.
After a few moments the initial shock wore off, and although the pain still filled most of his mind, he could now tell that the feeling vaguely resembled what he had felt after taking multiple Realm Opening Pills.
Only where the pain of the Realm Opening Pills had been unbearable, this was something far beyond that. He tried to scream, but he found that the agony left him unable to do even that, the pain so overwhelming it left him paralyzed.
And still, it grew worse. Where it had first felt like his body was on fire, now, it intensified to the point that he thought it was disintegrating.
The small part of his mind that still held some semblance of reason was struck with horror when he realized that was exactly what was happening. What he felt was his body slowly being torn apart in a thousand places at once, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Paragon Of Destruction 143 The Tempering, Take Two
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Paragon Of Destruction 143 The Tempering, Take Two summary
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