Paragon Of Destruction 160 Into The Ruins
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Yet this time, he was prepared for the onslaught.
He now knew that what he Sensed was a city full of uncontrolled and violent Essence, the residue of terrifyingly powerful magics that had been used in a devastating battle.
As soon as he felt his Sense being a.s.saulted by the violent aura of the Essence in the city, he sat down on the ground and closed his eyes, then braced himself for the onslaught.
Now that he knew what to expect, maintaining control despite the pressure he felt was much easier than it had been the first time, and it wasn't long before he recovered from the initial shock.
Still, he didn't get up. He expected the pressure to grow stronger as he got closer to the city, and here, where it was weakest, he would have the best chance of adjusting to it.
A day pa.s.sed as he slowly adjusted, then another. Although he was impatient to venture into the city, he knew that hurrying would do him no good. Within the city, he would need to maintain control over his mind despite the storm of Essence, and for that, he needed to train himself to resist it.
The task would have been impossible had he not already undergone the Tempering, and even now, it was hard to retain control over his thoughts and senses while feeling a cacophony of sensations flooding in through his Sense.
But while it was difficult, he still made steady improvements. It was impossible to block the pressure on his Sense, but as he grew more accustomed to it, it became easier to tune it out. That left him unable to use his Sense or any magic, but at least the pressure no longer interfered with his ability to think.
On the third day, he finally stood up.
At this point, he could ignore the a.s.sault on his Sense almost entirely if he kept his attention focused. Perhaps, with more practice, he could learn how to use his Sense even in this environment, but that would take far more time than he had.
What mattered now was that he could enter the city without being overwhelmed by his Sense.
He took a few moments to recover from his days of training, then began to head toward the crumbling walls. The distance was only a short one, but by the time he reached the city, he could feel the pressure on his Sense increasing. And this was only the edge of the city — deeper inside, the effect would be far stronger.
Fortunately, the increased pressure had little effect on Arran. It seemed that beyond a certain point, his already overloaded Sense was unable to produce an even stronger reaction.
When Arran climbed over the shattered walls, he was immediately struck by the sight that lay before him. From a higher vantage point, he could see that the city was even vaster than he had expected, but also that the destruction was beyond anything he could have imagined.
For miles on end, the ground was filled with debris and rubble, and the few buildings that still stood were all heavily damaged. A city that must once have held millions had been wiped out almost completely, as if a vengeful G.o.d had stomped it into nothingness, not content until every last shred of the city was obliterated.
Only far in the distance could Arran still see some buildings that remained more or less intact. These appeared to be palaces, temples, and other seats of power, but even these had broken towers and fallen walls.
Arran stared at the scene for several minutes, but then, he turned his attention back to his immediate surroundings. With luck, he would reach the city center eventually, but right now what mattered was what lay directly ahead of him.
He set off at a slow but steady pace, keeping his eyes fixed on the area around him as he advanced. Even if he did not expect there to be any enemies in the city, he would not be careless.
As he made his way through the ruins, he saw that among the rubble lay numerous bones — the city's previous inhabitants. It was clear that they had not managed to escape the city before it fell, and Arran realized with some dread that he was standing amid the graves of millions.
While the idea made him uneasy, a small part of him wondered just how strong his Blood magic would have grown had he been there when the city fell. With the deaths of millions to feed it, he imagined its power would have been overwhelming.
He quickly abandoned the thought, though he could not help but feel some shock at how he had changed since leaving his hometown. Once, the idea of death on such a scale would have filled him with horror. Yet now, he found himself wondering how such a disaster could benefit him.
It was not a change he welcomed.
With a regretful sigh, he began to walk again, slowly and carefully. He knew that any moment now, he could encounter the Essence that still lingered in the city, and without his Sense, he would only know it when it affected him physically.
About half a mile into the ruined city, he suddenly felt it — a light burning feeling on his skin, as if he was being attacked by an initiate who had just opened his first Realm. As he held up his hand, he could see that his skin was turning red and that there were traces of smoke coming off it.
While he could easily bear the pain, the situation still made him uncomfortable. Without his Sense, he could not see the Essence as it affected him, making it almost as if his body was spontaneously starting to burn.
This, he thought, was what experiencing magic must be like to commoners. They could only see — and feel — the effects, without being able to see what was actually happening. To them, facing mages in battle would be absolutely terrifying.
Ignoring the pain, he sat down on the ground, then closed his eyes. Now, the unpleasant part would begin.
With his Sense blinded, he could only rely on his techniques and experience to draw the Essence around him into his body, and that proved more difficult than he expected. For several hours he sat in silence, trying various techniques to absorb the Essence that surrounded him.
He knew he had succeeded when he felt a surge of pain within his body — the destructive Essence that lingered in the city. At once, he began to circulate it through his body, using the pain it caused to guide it, while at the same time taking in more of it.
He kept going for some time, until finally, the pain became too strong for him to bear. Then, he stood up and walked back a few dozen paces, until he was out of the area where the Essence lingered. He ate and rested until he had recovered, then immediately went back to continue his training.
Many times he repeated this, absorbing and circulating the violent Essence through his body until he could no longer stand it, then briefly resting before starting all over again.
His hope was that by doing this, he would achieve an effect similar to the one Elder Naran said the Destruction Realm had on him — strengthening his body against the harmful effects of Essence. Except now, he hoped that the regeneration from the Blood magic would allow him to progress much faster.
Yet after three days, when he still didn't see any effects, he began to worry that perhaps his plan would not work. Maybe only Essence from his Destruction Realm had the effect he wanted to achieve, or maybe it would only work with his own Essence.
Despite his worries, he continued the training — there was no other way to find out whether it worked, after all.
Finally, after the first week, he began to see some small improvements in his ability to withstand the Essence. He gradually managed to circulate the Essence in his body longer and longer, with the pain taking more time to become unbearable.
At first, he thought that he might just have grown accustomed to the pain, taking more damage before he couldn't take it any longer. Yet it didn't take him any longer to recover from each trip into the Essence, and soon, he realized that his training was working.
Another week pa.s.sed with slow but steady progress, but then, his rate of improvement began to slow down. He had expected this to happen, and he already knew what to do — go deeper into the city, where the Essence would be denser.
Each time he ventured into the Essence, he would take a step more, gradually making his way farther into the city and subjecting his body to ever-stronger punishment.
When he retreated to recover, however, he still had to leave the sea of Essence entirely — he had found that when he took food from his void bag while in the area with the lingering Essence, it disintegrated before he could take even a single bite.
As the weeks pa.s.sed, Arran moved deeper into the city with each pa.s.sing day, his resistance to the Essence in the city steadily improving.
His improvement became obvious when, a month into his training, the enchanted robe he wore began to fall apart when he made his way farther into the city. He quickly took it off and put it in his void bag. It seemed that from now, he would have to train naked.
Yet that was not all that was affected.
After another week of steady advances, at the end of a training session, he found that his hair had disintegrated. As far as he could tell, not a single hair remaining anywhere on his body. It seemed that while his body was growing stronger, the effect did not fully extend to his hair.
He took this in stride, although he fervently hoped it would grow back. While his father had gone bald in his youth, Arran himself hoped to avoid that fate.
With each pa.s.sing day, he could see the remaining buildings at the center of the city grow closer, and the sight inspired him to train even harder. By now, he was confident that he could make it all the way to the city center and search for the spirit crystals Snowcloud needed.
Two months pa.s.sed like this, and he had already traversed two thirds of the distance to the heart of the city. He decided to hide the novices' here, buried beneath the charred rubble of a random building that might once have been a small shop.
He memorized the location, and before he buried the void bag, he removed the bodies from it. As he expected, they disintegrated in moments, unable to withstand the destructive Essence that filled the area.
Relieved to finally be rid of the void bag, he quickly returned to his training — time was beginning to run short.
He had already gone much of the way to the city center, but there was only a month left to cover the rest. While he thought that should be enough, the lingering Essence would be densest at the heart of the city, and the final part of his training would be the most difficult.
Paragon Of Destruction 160 Into The Ruins
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Paragon Of Destruction 160 Into The Ruins summary
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