Even though part of his attention was focused on the woman, most of Randidly’s attention was on the Cathedral around her. Immediately after walking in here, he had felt it, the thick layers of Mana Engraving through the entire building, the funneled ambient Aether down towards that resting space.
Even now, with the Aether slowly being drained, there was a thick layer there. No wonder this was the building that allowed people to Reclass; it had such a high cost, and a powerful upkeep. According to Donny, they needed to gather thousands of contribution points to fuel it each week, likely to flood the place with this placid Aether.
It wasn’t as pure as his own, but some of the… harsher restrictions had been removed from it. For creating a Skill, this was also a very useful area. But…
Upon taking stock of the energy around him, Randidly closed his eyes and opened himself to the world, in the smallest way. Due to the vast difference in energy pressure Aether rushed out of him, blooming like a flower in the air around him. He could feel the way, instantly, it warped the space, a dose of concentrated power that came into the world. It was still formless, of course, and an average person would miss it, but…
All of the people who were in the Cathedral were not average people. When he released the energy, they stumbled backwards, stunned by the sudden explosion. But very quickly, the Aether that Randidly released was caught in the pull of the Cathedral, and was dragged down to pool around the woman.
Ignoring the people around him, Randidly focused his senses, keeping his eyes closed. Very delicately, he felt the Aether forming a cocoon around the woman, as she held the stone. Then he felt her hands tighten.
The stone cracked, and then disintegrated.
Immediately, Randidly was stretched to the limit, trying to keep up with what was occuring in front of him. A small part of him marveled at his mental acuity, and he realized that the Indomitable Spirit of Yggdrasil had a very powerful mental component. And Randidly said a small prayer of thanks for that.
A strange apparatus of Aether sprung out of the stone, almost fully formed. Immediately, Lucretia and Neveah leaned forward, scrutinizing it, while Randidly manipulated his sense to cover as much of it as possible, probing its shape. Very quickly, the apparatus twisted and folded in on itself, becoming smaller and snapping onto the woman.
In a way, it reminded Randidly of a breathing tube for divers, because after the thing snapped into place, Aether began to flow back and forth through the woman, clean, pure, shapeable Aether.
The woman frowned. The apparatus began to glow.
A small point in the air above the woman began to shimmer, and there was a ripple in the air, like of god sighing. Then the glow around the Aether apparatus brightened, and different portions shifted again.
“Catalyzing… improving mental capacity, now applying a small amount of…. something…” Lucretia whispered, her eyes narrowed to slits.
. Came Neveah’s reply, almost casual, although there was a certain frenzied look in her eyes.
Applies pain. Pressure.
“A mental catalyst…” Awe was in Lucretia’s voice as she spoke. One of the newly brightened portions of the Aether apparatus began to glow even brighter. The frown on the woman’s face deepened.
Randidly took care to breath, his senses tingling. Focus, he needed to remain focused.
Aether began to move suddenly, becoming a huge whirlpool, swirling around their figures, sucked very quickly into the singularity that was swiftly forming just above the woman’s chest. Now, Randidly began to frown. Because although he wasn’t as intuitive as Lucretia or Neveah, he understood Aether, and understood how Skills were shaped, after his had been injured for several months.
That Skill that was slowly forming, which was no more than a gentle curve of energy in the air right now, was quite a bit of time away from becoming an actual Skill. It needed to develop and refine itself further. And yet…
And yet the Aether in the air had almost been completely thinned out. The area around her was swiftly being sucked dry by that greedy Skill.
Jesus christ, what sort of Skill had she chosen to create?!? Randidly supposed he should have warned her that the more complicated it was, the more difficult it would be to create, and the longer the process would take, absorbing more Aether, but he supposed he hadn’t even thought to; it made sense that it should be said, but he was still too inexperienced in this area.
And yet he needed to create a Class within two weeks, and enter the Raid Dungeon…
. Neveah chided him, and he could feel the warmth and concern in her message. She understood the stakes, she understood how out of his depth Randidly felt. And more than anything she understood how much anxiety he had that he was basically relying on Neveah and Lucretia in order to accomplish this goal.
Randidly was good at a lot of things, and he would learn quickly how to use Aether, but they didn’t have time for him to learn. So instead, he simply needed to be a tool in their hands. In some ways, it was relieving, to be basically absolved of control. But on the other hand, this was not how Randidly had created himself in the post System world. He had pressed forward, ignoring the odds and stubbornly continuing.
Was this the wrong path… Was this a show of weakness, relying on them…? A total mistake perhaps, in Lucretia’s case…?
Well, it was too late to back down now. Sometimes, faith was necessary.
And if faith failed, Randidly would just overcompensate with the quantity of his pure Aether, pressing it together in a ball until he had created a Class, so he could at least help out with the Raid Dungeon. Those rips in the fabric of Aether would stop anyone but him dead. By killing them.
Suppressing a chuckle, Randidly focused back on what was going on in front of him. The Aether was almost completely gone now, and after grimacing, Randidly opened up his stores again. Immediately, the billowing energy was devoured by that growing Skill. It was just a drop in the bucket, because Randidly’s Soul Space had been constantly filled and compressed and refilled with Aether, as the Aether Crossroads continued to operate, barely moving even with the growing demands.
So when it was clear this was an opening, more and more Aether mobilized, moving to exit his body and enter the world. It increased at an exponential rate, exploding outward in a howling swirl, almost gleeful. But just as quickly, it was devoured by the Skill.
The Skill itself continued to suck the Aether in, but after another 10 seconds, Randidly was producing too much Aether, too fast. The Skill couldn’t keep up. Belatedly, the Cathedral activated, trying to gather and channel the Aether, and that held it back for a bit, but that was only a fraction of a second before the amount of Aether produced outweighed the absorption.
At that point, Randidly could barely keep both the opening in his chest under control and pay attention to how the Skill was forming. Well, it was less like he was seeing and understanding the Skill formation, and the underlying Aether apparatus, and more like he was just keeping a light shined on the occurrence, so other people could absorb and dissect the information.
More and more Aether gushed outwards, coming out in huge waves, sweeping out of him, filling the Aether starved air, spreading to cover all of Donnyton, and then after another 10 seconds, tendrils of it reached all the way down to Franksburg. More and more, farther and farther.
The limpness to magical plants was slowly rubbed away, as Randidly’s body hummed with the passage of the Aether, flowing through him and filling the land. But very quickly, Randidly cut off the flow, slowly at first, then more and more, until it was down to nothing, and he was left gasping for breath. Anymore than that… any bigger a hole… and he might lose control of it, and the Aether would explode out of him. His soul space was already completely rattled, shaken by that much energy moving through him.
Holding onto his knees to keep himself upright in the face of a spell of dizziness, Randidly remained trained on the occurrence. And finally, with a strange tinkling, it happened. The Skill condensed from that singularity, almost fully formed, glistening, and sank into the woman’s chest.
She immediately sat up, gasping for breath. Ptolomey hopped down, checking her vitals. After around 30 seconds, he signaled everything was fine, and helped her up, taking part of her weight on him as she was lifted out of the indentation at the base of the Cathedral.
Mrs. Hamilton folded her arms, her gaze lingering on Randidly, while she spoke to the woman. “Well? Did it work?”
Grinning, the woman shared the details of her Skill with the surrounding people.
Eternal Eye (A): Yours is a gaze that cannot be blocked. Things such as distance, substance, disguise, time, and understanding need not bar your vision, should you know where to look. Control over what you see improves with Skill Level. Distance away that you can see improves with Skill Level. Complexity of relative temporal placement that is possible improves with Skill Level.