Ascension Rebirth – Calm before the storm (Chapter 40)

Ascension Rebirth – Calm before the storm

CHAPTER XL

PART ONE

Several months had passed since our journey to the [Grand Capital] had begun and it wouldn’t too much longer now until we arrive. Factoring in unexpected stops I estimate that it would only take around 2 or 3 more months.

I’d hate to sound like a broken recorder but I must stress how much of a pain it is to continuously ride on a wood carriage for hours on end; the bumpy road, the boring silence, the hard wooden seats.

Since we’re still in the carriage I guess I’ll take this time to give you guys an update on what has been happening with my stats and skills. Since I had a rather nice sparring partner (Arachna) I managed to gain a few levels and whatnot.

No new skills unfortunately.

So to start off, the stats.

[Status Menu]
Morgant Fallon. Level 61
NECROMANCER
DEMON GENERAL
SUCCESSOR OF THE COSMIC LEGACY

Strength: 325 (230+95)
Dexterity: 110 (5+105)
Intelligence: 60 (5+55)
Insight: 200 (95+105)

[Status point: 0]

So I’ve dumped most of my [status points] into [strength] and [insight] as they were my main stats. I think I’ve really cemented my role as a ‘Front-line’ [Necromancer].

Trust me this massive amount of [strength] will make much more sense once I get my proper weapon.

I also figured that I needed to increase my [insight] a bit more. In actuality [insight] was my main stat and [strength] was my secondary stat. What I mean by that is I use [insight] to plan my movements and attacks beforehand and use [strength] to execute those movements and attacks; so [strength] is there to augment my [insight].

Get it? No? well, it makes perfect sense to me.

Other than that I did manage to get a few more levels on my skills as well.

[Strike +] was now level 50 (MAX)

[Summon – Skeleton Knight] was now level 50 (MAX)

[Transfer Life] was now level 50 (MAX)

[Avatar of Nyarlathotep] was now level 24

[Wither] was now level 45

[Aura Field] was now level 34

[Soul Gambit] was now level 46

[Reanimate dead] was now level 34

[Enchanting voice] was now level 35

[Lord of Ghosts] was now level 21

[Phantasmal Maelstrom] was now level 45

[Transformation – Black Pharaoh] was now level 30

[Summon – Soul Reaver] was now level 12

[Summon – Phantasmal Apparition was now level 11

[Silence] was now level 50 (MAX)

Those improvements are pretty impressive right?

Admittedly some skills were harder to train, like [Reanimate dead] and [Lord of ghosts] because they’re really situational. It’s not like I run into corpses or ghost all that much.

I’d actually be a little crept out if I did constantly run into such things. Sends shivers down my spines just by thinking about them. I know it’s ironic for a necromancer to be fazed by the sight of the dead but what disturbs me disturbs me!

Other skills like [Silence] was extremely easy to train because I had a high level [mage] partner who I could spam it on. While I do think this skill is useful I do have to admit it is pretty limited.

That’s because on higher level targets, like [Arachna] who was level 85, there was only a 50% success rate. It’s basically a coin flip and on the battlefield you usually don’t want to rely on that too much.

On the other hand it can completely shut down a lower level [magician] but honestly speaking, I could do that without incapacitating them. You know just throw a few [obsidian lances] at their general direction to break their concentration, don’t need [silence] at all against low levels.

I really thought it would be an amazing skill. Kind of a letdown.

Now I should talk about the new skills that I received as I got the [Lia fail] imbedded in my eye.

[Summon – Soul Reaver]

This skill is amazing. I get to summon a giant ethereal [Shenlong], I mean I can summon a serpentine dragon made of obsidian and green fire. To describe it properly, imagine a Chinese dragon, but made of obsidian and surrounded by jade colored fire.

I would say it’s a lot more powerful than my [Summon – Skeleton Knight] but also a lot less subtle. It’s smaller than [Avatar of Nyarlathotep] though, that skill just takes the cake in size.

[Summon – Phantasmal Apparition]

[Phantasmal Apparitions] are completely invisible most of the time except for during an attack or when they’re getting hit. Of course I could always see them since I’m the one summoning them, that being said invisibility and invulnerability are two different things.

If they’re hit by an attack they will most likely die or dissipate since they’re rather ethereal. They’re also fairly weak defensively but have incredibly high attack rate as opposed to [skeleton knights’] large defensive stats.

As to how they look, well you can’t see them so it doesn’t really matter right?

What? It does? Fine, to describe them, they’re like female ninjas. Wrapped around a layer of shadows and their eyes glow a chilly white, which are exceptionally menacing during the night.

Now a lesser man would’ve used [skeleton knights] for defense and [phantasmal apparitions] for offense, while that may work out fine it’s too obvious.

I’d rather reverse the order with [skeleton knights] on attack and [phantasmal apparitions] on defense. This adds in a layer of surprise when an enemy gets through my defenses only to find themselves torn apart by my ghosts.

As for [Essence Prison] and [Summon terror of the Depths] I wasn’t able to train them for obvious reasons; no souls to entrap and no ocean to summon the megalodon.

“I think it’s about time we set up camp as the sun’s about to go down.”

Enrich says as he stops the carriage. Oh yeah I forgot to mention it but he’s the one who’s been driving the entire time.

We set up camp easily. I was in charge of the cooking, Enrich was setting up the tents and Arachna was the one who got the firewood.

I could only make simple soup types in these situations. Actually we’ve been having nothing but soup every day since we began travelling. I tried to vary it up each time but there’s a limit to how much I could do even that.

There were times when we stopped at local towns and villages and got to eat real food from time to time but not right now.

I just hope we can come across a town soon.

PART TWO

Recently all my dreams have been lucid, not only that it’s all been about the same thing.

Nightmares really.

It’s about an old king struggling through the desert with seemingly no destination. What part of that is a nightmare you ask?

I can feel it.

His desperation, his exhaustion, the futility of his actions and his pain; as though it was happening to me directly.

I wake up in the middle of night sweating from my face and back.

The images I see in my dreams remain vividly in my mind even after I wake up.

These dreams only started to occur recently, about a week or two ago, but the real problem is what’s causing these dreams to happen. It’s the [Ankh] that I received from Kyrios.

I remember also having such nightmares when I first received this thing but I thought it was all over after [Nyarlathotep] left.

“What’s wrong Morgant?”

In my panic I accidently awoke Arachna who was sleeping peacefully besides me. I felt kind of bad.

“It’s nothing, just nightmares.”

“Do you want to talk about it? Maybe that would calm you down.”

I shook my head.

“No, I get the feeling that these feelings are induced by something and that we’ll meet the culprit responsible soon enough.”

“… I see.”

I just have a feeling that this is also being caused because I was in the vicinity of a Lovecraftian horror. Of course this assumption is based off my encounter with Nyarlathotep.

PART THREE

As the next morning came we continued on our journey on the massively uncomfortable wooden box.

After a few hours of travelling on the uncomfortable road we sighted upon a person and their caravan being assaulted by monsters. By the looks of it he was a travelling merchant visiting the nearby town, which was a good sign for me because this meant that we can take a small break from travelling.

The attacking monsters were just low level goblins and dire wolves but the merchant didn’t have guards with him so he obviously stood no chance. A bit dim if you ask me.

Since I would feel bad to leave him to his fate like this I decided to intervene and save him from the monsters’ vicious attacks.

Almost mechanically, I drew a few [obsidian lances] and lobbed them towards the attacking monsters.

Suffice it to say they were no match; instantly impaled and left hanging, literally.

“Are you okay?”

I asked, despite knowing from just a glance that the merchant was shaken up quite a bit. Of course an attack like that would leave anyone without combat experience with an elevated adrenaline rush.

“Y- yes, thank you for saving me. I’m [Lyn], a travelling merchant.”

[Lyn. Level 4, Merchant]

Yep that checked out.

“It’s no problem, I’m [Morgant Fallon], if I may ask why you’re travelling without any sort of guard? These areas tend to be dangerous; riddled with bandits or monsters.”

He gave me a defeated laugh as he told me the answer.

“It’s a little embarrassing but I lost most of my money in a gamble so I couldn’t afford guards. I really thought it was all over the moment monsters attacked, so I’m really thankful you showed up!”

He bowed to me in appreciation.

“Are you going to the nearby village? If so we should go together since we’re also heading there.”

“R-really? Then please let me guide the way. I heard there was a village of kind but odd people living around these parts so I thought it would be good to do trade with them.”

“‘Kind but odd’? what do you mean by that?”

I asked.

“Well, I’m not entirely sure myself, I heard that they won’t refuse travelers and even offer them a place to lodge. Something like that?”

“Hmm.”

I must’ve made a rather grave expression because Arachna came to ask me if something was wrong.

“You look concerned, do you know anything about that village?”

Obviously I wouldn’t, anyone should be able to tell that from context of the conversation I just had with the merchant, but well, Arachna is oblivious when it comes to such things.

“No, I just have a bad feeling.”

It’s probably those dreams I kept on having that’s making me feel like this, and the [Ankh] hasn’t calmed down ever since we entered this vicinity.

It calls out to me, like someone is whispering directly into my ears.

Does it drive me crazy? Well perhaps a lesser man might’ve already lost his grasp on reality but I like to believe that I’m a stronger person then that. In all honestly it’s not too bad, it’s the equivalent of having some Buddhist chant as BGM.

Something is definitely afoot.

PART FOUR

[Twin Sun Cove] was the name of the small town based around a small cove.

“Welcome to our small town, I hope you will enjoy your stay here.”

An old man greets us in a monotonous voice, as though he’s possessed he stares at us blankly.

Once we arrived at the town we were greeted by the village chief. He was an old man, nearly into his late 60s. [Jon] was his name, not much else remarkable about him really, aside from his rather sunny disposition with complete strangers travelling freely into his town.

I mean I get that most towns are friendly towards merchants but most villagers also don’t have too much like for the nobility or rich for obvious reasons and the way Enrich and I were dressed were representative of that faction of society.

It wasn’t only just the village chief either, the other villagers were quite happy with our inclusion into the town of two suns.

As experienced as I am at [cold reading] I can’t read any of these people, almost like they’re just zombies going through the motion of living. They greet us when we get close and just stare at us with a smile, passively until we leave.

Since night was quickly approaching we were given a small vacant room to stay in at the village chief’s residence, dinner and baths included. Talk about 5 star room service.

If I had to lay down a fault, it would be that the dinner was awkward, as around the table only silence and the tingling of tableware could be heard.

After the meal I was permitted to use the bathroom to wash up for the night. Having done so much travelling during the past few months it was a godsend to be able to dip my body in warm water.

I felt my muscles relax in the lukewarm water and my worries just seem to disappear, albeit temporarily. If I could stay like this forever, would I trade everything? No, of course not but it was tempting nonetheless.

Begrudgingly coming out of the bath I headed back to our assigned room. There was an open veranda overlooking a small lake on the other side of the cove. An astonishing view entered my sight as the cool afternoon breeze brushed past my barely dried hair.

Suddenly my body plummeted in temperature as two cold arms wrapped around me from under my clothes. It was Arachna’s hands playfully hugging me from behind. Her flowery fragrance coming from her silky ice colored hair would be enough to captivate any man.

You’d think I’d be friend to cold after my six years in a place filled with nothing by snow, but while I did find the entire situation to be ‘cute’ I was no friend after all.

I gentle asked Arachna to cease her actions to which she complied with a smile. I’m glad she’s obedient, I thought. Somehow it reminds me of having a sister.

A sister… I did have one in this life at some point but that’s all a thing of the past. She’s gone now, along with the rest of my family.

Though I never got to find their bodies, so maybe they’re still alive? No, I’m more of a realist than that. Those markings left at my old home is proof enough; an altercation of that level would spell doom to anyone.

I do want to see them, but perhaps it’s time to move on?

Before me a sunset was in progress.

Speaking of, as for why this town was named as the [twin sun cove] was because of this reason. From the cove area, which I was in, during sunset it’s said that you could see two suns setting behind the lake.

The most likely reason for this phenomenon is some sort of light refraction or a mirage. Still, it was an impressive view.

It reminds me of something from my old world. Actually, it’s the entire reason why I’m here, to investigate.

Along the shore the cloud waves break,

The twin sun sink behind the lake,

The shadows length,

In Carcosa.”

As I spoke out the words from that specific poem which seems to relate to the twin sun phenomenon, Lyn came up in curiosity.

“Oh, that was a nice verse, do you like poetry?”

He asks with a smile.

“No, I do see merit in it but personally I find it a waste of time. My words just now were simply inane droll from a bygone civilization. Still, it is eerily expressive of the current view.”

“Isn’t it just coincidence?”

“Perhaps, or perhaps there is a more insidious relation between the two.”

“A ‘more insidious relation’? what do you mean?”

I smiled back at him.

“Just the ramblings of a child, nothing too important, heed no mind to it.”

“I, I see, well I’ll be returning to my quarters so see you tomorrow.”

“Good night.”

He left the room with a rather crept out expression. Well I couldn’t blame him, if I saw a child talking like this.

After he left Enrich entered the room.

“Is something the matter? Mister Lyn just ran out with a curious face.”

“I was just teasing him a bit, but never mind that we have something else to discuss.”

“I’m listening.”

He answers with a serious face.

“Before we start I want you to ask you two. How do you feel about this place?”

They pause for a moment to think of a suitable answer.

“As Mister Lyn had prior put it, the inhabitants of this village are ‘kind but odd’. They tolerate our intrusion into their town but are also vigilant.”

Enrich answers.

“Ever since coming here I’ve been feeling a hint of magic in the air but not like anything I’ve encountered before. It’s a benign type of magic; warm, not unlike [healing] magic but I can feel a clear malicious intent.”

Arachna answers afterwards.

I nod in agreement with their statements.

“You’re both correct, there is definitely something going on behind the scenes in this town. Though I don’t think the villagers would appreciate us snooping around to find out what exactly it is.”

“It seems you have some idea of what’s going on, care to tell us?”

As perceptive as always behind that sly mask.

“I wish I had a clearer answer but most likely, residing in this town is the [King in Yellow].”

“The [King in Yellow]? What exactly is this being?”

He asks.

“A figure that started off as a benign fairy tale only to be wrapped up in the insidious by others later on. He probably keeps the townsfolk under control through some sort of special hypnotism, for what purpose I don’t know.”

Enrich dwells on my words but he doesn’t appear to have come up with anything conclusive. Well, not surprising, there’s no way he has any knowledge of the old world or about [Hastur].

“It’s fine if you don’t get it for now, the chances of us meeting him raises as we stay here longer. For the time being I want you and Arachna to stay together.”

Enrich has the lowest level amongst us, in fact he doesn’t even have any combat potential.

“What about you? Who’s going to protect you?”

Arachna asks.

“I think I can take care of myself, so don’t worry about me too much.”

“Hmm, okay.”

She’s still a little unsatisfied but unable to argue against my wishes she accepts.

“So we’re to stay here for a while I take it?”

Enrich asks.

“Will that be a problem for our schedule? This being is one I want to definitely get into contact with, he may prove to be a potential ally to us for the upcoming war.”

“Hmm, well we can spare a few days, but do you really wish to recruit the kind of being that has no problems with taking over people’s minds?”

“I don’t believe he’ll be taking part in the war directly. For now I just want to speak with it.”

If it’s anything like what happened during the time with Nyarlathotep then most likely I can at least try to evolve one of my skills. Considering how powerful and useful the two skills I received back then are, I’m willing to bet this time won’t be any exception.

“I understand then we’ll do as you wish.”

“I don’t think you’ll have much of a problem for the time being in regards to mind control, Arachna is powerful enough to escape the effects of it with her natural defenses and you have a naturally high mental defense.”

They both give me a nod.

Thus we decided to stay for a while.

END REPORT
[Status Menu]
Morgant Fallon. Level 61
NECROMANCER
DEMON GENERAL
SUCCESSOR OF THE COSMIC LEGACY

Strength: 325 (230+95)
Dexterity: 110 (5+105)
Intelligence: 60 (5+55)
Insight: 200 (95+105)

[Status point: 0]

[Skill menu]

(AUGMENT) [Strike+]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Summon – Skeleton Knight]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Transfer Life]: Level 50 (MAX)
(PASSIVE) [Life Force Sensory]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Avatar of Nyarlathotep]: Level 24
(ACTIVE) [Wither]: Level 45
(ACTIVE) [Decay]: Level 50 (MAX)
(AUGMENT) [Aura Field]: Level 34
(ACTIVE) [Soul Gambit]: Level 46
(PASSIVE) [Physical Damage Resistance]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Obsidian Lance]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Obsidian Shield]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Reanimate Dead]: Level 34
(AUGMENT) [Enchanting Voice]: Level 35
(PASSIVE) [Lord of Ghosts]: Level 21
(ACTIVE) [Phantasmal Maelstrom]: Level 45
(AUGMENT) [Transformation – Black Pharaoh]: Level 30
(PASSIVE) [Mental Fortress]: Level 50 (MAX)
(ACTIVE) [Summon – Soul Reaver]: Level 12
(ACTIVE) [Summon – Phantasmal Apparition]: Level 11
(ACTIVE) [Essence Prison]: Level 1
(ACTIVE) [Summon – Terror of the Depth]: Level 1
(ACTIVE) [Silence]: Level 50 (MAX)

Ascension Rebirth - Always one step behind (Chapter 39)
Ascension Rebirth - Dangerous existences (Chapter 41)
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