185 Sword and Sorcery 3
Draco was greatly surprised by Richmond's revelation. He had always assumed that Aetheric Energy would be the third-highest form of energy there was, so to learn that it was only at fifth place was crazy.
Just look at the effects it had! It had boosted him from an Elite Rank Enchanter to a max level Grandmaster in one shot!
It had greatly enhanced an Epic potion to the point it was touching the boundary of a Legendary rank. And let's not forget that is was the only accessible energy that could damage the void monsters.
Draco's eyes twitched as he remembered something. Didn't the Destruction Energy from his Orb of Destruction harm - and even brutally slaughter - many void monsters?
The attacks like Supernova, Lugh's Might and even Light of the World were different, because two of these three had been Aether Imbued. Fragarach needed no imbuement though, so there was that.
But one should not forget, all of these were system assisted skills from imbued equipment. Draco's Orb of Destruction was 100% a technique, one that stemmed from his bloodline too.
Yet, it had dealt even more damage than the others despite its small range. Unlike Riveting Night's Light of the World from the Eye of Heaven talisman, the Orb of Destruction had been able to destroy Void Destroyers.
Riveting Night had summoned a Rank 4 Heaven's Eye that dealt damage in a small area, which did 10,000,000 Light damage. It had only taken 2/3rds of the Void Destroyers' health, while Draco had outright killed many from their full HP.
So how was this possible?
Richmond had inadvertently cleared up a problem Draco had failed to recognize or account for. However, Draco had two more concerns.
"What about Chaos Energy?"
After all, Chaos Energy was believed to be the most powerful in most philosophies. Some even held that the world was born from primal chaos.
However, Draco was forgetting that such theories mostly stemmed from the East. In the West, Divine Energy - or Origin Energy in this case - was usually the highest point.
"Chaos Energy is powerful, but too unpredictable. It can fire off an attack at the level of us Titled Gods or surpassing us... but it can also result in an attack which won't even be enough to kill a single Rank 0 being. Thus, it remains Unranked." Richmond answered with a gentle tug of his beard.
Draco moved onto his second question, which was no doubt what anyone in his situation would ask.
"Why is Creation Energy ranked above Destruction Energy?"
Draco understood that Creation was fundamental to life and could bring about amazing effects, but it was nothing before Destruction. Even if all of Creation was destroyed, Destruction Energy would still exist.
In every ranking or in every race, the beings with control over Destruction seemed to rule over all others. Black Dragons, Caelo… it was an unmistakable rule that Destruction Energy was one of the highest points.
Richmond though, laughed gently. "I know you are a being of Destruction, so don't be worried. Everyone universally accepts that Destruction Energy is the most powerful energy. It can even eat away at Origin Energy given enough time."
His smile became cryptic at this point. "However, Destruction Energy doesn't boast the same versatility that Creation Energy has. It can only be used for one single purpose and can only achieve that one result: Destruction."
"Creation Energy, however, can be used to build, enhance, protect, enforce, revive, heal and much more. Its usefulness is merely limited by the imagination of the user. Due to that, it has been ranked higher."
Draco took it with a grain of salt, since Richmond did have a point.
Richmond continued. "Although Destruction Energy is higher than Aetheric Energy, it would be foolish to use it as a resource for a spell. Not only would it corrode the spell structure, but it would also cause a backlash on the caster."
"Creation Energy though, can act as the ideal substitute for magic. It wouldn't be wrong to call it the better resource, but you do not have it and probably also never will. It is impossible for a person who naturally creates Destruction Energy to obtain and maintain Creation Energy, while the vice versa also applies."
"There have been those who theorize that it might be possible, but observing the White and Black Dragons who mate with each other, their offspring has always resulted in one or the other, strengthening the belief that it should be impossible to accomplish."
"As such, the next best choice is Aetheric Energy, but you aren't there yet. First, we will begin with the fundamentals of magic and what makes a spell, a spell."
Richmond flung his sleeves and smiled. "Since you have proven to possess great insight, I shall let you tell me what a spell is according to your interpretation?"
This was easy enough for Draco to answer, as he had combated many magic classes. Not to mention that he had the former Rank 6 Rina's opinions of magic in his mind. She had never directly taught him, but she had spoken about magic intimately many times.
"A spell is the vessel of will, fueled by the power of mana."
Richmond clapped with pride. "Good! Great!"
Richmond felt more and more assured that Draco was born to become the next Mage God. His insight and comprehensive abilities were amazing, existing at a level that was beyond what someone of his Rank should have... not to mention someone foreign to this world.
"A spell is indeed a vessel of will. How a spell is formed and executed is solely up to the wielder. The spells generated by objective magic are just pre-arranged archetypes that cannot be modified. Their only choice is to learn as many as possible to use whichever they need in any given situation."
"However, the essence of a spell is to bring the imagination of the caster to life. As long as the right fuel is given, anything can happen. In order to facilitate this, one must possess the knowledge of 'cause and effect', as well as fundamental magic theory."
Richmond drew a circle in the air, which was ringed by a blue outline. He then pushed this ring into the fountain, which made the water ripple lightly.
"Cause and Effect is one of the most basic philosophies of the world. If an action is taken, it produces an equivalent and reasonable reaction based on the circumstances."
Richmond spoke this and then recreated another magic circle. He applied extra force in the form of a push, resulting in the magic circle causing a splash in the water.
"To accurately determine - or in the case of magic, pre-determine - cause and effect, one must use the 'because of X, Y occurred' in their application of magic."
"What do I mean by this? I mean that you must set the rules for your magic during its formation. An example would be the fireball spell. To determine the cause and effect, it should be something along the lines of 'because I channel the fire of the world, a ball of flame sprouts in my palm'."
"Frankly speaking, this can be used for anything. However, it only displays the best effects when used for subjective magic. That is because of the process involving magic in general."
"To work with this though, one would need to possess the knowledge of the elements, specifically in this case of fire."
Richmond folded his arms behind his back. "Do you understand this?"
｢System to Player Announcement
Do you understand Richmond's 'Theory of Cause and Effect'? If yes, a test will be carried out before this segment is completed. If no, the lesson time will be extended and the lesson will be repeated. Accept?
Draco unhesitatingly accepted yes.
It wasn't just that Richmond's explanation was clear and concise, nor the fact that Draco himself was a person with great combat talent, but both of these coupled with one particular skill he had that was usually inactive.
｢Insight – Passive skill
Effect: You are able to acquire new knowledge and techniques three times faster when learning from someone else, and twice as fast when creating it yourself.｣
The system had calculated that Draco would need 60 days to receive Richmond's teachings, thereby completing the Sword and Sorcery quest. This was only concerning the average time it would take contrasted with Richmond's ability to instruct.
However, 15 days had already been shaved off due to the unexpected variable that was Draco's perfectly conditioned mind. A student was usually ignorant and very foolish, but Draco was a wise and thoughtful one.
As such, the 'wasteful' lessons were avoided. Now, there was also his Insight passive skill, which allowed him to absorb knowledge three times faster when receiving it from someone else.
To master Control, one needed to master their mind and body. As such, the mind of a person who had the Void of Perfection was unconditionally shaper than normal people.
In essence, Draco was naturally receptive to knowledge thanks to Control - this held true for every Control master out there - and he had a system assisted skill to help his knowledge acquisition.
Richmond was pleased when Draco chose yes. He had faith in the talented Draco, and would have been disappointed if he needed even more breadcrumbs to reach this point.
"Then let us begin the practical part of utilizing cause and effect. I do not expect you to summon magic, but I want you to influence the world around you without relying on your State of Being."
Richmond's test confused Draco. While he possessed the requisite theory to work with the test, he wasn't sure how to go about it if he wasn't allowed to move his State of Being.
Richmond noticed Draco's confused expression and smirked. "Why don't I demonstrate?"
Richmond breathed out lightly and closed his eyes. The moment he did so, Draco began to feel the world around him shift slightly. The area became darker, the air became thinner, the heat rose suddenly and it became extremely humid. All of this happened in sequence, which astounded the fellow.
Draco quickly activated Control, and then the Eyes of Caelo to 'see' what exactly Richmond was doing.
Once Draco 'saw' Richmond's surroundings, he became confused. There was no connection between Richmond and the world around him.
It was like he wasn't directly moving the world to conform to his will, but rather that the world itself was acting out to conform to his will.
Draco frowned and pondered deeply on the matter. What exactly was Richmond doing that allowed him to influence the world without using his State of Being, or Worldly Energy?
Draco decided to contrast this with influence on the world through someone using their State of Being to do the same. As such, he turned to Riveting Night and said: "Eva, manipulate as much Worldly Energy as you can."
Riveting Night complied. She had 50% of the Source Origin of a Low-Rank Dragon thanks to the Dragon's Blessing potion, which meant she was roughly half as powerful as the current Draco.
Draco used the Eyes of Caelo on her as she manipulated Worldly Energy using her State of Being, and what he saw shocked him. Draco finally understood the difference between the way Richmond was achieving his result and Riveting Night's action.
Around Riveting Night were some intangible tendrils that snaked through the blueish-green energy that was Worldly Energy. These tendrils grabbed at the Worldly Energy and shifted it around according to her will.
Compared to Richmond…
Draco looked at Richmond saw that no tendrils were emerging from him. Draco finally understood the difference between using one's State of Being to manipulate the world and using one's will to manipulate the world.
The difference lay in the medium.
Richmond's way was a direct manipulation, while Riveting Night's - and even his - was with the help of the 'crutch' called the State of Being. However, this 'crutch' was extremely vital, as it demanded too much to manipulate the world without it.
Richmond ended his demonstration and saw that Draco being focused, gathering his thoughts. He was pleased and surprised that the fellow seemed to grasp the key difference. He was aware that Riveting Night had also assisted him, but that was beside the point.
Draco realized that it was indeed hard to manipulate the world. That was why Richmond had devised the means of using cause and effect to carry out the will of the caster.
Draco adjusted the theory to 'Because I will it, Worldly Energy gathers into a ball before me' in his mind and imposed his will. He did it in a manner similar to how an Enchanter would affix an enchantment on an item.
There was no response from the world around him for a full five minutes, and Draco began to sweat.
Pushing his will on the world directly without the help of a State of being for 5 minutes was way more intense than crafting for 3 days while continuously manipulating Worldly Energy with the help of his State of Being.
He couldn't help but realize that the State of Being was really a major convenience that the various races of the world relied on too much without being grateful for.
He also felt endless respect for Richmond, who probably had the State of Being of a human. Yet, the fellow could move Worldly Energy and even manipulate reality ever more fluidly than a Dragon.
Draco began to understand why the Titled Gods were so special. Rank 7 Gods were a pittance compared to them. Richmond's absurd and frankly illogical HP bar suddenly made a lot of sense.
A person who could kill Richmond should be 60% of the way onto killing deities next. That wasn't a small thing at all.
Draco failed miserably and had to pant wildly while his arms shook. His eyes bulged out, as if he couldn't understand why he was so exhausted.
Failure? This concept was nothing foreign to him. Draco had tasted it before.
In the previous timeline, he hadn't been born powerful. He had been a loser who received the catalyst called hatred. Then, he strove to make himself the best to enact revenge.
The trials and tribulations he had gone through to reach his former level of power were enough to write four books on. He had been tempered many times in the past, but that was a thing for another time.
In this 'afterlife' called reincarnation, he had sailed smoothly because of his accumulated skills and tempering from failures in the first timeline. As such, it was extremely illogical to expect him to stumble over obstacles he had already overcome.
However, he was currently encountering something new that he had never touched or heard about in his past life. It was natural for him to fail the first few times before he eventually would experience success.
It was an inescapable process. One must put in the effort to get the result they wanted. There was nothing that could not be done, it was only that the amount of effort required varied greatly.
Richmond also didn't expect Draco to succeed on the first try. If he did, then he could directly hand over his mantle. The fellow would no longer be human, rather being a machine that was perfect in every way possible.
As such, he cast a spell. A green light enveloped Draco, and he felt all of his fatigue disappear. He felt like he had slept for 8 hours and woken up refreshed.
Was this a spell that restored stamina and removed fatigue? How overpowered. It meant that Richmond could create a tireless army that never lost steam.
Of course, this was true, but none of the Titled Gods would waste their power on that, similar to how none of the True Gods would bother to interfere with mortals unless the situation was personal or extreme.
"Try again," Richmond commanded seriously.
Draco nodded and attempted the same practice he did earlier once more. He took the cause and effect of 'Because I will it, Worldly Energy gathers into a ball before me', then imposed his will on it.
This time, Draco felt a slight tremble in the world that he had failed to notice before, but his stamina ran out before he could feel it out further.
As he panted tiredly, Richmond cast another restoration spell, prompting Draco to try again. Draco obeyed his directive and tried again, this time the sensation he felt was stronger.
This process repeated itself for a more than 10 hours, which saw the horizon go from a bright blue to a gentle red. Even as the sun was about to set, Draco and Richmond stood in the same place, doing the same thing over and over.
Riveting Night had also watched them tirelessly, her eyes never leaving Draco's concentrated face and his tense body. She found him to be extremely attractive at all times, but she felt nostalgic when she saw him put an absurd amount of effort into anything he did.
Old memories surfaced, of Draco spending more than 7 hours a day trying to unlock Control with her help. She had easily achieved it due to her rebuilt body and bloodline, but Draco had none of those benefits.
He had used sheer will and effort to make himself a powerhouse back then, which was admittedly the source of Riveting Night's obsession for him.
Draco had been trying to manipulate the world for hours on end, and he found it easier each time he attempted.
He didn't know how many times he had tried, but he had gone from vaguely sensing something before being tired out, to being able to gently influence and shake the world.
His mental stamina had greatly increased, as the span between his exhaustion and Richmond's restoration spell increased. He also felt a unique and marvelous sensation every time he pushed his will onto the world through cause and effect.
However, he was still far off from being able to pull and drag Worldly Energy to form even a droplet of water, much less fuel an entire spell.
When one considered that he would have to work with Aetheric Energy, it became clear that this would take a while. Were 45 days perhaps even a bit too optimistic?
Richmond thought so too, so he clapped his hands and said. "That's enough for today. We have made a great amount of progress in this short while, and I expect great things from you tomorrow. We'll resume at 7 am in the morning."
Draco nodded and left with Riveting Night. After all, he needed to rest, bathe and then eat.
After that, he needed to log out and take care of his real body for a bit, then come back when it was morning in the game's time to resume.
Draco realized that by the time he was done with Richmond's lesson, the title of 'Mage God' - no matter what Rank it was - would pale to the reward he had received by comprehending the theory of the lessons.
After all, the lessons Richmond taught him could be applied in many fields, like Tradeskills, melee combat and ranged combat. As he walked along the hallways of the castle to the master bedroom, Draco realized that the items he would produce for the auction 79 days later would be very, very special.