Aito was shocked. Valinar had really lost her divine calm. Even though he couldn't hear her voice and only read her. He could feel she was quite pissed at him.
'True that you've never harmed me. In fact, you've always helped me. But that's what is suspicious about you. I can't help but be bothered by your divine presence. I can't trust you because I don't know what's going on in your mind. What you're plotting,' he said mentally.
'Maybe with time I'll come to trust you. Fat chance of that happening, however, nothing is impossible. In the meantime, you have two choices. Stay by my side and try to gain my trust by helping me with your knowledge. Or remain by my side and be quiet for all eternity.'
Valinar stopped replying for some time. An uncomfortable silence settled in the room as Aito waited for a reply. At some point, he wondered if she actually choose to remain silent forever until…
[I cannot tell you my goals,] she said.
'I knew it. Hide your shady goals as long as you want. But don't count on my help,' he said leaning his stone bed.
[It's not that I don't want to. I simply cannot. Like my soul, my memory is incomplete and only a will drives me towards still blurry goals. Once you've found the other candle pieces, I will be able to tell you more because I will know more by then. For now, all I can know for sure is that it's linked to Phobos in some way who's breaching the veil and we're running out of time. Please, Aito Walker, gather the candle pieces as fast as possible.]
Aito sighed heavily. Maybe Valinar was being honest, maybe not. However, her tone had changed drastically… the writings at least. She was lowering her divine self to talk on equal ground with a mortal.
'It's not my top priority, but I already planned on gathering the pieces. Although, as I told you, if I find another way home, I will leave, no matter what. If we can agree on that, I will try to be more… grateful from now on.'
[You don't understand. Iris itself is at stake!]
'The world can burn for all I care,' Aito shrugged. 'My goal before yours. Unless gathering the candle pieces is the only way for me to return home, I won't make it my priority.'
[The candle will bring you home! You have my word!]
'I know and that's what worries me,' he replied. 'Anyway, this is getting tiresome. Decide now. Accept my offer and I will treat you better or refuse and we're back to square one.'
[… Fine. You're my only hope anyway.]
'Great! Now that we've reached an agreement, mind telling me something?'
Valinar remained silent, inviting him to continue.
'Is it possible to manifest a second auxiliary core at my current level?' He asked in all seriousness, gazing at the bags containing thousands of soul cores.
[Are you crazy!? That's beyond ridiculous! Why would you even want a second auxiliary core at your level? It's already a miracle you've had yours at level 1.]
'It's to prepare for the enemies to come. I know I've reached sufficient strength to not worry about my own safety in most of the Tower floors. But, I'm looking ahead. There will be enemies, much stronger enemies. I have to grow as fast as possible. I can't simply be satisfied with what I already have. I cannot become conceited. Not again.'
His fight with the previous Khan had made him realize that he had become a bit complacent due to his own strength. A dangerous train of thought for a warrior seeking to reach the apex. He was thankful to the previous orc chief for opening his eyes to the truth.
He was still weak.
[*Sigh* commendable but reckless… as usual, I guess.] Valinar said, [I've never heard of anyone forming a second auxiliary core before level 4, that I can recall at least.]
[The method to manifest a second auxiliary core isn't so different from the first one. You must command your soul to do it. The problem lies in your soul level and power. Creating an auxiliary core requires you to split a tiny part of your own soul that will act as the central piece of the auxiliary core.]
[Usually, it is recommended to wait until level 4 before creating your next auxiliary core to give time for your soul to grow in power and split safely. Chances are, you are more likely to injure yourself than create a second auxiliary core, particularly at your level.]
[Moreover, your soul core must be perfectly synchronized with you. You must have a solid foundation, a large supply of soul cores willing to be absorbed, which isn't supposed to exist apart from Tower 6th floor's… orcs.]
Aito grinned, looking at all the soul cores around him. 'Well, aren't I the lucky one?'
[This isn't enough to reach the Awakened realm. You would need thousands of those low-level cores.]
'The Awakened realm? I think you misunderstand something, goddess. I'm not trying to reach the Awakened realm this early, I'm just trying to create another auxiliary core.'
[Ignorant. Creating an auxiliary core is the same as reaching the next real—… hold on. Could it be.... Are you trying to create—]
'An auxiliary core small enough that it won't be considered by the system as reaching the next realm. Yes, that's what I'm thinking about, you ignorant.'
[That's madness. Pure and utter madness! Do you think you're the only one who thought about this? Many have tried before you and only failed miserably for a very good reason. They either could not keep the supply of energy running while creating their new cores or they did not have the energy.]
[Even with enough soul cores around you, there is no point in trying when you can't maintain a constant supply coursing through your mana circuit. Unless...]
'It's fine, I'm only going to try something. If it fails, at worst the energy will be expelled.'
[*Sigh* you're unbelievable. Even if you're not trying to reach the Awakened realm, you might die. You know that, right?]
'I know but I have insurances,' he said mentally, bringing out the healing bead he had kept. 'If worst comes to pass, I have this.'
[That…, might help you avoid death but not the negative consequences such reckless action can bring upon you.]
'Can't you use some of your divine powers to help?' He said, fully knowing he was greedy. But he who does not ask never receives, so he might as well try his luck.
[No. If I do that, my consciousness might fade. Helping you would drain too much of my powers. Unlike before, I have no means to regenerate my power. So once used, it'll be gone forever.]
'Huh, why did you previously want to help me during the Crimson Eclipse on the fifth floor then?'
[That was different. I was ready to use most of my remaining powers in exchange for your life. A desperate move.]
'Really? How kind of you.'
[You sounded sarcastic right now.]
'I swear I was being genuine,' he replied in an overly dramatic tone. 'Anyway, I'm about to start. Unless you want to distract me, don't send your notifications until I'm done.'
[You are too reckless, Aito Walker. But maybe at times, it isn't such a bad thing,] Valinar said before leaving him alone.
Aito grabbed the sole level 3 soul core in the room and started absorbing it.
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