Chapter 293 Night Parade
"Now then," said Medula. She floated in the air, her bat wings fluttering, as her eyes flashed red. She stretched her arms out, motioning to the endless rows of dark bookshelves.
From above, the library must have looked like an unending, packed ribcage, each rib manifesting as a curved bookcase packed with tomes.
"What will you pick? Please remember to be reasonable. I place great value on much of these."
Aldrich looked around, and Chrysa mirrored his movements. When he looked left, she looked right. Where he analyzed with calm, she stared with wide eyed wonder.
"I recognize most of the tomes here by how their cover looks. Most aren't useful at all. Like one over there is about learning cooking spells. And another there is about creating love potions," said Aldrich. "I'm surprised you kept so much."
"Knowledge does not discriminate. Anything there is to learn, to know, I have stored," said Medula.
"Sounds like a serious case of hoarding addiction to me," said Aldrich.
"Perhaps." Medual sighed again. "Now then, does anything catch your eye?"
"There's far too much here for me to sift through. Are you trying to overwhelm me with options? You're a curator, no? I'm sure you can lead me to something I want."
"I have no obligation to do so."
"Please?" Chrysa gave Medula a puppy dog stare. "You said I could choose a shiny book when I trained."
Medula rubbed her forehead in annoyance, but she relented. "I suppose I can make an exception. I did promise the little one. I assume you wish for tomes with more combat applicability. Specifically, those that match the class engraved into your being and your rough level range."
Medula clasped her white gloved hands together. Purple bolts of energy silhouetted in white crackled from her hands. "[Shift]."
The whole library shook, little clouds of dust puffing down from the high stone ceiling. The bookshelves rapidly warped, shifting places.
"Now then," Medula motioned to the shelves around them. "All of these books meet your criteria."
"Much better." Aldrich put a hand to his chin as he walked about, taking out tomes and analyzing them. They were all for casters of a level range going from 40-60, for going any higher had risks associated with it.
"This one looks angry." Chrya peered down curiously from Aldrich's shoulder, commenting at a book with red bones on its cover.
"This is the [Tome of Angered Bone]. It has a variety of spells like [Burning Agony] involving sacrifice of health and flesh for bonus effects," explained Aldrich.
"I don't want it! It will hurt father!" said Chrysa.
"It isn't something I was considering either," said Aldrich. He put the glowing red book back in its shelf.
"Choose well, Usurper, for I know that you do not have much time to spend here. And whatever you choose, I will not allow returns for," said Medula.
"Is that your way of trying to scam me? Low level, I have to say," said Aldrich.
"Just choose. Giving away my tomes is already irking me."
"I thought you differentiated yourself from secret demons because you shared knowledge. What's the issue here?" teased Aldrich.
"I share knowledge, but when I have to give it away, I feel less inclined, for, as you may know, I am not too generous of a soul. I treat these tomes as pieces of my very own being - a collection I have pieced together over centuries of effort, each one with a story behind them."
"Well then, I'll make this process quick. Hopefully it'll be less painful." Aldrich paused for a bit, wondering if Medula would allow this. He had a good idea from the start what he really wanted, but it was probably something she would be pressed to part with.
"Why do I get the feeling you are going to make a nigh unreasonable request of me?" said Medula, raising a dark brow.
"I want you to show me your twelfth circle spells," said Aldrich.
Medula stared at Aldrich in tight lipped silence.
The twelfth circle. The highest tier of magic. The so called 'Transcendent' realm of spells unparalleled in power and effect. To put into simple perspective, there was a twelfth circle spell called [Infinity Starfall] that rained down meteors with an ever increasing area of effect that was, in lore, capable of turning into countries into smoky ash.
There was also a spell like [Hundredfold Realm Prison] which trapped an individual and cloned them a hundred times as summons, with the prison lasting until every single clone was destroyed.
Medula's library did not have these specific spells, but Aldrich knew for sure that unless some books were missing, she did have some twelfth circle spells.
"I cannot give you those. Those are my crowning treasures. I held five in my collection, but that number has now dwindled to two. If I grant you one, I will have but a single one left," said Medula.
"I don't have to consume the tomes to learn the magic within, no?" said Aldrich. According to the lore, one could directly absorb spell knowledge from a tome in exchange for destroying it as a consumable, but normally, casters studied the tome to learn the spells themselves so as not to destroy the precious item.
"Twelfth circle spells require knowledge of magic that surpasses the highest of experts.
But in your case, you have no real knowledge - your spell mastery is simply granted to you through your system of strength.
Unless you wish to spent multiple centuries studying the tome, you will not be able to learn the magic within," said Medula. "And besides, a twelfth circle spell is far beyond what you can handle. Your body and soul would sunder apart merely even thinking of casting such formidable magic.
Even the Death Lord herself knows but two such spells, for anymore would shatter her mind."
"I don't want father to get hurt..." Chrysa tapped Aldrich's helm.
"It's okay, Chrysa, if I get what I want, it'll be fine." Aldrich spoke to Medula. "I don't know most of what's in your library, but I do remember the big ones.
All the twelfth circle spell tomes especially," said Aldrich. In fact, a reward in the game for beating Medula as a boss was to get one of her twelfth circle tomes.
Though in the game, Medula still had all five. Meaning that three had been used already. The Death Lord had notably used two, which left the question remaining as to where the other one went.
But that was not so important. Aldrich just needed to make sure the one he wanted was still here.
"Tell me, is the [Night Parade of a Thousand Spirits] still here?"
"It is," said Medula.
"I want that one," said Aldrich. "From what I recall, it's a channel based spell with a cost that scales down to the caster, draining me only as much as I can sustain it.
That should take care of the whole mind shattering body exploding issue."
The [Night Parade of a Thousand Spirits] was a channel that used the caster's self as a singularity point from which a [Dying Night] event began.
A [Dying Night] event created an unholy area where spirits and undead were at their strongest and life at its weakest. It constantly spawned undead and aggressive spirits while anything living in the area had their life energy continuously drained.
The more living beings died, the stronger the [Dying Night] became, with the affected unholy area and the strength of the spirits and undead growing more and more over time, eventually reaching a breaking point where it became a perpetual motion machine of death.
In the lore, [Dying Nights] were considered natural disasters on par with the worst calamities out there such as millennial dragon attacks or meteor strikes.
Entire civilizations had been wiped out by [Dying Nights] that grew out of control.
There were many weaknesses to the spell as well, but Aldrich would deal with them once he got it.
"Then the spell is useless to you. As you are now, you can sustain the Night Parade for what, five seconds? If even that?" said Medula. "Perhaps ten if you sacrifice your health along with your mana.
A proper Dying Night requires at the very least thirty minutes of sustained channeling.
Where will you get the fuel for it? Mass sacrifices? How many lives will that take? Ten thousand? More?"
"That's an option," said Aldrich. "But regardless, that's the spelltome I choose."
"..." Medula held back, not wishing to part with one of her dearest treasures.
"I'll sweeten the deal for you. I'll take that soul fragment of yours and ensure it gets a suitable host."
"That was already my price for granting you a Cursevein."
"There's more. If you just have a fragment there, it's still not all of you. It's like you said just a probe that has a tiny bit of you in it.
But I'll help you to put in your entire heart, your whole soul.
You can fully incarnate so you can live in my realm by yourself, free from the Necropolis if you want," said Aldrich.
Medula eyed Aldrich suspiciously. "Is that possible?"
"From my brief encounter with the archdemon in the trial quest, she seemed confident that she could take over a body and escape this system. She harped on about living in my realm and starting Armageddon, so I assume you'll have the same degree of freedom.
All the knowledge of a new realm, yours to explore, yours to take.
Sounds good, no?"
"That does sweeten things, but what I am most worried of is that my knowledge will be lost. That you will die and it all be for naught."
"If I die, then you die too, and so does the rest of your collection. Then it'll all have been for nothing. The Death Lord knows this, which is why I figure she's been generous with granting me her power.
You should know this too.
And trust me, I know how much you value your knowledge. I know how close you hold it to your heart. I won't waste it. And I certainly won't lose it by dying."
"..." Medula rubbed her temples in growing stress. But she sighed, relenting. "Fine."