Somewhere, Ricardo, the God of Unbalanced Scales and Lollipops, laughed evilly and rejoiced. For today was a glorious day.
- You activated [Stabilise] and prevented a system from going out of control. (+40 XP)
- You have manipulated the Entropy of a system and tipped the scales.
- You have absorbed the excess energy into your body.
- You have been afflicted with a status effect: Overcharged (Chaos).
- Affliction information is now available.
- Please consult your afflictions screen for more information.
Those were the first words to greet Ethan when he opened his eyes. He looked about himself and noticed his lack of clothing. The next things he noticed were the glowing, gaping wounds that would occasionally appear on his body, and the shamans gathered around him taking turns at mending his torn body with healing magic. He also noticed Elder Ro dabbing at his nose and mouth with a wet cloth and realised that the cloth always came in clean and came out soaked in blood. Then he paid attention to the AI wailing in his head and noticed that all kinds of warnings were being issued from his AI. The strangest thing was a complete lack of pain. It was strange to feel nothing while his body was being ripped apart by unknown forces.
He watched with strange detachment as another rip bursting with dark crimson energy formed on his body and was quickly mended by a shaman.
“Afflictions screen!” he willed in his mind.
A new unfamiliar screen appeared and he quickly looked through it.
Your body has absorbed an excessive amount of chaotic energy and is in flux. Discharge this energy immediately or face the consequences!
The only way he could think of to discharge this power would be to reawaken the volcano.
“Damn it! How do I discharge this?” He panicked and cast furtive glances all around him. He felt like he was grasping at straws. Then an inkling of an idea took root in his mind. He knew magic now.
AI, enter simulation mode, He commanded calmly.
To all the people watching, his eyes closed and he became unresponsive. The shamans redoubled their efforts, thinking he had fainted. Internally, he was seated in his lab reviewing all the data and information he’d gathered so far.
He now knew of two models for spell casting: The emotional model, used by shamans, was based on emotion and somewhat uncontrollable and unpredictable. It could be channelled in group circles. Mind Runes were the traditional method of magic casting, used by the Polarii and most other practitioners, where the caster had to construct the spell model in their mind. It was logic-based and required focus.
He naturally leant toward the latter, since its nature was mathematical and almost entirely deterministic, which suited him very well. In addition to the knowledge of how to cast magic or trigger a skill, he’d received the knowledge of the Mind Rune model of magic casting from the direct memory transfer.
He currently knew four Rudimentary Runes:
- Met: Infuse
- Te: Focus
- Ka: Connect
- Ro: Fuse
Four basic Aspect Runes:
- Hak: Fire
- Mij: Water
- Zum: Air
- Nix: Earth
And finally, two Modifier Runes and their very opposites:
- Jakonem: Orderly — Ekonem: Chaotic
- Motanem: Grow — Tatonem: Wither
In addition to a name and a function, each rune had a shape associated with it. They were like Lego blocks with input and output ports that could be connected with Rudimentary Runes. Considering his current affliction, he thought that casting a spell with an Ekonem—Chaotic—modifier would be his best chance at getting rid of the excess chaotic energy currently wreaking havoc throughout his body.
He began to formulate a new spell. From his newfound knowledge, he knew that making a spell on the fly was a very bad idea; [Mages] spent decades of their life researching a new spell. But he had all the time in the world in a virtual environment to train his mind. He formulated his new spell: Met Ekonem Motanem Nix and began the simulations.
Each rune had a three-dimensional shape, and he was trying to fit them all together. A mathematically balanced three-dimensional model was quite difficult to fit in the right way, but he soon realised his mistake.
It was not supposed to fit in three dimensions.
The end result was 4 dimensional, and thankfully—in this virtual space—his AI could help him come up with a solution to this mind-bending problem. He had to use multiple Ka and Ro runes to support the structure, causing the final spell to look like a lopsided four-dimensional Rubik’s cube.
Now to try casting it. He had to focus on the spell’s structure in his mind, that was the first step. Just getting past this stage was agony, the mind-bending four-dimensional configuration of runes eluded his three-dimensional perspective.
After mastering this, many agonising hours had passed inside his simulation, and he was not even half done yet. He still had to perform the next step. He had to keep the spell structure in his mind while channelling mana into it. The mana would then leave his body in a certain configuration with a specific spell pattern and interact with Conduit particles in the surrounding space, bending them to his will and performing the imbued instructions. This was all theoretical knowledge until he began the process of applying this information in his simulated space.
Thankfully, the data packet from purchasing ‘Study (Basic)’ had included a region of information specifically designed for his AI to consume, and his AI was capable of simulating this process after assimilating it. After killing himself hundreds of times in the virtual simulation environment, the spell was finally ready and he had managed to cast the spell model in his mind. After making sure that it would work, he exited the simulation.
Elder Ro watched on sadly as Ethan West was being ripped apart and mended by the shamans, over and over and over again. She had no idea what was happening to the boy; it seemed he had absorbed the volcano’s energy somehow and was now suffering in silence. He was enduring for the sake of the Krell he’d saved. No good deed goes unpunished, huh? Life was unfair indeed. She would never forget him, the Krell would never forget him, and the chronicles would never forget him for what he’d sacrificed and done.
She felt heartbroken. He’d only arrived from his world, only to become a martyr of the Krell and die away from his home and family. She dabbed at his nose again with the clean piece of cloth, and it came away saturated with his blood. He was bleeding profusely through every orifice. Honestly, she had no idea how he still lived. If not for the constant healing by the shamans, he was bound to die.
With the help of the shamans, that conclusion was only postponed slightly. They were bound to tire eventually, and his death was a foregone conclusion.
He closed his eyes and went to sleep. Maybe for the last time.
Her tears came unbidden as she contemplated all of this.
A scant few minutes later, his eyes opened, and they had a different look in them. He raised an arm and pointed at the distant ground. His eyes and hands glowed with dark crimson energy, not unlike the energy trying to burst through his wounds.
“[Seed of Chaos]!” he started casting a spell.
Nothing happened for a few minutes, then crimson red plants exploded out of the ground and quickly started growing in all directions, consuming the cooling magma that was present everywhere. The strange vegetation was feeding and expanding like another eruption of a different kind. The strange vegetation writhed and twisted until it reached the edges of the volcano’s caldera. Then it started rapidly climbing the walls. It rapidly surrounded the bowl-shaped crater.
Ethan had a look of rabid concentration as he pointed and bellowed, “MORE!”
Dark crimson energy started leaving his palms at an astonishing rate. A chaotic ray of unfathomable power shot forth and sank into the ground. Then something started sprouting from the cavernous floor. From the centre of the area Ethan was pointing at, a massive multi-hued sapling pierced the earth. Rapidly gaining girth, it grew into a tree and started displacing tents. It quickly towered in height, piercing the sky and covering the entire caldera.
Everyone watched in awe as huge, glowing, multi-coloured fruits started growing from the majestic branches above their heads. Unbeknownst to them, this was the birth of a new age, for a Mother Of Chaos had just been grown.
Elder Ro shivered uncontrollably as Ethan came to his senses and beheld what he had sown. And on a plane far, far away, the maniacal laughter of a God could be heard.
Aylin Merza watched in awe as thick crimson red vegetation grew quickly and surrounded her cage. She was very thankful she had decided to postpone her escape when the enormous tree emerged from the centre of the crater and overgrew an entire volcano. She was even more flabbergasted when she realised what breed of tree this was. A legendary Mother Of Chaos! An actual Mother Of Chaos had grown on this plane! It was only mentioned in obscure journals from the ancient world-walkers like the famous Matus Bek.
World-walkers were ancient Magi, versed in teleportation magic, who had built the Vanished Gates and journeyed to other planes of existence, conquering worlds and bringing continents to heel. But it was unmistakable: an immense, multi-hued tree with glowing, multi-coloured giant fruits. Legend had it that eating one of the fruits would either give you extraordinary powers or kill you. Alchemists would kill for a single fruit from this tree, and nations would wage wars to the last infant if such a thing as its presence here was known.
She personally couldn’t fathom being away from it. She wanted to study and dissect it. And more importantly, she wanted to study and dissect the man responsible for its existence. For she was sure it was one peculiar Ethan West that was responsible for this historic event.
Eragoth, Matriarch of The Krell, stood slack-jawed and watched in awe from her perch on the mountain tops as a huge, shimmering tree sprouted from within the volcano’s caldera. It completely overshadowed her home and unchanging abode of centuries. She was recovering on a mountain peak when it all happened, and when it started she couldn’t believe her eyes. She suspected a certain culprit of doing this. In fact, she knew it couldn’t be anybody else. It had to be that boy.
She fumed and breathed fire and threw a good tantrum before settling down and wondering what this meant. A Mother Of Chaos? In her home of all places? This had the mark of a certain God for sure. He certainly loved to meddle in her affairs. The otherworlder was not to blame. He was just a pawn in a much greater game.
It was that damned Horacio and his shenanigans.
She sighed and ruminated over the situation. Now she was stuck with that damn tree inside her home. But maybe—just maybe—she could turn the situation in her favour. A Mother Of Chaos was a force to be reckoned with, and if she could control that boy who’d sown it, it basically meant she had the best security system in existence. Besides, the fruits were a priceless commodity.
Because of this fact, she was now sure that war on an unprecedented scale was upon them and the future looked grim. She would have to prepare to fight the entire world—not just the Polarii—for control over this place. Despite her sorry state, she spread her wings and took to the air once more. Her shamans could heal her later. Now was the time to meet Ethan West, before he brought about more insanity.