Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1 - Cover

Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1

Copyright© 2023 by Uruks

Chapter 4: Pep Talk

There were several sentient races listed as viable donors for the project. Werewolves were just one such species. But the most important sample would come from Subject Zero. Its blood would act as the binding agent that synthesizes the other components in the mixture for maximum effect.

Eramar watched as Ryan left the training chamber. The boy removed his Psionic Armor one piece at a time until only his white undershirt and armored leggings remained. He left the rest of his armor on the ground, not bothering to pick it up. Eramar would be sure to scold him for that later.

Zand had asked Eramar to keep a special eye on the boy as of late. Eramar still had misgivings about taking orders from Zand given what happened last time. However, that didn’t change the fact that the Light Wielder always had a reason for his suggestions, and those reasons usually entailed the safe protection of as many lives as possible. It would be a while before Eramar could fully forgive him. Perhaps never. But Zand did promise to help Amelia. And besides that, Eramar shouldn’t complain when it came to seeing to the needs of his students.

Eramar teleported in front of Ryan. The boy started in surprise, then blew a sigh of relief.

“Eramar, I do need to talk to you ... but can we do this some other-”

Eramar took Ryan by the shoulder and teleported the both of them together. Their surroundings vanished as they were transported between space itself to Eramar’s office in an instant.

Ryan yelped in surprise and shook off Eramar’s hand as he took hold of his chest like he was having a heart attack. Of course, knowing him, he was just being dramatic.

“Would you not do that, please?” he said, breathing heavily.

“Let me get you some tea to calm your nerves,” Eramar said, ignoring Ryan’s protests as he went to a synthesizer on the wall.

The tea materialized quickly from the panel as the lights fizzed with the process of energy being converted into usable matter. Eramar also keyed in a muffin, knowing that Ryan must’ve been hungry.

“I don’t want tea. I want-”

Eramar teleported to Ryan’s side and handed him the tea. And just to shut him up, he shoved the muffin into the boy’s mouth. Ryan glared at him, but the prospect of food soon quelled his anger, and he ravenously tore into the muffin. When he finished his snack, he opened his mouth to say something else, but then found his throat parched. Ryan took the tea in one gulp to quench his thirst.

Eramar then walked slowly to sit behind his desk. He folded his hands upon the gray metal table where several holographic documents glowing green and blue hovered for his perusal. He dismissed the notices with a wave of his hand so there was nothing obstructing his view of Ryan.

“You should know by now that extended use of psions leads to severe depletion of calories. Not even the use of Sun Gems can fully negate the effects.”

When Ryan finished the tea, Eramar could tell that he was still famished as he glanced at the synthesizer. The young Elemental showed a bit of self-control and sat down on the other side of the desk as he placed the teacup on the table.

“Eramar,” Ryan said uncomfortably. “There’s something I wanted-”

“Tell me of your observations with the day’s events.”

Ryan’s face lit up in surprise, and then confusion. “What? Why? What the heck am I supposed to tell you? You were there ... well, at least for the first part. The rest of it was just us sparring. But we’ve done that lots of times. You know everyone’s abilities better than I do.”

Eramar contained an angry quip. The boy can be a bit slow sometimes in some aspects. Why is it these days that those with the most potential tend to be the dumbest?

“I want to know how observant you are. I want to know what you’ve learned at this stage in your development. Being an Elemental is more than mere fighting ability. You must know every facet of your own abilities as well as those around you. And you must even learn to make snap judgements so that you may properly gauge your adversaries in the heat of battle. This is part of that process.”

Ryan’s confusion turned to skepticism. “Is this a test?”

“Everything’s a test, Second.”

Ryan shrugged and nodded. “Well, for starters, I hope next time for all our sakes, you won’t take it so easy on everybody. We won’t get any better if you keep spoiling us.”

“Oh, so you did notice that, after all. What a surprise?” Eramar acknowledged with a nod. “And your teammates?”

Ryan considered. “Grafael and Torsha haven’t changed their fighting patterns much. Grafael is working on his Earth Elemency with me, but he doesn’t want to try it with the others around. I think you knew that, though. Tork seemed even more timid than usual, at least until the part where he put a hole in the training facility. His firepower may be comparable to yours. It’s actually a little scary. Rachel’s gotten a bit sneakier with her invisibility, but that seems to come at a cost of her attack power. That shock she gave you barely even phased your armor. And Leon is as annoying and talented as ever.”

Ryan paused, almost hesitant to bring it up as he obviously didn’t want to think about her at the moment. “Éclair’s range has improved a lot. I think that shot was at least three miles. She’s also gotten a lot faster. It must’ve taken her only a couple minutes to catch back up to us from so far away. Even in Psionic Armor, that’s impressive. But I still don’t know how you saw that arrow coming.”

Eramar gave a brief knowing smile. “How do you think I saw it coming? Think about it, and the answer will present itself.”

Ryan tapped his head and bit his lip. “Well, you don’t have sensory abilities ... at least not the way that Éclair and Torsha do. You can’t use psionic abilities to sense others or enhance your hearing like Werewolves can. Then that means you must’ve ... you must’ve used your element somehow. You’re a fire type, so ... a bubble of heat around you or something. If anything comes through the bubble, you can sense it coming. I’ve kinda been able to do the same thing by stretching my psions around myself.”

Eramar felt his satisfaction rising. “Very creative. And not entirely inaccurate. There is a bit more to the trick than that, but I’d like to see if you can puzzle the answer out for yourself. I can tell you this, however. Every Elemental, regardless of their element or psionic type, can develop sensory abilities of a sort if they are clever enough. Being aware of one’s environment and accurately predicting your opponent is perhaps the most key in attaining victory.”

Eramar flipped a switch on his table. Another cup of tea flashed into existence within the synthesizer on the wall. With a wave of his hand, he summoned the cup to himself using teleportation. Eramar blew away the smoke and took a sip.

“What else?”

Ryan pointed at the synthesizer. “Okay, first off, I’d abuse the crap outta that teleporting stuff if I had it ... so it’s probably for the best that I don’t.” Ryan then snapped his fingers. “Speaking of things I don’t have, how the heck did you make ... fire monsters? Those things, they were more than just puppets or Psionic Doubles. They were ... they were alive. Weren’t they?”

Eramar nodded. “Yes, they were.”

Ryan raised his hands in defeat. “You can make sentient fire ... apparently.”

Eramar laughed and shook his head. “No. Creation of life is a power reserved for the Lord Caretaker alone, at least if you believe the teachings of the Monastery. They are called Guardians. Spirits of Elemency even more ancient than the art itself ... at least as long as it has been practiced by humans.”

Ryan crossed his arms. “How come nobody’s told me about these ... these Guardian things before?”

“There are some secrets of Elemency that only those of the highest ranks are privy to. Normally, only after being a Fourth Level for a few centuries would you even be made aware of their existence. Be grateful I’m telling you now. Guardians are ... they are mysterious creatures. Heralds of the Celestial Beasts that birthed Elemency in the beginning. And before you ask, no, I’m not going to tell you of Celestial Beasts. You already know enough of them for the time being.”

Eramar knew that Ryan wanted to ask more, but he held his tongue. He wondered if the boy would piece it together himself. Ryan and the others did bear witness to Saria’s summoning of Tava after all.

“Summoning a Guardian,” continued Eramar. “It can be a very dangerous process. That’s why only the most powerful of Elementals are even allowed to make the attempt. It requires that a contract be made between you and your Guardian ... or Guardians, as many like me have made multiple contracts. But most importantly, it requires that you earn the respect of the Guardian. This usually entails passing a test of some kind ... a very strenuous test. The more powerful the Guardian, the more dangerous the test. There may yet come a day when you yourself will wish to make a contract with a Guardian, but you should not take such an endeavor lightly.”

Ryan tapped his fingers together, his bearing showing excitement. “Tell me about ‘em. How strong are they? What can they do?”

Eramar chuckled. “That’s a very broad question. The study of Guardians is an extremely dense subject that not even our most ancient scholars have completely cracked. For now, we’ll keep the discussion on Guardian Spirits, those incorporated by the Ministries. To make it as simple as possible, Guardians are companions. Familiars that can come to your aid should you require them. They are especially useful in situations when you find yourself outnumbered. They come in many different varieties, but usually in the forms of animals that correspond with their user’s element. But I have heard of a few that are even stranger than that.”

Eramar thought of what he should tell Ryan. This was getting dangerously close to talk of the Celestial Beasts, a subject that Ryan definitely didn’t need to know about ... yet. That subject should be left to more suitable teachers.

“They are ... well, you saw yourself. They are very strong. Physical attacks are useless against the higher-leveled types like the ones I use. Only by using an element on the opposite spectrum, something that corresponds to their weakness, do you have any hope of even hurting one. When you face Fire Type Guardians, you should use Water based Elements. For Water, Earth. For Earth, Air. And for Air, Fire. Basic rules of Elemency that you learned at the Grunt Academy. But that still doesn’t ensure victory, not if the Guardian is powerful enough to negate such weaknesses.”

Eramar paused a moment to allow his explanation to settle in. Ryan tended to shut down if he was exposed to too much information at once. “The only other method to fight them is to dominate them with the same element. You must show your strength to be equal or greater than theirs. Use your connection to the flames to take control of the body of a Fire Guardian. They will resist, of course. They are very powerful and tend to be strong of will. Only the most stalwart of Elementals can dominate a Guardian in this fashion. In fact, it is often required to make a contract with one in the first place. But know that once a Guardian has made a contract with another Elemental, you cannot simply bend it to your will. You may be able to defeat it, but you will never steal it away from its master. They are far too loyal for that. They’d die first.”

“But how do you even make a contract with one in the first place?”

Eramar frowned and swatted Ryan on the top of his head.

“Gosh darn it,” Ryan said, rubbing his head. “Why does everyone want to hit me today?”

“I already told you. You don’t need to know about such things until you have become a Fourth. Let’s move on. What else did you notice?”

Still rubbing his head in annoyance, Ryan said, “Well, I noticed you blocked Grafael’s hammer even though you aren’t a Physical Type like me and him. That doesn’t seem fair. You’re a Spiritual Type. You get to teleport and walk through walls and stuff. You shouldn’t be as strong as him even if you are a Wielder. How’d you do that?”

Eramar always found the best way to teach was not to answer questions, but to ask them, so he said, “Tell me, Second. How do you think Spiritual Types like me can ghost through solid objects?”

Ryan frowned. “I don’t know anything about that sciency crap. Can’t I just stick to punching and blowing shit up?”

“Stop whining and humor me. Even you couldn’t have slept through all your classes as a Grunt ... at least I hope you didn’t.”

Ryan groaned. “Alright. Um ... to walk through solid objects, you’d have to ... change the density of your ... uh ... molecular makeup. What’s that word again? Oh, yeah. Atoms. Éclair says my brain isn’t much bigger than one.”

“Éclair’s name comes up again, hmm,” Eramar teased.

“Just drop it, old man. Let’s stick to learning how to be a badass Elemental and forget about ... women,” said Ryan tersely. “Alright?”

Under normal circumstances, Eramar wouldn’t have tolerated this level of insubordination from the lower ranks, but he and Ryan’s relationship as teacher and student was a bit different than that of rank ... at least during private lessons such as this. So Eramar simply raised his hands and nodded.

Ryan scratched his head as he still thought on Eramar’s earlier question. Finally, he clicked his tongue in frustration. “Damn it, I still can’t figure it out. Can you just tell me this one time without forcing me to scrap for the answers?”

“If I was that mean about it and left it all up to you to figure out everything on your own, you wouldn’t know anything at this point. But like I’ve always told you, there are some things in life that you must experience for yourself. No amount of me telling you the answers will do you any good.”

“Okay. Fine. But could you just tell me this once? It’s not like I’m expecting some grand life lesson or anything. I just want to know what walking through walls has to do with not getting smashed when Grafael intends to smash something! How does changing your molecules help you stop a Saurian in his tracks?”

Eramar had to suppress a laugh. He did enjoy messing with the boy a bit too much at times. “Phasing through solid objects, or ghosting as some call it, is a secondary ability of mine. I’m better at teleporting. But when I do ghost, I phase my body through solid objects by changing the density of my physical makeup. The scientific definition involves the rearrangement of electrons, protons, molecules, and atoms. To put it another way, my physical form becomes so light that I can slide my body in between the atoms of other objects, at least for a time. There are methods to counter this. In Elemency, there are methods to counter virtually any technique, making nothing absolute. Rachel demonstrated one such method when she shocked me. The static electrical force passing through my body made it impossible to manipulate my molecular density.”

Eramar had to pause for a moment to consider. “I’m still somewhat impressed that she managed to surprise me like that. Cloaking involves more than just turning invisible. The best find ways to shield their very presence. Some even go so far as hiding even the most minute of sounds that the body makes. As a Spiritual Type, I’ve taught Rachel what I can in this field, but some of her skills go beyond my own. Cloaking is not a specialty of mine after all. You should take all this to heart if you’re up against a skilled Spiritual Type. The most dangerous attack is not necessarily the most powerful, but the one you don’t see coming.”

Ryan waved a hand impatiently. “Yeah, yeah. I get that a lot of people did better than I did today. But back to the ghosting thing.”

Eramar, amused by Ryan’s thirst to learn, continued the lesson. “So now that you know that ghosting is simply making my molecular density lighter, what do you think would happen if I somehow reversed the process?”

Ryan opened his mouth, but then he started to think. It was as if a switch turned in his head, and the answer finally became clear. “You ... you made yourself heavier. Made your body many times denser. That’s why you went so stiff when you blocked Grafy’s hammer. It wasn’t that you became stronger. You just became ... fatter I guess. Fat with molecules or something.”

“More durable I think is the optimal phrasing. It can’t exactly be used offensively. As you guessed, I can’t really move when I switch the polarity of ghosting. But during such times, my molecular structure becomes so densely compacted that I am virtually immovable. I told you once. Elemency is a game between tricksters. The one left standing is often the one with the best trick up his sleeve. Power and strength are always necessary, but using your abilities in unexpected ways ... that is the mark of a true Elemental.”

The source of this story is Finestories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.