After Zenrou finished making his declaration, Izroth, Valentine, and Kryxelsia walked back into the building. As for which side Izroth and Valentine would choose, it was not even a question that needed to be asked. Both players already had ties to Amaharpe and Proximus, therefore, there was no place for them in Tempest.
As time passed by, Kryxelsia said that she would head back to Everpeak. Since the war was right around the corner, she had a few things to prepare beforehand. Of course, she made sure that she gave Valentine more than enough tasks and material to keep himself busy while she was away.
With the amount she provided, one would think that Kryxelsia was intentionally torturing Valentine. However, how could someone who loved magic as much as Valentine complain? More than anything he was excited! After Izroth and Valentine exchanged farewells with Kryxelsia, she took her leave back to Everpeak.
"Oh yeah, I've been meaning to ask you something. How did you see through my Mine Fetters?" Valentine asked in a tone filled with curiosity.
Just moments after his match with Izroth, he rushed out of the arena and swiftly into the main building to one of the closed rooms. At that time, Valentine was afraid that he would lose his train of creative thought if he wasted any time. Therefore, he did not even think about questioning Izroth and simply wanted to complete the sixth sequence.
Izroth explained to Valentine the effects of his Energy Vision Sense that he had acquired due to the Soul Essence trait.
When Izroth asked Valentine why he did not use any of the other Zarkox Sequence skills, Valentine gave a helpless smile.
"How would I have time to cast anything that takes more than half a second when fighting against you? I haven't reached a good enough level to lower the cast time on those skills so they would've been useless." Valentine explained.
So that was the reason! It was not that Valentine was incapable of casting other Zarkox Sequence spells, just that he understood that the moment he tried to do so would be the equivalent of him handing the match to Izroth.
Izroth also took the opportunity to share the Comprehending The Origins of Source book that he received from Orion with Valentine. Since it was a thin book, it did not take Valentine a long time to memorize its contents.
Valentine widened his eyes in disbelief as he returned the book to Izroth. He was a little unclear on certain parts, but luckily Izroth was there to clear away any of his concerns.
"It's even capable of something like this? That Source Chant's also pretty interesting. It's a shame that it's only the most basic version. I'm sure Zi Yi and Luna have the patience read through and retain the contents, however, I have some reservations about the other two." Valentine sighed as he shook his head.
"Indeed, that's why I only plan on teaching them the Source Chant portion. Anything more than that and I'm afraid they will try to run away." Izroth said with a carefree smile on his face.
Valentine chuckled as he replied, "I think that's a good idea. Perhaps it'll work better on those with a lower amount of Essence. Since your Essence is so much higher than ours, it may explain why your progress was so slow when using the Source Chant. That Perfect Source Compatibility sounds really convenient to have right about now."
He then continued, "I never expected that a Source could be even more beneficial than it already is. I wonder what mine will also allow me to develop that Energy Vision Sense. Though I have to say that I'm curious if it's possible for a person without a Source to develop one after using a Source Chant. If it possible, then..."
Izroth and Valentine carried on with their conversation for nearly 30 minutes before Valentine returned to the closed-off room to continue his research. Valentine was surprised that Izroth could easily keep up with him when on the topic of magic. In fact, there were even some things that he had no idea about! However, he knew better by now not to attach common sense to Izroth.
'I suppose I'll take a look around before heading back to Amaharpe. I still haven't received any news from Niflheim or Blue Oasis about the raid, but I shouldn't wander too far out of Amaharpe over the next few days. Also, I should inform the others about it. After all, I'm sure they'll be interested.'
After he sent out a few messages, Izroth went out to explore the magic capital city. He stopped by several of the local shops and purchased some ingredients that were native to the region of Proximus. Since Proximus possessed a thick atmosphere of mana, it was one of the best locations in the Mortal Realm to collect some exotic ingredients.
Of course, Izroth was only able to acquire mostly common and uncommon things. However, he was fortunate enough to come across two rare ingredients at one of the smaller shops. Even if some of the materials he purchased were not necessarily Apothecary reagents, Izroth still decided to obtain them for future purposes. In total, he spent nearly 150 gold coins going on a buying spree.
That was a number of gold coins that casual players could only dream of spending so freely!
Once Izroth was satisfied with his exploration and the items he obtained, he started to make his way back towards Amaharpe.
Since he was traveling by himself, Izroth was able to move without restraint. The moment he stepped out of the magic capital city, Izroth sprinted forward at amazing speeds leaving the guards at the gate dumbfounded. He decided to take the straight line route towards Amaharpe. Even though he did not have a Realm Chart that contained parts of Proximus, he could still tell what direction Amaharpe was in.
Izroth kept this speed up until he came to an area with some terrain obstacles in the way. However, instead of slowing down, he increased his speed as he leaped into the air and stepped on the sky itself. He used Sky Steps to move over the terrain with ease and stayed in the air until the time ran out.
Izroth safely landed on the ground and abruptly came to a stop. He noticed that someone had been following him for quite some time now and it was that same mysterious entity who always appeared and then suddenly disappeared. Except, this time was different.
'It seems that they've stopped hiding their presence. Are they trying to get my attention?'
"You've been following me for so long and yet never introduce yourself. Is this not what they call stalking?" Izroth said in a nonchalant manner. However, all he received in return was silence.
"You were also at the Towering Oak Forest, and the Tiger's Mouth, right? If you won't come to me, then shall I go to you?" Izroth spoke in a calm tone. He knew that this person was capable of fleeing in an instant and erasing their presence at will. Otherwise, how could they have escaped and hid from his range of perception for so long? Also, how was this person tracking him so accurately?
The only thing Izroth knew for certain was that whoever they were, they did not seem to hold any hostile intentions. He also understood that their level of mobility far outmatched his own.
"What a bold statement, little monster. Do you really have confidence in catching a member of the Phantasmal race?" A voice suddenly echoed from nearby. A few moments later, a thick mist formed around Izroth as a shadowy figure appeared inside of the fog and faced towards him.
'Phantasmal race? That race of legendary messengers?'
By legendary messengers, Izroth did not mean their combat capabilities. While the Phantasmal race's combat capabilities were quite good, it was not their strong point. Izroth came across the mention of their race on the second floor of the Amaharpe palace library, as well as, some interesting facts.
Every member of the Phantasmal race was born with two unique innate skills. To simplify the skills, one allowed them to completely erase their presence even from individuals much stronger than them. Not even legendary beings could necessarily sense them if they were not actively searching.
As for the skill that was currently being used by the Phantasmal member in front of him, it enabled them to manipulate the very structure of their body and turn into shadows or mist. While in either state, members of the Phantasmal race were not limited by their physical forms and could travel great distances in short periods of times. This is why they were considered a legendary race of messengers.
However, their history was not always so peaceful. Apparently, before the Fifth War of the Titans, the Phantasmal race was known for their unrivaled assassination abilities. Unfortunately, they were too good at their job and held allegiance only to one thing, gold. After the Fourth War of the Titans, the members of their race had nearly gone extinct!
This caused them to forsake their assassin lifestyle and focus on a more peaceful approach. In the end, the Phantasmal race made a pact with a certain divine being that saved their race from extinction. However, a special restriction was placed upon the members of their race in return. They could not harm living beings. If this restriction was broken, that member of the Phantasmal race would immediately lose their life!
Of course, some members who could not forsake their assassin ways had to experience this the hard way. That's why until this day, seeing a member of the Phantasmal race in the Mortal Realm was an extreme rarity!
The Phantasmal race only served as messengers for powerful individuals. It meant that whoever this person was working for was a dangerous existence.
'Whoever sent them must have a deep hand in the Mortal Realm. The real question is, why did they decide to finally reveal themselves?'
"No need to put on a show in front of me. I know all about your Phantasmal race. In the end, all you can do is run or step aside. So, either tell me your message or get lost." Izroth said in a cold tone.
While Izroth was not usually so aggressive in his first meeting with others, he knew how cautious and superior members of the Phantasmal race could be. If one treated them with kindness while knowing nothing about them, they would take it as a sign of disrespect and dishonesty. Their customs were quite bizarre for a race of the Mortal Realm, but not completely unheard of.
The shadowy figure was surprised by Izroth's choice of words, however, instead of being outraged by Izroth's response, he was impressed.
"Human, you should feel honored. Even though you're still a little weak, you'll do. You're going to be one of the representatives of the Mortal Realm." The shadow figure spoke in an arrogant voice.
"What sort of nonsense are you speaking? If you keep wasting my time then I'm leaving." Izroth said as he began to walk away.
As Izroth walked through the mist, the shadowy figure quickly called out, "Wait right there! Do you know what opportunity you'll be turning down? Little monster, let me tell you, not even the dragon prince would turn down this chance! If you walk away now, you'll regret it forever!"
"Then, I'll simply live with regret." Izroth replied as he did not halt his steps.
The shadowy figure realized that Izroth truly had no intentions of listening to him! This wasn't how it was supposed to go! Right about now, that little monster should have been begging him to receive an invitation. If he failed the task he was entrusted with, that person would surely be infuriated.
"W-wait! Little brother, wait a sec!" The shadowy figure yelled out as he quickly caught up to Izroth. The fog had disappeared as the shadowy figure began to shrink. In the end, it stopped shrinking at around 30cm.
"Why should I wait? Also, who's your little brother?" Izroth scoffed as he continued along with his act.
'So, this is the true appearance of the Phantasmal race.'
The Phantasmal member looked similar to a pixie, however, he had short violet-colored hair, dark red eyes, light purple skin, and black wings on his back. The average player would probably mistake him for a monster or demon.
"Come now, little brother. I was wrong, okay? Just, hear me out and I promise it'll be well worth your while." The Phantasmal said as he flew in front of Izroth.