Chapter 836. The Moving Stones
"How can you tell? All the stones here looked the same," Peniel said.
"What's so special about kicking the same stone?" Grace asked.
"Because I kicked it at the same place. Here, right at this spot," Jack said.
"Maybe it's another stone," Peniel said again.
"Yeah, there might be two similar stones here," Grace agreed.
"No. When I first kick the stone, I'm pretty sure there was only one down here at my feet," Jack insisted.
"Are you saying the stone rolled back here by itself?" Grace asked.
"You are probably standing at a different place. It all looks pretty much the same here," Peniel said.
"Let's sit and wait," Jack said.
"Wait for what? Are you telling me you are going to wait and see if that stone rolls back here?" Peniel asked.
"Yeah," Jack said and sat on the ground.
Grace and Peniel looked at each other and shrugged. Grace sat near Jack while Peniel flew around again. Jack had his eyes fixed on the stone he had kicked before.
After a couple of minutes of seemingly nothing, Grace heard Jack say, "It truly is moving."
"What? For real?" Grace uttered. She didn't truly think much about the possibility of the stone moving by itself. She thought it was just Jack's wishful thinking. After Jack's words just now, she was also giving that stone her attention.
After keeping her eyes on the stone for a few minutes, she said in excitement, "It truly is moving!"
Peniel had come back. "What? Are you telling me this buffoon's imagination turns out to be real?" She asked Grace.
Jack used his finger and nudged Peniel away, her small body ended up tumbling in the air.
"Hey!" She complained.
"That's for calling me a buffoon," Jack said.
Peniel flew to the top of Jack's head and started pulling his hair.
"Hey, stop that!" Jack uttered.
Grace ignored the two children. She came to the stone. "It moved very slowly. If one doesn't pay attention, one won't notice the stone to be moving. From the look of it, it is trying to return to its original position."
Grace then picked up the stone and put it around the place where Jack had kicked it. She then paid attention to the stone again.
"It is still moving, in the same direction. We will have to wait for it to stop moving before confirming its final position."
"We might not need to wait that long, I can hasten it up," Jack said. Peniel was still on top of his head pulling his hair. He ignored his fairy friend and took out his magic staff. He then cast Acceleration on the stone.
The spell accelerated the stone's speed to five times the normal speed. With that acceleration, the stone's movement became more apparent.
"It is indeed moving," Peniel said. She lost interest in pulling Jack's hair and flew down to where the stone was.
Before the ten seconds duration of the spell ended, the stone had stopped moving.
"It stopped moving," Peniel informed.
"Thanks, Sherlock," Jack said.
"Who's Sherlock?" Peniel asked in confusion.
"Never mind that," Jack said. "Now, we know this is the stone's fixed position. It will return to this place if it is removed."
"Strange, I don't feel any mana. What do you think caused it to return here?" Grace asked.
"Not sure. But more importantly, why? What's so significant about having the stone returning here?" Jack asked while using his hand to clear up the dust on the ground around the stone. He even picked up the stone and cleared the ground below it. There was nothing special, the ground was hard clay soil. He didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
He put the stone back on the ground again. The stone slowly adjusted itself to its previous spot.
"So, what now?" Grace asked.
Jack looked around.
"I don't think only this stone is special," Jack said.
"You mean there might be other stones like this?" Grace asked.
"Let's find out," Jack stood and started kicking other stones around there. "We used that one stone we have found as the center. We will kick all other stones away from it. See how many of these magical stones are there."
Hearing the instruction, Grace went opposite from Jack and started kicking the stones on that side. Even Peniel helped by using her hands to lift a stone and threw it away. They soon cleared an area of around ten meters in diameter to become devoid of any stone, leaving only the first stone which they had confirmed its fixed position. They then waited.
"There really are some," Grace said after noticing some stones started moving. "Can't you use your spell to accelerate them again?"
"It's on cooldown for one hour. Plus, I can only target one stone at a time," Jack answered. "We can only wait."
"If you increase the spell's level by five, you will be able to add an additional target," Peniel informed.
"Good to know. I will prioritize my skill points on this spell then," Jack said.
After a while, Jack said, "This looks like it's going to take some time, let's go hunt some monsters while we wait."
"Okay," Grace said.
They went and kill a few monsters and returned around two hours after.
"Thirteen stones," Grace said after seeing the number of stones that were now within that ten-meter diameter area.
"Let's clear up some more, perhaps whatever affected these stones is not limited to this small area. Maybe there are more of these magical stones," Jack said and started kicking the stones outside of the cleared area, increasing the diameter of the cleared area.
"Do you have an idea what to do after finding all the magical stones?" Grace asked.
Jack shrugged. "Let's just find out all the stones first. We can think of the next step after," Jack said.
Grace was not that optimistic, but it was better than doing nothing, so she also helped Jack clear more area.
The cleared area then increased to twenty-meter in diameter. They left to hunt monsters again for another couple of hours before returning and found out there were more stones inside the area they had cleared. So, they went on to clear more area and waited. They continued to repeat like this.
When the sun was about to set, they had cleared an area of fifty-meter diameter. There were thirty stones within an area of thirty-meter diameter. The twenty-meter extra areas were empty.
"I think that's all," Grace said. "Even if we clear up more, I think it will be the same. Only these thirty stones are the ones that had the magical ability to return here."
"Rather than magical, I think it is more like gravity," Jack said. "The stones kept returning here because something is pulling them back."
"With what energy? I don't sense any mana at all. Your mana sense is better than me, do you sense any mana?" Grace asked.
"No," Jack shook his head. "But even if we can't sense it, doesn't mean it is not there. Perhaps these stones are made to keep returning here is a clue that there is something here, even if we can't see or sense it. Perhaps it is masked or concealed. Can there be something like that? Something that conceals mana?" Jack asked Peniel.
"Well, now that you mention it. It is possible," Peniel answered. "Looking at the positions of these thirty stones, they most likely mark the node points of a rune diagram. There is a way to conceal a rune diagram."
"Like how Master made a rune diagram to become invisible? But I can still sense its mana despite being invisible."
"Which means the concealment here is of a much higher level. It not only makes the diagram invisible but also conceals its mana, so no one can sense it."
"So, is there a way to break this concealment?"
"There is. The Dispel spell," Peniel answered.
"Crap… Do I have to return to Order of Magi and get enough points to learn that spell?" Jack said dejectedly.
"Um, if it is a dispel spell, I have a magic scroll containing the spell here," Grace said as she took out the scroll.
"Yes! You, lady, are a life saver!" Jack uttered. "Let's cast the spell then."
"Wait, let Jack use the scroll," Peniel said.
"Because aside from the spell level, the power of a Dispel spell is also affected by intelligence stat. The stronger that stat, the more effective the spell. We don't know how strong the concealment is, better not waste the scroll. Jack's intelligence stat should be higher than you."
"Really? What's your intelligence stat?" Grace asked. She started as a magician, so her intelligence stat was not low.
"853," Jack answered.
Grace stared at him for a while before handing him the magic scroll. "Here," She said.
Jack accepted the magic scroll. He took position right at the center of the thirty stones before activating the scroll, targeting the spell onto the ground below. A spell formation of six runes was formed.
"Wow! Dispel spell has six runes?" Jack exclaimed after seeing the spell formation.
"Dispel spell is slightly special," Peniel explained. "If you cast it as your own spell, you can choose to use three runes or up to six runes. Of course, the more runes it is, the more powerful its dispelling power. But casting six runes take a longer time. If you are in a battle and only need the spell to break a weak enchantment, then casting a fast three runes is enough. So, this is a spell that can be adjusted based on the situation. The magic scroll version although just a level 1, uses the max six runes as a standard."
"I see," Jack said.
While they were chatting, the spell took effect and a wave of light washed around the ground Jack stood on. This wave of light fizzled for a moment, before suddenly vibrating heavily and they heard a crashing sound. The light wave vanished then.
"What happened?" Jack asked.
"… The spell failed," Peniel replied. "Whatever this concealment is, it is stronger than I expected."