But something was wrong. She woke up 300 years in the future of the current Age of Gods Online. Will she be able to unravel why or how she got there and if she'll ever return home?
The epic struggles of young gods in another world.
By Shiina Ai
"Is there a healer in the village? A healer! Anyone know a healer?!" Serena yelled the moment she ran past the boundary of Clear River Hamlet.
"Please, is there a healer?" Serena yelled again.
"Serena!" one of the young girls from a nearby house called, Serena felt like she had seen the girl before, but couldn't remember when and her mind was too preoccupied with thoughts of Iina.
It was because while Serena was running at her top speed, Iina's body became increasingly cold. Iina's once laboured breathing had become so shallow that Serena could barely hear it. Even checking for her pulse returned a very weak one. Serena had little choice but to slow down her running, as she was afraid that the jostling had further weakened Iina and caused her more damage, but she knew she had little time left.
"Go to the village chief's house. He can help," the same girl said once she had gotten Serena's attention.
Serena quickly ran to the village chief's place while minding herself so that she didn't give additional damage to Iina's fragile body. She momentarily thought, "Ah, I forgot to thank her," but decided she would say it another time. At this moment, Iina was in critical condition and required her utmost attention and care.
"Village chief! Village chief!" Serena yelled before she even arrived at the village chief's home. She had come here once when she first arrived in the village as Grandpa Luus introduced her to the village chief. However, this was the first time she had come here by herself and she hoped that he was home.
"Serena, what's wrong?"
Serena breathed a sigh of relief seeing the village chief's face.
"Please, we were attacked by Thunder Crows while mining for ores. Iina was injured. Please help!" Serena pleaded as she stood in front of the open door.
The old village chief whose name Serena kept forgetting told her to put Iina on the straw mat in the common room. Serena quickly did so, but it was clear that Iina's condition had turned even worse. There was no colour in her face anymore and Serena feared that she might've been too late.
"She's still alive, but barely. I don't see any injury or sign of lightning strike. How was she injured?" the village chief asked after a short examination.
Serena tried to recall the events as best as she could, but there were gaps in her memory, such as when she fell unconscious after casting the healing magic, "I don't think she was hit with lightning strike, but during the fighting, she was pinned under a tree and her stomach was gouged by a falling branch. I tried casting healing magic, but it only closed the wound. I think she still has internal bleeding."
"If she is bleeding inside, then we need to drain the blood between her organs before we can do anything more," the village chief said as he opened a drawer at the side of the common room while asking his wife to bring in a bucket of hot water, healing poultice and clean cloths.
"Umm, is there anything I can do?" Serena asked as she stood at Iina's foot.
"That healing magic that you mentioned earlier. Can you do it again?" the village chief asked.
"I'm sorry, I can't," Serena answered with much regret.
After all that running, Serena was left with only 28 MP. It was only enough to cast one Fire Spout or to create a bucket of clean water. It was not enough for anything else, not that Serena knew any spell that could help in this situation. Aelrea was the goddess of craftsmanship after all, there was no need for Serena to remember or use any healing magic in the game. Serena regretted that kind of thinking now.
The village chief's wife stood up and guided Serena outside, telling her, "Then there is nothing you can help with." To the villagers who stood outside the village chief's home wanting to know what happened, she said, "Everyone, please, let us all pray to our goddess, the great Aelrea to grant her blessings so that Iina may live to see another day."
As soon as she finished her words, some of those present took out a pendant from inside their clothes. Some were wooden carvings, some were cast iron items but they all had the same basic shape. A hammer, Aelrea's symbol, though some appeared to be more stylized than others. Those without one simply clasped their hands together and closed their eyes.
Serena too prayed to Aelrea, despite her previous faith in her human form. As a mycra, she was a creation of Aelrea, and it only made sense to pray to Aelrea, even if Aelrea was her own creation. "Aelrea, if you truly exist, then please answer my prayers. If we are not the same person, then please save Iina with your powers. But if you and I are the same person, then please give me a way to save Iina."
Serena lost herself in her prayers. Over and over, she repeated the same prayer, hoping for Aelrea to save Iina or provide her a way to save Iina herself. In the end, she heard the 'ping' that she understood as a system message. She opened her eyes and saw the notification saying [Spatial Inventory Activated].
Huh? Spatial inventory? What is that? There was no such thing in AGO.
Serena pondered over the notification before saying, "Inventory."
A window appeared to her left, showing a number of items neatly organized in what appeared to be two-dimensional square lockers. Serena knew what this was. It was the personal inventory that was provided for every unit. In AGO, there was no backpack implemented. So every hero unit had their own equipment screen with an inventory pack consisting of 6x12 individual squares. Each square could hold one item stacked up to 99. It was nowhere near the level of her Treasure Vault back in her floating fortress 8th Heaven, but even this was better than nothing.
Serena understood now why it was called Spacial Inventory. It was because it was a pocket universe accessible only by the person themself and was separate from other methods of carrying items. She took a look at her inventory screen, hoping against hope that there was a healing potion in there somewhere, but was not surprised that she could not find any.
It was because Aelrea herself rarely fought a battle personally and thus had no use for healing potions. Whenever Aelrea was injured enough, she would just return to 8th Heaven to either be healed slowly or imbibe one of the premium potions stacked in her Treasure Vault. Whenever Aelrea moved personally, it was for gathering materials for crafting. And so her spatial inventory was full of crafting materials.
Wait, I can use this! Serena thought as her eyes caught sight of certain items in her inventory.
The First Anvil. Made of Niana's Tear, it was the ore that fell from the sky in the backstory of AGO and the rare Rib of Milomarus, a limited item supposedly from the rib bones of a dead old god during the War of Molten Earth, also from the backstory of AGO. Serena had to pay a lot of real world money to get these two items. It was a sum that gave her father no choice but to deliver the first real scolding in years for wasting money. Its effect is giving anything crafted the minimum grade of B and allows the creation of high grade items even without high grade catalysts.
The Hammer of Enchanting. It was actually a failed hammer that Serena crafted with mithril and premium jewel. She actually wanted to craft Hammer of the Forge Lord, a weapon of vast power that could smash mountains, an SS class weapon which also had the effect of increasing the value of any crafted item by 1. She intended to give it to Guardian of the Forge Meristes. Unfortunately, she missed the timings in the smithing process several times and it became a junk item. She intended to craft another Hammer of the Forge Lord, but unfortunately, Ukhlar's invasion happened. Despite it being called a junk item, it was still a better hammer than the one that Granpa Luus and Iina had been using. As the Hammer of Enchanting, it allows Serena to enchant the item with a special effect, depending on her crafting mastery and the materials used. Since Serena didn't have a Blessed Hammer, this was the most she could hope for.
The Heart of the Rainbow Lizard. It was a large carrion lizard that lived in the Swamp of Sorrows at the edge of Selion's Magic Forest. It wasn't really a tough monster, but it was dangerous because its tongue contained dangerous toxins, so toxic that it could kill the lizard itself. However, the lizard had another property, which was high regeneration which allowed it to negate the damage of the toxin while healing itself from any injury in short order. Aelrea rarely hunted them herself, but since it was at the edge of her pantheon-member Selion's forest, she often bought it off Selion. Selion spawn-camped them so much that if AGO was the real world, the rainbow lizards would've reached near extinction. Spawn-camping is considered a really dastardly way of getting materials by putting a bunch of soldiers near where mobs would appear and then killing them the moment they spawned. Serena recalled that their heart was the key ingredient in high level recovery medicines.
Azureum ore. In AGO, it was a common ore. It was pretty useless as weapons due to its softness, but it had a special ability of being very accommodating to enchants. Even when Aelrea wanted to make SS class divine weapons, she used large quantities of melted azureum ore in her alloy of antinium, auricalcum and maginium. Mithril was useless for forging divine weapons as its properties made it impossible to bond with other metals except for iron, which wasn't used in high grade crafting.
For her purpose, she needed the magical capabilities of The First Anvil, the enchanting bonus from Hammer of Enchanting, the regeneration buff from Heart of the Rainbow Lizard and the enchanting-friendliness of azureum ores. As Aelrea, she had forged one before and she did it often, as she granted one to each of her hero units. Just like in the game, she was going to craft the Amulet of Regeneration. Serena was going to make her first magical artifact in this new world.
Although she was briefly delighted at the sight of her Premium Wyverns and Premium Flame Dragon, she decided not to use them. After all, neither of them could cast healing spells. What she needed was a way to save Iina, not weapons to raid a village.
She quickly asked those in attendance if there was a nearby forge she could borrow. There was a murmur of confusion at first, before a man offered the forge in his home which was only a short walk away. Guided by the man, Serena quickly went to the forge and found the place satisfactory for her purpose. In front of the man's wide open eyes, she pulled out The First Anvil, the Hammer of Enchanting, five still-bloody Hearts of the Rainbow Lizards, two large blue azureum ores twice bigger than her fist and a pile of coal. She pulled it nonchalantly from thin air, not realizing that the man behind her had never seen such a thing and could not comprehend what he was seeing.
"Alright! Just wait, Iina, you'll be as good as new soon," Serena said to herself as she tied up her sleeves and filled the coal tray.
Serena then chanted, "Spirits of fire. Listen to my words. Bring forth sustainable fire. Feed upon these coals. Materialize: Flames of the Forge."
Right after her chanting completed, her barely recovered MP plunged to almost 10 again, specifically, it was reduced by 19 MP to 12 MP. Despite her small MP recovery, if she had taken a bit longer casting the magic, she wouldn't have had enough magic to cast the spell. Thankfully, it was only the Tier 1 Flames of the Forge. She believed she could probably cast the Tier 8 Forgefire at full MP, but she had no need for such a high level spell in this instance.
Of course, she didn't realize that the older man who lent her his forge was looking slack-jawed at her back. For Serena, it wasn't weird for a mycra to be able to use Tier 1 arcane spells as she did set them to have Arcane 1 proficiency. However, much had changed since Serena played as Aelrea. In this village at least, nobody could use the magic their ancestors wielded so readily. Not a single one.
As more of the villages gathered and stood watching behind Serena, she worked the bellows of the smelter in order to melt the azureum ores in an attempt to reduce it to its liquid metal. At the same time, she threw an iron blank into the forge, powered by the Tier 1 persistent fire spell, Flames of the Forge. Realizing that there won't be enough hand for her to melt the azureum ore while striking the metal at the same time, Serena decided to employ another magic, one she rarely used in the latter days of AGO but was of great help in the early days.
"Spirits of wind. I call upon the rough autumn winds. By my will, blow life into this vessel. Materialize: Strong Winds of Autumn!" Serena chanted as instead of bellows, wind came from all over the workshop, gathering into the air holes of the smelter at the bottom before coming out again at the top of the smelter, continuously throwing embers to the air.
"Ohhhhh!!!" the crowd gave their appreciation.
"The peanut gallery is too noisy," Serena commented under her breath. Regardless, she gave it no attention, as for now, Iina was her priority. With that thought in mind, she pulled out the iron blank with a tong, carried the red hot iron to The First Anvil and started hammering.
Tiny sparks flew with each hammering, as she first elongated one point of the blank before widening it, making a very thin sheet of iron. Serena wanted to create a steel amulet, but she was afraid she would run out of strength before she finished. After all, she did run miles away at top speed with assistance from magic. Even if her body could still somehow hold on, she would need the assistance of body strengthening and strength boost, neither of which she had enough magic power for.
Serena kept hammering, feeling elated in its ease. Despite never having held a smithing hammer before as Serena, right now she felt as if she had been doing it all her life. She instinctively knew where and when to strike the iron, when to flip it over, and when to put it back into the forge for reheating. It was as if all the knowledge and skills simply flew into her body as she went along. Serena assumed it must've been Aelrea's skills that she had been using, as Aelrea had forged thousands of artifacts and failed tens of thousands more.
Or it could just be the mycra's innate skill with metalworking, Crafting Skill Level 7. She recalled the ridicule in the forum back when she posted the mycra's racial stats. She was called crazy, a noob and they told her it would make her race so unbalanced she would lose the game within a week. They tried to prove it by attacking Hammerdale one after another.
However, the mycras were a race of crafters. Their single purpose was to craft something. Due to that, the attackers eventually had to retreat one after another. They lost to the mycra's ability to craft everything, including the landscape itself. They lost to the mycra's motto of 'Craft The World'.
Where other gods used their faith to transform landscapes, Serena used the mycras to craft natural traps and golems to defeat her enemies. The very land itself became Serena's ally. Serena recalled laughing alone in her room every time her enemies fell into the traps laid for them and died without even reaching Hammerdale.
And now, instead of relying on the mycras, Serena decided to rely on herself. Her and her skills, whether as Aelrea or a mycra, she would save Iina. This was the way that Aelrea showed her. Only through crafting would she save Iina.
She managed to make two similar sheets of iron about the size of three fingers put together. It was still attached on one corner to the blanks and with it, she sent both sheets back into the forge. Then she grabbed the five hearts of the Rainbow Lizards in both hands. She looked at the magic power in the corner of her vision and was satisfied with its amount, believing it to be enough for the spell she wanted to cast. With blood flowing through the spaces between her fingers, she chanted a spell.
"Spirits of Water. Abide by my command. Release the water from this vessel. Spirits of Air..."
She could see her magic power reducing at double the rate with the calling of the second element. This is called a line spell, a spell that uses two separate incantations for two different elements. With every element chanted separately, the amount of magic drain doubles. For a triangle spell where three separate incantations of three different elements are used, the magic drain doubles again, causing more than four times the magic drain.
"Come into this vessel. Let hot winds dry it to dust. Materialize: Drain Swamp!"
The effect was immediate. The five hearts of the lizard, previously fat and continuously pumping out blood had now become small, hard and blackened. Without even washing her hands, Serena placed the five dried hearts on the anvil and struck it again and again with her hammer until it turned into fine dusts. Then she brought the two sheets of iron and struck it against the heart dusts on the anvil. She repeated it until there was no more of the dust left on the anvil before sending it back into the forge. Once the iron became red hot again, she folded the iron sheets over and over, making the heart dust one with the iron.
She would've continued striking the iron, if not for a sudden ringing in her head. It was as if an alarm went off and she knew what it was for. She turned to the smelter, pulled off the exit and watched as melted slag flowed out of the smelter. She could see some of the blue melted azureum flowing out together with the slag, but there was nothing she could do about that. The man who loaned her his forge used it for reducing steel. He had no specialized facility for producing the more delicate metals.
Once the slag had stopped flowing out of the exit hole, she closed it again. While azureum had lower melting point than iron, it still required a bit more time to completely melt. She knew that this meant she should move on to the next procedure.
She took a chisel and started carving out one of the iron sheet with runes of power. While the rainbow lizards themselves were good enough for crafting regeneration talismans, Iina's body was in very bad shape. Therefore, Serena decided to carve the runes for 'healing' and 'constitution' to augment the healing power of the talisman. This was not a problem for her, as all mycras, or at least the mycras from AGO knew of runecrafting from birth.
Once she finished carving the runes, she turned back toward the smelter. Grabbing an earthen cup from her inventory, she placed it under the exit hole of the smelter before opening the gate. The melted azureum flowed smoothly out on the guide before collecting inside the cup. Serena quickly grabbed the cup with her hand before pouring its contents into the runes carved into iron sheet.
It was a slow process. The pouring had to be done carefully and precisely. The melted azureum must not spill out of the carved depressions or it would create completely different effects from one intended. Serena had never done it before, but she knew exactly how to do it, likely owing to the divine crafting skill that Aelrea had. Or perhaps it was mycra's innate crafting skill, but judging from how impressed the peanute gallery were, she doubted it.
Once she was confident that she did not make any mistake, she left the iron sheet with the cooling azureum to cool slowly on the anvil. While shutting down the smelter, she looks into her slowly replenishing mana count. The final spell would require quite a significant amount of mana and worse, she didn't know how long it would take to achieve the desired result. If it took too long and she didn't have enough mana, the whole thing could become a useless junk.
However, she knew she couldn't wait for too long. Who knew how long Iina had before she would succumb to her injuries. Therefore, she decided to gamble it all.
She grabbed both the pieces of metal, one with azureum and one without as she chanted, "Spirits of Metal. Behold the structure of this metal. Connect these two pieces by the azureum metal. Merge these two pieces into one. Materialize, Alchemical Meld."
The two pieces of iron sheets floated up from her hands. It spun around each other in the air, a flow of mana linking them to each other. It slowly came closer as the two pieces alligned and the more chains of mana shot out and bound the two pieces with each other. It spun faster, with more chains of mana coming out to bind these two pieces, but it had stopped coming closer to each other. It was now only spinning in the air, releasing a buzzing sound and blinding light, but did nothing else.
For awhile there, Serena feared she had failed. She feared it had become a junk item as it could not meld into each other. But she still had some mana and there was no spell rejection, so the spell couldn't have failed. With no idea what else to do, she raised her two hands up, the palms facing the two pieces of iron.
She said, "By my wish, become one, Runed Amulet of Regeneration!"
And as if abiding by her will, the chains of mana shined brightly and pulled the two pieces together, combining with a blinding flash. While even Serena had to close her eyes, she knew that she had succeeded. The proof had just fallen into her hands. Without even looking, she knew it was the Runed Amulet of Regeneration.
She no longer felt so helpless. She now knew that she was Aelrea, Aelrea said so herself when she gave her back some of the skills from the game. With this power, she could save Iina for sure.
With these thoughts in mind, she took off towards the village chief's home without a moment to lose. The amulet grasped tightly, she said, "Wait for me, Iina. I'm coming."
*Yeaaaa, sorry for not posting for a very long time. You see, I've been having some problems and writing a new chapter was not quite the priority. Only recently I managed to regain the motivation. I will also update two other stories in short order. What those stories are? Well, you can only wait. Ahahahaha.
**As always, your comments and feedbacks are greatly welcomed. Praises help me write faster while constructive criticism helps me write better. Thank you for reading my work.
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