Nikki - Professional Crammer
I was still shocked at what happened. Just like that, the man left. His last instruction was that to give it with its seal released. Yet it was not written on the paper how to unseal the artifact. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be useful for anyone else. But he and Eran said the same thing: only Necromancers can fully open it.
Eran also mentioned that the cost is grave. I never bothered to ask. And I was not entirely excited to know what it would demand. Simply, I was not ready yet for the gut-wrenching secret.
Phineas and Otis waited for me by the school gates. They looked quite perplexed at the reason why I chose to be left behind for a few minutes. It would have saved me from embarrassment. I thought I would have been in control of the situation. But it got undoubtedly out of hand.
“I thought you hated that guy.” Otis started. “This is something new.”
“I just had to ask a few things from him.” I defended. My voice was stern and cold. Almost a hiss. It probably scratched their inner ears. “It doesn’t automatically mean that I like him already.”
Phineas wanted to add something, but he pulled back. I walked past him and went straight ahead for the main road.
“What’s with him?” I heard Otis whisper.
“Not sure.” Phineas whispered back. “Let’s just go. He’s probably having a bad day because the doctors still have no idea what to do with his mom.”
We decided to all walk home since the buses had already left. But the other two strolled a few meters behind me while I silently brood over how to retrieve the Necronomicon from Asphodel. Samael mentioned a deeper layer inside that dimension, but I have not yet explored it.
I took a deep breath and tried to send a mental message to Eran. Hey.
Yes? His voice answered back. Stoic but firm. Have you thought about it?
Is it possible to get it tonight? I asked. There was a short pause before I sent out the follow-up message. There’s no time.
What’s with the sudden change of mind, Nikki? Eran asked. His amusement was seeping through, and I felt it in my head. You sounded so firm before.
I got Samael cornered, and he admitted to poisoning my mom. He said that he used some sort of spider venom from some other place, and she would be dead within a week. I explained dryly. Are you up for it?
Wow, you got to corner Samael? That’s huge. He must have let you do it if that’s the case. His amusement went even further. But he didn’t know what really happened in Asphodel. It was a huge humiliation, and I had underestimated Samael tremendously. We don’t know what’s going to happen on the other side, Nikki. The first thing we need to do is to prepare.
How soon can we do that? I almost snapped back. Delay was something I didn’t want. It was going to be a race against time. There’s no checklist of things to bring when raiding a different dimension. Don’t be stupid!
Packing some extra battery would be helpful. Eran commented. He even sounded thoughtful about it. You’ll never know.
Why on earth would we need batteries? I whined. My tone was pitched in a bit of condescension. Now is not a time for a joke. I am serious about this, Eran.
Not literal batteries! We need avroi for our spells, remember? You only use avroi whenever you are going to summon some sort of creature. But that does not apply to me. Eran responded. His amusement steered towards annoyance. But I had a bit more to enjoy this. I wanted to drag his irritation out further, but it was not the perfect time. Isis is more knowledgeable than I am. I’ll be sending her to you tonight.
Okay. I quipped. But when are we planning to go there?
Give me three days. Eran replied gravely.
That’s too long! I retorted. Mom might not make it. We don’t have that much amount of time.
Might as well be prepared than screw up. He admonished. Almost like a finality for our decision. It’s your mom’s life on the line! Choose wisely, Nikki.
Fine. I said, giving in. Just tell me once Isis is on the way.
She already is. He informed me. Start with her crash course as soon as you get home. Isis is an immense help in our current situation, but she’s not the best mentor to reach your full potential.
I just don’t understand why we have to prepare that long. It could have been tomorrow night. I commented. What if mom would not make it?
Be patient, Nikki. Think of this as preparing for camp. Eran objected. You need to make sure that you got the list right because there’s no going back once we are there. We’re going to be a long way from home.
That’s a bad example! I scoffed in my head. Thankfully, neither Otis nor Phineas could see the visible frown on my face. Just tell me directly why we need to prepare.
Because I need to prepare my spells. Eran objected. I have not yet seen the full potential of the blonde kid. I was curious myself what he could really do. Mine will definitely take some time, but it can help us tremendously. And you need to prepare a small army of wights and wraiths.
I just gulped at the thought of it. Preparing three wights alone was already draining for me. And worse, they were simply disposed of by Samael. I was practically defenseless when I taunted him. How many do we need?
At least two dozen. Eran replied.
Crap. I exclaimed. My heart almost skipped a beat. I felt tired already just from imagining how many I needed to summon from the dead. Are you serious?
Again, we don’t know what’s on the other side. He said coldly. The reality of things was giving me an awful headache. Two dozen was too much for me. I’m serious about preparing for this. And that’s why we need three days. It’s going to be tiresome for you, so I suggest to put the illusion curse over your wight again like the last time.
Why didn’t you tell me this before? I demanded. I couldn’t help but grit my teeth in frustration.
Because you sounded like you were not interested in the first place. Eran pointed out. As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. Besides, I need to hunt a ride for you. Hopefully, you will be able to learn how to revive a dead beast within the next three days. Otherwise, we may need to extend.
There was silence after that.
Just focus on learning stuff from Isis, and then I’ll have to review the layout again for M’Vokagola. He said, sounding a bit more tender and sensitive. Eran was starting to sound more like a friend. But for some reason, in my guts, I still couldn’t trust him fully. I still need a good escape plan. If you can find a way to travel to places instantly, that would be great.
Where is that? I asked.
In your world, it’s somewhere in Brazil. He replied. It sounded like a joke. But I knew it wasn’t. It wasn’t his type to joke around over things. We’ll be needing hours to travel there.
You’ve got to be kidding me. I sighed. It almost pushed me to resign from the plan in the first place. That might even take days!
I’m afraid not. Just get home and rest a bit. I’ll think of a way to get around that travel distance. We need to be fast, after all. The other boy instructed. His thoughts became stern and dry. Like a desert that wandered into my own head. Then start learning whatever Isis would teach you. I’m also checking out potential allies in this area. I survived this long because I have kept everything to myself. Thankfully, I am a natural at learning different spells. But not this time. You, learning new things, can change the tide of this operation.
Why are you doing this? I asked. You still have not told me the real reason why you are so driven to finish this war. You said that you kept everything to yourself all this time. So what on earth is stopping you from running away and forgetting all this?
Revenge. He answered. His voice inside my head was cold and distant. He took away my father for the sake of a deal and an experiment-gone-wrong. I don’t want anyone else experiencing that.
Raw anger seethed in his mental voice.
Eran growled. The Black Bitch must die.
After that, there was silence. I felt a tug inside of my head, and Eran’s presence was simply gone. It was supposed to be my spell that I learned from Isis, too, but he quickly took ownership of it.
“Are you still grumpy?” Otis joked, almost jumping from behind. But he still sounded rigid and scared.
“I’m sorry if I sounded so mean.” I apologized. Otis’s features immediately softened, and I heard his light-hearted hum. “I’m just so tired with everything that is going on.ofust don’t know what to do.”
“I’m here for you, Nikki.” Phineas lightly jabbed my arm.
“Count me in as well!” Otis jabbed me from the other side with a bit more force. His goofy smile turned into contagious laughter.
“If you both keep on doing that, I might end up crying.” I admitted, but they kept on laughing at me. The heavy air was all but suddenly gone. “You’re both jerks, do you know that?”
The three of us walked home with nothing but laughs. I told Otis and Phineas I just needed to change clothes and bring new stuff before I would be able to go back to the hospital. Both my friends escorted me home before they went on to their separate ways.
“Just visit me tomorrow at the hospital, okay?” I said.
“We’ll be there!” Otis grinned.
When I entered my house, Isis was already waiting for me. It’s enormous, glassy, and yellow eyes punched through my defenses and tried to pry my mind open. The spike of avroi danced around my head as it started to take a toll on my mental strength. With a flick of my hand, I summoned the Nyxian Blade and swung it upwards toward the feline.
But Isis’ movements were so fickle. The blade barely touched its shadow.
“Good job, my little student.” The cat applauded. It praised me but yet looked bored at the same time. From my point of view, it was barely impressed. “That was an advanced form of a spell someone from Solus Magus might use on you.”
“It seems to me you are far more knowledgeable with spells than Eran. And you’re making a plaything out of me.” I commented. Sounding a bit hurt. Isis wouldn’t care, but I waited for an empathic reaction. There was none. “But you’re also not the best…cat that could help me with Necromancy. That’s what Eran told me.”
“That’s all true.” The cat simply agreed. It tilted its head a bit, and a shot of invisible avroi took a jab at my mental defenses again. “I do not use Altimeraean magic because I am from another universe. But the fundamentals of all the forms of magical formulas are the same for each dimension. Thankfully, the magic I use can be considered synonymous with Necromancy.”
“That’s why you were able to teach me.” I concluded.
“Yes, and no.” It replied. Isis took a deep breath and started explaining further about magic. The cat wasn’t exactly the most favorite teacher I had, but it taught me far more than what I could learn from Elementary. For some reason, I could easily remember all the details, and I absorbed information like a sponge. “You were using unorthodox Necromancy magic now because the formula that is incorporated is slightly different. Think of it as a narration of an essay, but the whole thing is completely paraphrased. It speaks of the same message, but a different set of words and styles was used.”
“Got it.” I stated.
Isis went on with a lengthy discussion on the history of Necromancy again. The more it described the narrative, the more it seems that Isis may have been hundreds of years old. Magical creatures were a subject that we still haven’t touched. Eventually, we found ourselves back in the living room, experimenting with wights and other creatures of the dark.
Next, I summoned a wight, and Isis taught me the proper transmutation spell this time to make it look like me. It wasn’t merely an illusion, so it wouldn’t be disfigured just in case anyone touched it. I whined about the stinking smell last time, and the cat also taught me how to suppress the rotten stench. The illusory spell was cast on the dead body to make the stench undetectable.
Then the cat taught me another spell that was not entirely Necromancy. It was a spell to create a more durable mental bond between myself and my undead army. Since they were soul-less beings, it was far easier to establish. I could connect all of my senses to my wights, and it would be a lot easier to scout ahead or check on my mom in the hospital. It would also be best to indirectly talk to my friends just in case. And it could be done through my undead creatures.
“You could have taught me this the last time. When I summoned it, there was no smell. How come it turned foul after a while?” I groaned. My classmates and teachers were probably furious about why I smelled like a rotten piece of meat. Hopefully, it would go away, or else I might earn some appalling nickname through high school. “I seriously think you did that on purpose.”
“We had no time. And regarding your question, dead things will rot in this realm after a while. ” The cat retorted. A small trickle of an evil smile showed at the sight of its tiny mouth. I couldn’t help but groan when I saw it. “And yes, I did that on purpose. You should be very well aware by now what it means to be invisible in public.”
“It didn’t have to be such a harsh lesson.” I pouted. But Isis was busy creating another ritual circle for a different spell on the living room floor. The house was pretty chaotic and stinks. Thankfully, I could potentially summon extra hands to clean it up later on. “Now, my classmates won’t ever forget me for bringing a soiled diaper to school.”
“A small matter to worry about.” The cat replied strictly. As usual, it looked bored and unimpressed with all the things I was learning.
“That’s not a small matter for a kid.” I pointed out. But the cat completely ignored my complaints and went ahead to further discuss the things I could do with a wraith or with a wight. “High school can be a mean place for unpopular kids like me.”
Isis was silent as we both wrote the formulas on the floor.
“After all of this, I’d love to go back to a normal life.” I sighed.
“You were not meant to have a normal life.” Isis disagreed. For the first time, the cat didn’t sound bored. The statement was full of conviction and firmness. I was taken aback and looked at the small frame of the cat. “You have a genius-level intellect, Nikki. The things I taught you now may take a normal mage a few weeks or months for them to learn. But you were able to get them within a couple of hours. I do hope you realize that normal life doesn’t fit you.”
I bit my lip and couldn’t believe the cat was able to see through me.
“Why did you purposely hold back yourself?” Isis asked. There was not a single ounce of curiosity in its tiny voice. It demanded one thing—a candid answer. “If you gave your full effort, you’re supposed to be a university graduate by now. Looks this is the only time that you’re using your mind in all its worth.”
“I don’t want to leave my friends.” I replied in a low voice. “All the awards and achievements mean nothing if I forgot the real things that I value in the process. My friends and my mom are more worth it.”
“Good for you.” The cat answered. All its interest vanished just like that. “You may want to consider being a Biologist or a Physician when you grow up. The magic of Necromancy focuses on the intricacies of life. It would be best if you learn the physical science behind that.”
“I have already read different books on Biology and Medical Sciences when I before. It’s one of my favorite fields, but I didn’t have anyone close to talk to about it. I even joined online groups that discuss those fields, but I had to use a different name. No one will take a kid seriously.” I said. I plan to get a scholarship once I graduated High School so I wouldn’t be a financial burden. “Mom would always tell me about how bright I am and suggested that I could become a gifted surgeon or something. “
The next thing we did was send the disguised wight to the hospital. I would check through its eyes every once in a while to make sure it arrived at its given destination. A summoning spell was also placed to summon a couple of other wights as back up just in case they were attacked. It would be the last resort because it would be a hassle to explain everything to everyone else. A few other wights were on the other side of Asphodel just in case, loaded with a spell to summon themselves on this dimension.
Dragging them into this problem would be the last thing I needed.
After that, Isis approached me. It looked at me with eyes that were no longer golden yellow. Both irises turned into a devilish hue of red, and the cat significantly grew bigger. Almost like a small tiger. “Before I teach you everything I know, I would like to give you a parting gift.”
“For what?” I asked. A bit afraid at the new form Iris took. A small pair of horns could be seen on its forehead, and its fangs were more pronounced. “And what’s with the sudden transformation?”
“Show me your wrist.” Isis commanded. I took it out and displayed in front as the feline walked to my side for a better angle. The glow in its eyes was so furiously compelling, and I already knew what was about to happen. “This will hurt a little.”
Before I could react, the black cat bit me at my wrist. But something was immediately introduced to my bloodstream, and I lost any sensation over my arm. I couldn’t even jerk back my hand away as the left part of my body started to shiver uncontrollably.
“Crap!” I exclaimed, gritting my teeth. There was a searing pain in my muscles as if acid was flowing into my bloodstream. “What on earth are you doing?”
A small mark appeared at the base of my wrist. It was a rod with a viper wrapped around it. A skull was also found on top of the rod. Similar to the symbol that can be often seen in hospitals. The mark looked like a tattoo before slowly vanishing into my skin.
“The Rod of Aesculapius.” I remarked. It was the symbol of some ancient Greek deity. The god of medicine. The serpent in the legend was non-venomous and would often be used for healing rituals. “But I’m not a Physician.”
“Not yet.” The cat retorted as it slowly shrunk back to its standard size. “In the next few days, you might as well be. But I do solemnly hope that you can find a mentor who can help you unlock the potential of your true powers.”
“What did you give me?” I asked Isis. As I focused on my wrist and allowed avroi to flow into it, the mark reappeared. “Ekzorizein Apalezio.”
A chain of dark markings with an unknown alphabet erupted from the mark as if the tattoo was alive and extended its marking all over my skin. It slithered like a snake and wrapped around the whole of my left arm. The mark gave me full wrath of energy as it pumped into my slim body.
“It’s a portion of my power.” The cat replied and walked away from me. Then like an ordinary feline, it started to lick its paws. The tail flung left and right as it stared back at me with more piqued interest. “That mark can store avroi far more than the natural body can handle. I gave a similar mark to Eran.”
“That’s why he told me that he’ll be bringing extra batteries.” I pointed out.
“Exactly.” Isis agreed. Then it stared me, eye-to-eye. “But you are a different case, my little student. I can teach you how to infuse avroi within the mark, and you can use your undead to do it for you. But first, we will need to seek the souls of dead mages who are more accustomed to magic.”
“I’ll be practically an avroi powerplant.” I commented.
“Correct.” Isis admonished. Then started to draw another set of magical formulas to teach me the fundamentals. “As you perform more rituals, the undead you have summoned can infuse for you within a good distance. Another ritual will be used, and you will be chained to them like electric power lines. During this time, whatever they infuse will be stored directly to the mark.”
“However, you cannot abuse this because a huge amount of flowing avroi may take a huge toll on your body. But I can say you can bring a lot more stored energy in the mark than Eran can infuse in a month.” Isis continued explaining. “The mark also has other special properties. It can also give you extra physical strength, especially that Necromancers aren’t really front-liners in battle.”
“Any other thing I should know?” I asked.
“You will also have an affinity with vipers.” Isis replied. My eyebrows raised in surprise with that one. “As I mentioned, Necromancers aren’t really front-line fighters and rely on sly and dirty tactics. You’ll be needing to study a lot about different kinds of venom and serums. Vipers and other similar critters are the best ways to inject them into the host. Curses and hexes can also be done similarly.”
“So, for the next three days, we’ll be doing nothing but charging my batteries.” I sighed. Then I stood up and stretched my body. I was a bit on the scrawny side, so I couldn’t help but wonder how far my body could take it. “And then at the same time, I’ll be materializing souls into wights. After all, Eran asked a couple dozen of fighters for us.”
“Wrong.” Isis simply answered. “Your wights will do that for you. We’ll be focusing on experimenting on dead bodies.”
“Seriously?” I shrieked. “But, that’s disgusting!”
“Bring out all your knowledge in Biology because we need to create several wights with quality.” The cat explained. “No matter how many undead creatures you can summon, if they amount to nothing but foot soldiers, then they can all be easily eliminated.”
Isis made a valid point. I was so proud of summoning wights against Samael, But they were quickly stomped out of existence. The cat suggested creating my own Frankenstein monster that can pose a substantial threat to any opponent I would be facing.
“Understood.” I agreed. There was no way I would be disagreeing with that.
For the next three days, we went through the plan. I summoned wights to infuse avroi on my behalf as they were stored in the mark. Then I summoned more of them, basing on the souls of dead mages to produce undead creatures that can use a bit of magic.
Within that time, I also learned how to reanimate dead animals. They didn’t have souls, but they were easier to materialize. However, Isis summoned vipers and taught me how to properly care for them. By the end of the third day, our house had a stink of a veterinary clinic from all the different animals I have revived. I also found love for insects because they were practical tools to carry different kinds of venom.
However, I had not yet acquired the most effective ones and may take time to gather them. I also took the time to read more on Zoology and even Botany to study different poisons that I could potentially use. Anatomy was also fun to read, and I overlooked the days that went by. Neuroscience was also a field I’d like to get to, but I didn’t have a live brain to experiment on. Unfortunately, the brains of the undead were entirely different than their breathing counterparts.
I was against the fact that three days were too long. But Eran was right. It was definitely not enough. Even if I could absorb a ton of information from the books I read and the websites I visit and process through all of them, I didn’t have the time to experiment and apply some theories I could think of.
Within those three days, I didn’t sleep. Thanks to the continuous supply of raw energy, there was no need for rest. However, the bags under my eyes have darkened. I looked ghastly as I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I was able to ready a hundred undead and ten others that I would like to call as super soldiers with the most that I can.
By the end of the last day, Eran had finally come to my house and knocked on the door. Isis had already left me on my own since it no longer thinks that I still need its guidance. Yet I was genuinely thankful for the little cat.
The blonde boy looked surprised as I greeted him at our doorstep.
“What on earth happened to you?” Eran asked. The life in my skin had almost faded away, and I had a glassy look in my eyes. It was almost like I’m an undead myself. “You practically looked like one of your creatures.”
“This is what happens when you cram for your final exams.” I sighed.
We both sat down in the living room. Since we will be leaving for a faraway place, I had to make sure our house was thoroughly clean. Thankfully, I had a lot of extra hands to finish it. And I’m quite happy that I will never have to do chores in my life ever again because I will always have slaves to do my bidding.
“Are you ready for thi-this?” Eran asked. There was a stutter. And that was the first time I heard him do that. “I honestly have no clue what we may encounter there.”
“Yes.” I replied. “Now, tell me the entire plan.”