Translator: SaltyTank  Editor: SaltyTank

Fear emanated throughout Whiterun. Apart from the news of Amber City’s destruction, there were also rumors that the elite corps sent by the Whiterun officials had been almost annihilated by a two-headed ogre. Some were saying that the two-headed ogre was a high-grade wizard strong enough to threaten the safety of the city, but no one knew how legitimate that information was. It took a bit of skill to evaluate the true strength of an enemy.

Two-headed ogre spellcasters had the ability Multicast. It was one of, if not the, strongest abilities for spellcasters; even deities had to go through some trouble to obtain it. As its name implied, the user could cast multiple spells simultaneously. Two-headed ogres were almost like two separate entities sharing the same body, thus their two brains functioned independently, allowing them to cast spells together. Their arsenal of spells was inferior to that of human wizards, but the damage they could deal within the same time frame was multiple times higher.

If the rumors were true, then the high-grade two-headed ogre wizard’s Challenge Rating would almost be Legendary-tier. Not only did it have high Strength and Constitution, it could cast several spells together, and high level ones at that. It was a cheat-like existence that had high endurance and was proficient in both melee and ranged combat. It would not be an exaggeration to compare it to an adult dragon. Against such a monster (literally) it would take an elite squad with at least half its members reaching the Realm of Legends to defeat it.

Due to recent affairs, the security within the city was a lot tighter than usual. Soran had spent some time avoiding the city guards, thus it was already dusk when he finally entered a magic store. Night curfew was in place, and Gloria’s mansion was located at another section of the city, thus Soran decided to scribe Level 0 scrolls for the night and visit Vivian the next day.

The night curfew forbade anyone from leaving their homes after nightfall. If found, the guards would interrogate and even arrest the person. Moreover, most city guards had a generally poor impression of rogues, as they were considered thieves in most places. Soran, as a rogue, did not want to have anything to do with the city guards.

Soran looked around the magic store. There was a plethora of spell scrolls available, ranging from Level 0 to Level 5 spells. Level 0 spells were certainly cheap, costing only ten or so Gold Derahls. However, the prices rose exponentially as the spell level increased. Level 1 spells had price tags of at least 50 Gold Derahls, with some even reaching over a hundred. The cheapest Level 2 spell cost 150 Gold Derahls, but the average price was around 300. It rose to 500 for Level 3 spells, with some even demanding 800 Gold Derahls. The price for Level 4 spells was in the thousands, an amount Soran could not afford at this stage, and Level 5 spells were out of the question. Soran cringed as he looked at the price tags; he finally understood the despair wizards had felt back in the game. Although wizards were rich, their expenditure was even higher than their income.

Anything beyond Level 5 could not be purchased through normal means. Wizard organizations monopolized such knowledge, and they often recruited members by offering them high-level spells exclusive to their organization. Even if they joined, they were limited to spells of Level 7 or below. The organizations would make applicants undergo strict screening, and the person had to meet certain requirements before he could be taught Level 8 and 9 spells. The reason was simple: those spells were simply too powerful and devastating for everyone to learn.

In any event, Soran only bought Level 0 scrolls. He could not afford to purchase the others, nor could he learn the spells even if he did buy them, at least for now. The production of scrolls was a complex process, hence the prices were high. Most wizards who bought scrolls would copy the information from the scroll into their spellbooks so as to learn the spells through studying. While the scrolls were also disposable items which could activate the spell once, it was rare to use them in such a way. The cost was simply too high, and the profit earned from the battle would not cover even ten percent of it.

Night came, and Soran found an inn to stay at for the night. He entered his room, then sat down and began reading his spellbook. Despite the recent incidents, it was relatively peaceful as compared to the future to come. The deities were currently fighting against a terrible energy storm, but things would change when the storm robbed them of their divinity and forced them to descend as Saints. Soran had to learn as many spells as he could while it was still possible to sit down and read quietly.

The only notable incident he could remember that would happen soon was an explosion in a distant region. . He only remembered general information about it. It should happen in the near future in Stonard, a polar region. The damage caused by it was comparable to the effects of a hundred atomic bombs, enshrouding areas within a thousand-kilometer radius with ash and smoke.

No one had any clues about what had happened to cause the explosion. Some prayed to their gods to seek answers but received silence in return. Plenty of spellcasters had tried to explore and investigate the region. Someone even used Legendary-grade divination spells, but they all ended up being futile. Even Soran had traveled over to visit the site, but he soon left because there was nothing he could do about it. There were many theories, and the most popular one proposed that it was related to antimatter annihilation magic left behind by the Arcane Empire, but it was nothing more than a theory in the end. Coincidentally, the deities lost their connection to the Mortal Realm during the same period, thus they had no idea what the cause was either.

The only thing people was sure of was that the explosion caused the emergence of creatures that made even the brutal Abyss demons feel fear. Thankfully, the creatures never left the region, thus they did not pose a great threat to humanity. In the end, it was classified as an unsolved natural mystery, and people gave up exploring the region, even though it might have contained Legendary quests. Even after the descended deities returned to their own realms, the region remained a mystery.

There had been similar incidents back on Earth, namely the Wongongchang Explosion in China, the Mohenjo Daro Massacre in India, and the Tunguska Explosion in Russia.

The Tunguska Explosion occurred on June 30, 1908, at approximately 7 AM. An explosion of unknown cause, which had the power of five hundred atomic bombs, devastated over 2,150 square kilometers of land, with over sixty million trees having been burnt to ash. It was initially hypothesized to have been a meteor crash, but investigators had failed to find any craters from meteors which could have caused the incident. Though it was declared the result of a meteoroid bursting in midair, it too was eventually deemed as an antimatter annihilation explosion.

The explosion in Stonard seemed harmless at first glance, but it ultimately affected the whole world. Monster shamans believed the explosion prophesied the end of the world, and advised their tribes to immediately evacuate. Other monsters that were less intelligent fled out of instinctual fear. This resulted in a mass exodus of monsters, but that was not it. Some of these monsters had been residing in the polar regions for so long that people believed they had gone extinct long ago. The emergence of historic monsters shocked the world.

There was still time, however. It would take around a year after the explosion for the monsters to reach populated regions.

Back to the present, Soran gave up learning Arcane Missile and decided to analyze the spell model of the Level 0 spell Light first. As compared to Arcane Missile’s complicated model, Light only had less than thirty spell nodes and a single spell circuit. Perhaps because the difficulty was lowered drastically, it took him only two hours to complete Light’s spell model in his head.

At the same time, he received a few notifications:

“Successfully learnt Light!”

“You have constructed the model of the Level 0 spell Light! Do you wish to spend 30 Slaughter EXP to permanently store the model?”

“After permanently storing the model, you will no longer require aid from a spellbook when reconstructing the spell.”

Wait, is this even possible?

Soran was awe-struck by the unexpected option, but he quickly recovered and chose ‘Yes.’ A torrent of data flowed through his brain, engraving Light’s spell model into his mind.

Flicking his fingers, Soran tried to cast the spell. Along with a small flash of light, the constructed spell model and its spell slot were expended. He closed his eyes and recalled the structure of the spell model. Much to his surprise, he could really reconstruct the model from scratch without using a spellbook.

“What if I could store every single spell?” Soran looked at his fingers in astonishment. “Wouldn’t I have no need for spellbooks anymore?”

Spellbooks were indispensable items for wizards. It was almost impossible to construct complicated spell models without looking at the actual model from a spellbook, but Soran was apparently different. It was like he had an internal spellbook in his head, and the cost for storing spells was Slaughter EXP.

Soran grinned. Multiprofessioning turned out to be better than he had expected.