Translator: SaltyTank  Editor: SaltyTank

Soran did not stay in the merchant squad’s mansion. He went back to the inn he previously stayed in and practiced his sword techniques in the inn’s courtyard. It had been two days since he had returned to Whiterun, and nothing significant had happened during that period. He read the book of the White Raven Sword Style and practiced the moves in the morning, stayed with Vivian in the afternoon, and studied spell models at night. As there were over a hundred Level 0 spells, he only learned the more useful ones. Currently, he knew ten Level 0 spells. He was also eighty percent done analyzing and memorizing Arcane Missile’s spell model, and he would probably be able to finish learning it that night. As he continued to study, his knowledge of spell models also increased.

Many spells had similar spell models, at least partially. Higher level spells often contained lower level spells’ models. For example, the Level 2 spell Acid Arrow had almost a thousand spell nodes, but part of its internal structure consisted of multiple models of the Level 0 spell Acid Splash. Along the same vein, the Level 4 spell Missile Storm also contained models of Arcane Missile within its spell model. Learning Arcane Missile would be easier for him to learn Missile Storm in the future since he would already understand a portion of the model.

However, learning the White Raven Sword Style was not going as smoothly. A sword style was a full set of techniques and moves which complemented each other. While using them separately was feasible, a sword style could only show its full prowess when the user combined the moves, which was why it might take up to three to five years just to be proficient in part of a sword style. Despite having talent in combat, Soran’s techniques were still clumsy and far from proficient. However, he had expected that from the beginning. It took him quite a while just to learn Sword Form—Crossed Slash back in the game, thus he knew there were no shortcuts apart from training diligently.

Whenever Soran visited Vivian, she stuck to him like a magnet. She would lay her head on Soran’s lap and ramble about the things she’d done while he was away, then slowly fall asleep. As she was learning a lot of things simultaneously, it often tired her out.

Learning about magic was actually rather boring, but even that knowledge alone was not enough to make a well-rounded spellcaster, which was why Gloria had been teaching her a wide variety of things. Soran had not known about Vivian’s talent before, but after hearing from Gloria, he realized she was more of a genius than himself. She could understand and remember a large portion of a book just by reading it once. If not for his own lack of bloodline traits and abilities, he would have thought Vivian was a Descendant of God, or at least the descendant of a Descendant of God.

However, he shot down the thought immediately. Descendants of God harbored great divinity within them, yet Vivian had not shown the slightest trace of such. They shared the same mother, so that sort of bloodline couldn’t have been passed down from her side. Vivian’s father was a powerful adventurer, but that was about it. There was nothing special about his bloodline either. Vivian should just be a really talented spellcaster then.

It was different for Soran though. His father was a renowned godly thief, and Soran had probably inherited his talent from his father. Just the fact that his father tried to infiltrate and steal from a wizard tower was enough to prove his abilities. Every wizard who owned a wizard tower was at least a high-grade wizard, and the towers had plenty of traps and golems to defend against intruders. Fighting a wizard in a wizard tower was almost like fighting a red dragon. His father must have at least been a Level 15 rogue, meaning he was considerably powerful.

Building a wizard tower cost a minimum of a million Gold Derahls. Those who had money to spare could also add in special functions like transformation and even flight. It was actually possible to turn a wizard tower into a multi-dimensional aerial fortress. Just the name alone was fancy enough, let alone its overwhelming power. These were the few structures capable of fighting a head-on war with the gods, and ancient records showed that such towers had indeed been used in that way before. According to the scripture, a great arcanist sent his fortress to the Realm of Gods and killed one.

Anyway, the Whiterun officials finally decided to take action. Soran had personally experienced the lack of efficiency of city officials in the game, and even died in the incident because of it. It was the reason he no longer bothered with official requests and turned to squad adventuring. Soran had no sense of belonging to any country. He roamed from nation to nation, and might sometimes become a mercenary when the price was right. He would kill the enemies of whoever offered the higher reward.

The Whiterun guards were preparing for departure. A small cavalry squad was to accompany the guards, along with a bunch of adventurers hired by the city. The city officials took a week to draft up a plan and even mobilized the wizards stationed in the city garrison. The total number of combatants mobilized was roughly two thousand, which was a considerable force considering that even during large-scale wars, a country would only send out twenty or so thousand soldiers.

It was not that the countries lacked people, but that it would take too much time and effort to train the normal populace. With the presence of a level and skill system, it was inefficient to send out large numbers of weak soldiers when a small squad of elites could decimate them easily.

The region under the jurisdiction of Whiterun had over five hundred thousand people, but the regular army only consisted of five thousand soldiers, excluding the militia. The soldiers mostly had the Warrior profession, but were usually below Level 5. Training alone was not enough for them to break through the Level 5 barrier of becoming Grade 2 warriors. Only those who had experienced true battles could advance to Grade 2.

Soran planned to join them on their mission. There was no such thing as too much Slaughter EXP, and it was only natural for him to want to gain more.

Now, at midnight, Soran finally learned his first Level 1 spell. He also gained 100 Profession EXP because of it. Wizards would earn 100 Profession EXP by learning a Level 1 spell, 200 for Level 2, 400 for Level 3, 800 for Level 4, and so on. No one had officially revealed the amount for Level 9 spells, but given the pattern, it had to be a considerable sum.

It may have looked as though leveling up was easy for wizards because they could get EXP by learning spells, but the problem was learning a new spell was a lengthy process. It would take at least a month or two to learn high-level spells, and killing monsters during that duration would definitely give more EXP. Additionally, buying a high-level scroll was costly, while killing monsters brought profit.

“Hah, finally done.”

After successfully learning the spell, he started to fill his spell slots. As he was a Level 4 wizard, he had three Level 1 spell slots, and his Ring of Wizardry gave him an additional slot for a total of four. It took him two hours to finish re-creating Arcane Missile’s spell model four times.

Item Type: Low-grade Ring of Wizardry

Item Grade: [Rare (Grade 1)]

Requirements: None

Effects: Increase Level 1 spell slots by one.

Item Type: Withering Staff +1

Item Quality: [Rare (Grade 1)]

Description: A special staff enchanted by divine magic. Despite its withered trunk, a leaf full of vitality has grown from the staff. It allows the user to cast specific druid spells.

Effects: Able to cast Level 1 divine spell Entangle (2 / 3 uses remaining).

Among all Rare-grade rings, Rings of Wizardry were the most expensive because they allowed the user to have more spell slots. The next on the list would be rings enchanted with spells. Similar to Soran’s staff, these rings could cast specific spells a certain number of times before they had to be recharged by a spellcaster who could cast those spells. Some higher quality Rare-grade items could even recharge on their own, but they came with a hefty price tag.

Soran had been itching to cast his first Level 1 spell. He picked up a three-centimeter thick wooden plank and a half-centimeter thick steel plate he had bought beforehand, then left the room. He preferred to test his abilities before using them in combat.

Arcane Missile had a short cast time of one second as its chant only consisted of three syllables. Two ping pong ball-sized arcane missiles formed on his fingertips, then flew and struck the wooden plank. The projectiles easily punctured the piece of wood, leaving a gaping hole as the two missiles struck the same spot. Soran then cast the spell again and launched the missiles at the steel plate. This time, however, they failed to puncture their target, instead only creating a large dent.

Without the ability Spell Control, Soran could only fire the arcane missiles in straight lines. Like many other spells, the projectiles would damage the first object they came across instead of directly harming the desired target. Even spells like Finger of Death and Disintegrate worked the same way. As such, Soran once kept a hamster in his pocket whenever he traveled. It was his pet, and whenever someone cast deadly spells at him, he would unhesitatingly toss the hamster out to take the brunt of the attack.

Now, Soran picked up the steel plate and murmured, “At least it works against unarmored enemies. Well, the cast time is quite short, so it can still be quite useful.”