“I don’t think I like the way you look at me, aunt Bael. I’m not a piece of meat in a display case.”
Rubbing her goose bumps away, Nisha eyed the green goddess sitting on the other side of the table and poked the rune cage imprisoning her contracted elemental spirit.
The goddess had yet to name her price for the information she sought, yet the diabolical and slightly mischievous face Bael made already alarmed the dragon.
She did not think either of the two women would try to hurt her in any way, but there was a big difference between their ideas of interesting and impossible.
Gabriel apparently shared that alarming and foreboding feeling as a loud slap resounded in Nisha’s [Inner Space]. The golden-haired goddess had slapped her sister’s backside in order to dispel her wicked thoughts.
“Behave yourself. You know what will happen if you make her suffer a loss and what he will do in return.
Neither you nor I can afford to endure his anger if it truly erupts.”
The riddles in Gabriel’s words piled up and the elf almost died from her eager desire to poke apart the details and get to the bottom of this.
Only her rationale allowed the dragon to remain calm and accept the simple truth that this was an unapproachable secret knowledge for the time being.
Her strength had yet to reach a level where she could casually inquire about any matter on equal grounds with the goddesses.
“No fun, you never let me do what I want. Hmph, I guess you are right though. The old goat can get his beard in a serious fluster when he gets worked up.
Anyway, I do think I have the perfect payment in mind. It’s simple for you, Nisha, and I can perfectly justify to selling you a favor for it.
I want some of your blood, it would be the best if it was at least a whole vial of it.”
Silence hung in the air for two or three breaths after Bael made her request.
Gabriel especially looked at her sister like she was a bug eating the leaf of a particularly treasured plant and Nisha had no idea why the green-haired woman would make such a request.
She knew that dragon blood, scales, horns and practically everything else was a treasure material especially suited for the creation of weapons, armor, potions and all other tools.
In that regard the demand perfectly suited a business transaction. Sadly, the twin goddesses far eclipsed the level where the materials from a small fledgling dragon, barely beneath the fourth aura and mana rank, benefitted them in any way.
“Um, I mean you can have a vial or even two if you’d like.
I’m just concerned if there will be any problems for you, especially after you explained the sacred contract to me. Since you are doing me a favor, I need to repay you in an equal manner.
Is one vial really enough to tell me about the matters regarding my contracted elemental?”
After coming in contact with society, either by trading with nearby beast tribes or any interaction with humans, Nisha learned about concepts like repaying debts and owing favors.
Now the two sisters already gave her face and came into her [Inner Space] after she made a casual invitation and let her in on several secret matters as well as teaching her about the principle of equal exchange.
Naturally she would feel unwell if any disadvantage befell them due to her unknowingly taking advantage of them.
“Your mouth says one thing, yet you mean another.
Why did I even allow you to go on for such a long time if you are only speaking nonsense in the end anyway?”
Exasperated by the circumstances Gabriel slapped her sister’s backside again and shook her head.
The green-haired fairy shrieked by the sudden pain. She had already tolerated the previous time when Gabriel laid hand on her. Now it was enough and she rubbed the aching spot, glaring daggers at her sister.
While the elf could be counted as family after the two goddesses accepted her and allowed the girl to call them aunts, it still stung Bael’s prestige to be treated as such by her twin in front of a junior.
“You have done it now, witch! I did not speak any nonsense and you hit me again! See if I won’t take care of you in the future!”
Albeit the quarrel sounded fierce and Bael’s voice sharply rose, the two of them had already spent an eternity with each other. A single spat or argument lost any meaning in front of the deep connection between their souls that stemmed from the same source and the endless turns they shared.
“I’m the same as you when it comes to soul cultivation, don’t act like you are the only one with decent ideas. Hear me out first before you get physical, I’m supposed to be the short-fused half anyway …”
As expected, their heated bickering immediately dissolved into nothing but hot air and each goddess rolled their eyes at the other.
“Listen to me, my dear sister is always too quick to judge anything. We’re the same in everything but our cultivation direction, and she still thinks she’s so much smarter than me.
To make a long story short, the requirement to fulfill the equal exchange principle is quite fluid in some areas.
When you fought recently, one of my associates happened to have an underling dispatched on a task closeby and happened upon a trace of your blood that— together with your darkness mana— corroded the nearby area..
That’s already rare, to display a corrosion attribute in such a low realm with a huge area of effect. Then he also had a much higher cultivation and even so his gear failed to protect him when he cleared up the blood.
Each phenomena alone is interesting to a researcher partial to the life and death attribute, not to mention when they overlap in a single material. Corrosive blood with an inherent darkness and death quality ...
Do we have a deal?”
Due to certain faint clues, Nisha had a sneaking suspicion that something did not fit quite together, maybe it was the way the green-haired goddess rubbed her hands together or snickered diabolically.
Either way, for a single vial of blood to solve her questions and would let her know more about her contracted spirit, the dragon agreed to pay that price.
“That’s alright, I guess. Do you need me to deliver the blood somewhere or can I give it to you right here in my [Inner Space]?
To be honest, I have no idea why you want it even after you explained it to me. It just makes no sense to me.”
Nisha had personally observed the effect her blood had on other human beings in the past, when she sparred against other adventurers. A small drop had been enough to poison someone to death, so the revelation that it also had a strong corrosive attribute did not particularly upset the dragon.
I wonder what else it can be used for. All that blood inside me, and nothing happens to me. Maybe that’s a special attribute I inherited from my family…
While Nisha ruminated on the mysteries and changes in her body, the golden haired twin produced a vial and a simple iron dagger from thin air.
Coming from a powerful cultivator, this move did not surprise her so much and the elf received the tools.
“It’s fine if you collect it here. When your strength reaches a certain boundary you can start to create a true inner world in your [Inner Space]. From my observation, yours is already fairly close and there are resources growing according to the flow of the ambient mana. Just like the iron ore in the volcano or the scattered medicinal herbs in the forests around us.
Of course it is not easy to take these grown products out of the space. You need to pay an equal amount of mana and aura for the things you wish to produce, hence it is often easier and more cost efficient to mine, collect or grow produce on the continent and only supplement base materials if you absolutely cannot find a replacement.
To bring out your blood is not very difficult for either Bael or me, since we have already passed your cultivation by several boundaries, but you are limited by it. In my estimation, there is no chance for anything to grow in here that surpasses your mana rank, or so to say, the strength of your soul.
Count this as a bonus for your deal regarding information.”
Gabriel patiently explained the circumstances and confirmed some speculations Nisha already had when she accidently moved branches or similar items out of her [Inner Space] previously. The intense fatigue that hit her afterwards must have been the drain of energy.
Meanwhile the elf attempted to use the dagger to open up an incision along her forearm to fill the vial, yet the dagger only left red lines and a miniscule line of crimson drops.
“Well, this is new. Let me try something else.”
She pushed the bubbling excitement inside her down. All the resources inside the space belonged solely to her, and there was nearly no limit in the vastness of open land. Just a tiny amount of the source iron inside her comfortable retreat at the present location already surpassed the iron scraps the academy provided for forging practice. Now the dragon only had to spend some mana and aura to procure high quality materials for free.
With her nail, the elf sliced open her forearm and a small stream of blood fell in the open bottle.
“I don’t really understand, why doesn’t everyone just use the materials from their [Inner Spaces]? Surely there are enough magicians that opened their [Inner Spaces] to make a steady supply instead of trading over the borders of several kingdoms?”
Even without an education as a merchant, Nisha saw the advantages and convenience offered by this method of procurement. Although the exhaustion might be hard to bear, it should be feasible to look for the rarer herbs, metals and similar resources to turn a profit.
“Do you think everyone else is as much of a freak as you? Even among our circle there are not many that have reached the point where their [Inner Space] is advanced enough to sustain and grow stable supplies.
If anyone ever knew how much wealth you are stashing away behind your adorable little frame, take care that you’re not carried away and treated like a source of free money.”
Bael received the vial filled with Nisha’s blood and carved several runes on the surface, their role unknown as the dragon could not read them.
On the other half of the table, Gabriel reached out with her hand and retrieved the cage that contained the dragon’s contracted elemental.
The poor thing trembled from the shock of being abducted and imprisonment without a reason promptly fled behind her owner and warily floated there peeking at the intruders.
For a spirit in the form of an armor, much less without any visible weak points, it did seem a tad cowardly.
“Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s get back to the main topic. Just stay safe and keep your [Inner Space] a secret, there are a lot of dishonest characters out there.
To tell you the truth, this can also be included in our deal for information, since it is fairly rare. By merit of your inheritance, I’d reckon that your unusual soul space comes from one of your parents.
With big attainments in training the soul, or mana as a derivate, it is possible to expand an [Inner Space] into an [Inner World].
As long as you master various laws of an element, such as teleportation to open a gate into this world and several others, it is not impossible to have your own subjects living inside your space and even collect faith energy off them.
To give you a broader overview, aura is everything material, such as thriving life, blood vitality, undefeated gods of war. All of them have high attainments in aura due to their strong bond to the material plane.
You can shape vital energy in almost anything and by clearing the opening points and later on the vital gates, there is even the possibility to channel your aura through a totem and summon a weapon, armor or even a spirit for a possession effect.
That’s all aspects of the physical cultivation of aura.
Mana on the other side comes from soul cultivation and focuses inward instead of outward.
First you need to open sources in your spirit before they can grow into mana springs, similar to aura cultivation.
With the support of these landmarks in cultivation a magician can open their [Inner Space] and use it to cultivate a spirit body.
As you can see, while both paths follow different directions, there are similarities in either of them.
Your first contracted beast, Accalia, is a monster that gained spirituality through your blood and became a beast. She has some accomplishments in wind mana that can enhance her fighting prowess, but she primarily focuses on aura enhancement and physical fighting.
The little floating elemental behind you, your second contracted beast, originally was a pure body of mana gathered by the dungeon. It is called a bloodline spirit.”