Mage of Shadows Chapter 27: The Shadow

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Only now did Dunkel realise that there was something stood behind Favian. He'd been too busy running for his life that he didn't pay too much attention to his friend. Now that he looked at what was behind Favian, he only saw what seemed to by an apparition cloaked in shadows. Its form wasn't solid or corporeal, it looked more like a spirit or ghost that he'd heard about in the stories in grandma used to tell him. Curiosity got the better of him, and, seeing as it didn't look hostile, he slowly walked up to it.

"Wait what are you doing?" Licht asked, however, the question fell on deaf ears.

Dunkel pushed his hand into the shadow. As his hand went into its body, he could only feel a cold sensation and nothing else. He then wiggled his fingers around, trying to see if there was anything inside it.

"Hey, that tickles!" Favian shouted. The moment Dunkel put his hand into the shadow, the sensation came to him. It felt like somebody tickling the soles of his feet, however, now the feeling was all over his body. Favian was now hugging himself trying to stop the laughter that was rising out. "Seriously sto- stop it."

Dunkel finally gave up on his observations when he found that he couldn't understand the spectre. "So... Favian, wanna explain something to us?" he asked.

Favian scratched his head as he tried to figure out how to explain this situation. He made his shadow mimic every action he did, whilst letting it take the lead with speaking.

"Well, uhm, yea. This is me, well a part of me I guess. Or half of me? I don't really know how to describe it." Favian's shadow said, its voice the exact same as Favian's, except it sounded a bit deeper and muffled. The usual body movements the two had come to recognize Favian by, they now saw

"It's part of the technique that I practice. Some forbidden stuff I'm pretty sure, since nobody on the continent really knows about it. Anyways, sorry to have kept this from you, but I didn't really know this was going to happen either. Just took my by surprise." Favian, this time, spoke.

Licht and Dunkel were shocked at first, however, they were able to come to terms with the concept soon enough. They lived in a world filled with magical beasts, ghosts, demons and all sorts of other mystical entities, so they were able to adapt to the situation quickly.

"I guess we have a group of four then," Dunkel said. This comment made Licht fall into a fit of laughing, and not long after the trio could be seen laughing their heads off at their camp.

"Okay everyone let's not attract too much attention to ourselves here. We don't want any monsters hunting us," Favian said.

The group proceeded to each take the beast cores that they'd gotten as spoils of war, and enter their separate tents before meditating with them. Usually, they would have had one person stay as the lookout, as they'd been taught at the academy, but Favian was adamant that his shadow was up for the task. Soon, nighttime fell, and the previously beautiful woods became much darker and ominous.


Favian's whole arcana and mana pool were now halved, at least for as long as he sustained his shadow. He'd tweaked around with it for a bit whilst he was in his tent, but he realised he could turn the spell on and off at will. Whenever he turned it off, half of his total mana pool was rejuvenated. He could even swap positions with his clone, which he did, to his dismay, unknowingly. The shock he received from jumping through space was enough to make him more careful in the probing of his new skillset.

Even greater news was that he could cast the only two spells he currently knew, Time Stop and Net of Shadows from his clone. The different tactics that this allowed him to come up with were endless. All he had to do now, was put them to the test.

'It's a shame that my shadow's range isn't unlimited. Seems like he can only move about 1 kilometre away from my body. But that's still a freaking huge distance,' he thought. This meant that he could teleport a whole kilometre away if he was in danger, as long as he planned this prior to the danger.

'The only downside right now, is that I have absolutely no offensive ability. I'm pretty much stuck with being utility personnel in this party.'

After spending half the night practising with his newfound ability, Favian finally decided to absorb the energy from the beast core he'd plundered from the elephant. The core was rather large, about the size of a baby's head, and it glowed in a brown light. Different beast cores all had varying effects on a user when absorbed, depending on what element the beast was most proficient in. A brown core signified that the beast wasn't particularly good with magic, however it was very good at absorbing the arcana in the atmosphere to strengthen its body. This meant that as Favian absorbed the beast core, he could feel his vital stats increasing steadily.

Absorbing the energy gave him a nauseous feeling, as it felt like he was eating food whilst already full. He could feel his muscles expand as he absorbed the energy, thus, he relented against the uncomfortable feeling and continued. After absorbing about a quarter of the core, he was unable to find any space in his body to let the energy flow into. Suddenly, an idea sprung into his head, and he summoned his shadow from its patrol.

He handed the beast core to the shadow, which was able to grasp onto it firmly. It would only solidify when Favian wanted it to, which was why Dunkel had been able to put his hand into it as if it was invisible. In the same manner as he had done previously, the shadow absorbed the energy into its body. However, it had no physical body, so the only place where the energy could flow towards was its arcane core. The energy filled up the core quickly, sucking dry the beast core it held, and causing it to crumble into dust.

'Hmm, so regardless of what type of beast core I get, the shadow will be able to absorb the energy into our core. Interesting.'

Even better, he realised he could meditate simultaneously with his shadow, which would yield him a much faster speed in levelling up. He wanted to test out how this would work, but it was already dawn.

...

The sun shone down through the woods, illuminating the camp. The trio was currently eating breakfast, Favian eating a healthy meal of fruits and muesli. Dunkel was eating some beef jerky, whilst Licht was eating a chicken leg along with an assortment of even more meat.

'I'm eating loads, but look at how much she's eating,' Favian thought. He couldn't believe that Licht was having so much meat for breakfast. If he didn't know that the world worked differently here than on Earth, he would've been surprised that she'd not died of a heart attack yet.

"Dunkel, I've got a question," Licht asked.

"Fire away Mademoiselle," he replied.

Licht pointed at his bow and quiver before asking, "Why do you carry a bow and quiver when you just conjure them out of magic anyways during a fight? It's been bothering me this whole time."

Dunkel looked at his weaponry, a sentimental glint in his eyes. "Ah, well, my grandma gave me these before I left to study at the academy. I just keep them in case I ever run out of mana, and because I don't have the heart to just throw them away. Even if they were useless, any present from her I'd keep close to me."

"What type of person is she?" Licht asked, interested in this woman who Dunkel had a massive soft spot for.

Sadness washed over Dunkel as he looked for the way to answer the question. Finally, after a minute of silence, he said, "Grandma was kind. She'd always tell me these stories about the outside world every night, and about magic and other things. My parents died when I was young, so I'd been raised by her ever since I could remember. Now that she's gone too, I just hold onto the things she taught me even more." Dunkel clutched the bow even harder than before, as tears dripped down onto his hands.

The crying didn't last long, after which he wiped off his tears, and proceeded to ask a question himself. "Guys, don't you think it's weird that they want us to just survive for one month. I mean, there are loads of us who can survive for a month and come out unharmed. Something fishy is going on. I just can't put my finger on it."


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