24 Tower World (5)

Otto looked over at the agenda he'd just made.

It contained a mock up of his long-term plan.

He frowned slightly.

There was a lot to do.

The next step was to detail the long-term plan with some short term goals.

Otto wasn't in a hurry to get to the next floor of the <Tower>.

First of all, he couldn't step foot in the next floor for a month after he had cleared the previous.

This was an unbreakable rule set by the <Tower>.

After that, the <Tower> required all challengers to clear one floor each year.

One might ask- then how in the world did that old man Garrote stay in Area 1 until this day?

There were only nine floors connected to Area 1!

It was because there was a very simple way to circumvent this rule.

Gain merit fighting the <Tower's> enemies!

In Area 1, this was a race called the Kinetice (pronounced kih-NEH-tis).

A challenger would gain a certain amount of merit for each Kinetice killed.

Fortunately for most, these merits could be freely traded throughout Area 1.

Merits could be exchanged for <Tower> resources at a largely preferential rate.

And as long as a challenger paid some money to the Area 1 Federation government, that had conveniently stored up quite a bit of merit, they could receive enough merit for an exemption to the floor attack each year.

Still, the amount of merit required in exchange for not visiting a floor got slightly larger every year one gained an exemption.

At Garrote's age, for example, he almost certainly had to pay a very large sum of merit to get exempted every year.

But there was a bigger reason Otto wasn't in a rush to leave Area 1.

It involved the events of his past life.

Eight months from now, Area 1 would be completely upended.

The entire area became a war zone.

Otto wasn't clear on exactly what happened, nor was he clear on exactly how it happened.

An announcement only came a few seconds after the event.

It rang loud and clear in the ears of every challenger in Area 1.

[The Sanctuaries have fallen. Fight for your life.]

That was all Otto knew.

Some had speculated that it was the <Tower's> doing.

Perhaps citizens had not been gung-ho enough in killing the Kinetice, so the <Tower> had punished them.

Others felt it was the Federation's fault in the end; the result of a secret conspiracy fomenting for decades that led to the Area's collapse.

The true cause was unknown.

But everyone agreed on one thing.

It was a complete, unmitigated disaster for most of the challengers.

The safe zones, that Area 1 residents so prized, had fallen over the course of ten minutes.

Never to return.

It was impossible to rebuild them.

Since it was <Tower> technology, on the level of natural law as far as challengers understood, and far beyond the means of any other civilization to create.

Further, the Kinetice quickly took full advantage of the chaos in society.

They attacked like a storm. It could only be weathered, borne and endured.

Not defeated.

It was an apocalypse.

Currency lost its value in the face of true power.

The strong who had always restrained themselves inside the safe zones began to act without scruples.

Currently, Otto had no illusions about his own strength.

He could be considered an 'elite' of Area 1 right now.

But he wasn't even to the point of being considered 'top tier,' let alone unmatched across the Area.

Otherwise, he wouldn't have had a tough time fighting Garrote, a random old head of a branch organization on this remote planet Erkolls-13.

Perhaps he had gotten too cocky after such a large reward from the <Tower>.

He wouldn't make the same mistake twice- he wasn't actually the hotheaded youth he resembled.

Otto knew he couldn't do something crazy like trying to 'prevent' the safe zones from falling.

Even if he could, Otto wasn't sure he would.

As always, desperate times begot evolution.

After the safe zones fell, the <Tower> added a new rule.

A simple rule, but one with enormous implications.

[Killing the Kinetice grants AP.]

The people went crazy. More strength was never unwelcome in the face of the apocalypse.

Of course, it wasn't as easy to gain as they had imagined…

To Otto, the fall of the safe zones, rather than an extreme peril, felt more like a tremendous opportunity.

He had heard of some famous military leaders in his past life gaining tremendous strength after the apocalypse and single-handedly suppressing former foes.

So how much could he, who knew the future, gain from this event?

But this wasn't Otto's concern for the time being.

There was ample time to prepare before the event.

Julia was quiet in the room as she stared dazedly at Otto, who continued to read his notebook with furrowed brows.

He suddenly sat up and looked at her, giving her a fright.

His eyes roamed her body closely.

Julia felt a little awkward.

'What is he looking for?'

She found out when he spoke.

"Your physique is rather good, but you lack combat experience."

His tone was solemn.

"Do you understand why you lost yesterday?"

Julia shook her head. She had already fought to the best of her abilities!

In her mind, she lost because her opponent was faster than she was.

"Your charge was spot on. It was definitely the right decision in that situation."

Julia nodded.

"The problem was with the swing of your hammer."

"You lifted it up to gather momentum, then waited for half a beat before swinging it down."

"In normal circumstances, that half a beat of pause is a small flaw not worth mentioning.

It cost you less than a second.

But in the ring, against an experienced opponent like the veteran you fought, it cost you the match, and almost a life. So I intervened."

His bright blue eyes bored into hers.

"We will be traveling to Sector 77 in a week's time. There is an expert there. He will be able to train you."

To be exact, Otto would have to rouse the man first before thinking of letting him train the two.

Otto paused for a second, then said,

"Do you know why I wish to train you?"

Julia looked at him, bewildered.

She took a guess,

"Is it to groom me as a subordinate?"

Otto nodded, then shook his head.

"Sort of. My goal…" he smiled wistfully,

"is to create a strong team. I saw potential in you, and not just for your Bronze class. Your instincts."

"What?"

Julia was bewildered. How did the man know about her class?

And her instincts? What did that mean?

"Your combat instincts. They are good. That's the biggest reason I chose you."

Saying so, Otto waved away her questions.

"Remember. We leave in a week. Here's some money. Take care of all your unfinished business, then meet me at the district teleportation gate.

Pack for a long term stay."

His face turned away, signaling the end of the conversation.

Julia nodded with some lingering unease, but still obediently left the room.

Otto then made a motion like he was grabbing something with his hand.

It was time to learn his new spells!

Sixteen books of various colors appeared out of thin air.

Otto finally got a chance to examine them.

A grin erupted on his face with no warning.

'They're amazing.'

The spells he received from his class were all 1st circle spells. But they shared a commonality.

'These spells are really rare.'

The spells were rare enough that he'd never heard of some of them, despite his vast magical knowledge accumulated over four decades.

Otto could easily find normal beginner spell models of almost every element just by offering lots of money.

But rare spells like these were either non-existent or well-secured by factions.

Hehe.

He smiled as he read their descriptions.

Sadly…

'I don't have the required intuition to learn all of them.'

A spell was graded first and foremost on its 'circle' which reasonably represented its 'tier.'

Higher circle spells were more complex, harder to cast, required more mana, had longer cooldown times, and were vastly more powerful than spells below them.

The higher the circle, the harder it was for a mage to learn, which was represented by a mage's 'intuition.'

For example, a mage with '80' intuition shouldn't dream of learning a 2nd circle spell.

But even within a circle, there were distinctions.

It was likely that a 1st circle spell requiring '25' intuition to learn would be less powerful and more common than a 1st circle spell that required '80' intuition.

Well, there were always exceptions, since the intuition requirements for a spell mostly alluded to its complexity rather than any sort of rarity.

An artistic and detailed illusion portraying a beautiful landscape would be far more complex, and far less valuable in combat than a simple fireball, after all.

Intuition for a mage was not only limited to a mage's ability to learn more complex spells.

It also had hidden effects on a challenger's ability to perceive mana in general.

Otto knew intuition was particularly important in drawing magic arrays. He could ignore its effect to a certain point due to his vast experience.

But even he would be helpless right now in the face of a Grade 3 magic array.

It was because without strong 'intuition,' he couldn't tell where to place the mana symbols!

Because it didn't directly enhance one's strength, many mages initially ignored it.

Only to find out that they weren't able to learn a single spell other than 'Mana Bolt' when they appeared in Area 1.

Otto's intuition sat at a respectable '31' points, or '36' with the bonus from his boots.

Normally, this would leave him with the ability to learn some basic and a few intermediate 1st circle spells.

But thanks to his class, his effective intuition was 108!

To not be able to learn some of the 1st circle spells before him even with over 100 effective intuition spoke to the true strength and rarity of the spells gathered.

Otto first took a look at the 12 spells he could learn.

Two were wind element spells, both of which were rare 1st circle spells, one of which he'd learned in Area 2 in the past.

<Winding Restrictions>

1st Circle Wind Element Spell

Restrict enemy movement.

Required Intuition: 55

<Wind Jump>

1st Circle Wind Element Spell

Jump on the air.

Required Intuition: 105

Before he learned the spells, Otto couldn't see their full details.

But he could make some educated guesses.

As for these two spells, he knew them well already.

After all, he had been a wind mage in the past.

Winding restrictions was a powerful area of effect (AOE) control skill that used wind to reduce the movement speed of his enemies no matter which direction they went.

Though its initial effect was rather mediocre, it would grow into a rare, powerful control spell.

Otto may have only been able to find if he offered an exorbitant reward on the level of Brock coins.

But Otto's breath hitched as he read the name of the second spell.

It was really Wind Jump!

His eyes glowed.

Wind Jump was perhaps the single most useful spell for any competent wind mage that got their hands on it.

It was also among the rarest.

Otto had no doubt that even if he scoured the entire Area, he may never be able to obtain the book for this spell.

That was including the million billion life forms that existed in Area 1.

It was that rare.

Wind Jump was essentially an unrestricted version of Otto's boots 'Double Jump.'

Yet instead of being able to jump on the air once to briefly enhance his mobility, this spell would allow Otto to continuously channel platforms.

Meaning he could create as many platforms as he needed under his feet as long as he had the mana to spare.

Otto could literally walk on the air if he had enough mana to keep it going.

His mobility would be through the roof as long as he could keep channeling 'Wind Jump.'

Even in his past life, he hadn't received this spell.

Otto had obtained both 'Double Jump' and 'Triple Jump' which was excellent already.

But Wind Jump was on another level entirely.

Otto subdued his excitement and immediately learned both spells.

He couldn't suppress a small grin of satisfaction as they appeared in his status screen.

The other spells also weren't worth less than this.

From the regular elements, Otto could learn:

<Blaze>

1st Circle Fire Element Spell

Attack a target with fire that easily spreads.

Required Intuition: 47

<Swamp Ground>

1st Circle Water Element Spell

Turn a large area of ground into sticky, poisonous swamp.

Required Intuition: 80

<Foggy Mystique>

1st Circle Water Element Spell

Hide in dense fog that surrounds the caster.

Required Intuition: 31

<Tunnel>

1st Circle Earth Element Spell

Tunnel into the ground.

Required Intuition: 15

From the advanced elements, Otto could learn:

<Sense Life>

1st Circle Light Element Spell

Detect large life signs around caster.

Required Intuition: 40

<Shadow Stealth>

1st Circle Dark Element Spell

Hide oneself in shadow.

Required Intuition: 57

<Lesser Blink>

1st Circle Space Element Spell

Instantly move short distances.

Required Intuition: 105

He could also learn the two null element spells:

<Greater Body Enhance>

1st Circle Spell

Enhance the body.

Required Intuition: 35

<Greater Mind Enhance>

1st Circle Spell

Enhance the mind.

Required Intuition: 40

Otto wouldn't waste time.

All ten were learned instantly.

His status screen suddenly looked much busier.

Though Otto was eager to test them out, he restrained his urge and first looked at the four spells he couldn't yet learn.

He wanted to know if it was worth it to add additional AP into 'Intuition' to instantly learn them.

<Cone of Fire>

1st Circle Fire Element Spell

Blow a wide cone of fire to burn an area.

Required Intuition: 120

<Earth Shrink>

1st Circle Earth Element Spell

Shrinks the ground to move quickly.

Required Intuition: 133

<Sun's Aura>

1st Circle Light Element Spell

Use the light of the sun to create a zone of recovery.

Required Intuition: 165

<Enfeebling Darkness>

1st Circle Dark Element Spell

Surround the caster in darkness that weakens.

Required Intuition: 148

<Force Field>

1st Circle Space Element Spell

Create a spatial force field around the caster.

Required Intuition: 189

Otto salivated.

These spells were even more amazing.

All four were easily at the top of the 1st circle spells in might. Of course, this also meant the required intuition to learn them was no joke.

But Otto decided not to add AP into 'Intuition.'

One of the perks that came with being a 'Rainbow Caster' was that his four basic magical attributes could be raised naturally over time.

All he had to do was study spell formulas and arrays to increase his intuition.

On the other hand, his physical attributes could not be increased in the same way.

Understanding the pros and cons, Otto sighed and resolutely decided to go with the most efficient route.

He divided his new AP into his physical attributes.

A new sense of strength filled him.

Otto clenched his fists and reveled in the power he gained from adding attributes.

He checked his status.

<Toto>

Floor Cleared: Tutorial

Class: Rainbow Caster (Unified Single Digit #2)

Profession 1: Alchemist

Profession 2: Magic Arrayist

Profession 3: None

Health: 385/385 (0.28/minute)

Stamina: 334/335 (2.3/minute)

Mana: 3540/3540 (3.06/second)

<Attributes>

Strength 21

Agility 25

Stamina 23

Sturdiness 28

Mana Pool 53 (58)

Intuition 31 (36)

Magic Power 41 (46)

Regeneration 41 (48)

AP: 0

All his attributes were top-tier in Area 1.

Otto had no doubt that with his new spell arsenal, if he revealed all his might, even some of those old monsters who had passed the 9th floor but refused to climb higher would barely be a match for him.

The power boost elevated him from a mere 'elite' combatant in Area 1 to one of those top-tier members at the top of a sector.

In terms of the number of spells he had, Otto was actually of a different mind than most.

Many masters taught that it wasn't the number of spells that were important, it was one's familiarity with them.

By their logic, it was better to have one spell at level 10 than ten spells at level 1.

Otto would vehemently disagree.

Different spells would be useful in different situations.

In his mind, gaining a spell didn't mean he had to focus on it!

Having one extra spell was like having one extra method in a tough spot.

There were no downsides.

It wasn't like his slots for spells were limited.

And Otto was not the type of person to be paralyzed with indecision in a crisis.

The more, the merrier.

Still, he decided to take it slowly. He first learned all the spells he could learn right now.

As for the rest, Otto looked over at his long term plan.

Growth-wise, he would focus on analyzing arrays and actually reading the spell tomes in front of him.

Since it was a way to permanently boost his intuition.

He would first stay in Sector 79 for a week while he waited for Garrote to gather the alchemy materials.

*****************************************************

A teenage boy walked out of a room in an inn.

He was dressed in dark blue robes that looked to be made out of some expensive material.

Gold runes shimmered and flashed as the light occasionally touched them, though they wouldn't shine unless one looked specifically at them.

The boy's hair was slightly disheveled, and he looked rather tired.

But his expression was excited, unexpectedly bringing out a childlike happiness in his otherwise sharp eyes.

Otto felt incredibly satisfied, indeed.

The week he had spent holed up in his room, deciphering and creating magic arrays and literally reading his spell books was not for naught.

His intuition had increased by 5 points!

In a single week!

Otto understood that this kind of progress would inevitably slow down as his intuition grew. He could already somewhat feel it happening towards the end of the week.

Still, he was not discouraged.

Given enough time, there was no doubt in his mind that he could become Area 1's overlord if he so desired.

Unfortunately, that was never his goal.

Otto walked out of the inn and to the Death Ring.

This time, he was more cautious, and directly equipped his bronze equipment set.

Last time, he had been too cocky. He had even arrogantly assumed that despite not being in the safe zone, there was little chance of actually being attacked.

Well, this time he had learned his lesson!

Otto walked to the nearest teleportation point and directly paid the teleportation gate administrator a small sum of dolera to arrive at Death Ring.

This time, Garrote didn't appear, and Otto was greeted by a professional looking woman who handed over a small cart full of shining herbs and various materials.

"Old master asked me to hand these to you, along with this."

She handed him a sheet of paper.

It contained an invoice for the price of the goods he had sent, as well as a list of spells he could trade for.

Otto smirked when he saw it. It was both a threat and a temptation.

'Our might is bigger than you think. It's better to cooperate than to cross us.'

Though they had signed a contract, Garrote evidently didn't fully trust him.

'He probably tried to track me for extra insurance for his herbs, before realizing he didn't have the required authority. Hehe.'

But that would only cement Otto's mysterious image in his mind.

Otto briefly thanked the woman before stuffing the goods into his storage ring.

They barely fit in his 2 cubic meter ring.

'Seems like paying to upgrade this little thing should also be on the agenda.'

Otto fingered his ring and started his journey back.

Four teleportation gates later, he arrived at his destination.

Julia was there waiting for him in front of a huge magic array the size of an entire plaza.

As Otto saw her with her luggage, he was inexplicably reminded of a train station back on Earth.

Only, the travel here was both much more expensive and much more convenient.

He patted Julia on the shoulder, as he saw she looked a bit nervous.

"Come, let's go."

It was time to start his ultimate preparation.

*******************************************************************

A/N: Here are all the descriptions of the spells Otto learned if you wanted to see them. I figured they'd clutter up the chapter, so I didn't post them directly.

By the time this goes up, the glossary should hopefully be up as well, with quite a lot of information that is already in the chapters previous.

ALSO a quick note. To those of you who are worried I'll forget them, I can guarantee that they won't suddenly disappear. If they are ever needed in a situation Otto finds himself in, he will definitely use them. Whenever I write a combat scene, one of the first things I do is take a look at my document with Otto's status so he is able to use all the tools he has available.

However, I do NOT guarantee that Otto will use these spells often! Sometimes, they will be used off screen. Other times, he simply won't need them as much!

Just so you know, I also don't know what to do about the increasing number of spells Otto will gain as he ascends the floors. Because I refuse to limit them for the sake of nerfing him, after all, but I agree that it will soon get entirely unwieldy and out of my control. I'll think about it and let y'all know in a bit. (actually I already have an idea hehe)

Okay, spell descriptions as promised:

************************************************************

<Winding Restrictions>

Wind Element

Level 1

Encircle an enemy with forceful wind to restrict their movement and limit their speed in all directions by 10%.

Mana Cost: 12

Duration: 100 seconds

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Wind Jump>

Wind Element

Level 1

Create platforms on the air to step on.

Mana Cost (cast): 25

Duration (cast): 1 second

Mana Cost (channeled): 5/second

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Blaze>

Fire Element

Level 1

Send a super condensed fireball at an enemy that rapidly spreads. Current spreading speed at 80%.

Mana Cost: 15

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Swamp Ground>

Water Element

Level 1

Turn an area of 10m x 10m into sticky swampland, greatly reducing movement speed (current: 15%), and adding mild poison damage to all who enter.

Mana Cost: 90

Duration: Permanent

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Foggy Mystique>

Water Element

Level 1

Turn an area of 20m radius around caster into dense fog, hindering enemy vision.

Mana Cost: 40

Duration: 30 minutes

Cast Time: Instant

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No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Tunnel>

Earth Element

Level 1

Continuously tunnel up to 50 meters below the earth. Become immune to all non-magical earth-related negative status.

Mana Cost: 10/second

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Sense Life>

Light Element

Level 1

Send a light pulse up to 500m around caster to detect: life forms, intelligent life forms, or enemy life forms.

Mana Cost: depends on distance

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Shadow Stealth>

Dark Element

Level 1

Surround the caster in shadow, completely obscuring the figure. 2x spell effectiveness where shadow already exists.

Mana Cost: 125

Duration: 60 minutes

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Lesser Blink>

Space Element

Level 1

Instantly teleport to any location within 5 meters of caster.

Mana Cost: 50

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Greater Body Enhance>

Level 1

Enhance all physical attributes by 25%.

Mana Cost: 75

Duration: 10 minutes

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

<Greater Mind Enhance>

Level 1

Enhance all mental attributes by 20%.

Mana Cost: 60

Duration: 10 minutes

Cast Time: Instant

No Cooldown

************************************************************

By the way, it's not that Otto can eliminate ALL cast times and cooldowns! He can greatly reduce them and only in a few cases will they be eliminated. However, the spells we are working with at the moment all happen to be 1st circle spells that are relatively more basic in difficulty. Thus, they all display instant cast time and no cooldown.

Even some of the super tough 1st circle spells won't have this, let alone the higher circle spells.

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