Second World - Chapter 873
When Jack walked out of the door, he found himself in the familiar plaza with the challenge obelisks.
"Ready to take on the next challenge stages?" He heard a voice from the side. He turned and found a smiling young Janus there.
Now that he saw this friendly beaming face again, he realized that the real Janus never smiled during their conversation. The man appeared somber and overly serious. Probably almost like the stoic old version who was in the Mage Academy. Jack wondered if the old Janus was what the real one would turn into when he became older. But why made copies that were different from his real age?
Jack decided to not bother about this question. He had many other things to worry about.
"Yes, I would like to take on challenge stage 59," he answered the smiling young Janus.
"This way, please," Janus took Jack to the obelisk with the floating number 59 on it.
While walking, Jack equipped the newly gained title, Honorary Magi. He then took out the Ghost Form technique book and learned it.
Ghost Form, level 1/20 (Active spell, requires magic weapon)
Become intangible. Cannot attack or be attacked. Cannot use any item or skill during activation.
Reduce speed by 50% during activation.
Duration: 10 seconds
Cooldown: 1 hour
'This will now be my life-saving skill aside from Peniel's Invulnerability,' Jack thought.
"Good luck," Janus said. They had arrived before the obelisk containing challenge stage 59.
Jack thanked him and used his Order of Magi badge and activated the obelisk. The obelisk detected his Honorary Magi title and didn't absorb any challenge points from the badge. He was then pulled into the challenge stage. Inside, he faced two level 48 rare elites, fifteen level 49 special elites, and thirteen level 50 elites.
"Okay, let's settle this fast," Jack uttered. Each challenge stage used its own spell cooldown counter, it wasn't counted to his actual spells' cooldown. Let's say his Acceleration's cooldown was twenty minutes before he entered the stage. When he was inside, his Acceleration spell would not be on cooldown but was instead ready to be used right from the start. When he came out of the stage, the cooldown would be back to twenty minutes again, the same as before he entered the stage.
Therefore, he didn't need to worry about saving spells for the next stage. Because all his spells would be available again when he entered the other stages. This included his inherent skill which he had proven in the past to be available inside these challenge stages.
Hence, once he saw the thirty monsters coming at him, he didn't hesitate to cast Acceleration, Magic Field, and Myriad Venomous Vipers.
If the magic field triggered a double cast, the thirty vipers would pull all thirty monsters together. Otherwise, he would have half of them still roaming around. He had the vipers prioritize stronger monsters first. He then cast Perpetual Lightning Judgement. If the spell was cast twice, he would most likely kill every enemy except the rare elite. Then, he followed up with Lightning God Barrage. His Orb of Raijin increased all lightning damage, further amplifying the damage output.
With this method, he completed stage by stage at a dazzling speed. Even young Janus expressed that he was impressed.
He started to have difficulty after reaching stage 65. Inside, he faced four level 52 rare elites, eighteen level 54 special elites, and eight level 56 elites.
He continued to persevere and completed the stage at a much slower pace. Then he tried the next stage. It took him much effort to complete level 69. When he was done, he proceeded to try stage 70 and failed. Inside stage 70 was five level 55 rare elites, twenty level 57 special elites, and five level 60 elites.
He had fought more rare elites at a time when he was doing the endless-wave portal in Greed's sanctum. But in that portal, he was allowed to use all his skills, not only limited to magic spells. Hence, it was much more difficult achieving the same feat in these challenge stages.
Even so, he was glad about his achievement. After completing stage 60, his rank in the Order of Magi had increased to Adept. If only he had managed to clear stage 70 as well, his rank would have gone up another rank.
He remembered Gruff told him that in the League of Champions, he could challenge the same stage five times in a day to collect points, he asked Janus if it was the same here. Janus confirmed it was the same. Additionally, with the Honorary Magi title equipped, the limit was even doubled. So, he could challenge the same stage a limit of ten times a day. Thus, he went and did stage 69 another nine times.
After he was done, he collected 1,325 knowledge points from the stages. Added with the remaining knowledge points in his badge and from Janus' quest reward, he had a total of 7,436 knowledge points.
He happily asked to be shown the exchange list. With his new Adept rank, he had even more items that could be exchanged.
He spent 2,200 knowledge points to get the Glide spell and the Dispel spell he had seen on the list under the Apprentice rank previously. After that, he took a look at the Adept rank list. After a quick look, his attention was immediately occupied by one technique book on the list. Peniel agreed with the choice. Jack used 3,000 knowledge points and get the Teleportation spell technique book.
Although there were more interesting items available there, like magical equipment, ingredients, materials, summoning stones, more spells, etc. He didn't have that many knowledge points to spend. Under Peniel's suggestion, he finally took one more item from the Adept rank, a rune diagram.
Rune Diagram: Offensive Formula (Rare diagram, for guild purpose)
Application on guild's offensive structures or mechanical units: Increases damage dealt by the structures or units
Application in Scrollmaking Workshop: Allow the creation of magic scroll: Enhance Damage
This rune diagram cost 1,200 knowledge points, slightly more expensive than the previous Protective Framework rune diagram that they got. Peniel informed Jack that this rune diagram could be said to give an opposite function from the protective framework. But one advantage of this Offensive Formula was the rune diagram could be applied to their mechanical units, such as the Ice Cannon Tanks and the Brave Golems, increasing those units' firepower. Of course, those units would have increased mana upkeep as well after applying the rune diagram.
"We have solved our gold upkeep problem, but now it seemed there was a mana upkeep problem to consider about," Jack said. "Is there a way to increase our guild's mana output other than Mana Cell, stealing others' resources, and mana cores donation?"
"There is a special facility that gives a better mana output compared to Mana Cell, but you will need a blueprint for that," Peniel answered.
"Do you know of a way to get one?" Jack asked.
Peniel shook her head. "Probably this faction might have its blueprint if you climb to a higher rank."
"Never mind then. If we get it, then we get it," Jack said. He swiped the exchange list back to the Apprentice rank again.
"You aren't done?" Peniel asked.
"I'm thinking about testing a theory," Jack said and pointed to a technique book on the list.
"Lightning Strike?" Peniel asked.
Jack nodded. "Compared to Elementalist, Archmage's offensive spells are rather limited. Maybe I can learn this Elementalist spell the way I learn the Perpetual Lightning Judgement."
"If you fail to learn it, you will have wasted 600 knowledge points for nothing," Peniel said.
"It's the cheapest lightning offensive spell on the list," Jack said.
Peniel shrugged. "It's your knowledge points," she said. "You can squander it as you like."
After a brief thought, Jack decided to get the spell. He spent the required points. His Order of Magi badge had only 436 knowledge points left.
After finishing with the exchanges, Jack proceeded to learn the three technique books he had first exchanged.
Dispel, level: 1/20 (Active spell, required magic weapon)
Remove enhancement or spell buff from a target.
The chance of removal depends on spell level, caster's intelligence stat, and the number of runes used.
Range: 50 meters
Cooldown: 3 minutes
Glide, level: 1/20 (Active spell, requires magic weapon)
Glide in any direction.
Altitude decreases at 0.5 meters each second.
Duration: 3 minutes
Cooldown: 10 minutes
Teleportation, level: 1/20 (Active spell, requires magic weapon)
Instantly move to a distant position.
Range: 50 meters
Cooldown: 2 minutes
As Peniel had informed before when they were solving the puzzle diagram that led to Greed's sanctum, the Dispel spell was unique as it could be cast with the option of either three, four, five, or six runes. The more runes it was cast with, the higher the chance for the dispel to be successful.
As for the Glide and Teleportation spell, they required four and five runes respectively.
Afterward, Jack took out the Lightning Strike technique book. When he tried to interact with the book, an interface appeared, asking if he wanted to learn the spell.
"My theory is right. I can truly learn it!" Jack exclaimed excitedly. He proceeded to do so without delay.
Lightning Strike, level 1/20 (Active spell, range, requires magic weapons)
Mark an area. Lightning will strike from the sky above, dealing 400% lightning damage.
30% chance to inflict Paralyze.
Range: 60 meters
Cooldown: 3 minutes