Chapter 20 – Preparations

 

As the days passed, our training was going well. After one week, Alae managed to master Intermediate level Magic. She could use any elements perfectly, including Water, Fire and Thunder thanks to me creating them with Creative Magic.

 

The twins made progress as well. Even with the eyes of an amateur, I could tell that they were on par with Hell when it came to swordsmanship. I was also teaching them Magic at the same time and although they were not on the same level as Alae, they created an original style of combining Magic with sword skills. I had read about such style before : mixed users of magic and sword were called Paladins.

 

It may have seemed that everything was going for the best. I had planned to start building my army but… I couldn’t. My body was weakening every day. Despite my knowledge about Alchemy, I couldn’t tell exactly what was wrong but I highly suspected the strain that was put on my body because of the burn to finally start having a negative impact on my health.

 

It all started with simple coughing. Coughing that became more and more frequent around the time I started teaching Alae how to use Creative Magic. By this time, 2 months had passed since the transportation of the village.

 

To be honest, I was surprised myself I resisted that long to such a serious injury. After all, Wahnsinn had helped lessening the pain with a mental barrier but he was still a part of me so it wasn’t in any way totally suppressed.

 

Despite my worsening condition, which I hid from the Alae and the twins as much as possible, I carried on training them. I thought teaching Alae Creative Magic might lead her to awakening Healing Magic. At the same time, I pondered about the logic behind Healing Magic.

 

“Let’s see… I know that Healing Magic comes from an attribute contained in Mana. That much is certain. Now how do Elves make use of this attribute ? Mhm…”

 

Wahnsinn exchanged his opinions with me.

 

“The Elf we killed back then didn’t know any Creative Magic, as far as I could tell.”

“Can you sense whoever uses Creative Magic, Wahnsinn ?”

“No, but if he did, he would have been able to beat us easily when we tried to attack him, given our poor state. Being defeated by such a beaten up mage must mean he had very poor knowledge of how to use Magic.”

“Then… could it be that using Healing Magic is something innate, rather than something they learn ?”

“Then Alae would know how to use it.”

“Not necessarily, she’s only half-elf after all.”

“That’s true.”

“If it’s innate, then no matter what I do, I won’t be able to teach her.”

 

I thought about something for a second and then an idea popped in my mind.

 

“Elves can use offensive Magic, right ? Then that means that they can decide whether to make use of their attribute or not, otherwise each offensive spell they cast would also heal the target !”

“Which means…”

“Yes ! The user can decide whether or not to toggle their attributes.”

“Still… how does she activate it ?”

“Hum, that is…”

 

The main question remained. As much as I could think, there was no way for me to guess something with so many unknowns.

Since I couldn’t count on Alae healing me with her Magic, I had to find another way to cure myself. At this rate, I wouldn’t last more than a few more months.

Seeing as I was lost in my thoughts, Wahnsinn suggested something.

 

“If you are to die soon, don’t you want to leave me behind ? At least, let me accomplish your objective for you.”

“You’re right… it would be foolish of me to have gone that far only to accomplish nothing. I have been thinking about it for a while as well but there really is a way to separate you from my body, isn’t there ?”

“Yes. All I need is an altar.”

“Got it.”

 

I headed towards the back of my castle where I had left an empty space for me to build more later and now was the time.

 

Using the same techniques I had used earlier, I made an altar in about 20 minutes. I stated it earlier but humans didn’t have any religions. However, some other races do.

 

We humans simply believe that our soul is reincarnated after our death and that we are reborn after going through some kind of purgatory. These suppositions come from some old legends that have been spread before the arrival of the first Sage.

 

Talking about the first Sage, if there is anything close to a “god” in this world, he could be considered it. Although he is a mortal elf, his almost limitless knowledge and power make him an omnipotent being that no one dares disagree with.

 

That is the reason why Elves apparently worship the first Sage as some kind of god. And there is a reason he is called “the first Sage”: it is because there has been other sages after him, all of them being Elves. According to what I have read on the subject, they are all still alive and well, despite all of them being over 100 years old.

 

The other sages aren’t revered as highly as the first one but they still own some incredible wisdom and power and as such, they are the leaders of the Elves’ community.

 

Their power is on such a scale that I can’t even compare myself to any of them, from what I’ve read. Although it wasn’t mentioned in the book, they probably all know Creative Magic.

 

I finished constructing the altar. It was a medium sized building that had an artistic feel to it. Not something as sacred as what people are usually used to but not totally disrespectful either. Something fitting what I was about to do, I think.

 

The transfer of Wahnsinn to the altar wasn’t too hard. It was actually quite simple : I just had to extend my left arm and the shadow started dripping on the ground. The accumulating dark mass then moved on its own inside the altar and the transfer was done.

 

Of course, I still had『Shadow Skin』on my left side but I felt like Wahnsinn’s presence inside of me was gone.

 

“The transfer is complete, Zwölf. I am talking to you from the altar.”

“Indeed, I can’t hear you inside of me anymore. The sound of your voice comes from the altar.”

“I am still able to talk to you from『Shadow Skin』though. A kind of telepathy, if you want. It is using the same technique as teleportation, except here I’m only teleporting my voice to you.”

“That’s useful. *Cough* *cough*.”

 

A sudden cough interrupted our conversation. This is the first time it happened during a conversation so Alae wasn’t suspecting anything.

 

“Since you’re not in my body anymore, does that mean that『Shadow Skin』isn’t acting independently from my will anymore ?”

“That’s right. I was the one controlling it at all times, after all.”

“That means I just lost a very powerful defense mechanism then.”

“While that’s true, you now understand how to use Shadow Magic so you can use it yourself, right ?”

“I can, but that won’t protect me at all times. I’ll have to rely only on myself now.”

“Why… are you planning to leave somewhere ?”

“Oh that’s right. I forgot to tell you. I’m leaving Aldenaf tonight.”

“What !? Why didn’t you tell me something that important !?”

 

This reaction surprised me. It was the first time I had witnessed Wahnsinn losing composure. I couldn’t see his expression since he was only a voice inside a stone but I could still decipher emotions through the way he sounded.

Maybe the transfer had modified his personality somehow ?

 

“Did you really think that I was going to stay here and die quietly ? I still have so much to accomplish. Not being able to use my own Magic or Alae’s Magic to heal myself doesn’t mean I have no way to survive, ha, ha, ha.”

“So… you’re setting on a quest to find a way to heal yourself ?”

“That is not the primary objective but I consider it as a side quest, yes.”

“What is your primary objective then ?”

“What, did you forget already ? We talked about it quite a lot… let me remind you, Wahnsinn. My main aim is to gather an army. Did you think I would be fine being called an Overlord with only 3 people in my army ? How ridiculous is that, ha, ha, ha.”

“Why didn’t you talk to me about that quest ? If I’d knew, I would have stayed with you to increase your chances of survival !”

“That’s the thing. You have access to my memories but not my thoughts.And because memories shape our decisions, you always agree with me, since we have the exact same ones. Separating you from me will allow you to have your own memories from now on and therefore make your own decisions.”

“…”

“That’s not all. You’ll be of much more use to me if you stay here rather than if you come with me. After all, I have no idea how successful I am going to be in forging an army so if you complete the tasks I leave you with here, I’ll at least have some kind of backup solutions.”

“Tasks ?”

“Yes. First of all, you have as much Magic knowledge as I do, so I delegate Alae and the twin’s Magic training to you. Secondly, you are to continually gather Mana and store it in the altar.”

“Hum… I will obey your orders… but is it fine to ask you why ?”

“Yes. When creating an army, you can either recruit soldiers or… make them yourself.”

“What do you mean ?”

“Ha, ha,ha. Isn’t it obvious ? First, by training Alae and the twins, I am turning them into weapons. And I got an idea from the transfer. You are going to use Creation and Earth Magic to create an army of Earth Golems. You’ll then take control of them by transferring portions of yourself to each Golem.”

“What a plan… but how do you want me to create Golems ? I can only use Shadow Magic, remember.”

“It should be fine as long as I provide you with a vessel, right ?”

“If I had a physical body that has Mana, I am confident I could cast Elemental Magic, yes.”

“I’ll just make you one then. I’ll create a vessel Golem with a large Mana capacity. And although it won’t be able to replenish its Mana by itself, you will be able to recharge it via the Mana contained in the altar.”

“Sounds like a plan. I don’t know about controlling them though.”

“Let’s have a trial with one Golem before I leave. If it is successful, then creating an army of Puppet Golems should be achievable.”

“That’s right ! What a brilliant idea you just had !”

“Then let’s get started.”

 

I used Earth Cindril and shaped it into a humanoid statue. Once that was done, I enchanted it with『Shadow Skin』by applying it all over its body.

I waited to see if Wahnsinn could take control of it.

 

After a short minute, the Golem effectively moved. The jet black mouth opened and Wahnsinn’s voice came out of it.

 

“Transfer successful.”

“Are you still inside the altar as well ?”

“Of course. I am controlling him from the altar. From the altar, my world is all black. I am surrounded by darkness but as soon as the connection was made with『Shadow Skin』, it’s like a window opened. When looking through it, I can see what the Golem can see. And I can control it easily.”

 

To showcase his control over the puppet, Wahnsinn made the golem move, jump and punch in the air.

 

“Ha, ha, ha, that’s good enough. But can you control two puppets at the same time ?”

 

I spawned a replica of the first Golem and enchanted it the same way. However, even after a minute, it didn’t move.

When the second Golem finally moved, the first one fell on the ground, lifeless.

Taking control of the first Golem one more time, Wahnsinn complained with a voice full of disappointment.

 

“I’m so sorry… a second window popped up when I made the link with the second Golem… But it seems I can’t control both of them at the same time.”

“How exactly do you control the first Golem ?”

“I give it mental orders and the puppet responds to them, doing exactly as I wish. But as soon as I try to do it on two Golems at the same time, it seems the commands cancel each other and nothing happens.”

“Hmm… What if you tried giving simple commands to the second Golem while focusing the more accurate orders on the first Golem ?”

 

Wahnsinn tried doing as I told him and successfully made both Golems move at the same time. The first one could move like an actual person whereas the second one was moving in a more mechanical way.

 

“It seems to be working, as long as the commands are simple and basic such as “march forward”, “fight”, “stop” or “bow”. I can’t order them complex things such as “Help this person to defend the castle”.

“So they’re only good as pawns ?”

“That’s what they’re meant to be anyway, right ?”

“Ha, ha, ha, that’s right.”

 

We tried experimenting with more golems but there was no problem. As such, Wahnsinn could take basic control of an entire army of weak golems that we called Soldier Golems and fully control one more that we called Avatar Golem.

 

I was now facing the Avatar Golem, talking to Wahnsinn as if he was a real human being.

 

“With this, even if I fail to recruit soldiers for my army during my travel, at least we have a back up plan.”

“As you asked me, I will continually gather Mana into the altar and spawn more Golems on a daily basis thanks to that. What about you ? Are you going to see the kids off before leaving ?”

“Of course, I also have tasks to attribute to each of them. Well I’d like to say farewell to you but I will be relying on that telepathic ability of ours to keep in contact.”

“I see. Have a safe trip.”

 

I left the altar and headed towards the training grounds were Alae and the twins were practicing, as usual.

 

***

 

The first one to notice my arrival was Burs. Out of the two twins, he had the best reflexes and had quite sharp detection skills for a kid his age.

 

He told his brother and Alae and they all came running to me . The twins were about to start chatting with me like they usually did during the training’s breaks. However, Alae knelt down in sign of respect and threw a dark glance at the twins, urging them to do the same.
Confused, the two twins immediately remembered that they had pledged loyalty to me and shouldn’t be treating me the same way as before. Not that I really minded though, they’re only 11 after all (I’m only 15 too so I don’t necessarily deserve that much respect).

 

“Stand Alae. No need to be so formal during training.”

“Y-Yes, my lord !”

“Also, thinking back, I don’t really like the name Joker Overlord. It sounds a bit crazy to me.”

“Does it !? What title should you go by then, my lord ?”

“Hmm.. I haven’t really given my title that much thought. Any ideas boys ?”

 

Armius, who had stayed quiet until now, finally spoke his mind.

 

“What about simply calling yourself Overlord until we find something better ?”

“Fine by me, ha, ha, ha. Anyway, I need to tell you something important so listen up, the three of you. I am going on a journey.”

“When are we leaving ?”

 

Alae was the first to answer, almost immediately. She probably thought that I was bringing them with me but to be honest, they would just get in my way at this point. It was better for them to stay here.

 

“I’m going alone.”

“WHAAAT !?”

 

Alae shouted suddenly after hearing my answer. I know she is the type to stick to me as much as possible but my decision was made.

 

“Let me be clear : I am not abandoning you. One of the purposes of this journey is to cure myself from an illness that has arisen because of my unhealed wounds. At first, I thought that training you Alae might help you awaken to your Healing Magic but since it is not the case, I will need to find a cure myself.”

 

Alae’s face went pale when she heard that. Woops… it looks like I chose my words poorly. It kind of sounded like I was blaming her for that.

 

“An.. illness ? I haven’t heard of that… If I knew… My Healing Magic… I’d work even harder to awaken to it…”

“I’m not blaming you, Alae. But there is a reason I want you to stay here; maybe more Magic training will help you awaken your Healing Magic, that’s why I want you to focus on that.”

“How ? With you gone, I’ll be clueless on what to do…”

“That’s why I will have Wahnsinn supervise your training as well as the twins’.”

“W-Wahnsinn ? Is that… your other personality ?”

“Hmm… I wonder if you could still call him that. He’s an actual being now you know ?”

 

“What ? Really ?”

“Yeah, he resides in the altar I created earlier and he commands the Golems you may see in the castle later. He will use the black Golem – Avatar Golem – to train you.”

“But… I wanted to stay with you…”

 

“Listen. Wahnsinn and I can communicate through telepathy. If, by chance, you succeed in using Healing Magic through your training, he will immediately contact me. Besides becoming stronger there is also something else I need you to do here while I’m away.”

 

“Anything you want, my lord !”

 

The fact that I was about to give her an important task seemed to make her face shine once again. It looks like she isn’t too hard to read, even for a child.

 

“Despite your limited knowledge of Magic, you still possess an incredible amount of raw Mana. I’d like to transfer half of it to the altar, on a daily basis.”

“Hum… I don’t really know how that can help you but I’ll do it ! You can count on me, my Lord !”

 

By pouring her Mana into the altar, Wahnsinn could make a lot more Golems than by using his own Mana.

 

After giving out the final instructions to Alae, I turned to face the twins and told them to train well under Wahnsinn’s guidance.

They both nodded and we parted ways.

 

And thus, my long journey around the world of Sigmas would start once more. But no longer as the old me.

 

This is the end of the story for Zwölf Kreizig. But only the beginning for the one who will soon be known around the world as the “Dark Joker”.

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