Artonus walked, dropping multicolored dust as he went. Thanks to the Stabilizers he placed around the area, none of the dust would be disturbed. Perfect. Now... He pulled out several more bags of dust and continued his massive rune. The book he held was specific, so it wasn't hard to stay in order, either. He would have to thank the author, should he somehow meet her.
"You called me here?"
Artonus turned to see Carissa Blackthorn, one of those Grimlock spoke highly of. She had her scythe, as per usual, and seemed a bit annoyed at being called out by a man she barely knew. Well, Art couldn't blame her, but she was powerful enough and distracted enough to actually help him.
"Yeah," Art replied, dropping the last of the dust in place and checking his work. "I don't have the magic to activate this. I need you to do it." She glared at him, seemingly waiting for something. Oh, of course. These kids were used to Juxon's pampering. "If you don't mind, that is."
Carissa nodded, though not enthusiastically. "Anything to focus on," she said, walking toward the edge of the Stabilizer's field of influence. "What is this for anyway?"
Well, there goes not lying to the girl. "It's a spell I want to capture for later use against the Nightwing members." Maybe not. That was true enough, right?
"I mean, what does it do?" Take the hint, girl!
"Sorry, but it's hard to explain..." Think, what could he tell her? Business had been easy because his competitors and buyers never pried too much. They were more astonished by what his company made. Surely he could come up with a lie, though. "Think of it like a burst of energy." Art could be a lawyer next at this rate.
"OK, let's just do this."
"You have my thanks."
Carissa walked to the edge of the massive rune, looking it over. "Why not ask Grimlock or one of the elites?"
Because Grimlock would kill him and the elites might recognize the forbidden rune of Monstros? "I don't want to pull them away from where they are needed." Not a truth, really, so there goes his no lying thought.
If Carissa knew what the rune did, she would probably report him to Grimlock, too. But... He needed power. Art had only SCRATCHED Grimlock for sorcery's sake! And with a Chain as well! He was far from his prime and going to be surpassed by even his students soon at their growth rate. Art didn't mind the... consequences... so long as he got his revenge.
Juxon had been everything. He had changed Art's fate of being that poor weak kid that hung around the guild because of his parents to an elite. Sure, he wasn't the strongest - and wouldn't ever be - but he had accomplished his original goal as a kid. He had even gone beyond that, creating a company that would run even after his death and hopefully do more good than it already had.
Hell, he had given those born without magic a way to use magic with his weaker Chains. It was still experimental, of course, but the kinks were being worked out.
But, he had to focus. Juxon wouldn't avenge himself.
Art placed three small metal cylinders in the circle and a Chain around them to soak up any excess magic, otherwise it would blast outward and possibly disrupt the spell. The cylinders were one of the few products he had perfected, though never released. Though simple, they were very dangerous in their usage.
He called them Delayers, because that's really all they did. When a spell of any kind - not just magical energy, though - hit them, it was absorbed into the Delayer and stored for later activation. So, you could use them to capture any spell directed towards them and then use that spell at any time in the next year. Any longer ran the risk of the device malfunctioning and exploding. That hadn't been fun to find out.
The spell he was storing was actually three spells, all the Monstros Vitalia. It was a forbidden spell that granted temporary youth and a surge of physical and magical prowess. Essentially, it would make Art a more powerful version of when he was in his prime. The only downside was... Each use took ten or more years off your life and could possibly even kill you. It had been declared forbidden for that very reason, though no one wanted to use it anyway because of that. Power wasn't worth shortening your life, usually.
And then there was the backlash. After deactivating, the user would lose all of that power in a shockwave powerful enough to level a city if not contained. Luckily, Art had a device for that when the time came. If it came.
"So, what should I do?" The girl sounded distant now. Perhaps she was thinking of one of her lost comrades? Most Supernova had been doing that lately.
"Just sit on the outer portion of the Rune and start spreading your magic over the entirety of it." Art sat on the other side of the rune and started doing the same. "I'll help as much as I can, but I'm not going to be much use."
Conversation ceased after that. Carissa was focused and Art lost in thought on how best to prepare further for the upcoming battles and his students. Should Fallen ever come back, Art will have to beat into him some more of the basics. He had lacked formal training, but had amazing natural talent. Of course, Marx was similar. That boy had amazing raw talent and formal training. They both lacked experience though.
Gods, Art told himself. I will make them Gods on the battlefield.
'And you will become a Martyr, you old fool,' a voice whispered deep in Art's head.