After making sure Raine’s meteorite was safely deposited at her shop, I logged out of the game and headed up to my office, thinking I should do some studying before my next job. There was always more to learn. Currently, I was learning more about physics, hoping to better understand some of Jarod’s work. Not being able to communicate with his own best friend would have to grow tiring, though I supposed Ai and Mai probably could follow his explanations.
“Mila, do you know if the three are officially wed yet?” I asked.
“No, master. Izumi insisted on one of the longer wedding ceremonies. Both sides are still performing marriage rites.” she replied.
“Ah. Thank you. Is Aurora going to be here today?” I asked.
“Yes, master. She didn’t want to leave yesterday, so she’ll probably come soon.” she explained.
Nodding, I said, “Maybe I should pop in at some point. Well, I suppose she can’t feel alone with you there. I guess I’m still getting accustomed to the idea of Jarod having an assistant other than you.”
“Don’t worry, master. Aurora might not even acknowledge if you were there. She gets caught up in her work.” suggested Mila. “However, I do expect her to complete the next phase of her work today, so we’ll be doing some testing if you want to watch.”
“Oh. Sure. That could be fun. Is she still working on the flying thing?” I asked.
“Yes, master. You should be able to step on the unit and fly for a short period.” she replied.
“Excellent! That sounds like fun. Mind informing Alma when you have a completion estimate? She might enjoy this as well.” I hoped.
“I’ll be sure to construct an extra unit after Jarod approves the testing. There is a chance he’ll delay the test, wanting to try it himself first.” she informed me.
“Yes… I wouldn’t really blame him.” I stated, feeling glum at the thought. If I had worked on such a design, I surely wouldn’t want someone else getting to try it first. On the other hand, Jarod might be too enthused about seeing how well it worked to want to wait. Alma and I were safe test subjects, given how much less prone we were to injury.
I had some experience with falling just from training sessions with Alma, having been knocked into the air on multiple occasions. If I wanted, I could simply walk down a few hundred feet on spells. Of course, falling that far didn’t seem to be a problem as long as I had sufficient energy.
I started my studies, despite still feeling distracted. I wasn’t at a point that I could even understand the specifics on how Jarod’s contraption worked, despite having seen some blueprints. I remembered them well. Some of the notes were still gibberish to me.
I paused the program after a while as my little fairy friend flew into the room and perched upon my shoulder. Something was wrong… I remembered practically everything these days, yet I felt like I was forgetting something, something important… I blinked as some of the sluggish memories from before my change entered my mind. I remembered first telling Jarod about my extra abilities as we chatted. My little friend was there? No. Wait. She was trying to find me and Alma called to tell me. We were…
“Mila! I never finished studying spells for Jarod’s suit!” I exclaimed.
“You did some work with Alma on his behalf.” she mentioned.
“Yes, but we didn’t really get anywhere. Mila, you said you have a database of spells, correct?” I asked.
“Of course, master.” she replied.
“I’m betting Jarod’s also refined his tech some more. Feel up to explaining how his suit works in great detail?” I asked.
“Gladly, master. Jarod cleared you for complete access to the project. I will warn you that I have already considered the spells in my database at great length and can point you toward the most likely candidates, but I don’t believe we can accomplish what Jarod really wants.” she stated.
“Oh? Why’s that?” I asked.
“The spells won’t last. Even with optimum materials for enchanting, such as silver according to Slayer research, the enchantments need maintenance which he cannot perform. Jarod wants the power to stand on his own in this world of magic and monsters. Relying on someone’s aid, even yours, would not suit him.” she explained.
I barked a laugh before saying, “I think he underestimates how reliant I am on others. I need all of you.”
Mila’s voice sounded as if she were smiling as she said, “I know, master.”
I switched gears and started studying. The more of Jarod’s suit Mila explained, the more impressed I was by it. The synthetic muscles alone were absolutely incredible, but he also made new types of flexible armoring that was layered throughout the muscles, new variations on sensory technology, and reactive chemical compounds that I would’ve thought were outside his fields.
Jarod was a millionaire by his own hand for good reason. Despite more wealth, I had achieved so much less. I was going to do this for him. There was a way. I knew several of the weapons that achieved this.
I started with the spells that Mila suggested, though I had to ask why a few of them were in the mix. She explained, patient as ever even as I veered away from her choices onto others.
“Does everyone have access to this?” I asked several hours later. I read extremely quickly these days, and I had barely skimmed the surface of the database.
“No, master. Only you, mother, and I can access the full database. I’ve been warned that there are spells here which the Slayers must never see, so be cautious about using any of the spells from here in front of others.” she suggested.
By “others”, she surely meant Alma. Ai and Mai would be quite hard-pressed to catch my spellcasting these days if I didn’t take it very slow for them. Always secrets…
“Don’t worry, boss-man, sir. You can share with Alpy soon after you’re married.” stated Aaliyah, now sitting on my desk as she poked my little friend.
I sighed and said, “I don’t suppose you’ll tell me how to pull this off.”
“Well, you could rip the soul out of a fey, bind it to the suit, and use it for a power source. There are spells of that nature in here.” she playfully replied.
“No, thank you.” I stated, not amused by the idea.
“Everything you need to figure this out is in here.” she told me, tapping my chest.
“Think with my heart, not with my head?” I questioned, amused by the notion.
“I never said anything about your heart, boss-man, sir. Besides, who said I was only touching your body?” she asked.
I suddenly had a sickening feeling as she grabbed me. I had double vision. No. What. I was seeing myself. Everything looked wrong from one set of eyes. I was in two places? I watched my body slump over. I stared at the tiny girl who held me outside of my own body. Was she taking me? She smiled and rolled her eyes.
I sat up, staring around wildly. Aaliyah was gone. My little fairy friend was yelling at me inside my head the moment I let her in. She had been dreaming when she was rudely awoken. I apologized as I tried to make sense of what just happened. A cold chill swept over me, causing my little friend to yell some more.
“Master, what happened!?” demanded Mila.
“Huh?” I dumbly asked.
“You fell forward and seemed to be dying.” she stated, sounding concerned.
“Your mother was… instructing me.” I told her, not feeling comfortable with anything more accusatory at the moment. Aaliyah had casually ripped my soul from my body. If Mila didn’t see that, was I seeing Aaliyah as a spirit the entire time?
I sat there enjoying the feel of my lungs for a time as I contemplated what she was trying to tell me. As frightful as the experience was, this was mild compared to what I experienced when I first saw Aaliyah as Death. She wasn’t suggesting that I use my own spirit to enhance Jarod’s suit, so what was she meaning?
When I saw myself slumping forward. Energy was seeping out from my body. Does my spirit contain the energy there? Several things came together in my mind. Most importantly, I needed to find a way to manipulate residual energy with magic. If I could make a spell that could make a spell instead of simply triggering one, I’d also be able to make a spell that pulled energy from around the wearer. Jarod would be able to walk through my forest to recharge his suit whenever he wanted. I could contain the energy similar to how the Slayers already made enchantments.
I considered trying to use the containment spells as a basis for manipulating the energy, but they seemed cumbersome, roundabout. The spells I knew for feeding energy simply weren’t efficient enough to last. I needed more direct control if this was to be efficient. Well, I did have an enormous database and an idea for what I was looking now. This was a place to start.