100 Premonitions and Enmity
The Arbiter's mark disappearing was only a mystery for Zoey until she turned around. Floating in the air above the crystalline tree like a beacon of pure light was the Arbiter's Mark. Connecting it to the tree was a small crystal branch that occasionally pulsed with light.
Zoey gave her new acquisition a test by attempting to use her her magic and drawing power from the Mark at the same time. When she did, the surface of her essence lake showed some ripples, and the light coming from the Arbiter's Mark grew stronger for a moment, bathing the the small island in its glow.
Zoey could feel that the the magic energy flowing through her body now contained a new strain of power, one that came directly from Sethrii through the Arbiter's Mark. Zoey was satisfied with the results. At least now she had something that would let her fight those corrupted creatures if she encountered one.
"So, how is it?"
A voice that drifted into her space surprised Zoey for a moment before she realized that is was Sethrii's voice coming through the glowing light above the tree.
"No problems so far. Seems like everything went smoothly," Zoey replied with a smile.
"Good. If you use my power with your abilities and weapons, the corrupted should be simple enough to deal with," Sethrii said through the link. "The readings I am getting show that the corrupted creature I detected in the east is getting stronger, so make sure you are ready. As a result of you being an Arbiter and your Harmonic Heritage, it will be drawn to you if it can sense you getting close."
Zoey nodded in understanding, then asked, "I was actually wondering if you knew anything about this sealing array we are looking for. It would help me out a lot if I didn't have to worry about it, but there was nothing in your database about it when I looked."
Sethrii was quiet for a long moment before she replied. "What exactly is this array supposed to do?"
Zoey tilted her head at the unexpected question. A goddess didn't know about this array?
Despite her surprise, she quickly answered Sethrii. "It is an array that will hide my Harmonic Heritage from detection, mostly from the nobles and their seekers."
"...Hide it from detection?"
Zoey actually heard disbelief coloring the goddess's voice.
"I will look into it." Sethrii said, then abruptly cut the connection.
Zoey was a little confused. She had not expected this reaction from the goddess. But, she had said that she would look into it, so all Zoey could do was wait. If Sethrii could get her the array, then it would save Nito a trip and all of them a lot of hassle. But the goddess's reaction had seemed odd to Zoey.
Shaking her head, Zoey decided to worry about it later. She had more pressing matters at the moment.
Exiting her inner world, Zoey pulled her conscious self back to reality. The next item she had to check on was her Dark Star Manuscript. Since she had achieved Rank 4 she had not looked at the manuscript to see what new technique she had received. She opened the book to the fourth page and read the title.
Dark Star Enmity was written across the top of the page, and drawn below was the diagram of the magic array that taught her the technique. Unlike the other techniques in the manuscript, this one had no description or hint as to what applications it had, so Zoey decided to simply practice the technique and test it afterwards to figure out how it worked.
It took her some some, but she eventually managed to properly construct the array with her magic energy. As she practiced the array, she slowly started to understand what it was supposed to do. When she finally managed to complete and activate the array, she had a general understanding of the functions of her new technique.
Dark Star Enmity was a passive effect that was now applied to herself after she had activated the array. The effect made it so if Zoey was attacked, the attacker would be marked with Enmity. However, that was all Zoey was able to figure out. She was unable to determine what being marked with Enmity would actually do, at least until she was able to test it against an enemy.
It was an interesting technique, one that would no doubt have its uses if her other Dark Star Manuscript techniques were anything to judge by.
After that Zoey went to find Doris to discuss the trip ahead with him.
The flight east would last more than a month, and the ride she was getting was not free. She didn't have to help the crew, but Doris quickly bargained with her to spar once a day with him as payment.
Zoey had no problem with this, because Doris was a close combat veteran, and that was an area she sorely needed to work on.
They had their first bout that night, and Zoey discovered that her Dark Star Enmity didn't work on someone she was simply sparring with. The technique seemed to have prerequisites of its own. During the bout, they didn't use and offensive abilities, but a Rank 5 veteran warrior and a Rank 4 firecracker like Zoey sparing in hand-to-hand combat was plenty enough to shake the timbers of the Kreppelin they were on. In the subsequent evenings as they made their way east, it quickly became a nightly event for the crew to gather around to watch the sparring take place, with bets being made and everything.
Aside from that and training with Viridi, Zoey had plenty of free time. During this time she remembered the puzzle cube that she had bought in the Sand Pit market, and for the first week of the trip, she devoted all her extra time to it. Despite its simple appearance, the puzzle cube proved to be a brain-twisting mess thanks to the complexity of the symbols on each square. The fact that the symbols could be flipped to the other side as well made it considerably difficult to solve. Zoey got rather upset at the item several times and nearly tossed it overboard at one point.
But she persevered, and one night, seven days after the airship had left Sand Pit, Zoey solved the cube!