"Ms. Celine, can I borrow your weapon for a while?" William asked. "I promise not to do anything to it. I just need to hold it in order to gain an affinity for Dark Magic."
"This is the first time I've heard of someone gaining an affinity by just holding a weapon, but sure, here you go." Celine summoned a grimoire and handed it to William.
Since the contract had already been established, she wouldn't be so petty as to deny the boy's needs in order to prove his claims.
Owen watched at the side with a serious expression. This was, also, the first time he had heard of someone gaining affinity by merely touching a weapon belonging to someone else. He was half in doubt and half expecting for William to show him something he had never seen before.
Grimoire of Forbidden Dreams
-- A Grimoire that once belonged to the Dark Magician who was known as the Dream Eater. Empowers its owner to have the ability to visit people's dreams and convert their dreamscape into a terminal, which the owner can enter at will.
-- Increases Intelligence stat by 100
-- Increase resistance against curses by 50%
-- Allows the usage of the skill thrice a day
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William smiled and chose Yes. Immediately he asked the system to swap the Ice Mage Job Class for the Dark Mage Job Class.
"Thank you, Ms. Celine." William handed back the Grimoire to the beautiful lady in front of him.
"You're welcome," Celine replied as she unsummoned the book in her hand. "So, did you gain Dark Affinity by holding my book?"
Instead of answering her question, William opened his palm and chanted.
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"Seed of Darkness."
A blood-red teardrop hovered in the middle of William's palm. Celine flinched, while Owen's eyes widened in shock.
Suddenly, a monotonous voice echoed inside the room.
"William Von Ainsworth has successfully fulfilled his part of the contract. May the losing party adhere to the discussed terms and fulfill their obligations."
The monotonous voice made Celine flinch for the second time. It made her realize that the boy had really succeeded and what she was seeing wasn't a parlor trick. Of course, as a Dark Sorceress of her rank, she had already felt the authenticity of the "Seed of Darkness".
She just couldn't accept that William really learned Dark Magic by simply holding her grimoire!
"T-This! Is this really possible?" Celine stuttered. "Oi, boy, is this for real?"
"Yes," William replied in a calm manner. This was also his grandpa's reaction back then so he was already expecting that Celine and Owen would act the same way he did.
"Unbelievable… simply inconceivable!" Owen gasped in shock. "You mean to say that you can learn every kind of magic there is in this world?"
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William nodded his head. He didn't dare say that he could actually learn all the job professions in this world. He was afraid that it would cause Owen to have a heart attack if he heard his explanation.
"Ms. Celine, are you going to honor our bet?" William asked.
"Hah~ since I dared to bet, I dared to lose," Celine replied as she placed her hands on her hips. "You asked me to become your Master, so I will do my best to make you the most powerful Dark Mage in history. However, I will tell you now... you might regret your decision for choosing me as your master."
"I look forward to the teaching that you will impart to me starting from now on, Master." William said with a smile. He knew that his knowledge when it came to Dark Magic was very shallow and he needed someone to teach him the right way on using it.
Just like his Ice Mage Skill, although he could learn and use the skills at will, his knowledge when it came to ice magic was very shallow. Compared to those who had mastered their magic to the highest level, William was like an ice mage who could only cast ice cubes in their eyes.
If William were to meet a magician of his level, even if they use the same skills, the boy's power would be significantly weaker compared to an expert who fully understood his element.
Just like in martial arts. If two martial artists of the same practice were to fight against each other, eight out of ten battles, the stronger one would always win. This also applied to a fight between magicians of the same element.
"Let's see if you will be singing the same tune after a few days." Celine said with a sweet smile. "I'm telling you this right now William, the path of a Dark Mage isn't easy. You might come to hate me in the future. Are you still sure you want me to become your Master?"
"Of course." William nodded.
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"Don't regret your decision, Little Will."
"Um... Master, you're scaring me."
"That's right. You should be scared." Celine said as a dark glint passed briefly in her eyes. "Very scared..."
William gulped when he saw that sinister glint that appeared momentarily in Celine's eyes. For some reason, he felt that something bad was going to happen to him under his new Master's tutelage.
Celine frowned as she glanced at the ring in William's finger. "It would be best if you ask Barbatos to put a special enchantment to change the appearance of that ring on your finger first. Although not all the masters of Lont can recognize the Ring of Conquest, those who do will certainly know its origins.
"I don't doubt their loyalty, but everyone has a price. If someone were to offer me something that I really wanted, I might just spill the beans and tell them that you are in possession of that ring."
William sighed as he thought about his Grandpa's words. 'Maybe it was a mistake to place the ring on my finger. Should I wear it like a necklace again?'
Although wearing it like a necklace would hide it from everyone's eyes, it wasn't a long term solution. After giving it some thought, Celine's advice was more practical.
"Thank you for your advice. Master."
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"Mmm, that's more like it." Celine grinned and looked at William as if he was a frog that was about to be dissected.
The boy felt a sudden chill run down the back of his neck. He then took a few steps back and looked at Celine anxiously. Celine giggled when she saw the little brat hide behind Owen's back.
"Celine, you are up to your tricks again." Owen sighed. "Can you give William some slack?"
"Fine. Meet me after two--no three days," Celine said before heading towards the stairs. "I still have an important experiment to finish. For the time being, you find Barbatos and have your ring fixed. We'll start your lessons in three days."
"Thank you, Master," William peeked behind Owen's back. "I'll come back in three days."
"Good. Now, please, leave me. I want peace and quiet when working on my experiments." Celine had already gone up to the second floor, leaving the boy and the old man standing in the living room.
"Let's go, William."
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As they left Celine's house, William felt the pressure on his shoulders decrease dramatically. Even though he wanted to raise his Shepherd Job Class to the limit, it wasn't possible at this point in time.
Of course, if he really wanted to, he could grind on the lower numbered floors of the Goblin Crypt until he reached his desired level. But, William didn't want to do that. Since he already experienced how malicious Dark Magic was first hand, he wanted to understand this power to prevent the past incident from happening again.
William admitted that fighting against the unknown was a scary experience. However, he was not alone. He has his Mama Ella, and his herd, to fight by his side.
The boy patted his Mama Ella's neck as he mounted her back. "Don't worry, Mama. We will win next time. I promise."
Owen watched as the goat and the little boy took the lead and walked towards the direction of the Ainsworth Residence. His immature face and his small build were no different from any ten-year-old in Lont.
It was his eyes.
His clear green eyes always looked forward. Unwavering, uncompromising, and unyielding. The boy's eyes reminded Owen of William's father. The man who single-handedly kept the Demons from invading the Elven Continent of Silvermoon.
William's father, Maxwell Von Ainsworth, was also known as the Dungeon Conqueror. The man whom the elves had acknowledged as a Hero. He was also the one who had won the heart of the Saintess of the World Tree, Lady Arwen.
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It should have been a perfect ending, but Fate had other plans for him.
'I pray that you will not follow your father's footsteps, Little William,' Owen sighed as he thought about the future that might have been, but never came to pass. 'For your sake, and the sake of the Ainsworth Family, I hope…'