In the morning, Jaina and Amaran woke up early. A habit acquired through the years of living in the arena, you take everything you can from life. You sleep through the night, you live through the day. Having the same idea, the two ’lived’ together for an hour in the morning and then separated. Amaran went to his room to wake up the two girls.
Both girls were new to to arena, Iris being a total newbie and Zyte becoming a fighter just mere months before, neither of them were accustomed to living the lifestyle the half-breed lived.
When he came in, he made noises to wake the two girls, banging on the door a bit. With a slight slight grumble, Iris wakes up and looks around. On the bed across from her a nude Zyte is sitting up, rubbing her eyes. The door is slightly open with the half-troll peeking through and grinning at them. Slightly confused, Iris looks at herself and then covers her body, which only had her shirt on. The mana fiend seemed to not care about the troll, she was used to such treatment being slave and all.
“Girls, get up, we need to talk.”
Amaran walks in and opens one of the drawers in the room. Out of it he pulls up a collar like the one he wears and tosses it to the cherub.
“Put this on. It will mark you as my slave instead of the arena’s. It is slightly different from the usual ones as it will allow you to use magic. It is forbidden to use during the fights, but outside you will be able to practice whatever magic you can do.”
“Uh, thank you.”
Iris takes off her prisoner collar which has been deactivated and puts on the other one given to her by the troll man. He comes over, ignoring her revealing attire and locks it up by donating a drop of his blood.
After that he steps out of the room, giving the two enough time to dress and come out. Both girls put on their clothes, some simple pants and shirt given to them by Amaran. He told Iris to put away her previous attire as to not draw attention to her.
While Iris dressed, Zyte tidied the room and made sure it was presentable. The cherub tried helping her, but only got pushed away. She was inexperienced with the matter of cleaning, being a noble before and having maids to do that.
When two of them came outside, Amaran was waiting there and whistling. With them ready, he set off towards the dining area. They took some trays with monster meat and potatoes and sat at a table together. Zyte didn’t have a very pleased expression, but she obeyed her master regardless.
They began to eat with only the three of them when Amaran decided to speak.
“Now, Iris, I wasn’t totally honest with you yesterday. A slave cannot have other slaves. I am a free man as of a week ago.”
“What? But that means you can go out there, why are you still fighting as a gladiator?”
“Simple answer, I like tit. This is what I’ve done my whole life and what I am good at. Now I earn money and have a place I can rest and have fun.”
“But if we go out there, I won’t have to fight…”
“Girl, and what will you do, being my slave, if we get out of here? Zyte here is earning her upkeep as a maid. She cleans my room and takes care of miscellaneous things. Can you do that? I don’t think so, you being a noble and all. Now, what would a master do to a pretty girl slave who can’t fight and can’t clean, but has a rocking body?”
Amaran showed a mischievous smile to the cherub girl. It sent shivers up her spine and made the fiend nearby distort her face in disgust.
“Uhm, I, I think I know what…”
“Exactly. And I don’t think you like that option right now. Let me tell you, the upkeep of each slave in the arena is five silvers a month. This is the price for the boss, who is a relative of the arena master. For others it’s more expensive. Since the boss earns plenty of money from our fights, he doesn’t charge the slaves anything, but if a slave doesn’t fight, he has to do some other job.
The girl yesterday, she works as a representative of the arena master. A slave here works for the boss in the very same way, being his eyes and ears while he is away. Would you have a talent for administration? Not that I need it.”
The girl shakes her head and looks down at her food. She understands that she has no real worth and where this conversation is going.
“So, you have no talents, you are untrained. How could I use you other than using your body to satisfy my manly needs?”
The girl shakes her head again, not knowing the answer.
“Well, how I can see it, out there you would be nothing more than my concubine, but here, given proper training, you could prove your worth as a fighter.”
“Now, don’t be so down. Since I work under master, it should’t be too expensive to have you here. Plus, since you live with me, technically you only need to pay for the food. And seeing how you can use magic, we might just find a job for you. But, you will still need some weapon to use. Would you tell me if you have any experiences with weapons and what can your magic so?”
The cherub looked at the troll with a thoughtful expression for a bit. She never really had a weapon nor did she have a real preference. Weapons are too violent for a lady like her, not that she was one now… And magic, it was rather weak. She needed to train it more to have a real use for it.
“I am sorry, but I don’t like weapons and I can’t really use my magic yet. I need to train more. I know a charm spell and a healing spell, but their effects are too slight because I don’t have much mana. My parents didn’t prioritize me training my magic.”
“Well, that’s not good. But what about that spell you used last time? I certainly felt it’s effects on me last night, He-he.”
Amaran showed the girl a wide grin and she immediately understood the meaning of his words.
“But that was no spell. I only materialized my aura, it is one of the practices that mages do to improve their magic. If you felt it then you must be incredibly sensitive to magic. That’s incredible!”
“No, I am lacking a core, so I don’t have my own magic to resist yours.”
“You don’t have a magic core? But all sentient races have one… Unless you somehow lost yours… Wait, are you that man who was involved in the accident three weeks ago?”
Amaran smiled at the girl a bit shyly.
“Aye, yup. That’s me.”
“Wow, this is incredible. I’ve heard about you even all the way at home. You are supposed to be dead. People talked about putting you down if you went through sundering, but since you lost your core, it was ok to let you live.”
“Really? I haven’t heard any of that here.”
“Amaran, you are incredibly lucky!”
“If you are going to praise him so much, why don’t you go and fuck him already?” The blue haired fiend nearby didn’t have so much joy at hearing such news. Cherub turns red at her words, feeling ashamed at how she reacted.
“Don’t pay her any attention, she dislikes me like she dislikes all men. I will need to train her later. Anyway, now that we have all eaten plenty, we are going to go and train. Iris, we will see what kind of weapons you can use and I’ll think about using your magic later. Let’s go.”
Having had breakfast, the trio sets off to the training rooms. After a number of corridors and twists and turns, they come to a large spacious room. Around the place are some training dummies and some targets for shooting. Near the walls are some racks with weapons of different types and sizes. There was little illumination, with a grated window in the ceiling letting in the daylight. During the night, the area is illuminated by torches or magic stones.
While they walk, Amaran talks about ups and downs of weapons, how it is good to use blunt weapons for heavily armored opponents or how to parry and counter attack. It leaves little impact on the girl, as she has no real idea what the troll means, but she doesn’t say anything, not wanting to offend him.
When they come to some dummies, Zyte walks off to train her fighting. She has a whip, a trident and a net, weapons used for ensnaring and then draining her opponents. While she couldn’t do it previously, now Amaran allowed her to take magic from downed people. So, now her style would be incapacitating her opponent and then drain him while killing him. When magic core looses conscious control, it releases plenty of mana which can be absorbed by her.
Amaran also allowed her to drain people outside of combat, but only in self defense and not lethally. If she would try going over the line that her master has drawn, she would be stopped but the enchantment in her collar.
While the blue haired girl trained, Iris was trying different weapons. Swords, daggers, axes. They all seemed too violent to her. Amaran also saw that she couldn’t use them. So, they came up with a plan. If they ever fight, they will fight together, Amaran killing people and Iris simply surviving long enough. They decided to give her a shield and a mace, a classic combination. In case if somebody comes at her, she should be able to guard against attacks.
At first, the girl will have to use the simple wooden shield but if she shows potential, Amaran would get her a better one. He decided that she should have a simple circular shield, about fifty percent bigger in diameter than girls forearm. It should be light enough for her to wield, but cover enough to give good protection.
So, to get her accustomed to her weapon, they would train together. Sometimes, Iris would try and bash Amaran with her shield or hit him with a mace, but other times she would have to try and block his attacks. He didn’t go all out on the girl, understanding that she was still very weak, he would need to raise her stamina and strength first.
They trained until lunch, when Iris was already moaning from pain, when they took a break to eat something. The girl was almost useless, but her perseverance was admirable. Even with her legs shaking below her and her muscles cramping from such a rigorous work out, she stood and continued training. She did not want to go back out there and die. And she didn’t want to be discarded by Amaran to go back to the other man.
During lunch they had some more monster meat. It was considered a low quality meat, as it was tough and unappetizing, but after fights and training, nobody complained, only hoping to get as much into their stomachs as possible. This day it was some giant crab, the legs being as thick as a human head. Some strong guy must have killed it in the arena.
After they had some food, it was break time for a while. Amaran told the girls to get some rest and then continue training. He told Iris to not just sleep, if she had no energy to fight, she should train her aura and her magic. He actually asked her what is the aura and how it helps her.
“Well, you see, aura is what defines the strength of our magic or the defense of the mage. You can easily move an object or set it on fire, but it is hard to penetrate the aura of another, so it is difficult to lift somebody in the air or break their bones through magic alone. The person’s magical core would retaliate, unleashing the aura to deflect such attack.
However, if person’s aura is stronger than that of his target, he can overpower the aura of another and influence the target directly. This is why curses as well as healing are very complex, unless you have strong enough aura, you need some other way to influence another. Very few mages actually bother to strengthen their aura for this simple reason, it is much easier to not bother affecting the person directly. A massive stone can do more damage than some curse.”
“So, you must be an exceptional mage then, having a visible and powerful aura?”
“Ah, no I don’t.” The girl smiled shyly at the troll man. “Angels are very spiritual beings, our souls and magics are more powerful to begin with. Demons are strong physically, their strength can be tenfold of the normal man. Well, angels have strong auras, which manifest very easily and can overpower others. But I have very little mana and I don’t know many spells. Angels don’t like using magic for harm, so most of us only learn beneficial spells.”
Hearing the explanation, Amaran once again told the girl to train her aura if her legs gave out. Leaving Zyte with instruction to guard the girl and to help her if she needs help, the half-breed went to see his boss. The blue haired girl was unhappy with the request, but she couldn’t deny it, so she just smiled bitterly with a “Yes master”.
Approaching boss, Amaran talked to him about how he could utilize Iris. Boss as well as arena master both disliked magic. They believed that true strength comes from the body, and pansies who throw around spells and teleport should not be called men. He denied any possibly of the girl using magic, no matter how inconsequential.
Amaran then proposed another idea. What if his team would fight against powerful monsters? In other arenas it was common practice to both use magic in fights and to have group fights against big monsters. It would provide more entertainment and allow this arena to fill another niche. It was a popular idea amongst people. Boss thought for a moment and decided to talk about it with his uncle, the arena master.
The monster battles were an entertainment which also was practiced here, but instead of strong and powerful monsters, it was one on one battles or free for all battles against numerous weaker monsters. Wolves, spiders, spinemurks, any other weak monsters would be pitted against slaves. Amaran himself participated in a few such fights, but mostly the strength oriented fighters, like Grum, would fight the monsters.
Leaving the boss, Amaran returned to the girls to continue training. While Zyte and the half troll continued to train, Iris practiced her magic instead. She would concentrate and manifest her aura, making a pink glow spread around. The area of the effect was tiny, but every time Amaran came close, he could feel something inside him resonating, taking in the pink aura.
After a while, Amaran stopped his swings and came over to the cherub.
“Iris, you said you know some spells. Healing was it?”
“Yes, basic healing spell and a Charm spell. But they should’t be useful unless I train my mana and my aura.”
“Well, you said I haven’t got an aura since my core is gone, you can train your spells on me now. Shouldn’t we at least try?”
“Well, ok. I will try a heal spell first.”
The girl looked at the sweaty troll and the bruises and cuts on his skin. He was reckless during training, trying to be funny and show off his finesse, sometimes juggling his swords or doing tricks he never tried before.
Picturing a magical formation in her mind, the girl began pouring her magic, forming the same symbol before her. In front of her hand floated a symbol, a half circle with lines written in. It looked like a magic circle and a glyph put together. Once the spell was complete, Iris sent it towards the troll man.
When the spell was formed, it turned into a glowing pink orb. After the girl sent it forward, it homed in on Amaran and hit him in the chest. He didn’t feel the impact, but the magic in the spell sent waves of refreshment through him. He felt his strength returning and his injuries quickly mending.
“Wow, this is some powerful magic. What is it supposed to do?”
“Aha, no, this is the most basic spell. It is mostly used on pets and other little creatures. It closes small cuts and refreshes the body. But if you don’t have an aura, it seems to have a greater effect on you.”
“Yeah, I feel great. Now, hit me with the other spell. What is it meant to do?”
The girl began forming the other magic formation. Pouring the mana into it, she formed a heart shape with lines in it. While she made the spell, she described it to Amaran.
“This is a rather complex charm spell, but it is the simplest one in the category. It makes me very appealing and makes the opponent want to help me. I haven’t been under the effect of such a spell before so I don’t know the exact effects…”
She finished weaving the spell together and let it go towards the half-breed. When it was finished, it made a puffy heart and flew towards him.
When Amaran was hit, he felt his senses completely overturned. His perception was zoomed in on the one girl before him, dismissing anything else. She was safe, completely fine, so he didn’t need protecting her. Instead, he felt her like she was next to him. He felt her smell, the alluring womanly smell. He felt the softness of her skin, how it looked in the light of the sun. He was completely overwhelmed by the sensations and he was powerless to resist. The love for this one girl was all he could think of.
Within moments, the half troll was standing next to her, one arm around her waist, another on her cheek, their lips interlocked. He kissed her and caressed her soft cheek, gently moving his hand. The girl was shocked, but she somewhat liked the sensation, even though it was so sudden and new to her. She didn’t resist, just closing her eyes and not thinking about it. She didn’t notice how a hand drifted to her behind, squeezing it.
Thankfully for the girl, the spell was rather weak and while it had a massive effect on Amaran, it lasted for only a few seconds.
When the magic ran out, the pink glow in his eyes disappeared and he parted from the girl. He was conscious of what he had done, but he didn’t apologize to her. Instead he smiled at her with a wicked grin.
“Well. If you want to repeat that, I won’t stop you. This was awesome.”
The girl was very flustered. She only just realized how she didn’t resist or tried stopping the man, simply giving in to his actions. She thanked the gods that the troll man didn’t realize it, even if he really did, but chose to not tease the girl about it.
“This spell is great. We could really use it in combat. But it is very short, isn’t it?”
Still blushing, the girl hard a second to catch her breath and reply.
“Ah yes, I will need to train. With time, my casting speed, the mana density and the accuracy of the magic formation should increase.”
“And what are they?”
“Eh, well, the casting speed is how quick I form the spell. Right now it takes quiet a while, but with practice I will get familiar with the spell and with drawing mana to create it, so I could use the spells faster.
Mana density allows me to pack more power into smaller spell, increasing the effects and penetration of the magic. It correlates to the strength of my aura and allows me to overcome the aura of others. The spell would be useless with low mana density, it is a miracle it worked on you at all.
And accuracy of the magic formation is how well I form the spell. The lines of the spell are very blurry right now, the effect is very weak. If I can create thin but precise mana threads when I weave the spell, I can create a very powerful spell with exact effects and duration. Even though mana density affects those things, it is the accuracy of formation that has the greater effect on them.”
“Ok, I get it. Now I want you to train magic. In the morning we will do physical training, and after that, every free second you have I want you to strengthen your spells. Are there any other spells you know?”
“Well, there are some I’ve read about and I know their formulas, but I’ve never been able to cast them.”
“Great. Right now you train your aura. When you can cast the other spells, we will see how they can help us. Actually, is it possible to manifest your aura and cast spells at the same time?”
“In theory yes, but it is somewhat hard. It requires a lot of concentration. But I can try.”
“Great. You do that and cast heal on me, while I do my training. This way we kill many birds with one stone. Aha, I am a genius!”
Amaran than turns to Zyte, who has been doing her training.
“Zyte, why don’t you train magic too?”
“What for? I don’t want to waste any of my mana for nothing. We can’t use it in fights, so what’s the point?”
“Well, we might be able to use it soon. But right now I allowed you to drain people you defeat. You should have plenty of mana soon.”
“I haven’t had a fight yet and I need more training if I want to go against the veterans like you.”
“Oh, you want to defeat me? If you ever fight me and win, I will set you free and let you drain whatever little mana I have. But if I win… Well, I think you know what will happen then?”
The half-breed looked at the blue haired girl with a smirk.
“You bastard. I will never loose to the likes of you. When the time comes, I will end you, you pig.”
“Aha yeah. Sure.”
“Miss Zyte, why do you dislike Amaran so much?”
Cherub girl was confused at the mana fiend’s open hostility towards her master almost as much as his dismissal of the blatant disrespect.
“He is a pig like all men. They don’t deserve to live because all the want is to fuck us and to kill us. They are all the same.”
“Aha, and you are the one to know that, right, Zyte? You’ve been discarded by so many men, right? Iris, don’t listen to her, she just has some bad history with men. She will learn to get over it eventually.”
“Whatever you say. I don’t have intention on following your orders. I don’t have mana for spell casting right now.”
“Hmm. Zyte, what if I let you drain me of the ambient mana my body collects? Or even drain Iris, she has plenty of mana in her, I think she wouldn’t mind to share.”
“You… Are you stupid or what? I could easily kill you like that.”
“Zyte, Zyte. Firstly, I can order you not to kill me. Second, do you know what happens when your master dies? You attacked them many times, but you never actually killed one right?”
Zyte looks at the troll with anger and defiance.
“Let me shed some light at this mystery, when your master dies you don’t get to go free. It would be somewhat logical, if you wanted your slaves to kill you any chance they get. But no, in actuality, the collar which looses the link to its master then paralyzes the slave to let somebody reclaim them. This is done so that slaves will stay slaves. You kill me, both you and Iris fall on the ground until somebody comes here and becomes your master. Unless I personally take off that collar on your neck, you will remain a slave.”
The girl glared at him angrily, not believing his words. If what he said what true, she had no hope of escaping.
“But, what about you? How did you survive three weeks ago, your collar was destroyed, without you being freed by master.”
“Aha well, in case a slave tries to take a collar off, a ward, much like the one we have against magic, will be set off to expend all the mana in the body and to kill the slave. I was very lucky. I mean lucky like nobody ever was. There was so much magic then, that the impulse which was supposed to kill me never came through the massive amount of magic that was happening inside me. Once the collar melted, it was useless, but it should have killed me.”
Amaran said that very cheerfully, but it unnerved both girls how he casually dismissed the fact he was supposed to die. Fighters learn such attitude after a while in the arena, you get used to being a second away from death all the time.
“Now, I may have found a way for us to make more money. For that, magic should be allowed, so if you have any way spells you can practice, I suggest you do that.”
Zyte was both angry and sad at what she heard. She never paid much attention to her masters, always trying to simply kill them and run away, she didn’t know how slavery worked. Hearing what the half troll said, it was devastating to her. Were all her efforts in vain?
She may never had a chance to be set free, not since that bastard captured her and sold her. What is she supposed to do? Give up?
“Listen, I don’t intend to set you free, not while I am here and while I have a use for you. Now, like I told Iris, we fight and get money while I stay here, or you die in the arena, or I sell you. I don’t know if I am a good master or not, but I believe I treat you better than most. If you really hate me so much, I will exchange you for somebody else and forget about you. But right now we are here, together. You have a choice and I really hope you make the right one.”
The half-breed was telling the truth. He was nicer and he didn’t force Zyte to do anything, other than being a maid. Although, it wasn’t too hard for her, it was easier than being forced to do ’anything else’. She hated that.
Perhaps he wasn’t so bad. But she couldn’t let herself trust another man, not after what happened to her. But right now she was in the best place she could be, her master being just a battle maniac, wanting to fight and not much else. He had all he needed and he didn’t need her. Could she do better? Not right now.
“What was that?”
“Ok, I’ll do it. I will train magic. Let me drain you.”
“Aha, that’s good. I am glad we are on the same page.”
Amaran walked to the girl and stood near her. She looked at him angrily, but then came close and kissed him. This was necessary to drain somebody. She wasn’t going to be gentle, but she didn’t need to be, not having a magic core, she couldn’t do him much harm, although he should be dead already. She locked her lips with his and sucked in the mana he had inside.
Normally, with such force she would make it very painful, enough to make the person keel over and wince in pain. Without a core, it shouldn’t do anything at all. But Amaran flinched in slight pain, all around his body there was a painful sensation of ants crawling underneath the skin.
Zyte was surprised. She was supposed to get very little mana, but what she received was a plentiful amount, about the same a full grown man would give her, if she drained his core whole. She was more surprised when she felt even more mana inside Amaran. She however decided to stay silent and moved away from him.
Amaran felt somewhat weak, so he asked Iris to cast a couple of healing spells on him. After he was enveloped in pink light, he felt better, his pain disappearing and his body feeling once again refreshed and rejuvenated.
None of them knew what was happening. They didn’t know that Amaran was one big magic core, his whole body having tiny crystals inside it, turning him into something different. They didn’t know that the reason he didn’t have an aura was because each crystal was still tiny, but growing every time it absorbed some ambient mana or one of the spells from Iris.
They couldn’t imagine what would happen, once the process gets to the next stage, when his whole body completely assimilates and incorporates the crystals into its structure and he becomes capable of using mana and his aura manifests.
Each of them felt something was off, but nobody said anything and kept silent, doing whatever they were doing.
Until dinner they practiced their arts. Zyte now trained arcane manipulation, the skill mana fiends use, using pure mana not turning it into any element. She could use it to manipulate matter in any way she wanted, limited only by her imagination and skill.
She didn’t waste any mana to cast some spells at somebody else, she just kept all the mana she used, absorbing it afterwards. Being a half mana fiend, she was a bit weird. Humans were average, so being a half-breed, average qualities increased slightly are still average. She had average mana core and average strength, she had average rate of mana gain. This however helped her as mana fiends didn’t have any mana regeneration at all, only forced to consume mana from others to grow. This allowed her to be autonomous, not relying on killing others to get stronger.
However, Zyte was still able to drain others to get stronger rapidly. Her mixed blood improved her mana fiend traits, allowing her greater mastery over mana and improving her growth by absorbing mana from others. She did receive the hunger, the same hunger which made other people despise mana fiends, but it was weaker than that of a pure blood mana fiend. She could consume normal food as well as mana.
This was overall pretty good for Zyte, letting her become a strong mage if she was allowed to train. Thankfully she was allowed to.
After dinner, Amaran decided to let everybody relax, it being Iris’s first day and all. He told her she had free time until evening and that he was going to go wash up, like all other fighters. Iris was confused at first, not knowing what to do, but she ran after the troll man and followed him. She was blushing, her cheeks showing her embarrassment, but for some reason she didn’t want to stay away from the troll man.
It was very hard for her, but she removed her clothing and dived into the pool together with Amaran. It wasn’t sexual, although there were some fighters in other pools who were engaged in such activities. Amaran and Iris both just washed themselves. They stayed at some distance, so when some more people joined them, Iris was somewhat separated from the troll man, with Jaina and Zyte sitting in-between as well as some red orc woman who sat next to Amaran and whispered something to him.
They exchanged some whispers and both smiled, at which point Amaran announced that he was leaving. This made Iris nervous, but she couldn’t speak out or say anything. What would she say? That she wanted to stay with him? That was very unladylike. So, she remained quiet. When Amaran was getting out, he told Zyte to watch out for her, which she once again answered with a bitter smile and a “Yes master”.
Amaran went to bed with the orc woman that night. She was a tough fighter, but she liked having the young men tend to her. Amaran was glad to oblige, making them both have a very good time. They were both sweaty through the evening, only falling asleep slightly after midnight.
Zyte and Iris both went to their room and practiced more magic there. Iris asked if she could cast heal on the blue haired girl, to which she replied with indifference, allowing her. Sadly, her magic had no effect, still being too weak.
Cherub asked the mana fiend to show off her aura, which she did after slight grumbling. She shined with blue light, blue lines materializing around her. It was the mana fiend aura, nothing special, just some lines forming a design at a half a meter distance from her body.
After they practiced some more, the decided to call it a night. Zyte fell asleep with confused feelings, not knowing what to feel about her situation. She may have never actually been anywhere near freedom. If that was true, she might be in the best situation she had ever been, her master being kind and tolerable. But what if he lied to her? She would need to ask around to learn some truth. Her life was very confusing at the moment.
Iris also was slightly confused. She wanted the troll man to stay with her, but she didn’t understand why. She didn’t know what she was feeling, she only knew that he made her feel safe. But she also knew what it was he wanted from her. Was she able to give it to him? She was a noble, even if it was before all this. Would she ever be able to restore her status? Or would she remain a slave forever?
Both the girls fell asleep into nervous slumber, their dreams not giving them any peace of mind. Their state was confusing, not knowing that to expect the next, afraid of whatever was around the corner. It was a tired sleep, not restoring much energy through the night.