I looked at the concoction in front of me. It was sort of grey and lifeless like a deleveling potion, except with a few silver and gold sparkles mixed in. Sage Norwood and his assistants had just finished making it a few minutes before, and it was still warm. “So this will do… what, exactly?”
Sage Norwood scratched his beard. “Well, it’s meant to eliminate the lingering traces of the deleveling potion from your body. In theory, that should make you function normally again. At that point, you should start being able to level up normally.”
I nodded, “Okay.” So far, I had gotten to level negative fifteen- almost as far in the negatives as I had been in the positives. Ten of those levels were just negating the bonuses I’d gotten from being an otherworlder, and the other five were providing me with -50 points of Strength- Strength because that was the only attribute I could raise, or apparently add negative attribute points to. It would be nice if I could get rid of those penalties. I wasn’t going to go back on drinking this potion now. I’d already agreed before I had them start making the fresh version this morning. I looked over at Kantrilla, who slightly squeezed my hand. Then I turned back to Sage Norwood, “So I just… drink it?”
“That’s how potions work. It should be fine now.”
I nodded, then poured the liquid down my throat. It was warm, and didn’t taste good at all- but there wasn’t that much of it, just a few ounces. If I couldn’t handle drinking a potion, I would never make it far as an adventurer. The liquid settled in my stomach, heavy like lead. I wondered if there was any lead in it. Presumably Sage Norwood knew lead was toxic. Well, it was all magically enchanted anyway.
I did feel a slight dizziness as I started digesting it, but it was nothing compared to the actual deleveling potion. I didn’t feel effects reversing or anything- there was no sudden surge of Strength, but there was also no sudden surge of weakness either. “Ugh. I feel tired. Like… after healing.”
Sage Norwood nodded, “That makes sense. Anything else?”
“Just a little dizzy.”
“Hmm. Try standing up.” I did so… slowly. I managed to stay on my feet, but I didn’t have confidence of remaining so if I moved around. Then I was directed to a more comfortable chair. “We’ll have you remain here for the next… hour. Tell us if you feel anything different.”
I sat there for the whole hour, not quite falling asleep. I didn’t really feel up to talking, but having Kantrilla sit there with me was nice still. The dizziness gradually faded, but the fatigue didn’t. Not that I expected it to.
“Alright, there seem to be no significant side effects,” Sage Norwood said after looking me over carefully, “We’re going to have you stay here for the next twenty-four hours. We’ll have someone watching in case you have any problems. Please let us know right away if you feel anything odd.”
I nodded. For the rest of the day, I just lay in a bed they provided, with Kantrilla sitting in a chair next to me. After lunch and a nap, we talked for a bit, but I mostly slept. In the morning, I felt better. Maybe I was just no longer tired, but I wanted to be optimistic. The first thing I did was take a look at my attributes, just in case.
|All In (Strength)|
|Club Mastery (4)|
|Dodging Mastery (5)|
|Melee Weapon Mastery (6)|
|Halberd Mastery (2)|
|Bow Mastery (5)|
|Sling Mastery (2)|
|Ranged Weapon Mastery (5)|
|Warhammer Mastery (2)|
|Armor Mastery (3)|
|Mace Mastery (5)|
|Striking Mastery (2)|
|Grappling Mastery (3)|
|Longsword Mastery (3)|
|Parrying Mastery (3)|
|Shield Mastery (3)|
|Glaive Mastery (3)|
|Spear Mastery (5)|
|Rapier Mastery (3)|
|Poison Resistance (1*)|
|Blessing of Strength|
|Dagger Mastery (2)|
|Analyze Strength (4)|
|Martial Trance (5)|
|Whirlwind Attack (4)|
|Piercing Spear (4)|
|Rapid Shot (1)|
|Return Weapon (3)|
I’d been training various attributes through the virtue of trying to see what I could do. The mental attributes were mostly easier because I was learning bits and pieces of magic and they were lower. I could still do more with my physical attributes, but it was harder… except of course Strength. I noticed something important there. I was still level -15… but my ‘bonus’ attribute points had evened out to nothing. That meant the potion did something- though I don’t know if that was something that was supposed to happen like that. Or rather, it surely wasn’t. The deleveling potion put me to 0 points, which was level -10… whereas this one didn’t change my level, but merely my bonus points.
“How do you feel?” Kantrilla asked. She was still sitting in the chair next to me, looking sleepy. My movements had probably woken her.
“Better.” I did feel better- and I also explained what I saw to her.
“Good!” She smiled, bright enough to warm my heart. Not that it was particularly cold, since things had been going well lately, with Kasner’s leg all healed and everyone safe.
The assistant who had been watching me had left to inform Sage Norwood that I was awake, and they both returned shortly. Even though I had been sleeping all day, I had still slept through until after sunrise. “So, how are you feeling, Llyr?” Sage Norwood asked. I repeated basically what I had said to Kantrilla. “Interesting…” he stroked his beard, “That’s certainly not the intended effect. We just wanted to remove the traces of deleveling potion so you could properly level up once more. However, this potion was after all untested, with you being the only known candidate.” Sage Norwood held up a small vial, “We still need to test if we actually accomplished the goal. The potion might still be there, in which case you might continue deleveling… though if your attributes have re-zeroed that might not be so bad… unless it’s a temporary effect. We’ll need you to report any oddities you experience in that regard.”
I nodded, then took the potion. I’d had the sensing potion several times, and while it was tingly there wasn’t much else to it. It was even slightly… less tingly than normal. Sage Norwood carefully looked over me, going ‘hmm’ and ‘interesting’. Finally, he stood up straight, “Well. I see no traces of the deleveling potion in your system. Since that is the case, we can only try to have you level up to see if everything will work properly. You may wish to wait to see if anything changes before engaging much with large amounts of experience, but it seems like you should be ‘cured’.”
“Thank you,” I said, bowing to him and his assistants.
“You’re welcome. It was an interesting challenge… and of course I’ll need you to continue providing information until we’re sure things have gone back to… some sort of normal.” Sage Norwood grinned, “Perhaps we might be able to get something useful out of this. Maybe the anti-deleveling potion just functions as an attribute boost of some kind… though I wouldn’t bet on it doing the same for most people.” Sage Norwood shook his head, “Regardless, I have learned a few interesting things from this whole process that could have wider ranging impacts. I should also thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. And, since we are both grateful to each other, we don’t need to feel as if we owe each other anything except more good feelings.” He patted me on the shoulder, “If you want to change to a magical career, let me know. Not everyone understands why testing must be done!” Sage Norwood patted one of his assistants on the shoulder, “These fellows do, of course.”
I said my goodbyes to Sage Norwood, hopefully for some time. Not that I didn’t like him- but if I had to see him again in the immediate future that was probably not something good for me. Now I just had to figure out what I would be doing next. I didn’t want to start off with full tilt adventuring, but we needed to wait for Alhorn to do that anyway. For a while, we could get along with just me and Socks as melee members… and hopefully I would find out that I could level in a positive direction again.