"It's not that I DON’T wish to, but it's because I CAN’t leave this place." Ina smiled as she tossed something to Brendel, "And here, this is my farewell gift to you."
It was a deck of Cards.
Brendel held onto the deck, confusion stirring in his heart, "Honestly… I don’t really get what you meant." From his tone, it was evident that he wanted Ina to follow him. It was pitiful that she never got to see the Sun for thousands of years. Plus with her capabilities, she would definitely be a great help to him. Albeit she proclaimed herself to be slightly weaker than the Pendulum Golem, she was no doubt the strongest existence Brendel had seen since his reincarnation, and was definitely not weaker than Andesha.
Brendel was ninety percent confident that he could recruit her to his team, but Ina just smiled and turned around. Her hair flew against the air, revealing her bare back. Between her smooth shoulder blades, there was a frightening red gash. It did not seem to some sort of external injury, but rather coming from something deep within her, as if it grew from within her body.
The crystals split apart her skin, and it resembled the crystals that grew out of the Pendulum Golem and the Crystal Wight.
"What’s going on?" Brendel asked with a stunned grimace.
"Didn’t you see the corrupted rock earlier? The quartz in this place is corrosive. Staying in this place for too long will lead to the crystallization of tissues." Ina let down her hair, her smile still plastered on her face, “I personally witnessed the young man catch the same illness. His entire organs began to crystallize and continued to weaken till his death. Even then, the crystallization did not stop, and he ended up to become the monster you saw earlier.”
Brendel Fell silent once more. This disease was similar to the symptoms of the crystallized monsters in the Dark Forest, just not as serious looking as it did. This process was caused by the infection of magic into the body, growing a layer of crystals over it like a shell. It was similar to a parasite, and would not even let the host go even if he died.
Brendel suddenly thought of the parasitic wasps that existed back in his old world. He shuddered and tried to cast the idea aside.
"Is there no cure?" He asked upon pondering for a moment.
Ina just smiled. Her silence seemed to be self-explanatory.
“There’s still some time left, let me explain about the deck I just gave you,” Ina's avoided the topic. “There’s a total of thirty-two cards here. One copy of the Furnace of Adversity, Martyr of Radiance, Accelerated Thoughts, Sacred Ring of Anrolda, Grimoire of Life, and Desperate Trojan horse. Four copies of Glorious Trumpeteers, Pride, Tempest, Nightmare Forges, Breaking Dawn and six copies of Death Sentinels.
As you might have noticed, this isn’t the complete version of the Paradise of Adversity. The complete version is inaccessible. They are sealed here to create the Magic Formation that allows us to use the Cards. Simply put, we can only be Planeswalkers under the influence of the Formation.”
She continued, “So to answer your question from earlier, we are not Planeswalkers, and can’t even be compared to you apprentices. We were granted power by the Formation and we each held half of the deck’s authority: I was given the Paradise of Purity while the Golem was given the Adversity of Darkness” [T/L: Meaning the Cards are not real. Ina and the Golem were only using their projections..]
“However, the cards that you have right there, they’re real ones. They’re the Legacy master passed on to you. Albeit incomplete, the Cards you have right now will allow you to use the basic combinations. As long as you continue to possess these Cards, I believe that the Paradise of Adversity will see the light of the day again.
"The cards that I found in the coffin were your intentions?" Brendel asked as he suddenly came up with the question.
"Not really. The Golem and I could never leave this place anyways. Some two hundred years later, a few bandits managed to arrive here. I intentionally let them have some of the Cards in hopes of luring in a Planeswalker. But the tin can disagreed with my methods and ordered the Wight to finish them off.
But even if it killed the bandits, it did not order Leder to retrieve the Cards back here, meaning that it was not completely in objection with my plan, just that it had other plans in mind. If not, you would never have reached here anyway.”
As the questions he had in mind were getting resolved one by one, Brendel nodded for Ina to continue her explanation.
"Every deck will have its own strategies, and even with the same decks, they might vary accordingly to the users. Some Planeswalkers preferred to utilize short bursts of power. For example, they would immediately cast attack spells and summon cheap but large armies to suppress their opponents. However, there were also Planeswalkers who were late-game players. Their decks are focused on precise controlling, fighting a battle of attrition to gain the advantage in the long term. Their decks are usually more balanced for them to get into an unbreakable position before counterattacking.
But the Paradise of Adversity had both of their characteristics," Ina was feeling proudful as she talked about her own master. "It was able to attack and defend simultaneously, the Nightmare Forgers and Tempest were especially powerful. The Nightmare Forges were both Artifacts and Undeads, and had the status of being ‘dead’ upon summoning . Plus, they were cheap to use and can be deployed quickly at the beginning of the battle. They can also be enhanced with the tempest and had the ability to self replicate, and could easily create a formation"
- Nightmare Forges (Paradise of Aversity IX)
- Consumes 1 Dark EP
- Treasure - Artifact/Undead Forge
- Level 26 Creature
- Pay 1 Light EP to clone it
- “Within every vessel, there lies a wailing soul.”
- Tempest (Paradise of Adversity VI)
- Consumes 4 Energy
- Effect: Applied onto the Nightmare Forgers. Deals 5 true damage to enemies targeted by the Nightmare Forges.
- Disposed into the Graveyard upon use
- "Fire! - Ekronian Commander, Tyrin"
"You can see its effects usually within minutes and that scene you saw just now, it was merely a fraction of the total power.” She seemed kinda happy, “Count yourself lucky that the Golem did not have the other half of the deck. Only the Paradise of Purity's cards could supply enough Light Element to multiply the Forges. Plus if it had used the Anxiety Card(which can recast the previous Card, as long as it does not surpass a certain threshold) that my master excluded from the Formation you’ll have numerous Nightmare Forges firing lightning orbs repeatedly at you simultaneously. That, is one of the reasons why the deck is so devastating."
Brendel was sweating cold sweat at the thought of the destruction based on what he heard. He was already astonished at the sight of the Golem shooting Tempest at him. But if it had the Tempest, there was no doubt that he would have fried chicken! After all, with ten or lightning orbs firing at you repeatedly, how can anyone survive that?!
"And that was just the first killing move in the deck, but like other burst decks, it was heavily flawed. To begin with, it was easily countered. Second, the Nightmare Forges have a low HP by themselves. And if this strategy fails, you will have to use the Adversity of Darkness.” Ina continued, “The Desperate Trojan Horse Card in it will be the key to overturn the tide.”
“It will select four Creature Cards from your deck and cast it aside. Once forty non-black Undead Card dies, they will be immediately summoned onto the battlefield for free. You might think that it will not be worth it to do so. But think about it in another way. Don’t you think it would be worth it if you could instantly summon four overpowered Creature Cards like the Emrakul?” Ina smiled mysteriously, “ That’s why the Paradise of Adversity was considered to be part of both strategies and could effectively deal with various kinds of situations. That was why my master was ranked amongst the top amongst the Thirteen Planeswalkers, just behind Odin and Tuman.
- Desperate Trojan Horse (Paradise of Adversity I)
- Consumes 25 Dark EP
- Treasure - Legendary Divine Artifact
- Effect: Played on the battlefield. You can choose any Card from your deck. After that shuffle the Cards in your deck. (It can also be used if 40 of your summons are declared as ‘dead’)
- ‘Even within a storm, there lies opportunity, like there is hope in Adversity’
Brendel was amused. He had never thought of utilizing the relationship between each card to form a battle strategy. He always got scattered decks of Cards, and there was not really any form of coordination. There were times he called out the Planeswalker support system for help, but he never saw such interesting information before.
At that point, Brendel realized something. "You said that the Desperate Trojan Horse requires the death of more than forty Undead summons to be activated. So, why was it that we were trying to kill off all the Nightmare Forges just now?”
"Are you stupid? The Nightmare Forges were the only non-black Undead in the Adversity of Darkness deck. They were both Artefacts and Undeads at the same time and is always on the state of being ‘dead’. As long as there are 40 of them on the battlefield, you can summon the Desperate Trojan Horse. Isn’t that an overpowered combination? Besides, the Tempest skill will not affect this result.”
"So what if we kill the Forges? Won’t that count them as dying?"
"Dying is dying, being destroyed is being destroyed. They’re different!. Have you seen a dead person dying once more?"
Brendel looked surprised at the information, but Ina just rolled her eyes at another corner. Who came up with such rules anyways? It was such a mystery.
But he had another question in mind now. If the deck Paradise of Adversity was that strong, how could it not defeat Tuman? He could not help but think of his first encounter with Tuman. That man definitely did not look strong. "Was Tuman that powerful?" He could not help but ask.
Ina just looked at him as if he was someone who failed his maths exam[T/L: like me LOL], "Of course! He was one of the strongest Planeswalkers at that time, and that list even included other Planeswalkers across other worlds. I don’t really understand his deck that well. But didn’t you already see the effects of the core Card of his White Series, aka ‘The Alliance of City-States’? Plus, the remaining of the deck you had were group summons, add to that the various effects of the decks, and finishing up with the Golden Battle Flag. With all that and yet you still thought he was weak? You have to know that the series you had was just a defensive deck. It was compatible with the other five-colored decks, just like the Paradise of Purity is with the Adversity of Darkness. As far as I know, there were not many in history that could match his power.”
Wow… The Golden Battle Flag indeed looked like a hack. Plus it was only a defensive deck? I can’t even fathom just how strong his other cards are.
"Don’t get happy so early. You might have understood the basics of using the Paradise of Adversity, there were still some loopholes in it you have to be aware of."
"The lack of powerful Creatures besides the Desperate Trojan Horse?" Brendel asked. In the deck given to him, there was no Emrakul. But even if he had the Emrakrul, he doubted his abilities to unseal it.
"Yep, that’s one part of the reason, but those powerful creatures can be still be slowly obtained, but the second reason was that you lacked the method shuffle the Cards from your deck into your hand. There are only two core Legendary Cards in the Paradise of Adversity - the Grimoire of Life and the Desperate Trojan Horse - and it will be based on your luck to obtain them. That is the same for your Golden Battle Flag. The third reason was that you’re inability to revive your troops from the Graveyard. You have the Pristine Archangels and Graveyard Revival, but that won’t be enough. Both of them can only be used once, and Graveyard Revival will bind the revived target with the ‘dead’ status.
“Simply put, you do not have enough Cards to plunder the Graveyard. Most of the Cards in Paradise of Adversity can only be used once, and to use the Desperate Trojan Horse, there must be sacrifices. If you can’t find alternatives to claim them from the Graveyard and reuse them, you’ll lose in the battle of attrition.
Lastly, do you realize that you do lack in the number of Land Cards you have, don’t you? The number of Land Cards is the biggest factor to become a powerful Planeswalker and no one will be handing them over to you. Even my Master’s Land Cards won’t be passed on to you as it is needed to maintain the Magical Formation here. So you have to find ways to expand your mana pool. As far as I can see it, you’ll even have problems trying to use the basic strategy of the Paradise of Adversity, correct?”
Brendel could only nod and agree. Due to the limited amount of time he had with Tuman, they did not go into details of how a Planeswalker should operate. And with Ina’s explanation, he had a deeper understanding of how to be effective as a Planeswalker. And that was the first time he felt like he could do so much more with the things he had on hand at that time.
They continued to converse until the digging noise became so evident that it interrupted their conversation. Brendel realized that it was almost time to bid farewell and asked one last time, "Lady Ina, are you sure about not leaving this place? This place is not binding you anyways and I can request someone to stay on a lookout here. And for the injury on your back, I may have an idea how to fix it."
"Remember this, kid. Planeswalkers do not believe in God, as they are the ones to decide their own fate..." Ina smiled and smacked the youth’s back.”Anyways, I have to say that I am very pleased with your bing, so I should at least thank you for coming here. However, for the time being, I will remain here. There’s not much time left but I can still answer one of your final questions. Do you still have anything you wanna know regarding the Planeswalkers?”
Brendel went quiet. He looked at Ina’s eyes and knew that he was incapable of convincing her.
And so, after a moment of thought, he asked, "How do I become a true Planeswalker?"
“That… will not be an easy feat. You must first have your Laws.," Ina's expression turned solemn. "You said that your deck’s concept revolves around the idea of ‘Dominance Over all Professions’'. Although I don’t know what it truly means, I can guess that it heavily emphasizes your personal strength. You might want to have fewer Creature Cards and focus on getting Spells and Enhancements instead. That is, however, just my suggestion.
It’s not about having the most number of Cards or having the most number of Land Cards that will make you a good Planeswalker. It is the Laws one has that matters. I have personally witnessed many apprentices that have countless Cards and a large Elemental Pool, but they never got to become a true Planeswalker. My master became a true Planeswalker at the age of forty-five, and he was considered as one of the most talented Planeswalker even to this day. Brat, I do hope you surpass that record… Take it as some sort of wish from me.”
Ina smiled as she said that.
When Brendel whispered those words, there was a noisy rumble that came from above. The two craned their necks upwards to see the Fireclaw Chieftain Ropar climbing down from a small tunnel above with a flaming trident in its hand. His movements looked so comical Brendel could not help but laugh. Andrea was nowhere to be seen.
With that personality of hers, it was kinda expected.
Ropar bowed down slightly, softly speaking, “Sir, Ciel has managed to dig out a tunnel outside.”
Brendel cast a glance at Ina and saw the determination in her faint smile. "Go,” she added like an encouragement. “Paradise of Adversity will soar to new heights with you as its wielder. Soon, after many lunar cycles, I hope to hear stories of your legendary feats ringing across the worlds like my Master did before. Don’t let me down, brat.”
Brendel pursed his lips.
“I know of a place that has creatures with similar problems as you did," he said as he remembered his adventured back when he was playing it like a game. But unsure of the connection between the two cases, he still spoke, “I’ll get there one day and find a solution to your problems. You’re right, Lady Ina, we really have to hold the reigns of our own fate.”
Ina merely smiled. Brendel turned around, nodding to Ropar to signal their departure.
He could hear Ina approaching, thinking that she had changed her mind. But as he turned, he was shocked to see Ina rushing towards him at startling speed and kissed him. Before he could react, the icy lips had connected with his.
Brendel was taken aback and took the attack head-on. He could only smell the slight hint of sweetness that lingered in the air - like that of a goddess.
Brendel was shocked. But not because he was being kissed in surprise, but that she was forcefully pushing her lips against his, like a wicked female bandit. His dignity as a man surfaced. He would definitely not allow a female to have the upper hand! He hugged her waist to counterattack, but she had slyly backed away and laughed at him.
"I await your good news. That was to complete my side of the promise and so we’re even now. Regardless of how the tin can is right now, you have helped me fulfill my wish. But I will be sure to wait for you to reward me the next time.”
Ina giggled and frolicked her tongue as if she was savoring the moment she had just now.
"Lady...Ina...you!" Brendel stuttered as he stared at her, his eyes wide with fury but his mind blank. He awoke from his stupor and turned to his aide, his face black with ire, "You didn't see anything."
"Of course, my lord. Ciel will not hear a single word about it," Ropar answered honestly.
“Fuck! So you were planning to spill the beans if I hadn’t stopped you?" Brendel was sweating buckets.
And wait, why is Ciel the first thing on this lizard brain?! And isn’t it obvious to hide everything from Romaine about everyone else? Just how much does that bastard like to gossip!
Brendel suddenly felt the need to punish the Highland Wizard that had fantasized too much about romcom drama. And as he cursed in his head, he could hear Orthylss berating him,
"You lowly scum! You better go wash your mouth before you ever want to speak with me ever again!”