The Heart of Frost was not an equipment, neither was it an Enhancement Crystal or any type of material or a decorative gem. It was just a consumable item whose only use was to increase the user's wind and water element pool by 5%, but it could only be used once in a user’s life.
Something like this was, undoubtedly, the type of loot that Brendel needed right now.
In fact, it could be the most critical part of his path as a Planeswalker, something that Tuman didn’t imagine -- equipment, special items, consumable things that could help users level up, or enhancement crystals. Warndt had many equipment and enhancers like the Heart of Frost or Star of Flames that could expand an element pool -- of course, in order to balance things out, with the exception of a few divine artifacts or ancient relics, any of the similar magical items or fantasy items wouldn’t raise the element pool by much.
But don’t forget, Brendel himself was special.
Because he had two element pools, the effect of these items on him was doubled. For example, though the Heart of Frost expanded wind and water element pools by 5%, the effect for him would actually be an 10% increase.
Twice the increase was enough to shift the original balance.
Brendel even thought that Marsha was exceptionally good to him. Since the Stained Frost Forest Labyrinth was the most well known side quest in Aouine centered around frost beings, Brendel had been fairly certain even before starting the quest that he’d pick up something to expand his wind and water element pools. Still, he hadn’t expected the surprise to come this quickly.
The Heart of Frost only had a dropping rate of 0.003% in the game. That meant the region produced, on average, a single Heart of Frost every one to two months. But this time they only vanquished 20-30 frost demons and got one. According to the rules of the game, this could be considered unnaturally lucky.
More importantly, Maynild was the one who had gotten it. In Brendel’s heart, he considered Maynild to be just as unlucky as Bai Jia had been.
After enjoying the sense of extreme happiness, Brendel immediately used the Heart of Frost. The two element pool’s wind and water stats immediately showed:
[Wind… wind… water… water…]
Brendel knew that the algorithm for expanding element pools in game calculated equipment, enhancement crystals, and levelling up independently. In addition to directly increasing the basic stats, everything else would be modified by a multiplier. Therefore, he wasn’t that concerned about the order of application.
But due to the element pool expanding, the system signaled that his card pool also increased to… something that was a welcome surprise.
Because this indirectly proved his hypothesis --
The Planeswalker path he planned for himself had been formed on the basis of using eight or more Planeswalker creatures to quickly build up an advantage on the battlefield. Every one of them would be a Planeswalker; in other words, a channel to drawing and playing more cards. Every round, he could draw 10 cards and play 10 cards. At the very start, he could have 80 cards. What would that look like?
Even a newly minted Planeswalker apprentice would surely understand how terrifying that would be.
But the only drawback to his card pool was the limit placed upon his deck and the size of his element pools. Kelsie’s hypothesis had its weaknesses too. Planeswalker creatures themselves couldn’t provide an element pool and card deck pool. This meant that at least eight Planeswalkers would need to draw power from his element pool and share just two card decks.
A regular Planeswalker’s element pool and card deck might not be able to sustain repeated use, which meant that it could result in it being exhausted immediately.
What’s more, Brendel wasn’t interested in creating a loop in the traditional sense. If he wanted a loop, then why would he go to the trouble of making this current deck? It’s not that he hadn’t considered these problems, but he only knew how to solve the problem.
His solution was actually pretty simple. Using the natural advantage that came with being a high level player, he would go after equipment that expanded his element pool and then use a large number of those items to support a huge element pool. In return, the huge element pool would bring about a huge card deck.
He could use this trick to get around the so-called ‘bottleneck’ issue of his Planeswalker deck.
Of course, this plan may look simple but was, in fact, near impossible for anyone else except for Brendel. Warndt’s world was so huge and a limited number of ruins and underground cities were scattered throughout its vast land. The process of trying to find equipment that matched his desired attributes from the millions and tens of millions of magical equipment would, undoubtedly, take a lifetime.
Naturally you could also make your own, but those skills came from when the power of magic had been at its peak in the ancient times. Ever since Ebabel Fort fell, those skills had been lost. Most of the highest ranking equipment in Warndt were gifts from the past.
How could the skills of the Black Dwarves possibly surpass those of the gold and platinum bloodlines, which had been blessed?
This was to say nothing of the divine artifacts, which belonged to the gods, that were now lost to history. Those were not things that could be created in the time of mortals.
But these problems weren’t really problems for Brendel because these were the things he was good at. What equipment came from which side quest, what treasure box hid what he wanted… finding this information was as easy for him as eating or drinking.
The only unfortunate thing was he had been a warrior in his past life, so he knew very little about the top equipment for mages.
Though unexpectedly, this problem was halfway to being solved right now.
--- because Bai Jia had been a mage, an elemental mage.
The Heart of Frost vanished from his hands once it had been used, as if it was being eroded. Brendel looked at the newly opened up card pool and drew out a card from his back-up card pool -- Pristine Archangel -- and put it within Pahimila’s belief deck.
The silver flames immediately ignited on the surface of the card. After the flames extinguished, the Pristine Archangel immediately looked differently:
Faith Belief III
Spend 50 EP and put the Avenging Angel (the same level as Priest Himilude) into the field. He will perform an attack on every enemy that has done damage to the summoner.
Redemption: When the Avenging Angel enters the field, select the top three cards from the graveyard and reshuffle them into their respective card decks.
Maintain: The Avenging Angel can be maintained till it successfully attacks once.
“-- the music of mass sounds as if from above the clouds; the holy light descends from the heavens and those who have passed shall be revived”
Brendel jumped when he saw the card. Even though since becoming an official Planeswalker, every card that joined the deck made from his law would level up, this was the first time he had seen such levelling up to this extent.
He couldn’t help but stare at it in a daze, momentarily uncertain about what the key to all of this was. But just then, the sound of footsteps came from the forest behind him. Maynild was clearly on her way back. He hurriedly put away the card and turned around to see the female knight’s hand wrapped in bandage.
“Are you alright?” He asked with some concern.
“No need to concern yourself, it’s just a small wound,” Maynild answered calmly. The female knight came to stand next to Brendel by the shores of the shining lake. He looked at the huge island in the center of the lake. On the lake was a forest of broadleaves that was different from elsewhere.
Those trees seemed to be deciduous trees like oaks or mangroves, but their trunks and leaves were a silvery gray like they were carved from ice. The frosted forest stood on the opposite bank of the lake and, from a distance, it looked like a snow white castle.
“The Crystal Stag is within that forest,” Maynid explained. “Do you plan on crossing over directly?”
Brendel looked at the surface of the lake, still as a mirror, and shook his head. “I’m afraid it’s not that simple. The forest across the lake should be the Foggy Ice Bloom Forest. I hear the Crystal Stags live in symbiosis with some ice fairies and those fairies normally reside near the shores of the lake. I don’t think they’ll let us get through that easily.”
“From the sound of it, you came prepared?” Maynild turned around to look at him.
Brendel nodded. Though his naturally sharp instincts as a player have regressed quite a bit, he wouldn’t forget some of the basics. For example, doing a thorough investigation and preparation before undertaking any mission. That was something he absolutely would not forget.
Even if he couldn’t find the River of Magic, he had prepared some substitute props before Maynild came along. Some magical items like the White Deer Statue could mimic probing the darkness, but its effect wasn’t as good as someone with experience.
“But we can try it first,” he answered after a brief moment of contemplation.
Maynild drew out her sword and asked, “You or me first?”
“I’ll do it,” Brendel answered. Ice fairies were level 32 creatures and though they were a little bit weaker than Maynild, they clearly wouldn’t be by themselves. Furthermore, their home turf was near the lake.
With those words, he lifted Harlan Gaia and slowly waded into the lake. Just as Maynild said, the lake waters were shallow; in most cases the water barely reached his knees. The lake was a decent size, but it seemed like it was just a thin layer of water.
In real life, this kind of scenario could only be seen near swamps or wetlands. But Warndt itself was a world governed by Law, so Brendel didn’t find such a scene remarkable at all.
If you’ve seen things like a river made of burning flames, then you wouldn’t be surprised merely by a shallow lake.
But Brendel had only walked about 20 to 30 meters and was still two-thirds of the way away from the other shore when he suddenly realized that something wasn’t right.
He looked down and saw the surface of the water around him rippling even though there was no breeze.
“Such a warm way to welcome guests,” Brendel couldn’t help but mutter. He immediately recognized this as a prelude to the spell -- summoning water elementals. The facts proved him right when the riples started moving violently and, in a blink of the eye, a watery hill jutted out from the surface of the water.
Then, with a booming crash, the gathered lake water seemed to collapse. A humongous giant, purely made of lake water, rose up from the surface of the lake. That creature seemed to have inherited none of the gentleness of water and was violent and easily agitated. It immediately threw a water ball at Brendel.
Brendel took one look at the diameter of the water and cursed in his mind.
That water ball was at least 30 meters in diameter.
Of course, that thing wouldn’t do any damage to him. But Brendel knew all too well what the damned ice fairies will do next. As soon as he gets hit by the water ball, the enemy will definitely use their ice magic and freeze him inside it.
It would be akin to a fly being frozen in amber.
Brendel had seen this kind of shameless tactic in the game with his own eyes.
What happened next made him even more frustrated. The originally calm surface of the lake rose and fell, and multiple water element beasts rose up from underneath the surface. Looking around, Brendel counted over a hundred of them.
“Dammit!” Brendel knew with absolute certainty that at least half of the damned water elementals were mirror images since that was also a classic water spell. But right now he didn’t have the time to distinguish the real from the fake because he had no desire to be turned into a slab of frozen pork meat.
He took one last glance at the lake and forgot all about his desire to cross. Marsha above, who knew how many ice fairies were gathered on the island. A spell spread out over such a large area was not something that just a couple hundred of ice fairies could accomplish.
Brendel didn’t think twice. He turned his head around and yelled at Maynild, “Run!”