Making a rune from nothing but intent and energy was easier said than done. And, in what may have been the most ludicrous thought that anyone within the kingdom had ever dared to allow grace their mind, it struck Noah that he’d have to be careful to not accidentally make a Master Rune.

I don’t know exactly how it works or why something is a Master Rune rather than a normal one, but I don’t need more Master Runes right now. I mean, they probably wouldn’t hurt, but I’m trying to push toward Rank 5. A Master Rune won’t help me there.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t like he could just flip a switch to determine what Rune he’d end up with. He’d only tried to form a rune once before. There wasn’t anything he could have researched about it, even if he’d wanted to.

Making runes was supposed to be impossible. At least, that was what the common knowledge in the kingdom was. If someone else had figured it out, they definitely weren’t going around telling people.

The noble families were full of stingy bastards, so Noah wouldn’t have been surprised in the slightest if they were just a step away from actually figuring something out but were unable to put things together because nobody would work together.

Okay. Enough of that. I need to focus. Forget the noble families. Making a rune from scratch requires energy charged with power and borderline perfect intent. You need to be incredibly familiar with the focus of the rune you’re trying to form or it’ll shatter and fail to form.

I knew life and death better than space, but I think I’ve got enough of a grasp on this to form it correctly. I think I need to work in reverse. If I try to encapsulate the entirety of space into this rune, there are two options.


First, I form a Master Rune and don’t progress my actual goal in the slightest. Second, my rune is way too broad and it isn’t anywhere near highly ranked enough to contain it. That lands me with a shitty rune that I need to reform.

The concept of space was so incredibly grand that Noah was pretty sure it could have been a Rank 8 Rune — or higher. He didn’t really have a frame of reference for what the most powerful runes were.

In the end, it didn’t matter. He needed to intentionally limit just how much scope the rune covered. That meant determining exactly what elements of space he wanted to try to bring in and which ones he wanted to leave for later when his Rank advanced to the point where he could handle more power.

“Brayden mentioned just how much energy long range teleportation cost,” Noah mused to himself, his words echoing through the darkness of his mindspace. “If I assume that every rune has a set amount of potential it can handle per tier, long range teleportation would probably consume a ton of that potential — or more realistically, barely work at all. The Rune is still a Rank 4, and it seemed like Brayden was capped at midrange teleporting.”

Everything he knew about teleportation implied it was immensely resource hungry. But, more importantly, there was a bigger problem with it that he’d already briefly thought of. Noah didn’t properly understand how teleportation worked.

Sure, he’d been through the transport cannon time and time again, but driving a car didn’t mean someone actually knew how to build one. And, if he had even the slightest desire to make a flawless rune, he couldn’t afford to be that clueless as to what was in it.


There wasn’t really any teleportation when I was standing around in the afterlife. I’ve spent a lot of time with space, but not that kind of space.

That meant teleportation wasn’t on the plans. Not for this rune. But, when his thoughts drifted to the space that he was most familiar with, there was only one thing that came to mind. A dry laugh slipped out of Noah’s mouth.

It was possibly the oddest usage of space possible. He had absolutely no idea if it was possible to contain it within a Rank 4, but it felt more realistic than stuffing teleportation or any other aspects into his build.

I think I’m going to need more than one Space-based Rune for my Rank 5, but I’ll deal with that later. This one is definitely going to take some work before I get it perfect, and some of that is only going to come with experience using it.

He spent a few more moments thinking through his idea to see if he could find any flaws within it. None immediately arose. That was more than enough for him. He’d been sitting around for enough time, and he was still far from the most patient man.

“Let’s get this started,” Noah said, extending his mind toward the grimoire in his lap. He’d already memorized the appearance of the runes he needed. Noah got to work pulling them into his mindspace.

Over the course of the next few minutes, he summoned two Rank 4 Runes and four Rank 3 Runes. Several of the Rank 3s darkened as the active slots in his soul filled and energy pulsed through Noah’s body with all the new power flooding through him.

He didn’t let himself get used to it. His soul was already large enough that any growth he got from subpar runes such as the ones he’d just drawn in was, while definitely present, not nearly worth the benefit of keeping them around.

Noah raised a hand and called the runes forth. They gathered before him, the weak amounts of pressure washing off them nothing but a light breeze in the face of Sunder or the Fragment of Renewal. That wasn’t to say they were weak. He’d just gotten so used to the immense power of his other runes that these paled in comparison.This tale has been unlawfully lifted without the author's consent. Report any appearances on Amazon.

There are a lot of runes here… but is this enough? I used up a lot of power making the Fragment of Renewal, and there’s one more bit missing. I need an inciting incident.

He almost laughed at his own thoughts, but he caught himself before he could. That would have been a whole new low. Inciting incident wasn’t exactly the most impressive way to put it, but that didn’t change anything.

When he’d made the Fragment of Renewal, he’d had to kill himself to activate all the energy and let him work with it. That wasn’t going to be any different with this rune.

The problem is… what do I do to activate space energy? I don’t think just standing around in space is going to be enough.

He crossed his legs and sat down in the center of his soul, drumming his fingers against his chin. His natural instinct was to try to kill himself again.

It’s not an addiction, Moxie. I swear. My gourd has to have some elements of space in it. Activating it could give me something to work with… but I’m not sure it would be enough. I need something more intensely related.

Noah’s eyes drifted across the darkness, landing on a thin white crack at the edge of his mind that had come from his latest death. It was small and hardly worth noticing. He wasn’t even sure if it was worth wasting the energy from the Fragment of Renewal to fix —


He rose to his feet and rose over to the damage to his soul, peering into it. Beyond was nothing but an endless pale void. It was impossible to tell how far it stretched. It was just… nothing. An expanse of emptiness.

Except there’s no such thing as truly empty. Even if nothing is there, that’s still space.

Noah reached out and brushed a finger against the crack. Electric tingles raced up his arm and he yanked his hand back, shaking it off and shuddering. But, despite the discomfort, a smile pulled across his lips.

This is it. This is what I need. I wouldn’t even dare doing anything without the Fragment of Renewal. But I’ve got the Fragment, which means I can be as stupid as I want to be as long as I don’t completely destroy my soul.

He called his space runes over to him again, then sat down beside the crack in his soul and got comfortable. There wasn’t going to be enough energy to have multiple shots at this, so he had to get it right the first time around.

Noah took another second to still his mind and focus. He pictured his goals, locking them at the forefront of his mind. Then he called on Sunder.

Veins turned black as its chilling power flowed through him. The runes floating before Noah trembled, but he held them there. He’d be on a timer the instant one of them broke. Every second would count, and he couldn’t waste even a thought.

It’s time to make that Rank 4.

Noah’s hand carved horizontally through the air, brushing across each of the Space Runes. A black line streaked after it. For an instant, the seven runes hovered in place like a breath of air caught within lungs.

Then, one after the other, they shattered in rapid succession. Power erupted from the Runes and flew out in a hazy purple wave, but Noah wasn’t done. Sunder flashed again. And again. Every single time runes flew out from the wreckage of their former selves, Noah carved them apart again. He didn’t have time to deal with it or inspect each rune, so every single one was split.

He continued until they were nothing but Rank 1s, and then he split those as well. Within just moments, all that remained before him was a sea of concentrated energy — but it wasn’t just space. It was riddled with power from other runes that didn’t belong that had been part of the combinations.

Noah didn’t bother worrying about the excess energy. It wasn’t going to be able to react with his inciting incident, so it would get separated out from the space energy soon enough. Anything that remained could be used to fill up his new rune. What was important now was the energy that did matter.

Noah extended his senses to the purple haze and the vastness of space greeted him. It was only a dirty window into the true potential of Space Magic, but it was all Noah needed. He gathered it to him, letting its feeling flood into his stomach like thousands of butterflies.

Gritting his teeth, Noah reached down to the crack in his soul. His fingers tingled violently as he worked them into it to find purchase. His hands tightened around its dark edges. Then he ripped the crack open.

A violent tremor shot up his arms and into his body. Trails of white energy rose up from the self-inflicted soul wound and burned into his soul, trying to split him apart at the seams. Noah didn’t have an instant to waste.

As large as his soul was, it couldn’t withstand this forever. He gathered all the space energy around him. He focused on the thrumming feeling racing through his limbs and into his chest. His thoughts sharpened and he brought his intent to the forefront of his mind.

Noah drew all the energy into himself. It swirled within his body for a brief instant. Intent mixed with the white void, and both mixed with the space energy. It churned like a storm within him, trying to break free.

He didn’t let it. Noah’s grip tightened on the power as he forced his intent to take the forefront once more. Bands of his will wrapped around the magic, impressing his desires upon it. Veins of white traveled up his arms and they started to turn translucent.

Noah shot to his feet. White and purple power roiled around his hands and arced like a miniature bolts of lightning. He could hold it no longer. Noah released the power, driving his intent into it once more as it rocketed out of his body.

A jagged white line carved through the air before him, flickers of purple smoke swirling within it. Then came another, and another. A rune started to form in the air before him. Noah gritted his teeth, pushing more energy into it.

Cracks of white spread through his soul from the wound. He was drawing so deeply on it that the wound was expanding.

Time ground by at an agonizingly slow pace. It felt like every line took an hour to carve, but Noah didn’t relent. He drew on his memories of the Line and bound the rune with them, refusing to allow even the slightest deviation of his command.

Pain pulsed through Noah. He gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes as his hands clenched at his sides. The rune faded in and out before his eyes as his head swam. With a cry, he shoved the last of the space energy he’d gathered into it, leaving behind only the miscellaneous power from the other runes.

Noah dropped to his knees, gasping for breath as iron bands tightened around his head and squeezed. He desperately drew on the Fragment of Renewal and shoved its power into his soul, halting the advance of the cracks before they could spread further.

He dragged his gaze up from the floor.

Floating before him was a glistening rune. Complex lines of white intertwined with each other in ways that the eye couldn’t properly comprehend at first glance. Within them shimmered faint purple smoke.

The rune was whole.

“I did it,” he breathed, extending a trembling hand toward the newly formed rune.

Noah didn’t have the energy to finish the motion. He pitched forward, falling to the ground of his mindspace as unconsciousness took him — but it couldn’t take the weary grin that was plastered across his face.