Shoot and dodge, shoot and dodge, that was the routine of his experimentation to see if anything they could create could hurt the monster in the sky as Thera burned unheard-of levels of mana, to the point that Ben had to create light-enchanted bands partway into their testing just to speed up her recovery.

His first round of experiments had been aimed to see if the creature would show any particular reaction when hit with any of Thera’s spells, but as she switched between weakening dark spells to complex life ones and combined options like the petrification she was skilled at, not one worked. It was like it had a body that rejected the magic of the universe, which for all Ben knew might have been true.

That led to a different attempt to look for some sort of reaction against any of the natural elements of the world, but after weaving his mind into Thera’s to help her materialize each and every one, he didn’t see any different result. The creature still reacted, but as if it was dealing with a minor annoyance instead of a genuine threat and that lack of attention on them left it to continue drifting across the sky at a speed they needed to rush to keep up with.

With that failure as well, he moved on to his next round of testing, one far harder to pull off as he attempted to see if it would react to any particular forms or configurations of mana that Thera couldn’t pull off herself, leading him to get her to rip spheres of stone from the ground as he poured his own mana into enchanting on each of them before they were blasted out, again with almost no effect as he struggled to figure out what to do from there.

It hasn’t shown any variance in reaction to the regular mana or matter of the universe, nor any of the enchantments I’ve added. Where does that leave us? I could try to make antimatter again and likely blow the two of us up too in the process so I don’t really love that idea. Plus, just because it reacts violently to the typical matter of the universe doesn’t mean I have any reason to believe it will act differently on this thing when I don’t even know what it’s made of. Hell, for all I know it’s not even charged in any normal way.

So then what? I just got this new handy rule bender skill. Assuming this thing is properly made of foreign matter, maybe it will show some reaction against different forms of foreign matter. Could that be something?

Of course, it’s still going to have the same issue I’d expect for using antimatter. For one, the quantities I’d want to make to attack it would one hundred percent blow us up too which isn’t really ideal. Not much point in saving the world if I need to die to do it, and just as importantly, let the gods off the hook for paying me back for my service. I just know those cheap assholes aren’t going to pass on anything I earned to my next of kin. Not that I have any of those on the planet. Which reminds me, I really should get around to making a will at some point. Kind of late for that now though.


…Okay, back on topic, where does that leave me? If I look at the bigass pile of magic materials I’d just discovered, I could hypothetically get Thera to create maybe fifty-five of them between all of the non-affinitied options and her three affinitied ones, with only the small issue of the fact that I don’t know what almost any of them do. Suddenly really wishing I’d properly taken a few days to try and study them myself instead of just tossing it off to the crafting gods to research. Damn it all, I need something!

He felt the pressure building as he looked around. While Thera had the mercy of being blinded for her own safety, Ben was left looking between the beast and its casual destruction. Each swipe they avoided left canyons in the ground as the air was filled with dirt and shook the lands for miles around. Even if it seemed to take no effort from the unnatural being, getting hit would be a death sentence.

It made him want to grab at his skull from the lack of options, what could he even do? He could keep trying different arrangements of matter in the hopes that one would show any reaction when struck against the body of the monster but he doubted it would make any difference at that point, and he wasn’t left with much hope for enchantments either.

…Stop thinking about pointless stuff. If it’s alive then it can die. Just keep testing till something works.If you encounter this tale on Amazon, note that it's taken without the author's consent. Report it.

They’d only been at it for a couple hours, no reason to think a solution would present itself so soon so he did his best to keep his mind sharp, getting ready for a long haul.



He’d gotten to the point that he had even given in to testing as many of the the unknown magic materials Thera could create which hadn’t worked either, bringing him to the point where he had to question if he was really going to risk it all by trying to make either antimatter or foreign matter, with both options feeling like a nightmare as all of the minds in his head that weren’t rushing to guide Thera so they wouldn’t be hit were focusing on trying to figure out how to make either of those completely unviable options even a little bit safer.

It was like he had the instructions to make a couple of nukes living in his head but couldn’t put them to work without catching himself in the blast radius, so where did that even leave him?

…Damn it, there’s a couple more things I can think of for completeness sake but if none of those options can manage then I might have to do it. Fuck.

As he prepared to resolve himself to create some of the most dangerous substances the universe had ever seen, he first filled Thera’s mind with the instructions she’d need to create some that would be far less threatening, not having her make it out of any real belief it would work but instead as a way of putting off what was beginning to feel like the inevitable end point that all of his failed testing was leading to.

Under the power of her non-affinitied magic, Ben had her create a range of the worlds gasses, only frozen to a solidified state before shooting them out all at once, not having any hope that they’d give a different result from the rest he’d tested and making him less concerned with carefully observing them each as individual tests, only for that to be the time he got an actual change.

Amongst the various frozen boulders of gas he had Thera fire off, one was caught by the creature. Not intentionally so much as through luck and chance as the monster’s body continued to warp, with one of the ripples it went through taking it in before its flesh began to expand and blow out from the pressure created by the evaporating gas, finally showing Ben a potential path.

A path that began by finally making the creature mad. All at once, more tendrils appeared than in any of his prior attempts, not just smashing down on the environment but instead once again smashing space itself, creating cracks in the fabric of existence itself as Ben rushed to make Thera evade, doing everything he could to make sure they’d survive now that the monster finally had a real target, them.

But that’s good. Ben thought to himself as he tried to keep just how life and death things had become from passing through the connection. It suddenly wants us dead, that implies we hurt it, that’s probably a good step forward, right?

It was an attitude he was forcing himself to take as attacks swung down, with more than a few seeming to appear from nowhere. A limb hundreds of meters long appeared mid-swing mere feet from their face, forcing Ben to grab Thera and yank her down as the two hit the floor of the basket at the same time the tendril hit its rim, sending them flying through the sky while Ben smashed his head against the stone side, momentarily stunning him before he could help Thera get it back under control.

By the time they did though, another was already on its way, making the two jerk into the air to avoid it as they were all but thrown into the sky in an attempt to escape while more appeared, trying to corner them at all angles.

And probably succeeding. If this thing is somehow forcing more dimensions of space on reality than the universe normally has then it’s probably got us cornered in ways that shouldn’t even exist. Myriad, please tell me you’re around! We’ve got this thing’s attention, now just point out where we can run so I can figure out how to start making use of that fact!

<Directly behind you, full speed. As long as you keep going generally straight that way then you’ll have a long while before you’ll be at risk of encountering anyone who could accidentally see it.>

Cool, fingers crossed this works out then!

At his direction, Thera shot them back, both smacking into the basket’s sides from so rapidly changing their direction as Ben got front-row seats to seeing limbs phasing in and out of reality around them as they just barely passed through five trying to ensnare them, making him think they’d only just made it until the monster once again lashed out at space itself, not stopping as it cracked but continued on its assault against reality as a whole until even the cracks opened, letting Ben peek into eternity beyond.