"If you truly can create a Rune Item to order, I would request one to test the true future development of potential candidates. Many can test for aptitude, but aptitude and achievement are two very different things. I want to know of the greatest accomplishment they will make." The man who had just taken a strike from the Crushing Mountain Elder requested.
"A prophetic item? You understand that the future isn't set and that outside influences can change the course of your life, correct?" Cain asked.
"Many things in the Immortal Realms can change fate, but if there was never a chance of great accomplishment, then it never mattered what their potential could be." The Cultivator countered.
There was a lot of discussion in the crowd. An item that could see the many futures of a Candidate would be a huge boon to any Sect that got their hands on it. Simply being able to see the chance for a student to change the world would reveal the hidden geniuses whose accomplishments outshined their innate potential.
Potential only measured bloodline and innate cultivation aptitudes. It had no measuring standard for luck or fate, after all.
Cain thought about the proposal for a while and then decided that it would be easy enough to do. With the Runes for Fate, Prophecy, and accomplishment, as well as the rune for Light, he could create an item that glowed more brightly for people who had bright potential futures.
The big question was if the man in front of him could afford it. Cain wasn't willing to hand out something that interesting to a random stranger for nothing, after all.
"What do you have that could interest me?" Cain asked, hoping that the man really did have something good.
The cultivator snorted. "Just a greedy charlatan, scamming people out of their treasures, I knew it."
"Did you think I was making Rune Items for free? Is the Forbidden Treasure Sect well known for its charity work? Everyone else has paid for the creations I have made, so what can you offer that would entice me to make a Stone of Fate for you?" Cain replied evenly.
"If he can't pay, I will." A booming voice announced from the air above them, and a Divine Level cultivator landed directly in front of the stall.
"City Lord, it is a pleasure to see you here. What attracted your attention?" The man who was clearly here only to cause trouble for Cain requested politely.
"I heard what you asked for as I was on patrol. If you can't afford the price, I can. I will buy it and have it placed in the city square. Anyone who can activate it will be allowed to test themselves if it is a genuine item. I have already reached Divinity, though it is only the earliest stages of the Demigod Rank. It is no problem for me to see into the potential future of those around me." The City Lord replied while giving Cain a curious look.
Having someone see his past and future could be a rather delicate and dangerous situation for Cain, who wasn't yet in the Immortal Realm. The City Lord was immeasurably more powerful than he was, and Cain really wasn't looking forward to the chances of being squashed like a bug.
The City Lord's presence did present a unique opportunity for Cain to complete his quest though. What fool would dare start a war when the highest power in the city was sitting right in front of them? He could complete the assignment, do a few more simple requests, and then collect the quest and call it a day.
"Sir, would you care to join us? It is quite comfortable here out of the direct sunlight." Cain offered, gesturing to the open seat where Luna was earlier.
"I spend too much time cultivating or doing paperwork. A moment to stretch my legs is a rare opportunity." The City Lord declined the offer with a faint smile.
Luna arrived with lunch just then and place the platters of sandwiches and sweets on the table with a careful movement that Cain recognized as great concern that she might spill the pastries.
"Alright, I will finish this task first, so don't eat all the food while I work."Cain cautioned his daughter, who already had a small square of roast meat sandwich in each hand.
"I will ask them to bring more over." Luna agreed, then began carefully eating, making sure she didn't drop any crumbs.
That wasn't what he meant, but close enough.
"Alright, if it is going in the city square, I will need to use something large," Cain told the crowd, then summoned a Granite Golem to stand beside him.
With a thought, the Golem made a statue of a Seraphim with their wings folded in front of them, wearing a light Toga that was the Seraphim version of fully clothed for interactions with the other species.
"You seem quite familiar with the Seraphim." The City Lord stated, repressing most of his curiosity until Cain finished the design.
"I spent a bit of time around one, that's all." Cain shrugged off the man's intrigue and turned the two-meter-tall statue so it was lying on the ground in behind the table.
"This might be harder for some to see, but the end result is all that most of you care about anyhow, so that is fine. If you want to see more clearly, just fly up a little so you can see over the crowd."
Cain began carving the runes on the base of the statue, on the roundel under its feet, and the stone began to give off an unmistakable aura of prophecy, filling the crowd with awe for the level of power and control being shown, even if they couldn't understand the technique being employed.
Cain finished the first layer and had the Granite Golem encase it in another layer of stone so that he could repeat the process. In order to make the process scale properly, he either needed to inscribe the runes repeatedly all over the statue or make layers so that the light would scale properly.
Over and over, Cain inscribed the runes, altering them a little every time so that the enchantment could be linked to look into multiple likely futures at the same time when he finished. That was how the process was described in the textbook that he had learned from, but Cain had never done anything this intricate before, and there was a rather high chance that he would fail and have to start over.
That would be embarrassing, but he could complete it in only a few tries, even if the first try failed. Unless his luck was really bad, that was.
Most of the afternoon passed with the crowd watching with rapt attention while Cain finished a hundred layers to make a proper prophetic statue. Even if there were a one percent chance of the user doing something noteworthy, it would glow a little.
If that something noteworthy were actually incredible, it would be brighter, and with higher chances, the glow would be larger. Runes had something akin to a will of their own, so Cain couldn't guarantee which portion of the Statue would light up unless he bound the Runes to specific spots, but for prophecy, that would be more difficult, owing to the fact that the chances were coming from different realities.
That would make using this statue a bit of an adventure, as they would have to search it for a spot that lit up if their chances of a bright future were dim and unlikely. Cain had confidence that it would light up, though.
With all of the layers done, Cain covered the base with one more layer, forming a plinth half as tall as the statue he had started with. It left the beautiful Seraphim, which bore an uncanny resemblance to Evangeline, standing on a meter-tall round pillar, clearly visible over the crowd when Cain let the Granite Golem use [Earth Manipulation] to stand it upright in front of his booth.
The aura of Holiness caused by recreating the image of a true Seraphim mixed with the aura of prophecy caused by the Runes the moment that Cain poured mana into the statue to activate it for the first time.
The pulse couldn't be ignored. Even those in the camps on the far side of the city could feel the activation of the statue with their highly attuned senses, bringing dozens of powerful Cultivators over.
"There we go. A true masterpiece, perhaps the greatest item I have ever crafted." Cain told the City Lord proudly.
The other man was staring at the Seraphim, unable to believe what he was seeing, despite having watched it being created. Then he looked from the statue to Cain and back again before walking over and placing a hand on the statue's foot.
He channeled a bit of Divine Power into the statue, and an immediate surge of light filled the afternoon sky with a piercing white light.
First, the eyes, then the wings of the statue, lit up with white light brighter than any illumination spell Cain had ever seen, and he began to wonder if he had made a mistake on the calibration of the item.
"The Divine Dragon Elder once said that I had the chance to slay a Demon Lord and protect the entire world. It seems that the chances of that battle happening are much higher than I had hoped." The City Lord spoke softly, bringing everyone back to their senses as the light faded.