Prologue to Book Five

Transmultiversal space, Aelryinth...

Ahg, ahg, ahg!

It hurt so much, but I was almost done.

The Curse was down to a fraction of its original strength, chopped off as I’d severed off Karma and sent it and the Curse in that part of my soul spilling away. Severed from its main purpose and technically completing it, as it was no longer connected to me, the Curse Magic would fade away.

One more, one more and the Curse would be broken and unable to fix itself. Pact Magic swirled around me, the Whispers of Heaven steeled me against the pain and anticipation of that pain. I grit my teeth as an aspect of Eldritch Will coalesced into a cutting beam of force as the chopped and mangled Curse, mindless but endlessly persistent, spilled itself into a just-emptied corner of my mind and wiped the Karma there clean of any traces of me, rampaging everywhere as secondary bursts of Pact Magic gnawed on and destroyed it...




The last severed chunk of Karma, equal to ten Levels at Nine, spun away from me as part of me shuddered in total agony at the pain of having my soul cut for the seventh time.

The other part, with a Concentration Check in the 90’s, totally ignored the soul-rending pain and continued with both the copy/pasting, vacating my mind in front of the Curse and copying it back in behind, while Eldritch energy hissed and cut constantly at the lethal combination of Death and Curse Magic whose center was now gone, but whose power was continuing on mindlessly regardless.

But now I could beat it in a respectable amount of time, as opposed to potentially years chasing it round and round inside my head...

I tumbled on through the astral space, unable to stop myself as yet, but feeling myself slowing down as extraneous use of the Curse’s energies petered out. It still had the strength to impel me, but it didn’t have the organization or focus to do so, spiraling out of control slowly as those thoughtstreams ripped out its remaining core directives.

BE GONE was now something more like Be gaWn, and getting worse slowly but surely.


Where I was going to end up I still didn’t know, but it was coming soon...


The bundle of Karma left behind tumbled freely through the astral space, tugged by astral currents.

The residual Curse magic rampaged through it, but found no trace of its target there. The identity it had been meant to wipe was gone, and without purpose, the Curse effectively dispersed itself.

However, that very targeting parameter meant it had a partial record of who and what it was supposed to be targeting. As its power dissolved into that soul, the disrupted and completely severed bundle of what was actually a chunk of soul gathered on the framework of the Curse, and metaphorically ‘woke up’.



“Ow!” I winced, my last memory being of severing, severed from, my own brain. I would have blinked my eyes, but I was a chunk of soul and didn’t have any. I tumbled freely through the astral space, trying but unable to control myself, and eventually just resigned myself to the timeless view of shifting mental stars, the swirling currents of mental and spiritual energy that flowed like clouds and astral oceans in thaumic colors of emotion and desires of all kinds, and I wondered where I was going to go.

I was caught in an astral river of some kind, a sparkling thing going who knew where or what. I didn’t have enough spiritual mass to fight it, even after I began to recover my wits and shake off the terrific pain that was my first memory of my own.

My own...

I eyed the rough copy of Aelryinth’s memories I had, but the simple fact I could look at them and recall them made it quite apparent they were copies. They didn’t have the emotional depth and attachments they should have, like I was looking at someone else’s life. Sure, some key moments came through strong and clear, like when The Thing opened up...

I convulsed, and then hurriedly buried that memory back deep as I mentally retched again and again. No, I didn’t want to recall that again. I had the pain of being cut from another soul as my origin, and Aelryinth had The Fall... I didn’t need the trauma of both affecting me.


I didn’t know how long I’d been drifting, when something swirled through the currents of the astral river, visibly disturbing the fog-sparkles of it, and descended upon me.

Hello, this is Aelryinth. As I Send this, it’s been two days since I arrived at my destination. I have just received a message from the first of the seven of you, informing me that you aren’t random blank Karma, but actual soul-shards of me.

No wonder it hurt so damn much.

My apologies putting you through all this. You know I’ll help if I can... and I’m going to be coming back your ways regardless.

I’m sure you all have names you’ll choose for yourselves, but for now I’m going to refer you to what I suggest your Rings be... Einz, Zvei, Drei, Veir, Funf, Zeks, and Zeben.

I don’t know where you are or how to get to you, but you all know where I came from, and I’ll do my best to find you if possible.

In the meantime, here’s some information that Einz has discovered that may or may not be of use to you, depending on where you end up…

Well, that had certainly been informative. So was the information that a Sending at VII could hunt us all down.

Not that I could do anything about it, stuck here drifting to wherever I was going, and trusting in Mithar that it would be somewhere useful to do something.

Eh, that was a strange view down there...

The astral river was being drawn to a star or point or wall or something. It was hazy and cloudy, yet scintillating, clearly drinking in the magic of the astral realm, a curtain to somewhere inside another sphere of influence.

I’d been trying to reapply my Karma mentally and build up something here, but for some reason the astral river was disrupting my attempts, as if I didn’t have a proper form and foundation. I could only be swept along here towards that wall, and get poured out of interdimensional space into some place that was actually real...



This is Book Five of the Power of Ten, covering the adventures of another one of Aelryinth’s soul shards, Shard Zeben, the last of them to be cut away as the Be Gone Curse tries to eradicate the Magos, and is cut apart in turn.

Zeben will also be the nearest and first-met of the Shards when Aelryinth comes back from wherever he’s being sent (that story is on Patreon).

This book takes place in a world outside the Power of Ten’s default power structure, specifically a world similar to that of Versatile Mage.

Those of you who have been following my stories for a long time know that I was editor on the translated Chinese Webnovel Versatile Mage. This was one of the first, bigger, and more successful of the Chinese transmigration novels, where an ungifted slacker in the normal world goes to sleep and is sent off to a magical version of Earth, where magic replaced science, and where he is not only gifted, he has one of the most powerful magical gifts on the planet, with access to literally twice as many Elements of magic as anyone else.

I was the editor for the entire English translation of the webnovel of Versatile Mage, up to the 2684 chapter, when the translator, Xephiz, graduated and left the translation behind. The translator following us has basically ignored our work and used his own terms and machine translation, without an editor, and the quality of it basically fell off a hill as a result.

I actually have not read the completed novel (there’s some eh!-quality Russian translations around), and I’m not intending to, as this story will have a different protagonist and a different focus. The original novel has a light novel, a comic book, and an anime with several seasons behind it, a very successful thing for a Chinese novel. I have read a summation on the story’s wiki, so I have a rough idea of how it ends up with Mo Fan.

As a bonus for my Patreon Readers, our copies of the Chapters Xephiz and I worked on are available up through Chapter 2684 inside the Public Folders of my Patreon! As the novel’s later chapters are under a paywall on, you may want to indulge. Just a note that many of the pages were re-edited as they were being posted to Webnovel, so minor errors will exist. The first hundred or two chapters are a little rough as we get terms right and find our style, but they smooth out later.

Themes of Versatile Mage are heavy with corruption of power, reliance on people over devices, extremely powerful natural enemies contesting with humanity that normal folks can’t match, and anime levels of power that are extremely inconsistent and ignore time and physics and stuff. Furthermore, the MC, Mo Fan, is a talented idiot and total slacker, so introducing science is completely not possible, as he doesn’t have a clue how true science works. There are no firearms or artillery or tanks, all the power is with higher-Level mages and people, and all the technomagic just takes the place of everyday tech, it isn’t weaponized for anything.

The Magic System in Versatile Mage is sorcery-based, from a PoT perspective. You open one of the basic Seven Spheres of magic Elements when young, and after you pass certain breakpoints, you open more Spheres, and are exposed to different Elements as possibilities. It uses a spell point/mana pool system, where each Element you own has its own pool of power, but there are synergies and benefits to having multiple Elements and higher Levels of power. Very pointedly, opening new Spheres and improving them increases both your physical and mental ability, and higher-Level mages are far more physically and mentally capable than normal people, able to endure more punishment, survive deadlier wounds, and are capable of massive feats of recall and memorization, the better to handle the stress of Casting more powerful spells.

There are five Levels of power in the novel: Novice, very much the most common and least-powerful Level, which many people never escape; Intermediate, which is the ‘professional Caster’ level; Advanced, which is the level of the vast majority of expert Casters; Super, which are your true elites, who dominate politics, government, and businesses; and Forbidden Curse Mages, who loom over the rest and pursue personal interests, and are treated somewhat like living nuclear weapons.

Note that there are ‘normal’ people around, but their abilities are so minor and mundane compared to mages that they are very much the lowest figures on the totem pole, and basically ignored during the novel entirely. If you aren’t a Caster, you have little value save as common labor/menial duties.

Pointedly, higher Levels of Casters and monsters are nearly immune to lower-Tier spells and magic, especially of their own Elements. Any Advanced mage or a creature of similar power could take on a hundred, or even a thousand Novice Casters, and completely obliterate them while taking little damage themselves. Only by organizing themselves into Formations are large numbers of lower-Tier Casters able to harm higher-Level creatures.

Monsters are divided by Tiers into Servants, Warriors, Commanders, Nobles/Rulers/Monarchs, and Emperors. Monsters are physically several times tougher than mages of the same tier, with sea dwellers being on average thrice as tough as land-bound beasts when in the sea, and arctic-dwellers five times due to the oppressive conditions there. Their groups are typically organized as Nests (under 50 Beasts), Packs (up to 50 Nests), and Hordes (ten or more Packs), with higher-Class Beasts ruling over the larger numbers, of course.

Humanity is unique among the species of the world in that they can potentially learn any kind of magic, and are sapient/intelligent without having to increase in tier/power. Most monstrous species only know one or two Spheres, at most, but they have incredible ability in them. The foundations of human magic were basically learned from watching Beasts or being taught by them.

This is a MUCH higher power curve than is typical in Western fantasy novels, basically an anime world. Perhaps more to the point, there are no gods or true Divine magic here, all magic is the same (although Spheres or Styles thereof may be judged immoral or illegal), and the lack of true moral figures and Alignments is totally on display with the very Neutral and pragmatic mindsets of many of the characters.

The Wiki for the story is here:

Keep in mind that the current translator and the keeper of the website can have bones to pick with the translation, so there’s going to be mismatches between it and the other adaptations. Fiery Hetera just does not have the same punch as Little Flame Belle (and I hate the chibi picture of her, too.)

This story is definitely NOT going to be set in China (which doesn’t mean it might not venture there), and specifically, there’s going to be Power of Ten magic at play, which is going to upset all kinds of apple carts.

After all, this is about Versatile Wizardry, not the Mages (sorcerers) of the setting!


Some Rules for the modified world of the Novel:

As per normal, the Alignments are everywhere, but none of the natives acknowledge them or can sense them. Therefore, the vast majority of powerful beings tend to be Neutral to Evil what’s-good-for-me-is-good. Also, there’s much fantastic specism, as it is humans as just one more of the intelligent magical species on the world, all of them jockeying for territory.

The Rules for the native Magery magic and Power of Ten Wizardry magic are different, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a Theurgy between them.

There is no native ability to Assay, and divination abilities are poor here (expanded awareness/divine sense comes with Tiers or by Element, not by spells). Exploit time!

Over the top anime-levels of power are basically the rule. The most powerful Mages are throwing around pocket nukes. There are no 'gods', only creatures who are more and more magically powerful.

The natives don’t have number-defined ‘Levels’, only achievements on the way indicating growing power. The author of VM never defined them in order to keep his flexibility. So, we’re going to add numbers to them as part of the changes.

There will be more realism. For instance, the impossible speed of many of the creatures will be downtoned to more believable levels. Covering miles in physical seconds without creating killer sonic booms and massive whirlwinds is just not going to happen. It’s an Oriental thing to play fast and loose with such things for impact.

Figuring out the math behind it all and exploiting it will be half the fun of the novel!

The MC’s ability to discern Alignments is going to be inordinately useful, as might be imagined.

No, not planning on meeting Mo Fan or his alternate currently, he’s got his own book where he’s canon. His alternate fill-in might pop up as background news somewhere.

The two styles of magic will have very different levels of potency and applicability.

Power of Ten Leveling has the normal restrictions, but Mage breakthroughs require accumulations of Mana and power that amount to basically ‘spend some time and break through when convenient’.

Glossary of Terms

I refer you to the First chapter of The Human Race for normal terms used for the Power of Ten, and the default rules.

Link! Link to The Human Race Page 0

The Glossary is towards the bottom, after The Human Race setting stuff.

For Convenience for this variant of the setting:

The Cores of native Mages are divided into Stardust/Clouds, Constellations, Nebulas, Galaxies, and Universes, by Tier. Connecting the Stars properly is done by using Starmaps of the various Tiers, similar to written spells or Scrolls.

Casters will be divided into Novice, Adept, Mage, Archmage, and Sage Tiers. Different terms for different cultures (Forbidden Curse sounds dramatic and very misleading). They will furthermore be divided into Junior, Normal, and Senior/Great Tiers, as each Tier has three Levels (although that won’t come up much). Someone with all their Elements at the third Tier and waiting to break through is known as a half-Title of the next tier, such as a half-Mage.

Monsters will be Servants, Warriors, Commanders, Nobles/Rulers, and Emperor-Class. Nobles will be subdivided as Barons, Dukes, and Kings/Queens. In Oriental terms, these are Spiritual Beasts, Summoned beings of various types, and Undead. In gaming terms, they usually fall under Magical Beasts, Outsiders (Subset varies), and Undead. There can be Aberrations, Fey, Elementals, Dragons, Vermin, and magical Plants, too, and Kaiju are sort of their own class.

Nothing of the Alignments, however, and notably there are no true Heavenly forces doing anything here, although the Dark Plane is definitely active...

We begin!