A note from puddles4263


Randidly was instantly hit with a flood of Aether constructs listing off information for him. At first, it didn’t make sense, but then Randidly looked at the slowly growing emerald flame. In that strange fire, Randidly felt clarity come to him.

Congratulations! You have created the Skill “Ignition of the Emerald Essence (L) Lvl 1”.

Warning! This energy is fueled by your life energy. Prolonged use could lead to injury or death. Use cautiously.

Congratulations! Your Skill Ignition of the Emerald Essence is on the edge of the Legendary Rarity. Improvement will lead to an unprecedented evolution in power.

Ignition of the Emerald Essence (L): By fueling the fire of your spirit with Aether, you are able to create a very special flame. The emerald essence is perfectly aligned with you. Those who you consider an enemy will be burnt by its indomitable flame. Because the substance that is burning is your personal Aether itself, materials that wouldn’t usually be damaged by fire will be warped and melted. Effect increases with Skill Level. Those who you consider an ally will be empowered. In addition, the vibrant life force of the ignited emerald is incredibly beneficial to plants and animals. Those that encounter it will experience rapid growth. Effect increases with Skill Level. Within the light of the Ignition of the Emerald Essence, understanding and insight will come much more easily. Drawing connections will be much simpler. Effect increases with Skill Level. Mana cost will decrease with Skill Level.

It was fuzzy, and likely inexact, his understanding. But Randidly trembled with excitement at just the general idea of what the Skill could accomplish. Perhaps the fact that he had been able to understand this much was only due to how long he had been studiously examining the Aether constructions in the dark up until now. It made sense that he knew more than he could completely capture, and the flame was giving him the bridge to experience all the meaning he understood.

With this Skill, it would be strange, Randidly suspected, to see him fight now. He would wield an emerald flame and be followed by smoldering, ashy plants…

But Randidly snapped back to focus. More information arrived. This was a little bit more difficult to parse, but under the flickering green light, he managed it.

Synchronicity detected! Calculating…

Skills are resonating with the Ignition of the Emerald Essence (L)!

Your Skill “Incendiary Bolt ©” has evolved into “Ignition Bolt ®”!

Your Skill “Circle of Flame ©” has evolved into “Verdant Nova (Un)”!

Your Skill “Incendiary Eruption ©” has evolved into “Eruption of the Blazing Leyline (Ru)”!

Your Skill “Grasp of Lava ®” has evolved into “Reach of the Jade Slag (Ru)”!

More information, but Randidly was distracted by several strange cracking noises in his inner world. As the Skills evolved under the influence of his new image, several grew and shifted. Instantly, Randidly flew to survey his inner world. Just as he arrived, he witnesses a powerful green light exploding out of the new Skill and four evolved ones.

They seemed to form connections to each other, with crisscrossing lines between them. There was a throb of energy. Frowning, Randidly reached out with his will to brush against the strange resonance, but he was momentarily dazed by a powerful desire for growth and an endless sense of optimism.

The feeling was so strange that he laughed aloud.

As if waiting for that cue, the Skills exploded with an even brighter emerald light. For a few seconds, Randidly’s inner world was lit by the strange energies. Everything was brilliant green and shadow. Depth lost meaning as it became all light and color.

Then it winked out. There were a few seconds where nothing happened.

Honestly, Randidly felt oddly disappointed by the whole display. Even though he had work to do in the world, now that he had discovered a light, he had followed his intuition that told him something important was happening here. This image… it was important for him. It would change everything.

It certainly had exploded like a flashbang, but…

Well, expecting more would be ridiculous. This was the world. In the world, things took hard work. He had finally discovered the tool he had been looking for in order to bring balance back to himself. If his plants would turn to ash, he would have things burned by his fire explode in growth. It was reversed, but it would suffice.

Plus, with the spread of the image to several other Skills, Randidly had hopes that the people in his Soulskill would quickly feel the effects of the new image. Perhaps-

Randidly paused.

The ground was rumbling. The ground of his Soulspace-


Randidly spun around, looking toward the middle of his Soulspace. There, one of the Skills consumed by the Ashen Image trembled briefly before disintegrating in a cloud of ash. In the few seconds after that, the rest of the Skills followed. Those hollow and consumed Skills shuddered and collapsed. The Soulspace filled with the billowing debris that had seemed calcified until now.

With a bit of will, Aether swept through the area and blew away the dust. And of course, revealed the tiny floating image shards that had been revealed in the wake of the ash. There were about a dozen, and so small that they were nowhere near forming a Skill, but from the middle portions of the Skills somehow survived the culling.

Now they were murky and slightly vague, but Randidly got a few feelings from them. Manual Labor, Wall of Thorns, Mana Shield…

Randidly smiled at the largest of the remnant bits. And unlike the others, which were various greens and blues, this one was bright golden. It was even double as large as the next largest remnant. Randidly floated over toward it and placed his hand on top of the image shard.

Spearing Roots, huh…

“Ha… ahahaha!” In the silence of his Soulspace, Randidly’s eyes blazed and he threw his head back and laughed. It shouldn’t mean anything. He had gained other Skills that possessed a great deal more power. But…

Grasping Roots was his first Skill. It fucking mattered that he got this back. This was the core of the Path Randidly had walked to get here. If Randidly was Yggdrasil, this little shard was a seed.

All those years ago, fighting against the Sphinx to obtain the beginning of his Aether Crossroads, he would have been barely able to scratch her without Spearing Roots. It was a small strength, but it had grown with Randidly over time. When he had lost it, it had been a devastating blow. Even now, Randidly could sense he couldn’t recover it, but he didn’t need the same thing.

No, what he needed was that surety that this was the right Path...

Grinning, Randidly reached out and squeezed the remnant image. As if sensing his intent, the other remnant images shot forward and gathered around Randidly’s fist. Very quickly, the slipped through his fingers and gathered together with the Spearing Roots image. Although they were all individual smaller, as all the remnants gathered they began to grow and warp.

The focus of Spearing Roots was lost, but that golden color just grew stronger and stronger, until an orb of liquid gold floated before Randidly. Within it, those images were shifting and merging in strange ways. Randidly glanced upward. Already, Aether was beginning to swirl above it.

He wasn’t sure what it would become, but…

Randidly took a step back. The flows of Aether spun down and surrounded the strange orb. Very quickly, energy began to penetrate the outer layer and nurture it. Content, Randidly returned to his body. His eyes flicked open.

Time to prepare for his escape.


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