The Engraving wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t the slog that Randidly had expected. In fact, it turned out that he had been subtly training for exactly a problem like this for quite some time.
The individual runes he would use weren’t difficult to make. Well, aside from the special Skill related rune that Randidly intended to add to the whole of the construction. The sort of runes that generated mechanical motion in response to energy were of the type that he had designed originally for the drones he had created.
It wasn’t that difficult to transfer that energy from Mana to Aether controlled, which left only the process of figuring out how to perfectly engrave these runes onto the many hoops of metal that Randidly had created for his arm.
But his experiences trying to manage a growing Skill in a Mana Engraving had made Randidly master the understanding of how the 2D Engravings would work over a three-dimensional armor. Most of his practice time Randidly had done his best to work on armors that would simplify this process as much as possible, but he couldn’t completely ignore the issue.
And learning to use your brain in such a way wasn’t a Skill so much as developing a knack. As things became more complicated it put more stress on the individual, but that stress could be managed with Randidly’s Intelligence of 621.
He just had to see the engraving, and then wrap it around the whole of the armor. And for the past two weeks, Randidly had been smashing his head against just that issue.
Although he didn’t classify the issues as such originally, Randidly quickly realized that there were two criteria of which he needed to be aware: shape and image. Each individual hoop would need its own set of Engravings, although most of them would be blessedly simple. But those images couldn’t cross each other, and their purpose couldn’t directly conflict.
In addition, Randidly had to consider that this was ultimately just an equipment. The Engravings that he had originally learned would be useful here; he had the option to add more Engravings to boost the arms power. Yet as soon as Randidly began planning to add a bunch of additional statistics to the arm the calculations swiftly became untenable.
Randidly pressed his eyes closed. In this case, simplicity was best. Although the material cost for this arm was significant, it was not something that would trouble him if he had a long time to prepare. In addition, his next iteration in the future could contain additional Engravings after he experimented and found patterns that allowed them to work well together. This wasn’t the final version of this arm.
This would just be the first.
No, for now, it was best to focus on two things: freedom of movement and the potency of the Skill Engraving.
Some part of Randidly wondered whether putting a Skill on the arm was actually worth it. It did, as did the stats Engravings, complicate the design he was making immensely. Both in terms of image and in terms of shape.
Plus the Skill had to go across every individual hoop, to work the Skill into every fiber of the arm. That was where the power of the Skill would originate from. Even if his Skill Engraving was low, part of its power would stem from the utilization of the complete whole of the Skill.
But flowing through every hoop meant that every engraving needed to be shifted to accommodate it. Because Randidly was struggling to picture the hoops, design the Skill Engraving, and adjust the control Engravings all it once, it was an almost overwhelming endeavor.
The sheer amount of calculations and adjustments involved…
Even Randidly, tasting at the energy flowing up through his bare feet to sustain him, was swiftly developing a headache.
With a shake of the head, Randidly dropped the imaging and walked outside of his hut. In the distance, he sensed some awestruck watchers who gathered in the surrounding area of his hill, but he did his best to ignore them. For all that most people were fascinated with him, they maintained their distance. For that respect, Randidly wouldn’t drive them away.
So… why make a Skill Engraving then…?
Randidly asked the nighttime air. The low hoot of an owl in the dark brought the answer.
To make the arm about a specific image. To give it a specific role in my arsenal.
In terms of utility, Randidly had no equals. And his spearmanship combined with a very deep Mana pool made him able to respond to threats from any sort of attack with a variety of Skills. But if there was one flaw in his makeup…
It would be that Randidly didn’t care to use those Skills he possessed that possessed an overwhelming quality. His spear Skills were sharp, but… they were ultimately just spear Skills. Randidly could create an overwhelming offense from just utilizing thousands of spearing roots, but that was simply compensating.
Perhaps his Deific Mien of Yggdrasil or Cruel Indignation of Yggdrasil would be considered overwhelming, but they were largely just Skills used to influence others. It would work well against the Squads of Donnyton, but it was just pressure. It wasn’t true power.
His Breath of the Spear Phantom had a certain sort of moral crushing component, but that was ultimately a utility move too. You could restrict other’s breathing so as to gain a mental advantage. But it took quite a bit to squeeze the air out of their lungs as Randidly had barely managed with Aegiant.
No, what Randidly wanted to add to this arm was something much more direct and satisfying. He wanted the ability to strike or stab with a spear or throw a punch with enough force to just level a building. Which, considering how high his Strength stat had already climbed, likely wasn’t very far off.
Of course, that Skill wouldn’t grow with him. It would be a crutch that Randidly could use for the current challenge against Donnyton. A part of Randidly felt like it was a bad idea to learn to rely on something external like that, but another part of Randidly was extremely practical; what Randidly needed now was to show them the stark difference between what could be accomplished with an image versus without.
This Engraved Skill was something that he would carefully make out of an image. Therefore, it was appropriate to use. It would drive home his point.
Randidly gritted his teeth. In his heart, he still remembered the sorrow he had felt when he realized he wasn’t able to stand against the best of Donnyton without resorting to deadly force. Which simply was an admittance of his own weakness. Of how desperate they had made him.
Now, he wanted to show all of Donnyton how strong he had grown.
It was perhaps childish. But it was also true. And sometimes the hardest thing to do was just allow yourself to admit those immature truths to yourself.
Randidly wanted to shake the town.
Based on his previous thought processes, Randidly had settled on an evolved version of the Wild Phantom as the basis for the Skills. But to reach that point, Randidly planned on following the exact same path that he had taken to create the Sea of Emerald Flames Skill that had been on that random fellow’s equipment.
First develop a pattern, then find a base Skill that fits within that pattern. From there, extend the pattern outward and create a higher tiered version of the Skill. Ideally, this would rather easily result in an offensive Skill, but Randidly couldn’t discount the possibility that an evasive Skill would come from this process.
The Wild Phantom’s Embrace was Randidly’s highest ranked Skill in that subset and might exert some influence over the result. But as long as that interference could be prevented… well, even if it turned out that way, it would just mean that he would need to shelve that Engraving and work on a different tack.
Which would mean he would need to start over to develop a pattern that was more aggressive. But Randidly believed that as long as he concentrated on the Inevitable Phantom Arrives he should be able to create something that would focus on offense. As to the time that would take…
Randidly grimaced. So many things to do.
After checking the time, a powerful anger gathered in Randidly’s chest. Twenty four hours have elapsed since I sent those most recent five out to retrieve their predecessors… and nothing? Well then… Just you wait, Riders…
With that malicious glee as a weapon, Randidly began to prepare his engraving pattern for his armor. If the basis was the Spear Phantom, then he would need something… amorphous.
Randidly blankly looked at the dirt ground, waiting for the genius idea he was going to use to create the overwhelming offensive Skill. Then he groaned.
Of course, it wouldn’t be this easy every time… but Randidly really wished it would have been…
Guess he should take some time and lay out some iterations...