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A note from puddles4263

6/14

Paolo brushed himself off and frowned at Alana. “Does this mean I’m disqualified?”

Alana glanced back toward the arena. Kayle continued to dismantle Randidly’s strange skeleton creature, while Randidly seemed to be setting his own shoulder on fire. It must hurt. But Alana’s instincts told her allowing him to continue with the process would be a bad idea. Not that she could do anything about it as a spectator.

Which Alana didn’t really mind. All in all, it was a very good fight to watch.

Then she scratched her head. At this rate, she could sense Randidly was going to turn the fight around. It would be a shame if Paolo couldn’t participate in the rest of it. “Well…. Technically no… but…”

Sighing, Paolo nodded in agreement. “You cushioned my fall. To protect civilians, but I should bear that interference, not Randidly. So… punch me. Once, in the stomach. To even up the damage.”

The two were standing in the five-meter crater that Alana hadn’t been able to prevent Paolo from making in the stands. Randidly had truly smashed him back with a huge amount of force. And to stop that momentum, Alana had used a spear strike. Even then, this was the damage that resulted.

The people who Alana had shoved out of the way gazed at the two of them with wide eyes.

“How hard?” Helen asked half-heartedly, even though she thought she knew what the answer would be.

“As hard as you can.” Paolo’s face was covered in blood from his shattered nose, but it was nowhere close to the damage that Randidly’s spell had wrought on his chest. The flesh was blackened and burnt, with puss and blood leaking out from the cracked wounds. Even Alana had been shocked at how powerful that single spell had been.

Something to watch out for when she finally got her turn to walk out onto the stage.

“Alright, here goes,” Alana grunted. Then she twisted her body and smashed her fist into Paolo’s stomach.

She hit him so hard that he crashed into the stands once more, probably doubling the size of the collapsed seats. After a few seconds, Paolo limped out.

“Okay okay,” He slapped his bloody face and then beat his fists against the third-degree burns on his chest. “Got to get back out there before Kayle gets to have all of the fun.”

Alana watched Paolo hop down off of the stands and hobble back toward the arena as the stone weavers hurried over to repair the damage. Yet Alana found herself smiling as she looked down at her bloody knuckles.

Yea, this is a good fight to watch. But it's a better fight to be a part of.

Suppressing her excitement, Alana returned to the VIP section. Her turn would come soon. That terrible darkness that Randidly was now summoning assured her of it.

*****

Congratulations! Additional Skills are being assimilated into the Skillset…

White Phantom’s Half-Step (Un) Lvl 95 has been assimilated!

Fighting Experience (Un) Lvl 159 has been assimilated!

Phantom Onslaught Lvl 42 has been assimilated!

Calculating gains…

Recalculating…

Warning, continuing without sufficient energy may result in debilitation and death. Do you wish to continue?

Resonating… Synchronicity Percent: 96%!

Warning-

Congratulations, Skills have merged to create the Descent of the Grim Chimera!

Your Skills All is Ash (L) Lvl 102 and When a Shadow Departs, Fireflies Dance (Un) Lvl 65 have merged to form Chimeric Avoidance (L) Lvl 149!

Your Skills Breath of the Spear Phantom ® Lvl 84 and Wild Phantom’s Embrace (A) Lvl 197 have merged to form Cursed Appetite of a Wraith (L) Lvl 233!

Your Skills White Phantom’s Half-Step (Un) Lvl 95 and Fighting Experience (Un) Lvl 159 have merged to form Monstrosity’s Appalling Physicality (A) Lvl 191!

Your Skill Frigid Ash, Extinguishing Storm (Ru) Lvl 59 has evolved to form Reaper’s Mantle of Catastrophe (L) Lvl 75.

Your Skill Inevitable Phantom Arrives (Un) Lvl 120 has merged with the caustic and fiery image of ash to form Molten Fang of the Pariah (L) Lvl 160.

Your Skills Spear Advances, Ash Trails Lvl 108 and As the Sun Stills (A) Lvl 80 have merged to form Man is Proud, but the Chimera Takes (L) Lvl 140.

Your Skills Inevitable Phantom Arrives Lvl 120 and Phantom Onslaught Lvl 42 have merged to form The Chimera Weeps as Man Mourns (L) Lvl 126!

Your image has fused to create the eighth Skill in the Descent of the Grim Chimera Skillset! The terrible fragility of ash imbues the Skill! The horrible desperation of the Spear Phantom lives on in the Skill! You have gained the Skill “All Else Succumbs, Yet Time Whirls the Earth (M) Lvl 100”!

Where one stream of notifications finally stopped, another grouping immediately jumped up to cloud Randidly’s vision. Luckily, it seemed that Kayle and his minions stopped to stare at the monster that was slowly mutating behind Randidly’s back.

Congratulations! You have broken past the shackles of Legendary! You are the first individual from your Cohort to break through to the Mythic rarity! As such, you have been branded by the First Key to the Nexus!

With the First Key to the Nexus, it becomes possible for you to transcend your world and exist within the deeper realms of the Nexus. Secret areas within higher Cohorts are available to you. When two keys are assembled, it is possible to bring a single territory with you as you transcend your existence and climb the Nexus! When all three keys are assembled, you can bring your entire world!

Congratulations! You are the first individual on Earth to break through to the Mythic Rarity! As such, you have been awarded a Small Coin of Territory!

Although your world was divided into separate Zones, some areas of your planet were so devoid of human life that they were not considered as part of the Earth in the System’s scans. Therefore, these pieces of wilderness have remained untouched throughout the arrival of the System!

Using the Coin of Territory at the boundary of your New Earth will summon a piece of that Wilderness communsurate with the quality of the coin! Based on the size, there is also a chance for an improvement of a random Rarity to be included within your new Territory!

Congratulations! You have stepped beyond Legendary! You have become aware of three new Rarities: Mythic, Transcendental, and Pinnacle!

Warning, others witnessing a Skill beyond the Legendary will slightly increase their chances of reaching that specific Rarity themselves!

Bum, bum.

The terrible darkness that Randidly was steadily gathered condensed into a twisted amalgamation of a human. Its heart shuddered, then slowly began to beat, sending a flood of heat through to Randidly’s inner world.

He felt his image shifting, slowly settling into its new form. Like the Spear Phantom, it was a being designed to kill and maim. It had no other purpose and walked a Path that meant it could never truly join human society. It was constructed with function in mind, without giving any concern to its terrible form.

Bum, bum.

Like the Kata of the Ashen Spear, it was a being animated by spite and resentment. An eternity of entropy led to the creation of this chimera. It hated its making, it hated the pure and smooth lines of humanity, it hated, perhaps even more, its own lopsided and viciously deadly form. It was focused on brutal acceleration. In its case, it's only defensive qualities were how quickly it could move and kill.

It’s left hand was a gnarled hand with fingers so long and sharp it seemed to be holding a half-dozen scythe blades. Thick veins stood out from its arms and trembled with every labored beat of its heart. Its right hand was simply a shaft of sharpened bone, dark grey darkening to maroon at the tip. Its legs were those of a raptor, full of coiled muscle and covered in green-grey scales.

BUM. BUM.

From the base of its neck and from its tailbone two long tails swung casually through the air, seeming to taste the small breezes in the surrounding area. But these tails were not things of the flesh, but only bones. They looked like two anaconda spines jutting out from the chimera’s back, the lower one being almost double as large as the higher.

The Chimera’s head was the most human part of it, except for two key details. Although the head was generally human-shaped, there was a paper-thin layer of extra skin that covered most of the actual face. There was something to it that reminded Randidly of wax paper wrapping.

It was possible to see the shape of the wide open mouth and the empty eye sockets, but they just seemed to be filled with darkness. It had a similar effect that covering a person’s head with a plastic bag would, reducing their identity to something that was clinically considered human, but also dead in some vital way.

The other detail was the two twisting ram horns, piercing up through the skin layer and curling above its ears.

BUM. BUM.

Before it had totally condensed, Kayle was already moving forward to strike. It seemed his instincts were sharp. Randidly distantly felt the air ringing, the breeze singing as Kayle’s sharp strike sheared toward him. Yet the headache and the flood of notifications and the dull pain remaining from his shoulder made him pause for a split second.

BUM.

The heat that was spreading through Randidly was so hot that it was blanking out all of his senses. Releasing a breath, Randidly reached for the Grim Chimera and felt it. He looked into its soul and saw all the sharp and broken things that had accumulated there.

You are my darkness, Randidly thought. My anger at watching so many people die. The violence I learned from Shal who learned it from the Spearman. That resentment that I inherited from the Patron of Ash. That bitterness and loneliness that I lived with for all my life… and for those same feelings that are resurging as I realize I am still different than everyone else, just in a very different way.

The dark eyeholes of the chimera regarded Randidly. As it breathed, its skin pulsed and shifted. It was an incomplete thing made for violence. All who saw it would fear. So Randidly smiled and reached out his hand.

The System… the Creature… Lyra… the Spearman...Let’s make them all regret giving birth to us.

Kayle’s strike was a split second away when Randidly’s gaze sharpened. Beneath the flimsy layer of skin, the dark circle of the chimera’s mouth curved into a half-moon smile.

Chimeric Avoidance.

Kayle cut, and the image of the chimera folded in on itself as it used its body designed for killing and repurposed it into something smaller and more difficult to hit. Even then, Randidly feared for a second that he would be hit. But then he stepped forward.

Monstrosity’s Appalling Physicality.

When he moved, the arena cracked and a noticeable chunk of Stamina was taken away. But the amount of distance he covered in a split second was mind-boggling.

As Kayle’s eyes widened and he spun around to face Randidly, the Chimera raised its vicious arms and set about its grim work.

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