Despite Randidly growing rather numb to his constant growth, he couldn’t help but chuckle when he saw the sea of PP that he had gathered preparing for and during the Donnyton challenge. A lot of it had come from the most recent rung, but there was also some leftover PP from the several days of intensive training that Randidly had gone through to prepare.
Honest, he was glad he did; it turned out that Donnyton took the challenge just as seriously as he did. In total, Randidly had earned 483 PP
Again, the monstrous growth was a function of the number of Skills he possessed that were able to operate simultaneously over the course of a fight. It wasn’t just that he had a lot of Skills. Part of the speed of his growth was because his Control let him use almost a dozen Skills at the same time.
From Randidly’s combat Skills, including Spear Mastery, Dodge, Fighting Experience, and Stalemate Breaker, none surpassed 8 Skill Levels of growth. Most were clustered around 5. But even these few Skills that formed a minority of his growth still provided 47 PP. Although they weren’t determinative in the fight, they constantly gave Randidly a series of small boosts.
Then there were other areas that experienced big increases. Infinite Fingers of Yggdrasil grew 10 Skill Levels. Sharpness grew 11. Visualization grew by 14 Skill Levels. Riders of the Baleful Court jumped up 20 Skill Levels, likely due to the continued activity of the Riders with Neveah. Ignition of the Emerald Essence also got 16 Skill Levels, due to the multitude of Skills based on it that Randidly made use of.
Yyrwood Body of Yggdrasil grew by 21 Skill Levels, pushing Randidly’s physical fitness to an even more ridiculous base state. Cruel Indignation of Yggdrasil shot upward 28 Skill Levels. The other Yggdrasil Skills maintained a growth between 8 and 12.
Yet the area that Randidly had improved most of all was obviously in his new Skillset, Descent of the Grim Chimera. Although the Skills he had acquired had joined together to form an extremely high-Level set of Skills, those were benefits from the materials Randidly had used to form the Skillset. They didn’t truly describe how skilled Randidly was in using his newly acquired abilities.
Once Randidly started using Skills, he grew more familiar with them and experienced a marked jump in Skill Levels. And it might even happen again, to a lesser degree, when Randidly had the chance to really think about his Skills and practice them.
Cursed Appetite of a Wraith increased by 13 Skill Levels. From a single-use, All Else Succumbs, Yet Time Whirls the Earth grew by 19 Skill Levels. Monstrosity’s Appalling Intensity grew by 14. Man is Proud, but the Chimera Takes and The Chimera Weep as Man Mourns both improved by 20 Skill Levels each. Reaper’s Mantle of Catastrophe improved by 10 Levels and Molten Fang of the Pariah moved upward by 17.
Finally, Chimeric Avoidance increased by 32 Skill Levels. And when Randidly checked, the amount of Attribute and damage avoidance provided by the passive portion of the Skill increased to 9%. Slowly but surely, his already ridiculous capabilities were climbing upward.
Which brought Randidly to 483 PP in total.
When he saw that number, he blinked several times. Then he checked his Soulskill, and he immediately suppressed a flash of nerves. With this huge amount of PP… I’ll get to 1500 in my Soulskill and trigger the absorption of more PP.
Considering the PP I gained last time… and the fact that the amount I absorbed increased...doesn’t that mean that when I reach that milestone, I basically have the capability to finish any Path that I want…?
It was an intoxicating thought. But Randidly took a deep breath and focused on the task at hand. With his huge amount of PP, Randidly easily finished off the Advanced Mana Engraving Path.
Congratulations! You have completed the Advanced Mana Engraving Path! Engraving is a method by which your will and energy can be recorded on a single item for generations to come! By continuing to advance toward the summit of Engraving, you begin to understand how small your previous understanding was. You walked a dirt road, a stone road, an iron road, and now a road of meaning. Yet the road leads ever onward. Soon, you sense that continuing forward will lead to a great change in your understanding of Mana Engraving…You have feet to walk, eyes to see, and hands to make. Do not let even one of these idle.
Congratulations! Your Mana has increased by 400! Mana Regeneration has increased by 40. Willpower and Focus has increased by 25! The effect of Skill Levels on the effects of Mana Engraving has increased!
Shaking his head, Randidly wondered why he even bothered to try and get Paths these days. Unlike the early days, the rewards they gave now often just whispered of the further rewards that Randidly could obtain if he used MORE PP. Those messages seemed to imply that he was very close to moving toward end game content, but they were also slightly disheartening.
In addition, the usual sorts of benefits no longer held as much meaning to him. Even if Randidly were to acquire a Skill now, it would take quite some time to Level it up to the point that it would be useful. Time that he could be using to push his current quiver of Skills or images even higher.
Yet, another part of Randidly wondered if he wouldn’t finally have that time soon. One more Zone would start the arrival of the First Calamity, but it was unclear how much time that would take. In fact, Randidly had a very real fear that the Zone they were waiting on to finish New Earth would take too long.
The lessons that he had spoon-fed Donnyton could fade very easily, given enough time. Without an external threat, it was easy to predict that humanity would weaken itself beyond repair.
The most pressing current issue was the looming Judgement, but Randidly felt very confident that his usage of images had vastly increased his strength over the last month. He had finally grown to the point that he would feel confident in normal situations even in Cohort 5.
The only detail that made Randidly wary was the warning that came from Lyra regarding some influence on this Judgement. But again, Randidly wasn’t sure how much stock he should put in her words. Lyra, to him, was a confusing bundle of emotions.
Confusing because of her intelligence and her betrayal, but also confusing because of the effect of being the sword and sheath of Donnyton, and having the System push them toward each other. Idly, Randidly wondered who was the current sword and shield of Donnyton. Did that effect continue throughout the entirety of the System?
Randidly shook his head, slightly disgruntled at how quickly his thoughts were derailed. He focused once more on the possibility of obtaining a Skill from a Path. Either way, Randidly was in the midst of preparing, but he likely would have some spare time before dealing with the Calamities to train up a Skill. But it would definitely need to be a powerful Skill that would provide a tangible benefit to the fight. And after Randidly had created his own Skill beyond the Legendary Rating, he felt like he would be somewhat more difficult to impress.
After finishing the Path, Randidly was still 100 short of reaching trigger for the next wave of PP from his Soulskill. As such, he would start the next Path without knowing exactly how much PP he would receive.
Randidly considered the list of available Paths.
Heretic XXIX 0/???, Nexus Traveler Cohort 5 0/50, Experimenter I 0/50, System Transgressor 0/1, Friend to Humanity 0/100, Mantle of the Patron 0/500, Metallurgist 0/300, Aether Convergence II ???, Perfect Soul Bond 0/1000, the Bell of Doom Tolls 0/600, Growth of Yggdrasil III 0/2000, Fiery Sharpshooter 0/350, The Ashes of Ulaat, Patron of Ash 0/1000, Order Ducis: Font of Guidance ???, Humanity’s Torch 0/500, Bearing of a Teacher ???, Puppet Master 0/100, Mana Lich 0/500, Pain Immunity I 0/250, Raiments of the World Tree ???, Physique of the Grim Chimera 0/1000, Chimera’s Grudge I ???
In addition to the familiar faces that Randidly had long had access to, there were a few new arrivals. One related to Pain Resistance reaching 100, one based perhaps on Yyrwood Body of Yggdrasil reaching 200, and then two relating to the newly created image and the growth of those Skills.
Randidly currently had a little over 250 PP. But it seemed likely that he would receive an almost intimidatingly high amount of PP. So he was inwardly torn between the different Paths available. Perhaps the most conservative method would be to choose a short Path, like Fiery Sharpshooter and Mana Lich, and then figure out the total amount before Randidly committed himself to an ambiguous or long Path.
Randidly chuckled to himself and moved his fingers to Raiments of the World Tree. From the name and context, Randidly suspect that this would be an extremely long Path. But right now, one of the main goals Randidly wanted to accomplish before the Judgement arrived was finishing up his Yggdrasil Skillset. Strengthening it with a Path seemed like the best idea currently.
Immediately upon putting a point into the Path, Randidly wanted to curse his earlier confidence. The number 3000 was immediately burned into his gaze. It sat like a weight against his spinal cord, giving him an immediate headache from the towering pressure that number released.
But although it was intimidating…
If Randidly could finish it…
Certainly, I might have grandchildren faster than finishing this Path if I have overestimated the boosts from the Soulskill. Shaking his head slightly, Randidly put the next 99 PP into the Path. Then he received a notification that left him shellshocked.
As your Soulskill grows, so too will you grow. Your flesh is the substance of the Soulskill, and the strength gathered by your Soulskill fuels your growth. Although the exact details of the arrangement are currently in flux, your body and the Soulskill are slowly merging into a more complete whole. Warning, you may experience slight effects as the synchronization continues.
Congratulations! PP from your Alpha Cosmos flows into you! You have gained 7102 PP!
“Seven thousand PP…” Randidly said numbly. He blinked several times. As he had put this first 100 PP into this Path, he realized that he received two free Stats every 25 PP he put into the Path. It wasn’t the greatest reward, but it was certainly noticeable. Especially considering that it would require 3000 PP. Which meant that Randidly would receive 240 free Stats from finishing the Path, without even considering the reward.
With the same sort of dazed expression, Randidly finished the entire Path in a single go.
Congratulations! You have completed the Raiment of the World Tree Path! You have long planted the World Tree at the core of your being, and it has grown strong within your Soul. Yet the world tree is not simply a plant; it is also a liege. It is also an engine. It is on the back of Yggdrasil that the world may thrive and grow. The road here has been long and winding, but to now finally come into your own is inevitable.
Your heart is that of the World Tree. To wear the vestiges of its divinity is to touch on a realm beyond humanity. As your existences align, your life experience will be warped. Do not falter, for to pause in the pursuit of power is to surrender control to the carrion scavengers that circle above.
Congratulations! Your Vitality has increased by 100! Your Health Regeneration has increased by 500! Your Stamina Regeneration has increased by 200! Your Resistance has increased by 100!