After leaving the dungeon, Randidly was grinning from ear to ear. So, the timer for the Judgement is specifically out of Dungeon time. Which gives me plenty of time to prepare…
Then Randidly’s excitement switched into a wry acceptance. I suppose it would have been too much to hope the one month time period for the Growth of Yggdrasil Path would have been affected when the Judgement timer wasn’t… so that Path will need to wait until after the Judgement… Does that mean I should take another Path in the meantime…?
Randidly glanced around. He was standing on the beach of Lake Apollo, next to a Level 40 Dungeon that Tatiana had told him about. The lake’s water was gently lapping onto the shore. As far as Randidly could sense, there was no one around for miles. This was far from Zone One’s military base on the East shore of Lake Apollo.
Farther to the South and West was a new Zone that Randidly didn’t know much about. It had apparently connected only a week or two ago, and was still struggling with its own monster problems now that the wild areas had been exposed. As long as he didn’t seek civilization out, he would likely have free reign in this area.
Randidly clicked his teeth and considered his next move. Ideally, he would be able to hole up in a Dungeon and spend quite a bit of time refining his images and working on Engraving. But the Level 40 Dungeon here on the shore of Lake Apollo was quite a bit less than he would want. There were likely a few higher Level Dungeons to the South in the new areas, but they would be difficult to find on short notice.
Randidly could sense the Aether fluctuations of a Dungeon if he was near, but they were purposefully disguised so that wasn’t possible from a far distance. This protection became more intricate for the higher Level Dungeons. About Level 60, which was exactly the type that Randidly wanted, he was only able to feel the distinct energy from a distance of less than one hundred meters.
In addition, he had to consider the type of Dungeon he was going into. The Dungeon here was mostly in a cave system environment. While the constant water dripping, it wasn’t exactly ideal for an extended stay.
Because aside from Engraving, Randidly also wanted to work on metal creation. He had checked with Tatiana, and they still hadn’t been able to train anyone to the Level that they were proficient enough to create Ghost’s body. So that was a favor that he still owed. And he would need high quality metal for that.
Plus… Randidly still had some ideas about how to make Erickson Steel mobile. That would require a staggering amount of metal, to the point that it was less about the ability of people to refine metal of a sufficient quality, but simply how long would it take to create enough metal to make a city mobile. Setting aside the costs of future repairs…
Sighing, Randidly just shrugged. “Well fuck it.”
Immediately, he set off to the South at a fast speed. While he was moving, his attention returned to the issue of Paths.
He had 1359 PP remaining, so Randidly was immediately tempted to either take Physique of the Grim Chimera or Ashes of Ulaat. They were the two Paths that Randidly had considered before ultimately choosing the Perfect Soulbond Path. Whether or not it had been the right decision, his reasons for not taking those Paths still was the same… just the ultimate result-
At the thought of how that Path finished, Randidly shook his head. ...let’s hope the consequences of that action will take a while to manifest. In the meantime… I need to improve as fast as possible. I don’t have time to play cautiously against opponent’s like that.
But Randidly was also now tempted by the Experimenter IV Path. Although nothing amazing had happened since he had gotten the Skills, he had noticed that his five ingots he had made in the demonstration were of a higher quality than he would have expected otherwise. It wasn’t such a change that it would make much of a difference, but it was tangible.
Although perhaps that was a manifestation of Touch of the Ghosthound...
Still, considering the fact that most of his training would likely involve the production tasks… Randidly was sorely tempted by the Experimenter Path. The higher quality his results in the Dungeon, the more Skill Levels he would gain. Which would lead to more PP. So of the Paths, Experimenter would upgrade his growth engine the most.
It’s a gamble… but the faster I handle these annoying political and economic issues, the more quickly Erickson Steel and the Order Ducis become self-sufficient without my constant assistance and I can focus all of my energy on improving myself. Then we can work on making Erickson Steel indispensable to Earth...
But then again, Randidly wasn’t sure that this was the fastest Path for creating a stable future. Honestly, was it worth it to spend so much time developing Erickson Steel…? Providing a supply of high quality materials would certainly assist the other Zones without interfering with their images. But it definitely required quite a bit of his attention now, which would be better spent preparing for either the Judgement or the Calamities…
However, if Randidly focused all of his attention on his own growth, he didn’t doubt that he could make great strides. Perhaps only in the finer details of working with metal did Randidly have things to learn from the people at Erickson Steel. As a loner, he would have quite a bit fewer annoying curve balls thrown at him.
But this feels right. Randidly thought as he calmly drew Acri and approached a group of Level 57 Stone Golems. I am the Lord of the Baleful Wood. Although I am powerful alone, I am more than that. I am a leader.
Acri flashed outward and diced a nearby golem to pieces in a flash, but the sensation from the cuts was enough to give Randidly pause. It was faint, but there was a slight resistance in the golems bodies. While he was pausing to examine the corpses, a few more golems noticed Randidly’s calamitous arrival in rumbled in fury.
Casually, Randidly reached down and touched the monster’s remains, heedless of the dozen or so golems charging toward him. Huh… they aren’t just stone. There is quite a bit of metal content in here… killing these will be much faster than just finding some random mine to harvest while I’m in the Dungeon…
Huhuhu, is this the world telling me that forging is the right Path? Well, I suppose that it won’t matter either way if I help myself to these corpses...
Randidly looked up sharply. Roots ripped upward with enough of an edge to pierce through the firm bodies of the golems. As the monster struggled to crush Randidly with their heavy fists, Randidly simply buried them underneath waves of thorny vines.
As monsters fell, they screamed, calling out to more of the kindred. Soon, hundreds of golems were rumbling out of the nearby mountainside caves to attack Randidly. As they poured toward him and were killed by his Skills and not Acri, Randidly got his first long overdue Level.
Congratulations! You have reached Level 45! +8 Stats distributed between Vitality, Perception, Resist, Intelligence, and Control, +20 Free Stats! +1 Stat to a Mental Stat. +1 to a Physical Defense Stat. +1 to a Mental Support Stat. +2 Control. +36 Health, +40 Mana, +40 Stamina, +3.5 to all Regenerations! +1 to Health and Stamina Regeneration!
Due to Guidance of the Wraith Adder, +4 Agility and +2 Bonus Stats!
Congratulations! You have learned the Skill Sigil of an Approaching Fate (A) Lvl 1!
Sigil of an Approaching Fate (A): Mark an opponent with a mysterious ancient curse, allowing you to track the opponent’s position across distance, no matter how large. When a Skill or attack his an opponent marked with your curse, the curse activates to deal a slight amount of damage. Mana cost decreases with Skill Level. Specificity of tracking increases with Skill Level. Damage increases with Skill Level. Number of active Sigils possible increases with Skill Level. Current Number: 1.
While Randidly continued casually killing the attack golems, he considered this new Skill. Interesting… but it looks like it's the sort that is designed for strong opponents. If I kill things too quickly, I won’t have much of a chance to Level up its abilities. But on the other hand…
Randidly’s eyes flashed. If I Level it up enough, I can have more Sigils active. It probably isn’t too difficult to remove for those who understand Aether, but it might be easier to agree to Lyra’s request if I can place one of these Sigils on her to keep tabs on her…
In order to see the effect, Randidly used the Skill a few times on some of the tougher golems that rushed over to be harvested by him.
Certainly the first thing Randidly noticed was that the Mana cost was not small. To activate it took about 500 Mana, and then it required about one Mana a second to keep the sigil active. In terms of tracking, even at the low Level it gave Randidly two pieces of information. When he saw the monster he had marked, he recognized it immediately. And he also possessed an internal compass that pointed toward it.
Because his the amount of damage he inflicted was already too high for even these defensive monsters to handle, Randidly couldn't really draw any conclusions from the offensive portion of the Skill. But based on the Mana cost, Randidly assumed it wasn’t small. Or at least he hoped he would receive a large amount of damage based on the amount of Mana he pumped into the Skill.
Besides the actual details of the Skill, Randidly was fascinated by the actual formation of the Skill. When he used it, glowing golden light gathered in his hand until a sigil formed there, ready to be thrown out toward an enemy. But if Randidly didn’t throw out the Skill, it stayed on his hand and continued to marginally shift.
By the end of five minutes of observation, it had completely changed. But Randidly was endlessly fascinated by the form it took.
It isn’t exactly engraving, but it's also not exactly just a simple construct of Aether. Randidly thought as he narrowed his eyes and considered the sigil. I’ve always sorta assumed that the difference between Engraving and Aether constructs was just the underlying energy, but I’ve never been able to truly connect the two. But as I look at this…
A towering Level 62 Golem showed up, almost double as tall as its fellows. It immediately began to stride toward its own doom.
Randidly shook his head sadly. “If you really want to be harvested me so badly, don’t mind if I do~”