“It seems…” Shal said slowly. “That this turn of events was never considered. You must be level 10 to use the door to a dungeon. But while you are in here, you cannot gain a class, and therefore cannot level…”
Randidly just stared at the floor. Was he really stuck here…? It had been over a week since the change had happened. He wasn’t sure what was happening outside of the dungeon, but it couldn’t be good. Although the monsters out there, in a normal area, might be lower level, They were still monsters. Monsters that tried to kill you.
For Shal, he felt slightly awkward. He didn’t want to abandon this little friend who had helped him, but he also didn’t want to babysit him. Sighing, Shal considered his own troubles. Leveling wasn’t so difficult, but he was a physical focused class, so getting enough points into Willpower to survive would be slightly difficult. Shal only got 2 free points per level, and Paths required skills to increase, and most of his were above Lvl 50, and almost impossible-
But then Shal froze, his eyes going wide.
“Kid, what are your skills?” Shal asked abruptly.
Randidly opened his mouth, then closed it. He knew he had no reason not to trust Shal, but revealing something like that so freely…
But Shal was already waving his hand. “No, no, that is not it, you misunderstand. How many skill do you have?”
After a quick count, Randidly answered, “19.”
Shal burst out laughing, his face once more suffused with a grin. “Let me tell you a secret, kid. When you receive a class, you are given a skill cap. That it the maximum number of skills you can learn. You can keep the skills you have from before, but it limits what you can learn afterwards with the system. My cap is 12, and my class is rather rare. Yet you having 19 skills already…”
Then Shal began to do some mental map in his head. Honestly…. It seemed too easy.
With a wide grin, Shal turned to Randidly. “There is of course another way to get out, if you are interested.”
Perking up, Randidly asked, “There is another entrance? I didn’t see it on my map-”
“No, no, no,” Shal said, waving his hand. “There are no more avenues of retreat. But you can always move forward.”
Shal extended his hand. “Help me defeat the boss of this Dungeon, the Acid Salamander, and I will carry you out of this place.”
“Defeat the boss…?” Randidly just looked at him.
“Well, you won’t be doing anything as grand as that. Before the boss, there are those Orc Shamans that so grievously wounded me in the past… you shall help me get past them. It shouldn’t be that difficult, if we concentrate and get your Willpower up to 50, it will be a simple task- Ah! I had forgotten! You can learn as many skills as you need. A measly Willpower of 35 will be sufficient if you learn mental attack resistance and train it up some!”
“A Willpower of 35…? How will we….?”
Shal patted Randidly’s back, a strange twinkle in his eyes. “Now, now, don’t worry about the details. But we must hurry. The sooner we begin, the sooner we get out, yes?”
Within the day, Randidly had been carried rapidly back to the safe room. Shal seemed to be an immensely good mood, and it made Randidly hesitate. Although he was happy to have a thread of hope for escaping this dungeon, he couldn’t help but wonder whether it would really be as easy as Shal said.
After dropping him on the ground in front of the safe room, Shal said. “How many more PP do you need to finish off your current Path?”
Randidly checked. “2, and I have enough to do it now.”
“Then finish it, but then don’t select another path.”
For 14, Randidly received nothing, but 15 gave him +2 stat(s), and +2 Perception and Reaction, as well as the skill Mapmaking Lvl 1. Feeling slightly swayed by Shal, Randidly put the two points into Willpower.
Health(/R per hour): 157/153 [+4] (58.5 [+6])
Mana(/R per hour): 50/96 (25)
Stam(/R per min): 66/78 (23 [+2])
Vit: 16 [+2]
“Alright, now what?” Randidly asked.
Shal reached out and put his hand on Randidly’s head. “Now we enter into a bargain. If I do this, you must promise to assist me in defeating the Shaman’s and all other troubles I encounter in the dungeon. If we escape, I shall consider your debt paid.”
“But more than that,” Shal continued. “You must consent to the training I will give you. It will not be easy. It will hurt, but you need this strength. Both the strength to persist through the pain, and to use the skills I will give you. To this, do you agree?”
Randidly looked up at this strange alien, his mind quiet and cool. And then one thought, unbidden, rose to the surface.
‘I want to be strong.’
“Then go to your Path menu, and select the option to be my disciple.”
Opening the menu, Randidly did so, looking at the strange option.
Disciple of Shal: 0/X
“....it goes to X…?”
Shal nodded. “Yes, it will continue to my level. Currently, I am 36. When you catch up, you will receive a skill, and the path will end. Depending on your performance, it might be a skill I have, or a superior, evolved version, or even a partial, simplified version.”
Randidly clicked on it, and dumped his points into it. What was shocking was that each level gave a distributable stat point. At 5, he received a stat point and 1 point in End and Agi. Immediately impressed, Randidly threw all the earned points into Willpower, pushing it up to 19.
“Alright, now what?” Randidly said.
Shal just smiled.
Shal had given Randidly a spear, told him to play around with it while he made some preparations. Randidly had done so, learned the skill Spear Mastery Lvl 1, and even leveled it up 3. Perhaps even more pleasing than these developments was that his equip skill rose to 10.
When it did so, Randidly was finally able to Equip and received the bonus from the leather gloves he had gotten from the small chest.
Gloves of Quickness. Gloves made from the leather of a Wind Deer. Adds speed to the wearer. Vit +1. Agi +3.
Although the boost couldn’t be considered significant, it was still a big bump at the level of his stats. More than that, the 3 PP he earned pushed him up to 11, which allowed him to get 3 more stats into Willpower, and at 10, He received +2 Agi, +1 Str, and +1 React, as well as the skill Phantom Thrust.
‘Becoming a disciple… is definitely a good thing.’ Randidly thought, trying out the skill. It cost 15 Stamina, but the training spear Shal had given him moved so fast that Randidly couldn’t even control it. The stabs went wide more often than not. But they were undoubtedly powerful.
That was around when Shal returned, and the training changed.