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Time had lost meaning. There was only opening of his eyes in the morning, the training, and closing the eyes at night.

Randidly wondered about whether even that was an accurate way to tell time. As time passed, as one week of the hellish training turned to two, the time they spent training grew. And yet night never came before Randidly laid his head down on the ground. There was a strange magic in the place, that the day would continue for as long as necessary for it to be filled.

Which made him realize that time meant increasingly little, and that the span of time he spent inside this dungeon was growing much faster than could be anticipated.

But even as his worries mounted, Randidly did not try and rush things, nor ask Shal. It was all that Randidly could do it survive the exponential increase in difficulty. His skills grew at a prodigious rate under the large strain. Each day Shal had found some new way to torture him, to push his limits.

Randidly swiftly gained the skills Fighting Proficiency, First Aid, and Block. And Shal seemed to know, and to change up his strategies to isolate those new skills, forcing them upwards.

It only took a week and a half for Randidly to gather enough PP to finish off the Shal’s disciple path. Shal had recommended that he refrain from putting the PP in until all at once, so he could experience how the stat changes affected him, by feeling it all at once, rather than gradually. So Randidly had, putting the last 24 PP in all at once.

So starting with 14, it was:

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! +3 End, +2 Agi.

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! +1 Vit, +1 Agi, +1 Int, +2 Reaction. You have learned the skill “Spear Phantom’s Footwork Lvl 1”.

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! +4 Agi, +1 Per.

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! +1 Agi. You have “Eyes of the Spear Phantom Lvl 1”.

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 5 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have earned 1 stat point(s).

Congratulations! You have completed the Disciple of Shal Path! You have learned “Phantom Half-Step Lvl 1”.

It was 24 distributable points in total, and upon Shal’s urging, Randidly chose to put it all into Willpower. Immediately, he felt his mind sharp and clear. There was a focus that he hadn’t possessed before. Although focus isn’t such a good word for it, due to the stat labeled focus....

With firm eyes, he met Shal’s gaze.

Shal grinned. “Good. Finally some spunk. What skills did you learn?”

At the end, Shal grunted. “Your luck is pretty good. Those are all core skills. Now… show me this half step. It appears to be an inferior version of the ‘Step of the Spear Phantom’.”

Randidly did so. It was a skill that needed a target, so Randidly targeted Shal. Immediately, Randidly felt something strange. He could use it in two ways, away, or towards. Deciding to do towards, Randidly stepped.

He immediately appeared halfway between his original position and Shal. He tried again, stepping backwards. But unfortunately, the skill took 80 stamina, and he barely had enough to use it once.

But Shal didn’t require anymore demonstrations, and grim faced, began the training.

‘The great weakness of the Step of the Spear Phantom is the lack of utility. It can cross vast gulfs to appear before an opponent, but the distance is such that you must immediately attack, or risk the opponent getting within you guard. But this Half Step of his…. Although it is clearly a strange mutation…. Its potential is limitless…!’

****

Although Randidly’s Willpower had reached the level Shal desired, the training continued, focusing on the new skills that Randidly had learned. If anything, it intensified.

It was brutal, and every day the training ended not because of weariness, but that Randidly’s injuries had reached the point where he couldn’t continue.

There was a small part of Randidly’s heart that was unsatisfied at the continued trainings, but one day, as if sensing this, Shal allowed Randidly to fight against a howler monkey.

The experience quickly dispelled any lingering doubts in Randidly’s heart; he remained weak. Although he had mana skills, the howler monkey’s vastly superior health let it force health trades that Randidly could not keep up with. Very soon, Randidly was out of mana, and only Mana Shield and Entangling Roots allowed Randidly to escape, fleeing back to Shal, who watched on with cool eyes.

“Why did you lose?” Shal spared the monkey a glance, and it was enough to send it stumbling backwards, unwilling, but intimidated by the obvious power of Shal.

“....The difference in stats…..” Randidly finally said unwillingly.

Nodding slowly, Shal finally said. “...and it will continue as such until you leave this place and find a Guide to give you a class. So what will you do?”

Clenching his fist, Randidly said. “Raise my skill level to the point that stats become meaningless.”

Shall simply laughed.

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