When Shal kicked him awake, Randidly was happy to see that he had some impressive gains during the fight. Physical fitness rose 3 levels to 20, Heavy Blow rose 1, Dodge rose 2 to 24, Spear Mastery rose 1 to 34, and Phantom Thrust rose 3 to 30.
Throwing all these points into his path earned him two stat points, which he put into Intelligence to increase his maximum mana.
Then he followed Shal through the forest, and out onto the plains.
This area was dominated by orcs who wielded stone axes and road a strange ram creature the size of a small car, which Randidly abruptly realized must have been what had hit him to start this adventure.
Shal ripped through these enemies with ease, calmly speaking over his shoulder.
“Unlike that spider, resistances cannot save you from these enemies. You may shoot your magic if you wish, but try not to catch their attention. I will not save you.”
At first, Randidly dutifully stood around and did nothing. But then a strange itch began to take hold of him. He wanted to fight.
Finally, he spotted an enemy that had been heavily wounded by Shal’s thrust, but was staggering to his feet. Randidly cast Entangling Roots, which gratefully leveled up. Then, with a combination of Mana Bolts, Heavy Blows, and Phantom Thrusts, Randidly killed the orc, watching as the light in its eyes dimmed.
Inwardly, he felt nothing, and that disturbed him somehow. Unlike the howler monkeys or the spiders, this creature was obviously intelligent, and yet he took its life. But then Randidly shook his head. These were just… spawns. He couldn’t look any more deeply than that. They would kill him otherwise.
“Pupil, prepare, it is time to show your usefulness.” And just like that, Randidly looked up to see an enemy, named Orc Shaman, with a blue name, throwing a skull made of smoke at Shal.
Feeling dubious, Randidly stepped forward and blocked it with his spear, but it passed right through. Immediately afterwards, Randidly froze as strange thoughts flooded his brain.
‘Kill now, blood…’
Randidly stared at the blade of his own spear, fascinated.
But then a slap on his back woke him from his stupor. “Good, you did not succumb. I was worried. You have the same Willpower as me, yet you are so puny and weak. Let us continue.”
Feeling more than a little disturbed, Randidly followed woodenly after Shal, noticing that he had learned both the skills Mental Strength and Curse Resistance. Mental strength had even increased to 2.
As it happened this got him to 90 in Pathless X, giving him another stat point, which Randidly surreptitiously placed into Willpower.
“Better safe than sorry,” He muttered.
Time passed strangely, the sunlight until you drop climate throwing off Randidly’s perception. He supposed that was part of the point, to keep you pushing if you could go further. To extend your boundaries, and make you forget about your former limits.
Feeling strangely observed, Randidly glanced around then continued on after Shal.
They continued to plow through groups of orcs at a rapid rate. It didn’t seem like any of the wandering groups had shamans, but after you killed three groups, a group lead by a shaman would show up, and Randidly would offer his body to their strange curse.
Do to the exposure, Mental Strength increased to 7, while Curse Resistance rose to 3. Mana Bolt increased a level, and running did as well, as Randidly struggled to keep up with Shal’s long strides, leaving him only one point away from completing this path.
In a good mood, Randidly didn’t even really pay attention to the orcs that Shal was fighting, and instead was doing some quick calculations in his head. Based on the map, if they continued to mow through the orcs at this rate…
“Oy, worthless student.”
Randidly looked up, finding Shal surrounded by three new arrivals, named Elite Orc Guards, their names green. Beyond them, two Orc Shamans chuckled evilly, muttering to themselves and spreading a thick purple smoke on the ground around them.
“Get over here and stop them. I can overcome these three, but not if my legs melt off,” Shal complained, jumping up onto a large stone, slightly raised off the ground. Immediately the three elite guards circled around him, grinning evilly, but they were taken completely by surprise when Randidly cast Grasping Roots, holding one down for a few seconds, and hit the middle one in the side of the face with a mana bolt. The two hit with his spells turned to glare at him, but Shal had already cut off the arm of the last remaining elite that paid attention to him, and then turned to the two regarding Randidly.
Unfortunately, the purple mist reached the legs of the one, just as it was ripping away the roots Randidly had conjured. He was fast and strong, but not fast enough. The mist reached him and his flesh began to boil. With a scream, he fell face first into the knee high mist, but quickly fell silent.
Randidly felt some sweat drip down his back.
“Bah, he has no poison resistance, worthless apprentice. You do. Go stop those two stick bags, and I will crush them.
Randidly raised his hand and shot a mana bolt, narrowly missing the Shamans, who hissed at him. One raised his staff and shot a grey skull at Randidly, which took him in the chest. It only took up a second, but he quickly banished the strange, violent voices, earning him another point in mental strength. Although he wanted to complete his Pathless, it was rather foolish to do it now.
Unfortunately, it was clear that he wasn’t accurate enough at this range to simply snipe his opponents. So with gritted teeth, he stepped into the creeping purple mist.
His pants soon disintegrated to nothing, and then his shoes. He had to grind his teeth to withstand the pain.
Poison Resistance and Pain Resistance both rose a level, but Randidly simply trudged forward, throwing back a health potion to stay above the damage.
As Randidly grew closer, the thickness of the mist increased, as did the height, leading to increased pain. By the time it reached mid thigh, Randidly stopped, sweating. If it went any higher.
Praying silently, he raised his hand and shot off a mana bolt. It struck the Shaman in the chest, disrupting the spell and making him take a step back. The Other Shaman was shocked, and glared at Randidly furiously. But as Randidly raised his hand for the second shot, the Shaman had already completed whatever strange incantation it was doing, and the purple smoke began to rush backwards towards it, forming a huge skull, the size of a fast food restaurant. Its mouth opening soundlessly, its rushed forward, losing its shape, but becoming a wide flood of purple energy as tall as a man.
Even Shal paled, swearing colorfully.
The wave hit Randidly first, submerging him completely. The pain was horrendous, enough to make him sway, barely holding onto consciousness. He opened his eyes and immediately regretted it, the strange poison eating away at his eyes. But still he kept them open, using Phantom’s Eyes to stare at Shal, waiting for… something.
Shal frowned, and then started running towards the oncoming rush of purple smoke. At the last moment, he thrust his spear into the ground, vaulting up and over the skull.
The monstrous thing turned and howled soundlessly, and then collapsed.
But then Randidly’s bloodshot eyes widened, as it reformed, growing from the middle of the purple smoke area, rising up to devour Shal.
With a worried expression, Shal considered his options.
Gritting his teeth, Randidly raised his hand and pointed, invoking mana.
As Shal descended to the wide open mouth of this poison mist skull, he saw something. A weak and sickly series of vines, quickly rotting, wrapping up, forming a foothold. Shal softly landed and kicked off, leaping again over the smoke, even as the vines collapsed from his weight.
It had been enough, and the Shamans were both killed before they could do more than stare stupidly at the descending god of death wielding a spear.