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During the course of recovering, he had gained another point in meditation, which was always a pleasant surprise. Every point in that increased the effectiveness of his regeneration, especially while training. As he stood, preparing to head into the plateau again, his stomach rumbled.

Annoyed, Randidly looked at the horizon. It was a few hours passed noon, and he had not bothered to take a break after training Donny to eat. And he had not thought to bring food with him.

His stomach rumbled again.

Grumbling, Randidly turned away, making a promise to himself that he would return tomorrow. But there were several reasons he wanted to return early to the camp.

One was to witness Donny’s resolve, and the other was hold up his end of the bargain; if it was a contest of strength, Randidly was not yet willing to let the Newbie Village be on the losing end of it. If it was to grow into something that would be a useful platform for him, it needed to survive these earlier encounters.

Randidly opened up his Path screen as he walked. He had already put a few points into Monster Slayer IV, and the amount he currently had enabled him to finish it.

Congratulations! You have completed the Monster Slayer IV Path! +4 stat(s) +.5 to Health Regen, Mana Regen, and Stamina Regen. Sometimes the path forward leads through blood and gore.

Randidly’s eyes immediately sharpened as he examined this notification. An increase… in regeneration…? Although the costs for the Monster Slayer path were getting higher, these increases… The stat was small, but he had never gotten regeneration before.

Interested, he poured the rest into Monster Slayer V, raising it to 7/25. Then he took out the necklace that the monster had dropped. It had simply been a common level 33 enemy, apparently on par with what Randidly faced in the dungeon, but its speed was so overwhelming that it seemed more powerful than that. Although that was compensated by having a relatively weak body. A single direct spell from Randidly was able to kill it.

It was to a weak point, and his intelligence had increased since the beginning of his journey, but it still wasn’t oppressively high enough to one hit most monsters of that level. Or any of them, to Randidly’s knowledge. Considering this, Randidly looked at the item.

Necklace of the Shadow Cat Lvl 20 ®: Vitality +1, Strength +2, Agility +7

Randidly was still quite a few levels away from being able to equip the item and take advantage of the stat boosts, but the possibility tantalized him. Just the boost to agility alone… Then he grimaced and shook his head.

Frustrated, Randidly wondered how you could ever obtain items you could use by fighting monsters. Shaking his head, he jogged back towards the Newbie Village.

Luckily, it seemed he had arrived before anything had happened. The sun still remained high in the sky. Randidly estimated it to be around 4 pm. Quickly, he went to check on his plants.

He harvested the ripe ones and replanted them, checked on his second series of fields, then started opening a 3rd field, where he began to place stranger combinations of plants next to each other. Although he didn’t have much hope that he would find more recipes for potions, it didn’t hurt to try.

While munching on some Halnuts, Randidly considered his stats.

Randidly Ghosthound

Class: ---

Level: N/A

Health(/R per hour): 206/262 [+6] (109.25 [+9])

Mana(/R per hour): 139/249 (51.75)

Stam(/R per min): 105/233 (39.5 [+3])

Vit: 32 [+3]

End: 27

Str: 18

Agi: 42 [+3]

Perception: 22

Reaction: 24

Resistance: 9

Willpower: 52

Inteligence: 54

Wisdom: 30

Control: 31

Focus: 17

Equipment: Average Leather Tunic Lvl 5: (+2 Vit), Gloves of Quickness (Vit +1. Agi +3), Necklace of the Shadow Cat Lvl 20 ®: (Locked)

Skills: Running: Lvl 17, Physical Fitness Lvl 25, Sneak Lvl 19, Farming Lvl 20, Mana Bolt Lvl 28, Heavy Blow Lvl 22, Acid Resistance Lvl 22, Poison Resistance Lvl 14, Sprinting Lvl 13, Iron Skin Lvl 25, Equip Lvl 16, Plant Breeding Lvl 9, Meditation Lvl 27, Dagger Mastery Lvl 8, Entangling Roots Lvl 28, Mana Shield Lvl 23, Dodge Lvl 26, Potion Making Lvl 19, Analyze Lvl 24, Pathfinding Lvl 8, Mapmaker Lvl 4, Spear Mastery Lvl 38, Phantom Thrust Lvl 38, Pain Resistance Lvl 11, Fighting Proficiency Lvl 27, First Aid Lvl 12, Block Lvl 24, Spear Phantom’s Footwork Lvl 22, Eyes of the Spear Phantom Lvl 16, Phantom Half-Step Lvl 4, Mental Strength Lvl 8, Curse Resistance Lvl 3, Root Manipulation Lvl 24, Green Spear Mastery Lvl 224, Arcane Orb Lvl 17, Haste Lvl 10, Phantom Onslaught Lvl 10, Sweep Lvl 9, Spear Deflect Lvl 5, Empower Lvl 7, Calculated Blow Lvl 4

Randidly knew he had grown stronger, and it was due to a variety of things. The sheer quantity of skills he knew gave him a natural advantage over most others when it came to paths, and that was one that he would never lose. He could always level these skills. And based on what he had heard from Shal, he could forget them to learn others.

It made him wonder whether it would be worth it to take the time to learn a bunch of skills, and keep them at low level. It probably wouldn’t be hard to ask around, especially to Chubbs now that he had put him to work, and find some that wouldn’t be too hard. The question was simply whether it was worth the time spent… and right now, he wasn’t sure. It was only just now coming up on 2 days since he had left the dungeon.

The other big help had been the addition of Green Spear Mastery. It basically leveled when anything else leveled. And every 5 levels, he would get one of four rotating things. 5 mana, 1 Vitality, 5 Stamina, and finally 2 distributable stat points. Which meant that as his skill was now past 200 hundred…

10 Vitality, 50 mana, 50 stamina, and 20 stats to anything. Mostly Intelligence, Agility, and most recently Control. Although it was slight, Randidly was really beginning to appreciate what Control could do for his Root Manipulation. Especially after that fight with the cat. Speaking of the cat…

Randidly made a mental note to take the body to Sam later.

Then his mind drifted back to his status screen. Although his current build made him strong now, he was slightly worried that if he attempted to keep this up, it would ultimately lead to weakness. He couldn’t stay good at everything. And the choice of what to specialize in….

Shaking his head, Randidly took a rare break, leaning back against the ground, feeling the warmth of the sun and hearing the movement of the trees.

Men were shouting good naturedly up around the Newbie Village, where Randidly believed they were play fighting, trying to relieve stress and get a handle on the new determinative factor in their lives: strength.

Randidly heard the steps before the body had approached him, but Randidly didn’t move. Chubbs sat down next to him, and it was easy to sense the apprehension that the kid felt.

“Speak,” Randidly said simply.

Chubbs nodded and opened his mouth. “Um I did as you requested, and asked around about-”

“Anything unexpected or interesting? Any powerful seeming classes?”

“Uh,” Chubbs hesitated. “Well no. Donny’s is the best, but I think Decklan’s might even be better, if-”

“Anything else?” Randidly didn’t really mean for his tone to come off as sharply as it did, but he couldn’t deny that hearing the mundane details wasn’t something he wanted.

But finally, delightedly, Chubbs surprised him. “...actually…. Yes. I wanted to talk about the growth of the Newbie Village.”

“Growth?” Randidly asked sitting up and turning towards the other man.

Chubbs nodded. “Yes. Nul…. Doesn’t like you, I think, because you didn’t get a class from him, and I have some theories as to why that is… but I also believe that due to that same fact, he has no need to be honest or forthright with you. But when I asked him things alone, he was more than happy to assist me.

“You see,” Chubbs continued, “It’s like a currency system. Donny, as the boss, gains points when people he gave classes to level up, and when they kill monsters. Those points can be spent on buying buildings for the Newbie Village, or buy upgrading the village, which I believe, is basically upgrading Nul. He’s like the spirit of the village. Which is why he doesn’t like you. Your strength does nothing to bring Soul Points to the village.”

Randidly nodded slowly. “...buying buildings for the village?”

“Oh yes. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. We have gathered around 500 Soul Points, and that’s enough to buy one of the basic shops. Weapons, Armor, Accessories, Potions, or the Marketplace. I wanted to know… well Donny says he’s going to save up for the upgrade, but I think it might be better-”

“What’s your name?” Randidly asked, looking at Chubbs directly for the first time. Although he was heavy for his age, he was still tall and strong looking. His hair was light brown, and his eyes were the same mild color.

He blinked at the question. “Ah… Daniel.”

“Daniel, what currency would we spend at these shops?”

Daniel opened his mouth, then closed it. Then he got up and hurried up the hill.

Shaking his head, Randidly walked back over and continued to expand his fields, planting more food. He had a feeling that soon, they would need it, if he was going to support all these mooches for much longer.

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