A note from puddles4263

Had a date, then watched some sports, so not as early as usual. But still within my 24 time frame.

The fake Randidly was perhaps just as willing to break things as the real one was, quickly locating a likely looking skylight and shattering it, the two of them employing their individual magic means to descend to the ground. They stood in a grand ballroom, with high, crimson pillars with gold trimming, looking oddly cheap in the twilight.

By unspoken agreement, they strode together to the door. Luckily, the ballroom only took up the Eastern half of the uppermost floor; the West was the penthouse. Two guards in riot gear stood outside the door. Fake Randidly raised his hand and wiggled his fingers, and those two slumped to the side, asleep.

Lyra glanced at Kim-Lath. She knew she was playing with fire, but…

She was almost there… Following that thin thread a little farther… feeling it worn to almost nothing by her senses… just a bit more….

No matter how powerful Randidly was, if he could see his foe, he could not fight it. To track the down the Tribulation… perhaps they had enough bodies now in Donnyton to do it eventually, but if had escalated to the point that the whole of Donnyton knew the exact danger it represented, it would be much more difficult to find.

Lyra knew this was a gamble, but she also knew that no one would know anything about it, except the result. So as long as she succeeded...

They opened the door, and stepped into well lit room.

Two figures sprung to their feet, from the spots they had been lounging within. Lyra put her hands on her hips.

“Well don’t bother getting dressed on my account-” She said, frankly scanning the two individuals in front of her, but then she frowned. “You both have classes….? But your level is so low….”

Kal and Vivian, both dressed in barely anything more than underwear, looked at Lyra, stunned. If it was Lyra from a month ago, she would be delighted to find the leads of the movie she was working on looking so bedraggled and gaunt. Now she just felt pity covered in a thin film of disgust.

“You… what…. How….” Kal spluttered. Lyra just waved her hand.

“They forgot to lock the door I guess? Are you two princesses then, trapped in a tower? And where’s Ellaine. If there is going to be an orgy, I’d want to sample all of the forbidden fruits~”

Vivian’s face instantly twisted into a scowl. “You foolish bitch. You’ve doomed yourself by coming here. And likely us too.”

“I thought this was the bastion of civilization, the last holdout of humanity.” Lyra said dryly, her frank gaze moving from one to the other. “Was the king not the saint that everyone said he was?”

“It’s not Constance, it’s-” Kal hurried to explain, but a noise interrupted him; the soft ding of the elevator. Fake Randidly stepped up to Lyra and touched her shoulder, and she felt a strange skill activate. Her initial reaction was stifled, as she struggled to maintain her cool demeanor. A thin film of mana settled over her, but it didn’t appear to be geared towards affecting her.

Kal and Vivian blinked, uncomprehendingly, and Lyra realized that they had become invisible. Although this was an incredibly useful skill, and study of its structure could let her try and imitate it, Lyra’s focus spread outwards, rushing after that thin thread of mana, tracing it all the way back.

The thread slowly faded, like all the others, but Lyra’s eyes glowed a vicious blue.

‘Gotcha’ She thought, her mouth curving slowly upward.

Lyra’s gaze focused, and she saw how Kal had sprinted to the door and shut it, and then came back to the couches, forcing himself to casually lay, even as he awkwardly twisted, gazing at the door with dread. With trembling hands, Vivian sat at a desk across the room, slowly brushing her hair in front of the mirror.

There was some commotion outside, and the door was kicked in, several more guards covered in riot gear, bursting at their seams with muscles, walked in waving guns.

After a brief search, where both Kal and Vivian were dragged to the front, the guards retreated to the door and stood at attention. The sound of wood on marble filled the room as a small, stooped woman walked forward. Her long hair had faded to grey, and her face was a maze of wrinkles.

“Babi Taka w-w-what are you doing here…. personally….? “ Kal whispered his eyes wide.

The old woman shrugged casually, her eyes slowly, methodically sliding over every inch of the room. Lyra leaned forward, curiously. Who would win, the Tribulation’s hiding spell, or the mean old lady gaze…?

Seemingly satisfied, the old lady turned back towards Kal. “I had a strange feeling… and then I come to find my guards sleeping on the job. My instincts must be getting pretty sharp in my old age, kekeke.”

Lyra rolled her eyes and held up a finger gun, pointed at Babi Taka.

‘Bang,’ She mouthed.

With a sharp snap, a crack appeared in the wall behind Babi Taka. The old woman jumped, spinning around with a speed that should be impossible for someone her age. The two guards sprinted to put themselves between their mistress and the wall, guns raised.

For several seconds, everyone stood there, waiting. Fake Randidly looked at Lyra reproachfully, his hand still on her shoulder. She rolled her eyes at him.

What’s the point in having magical powers if you don’t have fun with them every once and awhile?

Nonplussed and scowling, the old woman whispered to her guards and hurried away leaving the room. Right before they left, one of the guards that was standing outside tossed a figure into the room. Bound hand and foot, the figure flailed and fell to the ground.

Making a low, concerned noise, Vivian hurried forward, helping the figure up, fumbling at the bindings. Lyra frowned. It appears that this bruised and tied up prisoner was Constance, the King, the Previously Fearsome.


His breathing was even, his movements sure, this huge spear of bone continuing to cut a wide path through the monsters. Randidly’s addition of the Thorn Rampart had done one thing for sure, and that was bunch up the monsters, who could either impale themselves or only approach Franksburg from certain directions.

As such, a huge number of monsters were milling around, ready for slaughter. However, Randidly slowed his slaughter and distanced himself from the horde proper, moving like a ghost back out, and to the fringes. He stopped for two reasons: the first was simple, he wanted a chance to check in on his notifications. The second…

He felt… strange. Randidly’s lessons with Lyra had given him an intimate familiarity with the feel of activating skills. The warm rush of Stamina, the cool flow of Mana. What Randidly currently felt was neither of those. It was a stranger, more foreign feeling within himself. An icy seizing within his chest, slowly spreading out. But the longer he felt it, the more he doubted his own body, because the chill began to burn with a fiery heat.

Although it didn’t exactly hurt, it wasn’t comfortable either. So despite the fact he could continue, Randidly returned to a spot to give himself a respite and check his notifications.

And what Randidly saw made his scalp tingle. He skipped over all the skill level notifications and just examined the strange ones.

Congratulations! Due to your actions, you are developing your own personal skill. Skill is 10% complete.

Due to synchronicity with merging power, time until full absorption of the Blessing of Ash decreased. -100 minutes until full absorption.

Warning, you have long walked upon the path of the Heretic, but you are rapidly approaching a crossroads. That path lies through a Judgement.

Due to synchronicity with merging power, time until full absorption of the Blessing of Ash decreased. -200 minutes until full absorption.

Due to synchronicity with merging power, time until full absorption of the Blessing of Ash decreased. -100 minutes until full absorption.

Congratulations! Due to your actions, you are developing your own personal skill. Skill is 25% complete.

Congratulations! Due to a moment of heightened synchronicity with merging power, time until full absorption of the Blessing of Ash decreased. -500 minutes until full absorption.

Due to synchronicity with merging power, time until full absorption of the Blessing of Ash decreased. -200 minutes until full absorption.

Due to synchronicity with merging power, time until full absorption of the Blessing of Ash decreased. -100 minutes until full absorption.

Congratulations! Due to your actions, you are developing your own personal skill. Skill is 50% complete.

Randidly regarded the notifications curiously. There were three types, ranging from great, to good, to… foreboding.

The great was the creation of the skill, that was currently sitting at at somewhere over 50%. That strange, focused state that Randidly had been in had apparently been tapping into something within the system, allowing him to create his own skill. Based on the situation, it was likely a fighting skill, rather than a spell.

Randidly frowned, struck by a sudden thought. Could that be the source of the deathly cold, followed by the burning heat…? Was that what it was, the feeling of his body changing as he developed this skill…? If so, then he would suffer through it in silence. A skill that took that he developed in this manner couldn’t be simple.

The good notifications were the minutes falling away from the absorption of the Blessing of Ash he had obtained/ stolen. After a quick check of his menu, he realized that he had only 1200 more minutes before he absorbed it. That would be… something like 20 hours…?

So still some time, but if he continued to display enough synchronicity, it would continue to rise.

The final type of notification was the one about the Path of the Heretic. He had noticed the Heretic Path, slowly growing, despite the fact he had never put any PP into it. It seemed that it was growing in response to some of his actions, but what could it be?

He had never heard of anyone else with access to this path, but Randidly supposed he had never really asked. The most likely, if disturbing, explanation that Randidly could think of was that it was related to his lack of class. As he grew stronger without a class, his Heretic path would grow higher, and eventually he would encounter a Judgement.

It seemed like the system itself seemed to take personal offense to his continued independence. Was this perhaps how everyone was slowly pushed into a class?

But this line of thought still left Randidly confused. What then, would the Path itself provide? What rewards would he receive for taking it? And would he lose his ability to use the Heretic paths the future…? Would the path itself address whatever was so heretical about the situation?

If he could survive the judgement, would it be better to drive the Heretic path higher before using it…? Was it worth the risk?

Shaking his head, Randidly made a mental note to ask Alana whether she had access to the Heretic Path. She was relatively strong, and hadn’t yet chosen a class, so if his suspicions were correct, she should have also earned the systems ire.


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