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Setting aside his concerns about the notifications for now, Randidly allowed himself a small smile as he tallied the skill level gains. Truly, fighting under the pressure of the Agony skill provided some bonus to the speed with which he leveled. There was no other explanation for why he had gained so much. Although, perhaps, it was also the strange, vicious fighting trance Randidly had fallen into for a time.

Randidly had gained 2 Lvls of Spear Mastery, 1 in Phantom Thrust, 3 in Spear Phantom’s Footwork and Eyes of the Spear Phantom, 2 in Phantom Half Step, 3 in Heavy Blow, 5 in Dodge, 2 in Fighting Proficiency, 3 in Haste, 6 in Sweep, 1 in Phantom Onslaught, 2 in Empower, 3 in Calculated Blow and Roundhouse Kick, 4 in Edge of Decay, 2 in Physical Fitness, 3 in Pain Resistance, 5 in Grace, and finally 9 in Agony.

A pretty good haul for… however long he had been fighting. It all started to blur together into a giant block of blood and bone. Still, it couldn’t have been any shorter than… 2 hours…? And definitely no longer than 5….

Randidly looked dubiously at the still numerous horde of monsters, slowly pressing up against the Thorn Ramparts. Although the bodies were piling up in some places, allowing the monsters to slowly trickle in nonstandard entrances, this much should still be possible to handle.

Hopefully there was also enough for Randidly to rejoin the fray without any of the defenders from taking note of him, too.

Randidly poured his PP into the Spear Mastery II Path, using 57 PP to finish it off.

Congratulations! You have completed the the Spear Mastery II Path! Walk long on the battlefield and strength will naturally develop. For before absolute martial strength, what are tactics, preparation, and knowledge? But this cannot be the place you come to rest, for ahead of you, the path stretches ever onward. You have learned the skill Fearsome Cut Lvl 1. You have learned the skill Pierce the Skies, Shatter the Earth Lvl 1. All Physical stats +3. +20 Health, +30 Stamina.

Congratulations, due to the influence of your other skills, Fearsome Cut has become Ghastly Slash Lvl 1.

Ghastly Slash: Slash out with such oppressive speed and strength that the very air wails as you cut through it. Effectiveness of the skill increases with skill level.

Pierce the Skies, Shatter the Earth: Such is the mastery of the spear that it allows you to bend the laws of reality with its fearsome power. Two part move, first leaping up into the air, piercing the skies. Then fall to the ground, creating a large shockwave that spreads outward from the point of impact. Effectiveness of the skill increases with skill level.

After he had finished allocating the points, he was quite pleased with himself, and Randidly even had 5 more pp remaining. But a notification popped up, making his eyes narrow.

Warning, you have long walked upon the path of the Heretic, but now the cusp of the crossroads lay before you. Proceed directly to the nearest Newbie Village for assistance. Should you proceed, you shall face Judgement.

Randidly examined his status page.

Randidly Ghosthound

Class: ---

Level: N/A

Health(/R per hour): 390/479 [+8] (227 [+12])

Mana(/R per hour): 0(unusable)/799 (90.75)

Stam(/R per min): 401/613 (82 [+4])

Vit: 68 [+4]

End: 42

Str: 53 [+2]

Agi: 73 [+10]

Perception: 46

Reaction: 62

Resistance: 25

Willpower: 70

Intelligence: 96

Wisdom: 46

Control: 82

Focus: 50

Equipment: Average Leather Tunic Lvl 5: (+2 Vit), Gloves of Quickness (Vit +1. Agi +3), Necklace of the Shadow Cat Lvl 20 ®: (Vitality +1, Strength +2, Agility +7)

PP: 5

Paths: Newbie 7/7, P.Def 10/10, M.Supp 10/10, Risk Taker 15/15, Basic Physical Fitness 20/20, Trainee 15/15, Wandering Survivor 20/20, Pathless I 5/5, Pathless II 5/5, Pathless III 10/10, Pathfinder 15/15, Disciple of Shal 37/37, Pathless IV 10/10, Pathless V 15/15, Pathless VI 15/15, Pathless VII 20/20, Pathless VIII 20/20, Pathless IX 25/25, Pathless X 50/50, Pathless 100/100, Mana Bolt  25/25, Phys Fitness 25/25, Evasion 35/35, Phantom Thrust Path 40/40, Spear Mastery I 50/50, Monster Slayer I 1/1, Monster Slayer II 3/3, Heavy Blow Path 20/20, Monster Slayer III 6/6, Monster Slayer IV 12/12, Monster Slayer V 25/25, Potion Making I 25/25, The Monster Slayer 100/100, Entangling Roots 40/40, Meditation 35/35, Frontrunner 100/100, Apprentice Path 50/50, Fireball I Path 50/50, Potion Making II 35/35, Spear Mastery II 75/75

Skills (Soul Skill):  Spear of Rot Mastery Lvl 499

Combat: Spear Mastery Lvl 54, Phantom Thrust Lvl 50, Spear Phantom’s Footwork Lvl 41, Eyes of the Spear Phantom Lvl 27, Phantom Half-Step Lvl 17, Heavy Blow Lvl 29, Dagger Mastery Lvl 10, Iron Skin Lvl 27, Dodge Lvl 36, Fighting Proficiency Lvl 40, Block Lvl 32, Haste Lvl 27, Phantom Onslaught Lvl 15, Sweep Lvl 32, Spear Deflect Lvl 10, Empower Lvl 30, Calculated Blow Lvl 22, Roundhouse Kick Lvl 21, Edge of Decay Lvl 20, Ghastly Slash Lvl 1, Pierce the Skies, Shatter the Earth Lvl 1

 

Spells: Spearing Roots Lvl 13, Mana Bolt Lvl 28, Mana Shield Lvl 24, Root Manipulation Lvl 28, Arcane Orb Lvl 22, Fireball Lvl 30, Magic Missile Lvl 4, Healing Palm Lvl 9, Pollen of the Rafflesia Lvl 15, Summon Pestilence Lvl 17, Mana Strengthening Lvl 14, Wall of Thorns Lvl 7, Soul Seed Lvl ®, Agony Lvl 24, Inspiration ®, Incinerating Bolt Lvl 5, Circle of Flame Lvl 7

 

Crafting: Potion Making Lvl 30, Farming Lvl 20, Plant Breeding Lvl 9, Mapmaker Lvl 7, Analyze Lvl 24, Refine Lvl 12

 

Auxiliary: Physical Fitness Lvl 35, Meditation Lvl 35, Running: Lvl 23,  Sprinting Lvl 19, Sneak Lvl 23, Acid Resistance Lvl 22, Poison Resistance Lvl 16, Pain Resistance Lvl 17, First Aid Lvl 13, Equip Lvl 25, Pathfinding Lvl 18, Mental Strength Lvl 15, Curse Resistance Lvl 3, Fire Resistance Lvl 14,  Blessing of the North (U), Blessing of the East (U), Blessing of the South (U), Blessing of the West (U), Sewing Lvl 11, Cutting Vegetables Lvl 2, Manual Labor Lvl 3, Digging Lvl 5, Cooking Lvl 16, Grace Lvl 10, Extract Lvl 1

Randidly wondered whether Heretic was determined by his Soul Skill, which was currently sitting at 499. But that too, didn’t really make sense, because why was this skill difference from the previous one? Didn’t the levels he had gained in Green Spear mastery matter?

There wasn’t anyway of knowing. But what Randidly had to do now was decide how he would handle this. But in his heart, he had already made the decision.

After all, he was tired of dealing with the stress of the days with no release. Donnyton’s cowardly Tribulation had driven him crazy for three and a half weeks, refusing to reveal itself. Although it was hasty, although it was stubborn, although it was short sighted, Randidly was tired of being told what to do.

In that moment, Randidly removed his spear, made for him by Sam, and looked at it for a long time, admiring the smoothly flowing vertebrae that constituted its body. It truly was a beautiful, and Randidly made a mental note to express his appreciation towards Sam for making it. It couldn’t have been an easy process. Then he examined it, once more reading its simple description.

The Spine-Spear of Ep-Tal Lvl 30: Agility +2, Strength +10. If you crave something, take it.

Randidly bared his teeth in something akin to a smile. If you crave something…. Take it… huh….?

With glowing eyes, Randidly examined his available paths.

Watcher: 0/??, ?????, Heretic IV 0/???, Oathbreaker 0/25, Initiate of Ash I 0/75, Phantom Thrust II  0/75, Empower 0/60, Path of Carnage I 0/???

This time, Randidly took some extra time to look at the paths available to him. Watcher he had had for a long time, but Randidly was rather nonplussed over what he should expect from it. Had he had access before he left the dungeon…? And he already had access to Eyes of the Spear Phantom, so it wasn’t clear what he was hoping to came from it.

Not that he doubted that there would be a worthwhile reward, but at his core, Randidly couldn’t resist efficiency. Watcher, at this point, didn’t seem very efficient.

Heretic, which was the subject of the previous notifications, was intriguing, but he didn’t want to mess with it lightly. Especially not when he was feeling slightly forced into the situation. If there was something that he hated, it was being pressured by others. Perhaps that’s why he was so infuriated by both Constance and Raina, even when Raina’s smile was such a slight touch on his will. As soon as he became aware of it, it was intolerable.

Oathbreaker was similar to Watcher, in that he had access to it for a while, but also that Randidly wasn’t sure what to expect. What sort of skill would an Oathbreaker receive…? The only advantage it had over Watcher was that the quantity of PP it would require was clear, giving him a little bit more of an idea about when to use it. But, that moment wasn’t now.

Initiate of Ash… Picturing that floating face of molten stone, that irredeemable cheater that clear possessed much more power than he currently had, Randidly felt somewhat helpless. In his heart, this was the path that he most wanted to take. It would definitely lead to power, if it was traversed successfully. But if he had to deal with another, more difficult challenge like the first one before he could pass it…

Path of Carnage was intriguing, but again…. The lack of an end amount of PP was off putting. It would be annoying if it ended up being too high. Not the worst outcome, because it would likely have a correspondingly high reward, but…

This didn’t seem too likely, however, because of the numbering. All of the other ones like this, such as Monster Slayer, and Pathless, started off small. But his disposition still urged him away from Path of Carnage, because once he started it, he would want to finish it. And there were two options that he valued very highly available right now.

The second Phantom Thrust path, and Empower. And between them...

Phantom Thrust was his first real skill, learned from Shal. To this day, the strength displayed by it never failed to impress.

Randidly hesitated for a split second. He had calmed down alot since losing himself in the violence early. It truly wasn’t that he was angry at Tessa, and he was inwardly quite horrified what he had done, hurting her in the heat of the moment. But it was one thing after another with the system.

His lack of direction had been driving him crazy, because he should have a goal. Originally he had latched onto finding Sydney and Ace, but now he finally faced the fact that they might already be dead. He would of course continue to try and gather information, but they hadn’t yet seen any other pillars of light that would indicate that other people in the Zone had founded a Newbie Village.

No, Ace and Sydney, although an important part of his past, was simply the past.

Sydney was just…

Then Randidly shook his head. There were no answer there. It wasn’t worth dwelling on. Survival also became almost an afterthought, as his strength was so high above the level of the common monsters.

Other than that… Randidly didn’t have any grand dreams of punishing the instigators of the system’s implementation on Earth. He didn’t want to rule humanity’s survivors. Perhaps he wanted to find relationships, and to treasure the new ones he had, allowing them to grow, but…

All he really wanted to walk these paths to the end. To see what he was, what he could become. For now, walking forward was all he could do. All he wanted to do. All he knew how to do anymore. Thinking beyond that…

Narrowing his eyes, Randidly opened the menus back up. The one thing he didn’t want to do was allow a notification to rule his life. To allow a system to rule his life. He would explore it, but he would never compromise on his terms to placate it.

He did not negotiate with terrorists.

Randidly put 5 PP into the Phantom Thrust II path, receiving 1 Strength, and a slew of notifications for his troubles.

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