A note from puddles4263

Little late, but its fine. Two more when I wake up again.

Randidly stirred, then sat bolt upright. What…?

“So you finally wake. Hmph, well it is good you didn’t perish, but you also did not make things any easier for us. The formation… will be of no more use. It will take more time to repair.”

Randidly opened his mouth, then hesitated, paling. He had damaged the formation…? That was honestly terrible, because although the feeling of Aether that he experienced in there was painful, it had been oddly invigorating.

Thinking about it, Randidly turned his attention inward. It seemed that although Aether had definitely spread throughout him, with more spindly branches extending into his arms, and especially his legs, it had fallen back into a dormant state. It moved, but extremely slowly, pulsing only intermittently.

Turning his attention to Shal, Randidly noticed that he didn’t seem to be that upset that the formation was damaged. In fact… he almost seemed cheery.

Standing, Shal gestured, and Randidly followed him out of the room with the inheritances. “For tonight, rest and train your other… skills.”

Randidly was slightly amused that he seemed unwilling to refer directly to the usefulness of his spells, but he let it slide.

Shal continued. “Tomorrow we will continue with training. In the evenings, instead of the formation, you shall make use of the 2nd of the tools left behind by my father; his journal. During the night, you will be free to continue your other pursuits. Within a week, we will leave, to train at a more… advantageous location. Settle your affairs; you will return strong or in a coffin.”

And with that, Shal left him alone.

After a nervous chuckle at the foreboding things Shal had said, Randidly sat down and addressed his notifications. It seemed the creation of his skill based on the movements had reached 80%, which meant it might be possible to push towards creating the move within the week, before Shal whisked him off to whatever dangerous location he had in mind for the training.

The second notification caught and held Randidly’s attention.

Due to your strong image, the skill Phantom Thrust can be changed. Do you wish to merge the image into the skill? Warning, based on the quality of the components, efficacy of the skill or the image may decrease. Do you still wish to continue?

Perhaps it would be smart to wait, but…

Randidly stood, and thrust forward. The spear was slow and steady, but when it finished, a wave of force spread outward in every direction, buzzing like a deep bass note. Even Randidly’s bones vibrated slightly through the force.

He also had Sweep and Ghastly Slash. Sacrificing some of the speed for a move powerful enough to finish fights, and force others to back off, appealed to Randidly after being on the losing end of his conflict with Tertet. He selected yes.

Congratulations! Your skill Phantom Thrust Lvl 70 has changed to The Inevitable Phantom Arrives Lvl 35 (Un). Half of the benefits of skill levels retained. Skill levels will be slightly easier to gain until the level of the new skill rivals that of the old skill.

Congratulations! Your skill has become a skill with an Uncommon Rarity. Continue to explore further. You will find that uncommon starting places generate uncommon paths!

Randidly hefted his spear and looked at the sharp obsidian tip. The Inevitable Phantom Arrives, huh…? Perhaps that really was the image that he had. Always advancing, always approaching. This Phantom could not be avoided.

Also, the notification from the system was cute, that it encouraged him to create more skills of different rarities, and then use their paths. But he already had a Runic rarity move. It was just far more difficult than he had expected to level it, resulting in not really having access to that path yet. But it was good to know that path would probably be worth it.

Then Randidly turned to the skill notifications.He had gained 2 Lvls in Spear Mastery and Spear Phantom’s Footwork, 3 in Iron Skin and Dodge (likely from Shal’s earlier beatings), 1 in Haste, 2 in Empower, 2 in Battle Intent, 4 in Struggle, 1 in Root Control and Plantomancy, 1 in Potion Making, 3 in Mana Engraving, 3 in Physical Fitness, 4 in Meditation, 1 in Pain Resistance (It was good to see that the Aether really did cause actual pain), 4 in Bacterial Regeneration and Mental Fortitude, and finally 5 in Second Wind.

Because most of his time in the formation was used to train up his Phantom Thrust, which transformed, and the leg exercises, it didn’t seem like he had gained much from his time there. But it appeared that his regenerative stats had improved, due to the brutal style of training that Shal employed.

There was a little bit of regret in Randidly’s heart that he hadn’t used that time to develop images for more things, especially things that would have resulted in noticeable increases, but he set that to the side. It wasn’t worth it to dwell on what might have been. Better to focus on how things had changed for the better.

Shal had been tight lipped about his move that he used, but he had indicated he could continue training with it. That acknowledgement was worlds ahead of the previous attitude Shal had towards him. Honestly, he was a pretty poor instructor, but he was fair and thorough, so Randidly couldn’t fault him too much. Besides, Randidly admitted in his heart that Shal’s teaching style was almost exactly what he needed to progress, so things worked out.

From these skill levels, Randidly had 47 PP. Inwardly, he was quite pleased, because it would finally be enough to finish off this strange Lonesome Spear path that had appeared within him. There had only been the health, mana, and stamina benefits thus far… but it seemed impossible to him those strange, powerful hands would create a useless Path within him.

So he put the 27 PP needed to finish it off into the path, and looked at the flickering notification.

Congratulations! You have completed the Lonesome Spear Path! You hold a spear, and walk forward. All else is left behind on your journey forward. The sky above you shifts restlessly. *&()*#()$#(*$#(*RQ#($#*$(#*$)#(*$(#$DSF)#$(#)$A(#)$(#(*@()#&!*(@#_)(+_)#@$#@K$#P(#)@$#@[email protected]$#@#*#@_$*#@$#*@[email protected]#@OL)$!_#[email protected]$#@[email protected]~\~~;D

Randidly looked dumbfounded at the notification. There was… no reward at all…? But more than that, what were those characters…? And they ended in an emoji…?

But before he could truly process what had happened, his body shuddered. That tightly packed ball of Aether exploded, surging outward in three huge torrents. The first torrent curled upwards, winding itself into a spiral that tightly packed itself, even more compact and compressed than the original Path had been. This small little pellet hovered above the place where his Soul Skill still rotated, and was still.

The two other streams of Aether expanded, twisting and shifting, finally settling down in his stomach area, where his skills resided. Slowly settling, the two morphed and shifted until they resembled the skills around them, and ceased. Curious, Randidly prodded them with his focus, and nothing happened.

Then he focused more intently on those two shapes, and two explanations came up.

The Weeping Cloud ® Lvl 1: Conjure a small cloud that weeps. Those who are touched by the cloud’s tears will experience increased health regeneration and have status ailments alleviated. Concentration and Mental Clarity will increase, outside influences will be wiped away. Size of cloud and efficacy of effects increase with skill level. Control increases with skill level.

Weather Affinity Lvl 1: Read the winds, allowing you to determine the weather and climate in moments. Affinity to the natural world and effect increases with skill level.

“The sky above me shifts restlessly…. Huh…?” Randidly said with narrowed eyes. Neither skill appeared very useful, and both seemed difficult to level. It would probably provide additional PP over the long haul. He supposed the Cloud skill referenced increased focus and mental clarity, which might be useful, but again, these were purely supplemental skills…

Randidly supposed he shouldn’t be too greedy. He had finally found a new offensive move to call his own, and Shal planned on training him over the course of the next two months, or something. Randidly wasn’t really sure how the time frame really worked. There were times when he realized how oblivious he was, and how it was slightly unfortunate.

Checking his available paths, Randidly realized that he hadn’t received anything new. After considering for a while, Randidly chose to finally begin the Path of Carnage Paths. The first one revealed itself to be to 25, and Randidly had 20 PP remaining, almost filling it up. Every 5 he received a point in strength, which was a pleasant surprise after the previous path that ended up being rather disconcerting.

Randidly focused his attention inward once more. Perhaps it was this small pellet by his Soul Skill which was the real prize…. But as he examined it and nothing happened, he could only sigh. The world didn’t revolve around him, after all. Maybe it was all just a weird coincidence, or a mistake.

Randidly walked up to the deck. The male spear attendant, who Randidly still didn’t know the name of, was busy being bossed around by Divvit, being forced to repair the deck. Randidly avoided them, heading to the other side.

Sitting down cross legged, Randidly took a deep breath, enjoying the cool night air, and the scent of salt water beneath them.

A notification popped up that his Weather Affinity had increased a level, startling Randidly, and then he chuckled, realizing he hadn’t yet taken the potion in a while. As he removed the strange, small black potion, he couldn’t help but wonder about it. It seemed almost endless, the weird liquid that flowed out and into his mouth in exact measurements. And somehow, after all this time, it didn’t seem depleted at all. He tried to peer down the neck, but all he saw was black.

This really couldn’t be healthy, but Randidly had a hard time worrying about it after taking it for this long and not experiencing any ill effects. He took his daily drink and then placed it back in his interspatial ring.


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