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A note from puddles4263

6/10

Randidly opened his eyes. Then he winced. His entire perspective was still vibrating with a vicious, insidious pain. He wanted to vomit. With his will, he wildly pressed down on the vibrations, trying to get a handle on what was going on around him. What was he doing…?

The Raid Boss, the Wild Rider, the being inside of his chest…

Well, at least he was alive, but… he didn’t really feel like that was a positive thing right now. His body felt… extremely strained, bare and strained. Almost as if he hadn’t drunk water in several days, and everything was becoming taut and dangerously close to self destructing.

But, to his surprise, when he pressed with his will… the vibrations lessoned. A notification popped up, but Randidly ignored it, as one side of his view was already crowded with notifications. Instead he pressed harder, clamping down on the vibrations. Not easily, but evenly, they slowed and stopped, reaching a manageable rumble.

Strangely, his soul and skills seemed to buzz, shocked by the sudden lack of vibrations, which was almost just as disorienting. Another wave of nausea hit him, causing Randidly to groan. No matter how high his stats were, it was hard to deal with an upset stomach… and while he was on the subject, just how long had it been since he ate something…

A curious question, that Randidly discarded for now, but swore to revisit. It was past time for him to put his Cooking Skill to use. After sitting up, Randidly inspected his inward world. What he saw caused him to wince. Most of the skills that had Aether shrapnel in them seemed… oddly blurry, some of their energy bleeding out through the cracks and wounds in them that the Aether shrapnel had created. Luckily, no other skill had been so damaged that they shattered, but some of them were definitely weakened.

However, as he watched, he could see the Aether slowly regathering, the damage slowly healing. So he would recover, but how did he get to this point? He should have been pretty far gone after using Anguish to weaken the Raid Boss…

Curious, Randidly turned his attention to his notifications. At that moment, Simon rushed into the room, followed by, of all things, a large sheep with intelligent eyes. Thea and Chrysanthemum filed in after, followed by the strange figure, who Randidly assumed to be the Wild Rider, with her Regalia on.

“David-” Simon began, his voice worried, but Randidly raised a hand, feeling a creeping beginnings of a headache. No talking yet, please. Seeming to sense what he wanted, Simon fell silent and begin to produce some of his Mending Fluid. In the meantime, Randidly looked back at his notifications.

He gained various skill levels, which Randidly ignored for now. But then he started to find notifications that he didn’t expect, and made him frown.

Congratulations! A Tier III Raid Boss has been slain in Zone 33. This is the 2nd Tier III Raid Boss to be slain. For their accomplishment, Thea Glasshammer has been given an Uncommon Rarity skill, as well as a Stone of Fate.

Congratulations! The first Stone of Fate has emerged on Earth in Zone 33! For this, a natural treasure, the “Eternum Mine” has spawned at a random location in Zone 33. Find the Eternum Mine, clear the monsters who hold it, and mine it for Stones of Fate and other treasures.

The Stone of Fate is a treasure of the System, that can upgrade any System related construction. It can be used to upgrade a Village, upgrade a Skill to a random higher rarity, upgrade a stat to a more powerful version, or even upgrade a Class. Stones of Fate must be used at a Holy Altar, which can be purchased by Journeyman Villages or higher.

In addition, as this is the 2nd Tier III Raid Boss to be slain, a Zone wide quest is given. Slay the final Raid Boss and open the Raid Dungeon! After slaying the 3rd Raid Boss, a key will be acquired that will lead to Zone 33’s Raid Dungeon. More information will be available as the quest progresses. Good Luck!

Interesting, but unrelated to how Randidly survived. But it was worth noting that Thea had moved in and finished off the Raid Boss while Randidly was unconscious. And honestly, she deserved the bonus. The Stone of Fate would probably be more trouble than it was worth until she used it, as other greedy people moved closer to her in order to steal it.

All of the options were intriguing. Randidly believed that most people would be drawn by the Class upgrade, but Randidly was most interested in what upgrading a stat would entail. Well, not that he coveted it anyway. It would be useful, but ultimately, it was more reliable to rely on training to strengthen yourself…

Randidly winced. Training that he could do once he started to heal more… and figured out what happened. He continued to scan through his notifications. Simon handed him a vial of some of the more potent fluid, which Randidly took and drank, taking the edge of the remaining aches in his soul.

Congratulations! You have recognized your inner bond with L#()@#NKL. You have learned the skill Soul Bond Lvl 1. Due to previous unrecognized accomplishments, the skill level has increased to Lvl 49! 48 PP has been gained.

Your connection with *()*098- dkjldu09(9032 kjldkajslkdf, dja902392k23! ;*()91203fjdkla s;lka;ndklfa sdl ``````````````````` -----------------------------________________________laksjd lkj!!

98098i23jkln? Y/N

You have selected yes! You have gained the skill Aether Detection Lvl 1. You have gained the skill Aether Manipulation Lvl 1. You have gained the skill Living Aether ® Lvl 1. You have gained the skill System Interference (A) Lvl 1.

Warning! Due to the nature of your skills, your Heretic Path has progressed! You have gained access to the System Transgressor Path 0/1.

Your bonded being currently is only a soul! It is possible for it to assimilate with another body, to obtain a physical form. Please choose carefully before you make your selection.

Randidly’s expression darkened. Well, it can be considered a good haul of skills, but it seemed that it came with a host of problems. The System Transgressor Path… Randidly grimaced. If this was just an upgraded version of Heretic, that would already be difficult to handle. But… unlike the Heretic, which was numbered, this was simply a path. That cost a single PP.

Ominous, and confusing. Probably wouldn’t bother to investigate that for a while. Randidly turned his attention to the various skills he had gained with this… bond.

Aether Manipulation: Allows one to control Aether. This includes the ability to purify Aether and “set” Aether, instilling it with your own meaning. The degree and strength of control increase with skill level.

Aether Detection: Detect Aether. This also includes the ability to generally sense any information and meaning from “set” Aether. Degree of detection increases with skill level.

Living Aether ®: You have forged a bond that involves access to Aether. As such, your Aether is much more pure and resilient than others. Increased effectiveness of Aether. Increased recovery to damaged Aether. Increased affinity to your own Aether. The degree of all attributes increases with skill level.

System Interference (A): Ability to understand and subvert the System. It is now easier to reproduce or change various aspects of the System on your own. Abilities will increase with skill level.

Past that was simply more notifications on skill level increases, mostly Living Aether and Aether Manipulation, which were both likely the reasons that Randidly was able to recover to this point. The Living Aether kept the worst of the damage at bay, and that being he bonded with likely did the heavy lifting, while Randidly’s subconscious did what it could with Aether Manipulation.

Speaking of which… The notifications said that the being needed a physical form…? Which made sense, because that was the second “price” that the being had insisted upon. Not that it would be easy, Randidly suspected, finding a good body for it, but… it would work out.

And just as Randidly thought that, he could feel it, the warm, familiar presence, now out of that deep well of Aether in his chest, flitting around his body curiously. Now it was in Randidly’s right hand, which was gripping the vial Simon had given to him. It was strangely delighted, seeming to enjoy the physical feeling of touch.

Well, Randidly supposed it had never really existed, so it really was a delight. Randidly grimaced. Imagine how excited it would be when the body it was in wasn’t rattled almost to death and aching…

Randidly breathed out a sigh, and stood, feeling his joints crack and pop. He massaged his neck, and turned to the people standing in front of him, feeling slightly uncomfortable.

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puddles4263

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