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A note from puddles4263

2/14

After finishing off the Path, the completion notice popped up.

Congratulations! You have completed the Basic Soul Bond Path! There are many methods of growth, but your Path has intersected with another. The entity known as Neveah has become a part of you, and as your strength supports her, it is only with her help that you may proceed forward. It starts simply, but never forget that like her strength has become yours, so has her weakness. But do not tarry, for your Path leads ever onward, and without each other… only doom lies ahead.

Affinity with Neveah increased! She will have increased access to your thoughts and emotions. Communication between you two has become easier. Now, if you attempt to utilize a Skill with insufficient Mana or Stamina, you will take Mana or Stamina from the other to fuel the Skill, rather than have it fail. In addition, blows that reduce your Health below 0 will instead take Health from the other.

Randidly shook his head. Sure, he was glad he took the Path for the free PP and Skill Levels he received, in very relevant Skills, but the other rewards were somewhat lackluster. Perhaps it would result in increased coordination between them when making the Class, but that wasn’t a very concrete bonus.

The real reward, Randidly supposed, was the connection of their Attribute pools. However, the only Attribute that Randidly ever had any real trouble with was Mana, and Neveah’s Mana pools were pitiful. Her new body just wasn’t one that often utilized Mana in grand ways. Mostly it was used as a method of moving around, by that earth surfing technique that she used.

Stamina Randidly had no problems with, and generally he didn’t have his Health reduced, but he supposed it was possible that he would get into a fight where being able to call upon Neveah’s Raid Boss levels of Health would be extremely useful.

There was some additional PP remaining, but Randidly set that aside again. It wasn’t enough to finish anything, and he was relatively unimpressed by what he had received this time. Better to give it some time to properly develop, so he could obtain a powerful reward from one of these Paths.

Instead… now his attention had to turned to some of the more pressing issues with the Raid Dungeon dive. There were only 12 days remaining until the end of the time, and then there would be no Aether remaining in the Zone, or an extremely depleted amount of ambient Aether. His release would likely stave that off somewhat, but it was better not to trust that. And if push came to shove, he could do it again, but…

It felt dangerous. Like once a door was opened like that inside of himself, releasing the Aether to the world, Randidly could lose himself in the sensation of being a conduit for all of that energy rushing out into the world. Even now, it made him shiver. The vibrations were too strong. They would destroy his soul space and leave him nothing. Although perhaps it was possible that the strengthening that a Class would give his soul space would make it more feasible to do so in the future…

Clicking his tongue in annoyance, Randidly stood and left his small cabin, heading into Donnyton proper. It was time to talk to Mrs. Hamilton and Donny. It was time to gather their party for the dungeon.

And while they were traveling to join him… it would finally be time to create a Class.

*****

Lucifer sat in a dark room, the windows covered, the lights out. There, with only the dull and muted line of light coming in from under the door, he polished his sword.

The new weapon was a long thing, a two handed sword, that was not necessarily pretty, in a reflective way. But in the darkness of the room, it perfectly melded into the shadows around it, fading to become a natural grey, almost immediately blending into the backdrop, like a chameleon.

That was the great conceit of this sword, Lucifer reflected. That the dull color could hide its size and efficiency.... That one small detail could make up for a dozen or so conflicting ones…

There was a knock on the door. Lucifer didn’t bother to answer. He had been in the room for almost 3 weeks now, just waiting, polishing his sword in the darkness. Franksburg had enough Classers now that unless there was something serious, they didn’t need to send for him. And besides, he was waiting....for something else entirely.

Again, Lucifer applied the oil to the sword, and then rubbed the worn rag up and down across the blade. Several ruined rags lay scattered around him on the ground. After three weeks of constant activity, the fabric on these things naturally would break down. Especially when someone with the physical strength of Lucifer was polishing the weapon.

He had already resigned himself to the fact that he would need to rip off portions of his shirt after this, to continue polishing.

The knocking was repeated, and Lucifer slowly looked up, his expression souring. But then the person beyond the door spoke.

“We’ve heard from Donnyton. They are asking for assistance with the Raid Dungeon. It seems like… the Ghosthound will be leading the party.”

Lucifer smiled in the darkness.

*****

Coppernicus clicked his teeth together as he shifted his chess piece, positioning it to take Drake’s rook. Drake frowned.

“I’m not sure why I ever agree to play this game with you.” Drake said, shaking his head. They were sitting in the dining room of the small castle that they had made their headquarters, idly letting the time pass. Around them, the Village was in a constant state of preparation. Ever since they had sided with the Skeleton Knight, and lost, Sydney had pushed them hard towards militarizing the entire population.

It had gone surprisingly well, all things considered. The people of East End were a bitter, stubborn people, as half of the population had come over from the failed Village while the Hero was still alive, and polarizing the people around him.

Still, the backlash they expected did not come. Most everyone was too concerned with monsters, or their business, or even surviving to hold a grudge for what happened with the Champions, which was seemingly now on hold, while this Raid Dungeon issue was resolved.

Coppernicus suspected things weren’t that simple, but now wasn’t the time to dig. It was hard for him to believe that the people of Star Crossing, who were attacked more directly than the other Villages, wouldn’t have a strong response to their exposure to danger. Just the presence of a live Dungeon, spewing monsters between them had done a lot to stem their willingness to seek revenge.

That, and their fearless leader, Sydney.

“Because we are waiting. Sharpening yourself is preferable to simply wasting away in the meantime.” Coppernicus said, stroking the bones of his chin. Recently he had unlocked a Skill that allowed him to absorb other bones, and he was in the midst of considering how much to do that. Coppernicus suspected that if he followed that path, very quickly he would no longer even appear to be human. With interaction already difficult, that might have him labeled as a monster, and hunted, which would be… inconvenient.

Of course, that wouldn’t happen as long as Sydney was around, but…

“What I don’t get,” Vandal said, sitting up from his beanbag chair he had insisted on bringing down here. “Is why we are waiting! What are we waiting for?”

Drake’s frown let Coppernicus know that the guard captain had been thinking similar thoughts, although likely for different reasons. Vandal simply was a teenager who was used to getting his way. Meanwhile, Drake had noticed the differences in Sydney’s behavior of late, and was worried by the implications.

Coppernicus was more in Drake’s camp than Vandal’s, but he had to admit that he would have preferred to be more active during this time. Instead… they simply prepared. But really, that was the most productive thing to do-

The door to Sydney’s office swung open, and the owner walked out. All three individuals turned to look at her, startled. Even Coppernicus couldn’t deny that this caught him by surprise. After all, it had been quite some time since he had seen Sydney leave her office. It was a power ploy, an extremely effective one. She was a person who remained in her inner sanctum, not because she was afraid of the outside, but rather because there was no need to leave. Everything she needed would come to her.

“Where,” Sydney hissed in frustration, glaring at them all, “the fuck is he?”

Then, without any explanation, she turned around, walked back into her office, and slammed the door.

“Ah, damn.” Drake said, standing up. Then he sighed and sat back down. “I forgot to mention, another letter came from the Refuge. Not through Rose this time; it looks like Dauntless wrote it himself. She probably would-”

“Break your back for bringing it up,” Vandal said quietly, and Coppernicus was inclined to agree, but he said nothing and listened to the other man speak.

“-appreciate knowing that even that bastard can admit he’s wrong.” Drake finished.

A good point, Coppernicus thought, turning away from them both, and looking out the stone windows to the lush valley below them. But Sydney wouldn’t have appreciated it. The man known as Dauntless was brittle and broken, and she would never forget that.

At the time it had happened, Coppernicus had been rather shocked how well she had taken it. But as time went on, it was clear that Ace was not the man that was held in highest esteem in Sydney’s heart. No… there was another.

And now that boy made her wait. And they all had to pay the price.

“Play again?” Coppernicus asked Drake moving his bishop to place him in checkmate. The other man only sighed.

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puddles4263

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