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A note from puddles4263

6/7

The thought to remake his Class came almost unbidden to Randidly at the moment, but the more he considered it, the more he had liked it. Over the past month or so, there were a few warning signs related to his Class that he had noticed, but was unable to figure out what to do with the information.

For example, Randidly reached Level 35 but he didn’t receive any new Skills. Not that he really needed any new Class related Skills, but it had been somewhat strange. Based upon the prior pattern, he should have gained Skills related to Protector of Humanity’s Final Enclave and Progenitor of the Four-Shaded Evolution. Yet he hadn’t received anything.

Perhaps more concretely concerned to Randidly was the fact that since gaining Level 35, his experience percentage had completely disappeared, replaced by question marks. Not that he would have likely gained enough experience for another Level, but the question marks seemed to imply that something larger was at play.

However, complicating the matter was the fact that he received no notifications from the System regarding this hiccup in his Leveling. Perhaps it was the tournament and the Ashen Image, but Randidly had felt like he was juggling so many things that it wasn’t worth it to focus overmuch on this thing.

Besides, he already felt somewhat guilty that he was ten Levels above the limit for the tournament. Perhaps some goody-two-shoes part of himself had enjoyed that he wasn’t able to Level further.

The final piece, of course, Randidly found in the darkness.

Although his attention was mostly divided between image training, Aether Perception, and Mana Engraving, he did take short breaks to attempt to reach his Soulskill. It was a profoundly frustrating exercise, but what it did do was give Randidly extra experience reading the flows and shapes of Aether that dotted his inner space as he attempted to meander through to himself.

Aether was a language that seemed to function because it believed in itself. The process of learning to use Aether to accomplish your goals was haphazard, but as your surety increased, you would develop an alphabet of meaning that would be the basis. From there, you just expanded outward.

Of course, this meant that learning another method of utilizing Aether was a nightmare.

Still, Randidly was gradually coming to realize that his Aether language was based implicitly on the Systems. After all, the System was his first exposure to Aether. It made a certain amount of sense that they would be related. As this connection became more clear, Randidly’s progress in understanding the Aether that constituted himself was increasing rapidly.

Which led him to finally finding his way inside of himself. The first successful journey didn’t lead to his Soulskill, however. What he found was his Class.

Randidly was naturally familiar with the Aether that constituted his Class. Even before he had lost access to the overlay System, he had examined the shape of the Aether that created his Class. After he had gone through the ordeal of creating it, Randidly hoped by studying it he would be able to create Classes for other people.

In the end, he had simply nudged Nathan further onto that Path. But he had gotten some inspiration by looking at his own and other Classes.

Ultimately, to create a Class was to build a base. As you gather experience, the constructs of Aether that constituted the Class would grow and layer themselves on top of each other. But when Randidly looked at his own Class now, there was a problem.

His class was made up of six pillars. His original Class pillar was at the center, and the five other pillars were surrounding it in a pentagon. These were the extra Classes added by others while he was indisposed. However, currently, the trapezoidal pillars were different sizes.

Specifically, there was one that was perhaps 9/10s of the height of the other five. All of the pillars were connected with crisscrossing supports of Aether, but because the others had continued to grow without this one moving, the weaker pillar was twisted. The Aether constructs were being warped beyond what they were originally supposed to be just by reaching this point.

There were noticeable differentiations to the Class by Level, so Randidly could see that his Class was constructed to have passed into the 35th Level. However, the weak pillar was not yet to that Level. And the other pillars seemed to be stalling out. As they grew, they put more strain on that weaker pillar.

The real-time sink involved in this investigation was finding out which of the pillars it was that was weak. All six were surrounded by extremely complex ideas and images that were given form only through Aether. Randidly had to very carefully peruse the energy of them all before he had a guess. But once he had the guess, it only took Randidly about ten minutes to confirm.

Because it made sense.

Progenitor of the Fourshaded Evolution.

In the darkness, Randidly looked calmly up from the impression in the stone. Randidly activated Visualization and the inky darkness above him exploded into Aether shapes and images. Even though he had a theory, Randidly patiently went through all of the connectors of the pillar to find the flaw. It was an illuminating experience just to touch the bedrock of what he was within the System. Perhaps now was not the best time, but Randidly was beginning to realize that there were a lot of problems that he had put off addressing in himself. Now, it seemed, those issues were coming to a head all at once.

The Crown over Randidly’s head was heavy, but Randidly’s gaze did not waver. It was time to meet his weaknesses.

The flaw in his Class was due to the fact the addition was based off a previous Soulskill. Perhaps because it was ultimately an evolution, the Class could continue to advance for a little while. But now the differences in the current weight of his Soulskill and the framework that it originally contributed to his Class was showing the signs of strain.

Randidly considered a lot of methods to address this. None of them were simple. Mostly it involved repurposing the previously used Aether. But ultimately, every time Randidly thought through a theory, he was reminded of his original failure; the first attempt to create a Class had gone well enough, but when he looked at the ultimate product he had realized it wasn’t enough.

Somewhat at a loss, Randidly reached out to Neveah. Her response came almost immediately, but it made him blink.

Because the message through their Soulskill was, as Randidly should have anticipated, just a string of Aether. Chuckling cost Randidly several hundred Stamina, but it was probably worth it. On his next message, Randidly changed his tack. Instead of asking a question, Randidly sent an emotion.

Hesitation. Pressure.

Neveah took longer to answer this time. Likely, she was mulling over the strange form of the most recent messages. But three minutes or so later, the reply came.

I believe in you.

In spite of himself, Randidly smiled. Fine then.

But Randidly had learned from his prior attempt to create his own Class. He didn’t truly need to break this Class down and create another from scratch. No matter how Randidly resented its influence on his life, the bottom layer System that all of this ran on was a magical thing. It took meaning and image and allowed it to change the world.

So what Randidly needed was a strong image. More than that, Randidly needed a new shape for his Class to work. Effectively, Randidly would be attempted to simultaneously start a change reaction in all six pillars of his Class while providing a complementary shape to them so they would be able to combine once more after the process was done.

It was an ambitious project. Honestly, before being trapped here, Randidly wouldn’t know where to begin.

Now, however, Randidly was finding that this mind addressed these problems with much more aplomb. This was curious in a way, but Randidly supposed it made sense in another. In a way, this functioned as an isolation chamber. By effectively removing Randidly’s body from the equation, all he had to address was his mind. When brought to the fore, all the Mental Stats that Randidly put into himself were showing their value.

Therefore, Randidly quickly generated a few ideas on how to change his Class. Still, that would ultimately need to wait.

Even now, his chest burned with light pain. Randidly’s eyes flashed. He needed to get into his Soulskill and figure out what was going on with that before anything else. Otherwise, Randidly suspected that this shift would collapse in on itself before it could even take hold.

Randidly checked the time since his arrival: Five days and eight hours.

Time enough.

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puddles4263

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