While Randidly was walking, he experimented with his new Ignition of the Emerald Essence Skills to test their effectiveness.
Ignition Bolt seemed to behave a lot like Incendiary Bolt. There were a few key differences. The first of which was that when Randidly fired it… the projectile didn’t seem to stop when it hurt the first thing it encountered. The piercing power of the Ignition Bolt enabled it to pierce through a lot of the trees and stone that Randidly tested it on.
In addition, after the projectile burned its way through, some energy remained at the edges. As time passed, that energy ate up through the already wounded material. The process happened pretty quickly for wood; an oak tree that had a fist-sized hole in its trunk completely collapsed within a minute. Stone was slower, but Randidly was somewhat impressed by how lingering the emerald energy of the bolt was.
Eruption of the Blazing Leyline didn’t seem to have much of an increase in power. Instead, the area of its effect seemed to have doubled. In addition, the strange emerald fire it released was hot but there didn’t seem to be a diffusion of heat. The attack felt just as hot in the middle as it did on the edges. So not only was the area increased but whether the target dodged the center of the blast was now a moot point.
Which was obviously a violation of some laws of physics, but Randidly was just pleased that his magical fire was powerful.
Reach of the Jade Slag also had a facelift. Instead of the huge paw of lava that erupted out of the ground, a sharp and jagged jade talon ripped up out of the ground, wreathed in white-green fire. The overall size of the projection was the same, but the four sharp claws of the talon cut through stone tofu.
To experiment, Randidly produced some broken armor he had found on his walk, but it turned out that Reach of the Jade Slag didn’t seem to differentiate between the substances. Which meant that its penetrative power was also high enough that the armor was nothing in front of it. Which was impressive, but ultimately annoyed that he wasn’t able to perform any sort of true test.
Randidly wished he had his ring and could use some leftover steel he had made during his Erickson Steel days. To make a comparable test, Randidly used plants to find some metal deposits in the ground and ripped those up to the surface as test dummies. The metal wasn’t shredded as the armor had been, but it slowly softened to putty until it was crushed into a ball. After letting it cool to regain some structural integrity, Randidly struck it again with the sharp claws. The thick chunk of metal dented rather than parted, but it would not have felt very good for anyone without such an armor.
“It would probably too much of a hassle to make a foundry on Tellus, right…?” Randidly muttered. Experimenting reminded him of the simple enjoyment of making the metal. They obviously had some sort of metalworking facilities here, but Randidly wasn’t interested in working with rather archaic machinery. But then Randidly shook his head, annoyed with himself.
Really, why was he getting upset that this trash ore wasn’t up to par…? Wasn’t the point that he had become much more powerful with the Skill…?
Of all the Skills, the only one that Randidly had mixed feelings about was Verdant Nova. The power was higher, as well as the knockback, but there was a single glaring problem. When Randidly activated the Skill, there was a half second of time where tiny motes of emerald light gathered toward Randidly.
The resulting explosion was powerful, but that warning was a bit annoying. Although slight, that amount of time was plenty for individuals with high Perception and Reaction to dodge.
But at the same time, Randidly didn’t mind the short of move that announced its coming. He had already proven that with Inevitable Phantom Arrives.
Quite a bit before Randidly had approached Hastam, a sound dragged Randidly’s gaze to the North. It was distant, but there were the distinctive cries of anger and fear that were only created by battle. Randidly pursed his lips. This was his life. He couldn’t even gloriously return to the living without being sidetracked by random nonsense.
Because he had arrived on the scene of too many battles late in the preliminaries. Randidly was tired of burying bodies.
The fight was happening next to a small lake. It seemed like the spear users had gone to the shore in order to gather water and the Wights had swarmed up upon them while they had their guard lowered. Already, some bodies were being dragged back into the depths of the lake while a few dozen Wights chased down the remnants.
Randidly’s lips thinned; this wasn’t a war party either. Most of the fleeing Tellites were children or the elderly. Flexing his hands, Randidly began to run.
The three dozen Wights that were rushing after the people didn’t last even a second when fifteen Grasp of the Jade Slag claws ripped up through their ranks. Those that weren’t shredded into bits swiftly deformed and melted underneath the wave of heat that erupted from the ground with the Skills.
The stragglers that survived that were physically crushed as Randidly leaped and then smashed into their midst like a meteor. The wave of force was enough to cover up the small gathering green particles, and the second emerald explosion was just overkill. The Wights wading in the water were surprisingly quick on the uptake and quickly zeroed in on this new threat.
Their immediate response was to turn in thing. Understandable, but foolish.
Smoldering roots ripped upward through their bodies and smashed them into broken twigs. Randidly bent his knees again and leapt once more. He wasn’t going to let it end with this. With his Aether Detection, he could sense them loitering at the bottom of the lake.
A huge geyser of water shot upward in the wake of Randidly. With burning emerald eyes, Randidly unleashed Frigid Ash, Extinguishing storm. The water around Randidly slowly froze, but he dived too quickly to get caught up in it.
There was a shrill screech that reverberated through the deep waters of the lake that was accompanied by a soft rumbling. Randidly touched to the lake bottom and spread his hands. The vicious cold of ash exploded outward. The forms of the hundreds of Wights sprung into motion like an anthill kicked over, but then froze just as quickly.
Take it all. Drag it down in into the cold, Randidly thought grimly.
There were a few seconds when the water resisted the sudden change in temperature, but soon it was cracking and solidifying into ice. Many of the nearby Wights were crushed as the ice expanded to fill a larger space.
A shriek cut through the ice and there was an abrupt crack. A large form shot toward Randidly. Calmly, Randidly summoned a root to his hand in the shape of a spear. He recognized the approaching form; it was a Witch King.
A giant spectral claw ripped the slowly rising ice to pieces, destroying most of the remaining Wight bodies in the process. It raised its claw once more to strike again, but Randidly used Spear Advances, Ash Trails and smashed directly into the Witch Kings chest.
The physical force was so overwhelming that the area around them was cleared of water briefly by the pressure. In addition, the image of explosive force was empowered enough that Randidly felt the Witch King’s frame shudder and crack.
The sudden force appeared to catch the thing by surprise, and it stumbled backward. It opened its mouth to cry once more but Randidly struck before it could manage another sound.
All is Ash.
Everything flattened and faded to grey. Randidly felt it now, more clearly than ever. His time in the darkness had shown him how much the senses shaped the world. When he shut off all senses but his deep connection to ash, he felt every fragile bit of the world around him.
With a sharp gesture, Randidly cut. The Witch King’s ash form cracked and disintegrated, leaving nothing be debris in the turbulent water.
Sighing, Randidly let All is Ash fall away. In terms of his physical strength, he hadn’t improved to such an overwhelming degree since last he fought a Witch King. Although Randidly would have had some confidence against them. But now, Randidly could sense they were no longer quite strong enough to pose a serious threat to him alone.
The impact of images kept the Witch King on its back foot the entire time. That extra edge added up, especially in a fight.
In addition, the Witch King also left Randidly one more gift.
Congratulations! You have reached Level 36! +8 Stats distributed between Vitality, Perception, Resist, Intelligence, and Control, +20 Free Stats! +1 Stat to a Mental Stat. +1 to a Physical Defense Stat. +1 to a Mental Support Stat. +2 Control. +36 Health, +40 Mana, +40 Stamina, +3.5 to all Regenerations! +1 to Health and Stamina Regeneration! +70 Progenitor’s Influence.
Congratulations! You have learned the Skill “Cycle of the Gloomy Wood ® Lvl 1!”