Randidly snorted. Of course, it would try and pull shit like this. Well, this is fine. Randidly selected Yes.
Warning! Your evolution has been aborted halfway. Strange changes have manifested inside of your body!
You have gained the Skill “Vast Potential (Un) Lvl 1”. You have gained the Skill “Crippling Weakness Lvl 1”.
Vast Potential: You have a great ability to grow. Your ability to gain Skill Levels increases. Effect increases with Skill Level.
Crippling Weakness: Your body contains flaws that are difficult to avoid. Occasionally, Skills will fail without warning. This will cause a painful mental backlash in your soul. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Effects increase with Skill Level.
“Don’t fuck with me,” Randidly fumed. His hands flexed. Instantly, a limb of emerald fire condensed in his Soulspace even as the two Skills were forming inside of himself. The vicious claw of brilliant lime fire ripped the Crippling Weakness Skill to pieces. With surprising alacrity it began to heal, attempting to draw Aether from him, but he cut himself off from fresh Aether. If he had to, he would starve the fucker out.
Then he smashed it with Erode Image for good measures. The construct of Aether shivered, then began to disperse like mist in front of the harsh light of the sun.
Suspiciously, Randidly stayed in his Soul Space for several minutes, making sure every last bit of that skill dissipated into motes of white light. They swirled around Randidly’s will as if making ready to try and reform. But cut off from Aether, they could manage nothing.
So, it was a punishment Skill, huh? It was nice that it was paired with increased Soulskill growth, but having Skills randomly fail would get you fucking killed. And would it become more frequent the higher the Skill Level grew? It didn’t specify, but Randidly felt sure it would. So that it would become a terrible self-fulfilling prophecy. It would be easy PP to farm, Randidly supposed, but in life or death struggles it wasn’t worth the trouble. So it was better-
Randidly froze. He had only been slightly distracted, but most of his attention was still fixed on the motes of light that had formed the Skill, watching for anything suspicious. Which is why he had missed the growing golden egg in the core of his Soulspace reaching out and sucking those motes of light within itself.
It hummed with pleasure, seeming to enjoy devouring the Skill
Randidly awkwardly scratched his cheek. The golden seed had been formed by freeing the fragments of Skills from the Skills lost to ash. At its core, it was Randidly’s first chosen Skill, Grasping Roots. That is where its power and vibrant lifeforce came from.
Randidly wasn’t exactly sure what it would become, but he had somewhat hoped that it would form a true seed. One from which a world could be grown.
But now that it was laced with crippling weakness…
With a deep frown, Randidly turned to regard the other Skill that he had recently summoned. Vast Potential. The balance of Crippling Weakness.
Vast Potential and Crippling Weakness… Randidly thought slowly. He glanced once more at the wiggling golden egg inside himself. It seemed to be larger than when it had formed, but maybe it was his imagination. Reminds me of being a teenager…
Randidly looked at the egg, then looked at Vast Potential. Very resigned, he summoned another claw of emerald fire. Perhaps most annoyingly, Vast Potential was so flimsy it could have been shredded to pieces by a stiff breeze. Randidly’s System Interference Skill ticked upward. With an even hand, he guided the motes of light produced by this destruction toward the egg.
It was only too happy to devour this Skill as well. It hummed again, then burped.
Randidly shook his head in disgust and left his Soul Space. But when his eyes opened, they were filled with determination. This was exactly the reason that Randidly was so motivated to stop the System. Although he could work around many of its more annoying ways it tried to fuck a user, many others couldn’t manage it.
To make sure those people possessed the freedom to choose what they would become…
Finally, Randidly dumped his PP into the Limitless Will Path. Unfortunately, it seemed the System hadn’t finished trying to spite him for jumping ship so early.
Congratulations! Do to your inherent mutations resulting from leaving the Evolution of Self, your Path Limitless Will 0/1000 has transformed! It has become Intrepid Will of a Godling 0/1750!
“This fucking…!” Randidly fumed. Did it add another 750 PP just to fuck with him? Inwardly, he recognized the tie in with Steps of the Godling could only be a good thing. But to have that high of a wall in front of him… 1750 was definitely the longest Path that he had attempted. By quite a bit. There was only one other 1000 under his belt. But Randidly supposed it wasn’t that he would never finish, just that it would take a while…
Randidly was rather pleased that he received 2 Willpower every 5 PP. It did a lot to ease his worries that it would be a waste of time. Growth was important, especially now that he was stuck in a weird waiting period.
So it turned out that Randidly had been right. It seemed like the System had arranged the Evolution of Path as an attractive trap. Unfortunately, it was possible that he was being overly suspicious. He had audibled too quickly to determine its true purpose and now found himself on a monolithically long Path. But it definitely didn’t take kindly to his quick switch.
Over Hastam, dawn was slowly rising. Randidly closed his eyes and followed the thin flows of Aether out through the air toward the camp of the Northern Region expedition. Even now, he could sense that Wights forces were massing for another attack. The Northern group had formed rather primitive palisades to give themselves more of a defensive advantage, but they were clearly still not used to fortification warfare.
Randidly was pleased to see some tower shields in the style he designed. At least they could learn. But in the face of so many Wights…
The distance made things more difficult, but Randidly forced himself to the task of creating three root avatars. They rose silently out of the ground with no fanfare. But as they neared the enemies, they blazed with emerald fire.
Randidly’s goal was twofold. The first was to help these people out. Despite what political snafu was preventing the powerful Masters of both sides from moving, Randidly was determined not to leave the common people out to dry. And secondly…
Randidly’s hands clenched into fists. He needed the fucking practice. Helen was already improving to the point that she could keep her Domain up almost constantly against him by using the currents of air to bind those focusing on cutting it apart. Three root avatars just weren’t enough.
Despite the fact that he was earning himself another headache without a doubt, Randidly gritted his teeth and slowly formed a fourth root avatar. After all, it didn’t matter much if they were relatively weak. They were easily reformed if destroyed. It was just time practicing with four root avatars that he needed.
Having Helen’s first hour of practice frequently stumble to a halt because he was unable to effectively control four would not be the sort of experience he wanted for her. In fact, if there was a way to up the annoying factor of the training by a bit-
Randidly blinked. Then he began to laugh.
Oh. Oh, this is going to be fun, Randidly thought with a smile. She is going to be so pissed.
Humming a tune to himself, Randidly led his four puppets to attack the Wights unsuspecting flanks.
Helen couldn’t believe her ears. “What do you mean he won’t speak with me directly?”
The two of them were standing outside the training area, which was once more covered in vines. After being left inside the room to cut herself out the prior day without so much as a goodbye after the training had ended, Helen had been spitting mad. Resting and eating a meal had given her the longer view of it, however. She had to admit that she had improved over the course of the day, and noticeably too. Even if it was eccentric, she should give Randidly the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps this was the training method that he had used to grow so strong.
All of that perspective evaporated as soon as she arrived this morning. The pompous toad that Azriel had so blithely smashed the previous day had been waiting for her by the door. When he spoke, he put on a condescending smile. “Huhuhuhu. Well, it is part of the training regimen. He and I have put our heads together and developed a special training-”
Without allowing the fool to continue, Helen kicked him in the chest. The black thread of flame in her chest wiggled with glee. She was honestly surprised by how good it felt. The fool tumbled backward into the wall of roots.
Of course, the roots parted and allowed the man to fall through the hole into the training area. Helen stepped through after him, a ghost of a smile on her face.
Perhaps this man’s presence wasn’t such a bad thing. For all that he was ugly and weak, he was an extremely useful punching bag-
Helen’s smile faltered. Her gaze turned solemn as she looked at Darrune. God, that thought reminded her so much of Roger.
Brushing himself off, the man stood and flashed a smile as if nothing happened. “Ahaha, such fun banter we have. Anyway, please listen, this is important. Today will be a little different. At my suggestion, Randidly altered the training a bit. Instead of simply fighting… you will now also be protecting. Look at that.”
Darrune pointed upward. Helen, struggling to understand what he was saying, followed the line of his finger. A strange molten sphere floated near the roof of the training area. As Helen watched, a drop of molten metal gathered and fell to sizzle against the ground.
“As long as I am safe, that Spell of Randidly’s will stay out of it. But if I am threatened…” Darrune shrugged. As if to punctuate his inane statement, Helen felt a strange tugging at her body. It felt like someone turned off gravity around her and tossed her body upward. For a second, she simply floated.
Helen’s face flushed red. If that happened mid-fight… especially if that strange influence pulled her in different directions… No matter how small the effect, it would completely throw off her momentum.
Lending credence to her concerns, four root avatars rapidly formed.
Helen glanced at Darrune. “Fine, stay behind me. And draw your fucking spear, you worm.”
“Hmph, if I had a spear, wouldn’t I just trounce them all? This is training for you, Helen,” Darrune folded his arms. “Defend me yourself.”
“Ran, did, LYYYYYYYYY.” Helen roared.
On the roof, Randidly grinned. “Oh, Helen. Don’t you have escort missions on Tellus?”