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A note from puddles4263

6/7

Randidly supposed scale was just a very specified application of efficiency, but because Domains tapped into the System, they could spread far beyond the reach of normal Skills. Randidly was already pushing the boundaries of Skills due to his high Perception, Mana Pool, and the Skill Aether Detection, but a Domain would let him expand even further.

Randidly’s goal for a Domain was to create something that he could use to empower all of Earth. A mass buff was the simplest, but that wasn’t appealing to Randidly. A mass buff could likely be accomplished by others. He had been out of touch with Donnyton for too long. Likely, another had gotten a similar Domain to lead Donnyton’s Squads in battle.

What then, was something that only Randidly could do?

Even with Ignition of the Emerald Essence sharpening his mind, Randidly was stumped by that question. Or rather than stumped, too many half-baked ideas sprang to mind. There were a lot of capabilities he had, but mostly he was an amalgamation of a fighter and a mage. There was also the growing influence of his Crown of Cataclysm and Gloom. That kingly sense of dominance and responsibility was perhaps another avenue that Randidly could pursue.

With a sigh, Randidly let those thoughts go. They could wait until later. To have these several categories was enough for now. Later he would check in on his Soulskill, but first, he wanted to proceed to the nearest colony of Wights to cut them to pieces. Not just to whittle down their numbers, but also because he wanted to use Cycle of the Gloomy Wood some to Level it up.

The only way it could grow was by gathering the energy of fallen creatures, and Randidly had largely been reaping the Wights from a distance for the past few days. Getting his hands dirty would be much more satisfying. Plus, he might Level up himself a bit as well.

Whistling softly, Randidly conjured a root spear. It was a good night for hunting. Barely light enough to see, but light enough that they would know fear when they saw the Wild Phantom scything through them.

*****

For a while, Silo just lay in the wreckage of the building and bled out. With his Corrupted Physique, there was little chance of him dying from blood loss. But he was feeling rather lightheaded.

But then again, he always felt light headed.

Rumi had left with Shal hours ago, leaving him without a word. Silo couldn’t believe it. In a way, this is how it had always been. They were twins, but Rumi was the more powerful one. She was the elder, almost a mother. But over time, in order to plant seeds that could grow, she split bits of herself off so that Tellus could once more ascend. Silo was one such seed.

Just a simple seed, Silo thought bitterly. After all I’ve done for her, is this really all I am…?

Yet even being a seed wasn’t enough. Of all the twins that were made, Silo was the only one that stayed close with Rumi to protect her. It was necessary, as she carved off chunks of her flesh in order to allow Tellus more chances. Yet the world had done nothing for her.

Silo was the runt, the last resort. He had always known that. But he had still believed he could be a hero. He still believed that his strength and light would create a world where Rumi could smile.

And yet…

Violence. Backstabbing. Fake smiles.

Those were the forces that populated the world. Silo’s first few years interacting with actual people, he tried to stick to his guns. He perfected his strength. He had preached kindness and honor. Yet at every turn, he had been dogged by those jealous of him. With influence and money, Althumber had done everything he could in order to make Silo’s life a living hell.

In spite of it all, Silo had beaten Althumber in the finals of the Regional Tournament. Which was when the problems truly started.

Oh, how far we had fallen. Silo’s mouth crept open, but it felt like his jaw was dislocated. He leered at the darkness of the rubble piled on top of him as he remembered.

Accidents like glass being found in his and Rumi’s food, strange disappearances of their friends, and messages left in blood on the walls of their house, drove the two of them out of Hastam to seek shelter in the countryside. It was only then that Silo capitulated to the elders and agreed to absorbing strength from the jewel.

There was no other way. In order to protect Rumi, Silo would even sacrifice the picturesque dreams the two had created together. So he pursued strength and found only violence.

The preliminaries to the tournament were eye-opening. His teammates’ strength…. Silo tried his best to lead them, but they were constantly snubbing him and ignoring him. Theirs was a strength that let them do what they wanted. They were selfish.

It was difficult to stomach, but Silo craved that power. And he knew he could protect them, if only he had more power…

Bitterly, Silo looked down at the stumps of his hands. In the darkness of the room he should not be able to see, but somehow the fuzzy darkness parted and let him sense it. Strangely, the blood flowing out of his body seemed to carry much of the darkness that had built up in his mind these last two months. It carried away the darkness and he could see more and more clearly, even in the near blackness.

“Which is why you have staked a claim on another, isn’t it Rumi?” Silo whispered. “Because his spear is a different spear entirely. A noble and carefree spear. A spear or responsibility, to protect… That was our dream. That should have been my-”

The rest of Silo’s words were choked off in a low sob.

Then his eyes narrowed into slits. His heart began to beat with a ragged ferocity. More and more blood pumped out of his arms. His vision cleared further. Even his headaches slowly began to fade. There was a shift in him, a slow and gradual one. But his fury lay coiled around his heart like a tightening python.

“It’s not fair…” Silo mumbled. “I am… I am a person too. I’m real. Why didn’t you pick me…?”

His heart hammered in his chest. As if shivering after a long slumber, his Corrupted Physique Skill began to vibrate.

“I’ll prove it. I deserve you. This whole world… I deserve it…” Silo tried to reach into his shirt and grab the necklace with the jewel, but of course, his hands were lying severed on the ground out in the street. So Silo just spent several minutes drenching himself in his own blood as he used the blunt instruments of his forearms to produce the gem.

The wounds didn’t hurt per se… but they were beginning to ache with a throbbing regularity. Wet with blood, the jewel looked small and cheap. But Silo leaned forward and bit it, unsure of what else to do. It tasted like blood and dust. Then Silo began to suck.

The black, violent power he had drowned in rushed in like a torrent. The strength surged down through his body and reached the wounds. Once more, his head began to throb.

Like a dam breaking, a whole wave of blood surged out through the stumps on the ground. With a cry, Silo fell to his knees. His limbs convulsed. Although it was difficult to see with the shakes that gripped him, this new blood seemed to be a deep burgundy. There was a prickling around his chest as a low heat seemed to build in him.

More burgundy blood pumped out, slowly turning more black as all of his old blood was removed from his body. The heat slowly spread. Once more the curtains of darkness closed over his vision. And hot on the heels of the heat was deep pain. His muscles contorted and his bones cracked.

I’m… being remade… Silo abruptly realized. His Twisted Physique Skill began to groan and tremble like his body, barely able to withstand the energy running through it. The dark energy keened its unwilling stubbornness. Silo couldn’t think.

Pain knifed into Silo leaving him screaming. The heat was building too much, too quickly. Fire was running into his heart, searing it into seizing up. He couldn’t breathe. But the darkness was no escape from the pain. Silo continued to scream as the fire wound its way through his veins to his arms.

Here the pain slowed and lingered. Then it intensified.

Silo could sense a few people approach warily, but none dark shift the wreckage of the old building to discover who was screeching with such murderous intensity within. Silo was vaguely disappointed. Killing something was exactly the sort of distraction he needed right now.

Then a frigid hatred twisted him. If he could even kill right now, without his hands-

“MY HANDS!” Silo roared.

The fire exploded. His arms didn’t exist anymore. There was just pain and gore and blood… and bone.

Eventually, Silo awoke to a gasp. His eyes struggled to focus for several seconds before he could convince them to do their job.

Panting, Silo lay in a pool of his own blood as the pain receded like a tide. Surprisingly, the only consequence of the ordeal he felt was a deep hunger. The pain in his stumps vanished. Silo attempted to spit out the stone, but he realized with a start he had swallowed it. A constant flow of energy emerged from the pit of his stomach, filling him with images of violence and bloodshed.

Although it wasn’t ideal, it at least seemed to be working…

Silo attempted to push himself upward but his arms- his hands?- got caught on something. He broken nose hit the puddle of blood and throbbed painfully. Grimacing, Silo rolled over and slowly straightened. He had to throw beams and rubble off of himself sometimes… and others he just waved his arms and the material was sliced apart without resistance. It was only when he stumbled out into the street that he could view himself.

So Silo stood above his severed and claw-like hands and saw that his elbows were wrapped in a thick coating of bone. And from each elbow, twisting and hooked, were meter long poles of sharpened bone. Small, but… they were spears.

They were made to kill. Silo’s eyes flashed.

A good spear.

Slowly smiling, Silo turned to regard horrified onlookers.

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