With the Stats of just the first equipment already so impressive, Randidly couldn’t help but a glimmer of excitement for what Sam had whipped up for him. His focus shifted to the other three pieces of equipment. For his next choice, Randidly’s hand stretched out toward that brilliant belt. The entire time, he struggled to keep his breathing even.
Sun’s Teardrop Belt (L) Lvl 68: A belt made of three sunstones of condensed solar energy. Legend has it that every night the sun sheds a tear when it rises over the horizon to find that the moon has already left. These special gemstones are extraordinary precious and can absorb the sun’s rays to grow more powerful over time. Stamina +300, Stamina Regeneration +50. Solar Binding III. Three Wishes V. Celestial Longing IV.
Solar Binding III: The powerful cosmic energies have been forged together by a master artisan into a belt. Within each is a pocket dimension capable of storing a small world. Objects in the individual pocket dimension will not interact with others. Life can be stored and grown within the pocket dimension.
Three Wishes V: Once per day, each of the three sunstones on the belt can be used as a source of energy to fuel the use of the Skill. Some of the Sun’s righteous fury will be included in that Skill. Depending on the Skill it fuels, results may be unpredictable. Warning, until the sunstone is recharged, it will be impossible to access any other functions of the sunstone.
Celestial Longing IV: The Sun is internally lonely, yet continues on its predetermined route through the sky. Like clockwork, it rises and it sets. Such is the Sun’s resolve and duty. Wearing the belt, you can feel some of those stalwart feelings seeping slowly into the fiber of your being. Willpower +40. Willpower per Level +1, as long as the belt is worn. The gains will not disappear if the belt is removed later.
Randidly rubbed his chin. He would need to experiment with the Three Wishes function of the belt. And the spatial storage. But it seemed, based on the wording, that he wouldn’t be able to access the spatial storage if he used one of the stones for a wish.
Three wishes, huh. Wishes made on the tears of a celestial body… Randidly frowned down at the equipment. The same thread of narrative that was present in the circlet was also part of this equipment. Was it a coincidence, or…? And if it wasn’t...
Next, Randidly’s attention moved to the gloves.
Iradak’s Tinglesilk Gloves Lvl 70 ®: The Great Spider, Iradak, spent its entire life attempting to disguise itself as a human. It made a robe to walk like a human, gloves to touch like a human, and a face to smile like a human. Yet Iradak was caught and killed, and its blood has soaked into its three Tinglesilk items, warping them beyond recognition. They still possess the delicate touch that Iradak was hoping for, yet now they also bear the truculent power of Iradak’s Grudge. Strength +20, Focus +30. Long Sleeves, Stretching Shadows III. Touch of Iradak V. Along Came a Spider IV.
Long Sleeves, Stretching Shadows III: The sleeves of Iradak’s gloves were made longer to cover the many legs of a spider, but when a human wears the gloves, the long sleeves fall over the hand, obscuring its movements. Opponents will find it difficult to predict how the user will move. Agility +15.
Touch of Iradak V: Despite its best efforts, Iradak could not escape the fact it was born a spider. After the gloves were soaked with Iradak’s blood, those feelings became an insidious grudge. Iradak’s gloves are soaked in a numbing agent. A single touch of a finger against another living being will soon reduce an entire limb to a limp and useless appendage. The effect dissipates with time.
Along Came a Spider IV: Iradak planned and plotted for a long time. Although all those moments in the shadows led it toward its own death, that does not mean that the calculating spirit of Iradak was completely pointless. Intelligence, Willpower, Wisdom, and Control +15.
Randidly raised his hand he had been stroking the gloves with, feeling a sense of wonder as a tingling numbness spread up his fingers to his hand, and then his wrist. It was about that time that Yyrwood Body of Yggdrasil noticed what was happening and flooded the entire arm with warmth. Slowly, the numbness receded, forced out of Randidly by the dominating power of his World Tree image.
But it was worth remembering that the effect was strong enough for even him to be affected, albeit briefly. If that weakness had been in the middle of the fight, those few seconds where his arm wasn’t able to move would have been a dangerous opening. Certainly, Alana would not let him get away with it.
Randidly’s eyes went to the final item laying in the box, the open bottom greaves. The gloves had a story that he had never heard of before as well. If what Randidly suspected was true, there was a pattern here that… well, dangerous was too strong of a word. It was a pattern that meant something larger was at play than Randidly had been expecting.
But it was clear that Sam was creating these pieces of equipment in the mindset that he was ‘creating’ a context for them. It gave them power, sure. But where did these images of these creatures come from?
No offense to Sam, but he was not really the type to create an entire fantasy world as a backdrop for his items. He would be meticulous and creative in his designs, but he was a straightforward man. The preparations for the forging would focus more on the process itself than a history of the item.
Yet there was a clear history written into some of these items. Sam stated that the inspiration came from the blessings that Randidly had given to the four of them all that time ago, but…
...it seems a bit much to come from those Blessings, either, Randidly thought to himself. Unless those Blessings came from the huge warehouse of images that the System had gathered in the past. Does that mean… Was I drawing on the System’s images when I gave those blessings…?
Shaking his head, Randidly looked at the final piece of equipment.
White-Steel Greaves Lvl 65 (Ru): A masterwork created for one of the finest hunters in the Assembly, forged the metal that was the life’s work of Monyt the Vizier. The great hunter who wore the White-Steel Greaves was never known, but that legacy has lasted millennia. Due to the tireless efforts of the White-Steel Hunter, the Assembly has endured to this day. Agility +100. Bladed Wings IV. Glittering Blur III. Heritage of the Great Hunter III.
Bladed Wings IV: It is said that the Great Hunter moved so quickly that he appeared to be flying during his hunts. For his prey, these wings also turned into an executioner’s blade. The greaves effortlessly could strike down weaker foes simply by passing nearby. Strength and Reaction +20.
Glittering Blur III: Such was the speed of the great hunter that many would not even notice his passage. Under orders from the Assembly, he would crisscross the vast land, fighting for the safety of the people. All movement-related Skills will experience a slight boost in Skill Level growth.
Heritage of the Great Hunter III: It is said that the great hunter might have laid down his White-Steel armor, but he still lives and appears before those who bear a portion of his burden. If the wearer continues on this path, it is possible that the gaze of the great hunter will turn to you…
Randidly blinked. Well, that last line was certainly ominous.
Clearly, there was a lot of implicit history in these items. A history that Sam couldn’t have simply made up. More likely he was drawing on blueprints pulled from… somewhere. Yet the System as the source seemed counter to its previous aims.
Even if these images came from actual worlds within the Nexus, it didn’t seem likely that the System would allow them to casually touch Earth and interfere with its growth. Randidly frowned and stared down at the items as he tried to recall the Blessings, how they felt.
That was before he had connected the Blessings to the Aether Spring he had obtained from killing the Tribulation. His Skill with Aether was basically nonexistent. So were his sensing ability. Yet… it was clear that the images that came from the Blessings were constructed of extremely pure Aether. Although there was a guide to the image growth, it wasn’t hardened like Tellus’ Aether had been.
If that wasn’t the case, the four recipients of the Blessings would never have been able to use them. The Aether would have dominated them completely.
Yet the System clearly had pathways for this malleable images to slip through to lower Cohorts.
Did that mean there were exceptions to the embargo on images? But what was special about these images?
Was it possible that these images came from more successful worlds….?
Randidly shook his head. There wasn’t a real answer to this question to be found in his memories. Randidly would need to keep his eyes peeled going forward in order to figure out the details. Yet Randidly’s teeth were set on edge by the thought that the System had managed to slip this by him. And a more worrying possibility occurred to him.
Even if the System wouldn’t let these sort of images connect to Earth, there were no such protections in place for his Alpha Cosmos. If, as according to Randidly’s theories, these images related to the Blessings had previously been implicit and invisible, now they have fully emerged in his mind. Randidly had no doubt that there would be ramifications for his Soulskill.
But that could wait.
For now, he looked up at the expectant Sam. The man was smirking at him. “Speechless?”
“Definitely,” Randidly said with a laugh. He did a few mental calculations as he looked through the four pieces of equipment. Idly, Randidly wondered how much one would have to pay in order to obtain another set of equipment like this. “About five hundred Stats and Attributes? And boosts to regeneration and Skill growth? If everyone in Donnyton had equipment like this-”
“Luckily, I think that’s impossible,” Sam said with a chuckle. Then his face turned more serious. “I used most of the valuable materials I had on had to make these. It will take me about half a year to build up that many quality ingredients again. And…”
Sam trailed off, seeming to struggle with what he wanted to say. Finally, he simply said. “I somehow felt… connected to you. The ideas for what the different items should be were my own, but once I had them… the designs just came to me fully formed. I had to make some allowances based on materials, but-”
“I get it,” Randidly said with a slight nod, his expression revealing none of the foreboding that he felt. It seemed that he had taken those Blessings in the past too lightly. He should have known there would be an eventual cost for that power.
Hopefully, it was one that he could afford to pay.