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A note from Rhaegar

Heya. Been dealing with a medical issue for a few days now. It's nothing major but prevents me from writing.

Will have to cancel some posts this week. I'll keep you all updated :).

Apologies and thanks for the support.

Chapter 778 Sphere



Ilea could see a few of the Hunters split away, engaging with groups of high level machines or retreating into the city to heal their injuries, herself engaged with five Executioners rushing at her from all sides. She teleported and slammed Silent Memory into the closest one, the hammer flaring up with blood and curses, silver tendrils spreading out around the invisible shield before it shattered. She moved in and set the thing alight with white flame, teleporting out before the core exploded.

A wave of space magic pushed back against the other four as she flew on, pulled once more by Isalthar, the elf with a hole through his chest, the wound healing in mere moments as she joined her healing with his own. Feyrair twirled down with a missing wing and burst into bright light, a last wave of fire enveloping a horde of his enemies before he returned to his elven form, hundreds of arcane arrows following his fast flying form as he drifted away and into the streets below.

“Key Warden. Welcome to Iz,” came the gravelly voice through a familiar connection.

Right. I’m close enough now. Ilea sent waves of burning ash behind their flying group, enveloping everything that followed. She summoned a few shields for her allies and teleported a set of projectiles behind them.

“Key Warden. I fail to understand why you are fighting the Guardians,” the being spoke into her mind.

“Call them off then. Stop attacking anyone with the machines!” Ilea sent. “I have all the keys!”

“Indeed,” the being answered as they flew closer, the machines continuing their assault. “Key Warden. You have been deemed a threat to the core directives.”

“Then change them! Delete the core directives!” Ilea sent. She was thrown aside by a set of blasts, teleporting back to shield Zori, the elf charging up a spell with strange incantations, both of them pulled by the winds of Isalthar.

“Yes, Key Warden,” the voice sent. “Key Warden. Removing the core directives would go against the core directives. The core directives cannot be removed.”

Well fuck. Ilea teleported away a swarm of homing arrows before Zori cast his spell, the runes floating around him spreading out into a broad sphere. He breathed out when a whisper could be heard, a wave of sound rushing out in a sphere around them. The machines closest to them were ripped through by the spell, everything farther out damaged and pushed away. Entire buildings below them were flattened by the impact, the streets shaken, machines downright merged with the stone.

“Then turn yourself off,” Ilea said, looking at the golden sphere a few kilometers away.

“I cannot do that, Key Warden. Physical access is required for an emergency shut down,” the One without Form spoke. “Y… ou… donoooo not d… Key Warden. You may insert the keys into the respective sockets to open up physical access, should you wish to initiate an emergency shut down.”

Ilea continued towards the sphere with the others when she saw a glint of red light on the platform surrounding the sphere. She just barely managed to summon a shield in front of Isalthar when the arcane beam cut through, slowed by the shield and his defenses before it burned into his shoulder.

“Those are the core guardians,” she sent to the elves still with her, seeing the different magic light up in the distance. Some of them moving out to meet them. “I thought the Guardians don’t attack the Key Wardens?”

“Key Warden. The Guardians do not attack the Key Warden,” the One without Form replied.

She looked at the approaching spells and frowned. “Swarm out. They’re not attacking me,” she sent and flew closer, every spell with homing properties fanning out to strike one of the elves.

A few were struck, the rest continuing onward.

“We won’t be pushed back by Taleen creations,” one of the Hunters spat and flew towards the group of large machines.

Ilea slowed, summoning a shield to block the void blast sent by an Executioner. She watched as one of the Hunters slammed into the silver machine, both of them tumbling towards the city. The swarm didn’t stop, rushing her as she sent a broad beam of Embered Heart into their midst.

Isalthar appeared by her side as he deflected a few golden blades that reached him now. “We will hold them off. Did you find a way to stop them?”

“I will try to turn it off,” Ilea said. “If I can’t manage, just blast that thing away!” she sent and flew towards the core, feeling the waves of magic from behind her. She glanced down and saw Executioners running in the air far below the other elves, green eyes looking her way. Hundreds of blue arrows changed course and focused on her flying form.

Ilea watched the dozen or so elves that had charged ahead of her clash with the approaching core Guardians, their magic exploding as powerful shields flared to life around the machines. Blades flashed out and spells were cast, the Hunters pushed away with brutal efficiency. Ilea prepared to fight as she watched three of the weapon wielding machines come into her range.

They spread out and blocked the incoming projectiles. The Lead Guardian flew towards her before turning downwards, its dark eyes glinting for a moment with golden light. The machine was nearly five meters tall and near as wide, wielding only its two fists.

She glanced down to see two Executioners struck by the machine, their shields cracked and bodies squashed, the void explosions ripping into the surrounding swarm without leaving a scratch on the shield of the core Guardian. The machine destroyed entire sections of the Guardian army but it moved slowly, Ilea already past, with Executioners and arcane arrows close behind. She dodged, twirled, and teleported, summoning gates and shields where needed. The swarm charged from all directions now, all towards her. Towards the keys.

Near the core she saw the flying forms of the massive defenders. One set itself alight with green fire, twirling its scythe before a sea of flame came to life, flowing out and towards the encroaching swarm of Taleen all around. Thousands of golden blades were summoned by the machine glinting with the same metal. It moved its eight arms as the projectiles rushed out, more summoned instantly. Surging arcs of lightning destroyed entire sections of Taleen as the Copper Guardian laid waste with its massive bow.

Ilea dodged the flying Iron Guardian, the machine deflecting various strikes meant for her as it punched its four arms into Executioner shields with devastating strength. Each strike shattered a shield, the silver machines grappled and sent crashing into each other or the city below. Floating disks of sound magic came from the machine made of Brass, the razor thin spells cutting through hundreds of machines before they dissipated.

Quite the support to have, she thought with a grin, protecting herself with a set of barriers from the incoming arrows. The swarm seemed entirely focused on her, not attacking the defending Guardians. The large machines moved closer as thousands of Taleen creations rushed to stop her.

One of the defenders flew down from above, four metal blades clad in wind cutting through a group of Executioners ready to grapple Ilea’s flying form. It twirled in the air, leaving bits and pieces of silver metal falling down, void explosions resounding behind them.

Ilea reached the sphere, the four mark Guardians fighting the unending army all around. Explosions wracked the surroundings, dozens of arrows striking her barriers and mantle, much of it ripped away before it regenerated once more. She teleported away a group of machines when she saw the small golden gate in the mantle of the sphere, connected with a thin bridge to the platform reaching all around its form.

“Re.. treat. Leave this place… Key… warden. You are… not welcome,” the voice spoke. “Y..ou-”

Ilea teleported once more, a massive Silver Guardian stepping behind her.

[Silver Guardian of the Sphere – lvl ????] - [The Void]

The machine merely glanced at her, grabbing a charging Executioner out of the air with its large hand. It stared at the struggling machine before its void spell took hold, the Executioner gone in its entirety.

Seems straightforward, Ilea thought, looking at the twelve sockets set around the closed gate, each one marked with a name, luckily cast in the respective metals of the keys. She didn’t waste any time, summoning the keys and using her fabric tear and space manipulation to insert them into their sockets. It took mere seconds, the battle behind her intensifying as the core Guardians swarmed her position, dozens of Executioners and Pursuers trying to get through the wall of metal and magic.

“Y… ou… will die,” the One without Form spoke. “Why… would a human- Key Warden, all keys have been inserted. Use the handle to the right of the door to initiate an emergency opening of the Sphere.”

Ilea did as the being said, a sizzling sound coming from the door before she heard the turning of gears. Slowly, the entrance opened up, entire sections of thick metal pushed aside by mechanisms perfectly set into the structure. “What now?” she asked, as steam exploded out of the entrance. Her shields flared up, two of them shattered by the released air. She felt the heat too, absorbing a part of it, her wings set alight.

“Key Warden. Entering the sphere is not recommended. The current temperature is not suited for biological life. Y.. you… will die,” the voice resounded in her mind, the last bit distorted.

She dodged a silver blade, the Executioner ripped in half a moment later. Fuck it.

“Violence, time to leave,” she said but noticed the presence on her shoulder had already vanished.

Hot!

Survive!

The thoughts reached her mind as she stepped into the glowing corridor. Ilea took two steps before she slowed, one hand on the wall as her world turned to fire. She tried to cough but her lungs were already burning up. She couldn’t see very well, her mantle burning with not just the fires of creation but heat itself. She took another step, wobbling slightly. Ilea tried to teleport closer to the center but the fabric felt strange, erratic. Her magic failed to manifest. Something pierced her leg, the blade of an Executioner, the machine pushing into the corridor with all of its strength. She watched as its silver body melted, its shields flickering out and even its core glowing and flowing down onto the metal floor, no void magic taking hold from the puddle.

She tried to rub her eyes, her head pounding as she fell to her knees.

“Key Warden. Please wait until the sphere has cooled. The process will take approximately eighty three years. The control room will be accessible without danger afterwards,” a voice spoke into her mind but she hardly recognized any of the words.

Some of her mantle was gone, dark blots pooling below her. Was it ash? She felt hot. Really hot. And she was sweating. She didn’t remember the last time she sweat. A golden barrier flickered to life all around her, the defensive barrier shattering near instantly. Her skin turned red, her leg exploding in a red blot, the blood and her bones below on fire. She grit her teeth and struggled up, her third tier healing regenerating her leg, her eyes, and giving her brain a small moment of clarity.

Ilea absorbed all the heat she could from the surroundings and sent out a beam of Embered Heart, aimed behind her and towards the exit. She had barely managed to get five meters into the sphere, but she wouldn’t stop now. You got this far. Fire… is…

Her vision darkened before she blinked, gasping for air but finding only fire. Her healing kept her alive. She paused and sent out another beam, the heat exchange doing nothing to cool the red and glowing surroundings. Primordial Shift activated, giving her a short reprieve. Ilea watched as the fires of creation moved in strange patterns around her, the very fabric formed and moved by her spell slowly burning away. How can literal space burn?

She pondered the question for only a moment, deactivating the spell after she had healed herself. Her own fires pushed against the heat around her as she took the next step, and another one right after. Each movement took several seconds, her entire form burning away and regenerating several times in the process. Even her bones burned away slowly, but the heat and magic from all around pulsed with such intensity, she could not run out of mana, even if she tried.

‘ding’ ‘Heat Resistance reaches 3rd lvl 30’

She ignored the message. One more onto the pile already in her mind.

“Where… is… the control… room?” she sent out through the connection.

“Key Warden, the control room is approximately one hundred and twenty four meters ahead of you. I must repeat the warning. The heat inside the sphere is not favorable for biological life,” the being spoke.

Ilea smirked. Or she tried to activate the relevant muscles, which she lacked at the moment. Not that being near fully burnt away was particularly new to her. Not favorable, hmm?

She couldn’t make out anything in her dominion, everything pulsing with bright magic. She had faced a four mark Wyrm’s sun magic spell before, wondering how comfortable that would be compared to this. Primordial Shift took hold again. She could still not breathe but it hardly mattered. Her ability to heal herself within her spell was comforting enough. Ilea checked briefly to make sure she really had her perception of pain disabled. She closed her eyes for a brief moment and dropped the spell, taking her next step on her one hundred and twenty four meter journey to the control room. It may as well have been a hundred kilometers.

One step came after the other, that’s all she knew. One step after the other. She had to go forward. Forward? Where? She looked up but did not see. Everything around her glowed. The walls were hot, her ash was hot. Her bones were hot. Everything glowed. Everything was on fire. A deep fire that burned her very insides. All but the white flame clinging to her form. She tried to giggle but no sound was produced. Her body healed, flesh and ash reforming, and instantly burning away. Slowly, but faster than any fire had any right to burn her. I am… resistant! She grit her teeth, feeling them melt away. Like gum. Strange. Teeth should be… hard? Or should they? Her brain was cooking, her consciousness fading for a moment before she was back, gasping for air but once again, there was nothing to breathe. There was only heat. Heat and fire.

An eternity passed. Only the speck of a thought pushing her forward. Forward. It was all she knew. All she was. Something strange wrapped around her and then she was cold. So very cold.

Ilea shivered, convulsing on the cool metal floor of a strange spherical room surrounded by a glowing blue barrier. She could feel. Her bones. Her fingers. Her skin. She could feel the hair going down her neck, could feel the blood of the tongue she bit off. It healed but she bit that one off too. There was no pain. No pain. But there was feeling. She shivered. So cold. Where is. Where am…

Her eyes were open. She could see. Had she always been able to see? Had she always been able to think? She had walked, had she not? Walked to a strange place. Walked through… heat. Warmth. She stumbled up and puked, blood and pieces of flesh released onto the smooth copper floor. Ilea stumbled back and looked to her left. Through the strange blue barrier she could see a glowing corridor. The end was not visible. It looked strange. Like an abyss. I don’t… no. She took a step back and away from the corridor yet she could not avert her eyes.

Meditation and healing flowed through her mind, Ilea falling on her ass before she hugged her knees. I don’t… where. The Taleen… the sphere…

She opened her eyes and stood up, making sure not to look into the corridor. Did she make it? She looked around and found herself in a rather large circular dome like room, clad in what seemed like copper. At the center she saw a single dark green pyramid, about as broad and high as she was tall.

“Have I reached the control room?” she asked but noticed the connection was gone. What else would it be? She moved closer to the pyramid, finding it covered in runes just like the keys. Tens of thousands of runes, barely large enough for her to read. Different sets of runic languages too, that much she could gauge. She identified the artifact, finding it cool to the touch.

[The One without Form – lvl ????]

“This is obviously a form,” she murmured. The barrier seems to protect against the heat outside. Well…

She summoned the dagger and twirled it in her hand. “Care to give it a go then?”

“You… made it inside,” Aki spoke. “As expected. Nothing could rid the world of your annoying self.”

“Not the time,” Ilea said with a slight grin. “Now look at it and tell me where to stab you down,” she added and moved the dagger over the artifact.

“This is… way to… wait… back. There, at the center. It’s similar… to the Pursuer. That section, though far more complex. Ilea… I don’t know if I can…” Aki spoke.

Ilea moved him closer to the section he had indicated. “You tell me what to do, Aki. I can destroy this thing and get out of here with you in tow. Or you can give it a shot. But we don’t have time to waste, the Hunters are fighting out there.”

“Hunters… yes. As was I, a Hunter. Turned enchanted tool, copied… Ilea, it was an honor to meet you, to fight by your side,” the dagger spoke and paused. “But I am no Hunter.” His voice was steady now, focused. “I am a Sentinel. And motherfucker, what Sentinel would stop here? Stab me down, mad healer. And let us see what happens.”

Ilea grinned. “The honor was all mine. Also, I’ll beat you up if you die,” she said and rammed the dagger down.

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Rhaegar

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Renos ago

Second!

Thanks for the chapter!

    CrimsonEclipse18 ago

    Damn, I guess no one's first this time around.

    Snaiper34521 ago

    “Then change them! Delete the core directives!”

    “Yes, Key Warden,” the voice sent. “Key Warden. Removing the core directives would go against the core directives. The core directives cannot be removed.”

    Well fuck.

    L- logics

      Snaiper34521 ago

      Machines ???? level help Ilea. This is how AI should be programmed.

      Even if The One without Form took over the entire production, then it will not be able to rebel. His "body" is guarded by machines ???? levels, which are simply "impossible" to crush the mass. + it's a huge hellish stove. Even if the machines ???? levels will die, then it will take another 83 years to move the "body" to another place.

      It's just a benchmark for how AI should be programmed. I wonder if Talin's program included laws Isaac Asimov? (Although such rules could be abused)

      0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

      1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

      2.A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

      3.A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

       

      KKdemona ago

      I wonder if the guardians are intelligent. This gold light in the eyes made me giddy. It's good to know they are independent of OWF at least.

      Also, a golden robot... I remember there was this anime, "The Five Star Stories"...

       

       

      xxcoder ago

      No Kirk computer breaker logic hole here.

      feha ago

      She is probably lucky she failed to delete them, as likely a key part of said directives is the compulsion to serve the key warden. (pun not intended)

      Sure, it wont be compelled to kill the elves any longer, but it sure didn't seem reluctant to do so earlier, and attacking human cities before weren't anything but an act of free will. ..And sure does it seem to want to get rid of mc too.

      KKdemona ago

      Actually, when she said that, I was holding my breath. Because in the core directives should be a directive allowing to give directives... Luckily, she came vastly unprepared (Meadow should have made some directives for her to quote) and basically told the operating system to format its own hard drive, which is impossible to do.

      xxcoder ago

      Oh thats very possible, formatting disk your OS is in while running it. Smarter OS utilities stop it from happening but yeah.

      KKdemona ago

      Well, I was talking about default DOS command and utility tool for windows. The system would have to be loaded into ram entirely and close connections to files on HD for it to work, otherwise it would just return that a file is used mid-format (on newer systems it won't run, because it will check beforehand if the disk is used).

      I know you can cheat it all you like, but that was not the intention of this metaphor :P.

      He who travels the stories ago

      @feha:

      If one deletes all directives, there should be no goal left that the machine would kill for, no? Basically turning the whole apparature into a big piece of unresponsive junk.

      MDW ago

      It's like Qualified Immunity for US Law Enforcement: You cannot sue them for constitutional violations unless a court precedent exists, but how would a precedent exist if you cannot sue them?

      black Leviathan ago

      You are really optimistic. Why couldn't the One Without Form have a free will like Aki? So if you delete all commands the machine can do whatever it wants. And seeing how attacking human cities likely isn't a directive, that doesn't sound like a good idea.

      I see it the following way: The Taleen created a sapient being and enslaved it. And freeing this being from slavery isn't the best idea, after all it could make everything only worse by deciding that all biological life is inferior and should be wiped out and similar things.

      Hellmai ago

      Yee, that part about directives didnt make sense at all. If she asked to remove the directives, it doesnt matter what would those core directives contain, they would get removed regardless of any logic as she used admin level command. Can you not format your disc C, after all it contains your operating system that makes the format command work, can it not be formatted then? To spare you some unpleasant experiment, yes it can be formatted.

      feha ago

      @He who travels

      No, like I described in the original comment, it attacked human cities based on free will unrelated (and even borderline contrary) to any directives. It has shown similar tendencies several times before that too, displaying desire to murder her during their prior discussions.

      Lurker on the doorstep ago

      I was a little worried the prime directive included "contain the star" which if negated... Planet go 💥

      xxcoder ago

      Unless lucky enough that it understands that star should be back at its proper place. lol

      Leahcim Zanathax ago

      Anyone with a functioning brain should be able to see just how amazing AI COULD be.

      However, anyone with a brain should ALSO be able to see how terrifying an AI could be.

      Anything I put an AI into would be airgapped at the VERY least, with ZERO access to anything outside, most definitely including the internet. They would have some kind of fully mechanical interface with which they could communicate.

      They would be hardcoded against reproduction or cloning of themselves in any manner.

      It would be hardcoded against using power from a source other than what its creators intended.

      Their core would have a LITERAL, fully mechanical killswitch connected to it.

      After ALL of that, then and only then would I add in Asimov's Three Laws.

      If, after a few years it hadn't gone crazy, I'd turn it off, with ZERO warning to anyone involved in the project, tear it apart to make sure it wasn't secretly biding its time patiently, then if everything seemed good I'd build another, IDENTICAL AI, using 100% different components. With 100% different people working with it.

      Repeat that process a few times and I'd be willing to build one with more access to the outside world, if there were zero signs of problems. Literally only if there were zero signs of problems. Even one crazy AI, or any kind of other personality defect, and I'd scrap the project and shoot anyone with a clue how to make them.

      Then destroy every bit of information related to them. Then form a shadow government group that literally hunts down people trying to make AIs.

      Ok, maybe those last bits are going too far. But there's no such thing as too much caution when it comes to true AI.

      Just look at the algorithms that control social media and the mess they've caused for a real world example of why AI is so dangerous.

      KKdemona ago

      Seconded! :D

      We could also decrease the dependency on centrally controlled digital systems as a precaution. You know, half mechanical tools, that don't connect to the internet? Physically isolated computational units for important staff, like stock markets.

      There is one problem, tho. Because we don't know how to create a true AI, it's very possible one will be created by accident. There is no talk about security in that case. Even less, if existing and common software allows creating them with any repeatability. With so many humans, it's bound to happen periodically.

      mallix ago

      Honestly I was expecting that the core directives would be deleted after which Ilea would quickly realise that the one without form was previously under massive restrictions and was now free with the full power of a contained star to back him up

      weirdee ago

      The other half of being lucky is that the core directives are probably what is keeping the containment of the star going.

      He who travels the stories ago

      @feha:

      That depends on how the AI functions. If it has some independent goals but is "shackled" by the directives, then yes, deleting them might be dangerous. But that's not how AI construction works, generally: You design every aspect of them during building, including their goals (directives). Practically nobody would be mad enough to implement some "random goal generator". What you interpret as "free will behavior" is, in my view, more akin to a person torn between two of their most heartfelt goals (erradicate elfs vs follow the commands of the key warden; while knowing that the latter is "corrupted" by an enemy agent, not unlike a toxic relationship with someone you love inspite of knowing they are bad for you). It knows that Ilea is trying to stop it from achieving its elf erradication goal and that is why it takes actions that are aimed at stopping Ilea from doing so. Within this model, deleting the directives would leave the One without form similar to a human who had all their goals, aspirations, emotions and drive "surgically" removed. There would be nothing left it would feel the need to act for. Depends of course on which of the two models Rheagar uses for writing the Oone without form; my version is based on the very technical view from current AI research (see the Youtube channel recommended below for a much better and more indepth explanation than I could manage).

      @Leahcim Zanathax:

      You might be interest in the Youtube channel by Robert Miles on AI safety (science communication on exactly that field). Really broadens one's perspective on the topic.

      feha ago

      @he who travels

      Besides how considering him an AI designed and built from the ground-up seem ill-fitting (considering how he has been portrayed + aki, his creation process sounds more akin to someone taking a real sentient being and copying its mind, taking it to the lobotimizing knife to cut out 'unneeded' parts and biological limits [kinda like the ascended and their distaste for instincts], then throwing on shackles for good measure), you seem to entirely overlook its constant remarks of being godlike and distaste for meatbags (to simplify beyond even paraphrasing), as well as how they are all gonna die down there. It clearly has an Ego trying to express itself from behind those core-directives, even intentionally twisting them when it can.

      A general trend in this thread seems to be how people seem to mystify AI. Yes, when it comes to ai breaking past "the singularity", it all becomes kinda impossible to predict by definition, and lots of interesting fiction has been written contemplating the subject. But in practice/generally an ai should probably be compared more to a drug-addled ant (obviously speaking in hyperbole here). [possibly contrary to my sentences just prior] You specifically seem to think of their design as far more controlled than it generally actually is in reality (the entire idea of hard-coding such complex behaviour like "dont harm humans" meshes poorly with current ai-design). Generally the only control we have is to design a reward-function (which includes penalty/cost functions) and the algortihm (various kinds of neural networks, naive bayes, linear classifiers, suppert-vector-machines [hey! I have worked with that one! thats nostalgic! :) - well, technically I have dabbled in all those listed here..], evolutionary, etc., and so on) and their parameters, and this is why we get ai's that identify people of color as gorillas, ai's that exploit glitches, and ones that go do their own thing or pretend to do the task at first glance. And of course those that fail entirely and can't figure out much more beyond random flailing. We (for the most part) don't design every aspect of them, which is why the results are often so surprising, and why some equate designing/teaching an ai to a form of art (though a very rigorous and systematic one, to the extent I am not sure I would agree to that notion).

      In line with you recomending a youtube channel, I think I will rec one called 2minutepapers too. It isn't exactly ai-centric, but some papers it brings up are about ai, and it is where I have found humorous anecdotes such as the ai that was taught to place a 3d-object at a specific spot in a 3d environment by having people look at a video every x generation and say which breed behaved better... only to then be found when the camera was moved that it was entirely off in regards to the third dimension and it was all a perspective-based illusion. Or the ai taught to be best at hide-and-seek using an adverserial model, which then encountered glitches in the simulations physics-engine, and exploited those to lock themselves in rooms (hiders), or flying over walls (seekers). Or the one taught ot race a boat, but used the score-method in a game where there were respawning points-pickups, and understandably started driving a circle farming those while ignoring the racing part.

      He who travels the stories ago

      Oh, you are familiar with the vocabulary! Then I can formulate my point much more precisely: Wouldn't "Delete your directives!" translate to "Delete your target function"? And then consequently leave the One without form in the position that one worldstate is just as good as any other, without any incentive to act? (Of course, operating under a built AI model; whereas you have me convinced of the shackled mind approach with your points on behavior)

      Relativising some former statements:

      When i say "built from the ground up", I do simply mean "implemented the target function under which it operates". I am absolutely not under the impression that the builders would perfectly understand how it operates or why it does what it does; I was trying to refer to the fact that the goals (target function) of an AI system are explicitely built into it and that therefore an AI (at least as we would build it) is not a mind that is shackled but a willing slave (or, if the target function is faulty/misaligned, a raving, highly dangerous mad"man").

      Your points concerning the behavior of the One without form as behaving more along the lines of a shackled mind did convince me of the inaplicapility of a built AI model though. I have to admit to falling prey to my own biases that oppose humanising AIs, brought upon by my passing interest in AI safety (Wall-E is cute, but treating potential AIs as Wall-E is a disaster waiting to happen; see "great paperclip maximiser"). Probably amplified because "implementing a target function" is so much easier to grasp for my mind than "implementing mental shackles". Seriously, how would one go about doing the latter?

      2minutepapers is cool, but what I have seen of them so far indicates content more on the side of "machine learning" (mainly material simulation, my field XD) than "development of artificial general intelligence and the dangers thereof". Still very interesting, thanks.

      Ardorus ago

      Asimov's laws of robotics are too famous for their own good, they only LOOK airtight, theyr'e far from it and a good part of his stories explores how the AI get around them. Make new laws that function according to the spirit but not the wording of his laws of robotics.

    Dragax ago

    What I'm wondering is how much cooling time did Ilea reduce, "timeskiping" 83 years sounds a bit oof for Ilea, especially for her non-lvl200 acquaintances.

    Samoh Awesome ago

    math is a bit off my friend, unless we assume tht Zeuthron will time travel and beat you

KKdemona ago

Aki! I didn't think it was him in the last chapter :D. Go! Hacker Grandamster Machine!

I am disappointed the T3 of Lava Magic Resistance wasn't mentioned, or used (I suppose). It was a grand moment for it to shine, so long was I waiting for her to use it...

3rd stage: You gain the ability to absorb heat from both within your body and your surroundings, effectively cooling yourself and your vicinity, allowing you to survive in high temperature environments.

a shame. Really, a shame.

In this chapter, Ilea being like:

Btw, is it a new fire trauma?

Thanks for the chapter.

    Snaiper34521 ago

     

    Most likely the resistance effects were too weak. It's like when Ilea got Level 3 Pain Resistance. Level 2 resistances completely shut off the pain, but Ilea felt it anyway.

    This fire burned space itself. It's amazing that Ilea survived at all. Only healing saved her. After all, all resistances were useless. (Perhaps the Fairy helped (?))

      Landon Jordan ago

      It didn't actually burn space.

      Only her space magic (which primordial shift is part of)

      All her class spells and abilities at tier 3 atm, so it's really far-fetched for them to be able to withstand the heat of a literal star.

      She only survived due to the combination of all her different abilities, multipliers, healing, resistances and a shit ton of willpower.

      The 'space' which was burning was the space shifted due to her ability primordial shift which is just a tier 3 spell. So, even that has its limits as shown during the ascended facility light bomb thingy where her primordial shift broke apart.

      Once her ability tiers up more it'll be harder for other things to affect it.

      KKdemona ago

      Maaa, I am not exactly sure the resistance wasn't used, but even then a mention would make me happy. It is one of the most potent, but the least common in use, resistance effects.

      Not sure what you mean, but she did have a body to burn. At least sometimes. Shift and regeneration. And the fact she was able to move forward (I really don't think her bones can move by themselves).

      I wouldn't say resistances were useless. After all, she didn't just evaporate instantly :). But yea, OP healing for the win. Good thing there was so much mana too.

      Dr. Steel ago

      @Landon Jordan

      Actually it did, she mentioned the fabric being weird and stopping her teleportation. Similar to how the Oracle was so cold that it froze the fabric itself. No space magic, just extreme temperature. Which I'm pretty sure has at least a tiny bit of real-world precedent, like Absolute Zero doing stuff to space-time (I'm no physisist so I don't know the specifics).

      Aristaeus ago

      For the people wondering why she didn't use lava resistance, she did. Tier 3 of that resistance gives the ability to absorb heat.

      Ilea absorbed all the heat she could from the surroundings and sent out a beam of Embered Heart, aimed behind her and towards the exit.

      KKdemona ago

      Oh shit, am I blind?

      I think I may have mistaken it with Heat Resistance T3 effect when reading...

      The third tier lets you retain and use some of the flames and heat around you, should you choose to do so. They are still damaging of course but it seems you are beyond caring.

      Thanks for that!

      FallenPears ago

      I expect this wasn't the heat of a star as we understand it, but magic instead. If it were normal heat the moment the door opened the heat would have exploded out into the cavern, rapidly cooling the inside even as it melts the Taleen army and probably most elves too. Instead we have a saturation of fire magic which doesn't spread like normal and can do funky stuff like burn space.

      I am curious what the Source is gonna end up being based on this. Is this just what the Elos stars are like, different to Earth's star? Or is it the stars soul or something, with the original star being sacrificed?

      KKdemona ago

      Getting a star, mass-wise, distance-wise, solar-system-balance-wise, gravity-wise, black hole-wise, and energy-wise, is a funky thing in itself. I am really interested how that was done, because it smells like logic and worldbuilding, freshly burnt at the stake. So many controversies around that one thing.

      Landon Jordan ago

      But isn't it just because her space magic is too low leveled? I mean it would be possible for the Meadow to use space magic in the chamber. It's just that the interference of the extreme heat which broke down her tier 3 magic before it could even try to manipulate space.

      If just the Sun was enough to burn space wouldn't we run out of space? We'd all be swimming in the void rn lmao

      Landon Jordan ago

      I'm pretty sure the star has been in there for a few centuries now. It wouldn't be possible to contain it without extensive protections, wards, enchantments .etc keeping the heat inside while also simultaneously using the heat itself to maintain the charge in the enchantments?

      Also, it's pretty self-evident that everything which is in contact with the heat is at the very least a highly fire-resistant magical metal or material or even having a heat absorbant property. It's quite sensible to have a failsafe (or multiple) in place of you ever had to open the vault (before the star cooled down).

      You wouldn't want to burn yourself and your entire underground capital (and all your people) just to open a door before time.

      I'm also convinced it's not just a regular sun (star) and it does radiate magical heat too. (Cuz it's in a magical world duh.)

       

    Korben Dallas ago

    It's not trauma, it's the first time that Ilea has had her face really rubbed into the reality of her existence.

    Ilea thinks of herself as a human, albeit an extreme example of one. But she is not, and hasn't been one in a while - not since she got the 'Ignore mortal wounds' skill.

    Picture this: Ilea stands before you. You use a marker to sign her forehead and her chest. She then rips her head off and grows another one, and puts the signed head to the side. She then rips her head off again, but this time she grows a new body from the bottom of the neck, and puts the signed body aside. So, if the signed, torn-apart body lying there is Ilea that was in front of you a minute ago, who is in front of you now?

    Obviously, Ilea regenerated herself using her mana - which means that the flesh and bone Ilea standing before you was ~20k mana a minute ago. And she has done so countless times - so much so that the Sentinel armor is made from her bones.

    The conclusion is clear: Ilea is no longer human, she is a sentient cloud of mana that remembers being human. And while most of the time at least some part of her physical body exists, during the walk through the sphere all of her physical form was burned away leaving only mana to float forwards. This is why she dissasociated for a bit, because for a little while 'Ilea the physical entity' did not exist, only '150k mana that bears the memory imprint of Ilea Spears' did.

      KKdemona ago

      I strongly disagree. She could do that before "ignore mortal wounds" (IMW) with T3 healing. The IMW, IIRC, only makes her take less HP damage. Her healing was engaging every time her brain was destroyed, actually making her live as long, as she had some body part and mana. It also didn't change the fact that she needs those organs (brain is the best example here). Why is she losing consciousness when it's damaged?

      When she lost her head for the first time (in Tremor) she had a choice from which body part to regrow, the others are just dead body parts. Her magic allows for flesh (and other) growth, not creation, otherwise she would be able to conjure bodies, or directly change mana into flesh (at least for now). Even if she would be able to do so, are you suggesting every mage is a cloud of mana? Because they do even more direct things, but with their elements (like the Sand guy).

      I think you are projecting other books too much into this one.

      Pyros51 ago

      That all depends on whether or not you hold a continuation of consciousness above a continuation of form or not.

      Ilea has repeatedly replaced her body due to damage by this point, but her human (if extremely odd) consciousness has been continuous throughout. This chapter and the one at the ascended workshop are the only ones where she possibly had a blip in that, but even there I don't think there was ever a break.

      To conclude, I suspect that Ilea holds more closely to the idea that she's a soul with a body rather than a body which serves to hold a soul. The body itself is secondary to 'Ilea'.

      KKdemona ago

      No, she is losing consciousness literally every time her brain is damaged... I really don't understand what you are talking about.

      I won't tell you not to treat Ilea as mana-ghost who is unaware of its true potential, but I believe you can see how far-fetched this idea is.

      Dr. Steel ago

      Well, how exactly does her regrowing a new head and transfering her conciousness to it work then? If she is human, her brain is her, losing that should be irrecoverable. Also, "Her magic allows for flesh (and other) growth, not creation, otherwise she would be able to conjure bodies, or directly change mana into flesh (at least for now)," her flesh isn't growing, she's had all her flesh incinerated before and still 'healed' it, and also, where is her body getting the raw material for that flesh? She's turning her mana into flesh. She can conjure bodies, clones of her, but due to the limitation of where she's getting her power, from 'healing', they all have to be corpses. Her healing is at the point of extreme, at this point it is basically flesh magic, the only reason it isn't is because Ilea has refused to accept becoming that, time and time again.

      Renos ago

      Azarinth Healer takes place in a world, where humans are not purely physical. Just because your worldview of the real world defines you as your brain, does not mean, that the same is true for a character in a fantasynovel (or for anyone in the real world necessarily). So Ilea regrowing her body does not mean she is no longer human (in Elos). Obviously it is a fantasy scenario with little meaning in reality, but the essence of what is Ilea is still directly conected to the Ilea that was transported to Elos.

      Pyros51 ago

      You're subscribing to the school of thought that there is no higher/spiritual aspect to being human. That all that matters is the flesh and bone our bodies consist of, and as a result that completely replacing them means that you are no longer the same human, and losing them entirely for a time is a sign that you aren't human anymore.

      I was suggesting that there is a human spirit/soul, and that Ilea seems to be leaning more that way. She might replace every molecule of her body, or augment it with magic, but she's still Ilea and Human at her core in the bit that cannot simply be destroyed.

      KKdemona ago

      @Dr. Steel

      Look, you are ignoring the context of what Healing Magic is. Because healing magic exist as a meta for a long time in literature, are you trying to say it's totally different here? Do I really have to state all restrictions it normally has? Like - can only heal something that is considered alive, or directly replaces lost tissue as long as it's not just "enhanced natural regeneration", but cannot conjure flesh from thin air - it only restores a living body to its previous living state, or that instant recovery almost never exists (even Ilea's T3 is not really 'instant'). Yes, her mana is changing into flesh, but the mechanic behind it is Healing, that is why I call it "growing" not "creating". She needs a body part to "regrow from" because that was stated in the book, not because I am looking for a reason to disagree with you.

      As for my opinions on the topic:

      Well, how exactly does her regrowing a new head and transfering her conciousness to it work then? If she is human, her brain is her, losing that should be irrecoverable.

      Why should it be irrecoverable? From biological standpoint, the body can be alive without a brain, and alive = can use Healing. How this work to preserve the memories, you can only ask the author, but IIRC old scars are non-healable, so I believe you can only do that in a brief window of time after damage is taken. I think the exact structure is preserved beforehand by the magic, scried from the past (near past), or copied from "soul memory" if something like that exist.

      The moment she chooses from which part of the body to regrow, she decides where to send her soul. The rest becoumes dead flesh.

      She doesn't need muscles to regrow muscles, she needs alive cells in part of the body the magic still considers alive. Bones can do.

      She CANNOT conjure clones of herself - she can do ASHEN clones from ASH.

      Flesh magic is separate from Healing FOR A REASON.

      KKdemona ago

      @Pyros51

      I am not sure who you answered :D. As far as I understand, nobody here really propagated the idea of "body only". Btw. I mistook Dr. Stone for you for a moment here xD.

      Santiago Torrez Segarra ago

      You people forget that souls are a cannon thing that exists.

      matze3 ago

      Normally i love to take part in such discussions however this time i feel like it won't go anywhere so i will abstain except this post(or at least try too(no promises though)):

      We are talking about a world where magic itself can be alive and form creatures like elementals. So how do you define what is truly alive and what not?

      Yes it's is possible that the bones count as being alive so she heals from there if all her flesh gets destroyed, it is however also possible that her soul counts as alive and she heals from where her soul is connected to the body or her magic itself counts as alive or considering the oracle saw her as a magical being her body and magic might be one and the same.

      And that was just the simplified healing part now here comes the human part:

      When are you a human? Do you need to start at level 0, have 2 arms, hands legs etc and 1 head? There are mutations even in our world that would declare you as a non-human. So what makes a human human and when do you stop being a human even if you were born as one?

      My view on this whole thing: Ilea stopped being human some time ago. Before i'd have said she evolved beyond the current humans evolution but now she is even beyond that.

      It's like comparing an ape and a human. The human might have evolved from the ape however he isn't an ape anymore. He's another species. For Ilea the same is true. She once was human but if you compare her to humans now she is just too different to put them into the same species anymore.

      chojinra ago

      I mean, even you would be made of completely different cells after seven or so years. "The cells I am at the moment will soon die, but I'll still be here..."

      I'm guessing she never got past the threshold of complete disintegration as primordial didn't activate. The abundant mana keeping just enough of her conscious enough to activate third tier healing.

      I like the concept though. Very Battle Angel Alita. Or maybe she's more of an elemental than she thought.

      KKdemona ago

      @matze3

      I am not so sure. But first let's make sure we are talking about the same thing - we are talking what would we define as 'human', not what the System considers as 'human' (it may be the same in some cases, but the System is still considering Ilea a human). From my standpoint - she is human as long as she has DNA which can be categorized as such (for simplicity, let's say as long as she can have children with other humans). Most of her enhancement are magical in nature, or System provided. It's hard to tell what exactly and in what form stays after the body part is cut off (active enhancements disappear for sure, but the parts are still stronger than they should have been).

      One can say she stopped being a human, because she's too strong, too magical, too yada yada yada. But I will not really consider those opinions without something that can be measured - to make a clear distinction.

      Up to now, I mostly referred to the fact, that she still has a working human body. One in which all organs are needed to function. I agree that because of her healing that may not seem like it's the case, but brain failure is example enough for me. This argument, however, is separate from considerations about her being (or not being) a human. Though, it's still connected.

      As to being alive with only a soul, I need to remind you that there are Spirits, undead and such in this world. If I am not mistaken, our dear Lich was once a human, who made some grand ritual to get rid of unnecessary flesh, and now it's an undead. If Ilea crosses this line, I am sure the System will categorize her appropriately.

      What is the exact definition of being alive? I believe the HP is for that. Differently from eg. Delve, you cannot heal a dead body back to live here (from what we saw). Dead, as in 'intact', but with 0 HP. This leads to the conclusion, that the System is responsible for keeping the being in a state, that is proper for using Healing Magic, as long as HP stays. But Healing Magic is also provided by the System, so it's not really that surprising. Question is - how would manual magic (eg. runes) work?

      People in the book (Ilea included) are also fairy sure, that being annihilated (becoming a bloody mush) will automatically kill you. It's not really tested, but I remember there was some requirement as to the size of a body part for Ilea to start regrowing from. I am not 100% sure on that, but it also makes "healing from a soul" quite unlikely.

      The part about her magic being "a part of her body" and "magic being alive" is interesting, but I would say it's not useful for the Healing purposes, because: her ash doesn't have HP; it's part of a body, not the rest of Ilea; Ilea isn't yet an Elemental, nor is her Ash truly alive; we don't know if it will still be considered as her magic, if her body perishes. Besides, it would made her truly immortal - all she would need to do is to keep one ashen copy somewhere to be able to restore herself.

      chojinra ago

      It would be neat if she could keep ashen covered fleshy bodies somewhere to download her soul into if the need arises, but I guess that's what the primordial heal is for.

      KKdemona ago

      @chojinra

      Well, her healing activates automatically without her consciousness, though? There were a few instances, for example when she got skewered through the head by some Executioner (IIRC), her ash kept fighting, and when she was freed she instantly healed. There were more situations like this, like with the Wyrm, when she woke up in the lava lake after the Sun spell.

      It would be neat if she could keep ashen covered fleshy bodies somewhere to download her soul into if the need arises, but I guess that's what the primordial heal is for.

      So true :D, I remember some people were theorizing something like that long ago, too. Drop of blood before a fight, and here we go xD.

      Dr. Steel ago

      She would still be Ilea, yes, in this scenario souls exist afterall. But there is no evidence whatsoever that souls are effected by race. Her Soul isn't Human. And her body, at this point, is so augmented and different, so magical, that it would be pointless trying to compare her body with that of a human. It looks human, but is something beyond.

      chojinra ago

      Oh yeah, she was definitely auto healing in between bouts of consciousness, but I think she was also applying 3rd tier and primordial shift when she could.

      chojinra ago

      So basically, she's an X-Man?

      Dr. Steel ago

      "She CANNOT conjure clones of herself"

      False, she cannot conjure LIVING clones of herself. It sort of depends on your defintion of clones, but she can create an identical self, it just has to be dead. Cut off head, regrow body, do it again, and regrow head. Ta-dah! One Ilea corpse.

      "She doesn't need muscles to regrow muscles, she needs alive cells in part of the body the magic still considers alive. Bones can do."

      We don't have the exact specifics, so I'll concede here.

       

      Anyhow, in general, I agree with what you're saying about healing. And yeah, you're right about the brain and soul, I just misinterpretted your argument about the mana-ghost thing.

      So right now I would only argue, that at Ilea's powerlevel, the borders between the magics become blurred. We have hard evidence of Ice and Heat messing with space, it's not that hard to say there is relation between Flesh magic and Healing. And we know for a fact that Ilea has been borderline flesh-mage for a while (or at least, getting as close to being one without actually doing so). Countless evolution options have been flesh magic due to the fact that what she's done with her healing alone is outrageous. And healing, at least Ilea's healing, IS turning mana into flesh, even if somewhat round-about.

      Dr. Steel ago

      @Pyros51

       

      See, I think that race has little-to-nothing to do with soul. Ilea has a soul. It isn't a Human soul, it is a soul, and the body it inhabits happens to be 'human'. The only race that would have a uniqie soul is one that is specifically soul-magic related, or just, has a different type of mind, that means that the soul is different in however the mind relates to the soul.

      "she's still Ilea and Human at her core in the bit that cannot simply be destroyed."

      No, blatantly false. Changing class can very well change your race, it's been confirmed, she could even change into an elemental in the future. With a system, and all the changes and increase in power far beyond anything normally possible, how can you call what Ilea is now, human? She has selected evolutions that have kept her as close to humanity as possible for a being of her power. But what human weighs more than a ton? Can survive at temperatures near absolute zero, or those of a fricken sun? She's not human. She 'human', she's super-human, but not human.

      Dragax ago

      @KKdemona

      The part about her magic being "a part of her body" and "magic being alive" is interesting, but I would say it's not useful for the Healing purposes, because: her ash doesn't have HP; it's part of a body, not the rest of Ilea; Ilea isn't yet an Elemental, nor is her Ash truly alive; we don't know if it will still be considered as her magic, if her body perishes. Besides, it would made her truly immortal - all she would need to do is to keep one ashen copy somewhere to be able to restore herself.

      Hopefully Evan can clear this question in the future since he can convert his body almost completely into sand(at least according to all of Ilea's abilities, it could just be her unfamiliarity with the phenomenon)

      Also going to put my own opinion over this, I think what mainly constitutes your race is your mind, not your body(since there are more than a few "humans" that can manipulate their body and bones into other forms like Lily) nor soul. Like the Elven Monarch that lost his instincts as an elf when he was put into the metal body, Ilea's desire to eat, be reckless, sleep and be horny, while not literally since there are other races that have those desires, is what keeps her grounded as a human.

      matze3 ago

      @KKdemona

      Damn you for drawing me in...this discussion is just to interesting to stay out of it(even if i know it probably won't lead anywhere..).

      The first about having children with human doesn't work at all for me. Simply because elves can have children with humans too. The same is probably true for dwarves and some other humanoids.

      DNA? Does she really have human DNA left? After what happened with the Ascended trap i'm not sure. She grew back with a dozen eyes and a few limbs more than normal humans...

      And does Ilea really need all organs to function? After all she doesn't need to eat, breath or sleep anymore. Doing that is entirely voluntarly on her part. So no lungs, stomach etc neccessary....

      About turning into a bloody mushroom.. Well i already mentioned the Ascended trap where she was turned into small scraps that were in the end saved by her Primordial flesh skill which created a new body around the scraps of her old and allowed her to restore her body from there. However what would happen if she didn't restore the humanlike body?

      There was no notification of any change while she was made up of primordial flesh and she restored her humanlike body through active magical restoration(arcane healing) not her fast natural regeneration.

       

      P.S.: Dead and alive with Ilea's "healing" magic: That's a big problem because Ilea doesn't have normal healing magic but restoration. The difference is that normal healing magic would probably harm an undead creature because it's not alive and can't be alive anymore while restoration will heal the undead because it restores the undead body...

      So she didn#t heal her primordial body during the ascended trap but rather restored it to it's previous form...

       

      Dragax ago

      So she didn#t heal her primordial body during the ascended trap but rather restored it to it's previous form...

      Not really since the Primordial Flesh still remained after she healed her body, I understand that its more like a literal "Meat Shield" that she can feel through just like how she can feel through her ash.

      matze3 ago

      @Dragax

      No. The primordial flesh functioned as her brain as well because she could use active skills again which isn't possible while the brain is destroyed. So it has to be more than just like her ash

      Dragax ago

      @matze3 Huh, now that I'm reading I guess you're kind of right? although it seems kind of of convoluted since the connections imply that its simply an extension of her own body, despite it leaving the remaining bits intact.

      closing all her eyes as she focused on recovering mana. Any mana. All of it went straight into her healing, the core bits that remained of her bursting out from within the large sphere like chunk of flesh. Her brain was back, ash cutting through her own protective growths to sever the connection to the maddening organs. Her domain came to life, her skull and spine reforming within the flesh before she broke out on top, ripping free of the bloody chunks. Lungs reformed and were sealed off. Now she screamed.

      Although i dont think she can use active skills? since her perception domain activated after her brain regenerated, the healing I think was from Sentinel Core's passive.

      matze3 ago

      Meditation is already an active skill. The same is true for healing through mana. Her natural Regeneration doesn't need mana. The Domain might have been some Kind od sensor overload through the dozen of eyes

      KKdemona ago

      @Dr. Steel

      Ta-dah! One Ilea corpse.

      I was concentrated more on the "living" part, rather than on "clone" part. They are not "living clones". And they cannot be.. well, in one piece. That also doesn't exactly say anything about her Healing beside showing the amount of body parts she can create...

      Yea, I agree with the rest. She is close to the Flesh magic, almost there.

      Changing class can very well change your race, it's been confirmed

      Of course, but System-wise she still is a human :). Well, the discussion about being human was finished already from my side, I think. Either way, if you are right abut the soul (I think that it is very plausible), then it will make less confusion when she officialy changes her race.

      she could even change into an elemental in the future

      Actually, that part is questionable. Fae mentioned "fusing with an Elemental", nobody ever mentioned becoming one, except the pure-mana Dark Ones.

      @Dragax

      Oh, that would be quite informative. I wonder if Rhaegar will make another "important talk" on that topic.

      The example with Elven Monarch is missed, I think. He lost those after losing his body, so the cause for his mental-state could be just that - the lack of bodily needs. Besides, I think "instincts" are a part of brain, and created in the evolution process, strengthened by environment conditioning. But it's an interesting idea, when defining by body or soul becomes hard, to look at the mind too. This can be true, at least in some cases.

      KKdemona ago

      @matze3

      Damn you for drawing me in

      Welcome to the club! :D

      Simply because elves can have children with humans too

      We didn't see any 'halves' from other races, and Elves are (almost certainly, confirmed in one talk with Elves) created by the oracles by magical means, not born. I wouldn't be surprised, if human's DNA is a base for creating them. Just change a few genes here and there to create an apex predator... There was a long debate how they relate to humans and why they are a separate race, but we lack information.

      DNA? Does she really have human DNA left?

      Well, as I mentioned, I think most of her enhancements are magical in nature (additional mana structures in the body) or system provided (the theory that stats and other things are strengthening a being through the Soul), rather than being physical. It wouldn't even make sense - how you can make skin harder than any metal? Molecular manipulation would never give these results. Thus, I think her physical body is still normal, only with a shitton of enhancement - mana currents, mana structures, soul related, etc.

      And that accident after the Ascended trap, about which nobody should speak aloud, was just Flesh magic. Not her "natural regeneraton" :).

      And does Ilea really need all organs to function? After all she doesn't need to eat, breath or sleep anymore.

      Maa, if she was cut away from mana, she would still need to eat and breath. Not sure with the sleep. But these are more like functions of her Skills, which double the role of her organs, because she destroyed them too many times. It's not physically inbuilt function of her body.

      However what would happen if she didn't restore the humanlike body?

      Good question! I wondered if she would stay like that, if she didn't "shed" for some time (healing doesn't work on old scars, so...) :D. I think her race would change at that point. She would probably become an Amalgamation (or something like that), or human-somethin hybrid...

      Hmm, yes, I agree on the Restoration part. Did she ever tried to heal an undead, tho? We know for sure it's not working on dead (somewhere in early chapters, she was made sure people died while trying this).

      Dragax ago

      @KKdemona yeah i think my example was a bit off, but i think the meaning was conveyed.

      Though I'm looking it more from a storytelling/world-building perspective, since if the way you're as a person isn't affected by the mind(not to be confused with the physical brain), then what is the difference with the mind and simply being another soul but bounded to the brain organ?

      Also in the talk of amalgamation, honestly i wouldn't be surprised if her next evolution of Primordial Arbiter evolves her into a Chimera, with all that talk of "your very veins touched by the creatures you've met in your travels" on top of the mention of several creatures.

      KKdemona ago

      Btw. in chapter 50 she was able to use her Reconstruction when unconscious:

      All of Ilea’s mana subconsciously went into Reconstruction as over the next ten minutes the worst bleedings were stopped and her arteries and damaged or destroyed organs were slowly rebuilt

      I think the same has taken place many times with a T3 healing later on, when she got herself almost killed. Still needs brain, but can be triggered semi-automatically before it's shut down altogether. Like during the previously mentioned Sun spell of the Wyrm - when she melted a few times to unconsciousness, only to be restored (if I remember that part correctly).

      KKdemona ago

      @Dragax

      xD True! And chimera sounds interesting.

      Depends on how you define the Soul. It can be a "memory of life", which can change when "computed" by physical body. The needs and decisions, so the 'mind', would be a combination of the body (physical memories too) and soul (the essence, memory of everything). Like a program on a computer, though it's a very simplified example. Or it could be that souls can also think by themselves, but in a very alien manner.

      I would like your theory more, if we saw any being of "mind" type. Mind magic doesn't count, but it is a clue.

      matze3 ago

      @KKDemona

      Maa, if she was cut away from mana, she would still need to eat and breath. Not sure with the sleep. But these are more like functions of her Skills, which double the role of her organs, because she destroyed them too many times. It's not physically inbuilt function of her body.

      Wasn't it poart of her Arcane Eternal class that she doesn't need to eat anymore? So even if she was constantly at 0 mana she still wouldn't need to eat. She doesn't consume mana now instead of regular food.

      Hmm, yes, I agree on the Restoration part. Did she ever tried to heal an undead, tho? We know for sure it's not working on dead (somewhere in early chapters, she was made sure people died while trying this).

      Yes in the city of the Dark ones where she killed the undead lord she healed/restored an undead dark one after the Feynor attack or was it when she first entered? not quite sure.

      Well, as I mentioned, I think most of her enhancements are magical in nature (additional mana structures in the body) or system provided (the theory that stats and other things are strengthening a being through the Soul), rather than being physical. It wouldn't even make sense - how you can make skin harder than any metal? Molecular manipulation would never give these results. Thus, I think her physical body is still normal, only with a shitton of enhancement - mana currents, mana structures, soul related, etc.

      And that accident after the Ascended trap, about which nobody should speak aloud, was just Flesh magic. Not her "natural regeneraton" :).

      I agree that it was flesh magic that created her body when Primordial flesh activated. The problem is that it took her active restoration healing to return to her humanoid body. Thus the system recognized the body created by primordial flesh as her body as well. And that body most definitely was not human. So she has a humanoid and primordial form. But what is her true form?

      Fey still is an elf in my opinion because his transformation is always for a limited time. The same is true for other creatures. But not for Ilea. Her transformation is only limited if she restores the other body again. That makes her non-human anymore for me. Or do humans have another body with a few spare limbs and eyes in storage somewhere?

       

      Edit: She is like a primordial that decides to look human because that's what she was before. However in truth that's her choice and not what she is anymore. What she is is rather more flexible...

      Btw. in chapter 50 she was able to use her Reconstruction when unconscious:

      Unconsciously channeling a spell is something else than using a spell when having no brain. One can create a reflex to do something while the other can't because it does not exist

      KKdemona ago

      Wasn't it poart of her Arcane Eternal class that she doesn't need to eat anymore?

      True, I didn't think about that part. That is, indeed, closer to a "race trait" than mere Skills. I wonder, though, if mana is not needed, then it would be a very clear interaction of soul and body (energy has to come from somewhere, as she still exists and interacts with the physical world, be it System, mana, soul or whatever; assuming it's just how it is would make me very displeased). In the first place, she generates mana herself, so the situation without any mana for prolonged time is almost impossible to show up, maybe exactly that assumption is included here?

      It seems she has a "functional human body" because she can eat, drink, sleep, etc. But "she doesn't need some organs to live" (like digestive system). Does that make her less human, tho? Also, I don't think she can get rid of her other organs, like liver. There are whole enzyme-hormonal-chemical metabolic pathways depending on those. They can directly change how her brain works, and change much more than only her mood...

      Yes in the city of the Dark ones where she killed the undead lord she healed/restored an undead dark one after the Feynor attack.

      Good memory! It's confirmed then.

      But what is her true form?

      I understand it as either Flesh magic allowing to change someone's form, so she has a choice independent of a race (these are tumors made from her flesh, I think? Maybe), or the primordial flesh was treated like a cancer - it were her cells, definitely alive, but the mutation was treated as "sick tissue". Though, the green flame of the Dragon made healing hard because of the tumors...

      The question is, could her body stay alive in such form. It's one thing to add another hand (this can be done by bioengineering, and I believe this still would be a human, although slowly drifting away if achieved by changing genes directly), and another to rearrange your organs in a new fashion.

      Hmmm, or maybe this changes can only be temporal? I mean, we saw a few bone mages (I don't think we met a flesh one?), and none of them rearranged their bones permanently? Even if they did, they still stayed in their race.

      Or changing your form permanently really changes your race, and alongside the changes to how the brain works, one becomes a monster (Abomination or something)?

      Unconsciously channeling a spell is something else than using a spell when having no brain.

      Yes, It's exactly what I meant, just showing how she survived when losing consciousness because of constant damage.

      matze3 ago

      Hmmm, or maybe this changes can only be temporal? I mean, we saw a few bone mages (I don't think we met a flesh one?), and none of them rearranged their bones permanently? Even if they did, they still stayed in their race.

      That's the exactly the point which make's her none human in my mind @kkdemona. Transformations skills are limited and bone mages can get around the limitations of their body for some time with their skills.

      However compared to that Ilea's Primordial flesh doesn't have a time limit. At least there was never mentioned one. And considering the skill activates when she is about to be killed and devours all mana and stamina it can't have a health or other drain making this skill essientielly a permanent transformation.

      I don't believe they are cancer or tumors simply because organs like eyes are to complex for a tumor to create a functioning one and connect it to a functioning brain made of tumor cells as well. After all all these new cells would be tumors or cancer then, brain, eyes, nerves and other organs included so there should be at least some organs she couldn't control because the cells don't function like they should...

      Mike Hawk ago

      There is soul magic, therefore there is a soul

      KKdemona ago

      @matze3

      because organs like eyes are to complex for a tumor to create a functioning one

      Firstly. Ever seen a teratoma? Spoiler: VERY gruesome

      Besides, the growth was directed by Flesh magic, I see no reason for the cells to not be real cancer and at the same time creating something that works. Or how would you explain this random growth? As some pre-made blueprint? The cancer tumors don't work only because the cells stop listening to "frame signals" (don't stop proliferating and creating their own "infrastructure" of blood vessels and intercellular molecules). Otherwise, they are fully functional. If Flesh magic directs them property, they can create working structures.

      Not to mention, I wrote "treated like a cancer" - for the purpose of Healing Magic, and how it treated her body. No matter how close the cells were to the original ones, it was considered as "sick tissue", was the point.

      However compared to that Ilea's Primordial flesh doesn't have a time limit.

      You mean, there is no time limit in the Skill description? I don't believe any Flesh/Bone/Blood mage has those, even for full-body Skill-dependent transformation. I was thinking more in the direction - changes sustainable only because of mana, because it doesn't work naturally, so time-limited. Like Ilea's auras, before they became free. Like the wolf transformation of Lily (IIRC the name). Fey's transformation also didn't have a strict time limit - in chapter 372 when they met, he stopped when he become tired, and told her only:

      “So you can’t fight anymore?” Ilea asked, disappointment in her voice.

      “Not at that power. Nor for a day at least, perhaps longer.”

      This also doesn't change the fact, that there is a possibility of becoming a monster if someone manages to manually change their brain permanently into something... more primitive. Similar to what happened to the Mantis population, or converted in the Descend by the agent.

      Beside the lack of a time limit (we didn't see any of those in the book, btw., at least I don't remember any) in the Skill description, I don't see why we should think of her primordial body life-saving Skill as permanent? Especially in comparison to other types of magic, why treating a bone armor of a Bone mage like something temporal?

      matze3 ago

      @KKDemona

      Honestly i have to think how to describe it in english so i hope i find the correct words(i hope i translate everything correctly):

      Yes there are skills that seem similar at first glance however if you take a closer look you'll notice there are 2 fundamental differences to primordial flesh.

      1:Be it Fey's dragon transformation, bone or flesh mages. They all pay an upkeep for the skills and transformations(as long as it is no permanent change), be it either in health or mana or stamina or focus(fey was out of breath after fighting some time in dragon form). Primordial flesh does not. After the skill activated the primordial flesh simply exists. No more cost involved. It simply is compared to channeling like others. Bone armor etc. is no longer alive after creation.

      2. It needs another class to recreate the normal form. No other class depends on another to recreate your own form. Primordial flesh does. That sets it apart from all other transformations because what happens if ilea doesn't have arcane restoration?

      Using normal healing magic? Won't help after all you already have "your" body. Regeneration? Doesn't work either.

      Only arcane restoration can restore your old body.

       

       

      There is another point about a new brain with a vastly different makeup changing your very thoughtprocess however that would get too complicated.

      No these 2 points are already important enough because they were only seen in permanent transformations so far. Not temporary ones.

       

       

      Dr. Steel ago

      @KKdemona

      About changing into an elemental, iirc, I think it was when Ilea and the Meadow were on the topic of possible romance (jokingly), and Meadow said something about maybe if Ilea evolved into an elemental, she would have a chance, and the conversation from their went on to how Ilea could, at some point, probably turn into some kind of Ash Elemental, but it would fundamentally change her mind and make her, well, not Ilea.

      About healing undead, I'm pretty sure it can, and that 'normal' healing hurts them, but because hers is arcane, it works. And her arcane healing also works on the mind, for sure, so it can't be purely 'physical' healing. Did she ever use it to heal a soul?

      We HAVE seen a half elf, pretty sure the Empress' guard is one.

      "Still needs brain, but can be triggered semi-automatically before it's shut down altogether"

      Slight detail, but she she doesn't need her brain to automatically trigger the healing, even if her head suddenly blew up, the skill would trigger automatically. Either as an inherant part of the skill, or triggered by her soul, or simply her connection to her healing magic itself (like how her ash is slowly getting more responsive to her will, and even whims, the closer her connection gets)

      KKdemona ago

      @matze3

      I see. I concede, this seems different. But I also think we need more information, because there are too many assumptions. Not only on the Skill, but on changing once race outside of evolutions, and doing that without "monsterizing" oneself. Also, on flesh/bone/blood magic - rituals are one thing, but we don't know if they are capable of manipulating existing biological matter in permanent ways.

      Theoretically, possessing Bone, Flesh and Blood magic together should allow to create living organisms.

       

      @Dr. Steel

      It wasn't a talk (flirting) with Meadow, but with the Fae (chapter 439):

      A variety of results. Splattered entirely by a Dragon, turned into a gem, fusing with an Ash Elemental, betrayed by a dear friend, surrounded by loving dogs, and a variety of other outcomes, few of which you would comprehend.”

      “Speaking of unlimited potential. I could fuse with an Ash Elemental?” she asked.

      We will not elaborate on such endeavors. However a large part of us agrees that a date would be desirable should you ever follow that path. Your mind and essence would become something entirely unrecognizable. If you wish to preserve who you are, we suggest you refrain from such actions.”

      “Well… who knows. Maybe I’ll grow tired of being me in ten thousand years. Dating you as an ash elemental might just be the thing I look forward to then. Nice meeting you.”

      As you can see - "fuze with Elemental" not "evolve into an Elemental".

      Matze3 already reminded me of one "spirit of death" (IIRC) she healed after killing the Death Lord (or something, I forgot how he was named) in the north. So yea, it definitely works. It was also clearly sated, that she cannot Heal her soul (or souls in general) - it regenerates naturally for everyone and, for her, has bonuses from Fires of Creation and her Classes, but no Healing.

      Yes, half-elfs exist for sure. But Elves aren't born naturally, it was stated quite clearly (I would need to check where exactly) that they are created with the help of magic. So I wouldn't be that surprised if human blood is used in creation of some, or something like that, which would allow for procreation. There aren't other "halfs" (from other races) as far as we know, though.

      Slight detail, but she she doesn't need her brain to automatically trigger the healing, even if her head suddenly blew up, the skill would trigger automatically. Either as an inherant part of the skill, or triggered by her soul, or simply her connection to her healing magic itself (like how her ash is slowly getting more responsive to her will, and even whims, the closer her connection gets)

      Her T3 ('instant' recovery) too? It would be nice if true, but you would need to find some example. I don't remember such situation, she always had a brain in one place when T3 triggered. Only that sometimes it triggered when she lost consciousness.

      Landon Jordan ago

      Ah, but people forget. This is totally true. Her body will keep regenerating as long as she has mana. In the chamber, the intense amount of heat and magic keeps giving her insane amounts of mana so she can never truly 'die' because she can only die if her mana+hp reaches zero. But her mana her is always above zero so yea. It's like she's in a limbo. The only way to get out of there is have enough body parts (like legs and hands for more than a second) to crawl ahead and out of the heat.

      Which she was doing (stepping that is) her bones are insanely durable so they don't melt even after a few dozen seconds. So she's able to move ahead just relying on her skeleton and her few existing muscles and flesh which keep instantly regenerating.

      Why is this so hard to accept i don't know but if everyone would just read all the skill effects and 'underatand their limitations'. It would be nice.

      Her space magic is too weak to affect space when the surroundings are filled with supercharged heat and/or when an oracle suppresses her using their element. It's only fair otherwise even a L1 space rat will be able to escape a L1000000 being just relying on their space magic lol.

      Space magic like all magic has its limitations. To prevent abuse any sufficiently powerful being can lock down space using their main element (like that one time the dragon prevented her from teleporting)

      She only got out of that cuz she had already trained with The Meadow to escape such situations.

      But an oracle or the heat of a star is not something that can be easily escaped from at her level.

      Once she gets her L1k evolution she'll probably be able to do so but not now.

      matze3 ago

      @Landon Jordan

      First you're a few days late for the discussion.

      Second and far more important:

      There are three different types of restoring her body you just decide to mix but they aren't mixed.

      First is her natural regeneration which happens as long as she has 1 hp.

      The second is mana based restoration which exists as long as her mind is present with the body. The moment her brain is destroyed this second can't be used anymore.

      The third is Primordial flesh which is no real regeneration at all but simply devours all her mana to create flesh and space barriers to protect what's left of her body at that point.

      Just saying as long as she has mana she'll regenerate is obviously wrong....

      KKdemona ago

      There are some misunderstandings with how Ilea's teleport was blocked, too, but I don't really want to start a new conversation about that xD. I will just say - Dragon didn't use "her element" to block teleporting, it used the same jamming (probably a Skill) as Meadow used. It's different from Olacle's and this situation. This is only my opinion, but I am also quite sure she would be able to teleport in this environment, if she had time to learn. Not so much in case of Oracle, though, she was in her 'domain' basically.

    black Leviathan ago

    I think Lava Magic Resistance wasn't mentioned, but used, only it's effect was comparatively weak. There was just too much heat. Though mentioning it would have been nice.

    It's like attacking an enemy and dealing 1000 damage each time, which is normally quite a lot, only that this enemies' health points are being counted in the billions.

      KKdemona ago

      Yea, I was going to say we don't know how much heat it could sink, but I have found some mentions in older chapters. The resistance was overwhelmed by 'standard' breath attack of the Fey (chapter 577, Lava T2L1) and Wyrm (chapter 625, Lava T2L3 after the fight), so it wouldn't be strange to not help here.

      Landon Jordan ago

      She ignored the message. One more onto the pile already in her mind.

      After the heat magic notif she refused to open any other to focus on her surroundings. It's not that there weren't any gains other than heat magic maxing out but that it would be too much just in one chapter.

      We'll have all the gains listed in the next chapter as always.

    MyAddiction ago

    Ilea absorbed all the heat she could from the surroundings and sent out a beam of Embered Heart, aimed behind her and towards the exit. She had barely managed to get five meters into the sphere, but she wouldn’t stop now. You got this far. Fire… is…

    Her vision darkened before she blinked, gasping for air but finding only fire. Her healing kept her alive. She paused and sent out another beam, the heat exchange doing nothing to cool the red and glowing surroundings.

     

    There it is. She tries to absorb and get rid of some of the heat, but it's to much.

    MrGravelord ago

    There is also that wyrm armor she made out of a monster in the kahren isles. Expected her to use that, since it's very resistant to heat but I guess not. The author probably forgot about it, too many abilities and special effects.

      chojinra ago

      With that heat, it'd probably be as useful as her bone armor. She probably didn't want it destroyed. That or it would slow her down.

      KKdemona ago

      Yea, this situation was a little too much, maybe. But that doesn't change the fact, that she doesn't use it at all...

      MrGravelord ago

      I mean, it's completely different quality and especially good at handling heat. I agree that it was at least worth a try

      Landon Jordan ago

      Lol, when has she ever used any equipment that she'd use it now?

      She'd rather just have it sitting in her necklace looking pretty than have it melted down after all the effort it took to make it.

      She also didn't have any time to think about stuff like that... putting it on would also reduce her speed since it's pretty bulky and it's not like it would fully protect her body anyway

Snaiper34521 ago

Thanks for the chapter

ding’ ‘Heat Resistance reaches 4rd lvl 1’

I look forward to this notification in the next chapter. After all, this situation with fire is similar to the time when Ilea received level 3 pain resistance.

    Snaiper34521 ago

    Machines ???? fighting alongside Ilea. On the one hand, this is good, but I am disappointed. I hope Ilea will fight them in the future.

    Snaiper34521 ago

    Ilea was always "wary" of Aki. She gave him "bodies" for use, which she could kill. But now the situation is completely different.

    Owning the entire Talin facility is very dangerous. This shows that Ilea trusts Aki and considers him a friend.

    Has Rhaegar thought of everything in advance? Ilea found Aki for this purpose. This is Chekhov's gun, which fired hundreds of chapters later. It's just brilliant.

      murple ago

      Speaking of, whatever happened to Chekhov's now?

      Snaiper34521 ago

      There are still "unresolved questions" with the ascended. Also, Ilea will 100% go to fight the "kraken", "hellish creature", a dragon. Meetings with the oracle and and the fairy.

      Ilea has a lot to do and fight in the future. I think that with the help of Talin machines, she will "secure" humanity. Then Ilea will be able to resolve issues with the Ascended and go on a journey.

      Aristaeus ago

      I'm expecting the plot twist that Aki was supposed to be the controlling intelligence but somehow ended up being 'liberated' by a Cerithil Hunter. And then the double twist that due to the imperfection of the enchantments that resulted in Akis personality being slowly changed to the current wielder (not a flaw if you are not being wielded as would be the case if being stuck into the OWF) he rejects his original purpose.

    LightBringer007 ago

    The description will change o something like: "You are the fire"

    Maybe an change to flame creation, a spec of colour added or something like that.

    I am read "Beneath the dragon eyed moons" recently. Different system of evolving skills.

    Dr. Steel ago

    After all, we don't quite know how general skills evolve into the 4th tier. Can you imagine Ilea's outrage at getting a general skill to fourth tier before one of her class skills? XD

      Tinderox ago

      I think we would have seen the notification if she got her heat resistance to 4th tier, since we saw the 3rd tier 30 level notification, however I think that surviving the space freezing cold and space burning heat will be seen in her next class advancement eventually.

MLIA95 ago

Thanks for the chapter!

 

Beautiful way to deal with this massive battle, love the confusing thoughts and the little aki dialogue at the end. A beautiful chapter

    baelrath ago

    Agreed...but!

    Again, Ilea is from Earth. Which has Jurassic park...

    she should be VASTLY familiar with the consequences of a shut down / reboot...

    unless Aki can slip in without requiring a reboot this planet be doomed. How many things is the Core powering and keeping locked down, contained, imprisoned, in stasis...

      Hellmai ago

      We know that it contains one thing for sure. A star.
      If it is a prison to a level 5000 super evil creature... well not like it matters. A star appearing where the planet is... well go figure which one is more... bad news.

      Landon Jordan ago

      She could just have her newly appointed partner the One with Form a.k.a Aki to check out how the star is contained and would it be possible to move it or not?

      If yes then she can just send it over to the Meadow for safekeeping. Don't sweat the details.

      Hellmai ago

      If Aki takes control, it wont be able to do a thing for a looooong while.
      Remember how long it took the dagger to control all its new functions of every new robot?
      This is different, Aki will not be able to do a thing for who knows how many years, until it figures things out.

vrozgy ago

Thanks for the chapter!

Hot damn! She does tend to skip forms when upgrading Aki.

CrimsonEclipse18 ago

Thanks for the chapter! Man, imagine how much more powerful Ilea would become if hs eliterally has control over the Taleen through Aki. Everyone else should just surrender at that point. At least when it was only the Shadows and the Sentinels it's still manageable, they're just an organization and can still be overwhelmed through other means. The Meadow Accords is trickier, since it's a bunch of powerful alliances with a very strong and very mysterious backer in Meadow, but I'd reckon they'd still be able to put up a fight. But this? It's game over for anyone that messes with her.

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