Kyle smiled up at his companion as he ran in the direction of the entrance to the Dungeon that they had used during the test. Although she was doing her best to hide it, it was pretty obvious that the death and enslavement of most of the people that they had known was weighing almost as heavily on her as it was on him. Still she continued to dance through the sky with the same grace that she always had that always brought a smile to his face.
Not only was Fi’s ability to fly a joyous thing to watch it was one of her most useful Abilities, right up there with her newest Ability to use his magic. He was certain that particular power was going to be one that they would be getting a lot of use out of. Especially when it came to defensive spells like his Counter Shield since that spell in particular seemed like it would both be very useful as well as quite difficult to use in the heat of battle.
Thanks to Fi’s scouting they managed to avoid all of the packs of monsters on the way to the entrance to the Dungeon and soon they found themselves inside the gloomy tunnels once again. To Kyle’s surprise things actually looked slightly different from what he remembered.
“Ah crap, the Dungeon has changed this whole section hasn’t it?” he asked rhetorically when he realised what was going on.
“Looks like it,” Fi replied with a sigh of her own. “Well I guess that it doesn’t change that much. I’m still going to be scouting out ahead of you.”
“Good point,” Kyle admitted. “But I’ll make sure to stay a bit closer to you while your scouting just in case.”
“Yeah you can keep up with me much easier now that you have your new Class,” Fi agreed as she recalled how he had easily kept pace on their way here. “Chain Manipulator seems to be very powerful for a Tier 2 Class. I can’t wait to see what it’s truly capable of.”
And with that she flew off into the tunnels in front of them and after waiting a few seconds Kyle followed. With her Heat Vision Ability Fi wouldn’t be caught off guard by anything unless it couldn’t be detected by that sort of Ability like if it was cold blooded. Kyle wasn’t too worried about finding something like that in this part of the Dungeon though since there were mostly Scorprats here.
Fi stayed in contact using their new ability to communicate telepathically and soon she started noticing signs of Scorprats nearby and slowed down even more so that Kyle could catch up a bit. She wasn’t too worried of she ran across a group of Scorprats without Kyle being around. She was more than powerful enough to hold out until Kyle showed up even if there were more powerful types of Scorprat present which was unlikely this close to the entrance.
A few minutes after letting Kyle know that they were getting close Fi spotted their first victims of the day. A small group of five Scorprats that seemed to think that they were well hidden in a small alcove that they had dug in the wall of one of the tunnels and after letting Kyle know what was going on Fi struck.
Using her Shared Spells Ability for the first time Fi cast Mana Skin for extra protection just in case before attacking with her Shadowbolt spell. It had actually been a while since she had used this spell outside of the classroom and she was only allowed to use it against training dummies there, so she was surprised by how much damage the shadowy blob did when it struck her target.
Now that she had reached Level 5 and chosen her Companion Type her Stats had increased dramatically which meant that Shadowbolt which had previously only dealt 6-8 damage over 3 seconds now dealt almost twice that. It still wasn’t enough to kill the Level 4 Scorprat that she had attacked outright but the attack did still leave it writhing in pain for a few seconds. It even lashed out at some of the other Scorprats that it had been hiding with making them squeal in pain.
Fi continued to blast them with magic while Kyle sprinted towards them and by the time, he arrived Fi had already managed to kill two of them and had taken absolutely no damage at all thanks to her speed.
Lashing out with his two chains Kyle immediately realised just how much stronger he had become. While Scorprats were among the weakest monsters in this Dungeon they had still given him a bit of a challenge when he had been there last. However now one of his opponents fell with every other attack. In the end he didn’t even end up using any of his Skills or magic other than his Minor Soul Syphon Enchantment which he was only using so that he could get more Soul Stones that he could use to make more Inscriptions. As Fi continued to rain spells upon them from above she was amazed by how easily they ended up killing the Scorprats. In fact, she could’ve taken out this group herself with relative ease.
Once they were done Kyle quickly removed the glands that they were here for as well as the Scorprats claws which could be made into things like needles and fishhooks and then skinned the ones that weren’t too badly damaged by their attacks. He also collected the Soul Stones that some of the Scorprats had dropped. He only managed to find three in the end but every little bit helped.
“Well that went much better than expected,” he remarked as he washed his hands off with water from one of the canteens that Fi had in her Inventory. “But next time maybe don’t use Mana Darts quite as often it damages the pelts too much.”
“Okay,” Fi agreed. The pelts weren’t worth that much money but as they both knew every little bit of loot that they could gather was worth something and every little bit helped. “And you should definitely get the Skinning Skill at some point as well.”
“Yeah, you’re right that didn’t help,” Kyle sighed. While he did know how to skin things, he still didn’t have the Skill which meant that even if he did his best, he would still damage anything that he skinned more than he would if he had the Skill. He had also had some difficulty removing the poison glands which combined with some of them being damaged in the fighting meant that he had only managed to harvest two whole ones. He had however smeared some of the poison within them on the end of his spiked chain which he was planning on trying out in the next fight. “Anyway, shall we continue on?”
“Sure, hopefully the next group will be a bit more of a challenge,” Fi agreed as she flew off down the tunnel.
To their disappointment the next couple of fights weren’t much more difficult than the first one. Kyle did get to try out his new Chain Manipulation Skill properly though. It turned out to be quite difficult to control his spiked chain while fighting but it was quite effective allowing him to attack more effectively from range. The spike on the end of the chain easily penetrated the leathery skin of the Scorprats and the poison that he had coated it in had slowed them down enough that if they weren’t killed outright by the attack then either he or Fi could finish them off easily.
He still hadn’t used any magic himself but Fi had tried out his new Light Arrow spell a couple of times. The tiny bolt of light was both very powerful for a low-level spell and quite literally moved at the speed of light making it impossible to dodge as several Scorprats had learned.
However, they had only managed to harvest another 6 of the poison glands that they had come here to get so they had no choice but to continue on. They had already decided to save up all of the Merit Points that they were earning until they were ready to leave the Dungeon since there wasn’t a lot of point in using them when they weren’t really being challenged so once they had finished skinning their unfortunate victims and harvesting their poison glands they continued on deeper into the Dungeon.
As they continued on, they started noticing even more differences in the Dungeon’s layout. There were even a few traps that definitely hadn’t been there last time. Thankfully they were fairly easy to deal with, but it was a stark reminder that even if the monsters that they were hunting right now were weak they still couldn’t let their guards down.
This was something that was driven home to them in the next fight when Kyle accidentally activated a trap that they had missed and took the tail spike of one of the Scorprats that they were fighting through his bicep making him scream in pain as the poison started spreading throughout his body slowing him down. Unfortunately for the Scorprat that had hit him this didn’t slow his spiked chain which he was still manipulating at all and when it tried to bite him, he activated his new Viper Strike Skill.
The chain shot towards the Scorprats open mouth faster than the eye could see and before the creature even had the chance to scream in pain it had torn completely through its body and out the other side killing it stone dead. Seeing his plight Fi immediately cast her Cleanse spell which cleared the poison from his system just in time for him to block an attack from yet another Scorprat. Unfortunately, it was at this point that more Scorprats decided to join the fight including a couple of Impalers which immediately launched their tail spikes at the airborne companion who managed to dodge the first one by a hair’s breadth. However, she was unable to dodge the second one which smashed into her with enough force to penetrate her scales. Or at least with what would be enough force to penetrate her scales if she hadn’t been using Mana Skin to increase her defence.
However, the impact was more than hard enough to knock her out of the air and leave a nasty bruise where it had struck her. Seeing this Kyle roared in rage and lashed out at the Scorprats that had surrounded him with a mixture of his chains, kicks and then knocked those that remained away with a Mana Blast just as Fi took to the air again.
“Don’t worry about me Kyle,” she told him as she quickly cast her healing spell on herself. “I’m fine.”
But Kyle couldn’t hear her over the squealing of the injured Scorprats and he launched himself into the fray with a look of rage on his face. In this state even the most powerful Scorprats in the group that they were fighting didn’t stand a chance against him and soon he was surrounded by a pile of still twitching dead bodies.
It was at this point that he turned his attention to the pair of Scorprat Impalers who had caused him to snap in the first place. Sensing the bloodlust that Kyle was directing at them the two monsters fired their tail spike at him. It was at this time that the enraged Kyle used his Counter Shield spell for the first time. He dodged the first spike but knew that if he did this, he would be hit by the second spike. A strange silvery barrier appeared in front of Kyle just before the second spike struck him.
To the surprise of everyone present when the spike struck the silvery shield that had appeared in front of Kyle it made a strange ringing sound but didn’t really do anything other than that as the spike bounced off of it but immediately after the ringing stopped the sound was replaced by a loud wail of pain from the Scorprat Impaler that had been unlucky enough to hit the strange spell with its tail spike.
Even Kyle was surprised by this but that surprise only lasted until he noticed that the things tail seemed to have what looked like shards of bone sticking out of it all along its rather prodigious length. A predatory smile appeared upon his face when he saw the obvious pain that the hideous creature was in and he quickly fired some Mana Darts at it as he ran over.
Now that its main weapon had been rendered useless the Scorprat Impaler lasted even less time than its less specialised brethren and soon Kyle turned his attention to its fellow which was watching him with what seemed to be fear in its beady little eyes. It wasn’t keen on the idea of attacking Kyle with its tail spike after seeing what had happened to its partner, but it knew that it stood even less of a chance in a melee fight against the furious young man.
However, these few seconds turned out to be just as bad an idea as any of its other options as it gave both Fi and Kyle time to use their magical attacks. A bolt of shining light and a blob of shadow hit it hard enough to send it flying into a nearby wall and gave Kyle enough time to get close enough to activate his Lash Skill which slammed it back into the wall once more before pinning it to the wall completely with his spiked chain and then finishing it off by breaking its neck with his bare hands.
Fi watched with wide eyes as Kyle stood over the broken body of the Scorprat Impaler. Obviously despite the way he had been acting in the past couple of days what he had seen in Farholt had changed him. Kyle had always had a temper, but this was something else entirely.
“Kyle are you okay?” she asked quietly.
“Huh?’ Kyle grunted as he turned around to look at this companion with a strange look on his face. “What do you mean?”
“Uh, you overreacted a little bit there,” Fi replied carefully. “I was a little bit battered, but the spike didn’t penetrate my scales and I was able to heal the damage.”
“What are you talking about?” Kyle asked in obvious confusion. Fi frowned slightly at this and looked meaningfully over Kyle’s shoulder at the mess that he had made of the Impaler and Kyle slowly turned to look over his shoulder before leaping away from the wall in surprise.
“Holy Shit!” He shouted in horror. “Di-did I do that?”
“Uh, yeah who else could’ve?” Fi asked rhetorically. She was really starting to get worried now since it seemed that Kyle had no memory of what he had done after she had been injured. “Are you feeling alright?”
“Not anymore,” Kyle replied as he looked around the cavern that they were currently. “I don’t remember doing most of this.”
“I take it the least thing that you remember is me getting hit by one of the Scorprat Impalers?” Fi asked.
“Uh, no, actually I don’t remember that at all,” Kyle replied. “I remember you healing me and everything after that is just a blur. You seem to be fine though.”
“I am thanks to your Mana Skin spell,” Fi nodded. “Blacking out like you did isn’t a good sign though. How are you really feeling?”
“Like I said I feel fine,” Kyle sighed. “A bit shaken up and a bit tired but other than that no different to how I felt when I woke up.”
“Hmm, well I guess we can chalk it up to you not having recovered from seeing what the Empire had done to our family,” Fi sighed. “You should call Figz and tell him about this though.”
“Yeah that sounds like a good idea,” Kyle replied as he looked around once more. “A really good idea in fact.”
“Alright then I guess we should loot the corpses and move on,” Fi said eventually. “Honestly I hope that we have enough poison glands to finish the Quest now. I don’t think that it would be a very good idea to continue deeper into the Dungeon after this.”
“Agreed,” Kyle said quickly before starting to loot the badly damaged corpses of the Scorprats. Unfortunately, he was unable to salvage most of the pelts since he had made such a mess of the Scorprats but by the time he had looted all of them they had enough poison glands to complete the Quest so the relieved pair started to make their way back to the entrance. He also found another couple of Soul Stones which actually surprised him slightly because of how short the duration of the spell was but he wasn’t going to complain.
“Other than my weird turn I think that went well,” Kyle murmured as he sat down on a small rock beside the entrance. Since they had either taken care of or knew where the traps were it hadn’t taken them very long to make their way back to the entrance so now all they had to do was work out what they were going to do about the Merit Points that they had received.
“Indeed, we’re both quite a bit more powerful than we were,” Fi agreed. “And once we get used to our new abilities, we’ll only become stronger.”
“Yeah,” Kyle nodded. “I need a bit more practice using chain manipulation before I’ll be anywhere close to being able to use it in a fight to its fullest potential.”
“So, it would seem,” Fi agreed. “You actually used it better when you lost control but not by much.”
“Huh, that’s weird,” Kyle muttered. “Maybe its because I was acting more on instinct instead of actually thinking about what I was doing?”
“Maybe,” Fi nodded. “Anyway, shall we use those Merit Points?”
“Sounds like a good idea” Kyle agreed and the notification that recorded his Merit Points appeared in front of him.
This is a breakdown of the Merit Points that you have earned since the last time that you opened this screen.
18x Scorprats (Lvl 1) earning you 2.3 Merit Points
20x Scorprats (Lvl 2) earning you 3.3 Merit Points
9x Scorprats (Lvl 3) earning you 2.3 Merit Points
1x Scorprat Impaler (Level 6) 2.5 Merit Points
1x Scorprat Impaler (Level 7) 3 Merit Points
For defeating a group of enemies multiple times the size of your Party 35% of the Merit Points you earned in that fight have been added to your total.
Merit Points earned since you last opened the Merit Rewards Screen:
Current Total Merit Points: 65.8
Merit Point Limit: 100
After you have reached this limit all following Merit Points can only be converted to experience.
You can use Merit Points to purchase the following Rewards.
· Experience- 5 Merit Point buys you 10% of the Exp for your next Level Up (Does not add to your Merit Point Limit).
· Skill Points- 10 Merit Points buys you one Skill Point.
· Companion Ability Points- 15 Merit Points buys you one Ability Point.
· Skills- Cost is dependent on the chosen Skill. Select this option to generate list of available Skills.
· Spell Mastery- Cost is dependent on the spell. Select this option to bring up your unmastered spells.
“Holy shit the number of Merit Points that we got dropped like a rock,” Kyle said as he and Fi stared at the screen wide-eyed.
“Y-yeah,” Fi agreed. “I wasn’t expecting it to be quite that bad. It looks like the number of Merit Points you get for killing a monster decreases by 50% for every Level higher you are. Thankfully it also looks like the amount increases by 50% for every Level higher the monsters are as well with a boost of 1 Merit Point for the Impalers. We were just unlucky to mostly run into Scorprats that are weaker than us.”
“Thankfully we had all of those points left over from last time or we wouldn’t be able to afford anything,” Kyle noted.
“Yeah that was a good idea on your part,” Fi admitted. “So, what are we going to spend the points on?”
“For starters I want to get two Ability Points for you,” Kyle replied quickly. “And then maybe we should look at what Skills I can purchase with Merit Points?”
“Are you sure that you want to spend 30 Merit Points on me?’ Fi asked.
“We went over this last time Fi,” Kyle pointed out. “You don’t get that many Ability Points normally so if we want to make you stronger then this is the best way to do it.”
“Okay fine let’s do that,” Fi sighed. Despite her own misgivings about spending so many of their hard-earned Merit Points on her what Kyle was suggesting did make sense so she decided to just go along with it. “Any ideas what I should spend the points on?”
“Can you afford your Battle Form Ability?’ Kyle asked hopefully, A companion’s Battle Form Ability made them much more powerful than they were in their normal form, so it wasn’t surprising that this was an Ability that Kyle really wanted Fi to unlock.
“Nope,” Fi replied as she shook her head sadly. “I need 5 Ability Points to unlock that Ability. Same as my Shared Spells Ability which is a shame because that would decrease the extra MP cost down to 125% instead of the 150% that it is now.”
“That’s definitely something that we need you to do,” Kyle nodded. Shared Spells had already shown how useful it could be multiple times today. “In which case I think we might be better off with you just saving the points for now.”
“Alright,” Fi nodded. The next time that they Levelled Up she would be able to afford her Battle Form Ability so that probably made sense in the long run. “Shall we have a look at the Skills that you can purchase then?”
Unfortunately, it turned out that while there were some Skills that Kyle would quite like to get all of the ones that he wanted cost at least 100 Merit Points so he was forced to spend his remaining Points on Skill Points instead. That was alright though he already had his sights set on a particular Racial Skill after all.
“Come to think of it have any of my Skills Levelled Up?’ Kyle asked once he had purchased 3 Skill Points which meant that he now had only 5.8 Merit Points remaining.
“Hmm, let me check,” Fi nodded. “Yes, your Piercing Weapons and Dual Wielding Skills have both reached Level 5. I’ll bring the notification up now.”
Piercing Weapons- General: Proficiency Level 5-21% to next Proficiency Level
Damage Bonus increased to 5%
Dual Wielding- General: Level 5-4% to next Proficiency Level- Two Bonuses available to purchase.
Decreases Accuracy reduction to 20% for weapons in the right hand and 45% for weapons in the left hand.
“Alright so I have 10 Skill Points now,” Kyle said thoughtfully. He would need 25 Skill Points to unlock the Skill that he wanted but now he was almost halfway to unlocking it. “Anything else I should know?”
“You managed to Master your Minor Soul Syphon Enchantment but other than that you didn’t use a lot of magic today and my Shared Spells Ability doesn’t allow me to increase your spell Mastery,” Fi replied. “I can tell you that you’re over a quarter of the way to Levelling Up again though.”
“So, I can unlock a new spell now, right?” Kyle asked excitedly.
“Right could you unlock the next tier of my Minor Soul Syphon spell please,” Kyle decided and Fi nodded in agreement as she did as he asked before bringing the details of his upgraded spell up so that he could have a look at it.
New Spell Unlocked!
Minor Soul Syphon (II). Enchants a weapon with a spell that channels the soul of a slain monster into a crystal to create a Soulstone. Final blow must be struck with active enchantment. Duration: 5 attacks or 1 minute. Cooldown 3 minutes. Cost: 35 MP. Spell Mastery 0%.
“Nice,” Kyle nodded to himself. This was the next spell that he wanted to unlock the Inscription for. While other spells might increase his power more in the short-term making Inscriptions required a lot of Soul Stones so having a weapon that was already Inscribed with this spell was a good idea.
Since all of the fights had gone on for longer than 30 seconds which was the previous time limit of the spell he had only managed to get a handful of Soul Stones which only served to reinforce to him how important it was to unlock the higher Levels of this spell as fast as possible.
“Well that’s not a bad haul for the day,” Kyle sighed. As expected, this had been a very easy Quest for them but at least now they had an idea of how much more powerful they were. “Shall we head back to town then?”
“Yes, lets do that,” Fi agreed and Kyle got to his feet and started climbing out of the Dungeon.