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A note from InadvisablyCompelled

3/5

It turned out that at the tenth level of a skill, it evolved into something better. [Root] had become [Boring Tendril] and had vastly simplified the process of clearing space. What it had not simplified was where to put all the stone that generated, since I couldn’t clear out more until I had room in my internal capacity, and at this point I had multiple rooms filled floor to ceiling with stone slabs. I needed something better.

Since I couldn’t find any way to increase my internal storage without leveling up, I went with [Alteration]. The stone I was digging through seemed to vary in density, so surely the stone I produced could vary too. Each percent would translate directly into extra storage space, so even a small amount would be useful.

Hardened stone unlocked.

 

  • Temperature Resistance
  • Physical Resistance
  • Magic Resistance

 

That sounded great. Especially since a quick look showed I could convert to it, at a two to one ratio. Not as efficient as alteration, but a lot faster. But I kept going, to see if I could get it better. Like I said, I had a lot of stone. The Hardened stone didn’t compress as easily as regular stone, but it did, just a little bit. A little bit more. Returns diminishing as I focused [Alteration].

Focused enough that it started depleting mana. I didn’t realize that was possible, but if I could feed power into skills...well, maybe I’d been operating on the most basic level until now.

Stonesteel unlocked

 

  • Temperature Immunity
  • Physical Resistance
  • Magic Resistance

 

Five to one from Hardened stone. Ten to one from regular stone, as well as a chunk of mana. Pouring half my tank of mana into Altering the Stonesteel got me nowhere, but Stonesteel was good enough for now. Worlds better than simple stone for my dungeon walls. But that’d also pretty well mark they were unnatural, so I clad them with natural stone as I converted.

I wasn’t sure why I didn’t want to stand out, but [Wisdom] said it’d be a bad idea.

Converting all my walls emptied my reserves and freed up an enormous amount of space. I hadn’t realized I had that much volume already. Without the grey chrystheniums, converting everything to stonesteel wouldn’t be possible, but with, it would simply take time.

In the meantime I’d actually broken into a cave system, deep under the mountain. Not the sort of caves carved by water with stalactites and drippy stone, but just big empty pitch-black gaps in the bedrock. Really big. And easy enough to expand into, so long as I kept to ordinary walls.

Size requirements for level increase met.

Dungeon Level increases by 1.

Skill base levels increase by 1.

The size requirements were really absurd. I’d have to eat away half the mountain to get to a significant level. Although that might be why the spatial magic existed, so I wasn’t forced to consume the planet. At the rate I was going though, I’d be chewing up a small chunk of the mountain range, especially the ore veins I could see embedded deep in, like enormous frozen rivers.

I spent the time it took to grow and hollow out new spaces watching things from Shayma’s perspective. It was just river, a relaxing enough boat trip downstream, occasionally passing something going the other way and nibbling on the excess food I’d supplied and she’d taken. Mostly small fishing boats, but occasionally there was something larger and more mechanical and, so far as I could see, magic-powered. They didn’t have sails, but did have fins that water roiled away from, lending them a silent grace as they sliced through the water.

It was the first I’d seen of what might be called civilization. Oh, trained horses and armor and weapons didn’t come out of nowhere, but everything I could see from my location was wilderness and a touch of river. I didn’t know if there were forges and foundries or factories and assembly-lines. For all the faux-medieval trappings, magic could make up for a number of gaps. I had all the makings of a modern building with plumbing and artificial light all by myself.

The sun cycled down and back up, while Shayma did little more than steer the boat, attend basic needs, and pull supplies from her backpack until a city came into view. Walls, spires, and an array of towers that didn’t quite match any historical precedent. It also had a weird, patchwork character, with some parts of the wall being a sort of rusty brown and other parts being sandy and tan. Once Shayma ditched the boat and hiked up to one of the entrances in the wall, I saw why.

A dungeon was eating the city.

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InadvisablyCompelled

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