General Experience Earned
Health Use: 10
Stamina Use: 45
Mana Use: 142
Skill Experience Earned
Refrigerate: 103 [Rank Up]
Extend Aura: 5
Rain thrashed and jerked to a sitting position as the blue screen barged into his dream and dragged him back to consciousness. Angrily, he raised a hand to swipe it out of the way, but stopped, noticing that there were considerably more notifications listed than he had seen before. Blinking his watering eyes ineffectually, Rain tried to digest the message as his pupils slowly contracted in response to the light. Dragging the dialog to one side, he pulled up his skills menu to check the effect of the rank up.
Refrigerate (2/10) Exp: 3/200
15-17 cold (fcs) damage per second to entities and environment
Sufficient damage causes slow
Range: 2 meters
Cost: 10 mp/s
Extend Aura (1/10) Exp: 5/100
Extend aura range by 1 meter
Multiply aura mana cost by 120%
Purify (1/10) Exp: 31/100
Purify poison, corruption, and contamination
Range: 1 meter
Cost: 10 mp/min
Winter (1/10) Exp: 3/100
Multiply M.Regen by 110% for all entities
Range: 1 meter
Cost: 1 mp/hr
Free Skill Points: 0
Rain sat and thought as he looked through his skills screen, comparing it against the dialog.
So skills get experience when you use them, and on top of that I get experience for using stamina, mana, and health. Good, I can level up both my skills and my stats just by practicing. I don't have to go kill things if I don't want to. Rank 2 on refrigerate... looks like everything doubled, including the range. Experience to the next level is doubled as well. Makes sense I guess. Is it linear, or is it going to be 400 for the next one? I hope the cost isn’t going to double every rank, that would get out of hand pretty quick.
Dismissing all of his menus, Rain sat back and smiled, happy with his choice to invest in mana regeneration. His aura did decent damage, but it gobbled up mana like a pig. Being able to recover quickly was more important to him than boosting the damage by a point or two. The skill rank up had doubled the damage in contrast to what he had seen earlier when he had been experimenting with focus. That had only increased it by a point or two, probably running on some formula.
It was now feasible to take out a slime with his aura alone. He had already done that once when it was still rank 1, but that hadn't really been a viable fighting strategy. Now, with the enhanced range, he was sure that he could run circles around a slime while his aura did the heavy lifting.
Looks like skills gain experience based on mana used, not time used, otherwise winter would be much higher. That means low mana use skills are going to take a long time to level.
Rain concentrated and activated his winter aura, which had been deactivated when he fell asleep. He was at full mana, his natural regen having restored all three of his pools overnight, but he saw no reason to not leave winter on whenever he could. In fact, he was probably going to be in the guild for a little bit anyway, so he might as well use up some mana right away so he wasn't just sitting at the cap. The more mana I use, the more experience I get.
Predicting that activating refrigerate in the bunk room would cause a bit of a kerfuffle, Rain instead used purify, pushing in extra mana to extend the range. The soft white pulses were visible in the dim room, which was not yet fully lit by the rising sun. His activation of the aura caused a few turned heads, but it was nothing like the reaction he had gotten in the inn. It seemed adventurers were used to this kind of thing. One mage-looking fellow even walked over to stand in the aura, taking the opportunity for a free dry-cleaning of his travel-stained orange robe.
Rain kept the aura on as he swung his feet out of bed, slipping them into his boots and buckling them. He stretched, looking at the circular expanse of dirt-free floorboards that was slowly forming around his bunk. Smiling, he stood, running his tongue over his teeth, marveling at how they felt clean and smooth. Purify apparently worked on tartar. Well, I guess I can take ‘find a toothbrush’ off the list.
Rain knelt down and retrieved his bag and spear from under the bed. The bag didn't have a handle or a strap, unfortunately, so he had to carry it in one hand and the spear in the other. Straightening, Rain checked his mana and deactivated purify. The mage in the now pristine orange robe gave him a nod of thanks and wandered out of the room.
Rain followed him out, continuing to the quest hall to check the board. There was a bit of a line, so Rain had a little time to plan out what he wanted to do with his day. Belatedly, he forgot that he should be using winter, so he activated it again, extending the range. The added cost was trivial given the low base mana consumption. Pulling up his status screen, he quickly verified that it was still giving him back more mana than the skill cost him.
The mage was in front of him in line for the board, and he looked back at Rain as he activated the skill.
Nobody else in the hall seemed to notice that he was using an aura. The mage, who was within the range of the aura, gave him a thumbs up, then looked back towards the board.
My pleasure. Ok, priorities.
Don't die: I’m still alive, so doing ok on this one for now.
Food: I have enough bricks to build a very small pyramid. Enough to last a day.
Money: Haha, nope.
Rain silently added a fourth item to the list: learn to talk. He then returned to thinking about how to address the third. The board was the first step of his plan. He would find a quest, get Gus to explain it, go do it, then turn it in for profit.
Just need to get two tel by tonight so I can rent a bunk. Three if I want to pay back the bartender, whose name I really should learn.
Seeing that there was now enough space to reach the board, Rain pushed forward. He was careful not to stick anyone with his spear, though he doubted the wooden point could do anyone any real damage. Reaching the board, he scanned over the posted quests. Most of it went over his head, but he did recognize the sword symbol on the top of one bill near the middle of the board. Taking it down, he saw a drawing of a crab, along with a number which he was pretty sure wasn't 5. Shrugging, Rain took the quest posting over to Gus, who was thankfully back at his counter.
Gus did a double take as Rain approached, taking in his new outfit. He tilted his head and nodded as if to say ‘not bad’, taking the quest paper from Rain. As he looked at it, he frowned, then shook his head.
“What <something> <something> you?” Gus asked him, sighing. He had a sort of awkward expression on his face and he was keeping his voice down for some reason.
“What?” Rain asked.
Gus sighed again, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
“Slime <something>,” Gus said, holding up a single finger.
“Gus <something>,” he continued, holding up 8 fingers, clearly looking uncomfortable.
“Rain <something>?...” he asked. Level? Does he mean level? Slimes are level 1, so sure, he probably wants to know my level.
Rain held up three fingers, Gus nodded, then pointed at the crab. “Level <something>,” he said, holding up 10 fingers, pausing, then two more, lowering the others. Crab monsters are level 12, got it. No fighting giant enemy crabs for me.
Gus beckoned to him, taking the quest back to the board and pinning it back in the middle. He gestured towards the very bottom of the board, saying “yes,” then the middle, “no,” then the top “very no.” Hesitantly, Rain reached out and took the very lowest quest on the board. Gus took it from him, glanced at it, and shook his head. “Five,” he said, holding up five fingers.
“Shit. No quest?” Rain said.
Gus shrugged and headed back to his counter, seeing that he had an irritated-looking woman waiting in line and glaring at him. “Sorry,” he said over his shoulder to Rain.
Shit fuck! I'm too low level for all of these. Maybe I could join a party? Rain looked around the room, but there didn't seem to be anyone looking for more members, and he didn't have the words to ask. Everyone in here looks really strong. I would just slow them down, probably why Hegar and the others left me here. I don’t really blame them. I suppose I should be a little thankful to them for bringing a strange man they found in the woods with them to the city in the first place, even if they did tie me up the moment they met me.
Rain walked over to one of the benches and sat down to think. Ok, I need to level and I need tel. I know one place that I can get both of those things, even if I really don’t want to go back down there. Ok slimes, watch out, you won't get the drop on me this time.
Rain smirked at his own terrible pun, trying to distract himself from the thought of how he had almost died when the slime had dropped down on top of him. He was confident that with his powered up aura he would be fine as long as he kept his mana above a quarter. Half, to be safe. Seeing that the angry woman had left, he stood and walked over to Gus and informed him of his plans. “I go under. Kill slime.”
At Rain's proclamation, Gus raised an eyebrow and then shrugged. Good, he isn't going to stop me, guess it is ok to go down there without a quest. Now let's see if I can be a bit smarter about this.
Rain pointed at a barrel of unlit torches by the door, then himself.
“Five copper,” Gus said.
“Gus,” Rain replied, giving him a level look. “Ameliah,” he added, reminding the man of his arrangement with her.
Gus sighed, rubbing at the bridge of his nose again.
“Ok, Ok,” Gus said, Rain tentatively identifying the word as Gus waved him over to the barrel. Rain smiled, walking over to grab a torch. Considering his bag for a moment, he managed to work his spear through the linen, turning his shoddy spear into a makeshift bindle. Sturdy boots on his feet, bindle in one hand, torch in the other, Rain set off to kill some shit.
Now I feel like a proper murder hobo. He laughed to himself, getting some odd looks as he exited the guild.
Coming to the entrance of the sewers, Rain hesitated briefly, then forced himself to continue. He knew that if he didn't face his fear now he might never venture into the dark again. He had a torch, he would look up, he would be fine. These were the thoughts he repeated to himself as he descended the stairs. Even if another one lands on me, I’ll just use refrigerate and keep my mouth shut instead of trying to breathe the disgusting slime monster.
Reaching the bottom, Rain silently gave thanks to his nice, new boots. He didn't want to light the torch yet, so he waited a few minutes for his eyes to adjust to the dim light of the sewer. While he waited, he activated his purification aura to clean up the stain at the bottom of the stairs. Wouldn't want someone to slip. He killed the aura after a few minutes, switching back to winter.
He then set off down the tunnel, upstream this time to cover new ground. He held his torch in front of him like a club, his spear with the bag hanging from it over his shoulder.
Plan A: find slime, close to three meters, extend refrigerate until dead, purify until clean, rest, rinse, lather, repeat.
Rain proceeded down the tunnel, before long hearing the unmistakable sound of a slime ahead. He still hadn't lit his torch, the sconces on the wall giving off enough light for the moment. Having the time, he set his torch down, converted his bindle back into a spear, and warily approached the noise while making sure to look in every direction, including up. Catching sight of the slime, he let it come to him and once he judged it to be in range, quickly switched to refrigerate and turned it on at full blast.
A wave of frost shot out from Rain's feet along the damp stone, quickly closing the distance to the slime, which immediately started to freeze. Rain watched his mana drop, but it wasn't falling anywhere near as fast as the slime's health. After only a few seconds, the slime's health dropped to zero and Rain dropped his aura. The slime was slowly sliding apart into a slushy pile of greenish ick. Shards of frozen sludge had torn holes through the slime’s membrane and were dropping to the ground as slime lost cohesion.
You have defeated [Slime], Level 1
25 Experience Earned
Now that is more like it! Rain celebrated at his victory, then switched on purification. Checking his mana, he estimated that it had taken around four seconds to kill the slime. He decided he would leave purification on for a few minutes to clean up the worst of the mess, then go look and see if it had dropped a tel. This method would take about 50 mana per slime, meaning he could do it safely twice before stopping to wait for his mana to refill. He was gaining just over 20 mana an hour with winter active, so every three hours or so he would get one more attempt.
Rain's smile grew even wider as he glimpsed the shine of a tel below the sludge as it slowly dissolved under the onslaught of purification.
And so, Rain hunted slimes. He kept at it for hours, killing every last slime he found without getting a single drop of goo on his new clothes. There seemed to be more slimes in the direction he had chosen this time around. In total, he had found a large group of four slimes, one pair, and two more that were on their own like the first. He was a bit concerned when he saw the large group, but his aura didn't care about the numbers and took down all four just as quickly as it had the first slime he had encountered.
Of the nine slimes, only six had dropped a tel. Still, that was way better than he had been expecting and Rain was smiling as he strolled back through the sewer. He hadn't even needed the torch. He'd leveled up as well, immediately dumping his points into clarity to further boost his regeneration. He hadn't decided what to do with his skill point yet, mulling over his options. He kept his menus closed as he walked, however, occasionally glancing up to make sure that nothing was lurking on the arched stone ceiling of the tunnel.
More mana, more experience!
As mottoes went, Rain thought it could use some work, but he was still feeling pretty good as he climbed the stairs back up to the city. When he reached street level, he saw that it was only mid-afternoon. He wandered through the city, exploring, buying some meat on a stick from a vendor and a proper backpack to replace his hobo bindle. This and a few other things set him back only 10 copper, leaving him with 5 tel and 4 copper in his nice new money pouch.
He was whistling as he returned to the guild, feeling happier than he had since before he had woken up in the forest, perhaps even the happiest he had felt since before his mother had died two years ago. He walked into the quest hall, as he had decided to dub the room, then proceeded over to the board. As before, there were a few adventurers and townsfolk about. Looking at the board, he saw that it was fairly picked over, with only a few quests remaining. He noticed one with a picture of a slime, but it was posted near the middle of the board, not the bottom, so he ignored it. The quest with the crabs was gone.
Looking around, he saw the barrel of torches and debated returning the one he had took, but decided to keep it. His pack had a loop for it, and he might need it if he decided to hunt slimes again tomorrow. Ameliah gave Gus quite a few tel to look after me, so I don't feel bad about keeping it. The barman, though, him I should pay back.
Walking into the tavern, Rain saw the barman from yesterday talking to a group of adventurers over in a corner. There was a woman in the standard guild blue behind the bar serving drinks, and another man waiting tables. Rain watched as he walked behind the bar and into the kitchen before returning with plates piled high with some roast meat.
Rain wandered over to the bar, deciding to get a mug of water while he waited for the bearded barman to finish his conversation. Reaching the barrel, he absently activated purify as he had mana to spare. He watched the cleansing light wash over the rim and drift down through the water as he filled his mug with the ladle. How does this skill define what gets removed and what doesn't? He wondered deactivating the skill. Nobody seemed to have noticed his aura use, or if they did, they didn't care. There was a man over in the corner juggling fire and laughing with his friends, so casual skill use in the guild seemed to be ok.
Rain sat at the bar and surveyed the room. He saw that the barman had finished his conversation and was headed his way. The man was dressed in the blue of the guild, but he also had a silver plate hanging around his neck. That wasn’t something he had seen on any of the other guild employees, though not all adventurers wore their plates in the open. His large black beard was well trimmed and compensated well for the lack of hair on his scalp.
Rain hopped up off his stool and waved at the man. “Thank you,” he said, offering the man a single tel. The man took it and smiled, then punched Rain in the shoulder. Ow, that actually did some damage. My health dropped a little bit. Oh well, I'm sure he didn't mean it as an attack. Rubbing his shoulder, Rain smiled back at the man.
“Rain,” he said, pointing at himself.
“Khurt,” the man named himself, guiding Rain back to the bar and flagging down the server, who brought two mugs of beer over to them. Rain took a polite sip at his, trying to decide if he liked the taste. It was deep and complex, the liquid a dark black color in the mug. Rain had never been much of a drinker, mostly just in social situations, but he could appreciate that this was good beer. He thanked Khurt again, pointing at the beer and giving him a thumbs up. Khurt smiled and clunked his mug against Rain’s before taking a long drink from it.
Mentally, Rain upgraded Khurt from barman to tavern keeper. He just ticked off too many of the check-boxes to be anything else. Khurt asked him a question, and it took a fair amount of pantomime to figure out what he meant, Rain learning several new words in the process. He had asked what quest Rain had done to earn the money. Rain excruciatingly explained that it hadn't been a quest and that he had gone into the sewers to hunt slimes. He even showed him the remaining 4 tel sitting in his vial. He found that he liked Khurt, who was quite patient with his caveman dialect.
He even managed to learn the numbers 1 through 10 from the man. Rain had grown tired of playing the finger game over the course of explaining the battles with the slimes, so once he had finished the tale he had used some basic miming to ask Khurt for a pencil and piece of paper. He then went through the numbers, holding up fingers and asking Khurt for the word. He wrote down the Arabic numerals and filled in the phonetic pronunciation next to them. Khurt helpfully added the symbol for each number next to the familiar Arabic one. Khurt sat with him for a while, Rain asking for words and filling the rest of the paper with phonetic translations.
Rain was starting to feel a bit like he was being a bother after about a half hour, though Khurt was showing nothing but patience. Nonetheless, Rain decided to call it there, standing up and thanking Khurt for his help. Khurt punched him again (dude, ow) and even dug out a few more sheets of paper for him from behind the bar before wandering off into the kitchen.
Rain retreated to a table and pored over his notes, studying the words and trying to keep them all in his head. He was met with mixed success. Having focused on the numbers, he was feeling like he was starting to get a decent handle on them, but it still took him a while to recall the exact one he wanted. He kept at it until his eyes started to feel gritty and people were filtering out of the tavern. Getting up, he stretched, waved to Khurt, and made his way out of the tavern and into the training room. It was deserted, so Rain dropped his spear and pack by the door and activated his aura at full blast.
He was using purification, deciding that if he was just dumping his mana to train he might as well be useful at the same time. He walked through the room until he was completely out of mana and all the dust and dirt had been scoured from the stone floor and halfway up the walls. He had started with practically a full bar, having recovered quite a bit since his adventure in the sewers. He took the opportunity to investigate the mechanics of the aura. It took care of dirt, dust, and ash, but it didn't do anything for the deep charring in one of the dummies or the gashes in another. It wasn't a cure-all; it did pretty much what he could have with a mop and bucket of soapy water, just much faster. From the description, he felt that it would also help with being poisoned, but he wasn't keen to test that. He did notice that the aura wouldn't pass through the walls. Instead, it spilled out through the door and created a small clean semi-circle in the hallway. It appeared that the aura behaved like a liquid, or maybe a gas, expanding in all directions until it reached its maximum range or came into contact with something.
Rain wanted to test his other two auras to see if they acted the same way, but he didn’t have the mana for refrigerate and winter didn't have a visible effect to indicate where it stopped. He activated winter anyway, the soothing feeling of the aura helping with his pounding head. He had determined that he started to get a headache whenever he dropped below ten mana or so, worsening as he approached zero.
Picking up his pack and spear, Rain went to go find Khurt so he could pay the fee to use the bunk room. He was stopped by an older woman in guild blue, the same one who had taken care of them on his first day in the guild. She was walking down the hall, extinguishing lamps and looking in rooms before closing the doors.
“Two tel <something> bed, <something> outside,” she said.
Fishing out 2 tel, he handed them to the woman, then made his way to the bunk-room, feeling tired, but happy at his progress. He had started the day flat broke, but now he had 2 tel and 4 copper in his pocket, a pack holding his old clothes, language notes, and a single remaining nutritional brick. Rain was smiling as he drifted off to sleep.