"And you're sure you don't want to change your Class?" Plank narrowed her eyes at Kira, who laid on an exam table with a flavored lollipop in her mouth. The Healer brought along furniture and supplies from her office for a home visit, turning Kira's dorm room into a makeshift office. She forbade Brigit from entering, just in case the Human had anything to confess about her treatment under the Drakke's care, and spent much of the examination prying answers from the Human girl between snack-based bribes.
Kira shook her head, removing the lollipop from her mouth to answer. She felt like she spent the entire day talking ever since getting out of the Dungeon, first to Brigit and Ribbon about her Tragic Backstory and amazing adopted family, then to a fluffy little doctor dog lady in a lab coat. At least there was a nice lunch between the two occurrences, but Kira couldn't help feeling like she deserved a long nap after so much socializing. "I like Geomancer. Why would a doctor ask that?"
"I'm a Healer, not a Doctor. I use primarily magic for diagnosis and treatment rather than natural medicines and techniques. But like Doctors, part of my job is preventing future harm!" Plank sighed as she took a seat on the only empty chair in the room, one she brought from her office, kicking a lever to have the seat lift itself and her small, round body more than a foot higher. "Us medical professionals often give people advice on what kind of Class suits them best, in order to help them survive and perform better in Dungeons, Gates, Shards, or whatever else they're charging in to that might risk their life and the lives of others. As such, I've seen and spoken to low-level Geomancers before.
"You're Human, so you have slow EXP gain to begin with which balances out your astronomical natural stat growth. On top of that, Geomancer is a specialist Class, which have notoriously slow progression. You'll only unlock a spell or skill every 10 levels as a specialist, instead of every 5 like non-specialist Classes. Specifically, Geomancers get one offense spell at first level as is standard for every caster except Acolytes, but then have to wait until the next Rank before they get another one! Your spells and skills require a lot more use before mastery than others, though to be fair that's the case with all specialist types. Geomancers are sturdier than pure casters as a combat mage Class, but they're still weaker than pure fighter types. They have wonderful high level spells, and an assortment of crowd control options with spells like 【 Vine Frenzy 】, 【 Quicksand 】, and 【 Wild Growth 】, but...
"This may be a little harsh to hear, but why would a Party or Team bring someone who would be comparatively useless for so long, with no promise of payout? Each Geomancer level takes many times longer than the last to attain, for relatively little pay-off early on. At low levels they barely have enough offense magic to count as a caster, and aren't physically strong enough to be a fighter or vanguard. Why waste time and resources raising someone who'll only maybe become useful several Ranks later, when they could invest that time and those resources into someone that could show immediate results?
"At least, that's what most people are thinking, and it's why most companies have Geomancers Blacklisted. Specialists aren't very common overall, unless they come from wealth who can afford to buy spell books and power leveling or get in to a good company via nepotism. But even that's ridiculous, because it takes three times as long to learn or master abilities outside of your Class specialties! Achieving mastery is when spells become their most powerful and useful, if it takes so long to master anything, you're at a huge disadvantage overall! You're a Human, which balances out some downsides of being a Geomancer, but the Archmage already told me we're keeping that a secret so you can't use that information to your advantage!"
Kira frowned, crunching down on her lollipop. She organized her thoughts and words for a few moments before pulling the candy from her mouth to make sure she spoke clearly. "Have you ever seen a high level Geomancer?"
Plank hesitated, then sighed. "I have. Once. For a healing."
Kira nodded. If a high level Geomancer just wandered in once asking for a healing, odds were they still existed all around the world! It wasn't very likely the only one to ever exist just so happened to casually visit such a little office. "And low level ones?"
"Yes, though most of those changed their Class almost immediately!"
"Only most? I'm not the only one deciding Geomancers are good, then."
"I suppose..." Plank kicked the lever again, dropping her seat back down so she could pace on the floor while gesturing with more and more force to emphasize her points. "Yes, I'm sure they exist out there. Oddballs are everywhere! Maybe the high level one was some rich kid who decided they like rock magic... But it's a person's responsibility not to put their own Team or Party at risk! By joining one as a Geomancer, you're acknowledging you're taking a spot that could belong to someone with a more suitable Class, and most companies or established groups won't abide that kind of selfish stubbornness. It's not as important now when you're still a child, but you're also of the age where you have to start considering your options in the future!"
Kira cringed visibly at the last sentence, flashes of unpleasant memories flickering across her mind. Counselors at school trying to force her into a future career path despite being fully aware they were speaking to a 14 year old, the disappointed frowns of her teachers as she explained she had no idea what college she even wanted to aim for and had no career-based dreams of her own... "Oh..."
Completely oblivious to the Human's distress, Plank continued her long rant, gesturing with even more vigor than before. "You'll be unable to contribute meaningfully compared to more efficient Classes, which means in a Party you're dead weight and in a Team you won't be getting much EXP as it's distributed on participation as measured by the System! Which would throttle your growth even further! And if you're not contributing... I don't want to scare you, Miss Hawthorne, but I've seen many cases of... Of... People left behind because they couldn't catch up to fleeing members...
"And companies taking advantage of slow levelers who can't maintain quotas... It's horrible! The Arena might take you if you don't mind fighting, but that won't guarantee you'll do well or even survive the experience so I never recommend it as a career path no matter how popular it is with the younger crowd... If you want a civilian job, they consider your Class bonuses and everything before hiring you so-"
"How do you know about Geomancer abilities?"
"Huh?" Plank paused in the middle of her gesticulating rant, squinting at the sudden change of topic.
Kira smiled apologetically. Something Plank said only just rang in her thoughts with its implications, she was so busy watching the rant that she forgot to actually analyze what the doctor - Healer - was saying. "I thought we couldn't talk about our locked Skill Trees..."
"Oh, that's only for people who aren't Attuned. Only Attuned folks can talk about the Ability Trees without being censored. Priests say it's something about the gods helping protect children and keep them from being forcefully converted to certain Classes? I don't know for sure though. It'd be silly if we couldn't ever talk about our Classes though, right?"
"Oh." Kira nodded, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling as she crunched down to the lollipop stick. True, she'd only tried it with Gramps, and that was long before she was Attuned. After accepting it as fact, she hadn't tried talking with Brigit or even Ailsa about skills or spells or anything. She turned her head to smile at the fat little Kobold woman ranting about companies only hiring specific Classes on contract due to profit margins. "Miss Plank... I don't know what I wanna do when I grow up...
"But I know I like being a Geomancer. So... I'll keep doing that. Thanks for worrying about me. I'll be okay, though."
Plank searched the girl's face for any sign of doubt or remorse, then sighed yet again, her shoulders slumping. "Alright then. Just call me any time you need a consultation, okay?"
The Kobold's tail hung low as she gathered her possessions into her inventory then escorted the Human back into the common room where Brigit sat reading a brightly colored magazine. When the Drakke noticed Kira approaching, she hurriedly stuffed the magazine back onto a nearby book rack and stood in a hurry, as though ashamed to be caught reading...
Kira sidled over to grab the magazine behind Brigit as the latter's attention was focused on the Kobold Healer, and grinned to herself as she saw the pretty model sporting an elaborate dress on the cover. 'A fashion magazine? That explains the outfits she picked out for me when we first got here. She's so practical with her own clothes though...'
"You're in luck, Miss Cinderscale." Plank spoke with a bit of a sulky huff to her voice, leaning her entire body back to glare up at the much taller Drakke. "She's recovering nicely and won't need any vitamin supplements or further care. I've already administered several vaccinations, she won't need another round for six months. I would still appreciate if you scheduled regular check-ups every month or so for the next year, just to make sure there's no lingering complications. I'd be happy to make home visits, considering the situation."
"Complications?" Kira paused in the middle of flipping through the magazine in an attempt to find the page Brigit left off.
"Ah, yes, you didn't have the translation active when we met last time..." Plank nodded to herself, fixing her glare on Kira. "You were very nearly malnourished, like you'd been eating a handful of the same vegetables for every meal over a long period of time. Luckily you're recovering well, it's unlikely you'll encounter future problems so long as you maintain a proper diet from here on out. Are you a picky eater?"
Something about her stern tone made Kira slump her shoulders and glance away with a sulky expression. "No..."
"Good. If there's food you can't eat, make up for it with other types of food that you can. Don't just eat fruits or veggies, you need meat too. Take care of yourself, and I hope to see you back in a month."
"No." Kira sulked, hiding behind Ribbon after having run to the Kobold's dorm for sanctuary.
Brigit frowned, placing her hands on her hips. "Kira..."
"Too much!" Kira glanced toward the couch behind her, and Brigit could almost see gears turning in the Human's head as she calculated whether or not she'd fit in the gap underneath.
After an entire day of talking, the girl had had enough. Once Plank left, Brigit reminded her of another appointment to discuss translations with Sir Karl, but the thought of talking more made the color drain right out of Kira's entire body.
"You know... You can keep this appointment through the System, right? Just messages and pictures! Typing is easier than talking, right?"
Despite Brigit's sound argument, Kira clamped her lips together and shook her head. She was still pale, her shoulders shaking as she struggled to hide behind Ribbon's much smaller figure.
Both Ribbon and Brigit received a parting message from Ailsa through the Chat, one that floated to the forefront in both their minds as they witnessed her reaction to a simple meeting:
|Ailsa||Think of and treat her like a kid for now. Don't coddle her too much, but her mental state is delicate so keep it in mind if she starts acting childish. When in doubt, send me a message for advice!|
"Um... I think... I think maybe it's overstimulation? Maybe too much stuff happened today? It was kind of a lot even for me!" Ribbon interjected, glancing over her shoulder to see Kira furiously nodding in agreement.
Sighing, the Drakke reluctantly opened her Chat window and, after a moment of finger-hovering hesitation, tapped on Karl's name. "Alright, I'll move the meeting to tomorrow evening. That way you'll have lessons with us in the morning, then the afternoon to yourself. Okay?"
Sensing a fair compromise, Kira nodded quickly and relaxed her tensed muscles while Brigit quickly typed a message.
|Brigit||Sorry to disturb you, Sir Karl. May we delay the appointment until tomorrow? Kira met with the Healer today after returning from the Dungeon, and she's exhausted. There were vaccinations involved, as I understand it.|
|Karl||Of course. I'll be sure to bring along light translation materials, nothing heavy or complex.|
|Brigit||Thank you, Sir.|
"There, it's done."
Kira groaned in relief, flopping face-first onto the couch. Her entire body was completely limp and sprawled out, as though she suddenly found a deep spiritual connection to a jellyfish. Ribbon and Brigit exchanged glances, before the former draped a blanket over Kira's unmoving form. "You can... Spend the night here? I, I mean... If you want..."
"You at least have to start reading the notes I took while you were training. You missed seven whole days of classes, and we're already behind! But you don't have to rush. Just start looking at them for tonight, and I'll order dinner. Deal?"
Pulling out her now-favorite slime plush, Kira buried her face in its soft squishiness and nodded again.
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- Eldritch Shenanigan
I'm an author as a hobby and write to have fun, so I hope my readers have fun too. I also have a webcomic, and I like to make metal jewelry in my spare time when I can afford the materials!
I'm a sickly person who is often stuck in bed for days at a time, so please be understanding of my sporadic update schedule. I'll do my best!