What appeared before Jake was less of a list and more comparable to an online shop with pictures of items and everything. What had amazed him, however, was the sheer quality and quantity of goods available. He had expected for a few epic or maybe ancient level items to be there at most. It turns out he had been sorely mistaken.
[Spirehawk Longbow of Endless Embers (Legendary)]
[Blade of Material Rending (Legendary)]
[Spear of Illea (Legendary)]
… and the items continued like that. He was amazed and awed but soon found an issue. All of them were marked with a small red cross, and upon further inspection, found what it meant.
You do not meet the requirements to use this item
To make it all the more aggravating, it didn’t tell him what the requirements were for any of them. Like it was all just a big tease to annoy him. He could buy them, just not use them. However, his annoyance got better as he scrolled downwards where he did find some he could use, even legendary ones.
[Consuming Light (Legendary)]
[Boneblade of Umbra (Legendary)]
[Bow of Woe (Legendary)]
Of course, most of them being ones with ominous names or related to shadows, it appeared. He spent quite a while looking at the items but soon stopped as he noticed something else. In his excitement, he had missed a menu at the top. Putting his attention to it, a drop-down menu opened, and he had apparently picked the first option without even noticing.
Custom (consult Guide for further help)
Jake got a bit giddy as he saw that he could get more than just a new dagger or bow. He had so many options he was frankly overwhelmed. He started slowly looking at some of the things under armor, considering what to do.
He must have spent nearly half an hour as he shook his head and put his attention away from the menu, trying to clear his head. He was overwhelmed with options that he found it paralyzing. He had so many points, and looking at some of the prices, he could get several legendary items if he wished… it was too much.
Instead, he tried to look a bit at the last option: custom.
“Am I right to assume that you are the guide?” he asked the human-like creature still sitting eerily in the chair.
“Correct,” the creature that would henceforth be known as Guide answered.
“What can the custom options give me?”
“Anything as long as you have sufficient points.”
Anything? Jake thought, a bit skeptical. Could he really ask for literally anything? He asked the first thing that came to mind.
“Can I resurrect someone who died during the tutorial?”
“How many points would it require to do so?”
“If you wish for a true resurrection, you do not have enough to resurrect any.”
Jake decided to stop at that. He remembered his chat with the Malefic Viper on some aspects of life and death in the multiverse. Anything less than a true resurrection was something he didn’t want to even think about.
While he could maybe raise them as undead or maybe spirits of some kind, he believed it would lead him down a path he wasn’t comfortable with. Instead, he chose to pursue the second thing on his mind.
“Could you also just… I dunno, make me a god or something? Theoretically,” Jake asked curiously.
“You currently have enough points for 11 race levels, 16 class levels, or 9 profession levels,” it answered. “Note that any levels gained through this method may have adverse effects later on.”
Yeah, fuck that, he thought as he asked something he actually did want if it was possible.
“Can you enhance my bloodline?”
If he was sure about one thing, it was the value of his bloodline. It had been the thing that propelled him to where he was today and one that would surely continue to do so in the future. It had gained him a legendary skill out of nothing, and without it, he would, without a doubt, have died already.
As he thought this, he looked at the Guide. Every other question he had asked, the thing provided an immediate answer, but with this one, it had just… stopped. While it didn’t move much, to begin with, this was the first time he had seen the Guide frozen like this.
“Hello?” he asked a bit tentatively. Had he broken it? A few more seconds ticked by as the Guide answered in a voice more mechanical than ever before.
“Insufficient data to provide a meaningful answer.”
That a negative? he thought, but nevertheless tried again.
“How many points would it require to enhance my bloodline?”
This time the answer came instantly.
“Insufficient data to provide a meaningful answer.”
“I take that as a no?”
That question that got no answer.
Getting the hint, he moved on. With resurrections and bloodline improvements eliminated as options, he went for the next most important thing: knowledge.
“Can I buy information?”
“Yes. Note that the price of said information is dependent on the value of it. Certain things are also off-limits. Any piece of information will also count as a purchase.”
“Don’t waste points on what you can get for free.”
A voice sounded out in his head as he was about to ask about his family’s circumstances - a very familiar voice.
“Villy?” Jake asked out loud after hearing the voice. He felt a weird connection between him and the god as the voice continued.
“Yeah, giving out a divine message here, oh prophet of mine. But cutting the bullshit, you should focus on improving your base power for now. Things that will help you going forward. Skills or items that can be useful for a long time. Skip weapons and armor, or any item with inherently limited power. You are good in that department, and too strong equipment may only end up being a crutch. Skills are a good start…a…. cauldron… wa…. shi…”
Towards the end, the voice turned harder to understand until it fizzled out completely. The first divine message Jake had ever received directly from a god turned out to be a rather casual one offering advice. Advice Jake decided to follow, especially the last part about getting a cauldron, sounded interesting.
He was currently using the unranked mixing bowl from the challenge dungeon for his alchemy. It had done its job so far, but that was about it. Like with nearly all other trade tools, there were many items he could use to improve the effectiveness of his creations.
One such item was a cauldron. Like a mixing bowl, it had a mana pattern and runes inscribed upon it that facilitated alchemy. Those patterns appeared to be basic system-provided ones that all such tools carried. Of course, that isn’t to say those couldn’t be improved upon.
Jake had learned to transform mana into vital energy in the form of health potions and inner energy in the form of stamina potions, but that was about it when it came to what the basic mixing bowl could do. The bowl was also only suitable for liquids.
While he hadn’t learned to make pills yet, a cauldron would be absolutely necessary for that. A cauldron also came with a lid, making it easier to control and keep out external factors and make it easier to control the heat. Overall, they were just better than simple bowls in nearly every way. Except of course being more expensive.
So, the first thing he decided to do was look into the Miscellaneous Items tab and quickly located the window containing alchemy tools. Once more, he was taken aback by the sheer quantity of items on offer. Not just cauldrons, but mixing bowls, catalysts, crystals, herbs, alembics, and just a whole lot of things he had no idea what the hell was even for.
Focusing his attention on the cauldrons, he removed all other options and started going through only those. To his pleasant surprise, he could actually use his Identify on the cauldrons, but only the ones at ancient rating or below. The best ones carrying a legendary rating, and all but one had a big red X covering them. Looking at the one he could use, he quickly discarded that one too. Firstly, due to the massive cost of around 9 billion TP and secondly because it was far too specialized for what he wanted. It was one that was very explicitly made for pills, something he couldn’t even make yet.
Looking over the ancient and epic -rarity ones, he couldn’t help but marvel at how many different alchemy specialties were available. Heck, some were even made for attacking enemies, allowing the Alchemical Flame that all alchemists had to become a weapon. The most disturbing one being a cauldron made for living beings, allowing the alchemist to turn their bodies into mush to be used in pills or potions.
In the end, he was split between two cauldrons, both having different pros and cons.
[Cauldron of Myriad Essences (Epic)] – A cauldron made by infusing a vast array of essences within it, granting it the ability to far easier and more efficiently transform mana affinities. Allows the user to change affinities to elemental affinities the user doesn’t possess himself. The cauldron has very high mana conductivity due to the material and the runes inscribed upon it, but it is somewhat fragile compared to many other types of cauldrons. Enchantments: Mana conductivity (Very High). Mana Transparency (Medium). Durability (Low). Myriad Essences.
Requirement: lvl 50+ in any alchemy-related profession.
Price: 108.560.000 TP
[Altmar Cauldron of Supreme Simplicity (Ancient)] – Sometimes less is more. A cauldron made by the Altmar Empire’s expert crafters; it was created with the express purpose of efficient alchemy. Given to the royal alchemists in training, it often becomes a cauldron for life for even the most talented. The runes inscribed are easy to use and greatly enhance mana efficiency and conductivity while also making the entire working process far more transparent for the user. Enchantments: Mana conductivity (Supreme). Mana Transparency (Supreme). Durability (Extremely High).
Price: 990.000.000 Tutorial Points
The two he was looking at were indeed very different from one another. The first one was far more complex and made for more intricate works but didn’t have the sheer dominance in efficiency and usefulness as the second one.
The Cauldron of Myriad Essences, however, allowed him to do things he couldn’t otherwise. He knew he lacked some mana affinities, of course, ones that would, without a doubt, lock him out of making certain things. This cauldron would allow him to work around that.
The Altmar Cauldron of Supreme Simplicity, on the other hand, was just pure usefulness in a cauldron. It was good in every way and even had the extraordinary benefit of being Soulbound. The transparency was mostly something he liked, making it easier for him to learn as he worked. One of the benefits of a mixing bowl like the one he had was the incredible transparency in everything he made, something a cauldron would obscure in favor of improving the mixing process. This cauldron would allow him to limit that obscuration. Also… poisons tended to quickly whittle down the durability of a cauldron or mixing bowl. He wasn’t even sure how long his current bowl would hold on.
If he had to pick one, he would go with the Altmar one. However… do I need to pick only one?
He could choose a total of 5 things from the shop, so maybe he would still want both. Of course, it all depended on what else he decided to buy. The combined price for both of them was not even a twentieth of his total points, so he had plenty more things to go for.
Next up, he moved over to the Skills: Profession window. To his disappointment, he didn’t see a single skill related to the Malefic Viper within. It didn’t even show the usual skills he could pick. There were only twenty skills or so in total, the best of which was epic rating. A skill that didn’t interest him in the least.
What was there was instead things that appeared utterly unrelated to his profession. Two of them even related to landscaping. Something that would be kind of useful if he wanted to make a garden or something… but it wasn’t really him.
The only fascinating thing was a type of magic circle or formation that could change natural mana’s affinity into the nature-affinity. It was only a rare skill, and Jake was a bit surprised he could even learn it considering he hadn’t picked the nature-affinity skill.
The purpose of the formation was to create an area to better grow herbs, of course. But Jake wasn’t planning on settling down for a few decades and make a lovely garden any time soon. He would rather just have another cauldron or two that would allow him to better use whatever herbs he found in the world.
A bit disappointed, he moved on and tried the Skills: Race window, where he found absolutely nothing. Apparently, humans didn’t have shit when it came to race skills. Somehow it didn’t really disappoint him, though, as he just moved on.
Next, he checked the Consumables part of the store. There he found an utter shitload of items, including potions of all sorts. Luckily for whoever decided to buy them, you could get them in bundles of a dozen, so you wouldn’t waste your limited five options by just getting a few health potions.
In there, he also saw Elixirs but was a bit disappointed by how weak they were. Each only provided +10 to a given stat. However, the price was low, costing only around a million for each one, but you could only buy them individually. Needless to say, Jake didn’t have any interest in those. It would feel like a waste.
Next, he moved to the big one: Skills: Class. He feared to run into a situation similar to the one he had with professions but found himself pleasantly surprised. He had quite a few more options here, and the quality was far better, too, with no lack of both epic and ancient skills. There were even two legendary ones.
The epic skills did have a few interesting ones, but Jake wasn’t sure about any of them. He felt like his basic toolkit for fighting was adequate in many ways already, his main weaknesses being his resistance to mental and soul attacks currently. Of course, he knew that he likely had many other huge glaring flaws, ones he would surely be in for a lot of hurt learning. Such as some good area-of-effect attacks…
This isn’t to say he couldn’t get better at fighting, but he did feel like he needed a better movement skill. Shadow Vault of Umbra was, undoubtedly, strong in many ways, but it also did have a lot of glaring flaws.
Its consumption of energy was rather large, and he couldn’t use it properly in many instances. It didn’t really speed him up that much, and more often than not, he found himself using its phasing functionality more than the movement part of it. He would also like a movement skill that could allow him to travel more comfortably. If his plan of locating his family were to come to fruition, he would likely need to go on quite the hike.
His second wish for a new skill was one to make use of his high perception stat. He was at a whopping 1483 perception with his recent powerups, his second-highest stat being agility at 865. He also had 61 free points to boost it further if he found the need, making it possible for his perception to go to nearly 1600 after the percentage bonuses from his titles and bloodline.
After looking over all the skills, he settled on three to move forward with. The first of which was a movement skill.
[One Step Mile (Ancient)]
And finally, two possible perception skills. Those two also being the two legendary ones.
[All-Seeing Eye of Oras (Legendary)]
[Gaze of the Apex Predator (Legendary)]