He flew through the air like an elegant bird. He soared as no human had ever done before. By which he meant, failing miserably and falling a hundred meters, all while flailing his wings uselessly before smashing headfirst into the ground.
Only a quarter of an hour earlier, he experienced the wonders of having wings for the first time. Unfortunately, unlike most other skills, this one didn’t come with as much innate knowledge as one would hope, which is to say, nothing on how the heck to fly at all.
When he got the skill, he instantly felt the effect of his increased agility. Every movement became a bit faster, his reactions a bit sharper. Summoning the wings came just after, another easy process. That part of the skill it did tell him how to do.
The wings were entirely black, with small, almost invisible, dark-green veins running along the fleshy part of them. They were a bit like those of a bat, or well, a dragon. He had seen those wings before on the weird copy of himself that he faced during the Trial of Myriad Poisons.
It did raise a few questions if he was walking the same path as that lunatic version of himself, but he didn’t feel like he was. The mere fact that he could think of that version as a lunatic was perhaps proof enough he wasn’t.
Feeling the wings was easy. It felt like growing two extra limbs, which in itself was quite challenging. Jake felt like he could make motions no other limb could, and it took him a few minutes to learn how to at least try and flap them a bit.
Which is the moment he decided, in his incredible moment of arrogance, to use a full-powered Badger Jump and take to the skies. Believing the ability of flight would come to him like a bird pushed out of the nest by its mother. Completely forgetting that those birds often just fell to the ground the first many times.
So with that, he now found himself lying on the ground, his two wings out to his sides - undamaged by the fall. He honestly wasn’t sure what the hell it meant for them to be phantasmal, though. They appeared very much physical to his eyes.
The only difference was that they didn’t break his clothes. They sprung out of his back, completely ignoring the fact that his armor was in the way. Quite handy and convenient, actually. On that note, his armor had been repaired after his encounter with the Indigo Mushroom by now.
Getting up once more, he wasn’t at all deterred by his initial failure. As a certain man once said, it isn’t about how hard you fall when you fail at flying, but how fast you get up to repeat that failure. Something like that anyway.
Another jump later, and he fell to the ground slightly slower this time. Even gliding a bit towards the end. Progress.
By now, he had learned that his wings didn’t actually consume as much stamina as he expected. Far from it, in fact. Summoning them in the first place did consume a lot of mana, but once summoned, keeping them up was practically free.
It was a bit like his scales, actually, but far less draining.
And speaking of scales, the wings were naturally covered in them. Jake was sure that it borrowed directly from the skill itself and that the scales had the exact same properties. This made sense and made him suspect that Scales was another pre-requisite for getting the wings to begin with.
The next few hours were spent jumping up and trying not to fall too fast. After an hour, Jake managed to even get in a few solid flaps for a bit of uplift before falling down once more. This only fueled his enthusiasm to keep practicing.
In less than a day, he went from being a chick right out of the nest to what he would describe as ‘adequate.’ Which is to say he could kind of fly at that time.
Standing on the ground, he didn’t jump this time but instead flapped his wings. With a single movement, he shot into the air, dust kicking up all around him. He reached a few hundred meters into the air with a few more moves of his wings before he began flying horizontally.
It was a bit wobbly at first, but he managed to get in a good groove soon after. He quickly learned that flapping his wings repeatedly only made it harder for himself. It was instead about finding the balance between gliding and flapping.
The speed was quite fast when he tried. Faster than sprinting on the ground, at least. If compared to One Step Mile, however, there was no comparison. Maybe only in extremely harsh terrain would it be faster flying over it but in the end, being able to literally step through space itself was just too fast.
Flying towards the ground, he gracefully folded his wings while still a few meters above ground and fell the rest of the way. Yeah, he hadn’t quite figured out the landing part yet.
His stamina was also getting relatively low at this point. It hadn’t been topped up when he began, and he had been flying around constantly since the day before. This was even while drinking a potion here and there during his practice session.
Sitting down in meditation, he focused on the feelings of the wings on his back. He was glad that they didn’t disappear even while meditating. He couldn’t move them, but he could still feel them. Feel the energy within them.
It didn’t come as a surprise that his inner energy ran through the wings. Like they were true limbs, he could also feel that he would lose health and not mana should he be hit on the wings. However, it was a weird phenomenon that he could summon wings with mana, which could directly hurt his health.
He still had a ways to go before he would be able to soar through the sky like a human-shaped eagle, but he had hope. It was a childish dream for most humans to fly like birds in the sky, and Jake was no different.
Even with his limited ability to fly, he still felt a unique sense of freedom. Like an entirely new dimension of possibilities was opened up to him. He was now no longer bound by the ground.
Taking his attention off the wings, he decided to check his status to see the growth it had gone through.
Name: Jake Thayne
Race: [Human (E) – lvl 76]
Class: [Ambitious Hunter – lvl 83]
Profession: [Prodigious Alchemist of the Malefic Viper – lvl 70]
Health Points (HP): 10541/10710
Mana Points (MP): 8245/12150
Free points: 0
Titles: [Forerunner of the New World], [Bloodline Patriarch], [Holder of a Primordial’s True Blessing], [Dungeoneer V], [Dungeon Pioneer V], [Legendary Prodigy], [Prodigious Slayer of the Mighty], [Kingslayer], [Nobility: Earl], [Progenitor of the 93rd Universe]
Class Skills: [Basic One-Handed Weapons (Inferior)], [Advanced Stealth (Common)], [Advanced Archery (Common)], [Basic Twin Fang Style (Uncommon)], [Basic Shadow Vault of Umbra (Uncommon)], [Splitting Arrow (Uncommon)], [Hunter’s Tracking (Uncommon)], [Big Game Hunter (Rare)], [Infused Powershot (Rare)], [Mark of the Ambitious Hunter (Rare)], [Descending Dark Fang (Rare)], [Limit Break (Rare)], [One Step Mile (Ancient)], [Moment of the Primal Hunter (Legendary)], [Gaze of the Apex Hunter (Legendary)]
Profession Skills: [Herbology (Common)], [Brew Potion (Common)], [Concoct Poison (Common)], [Alchemist’s Purification (Common)], [Alchemical Flame (Common)], [Toxicology (Uncommon)], [Cultivate Toxin (Uncommon)], [Malefic Viper’s Poison (Rare)], [Sense of the Malefic Viper (Epic)], [Touch of the Malefic Viper (Epic)], [Scales of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Palate of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Blood of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Sagacity of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Wings of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)]
Blessing: [True Blessing of the Malefic Viper (Blessing - True)]
Race Skills:[Endless Tongues of the Myriad Races (Unique)], [Identify (Common)], [Thoughtful Meditation (Uncommon)], [Shroud of the Primordial (Divine)]
Bloodline:[Bloodline of the Primal Hunter (Bloodline Ability - Unique)]
It was indeed starting to get a bit long. Jake also couldn’t help but find the disparity between his class and profession-skills a bit comical. He was a hunter, even had a bloodline to confirm it, and yet his profession was clearly miles upon miles ahead.
Without his bloodline and the tutorial rewards, the best class skill he had would still only be rare. He also thought that his archery, still being only Advanced Archery, stuck out like a sore thumb. He had felt it being close to an upgrade even before fighting the Great White Stag, and yet he had failed to get it upgraded even now.
Perhaps it was time for him to focus a bit on his class once more. But… he knew he had at least two potent ancient-rarity skills waiting for him at both 80 and 90 in his profession. While his class skills so far, while useful, had often been rather hit or miss.
He was still a bit sour about how he hadn’t gotten anything good at 80. Even after he had miraculously just killed the monster that was the King of the Forest, he hadn’t been rewarded with a great skill. Instead, he had to take one offered prior and settled on Hunter’s Tracking. A skill he hadn’t even used a single time yet.
I had a reason to pick it, though, he thought as he once more considered if he really shouldn't be out looking for his family. The Viper had said they were fine and that trying to track them down was a fool’s errand. One of the downsides of Meditation was that he had nothing but his own mind to occupy himself while using it…
Luckily, he had his sphere, which allowed him not to be entirely confined within himself. He spread out his mana and began just practicing manipulating that to take his mind off things. He needed to keep working. Keep moving forward.
“Another one coming!” Hank yelled as he finally managed to chop the tree down. Mark stood below, ready to carry it back. Not that Hank couldn’t do it alone with his high strength, a tree was just far too unwieldy.
They had only been working for a few days now, and they were far ahead of schedule.
It did help quite a lot that the masked guy had dug out the basement before they even began. Its shape was a bit weird, though, but based on the look Miranda gave him, he shouldn’t question it. Besides, having an extra pillar of support to lean the wood against while building made his job easier.
During the tutorial, he had managed to evolve his profession to Woodland Builder. It allowed him to craft things out of wood far more easily. While one may question why he didn’t aim for one related to metal or even just stone or clay, the reason was simple. He believed wood had the most potential.
Strong wood was far easier to find than strong rock or clay. As living things, they naturally absorbed mana, making them far more durable than pre-system trees. This made them naturally inclined to be infused with additional mana, thus easing the process of shaping and enchanting the materials.
Even the wood he was chopping down for the lodge was hard for him to cut into. This was even with a skill that made logging easier from his profession, and a skill related to his class, making his axe-attacks stronger.
He had to admit that the manual labor he was doing now was far more fulfilling than running for your life from beasts. It gave him a sliver of normalcy, despite how absurd it still was to hoist an entire tree over his shoulder.
He also had his reservation about the whole ‘city’ thing. That is until he actually got a system-prompt asking him if he wanted to become a citizen of [unnamed]-city. Yes, it just called it unnamed because apparently the masked guy and Miranda hadn’t talked about a name yet.
The whole concept of this being a city was just silly to him. There was not a single building, and it was clearly still just a wild forest. The only difference was the lack of monsters in the area.
Miranda had told him of her profession-change, something granted to her by the masked man. Once more, he had his reservations, but it didn’t appear like it had any adverse effects on her. It was quite suspect why he would grant something like that for free, however.
Overall there were just so many absurd things he decided just to roll with it. If building a lodge could somehow placate the masked man and allow them to live in this protected land, he was all for it. If it even included Miranda somehow leading whatever they were building, he was even more for it.
His number one priority was the safety of his children, after all. Both of which also agreed to stay here. Louise even appearing quite pushy in making them stay. Perhaps she was just happy to have finally found some peace in this chaotic new world. She was clearly enjoying being able to sit down and draw, already working on additional building plans if they ever planned on expanding.
Mark was the same as before. He was good at just going with the flow and had instantly volunteered to help build the lodge. With Louise functioning as an architect of sorts with her drawing skill, it all went even better.
After carrying the tree back, he began chopping it up into more useful pieces as Mark helped him shape them with a builder skill to be placed as flooring for the ground floor. The basement was already more or less done and now just needed the lodge itself on top.
They went with a relatively simple style of just stacking some of the thinner wooden logs on top of each other to form the walls. Very much in the style of a log cabin, but Hank wasn’t quite sure if you could really call the finished product that.
It would actually be rather big - around a hundred square meters just for the flat ground floor, with a basement around two-thirds of that. They planned on making only two rooms, a bedroom, and just a big common area. The cellar they had been told just to stay away from trying to do anything with.
Windows were the most challenging part of the construction. Louise and Mark had agreed to try and work together on that. With Louise having fire spells and Mark a builder class, perhaps they could shape a proper window. If not, they would just have to come up with some other solution.
As he worked, he suddenly spotted something out from the corner of his eye. He looked up as he saw what looked like a human with wings flying after a smaller bird. They were quickly hidden by the canopy of the trees, making Hank question himself.
Must have been seeing things, he thought, shaking his head.