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Jake smiled as he took a deep breath of the toxic concoction. He felt the fumes enter his system and quickly be eliminated and turned to mana, but he also felt the potency of what he had just made. Even if the fungicide wasn’t made to kill humans, a person sure as hell shouldn’t risk getting it on them.

He quickly bottled up the super-fungicide. He didn’t get a lot of it, only enough for two of the small bottles, but the most important thing was that he had succeeded.

Leaning back in his chair, he quickly went through a few of his other notifications. The first of which was one he had expected, but seeing it still broadened his smile.

[Concoct Poison (Common)] – While most focus on the aspect of giving life through their craft, others prefer to take it away. Allows for the concoction of common-rarity poisons and below. Must have suitable materials and equipment in order to create poisons. Adds a minor increase to the effectiveness of created poisons based on Wisdom.

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[Concoct Poison (Uncommon)] – While most focus on the aspect of giving life through their craft, others prefer to take it away. Allows for the concoction of uncommon-rarity poisons and below. Must have suitable materials and equipment in order to create poisons. Adds a small increase to the effectiveness of created poisons based on Wisdom.

The changes in the description were absolutely minimal, but that didn’t matter. Jake knew the requirement for upgrading both Brew Potion and Concoct Poison was just to make a creation of that rarity with your own skills, aka without effects such as those from Malefic Viper’s Poison. The upgrade did little to actually help him except making his wisdom increase the effectiveness of his poisons a little more.

No, what mattered far more was the implications of him having upgraded it. At F-grade, he had learned to create common-rarity poisons, and now in E-grade, he had learned to make uncommon-rarity ones. He was a step ahead every time.

It would help him with his profession-evolution for sure. Though Jake had to admit he wasn’t sure if he needed any help in that regard, as his Records had to be quite good. But a small part of him did fear his evolution options would have too much focus on his friendship with Villy and not as much on his abilities as an alchemist.

Jake would hate for that to happen. He refused to become some kind of priest or preacher for a friend. That was just too fucking weird. No, he wanted just to be a damn great alchemist. This is also why he had set the requirements of upgrading his skills before reaching D-grade.

Now, he only needed to upgrade Touch of the Malefic Viper and Sense of the Malefic Viper. As for the last skill from level-ups, he had naturally picked that up.

[Fangs of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)] – When born, the Viper had limited weapons to fight with, yet it prevailed only with its fangs. Its bites the deliverer of death. As a human, you have taken inspiration and learned to apply the same concept. Allows the Alchemist to coat his teeth in deadly venom, sharing all the same effects as Blood of the Malefic Viper in an empowered state. Additionally, all poisons you have crafted or created are significantly more effective when injected directly into the body of your foes. Passively provides 1 Strength per level in Prodigious Alchemist of the Malefic Viper. May you bring death in a single strike.

Jake had briefly skimmed the other options, and while they were fine, some of them great even, nothing could compare to the Fangs skill. There is also the fact that Jake predicted it to be part of a “set,” and he really wanted to complete that set.

With his skill chosen, he took a look at the free points he had built up. While it was suboptimal for sure, he hadn’t actually spent any for a long time. Not since he last picked a skill at level 80. For the longest time, he had just been putting every point into perception and honestly still felt like doing so.

He had 90 free points available to distribute. Of course, those points would be way more after the percentage bonuses from all his titles, so it was closer to 150 in any stat he wanted. He opened his status screen to see how it was beginning to look after many weeks of alchemy.

Status

Name: Jake Thayne

Race: [Human (E) – lvl 95]

Class: [Ambitious Hunter – lvl 99]

Profession: [Prodigious Alchemist of the Malefic Viper – lvl 92]

Health Points (HP): 13068/13150

Mana Points (MP): 3841/15637

Stamina: 7014/9930

Stats

Strength: 855

Agility: 1172

Endurance: 993

Vitality: 1315

Toughness: 840

Wisdom: 1251

Intelligence: 640

Perception: 2234

Willpower: 926

Free points: 90

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)], [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)], [Archery of Vast Horizons (Rare)], [Descending Dark Fang (Rare)], [Limit Break (Rare)], [Arrow of the Ambitious Hunter (Epic)], [One Step Mile (Ancient)], [Moment of the Primal Hunter (Legendary)], [Gaze of the Apex Hunter (Legendary)]

Profession Skills: [Herbology (Common)], [Brew Potion (Common)], [Alchemist’s Purification (Common)], [Alchemical Flame (Common)], [Toxicology (Uncommon)], [Cultivate Toxin (Uncommon)], [Concoct Poison (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)], [Pride of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Fangs 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)]

--

Jake looked over his ever-growing status menu and smiled. It wasn’t like at the beginning where he felt it go through substantial changes every single day, but it was still developing at a noticeable pace. He was looking forward to D-grade more than ever too, and he could almost smell it. He had less than ten levels remaining… it was truly the final stretch.


The Malefic Viper sat in his realm as power swirled around him. He stared through the void, not looking at anything in particular but just the vast nothingness that existed between the universes. He raised his hand and stared at it before sighing as yet another attempt failed.

“Still not quite there,” he said as he got up and shifted his gaze to raise his spirits a bit.

“Sylphian… heh,” he chuckled before shaking his head. “I wonder how that came to be…”

Sylphs were rare, old, and extremely powerful wind elementals. They were some of the most intelligent among all elementals and wielded powerful magic, not just of the wind-affinity but also possessed a plethora of other means. They were hell to deal with and could often defeat enlightened races at equal levels. A top-grade race for sure.

But… the part about being old was important. They were almost archaic. A Sylph was not born but only evolved into by powerful elementals that had lived nearly to the end of their lifespans before evolving. Was that his own contribution to the creation? A touch of time and ancientness? No… that wouldn’t have been enough… far from it.

Was it Jake’s mana that had caused the change? It was incredibly pure and was approaching a new threshold; one the Viper hoped he would overcome before reaching D-grade… even if it would be ridiculous for him to do so.

Jake’s path was one the Viper respected. It was honest and without any deceit. He truly just wanted to fight and become stronger. His desire for power, not one borne of any greed for anything but power itself. A truly pure and straightforward path. So was his approach to everything, including mana. His way of doing it was… simple. His mana practice was almost insultingly effective considering how inane and uncomplicated it was. He didn’t mix in other mana affinities but had even ignored his quite frankly top-level darkness-affinity.

He had managed not to pollute or specialize any of his mana with any mana attunements because of that. One didn’t need to have an attunement to shape one’s magic, but simply using a type of magic too much was enough to… “color” your mana and shape your Records.

Jake hadn’t done that. His mana always remained pure. A purity he was only condensing and refining to an entirely new level, even if he did so unknowingly. It was a purity not just in mana but in will and intent as well.

So… was that truly what gave birth to the Sylphian Eyas? Just… the purity of his mana? The Sylphs were as pure as any elemental could get. They were primeval and concepts incarnate.

The only way he could see Jake having such a strong power of “purity” within his Records could only hold one explanation… his bloodline. If not, the Viper’s Records would have undoubtedly affected him on a more fundamental level. Yet they hadn’t.

But that answer confused the Viper quite a bit too. What did increased perception and natural fighting instincts have to do with purity and rawness?

Honestly… it didn’t matter. The Viper had no desire to find out all the small intricate details of his pal’s bloodline outside of pure curiosity. The only real reason he truly wanted to know was to discover its effects on the small avian.

His friend clearly cared for the small thing…

Vilastromoz couldn’t help but look towards a particular area in his realm as his mood dampened significantly. He knew he couldn’t linger with his consciousness in the realm any longer.

The avatar closed its eyes as it became dormant and returned to slumber, the Viper’s real body still in the outside world.


The beast in question was currently on a mighty quest to find the big human. For too long, she had been denied her rightful resting place. Too long had her parents kept her away. The warnings of danger by being near when the human created the smelly smoke didn’t faze her. She could handle the smelly smoke.

Stealthily, she crept across the floorboards, making sure to stay low. She swiftly made her way under one of the chairs, staying perfectly hidden throughout it all. Small amounts of wind even surrounded her to limit sound, a true stroke of genius she had come on to mask her every movement.

Sylphie didn’t doubt her prowess for even a second as she made a long leap - assisted by the wind and a flap of her small wings – as she made her way under the table.

Halfway there.

Her goal was the back end of the big treehouse and through the opening leading to the water with the scary-long-fish. She could have tried to go around the building, but she knew her parents watched from above and would detect her instantly. No, through the house was the best way to stay hidden.

Everything was as she had planned - each of her steps calculated to the smallest detail, her approach perfection itself.

After another sneaky walk, she was close to the door. She could already see the tall human, utterly unaware of the apex creature about to pounce! Indeed, she had gone above and beyond herself.

In one final leap, she jumped through the slightly open door as she made a mighty roar:

“Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!”

The human jumped with fright as Sylphie triumphantly jumped on top of his head, where she stood proudly. She was rewarded for her perfection as the tall human scratched her in that good spot below her neck.

Once more, she had proven how great she truly was! It rewarded the human back by mercifully reciprocating his affection. Great and benevolent!


Jake scratched the proud bird as she cutely nuzzled up to him happily. After a long day of crafting, he found nothing more relaxing than playing with the small hawk. To watch her “stealthily” sneak up on him through his lodge.

Of course, Sylphie’s version of stealth was to kick up a deafening whirlwind around herself, so instead of listening to footsteps, you could hear the sound of a small tornado walking through the house, making things fall off their shelves. Yet Jake couldn’t bring himself not to let her win every single time.

A Primordial couldn’t observe him unnoticed, and so far, he had yet to encounter any skill that could hide from his sphere, but Sylphie had found the one way to counter him: make him lose on purpose. Well, not like Jake needed any of his perception-related abilities to notice the bird… he doubted she could sneak up on anything…

But damn, was she cute when she did it.

And luckily, for the work Jake was now doing, she wasn’t in any danger when spending time with him. It was four days since he finished his first uncommon-rarity fungicide, and now he had already moved on to his next task: Touch of the Malefic Viper.

He hadn't forgotten about the fungus... oh no, he was just waiting for a delivery. Besides, he couldn't leave the tiny bird alone after he had kept her away for so long.

Over the last four days, he had gained another level in his profession, bringing it to 93 while also giving him another race level. That got him to a total of 100 free points at the ready to distribute whenever. He could throw it all into wisdom now and make his poison a bit stronger, but he preferred to save them.

The day earlier, Miranda had come by with a delivery of weapons. It was weapons made by the craftsmen of the city; all created mainly to practice. Of course, they were still more-than-useable weapons in combat, but these were spares that no one needed… or at least that is what Miranda had told him.

Most of them were just inferior-rarity ones and were relatively simple.

[Sharpened Steel Shortsword (Inferior)] – A blade made of steel that has been soaked in mana and crafted by a still-growing smith. The craftsmanship is lacking in some areas, but the blade is still solidly built. Enchantments: Sharpened Blade
Requirements: lvl 25+ in any humanoid race

[Deflective Iron Buckler (Inferior)] – A buckler made of mana-infused iron and crafted by a still-growing smith. The craftsman has put his all into this item, making it a respectable buckler for a smith of the creator’s level, and is especially potent at deflecting ranged attacks. Enchantments: Deflection
Requirements: lvl 30+ in any humanoid race

Jake looked them over and saw the inferior tags, instantly discounting them both. Yet from what Miranda told him, they actually tended to hold up well against the common-rarity tutorial items. Likely those items back in the tutorial’s outer zone were created for those around level 25, seeing as they were primarily found in areas with weaker beasts.

As those items didn’t have any level requirements, that did kind of make sense. The uncommon-rarity tutorial items were, of course, a grade better. Jake’s quiver was still doing okay if beginning to feel a bit lacking, and as for the cloak… well, it existed and could change colors a bit and make his head not get wet when it rained.

Anyway, level requirements clearly mattered for items a lot, maybe even as much if not more than the rarity - one of the last weapons a perfect example of this.

[Ferocious Machete (Common)] – A machete created from iron that has been soaked in the blood of a powerful beast. Due to the crafting process, faint remnant Records of the beast remain within the weapon. The craftsman behind this weapon has shown great promise. Any wound inflicted with this weapon will inflict amplified pain, increasing with each successive attack. Enchantments: Ferocious Slashes
Requirements: Lvl 10+ in any humanoid class

Jake had tried the blade a bit and found it significantly worse than the steel sword. Apparently, it was an early creation from a smith that had only recently begun working hard on his profession, so Jake was looking forward to getting interesting things from that guy later.

Apparently, he had created many weapons by soaking metals in the blood of the dead Herd Leaders. Clearly, he had some skill to facilitate it, and Jake found it quite interesting.

He also noted how all the system’s descriptions of the items were relatively… friendly. None of them called the smiths bad or something like that but instead used very positive language. Maybe the system wasn’t that bad after all. Sure, it kind of allowed fucked up degenerate bastards to choose a path of absolute debauchery, but at least it was polite while doing so.

Jake chuckled a bit at his thoughts, earning an annoyed slap from the small wing of Sylphie, telling him to stop moving his head.

Shaking his head – making the bird slap him again – he happily scratched the small hawk and dove right into absolutely destroying weapons that the many hopeful smiths of Haven had worked hard to make.

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Zogarth

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