”The new housing complex in the western district is nearing completion, but we have run into a shortage of stone. A few builders are attempting to reinforce regular stone to make it useable, while several alchemists are working on transmuting soil into solid rock,” the manager of the western district said.
”Sadly, the southern district has run into the same issues, and we are working on similar solutions. If the expansion continues like this…” the manager of the southern district said, with a bit of doubt.
”We cannot turn away those who come here seeking refuge, and we must keep expanding. We must hammer while the iron is hot and make sure we have a solid foundation for the future, so we must endure!” one of the three cardinals of the Holy Church said.
Jacob just sat back in his chair as he took it all in while drinking some tea. Sanctdomo was a holy city, but that didn’t mean it was entirely run by the Holy Church. They were very-much highest on the hierarchy, but Jacob also believed that more mundane leadership was necessary to make a city work. This is why some of the district managers had turned out to be less religious than many from the Church would prefer, but Jacob didn’t care. They were dedicated on their paths to leading the city to greatness, and that was the most important.
He finally opened his mouth, all of them looking to him to solve their dispute: ”Towards the mountains in the south, hidden away in between the two southmost mountains lies a vast valley. Elementals and beasts dominate it, but a cavern shall be found, and a natural dungeon discovered once slain. It should only be braved by those above 50 in their race or have at least their class at 70. Within this dungeon, we will find the solution to our struggle.”
All the people around the table looked at the Augur as they all nodded eagerly. ”Truly?” the manager of the western district said. ”In that case, we should send some of our parties there to secure the area… we should also make sure each dungeon group has at least one builder with a storage skill.”
”I believe you will all see to it… now let us move on to the main topic at hand: the World Congress will soon commence,” Jacob said before continuing. ”The Undeads are expanding far to the east of us, with the Court of Shadows even further in that direction. They should not be an issue for now, as long as we keep our guard up. Several other factions have also been building themselves up, and I believe we have made contact with a few of them already.”
”Indeed,” another of the Cardinals said. ”After securing the third Pylon, we have made contact with a collective of smaller factions who have banded together to claim one, and negotiations are going well there. But… towards the south…”
The Cardinal hesitated to speak, so Jacob gladly put his teacup down and took over.
”In all due time. When the World Congress arrives, all things will become far clearer. To all of us. For now, just try not to antagonize the Sword Saint more than necessary,” Jacob spoke, with a clear warning in his voice.
The Sword Saint was no easy opponent, and his faction was powerful too. Jacob was unsure if they were related to a larger faction of the multiverse, but he had his doubts for some reason. The Holy Pantheon had not granted him any knowledge about them as they did with most other factions. It was mainly simple information they gave, as rules or perhaps just an agreement of sorts stopped them from sharing more… but he had expected to at least hear something based on the size of the faction.
They had claimed at least two, possibly three, Pylons already, and they were truly a force to be reckoned with. Especially their leader was dangerous… it was a man that could face down D-grades alone without evolving, and from the last report, he was close to that evolution.
To make it all the more perplexing… his divinations failed when he tried to peer into the fate of the Sword Saint. That in itself wasn’t unnatural; he couldn’t peek into the river of the destiny of many powerhouses or faction leaders due to their legacies or blessings… but it was precisely due to these things he couldn’t.
The Sword Saint was impossible to divine by his own power. Something that made Jacob very wary of him.
”Any movement from that small settlement to the north?” the northern manager asked, making Jacob zone back into the conversation again. Because he knew what settlement they were speaking of. He decided just to drink some tea and listen in, as he quite honestly was a bit interested in hearing what his old colleague was up to.
”A scouting party returned, and it seems to be expanding a bit these days, but in no way enough to be a threat… at least not by size. It’s called Haven and is led by a woman called Miranda Wells, who seems competent, but it is a bit early to tell. However, there are rumors of a city guardian or owner who actually runs it behind the scenes, one who even has several D-grade beasts under his command,” a representative of the military said. ”There are rumors this Miranda Wells is the mistress of this city owner and is-”
”Pfft!” Jacob nearly spewed out his tea, getting the attention of everyone. ”No, no, sorry, please continue, I am just getting used to the changes after D-grade, that’s all!” he said, a bit flustered as he leaned back in his chair as much as he could, Bertram barely able to hold back a smile at his side.
Jake with a mistress? Would he? Well, it would be good for him, I guess. But… for some reason, I just can’t see it happening. Unless she is the aggressive type, that is. Yeah, Jake has no resistance to that at all, Jacob thought, completely ignoring half the report about Haven. What was said next did bring his head back to the talk, though.
”With their small size, shouldn’t we just bring them under our wing? It’s the closest Pylon to ours, and I doubt we would meet much resistance considering our more prominent size and relative pow-”
”No, leave them be, and do not antagonize Haven,” Jacob said, not leaving anything up to discussion. They all just threw a look his way, nodded, and moved on to another topic. All of them had learned all long ago that arguing with the Augur was a lost cause. It didn’t make much sense trying to use logic or reason against someone who could see the future and peer into fate, after all.
Jacob looked on as a large 3-D map of the planet was opened up, though the only one area was actually marked on it – the current landmass they were placed on.
Not even the gods were fully aware of Earth’s geography after the system changed it, but the city had begun getting a good idea over the last few months. It helped new citizens came in from far and wide, having thousands with scouting skills and even a few hundred people working full-time with map-making skills on top of that.
What they had learned was that humanity was not spread out all over the planet - as many had believed - but had instead been gathered in relatively close proximity. Sure, the distance had increased significantly, and they were spread out over an area larger than Earth was before… but with the planet now around the size of the Sun before the system, that was still only a tiny area.
There were still thousands upon thousands of kilometers separating each Pylon, but travel had also gotten significantly faster. While moving a large number of people was still hard, a single powerhouse or powerful party could travel far in just a single day. This meant that Sanctdomo had managed to make contact with many larger factions Jacob had become aware of through his divinations already. Some significant forces were still too far away, but he believed they would reach them one day.
The Sword Saint was still too far away to scout out directly. Hence, all their knowledge came from seers with the ability to look over vast distances, divinations, or other skills, allowing them to get a general idea of their movements.
But ultimately, all of this was just the preliminary stages and a way to make connections with other factions for the big events to come
Soon… Jacob thought, Soon the 100th shall be claimed, and the congress will commence.
He flipped the coin, and it landed on heads. He picked it up, and before he even flipped it, he knew. Heads again.
It landed on heads.
Jake was currently experiencing quite a major crisis. The method that had been used by countless people to flawlessly choose between two equally attractive options was now failing him. He looked down at the small coin with contempt as he picked it up again, but before he even flipped it, he knew…. Heads…
And, of course, it was heads.
Thinking back… he hadn’t actually tried flipping a coin since the integration, and he was quite happy when he finally got one, as he used to love using them to make decisions. Takeout or cook himself? Flip a coin. Two movies running, and he wanted to see both equally? Flip a coin.
But now his accursed bloodline made that unable to work… because he knew where it would land moments before he flipped it. It made the entire thing pointless as it wasn’t random anymore…
As for the decision he was trying to make? Well, it wasn’t really anything important, just the question of evolving his class or profession first. Jake could imagine that was a very important decision to most denizens of the multiverse, but it honestly didn’t matter to him.
He would get both evolved anyway. Getting good or bad options wasn’t really in his control anymore either… sure, he could choose not to evolve both until he was done spending years improving his skills, but who the hell had the patience for that?
He had only evolved a few hours ago and hadn’t left his valley during that time, only spending a bit of the time with the birds. He couldn’t help but use his sphere to Identify the small hawk sitting in one of the chairs, observing him as he kept flipping the coin.
[Sylphian Eyas – lvl 27]
She had finally broken into “E-grade,” even if it hadn’t really come with any changes. Jake had a feeling that Sylphie wasn’t actually E-grade and hadn’t been F-grade either… she was born at D-grade. She hadn’t undergone any evolutions at the usual times but had just kept growing naturally.
He was a bit sad about Hawkie and Mystie not being around as he would love to finally be able to Identify them… but that could wait. For now, he had a decision to make, so he asked the only other… person… in the room.
“So, class or profession first?” he asked the hawk that just looked up at him, confused.
Jake understood as he changed the question. “Better fight or better drinks?”
“Fight it is,” Jake agreed, not entirely sure what Sylphie actually wanted. He just knew that whenever he flipped the coin… he always hoped it would land on the side to upgrade his class. While he genuinely loved doing alchemy, nothing could ever truly compare to fighting a strong foe in a life-and-death battle.
The thing is… he didn’t even need to do anything – the option was already there, right in front of him. He had gained plenty of class experience to get the evolution options; he had just suppressed it to evolve his race first. If he wanted to evolve his profession, he would need to do some alchemy first. He couldn’t select to evolve it while in that weird evolution space, but the option was back once outside.
Jake was about to accept the prompt to evolve… yet in the final moment, he hesitated. Have I really done enough? he asked himself. Couldn’t he have upgraded more skills? Maybe he should try and use his arcane-affinity to upgrade his Splitting Arrow and some of his other skills…
His hesitation and his stupid coin-flipping had just been him making excuses to himself.
He did know that the Viper said it would be a waste, but a small part of him was still filled with doubt. He had just rushed into evolution at E-grade and gained the Ambitious Hunter class. Sure, the class had been good enough, but after researching more on different classes and discovering how good they could actually get, he did feel a tinge of regret.
What if he had postponed his evolution back then, entered the inner zone of the tutorial, and hunted down a few beasts above level 50? While it would undoubtedly have been difficult, Jake did believe that he could have done it by dragging out the fight and relying on his poison.
Back then, he at least had the excuse of being under time pressure. He wasn’t as pressured now, not even close. So he asked himself again: Have I really done enough?
But… would he ever feel like it was enough? There was always more to be done, another skill to upgrade, another magic technique to learn, and a stronger beast to slay. With his logic, he would never get there, so he returned to the logic that had gotten him where he was now, even if it had brought trouble with it too:
“Make things simple… and take the complications as they come,” he spoke out loud, as he stopped hesitating and was greeted by the prompt.
*Class Evolution Requirements Met*
Your journey continues as your ambition has taken you far. You have hunted beasts far more powerful than could ever be expected, and you have proven yourself a true hunter. While you have chosen a bow as your weapon, you have also shown immense promise in the realm of magic, not shying away from experimenting and expanding your combat tactics - all of your powers tied together by your instincts and your simple – primal – path.
May you find worthy prey, Primal Hunter.
Begin Evolution now?
WARNING: Postponing evolution for too long may have adverse effects , and no further class-experience can be earned before evolution is completed.
He smiled as he read the small message and agreed as his class evolution officially began.