The Primal Hunter



Chapter 431 - Slow And Steady Wins the Race


Jake read the book in his bed as he went over the information in a crystal he had gained from a lesson he had taken the day prior. He nodded along as he found everything to be in order, and with a wave of his hand, he destroyed the crystal and scattered the dust with a blast of destructive arcane mana. After all, the fellow student he had gained it from had asked him to.

Well over a month had passed since Jake had entered the Order of the Malefic Viper, and honestly? Things were going well. He had expected way more Bloodline trouble or people trying to start shit with him, but so far, everyone was perfectly civil. Okay, he did have a run-in with one moron in a lesson where they had to spar. The dude had been an overly confident asshole when he was clearly wrong, but Jake chose to be gracious and not assume malice where it may just be ignorance.

However, where there had been most progress wasn’t with him. As he was on his bed, he heard a knock on the door, and he opened it to a far more kept-together elf in a white dress as she slightly bowed. “Sir, I have brought the book you requested from the Order Library.”

“Thanks, Meira,” Jake said with a smile as he got off the bed and went over to accept the book. Meira smiled in response as she gave it to him. “Any issues getting it?”

“None. The librarian was very helpful there,” she answered as she bowed again. “I shall return to my studies if there is no other matter Sir needs me to take care of?”

“There isn’t. How are the lessons going, by the way?” Jake asked, already knowing the answer for the most part.

“I am doing my utmost and believe I am making acceptable progress,” Meira answered with a small embarrassed smile. Jake just smirked a bit in response as he finally allowed her to leave as she scurried away.

Meira felt embarrassed because a teacher had sent her back with a letter of recommendation to her “sponsor.” It was a letter that would allow Meira to attend another lesson taught by the same teacher for a heavy discount. The letter was addressed to Jake and had some assumptions within he had cracked up over. However, the crux of it was that Meira was quite a talented healer and had a great talent for metaphysiology – the study of the metaphysical body.

The letter had assumed Meira was an employee of Jake or perhaps just a follower of his. From what Jake had gathered, no one Meira had met during any lessons had even the slightest clue she was a slave or even a servant. As for the lesson, Jake had already allowed her to go; it wasn’t even a question to him. But that she had even asked and expressed interest was huge progress.

Her coming out and saying she had a preference or a wish was something the Meira of one month ago would never do. She would just do whatever Jake wanted her to and not even voice her own thoughts. There was also the huge thing she now called him “Sir” and didn’t stumble over her words to avoid calling him the banned m-word.

It was slow but steady progress, and in the end, the best method to have her get more comfortable was simply time. She also smiled more and didn’t seem as nervous as before.

The only place with absolutely no progress was in the department of randomly visiting gods, AKA Viper visits. The closest to progress there was her being able to leave the area whenever he visited without passing out. Half the time, at least.

Jake himself had also made good progress. He had only gained a single level in his profession, bringing him to level 152, which came from him experimenting a bit in his own time. While that seemed slow – and was compared to Jake’s old progress – it was considered good in the Order. In fact, Jake had come to learn that leveling fast was viewed as a fool’s game, and he kind of understood why. There was no reason to try and rush through D-grade in a handful of years when you had millennia. Not that Jake would ever take that long, not unless Villy came up with another practice lesson like with Shroud.

As for what he had learned… well, a lot, most of it the most basic there was in any subject. One such area was flasks, where Jake had finally made a few, even if they were quite honestly crap.

[Flask of Minor Poison Resistance (Inferior)] – A flask giving minor poison resistance against most forms of toxins for a duration of thirty (30) minutes.
Requirements: D-grade

[Flask of Fortified Mana(Inferior)] – A increasing maximum mana by 50 for a duration of thirty (30) minutes.
Requirements: D-grade

The first gave so little poison resistance it was inconsequential, and it worked before his Palate as they had overlapping effects. So unless Jake made a way better version, it did nothing for him besides doing so he couldn’t consume another Flask for a full day, as that was the cooldown.

Secondly was the Flask of Fortified Mana, which was even worse as there once more was overlap with his mask. As his mask increased mana by 25%, the Flask did nothing once more as he had already reached the “cap” of how much he could increase it. He had considered making some for health, but that would take a while to learn. Overall, there were many different flasks Jake was working on, but he quickly concluded it would take a long time to learn to craft the useful ones.

There was also the problem that Jake couldn’t make any flasks for those below D-grade no matter how shit they were. This was what Villy had talked about when it came to Records, and apparently, his Myth Originator title just made it worse. So yeah, he could make flasks no one wanted, not even himself.

Not to misunderstand, Flasks could be great. They fell into a category a bit like his own Arcane Awakening and functioned as temporary boosting items. The best ones came with drawbacks, especially those circumventing the equipment stat cap from gear. In fact, there was a lot of overlap between equipment and Flasks. If Jake had a helm that granted him super fire magic resistance, he could not drink a Flask giving him even more fire resistance. However, he could drink a Flask giving him general magic resistance, or instead of resisting fire magic, gave him a temporary anti-fire shield with a set absorption amount that didn’t take any advantage of his fire resistance. So yeah, if you had the right Flask for the right situation, they could be amazing.

And this actually led to a great segue because the biggest competitor for Flasks when it came to alchemical products were pills. Pills were actually a big competitor to like… everything. Pills could take so many damn forms and do pretty much everything there was, for one simple reason that honestly sounded so dumb Jake didn’t believe it when the teacher said it the first time:

“Pills are just Potions, Elixirs, Flasks, or whatever else liquid product condensed and turned into a solid form. The crafting method differs, but ultimately the same concepts apply, and the system recognizes them as equivalent. A healing pill will trigger the usual potion cooldown, a stat-increasing pill will count the same as any elixir, and a pill increasing your Strength temporarily will share all cooldowns and limits as a Flask.”

So… yeah. This meant Jake had no interest in becoming a pill-focused alchemist even if pills had some advantages such as their smaller form-factor and their far longer shelf-life, but it often came at the cost of a near-negligible reduction in effect and a small increase in cost.

Besides that, he truly dove into the world of poisons. Neurotoxins were, of course, something he researched, but he also learned to make poison of different affinities, and he had especially two new types of poison he would be moving forward with and actively use in combat when he felt comfortable enough with their potency.

The first of which was one making full use of Jake’s dark affinity.

[Dark Shade Poison (Common)] – A poison with dark affinity properties, infecting and corroding the energies of the target. Any target infected by Dark Shade Venom will suffer reduced Perception and damage. This poison is incredibly difficult to detect and heal but deals nearly no damage and is easily cleansed by certain types of magic.

This type of poison was incredibly valuable in prolonged battles and against certain foes. It was an insidious poison that would dig deep and slip into every bit of the target and, most importantly, was incredibly difficult to get rid of once infected. This did have some hidden benefits that were a primary reason Jake was so excited to learn it.

Sense of the Malefic Viper allowed Jake to feel his own poison better, especially when it was infected within someone. This poison would function as a scanner of sorts and allow Jake to easily keep track of a foe even if they didn’t notice they were infected. He was already theorizing an even better version made solely as a tracking poison, but that was a good ways away.

Secondly was a type of poison Jake dearly needed.

[Draining Lightning Poison (Inferior)] – A poison with lightning affinity properties, dealing significant damage and draining the mana of any entity it comes into contact with. This poison is incredibly fast-acting and will often expend all its potency within moments.

Jake still remembered the first time he had set foot upon the cloud island with Hawkie. How he had been utterly embarrassed by what was quite honestly a weak elemental and been forced to learn some basic magic to have a fighting chance. Back then, none of his poison had worked as he only knew hemotoxin and necrotic toxins, and they only worked on biological beings. His blood was the best thing he had, and even that wasn’t good.

Even before coming to the Order that hadn’t changed in the least, and even after Fangs upgraded and he got the better venom, it was still ultimately reliant on his blood. If Jake met an elemental or even something like the Altmar Census Golem, he was in for a bad time.

This type of poison changed that. The lightning affinity was the bane of mana and consumed it actively. Jake remembered briefly talking to his brother about it, and he did know that Caleb’s dark lightning didn’t only drain mana but all resources the target possessed. Jake was not going for that, as while it drained everything, that meant the potency was spread out.

What Jake wanted was pure lightning intent on only draining mana. A poison that would be effective against mana barriers and elementals alike. Of course, if he faced a lightning elemental, he would still be in for a bad time, but he was confident in working up another poison to fight those.

Jake had also dabbled in many other areas to shore up weaknesses, and he was still in the early stages, but every day was rapid progress.

However, there was one area in which Jake had made no progress. There was a type of poison Jake had wanted to make for a good while, and he believed he would be able to do it by now, but no matter what he did, it just never worked out.

Arcane poison still eluded him. The problem was in the very essence of Jake’s affinity. His affinity was one of balancing destruction and stability - about controlling that equilibrium or willingly leaning into one part near-entirely.

The key to his issues was in the word control. His affinity needed constant control, or it would be either pure stability or pure destruction. No in-between. It worked due to Jake influencing the energy with his will, but what happened when it became an object? Well, it either turned into what was basically crystalized mana, or it drained itself instantly by turning into pure destructive energy.

No matter what he tried, he had seen no solution in sight. He did find it a bit weird he could make arcane mana potions, but quickly discovered the reason… because he didn’t really? It did contain his arcane energy in a stable format, but the moment he ingested it, it once more came under the control of his will and thus could function as expected.

Well, this did mean he could maybe make an arcane poison that could only poison himself, but he didn’t see any use for this. Okay, Jake had to confess he had tried to see if he could make a cheat to regen mana through Palate or something, but it had resulted in Jake still dealing more damage than he regenerated.

Jake hadn’t had any lessons in formations or anything related to awakening the Pollendust Bee Queen yet, either, and he had yet to touch any combat classes. There were only so many hours in a day, and Jake was swarmed as it was. He did have a plan in mind, and as he finished lessons, he opened up his schedule. It was often a bad idea for him to continue in the same lane before fully digesting what he learned. Hence he planned on beginning lessons in formations and one on refining Beastcores once he was done with the one he did about making pills and the two about flasks.

And that was about it for Jake’s time in the Academy so far. He had been busy, but so had everyone. However, soon there would be a small break-day of sorts for many of them as an event was coming up. The World Congress.

It was a bit odd, but every World Congress was at the same time. Jake had considered this weird as hell because he clearly remembered it being triggered by a hundred claimed Pylons back then on Earth, and it wasn’t like every planet of the ninety-third universe claimed a hundred at the same time.

Well, it turned out the one-hundred claimed just meant you got the announcement seven days early. He discovered others had only gotten the notification a day before with not even a hundred claimed yet, with other planets getting the notification weeks before. This was primarily for planets with far more sapient life than Earth.

The reason why this mattered now was that Jake had gotten a nice little system announcement.

Announcement to all Nobles: The Second World Congress will commence in 24 hours. Any noble in possession of- or ruling a Pylon can attend, as well as any participant of the First World Congress.

Due to your presence in another universe, it is not possible to bring any representatives with you. If accepted, you will be teleported once the World Congress commences.

It was a bit longer with some fluff, but in essence, Jake was golden and could attend without leaving the Order. He had already had a brief talk with Miranda, and she confirmed she could bring along people and would have Lillian and Neil come with her once again. Neil for space mage business, Lillian for Miranda-helping business.

With the upcoming World Congress, many from the ninety-third universe were making preparations, but someone had also taken the chance now that many were free. Irin, the succubus, had sent Jake an invitation at the behest of this person. The organizer was someone pretty unknown to Jake, but he was pretty sure it was that human-elven pair based on Irin’s description.

That’s right, it was his first official party after entering the Order.

A note from Zogarth

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