The Primal Hunter



Chapter 472 - Skills, Statuses, & A Stealthy Future


Finally, it was skill-selection time. It had been a good while since he had last selected a class skill. Shit, the last time he picked one was when he got Steady Focus of the Apex Hunter during the Treasure Hunt. It felt like ages ago. Since then, he had gone to the Order and mainly focused on alchemy, so his class had really been put on the backburner. Not that this time spent hadn’t also benefitted his class. Through his profession, he had gotten a lot stronger, especially when it came to his magic and energy control.

Jake did not know what he wanted from this skill selection. He considered if he needed a good melee skill but still wasn’t entirely certain on what Path he wanted to walk there. Not that what he wanted necessarily mattered anyway when it came to what the system offered… well, it did to some degree due to Records and all that, but for the most part, it was down to what he had done and experienced not what he wanted.

So, without further ado, he opened the menu and, as was customary, saw a disappointing first offer.

[Looping Arcane Bolt (Epic)] – The only thing better than one arcane bolt is two arcane bolts. Allows the hunter to summon a large arcane bolt that will passively drain mana to recharge itself and release arcane bolts every few seconds towards any designated targets. The large arcane bolt can be detonated at any point, releasing destructive arcane mana. Adds a bonus to the effectiveness of Intelligence when using Looping Arcane Bolt Arcane Orb.

Arcane Bolt, but now self-firing or something? From how he understood it, he could summon a bolt that would then shoot more bolts, allowing Jake to set up remote towers to bombard people. He liked the idea… if it summoned a bow that shot arrows, that is.

True, this could have some practical applications here and there, such as the fight he just had with the Prima, but it wasn’t like he needed it, and he viewed it more as a bit of direction for what he could do by himself without getting a skill.

As it was, this skill was just proof Jake had continually improved his mana control enough for the system to unlock this skill. Something the next skill also did.

Arcane Lance (Epic) – Just a bigger Arcane Bolt. What did you expect?

Yeah, that wasn’t actually what the description said, but it was exactly what it was. A big Arcane Bolt that was now an Arcane Lance that took longer to charge but did a lot more damage. Jake could already do that and sometimes even did, and considering he had no interest in gaining the extra stat-scaling from having it as a skill, he moved on.

[Twin-Fang Whirlwind Strike (Epic)] – May your fangs embrace the wind as a whirlwind is born from your strikes. Allows the hunter to infuse both weapons with potent wind mana and perform a circular strike to create a whirlwind that cuts and rebuffs all foes around you. Twin-Fang Whirlwind Strike can be repeatedly performed to further empower the whirlwind and persist for a small period even after the skill is no longer performed. Adds a small bonus to the effect of Agility, Intelligence, and Strength when using Twin-Fang Whirlwind Strike.

Three epic skills in a row… but this one did not include anything related to arcane energy, something Jake more or less felt used to at this point. No, this was pure wind magic, a school of magic Jake hadn’t really dabbled in at all outside of that one bow he got in the Tutorial, and that had just been an item. So the question was… how did he get it?

His first guess would be that his class just liked to offer some melee skills, and Jake had the affinity with his second guess being that a certain green murder bird was the cause. In any case, the skill itself looked interesting and clearly took some inspiration from Fang of Man. However, it didn’t really click with him. It required him to be in melee, and when Jake fought in melee, it was usually against foes he overpowered or when he did so defensively. This skill did have some defensive applications, but it struck him more as a skill that affected a large area and needed some charge-up to work, which was not the kind of melee skill Jake wanted. He could already imagine himself beginning the spinning to use the attack only to get smacked away.

So, yeah. Jake was not keen on it as he moved on to a skill that was a lot more interesting.

[Arcane Stalker (Ancient)] – A true artisan of stealth, you skulk your foes as they remain none the wiser to your presence. You find it easier than ever to blend into the environment, making your presence, mana, and nearly all traces of your existence hidden as you move stealthily. You are hidden from nearly all forms of magical scans, and when standing still, your arcane mana will automatically create a barrier, making you appear one with the environment, even to the sense of touch. Adds a bonus to the effect of Agility, Perception, Willpower, and Intelligence while successfully remaining undetected.
WARNING: This skill is unlocked by and will serve as an upgrade to your existing Arcane Stealth.

Jake had made some progress with stealth himself already. From a sucky inferior rarity skill to a rare one so far, so for the system to finally recognize it and offer him a skill was no surprise. The skill itself also clearly built upon what he had already done before. Currently, he could make himself invisible when standing still and actively focusing on using his arcane mana to hide, but this skill would make it all more automatic. It was without a doubt a good stealth skill… but…

He didn’t know why, but he didn’t like it. Logically he knew the skill was good, but something made him think picking it was a bad idea. Jake frowned as he closely read it a few more times but found nothing that indicated to him it would have any downsides compared to what he currently had. Yet the feeling remained.

For a moment, he considered asking Villy but ultimately decided not to. His gut feeling told him to not take it, and he would trust that even over the advice of a god. He did consider why he felt as he did, and he only had one real guess.

I got the other upgrades myself…

It was comparable to if he was offered an archery skill. Jake seriously couldn’t see himself picking a skill during the selection that upgraded his archery proficiency skill. He did remember some conversation with Villy about wasting skills by choosing to upgrade one in the past, so perhaps this was also part of it. Picking a direct upgrade would also inadvertently result in the skill not being as familiar to you compared to a skill you upgraded yourself, hence making it less powerful in nearly all cases. Finally, maybe this would lead him down a Path of stealth Jake shouldn’t walk.

Anyway, he didn’t feel like picking it, so he wouldn’t as he moved on to the final option. He saw the legendary rarity right away… and then the rest.

[Thousand Voices, Million Eyes, Single Mind (Legendary)] – Resist and perhaps even channel the whispers of the void as your soul finds serenity in madness - solace in the unknown.

Sometimes you can come across a skill you kind of understand why you get offered, but also nope the fuck away from. This was one such skill.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out why Jake had been offered this. Even so, it did surprise him. It didn’t make much sense to him that merely meeting a creature of the void would warrant unlocking a legendary skill. If that was so, wouldn’t peak factions just have a god bring an entire army to gaze at one for a bit before leaving? Then again, would this skill fuck people up somehow? Or was it rare to get it offered? Did he gain the skill offered by not losing his mind?

Jake had many questions but only one answer: fuck no. He got a headache just remembering Oras, and the skill itself also had some shady-ass wording, making him believe it had a great chance of having… unforeseen effects. His guts also told him to stay the hell away from it.

To summarize, there were five skill options. Two related to arcane magic fitter for mages than Jake, one melee skill, one stealth skill that did seem great but made him apprehensive, and one with fuck-no-void-stuff. None of them were skills he wanted to pick up, which begged the question… what would he pick?

He decided to scroll up through the list and checked skills he had considered prior but skipped for better options. One that quickly came to mind was one he had skipped at level 140 in favor of upgrading his Hunter’s Mark: Barrier of the Avaricious Arcane Hunter.

[Barrier of the Avaricious Arcane Hunter (Epic)] – Stability is a cornerstone of your arcane affinity, making barriers an obvious application of your arcane. Allows the Avaricious Arcane Hunter to summon a barrier of pure, stable arcane energy, blocking out all kinds of direct attacks that attempt to pass through – both physical and magical attacks alike. Mana or stamina will be consumed depending on the nature of the blocked attacks. All concepts not deployed by you will be significantly weakened within your barrier. Adds a small bonus to the effects of Wisdom and Endurance when using Arcane Barrier.

Currently, Jake did not have any real defensive skills. It also had the concept-suppression effect, which Jake found interesting. The thing that made him a bit reluctant was how much his own barrier magic had already progressed without any skills. Also… a pure magic skill like this just didn’t feel like it “fit” with the rest of the skills for his class. All the ones he currently had, at least from the ones gained in D-grade, were related to archery in some way, while this one would have no relation. Sure, that was only two skills so far, not counting the ones gained from the evolution itself, but even those he had from his earlier grades all fit a hunter “theme” more than an arcane barrier would.

Also… the big reason… Jake felt like he could do what the skill did himself with practice. His mana control was improving every day and had especially taken a jump after he went to the Order. As he got more familiar with his arcane mana, he would learn all these things soon enough, same as the many Arcane Bolt skills.

Due to that, Jake kept looking through the list. A few interested him, but he also noticed some had disappeared, such as the Basic Nature Affinity offered all the way back at level 30 and the mental defense skill from level 40.

As he scrolled through the list, one suddenly jumped into his eyes. A skill Jake had skipped over back at level 50 in exchange for Bestial Survival Instincts – a skill that instantly became Moment of the Primal Hunter.

Perhaps he had not thought much about this skill back then due to how curious he had been about what would happen if he picked Bestial Survival Instincts… but… wasn’t this skill damn good? Like, really fucking good?

[Stealth Attack (Common)] – The strongest blow is the one not seen coming before it is too late. Increase the power of the first attack made on an otherwise unaware foe. Works with both ranged and melee attacks. Adds a bonus to the effect of Agility and Strength when using Stealth Attack equivalent to Arcane Stealth.

It was only a skill at common rarity. That alone was usually enough to make Jake skip it outright, but this one felt different. While it seemed like a super simple skill – stealth attacks do more damage – he now knew far more than back then. While on paper it seemed simple… it truly was not. While it wasn’t some fancy or showy skill, it had something even more important: conceptual power.

Like his Mark of the Avaricious Hunter, it did something theoretically possible to do without a skill, but would be so hard that Jake had no chance to. Anything that gave direct damage or directly increased something without any drawback was naturally useful, and this one was an all-around improvement to Jake’s repertoire.

He could also often strike when unseen due to his high Perception and ability to locate his foes with Mark and his Sphere, making it immediately useful. There were only so many ways to make his Arcane Powershot more powerful, and this was one of them.

But equally as important, it could be upgraded. Jake’s stealth skill had been shit when he got it. His archery skill had also been at inferior rarity yet was now epic. While he right now had no idea how to upgrade it easily… he had time.

Villy had told him a long time ago how valuable skill slots were, and having some kind of stealth attack was something Jake was certain he would one day want. To get it at common rarity meant he could mold it, and it would likely be a better skill for him at whatever rarity he upgraded it to, than one he just picked up at an already high rarity. That was no doubt one of the reasons why his Arcane Powershot was arguably still his most powerful offensive skill despite being only at epic rarity.

Having convinced himself, Jake picked up the common Stealth Attack skill. A bit of knowledge entered his head, but it was damn minimal and just made him aware that only the first attack would ever count, as it would count as if the foe was “aware” of him after that.

With it picked, Jake cracked his neck and took a deep breath. He checked his status for the first time in quite a while to see his progress so far.


Name: Jake Thayne

Race: [Human (D) – lvl 164]

Class: [Avaricious Arcane Hunter – lvl 160]

Profession: [Heretic-Chosen Alchemist of the Malefic Viper – lvl 169]

Health Points (HP): 35682/46250

Mana Points (MP): 39888/72825

Stamina: 19369/33750


Strength: 3279

Agility: 6133

Endurance: 3375

Vitality: 4625

Toughness: 3358

Wisdom: 5826

Intelligence: 4703

Perception: 10243

Willpower: 4936

Free points: 0

Titles: [Forerunner of the New World], [Bloodline Patriarch], [Holder of a Primordial’s True Blessing], [Dungeoneer VII], [Dungeon Pioneer VI], [Legendary Prodigy], [Prodigious Slayer of the Mighty], [Kingslayer], [Nobility: Earl], [Progenitor of the 93rd Universe], [Prodigious Arcanist], [Perfect Evolution (D-grade)], [Premier Treasure Hunter], [Myth Originator]

Class Skills: [Stealth Attack (Common)], [Basic Shadow Vault of Umbra (Uncommon)], [Traditional Hunter’s Tracking (Rare)], [Arcane Stealth (Rare)], [Enhanced Splitting Arrow (Rare)], [Arrow of the Ambitious Hunter (Epic)], [Arcane Powershot (Epic)], [Big Game Arcane Hunter (Epic)], [Arcane Hunter’s Arrows (Epic)], [Archery of Expanding Horizons (Epic)], [Descending Dark Arcane Fang (Epic)], [One Step Mile (Ancient)], [Fangs of Man (Ancient)], [Mark of the Avaricious Arcane Hunter (Ancient)], [Moment of the Primal Hunter (Legendary)], [Gaze of the Apex Hunter (Legendary)], [Steady Focus of the Apex Hunter (Legendary)], [Arcane Awakening (Legendary)]

Profession Skills: [Path of the Heretic-Chosen (Unique)], [Herbology (Common)], [Brew Potion (Common)], [Alchemist’s Purification (Common)], [Alchemical Flame (Uncommon)], [Craft Elixir (Uncommon)], [Toxicology (Uncommon)], [Cultivate Toxin (Uncommon)], [Concoct Poison (Rare)], [Malefic Viper’s Poison (Epic)], [Soul Ritualism of the Heretic-Chosen Alchemist (Ancient)], [Advanced Core Manipulation (Ancient)], [Blood of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Sagacity of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Wings of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Sense of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Touch of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Legacy Teachings of the Heretic-Chosen Alchemist (Legendary)], [Palate of the Malefic Viper (Legendary)], [Pride of the Malefic Viper (Legendary)], [Scales of the Malefic Viper (Legendary)], [Fangs of the Malefic Viper (Legendary)]

Blessing: [True Blessing of the Malefic Viper (Blessing - True)]

Race Skills: [Endless Tongues of the Myriad Races (Unique)], [Legacy of Man (Unique)], [Identify (Common)], [Serene Soul Meditation (Epic)], [Shroud of the Primordial (Divine)]

Bloodline: [Bloodline of the Primal Hunter (Bloodline Ability - Unique)]


As usual, it had expanded, not only in length, but naturally, numbers had also gone up. Jake liked it when numbers went up. He had gained a lot of profession levels since last and upgraded his necklace, so he had especially gained a lot more Intelligence, Wisdom, and Willpower. Skill-wise he had gained some upgrades here and there, such as his tracking skill and archery skill. Fundamental hunting skills, really.

On the topic of Free Points, since the last time he took a good look, Jake had invested 200 stats in Agility, 200 in Strength, and the rest in Perception, as he still had to put some points in it. Investing in Agility and Strength did not feel super good, but Jake kind of knew it was necessary at this point. Having Strength as his lowest stat wasn’t that bad as it was still high compared to many other humans his level due to all his bonuses and Fangs of the Malefic Viper, but he still felt “weak” against pretty much every foe he faced. That was fine in most cases, as he could beat them with Agility and magic, but he still wanted some more Strength to not bottleneck himself too hard.

Closing his status, Jake flew up into the air again as he looked out over the jungle. He smiled a bit to himself as he continued this hunt.

This time with a focus on stealth.

More accurately, stealth attacks.

A note from Zogarth

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