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A note from Selkie

Alright, alright, enough with the cliffhanger, here's the next chapter!

I might do one more for the day - I intended to spread them out a bit more, but it's so much fun finally posting these!

 

Also having terrible writer's block. Must get words done

I yawned, tried to stretch, was caught in a massive blanket for some reason, and tumbled off the recliner. My head turned into a sharp star of pain as it decided to land first – ouch. Why was I wrapped up in a blanket? Why was I sleeping on the recliner? Why – my system was unlocked! A massive slew of notifications demanded my attention, and I greedily read them all.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! You’ve survived your early years, and the system is now fully unlocked for you!]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! You’ve earned your first class – [Child of Earth] - Wood]

[Child of Earth] – A starter class for a girl from Earth. +3 free stat points per level.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Child of Earth] has leveled up to level 2! +3 free stat points from your class, +1 free stat point for being human, +1 Magic Control from your element]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Child of Earth] has leveled up to level 3! +3 free stat points from your class, +1 free stat point for being human, +1 Magic Control from your element]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Child of Earth] has leveled up to level 4! +3 free stat points from your class, +1 free stat point for being human, +1 Magic Control from your element]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Child of Earth] has leveled up to level 5! +3 free stat points from your class, +1 free stat point for being human, +1 Magic Control from your element]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Child of Earth] has leveled up to level 6! +3 free stat points from your class, +1 free stat point for being human, +1 Magic Control from your element]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Child of Earth] has leveled up to level 7! +3 free stat points from your class, +1 free stat point for being human, +1 Magic Control from your element]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Child of Earth] has leveled up to level 8! +3 free stat points from your class, +1 free stat point for being human, +1 Magic Control from your element]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! You can now advance your class!]

[*Ding!* WARNING: Once you start advancing your class, you must pick an advancement.]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Prayer]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Observe]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Identify]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Meditate]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Acting]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Walking]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Running]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Climbing]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Gymnastics]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Throwing]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Skipping]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Hopping]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Jumping]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Cooking]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Baking]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Spotting]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Fumigation]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Knives]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Fires]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Laundry]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Food Prep]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Sweeping]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Cleaning]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Tidying]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Sewing]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Knitting]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Examine Patient]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Clean Wounds]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Bandaging]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [First Aid]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Anatomy]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Teach Children]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Volleyball]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Passive skill [Vigilant]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Passive skill [Adaptable]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Passive skill [Active]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Passive skill [Learning]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Passive skill [Calm]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Passive skill [Daring]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Passive skill [Adventurous]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Passive skill [Pretty]!]

Skills, skills, skills! Some general, some passive. I wasn’t quite sure what the difference between them was, although I could guess based on the name. I read the details of every single skill, eager to know what they all did.

However, it hadn’t really occurred to me until now that there was a LIMIT on how many skills I could have. Dinodung.

[General skills]

[Skill Slot 1: Open]

[Skill Slot 2: Open]

[Skill Slot 3: Open]

[Skill Slot 4: Open]

[Skill Slot 5: Open]

[Skill Slot 6: Open]

[Skill Slot 7: Open]

[Skill Slot 8: Open]

I wanted them all, but it looked like I needed to make some hard choices. Before I could really start examining all of my skills to see exactly what they did, mom and dad wandered over.

“Ahha! I knew I heard the sounds of a sneaky thief falling into a blanket trap!” dad announced teasingly. Picking me up, spinning me about, he declared “Gotcha!”

“Ok, ok” mom said, ever the serious one. “Put Elaine down so she can tell us what she got.”

I settled in as mom got us all breakfast, and started to share all of the skills I had gotten. I was surprised at the end that mom was frowning.

“You didn’t get a single social skill? No [Bartering], no [Chatting], no [Charming], not even [Gossip] or anything similar? Are you sure Elaine? I know you’re not a big fan of playing with the other kids, but you shouldn’t hide skills from us. You were playing with Lyra just the other day, you went bartering with dad, you should’ve SOMETHING.”

I continued to get the stink-eye as I insisted I didn’t have any of those skills.

“Alright Elaine, why don’t you go down to the river and do some laundry while dad and I talk? Please don’t allocate any of your points while you’re at it.”

I could tell when I was being given busy-work to keep me out of their hair, but I did want to get Lyra’s tunic clean for her. And I could finally walk outside of the grey zone by myself! Feeling Very Important as I walked down the white zone, I almost missed the cry of “out of the way”. I froze for a moment, then realized they were probably yelling at me! Without looking I threw myself into the grey zone, only to see a wagon going full speed in the light early morning traffic. Everyone involved preferred that Elaine-flavored tomato paste did NOT end up all over the road.

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the General skill [Dodging]!]

[Dodging: With quick reflexes you’ve dodged death or dismemberment. This skill will help you do that again. Increased reflexes, speed, and perception per level when dodging]

Well, sure, I guess. Near-death experience, new skill. I wasn’t complaining about getting the skill, but the DAMN LUNATICS DRIVING IN THE ROAD NEEDED TO PAY ATTENTION. Traffic. Couldn’t get rid of it even through space and time. I suspect if I had gotten hit, I would have been doing a lot more than complaining. The rest of the trip and the wash was uneventful, and I got to happily share with the other women at the communal laundry that today was THE day I unlocked, and I was working on figuring out what skills to pick. Naturally, everyone washing clothes at the river had inputs. Some of the ladies had nice Aura skills that helped people be calm and happy, or did something else nice. Usually they formed the center of a cluster, and today I got a minor experience of what that was like as everyone wanted to give me their advice. It was nice, but I could see it getting old.

“Get [Knitting]! Great for making your own clothes, can’t be beat!”

“You simply MUST try to get [Bartering]! Merchants will fleece you otherwise poor dear.”

“Oooh, [Pretty] is a great passive! Lots of fun” one of the prettier ladies advised me.

[Teach Children]!”

[Running]!” “No [Walking]!” “[Running]!” “[Walking]!” Two ladies did their best impression of ‘Duck Season/Rabbit Season’ as they argued the merits of running vs walking. I missed Looney Tunes.

It was nice having everyone fuss over me and to chat with everyone, but the morning was hot, and soon enough the clothes I brought were dry. Everyone having an opinion and telling me what to take was draining as well – I was overwhelmed, and they weren’t helping. I took them off of the communal drying line, and headed back home, blessedly uneventfully.

I made it home, to find mom and dad waiting for me. They clearly had figured out what skills and stats I was going to get. I tensed, waiting for their verdict, the grand parental judgement to be handed down. On one hand, I wanted to be my own person, I wanted to make my own choices. On the other, they had a pretty good idea of what skills were good, and what skills were suboptimal. Listening to them, following what they said, had a solid chance of helping me out down the line.

“Elaine. We’ve decided. The two of us together are picking a skill for you to have, then we’re each picking out two skills we think you should have. That’ll give you three skills for you to pick yourself! Ok?”

That… didn’t sound awful. I was cautious though. I wasn’t going to surrender without a fight.

“Maybe… what skills are you picking?”

“Elaine.” Dad’s face looked like a thunderstorm. Uh oh, I’ve stepped in it now. “This isn’t really a negotiation. We could pick out all eight skills for you if you’d prefer.”

Despots! Tyrants! This was a democracy, not a dictatorship!

Hang on, was it? There was no schooling, no civics lessons, and it had never come up. I had assumed we were living with a king, etc., but I had never learned the word for king, and there seemed to be a complete dearth of nobles. I filed the thought away for another time.

“Fine, fine. What skills am I getting?” I asked, throwing my hands up in surrender.

“Well, we’ve both decided that you need [Identify]. Almost everyone has it. It’ll help you figure out how good someone is, pick the right shopkeeper, and help you avoid danger.”

I focused, and found [Identify] in my menus.

[Identify: You’ve looked around the world, and you want to know more. This skill will help you grasp basic information and identities from people and creatures around you. Increased range per level. Current range: .5 Meters]

This… didn’t seem to be the worst skill to get. Not sure why it was displayed in metric, ‘meters’ weren’t a thing here, but there was no telling with all-powerful magical systems. Ok, let’s do it.

“I pick identify!” I proudly announced. Dad’s thundercloud face suddenly became a poker face. Mom shouldn’t play poker, as she fell off the chair laughing. Nothing else happened, as mom’s gasping, wailing laughs filled the home. Well, nothing else except my face turning beet red, and a strong desire to mimic an ostrich filled me. “Well, how do you get a skill then?” I asked with not a small amount of anger. Tell me these things damnit!

Dad, slowly, word by word, with great restraint, trying to avoid making me feel any worse: “Just focus on the skill, and focus on selecting it. If you ever need to replace a skill, focus on the skill you’re replacing at the same time.”

Seemed easy enough. I closed my eyes, and focused on [Identify].

[*Ding!* Congratulations! You’ve learned [Identify] – level 1!]

Humiliation from earlier fresh in my mind, I decided I’d look before I leapt, and ask how to do things before trying.

“How do I use [Identify]?”

“Look at me, then focus on using [Identify]. It’ll take some practice at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.”

I looked at dad, and followed his directions. My mana dipped one point. A SKILL! MAGIC! Huzzah!

[Warrior]

 

Well, that wasn’t all that useful. I guess it was because I was so low-level. Or that the skill was low-level. Just telling me he was a warrior didn’t do all that much. I thought he was a guard? Shouldn’t I be getting useful information? And why was it pink?

“Why am I getting a pink warrior back dad? You’re a guard, right?”

Dad looked like he ate a surprise lemon. “Light red dear, I’m light red. Everyone starts off white. As you level up, you get redder and redder! They say the strongest humans are a bright, vivid red! Scary! If you see a [Warrior] that’s very red, you know they’re dangerous. If they’re white, you know they’re low-level. To help you get an idea, my highest class is level 183 – [Stout Guard]. Please don’t tell other people what my class is. Generally, it’s kept a secret. Alright, walk over to the door, then try to [Identify] mom.”

I did exactly what he said, but nothing happened. I looked over puzzled.

“Remember how it told you the range was 1 Ra? That’s how we defined how much a Ra was! **”

That wasn’t at all what I had, but along with [Child of Earth], which my parents hadn’t asked about yet, it seemed like there was a strong influence on how my system was displaying for me vs everyone else. Stay calm, stay undercover, genie stays in the bottle. I should really consider taking that [Acting] skill. A shame there wasn’t a [Deception] skill, but that was probably a social skill, and I seemed to be allergic to those. So, I nodded, doing my best impression of a worldly sage. I got more strange looks, but I doubted they would investigate more.

“Good! Come closer, and try again!”

 

[Laborer]

was mom’s result.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Identify] has reached level 2!]

I leveled up! “Hurray! Leveled up! If levels are this easy, I’m going to get level 200 in [Identify] by lunch!”

Mom and dad laughed a pure, tinkling laugh. “The first levels are easy; the later levels are hard. You’re also capped by your highest class’s level. You got [Child of Remus] right? What level?”

I froze in the spotlight, guilt written large on my face. They noticed my discomfort, given that my poker face was basically a freshly-cleaned, well-polished window, and got excited.

“Ooooh! Did you get [Child of Pallos]?” Mom swooped in and hugged me.

More frozen face. Think. THINK! I was so petrified; I couldn’t think. Confused looks on my parent’s face – what else was there beside [Child of Pallos] and [Child of Remus]? Time to come clean I guess, and see what the fallout was.

“I got… [Child of Earth]” I winced, waiting for the inevitable incrimination, the temple vivisectionists coming to get me.

“Oh my! You’re beloved by the earth element! That’s wonderful!” Dad picked me up and twirled me around. “You’ve GOT to get an Earth class next! I assume [Child of Earth] is earth-aligned? It must be.”

Earth. Earth. By the sweet spines of Etalix, I WAS SAVED! Saved by the overlap on words! Saved by a complete lack of imagination from whoever named planet Earth! I wasn’t going to correct dad on this, I nodded furiously. “For some reason, it’s a Wood affinity though. But three free stats a level!” I hastily added in, hoping to distract from the wood part.

“Fantastic! Wonderful! What level did you get? Early levels are all so white, it’s really hard to tell individual levels apart.”

“Level 8! Right to the top!”

“Whoa Elaine, careful! Don’t class up before getting your general skills and training them a bit! You get better classes with better skills! On that note, I’d like you to get [Knives] and [Cleaning].” Bleh. Cleaning. I was hoping to avoid that. Although – I had so many chore-related skills, maybe I’d be allowed this as a catch-all. I decided to take a look at the skills I was being asked to take.

[Knives – You have a floundering love of knives. This skill will make it a little easier to wield knives. Increased proficiency and handling per level. Mana Regen -2 when using a knife.]

[Cleaning – You’ve been reluctantly gang-pressed into cleaning everything around you, and have achieved a small mastery of it. Increased ability to spot messes and clean them up per level. Mana Regen -4 when in-use]

Ah well. I focused on the skills, and was rewarded with seeing them slot into my general skills. Three down, two I didn’t mind.

“Ok Elainus, now shoo. We need to have some girl talk” mom shooed dad out the door.

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A note from Selkie

Some important-ish notes:

1) The background on the Identify is meaningless - low levels are so close to white it's hard to distinguish them. The colors do have some meaning - the darker the color, the higher the level in general.

2) If you're colorblind, and struggling with the colors, please let me know - I'll get you the exact shades and notes if you want them. Being able to see the colors isn't mandatory or required to enjoy things, but I'm all for being accessible. 

3) Things don't copy-paste from word over nicely. I'm going to die on chapter 17...

4) Just last chapter I was talking about a limited amount of made-up stuff. Ra is one that's being made up, and never showing up again. Ra is showing up once, and that's basically it. The existence of a different unit of measurement is what's important here, not what it actually is. It *might* get re-used in the future as a minor plot point, but you can safely forget about it.

Thinking about it, typing that all out, makes me think if I should've even had it in the first place, or if I should just edit it all out... ah well, enjoy the chapter!

 

The plugs!

 

Right now I'm writing this for the warm fuzzy feelings I get. Following, rating, commenting, liking, and chatting in discord all give me warm fuzzy feelings! If you're a free reader, consider doing one of those. After all, that drives the book up, and might just be what tips it over so someone who reads it wants to be a not-free reader. Hurray!

Discord for chatting: https://discord.gg/GStatMC

Now, if you'd like to help me pay my rent, you can! With 10 advanced chapters, bonus chapters, bonus worldbuilding content, discord roles, and more!

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/SelkieMyth

Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/selkiemyth

If nothing else, thank you for reading my shameless plugs!

 


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Selkie

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