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A note from Selkie

The second classing up chapter! Enjoy!

This chapter marks the end of what I'm calling "book 1". Soon to be wrapped up and on Amazon, to try and help me get a few extra bucks to keep this writing thing going!

I'd like to thank Jay Raybro, Grinsley, and that-which-shall-hug-you for writing me such wonderful reviews. Thank you!

Right! I got to pick a second class! Which meant more reading time!

“Elaine, you don’t have all day to keep reading. It’s already been hours and hours.” Librarian, knowing what I was thinking either through mind reading or just being me, put a damper on my enthusiasm. Hang on.

“The books you picked earlier. They weren’t just for my fun, were they?” I asked, pieces of the puzzle coming together with a click. I thought I’d seen a theme.

Librarian gave a slow, secret smile. “They were picked for your fun. However, knowing the Celestial class was an option, I might of, oh, selected with an eye towards picking a second class.” Her face went from smiling to frowny, as she picked up a book.

“However, you dumbass! Don’t come in here with level 1 skills!” She said, smacking the book down in front of me.

[Ranger-Mage] started at me balefully. I checked the requirements. Level 10 Ranger Lore was the only thing I was missing. I facepalmed. Yup, I was a dumbass. I’d agree with any insult Librarian threw at me; it was like channeling myself. Gods, talking with her was trippy.

Moving on. I was in a bit of a pickle. Even when I was a kid, I had some idea of what I wanted when I went to class-up. I went in fully expecting to upgrade my Light class, and all of a sudden, I needed to pick a new class. I had some time to think – it wasn’t like I was in a life or death crunch right now – unless we’d gotten attacked and people were desperately waiting for me to wake up? I shook my head at the thought. Sidetracked. That’d be like one of the novels I’d been reading here.

I ignored the fact that all the novels here tried to mimic what my life would be like.

Moving on. One of the big appeals of the Celestial class was that I could pick a second class to cover my weaknesses. Time to do some thinking.

I had Light and Dark healing covered. That naturally covered me for Water as well, since it was mostly weak versions of all healing. Although Water could fix my blood loss problem, and handle dehydration. Too niche to devote an entire class towards. That left Wood, which focused on making medicine. I could pick that, and go deep into healing – basically be triple-classed in it – but who’d buy medicine and potions from me when I could just heal them directly? Well, someone who might need it when I wasn’t around. That wouldn’t be the Rangers though. No, I needed to pick something to cover my weaknesses, ideally while playing to my strengths.

Right now, my obvious weakness were my physical stats. While I was level 128, a level 35 or so fighter could probably just punch me, and I’d be lights out. A 10-year-old with a physical focus was stronger than me. Ideally, I’d get something to help cover that weakness.

At the same time, if I split my second class to purely something physical, I’m not sure it’d work. Jack of all trades, master of none. Maybe I should lean into my magical stats, and pick something that used those stats to help keep me safe.

Like an invisible hand had grabbed my head, I turned and looked at the book Librarian had smacked down in front of me. [Ranger-Mage]. Fuck. That would’ve been perfect, wouldn’t it? A mage-class focused on how Rangers do things?

I took a deep breath in and out, and went to look at what else was being offered. Librarian, through her hinting, was right. I should pick something that I could be taught and mentored in. Picking up something like a Wood-based healer class, when I had no potion or medicine teacher, was asking for disaster. The natural extension of that is I should pick something that I could be taught in, and the question was practically “Who do I want to learn from”, which translated into “Who would I like to be?”

Artemis instantly sprang to mind. I coldly crushed my hero-worship of her deep down, and vowed to give everyone an equal chance, and evaluate them all on their merits.

Origen I quickly looked at, and ditched. Healing was complicated enough, and learning how to inscribe things wouldn’t cover my weaknesses at all, it’d just increase the workload on my plate. Learning how to carve runes seemed like a full-time job in and of itself, and while I was ok not being the best at something, being mediocre at this felt the same as just being bad at it. Moving on.

Arthur’s I eyed, before deciding it met the shortlist criteria. I slowly realized something as I read over the book, thinking about Arthur.

“There was a second class being mentored by him, wasn’t there?” I asked Librarian. She nodded. My sneaking suspicion was rising.

“I’m going to regret this. What was it?” I asked, mentally preparing myself for the blow.

[Cruel Poisoner] was the book she brought out, and I was glad to see the System didn’t feel like I had the right mentality for the class. I met the rest of the requirements though, which just brought a stab of pain through my heart again. Why did I ask? My curiosity in here caused problems.

Still! Sneaky, sneaky wilderness healer! It appealed. Arthur, less so. I kept the Stealth class as an option.

I didn’t have an option from Kallisto. I was too far away from being a tank, and I was still allergic to social skills – something he had in spades. Thinking about it, I should ask him for lessons anyways. I hated how right mom had been. However, that was for another day. Either way, no class from him.

Julius was next, and my love of running shot learning how to be a speedster right to the top of the pile. I eyed the title somewhat warily. Could I be The Flash with this? I wasn’t ready to commit to anything yet, but it went to the top of the pile, along with whatever thinking I did about Artemis.

I decided to take a look at the [Monster Tamer – Small] class. It was solid, but there was so rarely a single, solid companion – more of a steady stream. This wasn’t like Damonus’s class, where he had a mass number of small creatures at his questionable command, but no matter if it was a dinosaur or a cat, the short lifespan of a small creature came back again, and again.

The class would be so much better if I’d taken the Verdant class I’d been offered, and I could heal my animal companion well. At the same time, if I’d taken it, I wouldn’t have the animal companion class as an option to choose from.

My heart had broken, had shattered into a thousand pieces, when I lost Lyra, and the closeness of the bonds required for [Monster Tamer] did mean with the joy of companionship, there’s be the pain of loss.

I couldn’t do it. Not that frequently. Maybe if there was a medium or large Tamer class, or extended lifespan skills. I had more options though.

Maximus was last, and his book was interesting. Flexibility was the name of the game. I wouldn’t want to be the strongest, or the best, at anything, but I would know the whole rock-paper-scissors of weapons, and know what beat what. While I wouldn’t be as good, I’d know how to find and exploit weak points.

I allowed myself to think of Artemis. Magic, magic, and more magic. Blasting magic. Subtle magic. Defensive magic.

I took a huge breath in, and explosively let it out. Damnit. There was no way I was passing up a chance to be a mage, not when my plan A of healing was so good. I could finally arrive at my long-cherished dream of throwing fireballs around.

Hang on, this wasn’t the time to be dreaming, or thinking small.

“Hey Librarian,” I asked. “Is there a mage-class that lets me use fireballs and fly?” Two birds, one stone. Two birds, one stone. She looked at me with a twist of her lips, eyes crinkling up.

“Not that you can take right now. But, if you want to get started on the path…” She trailed off as I nodded my head furiously enough to give myself brain damage if this was the real world.

“Let me get you the starter class.” She said, getting up and vanishing into the stacks.

My heart was racing. Flying! Fireballs! As seconds stretched into minutes, a slightly more rational part of myself took over.

Mages, for the most part, leveled up by killing things. I wasn’t a killer. I’d sworn first, to do no harm. How was I going to level high enough to get to the flying fireball Elaine?

I mercilessly crushed and discarded that part of me. FI-RE-BALL! FI-RE-BALL! I chanted mentally. I knew I wasn't being entirely rational, but it spoke to my heart, sang to every fiber of my being. Even if I just ended up being a one-class girl, the healing class was strong enough to carry me. This fit me like a second skin, this was me. My dream since I was reborn of being able to fling around fireballs was around the corner.

Librarian reappeared with a book.

[Firebug]. Who needed to read class descriptions? Not me! I bounced up to the check-out desk, eager waiting to check the book out. Librarian gave me a long, flat look.

“Read the description at least!” She said.

“But I know I’ll like it. You picked it out.” I protested.

I got a Look back. “Fine, fine.” I held my hands – one still clutching [Firebug] like a holy relic – up in surrender.

[Firebug - Fire] You’ve burned with passion and desire to become a mage, to cast spells and use skills. You’ve demonstrated an affinity for fire, using it, jumping into it, bathing in it. We don’t recommend you keep doing the last one. Now master it. +2 Free Stat, +2 Mana, +1 Mana Regen, +3 Magic Power, +1 Magic Control per level.

Much stronger than when I’d been offered [Apprentice Mage] all those years ago – I guess that’s why it was [Firebug] and not [Apprentice Mage]. Having a bunch of extra stats and accomplishments probably went a long way towards having better initial classes.

I went back to Librarian at the checkout desk, who finally let me check the book out. I gave her a hug, and when I pulled back from it, I noticed something new, something I should’ve seen ages ago.

“Your eyes…” I trailed off. It was like looking into a galaxy, a hundred thousand pinpricks of light on the light blue field of her eyes. It was a thing of beauty. I got a huge grin back.

“My eyes? Your eyes! Like Artemis is bottled lightning, we’re now going to reflect the entire starry night. It marks us as being Celestial-aligned.”

That was so cool. I couldn’t wait to show Artemis.

“By the way, when you wake up,” She started, then leaned towards me, whispering mischief. An evil grin cracked my face.

“Yessssss. Absolutely.” I said.

“Hope to see you soon!” I said, waving my newest class book at her.

“I hope so too.” She said, as the world changed around me.

I came back to the real world, making sure to keep my eyes tightly closed, as I parsed through the dozens of notifications. They’d notice soon enough that I was back, and I only had so much time to do this. Right, first things first, notifications.

They were easy enough to see, even with my eyes closed. I have no idea how that worked.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! You’ve upgraded your first class – [Constellation of the Healer] - Celestial]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! You’ve upgraded your second class – [Firebug] - Fire]

[*Ding!* Your skills [Light Affinity] and [Dark Affinity] have merged into [Celestial Affinity] – 128]

[Celestial Affinity] The astral painting above speaks to you, and with this skill, you can listen all the more. Increased efficiency per level when using Celestial spells.

[*Ding!* Your skill [Calming Aura] has partially merged with [Healing Aura] to make [Warmth of the Sun] – 105]

[Warmth of the Sun] You’re warm like the sun, and all who are near you feel the calm, warm, healing embrace. Increased control, radius, and strength per level.

[*Ding!* Your skill [Calming Aura] has partially merged with [Centered Mind] and [Deaden Pain] to make [Center of the Galaxy] – 101]

[Center of the Galaxy] You believe that everything in the galaxy revolves around you. Only something of galaxy-shaking proportions can break your focus and resolve now. Increased mental stability, ability to ignore pain and other emotions per level.

[*Ding!* Your skills [Detailed Restoration], [Attack Bacteria], [Parasitic Remover], [Cure Toxin], and [Tissue Removal] have merged into [Phases of the Moon] – 68]

[Phases of the Moon] As the moon waxes and wanes, so can you have your patient’s bodies wane out problems and imperfections, and wax back to full health. Increased efficiency per level.

[*Ding!* Your skill [Flashlight] has partially merged with [Privacy] to make [Veil of the Aurora] - 64]

[Veil of the Aurora] As the Aurora hides the night sky, and shows the protection we have, so will the Veil hide and protect you and your patients. Increased protection, efficiency, and control per level.

[*Ding!* Would you like to evolve your skill [Flashlight] into [Eyes of the Milky Way] - 88? Y/N]

[Eyes of the Milky Way] Your eyes sparkle like the jug of milk tipped over by the gods, crossing the sky. With this skill, you can see the world clearly when the stars are shining. Increased vision clarity and range per level.

[*Ding!* Your skill [Deaden Pain] has evolved into [Vastness of the Stars] - 70]

[Vastness of the Stars] We are all just stardust, and it can make our pain seem so small, so insignificant, in comparison. Fades pain and mental anguish away. Increased potency and control per level.

[*Error* You have lost the skills [Greater Invigorate] and [Surgeon’s Scalpel].]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! You’ve upgraded your second class – [Firebug] - Fire]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Class Skill [Fire Affinity]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Class Skill [Fire Resistance]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Class Skill [Fire Conjuration]!]

[*Ding!* You’ve unlocked the Class Skill [Flame Manipulation]!]

That was a ton to read and process. For some reason, losing the two skills didn’t cause the usual pain and nausea – a freebie from the System for losing them to an upgrade, and not my own choice.

Losing [Greater Invigorate] hurt, but [Surgeon’s Scalpel] not so much. I just wasn’t using it nearly as much as I’d been using [Greater Invigorate], but night watch would suck a lot more without it. And waking up in the morning. And… ok, this might be a bit of a pain.

[Flashlight]’s upgrade was next to look at. Everything else had been a straight-up replacement, but this was giving me a choice, offering me options. I looked at it carefully. It seemed to be a perception skill, that let me see in the dark.

No, not in the dark. It let me see when “The stars were shining.” My immediate guess would be outside, at night, when I could see a star, or the stars could see me. Interesting. I could see why it was an optional upgrade, instead of “here you go.” No more indoor flashlights. No more light for others to see by. In exchange, I’d be able to see others, without them seeing me.

Also, I had some experience from my [Student] class evolving into [Shadow Healer] – losing my Light affinity meant [Flashlight] would be much weaker, while my new Celestial-affinity would boost [Eyes].

I decided to take it.

“Elaine? Elaine, are you back?” Artemis asked. Eyes still closed – I didn’t want to give up the game – I quickly processed through the rest of my skills.

I’d been lying down the entire time, and I somehow sensed people crowding around me, wondering why I hadn’t moved yet, in spite of my class change being done. This was it. This was the moment I was waiting for.

I lifted my hand up, a single finger pointing to the sky, and focused on my new Fire skills. Thank goodness skills came with some basic knowledge of how to use and activate them, and with that, I conjured up a small flame onto the tip of my finger.

The reaction was priceless.

“Why do you have fire!?!?!”

 

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 14]

[Mana: 2500/2500]

[Mana Regen: 5069]

Stats

[Free Stats: 0]

[Strength: 19]

[Dexterity: 23]

[Vitality: 41]

[Speed: 32]

[Mana: 250]

[Mana Regeneration: 700]

[Magic Power: 250]

[Magic Control: 775]

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 128]]

[Celestial Affinity: 128]

[Warmth of the Sun: 105]

[Medicine: 111]

[Center of the Galaxy: 101]

[Phases of the Moon: 68]

[Eyes of the Milky Way: 88]

[Veil of the Aurora: 64]

[Vastness of the Stars: 70]

[Class 2: [Firebug - Fire: Lv 8]]

[Fire Affinity: 1]

[Fire Resistance: 1]

[Fire Conjuration: 1]

[Fire Manipulation: 1]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Identify: 71]

[Recollection of a Distant Life: 72]

[Pretty: 96]

[Vigilant: 104]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 105]

[Ranger's Lore: 1]

[Running: 70]

[Learning: 100]

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A note from Selkie

The end of book 1! Elaine's a Ranger, and has achieved her long-cherised dream of becoming a mage. She's recognizing right now that it's going to be hard mode for her.

 

I know I'm going to get some grief, so meta-reasoning in spoilers:

There's only so much I can write with a pure healer. I have a half-dozen "healing-based" conflicts, but there's only so many types of conflicts a pure healer can get involved in. Additionally, Elaine needs to eventually become independent enough to solve some of her own problems.

Elaine tried - she really did - to give the other classes a fair shot. When all's said and done, Artemis is her heroine. She wants to be Artemis, and this class is giving her a shot at it, with a twist - instead of Earth, it's Fire. 

Trending! Trending good. I'm going to post extra chapters over the weekend while I'm on trending, hurray!

However, this means my plugs are going to be extra-shameless.

If you could give me an advanced review, that'd be great. They're weighted more heavily than anything else, and I've been looking carefully at trending - it's clear that the rating the novel has is super important. Hence, advanced reviews help me go up in the trending list. They help more people see it, which gets more people rating and following it, which has a synergistic effect that hopefully turns into a runaway effect, which gets enough people interested that I get to do this full-time. Seriously, it matters, and it helps.

BTDEM is bog standard in many ways. However, I'm willing to do things that turn some readers off - and so far, more of my reviews have been from people that I make mad more than people who are happy. Just how the internet works. I'm hoping some of you that are enjoying things are willing to leave reviews or advanced reviews. They matter. You matter.

Help keep BTDEM going - it's as simple as rating, as easy as reviewing.

Or you can help pay my rent, which is a MUCH more direct way of keeping things going! It's the start of the month after all, max Patreon benefits!

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!

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