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A note from Selkie

A quick heads up - these chapters upcoming were basically "peak burnout" as I half-killed myself on all those epic chapters earlier. They're sadly not my best writing, and I recognized that, and took a break as a result. It's only a few chapters, and hey - if you go to Patreon, it's back to high quality stuff!

 

On another note, book 3 is almost ready for pre-order on Amazon! They don't exactly make it easy or obvious t times what needs to be done.

Whoops: This is the chapter where I noticed Elaine's stats had a bug, and I fixed them to be correct

I woke up, and practically sprang out of bed. Not because of a plague, not because of doing something as a Sentinel for the first time, not because of the adventure.

Because it’d get me out of a fancy social thing.

Socializing. Putting on a fake smile and dealing with people all day. Well, if it was people I knew and liked, that’d be one thing. A bunch of random strangers, most of who were probably dicks? Meh. Pass.

I mentally got my arguments together, and was seated in the living room as Night showed up.

“Dawn. Excellent punctuality.” Night said, sitting down. I had the sense that he’d always do the same thing every time, like he’d perfected a routine centuries ago.

“Julius is getting instruction later, and I hope for you to formally meet with Command once he’s settled in. That’s all I have.” Night said.

He’d been around the block a few thousand times, and could see I was brimming with the urge to talk.

“Do you have something Dawn?” He asked, politely and formally.

“Yes! So I went to visit my friend Markus – the Pyronox dude from Perinthus, bunch of apprentices, decent-ish dude but a bit of a prick at times – anyways, I wanted to see if he knew where Caecilius was, the [Plague Healer], anyways, long story short, apparently there’s a little tiny plague in Deva, and I was thinking that it’d just be absolutely perfect for me getting my feet wet as a Sentinel to go over and see what I can do, like a trial run, shake down all my stuff before something really bad comes up and my clinic isn’t even fully ready to go yet and...” I trailed off, having nothing more to say.

Night just raised an eyebrow at me.

“Sure this is not some ploy to get out of social engagements?”

With a completely straight face – I don’t know how I managed that – “It totally is. But the cause, and purpose, and arguments behind it are genuine.”

Night just laughed at me. Man, he had to be really easily amused to still laugh at dumb stuff like that. Gotta find amusement where you can, I guess.

“Your points are persuasive. I am also not in the habit of dictating what you can and can not do. I agree an initial run to get used to your gear and equipment could be good.”

He spent some time thinking.

“When the second Ranger team leaves Deva, I expect you to leave one way or another. We can not have a Sentinel tied down in a single location for that long, potentially away from more catastrophic events that may come up.”

I saluted, indicating my understanding.

“Good. Yes, this will be an excellent chance for you to shake down your knowledge and understanding, and given that a Ranger team is headed your way – a week or so from now, and they must take the standard method of travel, instead of the more rapid method that Ocean is likely to employ – you shall have some form of backup should things start to go poorly.”

Well, that was a real ringing endorsement.

“Now. You should prepare your gear, visit the quartermaster for supplies, and make any other arrangements you see fit before you leave. Perhaps a message to your friends, or leave a message here. We have a [Clerk] who helps manage that. I shall find Ocean – he will enjoy the excuse for a trip.”

“Additionally, this has let me finalize the thoughts I had on your last general skill. Social skills are not your thing, correct?”

I nodded.

“I’ve never even been offered one.”

“Most unusual, but not unheard of. Well then. I believe you should attempt to gain the skill [Persistent Casting]. It allows you to use skills while you sleep, as the name suggests. Being able to sleep under your [Veil of the Aurora] could offer you some additional shelter and protection when traveling. Additionally, you can keep your auras running, and, maybe – I am unsure on this point – keep your healing going, to immediately begin to repair damage if you should be attacked in a manner that immediately breaks your [Veil] while you slumber.”

“How do I get the skill?”

“Simply try to keep a skill running as you go to sleep. If this is troublesome, you can also try a sleeping potion, which makes the sleep portion simple.”

Dangerous things, sleeping potions. It was easy to get addicted to them – not, like, craving them, but the human body just stopped producing the whatever-it-is that helps people sleep, making one more and more reliant on them. I’d consider it.

Not having this defense could be even more dangerous.

And it wasn’t like it was just having a shield up. No, it was having a shield up, and a number of anti-detection things going on as well, like – nobody could see it was me curled up sleeping, nothing could smell me, skills couldn’t be cast on me directly, and more! I had full faith in my wilderness survival, but this would just help more.

I’d seen a few other trainees with similar skills, and I was pretty sure Markus had the skill – that’s how he kept the Pyronox gates up permanently.

Right! New skill!

While I’d gotten almost no chances to think about it, I did still harbor some vague dream of having an animal companion of some sort, and I knew that’d take a general skill slot when it happened. Hmmmm. Was it worth working on a skill for it ahead of time?

Eh. Gotta stay alive first. I’d take [Persistent Casting], and evaluate my options if I ever ended up with a potential animal companion.

Not a plant though. Not after seeing the poor Trainee with the wheelbarrowed plant.

Not a mineral either. Did those even exist?!

Still, I was a Sentinel now, and part of that was insane resources at my disposal. I should find Hunting, and have a long, long discussion with him about it. He’d know all the tips and tricks, he’d be able to guide me and give me good advice. I could use a guardian, now that I was mainly operating solo, and a companion seemed to be just the ticket.

Thoughts for another day.

What did I need for this trip?

Well, my standard bag of tricks, which was now a massive standard bag of tricks.

I’d have to see what the Quartermaster provided me. I assumed a travel kit of some sort, a bedroll, although a tent was questionable, given that I should have skills to help with that.

Yeah, ok, first stop was the Quartermaster, and I’d go from there.

After a trip through HQ – I was starting to get the hang of the layout of the place, not just the easy stuff – I was at the Quartermaster’s place.

“What do you need?” One of his helpers asked me.

“Going on a mission! Need supplies.”

I got a flat look from him. Yikes, being a Sentinel carried absolutely no weight here did it?

“What type?”

“Well, I’m not quite sure. Traveling to a town, handling a problem there, heading back.”

“Right, a civilization pack. Although – is the town going to be mostly standing when you get there?”

Mmm. Yes, that would be a standard question for Sentinels wouldn’t it?

“Should be. Relatively minor problem.”

Muttering “I’ve heard that one before.” the helper vanished into the back room.

“Shit. I jinxed it didn’t I?”

Wood, wood, I needed to knock on some wood…

Twenty minutes later or so, he showed back up with a pack.

“You’ve got some standard traveling supplies – bedroll, pillow, tinder, axe…” He went on for some time, detailing every single piece of equipment I was being given.

“Now, we went light on the supplies…” He said. Light. Ha! More supplies than we were given most of the time as Trainees. I suppose that was kinda the point though – we needed to know how to survive on the bare basics. I was being given a lot more than the bare basics, but only what could fit in a large backpack.

Wait. Shit. My plan.

“…but mostly we’ve made sure that you have a sizeable stash of coins, to be able to buy what you need. You can naturally requisition stuff in an emergency, but please don’t.”

I looked at the “standard backpack”, sized for someone at least a foot taller than me. I thought about my half-baked plan of using a metric ton of Arcanite to solve the problem.

Welp. That wasn’t going to happen.

“Any chances that I could get a pouch of Arcanite?” I asked. I might as well get some extra, and saddle myself like a beast of burden.

I really needed an animal companion, if only to pull a Hunting and strap a million bags and saddles to it.

Dude pursed his lips at me.

“Let me see what I can do.”

“Or three pouches!” I called after him.

Welp. Let’s see where this went.

He came back with two large pouches.

“Fully charged. They’re counted. Bring them back.” He said.

“What do I look like, Acquisition?” I shot back.

“I dunno. For all I know, you are Acquisition, on your latest prank. Framing the new Sentinel would be exactly your thing…” He said, looking at me suspiciously.

“Oh. Good to know.” I faintly said.

Maybe I should leave something shiny in my room, something I didn’t care about, well-hidden with a note saying “you found it! Now leave the rest of my stuff alone!”

Right. I was fairly well equipped, and unlike my first, disastrous camping trip, I was trained and ready for this. I could do this.

Plus, I had a speedy ticket there. It was only on the way back where I might need to do more than just hang on.

I’d plan for getting back later, another day. For now, I needed to focus on getting all my stuff done.

I asked around and got directions to our own little courier outfit. Between the Rangers hanging out, Command needing to talk with everyone, all the logistics people, and of course, the Sentinels, we had our own little runner’s outpost, where we could write and drop off messages. Convenient! It was slower than other places – from what I’d gathered, we had two couriers. One was practically a half-Sentinel, one of the best of the best, designated as support instead of a Sentinel – in other words, the [Courier] equivalent of what I’d almost become. He got most of the support that Sentinels got, along with equivalent pay, and most of the benefits. Just not the clout or visibility.

His entire job was to be on-deck constantly, able to sprint priority messages from A to B.

Then there was a second [Courier], or two – it was never clear – who handled the more mundane messages. Came in, grabbed the latest mail, vanished to deliver it. Rinse and repeat. It’d take some time to get stuff delivered as a result – there was usually a queue ahead of your letter, but it was cheap! Free, even.

I wrote a series of letters out, quickly detailing what was going on and where I was going.

Artemis,

Heya! Missed you when I tried to find you.

Heading off to Deva. Small plague, no big deal. Swing by some time when I’m back!

Pass my second letter off to mom and dad for me?

Cheers,

Elaine.

Mom! Dad!

Haven’t been able to find you. Miss you. Hope we could hang out more.

Although I hear you’re moving to the capital! Hurray! We can spend a ton of time together!

Long story short, Night’s offered to give you a very nice house. Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything too weird to get it.

Love

Elaine

Albina

Heya!

Something’s come up, and I gotta run. Sorry, I have to cancel our appointment. I’ll send a letter once I’m back.

Cheers!

Elaine – Dawn

Markus,

Heading off to Deva, going to give Caecilius a hand.

Would love to chat more with you – and other healers! When I get back.

Any chance you could help arrange something?

Cheers,

Elaine

I think those were all the letters I needed. I looked at the pile.

Fuck me, I only had four people in the world I wanted to send letters to? Two of them were more business than pleasure?

My mind flashed to Lyra. Goddesses, I still missed her. Time was supposed to heal all wounds. Well, it wasn’t fresh and raw, but it still hurt.

I checked over my stuff again. Yeah, I was all set. Bless the Quartermaster and how thorough he was. I checked my armor. It was perfect, fitting to me like a glove. Good thing, I’d probably be living in it again. I wasn’t going to trust a medium-sized villa’s worth of armor to the average bathhouse’s security and general trust.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Sentinel’s Superiority] has reached level 196!]

Potions were set. Gemstones were all charged. Arcanite was glowing from all my stones.

Eh. It was getting late, I didn’t have much else to do. I was going to stop by That Room, and pay remembrance to Origen, then swing by the temple and send some prayers. One to Etalix. One to Lyra. Some to the goddesses of the moon. Maybe one to Papilion, if I was feeling generous.

Maybe I’d get a miracle one day.

 

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 18]

[Mana: 49440/49440]

[Mana Regen: 40176 (+3075.6)]

Stats

[Free Stats: 7]

[Strength: 236]

[Dexterity: 203]

[Vitality: 560]

[Speed: 480]

[Mana: 4944]

[Mana Regeneration: 4660 (+1314.12)]

[Magic Power: 4312 (+44198)]

[Magic Control: 4312 (+44198)]

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 241]]

[Celestial Affinity: 241]

[Warmth of the sun: 198]

[Medicine: 204]

[Center of the Galaxy: 235]

[Phases of the Moon: 241]

[Moonlight: 241]

[Veil of the Aurora: 212]

[Vastness of the Stars: 139]

[Class 2: [Ranger-Mage - Radiance: Lv 180]]

[Radiance Affinity: 180]

[Radiance Resistance: 180]

[Radiance Conjuration: 180]

[Radiance Manipulation: 180]

[Sun-Kissed: 141]

[Blaze: 180]

[Talaria: 161]

[Nova: 180]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Identify: 136]

[Recollection of a Distant Life: 159]

[Pretty: 135]

[Bullet Time: 189]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 205]

[Sentinel's Superiority: 196]

[: ]

[Learning: 241]



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A note from Selkie

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.


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! Sign up for Patreon! Buy a book!

PS: Signing up for Patreon gets access to all book ePubs.

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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I'm on top web fiction! Vote here! Elaine will share a mango with you if you vote!


 

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Selkie

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