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A note from Selkie

Reminder - Last chapter I fixed a bug in my excel spreadsheet on Elaine's stats. Hence the drop.

Also, I recently found a second bug when it comes to her mana regen boost from sun-kissed. 

I woke up in the morning to a lovely notification.

[*ding!* Congratulations! You’ve unlocked the General Skill [Persistent Casting]!]

Persistent Casting: Alright, alright, fine, you can keep active skills running in the background, even when you’re not focusing on them. Mana drain per active skill persistently cast. Decreased mana drain per level per skill. Max two skills cast at once.

Well, this looked like both a useful skill, and one that would be obnoxious to grind up. Nothing for it, I guess.

Had to spend a moment processing how it worked though – the wording was confusing. I got it after a moment.

It cost me mana, above and beyond the skill, to have a skill under [Persistent Casting]. However, as I leveled the skill up, it took less mana.

I also bet the skill would evolve, and let me [Persistent Casting] more skills at once as it got higher leveled. Just made sense to me.

I threw up a [Veil] around me, then focused on letting [Persistent Casting] ‘take over’ managing it, feeling the mental load just vanish.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Persistent Casting] has reached level 2!]

 

To do: Test if I could feel it shattering.

To do: Test if I’d wake up from it breaking. No sense if having a defense if it didn’t alert me.

Mmmm. Which reminded me.

To do: Test if [Bullet Time] would activate from a deadly attack from outside [Veil].

Then again, with the strong privacy aspects, would I even detect it? Ugh. Be bad to only know about a bad attack once it was through [Veil].

The natural result – [Veil] should be as large as possible if it was the case that [Bullet Time] didn’t activate.

Stuff to test another day.

I healed myself with [Phases of the Moon], idly noticing a few points vanishing, before coming back. Natural decay, some minor illness, or what? I then got a full-body [Phases of the Moon] ready and primed, constantly going off.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Persistent Casting] has reached level 3!]

I wasn’t even going to dare to think I was invincible – but any blow I took would get healed as soon as I took it, as long as I had mana. I hadn’t really thought about it when Night was suggesting it, but as I got it ready and set, it started to dawn on me that it could be used that way.

On the flipside, someone sticking a knife in me and keeping it in me might drain my mana at an atrocious rate. Like, with my [Oath]-boosted power, it could almost zero me out in seconds. Trade-offs.

I finished washing up and getting ready – damnit, I was already getting soft, I was going to miss my morning bath. It was still early, so I decided to triple-check all my equipment. Backpack, ready. I’d taken everything out of it, checked each piece of equipment and gear over, checking for defects, seeing how it was all put together, figuring out, most critically, what wasn’t there, then re-packing it all.

I also had a solid grasp of how many coins I was bringing along, on top of my normal ‘fun spending money’ mango budget in my personal coin pouch.

Armor – oiled and ready, every gem shining with a properly imbued skill. I would’ve liked some time to practice using the utility gems, but there was the combination of not having enough time, and each use being obnoxious to recharge. One use, then it was off to a long, winding adventure with the gemstones dude to get a new one slotted into my armor. You’d think they’d have a number of practice gems around or something. Ah well.

The shield one was the only one I suspected I might need to grab in an emergency, but I’d try to remember the rest.

I had a bad feeling that I’d forget about them at some critical point when they could bail me out. Maybe I should make a habit of reviewing them every day, so I’d remember them when they came up.

Weapons – interestingly enough, no spear. I was operating solo, in a mostly non-combat manner. By the same token, my shield was a much smaller thing that I was used to, no longer one of the massive tower shields that we used to interlock with each other. Another concession to me wanting to move fast, avoid combat, and if I was in combat these days – flying was a much better defense than blocking stuff.

My ability and time to fly was directly related to my weight. I’d taken the effort to sit down and calculate it out. My mana regeneration was, in sunlight – the only time I could fly was when [Sun-kissed] was helping me out – roughly 12 mana/second regenerated.

With no equipment on, I spent roughly 21 mana/second flying, spending 9 mana/second in total. Fully geared up, I was at 34 mana/second, burning 22 mana/second total – more than twice the burn rate. With my current mana pool, I could go well over an hour with no gear, and a measly half an hour geared up.

Roughly. Good timekeeping was hard here. Sure, there were sundials, but they weren’t the best. Also, when I flew geared up, it was unlikely I was just flying, and not fighting for my life. Which turned my fly time from half an hour to practically nothing. Depending on my mana consumption on the rest of my skills.

And this was before I pushed [Talaria] to make me go faster, instead of just hovering there or casually walking.

Blah. Mathing it all out somehow took some of the magic out of it. Moving on.

Potions were all set, in an easy to access satchel on my belt. The Arcanite was similarly attached to my belt, and I’d taken the time to attune it all to me, letting me grab more mana with a breath. Same with the armor.

Which also screwed with the flying math. Whatever.

I left my suite, fully geared up, and waited for Night.

Who showed up in short order, Ocean popping in a few minutes later, in a simple tunic.

“Dawn. Ocean. Excellent.” Night started. “No new emergency or call has come in. Ocean, would you be so kind as to ferry Dawn to Deva so she may begin her first mission?”

Ocean saluted.

“Of course.”

Not that there was any question of him saying no. But Night seemed to like his routine, of the formal back and forth. Probably helped keep everything organized.

“Right. We are all set here.” Night said, standing up.

“Hey Dawn. Need anything else, or are you ready to go?”

I blinked at him.

“Um. I’m ready. What about you?”

Ocean laughed at me.

“I’m not the one going on a mission! Plus, we’re taking my boat. Most of my gear’s stashed in it.”

“Alrighty then. Let’s go I guess?” I said, still taken somewhat aback by the abruptness of it all.

Well, more so that Ocean being completely gearless had thrown me for a loop. Anyways. I was processing and getting back with the program.

“Yeah!” Ocean said, with all the excitement of a schoolboy who’s been given permission to raid the candy store.

Unsupervised.

A hop, skip, and a jump through town, me hurrying to keep up with Ocean, who’d basically thrown away all his dignity to move quickly, and we were at the docks.

“Couldn’t you have moved a bit slower!?” I said, once we were walking over the wooden planks to a location only Ocean knew. “Everyone was looking at me like there was some emergency! Which a fully geared Sentinel running through town really looks like!

Ocean scratched his head awkwardly.

“Oops?”

“Oops! You’ve been doing this longer than I’ve been alive! What do you mean, oops?”

Ocean shrugged, a wild grin on his face.

“I just couldn’t wait to get here. Come on, hop in!”

Ocean gestured to a respectable, mid-sized sailboat. It wasn’t fancy, there were no luxurious ornaments or carvings on it, but as I looked around – cursing my lack of sailing lessons to not have the proper knowledge of this – everything was perfect. There wasn’t a single splinter out of place, the ropes had a solid, well-used, well-maintained look, grooves were cut in the wood where the ropes met plank. It was a thing of beauty, crafted perfectly, well-loved and maintained for decades.

I hopped on, wobbling a bit as the whole boat moved with me. Yup. I needed a [Sea Legs] skill.

[*ding!* Congratulations! You’ve unlocked the General Skill [Sea Legs]!]

Oh System, while you’re granting wishes, can I get a few extra skill slots?

Nothing. Rats. [Sea Legs] would have to rot.

“Hey Ocean, what’s this made out of?” I said, stroking the unfamiliar wood. I was no great carpenter, heck I barely knew my oak from my pine from whatever-the-hell the Kadan Jungle grew – but the wood seemed strange.

“Ironwood!” Ocean cheerfully told me. “Ridiculously rare. It doesn’t grow here. Once every few years a trunk will float down one of the rivers from outside of human lands, and, well, the stuff’s more than a bit expensive. Has properties normal wood doesn’t, like really slow self-repair if you pour mana into it.”

I looked around the medium-sized sailboat, made out of practically one of a kind magical wood. My knees felt weak. I sat down.

With a faint voice, I asked.

“How much did this cost?”

Ocean laughed.

“You could probably buy a whole block of houses in the fancy district of the capital instead of this boat.”

I whistled, as we started to pick up speed.

Ocean was happy. Grinning, smiling, laughing, closing his eyes, letting the wind wash over him. We spent time in silence, Ocean navigating with his eyes closed somehow through all the other ships trying to dock. We made it out to the open sea, and picked up speed – way more than I thought was possible with the wind and the waves they way they were.

After some time, Ocean started to speak.

“When I unlocked, I got [Heart of the Sea] and [Love of the Ocean]. I instantly took them. The skills have stayed with me ever since. There’s nothing I love more than the waves, the sea, the ocean breeze. Doing this? This is the life.”

I made a positive noise, not quite sure what to say to Ocean.

“Anyways, this is your first outing. Congrats! Deva’s a lovely place. I think I’m going to hang out there a bit, do some sailing, talk with the local fishermen. Maybe enter a largest fish contest or two. Good way to extend my vacation without Night knowing about it. Shhh! Don’t tell him!” Ocean said, winking at me.

Unsaid – he’d be around if I needed backup, training wheels on my first excursion. Hopefully I wouldn’t need them.

We spent some more time sailing, before I got an idea, warm sun on my face.

“I want to see how [Talaria] works when I’m already going fast.” I said.

“Sure, knock yourself out.”

I took a short running hop, and I was up, up, and away with [Talaria]. Ocean’s boat started to slowly pull ahead, but I’d managed to confirm that my speed persisted, for the lack of a better word. I could go far if I could get enough of an initial boost.

I landed back down on the boat, Ocean having slowed down a hair to let me catch up.

“Tell me about Radiance.” Ocean said. I looked at him funny. Shouldn’t he know already?

Ocean saw my look.

“I’m great at dealing with Radiance mages. Water screws their attacks something fierce, and I always have a ton. I’m curious what it’s like from your perspective.”

Well, why not bounce info and questions off of the super experienced, at best the 2nd, at worst the 4th, most powerful Sentinel.

“Radiance is fun! Burning light, immediately hits the target, narrow and focused. As my power goes up, I obviously get more damage, but the smallest beam I can use gets bigger. As my control goes up, I can re-shrink the beam back down. Hence, a balanced mix between the two are optimal.”

Ocean snapped his fingers at me.

“Explains that one dude, oh, 15 years ago. Dude kept using really fat beams of radiance – larger than I was. I went completely overboard on the defense, but it didn’t hurt nearly as badly as I thought it would.”

I looked at him. I had some doubts that this was brand-new info to him, but hey. He wanted to chat, and I wasn’t a sailor-type. Heck, being as far from shore as we were was making me all sorts of nervous.

I didn’t see myself taking up life on a ship anytime soon.

Oooh wait, while he was here, I could do some testing.

“Hey Ocean, I got a new skill. Want to test a few things with it. Mind giving me a hand?”

“Sure, why not? What do you need?”

I explained to him my thoughts on [Persistent Casting] and [Bullet Time] that I had earlier. Ocean looked thoughtful.

“Sure, I can do that. Lift your vest up, show me your stomach, flip a coin and put your [Veil] up.”

“Flip a coin?”

“So you can tell when your skill activates.”

Made sense. I awkwardly shifted around, revealing my vulnerable stomach to Ocean. I flipped a coin high, throwing up [Veil] around me, looking at my stat screen.

Hmmm. [Sun-Kissed] didn’t work under [Veil]. Wasn’t testing it, but hey. I’d take what I could get. I passed [Veil] off to [Persistent Casting].

Next thing I knew, I felt [Veil] shattering, and the world around me slowed, as Ocean’s knife was heading for my stomach, a vicious side-slash that’d open me up from left to right.

I tried to lean back, watching the knife moving at almost-normal speeds, while my body was slow and sluggish, like in water. I tried a second [Veil]. I tried to melt the knife with a Radiance beam.

Fuck me I’d forgotten how much I hated getting hurt while under [Bullet Time]. Sure, it was distant because of [Center of the Galaxy], but apart from that, I could feel my stomach splitting open, skin and muscles parted, sharp steel rearranging my guts. Even stranger was my persistent [Phases of the Moon] immediately fixing the damage behind the knife.

Blessedly, the knife finally exited the other side, and time resumed as normal. A gasp I’d been working on finally finished.

“Fuck!” I yelled.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Center of the Galaxy] has reached level 236]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Persistent Casting] has reached level 4->11!]

“No good?” Ocean said with a frown, looking at his way-too-clean knife. “Amazing healing by the way. I was convinced I’d get some fish chum out of you with that, but barely a speck of blood. I’ll say it now. I apologize. I didn’t think your healing was good enough, that a Sentinel couldn’t qualify on just that, but I wasn’t going to argue with the powers that be, and you did technically qualify.”

He paused.

“I am completely convinced otherwise now. That was the single most stunning display of combat healing I’ve ever seen or heard of. You’re basically unkillable… while you have mana.”

I thought I was immune to compliments and flattery. Noooooope.

I couldn’t stop a mad smile crossing my face. “Thanks! Gotta work on it though – that was a bad heal.”

I thought about it. I’d given the persistent cast an image of “heal”. I groaned, putting my head in my hands.

“What’s up?”

“I am going to need to make a stupidly complex image for my passive heal.”

I thought about it. A stupidly complex image.

“Got some rations? Figure I should grab lunch before starting. I might be a really bad traveling companion while I get this worked out.”

“No worries! Fun trick.” Ocean said, getting out a pair of clay mugs.

Ocean waved his hand, a spurt of water from the sea filling both mugs.

“Here. Pure, perfect water, courtesy of a skill.”

I took a sip of the glorious, perfect water.

“Wow. That’s some skill.”

“Thanks! Never need to worry about water.”

We ate, Ocean happily chatting about the sea, the creatures, telling me about knots and sails and tacking and wow this was a lot of info going in one ear and out the other.

I suspect missing the Sailing class hadn’t gone unnoticed by Ocean, and he had clear passion for the subject, wanting to share his love of the sea with me. I didn’t think I’d get [Love of the Ocean] anytime soon though.

“Thanks Ocean!” I said, having polished lunch off in record time. “This might take quite some time – don’t get worried if I’m under for quite a few hours.”

Ocean waved his hand.

“I get it. Shoo. Make it perfect. Staying alive might depend on that one day.”

I threw up [Veil], passing it off to [Persistent Casting]. I wanted zero distractions on this.

Right, full-body, perfect heal. This was going to take some time. Let’s start with the heart. How was the heart put together? How did it connect to the vascular system? How did that hook up to the lungs? Muscles? Stomach?

How did lungs work? Bringing air in, connecting to the vascular system, bringing air to the muscles, which had nerves making them twitch, all attached to the skeletal system, giving everything support and structure – and also making new blood cells, connecting it back to the vascular system. The nerves also ran through the body, firing impulses, letting the brain control fingers, toes, arms, legs – everything. Running along the spine, bringing me back to bones, protecting the kidneys, liver, stomach, guts, lungs – back to the heart.

Eyes. Immune system. Mouth. Tongue. Nose. Nostrils. Hair. Nails.

Every single bit of human anatomy I knew.

Creating that image took me hours, a full, detailed mental picture of the complete human body.

Then I was off to diseases. Viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, cancers, and everything else I could think of. I couldn’t get them all, but I tried to catalogue as many as possible, and the cure, the solution – mostly just phasing them out of existence, in the same way the moon waned to nothing.

I moved onto other injuries, other problems. My earliest [Detailed Restoration] healings, restoring arms, fixing eyes. Reforming skin.

How bones needed to be shifted back into position, realigned properly to heal. Bone fragments either put back in their place, or removed. The tiny ligaments and bones in the wrist. The beating of the heart. Function of the brain. Kidneys filtering blood, liver producing enzymes to digest food.

Hundreds, thousands of ways of being hurt. Almost every single one was drawn on from experience, from plague victims in Perinthus, to soldiers manning the walls against Formorians. The lady coming up to me at one of my stalls, fixing the urchin kid’s sister.

Injuries I’d never seen, and their unusual method of handling. Like crush injuries. Couldn’t restore the leg, that’d just do bad things to me. Instead, amputation was correct, cutting off the blood flow to the area, moving away, then restoring. A delay on the healing, to properly save myself.

Bonus – it’d mean my [Persistent Casting] wouldn’t futilely try to heal me and drain all my mana in a useless mission. Huh. Never thought of that before. This new skill had so many implications that I hadn’t thought of.

Was totally worth the skill slot. Was totally worth listening to Night.

I finally finished, putting in a few extra broad-spectrum tweaks to my image, some catch-alls, before opening my eyes.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Constellation of the Healer] has leveled up to level 242! +10 Free Stats, +15 Mana, +15 Mana Regen, +15 Magic power, +15 Magic Control from your Class! +1 Free Stat for being Human! +1 Mana, +1 Mana Regen from your Element!]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Celestial Affinity] has reached level 242]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Medicine] has reached level 205->210]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Phases of the Moon] has reached level 242]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Moonlight] has reached level 242]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Persistent Casting] has reached level 12->35]

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Learning] has reached level 242]

I dropped [Veil], only to realized I’d been under a lot longer than I thought, and we were tied to the docks at what I assumed was Deva.

“Welcome back.” Ocean said drily, handing me a mug.

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 18]

[Mana: 49600/49600]

[Mana Regen: 40336 (+13186)]

Stats

[Free Stats: 18]

[Strength: 236]

[Dexterity: 203]

[Vitality: 560]

[Speed: 480]

[Mana: 4960]

[Mana Regeneration: 4676 (+1318.632)]

[Magic Power: 4325 (+44331.25)]

[Magic Control: 4325 (+44331.25)]

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 242]]

[Celestial Affinity: 242]

[Warmth of the sun: 198]

[Medicine: 210]

[Center of the Galaxy: 236]

[Phases of the Moon: 242]

[Moonlight: 242]

[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]

[Persistent Casting: 35]

[Learning: 242]

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A note from Selkie

Book 3 is now available for pre-order!


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.

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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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