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A note from Selkie

Tiny spoilers, just saying how many chapters this is:

Part 1 of 3

 

I opened my eyes, seeing Librarian again.

“I’m back! With a second class in the tank, ready to upgrade whenever!” I said, pumping my fist.

“Yeah! You go!” Librarian said, holding her hand up for a high-five, which I happily hit.

She was in comfortable, simple clothes this time round, a lovely cyan tunic which was my favorite. Current favorite.

“No time to read right now.” I said, pulling an exaggerated sad face. “But! Next class up I’ll make sure I have all the time needed to read!”

Librarian tapped her nose.

“You know, if it was all about reading, you could just reset your class, and keep resetting it every time you hit level 32.”

“Ooooh! That’d be so fun! I’d probably end up dead. No defenses, and if nothing else, I’d annoy people to the point where they’d want to murder me with too many week-long binge reading sessions.” I said.

It suddenly hit me, and I felt a tear or two well up. I moved to hug Librarian, who hugged me back.

“This is the second to last time I’ll ever see you.” I said, stifling some tears. “Once I class up [Ranger-Mage], that’s it. I’m done forever. I’ll miss you.”

Librarian patted me on the back.

“Cheer up! Destruction hit 512, so did Night! We’re part of a generation that’s hitting 512, and you were with them as they took down the Queens! We’ve got a strong shot at hitting 512, and we’ll see each other again!”

I smiled at her, gave her another hug.

I was her, and she was me. She’d miss me as well. Hopefully she was right, and we’d meet again.

Would she even still exist? Doomed to wander the library forever, alone? What did Librarian do when I wasn’t here anyways?

Or were we the same person, one whole entity, when not here? Did she simply split off when I came?

I shook my head.

Enough metaphysical questioning. While I wasn’t on a time crunch, I didn’t have a ton of time to waste.

“Let’s see them!” I said. “Although, I should probably skip all the non-healing sidegrades. No way am I taking them, and I’m not exactly in a position to take my sweet time on this.”

“Reasonable!” Librarian responded.

I had a sudden brain wave, as Librarian led me up the stairs.

“Unless there’s something, like, really epic I should know about?” I asked her inquisitively.

“Hmmmm.” She said, pausing, one hand on her hip, the other finger tapping her lips. “There is a class related to killing Formorians. Green-tier. Also the usual ‘you met Papilion and survived’ class.”

I waved her off.

“No interest. Also, ‘survived’? By whose definition?!” I asked her.

She shrugged.

“The System’s.”

I honestly didn’t know if I expected anything else.

We resumed our trek up the stairs, higher and higher until we got to the 4th floor. A number of books, all glistening like the night sky, sat on pedestals, surrounding a multi-colored door that led nowhere.

That would naturally lead somewhere. This wasn’t the real world; it didn’t have to make sense. More trippy magical world stuff.

I’d make a bet that whatever class I took would be through that door, but I was going to be thorough. Maybe that was some super special class or another, but it’d have some heinous drawback. I wanted to know what my other options were first.

Given the colors, everything was Celestial. I felt a bit locked in, but hey. That was the price of an advanced element.

Plus, I loved my Celestial healing. Wouldn’t want anything else.

My first choice was [Oathbound Healer]. I idly flipped through it fast. The class somehow managed to strengthen my [Oath], giving it a +7% per level instead of the current +5%, and also impacted mana regeneration, giving it a +2% to regeneration per level of [Oath]. It also made [Oath] a class skill, and while the class book didn’t directly say it, I knew that [Sentinel’s Superiority] would then kick in and apply, boosting it even further. My Magic Power and Control would end up at quite frankly ridiculous levels when I was healing.

The stat distribution was amazing to boot. +5 Free Stats, +50 Magic Power, +50 Magic Control, +80 Mana Regeneration, +80 Mana per level. That was nothing to sneeze at, offering almost four times as many stats per level than [Constellation of the Healer] had given me.

At the same time, it added to my [Oath], making it more restrictive. I’d need to actively seek out people I knew were in trouble, and I’d need to always put them before myself. I’d also no longer have the option of making a choice – it would be made for me.

Nooooooo thank you. It would probably get me killed, with the type of situations I found myself in.

Still. It was kinda nice to see that my adherence to my [Oath] was recognized by the System. I thought back to Idiot Mage, the mud mage who’d been one of the adventurers trying to kidnap me, who I’d healed even after all he’d done to me. My actions being reflected back, granting me a class option? Probably.

Would the class be even stronger if I hadn’t screwed up in Perinthus?

The next book had me stop short, and was tempting just from the title, and some minor infamy.

[Ranger-Healer]. I’d literally be the first person ever to have this class, and it shot to the top of the shortlist. It wasn’t the flashiest class. It didn’t have anything super special in it, but it was strong. Slightly improved healing, a solid stat distribution, and a focus on keeping me alive, so I could keep a squad alive.

It came with an interesting skill – [Lifeline]. I could designate up to seven other people to “connect” with, and while they were in a generous range – that expanded with the skill level! – I’d automatically heal them from my mana pool, at a significantly reduced distance penalty. It would almost be like they were on top of me.

This was one heck of a skill! I wouldn’t need to do suicidally brave stuff like run towards a monsters eight times my level to save someone.

Then again, at this point, fighting something eight times my level was completely hopeless. Which made having a skill that meant I didn’t need to be so close to the action more appealing. Naturally, anything eight times my level would be over level 1500, which, like, I dunno if all of the Sentinels combined could fight against.

Not exactly my current forte. Sure, I’d just done small squad tactics with the rest of the Sentinels, but that was more of a once in a lifetime occurrence, rather than my daily job.

I found some wood and quickly knocked it, after having mentally jinxed it. I didn’t want a repeat of the Formorians.

Mass casualty events were more what I was dealing with these days, and my ability to run those wasn’t improved at all.

Still. There was nothing wrong with the class.

[Magical Plague Doctor] was next up, a mimic of Caecilius’s class, a reward for my work in Perinthus. Not only was the class amazing at handling mundane plagues, but it could also handle plagues of a magical nature. What was pants-shittingly terrifying though, was the implication that there were natural magical plagues. Ones that obeyed their rules, and their rules alone, and all my medical knowledge would be mostly irrelevant in the face of them.

A side-grade, mostly downgrade honestly, was presented to me in the form of [Constellation of the Midwife], which was interesting in some respects. It would hyper-focus me on babies and childbirth, but I’d be the single best person in the world on it. From conception, to gestation, to childbirth and infancy, a mother and child under my care wouldn’t fear anything, from defects to death. Heck, I could even help a mother produce milk, and a baby latch and feed.

At the same time, it was a side grade at best. I’d lose a bunch of my current healing prowess. The stats per level were pretty bad. Less than half of what I currently got per level, about a tenth of what [Oathbound Healer] offered. I wouldn’t be able to cure a plague – unless it was in a mother or baby. I wouldn’t be able to restore limbs – unless it was in a baby.

It did let me fix things I normally wouldn’t be able to fix though, which was interesting. Normally, if a child was born without an arm, my healing wouldn’t be able to change that.

Remus was a shit place though, and children born without an arm were left to die. Still had me furious that the practice existed, although I understood the why. Wound me up to no end though. This class would give me the chance at stopping that. Locally, at least.

I felt indecision take me. That was a part of society I deeply hated. The System was offering me a way, a chance, to change that, single-handedly. Was turning my back on this class the same as turning my back on the innocent babies?

I kept the class in my shortlist. I’d need to do some serious philosophical thinking on the matter.

[Kekkaishi] was up next, and it was mostly a side-grade again. It took [Veil of the Aurora] and made it the primary focus of the class, instead of [Phases of the Moon]. I could make more barriers, move my barriers, strengthen them. I could make sharp barrier edges for cutting, animated barriers, and more!

I suspected that Sealing had an advanced Brilliance version of this class, never mind that it was the same tier as his class.

It was interesting to read about, but my healing would become self-only. I wasn’t terribly interested in that. Fundamentally, I believed myself to be a healer first and foremost. Losing the ability to heal others was a no-go in my book.

Sure, there was an argument to be made that if I prevented anyone from getting hurt, that was better than healing them. Except I couldn’t be everywhere. Wasn’t possible.

[Eternal Blazing Sun] was the next book on offer. My stunt with the pirates had unlocked it, and the short version was I lost the ability to heal others, in favor of healing myself. I’d be, for all intents and purposes, practically unkillable. I eyed the name of the class, and I eyed the contents.

[Undying Cockroach] would be a better class name for this. Decapitation, thrown into acid, cooked by flames, frozen solid, digested, and so many more ways to not die. The only things I’d fear were imprisonment, suffocation, or stakes through the heart. Or stakes through the brain. Really, staking was…

Actually, reading more – I’d get a skill at level 400 that would make it damn hard to stake me.

I could do crazy things, like take acid baths, enjoy super-poisoned cakes, and more!

Imprisonment was still a possibility, and I shuddered as I read about it. The class was entirely self-preservation, and it’d be all too easy for an Earth or Metal mage to encase my feet in stone, and throw me into the sea. I’d sink down to the bottom, drowning, suffocating constantly until I either starved or died of old age.

Horrifyingly, I could probably catch enough stuff at the bottom of the sea to make death by old age the only real possibility. That was a fairly messed-up chapter, where I’d let fish eat me as bait, only to catch them back and eat them alive.

There would be no [Center of the Galaxy] to stabilize my mind, to make me not suffer. It sounded like a terrible way to go, and worse – I couldn’t heal others with the class.

Same issue as the [Constellation of the Midwife]. The Sentinels might be Unhappy that I wasn’t a strong healer anymore, and there was a non-zero chance I’d get the boot. It’d be like if Sky no longer had his flying Gravity class. He didn’t really belong in the Sentinels without it.

I didn’t quite know how Sentinels were terminated, but I suspect I’d be taking an early retirement. “Sentinel Dawn has decided to spend more time with her family” or some other nonsense like that. Would probably ruin it for women for centuries to boot. “Oh, last time we tried it was a disaster. No can do.”

I was well aware of the unfairness of being a trailblazer. I had to be more than perfect in some ways, and it was aggravating to be held to standards that others weren’t.

[Professor from the Stars] offered me a chance to move more into the teaching role, a reward and amplification for all the hard work I’d done teaching the Rangers, mentoring Autumn, lecturing at Artemis’s school, writing and spreading my Medical Manuscript, helping out other apprentices, and so many other things I’d done! It preserved most of my current healing abilities, but I would give up most of my utility for teaching skills.

Interesting. Not quite the direction I saw myself moving in, but I saw the appeal of the class, and how I’d earned it. The ability to use skills to make teaching easier was appealing, and I wouldn’t be burning out quite so hard on the teaching.

The last class book was [Radiant Nebula of the Healer], and it opened my eyes to a possibility I just hadn’t considered yet, and I honestly felt stupid for not having thought it through before.

[Constellation of the Healer], for all that I loved it, was focused on healing one person at a time. I’d gotten lucky with not one, but two area heals, but both of them were, quite frankly, weak. [Warmth of the Sun] simply boosted an individual’s natural regeneration, while [Moonlight] was a bit stronger, the stacking distance penalty was painful.

[Radiant Nebula of the Healer] fixed both of those issues. Technically, I’d be losing out on some individual healing power, but my [Oath] was boosting my stats to a ridiculous degree. So much so that the small loss of individual healing power wouldn’t be noticed.

In exchange, my healing aura got a significant boost, and I lost a portion of the penalty on [Moonlight], while increasing the range.

The class looked and felt custom-tailored to the current situation. Bulk, mass healing. Interestingly, it looked like the area of effect healing was “natural” healing. In other words – better make sure bones aren’t misaligned or anything.

At the same time, if someone did heal improperly, I could always swing back after and fix the individual problems. Another nice benefit was that since it boosted a person’s natural regeneration, fighting off diseases and plagues would be guaranteed (ok, fine, likely) to result in natural immunity down the line.

I chewed my lip in thought.

Three classes that all gave me pause. Three different directions. Being a squad healer, being a midwife, or being a massive area of effect healer.

While I didn’t quite know all the ins and outs of how this place worked, the multi-colored rainbow door in the middle of the room was basically screaming “the class you’re going to take is here!”. The other books were good for thinking, good for reflecting on. Heck, I hadn’t thought that [Warmth of the Sun] could be that powerful, when focused on. I hadn’t realized that a skill like [Lifeline] could exist, nor that it was possible to fix some physical birth defects. Checking the other classes, reading about them, was educational.

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A note from Selkie

There's more coming today. Editing takes time though. There will be no more chapters this week, because you're getting all three chapters RIGHT NOW. Enjoy!

 


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