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A note from Selkie

So I just got the most gorgeous piece of art from Tsuu. I can't share it with you all, because it'd be spoilers, but I figured I'd share that I got something AMAZING.

 

Contact InformationArtist: J.C. "Tsuu" (aka Tsurot)
Discord ID: Tsuu#8796
Credentials: College Degree In Architecture
Agent: Samuel White
Discord ID: WhiteSamurai#3996
Email[email protected]
Business Hours: 12pm - 8pm Eastern Standard Time
Business Inquiries & Commissions[email protected]

 

There's a long lead time on artwork, but they're worth every penny. And then some. 

I exploded out of Lun’Kat’s lair, immediately tumbling and falling to the “ground” as my wings shattered against her protective illusion. I tumbled and rolled on the hard rocks, not a shred of evidence that it was a massive illusion instead of natural rock present. I stabilized into a roll, then as my feet got under me I kicked up and re-launched myself with [Scintillating Ascent], into the blue sky.

 

Soaring in the air, feeling the wind in my hair, and the sun on my face for the first time in months. No longer was I trapped in the mines! No longer was I a prisoner in the dwarven city! No more playing doctor to a genocidal dragon!

 

Free!

 

I was free!

 

Free to fly in the sky! My eyes burned and forced themselves into a hard squint as I saw full sunlight for the first time in months. I continued to fly away from Lun’Kat’s lair, flapping at full speed, pale skin crisping in the summer sunlight for the first time in ages. I felt little shivers go through my body as [Scintillating Ascent] rapidly leveled up, the minor ‘transformation’ aspect to it working its literal magic on my body.

 

Ok, mostly free. I looked down at the precious egg I’d nabbed from the dragon’s lair. It was a deep, fiery red, with bright golden lines crossing over it. It was warm, almost burning to the touch. One more flap, and [Bullet Time] broke, time resuming its normal march.

 

Thinking back on it - shit. How was I supposed to hatch this egg? Did I need to keep it warm? Lun’Kat stuck her eggs in a firepit while she napped, should I do the same?

 

At the same time, the egg hadn’t been in a fire in her lair - but she clearly had some sort of stasis field, freezing things in place. Like the unicorn foal. I had no idea what that meant for hatching said egg though. Had it ruined things? Or was the stasis a proper stasis?

 

Argh! This was hard. I guess I was going to try and match the temperature the egg gave off with my Radiance. It would stop it from losing heat too fast, and was hopefully where the egg needed or wanted to be. I would be so pissed if I got the egg of some fantastical creature, then ruined it by being totally clueless how this worked. I wanted to get a companion out of this, not a hardboiled egg.

 

I wonder what would be inside though? Given the place of honor in Lun’Kat’s collection, given that it was next to a unicorn of all creatures, it had to be something good. My greedy little heart wanted it to be a red dragon, a heist Lun’Kat had pulled against one of her own.

 

I carefully adjusted the temperature my hands were giving out to the egg, and once I’d worked it out, I tied it off with [Persistent Casting].

 

Which reminded me - I needed to check on my new levels! I should’ve gotten a TON!

 

I turned my notifications back on.

 

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [The Dawn Sentinel] has leveled up to level 377->418! +3 Dexterity, +24 Speed, +24 Vitality, +170 Mana, +170 Mana Regen, +48 Magic power, +48 Magic Control from your Class per level! +1 Free Stat for being Human per level! +1 Mana, +1 Mana Regen from your Element per level!]

LEVELS! A ton of levels for a single healing event! Sure, I’d imagine that healing a dragon would be worth more than that, but maybe “healing a potentially Remus-ending threat” got me dinged on the “Sentinel” aspect of the job.

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Butterfly Mystic] has leveled up to level 338->345! +8 Strength, +8 Dexterity, +70 Speed, +70 Vitality, +70 Mana, +70 Mana Regen, +70 Magic power, +70 Magic Control from your Class per level! +1 Free Stat for being Human per level! +1 Strength, +1 Mana Regen from your Element per level!]

 

Booo. Not a lot of levels. Then again, the only Radiance magic I’d used was flying away, and trying to acquire some dragon knowledge.

 

I continued to suppress my capped skills notifications. They just weren’t that interesting. No, what was significantly more interesting were the rest of my levels.

 

No [Cosmic Presence] levels made me sad. If only I’d permitted creatures in the aura when I was building the skill, it probably would’ve capped. Along with getting me out that much faster. Prolonged time multiplying Lun’Kat’s natural healing? Yes please!

 

[*ding!* [Wheel of Sun and Moon] has leveled up! 311 -> 395!]

No surprise there! I’d been using it a TON.

 

[*ding!* [Sunrise] has leveled up! 198 -> 344!]

 

Grinding [Sunrise] when I’d been bored between healing sessions paid off!

 

[*ding!* [Scintillating Ascent] has leveled up! 287 -> 312!]

 

All that from one escape flight? Nice!

 

[*ding!* [Scintillating Ascent] has leveled up! 312 -> 313!]

 

Oh shit. That was a good reminder that I wasn’t clear yet, and I was still in Lun’Kat’s territory.

 

I focused a bit more on my speed and flying, upping the pace a bit.

 

[*ding!* [Long-Range Identify] has leveled up! 368 -> 370!]

 

[*ding!* [Pristine Memories] has leveled up! 210 -> 215!]

 

Comparing books and runes in my head worked out! I should try remembering Lun’Kat’s lair, and drawing it. That might be good for some more levels.

 

[*ding!* [Sneaking] has leveled up! 211 -> 270!]

 

[*ding!* [Avoiding The Dragon’s Eyes] has leveled up! 270 ->341!]

 

Avoiding the Dragon’s Eyes: The mighty dragon is the most powerful creature on Pallos, and their hoards are famous for being places of amazing treasure. In order to survive sneaking through their home, you’ll need to Avoid the Dragon’s Eyes. Improved and increased sneaking abilities per level when trying to avoid a dragon’s notice, and when a dragon is looking for you.

 

Well. I can’t say I was disappointed by it - I’m certain the skill helped keep me alive - but now the skill was almost entirely dead. I didn’t plan on avoiding too many more dragons. It was going to suck losing the skill, and replacing it with something else.

 

Ok, sure, there was a slim chance that Lun’Kat could actually see through the gigantic eyes she painted over the moon, in which case the skill was top-tier. And I did have something to hide from her.

 

I glanced down at the egg I was holding.

 

Totally worth it. I now, potentially, maybe had a companion, and an open skill slot. The two were practically made for each other.

A bit strange that the skill didn’t cap though.

 

[*ding!* [Bullet Time] has leveled up! 299 ->418!]

 

Living under the effects of [Bullet Time] for a week would do that I guess.

 

[*ding!* [Oath of Elaine to Lyra] has leveled up! 316 ->375!]

 

Jackpot! Willingly walking to my death to heal a deadly monster paid off in spades! My numbers were going to be insane! I couldn’t wait to check them.

 

[*ding!* [Persistent Casting] has leveled up! 290 ->291!]

 

Meh. I’ll take it.

Cripes, how jaded was I? Getting levels far higher than the vast majority of the Remus population, and my reaction was “meh.” Going out to explore the wider world had done a number on my worldview.

 

[*ding!* [Passionate Learning] has leveled up! 358 ->376!]

 

Rummaging through Lun’Kat’s stuff, being curious and trying to learn everything I could got rewarded!

 

I had no doubt that [Passionate Learning]’s massive experience boost helped with everything. Heck, if I didn’t have the skill, I’d be at what, half my current level? Give or take?

 

Probably not quite that bad, but I couldn’t deny that it was useful, and one of the key cornerstones to my success. I had to let other people know. Specifically Artemis. Her school was the perfect place for that kind of stuff! If her students got famous for being high-level, that’d help her out.

 

[*ding!* [Sentinel’s Superiority] has leveled up! 377 ->395!]

 

[*ding!* For reaching level 400, you’ve unlocked the Class Skill [The Stars Never Fade]. Would you like to take this skill? Y/N]

 

The Stars Never Fade: You burn as brightly as the twinkling stars in the heavens above. Like the eternal sky, so too will you be eternal, turning back the wheel of time on yourself and those you choose. You have fought disease, injury, plague, war, and all other manner of death. Now fight the good fight against the implacable enemy who takes all - Time. Immortality skill. Reverts age back to a chosen time. Minimum age of 8. Decreased cooldown per level, increased age target control per level.

 

OH FUCK ME! YES! Yes, I want this skill!

 

Nothing happened, and I felt my heart plunge into my toes. I slowed my flight, just hovering there as creeping dread came over me.

 

Oh shit. What if I was too late? Skills only lasted so long once they were offered. What if it was too late? What if I’d lost my chance at being immortal, just because I had my notifications off? What if-

 

No wait, I was an idiot. I needed to tell the system what skill to replace.

 

Wait, shoot, what did I want to remove. Um. [Dance with the Heavens] was out, I probably needed [Celestial Affinity], um, um, um. Wait, yeah, there we go. That was the skill to remove.

 

I focused on getting the skill, and losing [Solar Infusion] for it.

 

My heart paused for a terrifying moment, the fear of missing my one shot at Immortality rising.

 

Although - maybe I could ask Night nicely if he’d make me a vampire? Sure, there were a ton of downsides, but I could totally pull off the hot vampire look.

 

[*ding!* You’ve acquired the skill [The Stars Never Fade]]

 

YES! Old age was defeated! All I needed to do was get home before anyone I knew or loved died of old age, and I’d be set.

 

Or died in a war. Like the civil war that had probably already started, but I was told to stay out of it. I needed to do some serious thinking soon about where I needed to go next, and what to do next.

 

I was tempted to try the skill on myself, but a few things gave me momentary pause.

 

First, I was pretty happy with my age. 20 was a fine number, heck, 30, 40 were also pretty good numbers. I might start considering at, like, 50 or 60, depending on what my vitality did to my aging, but either way I was already at the lower end of what I was happy with.

 

Which brought me to the second point. “increased age target control per level” implied that I couldn’t quite exactly control how young I became. I’d die of embarrassment if I ended up at, like 10 years old again. Being reincarnated already kinda sucked in some respects. When I was a kid, I got treated like a kid, and I had felt myself mentally slide back into a kid’s mentality. A combination of how I was treated, and the hardware I was working with.

 

Puberty sucked. I’d already done it twice. I wasn’t risking doing it a third time.

 

Lastly, there was the conversation I’d had with Night, way back when. He’d mentioned that all Immortal races were cursed by White Dove. I wasn’t sure if winding back time on myself would count as Immortality - after all, I could still die of old age, and plain old violence - but the skill did mention Immortality. Playing around with a skill, just for White Dove to visit me again and curse me, didn’t seem great. Especially if I got some ridiculous, over-the-top curse like “dirt now melts me like lava” or “Can’t cross running water”, or “must forever dance” or “get turned into a newt” or some other ridiculous curse.

 

No, the skill was going to stay at level 1 for now. I took a look at my status.

 

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 20]

[Mana: 409320/409320]

[Mana Regen: 338381 (+353806.125)]

Stats

[Free Stats: 89]

[Strength: 942]

[Dexterity: 1462]

[Vitality: 11118]

[Speed: 11118]

[Mana: 40932]

[Mana Regeneration: 41021 (+35380.6125)]

[Magic Power: 18094 (+339262.5)]

[Magic Control: 18094 (+339262.5)]

[Class 1: [The Dawn Sentinel - Celestial: Lv 418]]

[Celestial Affinity: 418]

[Cosmic Presence: 286]

[The Stars Never Fade: 1]

[Center of the Universe: 418]

[Dance with the Heavens: 418]

[Wheel of Sun and Moon: 418]

[Mantle of the Stars: 418]

[Sunrise: 344]

[Class 2: [Butterfly Mystic - Radiance: Lv 345]]

[Radiance Affinity: 345]

[Radiance Resistance: 345]

[Radiance Conjuration: 345]

[Lantern: 345]

[Nectar: 345]

[Sun's Heart: 345]

[Scintillating Ascent: 313]

[Kaleidoscope: 345]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Long-Range Identify: 370]

[Pristine Memories: 215]

[Avoiding The Dragon's Eyes: 341]

[Bullet Time: 418]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 375]

[Sentinel's Superiority: 395]

[Persistent Casting: 290]

[Passionate Learning: 376]

 

Heck yeah! Skills all over the place! Levels for days! A mountain of stats! No wonder Night and the other Sentinels were so damn strong, if this is what they were dealing with. No wonder I could only have kept up because of my [Oath].

 

My speed and dexterity were still properly in-line, but it was going to get unbalanced soon enough. At this point, my free stats weren’t going to make or break anything, and I planned on just holding them in reserve until something went wrong.

 

I realized I was still hovering, and went back to flying. I wasn’t quite sure what direction I was going, but it was away from Lun’Kat’s lair, which was good enough for me.

 

On the other hand - I was literally complaining that I had too many stats. Back when I was being promoted to Sentinel, 10,000 points in a stat was considered “pretty darn good.” Now my tertiary stats - speed and vitality - were both over that number. My mana was over 40k, my regeneration was over 70k and nobody would believe my magic power and magic control when healing at this point.

 

Looking at the stats made me wonder just how much mana regeneration Destruction had. A good amount of his build was based around it, and he probably had some dedicated skills to it, like my [Nectar]. [The Swirling Storm Inside] or something.

 

Focus. Here and now.

 

I was feeling a hair lost, both in a metaphorical sense, and in a literal one. Like. Where was I!?

 

I looked around, really taking in the sights. I was currently flying down a mountain covered in a verdant forest. It wasn’t a jungle, or redwoods, or anything fancy - just plain, simple forest. A lovely stream, with dreams and ambitions of becoming a mighty river, was fed by melting snow from higher up in the mountains and meandered through the woods.

 

In other words - I had no idea where I was. Traveling with the dwarves, then jumping into the mines, visiting the city, traveling through the Below Levels, then Lun’Kat’s lair having some sort of spatial oddness to it all conspired together to make me completely and totally lost. The only key I had to my location, the only little bits of knowledge I held onto, was that Remus was somewhere warm, and near the ocean. In other words, northwards was a good direction to head.

 

Apart from that? East or west were equally valid directions to try and head. I think east was a bit of a better guess, given that the Formorian frontlines had been on the western front of Remus, and we’d gone somewhat south to the dwarven mountain range. Orienting myself to the sun, I was now heading west again, down away from the mountains, away from Lun’Kat’s lair. A vast open savanna, with rolling hills and swaying prairie grass opened up in front of me, past the forest. Ferns were interspersed with the grass, with the occasional scraggly tree, creating an odd look. It seemed like some skills were in play. Or maybe that was naturally here. In the far distance, I could just about see a few isolated mountains, standing proudly alone.They were unnatural, but then again, given that Pallos was created, and not shaped and formed, I could easily believe the gods had plunked a mountain down in the middle of nowhere. That, or a high-level Classer decided to make their mark on the world, and erected a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

 

I could distantly see dinosaurs roaming about the plain, some in groups, some alone. Their visibility at such a distance implied they were on the larger side of things.

 

I continued to fly down the mountain, while I tried to get my bearings on what to do next.

 

First, immediate needs. I needed to secure food and water, and given my time in Lun’Kat’s lair, my strong urge to leave no traces of myself behind, and the extremely fiber-rich diet I’d been on the past week, I was massively constipated.

 

Fortunately, woods were my jam. It wasn’t a bamboo forest, but they were the primary wilderness survival biome that we’d been trained on. I made it most of the way down the mountain, before spotting some brightly colored berries near the stream. Seemed to be the perfect place to take a break.

 

Thirty minutes later, and I was feeling lighter, unburdened, and a lot more at peace with the world, and myself. An old, grizzled mountain sheep, rugged and coated in scars, emerged from the bushes, looked at me, then walked right past me to the stream to get a drink, close enough to reach out and touch.

 

Well. When life delivered a tasty lunch right to my feet, I wasn’t going to say no. Sorry Billy, eat or be eaten.

 

I packed my stuff back up, the sheep continuing to ignore me as it drank from the stream, then started to nibble at the bush. I flew up, and aimed a tight beam of Radiance right at its head. A quick mercy killing, aiming to end it before it even knew it was under attack.

 

The beam hit, and instead of burning through and the goat collapsing like I expected, the Radiance just hit its fur and stopped, impotently frying the dirt on its fur.

 

Well, shit.

 

The whole world seemed to slow as [Bullet Time] activated, then it seemed like the entire mountain came alive. Rocks by the hundreds barraged up at me, leaving no room to dodge, while a massive stone ram seemed to lift itself out of the ground, looking exactly the same as the goat I’d tried to make my lunch. Only ten times the size.

 

I wasn’t exactly taking this lying down, but I wasn’t in a position to do much more than levitate myself up, shielding my head and precious egg with my body, arms, and [Mantle] as I flapped away at full speed. Some of the rocks dented my armor, while others shredded right through it like it didn’t exist, exploding out the other side with a scream of tortured metal.

 

The worst were the goldilocks rocks. The ones with enough power to break through my armor, but not enough to drill through my vitality-enhanced body, and back out the other end.

 

Those rocks rattled around inside me, making my healing harder as [Dance with the Heavens] slowly wore them away. However, the sheer volume of incoming rocks was far greater than the speed I could heal them away, regardless of my speed.

 

Then, for a brief moment, the thundering hailstorm of rocks on armor paused. I had just enough time for my eyes to start to widen before the sheep golem rammed into me, half-pulverizing me on its forehead as it launched itself - and me - deeper into the sky.

 

My mana dropped, then stabilized as I healed myself back. At this point no more attacks were occurring - I was simply being carried along by the momentum of the rock. I did everything I could to protect the precious egg I had. I used my own healing to handle the rest of the damage.

 

I swear, if the fucking sheep wrecked my precious egg right as I got it, I would end it. My entire life’s mission would be to kill that one sheep, by hook or by crook. I’d kill it, eat it, dance on it’s grave, then get [Necromancer] as my 3rd class just so I could reanimate it to DO IT AGAIN.

 

Things calmed down a hair, and I reactivated [Scintillating Ascent], and jumped off the now-inert sheep-shaped stone, flaring my wings to see where I’d gone.

 

The mountain I’d been ejected out of was now somewhat in the distance, but I could vaguely see the depression where the sheep had ripped up huge chunks of the earth to shoot at me.

 

“Bloody caster monsters.” I muttered to myself, ignoring the fact that I was entirely in the situation because I hadn’t properly identified the sheep before going for the kill. I’d think after months of encountering beetles over level 500, and giant slugs that could kill even Night, that I would’ve learned my lesson about old sheep living near a dragon’s lair.

 

Nope! I’d let my greed and my desire to return to normalcy overcome my common good sense. I wasn’t going to have that happen again.

 

However, the involuntary flight assist wasn't terrible. It did let me scout two types of dinosaurs that roamed the plains.

 

First were the large dinosaurs I’d seen while I was still in the mountain. They were funny-looking sauropods, in the same family as the brontosaurus. However, they had an incredibly short neck, and their body was round, almost like an over-inflated balloon. They waddled in groups through the plains, hoovering up vegetation. They did not look like the smartest dinosaurs around, having a vacant look in their eye. I’d bet the sheep that just gave me a run for my money, and told me in no uncertain terms to sod off, would demolish most of these dinosaurs.

 

I’d wondered about predators, but there was an apex predator’s lair within eyeshot. These seemed to be easy prey for a dragon - slow, waddling, right outside her lair, and enough food to last a week or two, even at her size. Checking them out, I got back that they were Brachytrachelopan, and if that wasn’t a mouthful and a half, I didn’t know what was. I decided to call them brachys, because that was just easier. Their levels varied, from level 40 juveniles, to level 250 to 300 adults.

 

I suppose there wasn’t much of a difference between eating a level 100 dinosaur, and a level 3000 dinosaur. They had the same quantity of meat either way. The lower-level dinosaurs were less likely to have a nasty counterattack though.

 

It was easy to imagine Lun’Kat descending, completely invisible, to seize one of the brachy’s without the rest knowing.

 

See my recent humbling experience with the sheep.

 

Smaller boring dinosaurs scurried around them, avoiding the large dinosaur’s footsteps, nibbling on ferns left behind. They were herbivores, and again - boring. Waist-high, two arms, two legs, a tail, a neck and a head. Checking [Identify] brought me back Anchisaurus, and with their low levels, I had ideas for my dinner.

 

A couple of predators stalked through the herds. The dinosaurs gave them a bit of distance, and they didn’t seem particularly aggressive. Just looking if any animal was too sick or injured to put up a fight.

 

They looked like derpy t-rexes. Their arms were short and stubby to the point where they practically vanished into their body, and they were significantly smaller than a t-rex to boot. Like, less than two meters tall at the shoulder. Arthur was bigger than they were. Little bumps coated their back, up their neck and onto their head. Aucasauruses.

 

The one downside to this place was there was nowhere for me to easily camp. I considered taking a break on one of the brachy’s backs - it was certainly large enough for it - but decided not to in the end.

 

I used the sun to orient myself, and started flying north. Metal from my ruined armor kept digging into deeply uncomfortable spots, and I looked down to assess how bad the damage was.

 

My armor was half-ruined. Now was the time to use the [Mend Armor] gem I’d been given, and I happily blew it, watching with a smile as the armor bent and twisted back into shape, some metal being conjured up to fill the largest holes.

 

The smile vanished from my face as I noticed a problem.

 

My Sentinel badge was missing. It had inscriptions to stay attached, but “sticking to armor” didn’t do much when entire panels had gotten blown apart.

 

I looked at where I was, hovering in the middle of the plains.

 

I looked at where I’d been blasted from.

 

Fuck me. This search was going to take me ages.

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Selkie

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