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You have brought essence into yourself for the first time. As a result, you have leveled up and entered the first realm of cultivation essence gathering gather essence into yourself to progress further.

 

For entering a new realm of cultivation your lifespan has been increased. From now on you will age at 75% of the rate you did before.

 

For leveling up you have gained 4.9 stat points, allocate these stat points to continue cultivation.

 

For reaching a new realm of cultivation you may select a new class. To advance in cultivation please select a new class.

 

Would you like to select a new class now?

yes

no

 

This was the type of power-up that I was waiting on all that time in the simulacrum. Stats seemed like exactly what I need right now. I didn’t know what a class was or what it did, but it was probably a good thing. Selecting a new class seemed like a good idea so I decided to start there. Selecting yes, a series of new notifications appeared to me.

First Step of the Warrior

The First Step of the Warrior is the first step in the most basic path of someone who plans to focus on physical cultivation and combat. This is one of the 4 basic paths that someone may take to start them on their path and my branch into almost anything going forward.

Effect of Physical increased by 5%

Effect of Magic increased by 0%

Effect of Physical Recovery increased by 5%

Effect of Magic Recovery increased by 0%

Effect of Physical Resistance increased by 5%

Effect of Magic Resistance increased by 0%

Effect of Reflexes increased by 10%

 

Slightly increased connection to the insights connected to physical combat.

 

First Step of the Mage

The First Step of the Mage is the first step in the most basic path of someone who plans to focus on magical cultivation and combat. This is one of the 4 basic paths that someone may take to start them on their path and my branch into almost anything going forward.

Effect of Physical increased by 0%

Effect of Magic increased by 5%

Effect of Physical Recovery increased by 0%

Effect of Magic Recovery increased by 5%

Effect of Physical Resistance increased by 0%

Effect of Magic Resistance increased by 5%

Effect of Reflexes increased by 10%

 

Slightly increased connection to the insights connected to magical combat.

 

First Step of the Laborer

The First Step of the laborer is the first step in the most basic path of someone who plans to focus on physical cultivation and non-combat. This is one of the 4 basic paths that someone may take to start them on their path and my branch into almost anything going forward.

Effect of Physical increased by 5%

Effect of Magic increased by 0%

Effect of Physical Recovery increased by 5%

Effect of Magic Recovery increased by 0%

Effect of Physical Resistance increased by 5%

Effect of Magic Resistance increased by 0%

Effect of Reflexes increased by 10%

 

Slightly increased connection to the insights connected to physical non-combat.

 

First Step of the Scholar

The First Step of the Scholar is the first step in the most basic path of someone who plans to focus on magical cultivation and non-combat. This is one of the 4 basic paths that someone may take to start them on their path and my branch into almost anything going forward.

Effect of Physical increased by 0%

Effect of Magic increased by 5%

Effect of Physical Recovery increased by 0%

Effect of Magic Recovery increased by 5%

Effect of Physical Resistance increased by 0%

Effect of Magic Resistance increased by 5%

Effect of Reflexes increased by 10%

 

Slightly increased connection to the insights connected to magical non-combat.

 

First Step of the Open Hand

The First Step of the Open Hand is a path of the martial artist, you walk on the purest path of unarmed combat, your path untainted, your focus pure, you are a prodigy in your one and only interest. It is early in your journey to the peak of cultivation, and you may change or redirect as you learn more of yourself and the path you wish to walk.

Effect of Physical increased by 20%

Effect of Magic increased by 2%

Effect of Physical Recovery increased by 5%

Effect of Magic Recovery increased by 1%

Effect of Physical Resistance increased by 10%

Effect of Magic Resistance increased by 1%

Effect of Reflexes increased by 35%

 

Increased connection to the Insight of unarmed combat, slight increase in connection to all other Insights.

 

So, that was a no to the 4 basic paths they just seemed so much worse than the one non-basic path that I could choose. The only question was if I wanted to wait to get a better class. If I had a lot of time on my hands, I may have chosen too but there isn’t any time.

I quickly select First Step of the Open Hand and dump the 4 points into reflexes and the remaining most of a point in. There was no other reason for this than it seems more efficient to put stats into stats that are boosted. Plus being able to react to things more quickly seemed really helpful right now. Magic sounded nice and all but as of this moment, I had no use for it.

I check the requirement for the next level and find that it is only 2 essence, I wasn’t willing to stay just sit and cultivate all day but as long as the requirements were low and I was progressing quickly I would continue. I managed to keep going in this exact way keeping the same stat distribution, requiring only 2 essence to level each time until I was stopped at level 10 by a new prompt.

For reaching level 10 you may select a new skill.

 

Unarmed mastery

Your skills in unarmed combat are enshrined in a skill making it so that your skills never fade regardless of how long you go between practice sessions also makes learning new styles of unarmed combat slightly easier.

While this does sound like it would be good to have, I’m not going to go around forgetting how to fight in the next few hours and my insights already helps me improve my skills in unarmed combat. This probably wasn’t useless but also probably wasn’t for me.

Dash of the Wind

Increase speed for a half of a second by 0%, when the half second is over momentum granted from this skill is removed. Can only be used once every 5 seconds. Costs 25 mana each time it is used. Increases speed given by dash of the wind by 5% each time it leveled.

Dash of the wind seems like something that I wish I had when I was fighting the wolf, being able to move more quickly for a split second would have been incredibly helpful in avoiding attacks. It’s a shame that it costs so much mana.

Reduced recoil

Wraps part of your body that is being used to attack in a protective magic designed to reduce the damage done to your own body when attacking. Costs 5 mana each time it is used. Protection given by Reduced recoil increased per level.

I could see this being helpful when I was fighting statues and I know there are going to be more things like the statues out there, but it just doesn’t feel all that exciting. Plus, anything that I would need this for would take a lot of hits for me to do much to it and the mana cost would add up quick.

Force strike

Wraps part of your body that is being used to attack in offensive magic that deals force damage to whatever you strike. Damage that is done by power strike scales with the magic stat. Costs 15 mana each time it is used. Increase force damage done per level.

This would be interesting seeing that I need a way to do more damage than I have been. The problem is that this seems to be a way to take advantage of a more magical stat distribution. That may have been a good idea in an alternate universe but not this one.

Brace

Cover your entire body in a layer of protective magic that lasts as long as you will it to. Slightly reduces your mobility wile you are bracing. Reduces all forms of damage done to you while you are bracing. Costs 20 mana per second that Brace is in use. Increases protection given by Brace per level.

 

Storm of strikes

When you make an unarmed attack, you may send out phantom attack that deals 0% of the first attack. Costs 200 mana each time it is used. Storm of strikes deals 10% more damage per level.

With this, I make it to the end of the list. This is the one that I want the most. It would also be the least practical. I need something that would be useful by the time that I make it down to the bottom of the building. Regardless of what I take, I should probably be distributing my stats a little more evenly than before. Regardless of what skill I took, it would be useless if I didn’t have any mana. Even if I started to put more in magic 200 is just too much to justify taking it right now.

Dash of the Wind seemed like the best option for now and if I got the option later, I would probably take Storm of Strikes. The cost of levelling was still quite low even though it had gone up to three I could still level quickly enough.

I made it to level 16 before the amount of essence needed to level changed to 4 and during those levels decided to place my stats in a more even distribution placing some points into everything at each level. I still put more points into physical and reflexes than most, but I put just as many into mana for now so that I can at least use my skills sometimes.

At level 20 I got to choose another skill, I was excited to see what new options that I would get to choose between. To my surprise, I just got the same options that I got the last time with the exception of Dash of the Wind no longer being there. My best guess is that I need to further my insights for me to get more options, regardless of the reason I had to choose between what I had. I would love to take storm of strikes, but I currently don’t have enough mana to even use it once, on the other hand, I don’t know what else I would take.

I manage to push myself to level 35 before I get stopped. Taking Reduced recoil when I make it to level 30. I keep the same stat distribution. What pulls me out of my meditation is the sound of my phone ringing piercing straight through my concentration, the difference is that the phone seems to be ringing a lot slower than it used to. I get up as fast as I can, but my movements seem sluggish. I would think that my body would be easier to move but for a moment I think something went horribly wrong.

As I picked up the phone, I notice that it’s not me that has slowed down it is rather the world around me. The world seems like it was moving at half speed. I was moving faster and more gracefully but the world had just slowed down so much that it felt like I was moving through molasses. I take a look at my status quickly before I pick up the phone.

 

Class: First Step of the Open Hand

Level: 35

Mana: 255/255

Exp: 1/10 (990)

Physical

37.8(31.5)

Skills: Meditation (lv 30)

Dash of the Wind (lv 0)

Storm of Strikes (lv 0)

Reduced recoil (lv 0)

Physical Recovery

13.125(12.5)

Physical Resistance

13.75(12.5)

Reflexes

87.75(65)

Insights: Unarmed Combat (v)

Magic

25.5 (25)

Magic Recovery

12.625(12.5)

Magic Resistance

12.625(12.5)

 

With that out of the way, I pick up the phone. “Hello?”

“Lily.” I almost don’t recognize my brother's voice with it being slowed down like it is. His voice seems so sad, and my heart just drops.

“Keven, what’s wrong, what happened?”

“Clare is dead. I’m safe, she kept me safe, but I froze, I never felt so useless in my life.” Clare was his girlfriend of no more than a few weeks I wasn’t convinced that it was going to last but he seemed to be convinced that she was the best thing that ever happened to the world.

“It’s not your fault, the world is going to shit, bad things are going to happen and it’s nobody’s fault. Listen, get yourself somewhere safe the plan right now is I’m going to get mom and dad and do a road trip, we’ll be there as soon as we can.”

“you weren’t there, she was so heroic. If she was on her own or if I just wasn’t dead weight, she would be here. I am absolutely to-” the phone cut off. I missed a call from Victoria. A loud sound is heard in the distance and the building shacks. I look at the signal and see that I’m out of range. The lights flicker out in the building.

“goddamn, OKAY EVERYONE IT’S TIME TO GO!”

 

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