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A note from Spicy Space Squid

I've now hit my NaNoWriMo goals and will be ramping down, but rather than returning to the previous 1 chapter a week, I'll be trying to do 2. It'll likely be a Saturday/Sunday release, but I'm open to suggestions. Might run a poll in a few weeks if I feel like I can keep it up without burning out.

In the meantime, you guys can check out some of the series written by people who have asked me to do shoutouts. First is jmassat's I'm the Demon Lord, but All I Wanna Do is Sit Around and Eat Pizza Poppers, which is a sardonic portal fantasy with some humour. There's also Avitue's Unliving. He sums it up as follows "Living, yet not. Dead, yet alive. Young Aideen found herself in a strange conundrum when she rose from her death - within her own coffin no less - to a brand new unlife, one neither ever seen nor heard before. What other jests might fate have in store for her?"

Chapter 53 - The Corruptor’s Realm VII

The environment turned into a blur as the halfbreed plummeted down the drain. Every moment that passed came with an increase in the surrounding temperature; what started as a tunnel made of ice and snow quickly gave way to a hellscape of fire and brimstone, a canvas of burning ash, bubbling lava, and noxious gas. The waves of heat that emanated from the active volcano caused the terrain to shimmer and waver as would a distant oasis obscured by a thousand dunes. Pits of molten rock extended as far as the eye could see, dotted around like cells in a honeycomb. Each hole featured a frozen ladder, a less-than-subtle reminder of the wintery world that lay beyond.

With a mitted hand, Claire grabbed onto an icy rung just five meters above the lava line. She heaved bloodied, laboured breaths, one after another, as she finally cast her gaze on her body and looked over her wounds.

The icicles had already melted. The holes they left in her body were still bleeding profusely, but she wasn’t worried. Her health regeneration would fix her up in a matter of hours. But in the meantime, she was plagued by a seemingly endless amount of pain. Her whole body was practically screaming in agony.

She couldn’t move her injured shoulder, and her frostbitten leg wasn’t much better off. Worse yet was the shortness of her breath. The icicle that had pierced her side had torn open one of her lungs; breathing was nearly beyond her.

She didn’t want to move. She felt too heavy, too lethargic, too exhausted. It took imagining the consequences of borrokian indigestion for the halfbreed to finally convince herself to get off the ladder. With a swing and a kick, she landed on a nearby rock, took off her glove, and threw it aside.

I’m not wearing that again until I wash it.

Grimacing, Claire staggered away from the less-than-sanitary mit and raised her head to look upon the manual elevator. She kept both her eyes and ears trained on it for a good minute, but there was nothing to see but plumes of lava and clouds of volcanic ash. Neither was there anything to hear. Even strained, her ears heard only the bubbling and sizzling of magma. She wasn’t being pursued.

Unlike the city above, the supposed sewage system was too hot for comfort. Claire wasn’t just sweating anymore—she was burning. Her scales were fine but her skin was turning a deep shade of red. The rogue had to regularly douse her toes with stale water to relieve the pain and boost her health regeneration back up to its usual speed.

“You see, Claire, this is why you should have trusted my genius. It’s awful down here,” grumbled Shoulderhorse. “It’s so hot that my beautiful mane’s going to burn!”

“You can’t burn. You don’t exist.”

“She would if you summoned her.”

“Oh, don’t be silly, Shouldersnake,” said the horse. “I’d rather not be summoned unless there’s something to eat. The borroks seemed rather delectable, but I can’t say I’m fond of all these rocks. They’re not spicy enough on their own.”

Claire gave the horse a horrified look before quickly dismissing it with a wave of her hand. She didn’t want to imagine how the bug-monkeys tasted, let alone the sight of the poorly proportioned quadruped ravenously devouring one. The snake was also sent away. It had already had more than its fair share of fun.

“I should’ve expected mages.”

The halfbreed muttered to herself as she limped over to a nearby rock and sat down. She almost opened her log the moment she was settled, but stopped as she caught herself in the act. Shutting her eyes, she let her arms fall to her sides and did her best to relax. She even tried meditating, clearing her mind of any unwanted thoughts. But it didn’t work. She just couldn’t sit still.

“I might’ve died if one of these hit me where it mattered.”

Claire mumbled to herself as she looked at her leg and traced a finger around the open wound. Touching it made her wince, but she kept poking at the gaping hole nonetheless. Something about the act fascinated her, but she couldn’t quite explain what. It was just as impossible to resist as picking at a scab.

“Maybe I should’ve tried throwing lava at them.”

The rogue sighed as she stuck her finger through the opening and wiggled it around.

“What am I doing?” With another pained wheeze, she tore her gaze off her wound, propped her hand up against her knee, and opened her log. “I might as well get it over with.”

Alert
You have accrued a large number of log entries. These have been summarised below.

You have slain the following:
- 4 level 35~48 Borrok Warriors
- 9 level 30~40 Corrupted Watchers
- 15 level 12~20 Corrupted Barbearians
- 19 level 23~29 Corrupted Frost Wolves
- 34 level 7~15 Corrupted Lesser Vampire Pups
- 37 level 17~24 Borroks

Contrary to her expectations, she wasn’t stuck listening to an hour-long documentary. She was greeted instead by a second box overlaid on top of the first, a box embroidered with a fancy gold trim and topped with an auric wreath.

Three of these kills have granted you feats in the form of first time kill bonuses. In total, you have been awarded the following:
- 3 points of agility
- 10 points of dexterity
- 1 point of spirit
- 6 points of strength
- 8 points of vitality
- 17 points of wisdom

The voice was always monotonous and flat, but something about the way it went over the details made Claire think that it was even less enthused than usual.

The experience you have accumulated has resulted in the following level ups:
- Halfbreed has leveled from 30 to 35
- Llystletein Rogue has leveled from 39 to 43
- Llystletein Force Mage has leveled from 12 to 27

Level up bonuses have increased your ability scores by the following:
- 10 agility
- 10 dexterity
- 20 spirit
- 30 wisdom

Why are there so many halfbreed levels? I don’t think I did anything differently.

You have been awarded the following bonuses for reaching Llystletein Force Mage’s 25th milestone:
- The Catgirl Detector V. 0.17 class skill
- 40 points of spirit
- 60 points of wisdom

You have gained a total of 98 ability points.

Llystletein Force Mage has attempted to evolve into Llystletein Cat Pimp, but a divine entity has interrupted this process on your behalf. Your heartfelt gratitude is to be directed to the goddess of the eternal flow.

Claire spent a moment giving the box a miffed glare before giving up and pressing a hand to her temple. “Fine. You win this one, Box. Thank you.”

You have acquired the Basic Fire Resistance skill.

The proficiency that you have accumulated has resulted in the following skill level ups:
- Basic Fire Resistance has leveled from 1 to 2
- Bloodthief has leveled from 4 to 6
- Club Mastery has leveled from 9 to 10
- Dagger Mastery has leveled from 9 to 10
- Double Stab has leveled from 9 to 10
- Force Manipulation has leveled from 1 to 7
- Lashing Tailstrike has leveled from 1 to 2
- Makeshift Weapon Mastery has leveled 10 to 13
- Manathief has leveled from 2 to 5
- Paralyzing Gaze has leveled from 3 to 4
- Throwing has leveled from 5 to 6
- Unarmed Combat Mastery has leveled from 7 to 9

“Lashing tailstrike?” It took a few moments for Claire to process that the unfamiliar skill was one of the abilities derived from her racial class. “Did it start leveling because Shouldersnake counts?”

You have unlocked 3 new consumables:
- Slaying a Corrupted Barbearian has unlocked Bearchst, a hearty meat stew.
- Slaying a Corrupted Frost Wolf has unlocked White Wolf Wine, an alcoholic beverage.
- Slaying a Corrupted Lesser Vampire Pup has unlocked the Bat Bagel Sandwich, a gluten-based food item.

“Maybe this ‘minor blessing’ isn’t as much of a curse as I thought it was.” Claire ran her eyes over the list as the box went silent. There was a lot to take in, but seeing it all at once was far better than having to go through the entries one by one.

After a big stretch and a second quick scan, the halfbreed closed the gilded window. She was about to do the same to the log itself, but another gold-bordered box popped up and interrupted her before she could.

This log summary service has been brought to you by the goddess of the eternal flow. Please be aware that it is not complimentary. If you wish for similar services in going forward, then you are required to submit a prayer immediately prior. If the prayer is missing or not deemed sufficient, the service will not activate and your log entries will be read to you one at a time.

The halfbreed sat perfectly still for a good ten seconds before deciding that there was no point in fighting the urge to scowl. She doubted that the goddess would’ve failed to see through her either way.

“This is extortion,” she grumbled. Stupid curse. I knew I spoke too soon.

This is not extortion. It is bribery.

A new line of text appeared directly underneath the last.

“They’re the same thing.”

Extortion would involve threatening to cause harm. Bribery involves offering a boon. If you were any less ignorant, then you would have no trouble processing the difference.

“Sure, Box. Whatever you say.”

If you are to listen to what I say, then you will stop being irreverent and worship me as is due.

“No.”

You have prayed to Builledracht 361 times. As your patron deity, I am owed at least twice that number.

“Why do you know that? That’s creepy.”

It is in the logs. A simple query retrieves the information in the matter of moments. Now I will do no more explaining. If you wish for my blessing to continue serving its purpose, then you need only pray.

“I won’t,” said Claire. “It wouldn’t be a proper prayer anyway. I don’t even know your name.”

“And even if I was to pray, it would be to Builledracht. He’s a better god than you. At least people know who he is.”

Victory is sweet.

With a satisfied smirk, Claire closed her log and got to her feet. Her wounds were hardly any better, but she was getting tired. She needed to find a place to rest, out of reach of any potential hazards.

Smooth, however, the plan went not. A wave of annoyance was beamed straight into her mind right as she finished dusting herself off. Her log was closed and there was no way for her to see any of the goddess’ messages anymore, but it was clear, from the way that the foreign emotion was prodding at the back of her mind, that the divine was refusing to leave her alone.

It wasn’t that bad at first; Claire was confident that she could tolerate it for as long as need be. But her opinion slowly started to change as she was subjected to it time and time again. She went from smug to bothered as she dragged herself over to her mitten, bothered to annoyed as she started washing it, and annoyed to overwhelmingly irritated by the time it stopped smelling of filth.

Log Entry 1082
Detect Force Magic has reached level 12.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the log entry. Hearing the Goddess’ voice again led the rogue shout as she smacked a fist into the nearest burning hot wall.

“Fine! You can have a stupid prayer! Just shut up and leave me alone!”

Log Entry 1083
You have received a divine revelation:

:)

“I hate you, Box. I really do.”

Claire sighed as she double checked her belongings for anything that could serve as an offering. Nothing she had on hand was of any value. Her weapons were makeshift and clothes were full of holes, shoddily made, or both.

“Maybe that’s good enough for an annoying goddess like her.”

The watcher-based cloak was the ex-ritual mage’s item of choice. It was sweaty, bloodstained, and did little but add to her discomfort, even whilst tied around her waist. She had recognized its continued presence as a burden by the time she entered the city, but she hadn’t been able to bring herself to discard it even though she knew that it could be readily replaced. Acquiring a duplicate involved little beyond silently eliminating another yeti or two, and the city had hundreds to spare.

Laying the freshly folded cloak down in front of her, Claire sat down on her knees, closed her eyes, and clasped her hands together in her lap. It was a traditional posture adopted by Cadrian priests and ritual mages from all walks of life.

“O goddess of the eternal flow, the almighty shepherd of souls and the fairest of all seven realms. I offer to you a warrior’s pride, a garment crafted by my own two hands and soaked in their blood. May you accept it and continue to ever grant me your guidance.”

The words were blatantly dressed up and ingenuine, as they so often were in prayers, but they were accepted nonetheless. Her offering was gone by the time she opened her eyes, taken by the realm above.

“Now leave me alone,” grumbled the halfbreed.

Log Entry 1084
Llystletein Authority’s safe zone is no longer cooling down. You may now create another, however, you may not have two safe zones at once. Creating a second safe zone will destroy your first.

The goddess’ voice echoed in her mind the moment she finished complaining, almost as if to spite her. Had the message been any less pleasing, she would likely have thrown a fit. But as it stood, she was greatly relieved. The safe zone would provide her with all of the security she needed to get a good night’s rest.

Log Entry 1085
You have created a safe zone. Other entities cannot enter it without your permission while you are present. The safe zone will be deactivated if a hostile entity enters while you are away. It can be reactivated by defeating all nearby hostiles.

Log Entry 1086
Llystletein Authority has reached level 5.

___

Claire

Health: 287/602
Mana: 2135/2380
Health Regen: 228/hour
Mana Regen: 1696/hour

Ability Scores - 153 Points Available
- Agility: 135
- Dexterity: 154
- Spirit: 181
- Strength: 163
- Vitality: 114
- Wisdom: 424

Racial Class: Halfbreed - Level 35.62
- Lashing Tailstrike - Level 2.17
- Paralyzing Gaze - Level 4.41
- Quadrupedal Bloodrush - Level 1.01

Primary Class: Llystletein Rogue - Level 43.29
- Assassinate - Level 8.14
- Bloodthief - Level 6.81
- Charm Catgirl - Level 1.00
- Cloak and Dagger - Level 7.48
- Double Stab - Level 10.04
- Envenom - Level 11.11
- Manathief - Level 5.86

Secondary Class: Llystletein Force Mage - Level 27.70
- Basic Force Resistance - Level 3.57
- Detect Force Magic - Level 12.13
- Force Manipulation - Level 7.05
- Catgirl Detector V. 0.17 - Level 1.00

Unclassed Skills
- Artifact Manipulation - Level 2.00
- Basic Fire Resistance Level 2.09
- Club Mastery - Level 10.43
- Dagger Mastery - Level 10.64
- Dancing - Level 6.12
- Digging - Level 10.27
- English - Level 25
- Llystletein Authority - Level 5.10
- Makeshift Weapon Mastery - Level 13.69
- Marish - Level 19.02
- Sewing - Level 1.42
- Sneaking - Level 11.32
- Spear Mastery - Level 3.82
- Sword Mastery - Level 7.27
- Throwing - Level 6.40
- Tracking - Level 8.70
- Unarmed Combat Mastery - Level 9.53

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Spicy Space Squid

Bio: Surprisingly tangy and delicious.

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